• Published 20th Jun 2013
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Spike's Temporary Stay - B_25



Spike inadvertently returns home while disguised as another dragon, avoiding six friends whom he longs to see.

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II – Disguised Entry Into Familiar Territory

~II~
DISGUISED ENTRY INTO FAMILIAR TERRITORY

Twelve days had past since the dragon had set foot on her farm.

Looking like he had risen risen from the grave, he had presented his claws before her face; they had looked sharp enough to rip her eyes from their sockets. Yet the dragon didn’t strike when she gave him the chance, which suggest that there was some hope in saving him.

It was risk to take, with such a dangerous creature. But it was seldom that her gut gave the wrong impression of someone.

And that someone now slept in her barn. Covered head to toe in bandages, and only opening his eyes a wink, so that he could eat his spoon-fed meals. If Applejack time wasn’t spent working on the farm, than it was at the side of the dragon.

And even while on the farm, her thoughts refused to forget about his existence. Just who was this dragon? Where did he come from? Why was acting offensive, even though he meant no harm?

The thoughts never stopped repeating in her mind, which was the reason why she screamed.

Perhaps this outing with her friend would take her mind off the matter.


“What do you mean you have a dragon in your barn!?” Rainbow shouted, while pressing her face against Applejack’s.

Applejack wished she covered her ears, as she pushed the mare away.

“Can you please not scream that out loud?” Applejack said, sighing. “And it's exactly what it means: I have a dragon sleeping my barn.”

“Oo, Oo!” Pinkie bounced forward as all heads turned to her. “Is he a big dragon? Or a teeny tiny dragon? Well, I don’t mean teeny as in the size of my hoof, but, like, dragon standards! I mean, like, is he smaller than regular ponies – which would make him a teeny tiny dragon – or is he slightly taller than ponies, which would make him a small dragon?”

Applejack cocked her head to the side. “Ah a guess a small dragon... then.”

Her mind called it a quits on trying to figure out Pinkie’s train of thought. There isn’t really a good reason to try and comprehend Pinkie’s logic, as it only gets more sillier and complex.

“Oh my, Applejack,” Rarity stepped forward with the sun burning behind her. “Did he try anything improper untowards you?’

“Ah, well…” Applejack played with her hooves. “His first impression was, ah, for lack of a better word: poor. He did try to kill– or, er, seriously wound me.”

Applejack didn’t have time to blink before Rainbow Dash was upon her. “It tried to hurt you!?”

“He – not it – didn’t do a thing!” Applejack pushed Rainbow off her once more. Upon returning to her hooves, she looked to each and every one of her friends. “The boy was all talk! He looked mighty scary at the time, and you could hear the roar hidden behind his voice. His fangs looking like they could dig deep into ya… his claw could probably tear away meat like a knife…:”

Am I supposed to be helping the boy or condemning him?! Applejack shook her head and tried again.

“Look, the drake looked dangerous, but somthin’ in my gut told me otherwise. And I always trust my gut, which proved that inside him, he wasn’t all that bad.:

Rainbow turned her head away, her eyes interest in a patch of grass. “I don’t know, Applejack.” She sighed. “A dragon! It’s been awhile since we’ve last seen one. A dragon... Dragon...”

“I have to agree with Rainbow on this one, as dragons aren’t ones to be trusted,” Rarity stated. “But this dragon does sound interesting. I mean, a dragon that talks, and nonetheless to ponies! Simply fascinating.”

Pinkie hopped in front of Rarity. “Oo! I want to meet him! I want to meet him!”

Applejack stepped forward. “No can do, Sugarcube. I’m afraid the dragon’s still recovering.”

“Recovering?” Rainbow Dash asked as she recovered from her silence. “I thought you said you didn't end up fighting him?”

“And I didn’t; he’s the one that came to me with his dang foot stuck in the grave. Heck, if it weren’t for Fluttershy over there, I doubt the drake would be just sleeping right now.”

Dash's head shot straight to Fluttershy. “Is this true?”

Fluttershy nodded. “Oh yes. At first, he looked really scary. He had blood and dirt covering him, and I was afraid he might attack me if I got too close. ” Fluttershy stopped to take a breath. “But it's really thanks to Applejack that I took a closer look at the dragon, so that I could see that he needed my help.”

She turned her head and looked away. “I shouldn’t have judged him on his looks. How rude of me to do so!”

“Uh, Fluttershy?”

Flutters snapped from her train of thought. “Oh, sorry.”

“Will this dragon be okay?” Rarity asked, looking sincerely concerned.

“Oh, yes,” Fluttershy replied with a smile. “His wounds were severe, but his scales should re-grow pretty fast. As long as heeps resting, then he should be back to normal in no time.”

Fluttershy paused for a moment, going to say something, but halted the words in her throat; only after shaking her head did she speak. “He had a lot of open wounds, so my main concern was that he might’ve caught something.”

Pinkie didn’t seem too interested as she once again interrupted. “So when can we meet him? I want to see him!”

“Not now, Pinkie,” Applejack said. “The dragon’s gotta heal up, and even then, he seems like the type that likes his privacy.”

Even if I just exposed him to all my friends. She sighed. He’s gonna hate me for that one.

Pinkie dropped to the picnic blanket. “Oh…’

“Cheer up, Pinks.” Dash rested a hoof on Pinkie's shoulder. “I’m sure we’ll get to meet him soon enough, somehow. But for now–” Dash ran a hoof along her belly, giving it a pat “–I’m starving.”

Applejack joined the five on the blanket. “I agree with you there, Sugarcube. Let’s eat!”

During the exchange, Twilight didn’t say a single word, only watching and listening as the girls talked about Applejacks new friend. The only response or sign of life she showed was her intent stare and a few eye twitches at the mention of the word dragon.

Rarity noticing Twilight’s behaviour moved close to her to see what the problem was. “Darling, is everything ok? You have been acting rather...odd”.

“I’m fine,” Twilight replied in an emotionless tone, while looking intently at Applejack.

“Well ok then dear,” Rarity shrugged her shoulders and turned to the conversation at hoof.


The six mares enjoyed their picnic.

Everypony ate the same lunch: sandwiches and hay, while Pinkie and Dash skipped to desserts.

With the world not coming to an end anytime soon, the six were free to take a load off, and discuss the small things, like the new salon that was opening up.

Villains still came out nowhere, but Applejack and her friends could always find a way to defeat them. Though the appearance of these villains was decreasing, which either relaxed the nation with its peace, or stressed it out with what may be gathering off in the distance.

Applejack paid it not a thought. Whatever what was going to happen, was going to happen. Though at the present, since there were no villains to vanquish, the girls had less of a reason to meet up and hang out.

Crops had to be harvested, and the bank ponies needed to be paid. If it wasn’t something urgent, than all else had to wait. Applejack wasn’t the only one with a life to deal with: each of her friends had their own paths to walk down.

So to gather up and discuss the most mundane of topics, was still enough to bring a smile to each of their faces.

Fluttershy nibbled on her salad and listened to what everypony had to say. It wasn’t apparent if she cared about what was being said, but her attention was there. Though, occasionally, she would glance over at Twilight.

Speaking of Twilight, she hadn’t said a word. Her face lit up when Applejack announced there was a dragon in her barn, but besides that, she held no emotion. She just sat and there and listened, her plate full of food, yet not a bite taken.

Then, when everypony was almost finished with their meals, Twilight spoke.

“This dragon, is he nice?”

Applejack coughed on her food, tapping a hoof against her chest. “I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear that question, Twi.”

Twilight kept silent. Though she offered Applejack an empty stare.

“Well, like ah said, at first he was aggressive and distant. And, while I don’t know kind of character he is – something tells me he’s an alright guy underneath. That’s just my two bits, and I still have lingering doubts about him.”

“This drake”– Twilight said the word as if it were deeply interesting question –“you’re sure the dragon is a he?”

“Ah, yeah?” Applejack tilted her head. “He had the voice of one, I suppose.” She then raised a brow. “What’s up with the the odd question, Twilight?”

Wait. No… She can’t be suggesting that this dragon might be him. Applejack closed her eyes. Please Twilight. Don’t do this here.

“No reason,” Twilight replied. “Now, it isn’t polite to call someone by vague names; did this dragon give you his name? Or did he want that to be kept secret as well?”

“No. The fella didn’t even have a name.”

“Wait a sec,” Dash interrupted, “if he doesn’t have a name, then what do ponies call him?”

“I don’t know.” Applejack said, sighing. “He must have some nickname he’s called by. But we– I mean I, won’t know until he wakes up.”

Applejack picked up her half-eaten sandwich and presented before her mouth. “Now, can we drop this and start eating’?”

Dash struggled to keep her mouth closed, Applejack could tell. But the past few day of dealing with work; making sure the dragon was alright, and motivating Fluttershy not to run away took its toll. As interesting as this dragon was, all these worries and stresses of him needed to go away for a little while.

Fluttershy kept glancing at Twilight. Rarity started to do it too. The two would look at Twilight, then at each other, and then frown. Applejack cleared her throat and gained the two’s attention. She shook her head at them.

We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, girls. Now can we PLEASE just eat?

The picnic unfortunately went on without anypony talking, which was a problem that so rarely came up when the six were together. But with it, the afternoon was ruined. To make matters worse, Twilight stood up from the blanket.

“This picnic has been really fun girls, but I’m afraid I’ve gotta run.”

Rarity stood up. “But darling, it’s been forever since we’ve all spent an afternoon with each other and just chat. Surely whatever it is can wait?”

“No can do, Rarity. I forgot about an important assignment for Princess Celestia that requires my immediate attention.” Twilight bowed her head, but did it in a hasty manner. “I’m sorry girls. I promise we’ll do something soon to make up for this.”

And without saying goodbye, Twilight trotted off to who knows where.

“Anyone else just feel like they’ve been lied to?” Applejack asked, while looking at all her friends.

“Twilight probably just had something important to do that she couldn’t bear to say out loud, is all,” Rarity defended, though her face looked uncertain. “Besides, the five of us are still here: why ruin such a nice outing with drama?”

Rarity wanting to stray away from drama? Applejack punished herself from laughing, but that didn’t stop her from laughing. She took a bite from her sandwich and moaned in delight, as her friends began to talk once more.


The picnic continued on without Twilight presence, though the mood of it wasn’t the same. Minds racked on about the mystery of this dragon, while their hearts pumped at twice the speed.

But, since that conversation was off limits, the five were force to discuss the mundane things of everyday life, before departing to their separate lives. Applejack watched as they all walked away, before returning to that place she called home.

Though a thought plagued her. There was no intention in letting her friends know of the dragon, as he barely tolerated her appearance. But now that her friends knew… she could trust in them to not spread word around town, right?

A dragon in town would be the topic on everybody’s mind. And patching up that said dragon has already Applejack losing sleep over it. To then have to guard the drake from public eye, while making sure he doesn’t go berserk on his own…

What in the hay have I gotten myself into? Applejack thought to herself before shaking her head. No no. You can’t think like that. HE needed your help, and it would’ve been bad if we let him wander around in that kind of state.

I wonder though. What would’ve happened to him if he had wandered into town? She looked at the floating ball of fire in the sky. I don’t think Ponyville is the type to carry around pitchforks, but there’s no guarantee that no stigma would interfere in his getting help.

What if he had wandered to Fluttershy? As kind as she is, there’s a chance her fear might of prevented her from helping him.

Rainbow? Hmm. There’s a chance she might of helped him… after she had fought him, of course.

Rarity? That one I can’t be sure of. Though there is a chance she might of spared him.

Pinkie? Would’ve thrown him a party as he lay dying. Than throw him a ‘funeral-party’ once he had died.

Twilight?

Applejack had stopped walking to ponder that one. Upon the mention of the dragon, Twilight seemed the least interested in the subject. Her questions were plain, almost as if she were a Royal Guard filling out a report.

Seeing as how Twilight once had a dragon brother, it can’t help but send a shiver down Applejack spine on how apathetic she had been. Wouldn’t she the most interested to learn about this drake?

He could tell them how a dragon works and feels, and maybe even find a way to integrate more dragons into Ponyville’s society. Even more important, is that with this knowledge, the girls could finally understand the workings Spike had gone through while he was still alive.

They could finally understand why he became so distant. Why his feelings became so odd and slightly repulsive. And maybe, just maybe, Applejack could understand what it must feel like for someone like Spike to have his feelings betrayed.

“Oa—” Applejack coughed. Her eyes blinking as she looked all around her. “Am– am I thinking for Twilight here. Or are these thoughts my own?”

Taking a deep breath to silence her mind, Applejack walked home and to her barn.


Light groans came from the other side of the door.

Applejack had her ear pressed against it, as she tried to make out all the sounds on the other side. Taking a breath, she rapped her hoof against the door, before entering the barn.

Inside, the dragon laid sprawled on the bundles of hay. He had a goofy smile, like he had seen a very pretty girl.

Applejack smiled herself, as she neared the bundles of hay.

“You… I think I can do… that,” the drake murmured in his sleep.

Applejack shot up a brow.

“Wha you mean… leave… but I…”

Applejack bit her lip as she looked to the door. The dragon was unconscious of the words he might be sprouting, so it wasn’t right to peep in on what his thoughts may be. She wouldn’t want the same being done to her if she were asleep.

Yet, Applejack plopped down next to the hay, and hovered her ear over the dragon’s mouth.

“What do... you… mean… don’t... love me?”

Applejack’s eyes flared open as she inched forward, her coat brushing against his arm. A claw then gripped her throat and held her up to the ceiling of the bar. The drake stood up as he stared at her, with his grip growing tighter.

“Pl—” the rest came out in a squeak. If his grip prevented a breath to pass through her throat, then why did she expect her voice to be able to do so. Still, she did her best to cry for help.

The dragon continued to stare at her, with a emotionless face. It wasn’t even like he was watching pony being strangled, but rather, that he was watching a film being played before him.

The claw grew fuzzy. The innings of the barn became haze. Applejack face was turning blue, as she tried to buck his chest with her hind legs. But his claw were too long to perform the feat, as the hooves could only dangle in the air.

Just as the world had faded black, the drake had blinked his eyes, before they went wide. He quickly tossed Applejack aside, with her smacking into the barn wall.

The drake took hold of his right claw – the one that had been strangling her moments ago – and store into it. His eyes fully open, with something welling at the bottom of them. He looked at the claw as if it weren’t his own; like blood had stopped circulating in it.

Applejack scooted back into the barn wall, as her breathing was rapid. A hoof massaged her throat as it gulped down the air. Her eyes stared at the dragon, and they weren’t sure what emotion they should show.

Not a minute ago, the dragon standing tall and strong, had been lying on a bundle of hay– unable to move most of his limbs. He had bandages from head to toe, and couldn’t stay awake for more than five minutes.

He had relied on ponies for food and medicine; for them to take care of him.

The dragon had been helpless moments ago, and then he went and held her up by her throat.

The drake looked to her and she looked to him. He stood horrified, while she sat there panting. Just what was going on in the mind of the dragon’s? Was he going to walk over and finish the job? Or run out the barn doors while he still could?

Applejack didn’t move, nor did the drake. He took a step towards her, in which, she yelped. His eyes flew up as he took a step back, and then looked away.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m so-so sorry.”

Applejack hadn’t stop panting.

“Why–” her heart nearly burst out from her chest “–did you do that? Are you… are you…”

“I–I,” he stuttered. “I didn’t mean to. I felt a presence, and my… and my instincts just took over. I’m sorry to have hurt you.”

Applejack didn’t stop pressing her back against the wall.

“You just attack anything in your sleep?!”

The dragon gulped. “S-Sleeping out in the wild… you gotta be prepared for anything.”

Applejack closed her eyes and let her head fall. Her pants returned to regular breaths. “You can’t do that me!” Applejack tiredly whined. “You almost scared me to death.”

“Sorry.”

Applejack rose up and limped towards the drake. Her heart still pounded, but atleast she had some control over it now.

“I shouldn’t of come to this town,” the drake said, “beast like me belong in the wild. Even if we mean good, we still end up hurting others.

Applejack sighed, and let her anger flow out with the breath. “Look, don’t go beating yourself up just yet. I was the one intruding in on your personal space, and I’ve should’ve known not get too close while you were sleeping.”

“That doesn’t make me feel less like crap,” he muttered. “I mean, I could’ve seriously hurt you.”

“And week and a half ago, you were ready to fight and slash me,” Applejack said with a smile. “If anything, I’d say someone is starting to come around.”

The drake fell back down to the bundles of hay, and rested his head in the palm of his claw.

Applejack sighed as she walked over, and took a seat next to him.

“I really did mess up coming here,” the drake murmured. “Making threats; hurting others, just being a nuisance. Ah... I shouldn’t of come here.”

“You were dying and having hallucinations: I think you made the right choice in coming here.”

He looked over at her. “You don’t make it easy for others to loathe themselves, do you?”

“That’s what friends are for, partner.”

The drake scoffed, looking away. “So what, we’re friends now?”

“Only if you want to be, Sugarcube,” Applejack said. “I can tell you like yer distance, but something also tells me, that you don’t want to be entirely alone.”

“You may be right there,” he said. He then took a deep breath. “But just so you know, that my stay here: it isn’t for long.”

“And why is that— I mean! If you don’t mind asking and all!”

The drake turned his head to look at her, but never ended up doing the latter. “I guess I just like to keep a move on. Staying in the same place keeps me stale, as I’m sure most ponies who’ve met me will attest to that.”

“Stale or not; I wouldn’t mind having you around.”

“Than you’d be the first,” the drake said with a faint smile.

The air became slightly tense, though the silence wasn’t entirely unwelcomed. The dragon had returned to staring at his claw, while Applejack herself stared at the same claw. No feelings of anger rose while she looked at it, but rather, a desire to take hold of the claw.

And to pull him out from his pound of troubles.

Yet, he only inched his claw away. It was like he would rather drown in the water, than reach out claw, and have the wrong pony take hold of it. Applejack sighed as she retracted her hoof.

“Well, we don’t have to be friends just yet,” she said. “No hard feelings, but please keep in mind, that you can trust me.”

The dragon bowed his head. “Thank you.”

Applejack smiled, and, carefully, wrapped a hoof around his back. He jolted for a moment; his right claw rising up. But the firm grip his left claw had on his right arm stopped any such action, and the drake exhaled.

His left claw let go of his right arm, which fell to the hay.

“Thank you,” he said. “For everything.”

The mare giggled. “No worries, Sugarcube. You’re not as bad as you might think you are – just someone who is going through a bit of trouble. Everypony goes through trouble from time to time.”

And besides… you almost strangling me? Well, that doesn't even come close to what I did to Spike. Even as we talk right now, I’m tempted to bite my own tongue out of what I might say.

And clog my ears for what I may here.

No, stop Applejack. Focus. You’re helping this dragon out right now; worries about the other one can come later.

Besides, you’re not the only guilty one in this room. With every word I say to you, my teeth are just inches above my tongue.

“You know,” the drake began, causing Applejack to snap her head left. “you should really ask for something in return. I don’t think anyone else would’ve shown me the same kindness you did. I mean, when blood-covered dragon starts threatening you, most ponies would have assembled a mob.”

“My my! I never thought to even ask you if you had something to give me.” Applejack giggled. “Tell me, what does a dragon like you have to offer? You don’t happen to be a genie as well, do you? Because I already know what my three wishes are.”

“Ah… well… uh…”

Applejack gave the dragon a pat on the back. “I’m only kiddin’. You were in trouble and needed a hoof; it ain’t right to ask for something in return.”

“Even still,” the dragon started, “you took time out of your day to nurse me – that can’t be cheap.”

“Sugarcube, bits aren’t a concern for me.”

The dragon sighed. “Just know that I’m going to pay you back someday, somehow. I may not look like it, but I’m actually pretty strong.”

“No need to tell me. You lifted my entire body like it were nothing!” Applejack laughed, while the dragon looked away.

Ah, why’d I say that? Quick, think of somthin’ to say, Applejack.

“So, if ya don’t mind my asking, what are you going to do now?”

The dragon shrugged his shoulder, as he kept his face distant. “No idea, that’s a question I’ve been trying to avoid.”

There was a shutter above the barn-doors, which allowed those inside to look into the blue sky. The dragon seemed to be admiring a pair of clouds. “The original idea was to keep my head low and make a bit or two. But I don’t know how that ever was going to be the case.”

Applejack giggled at his expense. “Ah don’t see how you were planning to doing that either. Believe it or not, but dragons are an attraction ‘round these parts.”

“Heh, glad to I know I’m famous,” He said, chuckling. “But that adds on to the reason why I have to leave as soon as I can.”

This dragon, Applejack thought, he isn’t… wanted anywhere, is he? She took a breath as her head trembled. I mean, he does give off an aura of danger, and didn’t hesitate to get into a fight with me. But that’s the thing though! He didn’t fight me! So maybe if he did it elsewhere, it was just to scare them off…
Or maybe he didn’t hurt me because he was too weak to do so…

Applejack shook her head.

“Who knows!” The dragon continued on. “Maybe someone will give me a job when I’m back in fighting condition, and that way, I could pay you back and be on my way.”

“Boy, I ain’t worried about the bits!” Applejack shouted; the dragon snapped his head to her.

Applejack sighed before speaking further. “Just get yourself patched up, okay? Make sure you're all good physically and mentally before going into town or anywhere else.

“Just please, stay here on the farm and piece together what you wanna do next. I’d rather have you wandering on the farm, than creating a storm you didn’t mean to create in town.

“There’s no rush in paying me back. So please once again, if not for you, than for me, stay here for a few more days, and just… clear your mind.”

Please, just help yourself. And you’re not doing it for your sake alone.

The dragon’s eyes glinted, his shoulders fell. “You mean I can stay here?”

“I haven’t told my family about you yet. Might’ve told my friends. But, with you being you, I’m sure Big Mac and Applebloom won’t have an issue with it.”

“Really Applejack!?” The dragon lit up like a candle. “Oh, thank you, thank you!” His smile then disappeared. “Wait, what’d you just say?”

“Sorry,” she said, drawing a hoof in the ground. “My friends wanted to know why I was late… and I might’ve blurted about you. Sorry Sugarcube, but I’m not the type of mare to lie.”

The dragon smirked. “I kinda got the vibe from you, seeing as how you're the Element of Honesty.” The drake shot a claw to the roof, before it fell back to the hay. “So, what did they say; any fire I should worry about?” Any harsh words in the air? Should I go pack my bags? Or, lack thereof.”

“No no – they’re just curious about you. Not everyday you meet a dragon you can talk to for more than a minute. Mind you, I know you wanted your privacy, so they’ll stay away for as long as you want them too.”

“Thank you for that,” he said. “I haven’t been around ponies for quite a while, so I have no clue how I’m supposed to act around them.”

“There’s no need to act!” Applejack exclaimed with a laugh. “If I like ya for who you are, than my friends will too.” Applejack rose from the bundle of hay and made way to the door.

“Though, do promise me, that one day, you’ll start being nice to ponies when you first meet em’.”

“Eh, I’ll try my best.”

“That’s good enough.” Applejack started to chuckle, and so too, did the drake.

“Though,” the dragon said amidst his laughter, “no promises of me becoming a gentle dragon.” His laughs grew louder, while her laughs ceased to be.

The dragon’s laughter slowed, as he looks towards her; he opened his mouth to speak.

“I think it’s about time I got going.” Applejack had beaten him to the punch, as she opened the barn-door. “Did you want come outside for some fresh air, or did you wanna be left alone?”

“I’ll laze around in here if you don’t mind.”

Applejack smiled before taking her leave.


Spike watched as the doors came to a close, before laying back on the bundles of hay. He tried reaching to the ceiling of the barn, but it was too far for him to touch. So the the claw fell by his side, while the other propped up his head.

Now ain’t this something? Heh. I leave this town years ago, because of them, and now? My life is indebted to the one who broke my trust. Spike started to laugh, but it sounded more like a hiss. Oh, to think I owe her anything.

She seems interested in the tale of this dragon – the one without a name. Hmm! If tell you its tale, will you add on your distasteful opinions like before, than share that said opinion with the world? Huh, Applejack? Huh!?

Spike chuckled as he covered his face with a claw. “I’m going insane, aren’t I?”

Between the gaps of his talons, lay a piece of paper in the distance.

“Huh?” Spike went to rise, but halted halfway. He looked to his right claw, in which, he infused his magic: a green aura forming around the claw. The same magic then consumed the paper, as it levitated up in the air, and began to glide over to Spike.

A grunt came from Spike. The magic stopped flowing. The paper dropped to the ground.

“Ahaa! I haven’t practise my magic nearly enough.” And too make matters worse, Twilight had already begun teleporting before my birth.

But Twilight had also had books and teachers to teach her on the workings of magic, while Spike only had the forest and his own mind to show him the ways of magic.

But even with that, I still don’t compare with a filly-unicorn. And I’m supposed to be a teenage dragon… oh-boy. Spike stood from the bundle of hay and approached the paper. He both picked it up and read its contents.

“To care for your dragon: the… checklist?” Spike read the note out loud. “Change bandages every three days… soak towel every two hours… give medicine at sunset…” The paper glided from the claw to the ground.

And Spike couldn’t help but sigh. “Fluttershy had patched me up and written a list so that Applejack could care for me. And, apparently, spent most of her days doing so.”

Feet shuffled together, as the one scratched the top of the other. Past the shutters of barn, clouds continued to fly past.

Applejack must really care for this dragon...

The barn door then creaked open.

A shadow fell into the barn’s ground. The drake dashed behind the doors, just as they had fully opened; concealing his presence.

“Ah don’t know what yer girls are talking about,” a voice squeaked. “Ah haven’t seen or heard anything come from this barn. See! Take a look – empty.”

Multiple hooves crunched the grassy-floor of the barn, as they then shot in different directions. “This isn’t right. When Rarity arrived home, I heard her mumbling something about a dragon as she went to her room. Even Scootaloo overheard Rainbow talking about it!”

“Ya’ girls are being foolish; I get that this barn is big, but it's not big enough to fit a full-blown dragon.”

The voices went silent.

“I guess you’re right, Applebloom,” another voice said as it sighed. “This sucks! I was really hoping to see a real life dragon.”

“Yeah! One that doesn’t want to eat you.”

Someone pulled back the door, and before Spike knew it, he stared down into the eyes of a teenage-filly.

“Boo?” Spike sounded.

The filly’s eyes lit up as she took in their newest discovery. “I found him girls!”

Sure enough, the other two fillies galloped forward and collectively gasped. Spike recognized the trio, though it was their screams that sealed the deal. The fillies that stood before him were the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

Scootaloo weezed. “Can it speak?!”

“Yo?”

“It can!”

Spike raised a brow. “You know it isn’t nice to refer to someone as it.”

“Pardon them,” Applebloom said, stepping in-front of her friends. “We’re just a little excited to see a talking dragon!”

“Right…” Spike said, taking a peak past the barn doors. Nothing but trees and the blue sky were outside. “I keep forgetting we’re uncommon around here.”

The October's breeze tickled his scales. Each inhale felt like it was cleansing his lungs of any filth. Trees spanned out as far as the eye could see, so much that Spike wanted to take a stroll along them, just to see where they might end.

“So,” Spike started, looking down to the fillies. “I guess you girls have some questions?”

The three looked at one another and then at the drake. “Nah.”

“We were just wondering if you existed was all,” Sweetie stated. “Which is cool that you do.”

Spike scratched the back of his head. “Right.”

His shoulders fell. A moment ago, it sounded like finding this dragon would be the greatest of all mysteries. But upon his discovery, they didn’t ask to hear his name or what his story might be.

“Are you sure you girls don’t want to know anything about me?”

The three looked at one another; each one shrugging their shoulders.

“I guess I may want to know what your name is?” Sweetie asked.

“Oh.” Spike scratched the back of his head. “That one I can’t answer.”

“Huh? Why?”

Spike crouched down so that fillies didn’t have to look up to him. “That’s because I don't’ have a name.”

“You don’t have a name!?” Scootaloo yelled. “What do you mean by that?”

Smack!

Smack!

“OW!!” Scootaloo cried, glaring at both her friends.

Sweetie Belle coughed, gaining the drake’s attention. “What she meant to say was, do you have any nicknames you go by? So, y’know, ponies can call you?”

“Hmm…” Spike pretended to think, before striking up a talon. “That’s just the thing: I’ve never had a pony want to call me before.” Actually, that bit’s true. After I left Ponyville, I never got close enough to anyone for them to want to learn my name. “I was a bit of a loner I suppose.”

The fire crackled in the middle of the night. Howls rang in the distance, beyond the grasp of the fire’s light. His head would lean back onto the tree, as he would drift asleep, all by himself.

“Duh! I mean, long story short: I’ve got no name.”

“Well, how about we give you one?” Scootaloo suggested.

Spike stepped back.

“Yeah!” Applebloom joined as she looked to the drake. “Maybe we’ll have a talent in name giving!”

“I’m not sure, girls.”

“Ah, come on! Please?” Applebloom pouted. All three sat down and pouted. Spike’s defences were useless whenever another pony begged or asked him to do something twice.

They’re just giving you a nickname. You don’t have to use it or regard it. They’re just fillies; do it for them. At least they were somewhat nice to you, when you used to be Spike.

He sat down in defeat. “Fine.” Though the smile on his lips betrayed his tone. Indeed, he placed his chin on his thumb as he watched them huddle together. The darnn smile wouldn’t go away no matter how hard he tried to hide it.

“Come on girls, think! What’s a name we could give him?”

“Ah never met a dragon before, do they have special name?”

“Nah. Look at the one dragon that used to hang out around Twilight… you know, the purple and green one – he had silly name”

“I’d almost forgotten about that guy! What do you think the bugger is up to nowadays?”

“Didn’t he run away or somthin’?”

“Nuh-Uh! Twilight said he went to a special school in Canterlot.”

“Girls. Now’s not the time for that – we need a name, remember?”

“Right!” The group went silent. Even with their head pressed against each others, their minds couldn’t connect. Creating a name worthy for a dragon proved to be more difficult than a math question.

“Wait, maybe Spike could help us out with this!” Sweetie exclaimed and turn to the dragon; his heart missed a beat. “Mr.?”

Spike tried not to sweat. “Yeah?”

“Can you cover your ears for us?”

Spike breathed, took a moment to control his heat, then covered his ears. Of course, he could still make out their muffled voices. Sweetie Belle cast him a glance, to which, Spike looked away, before she spoke.

“Long after Spike left, Twilight started to tell us stories about him. What he liked to eat, what books he read, and even how he got his name. Do you girls remember how Spike got his name?”

“I think I remember,” Applebloom said. “Didn’t Twilight go to hug him one time, and one of his spikes pricked her?”

Sweetie Belle clapped her hooves. “That exactly it!”

“So what does that here have to do with this drake here?”

“By going with Twilight’s logic, we don’t need to give him a fancy dragon name! Anything will suit him fine, as long as it sort of relates to him.”

“That’s all fine and dandy logic, but we still don’t know what to call him.”

“Hmm…”

Spike stared at a wall. Why was he even playing the Crusaders little game? He was standing around like a fool, awaiting for three teenage-fillies to give him a name. How sad is that?

Finally, Spike threw his claws up. “That’s it! Do you girls have a name or not?”

“Patience,” Scootaloo said, “we’ve almost got it.”

Spike fell back onto the wall as the trio looked at him.

“His scales look rough–” Sweetie touched the drake with a hoof, causing him to yelp “–yet they feel really nice when you touch em.”

“Really!” Applebloom took a step forward, but stopped when the drake shook his head.

“He’s also covered in cuts, but I don’t think cuts is a good name for a dragon,” Scootaloo said.

“Then how about scaly?” Applebloom suggest.

Sweetie Belle clapped her hooves. “That’s it!”

Scootaloo and Applebloom tilted their heads in opposite directions, but before either could open their mouths, Sweetie Belle turned around to Spike.

“Scaly. That’ll be your new name!”

Spike did his best to keep his mouth shut, but that did not stop the steam from escaping from his ears. That is a horrible name. C’mon, I didn’t even get a school education, yet I could come up with a name more creative than that.

There’s no way in Tartarus I’m going with that name.

The fillies all smiled at all one another, before coming together for a group highfive. Scootaloo even hovered in the air for a moment, before landing the ground. The CMC then turned to Spike with the biggest smiles present on their faces.

“So?” They exclaimed together. “Do ya like it!?”

Spike bit his lips. “I love it.”

Spike shook his head left and right and did his best to keep his mouth shut. Steam arose from his ears.

“So,” Scootaloo began, “how about it, scaly or... scales, did you want to come outside for a bit?”

Spike’s stomach did a backflip, as he did his best to smile.“I guess I could use a breath of fresh air.”

The fillies nodded their head and went for the door. Their flanks came into Spike’s view, as did their cutie marks. Cutie marks. Spike’s breath was caught in her throat as the trio left the barn. Heck, they stood just below his hip; they couldn’t be consider young fillies anymore.

The crusaders changed; they were different. Spike’s heart wrestled with that thought as his body felt weary. Yet he trudged out of the barn and into the open world.

The sun warmed the land. It was in a constant battle against the breeze to keep the world warm, but it was a losing one. Every breath that entered the air transformed into mist.

Spike carefully stretched out his body, groaning at the trees. “Oh, boy. It feels good to get out.”

“How long have you’ been cooped up in that barn?”

Spike turned to look at Scootaloo. “More than week, apparently. And I was asleep for most of those days.”

The four stood together, basking in the sunlight as clouds were non-existent, leaving the sky clear. Each just standing; each just breathing in the breeze.

Then, Applebloom spoke. “So, how do ya know my sister, Scales?”

“I think that’s a question better asked to Applejack,” Spike said with a chuckle. He then looked off to the town in the distance. “Hey, would you say Ponyville has grown over the years? When I first heard of it, it was just a small town.”

“And still is! We’re the most neighbourly out of them cities. Though we still see ponies coming and a goin – shops opening and then closing. But overall, this town is still the same as the day we were born into it.”

“Ah,” Spike expressed, looking down at Applebloom. “That’s good to know.”

“Did you want to come into town with us today?” Sweetie asked.

“I think I’ll have to pass: I’m currently looking better than I did a few days ago, but there’s no guarantee that I won’t end up passing out on the streets. And besides, I’m still not sure if my appearance will bring out the pitchforks or not.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Sweetie said. “After all, we didn’t scream in horror when we found you!”

“Yeah, but you girls are different.”

“And how would you know that?” Scootaloo asked with a raised brow.

Ah crap. Think, Spike: come up with a lie.

“... because no normal filly goes into a barn with a dragon it it?”

Scootaloo bounced her head left and right. “Yeah, okay.”

“Though to be fair,” Applebloom perked up, “we thought that if Applejack could handle you by herself, that the three of could too.”

“Hmm. That’s true.”

The three fillies began to step towards the town, as the drake stayed put.

“Are you sure you don’t wanna come?”

Spike smiled. “I’ll pass, thank you. Besides, with a sight like this, it’s more than enough for me.”

He sat down on the grass and laid on his back.“I’m going to stay here for a little while. You girls must have places to go, so I’ll leave you to it.”

The girls looked amongst themselves, but there was nothing more to be said for them. Spike could tell they wanted to get a move on, and he was fine with just sitting alone with the breeze, letting its sounds clear out his mind.

“Alright,” Scootaloo said, “we’ll leave you alone. But beware! The CMC will strike again soon!” The girls started to gallop away, but they then stopped in their tracks, and turned around. “We almost forgot to give you our names!”

“I’m Applebloom.” The earth-pony gave a hooves up.

“I’m Scootaloo.” The pegasi patted her chest.

“And I’m Sweetie Belle.” The unicorn bowed her head.

Spike bursted out in laughter. This was the second time he was being introduced to them, though for them, this was their first time meeting him. There’s gotta be some kind of irony in there, no?”

“And we’re the Cutie Mark Crusaders!” they shouted in unison. Afterwards bolting down the hill, though they did wave a hoof, in which, Spike returned the gesture. He waved until he could no longer see them, and then claw dropped into his lap.

His tail curled up to his face, and for some reason, Spike began to stroke it.


The sun hung in the air, emitting a high pitch sound. The grass hustled with the wind, with the breeze dancing lightly on the dragon’s face. Leaves were plucked from branches, and flew past overhead.

Spike couldn’t help but have a goofy smile, as the world just felt so right. The future didn’t matter, and the past was just a phase. All that mattered at the moment, was feelings that nice breeze.

So he sat up. The sun blinded him for a moment, before his eyes adjusted. Spike felt more of the breeze on his body, so too, did he feel a tap on his shoulder. His head snapped to it, but his view caught nothing.

Then was a tap on his other shoulder. He snapped to look, and once again caught nothing. And before he could feel the tap on his back, he wrapped his tail around his prey, and brought the body before his eyes.

In his hold was a cyan mare. A rainbow colored mane that fell just little past her neck, accompanied by a smile worn often; judging by the wrinkles starting to form next to her lips. Speaking of form – her body was toned from her head to her flanks, with her legs looking ready to run a marathon at any given moment.

She was quite slippery, as she wiggled out from his tail’s grasp, and tackled the drake to the ground.

Spike tried to shoot up a claw, but she already had both his arms pinned down. Her face hovered just above his.

“What do you think you’re doing!?” Spike shouted

She smiled as she rested her body upon his chest. Bringing her lips just by his ear. “I win.”

Did you now? Spike thought with a smirk. He kicked off his legs and alleviated his stomach; the pegasi slid down his frame and onto the grass. With his claws free, he pushed off them and sent himself flying over her head, until he landed right in-front of her, wearing a grin. “You were saying?”

The mare poked his snout. “We’ll call it a tie, then.”

The dragon sat back with a chuckle.“What the heck was that about anyways? And who are you?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“I do. Hence why I asked.”

“Well,” she sang out, “if you must know, my friends call me Rainbow Dash.”

“So what should I call you then?”

She dropped the grin she had been wearing, while Spike picked his up.

So Rainbow’s the second one I run into, eh? Ain’t my luck just fantastic.

“You can call me Dash,” she finally said. “So what can I do for you?”

“Nothing at the moment,” Spike replied, “thank you. If anything, I’d see it as a great favor if I was left alone.”

Rainbow Dash whistled. “Aren’t you a classy one. Hey, since I gave you my name, shouldn’t you give me yours?”

“I would if I had one.”

“Ah-ha! I knew it! You’re that dragon – y-you are a dragon, right?”

Spike raised his lips, so that his fangs could be seen; Rainbow gulped. “O-Okay, so you are a… a dragon.”

The wind was the only sound present. Rainbow’s mouth had hung open, but she didn’t speak whatever it was on her mind. Though Spike couldn’t care less, as he watched the town hustle in the distance.

Then Rainbow made a noise. “You must be that dragon Applejack was talking about!”

“I guess I must be,” Spike said with a heavy breath. “Since you’re friends with Applejack, then that makes you one of the elements – the Element of… Loyalty, right?”

“Hey! How did you know that?”

“Elements of Harmony!” Spike exclaimed with a sigh. “Who hasn’t heard of them? The dandy heroes of our time.”

“Oh! So we’re spread around, are we? More importantly, you knew who I was.” Dash struck a pose: pushing out her chest, holding her head high, and giving the wiggling of the eyebrows.

Spike couldn't help but laugh.

“What?!” Rainbow shouted as her posture fell apart.

His laughs shrank into chuckles; he lay back down onto the grass. “Nothing. Just… the stories are really accurate on your confidence. For a while there, I thought jealous ponies were just trying to trash your name. But now I see, you truly are the most humble pegasus out there.”

“Oh-oh, aren’t you a funny one.”

“That’s good to hear,” Spike said. “See, living out there in the forest, one of the things I didn’t get to practice was comedy – looks like I have a natural talent in it.”

“Oh, look whose humble now,” Rainbow played. “Say, where’s all your battle scars? Surely you got into a good fight or two while out there?”

“I was dead on arrival, and I’m still covered in cuts. Though, you’ll have to thank the Element of Kindness for keeping me alive.”

“Why not just say her name?”

“What?”

“Her name is Fluttershy, why not just call her Fluttershy?”

“Maybe”– Spike slightly tilted his head –“I didn’t know her name?”

“Yet you know she’s the Element of Kindness? Or how you made the connection from my name to the elements?” Rainbow raised a brow, and hovered her head over his. “Gotcha there.”

Spike expressed a claw. “Alright. You got me there.”

Dash walked away with a triumph smile, as she began to stretch out her limbs. Her eyes purposely avoided his, as if she were basking in some victory and Spike had no choice but to be ignored in his defeat.

“Well, anyways,” she said while still looking away, “it looks like Fluttershy did a pretty good job on you. A fantastic one, if I do say so myself.”

Spike continued to watch her, the furthest thing from a smile on his face.

“You haven’t been to town yet, right?”

Spike went to spea—

“No? Then what are you waiting for! Come with me and I’ll give you the coolest tour.”

His mouth hung open for a moment before it spoke. “I’ll pass. I’m still not used to hanging around you pony folk, nonetheless talking to them. I doubt I’d make any good first impressions.”

“Well now that’s just a load of hay!”

Spike cocked his head. “What?”

“You’re talking to me right now, aren’t ya?”

Spike shook his head. “Yeah, but…”

“But nothing!” Rainbow exclaimed, looking the drake full well in the eyes. “Conversation is already flowing between us, so something tells me this isn’t your first time being around ponies. Besides, you're a dragon, that’s bound to attract attention.”

“Even more of a reason for me to wait. What if I go into town and cause a riot? You can’t lie and say some ponies won’t have pitchforks.”

Rainbow huffed and crossed her arms, hovering into the air. “Of course ponies are gonna’ be scared of you. You’re different! Ponies are always like that when something is different.”

“Do you know what we’ll do to them?” Rainbow asked. “Laugh! We’ll laugh at their stupidity.”

Spike chuckled, her words sounded like a joke. He stood up from the grass, and Dash hovered around him like were the sun. Funny, as this was the first time that Spike could stand at his full height, and still look a pony in the eyes.

“I appreciate what you're trying to do, Dash, but I don’t feel ready to go into town yet. It’s been awhile since I’ve been anywhere near civilization.”

With anyone else, they’ve would’ve understood. This dragon: this poor, poor dragon just needed some alone time. He needed time to sit in the barn and do absolutely nothing to prepare himself, but think about how he could prepare himself. Anyone else would’ve left the drake alone.

Unfortunately, Dash is a one of a kind mare. And with a kick to his back, Spike found himself jogging down a dirt trail, which he followed through all the way to the bottom. The mare flew next to him.

“Excuses, excuses. Look! You’re almost in town now, why give up? Just go in there, walk about, and come out.” Rainbow landed on the ground. “It’s not too hard. And I’ll be there to hold your claw if need be.” She said the words to him like he was a baby.

Spike sighed as he picked up his head. Looking at the town before him.

“Eh, crap.” He looked to Dash, before taking a step forward. “I guess whatever happens, happens.”


Few ponies walked about on the streets. The sun hung in the sky, though it found itself with each passing second inching towards the ground; painting the sky around it a faint red.

Spike reached out to catch the falling sun, but once again, he was tiny; the sun too far away. He brought back his claw, sighed, and walked on into the town. Ponies walked the same they did two and a half years ago; never trotting, either talking with a friend or enjoying the sights.

The buildings held the same names. But buildings had their windows boarded up, their signs missing. A place that used to be full, that ponies would come and go from, now seemed like it never existed.

Spike wanted to go into that building. But he and Rainbow passed it by – she didn’t even pay it a glance.

Some buildings were still open from way back then, but they were painted in a new color or design. They added parts to the structure or redid how the place looked. They weren’t the same as before, and Spike found himself staring at them. Eyes opened yet mouth closed.

Yet all the buildings; all the benches and statues held one thing in common: they were smaller. Spike remembered struggling to jump up onto a bench, now, he would probably take up most of it.

Then, Spike froze in his tracks. There were ponies walking on the streets! Buildings on either side of him were used as homes or stores. This town was once a place where he used to live; where he would walk around and talk with other pony folk.

Spike reached down and ripped off a patch of grass, which he threw into the air and let the wind take it with it’ breeze.

Everything was different and yet the same.

Then something poked the side of Spike’s head. “Yo, bud? You okay in there?”

Spike shook his head and did his best to drop the pleasure he felt. Lowering his shoulders and taking on a frown, he responded. “Yeah… I guess it just… seeing ponies doing, well, pony things is, kinda nice.”

Rainbow flashed a grin “See? I told you’d be fine.”

That comment resulted in Spike looking around him. Careful to not move his head, his eyes danced around, looking at the different ponies. Some acted like he wasn’t there, while others stopped walking to give him a good look. A couple of them looked ready to growl, hiding their fillies behind their legs.

If Spike were offered the power to read minds, he’d reject the offer.

Though, despite all of the ponies expressions, a smile drew across his face on seeing their faces. Something pinched at his heart, while his mind scolded him on how coming back was a mistake; that everything he feared was currently happening to him. You can’t get attached to this town again. You have to leave one day, so let that day be an easy day.

Dash stepped in from of him. Spike dipped his head to look at her. That’s when Spike realized he wasn’t the only one to grow. Indeed, Rainbow stood taller than she did those years before. Heck, even her tail was longer— crap, looking back there wasn’t the best thing to do.

“So, since I didn’t give you a proper”– Rainbow quoted with her hooves –“introduction, I might as well as give you one now.” She coughed into her hoof, which she then polished into her chest.

She then swirled around and stopped the drake in his steps. “The name’s Rainbow Dash! The one and only Element of Loyalty, part of The Elements of Harmony! Surely you’ve heard of us, saving the world and all.”

She struck a hoof at the drake’s chest, resulting in him taking a step back. “If you’re bad, you might get encased in stone; if you’re good, we’ll teach you a lesson anyway!”

Spike tilted his head; the spines on his head leaning right. Is this seriously their new catchphrase or is that Rainbow being Rainbow?

“But if you’re a drake needing help, then we’ll hand you a hoof!”

Spike stared blankly at her for a moment. Then, he spoke. “After Applejack told you about me, did you spend the time afterwards practicing a presentation?”

“What— no!” She pushed her hooves against invisible water. “I just heard about a dragon in town who seemed to be down in the gutters, so I figured I’d help him out.” She huffed, laying her back against the air. “So much for trying to be nice, nowadays.”

She closed her eyes and began to hover around him.

“Thanks for that then, I guess?”

Rainbow smiled and began to walk. Spike followed in suit next to her.

“So, what’s your business in Ponyville? If, you don’t mind me asking.”

“Just looking for a place to wind down and heal up. That one mare, Fluttershy, did a fantastic job on me. Whatever she had me drink, I can’t feel any pain. Most of my marks are covered and cleaned.”

“So healing is taken care of.” Rainbow stuck out her tongue as she seemed to be thinking. “So just chill for a bit and get your stuff together then, right?”

“Yeah, pretty much that,” Spike said. They passed by more buildings. Everything he saw made him happy yet hurt his heart. An emotion he couldn’t understand took over, so he tried to drop all thoughts.

“Applejack said I could stay in the barn for a few days. But after that, I’m gonna have to get a job and a place to say. A cheap place, do you have any in mind?”

“How’s your writing?”

“Writing? Uh, really good, actually.”

Rainbow smiled, but she wouldn’t let Spike see her face. “Heh, if you were a bit smaller, I’d know the perfect place for you to stay. You’d get a place to stay for your work and some bits for your chores.”

Spike distance himself from Rainbow, but she didn’t notice, she kept looking foward. Rainbow... don’t say things like that.

“That’s a shame,” Spike said, “but I need something now to pay the bills. You have anything in mind?”

Rainbow didn’t reply. She kept walking forward in her own little world. Spike caught up to her and poked her shoulder with a claw. She stirred, as if her own world disappeared and she was back here. Dash looked at Spike with longing in her eyes.

“Sorry about that,” she said and nothing more. If it were anyone else, they’d take Dash’s behaviour as rude. But Spike knew what was on her mind, and he wished she would stop dwelling on a thought that’s not possible.

Well, Spike had returned, so it is possible. But the Spike they wanted back would never return; he died long ago in the forest. The dragon standing here, the one with no name, is someone completely different.

Rainbow then shook her head, sending her mane flying in different places. A green thread hovered over her eyes: she brushed it aside and looked up to Spike. “Hey, since this is a tour, there’s one place you gotta check out.”

Spike already saw it. Up ahead, a building that could be mistaken for no other. Sugarcube Corner. Absolutely nothing has changed about it. The size was the same; it hadn’t grown or shrunk. The color was the same; everything was the same. Spike smiled.

Wait, no! Pinkie’s going to be in there. You’ve already made friends with Applejack and and you’re talking with Rainbow Dash. Remember, Spike! Keep your head low, get some bits, and leave. There’s no staying in this town, you gotta make sure there’s no reason for you to stay.

“Sorry Dash, but I’m going pass. I don’t have any bits at the moment, and bringing me into a candy store to not buy anything is too depressing for me.”

Dash shrugged her shoulder. “Don’t worry. I got you covered.”

Dang it. “Dash, we’ve only just met – I can’t take advantage of you like that.”

“You’re not,” Dash replied. “If anything, Pinkie will probably offer you something anyways.”

The building soon approached, with three steps that would guide you into the building. Then Pinkie would greet him, annonce him to the world, and all would be over.

Can I just be a prick or keep silent?

“If you’re worried about Pinkie being scared of ya’, don’t worry. We’ve had plenty experiences with dragons before.”

“Is that so?” Spike gulped. An aura caught Spike, filled him with delight and rid him of his worries. Something that could fill his belly and make his mouth feel nice. In other words, Spike smelled treats.

I’m doomed.

Spike sighed and pushed out his chest. He couldn’t bolt, for there was nowhere to go. Up the steps the pony and the dragon went, and into the bakery they entered.


Light entered through the windows. On a day as bright as today, there was no need in wasting electricity or using candles. The sun made sure to burn bright today, as if it knew it had the breeze to fight against.

Stallion and mares; mare and stallions. Stallions and stallions with mares and mares– all sat down before tables and talked with one another. Some talked as if each word invoked a fire within them, and others admired a wall as they spoke.

Spike smiled as he watched everypony talk. The urge to go sit the in the corner and watch them all talk was present, but the sound of an oven ticking brought him back to reality.

Rainbow Dash walked to the counters and rested her forehooves on it. “Hey, Pinkie, you back there?”

Clank!

“Yeppuerdouse. I’ll be just a sec!” came the reply from the kitchen.

Spike stood away from the counter, pretending to look outside the window. “Buddy, what are you doing over there? Come here.”

Spike sighed and did as he was told. How come I’m obeying her so easily? Wait, aren’t I supposed to hate her? Spike tried to hate her at this moment, to recall awful moments with her and use that to fuel his resistance. But he couldn’t, he just wasn’t in the mood.

A pink blur appeared before him. “Hiah!”

Spike’s heart beated twice, but his expression remained stoic. “Hey.”

“Who are you?”

“A nobody,” he replied simply.

“No, you’re a dragon!”

“Really?” Spike asked with raised brows.

“Yes, I’m sure of it! Wait, are you not sure you might not be a dragon?”

“Kinda,” Spike said. “I’ve always wondered, but never actually thought about it.”

Pinkie climbed over the counter and eyed Spike, up and down. Looking at each of his scales, the spines on his head, then she looked into his eyes. “Yep! You’re definitely a dragon. Yepperuppers.”

“Huh.” Spike tilted his head. “Neat to know.”

Pinkie stood there for awhile. She didn’t say anything nor do anything, besides scanning Spike’s body. “I think you knew you were a dragon all along.”

Spike shook his head. “What, me? No, never!”

“Hmm!” Pinkie hopped back over the counter. “I’ll believe you for now, only because it’s not nice to distrust strangers. Especially when they have candy: always trust strangers with candy. Anyway, what can I get for you– HOLY GUACAMOLE YOU'RE THE DRAGON APPLEJACK WAS TELLING US ABOUT!”

Spike turned to Rainbow. “Where did she get a microphone from?”

“Stick around, you’ll find out soon enough not to question her,” Rainbow stated.

Spike’s claws phased through the air, shaking up and down at the speed of the light. Then Pinkie appeared, revealing herself to be the culprit of the shaking claw. “I can’t believe I didn’t realize this at first! It’s nice to meet you Mr. Nobody, how do yooou do?”

“I’m doing fine, thank you.” Spike looked around the building. Memories of spending his afternoons here, sitting in the corner and munching on a cupcake. A nostalgic smile came to his face, yet he quickly fought it off. “You got a nice place here.”

“Why thank you!” Pinkie said as she reached for the claw once more. Spike hid both his claws behind his back. All Spike offered was half a smile and wide eyes. Pinkie seemed to take the hint, walking backwards onto the counter and climbing it as if her hooves were sticky.

“So, Mr.Nobody, did you want to be my friend?” Pinkie asked, taking out a clipboard and sticking out her tongue. She hovered a pencil over the paper, her eyes scanning over the page.

Spike stretched back his bottom right lip. I expected her to spring that on me, but not so quick and easy. Eh, crap.

“My apologies, Pinkie. But I’m not really in this town to make friends.” Especially rekindling old ones.

Something soft brushed by Spike’s side, tickling the wound that had caused him to fall so many times. He looked down, to find Rainbow looking up to him, a frown occupying her lips. Spike stared down at her. What? What do you want me to say– wait, why do I even care about what you think. We’re not friends either. None of us are friends!

A pencil hit the ground. Then something else met the floor, though Spike couldn’t make out what. He paid Rainbow no more attention and looked to Pinkie, who dropped everything in her hooves.

Spike opened his mouth, but shortly closed it. His claws twiddle, yet he his mouth remained closed.

“That’s okay, I guess,” Pinkie said. “Making friends the first moment you meet them isn’t for everypony or any dragon, right? All I have to do is keep trying, then, we’ll be friends soon, right?”

I doubt it. Once again something pleasant brushed against Spike’s side. It’s obvious Rainbow wanted him to say of course, to make it sound like a joke or even a game. Heck, if she had her way, she would make Pinkie think that the more time she spent with the drake, the higher her percentage would go.

Making friends isn’t like that. That’s how you make acquaintances, not friends. I hate how some ponies say there’s friends, and then there’s true friends. There is no such thing as a true friend; there is only friends and acquaintances. Nothing more; nothing less.

“I’m not really that hungry, actually,” Spike said, averting his eyes from anypony in the room. “It was nice meeting you, Pinkie. And may your business be fruitful.” Walking to the door, Spike didn’t turn around to see what reaction his actions had provoked.

Leaving the building and leaping past the three steps, Spike didn’t stop for a moment as he began to walk.

“Hey, where do you think you’re going?!”

A fire burned next to Spike’s face. Even the oncoming wind was powerless to cool it. “I’m going back to the barn, Dash. I told you I wasn’t ready to go into town yet.”

“News flash, hotshot. There’s a difference between being ready to talk to other ponies and just being a prick.”

Spike stopped walking and pointed a claw at her face. “Have you not met my kind? Our entire species is based off hoarding treasures and fighting off whoever may dare to challenge us. We’re not naturally meant to make friends; we shouldn’t even be talking right now!”

Rainbow never took her eyes of him, they never closed an inch. “That sounds like you’re just firing off excuses.”

“How dull can you be?! I came from a forest which tried to kill me everyday, I went to Applejack covered in bruises and almost tried to hurt her, when she was only trying to help me. I’m not ready to meet other ponies.”

“There you go!” Rainbow exclaimed, a smile overtaking her face. “You mistook Applejack for a threat at first, right? You’re doing the same with Pinkie. Trust me, she’s a good friend to have that’ll make you happy.”

Spike sighed and took a step towards Rainbow. “Listen. I’ll try to be as nice as possible with this, but I’m not here to make friends. You and I are just acquaintances, nothing more. That’s already asking a lot from a dragon.”

Rainbow didn’t step back. “Applejack and Fluttershy saved your life. What are they to you right now?”

“Lifesavers?”

Rainbow chuckled and looked away. Behind her eyes, Spike found a fire, a flame which he did not know the reason why it burned. “You have a bad taste of jokes.”

“You wouldn’t be the first one to carry that thought.”

Rainbow turned back to him; the flame behind her eyes dimmed. “You know, not all dragons are like you say they are. There was once a dragon who... was good to a lot of ponies. He didn’t keep a hoard, for all he needed was friends. He was raised among ponies and turned out just fine.”

“Then he’s an artificial dragon, not a real one.”

Spike started to walk forward, not glancing back. “And, when his inner-nature called, I bet he didn’t stay long.”

Spike walked alone. No hoofsteps behind him. He didn’t bother looking around at the town he once called his own. I almost caught myself missing this place. This town is like any other, you’ll stay for a few days and leave without a problem. There is nothing different about this town.

Spike continued to walk. He sighed and stopped. I wonder what Young Spike would think of all of this? Would he be proud to look down at his friends, or would he be sad the way they carried on?

Was I too hard on them? Spike shook his head, as his right claw curled into a fist. Were they too hard on you when they made you feel… meh. Forget all of this. Just go back to the barn, get some shut eyes, and—

“Can you please wait a second?” a voice asked. Spike closed his eyes and threw up his arms, as he turned to Rainbow Dash. Her eyes held nothing behind them, her lips formed neither a smile or frown, yet her face said something to Spike.

“What’s up?” Spike said as if nothing had happened. The anger within him was gone; his eyes wanting to close and stay that way for a while.

Dash didn’t say anything. Spike could see her mind, racking for the right words to say. He had no clue if the words were to be nice or not, yet he willed his ear to listen to whatever she had to say.

Rainbow spoke. “I’m sorry.”

Spike didn’t do or say anything.

“I didn’t take your life out in the wild seriously.I tried to force you to make friends with Pinkie, which you didn’t want to do. I’m sorry; I didn’t take your feelings seriously, and that’s the reason why I’ve lost so many friends.”

Spike’s claw twitched.

“And you were right about dragons. You’re not meant to be like us, I guess. But, maybe, you could change; to be able to converse with ponies. I mean, you must have met a few of us out there?”

Spike kept his body still, yet he nodded his head.

“That’s a relief to know” Rainbow said. Her face brightened. “Maybe, there’s a chance that good…. dragons, could get along with ponies.”

Spike smirked. “I’m a good dragon now?”

Rainbow carefully pushed him. When Spike chuckled at that, he could see the relief on her face. “The drake we had here, Sp… hm.” Dash inhaled and exhaled. “Everyone knew he was a good dragon, and so I used him as an argument. But you tore that definition apart; you were right about everything about him.”

Spike glanced away. “That’s a shame; it’s not always great being right.”

“But I still think you’re wrong there. He was a good dragon, almost had the heart of a pony.” Rainbow made sure the drake was looking at her, before she continued. “But we’re the ones who got greedy with him… anypony would’ve broke with the things we did.”

“That doesn't inspire any confidence in me,” Spike said. He meant it as a joke, but knew well it didn’t come off as one.

“Yeah…” Rainbow trailed off, yet she still looked at Spike. Her eyes asked him something. But what? What did Rainbow want to say but dare not tell? It’s like she had no clue what her thoughts were and her words were just from emotions alone. Were these words she spoke even true?

“But maybe, if we…” Rainbow trailed off, stepping back from Spike and trying to hide her head. A blush occupied her cheeks, but Spike doubted it was for a reason most males would take it for.

Then, Rainbow stood up tall. Her lips turned into a smirk; the blush disappeared and the blue furry cheek returned. She took two steps towards the drake. “Look, never mind about what I just said. I’m sorry for forcing you to do stuff.”

Rainbow held out one of her fore hooves and suspended in the air. “So, we cool?”

Spike sighed yet chuckled. A smirk overtook him as well, as he rose his right claw. The two brohoof. “We’re cool.”

The two grinned at each other, as a fire of energy burned inside of Spike. His legs were ready to bolt all the way back to the barn – maybe he could even race Dash there! Wait… what? What is this?

“Say, since I brought you all the way out here, it seems only fair that I walk you back to the barn. My way of an apology, I suppose?”

Spike lifted his claw to decline, as he wanted to use his walk home to ponder some things. But, seeing as how he’ll have the next few days to do these things, Spike shrugged his shoulders.

And so, the two walked side by side, and took the longer way through town. Instead of cutting through the town in a straight path, they went around Sugarcube Corner and thus costing them more time. As rare as it is, time wasn’t a concern for Spike.

Being a dragon means you never had to worry about time. Being a dragon with pony friends is what calls clause to it.

Dash scrunched up her nose as her eyes paced from place to place. Spike opened his mouth to speak, but allowed his eyes to find the answers for him. What would cause Dash to suddenly–

The mares watched Spike as he walked by with elevated eyes. One in particular blew wind his way, which made no sense whatsoever. Some stallions held their snouts up to him, eyes looking elsewhere.

Spike found himself looking at his body. The blood had been wiped clean; the wounds not present to faraway eyes. Whenever Spike looked at a stallion, his shoulders just shrugged. Yet when a mare caught his eye, his heart desperately beaten.

Neither spoke, and it was a calming silence. As soon as Dash’s eyes met his, they would look away or go do something else. Spike wasn’t sure what to feel with Dash doing her job as a cockblock, but the more they carried on, the more snouts from stallions and mares were turned his way.

So Spike became grateful to Rainbow Dash. Even more so when some stallions scanned his body with eyes Spike did not want to think about. Another dragon could take that market if they wanted the bits.

I hope I never have to resort to that.

“Hey.”

Spike snapped his head to Dash, who just tilted her head so he could see her face. “You said you didn’t have a name, right?”

Not one that I use.

“A group of fillies gave me a horrible alias I’d rather not use… why you ask?”

Dash was silent for a moment. “Would you like a name?”

Spike squinted his right eye. “Eh, not really. Not trying to be rude. Just, I think me having a name would be a bad idea.”

“Oh.” Rainbow went on looking in front of her. “I see, that’s a shame: I had a really good one for you.”

Spike smiled, but did not say a word.

The two carried on through town. They were at the heart of it when Rainbow halted in her steps, causing Spike to do the same and come by her side. “Everything alright?” he asked.

“Yes and no,” Rainbow replied. “While we’re in this part of town, I… have something really important to do. Like, something I need to do now.”

“Oh,” Spike said. “Well that’s alright. You’ve walked me this far, I’m sure I can guess my way back from here.”

Dash held up her hooves to stop Spike from moving. “Wait, I still want to walk you back though!”

Spike tilted his head with a raised brow. Dash took a second to shake her head and collect herself. “Look, I’ll only be a moment. Do you see that tree over there?” Dash pointed a hoof, which Spike followed and traced up.

Then he saw the tree he could never forget.

“I have a friend who lives there – don’t worry, this isn’t some plot to have you make friends – I just gotta go see her about a book. You can wait out here if you like.”

Spike breathed. “Yes. I would like that a lot.”

Rainbow stretched out her wings and hovered before his face. “Okay, then. I promise not to be longer than a few minutes, okay?”

“O-k-a-y,” Spike replied with the roll of the eyes. Dash shrugged her shoulders and dashed off into the tree. The door leading into the library blocked her path. A sign hung on the door, which Spike could read from a distance.

‘Library is closed until further notice.’

Dash threw up her hooves. “What’s up with that!” Flaring up her wings, Dash flew up to the library's window and pounded on the glass. “Twilight, you in there? Open up!”

No sounds came from within the library. Even Spike turned around at the old tree and raised a brow. “Closed library during day time? Something’s not right there.” Spike mentally kicked himself for saying that outloud.

“Twilight, if you don’t open up something, I’m busting through the window; you know I’ll do it! Done it plenty of times before and this won’t be any different!”

Still the library kept quiet. The wind blew once more, sending Dash’s mane out from her face. She rolled the the invisible sleeves on her hooves and shot up into the sky. Spike looked up, holding a claw above his eyes to block out the sun, as Dash reached a height.

She made different shapes with her hooves, then stuck her tongue out and smiled. She pushed out both hooves as if to bench press the air and zapped down to the oak tree. It was all a blur, but once Spike’s eyes caught up, Dash was missing as was a library window.

Spike went to take a step forward, but hovered the foot above the grass. Ahead was once a place he called home; a place he shared with a mare he trusted and loved. Spike bit his lip and closed his eyes, as he placed his foot on the ground, and walked to a tree that no longer was his home.

The bottom window had been smashed in, with no traces of blood. No ponies were around to witness the act of the B&E, and so, Spike put a foot through the window, further shattering the glass and entering the Golden Oaks library.


Barely any sunlight entered the library. The glass of the windows collected enough dust that it dimmed any light that entered through them. Spike sighed when he saw the state of the windows; the same window he would dust off as he hummed.

Spike liked those windows; he could watch other ponies live their life while he did his chores.

Gah, what am I doing? Spike thought. His eyes scanned across the room, where his heart panged even more. Books were on the shelves, and the ground was free of most things. Yet Spike’s eyes widen in horror.

Something is seriously wrong here. The books… not only are they not in alphabetical order, but they’re not even in the right genre. Twilight wouldn’t let that—

Spike breathed out. His head feeling heavy. Twilight, the unicorn. Bearer of magic, a pony. A pony. A pony. Pony pony pony. Spike gripped his face as he shook away this unwholesome feeling.

Soon Spike realized, that he stood in the Golden Oak Library. The place he once called home, the place he shared. The yells that traveled from the kitchen to the living room. The shouts of words that were half-complete in his memory.

Golden Oaks held more words than the ones you’d find in books. And carried a story, once completed, would find itself on the tragic shelf.

Spike banished such thoughts, as his attention was gained underneath a wooden table, where Rainbow Dash laid underneath. Judging by the way she rubbed her head, Rainbow Dash crashed into the base of it. Spike went over and ducked under.

“You alright?”

“Fantastic!” Rainbow said as she crawled out. She then kicked off her hooves and stood up. Her right hoof was quivering – Spike guessed she wanted to hold her head but didn’t want to show Spike weakness.

She stepped towards the stairwell.

“Wait!” Spike said, as he looked behind him. “There’s glass all over the floor. Shouldn’t we, y’know, clean it up?”

Rainbow shrugged her shoulder. “Meh, Twilight can do it.” And climbed the stairs without another step. Leaving Spike alone. He bit his lips together, did a little hop with his feet, and clapped his claws together.

“It’s interesting how I find myself in these scenarios,” Spike said. And, with nothing else to do, started picking up pieces of glass and placed them on the counter. That didn’t take too long, and the broken window allowed more light into the dim library.

Voices came from upstairs. But Spike made sure not to listen. Maybe he’d pick up on Rainbow’s voice, but to him, she was just talking to herself.

Rainbow didn’t come down the stairs alone.

She’d come with a lavender mare. And not just any lavender mare, whose name just happened to slip Spike’s memory. But she carried something that Spike did not remember.

No way…” Spike breathed, lifting up his claw. “The story...what other ponies said… they weren’t lying…”

Both mares looked the at the drake. Rainbow tilted her head, while the purple one didn’t move nor speak.

“Twilight Sparkle really did become a Princess… and she grew wings!”