• Published 11th Jan 2018
  • 5,326 Views, 123 Comments

Spike Finds Love At Last - Soothing Stone



After Rarity has settled down with somepony else, Spike turns to Twilight for dating advice with girls. Things get more complicated from there.

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This Isn't Awkward At All

In the years since Twilight and her friends defeated the Pony of Shadows, Ponyville went through quite the boom period. Once the townsponies wrapped their heads around the fact that they actually housed a princess, the town drew a lot of attention from builders and investors. As a result, Ponyville grew in every sense of the word, with the size and population going up. It was still the same charming small town--admittingly, a magnet for world ending catastrophes--and that wasn’t going to change anytime soon.

By the time Spike touched down to solid ground, it was getting late in the evening. Nopony would be roaming around the streets at this hour save for him, so he had some time to think over Applejack’s proposal. It was still a crazy idea in his mind, but he didn’t have any other ideas to work with. What was the harm of finding out if Twilight had something else in mind. You know, unless she went back to her younger self and thought the Want It Need It spell could still be used for good.

Twilight’s crystal castle gleamed in the moonlight as Spike came to the front door. Sure enough, he could hear her walking back and forth inside the library from the outside. Of course she would do a late night study for her latest pursuit. That was classic Twilight for you.

After some time roaming through the halls inside the castle, he stumbled into the library to find...exactly what he expected to find. A pile of books were on every table, with whiteboards placed right next to them. The whiteboards were covered in complex equations he didn’t even attempt to understand. Oh, and don’t forget the huge glass of coffee resting on one of the tables.

To complete the adorkableness of this picture, Twilight was wearing basic pants, no shoes, and the dorkiest shirt of all time: A graphic shirt with the question of “Best Princess?” on top. Below the question were a bunch of checkboxes, each featuring a picture of all four princesses, but the box that was checked out had the label of “All of the Above”.

“I know I’m close to enchanting coffee with double the caffeine. Can you imagine all the late night studies I could pull off with double caffeinated coffee?” she marveled.

“It’s called an energy drink, if you’re wondering,” Spike laughed. “Why am I not surprised to see this? You’re having a late night study so you can have more late night studies.”

“Spike? Um, forget you saw anything,” Twilight squeaked. She used her magic to put every book back in the shelves, and she pushed the whiteboards out of sight as well. “I’m so sorry. It’s just that I got on this kick, and I needed to see it through. You understand what that’s like, right?”

“Yep. You did that all the time and you’re still doing it.” He pulled a chair to the nearest table and rested a bit. “Was that all you did today?”

Twilight sat down at the same table with her trusty coffee cup. “Well, not everything. I scheduled a trip to Saddle Arabia to catch up with Starlight. Her ‘friendship crusades’ around the world are actually going great, last I heard. She even managed to get a conversation with Garble going!”

“Wow. I think Tartarus just froze over.”

“No doubt. So what happened with you today?”

“Nothing much. I went over to help Fluttershy with her sanctuary thingy, then she had me go over to Cloudsdale, so I could drop some stuff off at Rarity’s shop over there.”

“Rarity’s Cloudsdale shop? I know what that means.” Her ears dropped down to the side. “Did it go as bad as it sounds?”

“Not really. Seriously, Misty’s a good guy, so I don’t care that much.” Then it occurred to him why he wanted to talk to Twilight, and not hit the sack after a long day. “Actually, that’s why I’m here…”

“Oh, Spike, you know I’m always willing to help you with that friendship, err, relationship problem. So what is it?”

“Um...well...the thing is...okay, I know this is going to sound weird, but here goes nothing.” He breathed in and exhaled. “I need your help to figure out how to talk to mares.”

“Talking to girls?” She couldn’t help but chuckle at the sound of that. “You’re talking to one right now, and judging from your past, you’re pretty good at that.”

“No, not that way. I mean, how do I talk to mares I have a crush on?”

Now she could see why he looked a little hesitant to talk about it. “Ohhhhhhh. That. Listen, I’m glad you asked, but you know I’m not good at talking to stallions, either. I was a nervous wreck when I tried talking to Flash in the human world, remember?”

“That’s what I told Applejack!” Spike groaned. “But when I asked her about it, she recommended your help for this. Said something about how you probably read a book or two on it.”

“You know, she might be right…” She turned to the nearest shelf and pulled down the first book she thought of. “How to Properly Woo Your Partner by Cupid Arrow.” Another book was came into her waiting hands. “Dating 101 For Nerdy Ponies. Can you guess why I got that?” she blushed.

“Oh Celestia, Applejack was right about you,” he said in awe. “You’re telling me you actually read those books?”

“I read a book about sleepovers. Anything’s possible.”

“Right. So I heard. Thing is, you’re the closest thing to an expert I have right now. Yeah, I could find ponies with cutie marks in this stuff, but it would be weird, and you do know a book or two about this. Any ideas on what I should do first? I want to make sure that I don’t get cold feet when I’m asking somepony out again.”

“I understand. In almost every book I’ve read, they say a charming personality can go a long way to getting a partner to like you.”

Yeah, like that will ever happen, he thought.

“So you got that part nailed down already.”

“Wait, what?” Spike cleared his ears to make sure he was listening clearly.

“Come on, don’t be so harsh on yourself. Here, let me see if I can find any other good pointers.” She collected a bunch of books and swirled them around her with her horn, creating a magical carousel of legit to questionable romantic books, picking one up to read over. “Work out constantly? That is always good for your health, but Spike’s already in good shape.” She let that book go into the carousel and picked another one. “What’s this about drive? There’s an s-word tied to it...NOPE!” She shut that one and went for a more family friendly title. “Oh my goodness, they all say different things! There’s one that seems to think being a jerk picks up all the mares! Who does that? Big Mac barely talks at all, and we all know how he ended up! Twins on the way!”

Spike sighed in defeat and got out of his chair. “Well, thanks for trying. I’m sure I’ll find my own way out of this mess.”

“Hang on a minute, Spike. I’m not giving up on you that easily. I just need to find actual advice, rather than all these horrific tips from those amateurs.” She flipped through multiple books at once, doing more reading in five seconds than most ponies do in a day. It was hard, but she was going to put her effort in, even if most ponies would have thrown in the towel by now.

“Twilight? Are you still going? You don’t have to do that. I’m fine, really. I’ll just--”

“Eureka! I finally found the solution to all your problems!”

Spike was amused. He normally would see right through her bluff, but he knew that face. It was the same face she made when she genuinely found a breakthrough. He sat back down and crossed his arms. “I’m listening.”

“I just stumbled across something huge. So your problem is that you don’t know how to talk to mares when you have feelings for them, right? Like you freeze up on the spot?”

“Way to rub the salt in the wound.” He snorted smoke of his nostrils. “You summed up my love life in one sentence.”

“Then we just need to warm you up to the idea of the actual talking part. You know how I held practice quizzes and tests for myself, so that way, I was ready for the real quiz or test when it was time? We should do that for you! And since everypony goes out on dates, I was thinking of a fantastic new idea: Practice dates!”

Spike’s eyes widened at the sheer dorkiness of it, which was saying a lot, given who was sitting across from him. “Practice what now?”

“Admittedly, I don’t know if this will work or not, but what if we set up a thing inside the castle to simulate a date for you, and you talked to somepony to get the hang of it? That way, when you really do have feelings for somepony and you need to ask them out, you’ll know what to do!”

Spike found himself in awe once again. “You realize how crazy this sounds, right? I can understand doing practice quizzes and tests, but romance is nothing like that. It’s a lot more emotional and weird. I don’t think you could prepare me for that, even if you tried.”

“You may have a point that they’re different things, but this could still help you. Like, maybe practice dating could hone in your social skills, help you know what to say and do whenever it’s time? It may not be the same experience as the same thing, but at least you’ll have some idea what you’re doing when it’s time.”

“Hmm…” He took a moment to consider all his options. True, this was a crazy idea to him. But the thing was, it was an idea. He had nothing going into the library, and now she was offering him one. No matter how badly it went, he would be doing something to work towards his goal. And he wanted to move on from Rarity ASAP.

On top of that, there was one thing he knew about Twilight; she gave 110% on anything she put her mind to, and this wouldn’t be any different.. She did it time and time for him over the years, such as accompanying him to the Dragon Lands to help him achieve his destiny, both to figure out his identity and to overcome the Gauntlet of Fire. In comparison, this would be nothing for her.

“You know what, I’ll do it. I just...I mean...how are we going to do this? What you’re proposing, that seems really out there, and I don’t really know how you have a practice date to begin with.”

“That’s a good point. How about this? You call it a night, and when you wake up in the morning, I’ll have everything set up for you so we can begin.”

“You’re not going to spend all night doing this, are you? I don’t think there’s enough coffee in the world for that.”

“Don’t worry, I got this. Just meet me back in the library in the morning, okay? When you’re ready, I’ll have a course and everything set up for you.”

Of course there would be an entire course for dating. “Uh huh, sure. I needed to call it a night, anyways. See ya later, Twilight.”

“Good night. Oooh, I can’t wait to get started on this” She brought back the whiteoards and flipped them over to their blank slates, bringing back all the good romantic books to get started with her planning.


With that settled, Spike got up from his chair and headed out the door. He went to his bedroom and tucked himself in for the night, wondering just what he was in for tomorrow. When he stepped into the library, he could be taking the first step to the mare of his dreams, or he would learn all the wrong things and stumble along the way. Wouldn’t be the first time he was guilty of that.

Either way, no matter what went down tomorrow, it was going to be an interesting day with Twilight. Oh, he had no idea.

-------

On this morning, it was Spike carrying around a cup of coffee for the day. He had a decent night’s sleep last night, not letting the surreal nature of the situation get to him. Everything was going to be fine. He memorized Twilight’s schedule for the week to know what to expect, and he knew that she didn’t have a whole lot to do today. That left her schedule wide open for him, so she had all the time in the world.

He opened the door to the library to see the most shocking image of all: Twilight sitting there at the table, looking totally tidy and not like she spent all night making a dating curriculum. In fact, with a fresh shirt, jeans, and shoes, she looked normal. She even wore her crown just because she felt like it this morning.

“Good morning, Spike. Are you ready to learn how to woo a mare?” she gleamed.

And there was the awkward feeling again. “Yeah, sure. No matter what happens, thanks for helping me out,” he said as he took a seat.

“No problem. After going over things, I came up with a way to help warm you up to things with several practice dates. As we keep going, the practice dates are going to feel more and more like real ones. You’ll see why soon enough. That way, we can warm you up to the real dating process when it’s time.”

“Huh. That’s not a bad idea, but I have a question. Who exactly am I doing this with? I don’t just wanna be dating a bag of flour in the name of ‘practice’.

“I’m glad you asked. To be honest, I was thinking it would be best if you started off with me.”

Spike’s cheeks turned bright red. Him? Practice dating Twilight? “Oh no no no, I couldn’t do that! That would be the weirdest thing ever! I don’t want to date somepony in my own family!”

“Relax, Spike,” Twilight comforted as she patted Spike on the shoulder. “I’m not really going out with you. The thing is, it might help exactly because it’s me, we know each other so well. Therefore, I figured you wouldn’t be so nervous to talk to me when you’re practicing, and I can give you feedback along the way. I won’t be too mean about it, I promise.”

Spike’s shirt was starting to get drenched in sweat. “Um...uh...are you absolutely sure it has to be you?”

She sighed a bit. “You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. It’s just that I want you to feel like you don’t have to be somebody you’re not when you’re out there, like some of those awful books said. They’re written by jerks, for jerks. My line of thinking was, if you’re practice dating with me, you won’t pretend to be another dragon because you know you can be yourself around me. And really, that’s who you want somepony to fall in love with, the real you, right?”

Spike realized how serious she was about this. It miiiiight be better if he got the hang of this with somepony else, but then again, he knew firsthand that Twilight could be a great teacher when she wanted to be. By Celestia, she wanted to be one for him. He just hoped this wouldn’t be as awkward as he feared it could be.

In a million years, he would never guess the path this decision would take him.

“Okay, Twilight, I’m in. I’ll try the first few dates with you. Just understand that it might be weird at first. Take it slow for now, alright?”

Twilight’s eyes, for lack of a better word, sparkled at the news. “That’s wonderful! You don’t worry about anything. At the end of this Crash Course In Dating, you’ll be the most eligible bachelor in Equestria! Here, we can try it at the table we’re at right now.” She scooted closer to Spike, fetching a notepad full of the notes she took for this occasion.

Well, here goes nothing. He adjusted in his seat, took a few deep breaths, and braced himself for his first real attempt to get it right. “You know, we’re just sitting at the same old table. What’s so different around this?”

“Remember, we’re going to ease into it for a while,” Twilight replied as she cracked her knuckles. “I’ll make it feel like like a typical date when we get there. But right now, let’s get started with the basics.”

Spike gulped. This might just hurt after all.

“So, I’ve read a lot of books on how to have the proper date, the right books, and I found a really good way to start the date off right: Complimenting your partner. That’s pretty easy. Here, try it with me. What compliments do you think would ‘flatter’ me, Spike?”

“That’s a cakewalk. If I wanted to give you a compliment, I would say you have a really big brain. That’s probably because you’ve read every book here a thousand times.”

“Pfft, I’ve only done it a hundred times,” Twilight smirked. “Thank you. That was a really good compliment, but I think whoever you’re dating should give a compliment back, like this.” She leaned back and took up an accent that was, well, a pretty terrible impression of Rainbow Dash. “Hey, thanks for clearing up the library just last week. It looks twenty percent cleaner.”

Spike laughed at the impression. “That’s not too far off from the stuff Dash always says. This isn’t bad so far. What’s next?”

The purple alicorn looked down at her notes for the next part. “I think you’ll like this. A lot of ponies get nervous when they’re out on a date, so they need something to ‘break the ice’, whatever that means. I heard one way to do that is to engage in small talk. Huh. We did that just yesterday, so I have to come up with something else.”

“Twilight, are you doing this to teach yourself how to date at the same time?” Spike piped up. “That’s a lot of notes you took for something meant for just me. Almost looks like one of those book reports you did as a filly.”

“NO! I mean, not really. I could always use the practice…” She turned away so he couldn’t see her blushing. “Let’s just get back to the lesson. I’ll do some small talk first so you get the idea.” She shifted her voice to be something closer to Applejack. “So, partner, you been seeing how big the apple harvest has been this year? I reckon we’ll make a huge profit this year.”

“Not a bad Applejack impression, but that sounds more like Mage Meadowbrook than her.”

“Really? Well, she is a wonderful pony, so I’ll take that lightly. It’s your turn now. What’s been happening with you and Ember lately?”

“Ember? She’s been fine. It’s kinda weird, though.”

“I wonder why. You two seemed to be getting along fine.”

“No, it’s not that. She’s been getting bigger lately. I know all dragons are supposed to grow, but it’s strange. When I got to this size, I thought she would still be the same size too, but now she’s two feet taller than me. To be honest, if things didn’t work out between me and Rarity, I would thought about dating her, but I think she’s getting close to Thorax lately.”

Now it was Twilight finding something off color. “You know, I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am. I knew they got along well when they first met, but I didn’t think--you know what, let’s drop it. How are you feeling, now that we’re breaking the ice?”

“Yeah, the sooner we change the subject, the better. So, the breaking the ice thing, I like it. Things don’t feel weird anymore.”

“See? You are getting the hang of it after all!”

Spike blinked in surprise. “Wait, I am?”

“Of course you are. Things like breaking the ice and compliments sound like small things, but they can make you feel more approachable to your date. She might want to open up to you now that she knows she can hang out with you, and maybe you’ll want to open up more after talking to her for a few moments.”

“Really? I don’t feel any more ready than when we started.”

“You may not feel that way yet, but this is a really great start. Don’t forget that this is just the first practice date. Just like with every field of study, you’ll get better the more you do it. The next time we practice, I have something in mind that may make you feel more ready. I’ll think you’ll like it when you see it.”

“Huh. I see what you mean. Are you really sure I’m learning anything?”

“Spike, believe me, you never feel like you’re learning anything on the first day. Then the next few days pass, and you’ll realize you’re learning things you never considered, and before you know it, you’re a master at whatever it is you’re studying. Trust me, with the second date, you’ll see what I mean.”

Spike nodded. “I believe you. Guess I’m just nervous.”

“Great! So that’s the end of the first practice date.”

“Really? Come on, we just started.”

“I know, but it’s the first practice session, after all. Don’t worry, though, the second date is this afternoon. Join me in the map room, and I’ll show you the next part of the lesson.”

“Okay, then. I just hope I’m not going too fast. I want to make sure I’m not missing anything.”

“And you won’t. Just trust me on this.”

With that settled, they went on their own ways to do whatever chores they needed to do for today, Twilight with the few royal duties she had for the day, mostly document signing, and Spike making sure he would be ready for the next trip to the Dragon Lands next month.

He just hoped Twilight knew what she was doing. To say he had a lot riding on this would be an understatement.

Author's Note:

The real fun starts in the next chapter. At least, I think so.