• Published 26th Jan 2015
  • 2,475 Views, 409 Comments

Table for Two - KitsuneRisu



There's a cafe at the edge of town: cozy, warm, and inviting. A place to go when you need somewhere to be. But here, in this cafe, everyone is equal. In this cafe, everyone is free to speak their mind. And in this cafe, the Gods listen back.

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Time - Spike & Shining Armor

Freshly fragrant.

Steam.

Wooden cup.

Just a quirk, but something unique.

There was something thoroughly familiar about the situation – it was the sort that everyone had been in one time or another. It might have been in any location. It might not be over any sort of delicious beverage. It was the tone of it; the feel of it – the way that it called back long-distant memories and brought new ones to the table.

Yes.

There was a table.

There was always a table, wasn’t there?

Spike poked the side of the cup with a claw, giving himself a private smile. He knew exactly what she’d be thinking if she were there.

The cup didn’t make sense. Wood just wasn’t right for a cup of coffee. What was missing, clearly, was the clink. When you picked it up – a clink. When you set it back down on the saucer – a clink. Apparently the people who ran this place didn’t even believe in coasters; the many stains on the table were evidence of patrons past, and thusly, in the setting-down of cups, the best that could be summoned was a dull thud. It just wasn’t right. And besides, tea was far superior.

But Spike, if he were asked, was okay with it. It was kinda cool. It gave the place some character that made it unique. It was hard to find places like this nowadays, in a cookie-cutter world.

It was on that thought that the door opened, and a rush of cold blew in on the winds from the wintry streets outside.

“Whoa, hey!” an errant voice swept in after the winds died: it was that of a stallion, rugged, burnt with vocal fry. “Fancy seein’ you here!”

A moment passed.

“Hey?” the voice repeated.

“Who… me?” Spike asked, pointing to his own chest. He looked up at the stallion only then, when no one else gave a reply.

“Yeah! You! Spike!” Shining chortled. With a flick of his head, his hood fell away, leaving only his shoulders and back awash with a powder snow. “Mind if I join ya?”

“Oh! Yeah… sure!” Spike said, getting to his feet. “Of course!”

“Hey, hey! Sit down! Don’t worry,” Shining Armour said, lowering his voice to a whisper. “They’re not around.”

“Yeah.” Spike chuckled, settling back down. He scratched his head with a little embarrassment. “Force of habit, you know?”

“Yeah, don’t I know it,” Shining responded, throwing himself roughly into his chair. The last remnants of snow fluttered off his travel cloak. “So, something on your mind?”

“Huh?” Spike was quick to blurt out a response. “Oh, no. Sorry. I was just not really expecting to run into anyone here, that’s all. Figured I found a quiet little place where I could kick back a little.”

The dragon quietly observed his surroundings consciously for the first time since he entered. There was just the right number of patrons – enough to give the cafe a worn-in atmosphere but not enough to overcrowd the tone with unnecessary joviality.

A fireplace that roared with a pulsing heat helped to drive in the mood, and the lights were set with a warm natural white that made the furniture glow with that special winter coziness.

“Well, I wasn’t expecting to see you least of all. What brings you to Canterlot?” Spike asked. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

“Just passing by, really. Wife’s off at some winter gala thing at the castle. The Winterm–”

“–moon Parade,” Spike finished.

“Hey! Yeeaaaah!” Shining Armour’s face lit up as he swung his hooves toward Spike in brothery approval. “You know it, huh!”

“Well, ‘course I do.That’s where Twilight is right now.” Spike smiled back.

“Oooooh. Yeah, of course! Shoulda realised!” Shining nodded. “So, how’d ya get out of it?”

“Eh, well.” Spike shrugged. “It’s a three-day event. Today’s just dress rehersals. Nothing I’m involved in, so Twilight gave me the day off.”

Shining Armour nodded, mouth pursed into an ‘o’ as if he were being shown the technicalities of nuclear physics.

“And ah… that’s probably why you’re off the hook too,” Spike mentioned casually, taking a sip of coffee from a wooden cup. “In case you were wondering.”

“Oh, yeah! Yeah! I know. Of course, heh. I knew that.” Shining grinned, eyes gazing at the table.

“Uh huh.” Spike replied.

“Yeah…”

“Yeah.”

A songbird, one late for migration, sputtered a cold warble on a windowsill.

“So… it’s just us now,” Shining said.

“Sure is.”

“No wives. No… whatever Twilight is to you.”

“Nope.”

Shining Armour shifted in his seat as the silence beckoned him further into its domain.

The songbird flew off.

“This is weird,” he said, finally.

“Little bit.” Spike took another drawn-out sip of his drink, his eyes never leaving Shining Armor.

“What do we… uh… talk about?”

“I dunno. Anything,” Spike set his cup down. “What do you usually talk about with Princess Cadance?”

“Oh! Loads of stuff!” The prince’s face lit up.

“Go on…”

The prince’s face dropped.

“Nothing, huh.” Spike raised an eyebrow, leaning back on his chair and draping an arm casually over the back.

“Well, no, it’s not nothing. It’s just that… it’s stuff that doesn’t really… work? I don’t know. Am I making sense?”

“You’re trying.”

“I mean, everything we talk about usually has something to do with the stuff that we do. You know? Castles and policies and who we’re going to meet tomorrow and what a horrible headache she had at work today and all of that…”

“Mmm,” Spike hummed.

“It’s… it’s weird.” Shining Armor played his his hooves on the table. “I’ve lived with her for so long, and everywhere we go, and everything we do… she’s usually the one who starts talking first. You know? It’s almost as if the world has a… a camera centered on her or something.”

“Yeah, I’m familiar with the feeling.”

“But don’t get me wrong! I’m not complaining!”

“No, of course not,” Spike assured.

“It’s just that…”

“Sometimes it feels hard to talk about stuff when she isn’t around, right?”

“Yeah!” Shining Armour smiled again.

“Uh huh,” Spike hummed.

“I mean… don’t you.... feel that way sometimes… too?” Shining asked, his tone skirting the subject.

“Maybe. Sometimes. Not really.” Spike shrugged again.

“Well… which one is it?”

“Not really.” Spike nodded. “But I get it, though. That’s the married life, it is. Or… whatever it is I have with Twilight. But it’s the same difference, I guess.”

“What is that, though?”

Spike looked to the ceiling, reading the answers that were written there.

“Time.” Spike flicked the lip of his mug. It teetered slightly, threatening to fall, but righted itself as if it were ordained to by the universe.

“Time?”

“Yeah. Your time is her time. Princess Cadence is a busy lady, just like Twilight. That’s what we’re for. We give them our time so that they can get more things done. Of course, that means that in the end, most of the things we do are the things they do, and… well. We become them, a little.”

“I… are you sure?” Shining Armor scratched his neck. “That sounds awfully...”

“I’ve been married a lot longer than you have.”

“Well, I guess… but…”

“It’s incredibly sad, isn’t it?”

Shining Armor blinked, the words snatched from his mouth. “Well… I guess… I mean, a little…”

“I used to think about that a lot too,” Spike admitted. “I mean, it’s not something that you can’t not think about, really. It was always the thought that the more of her I became, the less of ‘me’ I was. Sound familiar?”

Spike shot Shining a knowing look.

“I mean, I haven’t… really thought about it…” Shining muttered.

“Hey, don’t worry about it.” Spike smiled. “It’s normal. I was there. Honestly. You haven’t been married for that long, either.”

“Ah…” Shining grunted and cleared his throat soon after. It was particularly dry. “Well… let’s say that I do kinda feel that way, maybe, a little, maybe… how… how do I… fix it?”

“Nothing to fix.” Spike shrugged. “You’ll be okay with it eventually.”

“I don’t know about that… it’s been getting harder as time goes on. I guess I didn’t really think about how it’d be like, married to someone so busy all the time. I mean, look at today! I’ve virtually forgotten how to hold a casual conversation!” Shining lamented.

“Don’t think you’re doing too bad so far,” Spike said.

“What about you?”

“Me?”

“Yeah.” Shining nodded. “How are you okay with it?”

Spike stared into his coffee. “Well, I guess it’s just because we’re that close, yeah?”

“But I’m close with Cadence too…”

“Well, you are, but at the same time, you’re not.”

“What do you…”

“Well, what I mean is... “ Spike frowned. “I guess it’s like… milk and coffee. It goes well together, right? Let’s say you’re milk and she’s coffee. When you got married, you kinda… poured yourself into her.”

“Uh…”

“But even though it works like that, you still wanna give it a stir, right? So that the milk and coffee becomes milk coffee.”

“Uh....”

“Look, metaphors are Twilight’s thing, okay?” Spike folded his arms across his chest. “What I’m saying is that you guys are fine together, but you haven’t been stirred yet.”

“And… how does that feel?”

“Well, when that happens, everything is mixed together. So… even though you share her time, and sort of take on her responsibilities and her life, you also share in her happiness and sadness. What works for her also makes you happy. What she accomplishes makes you satisfied.”

“Huh.” Shining remarked. “Is that what it’s like with you and Twilight?”

“Yeah, pretty much. Just means that I ain’t bothered too much by being her assistant.”

“Because…”

“Because I ain’t her assistant. Just a friend.” Spike smiled. “And knowing that means I also know how to be someone else when she’s not around. And trust me that I know that she acts differently when I’m not around either.”

Shining Armor didn’t respond. Instead, he looked off to the window, staring at the light snowfall that fell outside. A number of things crossed his mind, all of which he pondered on in silence.

Spike suddenly laughed. A fresh, healthy chuckle. A private joke, but one that was worthy of joviality.

“W-what?” Shining asked, jerking his head around, as if he had just been caught with his hooves in the royal panty drawer.

“Twilight’s kind of a dork, really. I bet you anything that right now, she’s running around with her gala dress on backwards wondering where I am and wishing that I were there.” Spike pumped his fist in the air.

“You know…” Shining tapped his hoof on the table. “That’s my sister you’re talking about.”

“Yeah?”

“And you’re completely right.”

“Aren’t I always, though?” Spike grinned.

“Mister Armor?” The Owner said, as he swung past the table like a burst of cold riding the breeze. “You appear to have had time to consider. Can I take your order?”

“I’m sorry,” Shining responded with a grin. “If it’s alright, I think I’d like a little more... time.”

Author's Note:

Looked over by HerpyDerpy.
And special thanks to everyone who sat with me.

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