by darf

Chapter 1: Helper

Load Full Story Next Chapter

“Be a dear and bring that set of pins, would you?”

Spike opened his eyes in that alarmed way that took over when the body was half-way between sleep and almost-sleep. The shake when simply breathing was enough to bring consciousness forward, and suddenly woosh there was the world.

He told himself he wasn’t tired.

“This one?” Spike pointed to the closest container, a greyish silver box held shut by a clasp. There may as well be pins in there, as much as anything else.

“No, the one just to your left.”

Looking down, then up after a few seconds, Spike gestured with wide eyes to the wood-finish box with a painted pattern adjacent to the grey one.

Rarity sighed and rolled her eyes. “No, dear, your other left.” Her horn glowed, and Spike jumped as a telekinetic poke prodded him in the side. He spun towards it and his eyes fell immediately on the open pin-compartment, holding a set of long, delicate needles arranged by size.

He looked back to Rarity, who nodded.

“Thank you, Spike.” Rarity’s horn returned to its usual, matte ivory-white as Spike placed the box of pins on the nearby table.

She could have just picked it up herself. Her horn glowed.

“I’m sorry, Spike, I missed that. You were saying?”

“—Oh? I... no, I wasn’t. Didn’t, sorry.”

Rarity pursed her lips, but spared Spike only a moment’s attention before turning her stare back to the thread held between her hooves, overtop the garment she was working. “No need to be sorry,” she said, narrowing her eyes as she her horn glowed again, raising one of the needles and threading it with the fine white thread she was holding. A small pin floated in a similar fashion, out of the box Spike had brought over and into the fabric on the table, holding together two neatly tucked pieces.

As she worked, Rarity hummed a soft tune, too muffled in her mouth held shut to make out.

Spike closed his eyes for a moment. Just a moment. The floor felt unusually comfortable.

Digging up weeds all afternoon. The sun, so hot. And bugs. I hate bugs. When that big beetle jumped at me I almost couldn’t—

Lemonade. Cold, more than ice, she’d brought the tray out. That had been something.

A tiny clatter of pin against pin jolted Spike’s eyelids to a raised position again. He kept back the usual start that came with sudden half-waking, though Rarity’s focus probably meant it was likely she wouldn’t have noticed anyway.

A shimmer of the sun on the floor underfoot caught Spike’s attention enough for him to look towards the window. As hot as it had been in the afternoon, it was still as hot now, and hotter still in all likelihood. There was at least the shelter of the Carousel Boutique’s luscious indoor drawing room to keep the air from turning the place into a sauna.

The floor did shine. It shone. It would if it knew what was good for it, spent all of yesterday morning with that mop. Back still hurts, no help from pulling those weeds up. Slipped in a bucket as I was putting away the mop, had to soak it all up again.

A voice crooned behind the dark of Spike’s closed eyes, worrying, fretting, floating him up from the ground and gently rubbing the back of his neck to ally the sudden onset of tingling anguish after his fall.

The sound of Rarity’s voice outside his eyes made them open again.

“... over by that drawer, if you would be so kind.”

“Huh?” Spike blinked several times, shuffling slightly from side to side as though he might rock his body into wakefulness. “Sorry, I missed that.”

“I was just saying I think I’m all done with this one for the day. I don’t suppose you could fetch the sewing kit box in the far drawer, so I can put all these things away properly, hmm?”

Spike hurried on the floor with a remarkable urgency in the wake of his wakefulness. He found the drawer after a false start trying to tug at the floor, blinking furiously as his claw pulled the compartment open. He’d no sooner turned than the glow of Rarity’s magic surrounded him, letting him watch as the white aura levitated all the pieces of Rarity’s working implements neatly into their places. The drawer closed shut with the same glow and a satisfying swish.

“Thank you very much, Spike.” Rarity stood from her work, tilting her head forward and letting her sewing glasses settle on the table. Spike walked toward her, slower than he had gone a moment ago, ambling with half-open eyes to the center of the room.

“My goodness, Spike. You look positively dead on your feet!”

Spike blinked blearily, pushing out as much of the haze of sleeplessness as he could manage.

“Nah.” He could taste his tongue over his teeth. “I’m fine.” And three days ago, he’d been tearing up siding. Nicked a claw from that.

“Are you sure?” Hot bath afterwards. “I’d hate to think I was working you to an early grave.” Soft towels.

“It’s fine. I’m just a little—” Spike stretched his sentence with a yawn. “—tired.” Scratch scratch, the cold of his nose with eyes closed just a second longer than normal.

“Well, I think you’re more than due for a nice long nap. You’ve been quite invaluable over the last few days—I simply don’t know what I would do without you.”

“Aw, shucks.” Spike waved a claw ineffectually in the air, his eyes still closed. Rarity was there somewhere in front of him, so hopefully he wouldn’t nick her by mistake. His hand caught air, and he lowered it to his side, sighing. Finally, after what must have been two minutes since their last close, Spike opened his eyes again.

Rarity’s smile shone at him, softly tapered at the edges of her mouth.

“It’s no big deal,” Spike said. “I’m always happy to help however I can.”

“Well, I can see why Twilight is so protective of you. I wonder if she’s soliciting offers to steal you away for good.” Rarity laughed sweetly, walking towards the door of the boutique as she did so. Spike followed her, feet so sluggish on the floor it felt like the only thing moving them was the magnetic allure of Rarity’s voice.

“Well, nevermind all that. I do greatly appreciate all your help, Spike. You’re simply a dear.”

Spike stood at the doorway as Rarity opened it. He moved his lips slightly several times, but nothing worth saying seemed eager to come.

Siding. Mopping. Weed-pulling. Fetching after fixing after finding. So, so tired.

As Spike stood, silent, Rarity leaned forward and pursed her lips. The soft tingle of a kiss was on Spike’s forehead as he looked onward, unblinking.

“Now, you go home and get some sleep, and don’t show up intent on working any more until you’ve had a few days vacation; understand?”

Spike nodded. He raised his right claw above his chest, holding it open as though he didn’t know what to do with it, but slowly lowered it after a few seconds, looking up at Rarity with a suddenly awake expression.

“Gotcha. I’ll go get some sleep.”

A moment passed before Spike stepped over the doorway. He looked steadily at Rarity, into her eyes, and she back into his, neither of them speaking, as several seconds drifted past in the warm glow of the sun that filled the hot summer air.

Without another word, Spike turned and left. Rarity watched him for a moment before shutting the door with a neat flash of her horn.

Closing her eyes, she leaned against the door and smiled.

Next Chapter: Court Song Estimated time remaining: 41 Minutes

Return to Story Description


Login with