Curse of the Werepony 2
Chapter 3: Responsibilities
By Steven Little
My Little pony is © Hasbro
The door of the Peach Pit Tavern swung open, ringing the small bell that hung above the door. The tavern was not an overly large establishment. There was a sitting area for customers to enjoy a meal and a drink by themselves or with a friend. A small stage sat against the north wall where bands, comedians, or actors would perform. Against the far wall was a full bar with a line of stools in front. To the right of the bar was a hallway that led off to rooms that ponies could rent should they need a place to stay for the night. Behind the bar, waiting to attend to her customers was Peach Bellini. The mare's mane and tail were brown and the color of her coat was obviously her namesake. Her cutie mark looked like a tropical drink and she always seemed to have a red rose in her hair and a silk scarf around her neck of one color or another. She smiled as Spike walked in the door, "afternoon Spike, oh, and happy birthday."
"Thanks Peach. Do you have time to talk?" He inquired.
"Sure, what's up?" She asked.
Two young stallions, one red and one, an amber color, walked in from the back room. "Hey boss, we just finished unloading today's order from the delivery wagon, did you want to check over the invoice before we put it away?" The red pony asked. He was not overly tall but certainly taller than Peach and his blue eyes were partially hidden by his blond mane. His cutie mark of an apple cider jug, gave away his profession as a bartender.
"Thanks Cider." She said. "Just a minute Spike, I'll be right back."
The amber stallion with the brown mane and tail, and a cutie mark of a cactus wearing a chef's togue, approached the bar, his green eyes shining and happy. "Hey Spike, how's it going bud?"
"Hey Sandy, I'm doing okay I guess." The little purple dragon said with a sigh.
"What's going on buddy? You sound depressed." Sandy asked him.
"I've been out looking for a job but no one will hire me. They all say the same thing; I'm too young; I'm too small. What's a guy got to do to earn a few bits these days?"
Peach and Apple Cider walked in from the back room. "Sorry about the wait Spike. We didn't mean to eavesdrop but are you really looking for work?" Peach asked.
"Wait." Apple Cider said. "Don't you work for Twilight?"
"Being Twilight's assistant doesn't pay at all. Something unexpected has come up and I need to start bringing down a steady pay." He informed them. "You guys wouldn't happen to be hiring would you?"
"Sorry Spike but winter is starting and that's also the start of the slow season for us and business doesn't usually pick up till late spring. If you can wait that long, I'm sure we kind find something for you." Peach told him.
"Thanks Peach but I need something sooner than that." He said as he got up and walked toward the tavern's exit.
"Good luck Spike, I hope you find something." Sandy said as the young dragon walked out the door.
"I don't like this, boys. I don't know what's really going on but it doesn't sound good. I'll put the inventory away, I want you two to get down to the library and talk to Twilight about this."
"Sure thing boss, let's go Sandy." Cider said as he made his way toward the front door.
Spike stood at the front gate of Sweet Apple Acres. "Well Spike, this is the only place in town you haven't tried." He said to himself. "If this doesn't work I guess I'll have to try back in Canterlot."
The small dragon walked down the dirt road lined with towering apple trees on the left and bordered by a wide open field to his right. "Hey Spike, what brings you down to the farm today. Aren't you supposed to be havin' a birthday party at the library?" Big Macintosh had spotted him on his way to the barn to deposit a cartload of apples. "Ah'm sorry I couldn't make it, somepony needs to work the farm."
"That's okay Big Mac, the party's over anyway, at least for me." Spike said.
The large red earth pony stallion unhooked himself from the cart and approached the small dragon. "Why don't you come inside for a bit?" Macintosh invited. "I need to take a break anyway."
Spike followed him inside and sat at the table. "Has Applejack returned yet?"
"Not as such." He said rummaging in a cupboard above the sink. "She was here then took off again in a hurry. She was lookin' for you. I s'pect somethin' happened at the party."
"You could say that." The dragon said, tracing invisible patterns on the table. Big Macintosh set a bottle of apple brandy on the table with two glasses. "What's this for?"
"AJ told me you liked this when you had a drink with her and Pinkie, back when you were a pony. I figure what's going on back at the library and whatever's got you this down can only be helped by a drink with a friend." He said pouring a small amount of the amber liquid into the glasses. "So, why don't you tell me what's goin' on?"
Spike gulped the liquor in a single quaff. "Rarity's pregnant and I'm the father."
Macintosh swallowed his drink, coughing slightly. "Come again?"
"AJ told you about what happened a few months ago right?" The purple dragon asked.
"Yeah, she told me that some sort of curse turned you into a pony and that you and Rarity got into it. To be honest, I always thought it was pretty bad the way she treated you sometimes. I guess everthin' came out then."
"Yes." Spike said. "She didn't know it was me at the time but I did eventually forgive her and she's treated me much better ever since, even though I'm not a pony anymore. That last night I was a pony, she and I went out on a date, one thing led to another and it just sort of happened."
"Good for you Spike. Rarity is a fine mare and I know of a few stallions that are plenty mad that you got her instead of them." The large red stallion said with a smile. "So I take it she told you at the party?"
"Yeah, she did. It's not that I've never thought about having a family with her, in fact I've been thinking lately if it was even possible. I really am happy about it but it's just a lot earlier than I expected." Spike said swallowing the rest of his second drink.
"I understand Spike. Ma told me she felt the same way when she was carryin' me. She was only eighteen when I came along. She told me it was hard but her and Pa managed." Big Macintosh told him. "So then, if you're so happy about bein' a father, why are you here instead of back home with your mare?"
"Because I need a job Big Mac; Rarity shouldn't have to shoulder all the financial responsibility by herself. She's already taking care of Sweetie Belle. I need to help. I want to do the right thing."
"I can respect that. I'm proud of you Spike. A lot of stallions in your position would have run off and ignored their duty." Big Mac told him. "I have to tell you though; I don't think you're gonna' find any work around Ponyville this time of year. Things are pretty slow right now. I'd have you do some work for me around the farm but apple bucking season came early and me, Caramel, and AJ have it nearly done already." He apologized. "How far along is she anyway?"
"Rarity told me her due date is in eight to nine months." Spike told him.
"Well then, you have plenty of time. Give it four or five months and then go lookin' for work again. By then, winter wrap up will be keepin' everypony busy and I'm sure a pony or two will have work for you." The red farm pony said. "In the meantime, you should get back to the library and let everypony know that you're okay and if you haven't already, you had better let Rarity know how you feel. The last thin' you want is for her to think you ran out on her."
"I will but there's just one place I want to try first. Thanks Big Mac, I appreciate it."
"All right but are you sure you're okay to walk? You've had four glasses of this stuff." He asked.
"Yeah, I'm okay. You know, I don't think alcohol affects me as a dragon, I feel fine. It's still good though. I'll see you around Mac."
Rarity sat sobbing on the sofa, surrounded by her friends. "He left, he just left. I don't understand." She cried. "We were just talking. He was worried that we'd never be able to have a family together and when I tell him I'm pregnant he gets up and leaves."
"I'm certain everything is going to be all right Rarity." Emerald told her.
"She's right Rarity. Don't go jumping to conclusions, that's Twilight's job." Pinkie Pie said.
"Hey!" Twilight objected.
"Did Macintosh say anything when you checked with him?" Fluttershy asked.
"I told y'all what he told me. Spike hadn't been to the farm but if he shows up Mac said he'd tell him to come home." Applejack repeated.
Twilight went to answer a loud knock at the front door. Opening the door she found Apple Cider and Sandy waiting on the other side. "Hi boys, is there something I can help you with?"
"Hey Twilight, Peach sent us over here." Cider said.
"She was concerned about Spike. Did you two have a fight or something?" Sandy asked her.
"Spike, you've seen Spike?!" Rarity asked frantically, racing to the door. Sandy jumped behind Apple Cider, using him as a shield against the upset mare. "Where is he?! Where is that no good dragon?!"
"We don't know." Cider told her. "He came in looking for a job. He said he'd been all over town looking for one. Peach told him we didn't have anything open and to try back in a few months when business picks up again, then he left. That's when Peach told us to come talk to Twilight about it."
"A job, but Spike works here why would he be looking for a job?" Twilight asked.
"Well, Spike told us that you don't pay him and something's come up recently that requires a great deal of money. He left the tavern after that; we don't know where he went." Sandy said from behind his friend.
"But why would he do that? Spike doesn't need a job; I make enough bits for all of us." Rarity said, trying to make sense of the turn of events.
"Uhm, maybe Spike wanted to buy something for the new baby." Fluttershy suggested.
"But if he wanted to do that all he had to do was ask me, I'd have given him the bits." The lavender unicorn said.
"I s'pose I could shed a little light on this." Big Macintosh said as he cantered up to the library. "Cider, Sandy; ya'll best get back to the tavern. I can take it from here." The two stallions gratefully thanked him and galloped off.
"I take it Spike came by the farm lookin' for work?" Applejack asked.
"Eeeyup. That he did and I had to turn him down."
"But why?" Rarity asked.
"I take it he hasn't come back yet then. Well he did say he wanted to check one more place but darn it all he should have been back by now." The red earth pony said.
"Macintosh, please answer my question." Rarity pleaded with him.
"That little dragon of yours has it in his head that he has to support you and the little one. Yeah, he told me about it, congratulations by the way." Macintosh told her.
"But that's, that's ridiculous." Rarity said. "I never expected him to do any such thing, he doesn't have to."
"Drakes." Emerald said, exasperated; covering her face with a hand and shaking her head.
"Well that makes sense." Rainbow Dash said.
"How can that possibly make sense?" Twilight asked. "He doesn't need another job for that. All he's ever had to do was ask. I'm sure something could be worked out."
"Maybe that's the problem Twi. Maybe Spike's tired of having to ask your permission to do everything." Rainbow said.
"What are you talking about?" Twilight asked her.
"Think about it. Spike wants to buy a cupcake; he has to ask you first. If he wants to take Rarity out to dinner, he has to ask you. Now, he's going to be a dad and guess what, he still can't do a thing without checking with you first."
"She's kinda has a point there Twi." Applejack added in. "I know you think of him as a little brother but you have to understand that he's growing up and now he has other responsibilities."
"That he does and I respect what he's trying to do but I told him that nopony was going to hire him since work is kind of slow this time of year." Macintosh said. "I suggested that he go home but it looks like the stubborn little dragon didn't listen."
"Where do you think he went?" Applejack asked.
"No idea sis."
"I have a way of finding him." The Doctor said, heading for the door. "I'll bring him back, I promise."
"You're not going anywhere without me." Rarity demanded.
"Or me." Emerald said
"Or me." Ditzy said hugging the Doctor. "Could you watch my muffin Fluttershy?"
"Yes, I'd love to." Fluttershy said.
"Fine, you can come but the rest have to stay here. We'll be back in no time."
The three ponies and one dragon traveled as fast as they could back to Ditzy Doo's home at the edge of the White Tail Woods. Running around to the back of the mailbox shaped house, they stopped in front of a large blue rectangular box. "Is this it?" Emerald asked. "How is this blue box supposed to find my little brother?"
"Step inside and all your questions will be answered." The Doctor said as he and Ditzy walked in.
"But there can't possibly be room for all of us in there." Rarity protested.
Ditzy poked her head out the door. "Will you two get in here already? We can't do anything till the door closes sillies."
Emerald and Rarity cautiously stepped inside and marveled at the enormity of it all. The room was enormous. All around were ramps leading to a central platform. With all the switches, dials, levers, and other miscellaneous odds and ends, the two visitors could only conclude it was the control center. "How can this be?" Rarity asked. "This can't be possible, it's, it's, smaller on the outside."
"That's what I said!" Ditzy confirmed.
Emerald looked up and saw a spiral staircase leading up and up to an impossible height. "This breaks every law of science I've ever learned."
"Yes well, that's all well and good but we're here to find Spike, not look at the scenery." The doctor said as he ran around the central control panel flipping switches and spinning two wheels then pulled a lever. "There we go, I have a single dragon life sign just north of town."
"Where?" Rarity asked rushing up the ramp.
"Over here, on the screen. Deucedly odd, what's up there? Why would Spike go there?"
"The only thing up there is an old quartz mine. I used to go there all the time for crystals a customer wanted for a gown. It's nearly three in the afternoon, he's probably hungry; he's always hungry this time of day." Rarity informed them.
"Has Spike ever eaten quartz before?" Emerald asked.
"Not to my knowledge. Why? I mean one gem is like any other to a dragon isn't it?" Rarity asked.
"No, quartz crystals aren't like other gems. Most Gems are used for food but quartz; well quartz affects dragons like alcohol affects you. The higher the crystals clarity, the stronger it's effect." Emerald explained. She could see the anxiety building on the white unicorn's face. "I'm sure Spike, as young as he is, doesn't realize what he's doing. All the same he shouldn't be consuming too much, it'd be like a colt drinking a whole bottle of wine by himself."
"Then what are we waiting for?" Where is he again Doctor?" Rarity asked.
"Hold on girls, Doctor's going to take us there in the blue box!" Ditzy said.
"I hardly think this is an occasion to move the TARDIS less than three miles." He said.
"Oh come on, it'll be fun." Ditzy said, snuggling up to him.
The chestnut colored stallion smiled. "Oh okay, what the heck. Hang on ladies!" The Doctor started pulling levers and pushing buttons at random. The strangest of sounds seemed to come from everywhere and then as suddenly as it started, it stopped.
"What, is that it?" Rarity asked.
"Just go out the door. You'll find Spike not far off." The Doctor said.
Emerald cautiously opened the door and stepped out to find her brother sucking on a small piece of rose quartz. "Hey Emmy, what are you doing here!?" The little dragon shouted. "You should really try this stuff, I don't think I've ever tasted gems like these before."
"We're here to take you home Spike." Rarity said, walking out of the TARDIS behind the dragoness.
Spike stared at Rarity for a while. "Pretty pony." He said, drawing out the words. Stumbling to his feet, he staggered over to the unicorn, took her head in his hands and kissed her deeply. "You are the prettiest, sexiest, mare I've ever seen; I mean it. Princess Celestia herself can't hold a candle to you. I love you Rarity"
Rarity was blushing harder than she ever had before. "Oh my, I'm sure it's just the crystals talking." She said as Spike climbed on her back, laying out and hugging her neck.
"That's another way dragons differ from ponies dear." Emerald told her. "When a dragon gets inebriated they drop all pretenses and say exactly what they mean. No false bravado, no understatement of things for the sake of pride or reputation, but the unabashed truth."
"So, what he just said?" The unicorn mare asked.
"The complete and honest truth straight from his little heart." Emerald confirmed.
"Oh Rarity I'd stroke those perfect flanks of yours all day and night if I thought you'd let me."
"Okay, time to go home!" Rarity announced as she carried the half sleeping dragon into the TARDIS.
Spike woke the next morning in his room surrounded by his gems, his sister sleeping on a pile of them in the corner. The small dragon grabbed his head in pain. "Ow, ow, ow,ow. Why does my head hurt so much?"
Emerald sat up on the pile of gems she was using as a bed. "Hey Spike! How's the head!?" She yelled.
"Ow! Not so loud." He complained.
"That'll teach you little brother. Never eat quartz unless you're willing to pay for it the next morning." Emerald told him, a large toothy grin gracing her face. Spike crawled out of bed and started packing gems into a bag. "Hold on now, what are you doing?"
"I have stuff to do. I need to get these gems to a farm northwest of town." Spike informed her.
"How many of them are you taking and why?" She inquired.
"All of them; well not all of them, I'm leaving the purple amethysts and diamonds. I'm taking the rest to a friend's home to sell them."
"But why? Those gems were from Rarity."
"She'll understand. I need the bits and so does she; she just doesn't know it yet. Now, are you going to help me or just sit there and tell me I'm being foolish like everypony else does?" Spike asked her.
"I'll help you only because this appears to be important to you. But while we're going to the farm I want a full explanation."
Emerald quietly helped her brother pack up every ruby, every emerald, and every gem with the exception of two varieties. She pulled three wagons of gems behind her as Spike rode atop her back directing her to their destination. "Top of the morning to you Spike my boy."
"Doctor, what brings you out this morning?" Spike said, as the chestnut colored stallion with wild dark brown hair approached the two dragons.
"Just out for a bit of morning air with Ditzy and Dinky." He explained.
"Hi Miss Dragon; hi Spike. How are you this morning?" Dinky asked.
"Oh, we're just fine little one; except for Spike who's working through a quartz hangover." Emerald explained.
"That reminds me; Spike, may I have a word with you, just a short little chat?" The Doctor asked.
"Sure, no problem I guess."
"Ditzy, why don't you and Dinky go with Emerald? Spike and I will catch up soon." The chestnut stallion suggested.
"No problem Doc." The gray pegasus said. "See you later. Come on Emerald let's go. By the way, do you like muffins?"
The doctor shook his head as the gray mare with a blond mane and tail trotted off next to the dragoness. Her daughter, the little unicorn filly with a mane and tail the same color as her mother, trotted beside her. "That girl and her muffins. I swear one of these days I'm taking her to Beta Kataough Four. The people there all look like muffins, did you know that?" He asked.
"Actually, I don't think you told me about that one Doctor." Spike said.
"Really? I could have sworn I told you about them before. Yeah, muffins, the whole race looks like giant muffins, ever variety you can think of. Only problem is, they eat everything that gets too close to them, even each other. Bit odd isn't it?"
"Knowing Ditzy, she'd probably cause their extinction." Spike said chuckling.
"Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?" Spike asked as they walked along.
"No. I wanted to talk to you about Rarity. You remember what I told you about me and the TARDIS and everything right?" He asked.
"Yeah, you told me you weren't really a pony like the rest of them; a Time Lord right?" The purple dragon asked.
"That's right; I'm a Time Lord, the last of the Time Lords actually and that's what I needed to talk to you about. I just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone. You're not the only man, er, dragon to fall in love with a pony."
"You mean, you and Ditzy; really?" Spike asked, scratching the scales on his head.
"Yes. Imagine my surprise when it finally occurred to me that I was actually falling in love with her. Me, the Doctor, last of the Time Lords, veteran of the last great time war, in love with a pony. Funny isn't it?"
"I guess so, but you're a pony now so I don't see why that would be a problem. I mean; it's not like you've got ponies saying stuff behind your back. You should hear some of the things some ponies have said about Rarity and me when they thought we couldn't hear them."
"You mean things like freak, crazy, stupid, things like that?" The Doctor asked, staring off into space.
"Ponies are really saying stuff like that about you?" The little dragon asked, concerned.
"I wish they were saying it about me, I have a thick skin, I can handle it. I hear them saying those things about Ditzy and it really pisses me off!" He shouted. "They judge her without really taking the time to get to know her. She's such an affectionate, loving, understanding, patient girl. The way she raises her little girl, forget about it. In all of time and space, I've never seen a better mother than her. And what a mind; I tell you what Spike, you give her enough time and that girl will think her way through a brick wall. Do you have any idea how rare that is?" The chestnut pony asked him.
"I guess not, I always thought Ditzy was just a happy mare who didn't let anything bother her. I know Twilight and the others have always liked her, especially Lyra and Bonbon."
"Yes, you and your friends have always been kind to her, with the exception of Rainbow Dash."
"Oh she rubs everypony the wrong way from time to time." Spike explained.
"Yes well, most ponies only see her as the mare with weird eyes that bumps into things. She doesn't mean to but they don't care, all they do is point and laugh at her without a thought to how she might feel."
"So, does Ditzy know how you feel about her?" Spike asked.
"No, or at least I've never said anything. You see Spike; I can't be romantically involved with her. It wouldn't be fair to her. What if I have to leave and I'm never able to come back? What if I get stuck in a parallel dimension?" He said with a sigh. "I couldn't do that to her. She deserves better than that, better than me."
"I know how you feel. I used to be like that myself. A month back, Princess Luna told me during one of my checkups, that it didn't matter what I looked like, or the fact that I was a dragon that would most likely outlive Rarity. She said, Rarity chose me and nopony else and that's what matters. Everything else is pointless." Spike informed him. "Think about that Doctor. Think about telling her and consider the possibility that she feels the same way."
"Hey now, who's supposed to be counseling who?" The Doctor asked with a smile on his face.
"Sorry about that"
"Not at all old boy, now what do you say we catch up with the girls before Ditzy talks your sister to death?" The Doctor asked, tossing Spike onto his back and galloping down the road.