• Published 2nd Aug 2020
  • 1,368 Views, 131 Comments

The Open Road - Krickis



After she marries Twilight and Fluttershy, nopony will stop talking about Sunset Shimmer. What was once her fondest wish has become a constant strain, so the three wives decide to get away from it all on a road trip through the human world.

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2 – Adventure on the High Seas

Chapter Two

Adventure on the High Seas

There was a balance to strike. Everyone wanted to make the most of their road trip through the human world, but they were doing it on someone else’s budget. Ever the generous one, Rarity didn’t give them a limit on what they could spend, but no one wanted to take advantage of her good nature.

Hotel rooms, food, and fuel for the motorcycle – they called it gas, but it was apparently a liquid, leaving Fluttershy confused – were all necessary expenses for their trip. Beyond that, they tried to save money where they could. They passed on the idea of visiting a human theme park, much to Spike’s dismay, and focused instead on finding things that would give them the most out of their money.

And sometimes, that meant not spending money at all. There didn’t seem to be a lot they could do that was completely free, but when they found something, they took advantage of it.

It was the third day of their trip, and it was one of their cheap days. It wasn’t completely free, but a trip to the beach cost them very little. It would have been free, except Sunset insisted they had to wear special clothes called bathing suits. Fluttershy didn’t really understand why it mattered when half the population had bodies like them anyway, but Sunset was adamant about it.

At least Sunset already had a couple bathing suits, and they fit Twilight well enough that she was able to just borrow one of them. Fluttershy, on the other hoof, was smaller than either of her wives, so they needed to buy one for her.

“So, uhm, how do I look?” Fluttershy asked as she modeled her new outfit.

“You look great, Shy!” Twilight asked.

“I’m almost surprised you went with a two-piece,” Sunset said with a smirk. “But I guess it actually makes sense.”

Fluttershy just nodded. Sunset had explained that some human mares preferred to wear one-piece bathing suits to be more modest. She seemed to think Fluttershy would prefer something like that, but since she didn’t see what the big deal was about keeping her body hidden away, Fluttershy had wound up picking a two-piece bathing suit since it was somewhat closer to how she went around in Equestria.

They left the beach store and walked down to the beach itself. They were all wearing their bathing suits already, although Sunset and Twilight also had their regular clothes on over them, and they had weird shoes called flip flops that Fluttershy found she quite preferred to her normal shoes. Spike, of course, got to wear nothing.

The store was right down the street from the beach, so it was a short walk. It was a nice day for a beach trip, too. The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze blowing. It was a little hot, but that just meant they had all the more reason to cool down in the water.

As soon as they reached the sand of the beach, Spike ran off ahead of them. “Wait until we’re there to go in the water!” Twilight called after him. If he heard her, he didn’t indicate.

“He’s a dog, swimming is gonna come easy for him,” Sunset said. “I’m more worried about you two.”

“Oh.” Fluttershy frowned. “Is it much harder to swim as a human?”

“Well, no.” Sunset smiled comfortingly. “It’s just kind of different, you know?”

Twilight nodded. “I expected we’d have to relearn how to swim in these bodies. It should be fun, though.”

Fluttershy looked down at the sand as they walked through it. She wasn’t sure she saw the appeal, now that she thought about it. What if something went wrong? She wasn’t as used to this body as Twilight and Sunset were to theirs, and she didn’t want something bad to happen when she was so far from home.

But she didn’t want to ruin anyone’s good time, so she just walked down towards the water with the others. It was a picturesque scene, with bright blue skies, not too many clouds, the ocean ebbing and flowing gently, and even a tiny island off in the distance.

Sunset laid out a beach blanket for them, and Fluttershy kicked off her flip flops. Sunset and Twilight pulled off their clothes, stripping down to their bathing suits. It struck Fluttershy as silly that it was okay to do that here, but they weren’t supposed to ever show their underwear, despite the fact that it covered the same amount of skin.

She didn’t bother to question it, though; Fluttershy had long since accepted that humans had weird and arbitrary views on showing off their bodies, which she would never understand.

Once she was down to her bathing suit, Sunset left the rest of her clothes on the towel and ran right into the water, jumping in as soon as she got waist deep. Twilight and Fluttershy hung back a bit, just going in enough to get their feet wet.

“Come on in, the water’s nice!” Sunset said.

Twilight grinned, but Fluttershy looked off down the beach. “Uhm, maybe we could just walk along the shore for a little bit?”

Twilight turned to her and cocked her head to the side. “You normally love the water, Shy.”

“What are you two talking about over there?” Sunset called. “Come on! I can show you how to swim!”

“You’re not nervous, are you, Shy?” Twilight asked.

“Uhm, maybe a little…” Fluttershy smiled at Twilight. “I think I just want to stay along the shore for now.”

“Well, okay, I’ll go with –”

Twilight was cut off by Spike running right past her and barrelling into the water, splashing both mares.

“That’s more like it,” Sunset said. She leaped at Spike and they both tumbled into the water, coming up a second later laughing.

“You two have fun,” Twilight called to them while waving. “Fluttershy and I are just going to go on a little walk.”

“Everything okay?” Sunset asked.

“We’re fine,” Fluttershy insisted. “I just wanted to walk around with my feet in the water for a little bit.”

“Alright, but if you two aren’t back soon, I’m gonna come and get you,” Sunset said with a grin.

“Not if I have anything to say about it!” Spike said, then pounced on Sunset. They went back down into the water laughing.

Twilight turned to Fluttershy and smiled. Rather than say anything, she reached her hand out, which Fluttershy took hold of with a smile of her own. They walked along the beach hand in hand, with the water washing over their feet.

“The water feels nice,” Twilight said as they walked.

“It does,” Fluttershy agreed. “I’ll go in soon, I just…”

“It’s okay.” Twilight grinned sheepishly. “I’m a little nervous about swimming too.”

“Really?”

“Well, sure.” Twilight shrugged. “I’m… not the most graceful person at the best of times. I’ll probably look pretty silly.”

Of course, that was the worst thing they reasonably had to worry about – looking a little silly. Thankfully, Fluttershy didn’t mind that in the slightest. “At least we’ll look silly together.”

“Yeah.” Twilight glanced back at the others. “Looks like Spike’s enjoying himself. Sunset was right, he knows just what to do in that body.”

“Hopefully it’ll be that easy for us.”

“Hopefully.” Twilight squeezed her hand. “And you know, it looked like Sunset could still stand where she was. We can always go in a little deeper but not go in too deep.”

“That’s true. But this is nice for now.”

The two of them walked with each other for a few minutes, keeping a slow and leisurely pace. It wasn’t like they had anywhere to get to, Fluttershy just needed the time to get past her anxiety about swimming.

It worked well, proving to be just what she needed to work up to feeling like she could go deeper in the water. She was thinking of suggesting they go back when she noticed something.

“Hmm, what’s this?” She bent down to pick up something that looked a bit like a shell, but couldn’t possibly be one. It was circular with no opening, and hard to the touch.

“Oh, it’s a sand bit,” Twilight said. “I’ve never actually seen one, but I’ve read about them.”

“A sand bit?” It did look sort of like a bit, come to think of it.

“Yeah. Here, turn it over.”

Fluttershy did, and Twilight pointed out a hole in the middle of it. “It’s actually an animal, and that’s its mouth right there.”

“Oh.” Fluttershy’s mouth fell open. “Is it alive?”

“No, this one isn’t. When they’re alive, the underside is covered with bristles that they use to catch and eat plankton. I don’t think they turn white until after they die, also.”

As much as Fluttershy loved animals, she didn’t know quite as much about ocean life as she did about land animals. She knew about sharks and dolphins and some kinds of fish, of course, but she rarely had the chance to visit the ocean in Equestria. Sure, she had been to the beach while visiting Manehattan, but for the most part, her experience with water was the lake right in Ponyville.

“Poor thing, I wonder if it died because it washed too close to the shore.”

“Probably. I read you can find them in the sand on beaches sometimes, which is how they got their name.”

Fluttershy nodded. Maybe it was a little morbid to show off what was essentially an animal’s corpse, but she wanted to show Spike and Sunset what she found. “Let’s head back.”

“Sounds good to me.”

They turned back, Fluttershy keeping her sand bit in one hand and putting the other around Twilight’s waist. Twilight did likewise, and they watched Sunset and Spike as they walked.

Sunset pointed out a bunch of seagulls to Spike, and he swam out of the water and bolted after them, making them all scatter. At least he wasn’t really a dog, so they didn’t need to worry about him hurting the poor birds.

Spike saw them and forgot about the seagulls, instead running up to the two mares. He didn’t say anything until he was right by them, following their instructions to limit his talking in places where others might hear him, but he did speak when he reached them. “Are you two finally gonna get in the water?”

“I think so,” Twilight said.

Spike grinned for a moment, then shook violently, spraying them with water. Twilight shielded herself as best she could “Aah, Spike!”

Fluttershy only giggled. “Okay okay, we get it, Spike. We’ll go in the water.”

Spike snickered, then ran back into the water. He swam towards Sunset from where they were, though Fluttershy and Twilight opted to wait until they were a little closer before getting into the water.

Sunset was floating on her back, but she heard Spike’s splashing and looked up. When she saw Twilight and Fluttershy had almost reached her, she called out to them. “Finally decided to come in, huh?”

“I think we’re ready now,” Twilight called back. “But come take a look at what Fluttershy found.”

Sunset and Spike swam to the two girls, with Sunset quickly getting to where she could stand and wading over instead.

Fluttershy held up her find. “It’s a sand bit.”

“A sand bit?” Sunset asked. She smiled as she got closer. “Oh, we call them sand dollars here.”

“Sand dollars?” Fluttershy looked to Twilight.

“Dollars are the unit of currency used here. Come to think of it, it would be pretty silly for humans to call it a sand bit.”

“What is it?” Spike asked, so Fluttershy bent down to show him.

“It’s actually an animal, but this one isn’t alive anymore.”

Spike reared back. “And you’re just holding it!?”

Sunset laughed. “It’s kind of like a shell. It’s the exoskeleton without any of the gross parts of a body being left behind. People keep them as souvenirs.”

“Really? Can we keep this one?”

“Sure, I don’t see why not. Why don’t you go put it on the towel?”

Fluttershy nodded, then walked over to the towel and placed the sand bit – or dollar, whatever it was – down next to her flip flops.

Fluttershy smiled on her way back to the others. “I, uhm, I think I’m ready to go in the water now.”

Sunset gestured for them to follow her and waded back into the water. Fluttershy and Twilight followed suit, with Spike gleefully running after them. He had to start swimming much sooner than any of the mares did, but he seemed to have no problems with that.

“So swimming isn’t too hard,” Sunset said, then she explained the basics of how to swim in their new bodies. They weren’t very far into the water and could stand if they needed to, but it was deep enough that they could practice swimming around.

Very quickly, Fluttershy found she had been worried over nothing. Swimming was a little different, sure, but it came to her easily enough. And once it did, Fluttershy was gleefully swimming around.

She had always liked the water. It was relaxing to float or swim around, and it seemed that held true for humans as well as ponies. She let the others play their little games, splashing each other and roughhousing, while she simply swam around peacefully.

It was even kind of fun working her muscles in new ways. She found she could swim like a pony if she wanted to, though it was more effective to swim other ways. Twilight seemed to be intent on learning the best ways to swim as a human, but Fluttershy just kept drifting along contently.

When she’d swam enough, she lay on her back and floated in the water. It was relaxing, and she listened to the sound of the ocean with her ears under the water. She liked the way it sounded, sort of echoey with noises dulled. She closed her eyes and just floated for some time.

This was a good trip. It was important to Sunset, that was the main thing. But there was something appealing to all of them about being able to be out and about and not have anyone recognize them. They could go out to eat without having someone clamour about serving royalty in their restaurant. They could walk around hand in hand with hardly anyone batting an eyelash.

Fluttershy took a deep breath and smiled. This was the most perfect vacation she could imagine.

Even with her ears submerged, Fluttershy heard splashing. She knew it had to be Spike, so she righted herself before he could reach her. Immediately she saw why he was coming for her.

Fluttershy had drifted. She was still drifting. While she’d been peacefully floating on her back, she must’ve gotten caught in a current, and she’d gotten really far. “Spike!”

“Hold on, I’m coming!” Spike called out for her.

She could still make out Twilight and Sunset, but only barely. She was so far from the shore, and she couldn’t touch the bottom. She tried swimming towards Spike and the others, but the current was too strong.

Spike got closer, at least, although that meant he was just as stuck in the current as she was. Still, he swam into it, closing the gap with Fluttershy quickly.

“Sunset said to swim to that island!” Spike panted in between strokes.

Fluttershy turned around and realized that they were right next to the tiny island she had seen from the beach, except it wasn’t as tiny now that they were right up close to it. Fluttershy swam towards it, which proved to be much easier than swimming against the current.

Even once she could stand, Fluttershy couldn’t shake the feeling of doom that had taken hold of her. How were they going to get her back now? How could she be so stupid? All she had to do was stick with the others, or even just watch where she was going. Now she was stranded, and even worse, she’d gotten Spike stranded with her…

Spike reached the shore first, although by the time he did, Fluttershy wading up rather than swimming. He smiled up at her. “I’m glad I caught up to you!”

“I’m not…” Fluttershy kneeled down to hug Spike. “Now we’re both stuck here.”

“Aww, that’s okay. Sunset and Twilight are going to get help.”

“They are?” Fluttershy felt silly as soon as she said it. Of course they were going to get help, they weren’t just going to leave them stranded there.

“Yeah, Sunset sent me after you to tell you to swim to the island. They’re going to get help then they’ll come to find us here.”

Fluttershy finally smiled a little and stood up. All they had to do was sit tight.

Just the two of them. Alone on this island.

Fluttershy crossed her arms and, for the first time, wished she had more clothes to hide in.

“What’s wrong?” Spike asked. “You know they’ll come through.”

“I know.” Fluttershy looked out across the water. She could just barely make out Twilight and Sunset reaching the shore. “It’s just a little nerve-wracking to be all alone out here.”

“You’re not alone, though, you have me.”

Fluttershy smiled. She had Spike, and even more importantly, she had to be strong for him. “You’re right. Thank you for coming after me.”

“Of course!” Spike paused to shake vigorously, spraying Fluttershy with water once again. “I wasn’t just going to leave you.”

Fluttershy took a seat in the sand and held her legs close to her. At times like this she hated being a human. Being in this body made her feel even more alone, like she was even a stranger to herself.

“You okay?” Spike asked.

This was dumb. Sunset and Twilight were coming to get them, and Fluttershy’s job right now was to be strong for Spike. “Of course I am, I just –” Fluttershy’s words caught in her throat, and she grabbed hold of Spike again. “I just wish I was a pony again…”

“Hey, it’s okay.” Spike smiled at her. “I have an idea. Let’s play a game while we wait for the others.”

“A game?”

“Yeah! Like an O&O game, but in real life.”

Fluttershy was intrigued. “How do we play?”

“Well…”


“Captains log, day twenty-six. We’ve reached th’ island, and th’ booty be here, I can feel it in me bones. It’s been a long journey, but it’s high time fer us t’ claim the booty we seek.”

Captain Bones’ habit of dictating his captain logs out loud was an odd one, but it helped his crew feel included. Granted, his crew consisted of exactly one mare, but Pinkmane did feel included. “I think you may be right, Captain. Uhm, Arr.”

“Onwards, first mate Pinkmane! Adventure ho!”

“Yay!”

“What say the map?” Captain Bones asked.

Pinkmane pulled out their map and unrolled it. “The map says to head due west, Captain sir.”

“Arr, then off we go!” Captain Bones started walking, so Pinkmane followed. “If only we had a noble hound wit’ us t’ track this here loot down…”

“Aye, Captain. But the sea is no place for a dog. Arr.”

“Right ya are, lass.” The Captain stopped to consider the way ahead of them. “Looks like it be through this here brush. ‘Tis like to be filled with all manner of nasty booby traps.”

“Uhm, maybe we could go around?” Pinkmane suggested

But Captain Bones just shook his head. “A pirate’s life ain’t an easy one, matey. In we go.”

Although Pinkmane wasn’t convinced it was wise, she bravely followed her captain into the hazardous path. As they walked, Pinkmane fell.

“Arr, ya okay, matey?”

She looked back and saw it just in the nick of time. She hadn’t tripped on nothing, there was a tripwire where she stepped. “Look out!” Pinkmane lunged forward and pulled Captain Bones out of the way just as a cage fell from the treetops, nearly capturing the outlaws.

“Arr, this here be the work of bounty hunters, t’ be sure.”

“Bounty hunters?” Pinkmane asked. “You think they’re after us, Captain?”

“I’d bet my one good eye on it!” Captain Bones said. “Keep yer wits about ye, this tain’t the last we be seein’ of them.”

Pinkmane nodded. “Aye aye, Captain.”

They proceeded through the brush more carefully than before, stopping when they reached the edge. They crawled closer to it to scout the area.

“Spyglass,” Captain Bones said, so Pinkmane handed the tool over to him. He stretched it out and surveyed the land. “We be in trouble.”

“What is it, Captain?”

Instead of answering, Captain Bones handed over the spyglass and pointed. “There.”

Pinkmane looked where he indicated, and saw what he meant. The trees were full of innocuous looking birds, but she knew better. “Those are scatter birds,” she informed the captain. “They’ll pick your bones clean then scatter them along the shoreline.”

“Yer the animal expert,” Captain Bones said. “What course of action do ye recommend?”

Pinkmane looked for an opening, but she didn’t see one. She pointed in the opposite direction. “The only thing to do is go the other way. We’ll go around them, then we can double back and return to hunting for the treasure.”

“Aye, wise call. Let’s go.”

They stepped out as quietly as they could, creeping along the shoreline.

But it was no good; within moments, they heard the call of the scatter bird, alerting others of nearby prey.

“Run for it!” Captain Bones yelled.

At the sound of his voice, two things happened. One was that the scatter birds took to the skies. The other was that two pirates began running for their lives.

They didn’t look back as they ran. They couldn’t. A single moment’s hesitation could mean certain doom for both of them. It was all they could do to keep moving, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and move forward.

They only stopped when Pinkmane could run no more; she didn’t know where the captain got his boundless energy, but she didn’t have his stamina. Thankfully, a look back revealed they had thrown their pursuers.

And a look forward showed that they had a new problem. “Are those tracks?” Pinkmane asked.

“Oh no…” Captain Bones walked over to examine them. “The bounty hunters. They be gettin’ closer. They may be around any corner, jus’ waitin’ fer us to slip up.”

“What do we do, Captain? Should we turn back?”

“Nay. I not be leavn’ without that treasure.”

Pinkmane frowned. “You’re mad. Would you risk your very life for this treasure?”

“Aye, I would! So it may be that I am mad, but my madness has steered us right time and again! Surely ye not be thinkin’ o’ mutiny now?”

Pinkmane sighed. “No, never! I’ll follow you to the ends of the world, Captain.”

“Arr, then we be headin’ this way.”

The two pirates began their trek once more. “Do we return to the brush, Captain?”

“Nay, it be this way.” The captain walked along the shoreline. “I can feel it…”

Pinkmane had never doubted her captain, but she doubted him now. He hadn’t even consulted the map, and he was clearly becoming too obsessed with finding this treasure. Pinkmane had seen what happened when good pirates became consumed by greed.

There was only one thing she could do right now though, and that was follow her captain loyally.

Pinkmane didn’t know how long they walked. A part of her was just glad that they didn’t meet with any bounty hunters or scatter birds, but she wondered if Captain Bones even knew where they were. She was about to ask when he stopped her.

“In there…” He pointed into a cave.

“But… but it looks so dark.”

“The perfect place to hide treasure. Let’s go.”

“But, but… the map doesn’t say –”

“I know this be the place!” Captan Bones turned to her with a wild look in his eyes. “It’s here… I can feel it…”

Pinkmane gulped and followed her captain. To the ends of the world, she had promised…

“Do you hear that?” Pinkmane asked.

“I hear the sound of treasure ahead!”

“No, listen.” Pinkmane grabbed hold of Captain Bones and they both listened. Someone was docking a boat on the beach. “The bounty hunters…”

“Not now! We’re so close!”

“Captain, wait!”

But he was gone, running ahead on a wild chase for treasure that might not even exist. Pinkmane ran after him, but she tripped.

The next thing she knew, someone was behind her, pulling her up. “There you are!”

Pinkmane turned to find herself face to face with one of the bounty hunters, whom she promptly broke character to hug because Fluttershy was really very happy to see Sunset. “I’m so sorry, I…”

“Hey, it’s okay.” Sunset smiled at her. “You’re not hurt, are you? You look kind of scratched up.”

“I fell in some bushes when we were… never mind, I’m fine.”

“O… kay. So where’s Spike?”

“Hew’re ah ahm!” Spike said through a mouthful of something. “And ah fouwn eh tweasuh!”

Fluttershy turned around to see Spike had a piece of driftwood in his mouth. The water had eroded it into a really interesting shape.

“You really found it!” Fluttershy said excitedly.

“Uh, found what?” Sunset asked.

Fluttershy just giggled and kneeled down to whisper in Spike’s ear. “These foolish bounty hunters think we’re just castaways. They have no idea who we really are.”

Spike chuckled and winked.

“Uh, right well, get rid of that thing and let’s go. Twilight’s worried sick for you.”

“Wha? Ah’m no –” Fluttershy took the driftwood from Spike. “I’m not getting rid of it! That’s our treasure!”

Sunset quirked an eyebrow. “That’s a hunk of wood.”

Fluttershy giggled and walked over to her wife, kissing her on the cheek. “It’s another souvenir.”

“We’re hauling around a piece of wood?” Sunset deadpanned. “We’re on a motorcycle, you know…”

“Spike and I will keep it in the sidecar with us. Right, Spike?”

“Yeah!”

Sunset rolled her eyes. “Alright, fine. Let’s just go before we give Twilight an aneurysm.”

Fluttershy smiled as she followed Sunset, who led them to the beach where there was a rowboat waiting, and Twilight waiting with it.

“Fluttershy! Spike! Are you two okay?”

“We’re fine,” Fluttershy said. “Where’d the boat come from?”

“I rented it,” Sunset said.

“Oh…” Fluttershy felt guilty; that meant they’d spent more of Rarity’s money.

“We got a good deal on it, though,” Twilight said. “And we have it for an hour, so we can row around a little bit.”

Fluttershy nodded and climbed in, Spike jumping in after her. “Look what Spike found.”

Twilight smiled and took the driftwood to look at it better. “Oh hey, this is really cool!”

“Don’t encourage them…” Sunset muttered as she pushed the boat off the beach. Once it was floating, she climbed in it.

“Where to?” Twilight asked.

“Adventure ho!” Spike said from the front of the boat, causing Fluttershy to giggle.

“What’s gotten into you two?” Sunset asked.

Fluttershy just winked at Spike as Sunset and Twilight started rowing, and Pinkmane and Captain Bones were on the high seas once again.


“What a day,” Sunset said as they finally made it into their hotel room. It was a simple room with a single bed and a couch that Spike could sleep on. The bed was a little too small for three full-grown human mares, but they would make do.

“I’m ready for a shower,” Twilight said. She was already pulling off her clothes. “My skin still feels all salty.”

“Yeah, same here,” Sunset said. “Wanna rinse off together?”

“Sure,” Twilight said.

“Uh oh. I know what that means…” Spike said with a frown.

“Uh, what?” Twilight cast him a confused look. Fluttershy wasn’t sure if she genuinely didn’t know what Spike was implying would happen or if her confusion was that Spike was comfortable enough about sex to make the implication. “It means we’re both going to get rinsed off.”

“How about we go for a walk,” Fluttershy said to Spike, figuring if they were going to do anything, this would give them the chance to do it without worrying about being too quiet.

“Sounds good to me,” Spike said.

Lacking the human sense of modesty, Twilight was already naked by the time she went into the bathroom. Sunset wasn’t comfortable going without clothes around Spike even if he couldn’t care less, so she stepped into the bathroom and closed the door before stripping.

Fluttershy grabbed one of the hotel keys and held the door open for Spike. She stepped outside, and picked a direction and started walking.

“Thanks for today,” Fluttershy said. “I can’t believe how upset I got when we first reached that island… I feel pretty silly now.”

“Hey, it’s okay.” Spike looked up at her and smiled. “After all, what are little brothers for, right?”

Fluttershy smiled. Twilight’s family had welcomed her as one of them immediately, but none of them felt as much like family as Spike did. “Yeah.”

They walked for a little while, Fluttershy looking up at the stars. There were fewer than there were in Equestria, making the sky feel more than a little barren. She always thought it was a good thing Luna couldn’t see the sky like this, it would probably make her sad.

“Hey, Shy?”

“Yeah?”

Spike looked away. “You used to have a thing for Rarity, right?”

Fluttershy hadn’t expected that question and wasn’t sure where Spike was going with it. She had always thought Spike didn’t know about that. “I did once, yes.”

“For a long time?”

“For many years.”

“When does it… I don’t know, go away?”

In an instant, Fluttershy understood. This wasn’t about Rarity. She bent down to stroke Spike along his head. “Do you want to know a secret?”

“Sure.”

“I still have a thing for Rarity.”

“Oh.”

Fluttershy took a deep breath. “I’m not in love with her. I… I did used to be. I tried to tell myself, you know, I didn’t know what love was. I loved Twilight, I wasn’t supposed to love anyone else.”

“But then Sunset came along.”

Fluttershy nodded. “Realizing it’s okay to love more than one pony made me realize what I felt for Rarity back then, it was real, it was just different from how I felt about Twilight.”

“But… you said you don’t love her anymore.”

Fluttershy laughed a little. “Oh, I still love her. Not the same way, not exactly. But she’s very special to me. All my friends are special to me, but Rarity… she’s a little different. Now I think… those feelings, they don’t just go away. When you love someone, when you really love them, you don’t just stop. It can change a little bit, but you’ll always love them.”

“I… I don’t think I ever loved Rarity,” Spike said. “I thought I did, but then…”

“But then you loved Scootaloo,” Fluttershy said.

“Yeah. And I know it’s okay to love more than one pony, but I realized the things I thought I loved Rarity for, those were all in my head. I mean, she’s great! But… I don’t know, I’m not making sense.”

“You were in love with the idea of her,” Fluttershy said.

“Yeah, I think that was it. And maybe I don’t really know enough about love to know if I really loved Scoots, but… those feelings were real.”

“Oh, Spike… it does get easier.”

“I know. It’s a little easier all the time, but now we’re here and I just keep wondering, you know, what’s he up to?”

Fluttershy nodded. She didn’t know if it would be the right thing to say, but she was pretty sure what Spike felt was really love. Maybe it was young love, and it was certainly not the deepest love he’d feel in his life, but like he said, those feelings were real.

“You’re still sure you can’t be with him?” Fluttershy asked, knowing the answer.

“No, I knew that the day he came back in that suit. And even if I could, I know I’d really want him to be a mare, and he deserves someone who wants him exactly the way he is.”

“I think that’s really mature of you.” It always surprised Fluttershy how mature Spike had grown these days. He almost seemed to have skipped over being a teenager and shot straight to being an adult sometimes.

“That’s me, always the mature one…”

Fluttershy kneeled down and ruffled Spike’s fur. “Spike, you are a teenager. Go out and do dumb stuff sometimes. Find a girl you like and ask her out, don’t worry what she’ll say because you know there are always other girls.”

“Yeah, that’s easier said than done.”

“I know. Maybe Sunset would be better at this sort of thing, you know I never dated anyone until I met Twilight, but…”

“I know. And I want to, but… I’m a dragon. Nopony wants to date me.”

“Scootaloo did,” Fluttershy reminded him. “He saw someone really amazing, and so will other ponies. And in the meantime, you know you’ll always have us. We all love you very much.”

“I know, and I love you too.” Spike put his paws on Fluttershy’s shoulders, and she hugged him back. “Thanks, Shy.”

“Of course, Spike.” She smiled as they pulled apart. “What are big sisters for?”

Spike laughed. “Well if Twilight’s any indication, they’re for making me do all sorts of chores and stuff.”

Fluttershy ruffled his fur and rolled her eyes. “And for loving you to pieces.”

“Yeah,” Spike said with a smile. “I guess they’re for that too.”

Author's Note:

Gosh it feels great to write these four together like this, but wow do I hate the fact that I decided to make a story driven primarily on fun. It’s fun for the characters, it’s (hopefully) fun to read, but it was not fun to write :facehoof: