• Published 11th Jan 2018
  • 5,488 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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Pinkie Gonna Pinkie, Even At 10,000 Feet

To the surprise of nopony at all, Twilight delayed the following date by a day. She explained to Spike that she needed more time to make it just right, given the mare she handpicked for this task. The news put him on edge; if Twilight Sparkle needed more time to organize something, that meant things were about to go very, very good, or very, very bad. There was no middle ground for her.

When he woke up the following morning, he found a note next to his bed, saying the time and place for the next part of his training. It grabbed his attention when he realized the location was Sugar Cube Corner. Did that mean...no way. There was no way Twilight would think Pinkie was the pony to use for this occasion. That would be the craziest thing ever, which only made it more likely.

The date was set for noon. Spike went to his dresser and pulled out a pair of jeans, a green polo shirt, and a matching color jacket to go along with it. It was supposed to be a little on the cool side outside, so it wouldn’t hurt to dress a little warmly. He spotted a set of armor to the side of his usual clothes. Ember gave the set to him as a present recently, and given his potential date, it might just come in handy. There was no telling what antics Pinkie might be up to. Still, he decided against it and closed the dresser.

Before he walked out the door to the great outdoors, he braced himself for the idea that he might actually be going out on a kinda-sorta date with Pinkie Pie. Whatever would happen today was going to be noteworthy. Oh, would it ever.

Just as he expected, the weather was a little on the cool side. Not too bad, but it was definitely jacket weather. It was a little overcast for the day, so there were clouds everywhere you looked. Spike zipped up his jacket and made his way through Ponyville, heading over to the Corner to see what he was in for.

Sugar Cube Corner was largely the same charming store through the years. A few minor renovations and new coats of paint kept it up through the wear and tear, but the store never changed too much from its original design. Spike knocked on the door and waited patiently for his date.

To his surprise, Twilight answered the door. She sported a blue jacket on top of a simple black blouse and capri pants. Guess he wasn’t the only one wanting to dress warm. “Hey, you’re here ahead of schedule by a good five minutes. Good thing, too. Pinkie needed the extra time to get everything ready.”

Spike gulped in horror. “I knew you were setting me up with Pinkie! Okay, it’s not a real date, but she scares me sometimes. She’s a good friend but when she goes too far, she really goes too far.”

“Don’t worry. Pinkie’s always been really nice with you, and I helped her with the date myself. I think you’re going to like it when you see what we came up with.”

“Fine. I just hope you know what you’re doing.” He was about to head inside the Corner, but Twilight halted him in his tracks.

“We’re not doing it here, Spike. You see, Pinkie really wanted to do something special, so she went out of the box, like she tends to do. That’s why we waited until today. What she has in store only really works in the daytime.”

Yep, this date was going to be as crazy as he feared. Oh well. At least she knew how to put a smile on somepony’s face in the middle of her craziness. He followed Twilight down to a valley just out of town. HIs mind was racing at all the possibilities that could come from this. Did Pinkie throw a happy date party? Did she follow Twilight’s example and make a fake diner with nothing but cardboard? With this pony, it was possible. She was just as insane and reality breaking as Discord, so that wasn’t too much of a stretch. Once they arrived at the valley, he stood in awe of the sight in front of him.

Pinkie was hard at work getting a hot air balloon ready for the two of them. She was wearing a jacket like everypony else, too, but it was a flight jacket, and she even had flight goggles for what she was about to do. The balloon was exactly what one would expect: The basket at the bottom was big enough to have two chairs to enjoy the sights, and the balloon design sported sketches of all six of the Elements’ cutie marks. Just to be nice, though, a cartoon of Spike’s face sat right in the middle.

“A hot air balloon ride? That’s actually kinda awesome,” Spike admitted. “I might be able to fly all the time, but nothing beats a ride on one of these.”

“The ride was Pinkie’s idea, and I thought it would be perfect for your next date,” said Twilight. “So you’re going to go up there, join Pinkie for a ride, and let your experience do the rest. And don’t worry if you’re nervous or anything like that. There’s so many clouds out here, so I’ll try to find a cloud nearby and be available if you need some help.”

“Almost makes me think you made it overcast on purpose. Either way, that’s a relief. Let’s go do this thing.” Without further ado, he went down the valley and headed for his ride.

Pinkie was hard at work getting the ride ready by the control panel. “Maximum heat for the balloon, check. Ropes, check. Totally awesome lunch with Spike, check,” she noted. There was a smaller basket with a blanket over it. Judging from the smell, she made something really good earlier that morning. “Huh. That was easy.” She pulled away from her handiwork to catch Spike coming by. “Oh hi, Spike. Did you come here to fly with me? Of course you did, but you have wings and everything. You don’t need silly old me to go flying, but nothing beats a hot air balloon ride, right?”

“Yeah. I’ve been flying for years, but this is way more relaxing,” Spike greeted her, gazing up at the balloon above him. “That looks amazing. Did you make it yourself?”

“I can’t make a balloon that big myself, silly. I can make the perfect cake, but really big balloons are hard. I found this really nice pony that makes big balloons all the time, and he let me design it myself, but then I thought ‘hey, Spike is a big part of our group, so we need him in there!’ And then we did. What do you think?”

“It looks...cute.” Then he caught the scent of the food in the basket. “Did you bring lunch? I’m starving.”

“Yep. Flying is no fun on an empty stomach, but flying AND eating is a lot of fun. So, you ready to go on a fake date? I’ve never been on a fake date, but I could pretend to be your girlfriend and we could say sappy things to each other. I’ve never done that before!” She squeaked and grinned from cheek to cheek.

“You don’t have to do that, Pinkie. It just means a lot that you’re helping at all.” He climbed into the ride and got himself ready for takeoff. He waved over to Twilight to indicate he was ready. Twilight nodded and spread her wings, going up into the clouds to be ready once they joined her up in the atmosphere.

“Alright, let’s go flying! Well, more like sit down while the balloon does all the work, but that’s almost like flying if you’re a lazy pegasus!” She cut all the bindings loose with Spike’s help, and with nothing else getting in the way, the balloon took off.

Spike had years of flying experience, but the feeling of lifting up into the sky never got old. The ground below got smaller as the clouds came up to greet him. He marveled as the balloon was a hundred feet up in the air, then over five hundred, then there was no way he could keep track. Birds flew all around them as he could see all of Ponyville from his seat. Pinkie steered the ride to bring them between Ponyville and the surrounding mountain ranges. If Spike took a peek in a certain direction, he couldn’t just see Canterlot from here, he would be able to spot the library that he once called home.

Even up here, It didn’t take him long to spot Twilight sitting on a cloud closeby. She still had her wings spread out in case she needed to go elsewhere, but she looked thrilled with what she was seeing so far. She waved to her dragon friend and hoped for the best from here.

“This never gets old,” he said to Pinkie. “The cool air on your scales, the current carrying your wings, all of it. I didn’t get why Dash liked coming up here all the time, and then I got my wings. Didn’t take long for me to see the appeal.”

“That and you can make a side business of it, too,” Pinkie added. She unzipped her jacket to reveal she was sporting a graphic T-shirt for her business. “Pinkie’s Balloon Tours Around Equestria, where you can see everything from a pegasus’s view! I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but Earth Ponies and Unicorns love it! Who knew. Oh yeah. I forgot to do the other thing. We are out on a date, after all.”

She pulled the blanket off of the smaller basket, and Spike was more than a little amused by what was inside. Despite the fact that the package was small, it spread out to reveal a full blown three course meal for the two of them. They shared the same appetizer with a few donuts apiece. Main course was a salad for Pinkie(she did need real food every now and then) and a giant fire ruby for Spike. Desert was a couple of huge slices for each of them.

“How did you make all that stuff in a basket that tiny--nevermind. I don’t know the answer now and I’ll never know for sure,” Spike interrupted himself.

“Eh, it’s just practice,” Pinkie answered. “Even though I’m helping you with your issues, I really should be thanking you.”

“Huh? What am I even doing?”

“Well, that fire ruby just gave me the idea of taking my catering business to the Dragon Lands, because what dragon ISN’T hungry, and I made a lot of food today, and that could be helpful because, and don’t tell anypony this, I heard the Cakes want to give me the Sugar Cube Corner and retire after they save enough money for their kids, and I’m just happy to help any friend in need!” She pulled all of this off in one breath.

Spike couldn’t believe his ears. Years of hearing Pinkie talk like this, and he still wasn’t used to it. He glanced back at Twilight with a “can you believe this?” look. Twilight shrugged and mouthed off “hey, this is like that small talk I told you about, maybe you should do that with her?”

Fair point. He picked up a glazed donut and had a bite before practicing that theory. “That’s pretty cool. Just look out for Garble if you ever go up there. He’s red and yellow, has sharp teeth, and you’ll know him when he says ‘what’s a puny pony doing here?’”

“That big meanie dragon? I’ve heard everything about him.” Pinkie’s mane deflated for a moment, before it reinflated along with the balloon. “At least it’s just one big bad dragon. Dragons really warmed up to ponies ever since that Fire Gauntlet or what’s-its-name you did. Especially Ember. She’s awesome!”

Spike turned again to Twilight to make sure he was doing okay. The princess had to jump to another cloud that was further away, but he could spot a thumbs up anywhere. He went back to business and had himself a second donut. However, he dropped his meal as soon as he saw where the balloon was heading. “Um, Pinkie, are we in Cloudsdale?”

“Maybe. That is one stop on the tour. Is something wrong?”

“I’m pretty sure we just by the Wonderbolts’ camp.”

Pinkie glanced over to see what he meant, and sure enough, she caught several Wonderbolts come within inches of hitting the balloon. Their training facility was just right below them, and the Bolts that weren’t almost crashing into them were on the ground, wondering just what the hay they were witnessing. Spitfire, in particular was not exactly happy. Neither was Rainbow Dash, standing right next to her.

“Who broke protocol and let a hot air balloon get within range of camp again? This is the third time this month,” Spitfire barked.

Rainbow Dash covered her eyes and groaned. “Pinkie…”

“Huh, guess you were right. Don’t worry, this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last,” Pinkie said. She went to the steering controls and spun the wheel right around. It didn’t take long to steer the ride away from camp, and she brought them right over the heart of Cloudsdale. Spike wasn’t surprised to see a lot of pegasi stopping to figure out what exactly was flying through their town. Spotting an Element of Harmony and that one Crystal Empire saving dragon inside the ride made them realize this wasn’t a threat or anything, but it was still a surreal image.

Spike had to take a moment to breathe in and out. “Wow. I thought we were gonna die or make somepony else die. We’re totally okay. We are going to be fine.”

“Why wouldn’t we be okay? I’ve been riding one of these things for three years now, so I know what I’m doing.” Pinkie locked the controls into place and went back to her seat, bringing the salad to her lap and having at it. “Hey, Twilight told me all about what’s going on with you, and I kinda felt bad about it, but I have something that might just help you out. If you wanna hear something from your Auntie Pinkie, that is.”

Spike was just busy making sure they didn’t bump into a building along the way. “What? You said something? Oh. Sorry, just keeping an eye on things. What do I have to do again?”

“Dating is really confusing and I don’t really talk to stallions, so I don’t know if this will help or just make things worse, but it’s easy peasy if you just let go.”

“Let go of what?” His mind was running on so much adrenaline, it took five seconds for him to register anything she was saying. They were going so fast, the thought of bumping into a building was still fresh on his mind.

“Let go of things. Don’t worry about it. If you don’t get it right today, you could always try tomorrow. Well, with dating, at least. It doesn’t work if you procrastinate on saving the world. But it’s easy to let go of everything else. Like this!” She stood up, took a look at the sky below, and jumped out of the ride without warning.

Spike’s jaw hit to the floor. “PIIIINKIIIIIIIIEEEEEE!” He sprinted to the side of the basket and got his wings out to save her, only to stop when he saw what she was up to.

Pinkie was wearing a bungee cord around her ankles, having put them on without him knowing. She laughed at the top of her lungs as she bounced around the city of Cloudsdale, almost fitting the side of the buildings, only to pull away at just the right time. That was a relief to Spike and the worst possible image he could imagine, all at the same time.

“Let me pull you up!” he said as he started reeling her in, getting her back into the basket as quick as possible. While he was doing that, he noticed Twilight was close by the ride, having flown in to rescue Pinkie as well. When she realized what Pinkie was really doing, she went back to the nearest cloud, still hyperventilating at the mere thought. Pinkie, however, was being Pinkie.

“Don’t look up my skirt! Wait, I’m wearing pants. Nevermind,” she joked. She climbed back into the basket a few seconds later. “See what I mean? I let go, I didn’t think about it, and I had a lot of fun. If you want, you could try it after me.”

“No no no no no, I can’t. Just...what were you thinking?” He took the fire ruby and started to stress eat like crazy.

“Come on, you’re telling me that wasn’t the most fun thing in the world? Oh well. I guess everypony has their own idea of letting go.” She went back to her seat and finished the rest of her salad like she wasn’t dangling over Cloudsdale a few minutes ago. “Oh hey, you’re eating that gem I found in the mountains. Do you like it?”

Spike finally realized what he was eating, and his next bite was a little slower to savor the flavor. “Yeah, it’s good. It’s really juicy and crunchy. It must be the hardest thing to make a gem for a dragon like me. Thanks for putting in the effort and everything.”

“You think that’s hard? The hardest thing I’ve ever done is babysit the Cake Twins for the first time. Or was it going to Yakyakistan for the first time? First times are really hard. Maybe it was when I made that ten layer cake? What am I saying, ten layers are nothing. A fifty layer cake is when it gets tough. Add chocolate on top of that, and I don’t think even Luna could make it, and she’s an alicorn…”

She kept going, and going, and going. Spike was amazed how a pony could continue for this long, but then again, it was Pinkie. However, he was beginning to wonder if he bombed during this date, given how most of it was handling Pinkie’s antics, and he lowered his head at the thought.

Twilight picked up on that and flew in just behind Spike, right outside the basket. “You’re doing really well. Granted, I might have had a heart attack when she went bungee jumping, but you’re doing exactly what you should be doing. The small talk was nothing, and you even complimented her for making the gem. Looks like you were listening in class.”

“Are you really sure? Just listen to her right now.”

“...but Somnambula said you could totally do anything if you’re blindfolded, as long as you trust your other four senses. But she’s never poked a manticore in the butt by accident. Then again, I think a centaur might kick you in the face if you did that, I don’t need to ask Tirek to know that…”

“Look, I know Pinkie’s a little out there, but that’s just how she is. I think you’re doing a wonderful job,” Twilight comforted him, giving him a pat on the back. “Just remember what I taught you and you’ll be fine. I have to go for now, though. I heard Dash might have been injured back there.” She took off back to the Wonderbolts’ camp, leaving him alone with the pink one.

He sighed and brought his attention back to Pinkie. He didn’t stop her, but her ramblings blurred together after a while. His mind finally started to cool down after almost crashing into a few Wonderbolts AND seeing Pinkie bungee jump without warning, but the expression on his face started to give away how weary it had made him.

Somehow, in the middle of all that, Pinkie noticed it as well. “What’s wrong? Am I doing something that’s making you upset?”

“Not really. I’m just not used to this is all. Not just what you did, but the whole dating thing. I’m kinda scared I’m messing it up.”

“Hey, what did I say?” Pinkie interrupted, getting real stern and pointing a finger at Spike. “Let. Go. You could always go bungee jump with me if that would help. Never did it with a friend before.”

“I don’t think we need to do that,” Spike replied, scared at the mere thought of that. He picked up his slice of cake with a plate and ate the icing off of it.

“Hey, I did want to ask something since we’re talking about it. What’s your dream mare like?”

“That’s a really weird thing to ask. Why do you ask?”

“Well, let’s be honest, it’s not going to happen between the two of us. You never really liked me that way, and I’m okay with that. If this whole fake date thingy helps you find a mare that makes you happy, I’m happy. But I was wondering what kind of mare you would like, since it’s not going to be Rarity anymore.”

That was a good point to him, and he gave it a moment to ponder it. “To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it. I always knew in my heart that Rarity was the one, but I’m moving on now. So, when I think about what I want in a partner, I guess I would like her to be really beautiful.”

“Mares are really good at that,” Pinkie snickered.

:”Heh, yeah. But I don’t want my mare to be just a pretty face. I also want her to be really smart. Like, one of the smartest ponies in Equestria. If she knows things that I don’t know, that’s great. That means she can show me things I never considered, and if it makes me smarter, I’m all for it.”

“Note taken. Anything else?”

“There is one last thing, probably the most important of all. When we’re together, I want to be able to know she can support me when I need it. I’m not always going to be happy, and there will be moments where I’m miserable. It would be nice to have somepony to lean on when that happens. I would like to do the same for her, too. If she needs a shoulder to rest on, I want to do that for her. It should be a two way street between us. We need to be able to trust each other when it counts.”

“Um, Spike, can I say something and you won’t get upset or angry at me?”

“Go ahead. I doubt you can catch me off guard at this point.” If reality had a voice, it would tell him to hold its beer.

“If I had to be honest, like in a good way, that sounds a lot like Twilight to me.”

And then she did the impossible and caught him off guard at this point. He almost fell over in his chair and couldn’t understand the mere thought of it. “Twilight? With me?”

“Well, yeah. She’s really cute and smart. And you’ve come through for her in the tough moments, she’s come through for you in the tough moments, get what I’m saying?”

“Yes. I mean, n-no! I mean, nevermind. It’s that…” His mind raced at all the ways he could change the topic. He needed to. “You know, I never realized you were so good at hot air balloons! How did you do this for three years, and I just now found out about it?”

“That’s easy. One day, I was walking through Canterlot, and I stumbled upon a whole school on hot air balloon rides. How could I turn that down? That’s the best idea for a school ever! So I went to the school and signed right up, but the lobby was really smelly, like a chicken died or something. I almost left over that.. Thank Celestia I changed my mind, right? Then I went up to the desk…”

Just as Spike had hoped, she went back to her rambling, just when he needed it. It would give him some time to process the craziest suggestion of all time. Since she went into extreme detail with her story, he would have all the time in the world.

Was she really right? Was Twilight the perfect mare for him? Did she ever consider the fact that Twilight kinda-sorta adopted him the moment after he hatched? Did she even care? No matter what, it only added to the already heavy weight on his heart. It was getting so heavy, it was proving to be unbearable. Deep down, however, he had to admit that Pinkie’s suggestion struck a chord with him, as if he heard some hidden truth for the first time.

He couldn’t believe himself. Was he really taking these thoughts seriously? Twilight would hate it if he came clean about this. They were virtually siblings, after all. Or was it really like that at all? They weren’t in the same species when he thought about it. But why he still thinking about it? Why couldn’t he just let go, like Pinkie suggested? It should be easy for someone like him.

And yet…

“Spike? Earth to Spike? You know we landed, right?” Pinkie interrupted.

“Huh?” Spike’s thought bubble popped, and he realized that they really did land already. The hot air balloon was back on solid ground, and Pinkie had already cleaned up the basket from leftovers and silverware. “How long have we been here?”

“We just got here, actually. Hey, could you help me deflate the balloon and help get it back to storage? It won’t take long, and it will help take your mind off whatever it is you’re thinking about.”

“Right. I’m so sorry. It’s just me being stupid. Let’s go ahead and get it done.”

For the next half hour, Spike and Pinkie deflated the balloon together, taking it to a storage facility once they were done. It was a tough job, but it helped him relax and take it easy in the middle of it. Once they were done, he walked her back to her place home, finding it the right thing to do after such a long day.

“So, did that help you or anything?” she wondered. “I feel like I did and I didn’t. Does that make sense?”

“I know what you mean,” he mentioned, feeling like he was closer and further away from the solution to his pickle. “This was a big help, Pinkie. Thank you. It’s just that I realized I’m a huge, horrible romantic mess. At least I’m less of a mess than I was yesterday.”

“Oooh, so I didn’t mess it up. Well, you said you’re a mess, but a smaller mess is way better than a big mess. You’re getting there. And don’t forget, just let go.” She shut the front door to the Corner and headed for her bedroom. That left Spike by himself in the street, alone with his thoughts. Not something he wanted to deal with.

He started to head back to the castle, still just as confused as ever, when he heard somepony coming from behind. He turned around to see Twilight touch down on the ground in front of him. She had been through a long day herself, judging from all the sweat and dirt on her forehead.

“Was it that bad with Dash?” he asked. “We didn’t make her crash when we got close, did we?”

“She’s fine. Just collided with another Wonderbolt by mistake, but it was just a bruise or two. It happened after you left, so you’re fine,” Twilight explained. She wiped all the stuff off her forehead. “So how was the date?”

Spike grumbled and looked down at his feet. It felt like it took a Herculean effort to look her in the face by now. “It went okay. She’s still Pinkie, but she helped me realize a few things about myself. I’m still confused about the whole thing.”

“That’s perfectly normal. From what I saw, you did great.” She couldn’t help but find Spike’s behaviour weird, though. “Is something wrong?”

It took a lot of courage from Spike to bring his eyes back up her. “No, everything’s fine. Just been a long day, I guess. Do you have something planned for tomorrow?”

“Am I that predictable? Weird. If you want, I did book the next date for tomorrow, so I guess you read me pretty well. Out of all your dates so far, this one is probably the closest to a real date you’ll ever get to.”

Spike felt extremely conflicted at the news. A part of him was hoping it would be with Twilight, another part wished it wouldn’t be the case. “Who’s it with?”

“Apple Bloom, believe it or not. I figured she would be a perfect candidate, since she’s about your age. I asked if she wanted to volunteer this morning, and she was fine with it. If you would rather have somepony else, now’s probably the time to do it. The date’s tomorrow evening.”

Tell her you want to take her out, Spike. This is your chance to let her know how you feel!

“Sure. Apple Bloom’s a nice filly. Err, mare. Still getting used to that. So where’s the date at?”

“It’s a really awesome restaurant that just opened up last year, the Magic Wheatball. Probably the fanciest restaurant in town now. I’ll still be around the place if you need any help, but I think you’ve got this now.

“Good, good. I do feel better knowing you’ll be there if I screw it up, but it shouldn’t be that hard.” I can’t believe I just said that. She can’t know how I feel about her. That would be the end of me.

“Great. We’ll go pick her up at 7 in the afternoon, and the rest is up to you. But for now, let’s just call it a day. I don’t know about you, but I’m starving.”

“Go on ahead. I ate a lot of food with Pinkie, and I’ll meet you back home. I could use a bath after all that, anyways.”

“Alright, I’ll meet you there. Oooh, I can’t wait to see you knock it out of the park tomorrow!” With that business concluded, she went on her way to the nearest restaurant or cafe or whatever. She was so hungry that she would eat anything at this point.

Now that she was gone, Spike went home as fast as he could. Not just to take that back he desperately needed, but to have the place to himself. He would need a lot of time to think before the next date. The sooner he got rid of that heavy weight on his chest, the better. If he could ever get it off, that is.

Author's Note:

Funny story with this one. Originally, this chapter would just have Spike having his practice date with Pinkie at Twilight's kitchen, and that would be the way Twilight would make it feel "more like a real date". However, after I was done with the first three chapters, I felt like the story as a whole lacked a spark. Too much talking and not enough stuff going on beyond that.

So I hunkered down a few days ago and redid a lot of the outlining ideas for some of the chapters, and the final product of the Pinkie date is what you see here. The story beats are still the same(this would have made Spike realize his feelings no matter what) but the date concept itself couldn't be more different if it tried. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it was an improvement, but I thought it was, and it REALLY helped me find that "spark" I was looking for. Getting this just right was why this came out later than I expected, but it was worth it methinks.

And thank goodness Google Docs helped me realize I misspelled the name of Egyptian pone lol