• Published 6th Jul 2012
  • 13,464 Views, 874 Comments

Cutie Mark Catastrophes - Wintergreen Diaries

Cutie Mark Crusaders find their marks and look to new horizons; taming colts for themselves.

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Unintentional Confession

Chapter 2: Unintentional Confession

“...an’ that’s all there is to it, Applejack! Ah wasn’t kissin’ nopony!” Applebloom concluded, both embarrassed by her siblings’ questioning in front of her friends and apologetic that Rumble and Pipsqueak had been all but threatened within an inch of their lives should they lay a hoof on her. Applebloom knew that respect went a long way in her family, and thus she kept her frustrations bottled as she made her defense, and with a sigh, her brother and sister relented.

“One more time, fer mah own peace o’ mind, you weren’t kissin’ either o’ those colts?” Applejack asked, casting a wary eye over Pipsqueak and Rumble. She raised an eyebrow as the bumbling pegasus took a step forward, nervously made eye contact, and backed up Applebloom’s story.

“Miss Applejack? Applebloom is telling the truth. Sweetie Belle’s dare was supposed to be the last dare, and after Twilight came, we decided to find something else to play.”

“Alright, ah guess ah can accept that. Come on, Applebloom, ah think you’ve had enough fun fer one day. Time t’ put you to work.”

“Awww, sis, do ah ‘ave to?”

“Eeyup,” Big Mac seconded the motion.

“Ah guess ah’ll see y’all later, then," Applebloom mumbled sullenly. "Sorry we didn’t get t’ have more fun.”

“There’ll be time t’ find treasure another day. Come on, everypony!” Drawing his trusty blade, Pipsqueak tore off into the trees with Scootaloo hot on his trail, muttering a barely intelligible “Bye Applebloom!” before dashing off. Rumble shook his head, making apology for his captain’s sudden exit and again for the confusion of the day before taking flight, barreling through a few thin, low hanging branches during his ascent. Applebloom continued watching until a cough from her sister snapped her back to reality.

“So, any particular pegasus you’d like t’ date?”

“Applejack!” Applebloom cried, blushing hard. “Ah ain’t thinkin’ ‘bout datin’ nopony!”

“If you say so,” she chuckled, turning away and starting back towards the rest of her friends who had hopefully calmed down after Celestia's rather undignified arrival to Sweet Apple Acres.

“Look here, Applejack. It ain’t fair t’ tell me ah’m not allowed t’ have any kind o’ romantic anythin’ with anypony an’ then turn around an’ tease me for it. Besides, ah never said ah liked Rumble, ok? Ah just think he’s nice an’ well mannered.”

“And ah never said anythin’ about Rumble. Ya hear that, Big Mac? Now we know who t’ watch out for.”

“Eeyup. Applebloom has a point, though. We are playin’ both ends,” he remarked, glancing back at the flustered filly. “As long as there ain’t no funny business with you two, ah don’t ‘ave a problem with you two bein’ friends.”

“Ain’t you the slightest bit worried, Big Mac?” Applejack asked, wondering how he could act so nonchalant.

“Nnnope. Ah’m sure all it’ll take is one swing of her mallet t’ clear ‘is mind o’ anythin’ worrisome.” She held her brother’s gaze a moment before conceding, realizing that her misgivings were unfounded and likely just the product of her own experiences. Big Mac slowed to a stop and motioned for Applebloom to continue on before placing a well-meaning hoof on Applejack’s shoulders, speaking softly as he again proved he could still read his sister like a book. “Don’t worry, AJ. We ain’t gonna let anythin’ happen to her, ya hear? Besides, her and her friends are around the age fillies start getting interested in colts anyway, and there ain’t no way t’ stop that. Now, come on. There’s still plenty o’ work t’ be done.”

“Banishment t’ the sun would be far too easy a punishment compared t’ the beatin’ ah’d give anypony who laid a hoof on mah sister, an’ that’s a fact.” Leaving Big Mac wondering if he was going to end up saving some poor colt’s life in the future, Applejack galloped back to Applebloom, swept her onto her back, and made back to the orchard with all haste, eager to dole out some punishment to the trees to work off some of her fervor.

“Worst... day... ever!” The proclamation of one peeved Sweetie Belle was followed by the subsequent slamming of the door to the boutique, the throwing of herself on the ground, and the proceeding of one filly scooting around the room with her hind legs as she lamented the four time failure of experiencing her kiss. Rarity stared at the stitch job that had just been ruined for a moment before finding herself quite amused by Sweetie Belle’s outburst, which continued in dire mutters as she went from one end of the room to another, and then back again like her strange scooting was some form of pacing. “First I came up with a terrible idea, and then Spike gets yelled at, and we all started fighting, and...” she continued, running into a wall and letting herself go limp, moping face down. “Nvr gt m frs kss.”

“I’m sorry, Sweetie Belle, but you really aren’t making any sense. Whatever is the matter?”

“I said, I never got my first kiss!” Rarity’s eyes went wide with horror, a hoof coming over her mouth as she found herself just as grief-stricken as her sister.

“You mean you were about to experience something that delightful, and somepony stopped you?”

“Three times!” Sweetie Belle wailed, glad that Rarity understood her plight. She picked herself up and met Rarity halfway as she came rushing over.

“What a terribly cruel twist of fate! My poor Sweetie Belle... I’d dreamed of that for so long, but to have it offered and then taken away, that’s just...”

“Dreamed?” Rarity immediately cursed herself for her slip, but maintained her calm.

“I still do, of course.” Well... for my first kiss with... that special somepony. No time to grieve now, my sister needs help. Shaking off the feelings that threatened to ensnare her, she gave Sweetie her full attention as she ranted about the unfairness of the day, not bothering to make any attempt to hide her obvious feelings that, as she continued to vocalize, she realized may well be stronger than she had first thought.

“...and then Twilight popped up, and Spike left, then everypony else... It was... was...”

“The... worst... possible... day! Oh goodness, this is simply unacceptable. We must do something to cheer you up, and I daresay I must have a word with Twilight this evening. I simply will not tolerate such callous behavior. I mean, the least she could have done was let you finish. Honestly, what was she thinking?” Spike and Sweetie Belle... I certainly approve. I couldn’t feel safer than having my dear sister with him.

“Sis, what’s that look for?”

“Mmm, nothing for you to worry about, Sweetie Belle. I’m about ready for a break, so why don’t we head down to Sugarcube Corner for a treat? I’m sure Pinkie could use some company, and if anypony can make you laugh, well, that’s her specialty.”

“Rather have my kiss...”

“Sweetie, a lady’s first kiss is supposed to be something special. Wouldn’t you rather it happen naturally at the proper time than because of a game?” Sweetie Belle didn’t take long to think about it before realizing that her sister was right.

“So... waiting will make it even better?”

Waiting... No, I can’t do this here, not in front of Sweetie Belle. “Why yes, of course! Why do you think I’m saving myself for that... special somepony... Come, let us go, then.” Sweetie Belle didn’t take any notice of the way Rarity trailed off, and as they bantered back and forth, Rarity summoned her fortitude and embraced her role as the strong, older sibling wholeheartedly. Pinkie was ecstatic to see them both, and it wasn’t long before the last of Sweetie Belle’s funk melted, much like the fudge over her ice cream sundae.

The jingle of the bell on the door signaled more customers, and Sweetie Belle casually glanced over before nearly choking on a spoonful of ice cream as Scootaloo, Pipsqueak, Rumble, and Ruby all trotted inside. Excusing herself, she dashed over to meet them, only to adopt a droll stare as Pipsqueak spoke first

“Ahoy, the bonny we...” Pipsqueak started before receiving a courteous hoof to the gut and a pleading look from Rumble as Sweetie Belle came rushing back over. “Ok, Rumble, I get it,” he muttered, rubbing his stomach and grinning widely.

“Sweetie Belle! I didn’t expect to see you here,” Ruby called out, waving her over.

“Likewise! What’re you all doing here?”

“Pipsqueak was going to ‘commandeer’ some snacks,” Scootaloo replied, her enthusiasm all too apparent. “Even pirates have to eat, it seems.”

“Aye, especially pirates! Now, what’re you waiting for, Scootaloo?”

“Uh, what are you talking about, Pip?” Scootaloo replied, having no idea of whatever action she was supposed to be engaging in.

“Captain, tis captain to you, lass,” he corrected before hopping onto a nearby table to lay out his scheme. “Here’s the plan, so listen up, you lot! Sweetie Belle, I hear you got a nice set o’ pipes, so yer gonna sing. Scootaloo, dance a merry jig to capture everypony’s attention. While they’re distracted, me and Rumble will get the treasure! Any questions?”

“Just one. I think you better run that by Scootaloo again,” Ruby chuckled, pointing to the open door as Scootaloo, too embarrassed over displaying her poise near so cool a pony as Pipsqueak, bolted outside and straight for home.

“Wait, Scootaloo! Why’re you running away?” Pipsqueak called after her, momentarily dropping his act in exchange for genuine concern and confusion. It didn’t really matter, and he threw caution to the wind as he took off after her.

“Goodness, Scootaloo too?” Rarity mused aloud, trotting over. “Come, Sweetie Belle. Let us head to Sweet Apple Acres.” Sweetie Belle nodded, preparing to give her departing salutations before she realized that a certain young dragon may or may not be alive, and thus deviated from her original plans.

“Actually, is it alright if we stop by the library on the way? I’d like to make sure Spike didn’t get in too much trouble...” Ugh, stop looking at me like that, sis! I swear...

“Would you prefer to go alone, or shall I accompany you?”

“Alone!” Sweetie Belle said immediately, catching a snicker from Ruby as she did so while Rumble respectfully maintained his silence.

“I would have guessed as much,” she replied cheerfully, shooting her a wink. “Well, let’s not delay any further, Pinkie. If I recall, the princesses are supposed to be in attendance. I wonder if that insufferable Discord is with them...” At the mention of the most fantastic non-pony in all Equestria, Pinkie shot out the door with unnatural speed, leaving a pink blur on Rarity’s vision before she too gave chase.

“Spike and Sweetie Belle, sitting in a tree...” Ruby sang, smiling at Sweetie’s sullen glare.

“...really, Ruby?”

“What? The library is a tree, isn’t it?” Ruby asserted confidently, shooting the filly a wink. “Go on, he’ll probably need some comfort after whatever punishment Twilight gave him.

“Yeah... Later, Ruby. You too, Rumble. Sorry we didn’t get to hang out more today.”

“It’s ok. Um...” he paused, scuffing nervously at the floor with a hoof. “If you happen to see Applebloom, could you tell her I’m sorry for breaking her fort?”

“Why don’t you tell her yourself? She’d probably rather hear it from you, anyways.”

“I dunno, she seemed pretty mad about it...” Sweetie Belle drew away a little bit and pulled Ruby aside, whispering quietly and glancing at the nervous pegasus every so often.

“Is Applebloom being angry really the only thing he picked up on?” Ruby asked, shaking her head and seriously doubting the mental capacity of colts her age. Sure, her father Snowdrift wasn’t the brightest pegasus ever, but he came by it honestly and had a caring heart to make up for it.

“It sure seems that way. Did you see the way Applebloom was acting?” Sweetie Belle replied, agreeing wholeheartedly. “I mean, he’s acting almost as bad as Freefall.”

“Ok, that’s a bit much,” Ruby countered, stifling a laugh. “We should at least give him a chance, right?”

“Well... what’s playing matchmaker one more time?” Sweetie Belle conceded, breaking the huddle and motioning for Rumble to come closer. “If you’re too scared to...”

“I didn’t say anything about being scared!” he defended, puffing out his chest and standing up straight. “Just you wait, I’ll apologize! I’ll fix things, you’ll see!” He turned to leave and stopped momentarily, deep in thought, before flying out the door in a flurry of tiny feathers.

“Wow, I didn’t even get to tease him at all,” Ruby lamented, heaving an over-dramatized sigh while Sweetie Belle looked on. “I suppose it’s time for you to go get your stallion as well, then.”

“Ruby, me and Spike aren’t like that...”

“Aaaaand that’s even more denial than Rumble. Congratulations, Sweetie Belle; you’re a colt!”

“Am not,” she defended, shoving Ruby playfully and doing a very poor job of hiding her faint blush. “You are right, though. I’d better get over there. Maybe I can help calm things down with Twilight, too. Sorry to leave like this...”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll just head home and see if my mom needs any help. Abstaining from alcohol puts her in a less than amiable mood, and she functions worse than when she’s drunk...” Ruby said ruefully, trotting side by side with Sweetie Belle as they left. They chatted for a while and parted ways, Sweetie Belle breaking into a gallop after waving her friend off. A tremor ran through the earth, causing her to pause momentarily as she wondered what could possibly cause such a disturbance, before she remembered her quest and continued on, unaware that the sound was Pipsqueak crossing the line between fictional heroism and full blown stupidity. Even if she had known, she likely would have opted to save Spike, and thus she paused to catch her breath as she neared the library, preparing herself for whatever gut-wrenching scene awaited her on the other side.

No matter what the intention, whether to date or simply remain platonic life-long friends, first impressions with a filly’s parents are crucial in nearly every regard. It was unfortunate for Pipsqueak that he made nearly every possible blunder he could, and it wasn’t because he lacked manners, but rather quickly became caught up in the spirit of adventure that was the blood flowing through his veins coupled with an inability to recognize how he was appearing to Scootaloo’s parents. He only wanted to figure out what exactly he did wrong, but his noble aspirations were lost amidst the thrill of the chase, and the boss battle that followed.

Quakehoof looked up, startled as a blushing Scootaloo, still unable to get the thought of dancing in public, much less in front of somepony as awesome as Pipsqueak, out of her head, burst through the doors and down the hall towards her room. He rose to investigate only to see a young colt he had never heard mention of tearing towards him at breakneck pace, and Pipsqueak’s advance into the dungeon was hastily interrupted as the massive gatekeeper slammed a hoof down in front of the valiant hero, sending a tremor through the ground and temporarily stunning the small colt.

“I’d suggest you leave right now. I don’t know who you are, but Scootaloo clearly doesn’t wish to see you.”

“Did you see the way she was blushing, dear?” Flying Grace chimed in, trotting over and eyeing the colt with somewhat less intent to kill, though still quite defensive of her child. “I hope you didn’t try to lift her tail or any such nonsense.” Pipsqueak’s eyes went wide as Quakehoof stomped a hoof once more, galvanizing the little pony into action. Anypony with a lick of sense would have told him that attempting to quell a duo of upset parents by drawing a weapon, albeit one of wood, was just sheer ludicrous, but Scootaloo had a much different interpretation of such an awesome display of bravery, and gawked from inside as Pipsqueak stood his ground.

“Ah nnly wnn spk wf Sootloo!” he cried, adopting a fighting stance and taking a step forward. Quakehoof had tolerated such an insolent and threatening colt long enough, and took a step forward to match him.

“Dear, I would think that injuring a colt wouldn’t go over well with the mayor. Please, do be calm.”

“Calm, indeed...” he growled, a deep, guttural noise on par with the roar of a manticore. He might as well have been to Pipsqueak, but cowardice wasn’t in his dictionary - not while he was on stage.

The gatekeeper’s “Intimidate” had no effect! Pipsqueak readies “Special Move #38!” Pipsqueak leapt into the air, gaining surprising altitude as he pulled a front flip while preparing to nail the brigand with a powerful downward slash, but the world spun in a fashion much different than expected as Rumble dropped from the sky, crashing into him and sending them both tumbling a good distance away. “Friendly fire, friendly fire! C’mon, Rumble, get yer head in the...”

“Snap out of it, Pipsqueak! Do you really want to make Scootaloo’s parents mad?” he shouted, shaking his friend frantically as Quakehoof slowly walked towards them.

“Scootaloo’s parents?” he echoed softly, suddenly seeming to realize from his altered perspective on the ground that he seemed to have made a minor miscalculation in launching hostilities. “I don’t think he’s quite ready for an apology.”

“No, really? Come on, let’s get out of here!” Rumble urged, taking flight as Pipsqueak sheathed his sword, gave a quick bow, and fled the scene. Quakehoof watched them go, taking a few deep breaths before turning to find his daughter staring google eyed at a stallion that he found less than worthy of her interest. Unfortunately, Flying Grace spoke first, and her stance seemed the polar opposite of his.

“First the dancing, then wearing dresses, and now you’ve found yourself a nice colt?”

“Mom! I never said anything about us being, like, together or anything! Ewww!” she cried, sputtering as she made her disgust for all things affectionate all too apparent.

“Indeed. And I’d prefer it if you keep it that way. I don’t want you hanging out with such a delinquent.”

“Hey! Don’t talk about Pipsqueak like that!” Scootaloo shouted, instantly becoming defensive. Grace and Quakehoof both shared a confused look, their daughter’s outburst one of actual anger and not merely simple frustration or agitation. Scootaloo realized her mistake immediately, and struggled to find a way to not embitter them against her new friend further. “I’m sorry for shouting, dad. But you have to believe me! Pipsqueak is actually really nice, he’s just...”

“Dangerous, Scootaloo. He’s wild, almost barbaric from what I’ve seen,” Quakehoof replied, unmoved.

“Ugh, I don’t know why I even bother trying to explain if you’re not going to listen!” Scootaloo knew if she stayed, she’d land herself in a heap of trouble, an unnatural and inexplicable anger rising within at the tarnishing of Pipsqueak’s name, and thus she ran to her room, restrained herself from slamming the door, and flopped down on her bed, closing her eyes as a dizzying rush of emotions culminated into utter confusion.

Why the hay am I so angry? I mean, I don’t even know Pipsqueak that well. I’ve seen him around town, but today was the first time I actually spent any time with him, and for most of it we barely talked. It just doesn’t make sense... and why the hay did he stand up for me like that? She didn’t stir as she heard her door crack open, and she wearily pounded the bedding with a hoof as she waited for further lecturing on just how horrible a colt could be.

“So... he seems nice.” Scootaloo pried her head from the pillows just long enough to glance back at her mother before burying herself once more. Grace tilted her head to one side as an unintelligible muffled rebuttal lost meaning as it was filtered through manufactured fibers and feathers. “He really robs you of speech that much?”

“I said I don’t need any teasing right now, mom! It’s been a crazy enough day, and I don’t need any of your... your...” She didn’t finish, but rather buried her muzzle into her pillow and went off on some kind of tirade which nopony could possibly hope to translate, other than “I’m a little more than slightly upset.”

“Scootaloo, dear, I wasn’t joking when I said he seemed nice,” she soothed, sitting beside her filly and placing a gentle hoof across her back. “It’s difficult for me to say where I stand, but I certainly didn’t see him as malicious, so I’d assume he had some kind of reason for attacking your father.”

“Yeah, he’s an idiot,” Scootaloo stated plainly, turning her head to the side and peering up at her mother who was doing a poor job concealing her smile. “I mean, did you see his size compared to dad? Pipsqueak is barely as big as his hoof!”

“Well, he certainly doesn’t lack heart.” Scootaloo couldn’t well argue with her on that point, but rather heaved a sigh as she again found herself viewing his foolish behavior as cool, rather than bone-headed, meddlesome, or any of the other words that Quakehoof likely would have used. “Have you known him long?”

“No, not really. He’s a grade below me, and I haven’t really talked with him much.”

“So, how did you meet, then?”

“Oh, you’re not going to believe this...”

Spike wasn’t mutilated, tortured, or maimed beyond all reason, which struck Sweetie Belle as the only possible outcome considering Twilight’s rather choice words in her hasty, anger filled letter. No, she found the dragon in high spirits as Twilight opened the door, sitting on the couch and enjoying yet another bowl of ice cream. He stared at her a moment, cleaned his face with his tongue while maintaining eye contact, swallowed hard and hoped that the burning in his cheeks was just his imagination. Unfortunately, Sweetie Belle was struck by the same mysterious affliction, and Spike knew that his cheeks were likely just as flushed.

There he is. He looks kind of nervous, like when I was about to kiss him. I wonder what it would have been like?

“Sweetie Belle? I’m glad you came here, actually. I was hoping to have a talk with you,” Twilight replied cheerfully, standing to one side and growing slightly confused as the filly found some bizarre fascination with a realm invisible to her eyes as Sweetie Belle looked on.

I hope he’s not going to be all weird around me now... I didn’t mean to make things strange, it was a dare! I had to!

“Sweetie Belle?”

I mean, yeah, I kind of maybe possibly pushed for it just a teensy tiny bit, but still! Maybe I should just...

“Sweetie Belle!”

“...kiss him anyways so he gets over it sooner!” There was an awkward moment of enlightening silence as Sweetie Belle realized she had just spoken aloud, much to Twilight’s amusement, Spike’s bereavement of a calm demeanor, and the twin fires flaring hotter within her cheeks. “I mean... um...”

“Sweetie Belle, why don’t you take a seat on the couch? I think there are some things we need to clear up.” She was the very model of obedience for the ten steps it took to make it to the couch, but Spike was there too, and no matter how far he scooched to one end, it seemed like much too small a space to sit. Sweetie Belle was contemplating using the ample space provided by the hardwood floor as her seat when a lavender aura quickly ended her decision making process, landing her within hooves’ reach of Spike.

“Um... hi, Spike.”

“Uh... hey.” A whistle rang out from above as Peewee fluttered down, landing on top of a bookshelf with the closest thing a baby phoenix can have to a smile pasted on his beak. It wasn’t something that Spike had taught him intentionally, but rather an unfortunate case of learning by observation, watching Spike practice the macho act in front of the mirror, and his timing couldn’t have been more perfectly horrible. Embarrassment reached new heights as the call sounded again. “Peewee, cut it out!” He gave one last whistle before flapping his way to the floor where Twilight sat trying to maintain her teacher face. She wasn’t doing a very good job.

“Now... I need you both to... to pay close...” Curious as to how many years it took Celestia to master a regal countenance, Twilight saved herself some agony and had herself a good chuckle, taking a few breaths and coughing once as she prepared to try again. “Sorry about that, you two. Now, Spike’s already explained to me about the whole truth or dare fiasco.”

Oh, please don’t ask. Don’t ask me, Twilight. Sweetie Belle’s pleading stare left little room for interpretation, as she silently begged the unicorn not to ask about her feelings that she wasn’t yet ready to give due consideration.

“You two can kiss now.”

“Wait, WHAT?” they pair cried in unison, looking at each other and then back at Twilight.

“It’s only a matter of time, so I may as well moderate it, right? Come on, you two can’t be worried about cooties or anything. I’m pretty sure Rarity purged Spike of that long ago.” Sweetie Belle’s demeanor fell further at the statement, and socially inept Twilight tilted her head to the side as she attempted to decipher Sweetie Belle’s sudden look of boredom accompanied by the locking of her hooves across her chest. “Oh... It seems I made this a little awkward...” Twilight murmured, realizing her blunder.

“Oh, right, because being asked to kiss in front of somepony else isn’t embarrassing enough,” Spike added. “And besides, I’m over Rarity. Totally. Completely.”

“You framed her lipstick on your cheek,” Sweetie Belle commented, idly examining a hoof.

“Yeah, but...”

“For a week.”

Ouch, that was brutal, Sweetie Belle. You certainly have some Rarity in you... Can’t you go just a little bit easier on my poor Spike? “Aren’t you two getting a little off topic? I mean, come on! I just gave you permission to kiss!” Twilight reminded, unprepared for Sweetie Belle's less than amiable reply.

“What, so it’s a requirement now? What makes you think I want to kiss Spike, anyways?” Sweetie Belle defended, her temporary agitation over Spike’s previous romantic interest winning out over her newly forming affection.

“Gee, I dunno, maybe the fact that I found you standing over him about this close to his mouth?” Twilight countered, holding her hooves apart just barely enough to be seen.

“For the last time, it was just a dare!” Sweetie Belle cried, throwing her hooves wide. “All I do is spend a couple days hanging out with a new friend who just happens to by male, and suddenly everypony is acting like he’s already bought a ring! Well, nothing’s set in stone, and I don’t really want some pony from a stuffy library giving me romance tips when I don’t even have a special somepony, or even want one!”

“What’s wrong with Spike, huh? So, what then, are you just...”

“I’ve had enough! I’m not kissing anypony, so just be quiet already!” Spike’s shout caused an immediate silence as he stomped up the stairs and out of sight, and Twilight’s ears fell flat as she watched him go. Sweetie Belle instantly regretted her harsh words, her frustrations being directed at Twilight, but clearly having more of an effect on Spike.

“I’m sorry, Sweetie Belle. I was acting very foalish right now,” Twilight conceded, sitting down beside the filly with a sigh.

“Does Spike... really care that much about me?” Twilight weighed the options of full disclosure regarding everything she knew about the subject, but decided against it. Relationships weren’t built by word of mouth and rumors from others, this much she knew, and she sat in contemplation before responding.

“I can’t speak for him, Sweetie Belle. I will say that Spike has been growing up very quickly as of late, and he really does care about your friendship, perhaps more than the others. Beyond that, it’s not mine to say, and I really shouldn’t be pushing such things. You both are very young.”

“Yeah, I know...”

“At the same time,” Twilight continued, “I didn’t really ever get to experience anything like the friendship you have until well into my teenage years, let alone romance, so I guess I was projecting a little,” she admitted with a rueful smile.

“Do you think I should go apologize?” Sweetie wondered aloud, glancing up towards the second story.

“Not just yet. Give him some time to calm down first. Today hasn’t exactly been the most tension free day for him. It didn't help that Celestia was less than receptive to his little prank, and I didn't help much with that letter...”

“I should never have mentioned that dumb game...”

“Sweetie, don’t blame yourself. It wasn’t the game that rubbed him the wrong way...” It was me and my temper interrupting a special moment. If only going back in time were actually a good idea... She shook her head, expelling the thought before she gave it any more consideration. Twilight slowly coaxed Sweetie Belle back to her usual smiling self, making a mental note to talk to Rarity when she had the chance. After ten minutes of silence, Twilight gave Sweetie Belle a nod, and the filly nervously made her way upstairs, stopping beside the young dragon laying back in his bed, his legs hanging over the side and his face covered with a claw.

“Whatever you’re gonna say won’t help, Twilight. What Sweetie Belle said really hurt, and no magic is going to fix it. She doesn't want a special somepony, and she clearly doesn’t want me. Why would she? I’m just a baby dragon.” Sweetie was torn between yielding to the sudden bout of nausea and running off to have herself a good, dramatic cry and smacking the dragon silly for being so ridiculously dense and mopey.

“Did you really believe what I said?” Spike cracked an eye open, taking a moment to let his emotions shift as he realized who it was that had heard him, and he slowly sat up, attempting to remain calm. Unfortunately, neither of them were at a “calm” age, and things very quickly escalated.

“Did you really give me a reason not to?”

“Was I talking to somepony else at the time?”

“Was I in hearing range?”

“Did I nearly kiss you in the tree fort?”

“Weren’t you bound by a dare?”

“Did I really look like I was being forced?”

“Do you wanna kiss me now?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact I do!” A tranquil serenity descended like a spring rain, washing away the misguided frustrations of the two as Sweetie’s unwitting admittance brought a halt to the hostilities. “Sometimes...” she started, stopping as she appeared in deep thought, before heaving a sigh and speaking plainly, making the first motion towards reparations. “I’m an idiot.” While confusion was better than anger by far, it still wasn’t satisfactory. “Uh... Spike? This is kind of the part where the guy tells the girl that she’s not an idiot. That’s just the way it works.”

“Well, if the horse shoe fits...”

“Hey! I... Ugh, you know what?” she shouted, stomping hard on the edge of the basket and launching the dragon onto the floor, and he was about to protest until Sweetie cut him off. “You want to know the truth? I like you, ok? Like... you! But I’m not ready for a relationship, and I was super curious to know what it’s like to kiss somepony which is why I pressed it but now I wish I hadn’t cause I’m standing her yelling at somepony who I just want to be friends with until we’re a little older and I can kiss whenever I want without everypony freaking out!” It had been a lot to get out in one mouthful, and as Sweetie Belle stood over him, panting for breath from her outburst, Spike’s mind sifted through the contents and pulled away the most important pieces.

“...you still want to kiss me?”

“Oh, come on! Is that really all you got out of what I just said? Colts...” Sweetie Belle muttered, heaving a sigh and dropping her head, unwittingly invoking a heavy blush for the dragon whose muzzle was now just a few inches from hers. “I really... wasn’t ready to tell you all that just yet...” There were times when even a stupid colt could prove his worth, and Spike decided that it was one of those times. He stood upright and pulled her into a tight embrace, spreading his blush to her as he took a chance and gently stroked her mane, just like when he had held her while she cried a few days back.

“Sweetie Belle, you don’t have to worry. I’ll wait for you until you’re ready, no matter how long it takes.”

“Stop being smart,” she muttered, yielding to the the comfort even as her worries fought for dominance within with a grin pasted on her muzzle. “I like you better stupid.”

“And I like you better quiet.”

“Tough luck. I like singing.”

“So? I like growing up!”

“A moustache does not make one a stallion.”

“Are you kidding? It totally does!” Neither of them noticed the click of a camera as Twilight snapped a picture of the two bantering back and forth before she returned back downstairs. She had worried about how they’d work out their differences, but if both of them were mature enough to walk away from an early admittance of affection unscathed, then she was confident they could handle just about anything else.

“My voice does NOT sound like that when I warm up, Spike!”

“Well, almost anything...”