Well, it's been quite a ride. I hope you've liked this look at Spike growing up, and I have enjoyed joining this fandom more than I can say. I'm blown away by the response, and I thank each and every one of you for reading, reviewing, critiquing and generally being the Magic of Fandom. Extra thanks go to Zervziel and WandererD for pre-reading this chapter!
To those who wondered about the Shipping Tag on EqD, it was basically only there in order to be safe when it came to this chapter! (Bigots, please keep your opinions to yourselves. Nopony wants to hear you air your narrow prejudices. If you haven't figured it out by now, one of the main themes of this story is acceptance of that which is different.)
FANARTS HOMG WOW. We have another QueenCold masterpiece: Spike's mother, as she was when she faced Doctor Living Stone. SCARY. And the awesome Quatercomet has drawn a Big!Spike and a Human!Twilight inspired by ITAV. So flattered. The detail is amazing. Links on my profile, as always.
One last time: Not mine, no money, Hasbro's. (*sob*)
It Takes a Village
"Stick to Froggy Bottom Bog, or I'll really give you something to cry about!"
Spike glared at the Hydra, who hissed and spat at him even as it slunk away. One of its heads was indeed crying, howling over its broken tooth. The Hydra had been overstepping its range again, sneaking up onto the rocky cliffs around Ghastly Gorge and coming perilously close to Ponyville. Spike wasn't nearly the size of the great beast yet, but he was already more than its match.
The morning sun beat down on him as he spread his wings, climbed into the sky and began to soar back towards his village. It was market day, and as he coasted, many ponies looked up and waved. He waved back, smiling. His house loomed over the town, a great rocky mountain with a cheery little green chimney. Flowers and moss were beginning to grow over its sides.
Five eventful years had passed since the challenge. Spike's second great growth spurt had begun with a vengeance, and he had roughly doubled in height. Twilight only reached his ankle now, and his claws were about the length of a pony's leg. Growing had again presented its difficulties. He had a great deal of trouble when it came to moving around the town, and more than once his tail had slammed into a building and caused it to shake. Thankfully he hadn't caused any damage, and he'd redoubled his efforts to get reacquainted his old friend, control. He'd had to work very, very hard on maintaining his precision with his larger claws. Even the lake was starting to get a little small.
When his growth spurt had begun, he'd been a bit worried. As he grew bigger (and bigger, and bigger) and even more ferocious-looking, worry became fear. What if his appearance turned ponies against him again?
As it turned out, he'd worried for nothing.
After the Riot of Ponyville, attitudes had changed. The backlash against the Anti-Dragon sympathizers had been enormous. The whole of Equestria unilaterally condemned the actions of the rioters and protestors. The petition had been summarily dropped. New laws had been put into place, confirming the Equestrian rights of those dragons that had been pony-raised. And right after that had come the trial.
Blarney Stone had been tried and found guilty on overwhelming evidence, and sentenced to twenty years imprisonment for attempted murder. The green and grey unicorn had ranted and raved throughout the entire proceedings, to the point where his own counsel became disgusted with him. Grape Vine had testified against him, bluntly admitting her own prejudices and giving the facts honestly and straight-forwardly. Since the trial, she had disbanded the 'Parents for a Peaceful Equestria', and founded a new group, working closely with the RSPCD and the Griffon Consulate. It was called 'Equality for Equestria.'
The trial was feverishly reported on by what felt like every journalist in Equestria. Spike had thought that he'd become inured to the flash of cameras, but he'd never experienced anything like the Canterlot Courtroom steps that day. It had been like being caught in a personal lightning storm. It was even more embarrassing because he couldn't get through the courthouse door, and his hindquarters were left sticking outside for the whole of Canterlot to photograph.
Scoop Headlines had won his third Ponitzer Prize that year - with an article featuring a picture of Spike's scaly rump.
After the trial had finished, the details had been made public. For the first time, the majority of ponies were made aware of how a dragon's egg had made it to the examination room. The outrage was unbelievable. Everypony wanted him to know that they supported him. Everypony wanted him to stay. Ponies came to Ponyville simply to have their pictures taken outside his house. He'd never been so accepted, not even as a small and unthreatening infant. Then, his differences had only served to set him apart. Now, his differences made him special - even celebrated.
In that way, he supposed, the Mayor had been right. He was now Ponyville's Famous Dragon. He was pretty glad that he attracted a very different type of tourist these days.
Dragons, too, had been interested in him. He'd woken up with a burp one night, only to end up receiving a bundle of letters in a burst of green fire. The Dragon of the Wyrmstadt had sent him everything She could about his mother – and his father. It turned out that the Dragon of the Singing Ranges was his Sire, and he was still alive. Spike wasn't interested in meeting a dragon who had rejected him even before he hatched, and so he hadn't made contact. It honestly didn't matter to him anyway – he'd never been so happy. She Who Swallows the Sky often sent him messages asking about 'modern life' and 'young ponies these days'. He got the feeling that he entertained Her.
Apparently the prickly wyvern Ambassador had washed his claws of the whole situation, and was now living on a volcanic island somewhere, working on his tan. His nephew was a rather happy-go-lucky fellow, and almost impossible to dislike. Dragon-Pony relations were likely to become very interesting during his tenure as Ambassador. She Who Lives Longest seemed to think it the best joke since the birth of the world.
Spike had gone to the caverns of the Wyrmstadt once. He wasn't ever likely to forget Her. She made an Ursa Major look like a kitten. He couldn't even think of Her without capitalising the H.
Indigo had become a good friend. The magician wrote almost every month, sending spellbooks and interesting artefacts and little curios from his travels. Included in all his witty chatter were many anecdotes from his time amongst the unicorns in the Pre-Classical era. Spike always showed these to Twilight, with mixed results. She had been immensely happy to hear that her hero had been honest, brave and true, but less than pleased to hear that he had a frightful lisp, and that he was convinced that invisible horseflies were stealing his clothes – thus the bells. Spike had laughed himself hoarse at her expression.
A downdraft sucked at him, and he coasted through it easily with a beat of his wings. The sky was an achingly clear blue, full of the promise of Spring. He flipped over with a great gust of wind that blew back the tops of the trees and backstroked once or twice, enjoying the cool breeze on his hide and in his fins. Flying was now a great joy. He couldn't believe how scared he'd once been.
The cross shout came from far below, and he craned about, looking for the shoutee. Pinkie was shaking her hoof from the window of Sugarcube Corner. "You made my soufflé collapse with that gust of wind, you big lug!" she hollered. "I'm gonna sic Gummy on you! I'm gonna make you deliver my cupcakes for a month! I'm gonna make up a really silly song about you, oooh, see if I don't!"
"Sorry!" he yelled back, his voice booming through the pleasant valley. It was deepening as he grew, and he was having to learn how to temper his volume. His snores were becoming a problem. Magical baffling was being applied to the walls of his house to make sure he didn't keep everypony awake all night. "I forgot!"
"Tricky flying happens at over three hundred feet, or I'll do more than assault you with soufflé, mister!" she yelled, her eyes sparkling. "By the way, I have a Gemstone Crumble cooling on the windowsill for Huffy when she turns up, okie dokie lokie?"
Spike grinned. He knew Pinkie couldn't be that upset about a silly soufflé. She was now the Head Baker at Sugarcube Corner since the retirement of Mr Cake, and her cookies, cupcakes and muffins were eagerly sought by all the fancy cafe-going sets in Manehattan – mainly through Rarity's influence. "I'll let her know! Thanks, Pinks!"
"Silly billy Spikeface!" she yelled back, grinning and waving.
Spike waved back, and righted himself carefully, trying to keep the gusts of wind to a minimum. He elongated his neck and pointed his nose upwards, soaring higher over the town. From this high, he could see over the whole valley. He could recognise the orange blur that was Applejack walking through the raked fields in Sweet Apple Acres, watering all their hard work.
He tilted himself towards his great grey house, his eyes taking in the rise of the Everfree Forest. That reminded him of the lessons he was getting from Razorfang, and he blew out a frustrated, smoke-laden breath. There were so many aspects to draconic culture he hadn't ever suspected. His head occasionally felt like it was going to burst. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of chants, the only ones he could really recall perfectly were the Flight and the Long Sleep chants. Razorfang hadn't become any more patient in the intervening years, and fully expected Spike to have memorised each chant, aspect of lore or song before the next lesson. Spike hadn't ever been the most studious of dragons despite his library training, and though he tried his tail off, he simply couldn't retain it all the way that Twilight or Huffy could.
Nowadays Razorfang was more likely to be disappointed rather than angry when Spike fumbled – and that was almost worse. Spike hated disappointing Razorfang. He wanted the old dragon to be proud of him. Twilight was adamant that Razorfang was in fact ridiculously proud of him, and that he was being oversensitive. He could make out the small range under the trees which hid the old green dragon's renovated cave. Pony magic had cleared it out for him, and he and Spike had collected all his gems together once more. Razorfang had given Spike an old crown from his collection, which even now sat on Spike's shelf.
Tomorrow, he and Huffy would visit, and Razorfang would give them another chant to learn. The chants had brought up bittersweet memories of his long-dead mate, who had loved them so. It seemed to help the old dragon to teach them to a new kind of dragon, and thus give the old songs and chants new meaning and memories. Spike had a test next week on the Stone chant... and he was sure he was getting it wrong...
At that moment, a chromatic blur zipped past him and he locked his wings, sighing. "Rainbow," he said testily. "You know that doesn't work anymore."
Rainbow Dash returned to hover in front of his eyes, smiling sheepishly. "Can't blame a Pegasus for tryin'! You used to jerk back and make the funniest faces... it was totally hilarious!"
"When did you get back?"
"Just now," she said, smoothing down her Wonderbolts uniform. The Captain's badge sat upon her breast. "Saw you above, thought I'd try and give you a scare for old times' sake."
"Applejack's in the fields," Spike said pointedly. "I just saw her. Don't you think you should go see her first?"
Rainbow's fuschia eyes softened. "Yeah, off t' do that now. See you later, huh?"
Rainbow Dash zipped away with a practised flip of her wing directly for Sweet Apple Acres. Spike watched as the blue and rainbow blur converged upon the orange one, and giggled to himself as he saw Applejack drop her watering can. The two mares had come to an understanding a couple of years ago. They had unexpectedly hooked up at one of Pinkie's parties, and even more unexpectedly happily stayed together. They had been a surprise to everypony - even themselves. They hadn't stopped challenging or sniping at each other over the intervening time, but the gleam in their eyes was now warm and fond rather than irritated. Though Rainbow had to leave periodically to undertake her Captaincy duties, she always returned to Sweet Apple Acres.
Applejack was unchanged and unchangeable, just as cheerful and honest and good-natured as ever - and you couldn't pry her out of her beloved farm with a crowbar. Macintosh had given over the full running of the place to her upon his marriage, though he had trotted over every day from the cottage he shared with Fluttershy – at least until the arrival of Appleseed.
He landed with a carefully controlled gust of wind, and shook out his stinging neck. Stupid Hydra, thinking it could bite through his scales. It wasn't the first time he'd had to put the stubborn creature back in its place. The first time had been enlightening for both of them. Spike had tried to reason with it, thinking that perhaps the Hydra had an intelligence nearing that of a dragon or a pony. He was quickly disabused of that notion. The Hydra had immediately attacked, and Spike had been forced to give it a quick and humiliating lesson in what it meant to face a dragon. It still had burn scars along the side of its second head. Since that day, it had mostly stayed to Froggy Bottom Bog, treating the inhabitants of Ponyville with wary respect. It was only within the last week or two that it had started ranging outside its grounds once more. Spike made a mental note to talk to Fluttershy, if she had the time. Suppose the fish in the Bog had been too depopulated, and the Hydra was hungry? That would explain why it was starting to look further afield for a snack.
He nudged open his great metal door. It was still vastly too big for him, but it swung easily thanks to a combination of Apple Bloom's ingenuity and Twilight's magic. Inside, his tiny little gramophone was piping a merry tune, and he lit the branch in the torch-ring with an absent-minded breath. Then he looked around, frowning. He'd cleaned yesterday, but he wanted to do one last check.
He stretched up to his haunches and ran a claw over one of his shelves. Still spotless. His packed-earth floor was smartly brushed, and the scrolls and enlarged books on his shelves neatly arranged (by subject and in alphabetical order – his library assistant days were never far behind him, even now). Many of them had been presents from the Princesses and Indigo, though the jewels of his collection were from Twilight. His pictures were hanging straight. His scarf was on its peg. He glanced over at his larder, which was stocked to the rafters - quite a feat, considering the height of his rafters. There were bales of hay for extra-large hay fries, a bay tree hanging upside down from the ceiling, a huge drum of last autumn's apples, a basket filled with the amethysts and diamonds Rarity had discarded from her last designs, and all sorts of other things. His great cooking pan, made from the ruins of the old water-tower, hung on its hook, shining. His fireplace had been swept out. Everything was in order. Everything was ready. Good.
Finally he flopped down onto his big straw mattress, and heaved a sigh. Only thing to do now was wait.
"Knock knock? Spike?"
He raised his head. "I'm in!"
"I saw you come back," said Twilight as she opened the smaller, pony-sized door set into his.
"How did it go?"
"He bit me again," Spike said.
"Did it hurt?"
"Well, it sure looked like it. He broke a tooth."
Twilight laughed and trotted over, clambering over the straw to inspect his neck. "One or two scales are dented."
He sat up. "Really?" His claws flew to his neck and he rubbed it, feeling the little depressions. "Aw, ponyfeathers! Not now!"
"It's fine," Twilight said, smiling. "Maybe she'll think it's dashing."
"You think?" he said hopefully. He peered over at the great mirror that had been a birthday present from Trixie, fastened to one of his walls. "I guess it could look pretty cool..."
"Just think how impressed she'll be," Twilight said.
"He-lloooo, Huffy. What's that?" he asked his reflection. "Aw, it's nothing... just a Hydra bite. Yeah, a Hydra bite. Pretty darn manly, huh?"
Twilight broke into giggles and nudged his forepaw. "You don't change."
He slowly reached out with his free forepaw and nudged her in return. Each glittering talon was the length of her legs. She could stand upon his palm with room to spare. "Good to hear," he said.
Then he turned once more to his reflection. An adolescent dragon, a child no longer, smiled ruefully back at him. Two more major growth spurts after this one. It'd be twenty years before he was fully grown.
Judging by his rate of growth, he wasn't going to be a lightweight, either.
He frowned at the dints in his long, strong neck. Perhaps she'd like them? Be impressed? Stupid Hydra. He should have knotted its heads together.
Twilight sat down in the straw and leaned on his other forepaw with her elbows, chewing her lip. "Has Razorfang given you that test yet?"
"Nope," Spike said, turning his head away from the (possibly manly) dints in his scales. "He says I'm not ready. I have to practice for another week."
"Let me know, would you? I want to be there."
"Sure thing." He wrinkled his snout. "There's so much to remember. I'm pretty positive I'm getting that third stanza wrong."
"I've got it written down in the library," Twilight said.
"Knowing you, you already know it better than I do," he said. "I kinda wish you hadn't decided to do your next thesis on draconic culture sometimes. It makes me feel like a real dummy."
She tilted her head, frowning. "Well, you're not. I just study a lot."
"And the sky is blue. In other breaking news, the grass is green," Spike said dryly. "Oh, that reminds me, can you magic me up some more quills? I'd better write to the Princesses. It's been a week since I last wrote..."
She smiled. "Are you having some sort of letter-related crisis?"
"That's your thing, not mine. I just like to write to them. Celestia's letters are always good to read, and Luna's can be really funny. They like to know what's going on. I can tell them about Huffy's visit, and the Hydra, and about learning the Fire and the Stone chants."
"You still haven't written out the Winter chant for me," she said, her eyebrows rising.
He huffed. Smoke rose from his nostrils, floating in curling drifts to the magical chimney in his roof. "I've been a bit busy!"
"Winter Wrap-Up was three weeks ago," she said. "That's plenty of time to write it down for me. Do you want me to be tardy? Honestly, sometimes you're as lazy as Rainbow Dash."
"Am not," he retorted. "Anyway, after Winter Wrap-Up there was the planting at Sweet Apple Acres, and then it was Hearth's Warming Eve and all that fire-duty, and then there was Sweetie's debut at Coltent Garden..."
"I still can't believe they managed to get you on stage."
"Theatre loading docks. Anyway, I'm a great announcer!"
"Everypony was almost more interested in you than in the music," Twilight said, smiling.
"They thought Sweetie was amazing," said Spike defensively. "That tenor colt she likes was looking at her with eyes like this." He batted his eyes dewily. "Talk about mushy!"
"You could have written out the Winter chant after the concert, you know."
"No way, because then Trottingham asked me if I could deal with their Diamond Dogs, and then there were all my lessons with Razorfang, and then there was Sweet-Pea's cute-ceañera, and then Indigo came to visit, and then there was repairing the dam, and then there was the Hydra! Again!" Spike finished with a flourish of his claws. "See? Busy!"
"Okay, okay, obviously a dragon in demand!" she said, laughing at his vehemence. "Do you think you'll be able to find a second to write down that chant for me? This could be a very important study. Just think what it could do for dragon-equine relations!"
"I know, I get it," he said, wrinkling his nose. "The more we find out about each other, yadda, yadda, yadda. Jeesh, Twi, you've told me enough times."
"Can I rest for a bit? Huffy'll be here this afternoon, and I just got bitten by a Hydra."
"It obviously hurt him more than it hurt you," she pointed out.
He grinned. His teeth were now the size of a rolling pin, each one wickedly curved and sharp as a knife. He'd been so ashamed of them once. Now he was absurdly proud of them, and kept them as white as possible. "Yeah, you should see the other guy."
She shook her head fondly. "Oh, Spike." It was the same old, affectionate way she'd always said it. It never failed to make his heart leap in happiness.
He lowered his head, touching his snout to her mane lightly. "How are you doing with the Great and Powerful Motivational Speaker away again?"
"Um, okay," she said, her face turning a dark magenta. "She's in Fillydelphia at the moment. I hope she's not too lonely."
"That wasn't the question," he said, nudging her. Twilight cleared her throat.
"I'm not lonely," she said, tipping her head back to peer up at him. "I've got you, and all my friends."
"They're a bit busy too," he said.
"I know," Twilight said with a roll of her eyes. "Fluttershy is so busy with little Appleseed that she can't find a moment long enough to see anypony, and Rarity's spending half her time in Canterlot these days."
He'd met the brand new daughter of Fluttershy and Macintosh only a few days before. The tiny foal was the colour of an apricot, with a silky wispy pink mane and tail. Her father's green eyes were giant in her sweet little face as she stared up at her huge draconic 'uncle' with no sign of fear, only unfocused, infant fascination. Both her parents had smiled, looking tired but proud. "Well, a newborn foal is a hoofful, they say," Spike said, scratching at his dented scales.
"Nowhere near as bad as a new-hatched dragon," Twilight said, poking his immense free paw. He pulled a face at her.
"Funny. Real funny. I think Rarity's home today. I saw her carriage this morning, anyway."
"Is she still seeing that Pegasus, what was his name... Big Shot?"
Spike grinned slyly. "Nope."
"Spike," she said in a warning tone. "What have you done?"
"Me? Why would you say that?" he said, widening his eyes as far as they could go. She snorted.
"I know you. Spill."
"Weeeeell, Rarity told me that she broke it off with him, and I got a letter from Just yesterday, and I wrote back about this charity auction that I knew Rarity was going to be at, and I know he likes her, and he's nice and smart and handsome and cares about things," he said in a perfectly reasonable voice.
It made sense to him. Just often asked about Rarity, even though the activist went rather quiet in her presence. As Rarity was spending so much time in Canterlot at the moment promoting her celebrated new high-fashion line, 'Dragon Scales and Diamantes,' it had been foal's play to set up a situation in which they could meet. At the very least, Rarity would be glad of a friendly, honest face. She had complained to Spike about the Canterlot ponies being rather shallow and obsequious to her face, though her amicable breakup with Fancy Pants had been the favourite topic of gossip for months.
Twilight shook her head again, though a smile tried to creep over her stern face. "You have to stop meddling in your friends' love lives."
"Can't I want my friends to be happy?"
"Does Just know he's being set up?" Twilight settled down in the straw, and craned her head back to look at him.
He snaked his head down towards her, and whispered, "Nah. That's the beauty of it."
She looked up at his ceiling with an expression of forbearance. "Celestia give me patience. Spike the matchmaker."
"I'm just looking out for two of my friends."
"Oh, I remember your 'looking out' for me," she said dryly. "I remember you hovering over Trixie and looking as menacing as possible. I remember you scaring the living daylights out of her with your warnings. I remember you flying above us at night, covered in river mud to disguise your scales. I remember you whispering in her ear after we'd made the announcement to our friends, and her running into the bedroom and not coming out for half an hour. I remember..."
"Water under the bridge," he said quickly.
"Anyway, I haven't done it for ages," he added.
"Last week is ages?" she said. He pursed his lips – an exercise that was becoming increasingly more difficult as his snout elongated further and further into its mature beak-like shape.
"It was only a little threat," he said. "A teeny-tiny baby threat. Not even that. A warning. A warning-ling."
He harrumphed, and his voice was sulky as he said, "All right, I'll apologise."
"Thank you." She leaned over in the neat, clean straw, her hooves hooking over one of his toes. "Good grief, it's been three years, you should be used to the idea by now. It's been a long time since the Ursa Minor. Anyway, I thought you liked her these days?"
"I do! She's great! She's absolutely the Nice and Generous Trixie now," he said. "But... Twilight, it's you."
Her head thudded against his foot. "Spike, how many times... please try and refrain from the overprotective territorial big brother tactics. You're intimidating enough without trying."
He brightened. "You think I'm intimidating? Intimidating. Yeah, I can work with that... He-llooo Huffy, say, check out how awesomely intimidating I am today..."
She gave him a look that needed no translation, before pushing back up to her elbows. "So how big do you think Huffy is now?"
He growled. "I've got to catch up with her sometime," he said. "Every time I think I'm getting there, she's taller than me again!"
She covered a giggle with her hoof. "Now, Spike..."
"I am getting closer," he said with an air of determination. "She was only a head taller than me when I last went to visit." Then he slumped. "With my lousy luck, she'll be a whole neck taller again."
"Spike, she doesn't care how tall you are," Twilight said.
"But I wanna impress her, Twilight!"
"Oh, for goodness' sake." Twilight rubbed her closed eyes. "You've got a Hydra bite on your neck. You've fought off eighty Diamond Dogs. You cleared out all the Quarray Eels. You fought Razorfang when you were only half this size. She won't hear a word against you, she flies over every month, and she snaps at Rarity almost constantly. I think it's safe to say that she's impressed."
Spike shifted a little, and thought about that for a moment. Huffy had come a long way in the last five years. She'd rejoined Equestrian society fairly slowly, allowing herself enough time to adjust to being around so many ponies. She'd started off so shy and wary. Now, she actually invited ponies back to the Brumby Bushlands to see the beauty and strangeness of her home. Botanists, scientists, and adventure-seekers leapt at the chance. Huffy became their guide and protection through the wild and tangled forest. It was becoming the Done Thing in adventure-loving circles to spend a week in the Brumby with a dragoness. Scootaloo had gone twice. Trixie had her own personal little nook in Huffy's sparkling cave. Spike had an oversized mug (made by Apple Bloom, out of an old barrel) on Huffy's shelf reserved only for him.
They aged in the same huge fits and starts, of course. She was still long and willowy, while he was becoming far bulkier with a strong, deep chest. The swanlike curve of her neck increasingly made him feel as though more than fire lived in his throat.
Huffy didn't impress easily. She'd lived amongst dangerous creatures for fifteen years now, and would fight them like a tigress if she were threatened. She was a survivor. If Twilight said she was impressed, then perhaps she was... but still...
He looked back at his mirror, and fingered the dents in his scales thoughtfully. "Maybe if I had a moustache...?"
She let out a strangled scream.
He began laughing as she thumped his claws with her hoof. "You are such a terrible tease," she grumbled.
"Hey, I'm a nice guy, ask anypony," he said, still laughing. "Help, help! She's hitting me!"
"Oh, hush," she said, thumping his claws again; they both knew he couldn't feel it, even if she'd actually had the strength to hurt him. Finally she relaxed with a little sigh, her body slumping over his foot. "I miss Trixie."
Unlike the startlingly sudden hook-up of Rainbow Dash and Applejack, Twilight and Trixie had spent almost two years circling each other. Theirs had been a slow, cautious and tentative courtship. Trixie had had several mountains-worth of issues to sort through, after all, and with all their similarities Twilight had been the best one to help her through them. They were both somewhat insecure, both magical beyond the norm and both guardian to a dragon, after all. Eventually Twilight realised that there was a rather scared and lonely pony underneath Trixie's showy exterior, and Trixie had learned to value the patience, gentleness and compassion that Twilight showed her.
Eventually Trixie had decided to use all that she had learned from her painful journey to help others, and had begun a series of talks around Equestria for ponies with emotional insecurity. Twilight was immensely proud of her, even though it kept them apart for weeks on end. They were a quiet, gentle and loving couple. Spike was happy for them - though he still hadn't worked out how to squash his knee-jerk 'protect Twilight above all else' instincts.
"Aw, Twilight," he said, leaning down and nuzzling her head once more. "It's okay. She'll be here soon." He straightened, and looked down at her more seriously. She looked a little tired, and a lot lonely. It reminded him of the first days after he had moved out of the library, somehow.
He made a decision. "Come on, let's go see somepony," he said.
She looked up. "Who?"
"Well, Rainbow Dash is back at Sweet Apple Acres this weekend," he said, "I ran into her earlier. We could go see her and Applejack. She doesn't leave on tour for a few days yet."
"I thought you wanted to rest? Bitten by a Hydra and all?"
"Nah, let's go see them," he said, standing slowly to give her time to move away from his bulk. "It's only a Hydra bite. Besides, we might run into Pinkie. I owe her for collapsing her soufflé."
"Are she and Caramel...?"
Spike winked down at her. "I'm doing my best."
"Spike the matchmaker," she sighed again, and he laughed some more as they made their way to his door.
"I promised to look after you all, didn't I?"
Welp, that's it! Hope you enjoyed!
I may revisit ITAV-land in the future, but I want to take a short break from Big!Capable!Spike for a little while. There are a couple more story ideas battering at my head at the moment that have waited long enough.
WandererD's marvellous fanfiction 'The Sweetie Chronicles' is to have a chapter set in ITAV-land, however, so we haven't seen the last of this universe! Go seeeee!
All my friendship,