Spike's Day Off
It was a dark and stormy night. Well, you can't expect blue skies sunshine and lollipops all the time, can you?
At Ponyville's local library, a creature was tossing and turning. She groaned and moaned, reaching the end of her rope.
"How are we supposed to sleep with that fence rattling?" Twilight finally snapped hoping out of bed.
"There's a handy little invention for that," came a voice from the basked at the end of her bed, "they're called ear plugs."
"That's a very helpful suggestion Spike, but where can I get a pair of ear plugs at this hour?"
The dozing dragon gave a groan and dragged himself out of his basket.
"Fine. I guess I'll go and fix it."
Spike got a hammer and a bunch of nails and opened the front door. An icy blast of wind smacked him in the face and slammed him into one of the bookshelves, sending a torrent of books crashing on top of him.
Spike picked himself up, put one foot in front of the other and bent his knees.
Even while walking in this karate stance, it took all his dragon strength to keep pressing forward. Finally he was out the door. Loose leaves swirled menacingly around, like a plague of locusts buffeting him. Spike grabbed a plank of wood and pressed on.
Then the wind changed direction and propelled him forward, with the wooden plank acting like wings. With a rollercoaster yell, the dragon tripped over and rolled like a hedgehog, crashing into the fence.
Rising to his feet, he could see the lights on in some of the neighbour's houses. Colts and fillies were looking out of their bedroom windows, laughing at him.
It made his blood boil (which isn't so hot when you're a cold-blooded creature).
The strong winds made it hard to keep the plank and nails in place. Three hours, five smashed fingers and a whole lot of swearing later the fence had finally been stabilized and had stopped rattling. The job finally done, a tired, sore and very irritated Spike dragged himself back to the warmth of the library.
"Fence is done." He said to, he found out, no one in particular as he made his way to the nearest first aid kit. It seemed that Twilight had managed to get back to sleep while he was working.
"Why thank you Spike! I don't know what I'd do without you!" he said to himself, affecting a girly voice, clasping his throbbing hands together and looking starry-eyed at the ceiling.
After tending to his hammered digits, he crawled back to the bedroom. Sure enough, Twilight was asleep. Spike decided that fishing for sympathy could wait until morning and sank back into his basket, for a hard earned sleep.
His sleep lasted around two hours. The alarm clock hammered into his skull. Time to get back to work.
"Just ten more minutes. Please…?"
"Come on Spike. Big doings this week." Said Twilight, gently shaking him with her hoof.
The dragon groaned as the unicorn went off downstairs. Eventually, he was able to gather his will power and get out of bed.
"Good morning sleepy head!" Twilight called from the breakfast table, as Spike wearily made his way downstairs.
He yawned as his friend swallowed a mouthful of oats.
"Morning Twilight. Coffee?"
"Ooh! I'd love some! Thanks!"
So Spike went into the kitchen, filled the kettle with water and turned it on. He filled a pot full of black, steamy, rich smelling liquid and returned to the table.
"Say when." He said pouring some coffee into a cup.
"That'll do nicely." Said Twilight, when the cup was about a third full. She then used her unicorn magic to top the cup up with milk and add a teaspoon of sugar.
Spike tilted his head back and guzzled down the rest of the coffee straight from the pot.
Twilight's jaw almost hit the table at the sight.
The baby dragon gave a satisfied sigh as he put the empty pot down. He hopped into the chair at the other side of the table and began to snack on a bit of hay. Twilight was still looking as though she'd been slapped in the face with a very smelly fish.
Spike looked up from his meal.
Spike continued to munch on his hay.
"So," yawn, "what's on the agenda today?"
"Ah…oh, right!" Twilight regained her composure and picked up her to-do list. She cleared her throat.
"Okay, we're going to be busy today. Some of the roof tiles blew off in the storm last night, so we need to take care of that. The upstairs toilet's also jammed. It stopped working during that get-together we had last night."
"I'm not surprised," Spike grumbled "The way Apple Jack kept heading up there most of the night."
"To be fair, we were watching a romantic comedy, which she told me was a little too mushy for her tastes. Anyway, we also have the children's book club and…wake up, Spike!"
The sleeping dragon catapulted back in his chair and hit the ground with a thump.
"What? Who? Oh…I'm," yawn, "Sorry, Twilight. I'll just get some more coffee and…" yawn "Get started on the roof."
As Twilight watched him disappear into the kitchen, she had a sudden realisation. The night before, she had fallen asleep, waiting for Spike to finish the fence. The poor guy looked like he'd been up all night on it, just because of her inability to find a pair of earplugs. It probably didn't help that he'd stayed up later than usual to help her clean up after movie-night with her friends.
Spike returned to the table with another jug of coffee and swallowed a mouthful of the rich velvety brew. Twilight went over to her assistant and put a foreleg around him.
"Listen, Spike," she said in as sweet a tone as possible, "You've been working really hard lately."
"It's nice of you to notice."
"Let me finish. You've really been pushing yourself lately, so I think you should take today off."
"But I can't." he groaned "I've to start on the roof, there's the toilet and…" he was cut off by Twilight putting a hoof to his snout.
"I think I can manage those chores myself. Besides, you need your rest. You're in no shape to go up on the roof today."
Spike thought about. She did have a point about the roof. He wouldn't be able to do much, if he kept falling asleep, apart from falling off the roof and landing on the odd passer by.
"Are you sure you can manage without me? Just for today, I mean."
"Oh please!" she sniffed, raising her snout in a smug smile, "I'm not a baby who needs their governess around twenty-four-seven! I think I can fend for myself for one day!" She boasted.
"Well, if you think you can. Thanks Twilight!"
So Spike grabbed his fishing pole and headed out, while Twilight began her search for a book about roofing.
Spike set up his pole by the riverside. Part of the sport was about the waiting, so it was a perfect place to take a nap. Of course, why he didn't simply go back to his bed in the library is anybodies guess.
He lay there on the grass, dreaming of dancing the tango with a white unicorn in a skimpy red dress.
And it was awesome.
Twilight had spent a few good minutes browsing through her humungous collection of books to find a particular one that she was looking for- Roofing for Scatterbrains.
She was now on the top rung of the ladder and was about to start her task.
"Okay," she said to herself, holding the book, "Step one: Only the fourth row of tiles is nailed down, so raise the row above the tile that needs to be replaced."
She put the book down and inched her horn under the row, to gain the right leverage. No need for magic. The instructions were quite simple. Then again, the row of tiles was a lot heavier than she thought. Twilight strained with every ounce of strength she could muster to lift her head up. Pushing harder and harder until at long last it moved.
The ladder, I mean.
The ladder fell away from the wall, bringing Twilight's hind legs with it. Her forelegs thrashed about, desperate for something to grab. The problem? No fingers to grab with!
"Someone help!" she shrieked, flailing her hoofs for balance.
The ladder swayed back and forth like a circus act gone horribly wrong.
At last, the ladder fell backwards and crashed through the window of sugar cube corner bakery.
Twilight found herself covered in broken eggs and burst flour, face to face with a smiling pink pony.
"Hi Twilight! You're a little early for the free samples! " said Pinkie (disturbing too cheery, for some pony who had just witnessed a crash landing, leading to an explosion of cake ingredients).
"O…okay Pinkie…" said the dazed Twilight "I'... guess I'll come back later…see you soon!"
And with that she collapsed.
"Oh you! "It's so much fun watching you bounce!" giggled the Pink one.
Spike had finished fishing. He felt a lot better after that nap but now was at a loose end on what to do next. He thought about visiting on of his friends. The trouble was that Rainbow Dash, Apple Jack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Fluttershy all worked during the day. He could of course offer to help them with their work, but there wasn't much he could do for them:
To help Rainbow with weather control, he'd need to be able to fly.
He wouldn't be much use to Apple Jack, because he couldn't do a back kick strong enough to knock apples off the trees.
Fluttershy wouldn't be a good idea, because her pet rabbit Angel seemed to have it in for him.
As for Pinkie Pie, her employers wouldn't let him anywhere near the kitchen. To this day, Spike is bewildered as to why no pony likes his earthworm muffins.
He contemplated visiting one of his male friends. Then he realised that he didn't have any male friends. His entire social life consisted of hanging out with a bunch of girls.
As he walked through Ponyville, he noticed that the town hall clock read that it was lunchtime. His thoughts returned to his earlier dream of dancing the tango with Rarity and he figured that she might be on a lunch break. The perfect opportunity for a visit. He was hoping for a chance to try out some pick-up lines he'd read in a book. The Ponyville library literally has books on any subject imaginable.
And I do mean any subject.
When Twilight had recovered from her adventure through the bakery window and promised to pay for the damages, she returned to the library and put the kettle on, for a nice soothing cup of tea.
"Hey! While the water's boiling, maybe I could have a whack at fixing the toilet!" she said to herself, not quite used to Spike being absent and thus having no one to either agree with her ideas or point out the improbability of them working.
So, she headed upstairs to the bathroom, seized a plunger and went to work.
She opened the toilet seat and was ambushed by the worst smell ever to violate her nostrils.
"Argh! You numbskull, Spike! I told you not to use the toilet until we fixed the flush."
A mad dash downstairs later, Twilight returned with a clothespin on her nose.
First a quick yank of the toilet chain. No reaction.
Twilight did her thing with the plunger. A few minutes of sloshing and pumping later she whistled a recovery breath. She gave the chain another tug. Still nothing.
"Maybe I should check the system." She muttered.
She lifted the lid from the back of the toilet and took a look inside.
"Ah ha!" she gloated lifting two empty, dripping wet Cider jugs from the system "So that's why Apple Jack kept high tailing it to the bathroom last night!"
She placed the wet flagons on the floor and replaced the toilet system lid. A small puddle sprouted around the containers.
Twilight stood on her hind legs and reached for the chain.
She slipped in the flagon's puddle and her hoofs shot from under her! Her front hoof desperately grabbed for anything to hold onto to save her from falling!
She caught the toilet chain as she propelled forward!
Then came some good news and bad news.
The good news was that the toilet's flush was working again.
That bad news was that it didn't quite flush fast enough for poor Twilight.
Poor, poor, incredibly smelly Twilight.
Spike entered the Carousel Boutique and caught the breath-taking, heart rate accelerating sight of the beautiful Rarity draping a silk saddle over a pony shaped mannequin. The time was nigh to try one of those pick-up techniques. He casually strolled over to the white unicorn and dropped his door key.
Rarity snapped out of her concentration and turned to look at him.
"Oops! Sorry about that Rarity! Just dropped the keys to the Jaguar!"
The unicorn's blue eyes blinked.
"It's just a loaner while my Ferrari's being fixed." He continued.
One of Rarity's eyebrows went up.
"Spike, you don't even drive."
"For that matter," she added "I don't believe I've ever met a dragon or a pony who actually needed to drive. Well, except that one pony named Four Speed who had a thing for monster trucks."
Okay…this was going to be awkward.
Rarity finished adjusting her mannequin and gave her visitor her full attention.
"Now, can I help you with anything?"
"Well I…you see I…" he had to think up a reason to come see her. Fear of her unknown reaction to his crush stopped Spike telling her that he only came down for a quick flirt.
"Well, I was thinking about getting a new summer jacket." A plausible excuse. Rarity certainly seemed satisfied, as her eyes started to dance. She'd just caught the sent of a potential sale. Let this be a warning to anyone who tries to hit on a girl working in a store of any kind- she doesn't see a potential boyfriend. She sees a dollar sign.
"Oh, then you're in luck darling!" she cheered, dashing over to the menswear section. She shuffled through a few coats on a rack and pulled out a small pink one.
"This shade of pink will look simply adorable with your purple scales!"
"Pink…?" he scratched the back of his head, "Um…does it come in green? You know, to go with my spikes."
"Oh good heavens no! I mean, who mixes just Green with Purple?"
"Well, there's The Joker, Mysterio, The Green Goblin…"
"Exactly! I mean no offence Spike, but your colour scheme just screams Super Villain!"
Spike felt a needle poke his heart, letting all the air out and then flopping to the bottom of his stomach like a balloon.
"Ah ha!" Rarity cried triumphantly, pulling another coat out of the rack. It was a deep red with goldenrod accents.
"This one is perfect!" she declared helping him into the jacket "Crimson and goldenrod together compliment your own purple and green. It's a colour combination that sings of a romantic Italian sunset over the vineyards!"
That metaphor pumped the air back into the balloon that was Spike's heart. He looked at himself in the mirror. He did look quite smart.
"I'll take it!" he said.
With the jacket paid for, the trendy looking Spike figured he'd spend the rest of the afternoon at the movies.
Twilight stepped out of the shower. It had taken about two hours of showering before she was satisfied that the smell was gone. She dried off and with her dark mane wrapped in a towel, she went down to the kitchen.
Darn it. Kettle's cooled down.
She turned it on again. A nice quiet cup of tea would hit the spot and help her get over the trauma of fixing the toilet.
And the roof.
And the window that she crashed through.
And Pinkie sticking one of Twilight's hooves up her nose while she was unconscious.
Just as the kettle was boiling and steam was towering out of it, Twilight herd the library doors opening, along with the nattering and giggling of many a high pitched voice.
The children's book club. She'd been showering for longer than she realised. Tea would have to wait. Again.
So she went about librarian duties; helping the children to register for their library cards, checking books out and so forth. At last, the attendance dwindled down to just five little ponies.
Great! Twilight thought to herself. It's quiet enough to risk a cup of tea!
The kettle was cold again. With a frustration hoof movement she switched it on again.
"And this time, nothing's going to come between me and my drink!"
Want to bet?
Loud giggling from the library's main room filled the air, drawing Twilight's attention.
She crept up behind Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo who were gathered in a huddle.
"What's all the noise?" she piped. The three fillies yelped and spun around.
"I see," Said Twilight with a stern look, picking up the magazine on the kid's table. "You've been giggling at a comic book, huh?"
"Yup!" Apple Bloom smiled "It just came out today!"
"Comics don't count as literature I'm afraid girls."
She gave Scootaloo the comic back.
"Tell you what How about I help you pick a book out?"
The kids agreed and Twilight went around the library with them. They eventually decided on The Three Muskehorses for Scootaloo, Harry Trotter and the Filly Stone for Apple Bloom and The Adventures of Sherlock Hooves for Sweetie Belle.
As Twilight check the last book out, she decided to pop a question.
"So, Apple Bloom, how's Apple Jack? Do you think her headache's cleared up yet?"
Apple Bloom's eyes went wide with amazement.
"How'd you know she had a headache?"
Wit a smirk, Twilight winked at her.
The three fillies left the library with their borrowed books. Now just Snips and Snails, a pair of mischievous colts where left. Their sniggering drew Twilight's attention to the upper level.
Another comic book?
Unfortunately not. She saw the cover.
The Camel Sutra.
"Put that book down!" she yelled galloping up the stairs. The boys were startled and jumped down to the lower floor. Twilight turned heel and darted after them.
They ran out the door with the irate librarian in hot pursuit. Through the streets they trotted, hooves clattering like manic drumming. Twilight's horn began to flash at intervals of red and blue, making a howling noise radiate around her.
"Pull over!" she yelled drawing up alongside them. Snips, chubby and unfit was losing breath. He had to stop, even though it meant suffering the wrath of the irritated librarian. Snails, always tagging along and likely to get lost on his own, stopped too.
They were cornered.
"Alright," said Twilight, breathing heavily "Put it down. Nice and slowly…"
Snips was sweating cobs. The tension could have been cut with a knife.
He took a cautious step forward and put the book down. Snails edged it carefully towards Twilight. Keeping her glowing horn locked on the boys, Twilight picked the book up and rested it on her back. Then powered her horn down.
"This book is for grown ups only!" she snapped.
"Sorry Twilight." They groaned.
"And what's worse, you took it from the library without checking it out first!"
Of course since they wanted to read the book, they didn't see the point in bringing it to the desk, since she was going to refuse to let them have it anyway. But something about Twilight's stare told Snips that he'd be in for a world class butt-kicking if he pointed that out.
At last, Twilight returned to the library and at long last she could have her tea.
"Damn it!" She snapped. "Kettle's cold again!"
She snapped the kettle back on, and went to get her cup.
But what she didn't realise was that through all the times the kettle had been boiled that day, all of its water from earlier had evaporated.
She had just switched on an empty kettle.
Spike was making his way home. The movie he watched was Parrots of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides. The fourth film in the series. It wasn't bad, but the climactic melee at the end wasn't as epic or awesome as the first movie's final battle. He walked home whistling the theme tune. Overall it had been a pretty good day. He was looking forward to getting home, curling up with a nice hot drink and talking to Twilight about how the day went. As he approached the library he saw a flash and heard a loud bang!
Shocked, he raced through the front door and ran into the kitchen. The kettle was a smoking pile of molten plastic, the window was shattered and Twilight stood trembling.
"What the heck just happened?" Spike gasped.
Twilight turned around to face him. Her mane was a mess, she was shaking and her eyes were all moist and puffy. A stream of tears flowed from her eyes as she flung her forelegs around Spike.
"I just wanted a cup of teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeea!"
Later that evening, after the kitchen was cleaned up, dark clouds rolled in. Inside the library however, it was nice and cosy. Spike had found a replacement kettle and brought two cups of tea into the living room.
Cuddled up with a book on the sofa, Twilight gratefully took a cup. She took a sip and gave a very long and very satisfied sigh. She turned her attention to Spike.
"So, did you enjoy your day off? I love your new jacket by the way."
"Thanks. It was kind of expensive though."
Spike took a sip of tea from his own cup. Outside a slight drizzle of rain started.
Spike grinned, trying not to laugh.
"So, did you get much done today?" he remembered the mess the kitchen was in when he got home. He knew how much Twilight valued him, but never got tired of hearing it.
"Yes," Twilight said, with an unusually straight face "I fixed the toilet, ended up owing Mr and Mrs Cake a new window and found out that Apple Jack is a secret drinker."
After a bit more summarizing of their respective day's events, Spike started thinking.
"You know, you'd almost think there's a friendship report in what happened today."
Twilight stifled a giggle.
"Maybe. Like; Dear Princess Celestia, today I learned that if you're lucky enough to have an assistant, don't let him out of your sight, or all hell will break loose! Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle."
Spike joined in laughing.
"Or how about: Dear Princess Celestia, today I discovered that when there's a job to be done, leave it to a man."
Twilight playfully tossed a cushion at him. With a thump, Spike was knocked out of his chair.
"Okay, I kind of deserved that."
They both laughed.
Twilight closed her book and stretched out.
"Anyway," she yawned "time for bed. I think we could both use an early night tonight."
"No arguments here."
They went upstairs and opened the door to the bedroom.
They were greeted by the site of water dripping in through several gaps in the ceiling.
"You never got round to fixing the roof, did you, Twi?"
"I'll get my tool kit."
"I'll get our raincoats."