• Published 21st May 2012
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April Showers - Denim_Blue



As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers...and rainbows. Spike learns this first-hand.

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Chapter 1: Flight and Strife

April Showers

by Denim_Blue

Chapter One- Flight and Strife


Dragons, as a rule, liked to have their space and privacy. The draconic residents of Equestria thus preferred solitary lives away from the towns and cities. This rule applied to Spike as well, at least to an extent. As Spike grew older his draconic nature had become more a part of who he was as an individual. He had come to value his time alone, as well as the peace and quiet that came with it. Despite being a dragon though, he had been raised among ponies, who are far more social in nature. As a result he still enjoyed living close to populated areas, making him a rare exception among the dragons of Equestria. After living among them for so long, having a social life had become as much a part of Spike as his scales and claws.

Spike was only twenty-two years of age, which by dragon standards barely made him a teenager. He had sprouted wings about three years after moving to Ponyville with Twilight. By the time his wings had become fully developed and strong enough to carry him through the air he had reached the end of his first major growth spurt. His increased mass and height made walking on his hind legs more difficult, so he preferred a walking on all fours these days. Still, even if he was down on all four legs most of the time, he already stood at eye level with Princess Celestia. When on his hind legs, he was able to reach the second story windows of the Ponyville library with minimal effort. About a year ago he had become too big to live in the library, let alone sleep in a pony-size bed. This problem had been resolved by the construction of a large, stone dome-house. His home was about a third of a mile north of Sweet Apple Acres, looking over a small river that ran out of the Everfree Forest. It was close enough to Ponyville that he was near his friends, but far enough to give him the space and privacy he wanted. A perfect balance for a growing drake like Spike.

His home was about as big as the Apple family’s barn in terms of size. Building the house had taken a generous amount of help from his friends. Pinkie and Rarity had helped map out areas rich in the suitable types of rock for construction of the home. Twilight, Big Macintosh, and Applejack had laid out the basic blueprints for the home in accordance with his needs. After the rock had been chosen and the design of the house had been completed, Spike and his friends had gotten to work constructing the house. Ponies from all over town had pitched in to help, much to Spike’s surprise. They had finished the construction of his house by the end of the very same year he had outgrown the library, starting around summer and finishing just before winter had arrived, much to his relief. The last thing he wanted was to spend another winter cramped inside the Ponyville library without enough space to sleep in.

Sure, Twilight could have probably done the job with her own magic but it wouldn’t have been as high of quality work as Spike had done. On top of that, while she was a very magical unicorn, quarrying and transporting the stone would have been too much of a drain on her power. She lacked the critical eye of a stonemason that Spike had. Not to mention she had to run the library. She gave assistance in the actual construction with her magic when she could, but most of the work had been done through the magic of ‘elbow grease’ and hard, honest work. Applejack had stated as much upon the project’s completion.

The construction of the dome had only been the beginning of Spike’s work, though. He had spent about a half a day breaking down the granite rock to make his counter and dining table. Even more time had been spent chiseling and smoothing out the surface with a sander that had been modified for stonecrafting. He had even used some of his shed scales like sandpaper to provide a natural shine and polish to the stone. The long recessed bookshelves lining the walls had required controlled chiseling to avoid breaking off more stone than needed, or strike to far and possibly loosening a spot where two chunks of granite were held together by mortar. However, the most painstakingly detailed work he had done was on the two smooth, circular windows on the east and west sides of his house. The windows had required careful planning of stone placement to ensure they would be both large and not jeopardize the sturdy foundation for the roof. After the gaps in the windows had been created, he had sanded the rock down so the windows were circular in shape. They had glass window panes had been custom-made by a glassmaker in Ponyville. In exchange for building the glassmaker a new stone oven for his own house, Spike was given windows made from the very sands of the Serpent Isle beaches. They could be opened and closed, and were large enough so that two pegasi could comfortably fly through them.

The large windows had not been constructed just for looks, of course. The numerous books lining the walls were read often by Spike, and he preferred natural sunlight to the light of a candle or fire. The glass also was thick enough to insulate his home, yet thin enough to not obscure the rays of light as well.

He was currently reading an old tome that was a translation of poems believed to have been written by Princess Luna herself, under the alias of Waxing Crescent. While the tome was close to two hundred years old the poems were likely more two to three thousand years older since the poems had been translated from Ancient Equinic. The translator had placed footnotes at the bottom of each page to help clarify things for the reader. Spike still had to refer to other sources to understand the footnotes, since those had been written in Archaic Equinic, which had been an obsolete language for the better part of a century. Regardless of the work he sometimes had to put into completely understanding a poem, Spike had really come to love the poetic language Luna had written in. Unsurprisingly, most of her poems were about night. A few here and there were about more common poetic topics, like love, nature and life, and a short cycle was dedicated to the author’s relationship to Celestia herself.

He had found the tome at a rare-book store in Fillydelphia when he accompanied Twilight to a convention for magic education. The drake had asked the owner of the store if he had any rare books of poetry, and the old stallion had guided him to a back room where the “rarest of gems in Equestrian literature” were kept. Spike’s gaze had immediately fallen on the old tome, which had a dark blue cover with a faded outline of a waxing crescent moon on it. The cover had been tattered and several of the pages were hanging loosely from the binding, but the owner had insisted that he be the one to take it down from its magically-reinforced glass case, stating that the book was worth its weight in gold. Spike found that statement to be true–it had cost him almost three hundred bits,and an extra fifty to have the store owner cast a spell to protect its pages from sunlight and the wear and tear of use.

Spike gingerly thumbed over a page, mulling over the words that had come from the heart of Princess Luna.

Yea, though I walk ‘neath the clouds of gray, ‘neath the freezing sleet and rain,

Sister Sun, she doth break apart the gloom,

and rainbow’s embrace warms me through the harsh day–

“Spike! Are you home?”

He craned his neck up to the eastern window, a small smile forming on his lips at the sound of the familiar voice. He set a finger between the pages of his tome as a rainbow blur jetted through his open window, bringing a strong breeze in with it. His smile broke into a toothy grin as his eyes met the gaze of Rainbow Dash who was hovering in front of him.

“Hey, Rainbow. What’s up?”

“Not much. Just got done clearing the clouds, figured I’d stop by,” she answered with a smile. She looked down to the tattered cover of the book in Spike’s claws. “Whatcha reading?”

“Hm? Oh, just some poetry that was probably written by Princess Luna.” He chuckled lightly. “Nothing you’d enjoy.”

“Blech, poetry.” Rainbow made a gagging gesture with her hoof. “So, did you read the latest Daring Do book yet?”

Spike shook his head. “Nah, I’m about a book behind the series right now. Twilight has the new copies ordered for this month, but it’ll probably take a week before they arrive.”

Rainbow sighed. “Ugh, you gotta catch up! Twilight’s, like, the only other friend in town that reads them as much as I do.”

Spike chuckled. “I’ll read them when I get to them and have the time. I have been rather busy. Stone-cutting isn't like kicking away clouds, you know.”

Rainbow’s eyes narrowed. “Hey, cloud-kicking is not easy work! You have to aim every kick perfectly otherwise you’ll just end up with your rear end stuck in a cloud. Besides, I’ve never seen you do any storm-clearing in all the time–”

“Alright, alright, forget I said anything. I’ve just been busy, that’s all. You know how popular stonemasonry is in Equestria.”

Rainbow settled down once more, a smile returning to her face. “Yeah, how’s that order from Appleloosa coming along?”

He grinned. “Pretty good. I’ve got only five tons of stone left that needs to head out by the end of the month. Apparently it’s being used for the wells and the new train station they’re building. Braeburn said that what I’ve sent to them so far is top quality.” He chuckled a little. “Still, fifteen tons is more than I’m used to dealing with. It’s been kind of tiring, actually.”

Rainbow let out a low whistle. “Fifteen tons? Wow, and you quarried it all out yourself?”

“Yeah, I went over to the mountains, south of the trail leading to Wheatendale. Lots of solid rock that hasn’t been touched yet. It’s a real pain hauling all that back by wagon. I’d ask for help if I could, but even Big Mac would probably pull his back out trying to pull as much as I did. I’m just glad that trail is pretty even terrain most of the way back into Ponyville. I had to make five separate trips to that spot before I had all the rock I needed.” He rubbed his neck a little, as though he were trying to work out a kink. “Pinkie helped me pick out some good spots in that area for future orders, too. I’ll probably have a good two years’ worth of material to work with over there.”

“Huh. You know, I sometimes forget Pinkie grew up on a rock farm.”

Spike shrugged. “She doesn’t really talk about it, but she does know a thing or two about rocks.” He quirked an eyebrow at Rainbow. “So, how about you? What brings you all the way out here when you could be napping?”

She rolled her eyes once and settled her gaze on him. She adopted a look of seriousness and spoke firmly. “You need to train. It’s been three days since your last session.”

Spike blinked a few times. “Really? Huh, it feels like it was just yesterday. Alright, sure!” He placed a bookmark between the pages he was reading and placed the tome on a shelf. “Where’d you have in mind?”

Rainbow’s eyes lit up. “There’s a great run in Ghastly Gorge that I think you’ll like. It’ll be good practice for turning while flying.”

“You mean that one area with a fork in the path that goes north and northeast? Didn’t we already go through about a month ago?”

Rainbow shook her head. “Nope, not that one. The spot I had in mind is just south of the Quarray Eel nests.”

He gave her a curious look. His lips slowly gave way to a teasing grin. “Wait, so you don’t want to fly by the nests? Are you sick or something?”

Rainbow shook her head and smirked. “Oh, shut up. I leave the dangerous stuff out of training.”

“Right...that’s exactly what I was thinking after being kicked off the side of Dragon Peak, screaming at the top of my lungs and praying that I don’t become a purple grease mark on the jagged rocks–”

“Quit your griping, you’re still alive, aren’t you? Besides, where else would we be able to practice emergency landings from an uncontrolled freefall? Even if you did mess up, you would have landed in the lake and probably been alright.”

Spike shook his head. “You’re so lucky I don’t tell Twilight these things.”

“Hey, you asked for my help with flying, I’m giving it.”

“I know, I know.” Spike noted the frown forming on Rainbow’s face, and realized he needed to head off her anger at the pass. “Hey, I’m just giving you a hard time, Dash. No need to get so defensive.”

Rainbow’s frown lessened a little, but her folded arms and tense flapping told Spike that he hadn’t been fully forgiven yet. “Since it’s been a few days since we last trained, I think we’ll have to do some power sets before we get to the gorge.”

Spike grimaced. “Power sets? Ugh...great...”

“Look, if you don’t want to train, I’ll–”

Spike held up a hand. “Sorry, it’s just...power sets aren’t fun for me, you know that.”

Rainbow’s frown softened slightly. “I know. Trust me, though, I did some research, and they’re just as good for dragons as they are for pegasi.”

Spike’s eyebrows arched up a little. He had never taken Rainbow to be a very studious pony. In fact, he was pretty sure she was more or less against anything that involved sitting down, gathering data, and analyzing it. “Research? Where?”

“At the library with Twilight,” Rainbow answered. “She’s gotten a lot more books on dragons in the past couple of years.”

Rolling his shoulders a little, Spike sighed. “Huh...well, You’re the teacher, right? I won’t get any better without practice, after all.” He grinned as he made his way towards the door. It was a nice day out anyway, and it’s not like a little fresh air ever did him any harm.

Rainbow’s smile returned. “That’s the spirit. Come on, we’ve got good winds going through the area for the next couple of hours. Perfect for flying.”

“You got it. Lead the way.”


“Twenty-eight...”

“Give me two more, Spike.”

Spike’s head slumped a bit as he struggled to continue his workout. “Guh...I’ve done three sets already, give me a break...”

“If you hadn’t complained the whole time, you’d have done four by now.”

Spike continued to grumble, but lifted his head back up. He was on all fours in a push-up position with his wings holding him off the ground. Wing-ups, according to Rainbow Dash, were a basic pegasi exercise to improve wing strength and endurance. Using the muscles in the wings, back, chest, and shoulders, a pegasus (or dragon), would push themselves up off the ground. Spike, being a heavier creature, used his arms to provide additional support. In order to prevent him from relying too heavily on his arms and and not get the full effect of the exercise, Rainbow had changed his position slightly so that his arms stretched out further. This put his arms in a position that was less than ideal for push-ups, and forced his wings to do more of the work. Eventually his wings would be strong enough that he wouldn’t need the extra support of his arms at all.

That was one only part of the exercise that Rainbow had dubbed a power set, though. The sets consisted of wing-ups, thirty sit-ups, twenty squats, and several kinds of stretches. Spike would start at ten of each exercise, then start over at fifteen, then twenty, then twenty-five, thirty, and then end with a final set of thirty. Normally a pegasus wouldn’t need to do this intense of a workout for pre-flight warm-ups. Pegasi were normally very active at an early age and received all the strength and endurance training needed during foalhood. However, Spike had not possessed a pair of wings since birth, so these intense workouts served as a means to reach the level of flight strength a pegasi his age would have. Needless to say, for a dragon with so much mass, it was hard work.

“Twenty-nine...” He dipped down then rose back up. “Thirt–”

“Now hold your position,” Rainbow instructed.

Spike’s wings shook as he held himself inches above the ground. He struggled to maintain his position. “Gaaaah....” He gritted his teeth, focusing on the horizon. Rainbow Dash flew in front of him, a stern look on her face.

“Keep holding it. Don’t you even think of dropping.”

Spike hissed as his wing muscles burned. Sweat beaded around his forehead and neck. Rainbow Dash didn’t so much as bat an eyelash as he struggled to hold himself up.

Come on...let me stop already! He bared his teeth, silently demanding that she let him end the workout.

“You’re not getting tired, are you?”

“N-no.”

“What was that?”

“No!”

How are those wings feeling?”

“Grrrrr...”

Rainbow grinned. She waited several more seconds, watching as Spike’s wings began to shake under his weight. She wouldn’t say it out loud, but she was proud of his determination to endure, whether it be in spite of the torture she was putting him through or out of genuine determination to improve himself. “Alright, you’re done.”

Spike let out a sigh of relief as his body plopped to the ground. His wings sagged before going completely limp and dropping to the ground like they were made of stone. “Damn, that hurts...”

Rainbow chuckled. “Yeah, but it’ll feel easier next time you do it.”

Spike let out a laugh. “You told me that the first time I did them...”

Rainbow grinned. “Hey, you used to only be able to go up to ten, remember?”

Spike let out a grunt as he got to his feet, hissing in pain as he folded his wings in. “Gah, seriously, how do you expect me to fly when my wings are feeling this sore?”

“Lie back down for a second.”

“Huh?” Quirking an eyebrow, Spike obeyed her command. Rainbow flew onto Spike’s scaly back, causing him to wince a bit. “Gah, easy, Dash, I’m still really–ohh....”

Rainbow began to press her hooves into Spike’s shoulder blades, rubbing small, tight circles over his muscles. Massaging his heavy muscles through his thick hide took much more effort than than she was used to, forcing her to lean into him as she pressed her hooves down. “Geesh, Spike, you ever heard of a back massage? Aloe and Lotus would have a field day with you.”

“Unghh...look who’s...talking,” Spike groaned out quietly, his eyes closed as he felt the ache in his muscles slowly ebb away.

Rainbow paused for a moment, looking at the back of Spike’s head. “What’s that supposed to mean?” She pushed a little harder, causing Spike to yelp as she pressed down on his tender shoulders. “You saying I can’t go and relax once in awhile?”

“No, I’m saying I’ve never seen...guh...” Spike sighed as Rainbow loosened a knot around his right shoulder. “I wasn’t trying to upset you. I just never pegged you as the kind of pony to sit still long enough for a massage. I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen you walk into the spa.”

Rainbow grunted. “Well, you’re kind of right. I was like that until one time when Rarity convinced me to have a my mane trimmed and styled about six months ago. It wasn’t that much of a difference, and my mane grew back since then, but it was kind of nice. Aloe recommended a massage afterwards, since I train a lot, you know? Anyway, Lotus ended up massaging me, and I felt awesome afterwards.” She paused to work out a kink around Spike’s neck. “Everyone needs to relax once in awhile Spike, even me.”

“Mmm...yeah, I guess you’re right. I’ll have to pay the spa sisters a visit someday if they’re as good as you are...”

She pushed down on the taut muscles around his shoulder blades, eliciting a hiss of pain that quickly became another groan of delight. “Lotus also gave me a few lessons on how to loosen muscles. Though...this is harder work than massaging a pony.”

Spike exhaled slowly as Rainbow’s hooves pressed down on his lower back. Seriously, why had he not done anything like this in the past? It was like every ache and pain he had ever felt was being washed away by the pegasus’ ministrations. He felt himself loosening up, almost as if his body was becoming nothing more than gelatin wrapped in a scaly coat. He could lay there all day, just enjoying the wonderful sensation of Rainbow’s hooves pushing the stress out of him. His mind began to cloud over in the bliss...

“Spike.”

“Hm?” He answered without opening his eyes.

“It’s time to get back to training.”

Spike gave a noncommittal grunt, but didn’t move an inch. His eyes remained closed as he sat there, his mind standing on the brink of wakefulness and unconsciousness.

Rainbow sighed, having expected as much from him. “Spike, get up. We’ve got training to finish.”

Spike opened his emerald eyes, and was surprised to see that Rainbow was once again standing in front of him. He never sensed her getting off of his back. “H-huh? Oh, right, flying.” He got to his feet, and sighed. He unfurled his wings, noticing an absence of pain as he stretched them out. “Wow...I feel great! Thanks, Dash, that really helped!”

Rainbow polished a hoof against her chest. “Hey, what can I say? I’m just awesome at what I do.”

Spike rolled his shoulders a few times, then Rainbow a nod, indicating he was ready when she was to start flying. She grinned before flaring out her wings and giving them a few preparatory flaps, the launched into the air. Spike followed suit, a little slower on the lift off. Rainbow circled back once and was immediately by his side, pointing a hoof down into the gorge. “Right over there, that long stretch there? That’s where I want us to fly through.”

Spike followed the direction Rainbow’s hoof was pointing in, taking note of how the gorge was steadily widening as they flew onward. He noted how the the area ahead changed from a straight path, and began to steadily weave left and right. “Wow, I don’t remember seeing this part of the gorge before. Um...what are we going to be doing here?”

“Nothing too fancy, just follow me,” Rainbow replied. As they dropped down into the gorge, Rainbow flew just off Spike’s wing, inspecting his form as he flew. She studied him silently and nodded to herself. “Alright, I want you to work on your banking, Spike.”

“Banking? In a closed space like this?” Spike cast her a wary look.

Rainbow didn’t look worried at all though. “Don’t worry too much. You’ve gotten a lot better since we started working on your banking a few months back. Yeah, this is a gorge, but you’ve got enough space to move around in. I chose this spot because it’s a lot wider and more open than the rest of Ghastly Gorge.” She grinned at him. “I know you’re ready for this. Don’t worry too much. I’ll be with you the whole time.”

Rainbow’s confidence was contagious. His wary expression disappeared, replaced with a confident smile. “Right.”

Banking was one of the ‘basics’ of flight, according to Dash. Spike had a good grasp over most of the general flying techniques that he had been taught so far, but as Rainbow had stated when they first started his training, there was a difference between “good” and “awesome”, and Rainbow Dash didn’t settle for good.

“Alright, now bank right...no, no, stop, that’s too sharp! You’re going to end up stalling if you do that!”

Rainbow flew alongside him, giving him advice as they traveled through the gorge. Sometimes she would fly beneath or behind him, making minute adjustments to his limbs and making sure he had them tucked in close to his body to decrease any air resistance. Spike had long gotten used to this. Rainbow was a hands-on trainer, and she had little patience for long verbal explanations when it came to flying.

“Now, remember, you don’t want to change your pitch too much while in level flight unless you’ve got enough altitude that you can safely make adjustments.”

Spike adjusted his angle so that he was straight once more.

Rainbow suddenly dropped a few feet, and pumped her wings sharply to climb back up to Spike’s level. “Alright, looks like we have a bit of a downdraft here, careful...”

“Right...” Spike replied, pumping his wings harder and faster to keep his altitude.

“Remember to always keep an eye on the horizon while flying, Spike. You don’t want to get caught in a storm or some kind of bad weather when traveling a long ways...”

Spike made sure to listen to her advice, and follow her commands when she gave them. Despite the harsh training she put him through, Spike genuinely enjoyed flying with Rainbow, and trusted her judgment when it came to flight and aerodynamics.

“Spike, keep that right leg tucked in.”

Spike pulled his back leg closer to his body. “Oops, thanks, Rainbow.”

Ever since Spike had first taken to the air with her over the foothills outside of Ponyville, he had come to understand what that exhilarating joy and wild rush that Rainbow always talked about. Now, he not only understood Rainbow’s love for flight, he shared it. He now knew why she had such a passion for flying, and why she dedicated so much time to perfecting it. Flight was as liberating for her as it was for him, and all the hard work had to go through with Rainbow’s training program made moments like these worth it.

“Spike,” Rainbow called out to him. He snapped out of his daydreaming and noticed that Rainbow had gotten ahead of him. “Keep up with me, will you? You won’t improve your speed if you go at that pace.” Spike quickly caught up with her, though he suspected that she had purposely slowed down a little.

While Rainbow Dash was in a whole other league than Spike, she didn’t rub that fact in his face. She was supportive of his progress, and tried to make flight both a challenge and enjoyable for him. Sometimes she would have a friendly race with him, or tell him a funny story of her time in Junior Speedsters camp. The fact that she would go through the exercises with him helped, too. She was both a coach and a partner in that regard. He never felt alone in his work that way.

When they reached the end of the run in Ghastly Gorge, Rainbow stopped and turned towards Spike. The dragon flared out his wings a bit to halt his flight, and began to pump them so he could hover alongside her. “Alright, let’s fly back to where we started. If we keep up the pace, we can probably a dozen more runs back and forth before sunset.”

“Sure thing.” Spike nodded as he kept his gaze ahead.

Spike’s training continued for another three hours. Rainbow called their training to an end as they reached the end of the run for the eleventh time, and the they made their way towards the outskirts of Ponyville. They landed on the outskirts of Ponyville, and began walking to cool down from their flying as they made their way down the dirt road leading to Spike’s home. Spike had once asked why they not just land at his place or Ponyville, but Rainbow had explained that cooling down was just as important as any warm-up was.

“So, I’m thinking of asking Rarity out on a date tomorrow.”

Spike saw Rainbow look up at him from the corner of his vision. He turned to look down at her and saw an unreadable expression on her face.

“Really?” she asked.

“Yep! I’m going to take her to that one restaurant in Canterlot that she loves, The Cypress.” Spike grinned. “I have it all planned out. I made sure to check the weather, too. It’s supposed to be clear skies over Canterlot all week! It’ll be perfect spring weather for the occasion! After dinner, we can go for a moonlit stroll through the Royal Gardens, and I can show her all the parts of Canterlot that the tourists don’t know about.”

Rainbow grinned as she gave him a light punch to the arm. “Hey, it’s about time, Spike!” She laughed as Spike’s cheeks reddened. “So, what made you do it?”

“Eh, well, I’m an adult now. I figured I might as well ask her out, right? I mean, I could see her not wanting to go out with me before since I was little when I first met her, but that’s changed.” He flared his wings a little to emphasize his point.

Rainbow chuckled as Spike’s chest swelled up a bit. “Honestly, I was wondering if this day was ever gonna come for you.”

“What do you mean?” Spike quirked an eyebrow.

“Seriously, Spike?” She snickered as he looked at her cluelessly. “Well, it’s not exactly a secret that you like her. I mean, you should look at yourself in the mirror when she’s around. You used to be a total mess whenever she’d talk to you.” She stuck her tongue out comically and crossed her eyes. “Ohhh, Rarity, she’s so~oo dreamy...”

“Whatever, geesh.” Spike’s blush deepened as Rainbow laughed loudly. “Anyway, is the newest Daring Do book any good?”

Rainbow Dash continued to smirk at Spike, but decided to spare him further humiliation and torment. “Yeah, it’s pretty good! I mean...well, it’s a bit slow at first, but so far I love it. She ends up going to Neighlaska, and ends up working with some seals to–”

“Gah! Spoilers!” Spike interrupted.

Rainbow gave him a sheepish grin. “Oops, sorry.”

Shaking his head, Spike settled his gaze on the setting sun. Minutes passed as they walked in comfortable silence, broken only by the melody of crickets getting an early start to their night time chorus.

“Spike...?”

He looked down once more at Rainbow Dash. “Hm?”

She had a small smile on her face as she spoke. “Just remember to be yourself when you talk to Rarity, alright?” She stopped at a fork in the road, one path leading towards the Sweet Apple Acres and Spike’s home, the other leading into Ponyville and the direction of Rainbow’s cloud house. “Oh, and tell her that I’ll stop by later this week so she can get my measurements for that dress she wants to make me.” She rolled her eyes.

“It can’t be that bad, can it?”

“You try standing still for over an hour while some fussy pony keep re-taking your measurements to make sure everything is ‘exactly right, darling’.” Rainbow shook her head. “Anyway, I better get going. Good luck, Spike...”

Rainbow leapt into the air, and Spike watched her zoom away and disappear beyond the rooftops of Ponyville. Something seemed off about her, he noted, but he couldn’t bring himself to think about it at the moment. Pushing the thought aside for now, he made his way home, picking up the pace a little. He and Twilight were supposed to have dinner at his place tonight, and he wanted to have enough time to wash up and prepare dinner.

He went down to the river by his house and quickly washed off the grime and sweat from a hard day’s training. After deeming himself clean, he made his way inside and began preparing a dinner of daffodil and lentil soup, some hay fries, and a bowl of topaz and quartz for himself to have on the side.

As he finished pouring two glasses of pomegranate and orange juice for himself and Twilight, he heard a knock at the door. He looked up towards the door. “It’s open!”

An aura of magic enveloped the door as it opened. Spike grinned at the familiar purple unicorn mare who walked through the door, saddlebags on her back and a small basket wrapped in her magic floating beside her. “Hi, Spike.”

“Hey, Twilight. I’m just finishing preparations here. Hope you like daffodil and lentil soup. It’s not much, but I’ve had a rather busy afternoon.”

“Spike, you know I’ll eat anything you make for me. You were always a better cook than I was.” She set down the basket before pulling off the cover and producing a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

“Whoa, cookies? Sweet, don’t mind if I do.” Spike licked his lips and reached towards the basket.

A hoof swatted at Spike’s claw. “Those are for dessert. Don’t ruin your appetite.”

Spike pouted, looking down at the little unicorn, who was giving him as stern of a gaze as she could muster. For as long as he could remember, Twilight had never been afraid to scold him for snacking on sweets before dinner and little things like that.

“Hmph. Fine...” He grumbled. His gaze remained on the unicorn. Twilight kept her frown level with his. Even when he was standing on his hind legs and towering over her, she still intimidated him. It was ridiculous, but he couldn’t help it. Twilight was no pushover, and he was pretty sure she wouldn’t be above sending him to the corner if he sassed back.

He chuckled quietly at the notion. Him, Spike, a big, strong drake like him, belittled by Twilight Sparkle, the librarian of Ponyville. His chuckle grew louder, and Twilight gave him a curious look.

“What?”

“I...I suppose this means I can’t have any dessert until I eat everything on my plate, huh?”

Twilight quirked an eyebrow, then her lips curved into a smile. She joined Spike, laughing and shaking her head. “Alright, alright, I suppose I was being a little overbearing there.”

“So I can have a cookie?”

Twilight rolled her eyes at him. “The answer’s still no. Save them for dessert.”

Spike shrugged his shoulders and returned his attention to serving the food. He picked up a ladle and poured a healthy serving of the soup into their bowls. “I added a little more pepper than the last time I made it.” Twilight paused, looking at the bowl of soup with uncertainty. “I didn’t put in too much. I know how bad your spice tolerance is, after all. I just wanted to give it a little more flavor.” He nodded encouragingly to her as she gazed at him. “Don’t worry, you’ll love it. I promise.”

Twilight tentatively took a spoonful of the broth and brought it to her lips. She blew on it before tasting. “Oh...oh wow, Spike, this is delicious!” She smiled as she took another spoonful. “The pepper does add to the flavor,” She giggled. “I wish I had half the skill you do.”

Spike chuckled, happy to see her enjoying the meal. “Thanks, Twilight. I also have some hay fries cooling on the stove top.”

Twilight smiled teasingly. “I hope those were baked and not fried. You wouldn’t want Dash to get on your case about your diet, would you?”

“Hey, I’m perfectly healthy for my age,” Spike said while puffing out his chest. “Maybe a little bulkier than I was a year ago, but that’s perfectly normal for me.” He flexed an arm and grinned. “It’s all muscle here. And yes, for your information, the fries were baked.”

“Oh, Spike, you know I’m just pulling your leg.” She set her spoon down and looked at him with a curious smile. “So, how has training been?”

“Alright, I guess. I still can’t fly that fast by pegasus standards, but Dash says I shouldn’t be comparing myself to others and instead focus on how I’m improving over time.” A grin appeared on his face as he continued. “We trained in Ghastly Gorge today.”

“Ghastly–?!”

“Don’t worry, we stayed away from the Quarray Eels.”

Twilight slumped into her chair, sighing in relief.

“We won’t be flying past their nests until next week.”

Twilight’s jaw went slack as she stared at the dragon across the table with a mixture of shock and terror. Spike burst out laughing, and Twilight’s shocked expression began to vanish. She narrowed her eyes a little before trying to look upset while fighting the smile that was forming at the corners of her lips. Still, she tried her best to look angry at the dragon’s teasing, and knitted her eyebrows while huffing in mild annoyance. “That’s not funny, Spike!”

Spike snorted as he struggled to stop laughing. “Sorry, sorry, I just...you get so worked up over little things like that. It’s hard not to tease you for it.”

“They’re not ‘little things’, Spike. Quarray Eels are dangerous!” She sighed. “Promise me you won’t go flying past their nests.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “Geesh, alright, I won’t. Not like Rainbow Dash and I were planning to, anyway.”

Twilight settled back into her chair, her expression remaining stern. “Well, excuse me for worrying about you.” Her expression softened into a small smile. “It’s practically my job. You’re family, after all.”

“Right, right...I didn’t mean to get you angry, Twilight.“

“I know you didn’t. Just...I’m sure flying is lots of fun, but try not to do anything stupid or reckless, alright? Remember your limits, alright?”

Spike laughed. “I’m pretty sure Rainbow knows those better than I do. Don’t worry though, Rainbow’s a good teacher. She knows what she’s doing."

She nodded, seemingly satisfied with Spike’s answer. “Good. Now, let’s have some of those fries before they’re cold.”


The table had been cleared away of plates and the leftover fries had been stored in Spike’s fridge. The two had taken spots in Spike’s den area, Twilight lying on a large, overstuffed pillow while Spike lay on the rug with a cushion to prop his elbows on. It was half-past nine now, and dinner had been finished about an hour ago. Twilight had brought out the basket of cookies, which the two were snacking on as they talked.

“So, you’re going to ask Rarity out on a date?”

Spike craned his neck proudly. “Yep. I’m going to turn on the charm tomorrow, and ask her if she’d like to have a nice dinner this weekend at The Cypress in Canterlot.”

“Wait, you mean The Cypress? Spike, how did you ever manage to get reservations there? I mean, I know you’re making decent bits with the stone-cutting business, but...that place is one of the highest profile restaurants in Equestria, let alone Canterlot.”

“Erm...well...I may have asked for some advice from Princess Cadance in one of my letters to her...”

Twilight raised an eyebrow, but her expression had become unreadable otherwise. “Go on...”

“...and I may or may not have received some assistance from said princess that included her getting me a reservation.”

Twilight sighed. “Please tell me she didn’t try offer to pay for your meals, too.”

“No, it was free apparently. Cadance knows the owner, and explained that I was going to be at the restaurant. The owner insisted the meals be free, though she wasn’t sure why.”

Twilight rubbed her right temple with a hoof. “Well, I guess that’s not so bad. Did you at least thank her for that?”

“Of course I did. That and...well, she made me promise to visit Canterlot this year during Hearth’s Warming.” He gave her a sheepish smile. “Actually, it was a Pinkie Promise.” Twilight gave him a weird look. “Seriously, I wrote down every word of Pinkie’s promise on the scroll before sending it out. Apparently, Cadance and Pinkie have been keeping in touch.”

Twilight nodded, apparently in agreement with Cadance’s idea. “You did sort of leave for Manehatten abruptly last year. Princess Celestia, Luna, Shining Armor and Cadance really wanted to see you, Spike. Even my mom and dad were asking where you were.”

Spike shrugged, though he did give her an apologetic smile. “I know, but I really wanted to go to that concert, you know that. Hooves ‘n’ Roses is a good band, Twi. You can’t blame me for going to Manehatten to see their holiday concert, can you?” Twilight just shook her head. “Oh come on, Twi, I didn’t give you flak when you went to the Astronomy Fair in Las Pegasus on Nightmare Night, did I?”

Twilight said nothing, instead opting to eat one of the cookies she had brought.

Ever since Spike had moved into his new home, they made a habit of visiting each other at least once a week and have dinner together. It had been Twilight’s idea, as a way of keeping up to date with each other’s lives. After dinner, they often spent hours on end just talking, whether it be reminiscing about their younger days, some of their early years in Ponyville, or even discussing the latest finds in astronomy (one of Twilight’s favorite discussion topics).

Dating, however was not a common topic at all for them.

“Sounds like you’ve got this date thing all planned out, Spike. I have to admit, I’m kind of excited for you.”

“Yeah.” Spike’s cheeks began to heat up a little. “I wonder what she’ll say? I wonder if she’ll say something like ‘It’s about time, Spike!’ or ‘Oh, Spikey, I thought you’d never ask!’ or...something like that...”

Twilight gave a little chuckle as Spike let out a dreamy sigh. “Well, just remember to be yourself, Spike.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “Rainbow told me the same thing.”

“Good, because that’s good advice. You shouldn’t have to pretend to be someone else for a pony that cares about you.” She gained a pensive look as she chewed on her cookie. “I wonder if there’s any dating books I could lend you in the library...”

Spike did his best to not cringe, and forced a smile onto his face. The last thing he needed was Twilight to start giving him books entailing advice on romance. It was kind of her, but he didn’t think reading material would really help him that much. “Haha...that’s not necessary, Twilight. I should be alright. Thanks, though.”

“Are you sure? It wouldn’t be a problem at all for me to let you borrow a few books.”

“No, no, really, I think I’ll be fine.”

Twilight smiled. “Alright, if you think so.” She turned her attention towards the clock as she rose to her feet. “Well, I better get going before it gets to be too late. I promised Applejack that I’d help her try out this new composting technique on the farm tomorrow, so I have to get up early.” She walked over to Spike and gave him a nuzzle, which he happily returned. “Don’t stay up too late. Let me know how everything with Rarity goes, alright?”

Spike got to his feet. “You want me to walk you home?”

Twilight shook her head as she floated her saddlebags onto her back and lifted up her now-empty basket. “I’ll be fine, but thanks anyway. You can save the suave gentledrake stuff for Rarity.” She gave Spike a playful wink as she made her way to the door. “Good night, Spike.”

“Night,” Spike called back as Twilight closed the door behind her. Now by himself, Spike glanced at the clock. It was almost ten. He would visit Rarity before noon tomorrow, that way he wouldn’t be disrupting her while she was busy. She tended to really get into whatever project she was taking on during the afternoon, so he stood a good chance of catching her when she wasn’t stressed or too busy to talk if he showed up during the late morning.

For now, though, he decided to retire to his own bed. He closed the windows and turned out the lights, then pulled out a large quilt, futon mattress, and an overstuffed pillow from a corner of his den area. Unlike most homes, Spike had no area sectioned off as a bedroom. He was content with this setup, and found it rather comfortable. Not to mention it took into account that he would be growing at a slow yet steady rate over the years. Having a sectioned-off bedroom would problematic in the long run, considering he would at some point be too cramped to sleep comfortably in. He also didn’t like the idea of having to buy a new mattress and bed frame every decade that would be able to support his weight.

As he curled his tail around his body and closed his eyes, his thoughts drifted to Rarity. He smiled as the image of the beautiful mare surfaced in his mind. What wasn’t to love about her? She had a lustrous coat and mane, a wonderful smile, impeccable fashion sense, and she was a truly generous pony, through and through. She was always willing to lend an ear when you were worried or upset, was full of advice, and a wonderful listener...

She was perfect.

Spike’s mind grew heavy with the weight of sleep. Yeah... Spike thought to himself, a smile stretching across his face.Tomorrow’s going to be wonderful...


Rainbow Dash sank into the soft fluff of her cloud bed, humming in contentment as she marked her page in the latest book of the Daring Do series and set it on her nightstand. She turned off the reading lamp and plopped her head onto the cushioned pillows.

She still found the fact that she was reading books for fun rather amusing. All of her childhood had been spent playing outside, flying, and learning various stunts and tricks. While she never regretted doing those things, ever since she started reading for pleasure she often wondered how much other great stories she had missed out on when she was younger.

I’ll have to ask Spike and Twilight for some other books when I’m finished with this book.

She had read several other books, some more wordy than others. There were hundreds of stories about Commander Hurricane, but a lot of those were considered epic poems, or so Twilight had explained to her. Spike had said that it was a popular style back in the pre-Equestrian and early Equestrian era. While she was not a fan of poetry, Spike was convinced that she would like them. Who was she to question the coolest dragon in Equestria?

Spike...

He was finally going to ask her Rarity out on a date tomorrow. He had things planned in advance, too, going as far as making reservations for a high-class restaurant in Canterlot. While Rainbow was happy for Spike, she wasn’t sure how well that would go for him. Rarity seemed to act as though she was completely unaware of Spike’s blatantly obvious affection towards her. Rainbow considered Rarity to be a fairly intelligent mare, and the fact that to this day she never brought up the idea of dating Spike or what she thought of his borderline-worship of her was troubling. It made her wonder what Rarity’s intentions toward Spike were.

Rainbow wasn’t one to get involved in other ponies’ personal lives. She simply didn’t think it was right of her to pry into others’ personal lives. Things like romance, dating, and stuff like that between ponies–or dragons–for instance? That fell into the category of “not her business.”

But even if she didn’t involve herself, it didn’t mean she couldn’t still be concerned. Spike was her friend, and had been for quite a few years now. He had a fun side to him, enjoyed pulling the occasional prank, and had good taste in rock music. He could also be rather sarcastic and snarky about things, though. He was also prone to getting touchy when it came to things that put his masculinity on the line, and he was a chronic grumbler. Despite these things, she still cared for the drake as any good friend would. It was these qualities that made him such a great guy, and she was sure that he could make Rarity a very happy mare if the two became a couple.

She wondered if Rarity was by any chance already in a relationship. She had been visiting Canterlot more frequently as of late. It was quite possible that she had found somepony there. Though if that were the case, she probably would have already been gabbing about it to everypony, Rainbow reasoned.

For now, all she could do was hope for the best, and get some sleep. She had a bit of weather work to take care of in the morning. An afternoon shower had been bumped up to noon tomorrow, which meant she couldn’t sleep in like usual.

Oh well, at least it meant she wouldn’t have to worry about keeping the skies clear for the rest of the day. Maybe she’d stop over and visit Pinkie and get some free day-old pastries.


Spike whistled a jovial tune while strolling through the Ponyville market square, a bounce in his step. He waved to ponies passing by, and most gave him equally enthusiastic greetings in return. Spike had a bouquet tucked underneath his wing that consisted of lilacs, carnations, a single red tulip and red rose. Rarity knew enough of the language of flowers to understand the meaning behind them. He trusted that Lily at the florist’s shop had gotten the meaning right as well. Spike loved Rarity, and yearned for her.

He was soon at the front door of the boutique. He glanced over his shoulder to the town hall. 11:04. Not too early, and not too late. Perfect.

Taking in a deep breath, and then exhaling, he raised a claw and knocked on the boutique’s door.

“Come in, the door’s open!” replied the sing-song voice of Rarity from within.

Spike opened the door and poked his head into the boutique. “Rarity?”

“Oh!” Rarity’s face appeared from around the corner leading into the back room, a smile on her face and her work glasses dangling from her neck. She made her way into the main room as Spike remained standing in the doorway. “Spikey! How wonderful of you to stop by! Oh please, come in, darling. I heard we’re supposed to be getting some rain soon, and I’d hate for you to catch a cold.”

Spike carefully made his way through the door, his wings tucked close to his sides to hide the flowers from her. “I hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time, Rarity. I just wanted to stop–”

“I say, Rarity, is that the young drake you were telling me about?”

Spike’s ear frills twitched at the sound of a masculine voice coming from the back room. Rarity looked back to her workstation, speaking to the unknown voice. “Oh, yes, I haven’t had the opportunity to introduce you two yet, have I?”

A dapper-looking unicorn stallion walked out of the back room, and smiled at Spike. “Ah, so you’re Spike.” He gave the drake a nod. “Pleasure to finally meet you.”

“Um...likewise?”

Rarity smiled. “Spikey, this is Fancypants, my...” Spike didn’t like the way her cheeks began to flush. “...good friend from Canterlot. Ahem...Fancypants, this is Spike, one of my dearest friends. He lived with Twilight until not too long ago in the library.”

“Ah yes, of course, Twilight Sparkle. I remember her. Quite the charming filly, and the personal student of Princess Celestia if I remember right,” Fancypants smiled. “It must be nice to have such a good friend like her, Spike.”

Spike shrugged. “Huh? O-oh, yeah, she’s pretty cool. Real smart, too...” Spike forced a grin on to his face as he looked at the stallion. “Yeah...so, um...what brings you to Ponyville, Fancypants?”

“Oh, I’m just stopping by to visit Rarity. She’s been busying herself with a new design, and wanted my thoughts on the look.” He quirked an eyebrow at Spike. “Spike, you’ve known Rarity for a few years, correct? You wouldn’t happen to know Rarity’s favorite kind of dish, would you?”

“Oh, Fancypants, stop it already,” Rarity giggled as she turned towards Spike. “Fancypants has asked me out on a date, and insists that I choose the place.”

Spike’s throat suddenly felt dry. “R-really?” A lead weight settled in his stomach. “W-wow, that’s...great.”

“Indeed! I’m starting to wonder if I should reserve a table at every restaurant in Canterlot, just in case she makes a choice later,” Fancypants joked. “She’s told me you’re quite the cook, Spike. Considering you did most of the cooking while living with Miss Sparkle, I’m inclined to take her word for it. I may have to ask for a lesson from you. I’m afraid my skills as a cook are rather limited. I’ve been told by Rarity herself that I’d give Sweetie Belle a run for her money at bad cooking.” He gave Spike a wink while Rarity tried to fight down more giggles and reprimand Fancypants for joking about her sister’s atrocious cooking skills.


Spike forced the smile to remain on his face. “Haha. Yeah. I’m a regular gourmet.” He cleared his throat and returned his attention to Rarity. “Rainbow Dash wanted me to tell you that she’ll be stopping by later this week so you can get the measurements on that dress for her.”

“Oh, splendid! I was hoping she would be willing to...Spike, darling, are you alright?”

Spike must have been doing a rather pitiful job at masking his emotions if the concerned look Rarity was giving him was any indication. “H-huh? Oh, yeah, I’m fine. Eyes are a little irritated; allergy season and stuff.”

Rarity quirked an eyebrow. “I never knew you had allergies.”

“Yeah, yeah, it’s not...er...uncommon to develop an allergy to something at my age. Probably some kind of pollen. I’ll...uh...probably check up on it with Twilight or Nurse Redheart...or somepony,” His eyes were starting to blur a little as his grin wavered. “A-anyway, I better go.”

Rarity seemed determined to help him, though. She approached Spike, and was soon by his side. “Are you sure, Spike? I’m sure a nice cup of tea would help clear the sinuses right up. Surely you could stay for a little longer? After all, the skies are getting cloudy, and I would feel just awful if you were to get caught in the rain.”

“I have to agree with Rarity, Spike. I have a friend in Canterlot who has a horrible allergy to goldenrod. He always perks up after a good cup of tea, though.”

“Trust me, I’m fine. I don’t want to interrupt anything you two might have been doing before I–I mean, I really should go. I...have to do some paperwork for all the work orders I have and stuff.”

Rarity frowned. “Are you absolutely sure, Spike? I haven’t had the chance to just sit and chat with you for some time. It feels like it’s been a while since you last stopped by.”

It’s been a little too long. Spike agreed silently, shooting a quick glance at Fancypants. “Yep. I need to go. H-have a good day, Rarity. Fancypants.” Spike turned and practically ran out the door. He was gone before either of the two unicorns could say another word.

“I say, he seemed to be in quite a hurry. I hope he’s alright...it looked like something was eating at him.”

Rarity shook her head. “He did seem to be a little off from–oh, he dropped something!” Rarity ran out to the road in front of her boutique and picked up a red tulip. Her eyes widened as she looked towards the direction that Spike had run off to.

“I say, is that a tulip?” Fancypants observed. “It’s almost as if he was trying to hide...” His eyes widened as realization dawned upon him. “...ah...”

Rarity sighed, her eyes lingering on the flower once more. “Oh, Spike...”



End of Chapter One

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