WARNING: I am posting this at the same time as I'm posting CHAPTER 15. If you haven't read the final chapter, please go do so now! Else-wise, prepare to be horribly spoiled! Go double check right now that you're on the right chapter!
Then onwards with the epilogue! Fluff abounds! Thanks again for sticking around for the whole ride. It's been completely fun to write this thing. May Spike and Rarity see many wonderful episodes in Season 4 and beyond!
It'd been a few days since they'd gotten home, and Spike had reached a decision. Actually, two decisions. And somehow, he had to work up the courage to bring these decisions up to Rarity.
He stood outside her boutique, holding one closed fist at her door. Okay, Spike, you can do this. Just knock. You got this. She loves you, remember? This shouldn't be so scary anymore!
But Rarity actually liking him in return was still such a new idea, Spike woke up each morning convinced he'd imagined it all. But he couldn't have. A warm glow still filled him from when she'd held him that night on the beach, after everypony else had gone to sleep. They'd been content that night. Just happy to be near each other. Holding one another. Alive, and together.
But ever since they'd gotten back to Ponyville, life had been so busy, they'd barely had a chance to see one another at all. And now…
Spike's resolve strengthened. He knocked.
"We're just about ready to close for the day, but one last customer it shall be!" Rarity's sing-song voice answered. She opened the door, flipping the 'OPEN' sign to read 'CLOSED'. "Welcome to Carousal Boutique, where—Spikey Wikey!" she exclaimed upon seeing the little dragon. She scooped him up and slammed the door in delight. "Oh, my Spikey Wikey, what a surprise!"
Just the smell of her was enough to make Spike's face produce a gushy, mushy, lovestruck grin. He enjoyed their hug for a moment, and then shook himself out of his reverie. "Hey, Rarity," he said, extracting himself from her embrace and looking up at her. "I'm here because…well, I have a couple things I wanted to talk to you about."
"Of course, Spike, anything," Rarity said. She moved back to a rack of clothing, idly scanning it, probably to make sure it was in the correct order as she closed shop for the night.
Spike swallowed. Here goes. "Okay. Well, first of all, I've…learned a lot about myself lately."
Rarity paused her sorting and tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Hmm. Yes. I suppose I can see how you may have done so, mmm-hmm."
Spike narrowed his eyes at her. "You're making fun of me, aren't you?" He didn't state it as a question.
Rarity gave him a sly smile, then pranced by and bopped him lightly on the nose. "Just a little, dear." She moved onto another rack of clothing.
Spike rolled his eyes. "Well, anyway. One of the things I learned is that I'm not alone. In being a stranded baby dragon, that is. There were five eggs taken, and I'm just one of them. No one knows what happened to the other eggs, but I was thinking…I might like to try and find them."
Rarity stopped going through the clothing rack. Her body stiffened, and she looked at him carefully.
"I think I'll start at the Canterlot Library," he continued quickly. "Twilight's already offered to help, but you know how she is. We'll never get out of that library if she has her way. So, seeing as it's Canterlot and all, I was wondering if…maybe you wanted to come with me?"
Rarity's hooves were around him once more, this time crushing him to her fiercely. "Oh, darling, of course! Canterlot would be wonderful! Goodness, for a moment I'd thought you were going to tell me you had to leave me to go on some soul-searching, egg-hunting quest for Celestia-knows-how-long!"
"Leave you?" Spike pulled back. "Are you crazy? I could never do that! If I ever try to find those eggs, I'd want you there with me, Rarity."
Rarity's eyes shimmered and she made some absurdly high-pitched noise. Then she kissed Spike on the end of his nose and his face went red.
"Uh…that sort of brings me to my next question," Spike said.
"Oh?" Rarity asked. "What, this?" She kissed his nose again.
Spike swallowed. "Yeah, actually." You can do this, Spike. Come on. You destroyed hundreds of gargoyles, this should be easy! "I…sort of realized something." He stepped back from Rarity, wringing his claws. "You've given me a lot of, uh…kisses. Which are incredible!" he added quickly, looking up at her before she got any wrong ideas. "But I've realized…well, hold on."
He sucked in a breath. Just like you practiced.
Spike turned around, shutting his eyes and concentrating. He centered his feelings on Rarity…on protecting her…caring for her…on the sensations he'd felt while flying through battle…on his inner dragon. And he began to grow.
One foot began to stretch out, then the other. His wings unfolded larger and larger. It wasn't painful, exactly, but Spike wouldn't describe the sensation as comfortable.
When he reached the size he'd been going for, he reigned himself back in. Turning, he could now look Rarity directly in the eye. "Well," he said, ignoring the dry feeling in his throat. He'd practiced these words in the mirror enough times. They had to come out right. "I realized that I've never actually kissed you back. And I thought it might be nicer to do that if I could be the same height as you."
Rarity's mouth hung open. She could practically feel her heart pounding its way out of her chest as Spike drew closer. Sweet Celestia, she'd never…never…this was most unexpected, and…oh, for crying out loud, were her eyelids fluttering?
Rarity took in a slow, calming breath. No. She was in control. This was…this was…
Spike's green eyes captured hers and Rarity bit her lower lip. She had to admit, he had fabulous idea. He should kiss her. He should kiss her right now.
"The one problem is," Spike said, stopping just a few inches away from her. His eyebrows were knit in genuine concern. "I've never kissed a girl before. So…"
Spike fumbled for Rarity's hoof. His claws clumsily, but gently, lifted it into the air.
"I probably should practice first. If …if that's okay?"
Mother of Equestria, Spike. Rarity's mind raced almost as fast as her heart. You…you…
…You have no idea what you're doing to me, do you?
She watched him. His eyes danced nervously between her face and her hoof, and Rarity realized his adorable naiveté was no ploy. No act. Spike genuinely was terrified of messing this up. She almost laughed, but held back.
"Go ahead, Spike," Rarity told him.
Spike set his shoulders. His wings clenched inwards, clearly a bit panicked. He lifted her hoof slightly higher. As Spike's warm claws cautiously raised it, goosebumps shot through Rarity, setting her entire body on alert.
She shut her eyes. Anytime now, Spike. You don't need to be nervous. A mildly ironic sentiment, given the fluttering feeling currently traveling through her at Wonderbolt racing speeds.
When his mouth finally touched her hoof, Rarity felt her breath hitch. The kiss only lasted for a brief, tremulous moment, but the feeling remained long afterwards.
Love. It felt like love.
He dropped her hoof back down, stepping back from her and looking away. "Okay, so, how was that? Was that okay?" he asked.
Rarity slowly opened her eyes. Spike's own eyes were swimming with sincerity. The poor dragon just wanted to know he hadn't screwed up. But Rarity could still feel his kiss, and was having trouble locating her voice at the moment. So she just nodded.
Spike winced. "Maybe I need to practice again before trying the real thing."
Rarity stepped forward, putting a hoof to his mouth to stop him talking. She shook her head. Her breathing was shallow. "No, Spike. No more practice."
Spike's eyes just looked more pained at that, so Rarity caught his gaze and held it until he came to understand her meaning.
"Oh," he finally said, beneath her hoof.
Rarity lowered her hoof and stepped closer. Spike took a tentative step her way as well, setting his claws on her shoulders.
"Really?" he asked.
She nodded. It was taking nearly all of her self-control not just to lean in and kiss him herself. She'd never felt her heart beat like this before. She felt like a school filly again. Looking into Spike's eyes became too much to handle, so she shut hers. Rarity could feel her breath quicken as the warmth of Spike's face neared her own.
And then, his mouth was on hers, and Rarity melted away into the gentleness of it all. Never in her life had she been kissed this way. She pulled Spike closer to her, holding on tight with one hoof over his shoulder. She couldn't resist any longer, and returned his kiss, deepening it as far as she dared without pushing him back into panic.
The kiss was sweet.
Full of absolute, undying adoration.
"Hey, Rarity, we got out early today from school and I thought—WHOA!"
Rarity stumbled backwards, her eyes flying open. "Sweetie Belle?!" she turned to the door to face her sister.
"I…I didn't know you were busy," Sweetie Belle stammered.
"Didn't you see the sign said 'CLOSED'? Learn to knock!" Rarity demanded. Next to her, she could see Spike going bright red.
For some reason, that just made Sweetie Belle burst out in laughter. "Definitely will next time! I'll let you two get back to things now, though," she said, grinning.
Rarity groaned, as Sweetie Belle slammed the door and raced off. "It's going to be all over town now," she said, rubbing a hoof to her face.
"Sorry," Spike mumbled, turning away. Rarity could see his body tremble, and she realized he was about to shrink back down to tiny-Spike out of sheer embarrassment.
"Darling, stop." Rarity quickly grabbed him, pulling him back. "It doesn't matter."
Spike looked at her, blinking. "It doesn't?"
Rarity smiled, shaking her head. "Let them talk. They'll just be jealous of us, anyway." She blinked at him her expression turning serious. "Spike, I don't want to hide this. We're in love. Sure, it's complicated, and more than a little odd, and there's some bizarre cultural things to get over, like that life-mate business, but it's nothing we can't figure out. Think of us as trend-setters." Rarity held her head a little higher. "Maybe this type of thing hasn't been done before, but that just means we're ahead of the curve." Spike still looked a bit skeptical, so Rarity added, "And if you keep kissing me like that, I don't think I'm going to have any trouble with that life-mate thing, anyway."
That finally got Spike smiling. "So you're saying you like how I kiss you?"
Rarity stepped closer. She set her forehead against his, carefully tilting her horn to one side. She could feel her eyelashes tickle Spike's scales. "Spikey Wikey, I like everything about you." Rarity lowered her eyelids demurely. "Now, where were we?"