|The Watcher in the Halls|
|Date published||June 7, 2012|
Slice of Life
|Featuring||Cutie Mark Crusaders|
The story opens with Sweetie Belle, now a teenager, waking up for another day of high school, which she dreads because of the many things she has to deal with; dumb jocks, ditzy clique girls, and other assorted menaces that annoy her. After eating breakfast, she sets off and arrives at school. During a fit of frustration after encountering some ditzy cheerleaders who for some reason like her (despite her wanting nothing to do with them) she notices what appears to be a note fall out of her locker. Thinking Diamond Tiara, still the school bully, is playing a prank on her, she asks Featherweight if he had seen anyone at her locker, which he answers in the negative. Deciding to at least look at it, she opens the note to discover that it is in fact a letter written by a colt calling himself "The Watcher in the Halls". The letter explains the he has fallen deeply in love with her and wants to pursue a relationship with her. Intrigued and concerned by this development, Sweetie Belle decides to speak with her friends about it later.
When school lets out, Sweetie Belle meets up with her friends; Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, along with Apple Bloom's love Pipsqueak and their friend Dinky Hooves. She shows them the note and tells them about finding it. Apple Bloom and Dinky are overjoyed, but Scootaloo is suspicious, thinking it might be a stalker because of the "weird" signature. Scootaloo leaves to go home, citing the need to do homework, while the others disperse and promise to ask for advice to help Sweetie Belle.
Scootaloo returns home and is greeted by her little brothers and Rainbow Dash (who is her adopted mother in this continuity, with Soarin' as her adopted father). After discussing the events of the day with Rainbow, she is counseled against jumping to conclusions and advised to be supportive no matter what decision Sweetie Belle makes. Scootaloo is grateful for the advice. Sweetie likewise returns home to find Rarity in the midst of giving Opalescence a bath. After helping her recapture the soaking wet cat, Sweetie brings the events up with Rarity, who is overjoyed that someone has taken an interest in her little sister. She advises Sweetie to take the risk and go for it, but also tells her to bring her friends along for support. She suggests that Sweetie invite the "Watcher" to the Hearts and Hooves Day festival being put on by her school, Sweetie agrees, and begins to become excited about the prospect of meeting him.
The next day, Sweetie prepares a note and meets up with Scootaloo before class on the way to her locker. Just as she puts the note on it, hoping the "Watcher" will find it, Diamond Tiara appears and takes his original note to Sweetie, reading it out loud so the entire hallway can hear. Sweetie is embarrassed, and Diamond Tiara scoffs at the idea that any colt would take interest in her. Scootaloo forcefully chides Diamond Tiara, saying that someone has figured out the Sweetie has more to offer than "a broken heart and bad memories".
When Sweetie returns to her locker, she finds another note. Opening it reveals that it is from the "Watcher", agreeing to meet her and her friends at the festival. Overjoyed, Sweetie begins happily celebrating right in the middle of the hall, not caring who sees her.
The next night, Sweetie and her friends are awaiting the "Watcher's" arrival. Sweetie is nervous, fearful that he might not show. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom, who is there with Pipsqueak, help calm her down by being supportive, promising her that her admirer will keep his promise. Sweetie thanks them, just in time for the "Watcher" to arrive; a colt around Sweetie's age disguised with a simple black hoodie sweatshirt and sunglasses. He lovingly greets Sweetie Belle and compliments her, promising to reveal his identity after their evening together before they set off. The others decide to follow them in case Sweetie Belle needs them.
The two ponies eat a salad dinner before taking a walk together, talking along the way. The "Watcher" shows himself to be a sweet-natured and gentlemanly colt, and Sweetie Belle begins to fall in love with him. Another encounter with Diamond Tiara leads to her trying to seduce the "Watcher" only to be rebuffed, with him chastising her for her cruelty to other ponies and her licentious behavior, contrasted with Sweetie Belle's kindness, sweetness and modesty. Leaving the stunned Diamond Tiara behind, Sweetie and the "Watcher" take a ride on a Ferris wheel, where he cuddles her during a stoppage in the ride when she begins to get cold. Later, at a concert and dance, he requests a love song for her, and the two of them dance to it, in full view of her happy friends.
When their evening is finished, the "Watcher" fulfills his promise to reveal himself; he removes his disguise to reveal that he is in fact Rumble, Thunderlane's younger brother and a star athlete at school. He explains to the stunned ponies that he had become enamored with Sweetie Belle after seeing her sing in a school assembly, to the point that he had dreams about her every night. He feared that Sweetie, who had bad experiences with members of the "in-crowd", would see him as another "dumb jock" and reject him if he approached her, so he started the "Watcher" ploy in order for her to see him as he really was by concealing his identity and forcing her to look at his heart. Sweetie declares her love for Rumble, and the two of them share a warm and passionate kiss to end their evening.
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