• Published 30th Mar 2024
  • 576 Views, 5 Comments

One of Them - ThePinkedWonder



When a setback made Starlight Glimmer seriously consider if she might be undeserving of friends, Spike had an important talk with her.

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Don't even think like that!

Nachos. There was nothing quite like them. Simple enough for even a filly to make, yet warm, creamy cheese coating crunchy chips underneath produced a snack that punched well above its weight. You didn’t have to be rich to indulge in them.

Yes, merely thinking of them triggered Spike’s mouth to shamelessly water and his stomach to demand its nachos quota ASAP. He couldn’t reach the kitchen soon enough. The Castle of Friendship's hallways, while impressive with its walls of crystal and shimmering two-leaved emerald doors hiding the castle’s innumerable rooms, felt twice as long as the young dragon traversed them. And that’s not even counting he had to go to Starlight Glimmer’s bedroom first! He wasn’t hungry enough to neglect asking her if she wanted any nachos for herself.

A wave of relief swam down Spike’s body as he neared Starlight’s open bedroom door. He was one step closer to finally fixing his nachos. He peeked his head inside the room; Starlight lay in her bed, her gaze fixated on the ceiling.

“Starlight, I’m about to make some nachos. Do you want me to make you some too? Not to brag, but nopony who has ever had my nachos has ever been satisfied with only having them once.”

“Really?” Starlight said, eyes still aimed at her ceiling. “I’m not hungry right now, but I could try some later if you wouldn’t mind.”

“Okay, then let me know when you get hungry–”

Starlight’s eyes wandered toward her window, slightly cracked open with cool air peacefully flowing in from outside. Her kites resting on the floor snatched her eyes’ focus, even as the eyes dimmed ever more vacantly. A low, long sigh exited her lips.

“Uh, is something wrong?”

“W-wrong?” Starlight’s waning eyes re-lit, life rushing back into them. She sat up and forced a fragile smile and giggle. “No, there’s n-nothing wrong. I’m just, uh, bored–”

“Okay, what’s wrong?” Spike asked with a rare bluntness in his tone. He fully stepped into Starlight's room and added, “I’ve been around you long enough to know when something’s on your mind.”

She flailed her forehooves side to side. “T-there’s nothing on my mind! Even if there were, it would be a silly thing. You don’t want to hear–”

“Starlight?” Spike sternly crossed his arms. Possessing a lifetime of experience in dealing with a certain introverted, worry-prone unicorn-turned-alicorn, his glare decreed no-nonsense orders. “Let’s not go through this again where you refuse to tell me what’s wrong. You know it won’t end well.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll talk.” She hunched forward and pawed her bed’s lavender blankets. “I’m still getting used to this ‘talking about your feelings to a friend’ thing.”

“I understand.” Spike’s glare cooled as his supportive side wrestled away the reins. “Even Twilight sometimes has to remember to be honest with her feelings.” He walked across the room to Starlight’s bed as he said, “You know I won’t judge you no matter how ‘silly’ your worries are, but I could go grab Twilight if you’d prefer talking to her. She’s with the others in–”

“No, you don’t have to. I’ll even rather talk to you about this.”

“Really?” A burst of delectable gems fed themselves to Spike’s pride. “Well, I suppose I can give–” He slapped his cheek; this wasn’t the time to stroke his ego. “Uh, forget about what I was about to say. Just tell ‘ol Spike what’s on your mind.”

“All right. Here goes.” Starlight eased in a slow, calming breath. Spike’s warm, patient eyes meeting hers doubled up on lightening the weight of her lingering lament. “One thing that has ‘been on my mind' is if I have truly been accepted by our friends. They never asked me to do anything with them unless it was Twilight’s idea.”

“Oh.” The dragon yearned to immediately assure Starlight that her concerns were false worries. Alas, he had occasionally entertained a similar fear about his own place in Twilight’s group of friends, prompting an unplanned moment of silence. “I get what you mean. They sometimes go off and do stuff without me too. Come to think of it, I never asked you to hang out either, but I swear it’s not because I don’t want to! In fact, let’s hang out right now!” Spike hastily pointed toward Starlight’s kites. “You wanna go fly–”

“Hee hee, I know.” Starlight’s first genuine smile in hours brightened on her lips. “It always felt like you had accepted me, so I never doubted you. Twilight has accepted me too, obviously, but as for the others…” Her smile wilted, her momentarily forgotten doubts surging back. “Let’s just say I’m not so sure. With them, it feels like I’m a 'plus 1', if you know what I mean.”

Spike wiped his head – as well as his remaining guilt. “Oh, that’s good–well, not good about you feeling like a ‘plus 1’. But if you wanted to hang out with the others, why didn’t you ask? Were you afraid you might do something to let them down?”

Starlight fiddled her forehooves. Her ears drooped to the side. “Sorta.”

“There’s more to that ‘sorta’ is there?” Spike reached out a claw onto Starlight's fiddling hooves, soothing them into becoming inert and calm. “Come on, Starlight, talk to me. What’s going on?”

She peered toward her stack of future friendship lessons on her dresser, then at an “anti-equal sign” hanging on her wall. Along with her change in mane style, that sign represented her choice to forgo stealing Cutie Marks, learn friendship – true friendship – and reform into a legitimately kind, righteous pony. But, only recently had she given deep consideration to whether a pony with her past deeds even had the right to start over.

“It’s the other thing that’s been on my mind: do I deserve friends at all?”

“What?!” Spike exclaimed with his pupils agape. His claw still resting on Starlight’s hooves, he added, “Of course you do!”

“No, Spike, don’t try to be nice.” She pulled her hooves free from Spike’s claws and rolled off her bed. She stared upward and said, “Think about it. I still haven’t done anything to make up for stealing ponies’ Cutie Marks against their will or causing the apocalypse via a magical temper tantrum.” She closed her eyes. A maddeningly conflicted sigh parted her mouth. “And you do remember what I did last week during my friendship lessons with our friends, right?”

“Oh, yeah. That. Uh, but you weren’t trying to be some evil pony and apologized, right?”

“I did apologize, but it doesn’t take away how I was an awful friend to them like I haven’t learned anything.” Starlight’s eyes flew open. A sudden, suffocating fear, of herself, squeezed cruelly around her chest. “Wait, what if I am an evil pony that can't change?! Sunburst might have even seen it coming and that was why he never reached out to me!” She stepped away from Spike, her breaths racing and growing more frantic. “Maybe you should stay away from me for your own–”

Spike rushed forward in a purple blur and unloaded a slap on Starlight’s cheek. The slap’s echo ricocheted off the room’s walls.

“Ow!”

“Starlight, you made a lot of mistakes, but you’re not evil. Don’t even think like that!”

“Right, right, sorry.” Starlight massaged her reddened, lightly swollen cheek, but her breathing had been jolted back to its normal, steady rhythm. “I got a little carried away there. Who knows how long I would have kept going if you didn’t slap me out of that?”

“If you’re anything like Twilight, a while, but sorry I had to do it at all. Anyway, how about you go back to what you were saying before you started calling yourself evil?”

“Okay, so where was I–oh right.” Starlight lowered her head from the resurging weight of despondency. “I just don’t know if I deserve our friends at all, let alone being 'one of them'. Twilight would never cast the kind of spells I cast on other ponies just because she felt nervous.”

“Heh heh, you might be surprised about one of her pre-alicorn days,” Spike said, wearing a mischievous smirk.

“But still–” Starlight’s brain registered Spike’s words in earnest, shooting up her drooped ears to stand upright. The realization stole a breath from her lungs. “Wait. You mean she did cast such spells?! Her?! Why?!”

In a nonchalant tone, Spike answered, “In a nutshell: she once panicked over not having a friendship lesson to report to Princess Celestia, tried to find a friendship problem to solve so she wouldn’t be ‘TARRR-DYYY!’, but couldn’t. So she tried to make one by casting a spell that forced ponies to fight over her favorite foalhood doll.”

Raw shock at length dropped Starlight's mouth and widened her pupils. She attempted to gather words, but her mouth’s bout of paralysis sealed away all possible words, though her eyes drifted toward a picture of Twilight on Starlight’s dresser. As the sight of her teacher’s smiling face cured her mouth’s paralysis, she finally muttered, “...Oh. Like teacher like student, I guess.”

“But even after that, none of her friends thought she didn’t deserve them. They even learned a lesson about taking a friend’s worries seriously.” Spike lifted his head; a grin oozing smugness eked on his face. A little ego-stroking wouldn’t hurt. “Of course, I took Twilight seriously enough to ask Princess Celestia to come to Ponyville before things could get even more nuts.”

“I see.” The unicorn glanced toward her doorway. A surge of courage compelled her hooves to step through them to face her teacher and friends about her true fears. However, a case of cold hooves struck down that round of courage. “Wait, she only screwed up like that one time, right? I’ve screwed up many times.”

“Darn, thought that would have cheer–uh, that is, try thinking of what you’re going through as friendship growing pains. But if you still have doubts, you could go–”

“I know, talk to Twilight, but she’d just say they all accept me and I’m worrying over nothing.” Starlight’s ears wilted to lay flat against her head. “Even if they have forgiven and trust me, I’m having trouble forgiving and trusting myself.”

“Yeah, telling you they accept you is what she’d likely say. Still, it wouldn’t be good for you to hide how you’re feeling.” Spike gave a friendly pat on Starlight’s back. “Look at it this way: they’d feel worse if they knew you thought you didn’t deserve them but were oblivious to it. You don’t want that, do you?”

“No, I don’t.” Starlight’s ears rose themselves off her head to stand proudly. It can be strange how a single question can clear even the muckiest doubts on the best course of action. “Okay, I’ll go tell them how I feel.” She wrapped a foreleg around Spike and pulled him to her chest. A smile eased on her face. “Thanks for the talk, Spike. Twilight is really lucky to have you around.”

“Eh, I try.” He returned the hug with a matching affectionate hug of his own. “But I’ll tell you what: if the impossible happens and they never think of you as ‘one of them’ or even their friend, you’ll at least have me as a friend. Dragon breath and all.”

“And I’ll always be your friend too, no matter what. And later, would you like to fly some kites together? Trixie doesn't care for them, so I could use a kite-flying buddy.”

“You got it.”

The friends let the other go from their heartfelt hug. After Starlight sucked in a bracing breath, she and Spike left her bedroom and set for the castle’s throne room, where Spike claimed Twilight and the rest of their friends were resting.


“…and that’s why I came here.” Starlight, with Spike beside her, hung her head and blew a deep, shame-filled sigh. From their respective thrones, Princess Twilight, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Fluttershy sat still while contemplating Starlight’s story. Rarity and Fluttershy were laying a hoof on their cheeks, while Twilight’s and Rainbow’s mouths were slightly agape.

“Goodness," Rarity spoke. “I hadn’t the faintest idea you felt like that.”

Starlight nodded. “I know I’m just being silly, but I couldn’t shake those thoughts from my mind. I hope you don’t think I’m being a downer or whining too much.”

“Nope, far from it,” Rainbow said, her voice filled with fresh understanding. “I knew you were scared of letting us down, but not that you thought you didn't deserve us.”

Twilight’s ears and the corners of her lips sagged. “Some teacher I am for not suspecting something was wrong on my own. I noticed you had been quieter than usual the last couple of days, but I didn’t think it was anything this serious.”

“Or that you still felt that bad about that…um, manifesto of yours,” Fluttershy commented, albeit meekly.

Pinkie added, “Or for destroying Equestria when you went back in time to get back at us.”

Applejack chimed in, “Or for forcing Big Mac to talk–”

As he saw Starlight wince from the impromptu roll-call of her dark past actions & mistakes, a growl roared from Spike’s mouth. He fired a heavy, peremptory glare at Applejack – though it was not aimed at only her.

“–B-but that’s all old news," Applejack said with an air of bashfulness. “Besides, just ‘cause we haven’t forgotten about it don’t mean we’re still holdin’ a grudge.”

“And Applejack is one of the last ponies to lie about it,” Twilight said. “If she says we forgive and trust you, then we forgive and trust you.”

“I believe it, but it feels like I have a long way to go to become even a decent pony, let alone a good one. I still haven’t shown I can be trustworthy, so how can you all be so forgiving?”

Pinkie giggled. “Eh, what can we say? If somepony who wronged us is truly sorry and act like it, we can be a really forgiving group of friends.”

Starlight turned toward each of her warmly smiling friends watching, approving of her. Even the room’s and Cutie Map’s silence seemed to be a silence of approval. This was what friends are all about, and was what she ached for even as a filly. “Really?”

“Oh, yes,” Fluttershy answered with an assuring nod. “So, do you think you can be a forgiving and nice pony?”

“With my past, I can’t judge anypony who’s made mistakes, and I try to be nice. It even feels good to be nice just for the sake of it.”

Rainbow lay back on her throne. “Then consider yourself our friend and one of us, because we do! So kick out those thoughts about you not deserving us and definitely the ones of you being evil!”

“Rainbow’s right.” Twilight flew off her throne and laid a wing onto Starlight’s back. “You may still have much to learn about friendship, but just like another pony you remind me of, you’ll get there. If she could do it, why not you too?”

“Hee hee. I really gotta go meet Sunset Shimmer someday.”

“She probably would like to meet you too, so I should set up a time for you to meet before too long.”

Pinkie started bouncing on her throne. “Ooh, and my Pinkie Sense told me you will unequivocally prove yourself soon, so don’t worry!”

Starlight stared toward Pinkie and puzzlingly tilted her head sideways. “Uh, what?”

“Hehe, from personal experience, don’t ask, unless you want pianos to fall on your head,” Twilight said. The alicorn’s carefree smile soured into a stern frown. “But seriously, don’t cast spells on friends like the spell combination you cast last week again. We may be a forgiving group, but a true friend won’t try to abuse it.”

“I won’t. I learned my lesson on doing such a ‘really bad’ thing again.”

Rainbow’s stomach rumbled. She stretched her hooves and hopped off her throne. “So, Starlight, if you feel better, how about we all go to Hay Burger and get something to eat?”

“Sounds like a good idea,” Applejack agreed. “I’m gettin’ a mite hungry too.”

“Now that I got all of that off my chest, I’m starting to get hungry too.”

The others nodded or otherwise agreed with Rainbow’s proposal.

After the rest of the ponies hopped off their thrones, Rarity cheered, “Since we are in agreement, let’s go eat!”

“You all go ahead.” Twilight looked to Spike. “I want to, uh, ask Spike something first.”

With Spike and Twilight hanging back, Starlight and the rest of the mares trotted out one of the room’s doors. Rainbow poked Starlight in her ribs on the way out, as if playfully teasing her a little for her worries.

“Okay, what do you–”

A foreleg wrapped itself around Spike. He looked up to the leg’s owner: a proudly smiling Twilight. “You did a great job talking with Starlight. My friendship speeches must have rubbed off on you.”

“Yep. Now all I need is to be told ‘QUIET!!’ while giving one to catch up with you.”

“Hehe, hopefully you will never be shut up like I was at all.” She unwrapped her foreleg off Spike. “Anyway, the ‘really forgiving group of friends’ has a date at Hay Burger, and you know how I am about not being tardy.” Twilight hurried out the same door her friends had departed from.

But after a few seconds, Twilight peeked her head back through the door. “Spike? You don’t want to come? You’re part of our ‘really forgiving group of friends’ too.”

“Heh heh, coming! I’m in the mood for some nachos.”

Author's Note:

If the mention of nachos made you hungry, just imagine how I felt when writing and editing this story!:rainbowlaugh:

Comments ( 5 )

Finally, an Every Little Thing She Does fanfic with a good ending.

I love this! It's a nice little follow up to that episode that I feel could very much have been in the show proper if they had time.

This is very much a "How it should've ended" for "Every Little Thing She Does". :twilightsmile:

I can think of some hyper stressed out ponies who also suffers from intrusive thoughts and choice paralysis who'd be lining up for Starlight's spell.

11864314

Glad you liked it:twilightsmile:

I haven't seen many post-Every Little Thing She Does fics, but it would be surprising to me if not many used a premise similar to what I used here. I know of one post-Every Little Thing She Does fic that was quite different from this one and far more comedic and even closer to my usual stories. It was something on par with what I might have written if I had used my typical style and played what happened for laughs instead of taking it much more seriously and playing it for drama.



11864346

Yep. Alas, there wasn't enough time with how the episode was paced and barely had enough time for Starlight to even get an apology off.




11864975

I guess it is. I write it as a post-Every Little Thing She Does story, but I suppose a rewritten version of that episode might have had enough time to end like this.




11864996

I feel like I should already know, but who are those ponies? Twilight is the only pony that comes to mind.

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