Princess Celestia's warm sun shone brightly over the small, cozy village of Ponyville. The skies were blue and clear, thanks to the efforts of the city's hardworking pegasi weather team. It was perfect weather for a picnic or a walk in the park or anything really. Anything except…
Yes, inside Ponyville's only library, Golden Oaks, it was indeed Reshelving Day. Books of all shapes and sizes were scattered across the floors and stacked haphazardly on tables one on top of another. If one were to peer inside the library's windows at that moment, that pony would have barely made out the dark figures of two of the library's residents among all the literary chaos.
"This is going to be so great!" exclaimed Twilight Sparkle. "Just imagine, Spike! A whole new way in which to organize libraries… Ohmygosh, Marevil Dewey is such a genius!" Twilight's magenta magic levitated a nearby book towards her, and she began to read its title. "Spike, be ready for this one. History of the Griffin Republic: The Gilded Age."
Nearby and nearly buried in old books, Spike the Dragon grumbled to himself. They had been reorganizing the library since early that morning. Exactly when was he going to get his lunch break?
"Spike!" Twilight barked. "Focus! We really have to get this done!"
"Okay… Okay…" Spike rolled his eyes. "History of the Griffin Republic: The Gilded Age, 940 under the Griffin Republic, plus 0.3 for the Gilded Age. You should reshelve it under number 940.3."
"Right," Twilight responded as she carefully shelved History of the Griffin Republic under the 900s section. Immediately she picked up another book. "The Merry Adventures of Robin Hoof by Haywood Pye."
"Eight-hundred and twenty-three for Old Equestrian fiction, plus 0.7 for works by Haywood Pye, and plus 0.02 for the background setting of Trottingham."
"You mean, plus 0.023 for the background setting of Trottingham," Twilight corrected with a smile.
"Yeah…" Spike smiled as he crossed out his mistake. "Point-zero-twenty-three." Even in the most boring of situations, Twilight's excitement was still as infectious as ever. There was a warm silence between them as Twilight went digging for another tome to classify.
"Let's see… The Joys of Dentistry and—Oh!"
"The Joys of Dentistry and Oh, is that philosophy, science, or general fiction?" Spike asked.
"None of the above…" Twilight deadpanned. "Spike, I thought you said you threw this out ages ago. You haven't been hording things again, have you?" In front of his face, she held up Spike's old sleeping basket, crushed flat under the weight of many books and slightly moldy from wherever it had been hidden in the last two years since the purple dragon finally outgrew it.
Spike winced and shifted his limbs uneasily. Ever since the…incident…after his birthday all those years ago, the subject of him and hording was very, very sensitive.
Twilight sighed. "Spike…"
"No, Twi," the dragon answered. "I-I'll just take this outside."
"You don't need to really-"
"No," Spike stated a little more forcefully. "I'll just take this outside." A cold hush fell between them as Spike grabbed the old basket in his claw and waded through the sea of books towards the front door. Before touching the handle, the dragon paused. "Twilight, I think we're short on quills. May I have some bits to get some more?"
Twilight's lips almost twitched into a small smile. "Yeah, sure, Spike."
Spike almost smiled back as he felt a handful of bits appear in his right claw. "I'll be right back, Twi!" he called. With the wicker basket gripped in one claw and the bits in the other, he shut the door behind him and sighed. His heart quaked inside him as he approached the simple tin trash can that sat every day in front of Golden Oaks Library. He tightened his death hold upon the basket; his arms shook.
Twilight didn't understand. Spike had spent years sleeping in that basket. That basket held warm memories; that basket was HIS. Two years ago when Twilight had first tried to throw it out, those thoughts rushed through his head, and he immediately found a spur of the moment hiding place between bookshelves. In hindsight, that probably wasn't the most brilliant idea, but it was in Spike's instinct to horde—just like it was in Twilight's instinct to eat daisy sandwiches. Nopony asked Twilight to throw out all of her sandwiches.
'But then again,' the dragon thought to himself. 'Eating sandwiches doesn't turn anypony into humongous Ponyville-destroying, pony-napping monsters, do they?'
The dragon sighed as he thought of the struggle between nature and nurture that raged inside him almost daily. The small, foggy part of his mind that was forever locked behind steel bars screamed at him to hide it, horde it, again—this time in a better place where the lavender one would not find it, but the calm majority of his brain overrode this. He knew perfectly well what a slippery slope just keeping one unnecessary item could be.
Slowly, Spike raised the trash can's lid. All he had to was simply drop the basket inside, no sweat. Or maybe he could just lay it beside the trash can, and the garbagepony would just—
"Hi, Spike!" a bright and cheery voice called from behind him.
"A-AAH!" Spike screamed before quickly catching his breath. "G-gosh, you nearly scared me, Cheerilee!"
Cheerliee giggled behind her hoof. "Sorry, Spike. I'm here to see if Twilight has any books on the history of Canterlot. My students are putting on a play next month, and I want to see if there is any information about Canterlot I've missed."
"Oh…" Spike replied. "Yeah, she's in, but I wouldn't go in there if I were you. Twi got word of a brand new library classification system from Canterlot last night so we've been reorganizing books all day. Right now I bet Twilight can't even find the floor, much less your book."
Cheerilee sighed. "Oh well, I was really wanting to get this done today, but I guess I'll have to catch her tomorrow then. Thanks, and see you later, Spike." As the dark pink mare turned to leave, Spike started to head towards the aptly named Quills and Sofas before he realized he'd forgotten something.
The basket! He was still holding it!
Spike grunted in annoyance before running back and setting the moldy old thing on the ground. It was a few canterlengths away from the trash can, but that still counted right? Uneasy thoughts filled his head, but the dragon more or less shook it off. He had to get going anyway, before Twilight got suspicious at the amount of time he was wasting.
"Ugh! Every time I go there, every time! 'Oh, I'm sorry, we're fresh out of quills,' he says. How can you be fresh out of quills? You only sell TWO things!" Spike was two degrees of anger away from blowing steam out his of nose. "Stupid Quills and Sofas… Stupid-"
A whiff of fresh lilac drifted past his snout, and Spike froze up. That glorious scent could have come from only one pony in Ponyville, and here he was looking stupid standing in the middle of the street. Was there still some cruddy old book dust on him? Augh! Why hadn't he thought to brush off his scales before he left the tree house? He was going out in public; he should've known better…
Spike's acute nostrils weren't wrong, and surely enough the most beautiful, kind, and generous pony in all of Equestria—in Spike's mind at least—came trotting along the street, magically levitating a few misshapen bundles behind her. The dragon heart skipped a beat as her large blue eyes widened slightly in recognition as she spotted him.
"Hello, Spikey-wikey. How are you today?" Rarity asked, tilting her head to the side.
Spike, however, was busy observing the way the motion of her head caused one of her luscious purple curls to bob up and down. Oh, wait! Did Rarity just ask me a question? Oh, jeez… Wake up, Spike! Wake up!
Spike rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Eh-heh… Oh nothing, Rarity. I was just walking. Around town. Walking… Nice day outside, you know?"
Rarity chuckled at his behavior. "Oh, indeed, it is a very lovely day outside. You know, if I wasn't so engaged with work, I would think to round up the girls for a nice picnic, just to admire what a lovely day this is. But alas, I am but chained to the beauty of my work! I only had time to make a quick run for some more sketching supplies before I retire again."
Spike's face brightened that the mention of "supplies." "Hey, Rarity, would you mind if I borrow a few quills from you? Twilight is kinda in the middle of a cataloging storm right now, and we're running low on supplies."
"Why certainly, Spike. Let me see…" There was a pause as the white unicorn mentally dug through her bags. "Aha! Here we are! A dozen quills freshly purchased." The latter drifted slowly until they fell into Spike's outstretched claws.
"Gee, thanks, Rarity! You're the most generous pony in all of Equestria. I lost hope in getting any new ones after that pony from Quills and Sofas said that he was outta quills."
"Wha-what?" Rarity gasped. "That cannot be true, darling. You see, I just left Quills and Sofas not even an hour ago, and there were quills galore behind the counter, and-" Her voice faltered as she watched the dragon deflate a little in front of her. Her face began to darken. "And that-that unscrupulous… That-oh, Davenport Inkfeather!" Obviously the stallion must have shown one of his ugly prejudices again. It was well known that Quills and Sofas didn't sell to donkeys…but to dragons also?
Nevertheless, like the true lady she was, the white unicorn readily composed herself. "Well, Spike," she said. "I'm afraid we will just have to rectify his mistake. Come along if you please."
As much as the dragon would have loved to spend some extra time with Rarity, he couldn't help but think of Twilight battling the sea of books alone in the library, stuck with dwindling supplies. "Sorry, Rarity, but I have to get back to Twilight. Maybe we can see that pony another day?" He couldn't help but to slip in a small amount of hope into that last sentence.
"Ah, very well, darling…" Rarity sighed. "But I hate seeing that cretin take advantage of poor ponies—er dragons, such as yourself. It isn't acceptable. Darling, you must come and see me tomorrow at the boutique. We must correct this at once. Hmm… What do you say? Tomorrow… Around noon?"
"Sure thing, Rarity. I'll see you then," Spike smiled after hastily mentally checking both his and Twilight schedules for the next day.
"Wonderful. We rendezvous at noon. Ta-ta, Spikey-wikey."
The dragon simply waved as he watched the white unicorn walk off. Truly, she was indeed a rarity. Spike only hated the fact that he could never express the way he felt without being in a situation where he was plummeting to his death. It had been years since he had first seen her, and he had grown so much now that he could actually look down upon her. But, like the younger version of himself he could never seem to open up. Oh well…
Spike once more took notice of the way her silky indigo tail bounced like a delayed spring while her supple white flanks swayed from side to side—
At that instant, pure shock caused all of the blood in Spike's veins to turn into ice. What-what just happened? A second ago, he was waving goodbye to Rarity, and now—Ouch! Spike was thrown out of his musings for a moment as he felt something sharp poke the center of his left palm. Looking down, Spike gasped.
Somehow, his claws had extended themselves. Their blade-like points gleamed a little under the strong sunlight. Immediately, he flexed them, admiring the way they sliced through the air. He was grinning before he realized that his teeth were already bared and showing. And were his muscles usually this way? All tensed up as if he was ready to- Spike winced.
Oh gosh, he was about to spring, like some predator in the Everfree. He was actually about to spring. And-and Rarity and…
He gulped, but now wasn't the time to panic. He had to get home. For the next few seconds, the townsponies of Ponyville could only see a vague purple blur speeding through the streets. A few years ago, this would have been a surprise, but not after experiencing the wave of living destruction that was Rainbow Dash.
When he finally arrived, Spike slammed the front door behind him and rested his back on it, breathing heavily.
"Spike! You're back!" Twilight greeted. In the short time he had been gone, Twilight had made a lot of progress, but the dragon could see that her face was developing that scrunchy quality it usually got when she was slowly starting to become overwhelmed with something. It was time to force her to take a breather and finally have a lunch break.
After dumping the quills on a nearby table, he headed into the kitchen. Like clockwork, Spike immediately reached into cabinets and started pulling out ingredients for a salad. In a lower cabinet he took out a large bowl of gems for himself. As he worked on the salad, Spike took a few glances out the window now and then. He noted gratefully that the city garbageponies seemed to have emptied the rubbish. Thank Celestia. Now he wouldn't have to constantly think about— Then his emerald eyes widened.
No. Oh no…
There, resting quietly in the bin for returned books was the basket. To his horror it seemed to be mocking him lying there, as if to say…
You didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?
So I've decided to post this story of fanfiction since I've already done so on fimfiction. Hope you like!