• Published 21st Dec 2015
  • 8,474 Views, 111 Comments

A Sparkle of Hope - TheSillyDuck

A young boy, a little girl, a chance encounter, and a big heart. All of these things will lead to changes in the Sparkle household that no one is prepared for, but will enhance their lives in ways that no one expects.

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A Heartfelt Request

The crisp, golden, and auburn colored leaves were falling off the trees in the early morning hours, outside of Celestia’s School for Gifted Children. The autumn air had just enough bite in the early hours to bring a fog to Twilight Sparkle’s breath as she slammed the door to her mother’s car. “Bye mom! I’ll be staying late again today. See you after school!” Twilight gave her mother, Twilight Velvet, a wave, before running up the front steps of the school.

Pulling open the front doors, she stopped, taking in one final breath of cool air before heading into her sanctuary. Before she could even take a step inside, a movement to her right caught her attention. This is strange, normally I’m the first person here outside of staff, and even so I’m here even EARLIER today just to study for a test. How did someone else beat me here?

Twilight’s gaze settled on a familiar, small boy with green hair and wearing a purple jacket swinging on the playground off to the side of the school. It was the same, familiar, small boy that she had seen there every morning since the beginning of school. But why is he here THIS early? And why is he outside all by himself? Was he one of the teacher’s kids? Even so, he shouldn’t be out here by himself, especially now that the temperature has started to drop.

Twilight stood there, watching the boy swinging back and forth, his short—yet scraggly—hair flapping wildly in the wind. He’s not even looking up, must be lost in his own world. I wonder what he’s thinking about. Twilight’s grip on the door handle tightened before she jerked it open and quickly walked inside. This isn’t something I should be worrying about. He’s just some kid. I have a test to study for, and it’s not like it’s going to study for itself! I may have the best grades in school, but even so, I gotta work hard if I want to keep them that way! Twilight started mumbling to herself, trying to avoid the thoughts that pulled at her heartstrings about the lonely little boy outside.

Settling into her first-period class just as the bell rang, Twilight meticulously laid out her pens, pencils, and paper to prepare for the day’s lessons. Despite being able to answer every question asked of her and acing her pop quiz, she couldn’t help her eyes drifting to the window. Her mind kept wandering back to the little green-haired boy.

Ugh. Come on, he’s been there every day since school started, why is this bothering me now all of the sudden?

“Twilight, are you alright,” asked Ms. Cheerilee. Lost in her thoughts, Twilight hadn’t even realized the class had let out. She was sitting alone in the classroom. “The bell rang a minute ago, sweetie. Is something the matter?”

“Ms. Cheerilee…” Twilight hesitated, trying to figure out how to broach the subject as she packed up her school supplies for her next class. “Ms. Cheerilee, do you know who the little boy is that’s always outside on the playground before and after school?”

Just for a split-second, Ms. Cheerilee’s eyes grew wide before she was able to control her reaction. “I’m afraid I don’t, Twilight. He’s probably just a student in a younger grade. Now run along or you’ll be late for your next class.”

That split-second was all a student like Twilight needed to see the deceit in her teacher’s answer. Unfortunately for her, the one-minute bell clanged in the hallway, and Twilight had to sprint to get to her next class on time.

Her next three classes went much the same as the first. Twilight was able to keep herself focused just enough to excel in every one, while still being lost in her thoughts about the small boy she’d had never paid any attention to in the past. Also, much like her first class, each time she asked her teachers about the boy, they each tried to hide an immediate reaction before giving her some other explanation about the boy.

Grumbling as she gathered up her supplies and walked to the cafeteria, Twilight rubbed her temples in frustration. Why are they all giving me the run around? What are they so worried about? I’m a big girl, I’m practically ten! I can handle it!

Twilight sat down at the closest table in a huff. Blowing her bangs out of her eyes, she dug into her PB&J sandwich as her mind travelled a million miles a minute.

“Excuse me, Twilight?” A calm, almost regal voice graced her ears, causing Twilight to cough and nearly choke on the bite she had just taken.

“Principal Celestia‽” Twilight coughed as she dropped her sandwich back to the plate. “Uhh… hi? Is everything ok?”

“Of course, Twilight. I just think…” Celestia sighed, trying to determine the best way to phrase what she wanted to say. “I hear you’re asking some of your teachers some very… specific questions. Come to my office when you’re done eating, I wish to discuss that with you.”

Watching the principal turn to leave and walk regally past students that barely reach up to her hips, Twilight sat in silence, not even bothering to touch what was left of her lunch. That was… strange. Why does Principal Celestia want to talk to me. Did I do something wrong? Did I overstep my boundaries with my teachers by asking about another student? Is she going to expel me‽ Oh no! Oh no no no! This can’t be happening. Wait, stop. Breathe. Do the thing Cadey taught you!

Quickly, she turned back to face her table, avoiding the many eyes she felt staring at her: Whether they be from the tall administrator coming to talk to her or her minor freakout afterwards, she didn’t know. Twilight closed her eyes and curled her small fingers of her right arm into a fist and pulled it to her chest with an inhale of breath. Release. With a very slow exhale from her lips, she extended her arm out in front of her—fingers still balled into a fist.

Dropping her arm back to the table, she stared down at her lunch, a sigh leaving her lips as she gathered it all back onto her paper bag to dispose of it into the trash can. Well, I wasn’t that hungry anyways. Walking towards the trash can to dispose of what remained of her lunch, her stomach growled in protest. “Quiet you,” she mumbled to herself, nervously running a hand over her stomach. “No one asked for your opinion.”

Hurrying from the cafeteria to Principal Celestia’s office, the girl burst through the door without so much as a knock. Clearing the threshold, Twilight froze. There—sitting in a chair off to the side of the receptionist’s desk—was the little green haired boy, casually munching on a half-eaten apple. Raising a hand and opening her mouth, she tried to speak to the boy before being cut off by a hand touching her shoulder. Spooked, Twilight looked up to see a tall black haired woman with glasses and a warm smile on her lips.

“Ah, Twilight, good to see you,” said Raven, the main office’s receptionist. “Celestia is already waiting for you. Go on in.”

“But I…” Twilight looked back at the boy, and then back up at the woman.

“Tut tut! She’s already waiting for you.” Raven casually ushered the girl toward Celestia’s main office.

Twilight’s feeble attempts to protest were met with a slightly forced push on her shoulder as she was led into the principal’s office. Celestia was sitting behind her desk, sunlight streaming in through the window behind her, giving the headmistress an almost ethereal haze. The office was rather traditional with old-fashioned wood paneling, and its pull string desk lamp was a stark contrast to the woman who used it. As Celestia shuffled the papers off of her desk, a small cloud of dust appearing in the sunlight.

I’m in the principal's office. This can’t be happening. She could ground me, expel me or, the worst thing ever, sentence me back to kindergarten! She could ruin the rest of my life with one word. Why am I in here! Did that boy say something to her? I didn’t even say anything to him! Oh no, what if I looked at him funny and he told principal Celestia I was bullying him‽ He doesn’t seem like the type to do that though. Maybe Celestia just wants to punish me for asking questions? For meddling in affairs that I’m not involved in?

“Ah, Twilight, I’m glad you were able to join me so soon. Please, have a seat.” Celestia smiled at the young student, patiently waiting for the young girl to focus on her voice and not the fact that she was summoned to the principal’s office.

Twilight—blinking from her stupor—gingerly shuffled her feet forward until she was in front of one of the two chairs across from Celestia. Dropping her backpack with a gentle thud, she sat down, still uncertain what the headmistress wanted to discuss with her.

“Twilight, it has come to my attention that you’ve become curious about another student that attends this academy. While it is perfectly fine for you to ask questions to your teachers, this is a sensitive matter. Has Spike spoken to you recently?” The headmistress folded her hands together, leaning against them on her desk as she settled her gaze on Twilight.

“Um… Principal Celestia? I don’t know anyone named Spike.” Twilight shifted awkwardly in her seat, her hands nervously wringing together.

“Spike is the young student you saw out on the playground early this morning. I’ve had some of your teachers approach me, saying that you were very curious about him.”

Twilight’s eyes shot up to meet Celestia’s, her brow wrinkling in confusion. “My teachers told me they didn’t know anything about him, just that he might be a younger student here.” Her sharp stare settled back into scared curiosity. “I mean, that’s what they told me at least, not that I-I’m questioning them of course.”

Celestia merely nodded before relaxing back into her leather chair, her eyes drifting out the window as if she was contemplating what to tell the young girl.

Twilight just dropped her head to stare at her shoes and the decorative carpet that laid flat on the floor. The room sat in still silence until Celestia released a sigh and turned back to the young girl.

“Twilight, what I’m about to tell you doesn’t leave this room. Do you understand?”

Twilight merely nodded in reply; her stomach was doing backflips and her throat felt like it was going to clamp up. She suddenly became very aware of how dry and stiff it was in the room.

What could she possibly need to tell me that I can’t tell anyone else? Not that I would, it’s not like I gossip. Who would I gossip to anyways? It’s not like I talk to anyone at this school. You just can’t let things go can you Sparkle? And now this is the end for you. She’s going to tell you some big secret and it’s going to get you kicked out of here. Dad’s going to ground me, or kick me out, or ground me in the place he kicks me out to. This is all your fault, Spike!

“Twilight? Twilight? Are you paying attention to me? Did you hear anything I just told you?”

Twilight blinked, her mouth dropped open in shock. Had principal Celestia been talking to me this entire time? Oh no. Oh no no no. This can’t be happening. I’m going to end up back in little Starswirl’s day camp and everyone is going to laugh at me!

Celestia sighed, her right hand rising to rub the bridge of her nose.

“Twilight, please pay attention this time. I know this is strange for you, but this has caused some issues with Spike’s day-to-day activities at this school. I just need a few more moments of your time and you can head back to class. Can you do that for me?”

“Yes Principal Celestia,” Twilight softly answered, nodding her head.

“Thank you.” Celestia leaned back onto her desk. “Now, I don’t know why you’ve developed a sudden curiosity in Spike, but I’m honestly glad you did. He’s been having… a few problems trying to fit in here at the academy. Some of his teachers, and myself included, have been trying to get him to socialize with other students, but he just seems to keep to himself. He doesn’t talk much and when he has free time he just comes to sit with myself or Raven in the office here.”

Why would anyone want to come sit in the office by themselves? Even now, he’s just eating his lunch in here. No friends, nobody to talk to. What a lonely world he must live in. Am I so different though? I’d stay in the library all day if I could, but at least I would have my books to keep me company. He just sits there alone, silence is his only companion.

Celestia leaned back into her chair once more, her face slightly solemn as she continued her story about the green-haired boy.

“Spike hasn’t been here long, this is his first year. Of course I’m sure you’ve noticed that. Being that this is his first year, it’s not unusual for students his age to not yet find their place, so to speak. But we’re half the year in and not once has he tried to make friends. Of course other students have approached him, but he tends to keep silent and eventually they moved on to their own little groups they’ve all made. My concern is that if Spike doesn’t make any progress this year, it may be too late. That’s not even including his academics. It’s quite unusual, but Spike doesn’t do any of his work during class, outside of tests. He doesn’t turn anything into the teachers, yet he can work out the problems without a single issue.”

Whoa! This kid can ace his tests without even doing the homework? Who is this guy and why does it sound like he’s smarter than I am? Not that it would be an issue if he was. Calm down Sparkle, he’s not even in the same grade as you. You probably aced those tests too, back then.

“As you know, as a principal it is my highest concern to make sure all of my students succeed, but I do worry when a few fall through the cracks. Spike is in a place where I—as a teacher—cannot help him. That’s why I need you, Twilight Sparkle.”

“I… I don’t understand, Principal Celestia.” Twilight looked up sheepishly at the administrator. “How could you possibly not be in a place to help him?”

“Spike came to this school under… unusual circumstances, Twilight.” Celestia let out an exhausted sigh as she recalled a particularly troubling bit of information for the inquisitive girl.

“From what I’ve been able to gather, Spike has no family and was for all intents and purposes, homeless. During the summer I found him sitting on the playground all on his own. I didn’t think anything of it, but he was there the next day, and the day after that as well. What was peculiar about the situation was that even when the year began, there he was when I would arrive at the school, and when I would leave he’d be gone. I assumed his parents were around somewhere, but none of the staff that works at the academy knew who he was either. When I finally approached him, he seemed frightened of me, but he didn’t make a move to get away. When I asked him what he was doing and if his parents would miss him he shook his head no. I asked if anyone would miss him, he merely mumbled that he didn’t have anyone to miss him. I asked him to elaborate further but he wouldn’t talk to me. Eventually, I was able to determine that he had no family and no home. He had been through the system but simply seemed to just... come and go.”

Twilight couldn’t help but hide her face behind her hands at the revelation. A tear beaded up in the corner of her eye, threatening to fall free, but not quite doing so.

“Eventually, I was able to get Spike to warm up to me, and was able to convince the authorities to allow me to take care of him. But so far I’ve been unable to get him to open up about what happened with his past that led him to this point.”

Twilight sat in stunned silence, staring at Celestia. There were many explanations she had been prepared to accept and even expected regarding the young boy, but this was not one of them.

“I don’t tell you all this because I want you to have pity for him, Twilight. I simply feel that you deserve an answer to your questions. From what I can tell, Spike hasn’t had the best of times up until now. But maybe”—she paused, a hitch in her breath—“perhaps someone else’s understanding could help.”

The bell rang with a fury outside of Principal Celestia’s office, signalling the end of lunch. “Twilight, I think it’s time you got to your next class.”

Gathering her belongings and slinging her backpack across her shoulders, Twilight stepped into the reception area of the office, expecting to see Spike still sitting there eating. She frowned slightly as she realized that he wasn’t there. Not quite certain why that thought saddened her, she rushed into the hallway and towards her next class. Her mind was free of the thoughts it had harbored earlier in the day; but now they were replaced by an entirely new set of questions that seem to weigh even more heavily on her mind and heart.

That poor boy, I can’t even imagine. I have to talk to him! She confirmed he went to the school here, but how come I’ve never seen him in the hallways? What classes does he take? I wonder if he’d like books? Oh! What about science? Maybe he’d—stop it Twilight, you don’t even know the boy yet, let’s talk to Spike first.

Twilight Sparkle settled into her seat just as the bell rang, yet again becoming nearly tardy because of the jumbled thoughts in her mind. With a huff, she dropped her chin into her hands and stared out the window. Ugh, I can’t believe I’m thinking this, but something tells me it’s going to be a long rest of the day.

The remainder of Twilight’s classes went by much the same as the first. She answered all her questions correctly, passed all of her assignments, and even managed to get some of the extra credit. This all despite her attention being completely focussed outside and her head being lost in the clouds, or more specifically, on a certain young lad.

The bell shrilled through the quiet room, alerting the students of the end of the day while startling the young Sparkle enough that she yelped. Her thoughts had been circling in her head for the past fifteen minutes, her work for the class had been finished and she had settled into just staring out the nearby window that her desk was next to. The rest of her classmates had paused their motion of packing their bags and turned to look at her.

Way to go Sparkle, they’re all staring at you… Say something!

“Uh… I-I, haha,” she nervously said, wringing her hands together.

Her classmates rolled their collective eyes and began to whisper amongst each other.

Great just what I needed, my classmates gossiping more about how much of a weirdo I am. She watched as they all filed out of the room, leaving her alone with the teacher.

I should go see Spike, talk to him, he could really use a friendly voice. No, remember Twilight, you’ve got that project to start. You can’t put off your entire life, your academic future simply because one boy is having issues right now! Even if… no. I need to start on my project, I can deal with him later. With a sigh, she picked up her bag and headed to the instructor’s desk.

“Mr. Noteworthy?” Twilight asked softly to get the man’s attention as he stared at his computer screen.

“Hmm? Oh, Twilight!” Noteworthy looked up from his desk, his bespectacled eyes meeting her gaze. “How can I help you?”

“Yes um… today was the day you said I could work on that research project for extra credit, right?”

“Oh, absolutely!” Noteworthy began scribbling on a pad of paper on his desk. “Here, this pass should let you have access to the library after hours. About one-thousand words should do it,okay?”

Twilight’s face lit up in a grin as she snatched the pass from his outstretched hand. “Yes! Thank you, Mr. Noteworthy!”

At that, she disappeared out the door and down the hallway before Noteworthy could get back to grading his papers.

The studious girl immediately set forth with her studies, burying herself in a mountain of books. At one point, the librarian had come by to usher the girl out from her literary fortress of solitude, but with a quick flash of Noteworthy’s pass she was gone.

It wasn’t until 5 p.m. when the sun was starting to sink past the horizon—a golden hue spreading warmth through the library windows, that the librarian again made her advance towards Twilight. The girl had fallen asleep at the desk, an open book acting as her pillow. The librarian gently shook her shoulder as she roused the girl, informing her that it was closing time.

Oh gosh. Oh gosh. Oh gosh! I can’t believe I fell asleep! Looking down to see the open book and a completely filled out note pad, she quickly grinned. Oh. Well at least the research paper is done! Throwing her supplies into her backpack, she made her way out of the library, towards the front of the school, and then out the doors.

Stepping into the golden sunlight, she paused, looked left and saw Spike swinging back and forth on the jungle gym. Crossing her arms above her chest, she smiled at the sight. The boy stopped his movements and looked back at her, his own smile poking out from under his forlorn eyes.

Twilight went to take a step towards the playground when Twilight Velvet honked the horn as she pulled up in front of the school. Pausing, Twilight looked at her mother, then back to Spike, before taking off towards the car.

Spike’s expression drooped slightly before he went back to his swinging.

Closing the car door behind her, Twilight clicked her seatbelt in place before facing forward to look at her mom in the driver’s seat.

“How was your day, sweetheart? I know you said you had to stay late today, was everything alright? I haven’t had any calls from your teachers, so what did you need to stay late for today?” Twilight Velvet’s voice softly graced the Twilight’s ears, a smile forming on the young girl’s lips.

I’m so glad to have my Mom, I couldn’t imagine being without Mom, Dad, or Shiny. Spike must be so lonely without his parents. No one to ask him how his day went or to help him with his homework. I wonder if principal Celestia helps him. I’m sure she does. Still, for him to not have his own parents...

“Twilight, dear, is everything alright?” Her mother looked at her in the rearview mirror, concern radiating from the older woman.

“What, oh yes! I’m fine mom, just thinking like always, haha.” Twilight nervously rubbed the back of her head before dropping her hands to her lap. “Um… my science teacher, Mr. Noteworthy, had an extra credit essay I could pick up and do today after class. I went to the library and finished that up so I can turn it in tomorrow.”

“Oh that’s wonderful, dear. Maybe you can have your father or Shining Armor glance it over for you. I’m sure they’d love to read it.”

Twilight smiled and nodded, her thoughts returning back to the little boy back at school. Maybe I should ask Mom about him, of course Celestia told me not to mention it to anyone. It couldn’t hurt to ask mother how to befriend somebody like him though. Not that anything is wrong with him! He’s a perfectly normal boy who doesn’t have parents and doesn’t talk much. I don’t talk much either. There, we have something in common: mutual silence.

Twilight slapped her palm against her face, immediately gaining her mother’s attention.

“Twilight! What in heavens did you do that for?”

Blinking, the young girl looked up, a red mark starting to ache on her forehead. “N-nothing Mom. I just…”

“Twilight, is something on your mind? You know you can always talk to me. Did something else at school happen today that you aren’t telling me? Are you being bullied? Is someone harassing you? You know Shiny had some issues when he was your age but your father and I dealt with—”

“No no no no! It’s not that! I’m not being bullied! It’s just....” Twilight bit her lip, her eyes dropping to her folded hands. “There’s this boy at school…”

“Oh darling! Do you have a crush? Is he nice?” Twilight Velvet chuckled softly.

“Moooommmmm!” Twilight’s face flushed red with embarrassment as she brought her hands up to hide behind. “It’s not like that! I-I-I don’t have a crush! I’ve never even spoken one word to him!” She shook her head violently to dispel the thought. Besides, crushes are just a waste of time and he’s way too young for me! Just because Shiny has girl crushes all the time doesn’t mean I’m going to start having boy crushes. Gross Mom.

Pulling into their driveway, Velvet parked their car in the garage before unbuckling her seatbelt and turning to look at her. Velvet’s eyes held mischief as she looked to be about to tease her daughter before realizing how upset she was.

“Okay Twilight, what about this boy?”

With a sigh, Twilight unbuckled her seatbelt before leaning up in her seat, shifting so she could sit on the edge to look at her mom.

“I just met him today, well… met is the wrong word. I saw him today. Well, today not being the first day I saw him, but you know how you dropped me off early this morning? Well he was there, just swinging on the swing by himself. No one was watching him, and he’s usually there early before everyone else, including me, but he was there early early and—” Twilight was talking a mile a minute, continuously babbling as she recounted her morning of seeing Spike.

“Twilight, talk slower and spare the details, please. All I want to know is what does this boy have to do with you?” Her mother smiled softly, patting her hand as she normally does when the young girl gets too excited about things.

Twilight took a breath before continuing her story, slower than before. “Okay, so there’s this boy.”

“Uh huh, I think I got that part, sweetheart. What about the boy?”

“He’s in a younger grade than I am, but I always see him hanging out by himself. This morning I saw him just swinging on the swings by himself. The weird thing is he was there as early as I was! I mean usually he is there, but you dropped me off extra early today so I could study for my English test, which I passed by the way, not that there was any doubt.” Twilight grinned smugly after finishing her story.

“Mhmm. So your issue is he was there early like you? What if his parents just dropped him off like I did you. Maybe he had already studied for his test or just enjoys being at school early. I remember when you first started the academy, you couldn’t wait to get there. You used to get up before everybody else in the house, and before your father even got his morning coffee, you were asking when was he ready to go.”

Twilight sat quietly for a moment. I wonder if Spike ever gets up early because he wants to or because principal Celestia has to be there early. Wait, has he always been that early and it never crossed my mind? Oh Spike, you must be so lonely.

“It’s… It’s not like that, Mom. Something else happened today, and Principal Celestia asked me not to tell anyone but I…” Twilight’s eyes dropped to her knees pressed against the console in front of her. “Principal Celestia asked me to her office today.”

Velvet’s eyes widened. She blinked a couple of times in shock. Her daughter had been called to the principal’s office and she wasn’t notified?

The young Sparkle looked back up at her mom, shaking her head quickly before lifting a hand to hold her palm up to calm her mother’s nerves.

“It wasn’t for anything bad, I promise. I… I had asked a few of my teachers about Spike, that’s the boy’s name. All of them basically told me they didn’t know the boy or couldn’t talk about him. It confused me greatly until principal Celestia approached me during lunch hour. She asked me to her office to… question me about my questions about Spike.”

“I see, so what did she have to tell you, Twilight? Do I need to talk to her?”

“No, no of course not. It wasn’t anything bad. She just… she asked me to try to befriend Spike.”

“Was that all? Why would the principal ask you to do something like that? Does she want you to tutor him?”

“Not exactly…”


“Principal Celestia just thinks Spike could use somebody like me, I guess. She didn’t really come out and say he and I should be friends, but I think that’s what she was implying. It’s up to me to choose to become friends with him or not, but I think I want to. He looks so sad, Mom, like he hates being alone; but maybe he has a hard time making friends like I do. At least that’s how I feel.”

“What’s stopping you, sweetheart?”

“I… I don’t want him to think I pity him.”

“Why would he think that? A sweet girl like you just wanting to be his friend? Is that so strange?”

Twilight rubbed her palms against her knees, biting her lip once more. I’ve already told her this much. I hope Principal Celestia won’t be mad at me. Please don’t kick me out for this. I don’t want to be sent away and grounded.

“Spike… he’s…” Twilight’s mouth went dry as she spoke, her throat worked as she tried to swallow.

“He’s…?” Velvet patiently waited for her daughter to answer, her mouth settling into a concerned line.

“Homeless. He doesn’t have parents. Principal Celestia took him in, but she’s afraid he isn’t getting the attention he needs. Mom, he’s so smart though! Celestia says that he doesn’t even have to study or do his homework and he still aces his tests! Granted he’s only in kindergarten, but can you believe that?” Twilight smiled brightly, tears pooling in her eyes as she looked at her mom.

Twilight Velvet blinked back the surprise of seeing her daughter getting teary eyed over another person besides her brother. Little Twilight Sparkle had never concerned herself over anyone outside her family, and it took a while even to consider showing emotion to her babysitter, Cadance. Now this strange boy that her daughter had yet to even speak to had her in tears, concerning herself about his wellbeing. This was definitely something to talk to her husband about.

“Um…” Velvet reached a hand up to cover her mouth as she sat back in her seat. “Homeless?”

“Mom, what do I do? I want to be friends with him, but I’ve never tried to make friends before! To make matters worst, he is probably going to think someone put me up to it. I mean I don’t actually know if he’ll think like that, I don’t know anyone that has actually spoken to him besides the principal herself, but she says he doesn’t talk much as it is. She told me that some kids in his class have tried to make friends with him but they just couldn’t get through to him. Mom? Are you listening to me?”

“Yes, yes, sweetheart. I’m listening, I’m just surprised that your principal took him in is all. Did she say anything else about him? Does she know what happened to his parents?”

Twilight just shook her head, a frown settling on her lips as her brow dipped in confusion. Celestia didn’t even mention anything about his parents or any family outside of that. I guess he just didn’t have any, at least none that would claim him.

“Oh! She did mention that he was in the system, whatever that means. Does that just mean he’s listed in a computer or something?”

“No darling, it means he was in the foster care system.”

“Foster care?”

“It’s… for young kids that are still looking for a mommy and daddy to take them in, to raise them. Foster care places them with loving adults who care about their wellbeing until they’re found by a loving family that will raise them as one of their own.”

Before Twilight could even think, she immediately asked her mother, “Can we afford to take in someone who doesn’t have a family?” Her eyes widened and she covered her mouth with both of her hands.

“Twilight I think it’s time to go inside, how about you have Shiny check over your homework while I get dinner started.”

“Okay, Mom...” Twilight begrudgingly ran off to find her big brother, clutching her notebook tightly to her chest. Please don’t be mad at me. I didn’t mean to blurt that out. Stupid me.

“Night, Shining, Twilight! Dinner’s ready!” Twilight Velvet called out to the rest of the Sparkle family over the sound of frying vegetables. The smell wafted through the house, calling the rest of them to dinner just as effectively as Velvet’s yelling. The patter of feet could be heard from across the house; two smaller pairs coming from upstairs, one heavier pair coming slowly from the living room.

Shining Armor was the first to reach the table. “Thank God, I’m so hungry.”

“Hey there, Mr. Hungry. I’m dad,” Night Light said, chuckling to himself as he sat down.

Shining Armor buried his face in his hands as his father laughed even louder. Twilight sat down, blissfully unaware of the joke her father had just made. Velvet tried to hide her own snickering as she served out the helpings. Unsuccessfully at that.

“I feel like I missed something here,” Twilight stated to nobody in particular.

“Don’t ask,” Shining replied. “I swear, next time I’m just asking mom to make me a sandwich.”

Night Light, for his efforts (or lack thereof) just looked at Shining Armor. “Poof! You’re a sandwich!”

Shining dropped his face to the table as Twilight and her mother started laughing uncontrollably.

Wiping a tear from her eye, Velvet sat down at the table. Twilight looked to her father. “So, Dad, there’s something I… I kinda have a… I was thinking…”

“Oh? Is that what that is? I thought I smelled something burning.”

It was Shining’s turn to laugh as Twilight dropped her face to her hands before they all dug into the night’s meal with gusto.

After a time of silence, disturbed only by the clinking of silverware and the occasional request for dishes to be passed back and forth, the meal slowly drew to a close.

Twilight Velvet stood up and began clearing the dishes away from everyone while Twilight sat still, looking down at her placemat, not quite sure how to broach the topic she wished to discuss with her father. Particularly in front of her brother.

Night Light could see the look in his daughter’s eyes, and a quick glance at Velvet confirmed that she was aware there was something they needed to discuss.

“Well,” Night said with a groan, stretching his arms over his head. “I’m glad we ate when we did. I’m not hungry at all now.”

Shining Armor looked at his father as if to say, really?

“What?” Night asked with a smirk, “I’m just saying I don’t think I could eat now, I don’t have mush room left.”

“Ok, that’s it, I’m outta here!” Shining pushed away from the table and made for the living room, unable to take anymore of his father’s horrible puns. Twilight Sparkle giggled relentlessly at her brother’s reaction, a smile gracing her face, forcing her uncertainty to the back of her mind.

For her part, Velvet managed to maintain her composure, knowing exactly what her husband was up to. Sitting back at the table, she gently folded her hands in front of her and turned her eyes to her smiling girl.

“Twilight, did you want me to tell your father what’s going on or would you like to tell him yourself?”

Twilight merely straightened in her seat, a breath blowing her bangs out of her eyes before she looked up at her father. “I can tell him. It’s nothing bad, Daddy, I’m just... curious, of what you’ll think.”

“Oh, what I think, huh? Is this about something you learned in school today? Trying to test your old man’s knowledge, are ya, Twily?” Night Light punched his daughter lightly on the arm, only causing her small body to shift slightly and a smile to form on the young girl’s lips as she batted his bigger hand away with both of hers.

“Dad, it’s nothing like that. But we both know that I’m smarter than you.” Twilight’s grin was one of mirth, both father and daughter knowing that it was a joke.

“Is that so. Well why don’t you prove it.” Night reached over and started tickling her on her sides, her small arms trying to fight him off as she roared with laughter.

“M-om p-please make make him s-stop.” Twilight reached for her mother, tears dripping down her cheeks as she continued to laugh uncontrollably. Her father’s assault never ceasing as he forced her to sit back in her seat, his tickling hands only increasing their movement.

Twilight Velvet merely put a hand over her mouth, laughter bubbling through her fingers as she watched the playful display between a loving father and his little joy. I wonder if that boy Twilight cares about has ever experienced a moment like this. How awful it must be to never know a moment shared between a mother or father. Although I don’t know much about this Spike to know that he never has experienced a moment like this. Still, to not have them in his life. Velvet’s eyes softened as she looked at her daughter, imagining what life would be for the little Sparkle without herself in it, or with Twilight not in her own life. Her mouth pulled into a deep frown, her eyes becoming pained at the thought.

Night Light peered over at his wife and noticed her solemn expression. His hands paused in movement and merely grasped Twilight’s shoulders. He looked back at his daughter curiously; she didn’t look any different than the days before, maybe a bit less stuck up than usual, but that's not something he would mention out loud to either of them.

Night Light loved his daughter more than his own life. She just had a tendency to forget that there were people who weren’t as well off as they were. Of course, Twilight Sparkle never wanted for anything because both Night Light and Twilight Velvet had well paying jobs. That being said, she had a hard time acknowledging when some of her other classmates talked about wanting a toy or the newest cell phone. Twilight would come home to her parents, telling them about her day, and then begin to rant about how the kids in her class would whine when they didn’t get what they wanted. Velvet would always calm her daughter down by mentioning something work related, and Twilight would immediately jump at the change of discussion.

Today, something was off about the young girl though, and Night was sure whatever was about to be discussed was the cause of it.

“Darling, is everything alright?” Night turned back to his wife, the young Sparkle also noticing for the first time her mother looked troubled.

“I’m fine, dear, I just think… Twilight, how about we move to the living room for this talk? Do you want your brother to join us as well?” Velvet wiped at her eyes and stood up from her seat.

“Uh, sure, Mom. I mean unless Shiny is busy, it’s not to big a deal.” Twilight blushed as she stood up and pushed her chair back to the table before running off into the living room.

“Is everything alright, love? Is something going on with Twilight at school?” Night turned to his wife concerned.

“Everything is fine, dear. Twilight just has decided to come to us about something that she learned at school today. We can all discuss it together, just let her explain first.” Velvet placed a soft hand on her husband's shoulder and gestured to the other room with her free hand.

He nodded before walking out into the living room, his eyes settling on his young daughter as she patiently waited on the couch. Her tiny hands clasped together across her knees as she stared at the carpet in front of her. He settled into his recliner, clearing his throat to get Twilight’s attention.

Velvet walked over to the stairs and called up to her son. His response was instant and irritating “What? I’m busy.” This of course caused the older woman to march up the stairs and pull him down to the living room by his ear lobe.

After all the members of the Sparkle household were settled into their respective seats, Twilight began to recount her day, not sparing a detail. Both her brother and father listened intently, but slowly got lost as the story went on. Neither could keep up with how fast she was talking, and by the end of her explanation, she was gasping for breath, wide-eyed, and staring up at her father.

Night Light blinked a couple of times before turning to his wife. “What?”

Velvet shook her head before glancing at her son, noticing the same blank, glazed over expression his father wore. They are so alike it’s ridiculous. Of course Twilight does take after me a lot as well. As the saying goes: Like father like son, like mother like daughter. She released a slow sigh, a hand coming up to pinch the bridge of her nose between her forefinger and thumb.

Twilight blushed and turned back to looking at the carpet. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. Who am I kidding? I had to say something. I can’t just let him be alone like that. It’s not right, even if… even if it does get me expelled from the school and sent back to… she gulped, pre-school.

“C’mon, Twily, what is it? You know you can tell us anything,” Shining said with a smile as he reached over and grasped the young girl around the waist and pulled her to his lap.

Velvet dropped her hand and smiled at the two. Her daughter was pushing against her older brother’s arms; his embrace wasn’t budging in the slightest. The young girl finally gave in with a huff, her arms crossing over her chest as she continued to stare at the floor.

Night Light settled back into his recliner. He was still unsure what the situation was about, but he knew a little family time would get the girl smiling again.

Twilight only took two minutes to start smiling again. Her BBBFF was always adept at cheering her up. “I wanted to talk maybe, I don’t know… giving the poor boy a family?”

Night Light’s eyes went wide. “Twilight, we don’t even know this boy. Have you even talked to him?

“No, it’s just… no one should be without a mom and dad, you know?”

“Are you two even friends?” Shining asked.

“Well, no. We um… haven’t even talked.”

“Twilight, do you even know what you’re asking?” Night Light asked.

“That we give Spike a mommy and a daddy?”

Velvet looked at Night Light as she wiped a tear from her eye. Night Light sat back in his chair, his mind blown by the innocence of his daughter. He hadn’t known what to expect, but he didn’t expect this.

“Maybe we should start small, Twily. Why don’t you talk to this boy tomorrow and see if you still want to invite him to dinner then,” Velvet said.

Twilight nodded, a smile lighting up her face as she began to make plans.

“Alright you two, it’s getting late and you both have school tomorrow. Go brush your teeth and get ready for bed.” Velvet got to her feet and waved her hands at both of her children, motioning for them to go up the stairs.

“Mom, are we…” Shining stated as his sister jumped off his lap to give her father a hug.

“I’ll talk to you upstairs, Shining,” Velvet said.

The teenager looked at her, uncertainty on his face, but turned around and went back upstairs, followed closely by his LSBFF.

Night Light turned and stared at his wife. “That was…”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I mean, can we even?”

“Well, yeah, we can. We make more than enough money and we could always turn the study into another bedroom.”

“But, should we? I mean—”

“I know what you mean. Maybe we should just keep our options open right now. Or do you think you could tell that little girl, our daughter, no?”

“I’ve never been able to tell her no to anything in my life.”

“Yeah, me neither,” Velvet said sheepishly.

Night Light got up and kissed his wife. He wrapped his arms around her and brought her in close, feeling her body pressed up against his own as they embraced as husband and wife. When it was over, he looked at her, smiling. “I think I like your idea best. Why don’t you go talk to Shining about the possibility, and I’ll go kiss Twily goodnight. Whatever comes, we’ll just stay open to the possibility.”

Velvet smiled and kissed him one more time, this time nothing more than a quick peck on the lips. “I love you.”

As his wife pulled away to go talk to their son, Night Light smiled. “I love you too.”