I shove past several guard ponies, holding my glowing blade in a single hand.
"No," Twilight whimpers as she tries to stop me. "Please, no, he's my son..."
I shake my head. "He's a monster," I growl, throwing her to the side as I approach Spike.
The "baby dragon" looks up to me, and I scowl in disgust.
"This is for Rainbow Dash, motherfucker," I growl, before grasping his shoulder, and driving my blade through his torso. He lets out a dull gasp, and, rather than withdrawing the blade, I drag it so that his wound is widened, to the point at which his lower half dangles by a single thread.
The dragon sputters and gasps, and the light fades from his eyes, even as I scowl down at him.
And then, he looks up at me.
And he lunges, taking me down into spiraling, unending darkness...
I sit upright, gasping and sputtering as I struggle to recover from the shocking nightmare. I hold a hand to my chest, feeling my heart beat a thousand times per second as I hyperventilate. I look down at my hands, searching for the dragon's fluorescent blood on then, and the strain of holding a blade. I shake my head, and burry it in my palms, struggling to recover.
It was just a nightmare, I tell myself. Even if it did feel so motherfucking real...
I feel Rainbow Dash stir, and she wraps her hooves around my waste as she rests her chin on my shoulder. "You okay, baby?" She asks, softly.
"Yeah, I'm...I'm..." I sigh, my hands shaking as I lean back against the cyan Pegasus. "No, I'm not okay. I just had a terrible nightmare..."
She smiles, and kisses me on the cheek. "Okay, then. Why don't you just tell me what it was about, and we'll try to make it less scary?"
"You were dead," I blurt out, still covered in a cold sweat. "Spike killed you, and I killed him..."
Rainbow Dash lets out a tsk as she pulls me back down onto the bed. "Babe, I'm not dead. And besides, Spike couldn't kill me. I'm way too damn strong for him."
I smile, and close my eyes with a deep breath. As Rainbow and I make small conversation, the fear is replaced with deep, steady breaths, and a few kisses here and there.
And, as I drift off to sleep, I chuckle lightly to myself, realizing just how ridiculous that dream was...
I'm woken up by a tough shove.
I flail my arms and legs to keep myself in the bed, and manage to grab onto the sheets and stabilize myself. I frown at Rainbow Dash, who is smirking at me. However, she quickly grows serious, and jumps up into the air in urgency.
"C'mon, we've gotta follow Spike," she tells me. I look out the open guest room door, and see that Spike is obediently following Twilight around, helping her prepare for some kind of expedition or other. I frown at how innocently happy the dragon is, and decide that Celestia must have been exaggerating the whole Spike thing. And, besides, I'm tired. So...
"Fuck that shit," I grumble, buying my face in the pillow. Rainbow Dash sighs, and I prepare for another shove.
Which is exactly what I get.
"You can't just ignore a direct order from the Princess!" She cries as I flail once again. "What if he ends up being a threat!?"
I shrug. "Ain't my problem. Besides, Twilight will keep an eye on him, won't she?"
Rainbow Dash shoves me again, and, not being prepared for it, I fall right onto the floor.
"Fuck," I spit. "Rainbow, seriously, the fuck?"
She stands above me, and looks me right in the eye. "We're going to follow Spike, okay? The Princess told us to, and we're going to do it. I don't care if you don't want to. We have to."
I sigh, and slide out from underneath the cyan Pegasus. I stand, and slip my sneakers on.
"Fine, let's go..."
She nods, and with that, we exit.
Or rather, we prepare to exit, and bicker over whether I should take a knife with me or not. Y'know, for protection.
"I don't need a knife," I whine. "It's going to be fine."
"Take the fucking knife or I will give you a reason to defend yourself, motherfucker!" She roars. I immediately shove the knife in my pocket, careful not to tear the fabric as I nod in fear. She smiles in victory, and we finally exit.
Finding Spike and Twilight is easy enough. They went to a local pancake house for, well...exactly what you think they'd go there for. Hookers and cocaine.
We enter, and join Twilight and Spike, deciding to take the position of friendly friends. We greet each other, and we all order a few pancakes.
Within a few minutes, we have an intriguing conversation going on. By we, I mean Twilight and I, and Spike and Rainbow are left behind in the dust.
"So, I told Tech about your designs," Twilight says as the pancakes arrive. "He said he'd look into poly carbonic structures for you, as well as nano fibers. I'll help out, too. Chemistry and physics are two of my many fortes."
"Theoretical physics?" I ask, shoveling a pancake into my mouth, syrup and all.
"You know it!" Twilight declares with a giggle. "I'm going to visit the Large Hadron Collider soon!"
"They have a Large Hadron Collider in Equestria?"
"Yeah. It's on the sea floor, and it's managed by Sea Ponies. I've got an appointment with my own personal diving suit to go down there! It's so awesome!"
"Define awesome," Rainbow grumbles as she eats more pancakes.
"Particles smashing into each other at faster than the speed of light and creating anti-matter and miniature black holes and the God Particle, otherwise known as the Higgs Boson."
Rainbow blinks in surprise. "Okay, that sounds pretty cool. But still, it's for eggheads."
"And eggheads are awesome," I retort. Twilight attempts to get her two cents in, but Rainbow comes back at me with hostility.
"Eggheads like you don't have any muscle mass. I'm a world class athlete, Peter! Do you really expect me to like that crap?" She demands. I roll my eyes at her.
"No, but I expect you to give it the respect it deserves," I hiss at her. "These are geniuses at work, Rainbow Dash. They spent years creating this damn thing, and they are smarter than you and me combined."
Rainbow snorts in derision. "Yeah, whatever. I'd like to see them pull off a Sonic Rainboom..."
"Okay. Let'em get to you when you're doing one. After several calculations, they'll be able to determine what you have that allows you to do one. And then, they'll be able to manufacture them."
"Yeah, right," she responds. "As if they could manufacture something as awesome as my Rainbooms!"
"They can manufacture ten-ton machines that fly," I remark, nonchalantly. "Isn't that right, Twilight?"
"Yeah, they're actually about to release the first one soon," Twilight responds. "They're called air planes. Equestria is hitting a turning point in its technology. Soon, there may be a computer in my library!"
I smile, and turn back to Rainbow Dash. "How's that for awesome?"
"It's just a computer..."
"A computer can allow you to speak to someone on the other side of the planet. Also, with a good computer, you can play games like Skyrim and Fallout and even Minecraft."
"Yeah, whatever. Just call me up on your good-ol' rotary phone when they finally finish perfecting those things. Technology is super unreliable, Peter. Get used to it."
"Yeah, the shit technology you use," I remark. "They're making better technology, Rainbow. Hell, with magic, they'll have a cell phone done in no time, and without having to use satellites."
Rainbow Dash simply groans, and leans back in the chair. "Really? How do you figure that?" Twilight asks.
And, with that, Twilight, Spike and I completely exclude Rainbow Dash from our intellectual conversation. However, after several minutes, Twilight asks me where humans are in technology, and I decide to bring Rainbow Dash into the conversation.
"I think you may like this, Dash," I say, resting a hand on her shoulder. I feel a jolt of excitement as I make contact with her, and feel compelled to wrap my arm around her in a classic cuddling position. However, that's not exactly socially acceptable, so I simply remove my hand and begin as she looks to me, expectantly.
"Well, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon."
Rainbow Dash's jaw hits the floor, and so does Rainbow Dash's. I would say the same for Spike, if it weren't for the fact that his jaw went straight through the floor.
"What?" Rainbow asks. "That's impossible! You can only get to the moon if you're sent there by Celestia! But Celestia isn't on Earth!"
"No," I respond, congratulating the Pegasus' deductive reasoning powers, "no, she's not. However, we made a space shuttle. Using special rocket fuel, and a pointed tip, we breached Earth's atmosphere and sent Neil up to the Moon in a space suit. And now, we're landing droids on other planets. We just landed Curiosity on Mars, which is the fourth planet from the Sun-Earth is the third-and we also have a probe waaaaay past our solar system. Like, light years away. Still taking forever to get data back from that thing."
Rainbow Dash leans in, and begins hounding me with questions. "So, have they ever sent a probe to a comet before? What about a black hole? And another star? What about a wormhole, huh? And what about a nova star? Red giant? Dwarf star? Gas planet? Huh, huh, HUH!?"
I blink in surprise at the questions. "Wow, you sure know a lot about space," I remark. Twilight nods in agreement, and Rainbow immediately blushes as she withdraws.
"Uhh, yeah," she mutters. "But it's just a hobby...not like I'm an egghead or anything..."
I smile, and nudge her in the side. "Hey, so what? You like outer space. Who doesn't? You've got to admit that it's freaking awesome, right?" She nods with light chuckle. "I've got a few videos on my iPad that I could show you. Either with Stephen Hawking or Professor Michio Kaku that I think you would really enjoy. Oh, and a few Nova videos. Oh, and some with Morgan Freeman. And one with how the Moon was formed. And a few documentaries about space exploration. And-"
"Okay, I get it," she says, stopping me with a raised hoof. "So, when can I see them?"
"We can go back to the library, like, right now and watch them," I tell her. She nods, eager to see the videos and the informational deluge of cosmic proportions in each documentary. No pun intended. "I think we'll take our leave," I remark, standing at the same time as Rainbow Dash. Twilight frowns as we begin to walk away.
"I'm not paying for you two," she calls after us.
"I'll pay you back," I promise. Twilight nods, and Rainbow and I leave.
We're about halfway to the library when Rainbow slaps a hoof to her forehead. "Damnit, we're supposed to be watching Spike!" She cries. "Come on, Peter."
I sigh as I follow her back to the pancake house, which Twilight and Spike have just exited. As we join them, they give us strange glances.
"Uhhhh, hello again," Twilight remarks.
"I decided Rainbow is not worthy of the videos," I declare. "Therefore, we shall spend time within your company."
Twilight simply gives me a look that you would give a piece of gum on your nipple. A look that says: "how in the fuck did that get there? And what the fuck even..."
"Shall we?" I ask, stepping back for Twilight to proceed.
"Uhhhhh, 'k," Twilight mutters. "C'mon, Spike. Let's go get you some great big gems!"
Spike's face explodes into a grin, and we follow as Twilight brings him to a jewelers. After about twenty minutes of indecisive mumbling, we exit, Spike carrying along a rather expensive diamond necklace. He unhooks the string, and eats each individual diamond like a piece of candy, slowly and carefully tasting each and every one.
He saves he largest one for last, which just fits in his mouth. He chews on it, apparently savoring the expensive taste, before swallowing.
"Ohhhhhhh, that was the best diamond ever," he sighs. "Do I have to die again to get another one of those?"
"Hopefully not," Twilight responds. "Come on, let's go do something, Spike!" The lavender unicorn's emotional dam breaks then, and she starts giggling as she picks up Spike and jumps around, giggling madly as she does.
"I'm so happy to have you back!" She declares. "C'mon, let's go do stuff!"
And, with that, she zips off, leaving Rainbow and I in confusion.
"Shit," the cyan Pegasus spits. "C'mon, we've gotta-hey! Let go of my tail, and let me follow them!!"
"No," I respond, calmly. "We can't invade on Twilight's privacy."
"But nothing. Spike will be too occupied to have any negative emotions that may bring forth some kind of demon thing. So, come on, Rainbow. Let's go back to the library, before you wear yourself out. Besides, I feel like we should spend a day together."
The cyan Pegasus bites her lower lip, and looks between me and the rapidly receding Twilight. Eventually, she sighs, and turns to face me. "Peter..." I smile in hope. "We can't just ignore the Princess' orders like that."
My shoulders sag, and I let go of her tail with a shrug. "Fine, your loss. I'm going to go hang out with Pinkie Pie."
The cyan Pegasus frowns at me. "Really? You'd choose Pinkie Pie over your girlfriend?"
Ten minutes later, I'm seething at how effective that guilt trip was as Rainbow Dash finally catches up to Twilight and Spike, and she lets me off of her back.
"That was fun," she remarks. "You should ride on my back more."
"No," I grumble. "I nearly shat myself."
"In that case, I don't want your butt on my back," she mutters, before approaching Twilight and Spike, who are perusing the shops in the center of Ponyville, simply enjoying their time together.
"Hey," Rainbow says. "You two ran off so fast, you'd think you were leaving to have sex or somethin'."
Twilight blushes, and I slap a palm to my face. "Okay, I'll take over from here," I tell Rainbow. I smile at Twilight, and then look down to Spike.
And, for a split second, I feel a thud in my core. My smile fades, and I can see a darkness deep within him. I glance at Rainbow Dash, and give her a sheepish grin.
"Looks like I was wrong," I remark. She blinks in surprise, and I give her a meaningful glare.
"Oh," she mutters. I nod, and I turn back to Spike, fully aware of the dark beast that lay within him, coiled and ready to spring forth at a moment's notice. I grimace in concentration, and decide that I must either attempt to contain it, or attempt to bring it forth so as to bring it to Twilight's attention.
So, I decide to take the easier action: the latter. Spike looks back into my eyes, and frowns.
"Peter, are you okay? You've been staring at me for a few moments..."
I blink, and nod, watching as the darkness within him is stirred in cautious apprehension. I can see that he is petting it, allowing for it to purr within him, waiting for the time to bare its fangs...
"Yeah, I'm fine," I respond, cheerfully. "Now, let's go have a great day, huh?"
Spike and Twilight nod, and as they turn away, I tell Rainbow what I saw. She gloats in victory, but I retain my dark suspicions.
"I've got to see if I can bring it forth," I inform Rainbow Dash. "Just to prove myself. To prove it to Twilight."
Rainbow nods, and we hustle to catch up to the two. I can't help but inwardly ridicule myself for my carefree actions this morning, from consuming pancakes and telling of space exploration to attempting to keep away from Spike. I can't believe I was so fucking stupid, especially after how wrong it all felt...
As we catch up to Spike, I approach the baby dragon as I take out the knife I took from Twilight's kitchen. Stealthily creeping up behind him, I prick him in the elbow with the point.
"Yow!" He cries, leaping up in surprise. He turns, and sees me standing there. However, he does not see the knife safely concealed in my pocket. As he rubs his shoulder, I see the dark sibilant within him, rustling in irritation, but constraining itself after a few moments in irritated patience. It's not Spike doing this, Spike isn't telling it to back off. Rather, it's keeping itself locked away, struggling to retain its apparent hunger.
"Why'd you poke me?" He asks, suspiciously. I shrug, and raise my hands in surrender. "Surprise, I guess."
Spike raises an eyebrow, and turns away with a roll of his eyes. "Okay, whatever..."
I nod, and stalk him a bit more. Rainbow watches, curious and confused. I poke Spike several times with my knife, each time bringing the darkness within him up to a higher boiling point.
Finally, as I poke him on the back with my knife, it bursts forth, and the young dragon tackles me to the ground, sending my knife skittering across the packed earth, and onto a bush, where it remains hidden.
"Stop poking me," he growls, his eyes darkening with his icy cold voice of command. He pins me down with surprising strength, and I feel a darkness within me stirring to meet his own.
Our leathery dark wings stare off, the two of us identifying each other as we truly are: me, with Grendel deep within myself, and Spike, with something much stronger.
And Spike and his inner companion are surprised. They did not expect to find that I had my own inner companion to match.
They frown, and we smile. "Hello," we whisper, our cold command resonating like ice through our trachea. "Nice to meet you." They know know we don't mean Spike, but rather, his inner companion, the one that greets us now.
"Hello," they growl back.
"Spike, what're you doing?" Twilight asks. "Come up off of Peter, Spike."
"He kept poking me," he states, coldly. Twilight recoils as the cold command rattles her body, and Rainbow Dash has a gleam of fear in her eyes.
"That's no reason to tackle him," Twilight scolds, her voice shaking a bit. "G-Get off of him!"
A glimmer of concern sparks in Spike's eye, and we realize that they still care for Twilight, no matter how dark they may become. Spike's darkness quickly recedes, and his eyes turn soft and bright once more.
"Sorry, Twilight," he says, meekly. He stands, and we do, as well, taking deep breaths to settle ourselves.
Grendel grumbles as he returns to his coiled position, closing his eyes as he purrs to the darkness. I open my eyes, and smile at Twilight and Rainbow Dash, now fully and once again me, with emotions and all.
"Why would you attack him like that?" Twilight asks the dragon, still shaken by his cold voice.
"I dunno what came over me," he mutters in response.
"Spike, you've got to learn to manage your anger more," Twilight sighs. I grimace as I rest a hand on Twilight's shoulder, having finally deciding what I would do about this.
"Twilight...We need to talk."
And so it is that, a half hour later, Twilight is sitting across from me in the library, looking to Spike in concern, and to me in fear.
"So, you're saying that...Grendel is in you?" Twilight asks, softly. "And that it lets you see the...darkness...in others?"
"Yes," I respond. "And Spike has a powerful darkness in him, and one that may be explosive should it be provoked. It may well be what created Grendel in the first place. But I don't know for sure." Spike tugs on my shirt, and I turn to face the dragon, taking in his fear and nervousness.
"Why is it in me?" He asks, shakily. "Why is this...thing there? You said it could make me kill, so...why is it there?"
I frown. "It may be there because Grendel killed you. Perhaps it chose you because of something. But I don't know, Spike. All I can really know for sure is that it's there, and it is dangerous.
"Unless we do something about it."
Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Spike look up in surprise.
"Like what?" Rainbow demands. "And shouldn't we tell Celestia about this?"
"No!" Twilight cries. "We can't! He's my son...And-And Celestia might take him away!!"
My dream comes flooding back to me, and I frown. If I don't get Celestia to know about it, that dream may very well become a reality, which is the exact opposite of what I want.
"We have to," I sigh. "Don't worry, Celestia won't take him away. She'll just keep him in a, uh...stress-free environment, that way, his darkness doesn't come out while we try to do something about it."
Twilight frowns, and I see Spike's darkness stir. It has been listening to the conversation, and it knows that it is being threatened.
"Nothing we do can destroy the darkness, though," I sigh. "It will always be there. But Spike can hold it, and make sure that it can't do whatever it wants to do. If he feels a Need, we can help him to suppress it. Having emotions makes it easier to do so." The darkness in Spike rears, but Twilight begins to cry, and Spike's companion eases back down as it is crushed by emotions.
"Awww, Twilight," Spike coos as he holds her. "It's okay..."
"No, it's not okay!" Twilight declares, holding Spike close. "You're back from the dead, but now, you've got to suffer because you have some demon thing in you that could make you kill! Spike, I'm so sorry...I failed you, I failed you as a mother, I failed to protect you..."
I smile as Spike shares a tender moment with Twilight. "And you're my mother," he whispers, his darkness finally being subdued into a sturdy slumber. "And trust me when I say that you could never fail, Twi'. And you could never fail me." Twilight sobs against Spike, who simply hugs her closer. I look to Rainbow Dash, who is smiling, as well.
"His darkness is asleep," I say as I sit next to Rainbow. "His emotions for Twilight crushed it. It's not gone, but it's not going to come up for a little while. Maybe it would be best not to tell Celestia about it, and just let emotions take their course."
Rainbow nods, and rests her head on my shoulder. "Yeah, and he loves Twilight, and Twilight loves him. If anything can help Spike, it's love. Trust me. It's helped me a lot."
I smile at Rainbow, and she kisses me on the cheek. She blushes as she gives me a small smile, her eyes saying more than a picture ever could.
"So," Twilight says, softly. "How do we help Spike?"
I look over, and see that she's still holding Spike protectively. I smile, and nod to her.
"You're already doing it. Just be there for him, Twilight. Love is all he needs." I hear the Beetles in the back of my head, and I smile. "All you need is love."
Twilight smiles back, and Rainbow Dash gives me another quick peck on the cheek. I smile, and realize that this whole thing may blow over, eventually.
However, life is never that simple. And it will never be. Especially not when it comes to a demon inhabiting the body of your friend.
Oh, and it grows even harder when there's a demon within yourself, constantly reminding you that there is a demon in your friend.
And always whispering to you that that friend is incredibly dangerous, and should be treated as such. But with enough love and care, he's totally docile.
Until somepony pokes him, or he gets a prick on the finger. He's incredibly short tempered, which means that something could set him off and let out his darkness.
So, I think we should get some anger-management for him. Teach him to Keep Calm and Carry On.
But the demon in him made a good choice. Spike is but a baby dragon, so he will always be immature until such a time as he grows older, which may be a long time. And within that span of time, he may have let his inner darkness out for a play date.
And now that we are actively campaigning against his inner companion, it will rebel, and start to give Spike a Need to do something that would let it out, and would cause him to become increasingly frustrated until it exploded outward.
Unless I found a way to help him meet that Need, and keep his inner companion fat and happy, so as to prevent it from completing whatever its goal is.
But until that time comes, I will enjoy myself here, in Equestria.
And I shall sharpen my knives, for we will be waiting.