• Published 26th Feb 2020
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Our Little Brother, Spike - Hope Caster



Finding a whelp cold and alone after hatching season, Amber Ironscale brings the poor thing back to her cave and adopts him, giving him the name Heathspike, Spike for short. Her son, Garble, vows to be the best big brother he can be, no matter what.

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Chapter 3: Restless Night

Flare let out a sigh as he watched Spike play with Smolder, hitting a smooth and rounded pumice stone towards her, only for his daughter to hit it back. Their giggles and laughs filled the cave and brought a smile to the old salamander’s face. It lasted for but a moment.

Smolder, and everyone else in the family, loved Spike, too much in his opinion. Garble adored him, and often told Spike what the two of them were going to do when they were older, which gems were the best, and the best way to breathe a steady stream of fire. Then there was Amber. She doted on all her children to be sure, but Spike got more attention than he should in his mind. The whelp was only their guest after all.

“When is that oaf going to come?” He heard his mate say. She sat near the entrance of their cave, waiting for Torch to give them news of Spike’s lack of a mother. While she certainly thought of Spike as her new son, Flare knew that Torch could say differently if his actual mother showed up. Yet, Amber was convinced the Dragon Lord would see things her way.

“Amber, I think the Dragon Lord has better things to do then worry about us getting to keep our guest.”

“You mean our son,” Amber corrected.

“Amber,” Flare groaned.

“It’s been two weeks, and still not a peep from anyone! Most of the other mothers agree he’s basically ours. Even you have to admit you’ve grown fond of him.”

“I didn’t say I wasn’t fond of the whelp,” Flare said. “I just think we should wait before getting too attached.”

“It’s a bit too late for us, unfortunately,” Amber said, looking back towards her children. She smiled. “Look at them, they love him.”

“That’s part of the problem,” Flare said, shaking his head. He returned to watching the hatchlings while Amber waited at the mouth of the cave. When the sun went down, and the moon began to cast a pale glow on the Dragon Lands, Flare said to his children, and Spike, “Alright, enough playing. Time for bed.”

Flare saw the anger and disbelief that crossed his daughter’s face. There was nothing she hated more than bedtime.

“No, I don’t wanna!” Smolder said firmly. She took a fighting stance on all fours, inflated her cheeks and puffed out her chest.

Her father ignored her protests and nudged her towards the back of the cave. Her tantrum began the moment she moved an inch.

“I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna!” she repeated as she fell to the floor and flailed her arms and legs. Her parents became quickly annoyed but didn’t bother getting mad, Spike became confused and not much else, and Garble couldn’t bring himself to care. If they were all being honest, this was one of Smolder’s calmer tantrums.

Though he hated them, there was something charmingly honest about his daughter’s flailing and whining. It was annoying to deal with every night, but he admired that there wasn’t any fudging about what she wanted. The dragons let the tantrum continue for a minute and then Smolder began to tire and become still. She persisted in her protests, despite her weariness. She was left on her back, rubbing her eyes, even as Garble came and picked her up.

He carried her off towards their spots in the cave and soon her snores filled the air. Flare and Amber gave a sigh of relief before giving their eldest a look, as if to warn him. Garble was smart enough to obey.

“Goodnight Spike.” Garble nuzzled his brother and went off into his own corner, curling up around a very small mound of treasure that he had made while scavenging with Flare.

With Garble and Smolder taken care of, Amber tended to Spike. She blew an intense stream of fire on the ground, heating up his area in the cave like she’d once done for Garble and Smolder when they were infants. Once he was put down, Spike quickly fell asleep, allowing his parents to curl around their hoard. “Goodnight, my little hatchling,” Amber said, using the tip of her claw to stroke Spike’s cheek. “Flare, are you going to say anything to your son?”

“I think our guest has been tended to more than enough,” he grumbled.

Amber rolled her eyes and took one last look at Spike. Flare would come around once Torch grew a fraction of a brain and declared Spike theirs. Her eyes snapped open as Spike’s cries and screams began and hour into the night. ‘A bad dream?’ She thought to herself, groaning as she shifted. Flare’s claw forced her still.

“I’ll take care of it,” He mumbled. “You get some sleep.” Amber did as she was told, and Flare slowly moved to Spike’s side. Just being there seemed enough to calm him down, and with a short story about a mighty dragon charming a beautiful lord, Spike was lulled to sleep once more. The second time Spike woke up, Amber tended to him, singing him gentle lullabies, telling him how much he was loved, and how happy he made everyone. Once Spike was asleep, Amber gave his cheek one last loving stroke and returned to her hoard and mate.

Then Spike woke for a third time, and his parents slept through his cries. There was a pattering in the cave though, and Garble came to his little brother’s side.

The drake yawned, rubbing his eyes as he stumbled towards the nest. He looked to his parents, who even in sleep looked exhausted.

“Heathspike, we need sleep. I’m scavenging with dad tomorrow,” Garble mumbled. The moment he sat down before his brother, the wails began to taper into whimpers and sniffles. Garble checked the nest. He didn’t need changing. Perhaps he was hungry? He tried feeding him. Nothing. Garble did have him quiet. Perhaps he could go back to bed and Spike would fall back asleep on his own.

Garble made sure that Spike was calm and content before turning to leave. He took one step before the whimpers and coos started again. He turned back, and saw Spike waving his arms and grasping at him, as if trying to pull him back.

“The things I do to be a good big brother,” he said quietly to himself. He left Spike alone for a moment, only to return with a book. Garble made sure that he and Spike where the only ones awake.

“I used to do this for Smolder, but she likes other stuff now. I shouldn’t have read her that book that Grandma Topaz found near that abandoned pony hut. Fairy tales are stupid.” He moved Spike so that he was sitting in his lap. “Dad never liked me reading to her, mom said it was okay though.” Garble looked at the cover of the book labeled Sonnets. “I found this when I was scavenging with dad and Uncle Smog a while ago.”

Spike looked curiously at the book, putting a small hand on it.

“Grandma Topaz taught me to read it. She told me that it was written by ponies. It makes me feel weird knowing that, but I like it.” He dried the lingering tears in his brother’s eyes. “Maybe, you’ll like it to.” Garble flipped page twenty-seven, perfect given the time, and began to read. “Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed. The dear repose for limbs with travel tired; but then begins a journey in my head, to work my mind, when body's work's expired.”

Garble read several poems and Spike was lulled or bored to sleep. Garble was never certain which one it was. He removed Spike from his lap, lay him gently on the ground, and slowly crept away, only for his baby brother to whimper and whine the further he got. Garble went back to his brother’s side, and the whimper’s ceased.

Perhaps he was having a nightmare, or maybe he was just frightened of the dark. Whatever it was, he didn’t need to be scared, not while he was around. Garble began to circle his brother before curling around him.

“Like I’d let anything happen to you.” Garble yawned as he made himself comfortable. He’d already defended Spike from a Lava Lizard; he’d be able to beat up anything that crept about during the night. He was a dragon after all, and dragons were the best at everything, especially fighting.

A few moments passed and Smolder shifted in her little spot. Her eyes fluttered opened and she found herself without a Garble nearby.

“Gar-Gar?” She said with a whimper. She looked around the cave, scanning for him, but only saw shadows slowly encroaching on her. She let out a small burst of fire to light her little area and grew bitter and angry. Right near their parents lay Spike and Garble. She began to fume when she saw the book near them.

‘Stupid boys,’ she thought to herself. Garble had read to Spike and didn’t include her. She began to shake as her little face twisted into a scowl. She’d teach them to leave her out of story time. Walking up to the small nest, her tail gently nudged her little brother and earned his attention just as she lay on the ground.

Spike opened his eyes for but a moment, saw Smolder near him, and shifted towards her, nestling into her side before falling back into his deep slumber.

‘That’ll teach Garble,’ Smolder thought as Garble shifted in his sleep, drawing closer to his siblings. It was the perfect revenge for this heinous transgression. After tonight though, she would try to be Spike’s favorite, make him feel safe and comfortable. That way, Spike would make sure she was around anytime Garble read to him. It was a perfect, foolproof plan. Snickering to herself with all the malevolence a three-year-old could muster, Smolder fell back asleep.

For the first time in two weeks, the night was quiet.


The sun peaked from beyond the horizon, and its rays crept into the cave, hitting Amber. Feeling so well rested, she was gripped with an intense fear.

“Heathspike!” She said with a gasp, realizing that she’d only woken up twice last night. She turned her head to her newest hatchling’s nest, only to find him sound asleep, nestling into the embrace of his older brother while his sister slept, draped over Garble. Relief surged through her as she watched their bodies slowly rise and fall with each breath they took. She let her head fall to the side, gently hitting Flare.

He let out a loud yawn as he stretched out his body. He took a moment to admire his beautiful mate bathed in the sun’s light, her bright golden yellow scales shimmering. He gave her a nuzzle before looking over her shoulder at Spike’s nest. Even a strong and unemotional dragon like him found something pure about the mound his children were in. Still, he scoffed at one detail regarding the scene.

“That blasted book,” Flare said with a sneer, noticing Garble’s treasure lying not too far from him. “I don’t like that you allowed him to keep it. It smells of pony.”

“We only had to get up twice last night,” Amber pointed out. “If that book had anything to do with it, I stick by my choice.”

“I still don’t like it,” Flare said, unable to counter her reasoning.

“I know, but you’re such a kind and thoughtful father that you put your children’s happiness before yours.” She began to nuzzle Flare as she snaked her tail to intertwine with his. “How lucky am I to have such a wonderful mate?”

“I hate when you do this, Amber.”

“Calm you down? Show you affection? Praise you for being a wonderful father?” She began to purr.

“Let’s not leave out buttering me up,” He said, content with his position. “You know, if this is permanent, we still need to introduce Spike to the rest of our family. I think your mother and grandmother will be disappointed that we waited so long.”

“It’s only been two weeks, give or take a day. Your brother can try and poison Spike’s mind with his courting advice when he’s bigger.”

“Like your grandmother is much better, teaching Garble to read that book, giving Smolder that book of fairy tales. Lord knows what they’ll teach Spike when they meet him.” Flare gave the children another glance, focusing on Spike for a brief moment. “Amber, you and I need to talk about what happens if his birth mother comes.”

“We have silver, gold, platinum and plenty of jewels, I think we can come to an arrangement. If not, I wouldn’t mind chatting with her about why Heathspike was buried in rubbish.” Through her purrs, Amber began to growl lowly, moving her tail to surround the children. As far as Amber was concerned, they’d been caring for Spike; they had been loving him. She’d be damned before some wretch could stomp into their cave and demand their child.

“You’re getting angry,” Flare said, draping a wing over his mate. “I’m sorry for mentioning it. How about we get a little more sleep? There won’t be another morning where we’re awake before they are.” He saw the anxious look on his mate’s face and gently nuzzled her. “I’m sure nothing will happen. And the more time passes, the more we have for the case that Spike’s ours.”

“I hope so,” Amber sighed. She closed her eyes as her mate brought her in close. ‘Please, Bahamut, let nothing happen.’

Author's Note:

A shorter chapter with more fluff than anything else. We have maybe two more chapters before a small time skip into the future, about 3 years or so.