• Published 21st Dec 2012
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Our Gifts - The Descendant



You know that feeling? You know, the feeling that you've forgotten something important? It is 10:32 p.m. on Hearth's Warming Eve, and Twilight just got that feeling...

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Chapter 2: Hearth's Warming Day

Chapter 2: Hearth’s Warming Day


Twilight did not return to her little bed.

Instead, she found herself walking back and forth across the landing at the top of the stairs. Below her a multitude of colored lights fell across the floor, streaming out into the night that hung around the downstairs hallway.

The Hearth’s Warming tree stood there unseen, at the opposite end of the living room below her, casting its light upon the sleeping household.

Well, mostly sleeping. Twilight was in fact standing there, prancing in place, and pondering all sorts of horrible crimes against magic and nature.

She… she, she, she, she could summon a gift with her magic! Right! Just use her magic to summon some sort of gift out of thin air… sucking it through the reaches of time and space and opening a chasm between dimensions.

That could work! There might be a few monstrous abominations involved, but hey, it’s Hearth’s Warming!

Or… or, or, or, or she could go down into the basement and dabble in some alchemy! Right! Okay! Just make a transfiguration circle and call on the good old-fashioned rules of equivalent exchange! Good! Yeah! Why not?! There was only a moderate chance that she’d actually summon hordes of the undead!

Her hooves danced as she allowed her analytical mind access to places she’d never usually consider going. Anything. She was willing to do anything to save his Hearth’s Warming. Please, she begged, she just wanted him to…

Her grin went wide again and her bang once more lifted from her head with an unsubtle “twang!”

“Uh oh,” came a little voice, and at once she stopped her prancing. “Uh oh,” came the voice again. Twilight hung there in mid-air, holding her breath and hoping he’d go back to sleep, until physics refused to be ignored anymore and she went clattering to her hooves.

Twilight felt the sensation of Spike lifting himself. He leaned across her neck, reaching all the way up across her head. He gently brushed past her horn, and with that he pushed the bang back down so that it rested upon her once more.

“Ya’ know, Twi,” he said as he rubbed the spot behind one of her ears, the sleep still hovering in his voice as he did, “ya’ know that I’ve always hated that sound…”

She felt him leap from her back. His feet made little pitter-patter sounds across the rug as he walked forward. He ran his hand across her until he arrived at her shoulder. She looked down at him as he ran his hand up and down her foreleg, the little whelp seeming to both fight his tiredness and search for his words.

“That sproingy sound… I dunno what causes it, but whatever does it means that you’re going off the deep end again. I’ve always hated it,” he said as he walked in front of her. She lowered her eyes to look into his emerald ones.

Spike extended his left hand, and as though knowing that he had something that he wished to say she lowered her head into it, resting her jaw there. It didn’t surprise her at least when he lifted his right hand and began to draw it up and down the space between her eyes, gently stroking her from her horn to the tip of her nose…

… trying to get her to calm down. Trying to help her center herself.

“I’ve hated it ever since we were little, that noise, ‘cause it always meant that you were upset.”

He continued to look into her eyes as he stroked her, tried to draw out whatever was upsetting the pony.

“I don’t like seeing you this way, ya’ know? It really bothers me whenever you get this way, Twi. It really, really does.”

He searched the purple of her eyes. He gently traced the space up to her horn and down to her nose for long minutes as the Hearth’s Warming lights of neighboring houses fell upon them through the window.

Downstairs, the smells of holiday foods lingered long after the dishes had been washed and put away. Candies and cookies offered up their scents, lifting off of the buffet table in the hallway and settling around the pair that stood at the top of the stairs.

Spike stopped drawing his fingers across her nose.

“We’ve been running and running and running around the house for a half an hour now. Won’t ya’ tell me what it is this time, Twi? I wanna help. You know that I always wanna help. I’m your number one assistant, Twi, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. Won’t you tell me, please?” he implored, putting his free hand beneath her chin as well.

Twilight gave a great rolling sigh. She closed her eyes, blinked, and then looked back into the emerald of his.

“Promise you won’t get mad?” she asked in a small tone.

Spike stepped back and looked up to her. He danced his fingers together, sighed, and stared back up to her.

“No,” he said, “I can’t promise that I won’t get mad. I mean, we don’t have any control over that sort of thing, huh? But, Twi, I can promise that if I do, I won’t mean it.”

He smiled up to her, and she smiled back down at him. She lowered her haunches, and he leapt up to his familiar place upon her back.

She lifted her hooves, and together they committed the cardinal sin of Hearth’s Warming, one that every foal knows not to do, or risk having the windigos whisk their presents away.

Or, discovering their parents putting them there, which is sort of the same on a psychological level.

In short, Twilight and Spike looked upon the Hearth’ Warming tree and all of the presents beneath it before Hearth’s Warming morning.

“Holy smokes! Look at all the presents!” cried Spike, leaping from her back. She watched happily as he waddled his way over to the great stacks of gifts, the colors of the lights falling across his scales as he looked the piles over.

Nearby the fireplace reacted to their presence, roaring to life as a few tea candles in their colored cups came alive on the mantle.

Twilight sat in front of the sofa, not wanting to get too comfortable. She watched with a small smile as he went from standing, down to all fours, and back to standing again, as though not knowing how to react as he studied the glimmering paper and tall towers of gifts.

She laughed to herself as his tail swished back and forth a few times, as though he were a happy puppy, something that she could not remember him ever doing before.

“Twi!” he called, leaping in the air. “There’s… there’s gifts for me here! N-Not just candy and a book or two… but real gifts, Twi!”

He called out the names on the “From” side of each tag. Cadence and Shining, Mrs. Mom and Mr. Dad (as their titles became long ago). Even great silvery and golden packages from the princesses themselves sat there, awaiting their opening tomorrow morning. He could not know, she assumed, that even more awaited him from their friends upon their return home to the library.

Only one name was missing, and her face creased in disappointment. It seemed that he was about to discover whose.

“You did it, Twi! You really found a way for all of my favorite ponies to get me gifts that… that, don’t… that don’t set off my problem!” he said, trying to chuckle through the admission.

Twilight winced. She wondered if, perhaps, if they’d begun giving him gifts long ago, maybe he’d have developed some kind of immunity to the greed growth? But, where was a dragon fingerling supposed to keep toys? Where was some creature with no real home like Spike supposed…

No, wait. Something had been said. Twilight’s mind raced back to Spike’s statement.

At once she sat up, her eyes going wide.

“Spike,” she whispered, “you… you knew about the lists I was giving our friends? The criteria for gifts that wouldn’t… well, set off that part of you? You knew, Spike? I swore that I kept that…”

“A secret?” he said with a laugh. To her amazement, Spike was smiling. He settled down in front of her, just far enough away that the tree lights still danced around him, and his legs crossed in front of him as he leaned towards her.

“C’mon, Twi, you know that we don’t have any secrets. I mean, not after this year. W-We both know what our greatest fears are, we both know what our hopes are. You know what’s in the little book I keep under the stairs, I know what’s in the long box in your nightstand…”

Twilight’s jaw dropped open. Well, okay, wow. That was unexpected… and embarrassing. And true.

Twilight put his little admission aside until she could formulate a discussion about privacy. Hopefully, that was a few months away. Instead, she focused on his words as he continued a litany of revelations.

“… but, that’s not really the point, Twi. The point, ummm, is that it means… it means the world to me. It means the world to me that you were doing that. It really, really, really did. So, when I saw you getting all tired and worn out… well, and when I saw that there was only one name left on the list of ponies, and creatures, you needed to buy for…”

Twilight sucked in a deep breath. It had been right there in the ledger. She’d thought that she’d hidden her list deep in her encryption… but then again, who was the only other living soul in the world who had rested against her as she’d made the thing? Her eyes stayed wide as he admitted his act… as he admitted…

“… I just let it slip. You were all wore out, and it was already so late. It’s okay, Twi. I know ya’ didn’t mean to forget to get me a gift. It’s okay, really, I don’t mind.”

He sat there smiling at her, just rubbing his hand across his head. He just sat there, in the light of the tree, scratching his frills and smiling a big dopey smile.

He was right. It had been a massive undertaking. Not just developing the criteria for his own gifts, but the work they had done together to find just the right gifts for their friends and loved ones. When they arrived here at her parent’s home they had fallen across the sill of the doorway like a pair of marathon runners finishing a race.

Twilight just shook her head slowly from side to side.

“It… it would’ve been easy for you… to just leave the page open, or mention…” she began. Soon that ended, and she reached her foreleg forward to him.

“I’m so sorry Spike. I’m so sorry! I really wanted to find something perfect, find something that really told you how proud I am of you, how happy I am that you’re with me, especially after this year. I am so sorry that I forgot to get you a gift! I really am!”

He stepped forward into her hug, and she wrapped him close.

Twilight, you ninny! she scolded herself. This year, of all years, to forget to get him a gift!

This year, after he’d become a monster… and now knew that he’d be dealing with that part of himself forever. This year, after he had journeyed to discover whom he was… and was horrified by what he discovered. This year, after he had hatched his little phoenix… just to end up having to be strong and brave enough to give Peewee up to Philomena so that the bird could learn the ways of its kind.

This year, after his great fear had been shown to her... that the worst thing that could ever happen to him was being separated from her. This year, a year in which he had dutifully stood by her side, and had gone beyond himself to help restore a race of ponies whom he had never met.

Why did it have to be this year, of all years, to let her little dragon down?

With all of that in mind, she wondered, why was it that her eyes were watering but he was standing there in her embrace and taking it like a champ?

She held him, and she stroked his frills. She took a few large breaths, and then she felt him move, unexpectedly lifting from the warm spot between her forelegs and chest.

He smiled up to her again.

“You still think I’m sad about it, huh?” he said with a giggle. Twilight’s eyebrow arched, and she watched a smile cross his face. “Twi,” he said in a factual tone, “I’m gonna give you your gift now, okay?”

Before she could stop him, he had waddled across the room once more. He sprung into the pile of presents, fishing around for the little package that she had just barely seen tucked into the corner of her saddlebag.

She held her hoof over her mouth, stifling her giggle. Only his tallest frill stuck up above him as he searched beneath the tree. He looked very much like a festive shark, one that was swimming amid a coral reef of tree lights as their colors cascading around him.

“Aha!” he called, bounding out from beneath the tree, sending an ancient ornament, a cord of garland, a string of beads, and some of the lights crashing to the floor amidst the presents.

He padded back over to where she sat, lifting the present up to her.

“Oh, ummm… sorry about the wrapping paper. I’m not so good at that yet,” he said.

He’d always been a truthful dragon, mostly, and the gift bore that out.

It wasn’t so much wrapped in the paper as beaten into submission by it. The crinkled, uneven surface was swathed in enough transparent tape that it seemed to be glazed like the surface of a doughnut. The label, the tape roll, a pencil, and her missing pair of good scissors all seemed entrapped within, like insects caught in ancient amber.

“Yeah, ummm,” he repeated, “not so good at that, yet. Or, at all.”

She took it from him, and as her magic settled over the package he looked on, almost jubilantly happy as she tried her best to buzz saw through the glazing.

She set her good scissors aside where she could retrieve them later, and then settled her eyes across the gift itself.

It stole out her breath.

“Do you like it, Twi?” he called, his joy bubbling over in a way that was almost obscenely adorable.

He lifted the shaft of the jewel from the paper. It wasn’t more than three inches long, but the perfect pink of the ruby shone with its own light. That alone would have been enough, but…

“Look, Twi, look!” he called, holding it up so that she could study it better. She had to blink, almost believing what she saw to be only a trick of the colors that fell from the tree.

Inside the central shaft of the ruby was transparent, and inside of it…

“The inside is methyl, so each of the figures float! Look, Twi… it’s us!” he said, bringing it even closer to her eyes.

She peered down into the transparent core. There, two tiny figures floated, ones that she could now pretty much see as being the both of them… now that he’d explained it. Around them floated confetti, or something similar, that he must have placed inside over the long months that it took to grow such an intricate ruby.

He must have been growing it since… well, since last Hearth’s Warming.

So much for not having any secrets from one another!

The one he’d given to Rarity was a master’s class in facets and pure, unadulterated mass and light. This? This was delicate, tiny. He was only getting better at this craft, and she caught herself before she began to ponder if he was going to get a cutie mark in gemology, like a mother would ponder… that is, if dragons could get cutie marks.

She spread her forelegs around him as they settled back to the floor. The light of the fireplace, the tree, and the candles twinkled through it as he turned it over and over, explaining each piece of confetti that caught in her eye.

“The leaves?” she asked as he settled against her neck and shoulder.

“All the seasons we’ve been together…”

“The sparkles?”

“Your magic!”

“The letters?”

“All of the writing we do…”

“The button?” she asked as a small, round button went tumbling the length of the transparent chamber.

“Ugghhh!” sighed Spike, pinching the bridge of his nose. “That fell in there as I was sealing it up!”

Twilight giggled, and then waited for him to settle once again.

“The hearts?” she said with a knowing smile.

To her surprise he stood. He looked down over her, and then he nervously ran his hands through his frills once more.

“Twi?” he began, quietly. “When we were saying good night upstairs, and you asked if I was glad to be… well, home, did you catch what I said?”

Twilight thought for a moment. “Hmmm,” she hummed with a touch of introspection. “No, actually, I didn’t!” she admitted. “What did you answer, Spike?”

Spike sat in front of her again, leaning forward slightly, gathering his tail into his hands.

“When I was living in the nursery… it, it never felt right. I only felt safe and happy when you came to play with me,” he began. She cocked her head to the side, remembering him once saying that his first memory was her playing “peek-a-boo” with him in his crib.

“When… ummm, when they started letting me come here, sometimes, it was great. It was really great. But, when you were at school, and it was just I and Mr. Dad and Mrs. Mom, or even Cadence… well, it just didn’t feel right, either.

She watched him play with his tail, as though he were gauging his words.

“Do you remember when we were living in your rooms at the school? Do you remember the first night when you put me in that bassinet, the first night you said I couldn’t sleep with you in your bed anymore?” he said with a soft chuckle, as though hiding his embarrassment.

“You wailed all night,” she said, adding a soft chuckle of her own. “You kept promising to be a good boy, as though you thought I was punishing you for something. I just couldn’t get you to understand that when you molted it was getting in my mane!”

The two laughed, their voices rising through the holly and winter greenery that sat around the decorated room.

“I just didn’t want to be put away from you, you see. That’s all I ever want, Twi, is to go with you, be near you. I-I love all of the adventures we have, and I’m not afraid to do anything if you’re there when we go off to do it. I was excited to go to Ponyville, because it meant seeing new and exciting things with you.”

He lifted his eyes back up to her. He gripped his tail tight.

“It’s funny, I guess… but, Twi, home? Home, Twi… that’s wherever you are. I’m only home when I’m with you, I guess. Does, huh, does that make any sense?”

He struggled with his words, looking for them like any boy of about twelve years would do.

“Twi, the hearts are how much I love you, how much you matter to me. You’re the most important pony in my life Twi, and you matter a whole bunch! I-I can’t picture what my life would ever be like, well, without you in it…”

“Oh, Spike!” she said, lifting her foreleg to him. He smiled wide as she leaned towards him. He expected to be drawn into a hug, but to his surprise a soft touch fell through him. He blinked, and found his nose pressed to hers.

Slowly Twilight rubbed her nose to his, beginning first with a little motion, one that soon expanded into a circle, and then a figure eight. As she sighed a happy sigh she wiped her face against his once, twice, three times, and then brought him forward into a vast hug once more.

“The hearts are how much we love one another, Spike,” she said, running her hoof across his back as he sat pressed into the warm, comforting place at her chest, “remember that, okay? Watching you grow up from the little fingerling, watching you learn to read and write, being there when you started to talk… that was amazing for me, Spike. You’ve been there for me in some of the most important times of my life. You are right Spike, I guess we don’t have any secrets from one another. There’s nopony, or dragon, who knows more about me than you, not even mom, dad, and Shining.”

She lifted her hoof briefly, drawing it across her eyes.

“We take care of one another, we worry about one another, and we love one another. You’re so special to me, Spike. So special I don’t think that there are words…”

They sat there together as Hearth’s Warming Eve continued to fly away. As she rocked him slowly, running her hoof across his frills and back, she tried to think of those words.

She had done this before. She had done it many times over the years. For all of her vast knowledge she simply could not conjure a word.

They simply would not come. Motherly? No, they argued too much, were too much like equals. In many ways he was more mature than she was… even though it pained her to admit it.

Sisterly? Perhaps. But, then again, perhaps not so much. He had duties that no sibling would be assigned, and he was far too independent of her now to try to claim him as a little brother.

Best friend? Did she love him like a best friend? That would imply that she loved him just as much as she loved the girls back in Ponyville. They were all dear to her, and she loved them all deeply… but, she’d known them for what, three years?

They had not been there for her for more than a decade, had not shared so many of her memories. They didn’t know her in the same way Spike knew her. Despite all of the wonderful things she could say about all of them, all of the praise and love she could heap on them… none of them loved her like Spike loved her.

Like she loved him.

He’d always been her cheerleader, her confidant, and her jester. He believed in her completely. He was always the first to try to comfort her when she failed and the first to yell at her to get back up.

Best friend? No, that was just some small part of what she felt for him, and the way she knew he felt for her. But that could not define it all.

She smiled and once again admitted to herself that it didn’t account for all the times she’d felt like, and wished to be, his big sister.

And it didn’t fit with those most rare and most beautiful of moments, those when some small part of her dreamed of what it would be like to be his mother.

None of the words fit. It was so unique, the way that the little dragon that was cuddled close to her fit into her world. The way he fit just so. All of the words worked, and none of them worked. It was all just a complicated, bubbly soup. The one ingredient that held it all together was love. It was the odd, unusual, unconventional… beautiful, rewarding, honest love they shared.

Whatever they were to one another, whatever perfect, happy, and seemingly non-existent word could define it… in the end she was his big one, and he was her little one.

The little one lifted his head from her, smiled, and then reached for the discarded wrapping paper. The big one watched as he pulled something long and shiny from it.

“I forgot, Twi,” he said with a laugh, pulling a thin gold braid through a hidden loop upon the gem. “Here, you can wear it like a necklace, too, if you like.”

She leaned forward, and as she felt the tickling touch of his clawed hands trace her neck she smiled at him. It was the second piece of jewelry he’d given her, if the cheap necklace made of something almost entirely unlike gold he’d won for her at the fair three years ago counted.

And, yes, she counted it… despite how it had turned her coat green where it had rubbed against her.

You’re going to make some girl very, very, very happy someday, Spike, she thought to herself, fighting to keep from giggling as she felt the tickle of his hands as he fought to latch the necklace.

Soon he stepped back into the colored lights that fell from the tree. As he looked up to her the jewel shone upon her neck.

“Happy Hearth’s Warming, Twi,” he breathed. “Do you like it?”

“I love it, Spike,” she answered as she lifted it. She gave it a little shake, and all of the elements within spun around. Inside the tiny Twilight and bitty Spike figures bounced against one another, and settled against one another in what seemed a hug. “I love it so much, Spike. Thank you so much.”

She let it rest against her chest, and together they stood there as the last of Hearth’s Warming Eve began to wash away. He came back, seating himself between her forelegs, leaning into the warmth of her chest and running his hands up and down her forelegs.

Together they watched the fireplace, the candles, and the tree. The joy of the holiday washed over them as they sat there together, close to one another.

Twilight took a deep breath. She could feel him starting to fade. All of the familiar signs of sleep coming to claim him joined them there among the presents, lights, and candles.

She had to try, at least once, before he drifted off to sleep.

“Spike?” she asked. The dragon stirred beneath her, and as she leaned back he sat up between her forelegs, looking up to her with bleary, tired eyes.

“Spike, it means a great deal to me that you saw that I was tired, that I seemed all used up. It was nice that you didn’t want to trouble me with your gift,” she said, reaching down to give him a small disciplinary noogie for allowing her to forget something. He had a job, after all.

“But, Spike,” she continued as he smiled up to her. “Well, I want to be bothered by stuff like that. Since the day the princess gave you into my care… I’ve wanted to be bothered. Spike, our gifts, they show those who we love what we mean to them.”

She leaned down so that he sat between her forelegs once more. Their noses touched once again, and he leaned forward for another nuzzle before she continued her words.

“Spike,” she said, laying her head in her own forelegs, making it so that she was looking up to him, “isn’t there anything I can get you, or do for you? Is there any, any, any gift I can give you this Hearth’s Warming? Just so I can show you how much you mean to me?”

He smiled a tired smile, and ran his fingers through her mane a few times. A sudden look of shock went through him, and he startled. Twilight’s own eyes matched his surprise as a blush went over him…

“Spike?” she asked, softly. “Spike, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing!” he said. He calmed, and then repeated his statement. “Nothing, Twi, just a funny thought…”

“Well,” she said with just a hint of exasperation in her voice, “what is it?”

Spike stood and looked around the room. To her amazement he went to the nearby sofa and began pulling the cushions off. He then went to the settee, the loveseat, and the other chairs.

Wherever he could find cushions, pillows, throws, and blankets, he gathered them up and placed them in the middle of the room.

Twilight watched, perhaps thinking he was making some kind of nest, or hut… a piece of abstract art, perhaps?

Soon he had finished, and before him a futon of sorts stood upon the floor, very near the warmth of the fireplace and the light of the tree.

“Twi,” he said without turning back to her, “if, maybe… do you think that we could go back in time, just a little? Back… back to when we were just a little smaller, when I wasn’t molting as often…”

He heard her soft, familiar hooffalls behind him. Twilight leaned her frame down across him, and slowly she gathered him into another hug.

“Spike,” she asked, “are you saying that all you want for Hearth’s Warming… is a nice long cuddle?”

“Heh,” he laughed as he drew his hand through his scales. “Well, yeah… I guess you could say…”

She could do that. That was doable. That was within her budget, her means… and her wants.

There is no delicate way to say what happened next. There was nothing graceful or serene about it. It wasn’t beautiful or poised. There was nothing elegant about the way she scooped him up and then pounced upon the cushions.

In short, she flopped there.

Pillows and blankets fell around them as he lifted himself, and as he tried to repair the structure he found himself looking down at her.

“A nice long cuddle,” she said, leaning her neck forward. “One that lasts until about… oh, shall we say, until mom wakes us for breakfast? Does that sound like a good gift, Spike? Would you like that?”

Spike blushed slightly as he held a pillow up for her to rest her head upon and finished arranging everything. “Yeah, Twi,” he said self-consciously. “I-If you are okay with that. A-Are you okay with that?”

“Spike,” she said, “I’ll always give you hugs and nuzzles. Is there any creature I give them to more?”

She leaned her head closer to where he sat, looking up to him slightly.

“I’ll still be giving you hugs, cuddles, and nuzzles if I ever have foals of my own. I’ll give them to you when I’m an old granny. I’ll give them to you when you’re huge and you can barely feel me wrapping my forelegs around your wrist. And, Spike, do you know what?”

She leaned her head even farther still, reaching out to him until her face sat inches from his body.

“What, Twi?” he asked as the purple of her eyes caught the firelight.

“I’ll still be doing this, too.”

With that she planted a raspberry on his tummy.

The laughter of the dragon whelp rose around the room as she continued her assault. Soon she was touching her hooves to the ticklish spots she had long ago discovered, making his happy tones sing out around the living room.

He pretended to defend himself, but as her soft touch fell to the space beneath his arms, the base of his neck, and the spade of his tail, he did little more than simply sink closer to her and giggle happily.

After a few moments, it came to an end. He slid down into the space where her body lay upon the mountain of cushions, settling there and going quiet.

Twilight looked down over him. She ran her hoof across him once more, watching as his eyes reflected the lights from the tree and he stared out across the holiday scene.

“Twi, thank you,” he said, still facing away from her. His body began to relax against hers. “No other dragon gets to have Hearth Warming’s. No other dragon has so many adventures. No other dragon has got so many friends who love him.”

He wriggled his back against her further, sinking closer to the warmth of her mammalian coat.

“I love my life so much, Twi. I really, really do,” he said, his voice becoming quieter. “And it’s all because you’re with me… that I get to go with you. Thanks… thanks so much, Twi.”

She didn’t answer with words.

Instead, Twilight extended her forelegs. One slid beneath his head, lifting it up to the same level as hers. Their heads rested together upon the pillow as her forelegs wrapped around him. His little arms encircled them, pulling them closer to him, and she could feel the smile grow on his face as his hands ran up and down her forelegs.

From the spade of his tail sitting between her knees, across his body pushed and wrapped to hers, to the very top of his head sitting beneath her chin, Spike was awash in the dearly familiar feel, warmth, and scent of the creature he loved most in the world.

He wiggled just a little bit, sinking just that much farther into her warmth, and he was a very happy little dragon.

Twilight Sparkle was feeling, in all honesty, just a little bit giddy.

Yes, she was feeling giddy again. She had found it, the perfect gift for her number one assistant, her little dragon whelp… her great little guy.

It was one that she could give happily, freely, completely. It was the gift of being there for him, for just being the strong part of himself that he saw in her. Even as she lay there with him she could feel him falling into a peaceful sleep. She could feel his little hearts slowing their syncopated rhythm against her foreleg as his body calmed.

“Twi?” he said, his voice muffled slightly his tiredness and the closeness of her body. “We… we are our gifts for one another, kinda, huh?”

“That was very well said, Spike,” she answered. “And it’s true, too. We are our gifts… and having you with me makes me very, very happy.”

She lifted her head slightly, just enough so that she had an angle to run her face across his, nuzzling him over and over as he came closer and closer to slipping off into the realm of dreams.

“Twi,” he breathed in a distant tone, “I love you. Happy Hearth’s Warming.”

“I love you too, Spike,” she said, whispering the words over him gently. “Sleep tight, Happy Hearth’s Warming.”

She lifted her head, smiled, and then softly touched her lips to his forehead.

And, as there seemed to be no reason not to, she did it again.

She kept looking down over him until she felt the small, steady rhythms of his breath.

She placed her cheek against his for a moment, feeling the coolness of his scales. Lifting her head she began to place it back upon the pillow, but she halted herself.

Upon the mantle the candles, sensing the sleep that was drifting over the room, began to go out one by one.

She placed her lips to his cheek, letting them touch there for a long moment. As she lifted her head the corners of his mouth turned up in the slightest of smiles. That was the image that stayed in her mind as she placed her head back upon the pillow, resting her chin above his head.

She just managed to hear the tall hallway clock quietly chime the hour as her eyes closed. As midnight flew away a new day began. Hearth’s Warming Day was upon her, and she couldn’t be any happier with her gifts.

In a few moments the fireplace sensed that there was no creature left awake in the room, and it settled its flames to keep those who slept there warm while the room grew darker.

The tree remained lit, the magical lights shining proudly in the dark. They fell over the two who drifted in the colors, the cheerful shades reaching them even in the happy dreams they shared as they lay so close together.

So, the big one and the little one, that is how they passed that night, held close to one another…

… just as they had many years ago, when the excitement of Hearth’s Warming had washed over a little filly and her tiny dragon fingerling.

Outside the gentlest of snowfalls drifted around the capital city. The flakes glided soundlessly, catching in the holiday lights that arose from the houses, filling the dreams of those within with glad tidings and sweet memories.


End.

Comments ( 256 )

:pinkiegasp: I hope this doesn't give me a heart attack; I just survived the end of the world, I don't want to die now... :derpytongue2:

Yes yes triple yes!
Another story from T.D :rainbowdetermined2:

You know that feeling? You know, the feeling that you get when you realize you've forgotten something that is very, very important? It is 10:32 p.m. on Hearth's Warming Eve, and Twilight Sparkle has just gotten that feeling...

^ Spike at the airport.

:rainbowlaugh: I'm sorry, thought just blew into my head right then and there, simply had to say it :D
Happy Apocalypse Day!

That was one of the most heartwarming stories I've ever read...Kudos to you.

Is good, go on.

How the hay do you create these feels? I mean seriously...
media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqilj3HJ031qmnfes.gif

Just how do you do it??

Damn...

Not a mother, not a sister, not a friend... but something else, something... indescribable.

If someone DIDN'T D'awwww at this, I will visit their house and beat the D'awwww into their skulls. :twilightsmile:

ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE…………out of 5…………

My eyes watered thanks to you! And now I want to ship these two together!
Brilliant work, completly brilliant. Haven't been moved this much by a fic in ages, so thank ou for that. It's a very sweet heart-warming tale
Looking forward for more of you stories, keep up the good work..

I came in knowing exactly what I'd find, and yet you still took me by surprise, with just how well crafted everything was. (Though maybe I should be expecting it by now, after how much of your work I've read...) I loved that the first necklace came up again, too.

This story is heartwarming, accessible to basically any audience, and very relevant (obviously) to the season. If it doesn't rocket its way into the feature box, I'll be very surprised.

Happy holidays to you!

You know, I was about to complain that you uploaded another story before I could read your now second most recent story...

But then I thought, Heck yes! TD uploaded another story!!

*fav'd and thumbs up*

I'll post my thoughts and opinions on this story once I read it.

You my friend are a genuis, how do you write so well, tell me what is your secret? :pinkiehappy:/:trixieshiftright:

I laughed:rainbowlaugh:, I cried:fluttercry: and I d'awwwed :twilightsmile:... Pretty darn good range for reading something on Apocalypse day. Simply wonderful story exploring a bit more into the relationship between Twilight and Spike. I really enjoyed the bit about benchmark tests to get the control value of mistletoe....:raritywink:

Edit: Grats on getting featured!

I totally wanted to start my admittedly late day with tears from a story so touching. Thanks. >.>

Not much to say but simply beautiful - shame more people ponies don't read this and act this way at christmas Hearths Warming eve, it would make the world a better place!

My friend you have out done yourself with this. Not just by the humor of the first chapter, but also by showing us the relationship between Spik and Twilight; brother/sister, mother/son.

I had to turn on Warhammer 40000 music to prevent the levels of heartwarming to become heartscorching and kill me on the bloody spot. A good piece about the unique bond between Twily and Spike, indeed. Not without its humour (the "… and with that their door flung open, and Spike was dropped between them." part knocked me off the bucking chair:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:), not without its tricky moments, but the massive showcasing of that bond is undoubtedly its central piece.
I subscribe to practically the same vision of it as shown here near the end of the second chapter. The bond between Twilight and Spike has the traits of one between parent and child, sister and brother and two close friends, but can't be called any one of these separately without ignoring some aspect of it. It's wonderful in its complexity and the overwhelming soul-warming goodness of it all. To me it's nothing short of sacred, deserving of great care, protection and celebration.
Such is the power of pony, to move our souls like few other things ever can.

Oh my gosh, I am so choked up right now. This is so perfect, so adorable. I love it.

excellent story, as per your usual.

Merry Farging Christmas.

All of my daaaaw.

That was amazing. I'm glad I could illustrate for this one! :twilightsmile:

1835100
I'm kinda sad it didn't end, 'cause now I have to pay for all of these hookers and blow I put on my credit card...

1835105
No dying! I can't afford to lose any readers!

1835123
Huzzah! I wanted to have one out for Christmas, and I did it!

1835105
Best Apocalypse Day ever! We should do it every year!

1835161
I'm very glad that you found it moving. Thanks for reading and commenting!

1835162
Thanks for your help, Dag! Now that I'm done with this, I should be able to help with the last two chapters of Of Proses, if you want to pass the links along!

1835181
1835200
It was sort of a quiet, happy, melancholy thing, huh? I've always thought that none of the labels fit, and I'm glad that my explaining as such worked out. I hope you enjoyed it!

1835182
Heh, when you get to be my age, Lucky, you'll have all sorts of experiences and memories to call upon as well.:raritywink:

1835233
No need for violence, it's Christmas! Just ask them to D'aaawwwww politely... :twilightsheepish:...

1835233
I'll freely admit that this doesn't have the same sweeping scale that most of my stories have, but it was only meant to be a small story. It takes place in five rooms in the space of an hour and forty minutes. It has the lowest reading level of any story I've produced in the fandom, 5th grade. This is all because it was supposed to be a small story that became something much larger than I was expecting, so... yeah, I can see your point. I hope you were able to find something to enjoy in it.

1835290
You are most welcome! I always look forward to comments!

1835302
I am very glad that I'm still able to write things that surprise you, Gentle. I'm glad that you picked up that earlier reference, too!

1835310
Looking forward to your thoughts, as always, Redz!

1835472
My secret? I've lived a little longer than most Bronies, and I've written and experienced things for decades. It's simply a matter of having experience in writing... and having experiences and memories to call upon. Thanks for reading!

1835545
Glad you enjoyed it, Van!

1835614
I'm very glad that you liked it, Ry, as I wanted to be sure to release something heartwarming if it was gonna be my last fic ever!:raritywink:

Hey, I made the Featured Box! Hooray!

1835627
1835650
You're welcome for the tears!:raritywink:
I'm glad you enjoyed Shining! It's the first time I've used him in a speaking role, so I'm glad he "worked".

1835704
I certainly agree... a nice time of year for some quiet and peace... now that my damned shopping is done!

1835710
Skyla, apparently...

2.bp.blogspot.com/-N1ji-9xoZtM/UCGB8VIjHqI/AAAAAAAAE8o/hRB01t7KCvQ/s1600/69170__.jpg

... fear her.

1835728
I strive to outdo myself with each one, Pal! Thanks as always!

1835767
That was a remarkably well-worded comment! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. The relationship between Spike and Twilight is the one in the series that I find the most important, of course, and I think you summed up my feelings on it very well!

1835834
Thanks so much!

1835930
I'm very glad that I was able to supply so "feels"!

1835995
I loved the idea of Spike calling Twilight's parents "Mrs. Mom" and "Mr. Dad", as it expresses both familiarity and respectful distance... without me having to commit to names for them!:raritywink:

Thanks as always, Lurk!

1836058
I'm glad you did!

1835100
I'm kinda sad it didn't end, 'cause now I have to pay for all of these hookers and blow I put on my credit card...

1835105
No dying! I can't afford to lose any readers!

1835123
Huzzah! I wanted to have one out for Christmas, and I did it!

1835105
Best Apocalypse Day ever! We should do it every year!

1835161
I'm very glad that you found it moving. Thanks for reading and commenting!

1835162
Thanks for your help, Dag! Now that I'm done with this, I should be able to help with the last two chapters of Of Proses, if you want to pass the links along!

1835181
1835200
It was sort of a quiet, happy, melancholy thing, huh? I've always thought that none of the labels fit, and I'm glad that my explaining as such worked out. I hope you enjoyed it!

1835182
Heh, when you get to be my age, Lucky, you'll have all sorts of experiences and memories to call upon as well.:raritywink:

1835233
No need for violence, it's Christmas! Just ask them to D'aaawwwww politely... :twilightsheepish:...

1835233
I'll freely admit that this doesn't have the same sweeping scale that most of my stories have, but it was only meant to be a small story. It takes place in five rooms in the space of an hour and forty minutes. It has the lowest reading level of any story I've produced in the fandom, 5th grade. This is all because it was supposed to be a small story that became something much larger than I was expecting, so... yeah, I can see your point. I hope you were able to find something to enjoy in it.

1835290
You are most welcome! I always look forward to comments!

1835302
I am very glad that I'm still able to write things that surprise you, Gentle. I'm glad that you picked up that earlier reference, too!

1835310
Looking forward to your thoughts, as always, Redz!

1835472
My secret? I've lived a little longer than most Bronies, and I've written and experienced things for decades. It's simply a matter of having experience in writing... and having experiences and memories to call upon. Thanks for reading!

1835545
Glad you enjoyed it, Van!

1835614
I'm very glad that you liked it, Ry, as I wanted to be sure to release something heartwarming if it was gonna be my last fic ever!:raritywink:

Hey, I made the Featured Box! Hooray!

1835627
1835650
You're welcome for the tears!:raritywink:
I'm glad you enjoyed Shining! It's the first time I've used him in a speaking role, so I'm glad he "worked".

1835704
I certainly agree... a nice time of year for some quiet and peace... now that my damned shopping is done!

1835710
Skyla, apparently...

2.bp.blogspot.com/-N1ji-9xoZtM/UCGB8VIjHqI/AAAAAAAAE8o/hRB01t7KCvQ/s1600/69170__.jpg

... fear her.

1835728
I strive to outdo myself with each one, Pal! Thanks as always!

1835767
That was a remarkably well-worded comment! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. The relationship between Spike and Twilight is the one in the series that I find the most important, of course, and I think you summed up my feelings on it very well!

1835834
Thanks so much!

1835930
I'm very glad that I was able to supply so "feels"!

1835995
I loved the idea of Spike calling Twilight's parents "Mrs. Mom" and "Mr. Dad", as it expresses both familiarity and respectful distance... without me having to commit to names for them!:raritywink:

Thanks as always, Lurk!

1836058
I'm glad you did!

1836281
Have to admit, it really made me reconsider how I view Twi and Spike's relationship...

Well, to get it out of the way, there were a couple things that seemed out of place. They just didn't fit with the rest of the story. Namely, the objects under the stairs and in Twilight's drawer. They killed the mood. They just seemed off, ya know?


But now that that's out of the way... Holy crap, so many feels. You've executed the relationship between Spike and Twilight perfectly. I think this is the 27th time I'm mentioning that you write Spike spectacularly? Yeah, that sounds about right.

Just, so many feels. So many. Nicely done overall, Descy.

1836281>>1836280 Umm…
1: Something is wrong here… :rainbowlaugh:
2: Don't care, violence solves everything that hugz and stairs don't solve. :pinkiecrazy:

1836058
You too!:twilightsmile:

1836207
1836323
I was wondering how people would react to that scene. I know you always have critical eye for such, but I can't help but see Cadence and Shining as more... well, carnal, than the Cakes. And, hey, they are a young, healthy, married couple that love each other very much. I'd be worried if they weren't having lots and lots and lots of... well, that...

I understand your concerns though. The same thing is true for the second chapter. The only point of mentioning their "secrets" is to point out how Spike views her. Unlike Rarity, who he places on a pedestal ("Who is that mare you think you see, Spike? Should I be jealous of her?" -Rarity, in On Pins and Needles), Spike sees Twilight as an extension of his own life, and is entirely comfortable with her, as he's comfortable with her seeing him as an extension of herself. That was all that scene was meant to convey.

I remain very, very, very glad that you enjoy my interpretation of Spike, and you can't say it too much. Thanks for reading as always, CS, you know it means a bunch to me!:yay:

1836251
D'awwww indeed! Thanks for reading!:pinkiesmile:

1836276
You're glad, Anne? I'm simply ecstatic that you could! You saw your name on the first page, right?

1836289
I'm glad that I could give you something to ponder!

1836372
I see your point on Shining and Cadance. However, it just didn't seem like a scene I'd put in a fic like this. This was a story full of depth, and that scene, well, wasn't. I dunno. It just seemed off. It was still entertaining, though; don't get me wrong. Just a little off, is all.

And yeah, I saw what you were trying to convey. And yeah, it conveys it well. But again, it just seemed out of place.

1836353
I'm trying my best, but still can't get the reply system to work for me. It won't show me the "quote" or "modify" buttons all the time, so I'm typing out the comment numbers by hand. It leads to me making mistakes. Sorry about that...

1836359
I'm glad that I can supply a number of emotions!

1836390 No prob for me…
But who does this belong to?

I'll freely admit that this doesn't have the same sweeping scale that most of my stories have, but it was only meant to be a small story. It takes place in five rooms in the space of an hour and forty minutes. It has the lowest reading level of any story I've produced in the fandom, 5th grade. This is all because it was supposed to be a small story that became something much larger than I was expecting, so... yeah, I can see your point. I hope you were able to find something to enjoy in it.

1835259
I'll freely admit that this doesn't have the same sweeping scale that most of my stories have, but it was only meant to be a small story. It takes place in five rooms in the space of an hour and forty minutes. It has the lowest reading level of any story I've produced in the fandom, 5th grade. This is all because it was supposed to be a small story that became something much larger than I was expecting, so... yeah, I can see your point. I hope you were able to find something to enjoy in it.

This was gorgeous, soo much awesome. Happy hearth's warming! And for all us humans, Merry Christmas!

Once again, well done sir. Well done indeed.:yay:

1836420
I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter! I hope you'll find the second just as engaging!:pinkiesmile:

1836431
Thanks so much for saying so! Merry Christmas!:twilightsmile:

1836462
I do my best! Thanks for reading and commenting!:twilightsheepish:

1836281
Oh, I hardly helped at all...


And you'll have those links in mere moments, all 12K of chapter 3. Fun!

Oh the feelings, I really do love your take on Spike & Twilight.

Wonderful as always TD, and congrats once again on the featured box.

You really have a good Spike/Twilight relationship going on through your stories.Keep writing great stories, happy Hearts Warming, and Merry Christmas!

:twilightsmile: Happiness and tears...yep a TD story! I love it...except for one line:

I know what’s in the long box in your nightstand…

....awkwaaaaard... :twilightoops:

Wow, beautiful just beautiful!:fluttercry:

The no secrets part had me laughing though,:moustache:

“C’mon, Twi, you know that we don’t have any secrets. I mean, not after this year. W-We both know what our greatest fears are, we both know what our hopes are. You know what’s in the little book I keep under the stairs, I know what’s in the long box in your nightstand…”

Twilight’s jaw dropped open. Well, okay, wow. That was unexpected… and embarrassing. And true.

:twilightoops::twilightblush:
Great Story!
Merry Christmas and A Happy Hearth Warming!

1835233
ad'awwable, you mean

Diabeetus, the mayans did predict the end of the world, this story! :chest pains:

Wow! You haven't necessarited use very drama, hein? Nice, it's worked.

1836429 To be honest, it's not about that at all. I really like the concept (although I framed exactly how it was all going to pan out waaaay to early to get that much out of it), and it certainly hit all the cuddly, fuzzy notes that I like. In that sense, you'll all good on that score from where I'm sitting.

No, I'm afraid it was the grammar, construction, and word choices that felt rushed (albeit far less so on the last count). As Pascoite discussed in Writer-Centric Reviewing, it's hard for me to read as anything other than an editor and reviewer these days, and there were a lot of little details that were pinging my editor's radar as I went. Whether or not that's completely unfair, I don't know; it just is.

The other interesting question it raises is how much my enjoyment of a story is biased by my expectations of the author. Like it or not, you have more than enough of a reputation, both among the wiser consensus and with me personally, to set that bar of expectation fairly high. I certainly consider myself a good enough critic/reviewer not to be biased by whether or not I like the content, but to my memory, your work is always presented in near-immaculate quality, and this just didn't have that quality. For what it's worth, you at least made my doubt myself and ask and research/consult on a couple of points. Still, that's where the fairness question comes in, because 1. it depends on the intent of the article, and 2. it depends on the bias of the reader. I'm sure most people will understand that personal bias is inordinately hard to detect.

So, there were a few too many errant commas and odd descriptions to get immersed in it, but I did enjoy it. I just felt that it needed another editing pass, and that the 'voice' of the story didn't quite settle down enough to carry the style it is presented in. Without taking a quick dive through your other works to check, it felt like it was trying to be warmer and more intimate with the reader than your usual. Intentional or not, it didn't work for me, although the concept certainly suited the piece.

As I said, though, I can't tell you if that's me holding you to an impossibly high standard, or just a feeling that may not have much of a technical grounding. Either way, that's how the story felt as I read it.

And, dammit, I still haven't gotten around to Certain Advantages yet. Don't ask me why I read this first. (Actually I know exactly why. I'm a sucker for a good Spike/Twi emotional piece, which you certainly provided)

Have a good Crimbo, T.D.,

Inquisitor M, out.

The feels... So many happy, sad, content, d'aww.... FEELS MAN! FEELS!

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