Night Light shot to his feet at the sound of shattering glass. He spun his chair out of the way and took off for the stairs. A quick glance to the kitchen told him that his wife, Twilight Velvet, had not heard it. The kind woman was knee-deep into their dinner, and no doubt, had been distracted by several alarms and buzzers going off.
He had heard it though, no father could ever mistake what that sound was. He took the stairs two at a time, not enough to alert his wife that something had happened, but enough to get there before anything major happened.
The bathroom door was open.
He quickly struck his head in and paused at the sight that greeted him. His adopted son was standing at the sink, staring at his left hand in fascination. Night Light could put the pieces together, Spike had punched the mirror, hard. There were small shards of glass embedded in the boy’s fist. He knew they must have hurt, but whatever had caused Spike to do it in the first place must have dulled his nerves. The young boy seemed more curious than anything else.
The bathroom mirror had a spiderweb of cracks running from where Spike’s fist had collided with the glass. The area of impact missing the shards imbedded in the young boy’s knuckles, some pieces of which were lying in the sink.
Spike looked up at him, as if noticing he was there for the first time. There was a small trail of blood running down his left hand.
“Didn’t think so,” Night Light said as he walked in, picked up the boy, and placed him on the toilet lid. “You’re lucky your mother didn’t hear that. She’d be freaking out right now.”
“She’s not my... mom,” Spike replied solemnly, holding his left hand in his right, letting it bleed out.
“Yeah, you’re right about that. Truth is we have no idea who your mom is, or where she is,” Night Light said as he turned on the faucet and wet a washcloth.
“Not like it matters much. She didn’t want me anyways.”
“Spike, we don’t know why she—”
“Doesn’t matter. She didn’t, my dad too. Neither of them wanted anything to do with me.”
“Spike, son. I’m sure they loved you very much. They just couldn’t give you the—”
“The home I deserved? Didn’t Principal Celestia say the same thing when she talked to Velvet?”
Night Light got quiet, hurt eyes locked onto the small hand he was doctoring.
“Well, didn’t she?” The young boy made to pull his hand away but it was held fast in the stronger hold of his father.
“Yes,” Night said as he grasped the boy's hand tighter and started to clean it off with a towel.
“People seem concerned about what I ‘deserve’ but no one seems to care what I want,” Spike mumbled, then cringed as his father grabbed a pair of tweezers and pulled out the first shard of glass.
“You wanted to punch the mirror?” Night asked, holding up the small shard. If you were any stronger kid, you’d probably need stitches.
“Not the mirror,” Spike said, hissing as another shard was pulled out of his hand.
“The face looking back at you?”
When he didn’t say anything, Night Light sighed in understanding. He kept his mouth shut and washed the boy’s hand again with the rag. “You got lucky, few cuts, and it’s going to hurt for a while, but you didn’t break anything.”
“Lucky me. Wouldn’t want you to have to waste a trip to the hospital on little old me,” Spike mumbled as he rolled his eyes.
“Yes, lucky you. Not because of the expenses like your thinking though, son. It’s because we care about you.”
“Spike, when have we ever given you cause to think otherwise?”
The little boy glared at him, tears in his eyes. That one look, that look of pain, of heartache, it hurt Night Light worse than a punch to the gut. Without even thinking, Night Light let Spike’s hand go. His jaw dropped as his own eyes watered.
“Can I go to my room… at least until dinner?” Spike asked.
“In a moment,” Night said, clenching his jaw. The ache in his heart dulling as he put his son’s feelings first. He pulled out a box of Band Aids and started to work on the hand itself. “Spike, I—”
“Just don’t, please.”
The tears that fell from those little green eyes broke his heart. He shut up and concentrated only on the hand, only on the physical pain his little boy was in. The emotional? He didn’t have a clue what to do about that; he had never seen such hurt in his life.
“Okay, I’ll take care of what happened during dinner. If anyone asks about the cuts, just say…”
“You got into a fight with a cat.”
Spike nodded and looked over his hand. It was started to redden and felt stiff, sore; but, oddly, beyond that, it didn’t hurt. “Sorry, about the mirror I mean.”
Night looked up, almost as if he had forgotten about it. “Oh, yeah, huh?” He thought for a moment before shooing Spike out of the room, He grabbed the top of the mirror, and yanked it down, letting the shards shatter in the sink. “Dammit! Honey, I broke the mirror!”
“Why’d you do that‽” Twilight Velvet shouted as she started to make her way up the stairs.
“It told me you looked fat!” Night Light said as she entered the room. “Didn’t want you to hear. Don’t worry, we’ve needed a new mirror on the wall for awhile”
Velvet raised an eyebrow at him, her lips dipping into a frown. “Is that so?”
“Yeah, look!” Night turned back to the sink and looked at his reflections in the shards. “Mirror mirror on the… er… in the sink! Who’s the fairest of them all?”
A moment of silence caused Velvet to open her mouth but before she could say anything she could hear a high pitched mumbled voice.
“Not Twilight Velvet, she’s definitely gained so—”
Velvet swatted him upside the back of the head.
“Ow!” Night Light yelped, rubbing the back of his head, puppy-dog eyeing his wife.
“What’d you really do, dummy?”
“Tripped, hit the mirror, and pulled it off the wall.”
“You’re fixing it tomorrow.”
“Yes dear,” Night Light said, planting a kiss on her cheek.
“You’re lucky I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Spike heard Velvet go down the stairs from inside his room. Part of him couldn’t believe that Night Light did that, another part of him couldn’t believe it worked. He laid down in bed, his hand felt… numb, but no worse than his whole body felt.
He wanted to cry, he wanted to lash out, to strike something else, to break something, anything else. He wanted to be someone else, he wanted to not be him; to not be Spike Sparkle, to not be a Sparkle. He wanted Celestia, he wanted Shining, he wanted Twily, he wanted… he wanted Sweetie. But at the same time he just wanted to be alone.
The tears fell again. The little boy rolled to his side and curled his knees to his chest as he cried.
“I’m nothing more than a decoration around here,” he sobbed to himself. “They tell me what to think, what to wear, where to be, what to feel… not even… I…”
A knock on the door alerted him that someone was on the other side. Spike ran his right hand over his face. Disgusted with just how many tears he wiped off, but he knew they were just a drop in the bucket compared to all the tears he had shed that day.
“Dinner’s ready,” Night Light said as he opened the door and allowed a small amount of light into the otherwise dark room.
“T-thanks,” Spike mumbled, wiping his hand on his pants.
“You know, your moth—Velvet is going to want to talk, about everything.”
“Yeah, I know,” Spike said as he got to his feet.
“You ready for that?”
“What do you think?”
“Yeah, I don’t think anyone could be. I remember the day Shining got into his first fight.”
“There’s a difference,” Spike said as he walked past him.
“Yeah, what's that?”
Night Light paused at that. He watched the little boy walk down the hallway and then the stairs. Sighing, he walked after him. Momentarily surprised at Spike’s speed at getting to the dinner table.
Night Light took his seat at the end, Spike in the center, and they both waited, silently. Several times he tried to say something, to think of something to say. But there was nothing, jokes wouldn’t alleviate this situation, in truth he didn’t even know what the situation was.
He just knew the obvious.
It was bad.
“Dinner is ready,” Velvet said from the kitchen.
And about to get worse.
Spike glanced out of the corner of his eye as he watched the older woman bring in several pots full of food. He refused to look at her directly, choosing instead to settle for glances as to not draw attention to his black eye.
Sadly, by not drawing attention to it, he couldn’t have drawn more attention to it.
Velvet looked down shamefully at her son. “And you mister have a story to tell us, why don’t you start off by giving us your low for the day.”
“Honey, is high-low really a good idea?” Night Light asked, trying to defuse this bomb before it went off.
The timer just sped up.
“Not now, Night, you’re still in trouble for the mirror. Spike, low, now.”
“My whole day,” he mumbled. “Or life depending on how far back you want to go.”
“What was that?”
“Nothing,” Spike said, a little louder.
“Low, now, go.”
Spike sighed, loudly. He considered his options, what to tell her. But when he looked up and saw a look of absolute distain on his foster mom’s face, his mind was made up. With a glare, he started in, “Well, that’s tied: It was either getting the gift Rarity gave me stolen, getting my head stuck in the toilet and flushed, three times, or getting my ass kicked.”
Velvet dropped her spoon, she’d never find it again. “Come again?”
“Oh, or it’s when the same bullies pushed me off my chair in the middle of class. Or when I was forced to team up with Scootaloo because she almost cut her teammate’s finger off with a jigsaw. Or when I broke down in tears, sobbing on the bathroom floor in the middle of the boy’s locker room stalls. Or when an entire classroom made fun of me for being an overachiever and the teachers did nothing to help out. Or because I’m goody two-shoes Twilight Sparkle’s younger brother. Or when I got the black eye.”
Night Light sat back in his chair, he did his best to stay composed.
“Or when I got sent to the principal's offices on some trumped up charge about my dumb stupid uniform you just love me in because I didn’t tuck in my shirt and ended up crying in Celestia’s arms, wishing for the first time in my life that she’d rescue me again!”
“Oh, I’m not done yet!” Spike shouted. The faucet in his mind had broke, he was shaking, the words coming like they had a mind of their own, like they demanded to be told and he couldn’t hold them back if he wanted to. “I still gotta do my highs! Let’s see, my friends Scootaloo, Applebloom, and Sweetie Belle all greeted me, preventing me from running away from school before it even started. I guess in hindsight that’s a low, huh? Sweetie kissed me on the side of the cheek. Apple Bloom saved me from getting my ass kicked after second period. I appsentmindedly kissed Sweeite soon after.”
“Not done yet, don’t interrupt, Night Light, that’s just rude. Hmm… what happened next. Oh, during lunch Sweetie overheard me say I don’t like her. I ended up chasing her down and we became boyfriend and girlfriend. During gym, after I had my head ducked into the toilet, she hugged me, I grabbed her ass, and then she saw me hard. After school I walked out to find the same three bullies that made my life a living hell were picking on her, I ran to her aid only to get a nasty bruise on my side and a black eye for my trouble. Then, when I finally get home, I get shit from you!”
There was a pregnant, potent pause. It was as if the house would only stay standing if no one said a word, if no sound was made.
“How ungrateful are you?”
Night Light looked over, shocked at his wife’s words.
“You know how much money we’re spending to send you to that school? And you’re what? Going to run away from it? All because you don’t like your uniform?”
“That’s n—” Spike shook his head as he was interrupted. His mouth working to process what his foster mother was saying.
Did she even listen to a word I said?
“Oh no, I let you speak, now you’re going to listen me.” Twilight Velvet said as she leaned over the table to stare right into the young boy’s eyes.
“Honey, I—” Night’s sentence was cut off by a scowling look from his wife.
“We took you in, we gave you a roof over your head, a family, love. We’ve tried to make sure you had every advantage we could afford to give you. And this? This is what you come home with? Twilight works every day, worries over you every single day, trying to make sure that you’re as prepared as you can be. I slave to make sure that you’re well fed, that you’re cared for, that you have everything you need, and this? This is what you give us? You get into fights, you don’t even give school a chance, all so you can flirt with some flusy?”
“Don’t talk about Sweetie that way!” Spike yelled, yelled at her. Each word she had said hit the young boy like a barrage of bullets to his chest, and he couldn’t listen to anymore.
“You’re forbidden to see her again, any of them.”
“You can’t do that!”
“You live in this home, you—”
“This isn’t my home!” Spike yelled with tears in his eyes. “It never was! None of you ever gave a damn what I wanted, how I felt! You’ve only ever told me what I should feel! I’m nothing more than a decoration! You may have given me a roof over my head, but you never gave me a home.”
All eyes turned to the teenage girl with lavender eyes standing in the dining room doorway, a hurt expression on her face as she locked eyes with her younger brother. With the yelling and tension in the house, no one had even heard Twilight walk in the door.
Spike gasped as he saw Twilight starting to cry. But he couldn’t bring himself to feel for her right now, he couldn’t feel anything but rage and hatred. “I wish you had never taken me in!” At that, he ran from the table, pushed her aside and shot up the stairs, as fast as his legs could take him.
Pacing. Angry pacing.
That’s all the young boy could do at the moment. He was furiously angry, something that both excited and scared him at the same time.
He had never felt this way before, usually he felt nothing. Things just happened and he went with it. Much like how he ended up in the house he lived in now.
For young Spike Sparkle, it wasn’t a home. It was simply somewhere he went to sleep at night. He felt so alone, something he never imagined he would feel again since Twilight brought him here.
So here he was. Walking back and forth, from door to window and back again. His clenched fists and burning fury causing his body to shake as he mumbled to himself.
“I hate it here! I can’t stand these people, this house, these… these things!” Spike yelled as he picked up his desk lamp and threw it across the room. The bulb busted instantly, raining glass onto the carpeted floor. The silver lamp itself broke into two pieces as it rolled on the floor.
The young boy immediately went to his closet, forcibly opening the shutter doors causing them to rattle violently. Had he been stronger, he would have ripped them off their hinges.
His eyes darted over all the objects that he had accumulated in the past years living in the Sparkle house. Books, lots and lots of books, all of them, gifts from his sister.
“What’s the point of buying me all this shit if it’s just worthless to me.” The young boy mocked his foster mother before reaching down and grabbing as many books as he could.
One by one he launched them across the room, kicking some, throwing some. As the pile got smaller he began ripping at pages, throwing them into the air and letting them fall where they may.
After the last book in that pile fell he turned to get more, repeating the process until every single book he owned was now in a damaged condition, sprawled across the room. He was surrounded by ripped and torn pages.
Rage pulsed through his veins as he looked for something, anything else to destroy. It, the action, it made him feel hollow, like he had something missing, something he desperately needed, but it beat the pain of doing nothing, of crying into his pillow. That pain was so much worse, and he was tired of crying. He had cried more today than he remembered in his whole life.
Spike moved to his uniform, he picked up the collar of the the shirt in hand, the stupid bow that was attached to the penguin shirt, he held the helm of the shirt down with his foot and pulled, letting all his rage, his anger, give him strength.
The ripping sound was like music in his ears.
By the time Spike could come to terms with what he had just done, it was too late. His chest was heaving, breath coming out in harsh pants that hurt with each inhale. His eyes were bloodshot, and he could feel more than a few new small cuts on his hands.
He dropped the fabric, his eyes locked onto his small hands as he backed up, running into his bedside table.
He knocked the table over, his backpack spilling it’s contents, dumping them out onto the floor. He spun around, anger anew, about to start in on the last books in the room.
How did this get in—
His eyes fell upon a little purple dragon. One that stared up at him.
That gave him pause, that made him think of Sweetie, the sweet little girl that, against all ryhm and reason, liked him.
Spike fell to his knees, tears falling all over again. He laid down in the mess of papers, books, and broken furniture.
The small, eleven year old, green haired boy, did the only thing he could do.
What felt like hours to the young boy was really only half an hour. His tears had long since dried but the pain in his heart still ached.
He had picked up the small doll at some point during his… moment. His small hands cuddling the doll close to his heart.
Slowly, with the help of the turned over side table, he got to his feet. His eyes searching around the room before pausing on the slightly open drawer on the table.
Curling his the fingers of his left hand around the leg of the table he stood it back upright. His hand moving to adjust the drawer back into the correct position. Pulling it out of it’s cubby slightly his eyes zeroed in on a black frame.
The green and purple dragon doll fell slowly from his hand as he swiftly reached for the picture, pulling it up to eye level to look at it thoroughly.
Tears started to form again running down his cheeks, clenched teeth muting the sound of broken words.
Before he knew it he had launched the frame from his hands.
It collided violently with the wall next to his bed, the sound of cracking glass causing him to freeze. It landed softly on his blankets, the back of the frame facing up.
Quickly scurrying over to the bed, his hands reached for the frame, pulling it up to his face to inspect it closely. His eyes raked over the cracked glass, his mouth dipping into a frown as he sat on the bed, staring into the picture.
“I… Why did I do that?” Spike bit his lip, holding the frame close to his heart. “It may be just a stupid picture, but it’s still one I treasure. It’s not worthless. I do care. Even if they think I don’t. It’s them that doesn’t care about me.”
The young boy stood up and placed the frame delicately on top of the side table. He traced his fingers across the cracked face once more before turning back to look at disaster he made.
Spike wasn’t sure if the settling of his stomach was because of pride or fear but he was ready to show them how right they were about him.
“If they thought I didn’t care before I can’t wait for them to see this.” The young boy grinned maliciously, his hands reaching for more objects to destroy in his bout of rage. The picture and gift may have given him pause, but the fury he was feeling was unstoppable. The Sparkles would know how Spike felt before they could say What have we done?