• Published 1st Jul 2012
  • 4,144 Views, 112 Comments

Shipping Wars - Soothing Stone



When Fluttershy invites Spike to a romantic-ish dance, everypony tries to figure out why.

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Chapter 3

After seeing what was going on, Big Mac was sweating out of fear, but he still had no clue was the hay Applejack and Granny Smith were doing, so he took his seat on the floor.

"What is going on inside your heads?" he questioned. "I don't know what it is you have in mind, but I can assure you--"

"You're not sweet talking yourself out of this one, little colt," Granny Smith coldly delivered.

Colt. That was the word Smith always used whenever he was in big trouble, and that was it. He bailed for the door, his eyes widened in pure terror.

"Don't let that colt leave this farm in one piece!" Smith shouted.

"Already on it!" Applejack responded. She pulled out a lasso behind herself and swung right for Big Mac, right when he opened the door, and he fell in a big THUMP as AJ's lasso wrapped around his back leg. She pulled his body to the base of Smith's rocking chair, ready for questioning.

The old mare looked down at Big Mac, seemingly peering into his very soul and not liking much what she saw.

"Now, Applejack has been telling me things, and don't deny them if they're right," she said, knowing how everypony in the family were notorious for being terrible liars.

"Have you not been telling us everything you've been doing when you're out doing your hooligan chores?"

He got up to face his grandmother, and pulled the rope off his hoof to go back to a sitting position. His shoulders cringed when he heard the question. That was all the answers Smith needed.

"And have you or have you not been dating a mare and not telling us?"

There was no good way to hide from this, and he was aware of it. He took a big gulp, and barely opened his mouth enough to speak. "Ee....eeyup."

"Big Macintosh!" Applejack groaned. "Why would you hide this from us? From your own family? You should've told us, instead of having me find out about your little flirt at lunch today!"

He wasn't afraid of what was going on anymore, but now he was surprised. "You saw me with Cheerilee today?"

She nodded, and placed a hoof on his shoulder. "It was Rarity who spotted you out in the shops today, and I can't believe you're the kind of man who would hide something this important as this."

That sucked out all of the tension out of the room, and he started to get more comfortable around his family. "You...you mean you're not mad that I have a special somepony?"

AJ shook her head. "No, you can meet up with anypony you really like. But you have to tell us next time."

Granny Smith got up a little out of her seat, and pointed an accusing hoof at Big Mac. "But when did this Cheerilee started to tickle your fancy?"

He took a deep sigh, and the story began. "You remember Hearts and Hooves Day? How I went around Ponyville acting like a school filly?"

Applejack gagged a little, after hearing some of the things her brother was saying when he was poisoned. "Eeyup, Applebloom told me all about it."

"After I wasn't poisoned anymore, I went and did my regular business for a while on the farm. But I had become close friends with Cheerilee during that time, we both thought that time was funny as anything we've done.

"So we went and did what friends usually do." He was getting giddy going over this part. "Nothing special. Play in the park, go to a movie, and go out with Cheerilee's friends at times.

"But the more we went out, the more we started to like each other. I thought she was very pretty, always have, and she was charming and had a sense of humor around herself. I thought I might have been falling in love, so one day I asked her out on a date."

He paused for effect, and Applejack was on the edge of her hooves. "She said yes, didn't she?"

"Eeyup. She was flying like a bird because I asked her out. I found that she was fancying me at the same time. And..." He eyed Granny Smith, once again afraid of what she might say. "That was seven months ago. And now we've been invited to the Palace Dance, and we've been getting ready for it for a while now. Dancing is harder than it looks."

Smith smirked with a laugh, finding the whole thing amusing. "Well now, my grandson is finally becoming a stallion. I've met Cheerilee once, and she looked like a nice filly."

Applejack nudged him on the side, laughing a little too. "Don't sweat it next time. We'll be fine no matter who you choose to call your special somepony, but try not to keep it a secret for so long, please, big brother?"

"Eeyup," Big Macintosh responded. "I promise."

"Now that we got this silly business over with," Smith said, "Let's eat! I made too many apple pies for the stands, so I need to get rid of them tonight."

The family went into the dining room, and as Smith had said, there were way too many apple pies in the room, like close to a dozen. Big Mac tore into them like a machine, while AJ was fine with just one.

It was a good meal overall. The pies were cooked perfectly, crisp but not burnt, and there were a few glasses of cider to down them with. And judging from how they tasted, this year's batch was going to the the best yet.

Yet, something kept bugging Applejack throughout dinner. She tried to push it away as no big deal, but what just happened proved it wasn't always the case. After all, when Big Mac came out clean, she and Smith took the news well, given that it was actually good news and not some bad secret like hiding that you have some pony's fillyhood doll or anything.

No, it was how Rarity forced AJ to keep her romance with Fancy Pants a secret like Big Mac's was. This whole experience taught her how painful keeping something of that nature a secret can hurt friends and family, and it would make for a great friendship report. But she knew that Spike would be crushed if he found out, and it felt wrong to keep the news away from him.

But what could she do? She made a promise to Rarity, and she had always honored them. However, she also valued honesty.

The whole experience was starting to make her dizzy, and her face began to pale. It was so visible that Smith noticed it, and looked down to see AJ had only eaten half of a pie.

"You feeling well, Applejack?" Smith asked. "You look like you just ate a Poison Joke flower and...oh, what I was I talking about? Oh yeah, maybe you should get some shut eye."

"Yes ma'am, that's what I needed," AJ said, slurring her words together. The stress of the mess was starting to make her feel physically ill, so she went out of the room, leaving Big Mac and Granny Smith alone.

Big Mac looked content with himself, as he went for his third pie.

"Don't think you're getting away clean," Smith eyeballed. "I'm still putting some kind of punishment for hiding your feelings like that."

Meanwhile, AJ trotted up the stairs, a little dizzy but nothing to be too worried about. She went for her bedroom and climbed inside the sheets, sweating like a pig in a summer's day. The Element of Honesty looked outside her window, and she suddenly remembered that Applebloom was sleeping over at Rarity's house.

This can't end well, she thought.

---------------

"I found Rarity's diary!" Applebloom proclaimed. "Who knows what kinds of secrets could be inside?"

"Not so fast!" Sweetie Belle shot back. "She'll kill me if she found out I was snooping through her diary again. She hated it when I reprinted it the first time, there's no way I can do something like that again."

"What's the big deal?" Scootaloo mentioned. "Rarity's too busy making a bunch of dresses, and you know how she's like when she makes anything. She could be down there for the rest of the night!"

It was late at night in Rarity and Sweetie Belle's house, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders were inside Rarity's bedroom, looking around to see what they might find, with Sweetie Belle protesting at every minute.

And as they had said, the Element of Generosity was on the first floor, busy making her next lineup of dresses. She would be so occupied that she would turn it into another all-nighter later on.

"But the minute she finds out we've been reading it, that's the end of the Crusaders!" Sweetie Belle exaggerated a little. Only a little.

Encouraged even more so by Sweetie's protests, Applebloom peeked her head outside the door to the hallway. "Coast is clear! Come on, while she's not in the know!"

Scootaloo grabbed the diary in her mouth and dashed for the door, Applebloom holding it open for her. Sweetie forgot she didn't know anything about magic for a moment and tried to levitate it back to the room, but failed and the pair made their escape.

She sighed and went outside to see they fled to her own bedroom, the door was still open and with a few hoofprints on the cover. Looking down the stairway to make sure Rarity didn't know what was going down, she went inside to confront the girls.

It had been a few weeks since the Gabby Gums fiasco, and since then there were so many more pages of feelings, drama, attempts at cartoons and jokes, and other things.

"Oh oh oh, listen to this one!" said Applebloom. "'Today, I found Fluttershy the perfect thing of flowers, only to find out too late that they attract bees. Sadly, the bees found the flowers only when she had taken them inside. I shall design a dress when she comes out of the hospital to make up for it.' Why don't I remember this?"

"Probably because it was in the middle of winter break," Scootaloo countered, taking the diary herself. "What about this one? 'Isn't Spikey Wikey the cutest dragon that's ever stepped inside Equestria? He's got those cute little cheeks, I love to snuggle to them every day.' This is amazing, I have to read more!"

Sweetie Belle blushed when she heard the description of Spike, and yanked the diary out of Scootaloo's mouth, placing it behind herself. "Girls, we can't be doing this to my big sister. She's the best sister I could have, and I'm putting this back in her room."

She turned around to pick the diary up, but it was wide open on one page, and the pony's name mentioned on it caught her attention. It was dated to yesterday, right after Rarity had arrived back from Canterlot.

Dear Diary,

I must confess something, if only for myself in the time being. Even if it is a little silly, I cannot keep this to myself anymore, and must say it before it consumes me: I have a coltfriend, and not just any run-of-the-barn filth, but...Fancy Pants. Just saying his name excites me like nothing else ever has.

When I arrived at Canterlot, Fancy Pants was waiting at the train station for me, and we engaged in the best week of my life. He was so caring, treating me like a true lady, that our first date together was...I cannot even put the words to describe it!

I must, I must see him again. I heard the Ponyville Palace Dance is soon approaching, so today I asked Spike to deliver a letter to Fancy Pants himself, and inside it is an invitation to the Dance. Oh Fancy Pants, a night within your hooves is all I want right now. Please come rescue your leading lady from despair, for the thought of being away from you is my biggest fear.

Signed, Rarity.

There was no right or wrong way for Rarity's sister to respond to something this intimate. She could put the diary away and pretend this never happened. Or she could scold Scootaloo and Applebloom for trotting over to see what was keeping Sweetie's attention.

Heck, acting like she had received the biggest secret ever would be reasonable. But no, she did something much more interesting.

"She doesn't love Spike after all! Yes! He's all mine!"

Then she realized what she had just done. She put a hoof over her mouth like as if it would stop the damage, but it was too late. Sweetie turned around to see her friends dumbstruck, and she smiled to act like nothing was wrong.

"Details. Now," Scootaloo and Applebloom demanded together.

Sweetie Belle sighed, "Oh alright, just let me put this away first." She raced with the diary in her mouth into Rarity's room and came back just as soon as she left.

"I admit it. I have a crush on Spike," she finally said. "Rarity wrote all I wanted to say. He's just so cute, and I really like him. But I didn't tell him because I knew he had a crush on Rarity. And now, we know she wants Fancy Pants. You think I should tell him now?"

Applebloom thought about it for a while, and so did Scootaloo. Sweetie Belle waited with nerves, hoping it wouldn't be wrong to do such a thing.

"I got it!" Scootaloo shouted. "We're not supposed to say Rarity likes Fancy Pants, because that's in her diary. Right?"

"Right."

"So how about you don't say that to him, but what you do say is 'I have a crush on you,' and that's it. What do you say?"

"That's a perfect idea! I'm going to Twilight's house first thing tomorrow, and say I love--"

"You have a crush on him," Applebloom corrected.

"That I have a crush on him! It's the perfect plan! What could go wrong?"

Applebloom shrugged, and felt a rumble in her tummy. "Does Rarity have something to eat downstairs?"

"She has some leftover cookies, but they have too much icing--"

In no time the Crusaders rushed down the stairs, and found Rarity working on a new dress in her workstation. "Hello, Crusaders. How it's going up there?"

"It's great sis," said Sweetie Belle. "You think we could have some of those cookies in the fridge?"

"That's fine, as long as you don't have more than three apiece. You wouldn't want to get sick from all that sugar, would you?"

"Nope," Applebloom said from the kitchen, taking a plate full of cookies with her and going back to Sweetie's room with Scootaloo, leaving the sisters alone in the main room.

Rarity's newest dress was a modified version of her Grand Galloping Gala one, not with as many layers as the first version but a lot more colorful, with teal and purple for the main colors. She was finished with the design the parts, now she had to stitch them together.

Sweetie looked around the place before she went back upstairs, before noticing a poster for the Palace Dance tacked onto the wall. The Palace Dance. The place where she's going out on a date with her special somepony!

"What's the Palace Dance?" she asked.

"Oh, that thing on the poster? It's the premiere event of Ponyville, where couples go and they have a dance, but it's so much more than that. It's the event where a pony takes her special somepony when they want to get closer. That's all there is to it."

"OK." Then the thought crossed the little filly's mind. "Are you going?"

Rarity gasped and remembered Sweetie had no idea, as least she thought she did, about Fancy Pants. "Eh...maybe...I have to check my schedule..."

"But isn't that like your Gala dress?"

She sighed in defeat. "Yes, Sweetie Belle, it is. I am going, but it's just with a friend, nothing more, nothing less."

Sweetie Belle covered her mouth with her hooves, trying not to scream "I KNOW ITS FANCY PANTS!" Instead she turned around and went up the stairs, a little silly-minded now that she knew her sister's secret.

"I do know Fluttershy is going out with Spike over there," Rarity mentioned.

"What?"

"Didn't anypony tell you today? Fluttershy asked Spike out, and he did say yes, even though he really doesn't fancy the--"

She wasn't able to finish the sentence before Sweetie ran up the stairs and into the bedroom, tears going down like rain drops.

"He likes Fluttershy! He likes Fluttershy! What was I thinking?"

The other Crusaders dropped their cookies mid-bite and came around to comfort the sobbing pony, grabbing a tissue box for her. She kept sobbing endlessly, and the rest tried to do their best to bring her spirits back up.

"It's fine, so what if he doesn't like you?" Scootaloo assisted. "You're still one of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and our friend."

"And besides," said Applebloom, "You haven't even started to use your horn yet for anything!"

Sweetie cracked the smallest smile, and blew into the tissue. "Yeah, you're right. I still need to tell him, but I don't need him. And we still have our Crusading to do!"

"That's the spirit! Cutie Mark Crusaders forever!" shouted Scootaloo.

They did a high five altogether, and one by one they finished their cookies and went straight for bed. It took a while for them to calm down enough to fall to sleep, with Sweetie Belle being the last to go.

But before she did, she looked around to make sure the rest were sleeping on the floor below in their sleeping bags. As she made sure, she stuck a hoof underneath her pillow and pulled out a drawing she made. It had her and Spike holding hands, with a heart above the two of them. She hugged it tightly, and the paper was stained with tear drops before she finally went to sleep.

-------------------

"What do I tell Fluttershy? I haven't done anything like this before!" Spike complained, within the confines of Twilight's house.

"There's only one thing you can say to her," Twilight answered, "and that's 'I can't do this, it's not right, I don't like you in that manner.'"

"But what if she gets upset and never talks to either one of us again?"

"I'll be there for moral support. Don't be afraid to say your feelings, and everything will work out in the end."

The dragon took a few deep breaths, and sat down on his bed. "Yeah, that sounds good. Thanks a lot Twilight, I couldn't do it without you."

"Don't mention it," she said as she went for her own mattress. "This will all be a distant memory by Wednesday, you'll forget about it soon."

It was midnight by now, and the moonlight was filtering through the windows and giving the unlit house a dark blue glow. With nothing left to worry about, they drifted off to dreaming not long after lying down.

Spike's mind was looking forward to going back to routine, however chaotic it was. It ended up being worth any pain it caused, and he was waiting for the next gem when he woke up.

Twilight's mind was already busy getting ready to schedule next month, as the next month wasn't that far off now. And in her mind, the hard part was over, and it was going to get smoother after today.

Oh hell no, it wasn't. It was going to get much worse, and nothing she went through with the thought of being matched with Cheerlie would compare to what was about to happen. If anything, this was just a warmup to a world of emotional hurt, and Twilight would feel the blunt of it.

And it all started with a crown.