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Call of the Cutie

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Alex had never been so happy to see his bed when he finally arrived home from his trip to Manehattan. He dropped all of his belongings on the floor; belly flopped on to the bed, and was immediately greeted with a large cloud of dust puffing into his face.

Well, it HAD been three months since this bed was used…

Alex sighed and rolled over on to his back. He was pretty excited to have some time to relax. He was going to sleep in nice and late tomorrow, and then, go and finish his date with Dash. After they teleported home, Dash seemed to disappear with little more than a quick goodbye. She had been pretty far out of her comfort zone in that dress, so he quickly dismissed it. She wanted to be back to normal just as much as he did.

Celestia and Luna had also left right away. They had left some important business behind to go visit Alex for his return.

Closing his eyes for a moment, Alex cast a spell to levitate off the bed a few feet, and then dropped himself back on to the bed, sending the remaining dust into the air around him.

Pulling the covers over himself, he got comfortable, and started to doze off. Now, all he could do was hope that he wouldn't have any of his stupid dreams where he talked to Discord, or an evil version of himself…

That happened far too often.

/

Dash walked into her room and sighed.

It was good to be home.

Her time at the training academy had been exciting, and one of the greatest highlights of her life. But, one thing that she'd never miss about that place, were the beds.

They were stiff, scratchy, and downright uncomfortable.

Not at all like her bed. She had never realized it before, but sleeping on a cloud was her favorite thing to do. You truly don't know what you have until it's gone.

Jumping into her bed, Dash sunk into the cloud, and closed her eyes.

Today had been truly amazing. In fact, the more she thought about it, the more she was shocked.

Last year, if she had been told that she would have given up on being a Wonderbolt for a stallion, she wouldn't have believed it in a second. Of course, she also wouldn't have believed that anypony would fall hundreds of feet just so they could be with her… Especially when they weren't able to fly.

And of course, she had worn a dress, danced, and even passionately kissed him… It was all… Not her.

She had never considered herself to really be a pony worth so much effort. But, Alex was certainly starting to change her feelings about that.

She wanted nothing more than to just spend some peace and quiet with him. However, with Discord, and the 'dark side' Alex possessed, she knew that they wouldn't be having much time like that.

Still… It gave her something to look forward to.

But for now, all problems aside, she was going to take a nice long, overdue nap.

/

Alex had awoken to a large amount of shuffling going on outside of his room. Glancing around, he looked at the clock on the wall, and was surprised to see it was already past 3:00.

Sitting up, he rolled out of bed, and headed for the door. He wanted to see what all the fuss was about. He was a bit of a mess, but it was nothing that he couldn't fix in a hurry if he needed to.

Opening the door, Alex looked toward Twilight, who smiled upon seeing him.

"Hey!" Twilight said happily, "Finally awake?"

"I guess so," Alex laughed, "You two sounded like you were getting ready to go out."

"We are!" Spike said, "We were invited to a cute-ceañera!"

Alex was a bit confused.

"A… what?"

"It's a celebration for a pony who recently earned their cutie mark." Twilight explained.

"Does that mean I'll have a… Cute… citrus when I get my mark?" Alex asked a bit more excited than he should have been.

"Well, if you really want one!" Twilight laughed.

"So, who is this for?" Alex asked, calming down a little.

"It's for a couple of girls in primary school." Twilight said, "Their fathers are pretty wealthy, and are throwing a big party for them."

"And everypony in town is invited to stop by!" Spike added, "It's at Sugar Cube Corner, so you know the food will be good!"

"So, it'll be alright if I come along?" Alex asked hopefully, wanting to pig out a bit.

"Of course." Twilight smiled.

"Great!" Alex said, "Give me a minute to get ready!"

Alex ran into his room, leaving Twilight and Spike waiting by the door.

"I hope he doesn't take too long." Twilight said, "I don't wanna miss any of the girls."

Just as she finished saying that, a bright light flashed from behind the door, and Alex walked out of the room looking like he had just come out of a spa.

"H-how did you do that so fast?" Twilight asked, shocked.

"Magic!" Alex said, pointing to his horn. "I remember seeing something about it in one of your books."

"Well, let's go!" Spike said, heading out the door with Alex.

"That's pretty advanced," Twilight said to herself quietly, "Something doesn't seem right..."

/

Dash had been flying above Ponyville for about a half an hour, enjoying the open skies and long-reaching view.

She had missed it.

She had been out all morning, as her sleeping schedule had been forced into a much less lazy one by her training. First, she went to see Alex, but Twilight said he was still asleep. So, she spent some time talking to Fluttershy instead, and was now on her way to visit with Rarity.

There had been so much that had fallen behind on, and was intent on catching up. Of course, that was nothing compared to what Alex had missed out on, but from what she had heard, Spike was filling him in.

And of course, Spike becoming a pony was another foreign thing to her. Alex disappeared so soon after his transformation, that she had paid very little attention to him in his new pony form. But she was going to fix that right now.

However, instead of going and talking to Spike about it, she was going to get all the goods from Rarity.

Flying down to the Carousel Boutique, Dash walked up to the wide open door, and peeked inside.

"Uh… Hello?" Dash called.

Immediately, Rarity's little sister Sweetie Belle ran out the door, and headed into town.

"Come on Rarity!" Her voice squeaked.

"Sweetie Belle!" Rarity called from the front door, not receiving an answer from her sister.

Dash watched Rarity sigh and shake her head.

"What can I do for you Rainbow Dash?" Rarity asked, returning to her usual poised demeanor.

"Oh, you know…" Dash said, not really wanting to interrupt anything. "Just wanted to catch up."

"Oh! Well, if you wouldn't mind taking a walk, I'd be happy to chat." Rarity smiled.

"Really?" Dash asked, "Great!"

The two headed off to wherever it was that they were going.

"Where are you headed?" Dash asked.

"We're going to the cute-ceañera one of Sweetie's classmates." Rarity said, "She was fretting about not having a cutie mark when most of her friends already do, but she headed off in a hurry just the same."

"That's how girls can be." Dash laughed.

"So dear, is there anything in particular that you wanted to catch up on?" Rarity asked.

"Well…" Dash said, trying not to sound too obvious, "I wanted to know about Spike, and… Well, your perspective on the whole situation."

"Ah." Rarity giggled, "I suppose you were a bit of an introvert when we really started things out, weren't you?"

"I guess you could say that." Dash laughed nervously.

"Well, Spike is certainly a different dragon from the one he used to be." Rarity said.

"No kidding." Dash said.

"It's surprising really," Rarity began, "Spike has changed substantially since his transformation three months ago."

"Really?" Dash asked.

Rarity nodded.

"He's matured a great deal," Rarity explained, "And I don't mean he's lost his ability to be silly, or something like that… He's just… Different."

"That's a positive thing?" Dash asked.

"Oh, goodness yes," Rarity said, "Spike was chivalrous, and kind hearted to begin with, but now that he isn't a dragon… It all seems so… emphasized."

Dash nodded.

"It all seems like it has more meaning, like he's trying so hard to hold on to my affection." Rarity continued.

Dash was a bit confused, but allowed Rarity to continue before speaking up.

"He'll do just about anything for me now," Rarity said, a bit lost in her thoughts, "I feel guilty saying how much I enjoy it… And the strangest part is, Twilight says that he seems the same around me!"

"Are you sure that he's matured?" Dash finally cut in.

"Hmm?" Rarity asked, a little lost at her comment.

"It sounds to me like Spike is the exact same!" Dash laughed.

"But—"

"He's worshiped the ground you've walked on since he moved here! He's always been your slave, and he's always treated you better than Princess Celesta herself!" Dash listed, giggling the whole way through.

"Well…" Rarity said, trying to find the right words.

"I'm sure that he has changed a lot," Dash said, "But you're just noticing the things that were already there! Like you said, it's emphasized!"

Rarity smiled, "Perhaps you're right."

The two walked in silence for a few moments while Rarity thought to herself.

Dash suddenly got a wicked idea in her head.

"So… How is he?" Dash asked suggestively, knowing the confusion she was going to elicit.

"How is he at what?" Rarity asked innocently.

She didn't get it.

"You know… How IS he?" Dash repeated.

After a moment, the cogs started turning in Rarity's head, and she suddenly turned away, blushing furiously.

"Shame on you Rainbow Dash!" Rarity said, "I'm insulted you'd even consider that such a thing had taken place!"

Dash exploded in a fit of giggles, falling on her back.

"I'm not that kind of mare!" Rarity continued, "And Spike is certainly NOT that kind of stallion."

"I was just joking!" Dash laughed, "Calm down!"

"Well… It was in poor taste." Rarity said, still a little miffed.

The two walked in somewhat awkward silence for a minute while Rarity calmed down. Then, Dash decided to take a risk.

"I'm sorry," Dash said, "I'll make sure Spike is REALLY happy next time I ask, that's how I'll know for sure."

Rarity surprised herself by laughing softly, and after a few seconds she even responded, "I can assure you that he'll be much more than happy."

The two continued to make somewhat crude jokes as they headed toward Sugar Cube corner. Something that neither of them had expected to be doing when this trip started, but enjoyed nonetheless.

/

Alex, Twilight and Spike arrived at the party, and were immediately greeted with loud music, chatter, and Pinkie bouncing around eating lots of food. However, seeing their entrance, she landed next to the three of them.

"Hey Alex!" Pinkie said, "Where's your party hat?"

"Uh… hat?" Alex asked, turning to Twilight and Spike, both of which were now wearing party hats. He then looked up, and saw that he was wearing one too.

"You're welcome!" Pinkie said, as she made her way back into he party.

"She's good…" Alex said.

"You can say that again." Spike said, poking the hat on his head.

Alex looked around, and realized just how few of the kids he knew. The only ones he really recognized were Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle. But, for some reason, Apple Bloom was walking around with what looked like a table cloth tied around her.

Sweetie Belle on the other hand had arrived just after him, and was hiding in the corner with an orange Pegasus that he didn't know.

Turning around, Alex saw that Twilight and Spike had headed off in their own directions, leaving Alex alone to mingle with the ponies at the party.

Deciding to get better acquainted with some of the fillies, Alex walked over to Sweetie Belle and her friend.

"Hey guys!" Alex said approaching the two, "Why are you hiding in the corner over here?"

"Shhh!" Sweetie said, standing up on her hind legs, and clamping her hoofs over his mouth. "Don't draw any attention to us!"

"Uh… Why?" Alex asked quietly as Sweetie removed her hoofs.

"Because we don't want everypony laughing at us…" Sweetie's friend said.

"Why would they laugh at you?" Alex asked.

"Because we're blank flanks…" Sweetie said, ashamed.

"Blank… flanks?" Alex said, piecing together what it was. "You mean you don't have Cutie marks?"

"Yeah!" Sweetie's friend said sadly.

"Psh, Big deal!" Alex laughed.

"Huh?" The two said in unison.

"I don't have a cutie mark, so what?" Alex asked, "There's nothing to be ashamed of."

"You don—"

The three were pulled out of the conversation by a record player hitting the floor, by Apple Bloom, who everypony was now looking at.

"Oh no…" Apple Bloom said.

"Wow, that IS an amazing Cutie Mark!" A filly with glasses said.

"Nice try, loser!" Another one with a tiara said.

"Blank flank!" The two said in unison, pushing Apple Bloom to the verge of tears.

Alex looked around, and decided to step forward. They must have had some respect for him.

"I don't have a Cutie Mark, what does that make me?" Alex asked, confident that the girls would back down from their insults.

"That makes you a GIANT loser!" The girl with the tiara said.

"Yeah!" The other said, "I'd be so humiliated if I was YOUR age and had no Cutie Mark!"

"Ouch…" Alex said to himself… "Right in my masculinity…"

"You got a problem with blank flanks?" Sweetie's friend called.

"Huh?" The girls both said.

"I SAID, you got a problem with blank flanks?" She repeated.

"The problem is that they're not special!" The girl with glasses said.

"No, it means that they're full of potential!" Sweetie spoke up.

"Yeah!" Alex agreed, "We could be good at anything!"

"They could be scientists, or artists, or writers or—"

"Or rappers!" Alex finished, happy with how well his suggestion fit the others.

"And they're not stuck up, like you two!" The orange Pegasus added.

"Why are you on their side?" The one with the tiara asked.

The two girls turned, and exposed their blank flanks to the entire room.

"Y'all don't have Cutie Marks either?" Apple Bloom asked excitedly.

"I think these girls are very lucky!" Twilight said.

As Twilight explained the advantages of not having a Cutie Mark, Alex noticed Dash and Rarity standing in the corner, watching the whole scene.

Dash gestured to the door, and walked outside.

Alex quickly ducked out of the crowd, and headed out the door to meet Dash.

/

"You know…" Dash said as Alex walked up beside her. "It sure was impressive how you got man handled by that school filly."

Alex laughed, "What can I say? I'm prone to being bullied."

Dash giggled, "It WAS sweet that you tried to stand up for Applejacks sister."

"It's just a good thing that Sweetie Belle and…" Alex said, before getting stuck on the Pegasus that had been with Sweetie Belle.

"Scootaloo." Dash finished.

"It's a good thing Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo came to my rescue," Alex said, "Because I would be in tears right now if they hadn't."

"Surrrreeee." Dash said, "Because everypony knows that I like a stallion that knows when to cry."

"I cry all the time, baby." Alex said in a deep manly voice.

"Pff, shut up!" Dash giggled, smacking him.

The two stood in a comfortable silence together for a few moments.

"It's nice to be back to normal." Alex said, breaking the silence.

"I know…" Dash agreed, "I'm never letting this go again."

Alex took a step closer to Dash, and allowed her to rest her head on his neck.

"Alex… What's gonna happen when you master that teleportation spell?" Dash asked, having been bothered by this for a while. "Are… you gonna go home?"

"Of course not," Alex said. "There's so much here… I'd never leave it all behind."

"Good," Dash said closing her eyes and sighing. "So, you want to head somewhere?"

"Sure," Alex said, "What did you have in mind?"

"Well—"

"Hey Alex!" Sweetie Belle called from the front door.

Alex and Dash turned to face the three girls standing at the entrance.

"Hey girls, what's up?" Alex asked.

"Thanks for tryin' to stand up for me back there…" Apple Bloom said.

"No problem," Alex smiled.

"So, we wanted to ask you…" Sweetie Belle said.

"Do you want to join our club?" Scootaloo asked.

"Club…?" Alex asked.

"We're formin' The Cutie Mark Crusaders!" Apple Bloom said, "And we're gonna be seachin' for our Cutie Marks together!"

Alex laughed nervously, "Are you girls sure that you want someone my age in your club?"

"Of course!" Scootaloo said, "We asked Spike too! And he said he would join!"

"Of course he did…" Alex laughed under his breath.

"But my sister seemed kinda upset about it…" Sweetie said. "Started saying something about his 'maturity.'"

Dash let out a single, loud 'ha!' Before catching herself and stopping.

"Well… If Spike is in, how could I say no?" Alex said, expecting nothing to come of this 'club' anyway.

"Great!" The three said in unison.

"Our first meetin' is next week!" Apple Bloom said, "Don't be late! We're meeting at Sweet Apple Acres!"

The three headed off together back into the party.

Dash simply looked at Alex with a smirk.

"W-What?" Alex said, "I'm proud of being a Cutie Mark Crusader!"

"But… It's for little girls!" Dash said.

"So?" Alex asked, "Little girls stuff can be cool!"

"Isn't that kinda lame though?" Dash asked. "Liking little girls stuff?"

"Psh, no!" Alex laughed, "I wouldn't even be here if little girl stuff was lame!"

"Hey!" Pinkie shouted, "Did you just break the fourth wall?"

/