Last time, on The Adventures of Spike
"Spiiiiiiiike. Spiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike. Oh, Spikey-Wikey! Wakey wakey, my little dragon!"
Out of nowhere, a ghostly form of a dragon materialized, and soon became corpreal. It was the same size and shape as he was, but green with purple spikes. It was as if he was looking into a bizarre negative of himself.
"Come on, Spike. You're never this quiet. Gosh. Anyways. You're a real oddity, you know that? You're a pony-raised, unicorn-magic-hatched, wingless dragon. I noticed you went on a crazy adventure of self discovery recently and didn't find much of an answer. I'm here to solve that, buddy."
"You were never meant to exist."
Spike tilted his head in confusion, as everything seemed to disappear. He opened his eyes again and suddenly was back in his bed and in his home. The young dragon grumbled loudly and shook his head.
"Never eating fire rubies before I go to sleep again."
His nose twitched. A scent that made his instincts rise up. Fear. Terror.
And then a scream rode the winds, and Spike ran to find it.
Without thinking, he rushed to the rescue.
As he grew up, Twilight had always read books to him. She'd tell him tales of great heroes, rushing in to save the day at little to no reward for them. Risking life and limb to save some beautiful princess, or to slay a monster. He'd learned later in life that she had revised many of these stories. Many times, dragons played the antagonists, but in his case, he had grown up thinking other dragons were naturally heroic.
Meeting other dragons rapidly deflated that image, but he still aimed to be heroic if he had the chance. He prided himself on his ability to help ponies. Usually, it involved him only being a pincushion for Rarity, or being an assistant librarian. But sometimes, he had the chance to really shine.
The only real time he'd ever really been afraid is when Twilight had wanted him to take Rainbow Dash's place as the Element of Loyalty. Discord had ruined his friends, and he saw that. Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Dash, Applejack, even Twilight in the end, they all succumbed to his mind games. The ponies he looked up to. It really hit home how bad a situation it was when Celestia had sent every single friendship report back to Twilight. Even the pony who lived for eons, the pony who raised the sun and the moon everyday for a thousand years, was afraid. The pony who had always seemed so omnipotent, so powerful.... the pony who had raised him as a mother had.
He wanted nothing to do with Discord. That wasn't a monster. It wasn't a group of jerky teenage dragons. It was chaos incarnate, and he wasn't sure how he could fight that. He was just a baby dragon that could barely use his flame breath as anything more than instant messaging.
But this wasn't Discord.
He could handle it. Probably.
Hoping that it was just Fluttershy's overactive fear blowing something out of proportion, he found his way to the edge of the woods near her cottage. The Everfree Forest's edge. Spike always wondered why a pony so terrified of everything lived near such a terrifying place. As he found the little yellow pony with a pink mane, he sadly realized that it wasn't her phobias getting the best of her. The pegasus was surrounded by angry looking timberwolves. Behind her were a group of baby rabbits, and Spike found himself realizing something about the perpetually scared pegasus.
While she was impossibly scared by the more monsterous of the Everfree Forest's inhabitants, she was much more protective of the weaker species that lived there. She protected them from the monsters. That's how she knew how to fight a bear, why she had crazy strength hidden behind layers of shyness and nervousness. She protected the weak and helpless because she was weak and helpless. She had been bullied and now she protected those that could be bullied.
Fluttershy made much more sense now.
Still didn't explain the freaky knowledge of sewing, though.
Spike felt his respect growing for the pony with the butterfly cutie mark. And he showed it with the loudest roar he could muster. It wasn't much, but it got the attention of the cursed wooden canines. Timberwolves had one major natural enemy, it turns out. See, they were beings made of cursed dry wood possessed by the spirits of angry wolves. Yeah. Dragons.
The little purple dragon took in a breath and exhaled a green flame at the closest one. It didn't quite reach the beast, but it was close enough for them to feel it and hot enough for it to matter. With a yelp, the monsters ran back into the forest.
Spike couldn't resist, and rasied his arm up to shake his fist.
"And don't come back!"
With a smug grin, he looked at the yellow pegasus and nodded. Fluttershy looked relieved immensly, and turned to comfort the baby rabbits she was protecting. After she made sure they were fine, she turned to Spike and tackled him into a hug.
"Oh, thank you so much! You saved me and the baby bunnies! You were so brave!"
Fluttershy fluttered around the inside of her cottage. As far as Twilight's friends go, Spike never hung around any of them much. Well, besides Rarity. He usually kept to the library with Twilight, usually only going out with her, or running the library while she went out. His free time was often spent with the object of his love, Rarity, who usually kept him busy helping her. She and Twilight agreed on one thing for certain: Spike was the best assistant a pony could ask for. It was in his nature. The total opposite of usual dragon nature, Spike was very kind and helpful.
So the little dragon found himself helping the kindest pony he knew take care of her animal friends.
He realized that Fluttershy's career had never really come up in any conversation with or around him. The dragon usually kept track of the town gossip and such. Rarity loved to gossip, after all, and due to him being there to help her, they often did just that. He'd always assumed that Fluttershy worked with animals, but he had no idea just what she did.
Turned out that she was actually running an animal shelter that was funded by charity, donations, and a modest funding from the government. Altogether, Fluttershy could have run a lot more lucrative practice, using that money for her own benefit. However, the yellow pegasus was much too kind to do such and poured all of that money into her animal friends. She lived in near poverty so she could afford to give the animals to good homes at nearly no cost, most times free. She would go and rescue animals in the forest or other places if she saw them in danger and take care of them until they had a home. From the smallest butterfly to the biggest bear, Fluttershy was a friend to all animals. Spike found his respect grow even greater for her and felt even guiltier for his harsher criticisms when she had been trying so hard to help with the tornado.
His cupcakes were well recieved, as was his apology. Fluttershy told him to think nothing of it. They were friends, and she knew he hadn't meant it.
Didn't make him feel much better, though.
As he helped her tend to the chickens outside, Spike found himself enjoying the work. He didn't get outside much, so it was nice to feel the warm sun on his scales. Maybe he should help Fluttershy more often?
It couldn't hurt. Twilight was always wanting him to get out more and Rarity was currently in the slow season of the dress business, so maybe he could find the time. He could help but notice just how different Fluttershy was from her friends. Twilight almost constantly muttered to herself when researching, and would usually stop everything she was doing to explain something in depth should he even be the slightest bit confused. Rarity would gossip constantly, and ask for his opinion on dresses. He'd developed quite an eye for pony fashion because of it. But Fluttershy was quiet, only talking in soothing tones towards the animals and explaining things to him with as few words as possible. It was different. It was a change of pace.
The yellow pegasus looked up at the little dragon, looking surprised. Spike reckoned that she wasn't used to visitors while she worked. The surprised look left and she smiled.
"Yes, what is it?"
Spike then explained that he wanted to try and maybe help her out every so often, maybe once a week. He told her how much fun he was having and how much he enjoyed being outside working.
"I mean, Twilight says I need to always try and learn new things, and this is kinda fun and I've learned a whole lot about taking care of animals. I mean, I need to learn anyway, since I got little Peewee to look after, you know?"
Fluttershy looked excited. She'd always wanted to hire an assistant to help her with the animals, but there was never really any pony with a special talent like hers. The pegasus nodded her head.
"That's be great. The animals have loved having you around. But-um... don't you usually help Rarity on your days off?"
"She doesn't really need my help. Said that business is slow right now. Besides, like I said, I can learn how to take care of Peewee better, because I'm learning from the best animal lover in Equestria."
Fluttershy looked away, blushing from the praise.
Even though his heart was totally and forever Rarity's, even Spike had to admit she was adorable.
Dear Princess Celestia,
Today, I learned that we should always be open to trying new things. I went to Fluttershy's house to apologize for being kind of mean to her not too long ago, and ended up helping her out with her animal friends. I learned a lot about taking care of animals and about Fluttershy as well. I've decided to go back at least once a week to learn more and to help her out so I can raise Peewee as well as you and Twilight raised me. Twilight thinks it's a great idea, too. She's made me start reading books about animal care, naturally. I'm sorry the letter is short, though. I promised I'd help Twilight rearrange the books in the library. Again.
Your Faithful Subject,
P.S. I had a wierd dream last night, but it kind of made a lot of crazy thoughts I've been having make sense. Since Twilight hatched me, do you think that I might possibly be in some way part pony?
The dragon read through with a satisfied grin, and exhaled a small magical flame to send the letter to his surrogate mother.
"Ah, Spike! I'm so glad to see you again! It's been what... 12 hours? It's so hard to tell time when you're in the dreamscape."
Spike opened his eyes to see his inverted counterpart in front of him.
"Ugh. You again?"
The green dream-dragon actually pouted.
"Aww, that hurt my feelings. That is no way to talk to your dream friends. Especially since I was going to leave with more cryptic questions and life changing revelations and what not. I swear, it's like nopony wants their dreams haunted or something."
Spike gave the green dragon a dirty look and shook his head.
"What are you?"
The green dragon grinned mischievously.
"Well, I'm a lot of things. I'm the representation of things past and present and future. Or maybe I'm just a crazy reoccuring dream that more or less grants you total access to your subconcious during your sleep so you can work out the problems you're having in your waking life. Maybe I'm Nightmare Moon's crazy neighbor, or Discord's baby brother. Does it matter? I'm in your brain no matter what I am. Silly dragon."
The green dream-dragon poofed away, leaving Spike to his dreams.