AN:Written about a year and a few months ago. My second foray into MLP fanfiction, though not my first foray into fanfiction entirely nor my first written piece. Submitted to EqD for their little Draw/Writefriend contest in ... April of 2011? Something, anyway. Your choice at the end determines what happens. Or you can just read the sad ending first and the happy one next.
"Spike, where are you going?" Twilight clopped her way across the new entry rug, towards her youthful assistant. "It's late, why don't you get into bed?"
Spike's shoulders rose, like the heckles of some angry beast. "Out. Me and Applebloom are going out tonight, or didn't you remember?" The coldness of his voice, the way he didn't turn to look at her made Twilight feel . . . unwelcome somehow.
"Oh, that was tonight?" She grinned halfheartedly, trying not to appear confused. "I'm sorry, I guess I chose a poor night to sort through my notes on ancient civilizations, huh?"
Spike didn't answer. He and Applebloom had planned this night for weeks now. He had reminded Twilight every day since and even four times today itself. And yet she still dragged him into more of her organization fits. He hadn't really had time to prepare but he wasn't going to be late. Not for Twilight's sake.
"Why don't I help you..." Twilight finished her sentence, her assistant whirling around suddenly with anger and hurt filling his eyes.
"WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE!?" He shouted, not caring if it brought everypony to their windows with the noise. "Why can't you just remember one LITTLE THING FOR ME? Why do you ALWAYS push on me YOUR needs but forget mine?!" He was panting, his eyes stung with tears.
"Sp-Spike? I-I-" Twilight stammered, her own eyes tearing up. She had forgotten but surely this wasn't the only reason for the explosive display.
"Why can't you be supportive, Twilight? Why can't you be there for me? You're never there for me, damn it! You're not my mom!" And with that shout, he turned and stormed out into the night, leaving Twilight stammering and crying in her library. He wiped at his own face, ignoring the tears that were there. Applebloom was waiting.
"Spike, what's the matter?" Applebloom, far from the young filly she once was, had blossomed into a fine young mare. Her cutie mark, an apple painted on an easel, always drew his eyes. She was a fine artist now, a fine, well, everything. Spike sighed into his 'special', an orange drink mixed with pulverized gemstones. He had gone all out with tonight's dinner but the crushed diamond in it was untasted, wasted on his tongue tonight.
“It's nothing Applebloom, just . . .family matters.” He absentmindedly stirred his drink, a frown plastered very surely on his features. His date sighed. Once, she would have pestered him into opening up. She had changed, slightly, with age but she still wanted to know. To help. But she didn't push the issue. Not tonight.
After several hours of slowly warming to each other, the young mare and her dragon escort made off for Sweet Apple Acres, the rolling farmstead Applebloom shared with her sister, brother-in-law and now ancient grandmother. The date had gone well, the coldness Spike had felt had melted away and he was happy, for the first time in a long time. And yet, under that happiness was something else. A cold knot of . . . guilt.
The moon, Luna's silver disc, shone down on the couple as they threaded their way through the apple orchard. Spike had always loved the feeling of moonlight and he was glad for the walk. He and Applebloom spoke about the trivialities of the day, though Spike explicitly didn't mention Twilight or his explosion. Applebloom, knowing that Spike had only her and Twilight to call family, didn't push the issue.
“Spike, I had a wonderful time.” The fairy lights danced off her eyes, a thousand stars that twinkled and spun. She smiled, that warm and true smile, a hallmark of her upbringing. “Maybe next time I can lead you home?” He winced and she along with him. “I'm sorry, I forgot . . .”
“No, no, it's ok. Look, Applebloom. I'm sorry I was so distant earlier. I had a lot on my mind.” Spike rubbed the back of his neck. “Twilight and I, well, it's been getting tough.”
“I'm sorry Spike. But you love her like a sister, right?”
“Yeah . . .” His heart wasn't in it. She was more than a sister to him. She was everything. Friend, sister, comrade in arms, shoulder to cry on . . . and though he didn't want to admit it, to himself especially, she was the closest thing he had to a mom in the world.
“It'll turn out fine, my dragon knight.” Applebloom put her arms around his shoulders and nuzzled his face, turning it towards her. “Just remember that you love her and she loves you and everything will turn out fine.”
Looking deep into her eyes, he could almost believe that.
The stars looked beautiful tonight. Spike was wandering close to his home, the home he had shared with Twilight for, gosh, years now. It was home, more home than the dormitory rooms at Canterlot University had ever been. It was comfortable. He realized he had been smiling, standing in the middle of the road that led around the ancient and hollow tree. It was late and nopony was around and for that he was glad.
He thought of the first time they had touched down in Ponyville. The Summer Sun Celebration. Twilight had been so focused on studying Nightmare Moon she failed to see the friends she was making. How nice, how . . . how much like home it felt, even then. He briefly wondered how different their lives would have been had the Princess not sent them to this little, homey town.
Spike knocked himself in his head. What was he doing out here at Celestia-knows what hour getting lost in his thoughts? He had never been one for sitting around thinking about his feelings and his family and other, girly garbage like that. He was Spike, dragon extraordinaire, assistant to . . .Twilight. He knew why he was standing here, so late at night, desperately wanting to go into his own home and desperately afraid to do so. He sighed, again, for the fourth time tonight, and opened the door.
He knew something was wrong as he opened the door. It was dark and, though it was late, it felt wrong. Quiet. Spike rattled one of the fairy lights, causing the motes to brighten up. Twilight usually studied late, what was the library doing so dark? He cautiously moved into the foyer, one hand holding the fairy light like a charm against the night. Against the quiet, the odd stillness.
“Twilight?” His voice shook, it was just nervousness about the dark. He tried to convince himself of that fact. “Twi, where are you?”
Her writing desk was empty, as was her bedroom, though it was much messier than he remembered. Books were scattered about, some with . . .torn pages? Twilight would never damage a book like that. Spike felt his heart pounding in his chest. Something was very, very wrong.
“Twi!” He shouted, running through the rest of the library. Kitchen, empty. Work rooms, empty. That hidden basement, empty. Where was she? Had something taken her? Had something happened? He felt tears begin to well in his eyes, felt them fall as he scrambled through the library.
That's when he noticed the bathroom door. It was shut, open a bare crack. It was dark. Twilight never shut it. No matter how many times he asked her to keep it closed, she always left it wide open. Spike felt a lump in his throat. She probably just fell asleep in the tub, he reasoned. She's just asleep. He pushed the door open
The faucet dripped into the tub, a single splash of clear against the red, as another drip struck the tile floor. A more pure red against the white. Twilight's head lolled in a sick way against the edge of the porcelain, the color almost drained from her face. The crash of the fairy light as it hit the floor went unnoticed. The way the motes danced freely in the air, it was a mockery.
“Oh Celestia why?”