Disclaimer: I don't own My Little Pony.

I know some of you were hoping for a continuation of my other MLP fic, but inspiration struck and this is what you're getting instead! This will be a multi-chapter story, exploring Spike and Rarity's odd relationship. Massive apologies if the premise has been done before - I have barely read any MLP fanfiction, so I don't know what's already out there. This is just what popped into my head, so this is what I started writing.

And for those of you still hoping for my other fic to continue, don't lose hope! I haven't quite decided what I'm doing with it yet. For now, I hope you enjoy this new story!

Chapter One: The Book Arrives


His belch materialized, and Spike did a little dance of joy. It's here! It's finally here!

"Wow, Spike, that was a big one," said a voice from the next room over. "What did the Princess send this time?"

"Nothing!" Spike answered quickly. If Twilight sees this book, she'll do what she always does – read it! No, I better hide it before –

"So, you've got absolutely nothing hidden behind your back?" Twilight asked shrewdly, peering around the library corner.

Spike stepped several large steps sideways, heading towards his closet upstairs. "Uh…I've got absolutely nothing from Princess Celestia!" he replied.

"Really now?"

"Pinkie Pie Swear!" Spike mimed jabbing a cupcake in his eye with his free hand. And it was true – he didn't have anything from Princess Celestia. Behind his back was something he'd ordered special, just for himself, from a magazine Twilight had shelved weeks earlier in the 'Romance' section. It had taken a while to work up the courage to go look at it, since Spike had kept fearing Twilight would notice. He knew how she felt about the 'Romance' section.

"Big waste of time, if you ask me. Why spend your life mooning over somepony who might never return your feelings, when you could be doing something constructive with yourself?"

Twilight would never understand his predicament. And there really wasn't anyone else around who Spike could talk to about such problems. Thus, after seeing the magazine ad, and debating for days whether or not to go through with it…Spike finally ordered himself How to Woo Your Lady in Nine Easy Steps.

No way was Twilight going to mess up his first chance to read it.

"Anyway," Spike said in a rush, scooting closer and closer to the stairs. "I better go uh…finish my chores upstairs. Good luck with your work, Twilight!"

Before his adoptive sister had a chance to respond, Spike zoomed up to the second floor of the library, and shut himself away in his storage closet, using his breath to light a few candles to read by.

"At last," Spike laughed somewhat maniacally to himself. "A chance to learn how to win Rarity's heart, all for myself. The magazine guaranteed this would work, or your money back! They must be super confident in its methods."

He made a little seat for himself amongst his rubber chicken, kitchen sink, and apple blanket. The candlelight made the gems on his framed bowtie sparkle against the wall. He looked up at it, and let out a giant sigh.

"Soon, Rarity. I'll be the gentlecolt you deserve. I promise."

And Spike began to read.

Rarity tapped her hoof against the wooden library door ever so gently, and waited patiently outside.

A cool breeze blew past her, and she hoped it wasn't ruffling up her mane too badly. She hadn't walked all the way over to Twilight's library just to end up looking like some sort of circus clown, after all.

A moment later, the door opened and Rarity's thoughts were interrupted.

"Why hello, Rarity! It's nice to see you!" Twilight opened her door wider to allow Rarity inside.

"Hello, Twilight," Rarity replied, stepping into the library. "I've just come to see if either you or Spike would care to join me in some gem sorting this afternoon. I'd be more than happy to supply refreshments, of course."

"Gem sorting?" Twilight asked.

"Yes, yes, there was a bit of a er…mishap with Sweetie Belle. To come straight to the point, my carefully sorted gemstones have all become rather mixed up. At first I told Sweetie Belle she would be responsible for sorting it out, but she has school of course, and I just couldn't wait another minute staring at that pile of dishevelment."

"I see." Judging by Twilight's expression, though, she didn't.

"So I thought I could make a sort of event out of it," Rarity continued. "Have a few ponies over, serve some tea and grass finger sandwiches…" She gave Twilight a hopeful smile.

"Well, unfortunately, I'm busy all afternoon, and I'm not sure how Spike will feel about grass finger sandwiches," Twilight laughed a bit. "But I'll go ask him."

Rarity turned her head back and forth, looking around the library. "Yes, speaking of, where is little Spikey Wikey today? Usually he's so good about greeting guests at the door."

"Spike? Good at greeting guests?" Twilight laughed once more. "I guess with you, maybe."

"With me?" Rarity blinked, putting on her best innocent expression.

Twilight rolled her eyes. "Well yeah with you – "

At that moment, a cotton candy pink pony popped straight out of the pages of one of Twilight's larger encyclopedias.


"Pinkie!" Twilight exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"

Rarity had been about to ask the same thing.

Pinkie Pie hopped over to the two other ponies, continuing to bounce in place once she reached them. "Well, I couldn't help but overhear Rarity talking about throwing a party this afternoon! And of course, as soon as I heard, I was like, I am SO THERE, but of course I knew Rarity would need my help in planning things, because who else better to help throw a party than yours truly? I didn't even hear Rarity mention streamers or balloons or confetti or candy or – "

"It's really not that sort of party," Rarity interrupted gently. "It's more of an informal gathering – "

"Rarity just needs some help reorganizing her gemstones," Twilight cut in. "I'm a little busy, myself – "

"So wait, Rarity's having a party and now you're just too busy to go?" Pinkie Pie sat back and crossed her front hooves. "Talk about being unsupportive!"

"Uh…were we talking about being unsupportive?" Twilight asked Rarity, who shrugged.

"She's just being Pinkie, darling," Rarity sighed. "Don't mind her. I completely understand that you're busy."

"Thanks, Rarity," Twilight smiled at her friend.

"So, er…" Rarity glanced around the library once more. They'd gotten so off topic, Rarity wondered how to get back to the original question. Where was Spike, after all?

Pinkie and Twilight blinked at her, waiting for her to continue.

Alas, she could see no way to bring the question back up and make it sound natural. "So…if either of you would like to stop by, feel free. Any time this afternoon would be just fine," Rarity said, deciding to skip over the Spike thing entirely. It wasn't like Spike needed to help out every time she had an extra chore to do, right?

"Okee-dokee-lokee!" Pinkie began to bounce once more. "I'll be there!"

"Thank you ever so much, Pinkie," Rarity said. "Now, if you'll excuse me."

"Have a great afternoon, Rarity," Twilight said.

Rarity turned, giving one last polite smile before exiting the library. The moment she was outside, Rarity's shoulders drooped.

That hadn't gone at all like she'd hoped.

Spike's ear was pressed to the wooden door of his closet, listening intently. Rarity's voice, though muffled, had been unmistakable. But now, it sounded like it was only Pinkie and Twilight left talking.

Spike slumped to the floor. He'd been so engrossed in his book, he'd missed the original knock at the door, and then had spent the next several minutes obsessively trying to come up with just the right line to say as he wandered down the steps to greet Rarity. But before he could come up with something, it seemed the snowy white unicorn had already left.

"Figures she wouldn't wait to see me," Spike sighed. "Looks like I've still got a lot of work to do." He picked his book back up and continued to read, determined to figure this romance stuff out.

Thanks to years of living with Twilight, Spike had learned how to speed-read at an early age. He was already over half-way through the book. Each chapter covered one of the nine steps necessary to winning the love of your life.

Spike's confidence had jumped greatly after reading the first few chapters – the first four steps were going to be a cinch, seeing as he already basically did most of them. Sure, he'd have to refine them, but Spike felt he could handle it.

But things definitely went downhill from there. Step Five seemed like torture, and while Step Six sounded amazing, he was sure he'd somehow mess it up and make it end up as even worse torture than Step Five. Spike was almost too nervous to turn the page to find out about Step Seven.

That's when the knock on his closet interrupted him.

"Spike, you in there?" Twilight called from the other side.

"Uh, yeah!" Spike quickly hid his book under his blanket, and blew out the candles. He opened the door to find not only Twilight, but Pinkie Pie as well.

"Hello, Spike!" Pinkie Pie said, cheerfully. "Whatcha readin'?"

Spike took a step backwards. "R-reading?" How did she know? He glanced back, making sure his book definitely was hidden.

"Well, sure, silly!" Pinkie continued. "Is there any other reason you'd lock yourself in a closet with a rubber chicken and a kitchen sink?"

Spike blinked.

"Er, Pinkie, this is his storage closet, and that's just his stuff," Twilight explained.

"Oh like you don't sit in sinks to read!" Pinkie retorted gleefully. "Now come on Spike, what were you – oh!" She bounded straight past the dragon. "Pinkie Sense! Right front tooth, means something rectangular is under a blanket!"

"No, wait - !" Spike lunged for the apple blanket, but Pinkie Pie got there first.

The pink pony kicked the blanket aside, and revealed the book below. "Oooooo!" Pinkie bent over to read the title. "How to Woo Your Lady in – "

Spike darted forward and snatched the book from Pinkie before she could finish.

Twilight's eyebrows shot straight up. "Spike, are you actually using books to help you with Rarity?"

Spike's cheeks flushed and he hid the book behind his back for the second time that day. "No! I mean, maybe! I mean - !"

"Oh, Spike!" Twilight pulled him over and gave him a hug. "I'm so proud!"

"Me too!" Pinkie squeaked. "Wait – why are we proud?"

Spike winced as Twilight rubbed the top of his head with one hoof.

"I just never thought I'd see the day where Spike would turn to books to help him solve his problems!" Twilight explained. "My little boy is growing up!"

"I'm not your little boy!" Spike struggled his way out of the pony's grip, now holding his book tight against his chest. "And I'm not growing up anymore, either! You know what happened last time."

"Oh, Spike, don't be ridiculous," Twilight said. "Of course you're growing up. You can't just stop that."

"Watch me!" Spike stamped one foot. "I'll never turn into a monster again. Chapter One here says that being rude and greedy is against the Code of the Gentlecolt!"

Twilight laughed. "You can be such a silly dragon at times, Spike. Growing up doesn't always mean you grow bigger in size. It means you grow in experience, in personality, in wisdom."

"Right!" Pinkie chimed in. "Like when I discovered that not only do I like cupcakes, but I also like candied apples! That was just last week, and you don't see me getting any taller or growing giant claws, do you?"

"Er…good point, Pinkie," Twilight continued, giving the pink pony an awkward half smile. "Anyway, Spike. If you're really still this obsessed with Rarity – "

Pinkie gasped and threw her hooves over Twilight's mouth. "FOREVVVV – oh, wait! I forgot! We all already know about Spike's secret!" She giggled. "Continue!"

Twilight rolled her eyes. "In any case, Rarity was looking for some help sorting through gemstones at her shop this afternoon. I need to work, but Pinkie's going. Maybe you can tag along?"

Spike's heart jumped into his throat. "An afternoon with Rarity? That would be – that would be - !"

"Amazing, yes," Twilight patted him on the head. "So there you go. You're off the hook for chores today. Have a good time."

Spike hugged his book to his chest. A whole afternoon!

"Oh, we will!" Pinkie said, slapping Spike on the back so that he stumbled forward a few steps. He barely noticed, though.

This will be the perfect time to try out Step One! Spike thought to himself. Rarity, prepare to be wooed!

So there we go! Start of a brand new fic. Just what are the Nine Easy Steps to woo your lady? How does Rarity REALLY feel about Spike? And will Pinkie actually be patient enough to sort through piles of gemstones for hours on end? You'll need to keep your eyes peeled for future chapters to find out!