A Spike of Remorse

by Moonlit Sparkle

First published

Five years have past since Spike became part of the Sparkle family. Starting middle school should be easy for the young boy, right? If only things were so simple.

This story is going to be heavily revised and edited. There will be an announcement for re-release. Please stand by.

Five years have past since Twilight and the Sparkle’s welcomed Spike with open arms into their home. Starting middle school should be easy for the young boy, right? If only things were so simple.

The reality is anything but. For once in his life Spike Sparkle wants someone to notice his pain, something he fought so hard to keep concealed in the past. But when the people you trust the most are too busy dealing with their own lives, sometimes you end up falling through the cracks. A lesson the little boy had learned all too well growing up, before and after meeting Twilight Sparkle.

Since moving in with the Sparkles, Spike never felt more alone in a house full of people. So when his family expects everything to be fine, how long can he keep up the charade?

The truth is never hidden for long, it wants to be told. When it finally is, and the young boy is pushed to the breaking point, it will change everything for him; and for the girl that changed his life.


Cowrote with Twidashforever

A Smile of Content? [Revised]

View Online

Light from the morning sun filtered through an open window, illuminating the second floor of the Sparkle family residence. Soft groans of annoyance, accompanied by a shifting of the covers, blocked out the disturbance. A sigh of complete bliss came from the small lump of a sleepy-eyed boy immediately afterwards.

Ba-rinnnnnggggg.’

The alarm clock blared loudly, causing the green-haired boy’s eyes to pop open. His teeth clenched together as he stared at the pale blue wall in front of him.

Once again groaning, the boy sat up. His soft baby-blue covers cascaded down his small chest as he rubbed at his eyes with clenched fists, the alarm still echoing throughout the room. He reached over with his right arm, slamming the button down, quieting it’s shrill ring leaving an echoing silence in it's wake. Bright lime-green iris of one eye glared at the device while keeping the other covered by a curled hand.

First day of middle school… This is going to be so bad. Twilight said middle school is a lot harder than elementary; that you have more work, and the kids are a lot different than the ones I’ve been around at Celestia’s school.

Sighing, the small boy laid back down, his arms shifting to prop his head up slightly as he stared at the ceiling.

I remember when Twi started middle school. It was a year after I came to live here. She was so nervous and fidgety. I didn’t quite understand what was going on then, why she needed to go to another building across town to learn. Now I understand considering that today I start at the same school she attended. Yay me…

Spike raised one of his hands in the air pretending to wave an invisible victory flag. With a small chuckle, he returned the hand back to where it was and closed his eyes, a playful smile formed on his lips as his thoughts continued.

Well I guess if she made it through this, so can I! She did make some really great friends, especially Rarity. Oh Rarity, I wish you would notice me like you do those older boys. Just because I’m young doesn’t mean I couldn’t… well you know, treat you like how Shining Armor treats Cadance.

The little boy’s nose scrunched up, the memories of Shining Armor holding hands with Mi Amore’ Cadenza filled his thoughts. He pictured Shiny holding her close and kissing the beautiful girl, whispering things into her ear as she giggled girlishly.

Okay, so I don’t want to do all ‘that’ stuff. But spending time with Rarity would be cool. I know she might not like talking about geology much, but we can talk about the pretty rocks! Or we can do whatever she wants to do, just as long as we’re spending time together I don’t care what we do.

Spike groaned in despair, his hands sliding out from behind his head to cover his face.

“Knock knock.” A bright, girlish voice echoed into the room as his door opened.

Standing in the doorway of the softly sunlit room was Spike’s older foster sister, Twilight Sparkle. She was already primed and ready for school. Her white and blue uniform with a red-split tie was all properly resting and wrinkle free on her in the way the academy she attended required.

Spike peeked open his eyes to stare at her between his fingers, an unconscious smile settling on his lips at the sight of his favorite person in the world.

“Aren’t you supposed to get up when your alarm clock goes off? You don’t want to be late for your first day of school, do you?” Twilight playfully asked as she walked over to her baby brother’s bed. She leaned over it to poke her fingers into his sides, tickling him.

Laughter broke free from the small boy’s mouth, his eyes clenched shut as his fingers jerked down to grab onto his older sister's wrist. Tears threatened to leak from his eyes as she continued; her roving fingers poking and prodding, flicking across the sides of his gray pajama shirt. His tiny hands did nothing to stop her movements.

“What’s wrong, Spikey-Wikey?” Twilight said, giggling as she kept shifting her point of attack.’ “Why are you laughing so hard? Is the first day of school something to laugh about? You bet it is! You’re gonna have a great first day, aren’t you, Spike?”

“Sto-stop, please. I-I-I can’t take anymore, yes! Yes, uncle! Please stop! I’m going to have the best first day of school anybody has ever had! Now ple-easeeee stop!”

Her fingers immediately paused in their attack as she smiled down at her baby brother, her eyes shining with pride.

The tears were sliding down the sides of his face as he smiled goofily, his eyes peaking open to stare back at Twilight.

“Do you have your uniform set out already?” She asked softly, turning slightly to sit next to him. Her hair fell over her shoulder, longer than when they were younger. Her right hand reached out to swipe her long, thin fingers through his wavy green mop, pulling through it softly, feeling the tangles throughout.

He flinched slightly as she hit a knot before he nodded, his hands clenching the blankets next to him.

Twilight slipped her hand out of his hair, her index finger sliding under his left eye to wipe away the tear lines before doing the same to his right. She smiled brightly again before standing up, her hand coming down to rub affectionately through his hair.

“Come on, big guy; hurry up and get dressed. Meet me downstairs at the table. Mom’s got pancakes cooking, fresh orange juice too! Just how you like it.” Her voice was joyful but soft, it brushed against Spike’s ears making him smile brightly as he nodded.

His short legs kicked off the blankets and shifted so they were hanging over the side. His hands clutched at his navy-blue pajama pants, while he watched his sister vacate the room. She paused at the door before looking back at him, her left hand clutching the doorknob as she stood in the open doorway.

“I was scared on my first day too. Just remember to have confidence in yourself. Don’t let the fear get to you, and know if you ever need to talk, I’ll be here for you. No matter what.”

“Thanks, Twily. You’re the best B.S.B.F.F. I could ask for.”

“And you’re the best L.B.B.F.F. I’ll ever want, Spikey.”

With one last shared smile she left the room, the door pulled shut behind her with a click.

Spike sighed as he tilted his head down, his bangs covered his closed eyes. His fingers flexed aggressively, causing the fabric of his p.j.’s to bunch up, the cloth folding between thin digits.

Twilight came in here just to check on me because she knows I’m... scared. Does she… does she think I’m that weak?

He quickly raised a hand to rub at his eyes, forcing the tears that threatened to fall away. His nose sniffled slightly, a lump forming in his throat, blocking out his small whimpers.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. She’s concerning herself with your problems, your fears. Why is she still so nice after all these years? I’ve seen the way her friends treat their younger siblings; always complaining about how annoying Ab, Scoots, and Sweetie can be, yet Twilight always goes out of her way to make sure I’m alright. Is it because she’s scared I’ll go back to being quiet again or something? Would it be so bad if I went back to being that way? It hurt less. It meant that way I didn’t have to feel anything.

A croak echoed around the room, melting into soft whimpers between clenched teeth.

He shook his head roughly, some of his tears flying off to land on the crumpled sheets around him. He stood up—his hands clenched at his side—as he marched over to his closet, pulling on the small, golden knobs of the shuttered room. Inside, most of his clothes hung limply on their hangers, his shoes were aligned in a straight line at the bottom. Toys were stashed away in boxes with labels, and books were organized alphabetically and by size on a small bookshelf resting against the back wall of the closet.

Twilight must have organized my closet for me. Again, Spike thought with a roll of his eyes.

His uniform, a white, boy’s dress shirt rested perfectly still on its hanger. No wrinkles, not a smudge of dirt that a boy of his age would normally have on his clothes. The other half of his uniform consisted of flat black shorts, with a pair of black dress shoes to match.

With a growl of aggravation, he snatched the shirt and shorts from the hanger, and lowered to the floor to grab his shoes. He marched back over to his bed and threw them onto it, glaring at them. His mind immediately thought back to the day Twilight Velvet brought it home after filling out the paperwork that registered him for Cantercity Middle School.

~~~

“Spike, darling, look! I just finished the paperwork and you’re all set now. Come August, you’ll be starting at your new school: Cantercity Middle! Isn’t that exciting? You know, Twily and Shiny attended the very same school. They absolutely loved it and hated to leave. Of course high school is just as exciting, if not even more so. But we’ll get there, we’ve got to get you through middle school first. Ohhhh’ why are my babies growing up so fast.”

Twilight Velvet gushed, droning on and on. Spike was trying hard to pay attention to his foster mother, but his eyes seemed to glaze over, her voice becoming a dull buzz until a soft hand reached out to pinch his cheek. The action caused him to squint and yelp out in pain.

Velvet let go and patted the cheek she had inflicted pain on, the action causing it to sting. Spike pulled his face away, his hand reaching up to hold his foster mother's hand away from his face.

“That’s great mom! I can’t wait. Twilight’s told me so much about it, and I got to help her with a lot of her homework over the past few years. She even taught me a few tricks I’ll need to stay ahead of the rest of my grade.” Spike puffed his chest out, looking proud.

Velvet laughed softly, the sound like bells tinkling. At that moment Night Light came out of his study, his eyes shining brightly as they gazed upon his wife.

“Did you tell the big guy the news yet? I’m sure he can’t wait to try it on. I just know he’ll look great.” Spike’s foster father winked at the young boy’s confused expression.

‘Try… something… on?’ Spike thought, frowning.

“Not yet darling, I was so excited to tell him that he’s been accepted to the school, but with all this excitement I forgot to tell him the best part! Let me go get it.”

Spike’s gaze watched his mother go back out the front door. His father was standing next to him, hands shoved deep into blue-jean pockets. The young boy looked up to see the man grinning goofily, a small chuckle morphing into choked laughter.

Night Light looked down at his youngest son, mirth plainly visible in his yellow eyes.

“You’re going to absolutely loovveeeee this.” His laughter returned full force, causing the young boy to scowl.

Spike swiveled his gaze back to the door as his mother opened it and walked back inside. The green-eyed boy squinted to see what his foster mother had gotten him, his small mouth contorting someplace between a confused smile and a scowl.

In Velvet’s small pale hand hung a metal hanger, a white paper bag draped over it.

“I just picked it up from the dry cleaners, so it’ll be clean and wrinkle free for the first day of school. Here, have a look.”

She extended her hand out, the hanger hanging delicately from her curled fingers. Spike reached out, his hands grabbing the shoulders of the bag. His fingers felt the shift of soft, slippery material.

What is this?

The young boy’s gaze immediately lifted to stare at the excited smile on his foster mother’s face.

“Go on, you need to take the paper off to hang it in your closet anyways. Let it air out. Don’t want it stiff and itchy when you go to wear it on your first day.”

Spike glanced back down at the bag before looking up at Night Light.

The older man was leaning against the doorframe of his office, hands still buried deep in his pockets, his left leg crossed casually over his right with the tennis shoe clad foot kicking the toe against the hard wooden floor. The grin on his face was wide as he lifted his eyebrows up at the younger boy.

Spike dropped his eyes back to the object in front of him, a frown marring his once-smiling face. With careful hands he began to remove the paper.

Eyes blinking rapidly, his mind couldn’t process what was in front of him.

“Do you like it? It’s going to look so adorable on you!”

Night Light’s laugh echoed through his head.

~~~

Spike Sparkle snorted at the memory. His hands crossing across his chest as he tilted his chin up at the articles of clothing defiantly.

“This is so stupid! Why do I have to even wear this stuff! At least Twilight liked her uniform when she went to this school. I guess Shining Armor had to wear the same thing, but this is ridiculous! I’m just going to get it dirty.” Spike continued his complaining as he went to his dark-brown wooden dresser. He wrapped his fingers around the tiny knobs, roughly pulling it open to grab his undershirt and boxers.

Quickly changing out of his pajamas and into his underclothes, he once again stood in front of his uniform—his glare not wavering as he reached out to pick up his black dress shorts.

“These don’t even have pockets! Why do we have to wear these stupid dressy clothes. Just because it’s a private school? Sweet Celestia!” Spike jokingly used the playful phrase. A saying Twilight and himself used when they were talking about something that bothered them, a nod to the woman that had brought them together.

With a sigh, he slipped the shorts on, fixing them so they sat just right. He reached forward and wrapped his tiny fingers around the front of the dress shirt. Two long, white cloths stretched from the collar of the shirt, something that would be tied into a bow once a wearer put it on.

With a roll of his eyes, he slipped the shirt over his head, grumbling angrily as he fought his arms through the sleeves, eventually he popping his head out of the top. His arms reached up to flatten the collar down. He then proceeded to try to tie the two strips of cloth into a proper bow. Unsuccessful after three tries, he left it in a tight, awkward knot that was slightly tilted. He didn’t care. He just proceeded to button the snaps on his wrist so the sleeves would stay tight.

“Finally, now that that’s over, I can get breakfast!” His arms shot up into a cheering position as he ran towards the door, his right hand grabbing the knob and turning it. His gaze immediately shot down as he wiggled his sockless, shoeless toes. His head dropped with a loud sigh before he turned around and made his way back to his dresser.

He reached forward, mumbling angrily, his hands once again pulling open a drawer to grab a pair of short, black socks. Strolling slowly back to his bed he turned around jumped back roughly onto it, shaking the entire frame, and possibly even the second floor of the house. He quickly pulled his knees to his chest, extending his right foot in front of him slipping on the sock. Repeating the process for the left, he reached behind him and grabbed his shoes, slipping them on with ease much like he did with his socks.

“Alright, now, if nothing else would like to hold me up... breakfast time!” Spike said as he jumped up and made his way to the door, his eyes looking himself over to check off his mental checklist.

Shirt, shorts, socks and shoes. My tie is… tied. It’ll do for now. Hopefully they won’t say anything about it. Uh, anything el—

The young boy made to scratch his head in thought as he opened the door, his small fingers snagging a knot.

Right, my hair… and my teeth. Deodorant would be smart too there Spikey-boy. Don’t want the first day to be ruined by improper hygiene.

With a frustrated sigh he closed his bedroom door and ran for the bathroom slamming the door shut behind him.

Isn't this Happiness? [Revised]

View Online

Teeth freshly brushed and hair combed, Spike Sparkle stopped in the open archway of the family dining room. His right hand clutched the hardwood frame as his eyes roved over the space.

Sitting at the head of the light rosewood table was Night Light, his foster father. The older man was clutching the black and white print of what was assumed to be the “Equestria Herald”, the paper crumpled as he held it tightly between work-worn fingers.

On the older man’s left side sat Shining Armor. The older boy was shoveling forkful after forkful of lightly browned, syrupy heaven into his mouth like someone was trying to take it away from him.

Across the table from Shining, in the chair closest to the young, observing boy, sat Twilight Sparkle. Her small right hand was wrapped around a tall glass of orange juice. She was staring over at her older brother, her hand paused on the way to her mouth.

“Shiny, if you keep eating like that you’re going to get a stomach ache.” Her voice had a stern warning to it, but still held it’s kind, loving tone.

The sound brought a small smile to Spike's face as he left his observing position to join the rest of his family for breakfast.

His small, right hand reached out to slide his chair out next to his older sister, her gaze immediately locked on him. “Glad you finally came down to join us, sleepy head. For a minute there I thought you crawled back into bed.” Twilight’s voice was playful. A shared, identical goofy smile appeared on both the older girl and younger boy’s face.

Spike climbed up into his chair, shuffling it closer so he didn’t have to reach so far to eat. “You know me! Always trying to find an excuse to jump back in for few more Z’s.”

The girl’s laugh echoed around the room, bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. Twilight Sparkle could always make anyone’s day with just one genuine smile and laugh; at least, for the Sparkle family she could.

Shining Armor reached forward, his hand playfully trying to steal a piece of bacon off the young boy’s plate when he wasn’t looking. Spike’s eyes immediately swiveled to stare at his older brother, his small hands reaching up to grab around the larger wrist. Shiny playfully tried to fight him off, still trying to grab the piece of food before giving up with a smile of surrender.

“Okay, okay you can have it, big guy,” Shining said playfully, retreating back to his own plate.

“It was mine in the first place!” Spike stuck out his tongue, his left hand reaching out to wrap his fingers around the greasy food before bringing it up to his mouth and biting it in half. He chewed it thoroughly before swallowing.

Night Light shuffled his paper, his glasses sat low on his nose as he skimmed through the bold headlines. “So, Spike, looking swell there sport. I’m sure you’ll get all the ladies’ attention today,” the older man said with a chuckle, his index fingers bending the top of the paper over to give a toothy smile to his youngest son.

Spike’s mouth dipped harshly into a scowl, his green eyes narrowed to give his father a dirty look.

Twilight reached over and dipped her fingers through his green mess of hair. Her hand swiping through the green locks, soothing the aggravated middle schooler.

“Don’t let daddy get to you, Spike. He teased Shiny and I then just as much as he is you now. He thinks it’s a father’s prerogative to give us a hard time.”

Spike nodded, his older sister's words drained all the anger out of him leaving a small smile resting on his face. He tightened his fingers around his fork and proceeded to copy his older brother, shoveling the bits of pancake into his mouth at top speed.

Twilight Velvet entered the room, steaming plates of pancakes, bacon, and a pitcher of freshly made orange juice held delicately between both her hands on a silver tray.

Good heavens! boys, slow down! There’s more where that came from. You all need a good breakfast, but if you swallow it whole you’ll just end up sick to your stomach and miserable instead of focused on your tasks.”

Velvet’s voice broke Spike’s concentration, his fork clattering out of his hand with a ‘clink’ to his plate. His eyes locked onto the food in his foster mother's hands. It was like he hadn’t ate in days, at least that’s what his stomach was telling him.

Shining Armor noticed the look on his younger brother’s face, a grin made itself known on his own lips.

“Hey mom, can I get some of that?” Shiny had raised his fork in acknowledgement of his mother, his smile widened as she nodded.

“Mom, me too! Can I?” Spike quickly reclaimed his fork and waved it high in the air, his expression turning into one of worry as he saw his brother sliding almost half the stack of cakes onto his plate, Shining took more than a couple of pieces of bacon too.

Twilight shook her head at the two boys, her small smile baring teeth as she watched her little brother begin to fidget anxiously in his seat.

Night Light peeked over his newspaper at the elder boy. “Now Shiny, make sure your little brother gets his fair share. It’s his first day at a brand new school.”

“But dad! I’m so––” Shining Armor cut himself off before finishing that thought as he looked at the smirk slowly growing on his father’s face. “You know what? Here, Spike, take some of mine.” Shining Armor forked several of the pancakes off of his plate and onto his brother’s.

Night Light chuckled to himself as he went back to his paper. “Besides, he’s going to need all the help he can get,” he muttered to himself, just loud enough for Shining to overhear.

Spike’s face beamed as his mother placed several more strips of bacon alongside the—now intimidating—stack of pancakes, before covering the stack in maple syrup.

He began to inhale the fresh food, even challenging Shining Armor to see who could finish their stack of pancakes first. By the end, Spike was beaming in victory, and Shining Armor let out a slow groan as he held his stomach.

“I told you you’d get a tummy ache if you ate too fast, but nooooo you didn’t listen to me.” Twilight said right before she stuck her tongue out at her older brother.

The two older siblings began making faces at each other, the youngest Sparkle watching from his own seat while smiling brightly.

“Okay, Spike, Twilight,” Velvet started, “into the front room! You know what time it is.”

Twilight jumped to her feet with excitement, her competition with her older brother immediately forgotten.

“Umm… what time is it, Twi?” Spike whispered his question to the girl, not wanting to let their mother see that he didn’t know what they were going into the front room for.

“You don’t remember?” The older girl questioned as she pushed her chair out to leave the dining room, her smile wavering.

“Umm… no? Should I?” Spike copied his sister, pushing his chair out from under the table and hopping down. His eyes locked on to her face, curiosity causing his brow to dip and his mouth to curl downward on one side.

Twilight glanced down at her little brother, a frown dipping the corners of her mouth. She placed her soft hand on his shoulder and kneeled down in front of him.

“Spike, what did you do?” She said as she shook her head in false disappointment. She clicked her tongue, a soft sigh following after as her hands reaching up to untie the knot he had made with the ribbons of his dress-shirt.

“What? Oh… It wouldn’t tie right for me so I just knotted it and left it alone,” Spike mumbled, avoiding his sister’s eyes.

The older girl was quiet as her long fingers crossed the ribbons over one another, pulling it tight before proceeding to form the two silky pieces into a tight, straight, and perfect white bow.

“There, now you’re perfect. Let’s go.” Twilight patted her hand on the bow before standing back up to her full height, a smile was back on her lips but her eyes held a note of sadness.

Spike’s eyes dropped to watch the tight bow puff out, the silky white ribbons were formed elegantly in a way he didn’t think he would ever learn how to do. His eyes looked back up at his sister curiously as her hand gestured for them to go to the other room.

The two children walked into the front room and Spike’s eyes shifted from Twilight to the antique chair covered in red velvet sitting in front of the window. His expression changing from curiosity to recognition.

The early sun shone brightly through the glass pane, bathing the room in a golden hue. Long beige drapes framed the window, bending the light around the old wooden-legged chair in a picturesque moment. His memories rushed back to him, remembering the day Twilight had started middle school. It suddenly dawned on him why Twilight Velvet had called both himself and his older sister to go into this room.

Just beyond the chair sat an old dark rosewood hallway table, pictures of memories past set in delicate golden frames decorating the top of the polished wood. From his spot next to his older sister, he could see one of the framed memories. It was of Twilight dressed in a long white dress, a bow as big as her smile rested delicately on her smaller chest as she beamed at the camera. Today Spike would be taking his own first day of middle school photo, just as Twilight had that day. The difference now was she was also taking another photo today for another big step in her own life.

Omigosh! I’ve spent all morning whining and complaining about how it’s my first day and I didn’t even think about how Twilight must feel! Today’s her—

Velvet walked in from the kitchen interrupting his thoughts and shaking the camera she had in her hand up in the air. “Oh Spike, I can’t believe it’s your turn already! First Shiny, then Twilight, and now we get your picture on your first day of middle school! Plus today is Twily’s first day of high school! Oh, my babies are growing up so fast! I wish I could go back to when you were all little, playing with your stuffed animals in the park.” The older woman sighed longingly, her hands clasping the camera to her chest as she closed her eyes in remembrance.

Spike’s thoughts continued to race as his mother prattled on.

She came into my room earlier with her uniform on. Twilight reminded me yesterday how excited she was for the party Pinkie Pie was throwing for all their friends to celebrate. She’s even coming home late today because of it. I’m such a horrible brother. I didn’t even acknowledge my B.S.B.F.F.’s feelings or ask her how she felt. Life is about to change for her too... again.

Twilight whispered to her little brother with a chuckle, “Are you ready? First day pictures! Can you believe how much time has gone by? This will be your very own first day of school Sparkle family picture. Aren’t you excited, Spikey?”

Spike felt like he was going to cry. “Twi, I....” The tears began to form in his eyes as he clenched his teeth.

Twilight sat gingerly in the chair, facing their mother, and brought her legs together, patting her lap for Spike to come sit down.

Spike stepped slowly toward her, his tiny hands coming up to his face to wipe his tears away. A second set of hands brushed his aside, the long fingers cupping his cheeks forcing him to look up as a warm kiss was pressed against his forehead.

They shared a smile for a moment before his older sister's hands dropped to grab him under his underarms. Lifting him up high, she turned him around and set him softly on her lap, her hands dropping around his stomach to hug him tightly to her chest.

Spike frowned. “So, do we just sit here then?”

Twilight reached up and pinched his cheeks, pulling the skin out to force a smile, “Yep, just gotta put on a smile!”

“Twiiiiiiiiiilight! I can do this!” Spike reached up to bat her hands away, a smile naturally forming on the boy's lips as his sister’s laugh echoed around the small room. The older girl’s hands dropped back around his stomach, her lips pressing a soft kiss onto the crown of his head before smiling up at her mother.

“Okay you two, big smiles!” Twilight Velvet simply radiated good feelings, her excitement for this day far outpacing Spike’s, or even Twilight’s for that matter.

I can’t believe this going to be my first Sparkle family school picture. But more importantly, I can’t believe Twilight is holding back her own nervicitment just because this IS my first.

Waiting on the two to smile, well, on Spike to smile, Velvet tapped her foot impatiently. “Tick tock, Spike. We have to leave for school soon!”

Spike hadn’t noticed his expression had fell, his scowl once again marring his face.

Twilight quickly reached her hands up to his sides and tickled the boy, stealing a grin and a laugh from him before quickly dropping them back down and smiling at the camera.

The camera flashed as Twilight Velvet took the picture, startling the green haired boy. “Got it!”

“Wait, what?” He blinked twice before looking back at Twilight. Velvet smiled and left to go show the picture to her husband and older son, leaving the two alone for the moment.

Twilight smiled sheepishly before scooting the boy off her lap and to the floor. “It’s okay to be nervous, Spike. Just know that your big sister will always be here for you.” She booped his nose with an index finger before leaving the room to go grab her backpack.

Spike waited for a moment, his eyes staring forward where his sister once stood. He bit his lip roughly, tears sliding down his cheeks. “Why?” He whispered, his tiny hands forming into shaking fists. “What about you. Who’s going to be there for you? Since I’m so... weak.”

The young boy’s hands clenched at his sides, his tears dripping off his chin and absorbing into the bright white bow of his uniform shirt.

Spike peered out the window for a moment, the fall morning sun reminding him of the day little Twilight Sparkle became his first real friend in the world.

~~~

“Hi, I’m Twilight Sparkle.”

Spike was staring up at the older girl. They had talked a little at lunch but he had never imagined she’d come hang out with him on the swings after school.

‘She did say she would see you later… I just thought she got weirded out and was making an excuse so she wouldn’t get in trouble.’

“I’m sorry if I was weird earlier. I… I can imagine what that would be like. Some random girl just walking up to me and talking to me, knowing my name without even introducing herself? I’d be a bit freaked out too. I-I was just nervous.”

Spike just stayed silent, his eyes curiously watching the girl. The more she talked the more comfortable she got with her words. By the end of their conversation that day he had gotten to know a little about Twilight and her prized possession: Smarty Pants. How Spike loved that stuff animal with its mismatched eyes and the smile it brought to young Twilight’s face as she talked about the doll.

~~~

Squeezing his eyes shut, a shiver rocked through the little boy, the past bringing pain to his small heart.

“Even back then, she put me above her own feelings. Twilight…” Spike whispered, his arms came up to wrap around himself.

Loud noises from the main hallway let Spike know his brother and sister were ready to head off to school, their conversation about Cadance echoing down to his ears. It brought a sad smile to his face, the tears had stopped, but the pain still resonated through his chest.

As he turned to leave the room to gather his own stuff a picture caught his eye.

Sitting amongst the other photos was a lavender and green hand-made frame with a picture of a young Twilight and Spike sitting on the swings at Celestia’s School for Gifted Children. Suspended between them by an extended blue-patched cotton-filled paws was Smarty Pants, both Twilight and Spike squeezing her tightly with bright smiles beaming.

A happy Frown [Revised]

View Online

By the time Spike had dragged his feet to his mother’s white BMW four-door, his mood was already soured. He slowly grabbed the front door handle, threw his lime-green backpack onto the floorboard, and jumped in himself.

Twilight and Shining Armor had already left for Canterlot High School in the latter’s mustang GT. The beautiful beast of a sports car was fast with its white with blue pinstripes, a gift from Night Light when Shining got his license after his second go around on the DMV road test. The first test ended with a missing hubcap and a very unhappy test administrator.

Shining often took both Twilight and Spike on car rides, just to enjoy the sights, or have some quality sibling bonding time. They went to movies, out to the park, or trips to the store to buy junk food when Night and Velvet went out and left Shiny in charge. Of course when Spike thought about it, it was never really his big brother’s idea to do anything. Neither the young boy or older one could ever tell Twilight no to anything she wanted to do, and being that she always had a good idea, neither Spike nor Shiny cared that much.

“Spike, darling? Is everything alright?” Twilight Velvet stepped into the car, her hand reaching for the start engine button.

Spike looked up at his foster mother, a bitter smile resting on his face as he nodded. “Yeah mom, I’m alright. Just thinking.”

“You keep thinking that hard I’m going to have to roll down the windows to let the smoke out.”

Spike’s lips fought off a larger smile, ultimately failing as a laugh broke through.

“You’re almost as bad as dad.”

“I try my best.”

The car was silent for a few moments, Spike just looked around the garage before looking back at his mother.

“Uh mom? Are we going?” He blinked a few times as he watched her look over at him with a smirk, her hand leaving the steering wheel to snap the seat belt against her chest. “Oh, duh. Sorry”

He quickly snapped his seatbelt in place before tossing a thumbs up at his mom.

With a chuckle, Velvet shook her head before backing out of the garage and taking them on their way.

The radio played low in the background as Spike watched the scenery pass by. Identical houses littered the neighborhood they drove through, the only differences that could be seen was the paint jobs and the lawn ornaments that sat in the neatly trimmed yards.

Twilight Velvet hummed quietly with the song, her fingers tapping along the steering wheel as she drove. The ride would only take about twenty minutes but any time she got to spend with her children was time well spent. She often said that if she only got but a moment with them it would still be the best moment of her entire life.

Spike watched his foster mother hum, sometimes she would mutter a soft lyric along with the old tune that quietly drifted from the car’s sound system. He closed his eyes, content to listen to her soft voice. It reminding him of when Twilight used to sing gently to him before bed. The soft timbre of his sister’s voice always managed to soothe him, taking away his worry; much like Velvet’s voice was doing for him now.

A sigh of contentment left the young boy’s mouth as he settled back into his seat, his legs shifted to match the beat of the well-loved song. Eventually his head bobbed until he opened his eyes and joined his mother in singing the chorus, twin smiles broke out across their faces as they sang the song together.

The rest of the car ride went much the same, songs and smiles being shared until they pulled up to the parent drop-off area of Cantercity Middle School.

Spike watched as children dressed much like himself piled out of cars, littering the front courtyard of the school.

The car pulled forward a bit as the parade of other vehicles dropped off their students and left to continue on with their day until it was time for the afternoon pickup. Spike’s own ride would not be attending with the return trip, for he would be walking home on his own today. They had of course offered to give him a ride, but Spike wanted to walk, he said he was mature enough to make his way home on his own, even on his first day.

Shining had made a joke about Spike hoping to get a girlfriend to walk home with. Something they all laughed at, even if it was at the expense of his little brother.

After the young boy denied it adamantly, Night Light had then encouraged him to make some friends who walked the same direction as he did being that both Shining and Twilight might not be able to come get him everyday.

Finally it was Spike’s turn to get out of the car, his hand clenched the handle as he stared out the window.

“Are you ready, Spike? There’s nothing to be scared or nervous about. Just do your best and keep your chin up.” Velvet ran her fingers through her youngest son’s hair, turning him to face her. “You’re going to be fine.” She pulled him closer to her and kissed his forehead before releasing him. “Now go on. We’ll all be waiting to hear all about your day when you get home.”

Spike smiled softly at his foster mom, with one last thumbs up he reached down and grabbed his backpack. He faced the door again before wrapping his right hand around the handle and opening it. As he went to step out a strong force kept him in his seat.

One glance down and a playful chuckle from his mother told him that he forgot something very important when getting out of a vehicle.

Unbuckling his seatbelt.

Rolling his eyes and tossing a goofy smile at his mom, he unbuckled his belt and jumped out of the open door. A deep breath later, he waved at his mom before closing the door and backing away from the car, far enough to get out of the way of the next car in line. He watched her drive away, his hands swinging his backpack on to his back.

“Well, here goes nothing.” He mumbled as he went to turn away but stopped as his eyes locked onto the next car that pulled up.

A boy a few inches taller than Spike stepped out confidently, his hand slammed the door behind him. His pale blue eyes searched over the crowd of students until they eventually locked on Spike.

The dark-blue sports car drove off without a second glance from the taller boy, who now was making his way towards Spike.

Spike could see that the boy had two-toned spiky hair, white and dark-blue colors fighting for dominance.

“Yo Strife! What’s up man? Been a long summer!” A voice called out, gaining the taller boy’s attention, a smirk spread onto his face. The pale blue eyes switched back and forth from somewhere behind Spike to the fearful green-eyed boy,

Without a word “Strife” brushed past Spike, almost knocking the smaller boy over.

A laugh echoed out from behind Spike but he was too scared to move, his hands clenched tightly to the straps of his bag.

Cars proceeded to drop students off and leave, most students simply passed the young boy without a second glance. Still Spike couldn’t move, he was ready to go home now never to come back, and the day hadn’t even started yet.

***

By the time Spike had convinced himself to go inside the school the courtyard had emptied out.

He had made it across the long concrete slab, up the sixteen step staircase—he counted—and was soon standing in front of the glass paned door, staring at his reflection.

In his own eyes he saw fear, fear he thought was long extinguished by the small hand and kind voice of Twilight Sparkle.

“I can do this. I don’t need Twilight to protect me anymore,” he whispered as his hand grabbed the cold metal handle.

Looking beyond his reflection, he could see students shuffling around the school, making their way to their lockers, or just chatting amongst one another.

His eyes locked onto bobbing spiked white and dark-blue hair. Girls had swarmed around the two-tone headed boy, he was chatting amongst them, flashing crooked smiles as the girls swooned. His companions, a burnt-orange shaggy-headed boy, and a short black-haired boy chatted easily along as well.

Spike roughly swallowed a knot in his throat, he shook his head and backed away from the door.

“I can’t do this! I’ll just ask mom if I can be home schooled.”

“SPIIIIKKKKKKKEEEEEE” Three voices screeched loudly, almost causing the young boy to jump out of his skin.

He spun around before he was sandwiched between three young girls.

“C-ca-can’t…” Spike did his best to suck in a small breath. “Breathe.”

“Haha, sorry, Spike. We’re just—” Scootaloo started as she was first to let go.

“Sooooooooo—” Sweetie Belle was next, her hands dropping to clasp behind her as she smiled brightly at the young boy.

“Glad to see ya!” Apple Bloom finished, as her right hand coming up to give him a thumbs up, her left hand rested on her hip. She winked once and then all three of them fell into giggles as Spike just blinked, confused.

All three were wearing the bright white dress uniform Twilight had wore when she attended the school.

“Bwuh,” was all Spike managed to say.

“Well aren’t ya glad ta see us, Spike?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Yeah, I mean it’s totally awesome that we’re all going to the same school now!” Scootaloo said before the green-haired boy could answer.

“Mhmm!” Sweetie Belle added.

Spike’s eyes locked onto Sweetie Belle, the perfume she wore smelled a lot like Rarity’s. And that was something that always caught his attention.

“Of… of course I’m glad to see you.” Spike blinked, “All of you!” He smiled sheepishly, his hands clenching his backpack’s straps again as he backed up a step to look at all three of his friends.

“Uh… are you gonna go inside?”

“Scootaloo! He’s probably just as scared as we are!”

“Ah ain’t scared! Mah big sis said just to make a face scarier than what’s scaring you! Then you’ll scare it off before it gets ya’.”

Spike watched as the three girls took it in turn to make the scariest face. Apple Bloom went first. She extended her jaw and spread her lips, showing off as much teeth as she could. Scootaloo laughed at that and—using her hands—spread her cheeks as wide as she could apart while bulging her eyes and sticking out her tongue.

Sweetie Belle gave off what could only be described as a very girlish giggle as she placed her fingertips on the tip of her nose while pulling it up.

“Sweetie, scary! Not a piggy,” Apple Bloom said with a chuckle.

Spike laughed and joined in. The boy placed the tips of his fingers above and below his eyes and spread them apart, causing his eyeballs to bulge much further than Scootaloo could ever hope.

“Ahh, Spike don’t do that!” Sweetie said with a laugh, something that was quickly picked up by the other two present.

Suddenly a bell rang out, signalling the time for students to start heading to class.

The four sixth graders exchanged glances before stumbling over one another to get the door open. Spike eventually used his bag to push the other three back and just grabbed the metal handle, opening it. He held it open for them, and, with a bow, gestured with his free hand for them to go inside.

They giggled girlishly at him as they walked by, Sweetie even gave him a small kiss on the cheek before she sped up to walk alongside Apple Bloom.

Spike sighed dreamily before he straightened up and puffed out his chest. I can do this.

With a deep breath, he stepped into the building, and…

Nothing happened.

Not one eye focused on him, everyone was too busy with their own concerns.

Spike quickly followed after his friends, catching the end of their conversation about locker numbers.

“Aw, that’s too bad, Sweetie. Scoots and Ah got lockers close to each other.” Apple Bloom was waving her information sheet in the air, a pout on her face.

“Yeah, that’s totally not awesome at all. Bummer.” Scootaloo was trying to balance a pencil on her nose as they walked along.

“It’s not that far away from you guys,” Sweetie said with a pout, her eyes scanning her own information sheet.

“Um, Sweetie Belle?” Spike tapped her softly on the shoulder. “What locker number did you get?”

Her pale-green eyes shifted to look at him, a sad smile on her lips. “One-thirty-three”

The solemn tone of her voice almost broke the young boy’s heart. He quickly reached around to his backpack, pulling his own information sheet out. On it held his Student I.D. number, his classroom schedule, lunch period, and his locker number.

“Well I got number one-thirty-four” He turned the paper around for all three girls to observe.

“Well Ah’ll be! That’s great Spike, Sweetie Belle and ya’ can be locker buddies!” Apple Bloom jumped excitedly, her hands clasped around Sweetie’s upper arm, causing the now blushing girl to bounce with her.

“Alright! That means you won’t be all by yourself between classes!” Scootaloo’s fists shot up into the air in a ‘goal’ pose as she grinned at her best friends.

“Mhmm,” Sweetie Belle was still blushing softly, the rosy color of her blush blending in beautifully with her pale skin. “This… is great. I hope you don’t mind, Spike.”

Spike smiled, shaking his head. “It’s not a bother at all, Sweets.”

Her blush grew brighter as he referred to her by her nickname.

Apple bloom and Scootaloo laughed before pulling Sweetie Belle off down the hall to the left, against her will. Spike was left standing where he was, a goofy smile left on his face.

A warning bell rang, startling the young boy. It was then that he noticed all the other students were making their way to class. He quickly pulled his sheet back up to his face and scanned for his first classroom number.

Advanced Physics One-oh-one, classroom Two-forty-eight.

Spike’s head shot up, his eyes glancing down the hallway his friends went down before looking the opposite way.

Classroom Two-oh-three, alright so it’s got to be that way.

He quickly took the left hallway, eyes catching the door numbers while he avoided other students walking the same way.

The issue with avoiding them was that Spike quickly found this hallway led to most of the upperclassmen’s classrooms.This meant the short little sixth grader had to dodge and duck under those much taller, more confident, scary, bigger, meaner, and ‘smarter’ than him.

By the time he found his classroom, he was out of breath, and on the verge of a mental breakdown.

Sweet Celestia, please just let this day just end!

Painful Tears [Revised]

View Online

Stepping into Advanced Physics one-oh-one was a culture shock for the young, green-haired sixth grader.

Rather than the tiny wooden individual desks that Spike was used to, every desk within the room was tall black flat top with two metal leather-topped seats to match. Most of the seats were filled with actively talking and/or snoozing eighth graders, their very size terrified the young boy.

Am I in the right class? This can’t be right. These are eighth graders!

Spike quickly shuffled out of the room and pressed himself against the nearby locker wall. His eyes shot up to check the room number again.

Two-forty-eight. This is the right room. There’s… there’s no hope for me, I’m officially dead meat once these guys get a hold of me.

Spike shot his head back hard enough for a loud ‘clank’ to resonate through the almost vacant hallway. Class would be starting very soon, with or without the terrified boy, but he couldn’t find the strength to move.

Hold on. Think about this for a moment. Would I rather face these juveniles or the wrath of an angry Twilight Sparkle if she got even the smallest hint of me being the T-word or worse… me skipping my very first middle school class. I can do this. I’m in this class, I passed all the previous courses to be qualified for this course. Who cares if they’re all older than me, bigger than me, more… whatever, that doesn’t mean I can’t do the same work they can. Let’s just get this over with.

With a sigh, Spike walked slowly over to the door of classroom Two-forty-eight. Standing up on the tips of his toes, he peered into the small rhombus shaped window that was snugly held in the wooden door.

Students had begun to take out their notebooks as a teacher typed haphazardly on the desktop computer keyboard in front of him. The older man had messy brown-hair and blue-eyes, a wicked smile crossed his face as he went to town on the keyboard with his fingers. To Spike, it didn’t seem like the teacher was using the computer for ‘middle-school-rated things’, but he didn’t dare comment on it.

The young boy’s eyes scanned around the room for an empty seat, his eyes locked onto one in the front row next to the orange-haired boy he saw earlier with 'Strife'. The eighth grader was chatting to a pretty girl that sat behind him, her desk partner was snoozing in his own notebook.

Spike glanced around the room one last time before sighing, his hands clenching nervously around his backpack straps once more.

Please don’t let him talk to me. Just sit down, and stay quiet, Spike. Maybe he won’t even notice you… Just breathe... and here we go. Chin up!

The young boy walked away from the door and to the front of the room, trying hard—but failing—not to notice all the stares he was receiving from the upperclassmen he passed.

By the time Spike had reached the open stool, he was sweating, shivering, and on the verge of wetting his pants. Which would of been the most embarrassing thing at the moment. His mind immediately remembering his beloved's most common saying, This is the worst. Possible. Thing!

The orange-haired boy glanced over at the small boy, his conversation with the pretty girl ending mid sentence.

“Uh, can I help you?” The older boy’s tone didn’t hold any annoyance, much to Spike's surprise.

The young boy blinked, his mouth working to answer the boy, but he found he couldn’t. His throat had seized up, so he was left staring wide-eyed in fear.

After a moment the older boy got annoyed and stood up, looming over Spike but before he could say anything the teacher called out, “Um, excuse me young man. Are you sure you’re in the right room? This is Physics one-o-one, an eighth grade course.”

Spike’s eyes immediately swung to lock onto the teacher’s, his short legs automatically took him away from the older boy to stand in front of the desk where the teacher sat. He quickly lifted his arm, his small fingers crushing the thin sheet of his information paper, and held it out for the older man to see.

The room had gone silent as the class waited for the teacher to scan the sheet.

“You are in this class. Well done young man! I’ve never had a sixth grader in my advanced course before. Please tell me how you managed this?”

Spike blinked a couple of times, the knot in his throat lessening as the teacher’s words filled his ears. “Well uh… I’ve always been in classes higher than those in my age-range usually take. But I can’t take all the credit.”

“Oh really? What do you mean?” The teacher readjusted his arms on his desk so he was leaning forward slightly, his eyes expressed true curiosity and a playful smile to match,

“My older sister, Twilight Sparkle, she’s a really great tutor. During the summer, just for fun, we would sit in on classes provided by the college where my father works at. She’d also helped me with my studies and homework when I was in elementary school, and the school offered advanced classes during the summer too, so—”

“Twilight Sparkle is your older sister! Well I’ll be a ponies’ uncle! That’s magnificent!”

The class behind the young boy collectively groaned; making Spike jump and look over his shoulder before turning back to the teacher.

“Um… was Twilight a student of yours?”

“She was. Advanced Chemistry, Advanced Physical Science, Advanced Biology. You name it she took the course. That little girl was a genius! She was also my teacher’s aid,” The science teacher said as he beamed with pride, his fists raised in a cheer.

“Oh…” Spike frowned.

“Anyways, any sibling of Twilight Sparkle is welcomed in my classroom.”

“Thanks, Mr.Turner,” Spike mumbled with a nod. He then turned to head to the only empty seat in the room, this time no one bothered to look at him. They just whispered amongst themselves. Spike was forced to listen as the name of his loving older sister drifting around the room in distaste.

Now I remember this teacher. Twilight used to talk about him all the time. The crazy experiments they did, her extra credit homework, and the complaining of how students in the classes could be so obnoxious just because they didn’t want to do the coursework. Of course everyone knew ‘Twilight Sparkle’, girl genius. And now they all know I’m her brother. Great going Spike. They think I’m some kinda geek now, let the bullying begin.

Spike sat down on his stool, his eyes facing forward as a scowl rested on his face. He slowly took off his backpack and dropped it onto the black flat-top, not even bothering to take out his notebook yet.

Mr.Turner stood up from his seat, he clasped his hands together, loudly, to grab the class’s attention. All of the students quickly adjusted themselves to face forward, their eyes watching the man as he went to the stand in front of the room.

“Alright you guys, enough chit-chat. Let’s get to the fun stuff, well, to the small fun stuff. Explosions come later.”

The class collectively whooped and cheered, the excitement flaring in their eyes, all except for Spike, who just stared blankly at the front of the room.

“Alright, I’m going to call roll since I’m not sure who everyone is yet, plus you’re all mixed and matched around sitting where you please.” Turner waved a finger at them, his smirk and mirth-filled eyes letting them know he was messing with them. “So this is how we’re going to do this. I’m going to call out your name and you’re going to tell me three things especially unique about yourself. Think you guys can do that for me?”

Three things unique about myself? Do I even know one thing?

The class collectively answered with nods and mumbles of ‘yes sir’ except for the boy next to Spike who raised his hands.

“Uh, yes Mr…?” Turner asked questionally, his open palm gesturing to the orange-haired boy.

“How about you go first. Show us how it’s done? and it’s Bask Flare.” The boy pointed a thumb at himself with a toothy smirk.

Mr.Turner frowned at the boy, his eyes searching around the room as his other students nodded in agreement.

“Well alright. I can go first. My names Time Turner. I’m a Canterlot University graduate on the hall-of-fame list. I built the first ever theorized full-functioning time machine, granted it only works to go back in time a few seconds. Still working on that. Lastly, the third unique thing about me? I absolutely adore scarfs.”

The class sat stiff in their seats wide eyed.

Did he just… say… ‘Time Machine’!

“Alright, I’ve told you about me, now if there aren’t any more questions we shall begin with learning about all of you!” Mr. Turner’s crazed smile was back, his hands reaching for his roll sheet as he began to call out names in alphabetical order.

***

“Bask Flare”

Spike had tuned out the class quickly after the roll call had begun, his eyes focused on his backpack as he pulled at a loose purple string. But the moment the boy next to him got called, Spike was fully attentive. His eyes shifting to look to his left.

“Yo,” Bask waved nonchalantly with his right hand at Turner, his left hand propping his face up on the desk boredly. “I’m Bask Flare. I like pretty girls, fast cars, and hanging out with my bros.”

Mr.Turner frowned. “Mr. Flare, as much as I myself enjoy all of those things, I don’t think they are… uniquely things about you. What are your hobbies, or things you’ve done in the past? If you don’t mind sharing with us I mean. I’m not forcing you.”

Bask was quiet for a few seconds before smiling crookedly. “I went to juvie for about six weeks for breaking into the old FlimFlam factory and stealing some bangin’ stuff.”

There was a few gasps around the room, one unconsciously coming from Spike. Bask Flare’s eyes locked onto him, a cruel smirk forming on the older boys lips.

“My… my… That is…” Turner cleared his throat. “Something…”

“Yep-p” Bask popped the p before rolling his eyes, “Anything else you want to know or can we get this over with? I’m already bored with this class”

Fumbling with his roll sheet, Time Turner quickly resumed his callout, listening intently to each of the other students but his eyes glanced back at Bask Flare every once in awhile, each time the boy would just smirk.

Spike could no longer sit still, he was fidgeting in his chair, his eyes locked onto the whiteboard in the front of the room. The world around him became a dull buzz.

“Mr… Spar… Excu… Spike!”

A voice penetrated his thoughts, followed by a shove that knocked him off his stool onto the hard tiled floor.

“MR. FLARE! THAT WAS UNCALLED FOR!” Turner’s angry voice echoed around the silent room, his footsteps hurriedly following as he walked over to make sure Spike was okay.

“Not my fault boy genius is too stupid to pay attention when someone’s calling his name.” A chuckling voice said from somewhere behind the young boy.

Echoes of laughter bounced around Spike’s skull, his eyes starting to tear up. The fall to the floor had hurt, but the blows to his self esteem had been the cracks in the dam.

“Enough! Enough all of you before I write you all up. You should all be ashamed of yourselves, laughing at this boy because he was lost in his own world. You should envy him! Being lost in your own mind, careless of what hold reality chains you in! You—”

I’m not weak. I’m not this weak! I don’t need Mr. Turner, or Twilight, or ANYONE! I’ll show you, I’ll show all of you! I don’t need you, Twilight Sparkle, and I wish I would've never met you! This is all your fault! I wouldn’t be this way, this weak, if you would've just left me the hell alone!

Spike shoved Turner away from him, slowly getting back up onto his feet and sitting quietly down on his stool. His eyes focused on the whiteboard once again, expressionless.

“Spike?” Mr.Turner spoke quietly, standing at the edge of the young boys desk.

“My names Spike Sparkle. I’m a sixth grader in an advanced physics class that is usually a course for eighth graders. My sister is Twilight Sparkle, Bookworm Princess of Academics,” Spike sneered the words, mocking his older sister. “and I’m not a boy genius. I just have nothing better to do then study since my future is something that actually matters to me.” Spike finished his sentence with a hate-filled glare at the smirking boy next to him.

Dried tears still left marks down the pale cheeks of the green haired boy, but they no longer fell from the emerald orbs.

Turner frowned before patting the small boy on his shoulder. “That’s good, Spike. Your future is very important,” he whispered before returning to his desk.

Roll call continued on, but the room still held an air of hostility.

“Pst... boy genius, you gotta little somethin’ right here” Bask whispered, while scratching a finger across his cheek.

“What, where?” Spike wiped at his face.

“Right there!” Bask quickly stuck his finger out, flicking up against the tip of the young boy’s nose, causing him to almost tip backwards out of his chair. Spike quickly flailed and caught himself before glaring at the laughing boy.

This was going to be a long day, and first period had only been going for ten minutes.

***

Walking out of Physics one-oh-one was the equivalent of leaving prison for the green-haired sixth grader. Of course by the end of the class he no longer felt like the young boy he had been walking into it, for now he felt like a hard-core inmate, released on “good behavior”.

Throughout the last twenty minutes, Bask Flare made it his personal duty to push every one of the little boy’s buttons, which ended with a small outburst from Spike.

This outburst of course led to a small chat between teacher and student after class, of which Spike just stayed silent as Mr. Turner tried to get him to talk. Eventually he just let the small boy go after a few minutes of no progress.

Bask just receives a detention slip and gets to leave with the rest of the class, and I get stuck with an after class talk. Could you be any more pathetic, Spike?

The walk to his locker was quiet. He once again dodged the taller students, making his way to the hallway of the underclassmen.

His eyes were tracing the lines of the floor, but a squeaky, excited voice caught his attention, making him look up.

In front of him, not even ten feet away, stood a pink-purple two-toned curly haired little girl, her pale green eyes shining brightly as she stood in front of her open locker.

“Spike! Hey! How did your first class go? I found our lockers!” She rapped her small knuckles against the locker next to hers, the small door making a ‘clang clang clang’ sound. The little girl couldn’t hold herself back. She ran forward and wrapped Spike in a huge friendly hug.

Spike felt safe, for the first time since he left his mom's car that morning, in the girl's arms. His head pressed up against her shoulder, her grip squeezing the life… the pain out of him. It made his day in every definition of the phrase.

Oh Sweetie Belle, thank Celestia you’re here! I think I’m about to break down into tears. Just your smile right now made this day a million times better.

Hangman's Noose [Revised]

View Online

Spike sighed as he took a step back and smiled sadly up at his friend.

“Spike? Is everything alright?” Sweetie Belle asked, her hand hesitantly reached forward to touch his shoulder, but he backed up another step.

“I-I’m fine. We’re going to be late for class.” The young boy just wrapped his fingers around his bag straps once more, his eyes focused on the ground between their feet.

Sweetie Belle was quiet for a few moments, her hands wringing nervously in front of her. Spike could tell the girl wanted to say something, to ask him more questions, but she was too nervous to do anything more than nod. She closed her locker silently and wrapped her hands around her own bag straps.

Students continued to shuffle around the quiet pair, the loud conversations bouncing off the confined space of the locker hallway. A warning bell rang out, alerting them that there were five minutes left before class began.

“Um… What class do you have next?” Sweetie quietly asked, nervously shuffling her feet.

“World History” Spike mumbled with a frown, remembering his schedule after having it waved in his face by Bask. The insults echoed in his brain. Lookie here, Genius boy. Ya got some regular classes, must not be all that smart after all.

“With Mrs. Pastel?” Sweetie’s excited tone caught Spike off-guard, causing him to look up at her blinking.

“You have that class?” He asked quietly.

“My sister did, she said she’s really good and quite the darling,” Sweetie said, giggled girlishly, “I don’t have her, unfortunately, but I was checking out Apple Bloom’s schedule and she has that class this period too!”

“R-really?”

“Mhmm!”

Spike was quiet for a moment before nodding. At least I’ll have one friend in this class. Maybe today won’t be as bad as I thought.

“Well, we’d better get going if we don’t want to be late. I probably won’t see you again until lunch though. If you have first lunch I mean! Scoots and AB have first lunch too, so hopefully we can all sit together.”

Spike smiled, nodding his head. “Yeah, I got first with you guys. Hopefully the food will be good.”

“Yeah, it would most certainly be the absolute worst possible thing if it turns out to be gross.” Sweetie mimicked her older sister, turning her nose up into the air and pretending to swoon.

Spike bit his lip, trying not to laugh at the spot-on reenactment of his crush’s behavior. Ultimately failing, the two laughed hard, twin grins resting on their face after they composed themselves.

“See you at lunch?” Sweetie asked.

“I’d… umm…yeah, if I survive until then.” Spike said in a self deprecating tone, scowl once again reigning over his features. Unfortunately he didn't know if he could take much more. Middle school was nothing like elementary school. Here, without a doubt, it was either be top dog or get chomped. Maybe it was only that way for Spike though being that Sweetie Belle seemed to be in such high spirits. That was until now.

"W-what do you mean? Did something happen in first period?,” Sweetie replied, suddenly finding it hard to smile due to her friends darkening mood. She had forgotten that when she first saw him approaching he looked on the verge of tears.

“Yeah,” Spike chuckled morosely.

"Wh-"

The one-minute warning bell broke their gaze, both of their eyes went wide as they—reluctantly—tore their sight from each other and to their information sheets. Sweetie found her’s easily enough, the flat sheet still perfect as the moment she received it. Spike’s on the other hand was tattered, crumpled, had a few unknown stains on it, and had to be unfolded. Neither student had any idea where their class was.

“Five-thirty-one!” Sweetie called out.

At least her’s is still legible… Uh… what is this number? One… One-fifty? Oh!

“One-fifty-five,” Spike replied when he finally found his number.

“Spike,” Sweetie said, wide-eyed, “that’s on the other side of the school.”

“Horseapples!” Spike said, and then, without even thinking about what he was doing, he shoved her aside and took off down the hall.

Sweetie dropped her bag as she watched him sprint down the almost empty hallway. “Y-yeah, Spikey-Wikey,” she whispered to no one, her hand reaching up to rub her bruised shoulder after hitting the lockers. “See you at lunch…”

***

To his credit—or stupidity—Spike made it to the door in exactly fifty seconds. He swung it open and walked in, a satisfied expression on his face as he saw Apple Bloom had saved him a seat. It wasn’t in the front of the class where he preferred, but being next to his friend was worth the distance from the front board. At the moment, he really couldn’t care less.

Spike sat down hard in his seat, his bag dropping to the floor beside him as his forehead became well acquainted with its new home: the smooth, flat, unforgiving surface of his desk top.

“Uh… Spike? Ya okay there bud? Did somethin’ happen before ya came in?” Apple Bloom poked his shoulder with the eraser end of her mechanical pencil.

“Don’t worry about it, A.B.” Spike mumbled, his voice muffled by the wooden desk.

Apple Bloom mused softly with a crooked grin. “Oh come now Spike, we're good friends, are we not? Tell me what's eatin' ya.”

Spike tilted his head to the side to give her a playful glare, his lips pulling into a tight smile. "I'm fine really, Bloom. Just let me be for right now."

“Alright class, settle down. I know it’s the first day of school and all of you are just soooo excited to get to work, but we absolutely must call roll first. There are so many of you and I must match names to your beautiful faces.” Mrs. Pastel beamed at all of her new sixth graders as she walked away from the door she just exited over to her hardwood desk.

“Well, she seems fun.” Apple Bloom whispered as she pulled her notebook out from her apple-red backpack.

“Sweetie said Rarity had this class before and absolutely loved it,” Spike whispered back, lifting his head, the moment of despair ending as he focused on trying to enjoy the class with Apple Bloom.

Of course enjoying class ended up turning into Spike trying to guess what word Apple Bloom had picked for their fifth game of Hangman due to Mrs. Pastel stopping roll every few minutes to regale her students in another wonderful tale of her time spent in the galleries of museums and libraries studying for her masters degree in foreign diplomacy. Also small facts about cultural fashion trends.

It's no wonder Rarity enjoyed this class so much... Okay, so I've used the letters p, a, w, t, b, q, and l. And so far I have appl,
but my stick figure can't take much more before he's seen his final days... and this is a big word, s-

“Spike Sparkle.”

“Huh?” Spike’s head popped up, eyes wide as he heard his name.

Apple Bloom just chuckled next to him, a few of the other students did as well.

“Are you Spike Sparkle?” Mrs. Pastel looked at him over her glasses questioningly, her hands holding a packet of paper Spike was sure was the roll sheet.

“Y-yes ma'am, I’m Spike Sparkle.” Spike answered sheepishly, sinking into his seat as she continued to stare at him.

“Very good, you know your own name.” The teacher playfully smiled and winked, earning more than a few giggles and laughs from her class.

Spike’s head went back to his new home, becoming very close to stealing his stick figure's place on the hangman's ladder. Apple Bloom reached a hand over and hugged him across the back. “Ya’ know, if you tell me what happened, then maybe I can help?”

“I thought we've already been over this. I'm fine. It’s really nothing Apple Bloom, I’m just a little tense. First days jitters is all.” Spike shrugged the arm off, bringing his own arms to rest under his head to block out the rest of the world. His cheeks were a bright red as the teacher poked at another student for not paying attention when their name was called.

Apple Bloom sat back in her seat, biting her lip. She wanted to help her friend but knew not to push the little boy’s buttons. “Um… Ya know, yer sister’s coming over this weekend to help A.J. and Big Mac with some stuff. Ya want ta come over and hang out with me? I don’t know what Scoots and Sweetie are doing, but we could totally go four wheelin’ er somethin’.”

Spike tilted his head, smiling sadly at his friend. “That sounds like fun, A.B. I’ll have to ask mom and dad, and hopefully Twi’ won’t mind me tagging along.”

Apple Bloom smiled brightly, before she leaned back in her seat and looked up at the ceiling. “Ah know it isn’t much, but we’re yer friends Spike and we’re here fer ya’ if you need us.”

The young boy just nodded, his green bangs shuffling with the movement. He dropped his chin back to his arms on the desk, staring ahead as the teacher began explaining what the course would involve.

"Are ya gonna guess another letter, or just let yer friend over there have his last breath without any legs." Apple Bloom whispered, her hand snagging the paper away from him to fill in his next guess.

***

The bell gave off a long shrill tone, alerting the students, and ending the mid-war-story excitement of Mrs.Pastel at the end of class.

Quickly the sixth graders packed their bags and started shuffling out in pairs or pushing past others to get out first.

Spike unfortunately became the closest thing to a human pinball and was shoved out into the hall, the force caused him to directly fall into someone he could have gone his entire life without running into and been perfectly happy.

“Get off me, twerp,” the older boy said, and, with a shove, pushed Spike off him and into the nearest wall locker.

Spike blinked his head clear. The blow hadn’t hurt, not physically anyway, the damage more to his pride than anything else. “Oh, um… sorry,” he mumbled.

“I’ll make you sorry,” the short black-haired boy said as he started to walk up menacingly to Spike. Only to pause when he felt his arm grabbed and twisted behind his back.

“I recken’ ya might be able to, but not before Ah break every bone in yer arm,” Apple Bloom said as she applied just the right amount of pressure on the boy’s arm to cause a large amount of pain to shoot throughout the older boy’s body, a groan of pain leaving his clenched teeth.

“He ran into me!” The black-haired boy ground out as he tried to fight the little girl off, not even shifting her grip a bit.

“No, he was shoved into ya. Want to see what happens when someone intentionally does something to ya?” Apple Bloom’s voice was angry but calm, her grip tightening causing the older boy to yelp out in pain.

“What’s going on out here‽” Mrs. Pastel said as she walked out of the classroom to see what the commotion outside her room was.

Apple Bloom let go and smirked. “Nothing Mrs. Pastel. We were just playin’ is all.”

The black-haired boy rubbed his arm and glanced back to get his first look at the girl that had so effectively ‘disarmed’ him. His pride took an immediate hit when he saw the tall, stalky farmer’s daughter with red hair, a big hair-bow set high in a ponytail, and freckles grinning at him. “Yeah, just playing.”

Mrs. Pastel took a look around at the scene, she wasn’t dumb, they were doing anything but playing. But being how the kids had settled it for themselves there was no reason to go through all of that paperwork. “Very well, but take it somewhere else.”

“Yes, Mrs. Pastel,” both Apple Bloom and the older boy said.

“This isn’t over,” he whispered as he walked down the hallway.

“Any time,” Apple Bloom said with a smirk before turning to Spike. “Spike, are ya okay?” She asked, concern evident in her voice at the treatment the eleven-year-old suffered at the hands of bullies.

“That’s just going to cause you trouble too,” Spike said as he took her offered hand to help him stand up. During the entire fight, if you could call it that, he had sat quietly against the locker where he fell.

She blew a raspberry down the hall at the direction the bully had went off to. “Anyone that treats mah friends like that deserves an asswhoopen.”

“Won’t Applejack be mad if you get into a fight?”

“Please, mah sis would be mad if Ah didn’t stand up for mah friends. She always said: Never raise yer fists to protect yerself, but always raise them in tha’ defence of others.”

“Twilight said words can always get you out of any situation.”

Apple Bloom chuckled at that. “Ah think we both know that’s not true.”

“Hey A.B.!” Scootaloo came running down the hallway towards them, avoiding students around them or pushing them out of the way as she barreled down the hall.

The conversation momentarily paused as Apple Bloom raised her waving hand, a smile spread wide across her face as she called out to her friend. “Scoots!”

Spike smiled as well, tossing a small wave up as they greeted their purple-haired friend. Scootaloo cleared the rest of the way to them in the blink of an eye. A younger-slightly slower Rainbow Dash might have set the speed records in this school, but if Scootaloo's sprint was any indication, she’d soon own them. Given, it helped that Rainbow Dash herself was training her pseudo-sister.

“Awww man, it’s over already?” Scootaloo asked, not even winded from the run.

“What?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Shoot, I heard a rumor about some eighth grader knocking Spike off his stool in my last class, found out the guy had a friend in this one so I figured something might happen with that guy as well. I didn’t know Spike had this class with you though, A.B.”

“Y-you heard about that?” Spike asked, gulping at what else Scootaloo might have heard.

“Wait, they did what‽” Apple Bloom all but yelled.

“Girls, didn’t I say to clear out?” Mrs. Pastel asked from her room.

“Yes, Mrs. Pastel,” Apple Bloom said as the group started to walk away.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” Spike mumbled as he rubbed a sore spot on his arm from where he was sure a bruise was starting to form from when he hit the floor.

“Spike, you gotta stand up for yourself!” Apple Bloom said.

“Yeah, you should join me and Rainbow Dash! She’ll whip you into shape, no problemo!” Scootaloo said as she flexed her arms. Even though the white, long-sleeve school dress she had to wear, Spike could still see her toned muscles.

You know, it’s weird seeing Scootaloo in a dress, but she looks well… kind of pretty in it. Not Rarity pretty, but still more girlish than normal. Uh, what are they saying? Fighting? But… I don’t want to fight. Twi—

“Twilight said—” Spike mumbled, finishing his thoughts outloud.

“Twilight’s not here, Spike,” Scootaloo chided. “You got us in your corner, of course, but there’s times we can’t be there. You gotta stick up for yourself.”

“And with more than just words,” Apple Bloom added.

“But didn’t you just say not to raise your fists to protect yourself?” Spike asked.

“Yer not protecting yourself, yer protecting our friend. Or would ya really let him get hurt under yer watch?”

“Semantics,” Spike said with a roll of his eyes.

“You know,” Scootaloo said with a raised eyebrow, “Rarity would be awfully upset to hear that you let some bullies pick on you.”

“S-she would?” Spike asked, his eyes going wide and a knot forming in his throat.

“What’s Rarity got to do wi—ouch,” Apple Bloom rubbed the side of her stomach where Scootaloo hit her in the side to prevent her from finishing that sentence.

Spike blushed softly but his eyes shifted from Apple Bloom to Scootaloo and back, measuring his friends expressions.

Does Scootaloo know I've got a major crush on Rarity? How would she?

“So whatcha say, Spikey boy? Want to join me and Rainbow for a training session a few times a week?”

“You two would kill me,” Spike said as he rolled his eyes.

“Who knows, you might even be able to take me on if you had some more muscles on your scrawny arms.”

“Scoots, I don't want to fight you. I don't want to fight anyone! I just want to make it through this day and go home and crawl in my bed and never come out again” Spike said exasperatedly, his hands coming up to grab at his green locks as he squeezed his eyes shut.

“Spike...” Apple Bloom asked, her own eyes tearing up as she watched her friend retreat into himself.

“Soo…” Scootaloo trailed off, “Is that a no?”

Apple Bloom glared at her friend, her mouth opening to scold the purple haired girl but Spike spoke up first.

“This is the worst day of my life.”

Scootaloo blinked, her mind finally registering that something was really wrong but she didn't know how to address the issue.

The two girls looked at each other, neither knew what to do so Apple Bloom just wrapped an arm around the green-haired boy. “Oh, c’mon Spike. It can't be that bad. W-what class ya got next?”

Spike reached for the now all but crumpled information sheet. He unfolded it and read the next class. “AP English with Mr. Dunken.”

“Oh, Ah don’t got that class. Ya got those special classes Twilight had huh?” Apple Bloom frowned as she looked over the schedule with her friend.

“Eeyup-p” Spike said, annoyed.

Of course she couldn’t just say smart classes. She had to bring up Twilight. Twilight this, Twilight that. Can it ever be something I can be proud of that isn’t in my si… Twilight’s shadow.

“Somethin’ wrong with that, Spike? Ah thought ya liked those harder classes. Twilight and ya always were studyin’ fer some kind of test when ya came over ta visit this summer.”

“I don’t know, it feels like half my problems are from those classes today. I know Twilight like them and all, but I just feel…” He trailed off.

“Spike?” AB asked, confused.

“Nevermind, let’s just… get to class,” Spike said as he lowered his head to his information sheet. A sheet he was half tempted to just throw into the trash and go home instead of using. “Room two-sixteen.”

“Oh, Spike,” Apple Bloom said with a nervous chuckle. “I’m this way, yer gonna want ta go that way.”

Spike looked at the two directions, before looking up at Scootaloo. “I don’t suppose Sweetie Belle or you have any of these classes?”

Scootaloo took his list holding it between herself and Apple Bloom. Both shared a glance before shaking their heads in unison.

"Not uh. Sorry dude."

“Nope, sorry. Yer on yer own for these next two, Mr.Smarty Pants.”

Did she have to call me that...

“Great…”

“But we’ll see ya at lunch! We’ll save a seat fer ya!”

“Yeah, see you guys then.…” Spike said, clenching the straps of his bag between weak fingers and walked away down the hallway, his eyes never leaving the ground.

Apple Bloom watched her friend, her heart longing to help him. She wanted nothing more than to run up and hug him, to try and convince him that everything would be alright. Sadly, even that gesture wouldn’t have been helpful.

It was then she finally noticed the buzzing coming from her phone. Reaching in, she grasped the cell-phone out and opened it. Huh, twelve missed texts from Sweetie Belle. What does she—

Her thoughts died at what she read. Anger rose in her throat as she looked up at Scootaloo.

The Loveliest Smile

View Online

Amazingly, the next two classes went by without issue for young Spike.

Even without his friends, AP English with Mr. Dunken turned out to be rather fun, even if it was just first day note-taking. Spike was happy though because none of the bullies that he had encountered earlier during the day were in the class. The other students didn’t seem to even notice that they were sharing their AP class with an eleven year old, they all concentrated on their work without giving him a second look. His next class, pre-algebra, turned out much the same way. Just the way Spike liked it.

Or just the way he would have liked it if not for one simple fact. His thoughts had a mind of their own, and the one thing they wanted to think of was the fact that he had both been kissed by, and kissed, Sweetie Belle. Granted it was only a cheek kiss, something more akin to a peck, but it still caused the boy blush profusely and wish that he could just disappear. That he wouldn’t have to face her again, to face what he… did.

It also didn’t help that any thoughts of not facing her made him feel almost... sad. Almost like a future without her in it was physically painful.

Such thoughts refused to go away, as such it came as a surprise when the bell rung, signaling the end of math. But even that wasn’t the end of it.

“I like Rarity. I’m in love with Rarity, not Sweetie Belle,” Spike whispered to himself without intending to.

Then why did I kiss her?

“It was just a friendly kiss! Nothing more, just like she did to me.”

Was it just friends for her?

Of course!

Am I sure?

“I… I… umm… I like Rarity though…”

Then why’d you kiss Sweetie?

“It was just a peck on the cheek! and she did it first. This is all her fault. I wouldn’t even be having this conversation with myself if she wouldn’t of…”

Kissed you?

“It… It doesn’t mean anything. I love Rarity and that’s the end of it. I’ll just completely ignore Sweetie Belle for the rest of the day and this will all be over.”

“So you don’t want to see her for the rest of the day, huh?” A voice whispered in his ear behind him as he walked down the hall.

Spike had just left his classroom and made his way down the hall towards the cafeteria, but stopped quickly when the voice tickled his ear. His face contorted in confusion as he processed the words the voice said.

“Yes… no… I… um… I mean no. I don’t want to not see Sweetie Belle for the rest of the day. I think.” Spike frowned before his eyes widened, mouth dropped open in shock.

“Soooo you do want to see her.” The owner of the voice walked around him to stand in front of him, casually leaning against the lockers next to them with her arms crossed across her chest, and a smug smile on her lips.

He glared at her. “You’re messing with me, aren’t you, Scootaloo?”

“Hey, I wasn’t the one that got all kissy kissy this morning,” Scootaloo said.

“She kissed me!” Spike protested.

“Oh, what about this?” Scootaloo asked as she held up her cell phone with about ten different text messages between her and Sweetie Belle. Spike didn’t need to read it to know what it said.

“She… told you?”

“And AB.”

“And Apple Bloom‽” Spike frowned, his eyes dropping to trace the tiled ground as he kicked his toe at the floor.

“Ye-p,” Scootaloo said popping the p and grinning sharply.

“I’m so bucked…” he mumbled.

“Why?”

“I kissed, I mean… we, um… I…”

“Spike, chillax already,” Scootaloo said with a smile as she wrapped her arm around the boy’s shoulder and they started walking to the lunch room together. “It’s just a kiss, not the end of the world. Here, I’ll show you.”

Spike blushed as he felt Scootaloo peck him on the cheek. “See, nothing big, who cares?” Scootaloo said with a smile.

Spike froze, his feet planted firmly in place as he watched Scootaloo continue walking, her hands clasping behind her back as she tossed a grin over her shoulder.

What. The. Buck. She just kissed me! Scootaloo! Who next Apple Bloom‽ If this is a joke Celestia please end me now where I stand.

“You coming or what?” Scootaloo asked when she noticed he wasn’t following.

“Umm… yeah, coming,” Spike said, a blush on his cheeks as he ran to catch up.

They entered the busy lunch room side by side, their senses took in the smell of freshly cooked foods, the massive number of people all sharing the same place, and the smiling faces of their friends waving them over to the table they procured.

“Shoot, we’re the last ones here,” Scootaloo said with a pouty face. “Rainbow would be pissed.”

“Tell you what, why don’t you go join the rest, and I’ll get us our food.”

“No need for that, Romeo, I’ll get my own.”

Spike laughed, “You’re a friend, Scootaloo. Let me do this for you.”

“You can do girly romantic junk for Sweetie all day long but that crap doesn’t do it for me. Sorry bud,” Scoots patted his chest lightly with a smirk before turning to get in line for her food. “I’ll get yours though. That way you and Sweetie can keep making kissy faces.”

“You said kisses don’t matter!” Spike protested.

Scootaloo blew him a raspberry. “I lied, now go spend time with your girlfriend, pretty boy.”

“She’s not my girlfriend!”

“What’ever you say, Romeo.” The purple-haired sports girl rolled her eyes.

“I like Rarity!” Spike urgently whispered, stomping his foot.

She shot him an annoyed look. “Me thinks thou does protest too much.”

“I’m serious! I don’t like Sweetie Belle, I like Rarity!” Spike shouted, much louder than he intended to, shocking both himself and Scootaloo.

“You don’t… like… me?” A small, sad, high-pitched voice asked from behind him.

The voice was like daggers plunged into his heart.

Spike turned around, the action was the longest in his life, like every half-second was a year. He saw the green-eyed girl with tears starting to form in her eyes. From the looks of things she was about to come up behind him and hug him, but stopped short when she heard his shout.

“Sweetie, I didn’t mean… I… Umm….”

The dam broke and the tears fell, hard. Sweetie turned around and ran as fast as her legs could carry her away from the green haired boy.

“Sweetie,” Spike whispered after her, uncertain how to act.

“Spike!” Scootaloo yelled.

He turned, “What?”

“Go after her, numb nuts!”

“But… but this is your fault! If you hadn’t of pushed me—”

“Shut up and go!” She hit him on the back, the blow pushed him in the direction Sweetie had ran off to.

What have I gotten myself into! I swear if this day doesn’t end soon I’m going to lock myself in my room and never come out again.

Spike took off running, pushing past older students that gave off irritated comments, but the young boy was far too focused on finding his crying friend to care.

Sweetie wasn’t fast, for that Spike was grateful. But for all the time spent with Twilight and his studies, physical attributes wasn’t on the list for improvement or really on the list at all. As such, even though he caught sight of her a few times, it still took him a while to catch up to her. Something only achieved when he saw her round the bend and run outside to the back of the school.

He ran outside the side door after her, his heart felt like it was breaking, not just from the physical exertion but from the mental image of the tears falling from that beautiful young face. When he got outside, his ears almost instantly picked up her sobbing.

He saw her then, she was sitting on the ground against the side of the school, her back rested against the bricks with her knees curled up to her chest. Her soft sobs muffled quietly as she held her face in her hands.

“Sweetie, I…”

She looked up for a moment, but didn’t have the strength to run anymore. “G-go away, Spike…” Her head dropped back to rest on her knees as her arms wrapped around her legs. Tears still slid down her cheeks but she was no longer sobbing.

“I’m sorry,” Spike said as he approached her to stand in front of her. “I, um…”

“You what?” Sweetie asked, a venomous bite to her tone as her eyes lifted to stare up at him. She didn’t glare, which surprised the young boy. She just looked extremely… broken. The light in her eyes that he had always associated with her was now only bright as embers from a dying flame.

I’m responsible for this… The thought only made him feel worse.

“I didn’t mean it,” Spike said as he slumped his shoulders and sat down on the ground next to her. “Scootaloo was teasing me about the kiss you gave me, and, you know, the one I gave you, and I kinda… said something dumb.”

“You didn’t mean it? What exactly didn’t you mean, Spike? Not liking me or liking my sister.” Sweetie Belle’s voice sounded more hurt than angry, it caused the little boy’s heart to race.

“I… I’m not going to lie, Sweetie Belle. I do like your sister, a lot actually. She’s pretty, gorgeous actually. The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen! She’s so generous and nice, and always smells so amazing, like flowers! She’s smart and whenever she’s around she just brightens the room.” Spike sighed dreamily, the memory of his beloved kissing his cheek the first day she met him drifting through his mind before he shook the thought away.

Every platitude the young boy placed at her sister’s feet caused Sweetie’s heart to jump that much further into her throat.

Spike paused when he saw the look of utter pain on her beautiful face.

What am I doing? I just made this worse! Quick, fix it. Say something, stupid!

“But I… ummm…”.

Great going Boy Genius. So articulate with your words. Ugh… even I’m mad at me, and I’m me!

“But what, Spike?” Sweetie asked. Her voice seemed neutral, devoid of any emotion, almost like what he said next would decide more than Spike could ever guess.

“I like you, too…” Spike admitted, surprising himself more than anyone else. What‽

“You… like me?” Sweetie asked. “Like, as a friend?” Her tone, the way she said it, was almost almost like it hurt her to say it.

“I um…” Spike looked up at her. He wanted to lie, he wanted to tell her yes, as a friend. But he couldn’t, not while staring into those green eyes, her pink and purple hair, the way the white-dress uniform made her seem simply angelic. Not to mention her perfume, that even now penetrated his senses, leaving him weak-kneed.

He just couldn’t do it.

I… do I like Sweetie? Obviously I like her, she’s my friend. But I mean, like-like? Like I do with… Rarity? He glanced up, her face… there was something about it, even upset, it made him happy to see it.

I… do I? I… umm.. I don’t know. What did Twilight say? Start with what you do know. So… what do I know? He looked up again, his eyes taking in the young girl’s features, the soft look of her cheeks, the dried tears resting upon them. I know I never want to see tears in those eyes again.

“Spike?” Sweetie asked as she frowned. “Sorry for putting you on the spot like that, you don’t have to answer. I shouldn’t have asked, I—”

“No,” Spike interrupted. No? Okay… not what I was going for. Try again. Be confident.

“No?” Sweetie asked curiously, her hand coming up to wipe her tears away.

“I-I mean,”

That’s not being confident!

Spike lowered his head and looked down at the ground. He didn’t want to do this, he didn’t want to face this. He wanted to run away, to leave this school and never return. Just as he had planned to do at the beginning of the day until she and her friends had stopped him. And yet, every time he considered doing just that right now, he could only picture Sweetie Belle crying. The thought was more dreadful than anything else he could think of. Even beating out the one time he had lost Smarty Pants and had to admit it to his sister.

Granted we found the doll in my laundry hamper, it still caused Twilight to enter panic mode until we found it. That lecture about being conscious of your surroundings was totally a blast. Not. But this...

That had been the worst day he could remember since joining the Sparkle household, and somehow, picturing Sweetie crying again beat it hands down.

I-I don’t know if I like Sweetie like I do Rarity, but I can’t deny I like her more than my other friends. Maybe more than even… Twilight. Ugh, I’m so confused, where’s Shining when I need him?

“What I mean is… Sweetie Belle, I... it’s that I—” Spike tried again only to bite his tongue. What do I even mean!

“Spike really, it’s okay—” Sweetie attempted to grab his hand but he pulled away.

Ugh, how do I tell her how I feel even when I don’t know how I feel? I’m too young for this, I shouldn’t be dealing with this, any of this! But… she makes me… happy. I like it when she’s around, and I miss her when she’s not… I like to see her smile, laugh, and when she kissed me; it was nothing like when Scootaloo did. I um… His hand came up to his cheek. He could still feel the warmth of her lips, could still picture every detail of the moment she kissed his cheek, and… when he did the same to her.

It hadn’t been intentional, completely on instinct, almost as if he had been kissing Twilight’s cheek, or his mom, and yet…

“No! No it’s not okay! I made you cry, Sweetie Belle! I kiss you, and then brag about how hot I think your sister is after telling the world I don’t like you?” Spike dropped his head into his hands, clenching his teeth. How could I be such a jerk to someone I love. Wait… what?

“Spike?”

Spike stood up, brushing the dirt off from his uniform with his hands. He finally knew what he wanted to say, some of it anyway. “I do like you and no, not just as a friend.” The words were… right. They felt natural, like they simply should be.

“W-what‽” Sweetie stared up at him, shocked.

“You asked me if I only liked you as a friend. The answer is no. I don’t like you as just friends. I may not know much of anything about romance stuff, but I know this. You’re one of my closest friends in the entire world Sweetie, and I’d never do anything that would intentionally hurt you; but… I know that what I’m feeling right now is something more than just friendship, and if you’d like maybe together we can figure out what that... exactly is. So… what do you say Sweetie Belle? Will you give this a shot?”

“A shot?”

“Us, give us a shot?”

In answer, Sweetie got up quickly and hugged him, wrapping her arms around him and pressing her chest against his. She was taller than the boy, but not by that much, his head rested against the nape of her neck, and he breathed in deeply. Immediately his own arms wrapped around her, and he hugged her back with all his might. “I’m so sorry I made you cry, Sweetie. I promise I’ll try my best to never do it again.”

“Spikey,” Sweetie cooed back.

“Get a room you two,” Scootaloo’s voice rang out.

“Scootaloo! What’d ya go in do that fer? Now they know we were watchin’!” Apple Bloom’s voice followed immediately after, just as Scootaloo’s laughter broke out.

Spike’s blush was all consuming. But when he tried to pull away from Sweetie’s grip, the girl just didn’t want to let him go.

“Sweetie, the poor boy will permanently turn a new shade of pink if ya don’t let him go,” AB said with a smile.

“Couldn’t you guys just give us a single moment?” Spike said, annoyed.

“Nope,” Scootaloo answered. “She’s our best friend and we gotta make sure you do right by her or you have to deal with us.”

“Lunch is almost over anyway, so we brought yer meals out here for ya’,” Apple Bloom shoved the ‘intimidating’ pseudo-angry-faced Scootaloo out of the way as she walked over to the hugging couple.

“Hey! I was trying to—”

“Oh shut up and get over here, leave em be. Ah think Spike’s been through enough today.”

“Yeah… I guess you’re right. But mess up Romeo, and you’ll be getting a grand tour of the bottom of my sneakers!”

“Scootaloo!” Sweetie Belle finally let go to toss a glare at her closest friend.

“What‽” The sports girl just raised her hands into the air questioningly.

Spike just sat down next to Apple Bloom, his eyes watching as his new… girlfriend? as she bickered with her friend over being over-protective.

“Soo Spike, how’s school going fer ya now?” Apple Bloom asked, handing over an apple and a chocolate milk.

He took the items with a nod of thanks and looked over to the school itself, before glancing over to Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and then, finally, Sweetie Belle. She smiled at him, that lovely grin upon her face as their eyes met. “Best day ever.”

Sweetie Belle latched onto his arm and rubbed her cheek against it in joy at hearing his answer. He smiled as he laid his chin atop her head. Truly, he didn’t know if she was now his girlfriend, if they were a couple, if they’d now kiss, hold hands, go on dates, or anything like that. But, right this second, he didn’t really care either. Everything just felt… right.

Sure, it could go downhill again, and quickly. But that was future Spike’s problem.

Present Spike was enjoying the moment. A moment he didn’t want to end.

Facing Reality

View Online

Spike never hated the ringing of the bell more than he did at that moment. It seemed as if the bell was taunting him, like it’s purpose in life was to take him away from his friends, and from Sweetie Belle.

The other’s noticed this as well. “Ahh, Romeo doesn’t want to leave his girlfriend again,” Scootaloo said with a mocking grin. The girl was lounging back against the wall of the school, arms crossed behind her head as she peeked over at the two ‘love-birds’.

“Ya’ really can’t help yourself, can ya’?” Apple Bloom asked. The farm girl was sitting next to Scootaloo and shaking her head disapprovingly.

“I’m just teasing,” Scootaloo said back, smiling all the same.

“We’ll remember that next time Rainbow Dash is around,” Sweetie Belle called out, sharing a playful smile with Spike.

Scootaloo scowled, rolling her eyes.

The three girls and one boy stood up, their food in different states of being devoured, but none really caring. It was definitely a lunch to remember. “I guess we should head to our next class?” Spike asked.

“First, we need some girl talk!” Apple Bloom said, grasping Sweetie Belle’s arm and pulling her away from Spike.

“What?” Spike asked. He held out a hand, trying to get Sweetie back, only to be cut off by Scootaloo.

“Sorry Spike, but our girl can’t start dating our friend without us talking about it.”

“D-dating?” Spike stammered.

“Are we… not dating, Spike?” Sweetie Belle asked, frowning. Her right hand reached over her chest to rub her left arm slowly. She bit her lip and avoided his eyes.

“Umm… yeah, I guess we are,” Spike’s grin could only be described in one word: goofy.

“Well there you have it, like AB said, we need some girl talk! Later, Romeo!” Scootaloo said, smiling as she helped drag a struggling Sweetie Belle away.

“Hey! But wai—”

They were already gone, leaving Spike standing alone. His hand were still extended out in a motion to stop them.

“W-what just happened?” Spike asked no one in particular, the entire exchange, the entire lunch period had gone by so quickly, and yet… he just knew it would change everything. It had changed everything. He felt lighter, he felt better, and, oddly, happy.

For the first time that day he was happy about being in school. He felt that even though the morning of his first day at Cantercity Middle wasn’t the ‘best first day of school anybody has ever had’ he had promised his sister, it was shaping out to be something he would always remember.

That newfound happiness almost died when he fished out the class schedule and looked it over for his next class.

“Gym… I hate gym…” he groaned and signed. Then Scootaloo’s comment about getting some muscle to impress Sweetie Belle came back to mind. Well… I guess I can call this warm up for later this weekend when I join Scoots and Rainbow for their training session. I mean, when Twilight went on one of those she came back hot, sweaty, and exhausted for what seemed like three whole days after.

“Well, let’s get this over with,” Spike took a step forward, and then frowned. “Who am I even talking to?”

That’s a good question, me.

He shrugged off those thoughts as another, slightly more disturbing thought, came to mind. Wait… I didn’t bring any gym clothes. He double checked the information sheet.

‘Gym uniforms provided for each student.’

Great, I’m sure they’re as bad as our school uniforms.

With a sigh, he went back into the school and headed to his locker. Hoping, praying that Sweetie Belle might be there, to his dismay she wasn’t. He sighed, again, louder as he opened his locker, took his backpack off, and stuffed it inside. With a slam of the door, Spike started on his way to the gymnasium.

Hehe, I wonder if they know why it’s called that? I’m guessing not.

The green-haired boy shuffled his way down the trophy hall to the boys locker room. He could hear other boys getting ready for the class period; locker doors slamming shut, shoes scuffing against the floor, and loud conversations that couldn’t be understood beyond the dull roar they all formed together.

From the sounds of things, the locker room was mostly full. He sighed at the doorway, unsure if he really wanted to go in or not. He took a moment to gather his strength, his will, and, with a shove, pushed the door open to walk inside.

Even with the noises he had heard outside, the smell was the first thing he noticed. Today was the first day of school, and the locker room already smelt of sweat, piss, and B.O. He walked into the overpowering stench, doing his best to breathe through his mouth.

“Name?”

He looked up, having not noticed that there was even an instructor near the door. “Spike Sparkle.”

The large buffy man checked his list, “Spike Sparkle, Spike Sparkle, Spike Sparkle, ahh, here we go, locker two-twelve.” He handed the boy an information sheet. “There’s your combination. Your uniform, tennis shoes, and towel are already inside. At the end of class, just drop em into the bin, keep your shoes though.”

“Um… excuse me sir. May I ask…” Spike gulped as the large man looked down at him, unamused. “H-how you know my size?”

“When your parents filled out the paperwork for this school they were required to list all of your personal information too.”

“Personal information?”

The man sighed, his hand coming up to pinch his nose. “You’re just full of questions aren’t ya’, kid? Personal information, ya know. Shoe size, clothes size, blood type in case you get injured, all—”

“In-injured!” Spike panicked, his eyes widening as he froze, paralyzed with fear.

“It’s just in case you get hurt, kid. Now can ya’ run along? I got some other kids to check in and then a class to teach. Not that I wouldn’t love to stay here all day and answer your questions.” The man walked off, leaving the boy standing in the doorway.

With wide eyes and a knot forming in his stomach, Spike gulped and started to move off. His eyes quickly darting to and fro, half looking at the wall lockers, and half looking at the other kids in the room. The room was full of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, all in different stages of undress.

The bigger boys, they seemed to enjoy walking around with their shirts off, chest hair displayed proudly as they flexed their muscles in displays of brutish showmanship.

Spike had never particularly given his body any real thought before, not until now that is. He felt small, weak, and very self-conscious all of a sudden. He did his best not to make eye contact, especially as he saw some boys changing underwear out of the corner of his eyes.

Two hundred, two-oh-one, two-oh-two...

He darted his eyes from the floor to the wall lockers, to the floor and back to the wall lockers, until, at last, he saw his own. But even the thought of changing in front of boys with obvious pituitary gland malformations did nothing to prepare him for the horror that was his locker mate.

Then again, ‘mates’ would be the more appropriate term.

Two of the boys near his locker he had shared classes with that day, although he recognized all three of them. Bask Flare, the burnt-orange shaggy haired boy was from his physics class. The other boy with the short-black hair, Apple Bloom had saved him from. But their ringleader, Strife, he had yet to have the displeasure of sharing a class with, until now it seemed.

Spike turned around to walk the other way, but it was already too late. “The boy genius that doesn’t even know his own name!” Bask Flare called out as he stood up.

Spike froze in his tracks.

“That’s the same twirp that needed a girl to come bail him out!” Spike didn’t know the boy’s name, but he’d never forget that voice.

“I remember him, he’s the one with the three hot girls hanging off him. Tell me, how’d a total wuss like you get three girls to hang off your every word?” Strife asked, his arm slinging around the small boy’s shoulder as he smirked.

Spike froze, the three boys had surrounded him, literally pinning him between a rock and hard place. The locker behind him was cold against his back as a fearful sweat broke out across his body.

“Oh yeah, those are some nice examples of the female form,” Bask said with a chuckle.

“Hell, even the farmer’s daughter was fucking hot,” the black-haired boy said.

Strife lead Spike—against his will—to his locker, already guessing by default which one was his. “Got that right, but of all of them it’s that little pink and purple haired one I’d love to squeeze. What you say, my new best friend, think you can hook your new friends up?”

“He he, yeah Spike Sparkles, you know you want to be friends with us,” Bask said with a smile.

“Don’t worry, we know how to treat women right, especially that green-eyed girl, what’s her name? Sweetie Belle?”

“Don’t you touch her!” Spike yelled out, shoving the boy off his arm and away from him. Strife fell back, his head hitting the metal bench that set between the two lockerwalls with a loud clang.

The other two boys immediately shot up, their hands raised to start wailing on Spike. For the first time in his life, Spike didn’t care. What Strife had said was too far, he wouldn’t, couldn’t simply do nothing about it.

Strife called out, “He, I like you spike,” The boy said as he got up and dust himself off. “Me and you are going to be good friends, i just know it.”

Spike’s eyes went wide as he watched him get up and rub the back of his head. He was shocked, beyond shocked at them leaving like that. It made no sense, they should have beaten him down for what he did, and yet… they were leaving. The three boys each looked at each other before Strife led the way away from Spike.

“See ya soon, Spikey-boy,” Strife called out.

“Yeah, real soon,” Bask Flare repeated as the other boy just laughed.

Spike stood frozen once more, the paralyzing fear had returned but this time not for himself.

Sweetie Belle.

The young boy spun around and quickly opened his locker before tearing his gym clothes out of the small metal chamber. There was a white tee in his size, a pair of black shorts, and white tennis shoes. In the shoes he saw a set of white gym socks, in the shorts was a pair of whitie-tighties for him to wear during class.

He gulped as he realized that he’d have to get fully undressed, every day, around them…

Spike looked around, seeing that the locker room was mostly empty now. With a quick sigh of relief, he started taking his shoes and socks off, placing them into the locker. He took his shirt off next—struggling a little to get the bow off that his sister tied with care—and hung it up on the hanger provided. Standing up, he emptied his pockets. Smiling as he placed his most prized possession in the locker, his picture of Rarity.

Oh Rarity… What would you say right now if you saw me being so pathetic. Even so, I would still be fawning over every word you spoke, every scold. Drinking it in like water after a thousand days in the dry desert.

Spike reached in and took the photo back out while holding it delicately between small fingers. His eyes tracing over every bit of her flawless beauty.

“It’s later.”

His eyes went wide in horror, but before the young boy could even let loose a scream, two arms wrapped around him and yanked him off his feet. A hand wrapped around his mouth to prevent him from screaming, and the picture was yanked from his grip.

Spike’s eyes shot back, he knew what to expect, but that didn’t change the horror of seeing all three boys back in the now empty locker room. He had taken too long, and it was now just him, and the three of them.

“Damn, she’s hot! Let me guess, a supermodel?” The black-haired boy asked.

“Let me see, Buck!” Bask complained as he tried to rip the picture from ‘Buck’s’ grip

“Hell no, I’m keeping this.”

“Give it back!” Spike growled, struggling to get his arms free.

Strife chuckled and shook the shirtless boy in his grip. “Now-now Spikey-boy, is that anyway to talk to your new friends?”

“You’re not my friends! And I’ll never let you get anywhere close to Sweetie, Scootaloo, or Apple Bloom!”

“Did you hear that, Strife? We’re not his friends,” Buck said through faux shock. “I think mah fweelings are hurt.”

“Of course not, who’d want to be friends with a little turd like this,” Bask said.

“Heh, you’re right about that, Bask. Of course if he is a little turd, I guess that means there’s only one place for him to go,” Strife said through gritted teeth.

Spike looked confused as they started to drag him away, he quickly put two and two together when he saw them taking him to the restroom, or more specifically, the toilets. “Find me a good one,” Strife said.

“No, let me go!” Spike yelled out as he started to fight. Stife only tightened his grip on the eleven-year-old.

He never stood a chance.

“Ahh man, they’re all clean.”

“Ehh, guess we’ll have to make due,” Strife said as he dragged the small boy into the nearest one.

“No, don’t, stop!” Spike yelled as the other two joined Strife in the stall.

“Funny, that’s what my last girlfriend said,” Buck said with a smile. “Save it went more like, No, don’t stop.”

“Please, like you’ve ever had a girlfriend,” Bask teased.

“Shut the hell up.”

“If you two are done screwing off, how about grabbing his arms,” Strife said.

“Yeah, got em,” Buck replied as he grabbed the right arm, Bask grabbed the left.

It took some finagling, especially as Spike started to really struggle, but soon the young boy found himself upside down, hanging above the toilet. He had stopped trying to scream, his voice had gone a little horse with the attempt and no one had come to his aid yet. Instead, he just scowled at Strife. A look of defiance on his face.

“What, is the baby not going to cry again?” Bask Flare asked.

The question took the young boy aback, he knew he should, and yet…

“Doesn’t matter to me,” Strife said as he lowered Spike head-first into the toilet water.

Wearing only his shorts, Spike was plunged head-first into a toilet. It was—barining none—the most disgusting thing he had ever experienced in his life. He closed his eyes, an action that prevented him from seeing what was happening, but one that did nothing to stop the water rushing down his nose. He tried in vain to shake off their grip, it was all for not. One of the bigger boys was more than enough to do this to him, all three was just overkill.

Someone, Bask if he had to guess, flushed the toilet. Spike’s world was rocked as he felt the water swirl around his head, rushing over his ears, closed eyes, and nose. He fought to hold his breath, to make sure none of the disgusting water got into his mouth.

It ended in moments, the water in the bowel returned to normal levels and settled, the rush of the water over his ears was a sound he’d remember for the rest of his life. He hoped, he dared to hope that was the end of it.

It wasn’t.

Bask flushed the toilet again, and then a third time for good measure. Spike spit up water as some managed to find it’s way in his mouth. It was beyond disgusting.

Laughter echoed throughout the stall as, at that, the three finally let him go. He fell to the floor, coughing and wanting to throw up.

“My, this will be a fun school year,” Strife laughed as he led the way out of the stall.

“See you around, Genius Boy,” Bask laughed.

“Oh, and don’t worry about those cute girlfriends of yours. They got some new friends to hang out with.” Buck added with a kick to the little boy’s limp foot.

Spike curled up into the fetal position and started crying. He didn’t want to open his eyes, he didn’t want to be alive anymore, he simply wanted to be somewhere, anywhere else, anybody other than who he was.

His cries and the distant laughter of the three tormentors were all that greeted him. The green-haired boy sobbed until he was out of tears to cry. Spike lost track of how long he laid there, in truth he didn’t care either. But as the last tear fell, he remembered the words that Apple Bloom had said.

Ya’ not protecting yourself, ya’ protecting our friend. Or would ya’ really let him get hurt under your watch?

“No,” he sniffled, “I won’t.” Spike forced himself to his feet and walked out of the stall. He saw himself in the mirror, his head and a good portion of his torso were soaked, but his shorts were mostly dry. He looked around and saw the shower room. Walking over he turned on the nearest shower head and grabbed the school-supplied shampoo. He washed his head off, and used the scented shampoo on the rest of his body as well, doing his best to scrub away the stench that clung to his body.

Turning off the showerhead, he made his way back to his locker. Not caring anymore, the little boy stripped off the rest of his clothes before drying off and getting dressed in his gym uniform. The shirt felt a size too big, the shorts a size too small, but right then and there, he just didn’t care.

His body felt like it was on autopilot as he got up and started to walk out of the locker room. It was like he was just devoid of life, devoid of emotion. Truly, he didn’t even know if he’d ever feel anything ever again in his life.

Still on autopilot, he threw open the doors and thought, I was better off in the system.

Sports, Flings, and Personal things.

View Online

Spike’s eyes took it all in at once and he was completely unsurprised to see that class had already started. All the students were already running laps around the gym. The boys all in outfits similar to his own.

He was tardy, he was late, he had missed who knows how much of class already; but, at this moment, at this time, he just couldn’t find it in him to care. He started to stammer over to the instructor on the other side of the gymnasium.

He made it three feet before hearing. “Spike‽”

If an angel had a voice it would’ve sound just as sweet as the one that called out to him.

His body felt numb, his heart felt dead, and yet there wasn’t a force in this world or the next that could have stopped him from looking up.

Sprinting to him from where she was running with the rest of the class was Sweetie Belle. It was almost like she was his own personal savior, like her entire purpose in life was simply to show him that—even with all the horrible things that had happened today—life wasn’t that bad after all.

The green-eyed, pink and purple haired girl was wearing her gym uniform like all the other girls. Her shirt a standard white shirt that clung tightly to her twelve-year-old frame. Her shorts were black bloomers that were just as tight as Spike’s was starting to feel.

The pasty girl wasted no time wrapping Spike in a big hug. “I didn’t know you were in this class! We’re going to have gym together this year! Great!”

At that moment, Spike felt several conflicting emotions: He felt his heart rocket up into outer space, fireworks going off, he felt the desire to cry out in pain and anguish, and to just unload on the poor girl. He felt like grabbing her and running away, just leaving and taking her someplace he could protect her from all the horror that he had been through, and… he felt something else. His palms were sweaty and his heart was racing as he felt Sweetie Belle hug him, her chest pressed against his.

But beyond that, most importantly of all, he felt.

“Spike, are-are you okay?” Sweetie pulled away and asked, as after several moments, Spike had yet to return the hug.

Spike didn’t trust himself to talk. Rather he simply wrapped his arms around her and pulled Sweetie in for another hug. His hands rested upon the small of her back and tears started to fall anew from his eyes. Whereas before they had been tears of pain, these were tears of joy.

“Spike, what’s wrong?” Sweetie asked. “What happened.”

“N-n-nothing, just… just don’t let go.”

“Spi—”

“Hey! You two! Quit making puppy dog eyes and get over here!” The coach’s voice rang out over the loud talking of the other students, startling the two hugging sixth graders.

They immediately broke apart, Sweetie blushing and staring at her shoes. Spike just stood there with clenched fists, trying not to let the tears fall.

What was I thinking. Almost breaking down in the middle of gym just because Sweetie Belle is here? After all that crap that just happened to me I couldn’t even be strong enough for her, to believe even for one second that I was okay. Pathetic. Now I’m going to get her in trouble and for what? Just because I couldn’t handle a little bully problem? I don’t deserve her…

“Today please!” The coach called out again, spurring them into motion. With one last glance to each other they ran over to the other students.

The next thirty minutes were the slowest, most annoying minutes of the little green-haired boy's life. The very nature of the class meant they couldn’t stay together, and that pained him more than he could say. They ran, they did stretches, and they ran some more. The entire time felt like the coach was trying to push them past their limits, and on the first day!

This is ridiculous. Who does this guy think he is? Freaking Bulk Biceps? At least we have free time now for the next twenty minutes. I just want to sit here—

“Spikkkkeeeeeeee” Three girlish voices called out, startling the young boy where he sat on the boys’ side of the bleachers.

Most of the students had dispersed to go play some sort of game within the large space of the gymnasium. Some were playing basketball, dodgeball, or just games they made up on the spot. Others were playing card games, hand games, or even just drawing in their notepads.

The young boy had made it his goal to avoid everyone, to just sit on the bleachers and cool off from the torture regime the instructor had put him through. He was sweaty, stank, and beyond tired. He had just wanted to disappear, to not be him.

What Spike hadn’t expected was for his girlfriend, and apparently their two other friends, to come grab his arms, pull him off his feet, drag him to a corner of the gym, and shove a large red dodgeball into his hands.

Spike looked down at the ball in his hands then back up at his friends.

The three girls were smiling brightly at him, each standing in a half circle in front of him, blocking out the rest of the world.

They were a couple of inches taller than him, their tight-fitting gym clothes hugging their curves with the grace of a wrapped up present on Hearth’s Warming Eve.

Oddly enough, for once in his life, the young boy wasn’t sure if he was excited or nervously terrified of the thought of opening up those presents.

What is wrong with me? These are my friends and I’m thinking about them in ‘that’ way? They are beautiful and the gym uniforms just praise their bodies well, showing off all the things RIGHT about the girls. Why do my own shorts feel so tight right now? Why is it so hot? I wasn’t even this hot running, but right now it feels like I’m the sun or at least somewhere close to the sun. Why are they looking at me like that?

“Spike, are you going to play with us or just stand there with that dumb look on your face?” Scootaloo spoke first, her arms crossing over her chest pulling the shirt tight and causing Spike’s eyes to lock on her.

“Scoots, leave the poor kid alone, he’s probably winded after all that runnin’. I don’t think the Sparkles ever get much exercise, well besides Shining Armor. He looks like he works out everyday!” Apple Bloom said, throwing her arms into the air before dropping them and shaking her head.

Sweetie Belle was quiet, her hands wringing in front of her as she shifted from foot to foot. Her eyes flickered between Spike and Scootaloo, noticing the young boys line of sight.

“Ohhhh, you’ve been checking out Shining there, AB? He is kind of a stud,” Scootaloo said as she grinned wolfishly, wiggling her eyebrows at her red-haired friend.

“Ah was not! Ah just saw him with his shirt off one day while he was helping out mah big brother build the chicken coop!” Apple Bloom’s voice raised an octave, her tiny hands clenching at her side as she pressed her nose against Scootaloo’s to get in her face.

The two bickered for a few more minutes, Spike and Sweetie just staring on. Spike at certain aspects on the girls that he really shouldn’t have been staring at.

The two girls chests pressed against one another as they tried to stand taller than the other, their chests puffing out to intimidate the other.

Spike felt his mouth drop open, the ball fall out of his hands. He couldn’t pull his eyes away from the two girls and was thankful that they were in a corner where no one was paying attention to them. He could feel something stirring in his lower extremities. Something foreign and new, but welcomed whole-hearteningly with the feelings it brought.

Sweetie Belle frowned, her eyes locked onto her boyfriend’s. She wasn’t even getting a second glance from the young boy, and she could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t going to be giving her any notice any time soon. Her eyes glared at him as she looked at what he was seeing, her two friends were practically rubbing their tits together in an effort to show each other up. With a look to Spike, she saw a very obvious sign that he was enjoying the show from his tight shorts. So without a second thought, she stepped forward, kicking the wayward ball out of the way, and wrapped her arms around the boy pressing her chest against his.

The young girl blushed brightly but held him tighter, and then did something neither of the four expected. She took a step forward pushing into him completely.

Spike’s mind went blank, he could still hear his friends bickering but it sounded like they were miles away, an echo on the wind. All of his senses were now focused on the sweet smelling angelic girl holding him tight to her chest.

Spike had experienced a lot in his young life. This? This was something the young boy didn’t know how to process. For the first time in his life Spike Sparkle could not get his thoughts together. His mind kept being torn between the feeling of her chest, and a feeling of him pressing against something, down there. A feeling the shorts did nothing to damper, and everything to enhance.

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo stared, open mouthed. They backed up a step from each other and watched as Spike’s eyes glazed over.

The young boy could feel Sweetie Belle shift slowly, the small movement causing him to panic and shift his own hips backwards. His tiny hands flew up to clench around her short clad waist, he missed; his hands didn’t go high enough, his fingers dug into the black cloth of her bloomers. His mind soon had another sensation that fought for his attention, the feeling of Sweetie Belle’s butt in his hands.

“I-I-I—” Spike’s mouth worked, trying to form words, but there was no connection between his vocal chords and his brain. Synapses in his brain were firing off, but none of the signals would make the situation better, it just caused the horrified-embarrassed-and now lustfilled boy to do something he might regret later.

“Uh… Sweetie Belle?” Scootaloo called out, her hands clasping behind her back as she blushed, embarrassed by her two friends PDA display. What she was seeing was beyond obvious. She could see Spike’s hands on her friend’s ass. She could see them pressed against each other, and she knew if she could, so could others.

Apple Bloom proceeded to turn around, her own hands clenching by her sides as she blushed, staring at the waxed floor.

Neither of the three girls had actively talked about, nor had they any experience with boys before. Spike was their friend, but the three of them were best friends. They shared everything with each other, they never had secrets, and when they fought they worked it out together. Sure Apple Bloom nor Scootaloo cared much that Sweetie decided to express her feelings for the young green-haired boy, but this was a little much. Especially on their first day together.

A whistle rang out then, the shrill warning giving them a ‘get out of an awkward situation’ free excuse.

Sweetie let go then as she tried to back up a step. It was then she had to accept where Spike’s hands were—where they still were. “Spike, umm…” Sweetie stammered, not knowing how to tell him to let go of her ass, or why she almost didn’t want him to.

“Oh, sorry,” Spike said as realization hit. He let go, moving his hands to his side and looking down. Looking down proved to be a mistake, as it brought attention to the tent in his shorts that he hadn't been fully aware had occurred until now. With a deep blush, he spun around and adjusted himself.

Sweetie Belle had seen it, she had felt it, and she was just as embarrassed as he was, but another part of her was somewhat pleased that she caused such a reaction in him. Her hands clasped in front of her once more, having the unintentional effect of pushing her budding breasts up even higher than they normally sat in her sports bra. Her feet shifted nervously as she looked at the floor. Even separated, she could still smell his sweat, his scent on her. That smell caused a small smile to cross her face.

Scootaloo coughed, kicking the tip of her tennis shoe into the floor.

Apple Bloom shifted so she was half facing her friends but refused to turn back around.

All four remained quiet, listening to the shuffling feet of the rest of the class as they made their way back to the locker room to shower and change for their next class.

“We uh… we should get going,” Scootaloo whispered, her hand coming up to point her thumb towards the girl’s locker room.

“Eeyup,” AB added.

“Alright,” Sweetie Belle whispered, she turned around then and walked between her two friends, grabbing their hands and pulling them away.

“Sweetie Belle,” Spike whispered dreamily, his strength gave out and he fell back to the wall behind him. His left hand coming up to clench his shirt just above his heart, the organ thumping rapidly in his chest as his brain processed the emotions he was feeling at the moment.

“Hey, Genius Boy!” A voice called out to him, his smile instantly shifting to a hate-filled scowl.

Spike stood up straight, his hand dropping down to clench at his sides as his eyes searched around for the person the voice belonged to.

“Up here, loser.” The voice called from above him, causing him to look up.

From the tallest tier of the black-painted wooden bleachers stood Bask Flare, leaning over the side railing. Next to him was Strife and Buck, both were grinning down at him wolfishly.

“What’s going on, Genius Boy? Having a private moment to yourself in the corner?” Bask asked making a jerking motion with his hand, causing his two companions to break out with harsh laughter.

Spike could feel the tears forming in his eyes, but fought them down, his throat constricted as he clenched his teeth.

Just don’t respond, just don’t. It won’t help any. Words can’t fix this, no matter what Twilight says. This won’t get better, I’m going to have to deal with this for the rest of middle school.

“What’s wrong loser? Trying to get your rocks off. Go ahead, we won’t get in your way,” Bask said, before receiving a punch in the leg from Buck. “Dude ow! What the hell man?” He swatted at the black-haired boy.

“What the fuck is wrong with you bro, I don’t want to watch the little twerp jerk off,” Buck said before standing up and looking over the guard bar. “Hey loser, why don’t you just do us a favor and punch yourself in the nuts. Then we’ll all be satisfied.

Strife snorted, standing up as well and pushing his two friends aside.

“How about instead you just get lost. It’s not like you’re wanted around here anyways. I bet those three girlfriends of yours just feel sorry for your poor little cry-baby self.” The two-tone haired boy laughed hard then before turning around and making his way down the steps.

His two lackeys grinned once more at each other, their mocking laughter echoing around the empty gym. They quickly shot one last mirth-filled glance at the small boy before taking off to follow their friend.

Spike’s body shook, his body could no longer support himself so he fell to his knees.

No…

The young boy’s head dropped, tears began running down his cheeks, in an almost never ending stream. Sobs tore through his throat, his hands curled into fists on the smooth flat surface of the recently waxed bright yellow wood of the gym floor. He could see his reflection in the wood, the tear streaked face that looked back at him was almost unrecognizable to him.

I’ve been smiling for so long now that I forgot what it felt like to feel this hopeless.

His hands lifted, small fingers curling under his eyes, wiping smooth fingertips against his burning cheeks.

I can’t remember the last time I felt like this, like my life didn’t matter. Even with the high points, did those moments outweigh moments like these? The ones that make me feel worthless, useless. Like I can’t stand my ground, like if tomorrow or even a moment from now I disappeared. Would I be missed? Would I be remembered? Or would it be a relief. To my family, to my friends. To Sweetie Belle? To… Twilight?

Spike’s throat closed up. The tears once again flowing, his hands covering his face as broken sobs echoed around him. He didn’t even have to strength to care if someone found him like this. The thought of being a burden to his older sister, the first girl he ever loved. The first person to give him hope, friendship, a home; it was too much to take.

“T-Tw-Twilight,” Spike whimpered, his heart breaking. Twilight’s soft, caring voice rang through his head then.

“I was scared on my first day too. Just remember to have confidence in yourself. Don’t let the fear get to you, and know if you ever need to talk, I’ll be here for you. No matter what.”

“Thanks, Twily. You’re the best B.S.B.F.F. I could ask for.”

“And you’re the best L.B.B.F.F. I’ll ever want, Spikey.”

Spike froze then, his heart beating loudly in his ears.

Slowly, slower than he had ever done before, the young boy got to his feet. He could hear the shuffling of shoes leaving the locker rooms as students proceeded to leave the gym for their next class.

He quickly walked to the edge of the bleachers to peer over them.

Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle were talking excitedly. The girls were already showered, changed, and exchanging high fives with each other as they left down the main hall with the other students.

Strife, Buck, and Bask were making their way out a side door along with some other older students. The three boys were laughing loud, swiping at the dress skirts uniforms the girls wore.

Spike glanced down at his gym uniform, biting his lip he pulled at the elastic in his loosened bottoms. The small black shorts had lost their tightness the moment his anger struck, but he could now feel the aftereffects.

He felt drained, sad, depressed, and even a little bit of something he didn’t know what to name.

Twilight’s right. I can’t let fear control me. I need confidence. They can’t hurt me unless I let them. I’m stronger than this, if I can’t do it for myself I’ll do it for my friends.

“Confidence,” he whispered before straightening and making his way to the locker room. “I can do this.”

***

“I can’t do this.” Spike’s voice echoed around the empty shower stalls of the boys locker room.

The small boy looked down to she showers, the tall shower heads and seafoam green tiled floor sending shivers of nervousness down his spine. There was no shower curtains like at home. Just a long smooth plastic bench that sat in the middle of the room and about ten showerheads on each side.

The small boy had his towel slung across his shoulder, his gym clothes still on while his dress uniform sat nice-like on a hanger in his left hand. He was grateful that he hadn’t had his shirt on earlier, and that his shorts had avoided any sort of soaking from the water, otherwise he didn’t know if he could bring himself to wear the clothes for the rest of the day. The trip to the bowl was embarrassing enough, he didn’t want people to think he wet his pants too. Not that anyone would ever truly know what had happened to him in the locker room.

Spike casted one more glance around the entirety of the room before looking behind him to make sure no one had entered.

“What’s the big deal, Spike? You’re all alone, no one's going to—” Spike paused his mumbled words, frowning. “Let’s not come up with any ideas that might happen and just get this over with.”

Slowly, he sat down his towel on the bench, hanging up his uniform on a convenient hook in his locker.

His quick shower earlier had been on autopilot, going through the motions as anger and numbness boiled through him.

Now, he had to get fully undressed once more, shower quickly without getting caught by the instructor, get dressed, run to whatever his next class was and pray to Celestia his next teacher doesn’t get upset with his tardiness.

With a sigh, he sat down on the cold plastic bench, his hands dropping to unlace his tennis shoes. One by one, he undid his laces and took off his shoes. He placed them beside the bench to put back into his locker later. His socks came off next.

Spike paused to look down at his feet, they were beyond smelly. Reaching in, he took out his shower slippers and placed them on the floor. His shirt came off next. he placed the wet garment on top of his shoes and sighed, knowing that there were only two pieces of clothing left.

Best get it over with, before the next class starts showing up. In one fluid motion, he stood up, pulled down the last pieces of clothing he had on, tossed them over to the pile, and wrapped himself in a towel.

He grasped the dirty clothes with his free hand and held the towel closed with the other. Spike walked over to the shower and deposited his soiled clothes into the bin next to the open showers.

He cautiously went to one showerhead, and, with one more look around to make sure no one else was there, he hung his towel on the hook and turned on the shower.

The water came out cold at first, but then warmed up. Spike sighed as he got under it. The feeling of the water running down his head was like all his worries slipping away. It gave him time to think, time to think about something other than the bullies and how bad the day had went.

His thoughts turned to the best-worst thing they could, Sweetie Belle. As he held his hands to the soap despencer, he couldn’t help but remember the feeling of her soft, tender flesh. And even her pressed up against his...

He blushed as he realized he was having that problem again, the one Sweetie had caused when she hugged him. Shaking his head clear, he concentrated just on getting clean, scrubbing himself down real quick, washing, and drying himself off.

He went back to his locker and started getting dressed, something that he expedited with the sounds of other boys starting to arrive. He threw on his underwear and pants, socks and shoes, and then his shirt. Not knowing how long he had been in there, Spike didn’t bother to tuck in his shirt and just put his bowtie into his pocket as he went to leave the locker room and go retrieve his books and class schedule from his wall locker.

The locker room door slammed shut when the young boy left, the sound echoing around the empty gym. Spike paused for a moment, his eyes searching for an exit that didn’t require him to go past the instructor's office door.

Spotting the exit he saw Strife and his goons use earlier, Spike made his way across the gym to the exit, halfway to his freedom a heavy hand came down hard on his shoulder pulling him to an immediate stop.

“Well, well, well if it isn’t the little puppy-eyed boy. What are you doing out here so late? You got a knack for showing up after everyone else, and apparently leaving after everyone else too.” The instructor from earlier said as he spun the young boy around to face him.

“Sir I—”

“I don’t want to hear your excuses. I’ve heard it a million times from a million other students, you’re bashful, shy, don’t want to shower or change in front of others. Listen son, the sooner you get over it and realize that no one cares, the easier life will be for you.”

“It’s… I…” Spike looked down at his shoes, he couldn’t deny those reasons, but they weren’t the only reasons.

“Look at you boy, your uniform’s all tilted. You’re buttons undone, shirt not tucked in. Do you have any pride in yourself? For heaven's sake son, at least respect our school enough to wear the uniform right.”

“There’s nothing about this school to respect,” Spike mumbled under his breath as he started to tuck in his shirt.

“I don’t want to hear it, boy. You’re a little trouble maker, aren’t you? Stop that,” The instructor reached down and snatched the little boy’s arm away from his shirt, holding tight to the small wrist the man shook his other finger in the boys face. “If you don’t have the time to put it on right in the first place you don’t deserve to wear it at all! I have it in my right mind to take you to the office right now and—”

“No sir please! Please, I can wear it right I was just—”

“Don’t interrupt me, boy.” The man shook Spike’s arm, glaring down at him. “Just because your parents pay for you to go to this school doesn’t mean you can walk around like you own the place. Your teachers aren’t your servants, you can’t just talk to us however you want, don’t you interrupt me again!” The man shook Spike again as he went to protest, his mouth snapping shut. Tears had started to form in the young boy’s eyes again, terrified of the man and the thought of going to the office.

“Don’t you start crying, boy. What’s your name?”

“S-Spike Spar-Sparkle, S-sir” Spike forced his words between scared stammered sobs, as, for the first time in his life, he was about to be sent to the office on a disciplinary infraction.

“Well Spike Sparkle,” The instructor sneered, “You and I are about to make a trip down to the office and we’ll see how much longer you’ll be able to disrespect our school.”

The instructor pulled Spike by his wrist down the main hall and out the door before the young boy could say a word.

Celestia save me.

Those who Care

View Online

Part of Spike wanted to pull away, to try and escape the instructor's gip, run out of school, and never return. It was easily his worst nightmare come to life. He was being taken by the arm, being dragged to the office, on a disciplinary infraction.

“Don’t think you're tough now do you, kid? Look at you, your hair all wet and messy, your face needs to be washed. What were you doing all period? Making out with that girl? Kids are unbelievable these days. I have it in my right mind to go track her down and give her a few words.”

With a strength he didn’t know he had, Spike yanked his arm free from the man’s grip. “Don’t talk about her.”

The instructor paused and turned to face him. “What was that.”

Spike glared at him, meeting him eye-to-eye. “She did nothing wrong, don’t bring her into this.”

The instructor looked impressed. The boy in front of him couldn’t even be a hundred pounds and yet he spoke with conviction he hadn’t seen in him when they first met. There might be hope for this kid yet. He chuckled, “Wash your face off in that fountain over there, then we’ll go to the office.”

Spike just eyed him.

“Consider this me being nice, or do you really want to face Principal Luna with snot coming out of your nose?”

Luna‽ Celestia’s sister‽ Oh no...

“And I’ll leave her alone,” the instructor said, pointing over to the water dispenser.

Spike nodded and went to wash his face in the fountain. The hallways were empty, the next class had already started so there weren’t any witnesses to his current state of being. He walked up and cupped water in his hands, splashing water in his face, he cleaned off the snot and tears.

The instructor walked up next to the fountain, a perplexed expression on his face as he asked, “Sparkle, Sparkle… why does that name seem familiar?”

“My sister was Twilight Sparkle,” Spike said.

“Twilight Sparkle. She hated gym class,” he laughed. “Still, didn’t give me half this much trouble.”

Spike went to say something but was stopped by a raised hand.

“It’s different for boys, I know. Trust me, we’re not blind to what goes on. The hazing, teasing, and swirlies. We stop what we can, but often that just makes things worse.”

Spike saw something in the instructor’s eyes he hadn’t seen the entire time, compassion. It quickly went away though as he walked off. “C’mon, let’s get you to the office.”

The green-haired boy sighed and followed.

They walked in silence, Spike no longer being dragged but moving right along with him. Part of him, a small part anyway, felt like he somehow had this man’s respect. Although he wasn’t sure how he had earned it.

The young boy stared up at the back of the tall instructor’s head. The man had short cut navy blue hair, a ballcap for the school’s baseball team set high on his head. He had the usual smooth satin collared shirts that Spike had seen his own father wear when Night Light had coached Shining Armor’s little league baseball team. The shirt this man was wearing was flat black, white lines trailing the edges, outlining the fine fabric. The words CMS was monogrammed on the left side of his chest, at least Spike remembered seeing it as the man bared down on him in the gym. Tan long legged pants, brown belt, and bright white sneakers finished his clean-cut look.

This guy takes uniforms seriously. I’ve seen other students in worst wear than me. How did he not see Strife walking out of the gym with his shirt not even buttoned? Unbelieveable.

The instructor opened the door in the middle of the hallway and gestured for Spike to go inside. With a sigh the green-haired kid did just that. He walked right into a large office room with a desk and receptionist sitting behind it. On the other wall were several doors, one in big letters labeled ‘Principal Luna’.

“Coach Soarin, let me guess, another uniform infraction?” The receptionist asked with a deadpan voice.

“It matters,” Coach Soarin said, crossing his arms over his chest.

She sighed, “Wait over there, kid. Coach, you know the drill.” At that, she handed him some forms to fill out.

Spike walked over to the seats and sat down. He looked around nervously at being in an office for an ‘other then’ good reason. Before the Sparkles, he’d go to the office at least once a day to see Celestia, but that had been five years ago. Since then he hadn’t stepped foot in a principal's office, until now.

“And there we go,” Soarin said as he handed back the forms.

“Whatever,” the receptionist replied as she took them and placed them in the drop box for Principal Luna.

“Don’t whatever me! This. Is. Important,” Soarin said as he jabbed the top of her desk with an index finger before lifting his hand to readjust the hat on his head. “If kids these days don’t learn to respect who’s in charge they’ll never make it in life. And that’s the truth.”

“Don’t you have a class to teach?”

“Yes,” Soarin frowned as he went to turn away, “But this is important.”

“And I will remind Principal Luna, once again, of your concerns.”

Soarin nodded smiling, “Thank you, and as for you,” he turned to Spike, a frown dipping his mouth, and his eyes narrowing. “If I catch you again—”

“Okay Coach Soarin, this is the third time today I’ve caught you in here and it’s the first day classes are in. What is the issue now?” A familiar voice drifted into the room from the other end of the office near the entrance.

“Prin-Principal Luna!” Soarin stood up straight, his hands flying to his shirt to make sure it was properly tucked and straight.

“My, my, sister dearest. It seems you have a fan, and he’s quite the looker.” A voice Spike loved dearly sounded from the same direction as two tall women came into view.

Standing just beyond the entrance of the office stood Principal Celestia. The beautiful woman was casually poking at her sister’s arm causing the other woman to scowl.

“I do not have a fan Tia, he is simply a teacher that works at this school,” Luna leaned closer to her sister, just enough so only they could hear the words. “And not to mention a pain in my ass. Not that I don’t have enough of that already.”

“Oh Lulu, are you telling me you’ve been on nightly adventures and haven’t told me? Much less you didn’t invite your older sister! Oh, what have I done wrong!” Celestia pretended to swoon causing her sister to blush.

“T-Tia! That’s not funny I have students in here, not to mention my co-workers.”

Celestia smiled before looking around, her smile dropped when she saw the ‘student’ that was in the office. “S-Spike? Is that...”

All eyes turned to the blushing, green-haired student that wished he was anywhere else at that moment.

“I… umm… should get back to the gym.” Soarin pointed a finger towards the door before shuffling that way, pausing next to Luna to give a small wave. She scowled and he immediately took off, leaving the room in silence.

“Um… Tia? Did you not know Spike was going to attend my school?” Luna asked quietly.

Celestia frowned and shook her head. “I... I didn’t. After the Sparkles took him in I just…”

“Principal Luna, the reason why Spike Sparkle is here is for a disciplinary infraction. Would you like to have a talk with him or should I send him off to class? He’s already twenty minutes late,” the receptionist spoke softly, her hand on the report Soarin filled out about it.

Celestia took the news in shock. She looked at him, her eyes taking in the hurt look in his eyes, he seemed… in pain, pain the likes she hadn’t seen before in the young boy, not even when he was homeless and alone. Pain that she never thought she would see on his face, especially not with the Sparkles anyway. It hurt her heart to see it.

Luna noticed the sudden tension in her sister’s form, her stance. “No, we’ll take care of him now, together.”

Celestia felt a soft hand on her arm spurring her into motion. She quickly left her sister's side to crouch down in front of the small green-haired boy. “Are you alright? Did something happen? Why are you even up here? Do I need to call your parents?”

Her questioning surprised him, causing him to shuffle back in his seat and clench the flat wooden sides of the chair with fearful force between small fingers.

“Sister, maybe we should take the poor boy into my office first?” Luna asked.

Celestia looked up at her sister before nodding, standing to her full height she held out her hand.

Spike stared at the hand before letting go of the chair with his right hand, extending it hesitantly to grab hers.

This is the first time in five years that someone's reached out to me. This is the second time Celestia has come to my aid. Am I really so weak? No… Asking for help doesn’t mean you're weak. It just means you can’t do it on your own anymore. I need this. Just reach out and…

It was familiar, holding her hand again, letting Celestia guide him. For her to save him from a horrible fate, from a life he had just wanted to run away from. He had to fight back tears as Celestia lead him and Luna into the latter's office.

“Please take a seat. Tia did you want some tea? I got my—” Luna began but stopped when her sister waved her off.

“No tea, thank you. Spike, will you talk to me, tell me what happened?” Celestia said as she knelt down in front of the boy.

Every single instinct in the boy’s frame wanted to cry, wanted leap into her arms, hug her tight, and never let her go again.

Celestia had been the one to save me from my life in the foster homes, she had been the one to rescue me. She introduced Twilight to me in a roundabout way. Maybe she can rescue me now. Maybe, just maybe she could do it again? Please.

“Celestia, I do apologize for Soarin’s behavior. I’m sure he scared Spike beyond the call of duty. He has a thing about uniform infractions, and rather than correct them himself, he like to send them all to me in hopes that will set them straight.”

“It’s more than that, Luna. I can tell,” Celestia said as she looked Spike into the eyes.

“He still doesn’t talk?” Luna asked.

Celestia placed her hand on the side of Spike’s head. The boy was silent, just like he had been with her. What the woman couldn’t know though was that Spike was fighting against his every instinct to just break down and cry. To hug her, wrap her in his arms, and never let her go.

“I don’t suppose we could just allow him to go off to class since he is already half an hour late.” Luna mumbled, shaking her left wrist to readjust the watch that laid there.

“Luna,” Celestia shot a glare at her sister before turning back to the little boy. “Spike, do you want me to call your parents? I know it’s almost the end of the day but—”

He shook his head no, almost violently so. That one action caused her to gasp in surprise.

“Why not? Is something going on at home?”

“Celestia, maybe I should be—” Luna spoke up, but was interrupted once more.

“Luna, I know this maybe your school but Spike is still my—”

Spike looked into his former caretaker's eyes. He could still see the loving woman that took him in but couldn’t give him the home she felt he deserved. But she was wrong. Celestia had given Spike everything he could ever dream of. Without her he wouldn’t even—Spike gasped, his hands clenching his knees between shaking fingers.

Without you I would of never become friends with Twilight Sparkle. Without you I would've never even got to attend school. Without you I wouldn’t be in a safe home, with loving parents, and the best siblings I could ever ask for. Without you I never would of been happy.But most of all, without you Principal Celestia, I wouldn’t be—

“What can we do for you, Spike. Name it,” Celestia said, almost in tears all over again over this. She made a mental note to call the Sparkles, to find out just what was going on herself. Spike may no longer be under her care, but that didn’t mean she didn’t care for him.

No… I can’t do this. I can’t just drop this all on her. I can’t keep letting them save me. Not Celestia. Not Velvet or Night Light. And never again will Twilight Sparkle have to come to my rescue.

“C-can I go back to class?” Spike timidly asked. He didn’t know what he wanted, he really didn’t, but he knew he didn’t want this attention. And he didn’t want to cause his mom, dad, brother, and certainly not his sister, any trouble.

“Spike, are you sure? You could stay here the rest of the day, Luna wouldn’t let it count against you.”

He just closed his eyes. “Yes I’m sure, please. Let me go to class.”

“Spike…”

“I just… just want to go back to class, please.”

“Okay, Spike. You can go,” Luna said as Spike got up.

Celestia started to help him straighten his uniform, something the boy was put off about, and grateful for. Until she saw the two pieces of his dress-shirt’s bow untied. “Do you, do you want me to tie this for you?”

Tears fell freely from Spike’s eyes at that one question. Celestia couldn’t hold back, she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly to her breast.

For the first time in forever, Spike felt validation, like his opinion mattered. He wasn’t told how adorable he looked, how happy he should be to be wearing it. He was asked, he was asked what he wanted or even if he wanted it to be tied.

It may be stupid but she asked me. She asked me what I wanted.

Celestia held him tighter, a few tears of her own starting to fall. She could feel his frustration, his pain, his hurt, and it broke her heart. “You sure you don’t want to stay?”

“Y-yes,” Spike sobbed.

Luna walked over with a dark blue embroidered handkerchief and handed it to Spike. Spike took it in his hand and after who knows how long, he let Celestia go and wiped his face off again. Luna and Celestia looked on concerned when he handed it back.

Luna passed him a hall pass and a note for his next class. “Spike, if you ever need anything, you can come see me. Any time, any reason, once so ever. I’m here for you.”

“T-thank you,” Spike said as he walked out of the door.

Luna and Celestia stared at each other before Celestia asked, “Can I use your phone, I have a few calls to make.”

***

Spike heard the commotion from the other side of the door, given how loud it was he supposed that he could have heard it down the hall. There was a loud crash, a bang, and a lot of yelling.

As he opened the door to shop class, he heard the shout. “Miss Scootaloo, what did I say about the bandsaw!”

“No one was hurt! This time…”

“That’s not the point!”

“Sorry, jeez.”

“There’s a reason you don’t have a partner anymore.”

“Pft, that guy was a lame-o anyway,” Scootaloo said as she waved a hand dismissively.

“You almost cut his finger off.”

“Almost. That means I didn’t, right?”

“Scootaloo?” Spike asked as he saw the band saw on the ground and the class looking around shocked.

“Yo Spike! Want to be my partner? You’re in this class right?” Scootaloo said as she shot him a grin. She patted the sawdust covered worktable with her left hand and waved him over with her right.

“Uh sure…” Spike mumbled glancing around the room at the stares he was receiving as he walked over to his friend. “What were you trying to build anyways?”

“Uh… It was supposed to be this sick skate ramp I was going to use to show Rainbow Dash my awesome moves. But I kind of got carried away and now it’s a—”

“Scoots, that’s a toothpick.” Spike deadpanned, pointing his finger at the small piece of wood that the sports girl held up.

“So? Do you think Dash will like it?” Scootaloo said, grinning as she held it up higher into the air. “I think she’ll love it!”

“You are just trying to make me lose my mind today, aren’t you.” Spike said, rolling his eyes. He shook his head in false disappointment, as he thought, Not that I haven’t already. Moments like these are the only things keeping me sane.

“Says the boy that grabbed Sweetie’s butt?” Scootaloo said with a smile and a wink.

“Th-that was an accident—”

“Accident my, or should I say Sweetie’s butt!”

“Scoots stop it before someone hears you!”

“Who cares? She’s your girlfriend!”

“Shhhh—”

“Come on Spike, are you really that embarrassed? We’re in middle school now! Sure, we might be sixth graders but we still—”

“Excuse me you two. If you're done jibber jabbering can you please get to work. Well, at least you young man. You on the other hand, Miss Scootaloo, are banned from the power tools.” The older, grey-haired, goggle wearing instructor waved his finger at the young girl's face.

“What? that’s not fair!” Scootaloo whined.

“Get over it,” he said then turned to Spike. “You’re Spike Sparkle I take it?”

Spike nodded and handed him the note Luna gave him. He took it and read over it. “Alright, you’ll be her new partner, maybe you’ll have better luck. I hope you're not afraid of power tools, because you’ll be doing all the cutting.”

Scootaloo blew him a raspberry as he returned to his desk at the front. “Well, guess it’s official now. You’re not afraid of losing digits, are you?” Scootaloo asked.

Spike looked at her as if to ask if she was serious.

“Just playing with you, Romeo. But hey, with me, keep it in your pants, okay? I saw that tent you popped in gym.”

“Oh god, I’m never going to live that down.”

Scootaloo had to hold back a laugh, even still a few giggles came out. “Relax, she was actually a little flattered, but don’t tell her I told you that.”

“She… She talked to you two about it?” Spike said as he blushed profusely, but looked curiously at his friend. His hands reaching forward to grab a couple pieces of the un-scootaloo-ified supplies.

“A little bit, why? You wanna know?” Scootaloo began cleaning off her mess, sliding her hand across the table to get the mass amount of sawdust off.

“You’re going to get a splinter that way.” Spike mumbled as he began using a marker to mark lines on a four-by-four.

“So? I’ve gotten worst than a—Ow! Ow, ow, ow, ow,” Scootaloo jumped up and down in pain, sucking on her index finger.

“Told you” Spike started to chuckle before she faced him, his eyes locking onto her finger.

She had small tears in her eyes and she attempted to smirk around her hurting finger.

“Miss Scootaloo, do you need some medical attention or can I assume you have all ten fingers.” The instructor had called out but when Spike glanced at the older man. He was sitting in his own desk playing with a jigsaw puzzle.

“No Mr. Dust, I’m alright. All ten accounted for,” Scootaloo raised her hands and wiggled all her fingers, rolling her eyes.

“Good to know. Now can you keep it down? Others are trying to work.”

“Yes sir.”

The sight of the athletic girl jumping up and down revealed that she hadn’t put something back on after gym class: her bra. Spike could feel his lower extremity shift and once again try to set up camp, but he quickly dropped his hands to his lap, adjusting his shorts.

Scootaloo was too busy trying trying to identify what foreign invader had entered her own area, poking at her sore splintered index finger of her left hand. A small “ow” resonating from her mouth as each time she expected a different result, but still ended up in pain.

With a sigh, the small green-haired boy began to resume his task of making a birdhouse as the instructions the teacher had left required. How Scootaloo decided to make a scooter ramp with such little supplies and ended up with a toothpick, the young boy would never know.

What makes a Man

View Online

In spite of Scootaloo’s ‘help’ the birdhouse was coming along nicely in Spike’s opinion. Well, as nicely as he could expect given the situation.

He had just finished sanding the top of the wooden roof, making sure it was smooth and without knicks. They would be spending tomorrow getting to paint it so for now he just wanted to make sure it was perfect.

This is coming along great! Maybe Shining Armor will help me hang it up in the backyard and Twilight can help me make some homemade birdfood. I wonder how Scoots is doing.

Spike glanced over at his companion and immediately knew it was a mistake.

Scootaloo had already busted out every color imaginable, her once white paint palette was now completely a mess of rainbows. Which wasn’t the surprising part. That was the fact that she was covered in a distinct rainbow pattern herself.

“Uh Scoots, you got a little something,” Spike went to gesture to his face with a finger but then opened his hand waved it down his body. “Everywhere…”

“Yeah, I got bored. Painting this thing isn’t going to be as much fun as I thought it would be.” Scootaloo’s tongue poked out of her mouth to the side as her brow dipped in thought. Her hands, covered in bright red and blue—in some spots smudging into a darkish purple—were currently holding a very fragile, unstable, birdhouse-esque half painted box.

“You do know we weren’t supposed to start painting till tomorrow, right?” Spike bit his lip, his eyes shifting from her face to down her body and back up.

“Did you honestly expect me to wait?” She asked, glancing over at him with a smirk.

The young boy swallowed slowly, his eyes refocusing on her face.

Wait for what? We can— Spike’s eyes widened and he shook his head roughly. He quickly faced forward, his back ramrod straight as he reeled back in his thoughts. His small hands clenched the black fabric on his shorts. What am I thinking! I’m dating Sweetie Belle and I’m sitting here checking out her best friend? What the hell is wrong with me?

“Uh, Spike, you alright there bud? You’re breathing kinda heavy and you’re shaking.”

“I’m fine,” Spike managed to say, a bit more forcefully than he intended, which caused the young girl to lean away from him.

“Uh alright, class is almost over anyways. I-I’m probably gonna go see if Mr. Dust will let me wash up.”

Scootaloo hopped down from her stool and walked around the young boy, giving him one last glance, she hesitantly patted his shoulder with the side of her arm so her painted hands wouldn't stain his white shirt before swiftly making her way to the front of the room.

The young boy sighed, his body relaxing from its rigid state. He laid his cheek on the smooth worktable, his eyes locked onto the sunlit world just outside the window to his left.

What am I doing. Do I like Scootaloo now too? Sure she’s pretty, in a rough-and-tumble tomboy way. But Sweetie Belle, oh Sweetie. She’s beautiful, gorgeous really. Her smile, her shy and girlish mannerisms, the way her uniform fits her body perfectly making her look like an angel, and oh her… Not that Scootaloo doesn’t have a nice… and then there’s Rarity. Oh Celestia do I still love Rarity? I think she’ll always have a place in my heart. No matter what girl comes into my life, she will always be my first real…

The bell rung then, breaking Spike out of his thoughts.

Scootaloo came running around him, hurriedly picking up her ‘birdhouse’ and her bag before disappearing out the door as quick as she came.

“Miss Scootaloo! You come back here and clean up your mess! At least leave the— oh forget it.” Mr. Dust waved his hand off in the direction she left before sitting back in his chair, grumbling.

The young boy glanced around the room, noting that the other students were writing their names on a slip of paper and nailing it to the top of their projects.

Spike quickly followed in their lead, scribbling his name on a paint splattered strip and using a small nail to pin it to the top of his own birdhouse.

Together, under the direction of the instructor, they all placed their projects in a backroom of the woodshop.

With a sigh, Spike returned to his work desk, his eyes surveying the mess his friend left before lifting his head to watch the other students leave.

What would Twilight say if I just left this mess? He thought.

As the other kids left, he walked over to the wash station and started grabbing paper towels. First one, two, then a whole dozen. It wasn’t like he was in any rush, he had a long walk home today and class was over.

“Here, take this.”

Spike looked up to see the instructor hand him an entire case of paper towels.

“Thanks for cleaning up after her.” Mr. Dust said.

“She’s not so bad… well, not when you get to know her,” Spike replied, smiling.

“You might be underestimating your influence on that girl. She settled down a lot when you arrived.”

“You saying she likes me or something,” Spike chuckled at the joke.

“She might.”

“W-what?” Spike asked, but the teacher was already walking away.

The green-haired boy went back to his station, confused beyond belief as he busied himself in the task at hand.

Cleaning paint off the table proved to be just as difficult as it sounds. What really baffled the eleven-year-old though was how Scootaloo managed to get paint on the underside of the table in what looked like shoe-print patterns.

Spike stood back frowning at the table, his eyes lifting to look at the rest of the desks in the room. Most did have old paint splatters on them, some had nicks and scratches from previous encounters with the work tools, but none of them were nearly as bad as the chaos storm the young sports girl had brought to their desk.

“Scootaloo, when I get my hands on you I’m going to—” he paused in that sentence. At the mention of putting his hands on her, he thought of putting his hands on rather… inappropriate places. Memories of her bouncing up and down after getting the splinter came back to mind, as did her kissing him on the cheek.

Suddenly his shorts felt a little tight again.

Sighing, he glanced around and quickly adjusted his shorts. Spike made a mental note to talk with Shining about it as he went back to cleaning the table. His dad had given him the birds and the bees talk last year, but that didn’t answer how to deal with this sort of problem on—what was becoming—an hourly bases.

“Alright son, that’s enough for now. If anything I’ll just have her stay back after class tomorrow and try to get the rest off,” Mr. Dust called out from the front of the room, waving his hand in a gesture for the young boy to go. “You go on and get outta here, I’m sure your ride is waiting for you.”

“Yes sir,” Spike said softly, his hands grabbed all the used paper towels and threw them away before he picked up his bag and headed out of the room.

Walking down the hall, he quickly realized his issue wasn’t going away anytime soon and the walk home wasn’t going to be as fun as he thought. His mind was now filled with images that he wasn’t sure made him uncomfortable or beyond excited. The thoughts of seeing the girls once again before he left for home did him no favors in that regard either.

I wonder if they’re still here waiting outside for me. I’m sure their sisters aren’t coming to pick them up today, Twilight had said Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow would be attending the party with her anyways.

If they were waiting for him, it wasn’t by his locker. Spike walked down the mostly empty hallway, his eyes locked onto a certain side noticing that his own and Sweetie’s locker were practically deserted. That—not seeing Sweetie again—made him a little sad. He didn’t know why, but he did really want to see her again, even if it was just to apologize for what he did in gym class.

But… Scootaloo said she… was flattered?

That thought did him no favors, not in his head, or down below. He sighed and hit his head on his locker door before putting in the combination. Grabbing the books he needed—and a few extra that might be fun to read that night—Spike threw his bag back over his shoulder and made for the door to leave the best-worst first day of school he had ever had in his entire life behind him.

With a sigh, and one last adjustment of his shorts—he hoped—he began to once again make his way down the hall towards the exit.

The bright light of the sun shined through the glass window wall of the front of the school blinding the young boy momentarily. As he had been adjusted to the dull fluorescent light the school used to illuminate the rooms, the sunlight felt like it was burning his retinas.

Grabbing the handle to the door, Spike pushed it open. He made his way slowly down the sixteen-step staircase he had conquered this morning—well, that his three friends forced him to face, but that was besides the point—and paused at the bottom. He tossed one last glance at the building behind him.

Glad that’s over. At least now I can go home and tell everyone how I had ‘such a wonderful day’. Spike scowled, turning back around.

Quickly he glanced around for his friends, his eyes made their way down the concrete path towards the sidewalk that would take him home if they weren’t still waiting for him.

If he thought his day of hell was over, he was in for a shock.

“Give it back!”

Spike’s head snapped to the right so quickly one might have thought he had broken his neck. The young boy gasped as she saw Strife, Bask, and Buck surrounding a pale girl with a distinctive purple and pink hair style. One that Spike recognized, one he’d never forget.

“Sweetie!” Spike yelled as he dropped his backpack and ran to the girl.

Sweetie turned to look at him, “Spike!”

“Oh, the gallant knight is here,” Bask said with a laugh as he held up a small stuffed doll away from the girl. Sweetie was tall, but not as tall as the eighth grader.

Spike couldn’t make out what it was they had taken from her, but that it was Sweetie’s was beyond obvious. “Give that back to her!” He shouted as he quickly closed the distance.

“Uh oh boys, he’s pissed we’re messing with his little girlfriend,” Strife teased. “We’re going to get it now. I'm scared.”

“Spike, it’s okay, it doesn’t matter,” Sweetie tried to say, but after everything he had been through, Spike just didn’t care anymore. He was tired of this, tired of them using their size to bully him, to knock him out of his chair, to say mean things about his friends, and for dunking his head in a toilet in gym. Them taking something from Sweetie was the last straw.

He ran right in front of her, putting himself between her and the three bullies. “Last chance, give. It. Back!”

“Or what?”

“Spike, AB and Scoots aren’t here, they had to go, I don’t… I….”

“Just stay back, I got this,” Spike said as he raised his fists.

“This is funny, what exactly do you have, Spikey-boy?” Strife said with a laugh. “What are you going to do against the three of us? And more importantly, how you going to stop us from doing what we want to her?”

Strife crumpled to the ground like a sack of potatoes. It had happened so fast, so quick, that none of the other two boys even saw it. In one swift kick, Spike struck Strife as hard as he could, right in the nuts.

“Spike…” Sweetie said, shocked.

That was the last easy hit he got. Both Bask and Buck lurched forward and grabbed the green-haired boy’s arms. He fought, he kicked, and swung with all his might, but he simply didn’t have a chance.

“I’m going… to… hurt you…so bad…” Strife grunted between loosened tears as he rolled on the ground and tried to stand.

“Hah, it was worth it!” Spike shouted.

Bask nailed him in the side of his stomach, hard.

“Spike!” Sweetie cried.

He tried not to cry, he tried, and failed. The blow hurt, a lot. His resistance slacked, allowing the two boys to get a tighter hold on his arms.

To his horror, he saw Strife starting to rise.

“Leave him alone!” Sweetie yelled, only to be pushed back into the dirt when she tried to intervene.

“Stay out of it!” Buck yelled after pushing her on the ground.

“Don’t you touch her again!” Spike shouted as he headbutted the black-haired boy in the face.

“Fuck, this kids got a temper,” Bask said, nailing him once more in the side.

“Yeah, let’s beat it out of him,” Strife said as he rared his right fist back.

The next thing Spike knew, he was on the ground. His hands hurt from where he hit the concrete, but it was nothing compared to how much his face hurt. He was crying, that much he knew, almost sobbing. His left eye felt blistered, hard to see out of. Sweetie had ran up to him, her hands on his back, her tears falling just as quickly as his own.

“Just what I thought, all talk,” Strife said as he rubbed his nuts. “But for that shit, I think him and his grilfriend need to be taught a lesson, don’t you boys?”

“No!” Spike yelled as he got to his hands and knees. “I won’t let you lay one hand on her.”

They watched as he got to his feet, it took the youth a minute, but to his credit, he did. There was red bruising all over his left eye, tears falling freely from his right, but he raised his fists one more time.

“Is… is he for real?” Bask asked, somewhat shocked.

“Pft, it’s just a pathetic show of resistance, we’ll see how much he’s got left in him after I make his other eye mat—” Strife trailed off, his jaw going slack.

“You can tease me, push me down, dunk my head in a toilet, but the moment you mess with my friends you’ve stepped over the line,” Spike said, he held a hand behind him, keeping Sweetie back, “I won’t let you touch any of them, regardless what it cost me.”

“W-w-w-we weren’t going to do anything, promise,” Bask stammered.

“Yeah, it was just a joke… hehe,” Buck said.

Spike was taken aback by their sudden one-eighty.

Strife looked yellow, a color that ran down his leg and onto the ground as he gazed up at something directly behind Spike, or to be more accurate, someone.

“Run?” Buck asked.

“Run,” Bask replied.

At that all three boys took off straight away from Spike and Sweetie. It was at that moment that Spike turned around and saw the real cause of their fear.

He looked up to see a seventeen-year-old linebacker training to join the marines after High School, someone he was proud to call his big brother. “S-S-Shining Armor?”

Shining Armor uncrossed his arms from around his chest. His gaze fell down to his younger brother, who, even now, was starting to cry in his girlfriend’s arms. The six-foot five, two-hundred fifty-five pound athlete lowered himself to one knee and placed an arm around Spike.

“You did good, little bro. You did damn good.”

“He’s… he’s hurt,” Sweetie cried as she held him.

Shining Armor lifted his brother’s face to get a good look at his eye. Gingerly, he ran his thumb around the bruise, something that caused Spike to tense up in even more pain and earned him some scowls from Sweetie. “Hmm, it’s bruised, but nothing broken. Anywhere else?”

“His side,” Sweetie said.

Spike moved around and lifted his shirt, something that caused Sweetie to blush a little. Again Shining ran his fingers across the bruise. “Well, this’ll hurt for a while, and you’ll have quite the shiner for a few days, but nothing’s broken.”

“T-thanks,” Spike sniffled.

Shining chuckled. “I didn’t do anything, this was all you little man, I just showed up right at the end.”

“T-they would have k-kept beating me without you.”

“Most likely, but that’s life. Sometimes you get knocked down, sometimes you get your butt kicked, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you stand up, that you face down those who do wrong to others and let them know that they will have to face you if they want to continue. You taught those bullies the length they’ll have to go to in order to defeat you.”

“And that I have a big brother,” Spike said, smiling through his sniffles.

“That helps too,” Shining smiled back, running his finger though Spike’s hair. “C’mon, let’s get you home. I’ll give you a ride too if you want, Sweetie.”

“O-okay,” Sweetie said as she stood up and went to retrieve Spike’s backback and the doll they had tried to steal from her.

As soon as she was gone, Spike immediately lamented her absence. Not just for the physical support either, there was something about her holding him that just made him feel… at home.

“Got yourself a girlfriend there, champ?” Shining teased as he kept kneeling by the boy.

“Yeah,” Spike replied as he watched her, smiling as the last tears fell. He turned to his brother as a thought occurred to him. “What are you doing here anyway? I thought you were with Cadance today?”

“Mom called, asked me to pick you up, said something about the principal calling? You want to tell me what happened today?”

Spike shook his head, trying to wipe his face clear in the process.

Shining grabbing the hem of his own shirt, pulled Spike close to himself and wiped off the young boy’s face, ignoring the water spots and dirt smudges he received. “Well, I won’t press the issue. Mom, Dad, and Twily? That’s another story. But for now we gotta get you looking better for your girl.”

Spike hissed a little as Shining touched the bruise around his eye. “And they’re definitely going to want to know about that little shiner,” Shining continued.

“Y-you ready to go home, Spike?” Sweetie asked as she walked back to him, his bookbag in her right hand and a little doll in her left.

I wish I didn’t look so weak right now, especially not in front of you, Sweetie Belle. “O-okay,” Spike said, his feelings anything but reflected in his words.

However when Sweetie wrapped an arm around his own, he felt a lot better about it as they made their way to Shining’s sports car.

***

The car ride to Sweetie Belle’s house was relatively quiet. The two middle schoolers sat close to each other in the backseat while Shining Armor drove, the radio quietly playing a soft rock tune.

Spike was in more pain—more physical pain then he ever remembered being in before in his entire life. Still there was something about the way Sweetie was leaning up against him, the way her hand was wrapped around him, lightly touching the bruise on his side that the bullies had left. It just made it… better.

“Are you okay, Spike?” Sweetie asked.

He looked into her green eyes and said the first thing that came to mind. “Yeah, I will be.”

She smiled at him.

In the front seat, Shining Armor chuckled a little as he adjusted the rearview mirror so he could better watch his brother, just in case he got into a jam.

“How come you were still at the school by yourself anyways, Sweetie Belle?” Spike asked, his left hand reaching up to pull hers away from his side to clasp their hands together.

“Well I was supposed to go home with Scootaloo but something came up and when I tried to call my sister she said she couldn’t come get me. So I just waited to see if you were walking home or whatever and then, well, you saw what happened.” Sweetie frowned, her hand squeezing him tighter.

“But what were they trying to take from you?” Spike asked.

“Oh! Yeah, while Scoots and you were in shop class, I had home ec. They let us experiment at the end of the day and well… I made you this,” Sweetie said proudly as she reached into her bag with her free hand and pulled out the very object that the bullies had tried to take from her. She frowned, using the skirt of her white uniform dress to dust off some of the dirt and grass from it. “I wanted to give it to you tomorrow, but after that…”

“Sweetie?”

“You should have it now,” Sweetie said as she pressed the doll into Spike’s chest.

Shining Armor saw the look upon her face. The girl was worried, scared that Spike wouldn’t like her gift. He could see it, to her giving Spike that doll was like her giving him her heart. What Spike did next would determine more than the young boy could ever know.

Shining was just about to say something but Spike beat him to it.

“Sweetie Belle… you shouldn’t have. It’s amazing! You stitched this yourself?” Spike asked, gently pulling his hand from hers and taking the offered stuffed animal between his shaking fingers.

He admired it with a grateful smile, his eyes teared up slightly. It was small, about six inches in height. Made of purple cloth, the doll resembled a small little baby dragon with green eyes and spines running down from the top of his head down to his tail. His mouth was slightly open and had little sharp white teeth inside.

“Well, I had a little help with color choices, but yeah. My sister taught me all about sewing and I was able to put those skills to—”

She was cut off when Spike hugged her. He threw his arms around the girl and squeezed her tightly. His side protested, and his face lit up in pain, but he didn’t care.

The smell of the girl’s perfume wafted into his nostrils, making him… happy. “Thank you, thank you so much.”

Taken aback, Sweetie quickly recovered and moved her hands around the boy as well. He was so small, and yet… “You’re welcome, Spike.”

In their hug, the two youths felt the car coming to a stop and Shining putting it into park. “We’re here, Sweetie.”

Sweetie Belle looked over Spike’s shoulder out the window. The sight of the white two-story house of her parent’s place was both a heartwarming feeling and a heartbreaking moment for the young girl.

The young green-haired boy gently broke their embrace and placed his hand on the seat handle in front of him. His eyes shifting from his girlfriend to his big brother as he took a breath, “Um… can I?”

“Go ahead, walk her to the door, little man. I’ll be right here waiting for ya.” Shiny shot the little boy a thumbs up before turning to smile at the little girl. “It was nice seeing you too, kiddo. Tell your sister I said hi.” The older boy winked causing his little brother to punch him playfully in the arm.

Sweetie Belle giggled and nodded, “Will do, Shiny.”

Both of the middle schoolers made to shift forward but were immediately held back to their seats by a strong force. Blinking back their surprise, they glanced down to a black seatbelt holding them snug and tight to the backseat.

Shining Armor snorted, covering his mouth with one hand. He mumbled something incoherently as every time he moved his hand away to talk he’d choke on a laugh.

Spike glared down at the black belt as his small fingers made to unlock it. “The sad part is this isn’t even the first time this happened to me today.”

Sweetie Belle frowned as she slipped her own seatbelt off, her eyes locked onto her boyfriend’s face.

Spike gently pushed the seat forward, opened the car door and stepped out. He then turned around extending his hand towards the young girl to help Sweetie out as well. His free hand immediately reaching out to grab her bag from her hand so he could carry it.

Sweetie smiled as she passed the boy her bag and grasped his hand with her own. Her smile was mirrored on his own lips, and even with the large red bruise on his face, he still looked cute to her. Turning away from the car they made their way to her front door, their clasped hands never parting.

“Spike, I just wanted to say, you were my hero today,” Sweetie whispered.

“I didn’t do anything special.” Spike responded softly, a blush blending in with the red mark on his face. The young boy nervously kicked the toe of his shoe on the brick steps, as he tried and failed to make eye contact with her.

“It was special to me,” Sweetie said as she grasped his hand tighter, pulling him with her up the steps.

The action caused the boy to shiver in nervouscitement. Okay Spike, keep it together. She’s just… your girlfriend. Be cool, be cool!

The pair reached the door, hand-in-hand as Sweetie paused before opening it. “I… I think this year will be a lot of fun, with you I mean.”

Spike shifted her bag up on his shoulder and ran his free hand through messy green hair. He didn’t have the heart to tell her just how bad his day was. Or… was it that bad? This can’t be my worst day ever or why else would I be standing here with…

“I… umm… can’t wait to see you again—tomorrow I mean,” Spike said.

Sweetie Belle giggled, smiling brightly at the boy in front of her, making him blush even harder.

For a few moments they stood quietly in front of the young girl’s house, each shifting their feet awkwardly and avoiding each other's eyes.

Shining Armor playfully honked the horn on his car, causing both kids to jump. Spike sent a glare in the direction of the sound but quickly turned back to his girlfriend as she spoke.

“Until then?” Sweetie asked as she gestured for Spike to pass her back her backpack.

“Y-yeah,” Spike said, sliding the purple and pink bag off his own shoulder. She gently slid the strap up her arm and let it rest on her shoulder.

Sweetie smiled softly as she released his other hand to pull her arm through the other strap of her bag. The backpack now strapped securely to her back, she once again reclaimed his hand.

Spike couldn’t help but see the way it pressed her shirt tighter against her chest, causing her curves to be ever more pronounced.

He quickly lost track of that with Sweetie’s next action. In the time it took to blink, Sweetie Belle pressed her lips against his, stealing their first kiss.

Spike’s mind went totally blank at that. His body barely registered the warm hand releasing his own, the cold air biting at his fingertips without it.

“Okay, bye. See you tomorrow!” Sweetie quickly waved at the car and shoved open the door, smiling once more at Spike before closing it behind her.

“Bye…” Spike said dreamily, his feet felt numb, his body no longer under his control as he forgot how to walk. Everything just felt surreal.

The next thing that the little boy noticed was when he was lifted up into the air and placed on someone’s shoulder. He looked down to see that Shining had picked him up. The older boy just laughed. “Not bad, your first kiss, little man! And she’s a little cutie too!”

Spike blushed, but said nothing as Shining took him back to his car, opened the passenger side door, and placed him inside.

Shining Armor quickly made his way around the front of the sports car, his closed fist bouncing along the hood as he smiled brightly. He opened the driver's side and climbed in, starting the car and turning to his little brother. “So…”

“So what?” Spike avoided the older boy’s eyes, his feet shifting as he fidgeted nervously.

“Are you going to put your belt on or do I need to go get your girlfriend to do it for you?”

Spike quickly looked to his brother with a glare.

The older boy just laughed once more, slipped on his own belt and waited for Spike to get his own buckled in before taking off down the road towards home.

A Brother's Pride

View Online

The car was silent as Shining Armor drove down the road, slower than his normal fast track life demanded. This was concerning for the young green-haired boy who sat shotgun, his eyes locked onto the moving world outside the window.

The radio had been turned completely off, the once joyful atmosphere now a quiet wasteland for the two as they each waited for the other to speak up. Five minutes later, Shiny cleared his throat loudly to gain the little boy’s attention.

“So…” Shining said, his hand coming up to fix the collar on his shirt before placing it back on the wheel with the other.

“So?” Spike asked, his own hand awkwardly messing with the buttons on his sleeve of his other hand.

“You’ve got a girlfriend now.”

“Eeyup.”

“Need someone to supervise your dates?”

Spike looked over at the older boy with a scowl, his arms crossing over his chest as he rolled his eyes.

Shining Armor was fighting a smile as he tried to keep up the responsible big brother persona.

“No Shining. I don’t need you to watch over me like I’m some kid.”

“Oh, so you’re no longer a kid, huh? You can take on the world with your own two hands now?”

“I feel like it.” Spike smiled, his eyes shining brightly in the afternoon sun.

“Haha, that’s my bro,” Shining reach over and playfully shoved Spike causing the young boy to laugh. “Just like a Sparkle.”

The laughter died out quickly leaving the car silent once again.

Spike frowned, staring down at his shoes as the car continued on the path back home.

“Shining?” The young boy asked quietly, refusing to look up.

“What’s up big guy? Still nervous? Sweetie Belle ain’t here right now, it’s just us. Tell me what’s on your mind. You got any questions?”

“I—”

“You and her hitting it off, got any questions about giving her a little something-something?” Shining asked, laughing to himself.

“Shiny I—”

“Oh, I know. You two going to get together this weekend? Twi’ said something about the girls all getting together this weekend, or was that last weekend? Ya know, I don’t even know what the girl does anymore. She’s always out of the house. Strange, Twily used to never leave her room. Now she’s more social than I was!”

“She’s… she’s been spending a lot of time with Rainbow Dash,” Spike said, thinking.

“Her? Huh, didn’t put that together.”

“I think Rainbow and Scoots are going to invite me over to work out with them.”

“Trying to put on a little muscle to impress that little cutie?” Shining asked.

“Well, I mean, umm… after today…”

“Think you might need to protect her again?”

“Or myself,” Spike mumbled as he played with his hands in his lap.

“Want to talk about it?”

“What do you know?” Spike asked.

“Just what I saw, two of them holding you by the arms, the third nailing you in the eye. I was about to step in and do something they’d regret, but then I saw you getting back up.”

“That was dumb,” Spike mumbled.

Shining pulled the car over to the side of the road and put it in park, he turned and faced Spike. “Hey, little bro, look at me.”

Spike glanced up, surprised at the seriousness of Shining’s expression. “W-what?”

“I know we’ve never really connected on anything, you and Twilight have this… bond I just don’t share with you. Not in the way she does, but, at that moment, I’ve never been more proud of you in my life.”

“For getting my butt kicked?”

“For standing up for something, for not backing down, for going into something not because you’d win, but because it was the right thing to do.”

“Mom, Dad, and Twily won’t see it that way.”

“You’re right about that, they won't. But, on this, they’re wrong. Whatever happens when you get home, you’ve done me proud, you’ve proven yourself a man today.”

“You said I wasn’t…”

“I was just busting your balls, being a man is standing up for what’s right, even if you’ll lose.”

Spike leaned over and hugged Shining, a hug the young adult was quick to return. “Thanks, B.B.B.F.F.”

“Anytime, L.B.B.F.F.”

As Shining restarted the car and merged back into traffic, Spike found himself with a new appreciation for Shining. It felt… better with him, like they had bonded for the first time, as men, in the last five years. That thought gave him the confidence to ask a few other questions that were on his mind. “Shining?”

“Yeah, Champ?”

“Umm… Sweetie, I think I um… like her.”

“She is your girlfriend.”

“I mean, like, I um… I kinda, touched her.”

“I’m guessing you don’t mean on the shoulder.”

“No, she um… hugged me in gym. It was after those three guys gave me a swirly. I went to wrap my arms around her, and kinda, grabbed her butt.”

“And what did she do?” Shining didn’t know if she should be pissed, high five him, or what.

“She um… hugged me tighter, I could feel her, you know, pressed against my chest.”

“So she was down with it?”

“Huh?”

“She liked it?”

“I umm… don’t know.”

“Did she push you away, make a scene, or seem offended?”

“No she just blushed when she saw me, um… hard…”

Shining chuckled, “Can’t blame you there. Biology’s a bitch.”

“Yeah, Dad already gave me the talk.”

“Ugh, sorry.”

“Yeah, no more than me.”

“Well, here’s my talk: Don’t do that.”

“Huh?”

“Don’t go around grabbing girls’ asses. Don’t think that’s somehow normal, or appropriate, or anything like that. You do and you can get into some serious trouble, and not just with the teachers, I’ll kick your ass.”

“But Sweetie—”

“Liked it, I give you props for that, but that’s a huge risk, had she not you’d have been expelled.”

“Oh…”

“Yeah.”

Shining noticed the mood shift and placed his hand on Spike’s head. “Hey, relax. The fact she didn’t is major props, bud. But be aware, it can still get you in trouble if the wrong person sees you, both of you in fact.”

“B-both of us?”

“Yes. So… I should say not to do things like that, that you’re too young and yada-yada-yada, but no, I’m not going to. I’m going to say be careful. You’re growing up, noticing fun things about the opposite sex, it’s perfectly normal and natural to want to explore. And hell, as long as she wants to and you’re not forcing her against her will, go ahead, have fun. However…”

“Yes?”

“She’s not a piece of meat for you to learn off of. There’s a sweet little girl there too. And that’s more important than anything the two of you might want to do. Remember that, keep that in your mind at all times. You use and abuse her, and you will hurt her, more so than you can ever imagine.”

“I’d never!”

“Not intentionally, no. But unintentionally, without thinking, or letting your smaller head drive your actions? Yes, yes you will.”

“Smaller head?”

“Sorry, forgot, dad talk,” Shining said, sighing. “Alright, you know the BS about hormones and all that other scientific mumbo-jumbo.”

“Twily would kick your ass if she heard that.”

“And if I told her what you did?”

“Fair point.”

“Anyway, what all that BS means is you’ll act without thinking, that when you start feeling good, like you did today and exploring with your hands, you won’t be thinking with this head,” Shining placed his hand on Spike’s head. “Rather, you’ll be thinking with the one engorged with blood in your pants.”

“Oh…”

“Yeah, better men than us have done dumber things under the effects of that head.”

“Sucks to be a guy,” Spike mumbled.

Shining laughed. “Trust me, women got their own shit to deal with. You’ll learn more about that later, especially if you and Sweetie stay together.”

“What do they go through?”

“Umm… I’ll let you ask Twilight that,” Shining replied. “Once she gives you the official explanation, I’ll fill in the rest with what it means for us.”

Spike sat back, not at all satisfied with that explanation.

Shining chuckled a little as he glanced over to the little boy. “How’s your eye?”

“Stings,” Spike replied.

“Just wait until Dad sees it,” Shining mumbled.

“Or worse, mom. She’s going to freak. Luckily I didn’t get any blood on my uniform.”

Shining frowned as he pulled the car into the driveway, shifting the gear into park. He turned to look at the little boy as he slipped his belt off.

“Do you think she’d care about your uniform? You seriously got hurt today bud. I don’t thi—”

“I didn’t get hurt that bad. Besides it’s not like these uniforms are cheap.”

“Yeah, I know Spike. I had to get like eight new ones every three months or so. It’s not about the money though—”

“Can we just go inside? I got some homework to do.”

Spike grabbed for the handle but Shining immediately hit the lock button.

“No, you can’t go. Not until you tell me what’s up. The rents piss you off today or something?”

“Rents?” Spike questioned, looking out the window up at the house.

“You know? The Rents, our pair-rents.” Shining sounded it out, his hand gesturing at the open air. “Now, what’s up?”

“Or something. Can I go now?”

“What?”

“You said, and I quote,” Spike turned to look at the older boy, a scowl marring his small face. “The rent’s piss you off or something? My answer is, or something.”

Shining reached out an arm and grabbed Spike’s tiny wrist. “What’s up with you? You were fine a moment ago and now that we’re home your all pissy. Are you pmsing or something?”

The younger boy tried to jerk his arm away from his brother, the action causing the older boy to glare at him and increase the force of the hold on his arm. “Let me go, Shining.”

There was a tone in his voice that caused Shining Armor to do just that. He pulled back, seeing a mark of anger in the little boy’s green eyes. “I’ll ask once more, and that’s it, will you tell me what happened?”

Spike just glared at him. “I tell you, you unlock the door?”

“Promise.”

“Today was either the best, or the worst day of my life, I don’t know which one.”

“Spike, wha—”

“You promised, unlock the door.”

Shining considered not, of pressing the issue, but he had promised, he even if the bombshell wasn’t what he had been expecting. He knew why it might be his little bro’s best day, but worst? Yeah, what he saw of the bullies were bad, but that meant it must have been constant, throughout the whole day.

“You going to unlock the door?”

Shining moved his finger and unlocked the door.

Spike just looked at him. “Thank you.”

“Spike,” Shining said as he watched Spike open the door. The green-haired boy looked back. “In there, you’re on you own today. I gotta get to my date with Cadance. Unless, you need me?”

Spike’s heart dropped a little, he really did need Shining, but… “No, it’s okay. Thank you for being upfront with me, and for, you know, saving me.”

“Y-you sure?” Shining asked. “I can call her an—”

“No, you helped me with my girl, I wouldn’t want to take you from yours.”

“Good man,” Shining said proudly, “Although it’s not a mark of a man to never ask for help, it’s the mark of one to know when he does need help.”

“Understood, but after the day I had, I’m pretty sure I can handle whatever they dish out.”

Shining smiled as Spike got out of the car and shut the door. His every instinct told him to call Cadance and tell her that his little bro needed him, that Spike had no clue what he was about to walk into, but he knew Spike would find that as a personal attack, as Shining saying that he couldn’t handle it. So, with a sigh, he started the car and backed out of the drive way.

“Good luck, little bro. You’re going to need it.”

***

The front door to the Sparkle family house closed loudly, the sound echoing throughout alerting the two parents that one of their children had arrived.

Night Light set down his paperwork and made his way out of his office to see his youngest son dropping his bag in the doorway.

“Hey there kiddo, did you have a good day?” The older man smiled, making his way over to the boy to pat him on the shoulder.

Spike immediately shrugged off the hand and backed up a step, glaring up at his foster father.

“No, I didn’t. You know I didn’t, so why are you asking me that?”

“I just heard what your mother told me, but you do have a bit of a little something right here.” Night said, his hand coming up to point at his left eye.

“Haha.” Spike rolled his eyes trying to shove past the older man but Night was quicker than him.

Without a moment's hesitation the young boy was swept off his feet and held in the air above the older man.

“Let me go, let me go!” Spike wiggled his entire body trying to get out of the hold but Night Light was stronger then him.

“Not until you tell me why you’re all frowny faced.” Night was smiling even if his wife was mad at the young boy for getting in trouble on the first day, he couldn’t be happier for the boy.

This was the first time since Spike had become a part of the Sparkle family that the young boy had been part of some drama. Shining was always in some sort of trouble where either Velvet or himself had to go get him out of. Twilight, well while she was never in trouble, she always had kind of activity that required the two’s attention.

Spike stopped struggling. He glared down at his dad. Fuming.

“Spike!” A feminine voice shouted from the end of the hall at the sight of her son with a black eye in his dad’s hands.

“Uh oh, busted.” Night mumbled, lowering the boy so he was on his hip and no longer in the air.

Twilight Velvet came marching down the hall, her eyes lit with fury as she came to a stop in front of the two.

“Just look at your uniform! How could you get in trouble on the first day of school! I thought we raised you better than that.” She waved a hand, gesturing to the ruffled mess that an untucked shirt and slightly messed up bow.

Told you Shining Armor. First thing she brought up was my uniform.

“Give him a break honey, he was just—” Night said, but was immediately interrupted.

“I don’t want to hear it from you Night Light Sparkle. Spike, do you know how mad we are with you? You couldn’t make it the first day without causing some sort of trouble? What’s next? Quitting all together? Maybe we can get you into some sort of military school before the end of the week. Would that make you happy?”

Oh, now you’re concerned with my happiness? Gee mom, glad to know I mean something to you.

“Darling, please. Let the bo—”

“Don’t darling me! We raised him better than this! Everything we’ve done for him and he gets into a fight on his first day at a new school! i won’t even get into the call I got from Celestia asking if he was happy, of course he’s happy!”

Spike started fuming at that. But before he could say anything, Velvet went back into the kitchen and came back with a bag of frozen peas. “Keep this on your eye and go clean up. I want an explanation for why you felt the need to pick a fight on your first day, young man!”

Spike opened his mouth to say what he wanted to say, but a tap to his head caused him to look into his foster father's calm yellow eyes.

“Let’s get you cleaned up and then we’ll all have a nice, calm talk in the kitchen. Okay champ?”

The young boy nodded slowly, his left hand holding the bag of peas tightly as he pressed it to his eye.

Night Light set the boy down slowly, steadying him on his feet before standing back up to his full height.

“Alright, you go get changed and come knock on my door when you’re ready to talk,” The older man said as he walked back to his office, pausing in the doorway he looked back. “And Spike?”

“Yes sir?”

“No matter what, I still love you bud.”

“You too dad.”

Night Light noded and disappeared into the room.

Velvet was patiently waiting at the bottom of the stairs which disturbed the young boy. He hadn’t been watching her so he assumed she was waiting for him to go upstairs so she could talk to her husband.

Spike quickly made his way past her and up the stairs, pausing at the top to look back but she was already gone. Shrugging the boy made his way to his room, pausing in front of Twilight’s door.

Hesitantly he placed his hand on the doorknob to her room, his hand twisting to turn the handle but he didn’t push the door open.

What am I doing? Twilight isn’t even here. There’s no point in going in there. Not that I’d want to talk to her anyways. She’d probably just lecture me again.

“Spike, why’d you go and do that for. You could have been hurt. Spike, do you know how worried we all were. Oh poor Spike.” The young boy raised the pitch of his voice to imitate his older sister’s voice.

With a roll of his eyes he let go of the handle and made the rest of the way to his own door.

“Whatever.” He mumbled pushing into his own room and slamming the door shut behind himself.

Inside he stripped off his clothes, not knowing or caring what condition they came off, or the fact that he heard a few buttons pop off his shirt as his rough treatment of the fabric. The shirt came off first, followed by the shoes, socks, and shorts. He tossed all the items across the room and went for his personal clothes in the wardrobe.

Spike quickly tossed on a pair of black pants and a purple shirt. Throwing on some more comfortable socks, he went across the hall to the bathroom to wash his face and assess the damage.

Turning the light on and he splashed some water on his face, the pain of his shiner immediately coming back as he realized he left the peas in his room.

The young boy raised his head and looked up at his own reflection in the mirror.

Kshh! The sound of shattering glass echoed down the stairs.

The mask Discarded

View Online

Night Light shot to his feet at the sound of shattering glass. He spun his chair out of the way and took off for the stairs. A quick glance to the kitchen told him that his wife, Twilight Velvet, had not heard it. The kind woman was knee-deep into their dinner, and no doubt, had been distracted by several alarms and buzzers going off.

He had heard it though, no father could ever mistake what that sound was. He took the stairs two at a time, not enough to alert his wife that something had happened, but enough to get there before anything major happened.

The bathroom door was open.

He quickly struck his head in and paused at the sight that greeted him. His adopted son was standing at the sink, staring at his left hand in fascination. Night Light could put the pieces together, Spike had punched the mirror, hard. There were small shards of glass embedded in the boy’s fist. He knew they must have hurt, but whatever had caused Spike to do it in the first place must have dulled his nerves. The young boy seemed more curious than anything else.

The bathroom mirror had a spiderweb of cracks running from where Spike’s fist had collided with the glass. The area of impact missing the shards imbedded in the young boy’s knuckles, some pieces of which were lying in the sink.

“Feel better?”

Spike looked up at him, as if noticing he was there for the first time. There was a small trail of blood running down his left hand.

“Didn’t think so,” Night Light said as he walked in, picked up the boy, and placed him on the toilet lid. “You’re lucky your mother didn’t hear that. She’d be freaking out right now.”

“She’s not my... mom,” Spike replied solemnly, holding his left hand in his right, letting it bleed out.

“Yeah, you’re right about that. Truth is we have no idea who your mom is, or where she is,” Night Light said as he turned on the faucet and wet a washcloth.

“Not like it matters much. She didn’t want me anyways.”

“Spike, we don’t know why she—”

“Doesn’t matter. She didn’t, my dad too. Neither of them wanted anything to do with me.”

“Spike, son. I’m sure they loved you very much. They just couldn’t give you the—”

“The home I deserved? Didn’t Principal Celestia say the same thing when she talked to Velvet?”

Night Light got quiet, hurt eyes locked onto the small hand he was doctoring.

“Well, didn’t she?” The young boy made to pull his hand away but it was held fast in the stronger hold of his father.

“Yes,” Night said as he grasped the boy's hand tighter and started to clean it off with a towel.

“People seem concerned about what I ‘deserve’ but no one seems to care what I want,” Spike mumbled, then cringed as his father grabbed a pair of tweezers and pulled out the first shard of glass.

“You wanted to punch the mirror?” Night asked, holding up the small shard. If you were any stronger kid, you’d probably need stitches.

“Not the mirror,” Spike said, hissing as another shard was pulled out of his hand.

“The face looking back at you?”

When he didn’t say anything, Night Light sighed in understanding. He kept his mouth shut and washed the boy’s hand again with the rag. “You got lucky, few cuts, and it’s going to hurt for a while, but you didn’t break anything.”

“Lucky me. Wouldn’t want you to have to waste a trip to the hospital on little old me,” Spike mumbled as he rolled his eyes.

“Yes, lucky you. Not because of the expenses like your thinking though, son. It’s because we care about you.”

Obviously.”

“Spike, when have we ever given you cause to think otherwise?”

The little boy glared at him, tears in his eyes. That one look, that look of pain, of heartache, it hurt Night Light worse than a punch to the gut. Without even thinking, Night Light let Spike’s hand go. His jaw dropped as his own eyes watered.

“Can I go to my room… at least until dinner?” Spike asked.

“In a moment,” Night said, clenching his jaw. The ache in his heart dulling as he put his son’s feelings first. He pulled out a box of Band Aids and started to work on the hand itself. “Spike, I—”

“Just don’t, please.”

The tears that fell from those little green eyes broke his heart. He shut up and concentrated only on the hand, only on the physical pain his little boy was in. The emotional? He didn’t have a clue what to do about that; he had never seen such hurt in his life.

“Okay, I’ll take care of what happened during dinner. If anyone asks about the cuts, just say…”

“Say?”

“You got into a fight with a cat.”

Spike nodded and looked over his hand. It was started to redden and felt stiff, sore; but, oddly, beyond that, it didn’t hurt. “Sorry, about the mirror I mean.”

Night looked up, almost as if he had forgotten about it. “Oh, yeah, huh?” He thought for a moment before shooing Spike out of the room, He grabbed the top of the mirror, and yanked it down, letting the shards shatter in the sink. “Dammit! Honey, I broke the mirror!”

“Why’d you do that‽” Twilight Velvet shouted as she started to make her way up the stairs.

“It told me you looked fat!” Night Light said as she entered the room. “Didn’t want you to hear. Don’t worry, we’ve needed a new mirror on the wall for awhile”

Velvet raised an eyebrow at him, her lips dipping into a frown. “Is that so?”

“Yeah, look!” Night turned back to the sink and looked at his reflections in the shards. “Mirror mirror on the… er… in the sink! Who’s the fairest of them all?”

A moment of silence caused Velvet to open her mouth but before she could say anything she could hear a high pitched mumbled voice.

“Not Twilight Velvet, she’s definitely gained so—”

Velvet swatted him upside the back of the head.

“Ow!” Night Light yelped, rubbing the back of his head, puppy-dog eyeing his wife.

“What’d you really do, dummy?”

“Tripped, hit the mirror, and pulled it off the wall.”

“You’re fixing it tomorrow.”

“Yes dear,” Night Light said, planting a kiss on her cheek.

“You’re lucky I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Spike heard Velvet go down the stairs from inside his room. Part of him couldn’t believe that Night Light did that, another part of him couldn’t believe it worked. He laid down in bed, his hand felt… numb, but no worse than his whole body felt.

He wanted to cry, he wanted to lash out, to strike something else, to break something, anything else. He wanted to be someone else, he wanted to not be him; to not be Spike Sparkle, to not be a Sparkle. He wanted Celestia, he wanted Shining, he wanted Twily, he wanted… he wanted Sweetie. But at the same time he just wanted to be alone.

The tears fell again. The little boy rolled to his side and curled his knees to his chest as he cried.

“I’m nothing more than a decoration around here,” he sobbed to himself. “They tell me what to think, what to wear, where to be, what to feel… not even… I…”

A knock on the door alerted him that someone was on the other side. Spike ran his right hand over his face. Disgusted with just how many tears he wiped off, but he knew they were just a drop in the bucket compared to all the tears he had shed that day.

“Dinner’s ready,” Night Light said as he opened the door and allowed a small amount of light into the otherwise dark room.

“T-thanks,” Spike mumbled, wiping his hand on his pants.

“You know, your moth—Velvet is going to want to talk, about everything.”

“Yeah, I know,” Spike said as he got to his feet.

“You ready for that?”

“What do you think?”

“Yeah, I don’t think anyone could be. I remember the day Shining got into his first fight.”

“There’s a difference,” Spike said as he walked past him.

“Yeah, what's that?”

“He won.”

Night Light paused at that. He watched the little boy walk down the hallway and then the stairs. Sighing, he walked after him. Momentarily surprised at Spike’s speed at getting to the dinner table.

Night Light took his seat at the end, Spike in the center, and they both waited, silently. Several times he tried to say something, to think of something to say. But there was nothing, jokes wouldn’t alleviate this situation, in truth he didn’t even know what the situation was.

He just knew the obvious.

It was bad.

“Dinner is ready,” Velvet said from the kitchen.

And about to get worse.

Spike glanced out of the corner of his eye as he watched the older woman bring in several pots full of food. He refused to look at her directly, choosing instead to settle for glances as to not draw attention to his black eye.

Sadly, by not drawing attention to it, he couldn’t have drawn more attention to it.

Velvet looked down shamefully at her son. “And you mister have a story to tell us, why don’t you start off by giving us your low for the day.”

“Honey, is high-low really a good idea?” Night Light asked, trying to defuse this bomb before it went off.

The timer just sped up.

“Not now, Night, you’re still in trouble for the mirror. Spike, low, now.”

“My whole day,” he mumbled. “Or life depending on how far back you want to go.”

“What was that?”

“Nothing,” Spike said, a little louder.

“Low, now, go.”

Spike sighed, loudly. He considered his options, what to tell her. But when he looked up and saw a look of absolute distain on his foster mom’s face, his mind was made up. With a glare, he started in, “Well, that’s tied: It was either getting the gift Rarity gave me stolen, getting my head stuck in the toilet and flushed, three times, or getting my ass kicked.”

Velvet dropped her spoon, she’d never find it again. “Come again?”

“Oh, or it’s when the same bullies pushed me off my chair in the middle of class. Or when I was forced to team up with Scootaloo because she almost cut her teammate’s finger off with a jigsaw. Or when I broke down in tears, sobbing on the bathroom floor in the middle of the boy’s locker room stalls. Or when an entire classroom made fun of me for being an overachiever and the teachers did nothing to help out. Or because I’m goody two-shoes Twilight Sparkle’s younger brother. Or when I got the black eye.”

Night Light sat back in his chair, he did his best to stay composed.

“Or when I got sent to the principal's offices on some trumped up charge about my dumb stupid uniform you just love me in because I didn’t tuck in my shirt and ended up crying in Celestia’s arms, wishing for the first time in my life that she’d rescue me again!”

“Spike, y—”

“Oh, I’m not done yet!” Spike shouted. The faucet in his mind had broke, he was shaking, the words coming like they had a mind of their own, like they demanded to be told and he couldn’t hold them back if he wanted to. “I still gotta do my highs! Let’s see, my friends Scootaloo, Applebloom, and Sweetie Belle all greeted me, preventing me from running away from school before it even started. I guess in hindsight that’s a low, huh? Sweetie kissed me on the side of the cheek. Apple Bloom saved me from getting my ass kicked after second period. I appsentmindedly kissed Sweeite soon after.”

“Son?”

“Not done yet, don’t interrupt, Night Light, that’s just rude. Hmm… what happened next. Oh, during lunch Sweetie overheard me say I don’t like her. I ended up chasing her down and we became boyfriend and girlfriend. During gym, after I had my head ducked into the toilet, she hugged me, I grabbed her ass, and then she saw me hard. After school I walked out to find the same three bullies that made my life a living hell were picking on her, I ran to her aid only to get a nasty bruise on my side and a black eye for my trouble. Then, when I finally get home, I get shit from you!”

There was a pregnant, potent pause. It was as if the house would only stay standing if no one said a word, if no sound was made.

“How ungrateful are you?”

Night Light looked over, shocked at his wife’s words.

“You know how much money we’re spending to send you to that school? And you’re what? Going to run away from it? All because you don’t like your uniform?”

“That’s n—” Spike shook his head as he was interrupted. His mouth working to process what his foster mother was saying.

Did she even listen to a word I said?

“Oh no, I let you speak, now you’re going to listen me.” Twilight Velvet said as she leaned over the table to stare right into the young boy’s eyes.

“Honey, I—” Night’s sentence was cut off by a scowling look from his wife.

“We took you in, we gave you a roof over your head, a family, love. We’ve tried to make sure you had every advantage we could afford to give you. And this? This is what you come home with? Twilight works every day, worries over you every single day, trying to make sure that you’re as prepared as you can be. I slave to make sure that you’re well fed, that you’re cared for, that you have everything you need, and this? This is what you give us? You get into fights, you don’t even give school a chance, all so you can flirt with some flusy?”

“Don’t talk about Sweetie that way!” Spike yelled, yelled at her. Each word she had said hit the young boy like a barrage of bullets to his chest, and he couldn’t listen to anymore.

“You’re forbidden to see her again, any of them.”

“You can’t do that!”

“You live in this home, you—”

“This isn’t my home!” Spike yelled with tears in his eyes. “It never was! None of you ever gave a damn what I wanted, how I felt! You’ve only ever told me what I should feel! I’m nothing more than a decoration! You may have given me a roof over my head, but you never gave me a home.”

“Spike?”

All eyes turned to the teenage girl with lavender eyes standing in the dining room doorway, a hurt expression on her face as she locked eyes with her younger brother. With the yelling and tension in the house, no one had even heard Twilight walk in the door.

Spike gasped as he saw Twilight starting to cry. But he couldn’t bring himself to feel for her right now, he couldn’t feel anything but rage and hatred. “I wish you had never taken me in!” At that, he ran from the table, pushed her aside and shot up the stairs, as fast as his legs could take him.

***

Pacing. Angry pacing.

That’s all the young boy could do at the moment. He was furiously angry, something that both excited and scared him at the same time.

He had never felt this way before, usually he felt nothing. Things just happened and he went with it. Much like how he ended up in the house he lived in now.

For young Spike Sparkle, it wasn’t a home. It was simply somewhere he went to sleep at night. He felt so alone, something he never imagined he would feel again since Twilight brought him here.

So here he was. Walking back and forth, from door to window and back again. His clenched fists and burning fury causing his body to shake as he mumbled to himself.

“I hate it here! I can’t stand these people, this house, these… these things!” Spike yelled as he picked up his desk lamp and threw it across the room. The bulb busted instantly, raining glass onto the carpeted floor. The silver lamp itself broke into two pieces as it rolled on the floor.

The young boy immediately went to his closet, forcibly opening the shutter doors causing them to rattle violently. Had he been stronger, he would have ripped them off their hinges.

His eyes darted over all the objects that he had accumulated in the past years living in the Sparkle house. Books, lots and lots of books, all of them, gifts from his sister.

“What’s the point of buying me all this shit if it’s just worthless to me.” The young boy mocked his foster mother before reaching down and grabbing as many books as he could.

One by one he launched them across the room, kicking some, throwing some. As the pile got smaller he began ripping at pages, throwing them into the air and letting them fall where they may.

After the last book in that pile fell he turned to get more, repeating the process until every single book he owned was now in a damaged condition, sprawled across the room. He was surrounded by ripped and torn pages.

Rage pulsed through his veins as he looked for something, anything else to destroy. It, the action, it made him feel hollow, like he had something missing, something he desperately needed, but it beat the pain of doing nothing, of crying into his pillow. That pain was so much worse, and he was tired of crying. He had cried more today than he remembered in his whole life.

Spike moved to his uniform, he picked up the collar of the the shirt in hand, the stupid bow that was attached to the penguin shirt, he held the helm of the shirt down with his foot and pulled, letting all his rage, his anger, give him strength.

The ripping sound was like music in his ears.

By the time Spike could come to terms with what he had just done, it was too late. His chest was heaving, breath coming out in harsh pants that hurt with each inhale. His eyes were bloodshot, and he could feel more than a few new small cuts on his hands.

He dropped the fabric, his eyes locked onto his small hands as he backed up, running into his bedside table.

He knocked the table over, his backpack spilling it’s contents, dumping them out onto the floor. He spun around, anger anew, about to start in on the last books in the room.

How did this get in—

His eyes fell upon a little purple dragon. One that stared up at him.

That gave him pause, that made him think of Sweetie, the sweet little girl that, against all ryhm and reason, liked him.

Spike fell to his knees, tears falling all over again. He laid down in the mess of papers, books, and broken furniture.

The small, eleven year old, green haired boy, did the only thing he could do.

He cried.

What felt like hours to the young boy was really only half an hour. His tears had long since dried but the pain in his heart still ached.

He had picked up the small doll at some point during his… moment. His small hands cuddling the doll close to his heart.

Slowly, with the help of the turned over side table, he got to his feet. His eyes searching around the room before pausing on the slightly open drawer on the table.

Curling his the fingers of his left hand around the leg of the table he stood it back upright. His hand moving to adjust the drawer back into the correct position. Pulling it out of it’s cubby slightly his eyes zeroed in on a black frame.

The green and purple dragon doll fell slowly from his hand as he swiftly reached for the picture, pulling it up to eye level to look at it thoroughly.

Tears started to form again running down his cheeks, clenched teeth muting the sound of broken words.

Before he knew it he had launched the frame from his hands.

It collided violently with the wall next to his bed, the sound of cracking glass causing him to freeze. It landed softly on his blankets, the back of the frame facing up.

Quickly scurrying over to the bed, his hands reached for the frame, pulling it up to his face to inspect it closely. His eyes raked over the cracked glass, his mouth dipping into a frown as he sat on the bed, staring into the picture.

“I… Why did I do that?” Spike bit his lip, holding the frame close to his heart. “It may be just a stupid picture, but it’s still one I treasure. It’s not worthless. I do care. Even if they think I don’t. It’s them that doesn’t care about me.”

The young boy stood up and placed the frame delicately on top of the side table. He traced his fingers across the cracked face once more before turning back to look at disaster he made.

Spike wasn’t sure if the settling of his stomach was because of pride or fear but he was ready to show them how right they were about him.

“If they thought I didn’t care before I can’t wait for them to see this.” The young boy grinned maliciously, his hands reaching for more objects to destroy in his bout of rage. The picture and gift may have given him pause, but the fury he was feeling was unstoppable. The Sparkles would know how Spike felt before they could say What have we done?

A Sister's Love

View Online

Knock knock.

The hollow noise of a soft rap of knuckles on a hardwood door echoed around the room.

Slowly and silently the door was opened, the semi-dark room only graced by the filtered light of the full moon through the window across from the one entering.

Scattered across the floor were belongings of the room’s occupant. Toys, books, and clothing were all thrown across without care. Each settled in haphazard ways that would make it impossible for one to pass through the room without watching where they were walking.

“Spike?” A soft voice called out with worry, the owner shifted her lavender eyes to glance around and locate the one she called out to.

“What?” A gruff voice answered from the bed, a lump of covers hid the one who spoke.

“Are you alright? I heard what happened at school today. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t the—”

“Shut up, Twilight!” The lump moved, violently throwing off the covers and revealing the small green-haired boy to the older girl. “Who cares if you weren’t there. You heard what happened, how poor little Spike-Wiky had to have his brother come to his rescue against the big bad bullies.”

“Spike I—” Twilight said softly, her voice holding a note of pain as she made to walk towards the boy, her hand extended out in a sign of helplessness.

“Enough! Just go! Can’t you see I want to be alone?” Spike yelled, his voice hoarse from all the crying that was apparent on his face.

“No I—”

The young boy got up, kicking stuff out of his way as he stomped towards the older girl, the rage on his face causing her to back up a step.

“I said go!” Spike lifted his hands to grab onto Twilight’s night shirt, tangling his fingers into the fabric right above her navel and giving it a violent push. This caused her to trip over herself, her feet losing traction from the unexpected force, and into the hallway they went. She fell backwards, her hands reaching forward to wrap around the small boy, pulling him with her.

Twilight held Spike to her chest as he screamed and fought against her, his small hands pushing against her but failing to get even an inch away from her chest.

Tears began falling down both siblings faces, sliding down their cheeks and soaking either into the carpet or Twilight’s own night shirt in Spike’s case.

Next to them on the floor laid a small grey pony with stringy black hair and patches on its front hooves. Twilight stared at it hard, her arms squeezing the small boy tighter to her as small gasping whimpers left her mouth. Her eyes clenched shut as she could feel the hurt and pain the small boy was releasing in his wails.

Spike’s own eyes locked onto the small doll, his arms reaching towards it and before Twilight could stop him or even realize what he was going to do, he wrapped his small fingers of his right hand around the torso of Smarty Pants and with his right ripped her head clear off her body. The stuff raining down on the pair like snow on hearth’s warming eve morning.

A scream tore through Twilight’s throat as she fought against the boy as his hands continued to rip the doll apart.

“Stop it! Stop it!” The older girl released the boy as she yelled, her hands grabbing for all the pieces of the once whole Smarty Pants.

The small boy just continued to fight against her, throwing pieces of the doll down the hallway, tossing up handfuls of stuffing and even pulling off the button eyes with his teeth.

“Please.” Twilight couldn’t fight anymore as she sat up, her hands came up to cover her face as she sobbed.

“I told you to leave me alone. You should of listened to me Twilight Sparkle.” Spike quickly got up, throwing the remains of the now stuffless pony on the ground before turning around, walking into his room and slammed the door.

A painful sob left the older girl’s mouth, her chest heaved as tears poured down her face. Her night clothes were ruffled and ripped in places, but they were nothing compared to the tearing she felt in her heart.

Twilight shifted her slender fingers to glance down at the complete destruction of her favorite childhood memory.

Why Spike. Why would you do this? Smarty, she… she was ours. I knew you were in pain, but why‽

With shaky hands she reached down to gather up as much of Smarty Pants as she could, her eyes searching for more as her head turned to the side.

A few feet away laid a small lump, threads hanging limply where button eyes once laid.

Twilight slowly stood up on shaky legs, her long slender fingers clenching the remains in tight fists. She walked slowly over to Smarty’s head, her right hand reaching over to her left to transfer the stuffing and fabric all to one hand. Slowly she bent down and picked up the head, standing back up to her full height as she hugged it close to her chest above her heart.

“I’m so sorry…” she whispered, silent tears dripping off her chin.

Slowly she made her way back to her own room, her arms dropping the remains onto her paper cluttered desk but her right hand still clutched Smarty’s head to her heart. Her feet then unconsciously took her to her bed where she laid down on her back, her eyes staring up at her ceiling as sobs once again broke out, echoing into the otherwise silent dark room.

***

What felt like days later was really only hours for the young teenager. Her eyes had long since run out of tears and her body felt weaker than it had ever felt before.

Her hair was a tangled mess and her clothes were ruined even beyond her best friend Rarity’s repair, but none of that matter to her. What matter was her broken heart and her L.B.B.F.F.

What am I going to do? I didn’t even get a chance to talk to him, and now… What if he never wants to talk to me again...? Don’t be foolish, Twilight, he’s your little brother. But did you hear what he called me? He has never called me by my full name before, not even when we first became friends! Oh Spike, I’m just so sorry. I should have been there for you.

Twilight sat up quickly, her right hand finally releasing the head of her favorite prized possession and laying it delicately by her pillow. Her expression changing from one of hopelessness to one of tired determination.

I should've… I should've been there for you. She paused in her thoughts as a realization overtook her. I should be there for you now. I will be there for you now

Twilight swung her legs over the side of her bed and stood up, her hands coming up to wipe long fingers under sore, irritated eyes.

“I wasn’t there then, but I’m here now,” she whispered as she walked out of her room, closed the door behind her, and made her way down the hall.

The older girl stopped in front of a hardwood brown door, her right hand wrapped around the bright gold doorknob as her left hand and forehead laid flat against the door.

Whatever happens I need to be here for him. No matter what. I made a promise to him that I’d always be here for him. It’s time to keep good on that promise.

With a deep breath she turned her wrist, the doorknob twisted and the door opened.

The room was still just as dark as before, the moonlight only giving a haze of illumination.

Objects still scattered around the room, more so than before.

Well it looks like you were busy while I was gone. Twilight thought raising an eyebrow and biting her lip, her eyes scanning over a turned over wardrobe and a broken alarm clock.

Silently she padded into the room, her hands closing the door softly. Turning away from the door she searched for the one person who she needed to comfort at the moment, and she was a bit disappointed when she found him.

Sprawled across the middle of the floor in a pile of shredded books laid Spike Sparkle, deeply asleep.

A small pool of drool was leaving his mouth, seeping into Starswirl’s Book of Iconic Experiments. The small boys hands still clenched torn pages, his clothes disheveled and his hair a wild mess.

Twilight couldn’t help but smile, even with the total chaos around her.

Even angry, he is the most adorable little boy I could ever have the honor of calling my little brother.

She quietly made her way through the war zone, her path pausing as she saw a small purple dragon stuffed animal amongst the destruction. It was completely unharmed, much to her surprise.

With a sigh, she quickly picked it up and resumed her path, reaching her destination in a matter of seconds. She stood quietly above the boy, her eyes searching along his body as the moonlight illuminated him.

His shirt was slightly lifted revealing large purple-blackish bruises, his face laying on his uninjured side to reveal a real shiner to anyone who looked down at him. His lips held small cuts to them, the after effects of being beaten to a pulp.

Twilight could feel her eyes tear up again, the small orbs dripping down her cheeks and off her chin. She squeezed the small dragon in her left hand, her right hand coming up to cover her mouth as she shook her head in non-belief.

Tomorrow we are having a serious talk, mister. Whether you like it or not.

The older girl nodded to herself, her hand set the small doll down on Spike’s still standing bedside table. Her eyes locking onto a broken picture frame that had obviously been thrown but set back on the flattop.

In the black frame set a picture of a younger Twilight and Spike. They were smiling brightly at the camera wearing matching Camp Science bright green t-shirts. The cracked glass distorted the young Twilight’s face.

That was almost four years ago... We’ve taken more pictures since then. Why is this one framed? And why haven’t I noticed it before? Have I just not been that observant?

Twilight shifted her eyes to look back down at her baby brother.

The small boy breathed quietly, his chest rising and falling slowly. The effects of a deep sleep caused by exhaustion.

The older girl bit her lip once again, her hands clenching at her sides.

Spike moaned in his sleep, rolled over onto his back and stretched his arms out before settling once more.

Twilight couldn’t help but softly chuckle, her body releasing its tension at the sound.

“Oh Spike, what am I going to do with you?” She whispered before bending down and sliding her arms underneath him. She slowly lifted him, placing his head on her shoulder as she wrapped her left arm under his legs and her right hand pushed his back against her. She stood up, her body adjusting to the additional weight of the boy on her hip.

Spike sighed softly, his own hands reaching up to wrap around the older girl’s neck unconsciously. He mumbled incomprehensible words before nuzzling his head into her neck.

Twilight turned around and made her way to his unmade bed, her right hand reaching out to move the covers out of the way before she laid him down. Quickly she tucked him in, her lips pressing a soft but firm kiss to his forehead.

“I love you L.B.B.F.F, have sweet dreams. I’ll be here for you in the morning when you wake up,” she whispered with a smile as she turned to leave, only to be stopped by small fingers wrapped around her wrist.

Twilight turned around, her brow dipping curiously as she frown.

Staring up at her with bright green eyes was the face of a sad, scared little boy. The face she thought was long gone, that only the memory of it reminded her that it did exist.

“Twilight?” Spike whispered, his small hand increasing the pressure on her wrist.

“Yes Spike?” She whispered in return, turning back to face him. His free hand patted the bed next to him, his body shifting towards the wall to give her more room. She gave pause before smiling sadly and shaking her head.

“Spike I—”

“Please Twily? I-I know what I did was horrible, but please. I-I need you.”

Twilight could feel her throat tighten as the small boy began to sob. Her own tears beginning to form.

Without another word, she gingerly sat down next to him, her free hand reaching up to tangle her long fingers through tangled green hair.

“Did I wake you up?” She asked softly as she gently wiggled her wrist out of his hand, only to intertwine their fingers in a loose hold.

“I don’t want you to go.”

“I thought you were angry with me, you asked me to go.”

“I don’t want you to go.”

“Spike I—”

“I don’t want you to go.” Spike’s voice became more urgent, his hand squeezing hers tighter, causing her other hand to pause in its movement. The fingers just resting on his head, tangled between locks of hair.

“Shhh, I’m not going anywhere. Alright? It’s time to go to sleep now though, okay?” She whispered, her hand resuming it’s soothing strokes.

“P-promise” Spike yawned, quickly shaking his head to wake himself up before locking eyes with his sister.

“I promise, Spikey,” Twilight said confidently, her hands removed themselves from him as she stood up. “Now let’s get you tucked back in okay, tough guy?”

Spike frowned and shook his head. “I’m not tough at all.”

The older girl sighed, her hands resting on either side of the young boy’s body.

“Spike, you don’t have to beat people up to be tough. Those guys, they beat you up, it’s because they think they’re better than you. But the truth is they are just hiding that they’re scared of you.”

“Scared of me? Leave the jokes to Pinkie Pie, Twily, because if that’s them showing fear I don’t want to know what acting tough is.”

Twilight shook her head and sighed. “Spike, I love you more than anything in this world but sometimes you can be so dense.”

Spike blinked, his mouth working to respond before he just clamped it shut as his sister continued.

“Fear is to be scared of what is unknown. But strength is to know what you’re fighting for and knowing how to fight for it. Those punks couldn’t last two seconds head to head to you in academics and they know it.”

“Words can’t solve everything Twilight.”

“And who told you that—.” Twilight raised a hand. “Don’t answer that, it was Scootaloo or Applebloom wasn’t it? Doesn’t matter, point is is they were raised to believe that fighting solves everything. Which is fine, for them. But Spike, you’re not a fighter, you love knowledge, and with that you can beat anyone at your own game. Not theirs. Don’t waste your time with ignorant people, Spike.”

“Are you telling me not to be friends with—”

“That is not what I am saying and you know it. Applejack is one of my closest friends and Rainbow Dash… She may be a little brash, but even she knows when to fight and when to—” Twilight paused for a moment before shaking her head. A recent memory of her sport’s loving friend threatening to cloud her mind. She forced herself to shake that off, now was about Spike, not her own feelings. “The point is, do what’s best for you, Spike. That’s all I ever wanted for you. But fighting like this, getting hurt like this is not the way to go about it.”

“But you weren’t there Twi! You don’t—”

“You’re right, I wasn’t there, and I’m so sorry for that. But I am proud of you for dealing with it the way you did. Standing up for your friends is important. Just don’t feed into their hazing, that’s what I meant. Sorry, I’m not all together at the moment.”

“Twilight… I—”

Twilight smiled sadly, shaking her head and once again raising her hand.

“It’s okay, Spike. I’m not angry.”

“But—”

“Shhh… I’m not angry.”

The older girl patted the young boy’s chest, her eyes locked onto his.

“It’s time for bed Spike, we can talk more in the morning. I promise.”

The room was quiet for a moment before tears broke down Spike’s face again, his hand moving faster than Twilight could process.

She immediately found herself face down into the bed, her body hanging over the side awkwardly as a sobbing boy pinned her down.

“Spi-Spike, wa-wait.”

“Please don’t go. Please”

“Spike, I can’t—”

“Please!”

“Alright! Just let me go for a second!”

Spike immediately let Twilight go causing her to slide off the bed and onto the floor. A tiny head peeked over the side of the bed, green eyes locking with lavender in the silent room.

Joyful laughter broke out from both of them, the older girl jumping up and tackling the younger boy back into the bed. Her long fingers tickling his side causing him to shake and laugh harder.

“Had enough yet? You’re going to wake up everyone in the house!” Twilight said laughing before mumbling, “If we haven’t already.”

Luckily Shining Armor hadn’t returned that night from Cadance’s and the Sparkle parents’ room was downstairs, away from the children.

“O-okay! P-please! I give up, I-I’m sorry!” Spike could feel tears sliding down his cheeks once more, this time a huge smile matching instead of a scowl or frown.

“Alright,” the older girl said pausing her hands from their tickle attack. “We really need to go to sleep, so move over.”

The young green-haired boy nodded, his body shifting over to let his older sister slide under the blanket with him.

Finally comfortable Twilight sighed, her eyes once again locked on to the ceiling, this time in her little brother’s room.

“Twilight?”

“Hm?”

“Thanks for coming back for me…”

“Always, you’re my L.B.B.F.F.”

“And you’re the best B.S.B.F.F I’ll ever have. I’m so sorry about Smarty, I promise I’ll fix—”

Twilight rolled over and wrapped her arms around the small boy, pulling him tightly to her chest. His own small arms wrapped around her, hugging her tightly.

“We’ll fix her together.” She whispered, placing a firm kiss on the crown of his head.

With a final nod from the young boy they both drifted off to sleep, twin soft smiles on their faces.

Confession

View Online

Spike awoke feeling rather strange. The first thing he noticed was the arm wrapped around his stomach and the warm breath upon the top of his head. The second thing was the soft body of another person pressed against his back. That feeling made him hot and embarrassed in equal measure.

The embarrassment didn’t last when he opened his eyes and took in the devastation of his room. The feeling of his adopted sister pressed against his back failed to matter when he saw his destroyed books, clothes, and valuables thrown all around.

The eleven year old tried to stifle his tears, his sobs. He tried anyway. Seeing the light shining in on all the damage he had caused. The tears fell despite his best efforts.

Twilight awoke to the sounds of crying in her arms. She blinked her eyes clear before realizing that her little brother, Spike, was crying on his eyes out. She squeezed Spike tighter against her chest, feeling the little boy sobbing at her touch.

“Shh, it’s okay, Spike.”

His sobbing increased ten-fold.

“Shh, Spike,” Twilight cooed. “It’s alright, you’re okay. I’m here.”

“No, I’m not okay!” Spike cried out. “I ruined everything, I destroyed everything, I… I…”

A choke escaped his mouth as Twilight squeezed him too tightly. “Spike, it’s okay, just let it out.”

He turned himself around in her grip and Twilight pressed his head against her chest. She felt him crying, him sobbing into her chest. Spike wrapped his arms around her and squeezed as tightly as he could.

She placed her hand on the back of his head and simply let him cry out. She felt his tears upon her shirt as he simply let it all out.

Twilight had no idea how long she held Spike like that, it could have been seconds, minutes, or hours. She simply held on to him, letting him ride out the wave of tears that fell from his eyes.

“Don’t worry, Spike. We don’t blame you for what you did, it’s okay.”

That… was the wrong thing to say.

“W-what?” Spike asked, for the first since he turned around and faced Twilight he pulled away, wiping his face with his hand.

“I said we don’t blame you for how you acted.”

“For… how… I… acted?” Spike said between wiping his face clean. He sat up on the bed, seeing his sister clearly for the first time. Seeing her torn shirt, her tense posture, puffy red blotches under her eyes from her tears, all of which was his work.

Twilight sat up as well, confused at this sudden change of attitude in her little brother.

The younger sibling sucked in a painful breath as his whole body shook with tension. His muscles locked down on his bones as for the first time he was scared of nobody but himself.

“Spike?” Twilight reached towards the small boy in an act to pull him into a hug but was denied when he stood up.

Quickly backing away from the bed, the young boy shook his hands in front of him in a display of fear.

“D-don’t. I don’t want to h-hurt you!” Spike stammered, clenching his eyes shut and shaking his head side to side at a breakneck pace.

“Hurt me?” Twilight frowned, standing up slowly.

Between their height differences she stood taller than him, something that was gradually changing over the years. It was never a problem before, but at the moment it meant all the difference in the world.

She won’t understand. She’s just like them, she’ll just wave everything off just like them. It doesn’t matter what I say, I’ll just be scolded. Batted on the back of the hand and then they’ll all go back to their business and I’ll be on my own. Just like always.

Spike’s back hit the wall and his knees shook.

“Spike,” Twilight’s soft voice graced his ears. It was just as kind and caring as it always had been. But unlike before when it calmed him, now it made him angry.

“Stop. Stop being so nice to me! Stop making up excuses for me. Stop pretending like you care!” The young boy yelled at his older sister, his eyes popping up to glare at her as he clenched his small fists.

The older girl stepped back, her hands coming up to cover her mouth as her eyes watered.

“Why Twilight? Why did you have to be nice to me? Was it fun for you? A charity case? Just something to fill your time before something else fun showed up?” Spike continued, stepping forward.

What am I doing? Why am I saying all this? I hurt her already, what am I doing‽ Stop stupid. Stop!

Twilight dropped her hands and stood up straight. A fire ignited in her tearing eyes as she clenched her teeth and stared down her younger brother.

“You want to know why I was nice to you! Because I wish someone would of done it for me! I wish someone would of wanted to be my friend so bad that they would go out of their way to just talk to me. But no one did. But you, you’re just like me. We’re the same, Spike. Yes, I had a home, parents, an older sibling, and all the stuff a little girl could want, but they were all too busy for me, Spike! But you, we were the same. We enjoyed the same things, we had fun together, We did everything together because you and I are a team, Spike. You’re my best friend in the entire world and I love you more than anything!”

Spike’s defenses failed before the storm of her words even hit. The look in her eyes froze him on the spot, his own expression dropping from anger to one of helplessness. But when she paused to take a breath he knew he wasn’t prepared for what came next as her own expression mirrored his.

“But… you’re right.”

“Twilight, I—”

“You’re right about it all. We did take you in and expect you to just be happy. To just be ecstatic that you were no longer on your own. But we were selfish.”

“No I—”

“And I’m the worst big sister ever to not have noticed. Spike, it was never a charity case when I offered my friendship to you, but it wasn’t for your benefit. It was because someone gave me a job to do and I wanted to impress her that I could do it. That there was no task Twilight Sparkle couldn’t take on and finish to the end. I didn’t even consider your feelings when we first met.”

A sob left the small boys throat as he fought off the overwhelming sensation of his heart breaking.

“I thought sharing my home with you would solve both of our problems, and in a sad horrible way it did. At least for me, and that’s the horrible part. I spent all these years just involving you so I wouldn’t seem like a bad sister, because of that I didn’t even—”

“Stop.” The young boy’s voice was broken but held a intimidating bite to it.

“Spike I—” Twilight shook her head as she spoke but was cut off when the young boy stomped up to her and pushed her.

The older girl fell back onto the bed as the small boy stood in front of her, clenched fists at his side as his expression bloomed with anger.

“I. Said. Stop.”

Twilight nodded, her hands clenching the sheets beneath her as she sat up properly.

They stared at each other quietly, tears silently making identical tracks down their faces.

Taking a deep breath, Spike slowly made his way to sit next to his older sister. He crossed his small fingers together in his lap and stared at the floor. The quiet room just building tension as the silence between them built. Still the older girl did as her brother asked and stayed quiet, something he was thankful for as he got his thoughts together.

Does she really feel that way? All this time she was just trying to impress other people? Why Twilight? You don’t need to impress anyone! You’re perfect the way you are. So why are you saying all this? You made my life better. I no longer live in fear of where I’ll be tomorrow because as long as I get to be your little brother it doesn’t matter.

“Twily?” Spike whispered, his eyes locking onto hers.

Twilight frowned at her nickname but nodded.

“Thank you for being selfish.”

The older girl’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open.

“Thank you for sharing Smarty Pants with me, for inviting me over for dinner. For dragging me along with you and forcing me to get out of my shell. For pushing me to be better than mediocre. For being my friend.”

“Spi—”

“Thank you for not giving up on me. For being my B.S.B.F.F. But most of all, thank you for giving me hope for the future, mine, and ours together.”

Twilight broke then, broken sobs left her mouth as she forcefully pulled the young boy into a hug. Her arms squeezing him tight to her chest as she buried her face in the tangled green mop on his head.

Spike wrapped his own arms around her, pulling her tight to him. Tears silently left as eyes as he bit down on his lip to keep from sobbing.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says. As long as I have Twilight in my life I can make it through any hell life throws at me.

“Spike, h-how can you just—”

“Because it doesn’t matter what happened in the past. What matters is right now, that my big sister knows I love her and I am happy. I am so happy Twi. I have friends, I’m in school, I have anything a little boy could desire. But most of all I have my best friend in the world comforting me, and I her through something we both are going through.”

Twilight choked out a sad laugh. “When did you become so wise?”

“Socrates last days.”

The older girl pushed her little brother away to look at his eyes. Silent mirth bloomed in both of their sad eyes.

“Socrates huh?”

“No, it was obviously Starswirl and his great friendship teachings.”

“Nerd.”

“Egghead.”

Laughter shook both of them, brightening the dark room.

“Not you too, Rainbow calls me that enough.”

“Too bad, she’s too cool not to make it a trend.”

Twilight playfully glared, swatting the younger boy before running her hand through her own hair. The tangled mess giving her hand pause on the top of her head.

“Spike?” The older girl whispered as she laid back on the bed, her hands stretching towards the ceiling to look between her fingers.

“Mhmm?” Spike leaned back against his headboard, crossing his legs and watching his sister.

“Promise me something?”

“Anything Twily.”

“Don’t let the stress and anger build up anymore, okay?”

Spike stayed quiet, his eyes dropping to look at his own clasped hands in his lap.

“You said anything.”

“I know, but what about you?”

“What about me?”

“Well… who will you talk to?”

It was Twilight’s turn to stay quiet for a moment before she turned on her side, propping her head up with her right arm.

“Spike, some things are too… adult for children.”

The young boy frowned, his brow dipping in confusion.

“So you don’t want to talk to me about stuff because I’m a kid?”

“I didn’t say that, I just… As your older sister I don’t want to put too much on your shoulders. You’re still young, you—”

“I can talk about adult stuff! I got a girlfriend.” Spike puffed out his chest, smirking as he raised an eyebrow at his sister in a cocky Rainbow Dash impression.

What Spike Sparkle didn’t expect in response to the Dash copyrighted look was a dangerous fire to light in Twilight Sparkle’s eyes.

“You. Have. What?” Twilight was in his face before he could blink, her nose touching his as she glared at him.

His eyes went cross-eyed as he stared at her, his mouth immediately pulling down in a terrified frown.

“I-I-I-I—”

“Spike Sparkle! You’re too young to have a girlfriend! Do I know her? Did you meet her today! I’m going to choke the life out of her if she’s laid a hand on you!”

Twilight stood up fast, kicking broken items out of her way she began pacing at a fast speed. Her mumblings growing angrier and angrier as she started using her hands to pretend to beat up an invisible person.

Sweetie Belle, forgive me.

“You! How dare you!” She turned on him, her hand waving a shaking index finger in his face.

“Me‽”

“Yes you! This is all your fault for skipping second grade. You are too young to be around older women! I knew I shouldn’t of let Rarity give you all that affection.”

Twilight continued to pace again mumbling about her friends as Spike tried to process how his older sister was coming up with these ideas about him being a casanova.

The door opened then, revealing a tired looking Shining Armor.

“Whoa, what happened in here?” The oldest Sparkle sibling asked as he stepped into the room.

“You!” Twilight turned to him, walking up to him to wag her finger in his face.

“Me?” Shiny asked, his arms coming up in a surrender pose as he glanced from Twilight to Spike and back.

Spike sat quietly, his eyes wide as he watched his sister start poking their older brother’s chest.

“Yes, you! Did you know about her?”

“Her? Who is her?”

‘That is what I’d like to know! You picked him up yesterday. Was there a girl with him?”

“You mean Sweetie Belle?”

Twilight Sparkle froze, her entire body going rigid as her expression took on that of a psychopathic murderer.

“You’re on your own, little man!” Shining Armor backed out of the room slamming the door behind him, his loud footsteps echoing down the hall as he ran away.

Spike jumped up and ran to his closet, closing the shuttered doors behind him and holding them shut.

The room was quiet, the lights still off and the only light shining in from the curtain window.

The only sound in the room was the soft noise of light breathing as the two occupants of the room stood in silence, the only barrier between them a shuttered door. Something that did not give Spike Sparkle any comfort from the demon forming inside his older sister at the moment.

Spiiikkkeeeee!” Twilight called out softly.

Through the shutters the young boy could see his sister turn around slowly, a terrifying smile on her face causing him to almost wet his pajama pants.

“Come out here, Spike, I just want to talk about Sweetie Belle.” Her voice spoke the name of his young girlfriend too sweetly for his liking.

I’m dead. Goodbye world, it was nice knowing you.

He watched as she took slow steps towards the closet, her hands reaching forward to grab the small golden handles of the doors.

Spike immediately pulled hard on the doors to keep them closed.

Mirth playing in the older girl's eyes she shook the doors causing her brother to yelp, his grip loosening being that there was no handle on the inside.

Without another word, Twilight pulled the doors open wide revealing the shaking eleven year old.

They stared at each other for a moment before the older girl leaned in, her nose touching his.

“Boo.”

“Twily…” The little boy scowled as he crossed his arms over his chest.

With a laugh Twilight pulled the little boy out of his closet and into a strong hug.

His annoyance dissolved into happy bliss as he wrapped his arms around his older sister.

“I still don’t approve.”

Twily…” Spike began to pout.

“What? As your older sister I should meet the girl you’re interested in before you start… dating.” Twilight scowled as she glared into the closet behind him.

“So, do I get to check out the girl you’re interested in before you get to date her?” Spike asked, grinning.

Twilight blushed, her mouth dropping open as she pushed the young boy away to stare down at him.

“I-I-I-I, how do you know I don’t like boys?” She managed to stutter out as she released him and pulled at her long hair, nervously.

Spike laughed out moving past her. When he got to the middle of the room he began dancing in a circle, his hands clasping in front of him as he spun, dipped, and swooned.

“Oh Da—” He began in a high pitched impression of his sister.

“You were spying on me in my room!” Twilight stomped her foot pointing accusingly.

“You didn’t close your door.” He continued as he began to make kissing faces.

“I never said her name!”

“Says you.”

“Spike!”

“Twilight!”

After a moment of staring at each other; the young boy’s face frozen in a comedic kiss, the older girl’s in frozen, embarrassed anger, they both doubled over in laughter.

“Okay, okay. So we’re even. I still think you’re too young to have a girlfriend—”

“That makes two of us.” Spike whispered loudly, wiggling his eyebrows.

Twilight rolled her eyes and walked over to him, wrapping her arm around his shoulder.

“As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted,” she said as she pinched his shoulder. “I’m glad you fell for someone as cute, kind, and wonderful as Sweetie Belle. Although I don’t know how you’re going to ease Rarity down without hurting her.”

“Sweet Celestia! I didn’t even think about that! Twilight, you gotta help me!” Spike turned to look up at his sister in horror, his hands clenching her night shirt.

Twilight bit her lip to stop herself from laughing. “Okay, but you have to keep the thing about me liking girls between you and I until I’m ready to tell the rest. Deal?”

“Deal. Oh, and Twi?”

“Mhmm?”

“I promise to come to you about anything instead of bottling it up.”

“Ditto, little man. Since you’re already better at the dating game than me, I guess I gotta come to you for advice.”

“Chicks dig the Spike-man.” The little boy broke out into what he thought was a manly pose but Twilight couldn’t help find it more adorable than manly.

“Yes, they do,” she said with a laugh, after a moment of silence she glanced around the room. “Spike?”

“Yeah, Twi?”

“We have to clean up this mess before mom and dad see.”

“Eeyup.”

“Not it,” Twilight said as she patted the young boy on the head and made for the door.

“Wait what‽” Spike called out, his eyes bugging out as he stared up at her.

“You made the mess, why should I have to help?” The older girl asked as she stared towards the door, a smile fighting for dominance on her mouth he couldn’t see.

“But you said—”

“I’m joking Spike, I’m just going to go change clothes, grab a garbage bag, and I’ll be right back. Alright?” She asked as she looked back at him, her eyes shining playfully. “After all, we’re taking the day off.”

“What do you mean? What about class? You don’t actually mean ski—” Spike bit his lip, staring wide eyed at his sister.

Twilight frowned, quietly staring at the wall before she answered. “As much as I don’t like missing any opportunity to learn something new, we kind of had a rough night. And what are you complaining for? Shouldn’t you be excited about missing class? Even if you don’t get to see Sweetie Belle.

“Oh, haha Twily. Yeah, alright. I don’t think I can make it through another day of class so soon. I’ll go ahead and change too, if I can find some clothes that aren’t... ruined.” He said as he looked around distastefully. There was no saving his school uniform, he saw to that himself.

With one last nod Twilight opened the door and left, closing it softly behind her.

Sighing, Spike reached down, shifting through a pile of clothes. After a few minutes he found a clean, untattered green and purple striped collared shirt, and a pair of khaki cargo shorts. He quickly changed into them and began to make piles around the room of what was salvageable, and what wasn’t.

His eyes landed on the untattered green and purple dragon his girlfriend had given him, his mind immediately bringing up the memory of receiving it.

The warm smile the memory brought with it quickly faded as his mind latched onto the next memory of what happened last night.

Smarty Pants is gone, and there’s no telling if she can ever be repaired.

With a sigh, Spike let the doll drop back onto the side table where he found it and continued with his room.

The door opened a good fifteen minutes later, revealing a freshly dressed Twilight Sparkle.

Her face was noticeably washed but makeup free, her hair combed, and her clothes without wrinkles or tears. She was wearing a light grey and white striped t-shirt with a tiny pocket on the left side, and faded pair of tight blue skinny jeans. As she walked in her hands were occupied with tying her hair up in a ponytail, the trash bags held under her chin, pressed against her chest.

“What’s wrong?” She asked as she grabbed the bags and made her way to the bed to tie one around the bed post.

“Noth—” Spike bit his lip, remembering what he had just promised the girl not even an hour ago. “I murdered Smarty Pants”

Twilight looked up at him from her inspection of a pile of destroyed books. “Spike, it’s okay. She’s just a stuff animal.”

The young boy’s head swiveled so fast to look at her she was afraid he broke his neck.

“What‽” He asked in disbelief.

“She’s just a doll.’

“Just a doll! She meant everything to you!”

Twilight was quiet for a moment before she dropped the torn book pages she was holding.

“You’re right. She did mean everything to me. When I was little she was my best friend, my confidant, my number one assistant.” Twilight whispered quietly.

“And now she means nothing to you‽” Spike asked hoarsely.

“I didn’t say that, it does sting a little that she’s gone, but I’ll be okay. You know why?”

“Twilight, we can fix her. You don’t have to pretend—”

“Do you know why I don’t need her anymore?”

“Twi—”

“Because I have you.”

Spike froze, his eyes going wide and his throat closing up.

Twilight smiled brightly at him, just as she had been for the past five and a half years.

With a deep breath Spike shook off his shock and smiled back with a nod.

Together they began cleaning up the broken and destroyed room, which to them felt like they were doing more than just fixing the material items, they were fixing their scarred hearts. Together, just as they had been from the first day they became friends.

I promise you Twilight Sparkle, we’ll be best friends, forever. No matter what.

Working for the Future

View Online

So Spike Sparkle would never follow in his older brother’s footsteps and become a military man. That was a certainty at the moment for the young boy as he dropped to the ground from the last pushup he was being forced to perform.

“That was… sad.” Rainbow Dash said, shaking her head.

“Rainbow! He’s trying, at least he didn’t give up twenty minutes ago when he said he was done.” Twilight Sparkle said, glaring at her newly titled girlfriend.

“Trying what? To make out with the ground? Did you see what I was seeing, Egghead?”

Spike watched as the two older girls bickered back and forth, his body so tired he couldn’t do anything but move his eyes.

“It’s okay, Spike, they’re always like this,” Scootaloo said as she kept doing more pushups in the time that Spike had fallen to the ground then he had done the whole day.

“H-how a-are y-you doing that?” Spike wheezed out.

She chuckled a little. “When I started out I was just like you. This is what training will do.”

“Scoots, you got energy to talk, you got energy to move. Show that boy how it’s done!” Rainbow shouted.

“Will you stop picking on him!” Twilight said as she swatted at the other girl’s shoulder.

“Ow, will you stop hitting me? He’s the one that wanted to come and work out with Scootaloo.” Rainbow said as she rubbed her shoulder in false pain.

“Yeah, I remember your training and tried to talk him out of it.”

“I remember that day too,” Rainbow said, smiling. “You covered from head to toe in sweat, your shirt sticking to your chest, barely able to catch your breath.”

“R-r-rainbow Dash! They’re right there!” Twilight stuttered, embarrassed as her cheeks lit up red.

“And? It’s not like these guys don’t know what—”

“Don’t finish that sentence unless you want to eat dirt.”

“I’d like to see you try, Sparkle. Of course if you want to go down with me, I wouldn’t be inclined to say n—”

Twilight silenced her the only way she knew how. With a kiss. Rainbow placed her hands around the small of the girl’s back, and pressed her closer. When they pulled apart she was smiling at Twilight. “Why don’t you join them, you know, for motivation.”

“You almost killed me last time.”

“I just wanted to see you sweat,” Rainbow whispered the words, seductively.

Spike smiled up at the two before glancing over at his friend. She had stopped her workout to stare up at her foster sister. The look in her eye one of starstruck obsession.

“Uh Scootaloo?” Spike asked, blinking back his surprise.

“What?” Scootaloo asked, squinting as if she was trying to figure out a math problem. What problem she was working, the young boy couldn’t figure out for himself.

“You like watching them?” Spike asked as his eyes took in the two girls kissing.

“No!” Scootaloo protested with a deep blush on her face.

“You so do,” Spike teased.

Scootaloo stood up, “You got energy to talk, you got energy to run. Get up, shut up, and start running. You’re the one with a girlfriend to protect after all.”

Spike’s smile faded as he did just that. The boy got to his feet and dusted off his shorts.

“Move weakling! And no that black eye isn’t getting you out of this!”

“Yes ma’am!” Spike said as he started to run around the track.

Rainbow pulled away and turned to watch Scootaloo bossing Spike around. Her sister never failed to impress her with her drive and determination. “Scoots told me what happened,” Dash said as she sat down on the bench behind her, patting the seat next to her for her girlfriend.

Twilight sat down as well. “You probably know more than I do. About Spike and Sweetie I mean.”

“How have things been going for him at home? It’s been a bad week as far as I heard.”

“Apparently it’s been a bad few years,” Twilight corrected. “He’s been part of our family all this time and we never really treated him as such, he was an accessory. I think his first day of middle school was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.”

“Twi, I don’t even know what that means. But it sounds bad. How are you dealing with it?”

“Don’t you mean to ask me how he’s dealing with it?”

“No, I mean you. He’s a strong kid, Twi. You of all people should know that.”

“Dash…”

“Don’t Dash me, Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight’s eyes shot up to stare at the determined look on Rainbow’s face. The fact that the usually laid-back sports player used her full name meant something serious was about to be talked about.

“Talk to me Egghead, don’t just let it sit.” Dash whispered, causing Twilight to frown.

Isn’t that what I told Spike?

When Rainbow wrapped her arm around her waist and pulled her closer to her, Twi sighed and rested her head on Rainbow’s shoulder. “I failed him. All the signs were there, I was just too blind to look.”

“Shush you,” Dash said as she rested her head upon Twilight’s. “You tried to be the best sister you could be.”

“I don’t know anything about being an older sister.”

“That makes two of us,” Rainbow said. laughing. “I don’t know how I became one myself, but I did.” Dash said as she watched Scootaloo keeping pace beside Spike.

“It’s different, Dash.” Twilight said. “Scoots looks up to you, you’re not really her sister, she still has a family that’s responsible for her.”

“So you’re saying I can’t be her sister because she doesn’t live with me?” Rainbow asked softly.

“No I’m saying that even if you screw up, you’re not the one responsible for her.”

“You’re wrong there, Sparkle. Sure she might have her own parents, but I’m still just as responsible for her as they are.”

“Rainbow, I don’t want to argue.”

“We aren’t arguing, and even if we were, it’s worth the argument, Twi. My point is is this, just because she’s not my blood sister or that no one else in the world acknowledges me as hers, our bond with each other still means something to us.”

“Rainbow…”

“She’s my little sister, Twi. Just as Spike is your little brother. We’d do anything in the world for them, because we love them. We don’t want to see them hurt, or unhappy, but sometimes they will be. But as older siblings the best thing we can do is be there for them when they need us, and for them to know even when they don’t need us, we’re still there cheering them on.”

“I never imagined I’d be getting this amount of empathy from the Rainbow Dash.”

“Well get used to it Sparkle, cause I’d never leave you hanging. Especially when you need a good pep talk.”

“I don’t know about that… I don’t know how much mushy Dash I can handle.”

“Just admit you were wrong about me not knowing what it’s like and get over your pity party so we can actually talk.”

“Well, I mean… I…”

“Nope, I’m right you’re wrong, admit it.” Rainbow said, smiling.

“Fine, you’re right.”

“Score one, Dash!”

“Oh, we keeping score?”

“No!”

Twi laughed at that. Dash replied by hugging her tighter. “So what’s been happening since that day? At home I mean.”

“I talked to Mom and Dad about it. They were as shocked as I was about the whole thing. They each talked to him in turn, with me by his side. And by talk, I mean they let him speak, without judgment, without saying a word. For the first time in five years, all we did was listen to him.” Tears fell down Twilight’s face as she admitted to that fact.

“That fixed everything?” Dash asked.

“No,” Twilight said. “Things don’t break in a day and they’re not fixed in a day. You know that. Mom still slips up from time to time. Dad’s still a little harsh with his jokes, but they’re trying. I see it, and so does Spike.”

“How about school?”

“I thought Scoots told you everything?” Twilight asked.

“About Spike and Sweetie,” Dash said with a smile. “Those two are hans— nevermind.”

“Dash,” Twilight scolded.

“Sorry, sister bond, can’t share,” Dash replied.

Twilight glared at her. “Things have gotten a little better there. Those bullies still give him some trouble, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was his first day.”

“No more swirlies?”

“Apparently when your ring leader pisses himself at the sight or your target’s huge older brother, you tend to back off a little bit.”

“If they’re afraid of Shining, they should be afraid of what Scootaloo wanted to do after she learned about it. That girl’s got a sadistic side to her.”

“And that was in absolutely no way influenced by you?” Twilight asked.

“Guilty as charged, Egghead. I don’t see you running away though.”

“You’d catch me if I tried.”

“Everytime. You can bet on that.”

Twilight stuck her tongue out as Dash winked at her, unprepared for the other girl to assault her with another kiss. This one less appropriate for the younger children, for which the girls were glad they were far enough away not to notice.

“Spike, that was only two laps, get up and keep going!” Scootaloo’s shout caught their attention, but they still lingered for a few seconds, smiling at each other.

Twilight turned to watch their younger siblings. “C’mon Spike, you can do it! You want to build some muscle to impress Sweetie, don’t you‽”

Spike turned to her with wide eyes; but, without missing a beat, he forced himself to his feet and started running again.

“Sparkle?” Rainbow asked, confused.

“It’s as you said, our job as big sisters is to let them know that we’re always rooting for them.”