• Published 31st Dec 2013
  • 4,519 Views, 40 Comments

Dilemma - Locomotion

After rediscovering an old gift from Spike, Rarity finds herself in a real pickle over her feelings for him. Can her friends, both from Ponyville and from further afield, help her come to terms with being in love with a dragon?

  • ...

Chapter 1: Ruby Hearts

For many a fashion designer, inspiration for a new line of clothing is always just around the corner come rain, shine or snow, whether for such a formal event as the Grand Galloping Gala or just for simple everyday attire; from the blooming of early spring to the throes of winter, there is always plenty of business. Rarity, Ponyville's famed unicorn fashion designer, was no exception; she had almost finished applying the final touches to her latest line of dresses for the Best-of-the-Best Boutique in Canterlot, owned by none other than the renowned fashion critic Hoity Toity. She had been putting a great deal of effort into designing and making these, and was planning a trip to Equestria's capital city to deliver them in person.

Using the magical powers with which all unicorns are blessed, Rarity carefully guided the last pearl bead onto its thread and tied it firmly into place. “There,” she told herself triumphantly, taking all twelve dresses in her magical grip as she made for the laundry room. “My latest fashion line is finally complete! Now to get these washed and make the travel arrangements for my trip to Canterlot.”

As the pure-white unicorn placed the fruits of her labour carefully in the wash-tub, she happened to glance out of the window on the far side of the room. It offered a good view of the Golden Oak Library where her friend and fellow unicorn Twilight Sparkle, who had not long ago become an alicorn princess, lived and worked, and looking upon the hollowed-out oak tree, she couldn't help but wonder how Spike, the young baby dragon under Twilight's care, was getting on. She could still remember when they first came to Ponyville a few years back, merely half a day before that fateful night when the dreaded Nightmare Moon had returned to Equestria after a thousand years of exile on the moon. Back then, Twilight was still only a unicorn, and having devoted almost all her waking hours to studying magic, knew virtually nothing about friendship; it was only after they defeated Nightmare Moon and restored her old self as Princess Luna that she had realised its true value. Since then, she had taken up permanent residence in Ponyville and learned a great deal more about both magic and friendship.

But it was little Spike who seemed to have made the bigger impression on Rarity. She had always had a soft spot for him ever since they first got to know each other, and he himself always seemed to go out of his way when it came to doing favours for her. Slow in the head he may have been at times, but even though she may not have shown it sometimes, she always felt deeply grateful for his assistance.

Breaking out of her reverie, Rarity trotted back into the storeroom for a quick stock-take before getting the dresses washed. From the numerous bolts of fabric stacked against the wall, she could see that although she was still well enough stocked with all the other fabrics she normally required for her dressmaking, there was one particular colour that seemed to be lacking.

“I must have used up all my gold linen on those dresses,” she mused. “Looks like I'll need to pay Royal Ribbon a visit too; but first things first, dresses need to be washed and dried, packing needs to be sorted out, and I need to make a reservation on the overnight train to Canterlot – not to mention a hotel room for moi.”

Just as Rarity was in the middle of giving her dresses a thorough rinse, however, she was interrupted by the ringing of the store bell as the door opened. Once again she left the laundry room, and headed into the lobby to find none other than Spike waiting for her.

“Hey, Rarity,” he said cheerfully. “Just came to collect those new robes you said you'd make for Twilight. Are they ready yet?”

Rarity smiled in reply. “Of course, Spike,” she affirmed. “Stay here a moment while I go and fetch them,” and she made her way back upstairs while Spike waited on a nearby couch.

She returned quite shortly with what the little dragon thought were the finest set of royal robes ever created by ponykind. Their royal blue base fabric was wonderfully offset by the golden frills at the edges, while on each side stood a wonderfully crafted image of Twilight's star-shaped Cutie Mark made of pure diamond and pinkish rubies. It was so stunning that, at first, Spike could only gaze in awe upon Rarity's creation.

“Wow,” he breathed at last. “That is one awesome set of robes. You've really outdone yourself, Rarity; I bet Twilight's gonna be really grateful for these.”

“Just glad to be of assistance, darling,” said Rarity modestly. “It took a lot of planning, crafting and stitching to get these robes right, but the honour of working on royal clothing always makes it worth the extra effort. I can't wait to see how they look on Twilight.”

Spike chuckled in a somewhat bashful manner. “Well, certainly not as radiant as you always do, Rarity,” he answered quietly. “You may make the most beautiful dresses in Equestria, but you're far more beautiful than anything else in the world.”

Rarity smiled warmly as she lowered the robes into his little arms. Whether or not he actually meant it, she couldn't quite tell, for Spike had seemed more than a little infatuated with her since they first met; but she greatly appreciated the compliment nonetheless. “That's ever so kind of you to say, Spikey-Wikey,” she replied fondly.

“Ah, it's nothing really; it's what friends are for,” murmured Spike, blushing shyly. “Anyway, I guess I'd better get these back to Twilight – unless you need anything done for you, that is.”

“Well, thank you for the offer, Spike, but I'm almost finished around here anyway. Besides, I'm sure Twilight will be wondering where her robes are, and I wouldn't really want to keep her waiting.”

“Okay, Rarity,” conceded Spike, trying not to look disappointed. “I'll see you when I see you then.”

“See you later, Spike,” called Rarity as the little dragon passed through the door.

By mid-afternoon, Rarity had finished washing the new dresses and was just returning from Ponyville Central Station after booking her trip to Canterlot. As she approached the boutique, she noticed a certain white unicorn filly waiting just outside the door.

“Why, Sweetie-Belle,” she remarked, “what a pleasant surprise. How are things with you and our parents?”

“That's what I came to talk to you about, Rarity,” answered her little sister enthusiastically. “Mom and Dad were planning on a trip to Fort Maine this weekend, and they wanted to know if you wanted to come.”

Rarity looked rather eager at first, but her face fell before Sweetie-Belle could finish. “Well, as much as I'd love to, Sweetie-Belle, I'm afraid I can't,” she confessed. “I'm completely out of gold linen and have my new fashion line to bring up to Canterlot, so I'll be away for a week.” She smiled apologetically at her sister's downcast expression; plainly little Sweetie-Belle had been looking forward to spending some time with her. “Never mind; I'm almost finished for today anyway, so we can hang out here while I pack for Canterlot.”

Sweetie-Belle brightened up at once. “Aw, thanks, sis,” she smiled, and bounced merrily into the boutique after Rarity.

As the older unicorn began organising a few suitcases, bags and hat-boxes for her week away, she listened attentively as Sweetie-Belle told her about her latest activities with Scootaloo and Apple Bloom. The three of them had been trying to gain their Cutie Marks by herding sheep at Sweet Apple Acres, but only Apple Bloom seemed to have been any good at it, and in any event it wasn't enough to gain them their Cutie Marks.

Rarity was understandably relieved to hear that her little sister had managed to stay clean throughout the fiasco that had ensued, but she still couldn't help wondering if Sweetie-Belle and her friends would ever stop and smell the flowers. Getting their own Cutie Marks may have been the most important thing in the whole world to them, hence why they had formed the Cutie Mark Crusaders, but sometimes it seemed as though they were trying too hard.

“If you find out your talent is in singing and song-writing, don't say I didn't tell you so, Sweetie-Belle!” she giggled to herself as she opened another drawer. But as she did so, she noticed something in it that made her stop dead and stare in amazement.

Noticing that Rarity no longer seemed to be paying attention to what she was saying, Sweetie-Belle stopped talking and walked curiously alongside her. “What's up, Rarity?”

In response, Rarity levitated a gold necklace out of her drawer with a heart-shaped red gem at its centre. “I wondered where that had gone,” she mused.

Sweetie-Belle blinked in amazement. “Is that the Fire Ruby that Spike gave you the day before his birthday?” she asked.

Rarity nodded, fondly remembering how she first saw the gem whilst asking Twilight for a book that would help her with the birthday present she was making for the little dragon, and how generous he had been to give it to her when he had been saving it for his birthday dinner. “Oh yes, Sweetie-Belle,” she sighed dreamily. “That Fire Ruby had to be the most beautiful gem I'd ever laid my eyes upon – and for little Spikey-Wikey to say it belonged with me......that was the kindest, most generous thing anypony – or dragon – has ever said or done for me in all my life.”

Sweetie-Belle was taken aback. “That's odd, considering he went on that massive dragon greed rampage two days later,” she said. “Even Scootaloo hasn't forgotten how he nearly stole her scooter – and yet he actually gave you that gem before all that?”

“It wouldn't be the first time he showed me a little generosity himself,” observed Rarity. “He's always been doing me favours every so often. When I told him about Sapphire Shores, for example, and how I needed more gems to make her other outfits, he offered to help me find some. He's taken out the trash and helped me with my dressmaking more times than I can count, and he was a great source of support when I was organising that fashion show of our Gala dresses – even if that didn't turn out so well.” She breathed another dreamy sigh as the memories of all the good times she had had with Spike came flooding back – but then her eyes widened. “Oh my stars!” she gasped.

“What is it, Rarity?” asked Sweetie-Belle, suddenly concerned.

Rarity gazed at the Fire Ruby pendant on her necklace, gaping in wonderment and completely unable to say anything. Just as Sweetie-Belle was about to ask if her sister had heard her, the older unicorn finally found her voice. “I can't believe it!” she said breathlessly. “I think I may be falling in love with Spike!”

Sweetie-Belle blinked, trying to process what Rarity had just said. When at last she had, a broad smile spread across her muzzle. “Aww,” she gushed, “that's so sweet, Rarity. I knew Spike had always had a crush on you, but to know you feel the same way is just......adorable!”

But Rarity wasn't so sure. “Me and Spike – adorable? But he's so...different to me!” she stammered.

“What's wrong with that?” quizzed Sweetie-Belle, cocking her head in confusion.

“Don't you get it, Sweetie-Belle? Spike is not only a dragon, he's also just a baby; there's a huge age gap between even in pony terms,” protested Rarity. “It's like a filly or a colt having an affair with their teacher – surely if one of your classmates was falling for Cheerilee you wouldn't think much of them, would you?”

Sweetie-Belle considered this. “Well, I guess not,” she agreed thoughtfully, “but I wouldn't start bullying them about it if I ever found out. That's Diamond Tiara's job!” She cringed uncomfortably at the mention of the selfish pink filly who always made life so difficult for herself, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and countless other foals before resuming her speech; “It's not as if they can help the way they feel, after all. I mean, can you?”

“No,” replied Rarity unhappily, “and that's what's frustrating me right now; I feel like I want to spend my whole life with Spike – maybe even marry him one day – but it just feels so wrong on so many levels!” She collapsed dramatically onto her bed, raising a foreleg to her brow. “I just can't decide whether to pursue my feelings for him or just ignore him altogether!” she wailed pathetically. “Of all the worst things that could possibly happen right now, this is THE – WORST – POSSIBLE – THING!”

Sweetie-Belle sat and watched as Rarity freaked out over her dilemma, frowning with worry. She was used to seeing her sister overreact every so often, but even she could see how difficult it was for the older unicorn at this very moment. “I sure wish I could help right now, Rarity,” she lamented, “but I'm not really sure how. I'm really sorry.”

Seeing how useless her behaviour was making Sweetie-Belle feel, Rarity composed herself and patted her sister's back. “It's okay, little sister,” she soothed. “I understand you want me to be happy, but I guess you're right; this is an issue I need to work through by myself.”

Her little sister smiled appreciatively. “Thanks, Rarity,” she replied softly. “I guess I'd better leave you to it then. Anyway, I've gotta go, or Mom and Dad will be wondering where I am.”

“Okay, Sweetie-Belle. I'll see you in a week,” said Rarity kindly. “Tell Mother and Father I said hello, and I hope you all have a wonderful time at Fort Maine.”

“Will do, sis,” and Sweetie-Belle bounded cheerfully out of the boutique, and onwards towards home.