• Member Since 20th May, 2012
  • offline last seen Last Friday

Zennistrad


Card game enthusiast, overambitious writer, Jeskai tempomancer, and general nerd of various kinds. Check out my works if you like adventure, card games, crossovers, or other random happenings.

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A newly-winged Spike has a frank conversation with Rarity about their relationship.

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 143 )

I've been making pretty much this exact point for four years now. I think it's high time more people start to see it that way.

The story itself is also well written, to the point where reading it actually made me think this could be an episode. Have a fave and an upvote from me.

Uh-oh, Rarity's in trouble now. And Spike, poor Spike.

*Upvote and putting on Tracking list.*

Very interesting, using a small moment from a recent episode to address the elephant in the room. Good work so far, I'll definitely be watching this one. :twilightsmile:

You thought... he knew? Yes, because children already holding down the local equivalent of a part-time job often go out of their way to do hours of back-breaking menial labor for their crushes without being paid in a field they've shown no deeper interest in. -_-

It's like... imagine you are a foal Rarity, and have yet to get over your crush on Blueblood. Now imagine him telling you that he would spend more time with you, if only he weren't so busy. So you spend practically all of your free time helping him with anything he needs doing, and he's always nice about it, always appreciative, but always expects you to be there, and always expects you to work your tail off for him for no real benefit. And while this is happening he never mentions your crush, despite knowing about it, and peppers you with little compliments, gifts, and signs of affection even as he goes out and dates other mares, never really discussing your feelings for him. Now imagine that you've been doing this for so long you've missed out on discovering your Talent, because you've spent so much time worrying about other people and other things, you never really had time to develop as a person, outside of a few personal desires and hobbies. How would all of this make you feel Rarity, as a child?

Imagine falling in love with this pony, after years of fantasizing about them, about being their wife, about becoming a princess and leading this idyllic, fairy tale life. Now imagine, that on the brink of heartbreak you finally confront him about his actions, and what does he say?

"Oh... that, I can't just marry any old commoner Rarity, I thought you knew?"

Not so rosy from the other side, now is it?

Spikes not that far off from thier age though lol, hes older then the cmc and not to far from twilight tbh, age gaps that our like 3-7 years ain't really that big of a deal

I'm not buying it.

Spike doesn't just do these things because he likes Rarity. A major part of his character is being The Number One Assistant. He likes helping out Twilight and Rarity where they need help and the real only time Rarity has taken advantage of Spike has been for the Fire Ruby.

And it's more his fault for choosing such a roundabout method for trying to convey his feelings rather than doing something far more direct. Especially considering his choice of trying to convey them go back to point one. He likes to help.

8986508

Rarity has proven to be aware of Spike's feelings for her, and having no problem about using them to her advantage. She has no excuse.

Then again, Twilight is at fault too, and maybe more. She raised Spike to be her assistant (read servant) all his life, knowingly or not.
He didn't go to school to learn a trade and start a personal career. And he never had friends or a social life on his own. His entire life has always revolved around serving Twilight.
He learned from birth affection is expressed through servitude to the beloved one. It really surprised his relationship with Rarity is so unhealthy?

I hope this story address Twilight's role in Spike's plight.

“So, uh,” said Spike, “what are you going to do with the dress, then?”

Keep it as a keepsake of the two of them spending time together?

“Spike,” she said, “I’m a grown mare. And as much as you’ve matured, by your own species’s standards you’re still just a child. I understand you’ve had feelings for me, but it just wouldn’t be acceptable for me return them.

Hurry up and become an Alicorn lady, that way you can wait out for him to reach his adult years.

She's acting so cold and rational, and gets all high and:

“Spike,” she said, “I’m a grown mare. And as much as you’ve matured, by your own species’s standards you’re still just a child. I understand you’ve had feelings for me, but it just wouldn’t be acceptable for me return them. Until now, I... I thought you knew this.”

Because she acted all cold and rational with all of her crushes... :trixieshiftright:

8986533

I'm aware. I plan on talking about some of this in the next chapter.

The thing about children is that they don't don't usually dedicate inordinate portions of their life solely to assisting other people. Spike is certainly the Number One Assistant, but the question isn't that he is, it's why he is.

None of the characters involved here are meant to be "more at fault", it's a story more about them not thinking to communicate their feelings, and dealing the consequences that result.

Spike... needs to learn how to have fun.

Wanderer D
Moderator

8986537 This statement is so full of head-canon it's almost amusing, but sadly just marks one of the many trends of fandom projection into the show.

---

Edit: To talk about the fic itself, I've generally tended to lean towards your interpretation of Rarity here. Albeit possibly a bit oblivious or something. Stories in which they come face to face to discuss that there really isn't an actual romantic relationship, and there was never one to begin with are always interesting to read and explore, IMO. Mostly because it reflects what the author thinks of the characters and their roles.

There are of course those that just want to blame one side or the other, and others who explore it from both sides of the equation. Regardless, Spike being young, it's bound to hurt, especially this being his first real crush so his reaction here is understandable.

Ri2

So, why is Rarity exploiting Spike to do menial labor worse than Twilight doing it?

Ouch, Rarity really stepped in it now, can't wait to see what will happen in the next chapter.

Ri2

8986576
Please, we all know that Starlight is probably next on the slate while Sunset gets absolutely zip.

Of course, even if there wasn't the age issue, she just might not be into him.

8986753
Maybe because Spike helps Rarity expecting something out of it. Rarity does know what this particular thing is, yet never bothers to correct it. The most she's ever given him are some gems which, while he appreciates, are not why he helps her in the first place.
Spike helps Twilight because that's part of his livelihood. He gets a place to live in exchange. It's what he lives for.
How wrong or right either of those things are is really up to interpretation.

Hmm. I'm not sure how to feel about this one just yet. I'm going to reserve my judgement until I see the rest. Still, it's certainly an interesting angle to work with.

(Also, when Rarity said she'd recycle the dress, I couldn't help bit think that Sunset Shimmer felt a sense of vague disappointment without ever knowing why.)

8986753

The easy answer here would be that Spike doesn't have romantic feelings for Twilight, but that isn't quite the angle I intend to go for. Twilight's relationship with Spike raises a few questions of its own which I intend to address in the concluding chapter.

I wouldn't say that any character involved in this fic is "bad" by any means, but rather that they're all fallible in their own ways and have things to learn about communicating and relating to each other in a healthy fashion.

8986775
Agreed. I'm going to see where this leads, though it's already a good thing this isn't another one of those stories condemning Rarity for taking Spike up on it when he offers to help her. I mean, you have people in the comment section claim Spike only gets a few gems sometimes in return, apparently forgetting the bowtie or the kiss on the cheek.

Why do I have the feeling that MLP is gonna have a FOP "Here's Chole!" moment in a attempt to break and tackle the Sparity situation in the near future?

Or at least, have a acutal episode where Spike actually calls Rarity on all of her BS and he realizes for himself that his crush for her has to end and he looks at someone else that he crushes on (one that actually kinda has something for him as well)...

Wanderer D
Moderator

8986826 Or maybe the lesson learned is that just because you want something really bad it doesn't mean you're gonna get it?

Oh Spike, you're the show's Butt Monkey and you always will be. The writers just toss you a bone every now and then.

But afterward, you're right back under hoof where you belong! :trollestia:

8986843 That's why you TAKE OVER THE WORLD AND DOMINATE ALL LIFE!!!

THEN you get what you want! :trixieshiftright:

Really liked this chapter and story idea. Everyone else has grown both physically and mentally. Time for Spike to get his turn, seeing that the writers are probably going to push this aside or not explore it.

Good job. Let the drama continue. :applejackunsure:
After Spike's long flight!:rainbowdetermined2:

8986533

And it's more his fault for choosing such a roundabout method for trying to convey his feelings rather than doing something far more direct.

Honestly, this is close to victim blaming. You yourself pointed out that his behavior is learned behavior, and you also already mentioned who conditioned him that way: Twilight. Honestly, I think her relationship with him isn't exactly healthy either. So what exactly is she? His foster mother? Older sister? Employer? Even if we assume she pays him a fair wage for his job as Number One Assistant, these roles still really don't go together well. This form of upbringing produces a person who acts like Spike towards everyone he's interested in almost by necessity.

...But even if we assume that he's the only one to blame for his learned behavior, it would still be Rarity's obligation to make her feelings for him - or rather lack thereof - perfectly clear and not take advantage of his codependent behavior.

I really liked this chapter, but when is the next one coming out

8986785
Yeah, to make this point clear, I also don't see Twilight or Rarity as being intentionally malicious. It's not completely unintentional either, they both have an idea that something is wrong. It's more like a blind spot. You're so used to something and it has become a part of your normal everyday life to such an extent that you don't see the truth of it any more even though it's directly in front of your nose. It happens to all of us, but it can be something that really needs to be overcome. In other words, I don't think they're outright malicious, but that doesn't mean I see them as blameless either. The idea of fallibility seems to be an appropriate concept here.

8986791
Oh, hi Derpsby. :twilightsmile:

Yeah, kisses on the cheek are cute gestures... but they become a different meaning if they make the receiving person believe that the giving person is expressing a feeling that they don't actually have. It's painfully obvious that Rarity has no romantic interest in Spike. Gestures that may seem romantic acquire a somewhat different meaning if you keep this fact in mind. The point is that Spike has wrong conceptions about Rarity and his relationship to him, Rarity knows it - and instead of dispelling these wrong conceptions, she fuels them. Now of course, one could say that she doesn't want to hurt his feelings - but that's just postponing the inevitable, isn't it?

8987010
What's wrong with service? Work is honorable. Spike exemplifies the classic virtue of loyalty.

8987054

What's wrong with service?

There's nothing wrong with voluntary service. There are a lot of things wrong with being conditioned to letting people take advantage of you, or taking advantage of someone who is conditioned that way.

We're talking about unhealthy relationships here. It is unhealthy to have someone who acts as both your mother figure and your employer. It is unhealthy to be romantically attached to someone who doesn't share your feelings and takes advantage of them to get favors from you. Yes, loyalty is a virtue, but one point of the show precisely is that the different virtues need to balance each other out. In this case, loyalty needs to be balanced by honesty.

8987010
That's a lot of headcanoning and if anything you're the one forcing him into the victim role here.

From when he's hatched to the present, we have no idea of who has truly "raised" him because for all we know it was Celestia or Twilight Velvet or all three who did it.

And you're acting like they conditioned him into negative behavior. Which is assuming they actually did that or if he came about that type of personality himself. Nevermind he's learned to be responsible. To be helpful. Rather than be some obnoxious child that has to have everyone else clean up his messes and be told to do something.

You're also assuming that she doesn't give him sort of reward or allowance for anything he does.

Lastly, you're also assuming Rarity even knows of his feelings, at least canonically.

8987095

From when he's hatched to the present, we have no idea of who has truly "raised" him because for all we know it was Celestia or Twilight Velvet or all three who did it.

Now that's what I call headcanon. I guess it's technically possible, but most of what we see in the show points to the contrary.

And you're acting like they conditioned him into negative behavior. Which is assuming they actually did that or if he came about that type of personality himself.

Yup, people come about a personality themselves somehow. It's totally not their environment, the relationships with the people around them and the expectations set up for them that shapes their personalities. Personalities just magically pop into existence.

I'm not saying he was conditioned intentionally. I'm saying the way he was raised caused it. It doesn't matter how you frame it or who taught him this: This type of behavior is a kind of learned behavior. You yourself said it: A large part of his character is being the Number One Assistant - and that's an acquired part of his personality almost by definition.

Nevermind he's learned to be responsible. To be helpful. Rather than be some obnoxious child that has to have everyone else clean up his messes and be told to do something.

Or in other words: He was never allowed to have a proper childhood.

8987106
...

What the hell? How is learning to be a responsible child that isn't an obnoxious burden on those raising you "not having a proper childhood"?

8987111
Number One Assistant isn't normally a job you give to a child.

There is a reason why we don't normally give children the same responsibilities as adults. We don't do it because it's unhealthy for a child's development. Against the backdrop of this fact, the concept of a "responsible child" rings hollow. I know what you mean by that, but that's simply not what's going on here.

Wanderer D
Moderator

8987010

Honestly, this is close to victim blaming.

That's BS.

First of all, Spike is only a victim of his own desires. He's a kid with a crush. Saying that he's also responsible for not being to start discerning how things are not what he wants is not victim blaming. Spike is not a victim. The only way he would be a victim is if you turn everything upside down to justify your opinion.

Even ifwe assume she pays him a fair wage for his job as Number One Assistant, these roles still really don't go together well. This form of upbringing produces a person who acts like Spike towards everyone he's interested in almost by necessity.

That's... BS too.

Just more "spikabuse!" conspiracy theory. Spike has everything he could ever desire, all the support, love and encouragement to succeed in what he wants or needs. He has responsibilities that he chose to take on his own. He doesn't get ordered around, or abused or is demanded to do anything unreasonable. In fact, the only times he does unreasonable things, it's because he insists on going somewhere or doing something he shouldn't. Again, to drill the point in further: he's a child. A child. He might be smart and capable, but he's still a kid. He just recently hit puberty in the show, if you want to take it that way. He's acting this way because he is not ready to act as an adult would in a romantic relationship and it was the only thing he could think of because he was too shy to say it outright. He's doing nice things for Rarity because he wants to be nice to her, and yes, he wants her adoration, but there's no one here forcing him to do anything, nor messing up his development.

It's not "learned behaviour" it's being defensive against something that scared him when he was younger and compensating for it by doing something he is already good at: helping others. And he does that for ANYONE in MLP. He's done it for AJ, Pinkie, Starlight and the Crusaders. So yeah. Your theory fits if you want to turn everything around and scrunch it up to fit that box.

it would still be Rarity's obligation to make her feelings for him - or rather lack thereof - perfectly clear and not take advantage of his codependent behavior

And this is particularly strong BS. The BS that makes you wave your hand in front of your nose in the futile attempt to disperse the smell, but it just lingers.

It is also my main real peeve, with Sparity: the idea that Rarity is responsible or owes it to anyone to do anything. If we go by your metric, she's the victim of consistent amorous persecution from someone she has no interest in but would most likely feel guilty for hurting. If we go by a more rational sense, she simply owes him nothing. She is not obligated to date him because he wants it. She is not obligated to be his mom. She's not obligated to break his heart or to say anything at all.

There is no obligation from her to Spike. It's shitty if she were intentionally stringing him on. But is she? There is no canonical absolute certainty that she is doing such a thing. So let me repeat: she doesn't owe him anything. She's not taking advantage of his behaviour, especially if he displays the same willingness to help ANYONE. It's not limited to her.

We know that he's infatuated with her, because we see everything in the show from outside. Including the little hearts in his eyes and his attempts to say something to her when she's already walking away. To go back to the point above, he has never actually confronted her with his actual, real feelings.

So she owes it to him to clarify that it is not going to ever happen? Why? How is that her responsibility, when he hasn't made an attempt to communicate that to her without any room for error? She gets presents all the time. From everyone. She gifts EVERYONE something. Why would she interpret a specific gift from him as something other than given in earnest friendship and appreciation?

Please.

8987122

Saying that he's also responsible for not being to start discerning how things are not what he wants is not victim blaming.

I love how you guys contradict yourselves. You insist that he's just a child, but you expect him to have the emotional maturity of an adult. I guess that's also learned behavior, since that contradiction is displayed in the show itself by how other characters act towards Spike.

Again, to drill the point in further: he's a child. A child.

And also someone with a job as Number One Assistant. Wrap your head around that contradiction. Does that qualify as child labor? If not, why not?

He's acting this way because he is not ready to act as an adult would in a romantic relationship and it was the only thing he could think off because he was too shy to say it outright. He's doing nice things for Rarity because he wants to be nice to her, and yes, he wants her adoration, but there's no one here forcing him to do anything, nor messing up his development.

Taking advantage of someone's good will does not necessarily require force. It only requires dishonesty.

Rarity is dishonest with Spike. At the very least she's not as straightforward with him as she should be. And she benefits from not being. That's a fact. From what we've seen in the show, I don't see how that could be reasonably disputed. I'm not saying Rarity is malicious or outright abusive. I'm just saying she acts irresponsibly.

If we go by a more rational sense, she simply owes him nothing. She is not obligated to date him because he wants it.

Of course she isn't obligated to date him. As a matter of fact, I think she shouldn't date him - like, ever. What she does owe him is honesty. ...Then again, that's Applejack's strong suit, not hers.

So she owes it to him to clarify that it is not going to ever happen? Why? How is that her responsibility, when he hasn't made an attempt to communicate that to her without any room for error? She gets presents all the time. From everyone. She gifts EVERYONE something. Why would she interpret a specific gift from him as something other than given in earnest friendship and appreciation?

Yes, I already said it was a blind spot of sorts. I'm not trying to vilify Rarity. I genuinely think this isn't malice, it's just a matter of her being a flawed individual. But that doesn't mean that she's blameless. It just doesn't.

........daaaaaaaaamn........

8986647
EXACTLY!!!! Look at her and Blueblood, she had a crush on him just because of his social standing and his looks. He never even talked to him before.

8986753 The difference that I see is that it's pretty much just doing home chores for you family.

I really liked the story so far, even though I usually avoid anything "sad" tagged. Made me think of Spike's characterisation, which has been all over the place. BUT! On the topic of being a loner all his life, Spike has shown remarkable social skills, especially compared to the (at the start of the series) anti-social Twilight. I don't really think he's been lonely or forced into servitude or anything. He's made a lot of new friends, has "boy's nights" and hobbies to relax with. Only thing I'd like to see from him is to finally realise that his crush on Rarity is just that, a crush. All kids have them for someone, and then they grow out of it. It's a healthy step into adolescence and social interactions in the future.

I also ship SpikEmber. :twilightsmile:

Wanderer D
Moderator

8987138

I love how you guys contradict yourselves. You insist that he's just a child, but you expect him to have the emotional maturity of an adult.

Maybe I should break this one down for you because the concept seems to elude you.
"Saying that he's also responsible for not being able to start discerning how things are not what he wants is not victim blaming."

Means that: just because we understand the fact that he doesn't get it, it doesn't mean that we're blaming the victim.

There. Is that more clear? OR do you still that's a contradiction?

And also someone with a job as Number One Assistant. Wrap your head around that contradiction. Does that qualify as child labor? If not, why not?

I hate to burst your bubble, but "Number 1 Assistant" is not an official job. It's an endearing term from Twilight . You understand the difference? There is no contract. It's not a degree or a technical diploma that you get. Furthermore, if you want to get even more clear on this: your values are not the values of a bunch of ponies and dragons living in a monarchy. AND, again, It. Is. Not. A. Real. Job. It is him wanting to be useful and having a title of endearment.

That is not servitude, slavery or a job. That is what a parent calls their kid when they help them fix the car by passing them the tools they need to do so.

Great to see Spike showing some spine. I'd love it if he did this in the show.

8987149

Means that: just because we understand the fact that he doesn't get it, it doesn't mean that we're blaming the victim.

Honestly, you're grasping for straws. There are a lot of things wrong with what you just said. First of all, I didn't say it was victim blaming, I said it was close to victim blaming. Secondly, I didn't accuse you at all, since I was talking to kztxl7 when I made that accusation. And third, that's not how the conversation between him and me went down at all.

This is what kztxl7 actually wrote and what I responded to:
8986533

And it's more his fault for choosing such a roundabout method for trying to convey his feelings rather than doing something far more direct.

That's what this was about. This is no "understanding acknowledgement of the fact that he doesn't get it". This is a shameless accusation of Spike for not getting it.

I hate to burst your bubble, but "Number 1 Assistant" is not an official job. It's an endearing term from Twilight . You understand the difference.

If it's not a paid job, that actually makes things even worse. It's not even ultimately about payment or contracts. You do not make a child your assistant. It's not a position you give to someone who you believe isn't mature enough to hold it. Either Spike is a child and Twilight understands that, then she shouldn't have given him this position. Or Spike is a child and Twilight doesn't understand it, then that raises a few really ugly questions as well.

Furthermore, if you want to get even more clear on this: your values are not the values of a bunch of ponies and dragons living in a monarchy.

I'm not going to discuss value relativism here because that would derail the conversation completely. If you really want to debate me on that, send me a PM. For the intents and purposes of this conversation, let's just say I disagree.

When it comes down to it, this isn't even about "values". It's about known psychological facts.

That is not servitude, slavery or a job. That is what a parent calls their kid when they help them fix the car by passing them the tools they need to do so.

Except there is a difference between calling a child that once as a means of endearment, and reinforcing it repeatedly and connecting it with certain expectations until it becomes an integral part of their perceived identity.

8987148

I don't really think he's been lonely or forced into servitude or anything.

To be clear, that's also not what I was saying. I know there are people who think there's something like forced servitude going on here, but I'm not one of them. I'm saying the way Rarity and to an extent Twilight treat him is unhealthy. I'm not saying it's outright abusive. When it comes down to it, my position is fairly moderate in comparison.

Only thing I'd like to see from him is to finally realise that his crush on Rarity is just that, a crush.

Yeah, that's kind of my point as well. Hell, he might still help her out now and then as a friend afterwards. What he does need to develop is the ability to say No to someone - Rarity in particular. Incidentally, I think he won't just learn that all on his own. Most people don't learn it all on their own. In this story, it's Starlight who gives him a push in the right direction. I think my point is that this is something I believe he should have been taught a long time ago.

8987149
Oh yeah, I spotted another little oddity in this conversation that I think needs to be addressed.

Wanderer D said:
8987149

That is what a parent calls their kid when they help them fix the car by passing them the tools they need to do so.

On the other hand, kztxl7 said:
8987095

From when he's hatched to the present, we have no idea of who has truly "raised" him because for all we know it was Celestia or Twilight Velvet or all three who did it.

I know these two comments came from two different people... but it does raise the question again: Is Twilight a mother figure for Spike or isn't she? Incidentally, if Spike is still a child, that means the process of raising him isn't even complete yet - which invalidates xztxl7's point. I tend to agree with Wanderer D here: Twilight is a mother figure of sorts for Spike. (I'm not even saying she's doing an all-out bad job with that. I'm just pointing out her mistakes.)

Wanderer D
Moderator

8987173 I tend to butt into these kinds of discussions with sometimes worrying frequency.

Looks like the little dragon is finally growing up.

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