by jkbrony

Chapter 1: Soup Never Fails

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Spike opened his eyes, waking up from an amazing dream that he could barely remember.

It was just after 10 in the morning. Naturally, Twilight had already gotten up and begun her day. She was downstairs, most likely buried nose-deep in some book over breakfast.

Spike grumbled. He didn't feel like getting up, but he had a job to do. However, he felt unusually light-headed as he stepped out of bed. He struggled to remember more about the dream, but it had slipped into his subconscious mind and was now virtually irretrievable. All he knew was that it had something to do with gems---lots of gems. And Rarity. And.....kissing?

Spike's legs wobbled, struggling to take simple steps. He was saturated with fatigue and was unable to focus his thoughts on anything but the dream, as though he would forget it entirely if he stopped thinking about it for a single moment. Slowly, he managed to make his way downstairs. Despite the fragility of his legs and the preoccupation of his thoughts, he miraculously avoided making any missteps and tumbling all the way down.

"Good morning, Spike," Twilight said when she saw him. She was gathering paper and quills onto her working desk. "We've got a busy day. I have to compile a report about the dangers of intangibility spells for Princess Celestia. I'm going to need you to fetch me a lot of books when I ask for them."

Spike barely caught a word Twilight had just said. He stood in place in a half-conscious daze. What had the dream been about? His inability to remember it was unspeakably irritating. He remembered the gems clearly; a massive pile of rubies, emeralds, sapphires and amethysts. And then Rarity....she was beaming at him. But what else had happened? Had they really....?

"SPIKE!" Twilight yelled, instantly bringing him back to consciousness. She was now standing almost face-to-face with him.


"Did you hear me?" she asked, cocking an eye at him.

"Uhhh....you said something?"

Twilight glared at him. "Wake up, Spike! I need you to--"

She stopped, finally noticing that there was something off about her dragon assistant. His color was much paler than usual, his legs looked as though they could buckle at any moment, and his tail sagged so that it was touching the floor. She instinctively raised a hoof to his forehead.

"Oh my gosh, Spike, you're burning up!"

"Wha--?" Spike's eyelids drooped and he collapsed, falling forward into Twilight's forelegs.

"Spike?! Spike!" Twilight frantically shook him, but he was completely unresponsive.

Fear quickly crept over Twilight as she held her unconscious baby dragon. She rapidly pondered what to do. Take him to a doctor? No. The last diagnosis she had received from a doctor concerning Spike was simply "he's a dragon", and she didn't feel like having her time wasted again. Perhaps Zecora had a potion or herb that could help? Possibly, but it was a gamble, and she couldn't afford to be wrong. Besides, going to Zecora's meant going into the Everfree, and she didn't want to risk running into some dangerous creature along the way. Fluttershy? Though mostly self-taught, her medical expertise was respectable enough. At the very least, she'd most likely be able to tell what was wrong with him. But most importantly, Twilight knew that she could trust her to be as gentle as she could with him. Yes, taking him to Fluttershy was the safest bet.

Without another thought, Twilight meticulously levitated Spike onto her back and rushed out of the library.


Spike couldn't feel Twilight shaking him, he couldn't feel her magically lift him onto her back, and he couldn't feel any movement whatsoever as she made a frantic dash for Fluttershy's cottage.

He felt nothing, trapped within a void of unconsciousness. Random images passed through his mind, cluttered and unorganized. They may have been bits of a dream, or perhaps bits of a memory. He couldn't quite tell.

He had lost all concept of time. He couldn't even begin to guess how long he had been in the void, nor did have the faintest idea of what was happening on the outside. And there he remained...

When Spike finally opened his eyes again, he was looking up into the concerned face of Twilight.

"Thank Celestia you're awake!" she smiled with relief.

Spike blinked repeatedly, bringing himself back to consciousness. He quickly realized that he was lying in Twilight's bed, all tucked in with the pillow standing upright so that it elevated his head. Twilight stood by the side of her bed.

"W-what happened?" he asked.

"You passed out. You have a fever."

"Oh..." Spike felt his forehead. It all made sense now. He understood why he felt so disoriented earlier.

"I was so worried," Twilight frowned. "Fluttershy said that you don't seem to have any infections, so you must have caught this some other way. Do you remember what you were doing yesterday?"

"Not really," Spike shook his head. He was still struggling to focus his thoughts.

"Anyway, she said that you should be fine after a day or two of bed rest."

Spike watched as Twilight levitated something from the nearby table. It was a miniature bowl of a mysterious, transparent liquid. She levitated a spoon and stirred it up slowly. Knowing that he was clearly about to swallow whatever was in the bowl, Spike attempted to ask what it was, but didn't have the energy to find his voice.

After stirring the liquid for about a minute, Twilight collected a spoonful and directed it towards him.

"Open your mouth," she ordered. Spike eyed the liquid. He could see a few seeds nestled inside. It didn't look particularly distasteful, but his unpleasant experiences with medicine in the past taught him that it would leave an aftertaste that would require a ton of water to rid himself of. Nevertheless, he complied with Twilight's order and she carefully moved the spoon into his mouth.

A sweet, lemony flavor engulfed Spike's taste buds. It was icy cold---so cold that when he swallowed it, he could feel a chill run down his throat and hit his stomach. It tasted significantly better than it looked, and even more surprising, it left no unpleasant aftertaste.

"What is that?" Spike asked, having managed to find his voice again.

"Just some stuff mom used to make me whenever I was feeling sick," Twilight said, as she placed the spoon back inside the bowl. "It's made from a flower called Dewthunder. It's quite rare and just a single one could cost up to 40 bits. Luckily, I bought some from Zecora cheap a few months ago, just in case something like this ever happened. All you need to do is mix it with some lemon juice and it becomes a natural cure-all. It's good, right?"

"Yeah. It's really good."

Twilight chuckled, taking this as confirmation that she had managed to make it correctly.

"I know you probably want another spoonful, but that's all you can have for right now. Those little seeds are actually poisonous, but swallowing a few of them should put you right to sleep for several hours. And that's just what you need."

"Okay," Spike said. The seeds were already starting to make him feel numb.

"I'll be right downstairs, so just call me if you need anything. I'll be up to check on you in an hour or so."

Spike nodded. Twilight looked deep into his eyes and frowned. She leaned down close to her baby dragon, tenderly placing a hoof on his forehead.

"Don't ever do that to me again," she said in half-whisper.

"I'm sorry," Spike replied in full whisper. He saw her eyes fill with tears.

"I know it wasn't your fault, but you really scared me. You were completely unresponsive for the last half hour. I brought you to Fluttershy as fast as I possibly could. That was all I could think about. I didn't even stop to check if you were still breathing..."

Her tears fell, staining her cosmic-styled blanket.

"And then as she was examining you, I remembered how irritated I had been because I thought you weren't listening to me earlier. But that wasn't your fault. I didn't even bother to notice that you weren't feeling well. And yet, I still....," Twilight closed her eyes and was silent for several moments. "I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost you, Spike."

Spike reached a hand out to touch Twilight's ear, attempting to put her heart at ease.

"I'll be okay," he tried to reassure her. It worked, at least to some extent. Twilight cracked a smile.

"I hope you feel better soon."

"Me too."

"Like I said, I'll be right downstairs if you need me."


Twilight remained looking at her dragon assistant as he slowly closed his eyes. It had been quite some time since she had been so terrified. They've had close calls before; Spike had nearly been gulped up by the Hydra at Froggy Bottom Bog, and Sombra had been mere seconds away from reaching him back at the Crystal Empire, but never had the concept of losing him felt more real than it had a half hour ago. And that was something that could never, ever happen.

She leaned down and kissed his forehead.

"Get some rest," she whispered, as Spike's eyes snapped wide open in stunned surprise.

Before he could say anything, she turned and headed downstairs, taking the Dewthunder tonic with her.


The Dewthunder may have already helped to clear Spike's head, as he was now thinking straight again. He stared at the wall across from him, losing himself in thought. The first thing that came to mind was that Twilight's bed was far more comfortable than his own. The mattress felt like a soft tuft of cloud, much like the ones Rainbow Dash often napped on. It was so fluffy, so weightless that Spike surmised he would not even need the Dewthunder seeds to sleep soundly for hours. No wonder Twilight always seemed so refreshed in the morning. He figured that if he were to walk around on the bed, he'd have a pretty good idea of how it must feel to walk around Cloudsdale, not that he had the energy to do such a thing at the moment.

Spike's thoughts shifted and he remembered the dream he had last night. Or rather, he remembered that he still couldn't remember exactly what happened in it. But that was no longer the center of his focus as it had once been.

Twilight kissed him. Spike could probably count on his claws the amount of times he could remember that happening before. His relationship with Twilight had always been very affectionate, but such gestures like that were rare. Spike loved Twilight, and he knew that she loved him. It didn't need to be said. It didn't need to be shown (beyond the occasional nuzzle). It was just...obvious. Why else would she put up with his less-than-mature antics? The simple fact that Twilight had tucked him into her bed instead of his own was proof enough of her love for him.

But she had kissed him, and that meant something. It was like a signature of her relief that he was still alive. "I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost you, Spike." In truth, he felt the exact same way. Without Twilight, he had nothing. Nothing. His dedication to her was all that he truly held dear in his life. And he needed her approval and praise. He needed it. It was the only thing that gave him any sense of self-worth. What was he without her?

Guilt was tearing at him for putting her through so much worry. It was much too painful to imagine what he would do if Twilight had ever passed out on him. He would have been unspeakably horrified. However, he was feeling even guiltier for not being around to calm her down and bring her back to her senses, something that he had always considered his job to do.

Drowsiness came over Spike, letting him know that the Dewthunder seeds were taking effect. Sleep was coming, and there was no point in fighting it. At least now he'd be able to sleep peacefully, knowing that Twilight was no longer scared out of her mind. Now if only he could just revisit last night's dream...that would certainly be nice, especially if he was supposedly going to be asleep for hours. He yawned and closed his eyes, eventually slipping into the confines of his unconscious mind.


Spike found himself in a recognizable location, but he couldn't quite remember exactly what it was. He was seated upon the floor in a small room, which from what he could tell, appeared to be a living space. He could see a miniature bed, only large enough for a filly, situated against the wall. A bookshelf so tall that it nearly touched the ceiling rested beside the bed, with dozens of books occupying every last corner of its shelves, and a small working desk was situated across from it. A tiny kitchen area was located towards the back of the room. It all looked so familiar, but he still couldn't quite put his claw on it...

Spike saw himself outstretch his claws in front of his face, confirming that he was spectating the dream from his own point of view. Strangely, they appeared to be smaller than their normal size. Much smaller. Even more strange were the unintelligible coos and gurgles spurting from his mouth. Before he had a chance to make any sense of it, he saw himself grab a hold of his tail and insert its arrowhead tip into his mouth. He was sucking on it, something that he had not done since he was a mere hatchling...

"Don't suck on your tail, Spike," a higher-pitched version of a familiar voice reprimanded him. Spike turned his head to see Twilight standing behind him, only a few feet tall with impeccably round eyes.

Her disapproving stare urged Spike to comply with her order, and he removed his tail from his mouth, flinging saliva all over himself. Seeing Twilight as a filly almost instantly made Spike remember where he was. He was in Twilight's dorm room at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. This must have been one of the days they were able to spend together---one of the days when he was happiest. Although Spike had known nothing of the concept of a mother and had not, at that point, been told who had hatched him, he felt as though Twilight was his rightful guardian, and longed to spend every moment he could with her. During most days, he'd be staying at Canterlot's nursery. Celestia or Cadence looked after him when Twilight was too busy.

Spike saw himself crawl over to a ball nearby, which he recognized as a gift that Twilight had given him for his first birthday. He rolled it over to her as she was turning back towards her working desk and it softly struck her hind leg.

"I'll play with you soon, Spike," Twilight said, as she stopped to look down at the ball. "Right now I have to finish this assignment. I'm almost done, okay?"

Spike frowned at her. He never usually had to wait for Twilight to play with him when they were spending the day together, but today there was something else consuming her attention, and he didn't like it. Sensing his irritation, Twilight levitated a bottle of juice Spike was fond of from the kitchen and directed it towards him, as though bribing him to stay quiet until she finished her work. He grabbed the bottle without hesitation and gulped it down, falling onto his back as he did so.

Chuckling, Twilight walked over to her working desk and resumed writing onto a sheet of parchment.

The young dragon hatchling tossed the bottle to the side. He was quickly becoming impatient. Besides his ball, he didn't have much to play with. Smarty Pants had been off-limits to him ever since he had attempted to bite off her loose button eye, and Twilight didn't have any other toys in her dorm room. He was almost tempted to suck on his tail again, if for no other reason than to give himself something to do.

"Done!" Twilight exclaimed, minutes later. She stepped away from the desk and happily trotted into the kitchen for a well-earned drink.

A sense of inquisitiveness took a hold of Spike, and he crawled over to the desk. Overcome with some urge to see what was apparently so important that Twilight couldn't spend time with him, he grabbed the paper from off the desk and examined it. Naturally, he was unable to read a word. He was tempted to press the paper against Twilight's nose, a gesture indicating that he wanted her to read something to him.

However, he didn't get the chance to. Spike suddenly felt a bubbling feeling in his gut, obviously due to the juice he had just gulped down. He burped, generating the tiniest spark of green fire.

It was just a spark. But it was enough.

A small flame appeared at the top corner of the parchment and steadily worked its way down, leaving a dark trail in its wake. Spike dropped it to the floor, filled with sudden panic. He watched in awe as the document burned, utterly baffled as to how he had made it happen. He had yet to truly understand what a dragon actually was, and this had been the first time in his life that he had ever ignited anything on fire. However, there was one fact that he was capable of understanding at his infant age: this was certainly not good. And when Twilight found out...

"SPIKE! What have you done?!" Twilight yelled as she returned from the kitchen. By that time, nearly half of the paper was singed, though the flame itself had not grown any larger. Her thoughts trailing everywhere at once, Twilight rushed back to the kitchen and quickly filled a drinking glass up with water. With the glass levitated beside her, she dashed over to her burning document and emptied it, putting an end to the flame. Unfortunately, the water managed to ruin anything that the fire already hadn't, and the document was now virtually unsalvageable. Even more unfortunately, Twilight did not know any spells at that point that could undo the damage. Spike remained rooted to his spot the floor, barely able to grasp anything that had just happened. A furious Twilight turned to him.

"Spike! That assignment was due tomorrow! Do you even know how hard I worked on it?!" she yelled.

Twilight looked down lamentably at her singed, soaking paper. Though she was unspeakably angry, she looked as though she could burst into tears at any moment. They were already forming in the dragon hatchling's eyes, who had never seen Twilight so angry before. So angry....at him.

"Now my time at this school is over! My time as Princess Celestia's student is over! She'll flunk me and send me home! And it's all because of you!"

Spike was wailing before Twilight finished her third sentence. He still didn't quite understand what he had done, but since it had clearly caused Twilight distress, he was sorry for it. He was so sorry.

Twilight paced rapidly, trying to think of something, anything she could do to restore the document. Tears fell from her eyes as she grasped the hopelessness of the situation. To rewrite the paper would probably take all night. Without a word more, she bolted from the room. She had no further desire to continue listening to Spike's wailing, especially when she was likely about to do the same.


"No!" Spike awakened with a jerk, throwing himself upright. Almost at once, his eyes were soaked. He had just uncovered a memory long lost to his subconscious mind. He had just remembered the first time he had ever disappointed Twilight.

He was feeling nearly just as downtrodden as he had back then. He used to fear that every disappointment he brought Twilight was just a bitter step closer to being sent away, until she had assured him that would never happen back at the Crystal Empire. But back then, he must have thought that Twilight would never play with him again. Perhaps that she would never even want to see him again. He had jeopardized her future as Celestia's student, and she would probably never forgive him for that.

What if she still hadn't forgiven him? What if she still held it against him? Had he ever made it up to her? Whatever followed that event, it obviously hadn't led to her being flunked out of the school or dismissed as Celestia's student as she had feared, so it seemed as though everything ultimately worked out in the end. Regardless, Spike could no longer just rest there knowing how close he had come to causing his dearest friend to lose something he had always known her to care about more than most other things. Very little mattered quite as much to Twilight as her studentship under Celestia.

He sprang up from the bed, suffering a brief dizziness from the swift movement. He still felt lightheaded, but the Dewthunder had seemed to lower his fever a bit. Looking over at the clock on the wall, he could see that it was just after four. It had indeed managed to keep him knocked out for hours. He clambered out of bed, but his feet were unable to support him and he fell flat on his face. Every scale on the young dragon's body was overwhelmed with determination. If he had never made that unpleasant event up to Twilight, he would do so now. It couldn't wait another minute, and no mere fever was about to stop him.

It took him nearly a minute to orient himself. His legs waged war with him; they had grown accustomed to the cloud-soft bed and did not want to move.

How could he make it up to her? What could he possibly do, especially so many years later? He knew that Twilight would not want him to work while he was ill, but perhaps doing so would illustrate to her just how determined he was, and then she would be more inclined to forgive him. There was plenty of work to be done in the library itself. Perhaps he could clean the basement? It had enough dust and grime to ensure him work for days.

Without any solidified plan in mind, Spike moved for the stairs, his legs moving as though he were walking through half-dried cement. Though determined as he was, he was still not wholly conscious, and there seemed to be a part of him that remained resting peacefully on the bed.

Spike eyed the descending staircase as though it were an ominous death trap. He had fortunately managed to make it down earlier with no problems, but that could have been attributed to simple dumb luck more than anything else. He certainly wasn't feeling quite as lucky this time. He felt a tingling sensation in his scales, as though they were trying to tell him just how senseless and crazy this plan was. As though they were trying to tell him how much they favored the bed over a life-threatening venture such as this. But there was no way he could just crawl back into bed now...

He took a deep breath and moved his foot forward onto the first step, with the other following seconds later. One down. He continued the descent, carefully minding his footsteps.

Twilight was at her working desk, sifting through various books and writing onto a sheet of parchment with her quill, looking almost exactly as Spike had seen her in his dream. When she came into view, Spike no longer focused on his descent. His foot overstepped its mark and wound up on the very edge of the stair, causing him to lose balance. Before he knew what was happening, he was tumbling down the remaining stairs, hitting each one in a somewhat comical succession.

Twilight looked up from her work, stunned to see her dragon assistant plummeting down the stairs. Fortunately, she acted quick enough to catch him with her magic just before he fell from the final step.

"Spike? What are you doing?!" she cried.

Spike hung upside down within the pink aura mere inches from the ground. Twilight carefully spun him upright and released him, but once again, his feet failed to support him and he fell forward onto his belly.

"Are you okay?!" she rushed over to him.

Spike's thick scales had prevented him from suffering any serious injury, but the fall still made his head throb. He groaned. He knew that this would happen. He just knew it.

Twilight magically lifted him into a seated position and felt his forehead.

"You still have a fever. What were you doing, Spike?! I told you to call me if you needed anything, not come down yourself!" she said sternly. Spike looked up sorrowfully at her.

"Please, Twilight, is there anything I can do for you? I'll do anything. I'll wipe away every speck of dust from those really old books or scrub the entire library. I'll even clean the basement if you want me to! Anything you want, just tell me...please...."

Twilight gave him a puzzled look. She had never expected Spike to actually offer to clean the library, much less while he was under the weather. Perhaps he was just sick of being bedridden all day?

"This is why you came down here?"

"I...," Spike hesitated. He did not want to tell her about the dream he had. If there was any possibility that she had forgotten about that event, he certainly did not want to remind her. He hung his head.

"Spike, the best thing you can do for me right now is rest. I want you to feel better."

Spike remained staring at the ground. He had neither the energy nor the motivation to argue or plead with her. He was defeated. His fall down the stairs was all the proof he needed to see how poorly-thought-out his plan had been. What was the point of continuing through with it? If he couldn't competently make it down a flight of stairs, how could he possibly be of any use to Twilight in his condition?

"You must be hungry. You haven't eaten anything all day. How about I make you some soup? Soup never fails."

"I'm not hungry," Spike mumbled.

Twilight frowned at him.

"You should eat something."

Spike sighed. "Maybe later. I just want to go back to bed now."

What else could he do?

Twilight gave him a mournful look and magically lifted him up, returning him to her bed. All he could think about was what a stupid idea this had been. He managed to accomplish nothing but cause his dearest friend more worry, as though he hadn't already caused her enough.

"By the way, our friends came by to see you while you were asleep," Twilight said as she tucked him back in. "Fluttershy told them you were feeling ill. They left you a get-well card."

She motioned to the card sitting on the nearby table, which Spike had not noticed when he woke up. It was elegantly decorated; its exterior was lined with lace and small, red ribbons were meticulously angled at all four corners. The center of the card read For Your Recovery, written in a red ink. Spike stared at the card wondering what would be written inside. He had never received a get-well card before.

"I'll go get the Dewthunder. With another spoonful, your fever should be gone by the end of the day," Twilight assured him.

"Okay," Spike nodded, his eyes still fixated on the the card. Twilight levitated it over to him.

Spike opened the card as she left the room. He began reading the comments from top to bottom:

"I hope you feel better soon, Spike. You're in all of our hearts."


"We're wishing you a speedy recovery, Spike. You're family to us."


"Hang in there, Spike! We love ya!"

--Rainbow Dash

"Don't you worry, Spike! We'll be sure to have a "Spike Is All Better" party once you're up again!"

--Pinkie Pie

"Oh my little Spikey-Wikey! Please, please get well soon, darling!"


A tear fell from Spike's eye as he finished reading. He was filled with a warm affection for his friends such as he had not ever felt for them before. He had always figured that they valued Twilight as a friend much more than him. She was the one they had always made plans with or invited to certain events, and Spike would usually only go just because Twilight was going. Spike figured that to them, the greatest use he served was sending (and often writing) their letters to Princess Celestia. Nevertheless, this didn't really bother him too much because he knew that they cared about him, as they had shown it on numerous occasions. But now he could plainly see that he meant just as much to them as Twilight, and knowing that may have possibly made this entire day worthwhile.

Twilight returned about five minutes later, by which time Spike had re-read the comments over and over again. Suspended in the pink aura beside her was the miniature bowl of Dewthunder tonic.

Twilight stirred the tonic with a spoon, just as she had done earlier.

"Look, Spike. I'm sorry you have to stay in bed all day, but cleaning the library certainly isn't going to help you get better," Twilight said while continuing to stir up the bowl. "I want my number one assistant to be back on his feet as quickly as possible."

Spike gave her a perplexed look.

"You're sick of being stuck in bed, aren't you? Isn't that the reason why you came downstairs and offered to clean the library?"

"That's not why," Spike huffed and shook his head, setting the card to the side.

"Then what is it?" Twilight asked.

Spike sighed and closed his eyes, just as they were filling with tears. There wasn't any point in keeping it from her now.

"I....I remembered the day I burned your assignment...back when you were in Princess Celestia's school. I wanted to make that up to you, and I had to do it now. It couldn't wait." Spike opened his eyes back up, the tears spilling out of them. "I'm sorry....I'm so sorry."

Twilight cocked an eyebrow and tilted her head, trying to remember what he was talking about. Spike didn't wait for a response.

"I hate disappointing you, Twilight. It's just....it's the worst feeling ever. Whenever I do, I feel like I have to make it up to you. Otherwise..."

He paused, breaking eye contact with her as though not wanting to see her reaction to the next thing he said.

"Otherwise what?" Twilight asked.

"....I fear that you won't forgive me," he said as another wave of tears emerged from his eyes. "And that maybe....you'll replace me with an assistant who won't disappoint you."

Twilight stared at Spike silently for a moment. She abruptly ceased stirring up the tonic and placed it over on the nearby table, then sat herself down beside the bed.

"Spike, let me tell you a story," she said as she wiped his tears away. Spike restored eye contact with her, an inquisitive expression spread across his face.

"I had just hatched you. I had just unleashed an enormous wave of magical energy that turned my parents into potted plants, and you into a full-grown dragon. I had just been accepted into Princess Celestia's school by Princess Celestia herself, and I had just earned my cutie mark."

Spike stared at Twilight with intense curiosity.

"After jumping for joy for several minutes, I looked over at you for the very first time. You were just sitting there, sucking happily on your tail. So innocent, so peaceful, not a single care in the world. I watched you for a few seconds....and then it suddenly hit me. I had just started your life. You were sucking on your tail, and you were only doing so because I had brought you into the world.

"When your egg was brought out to me for the exam, I didn't really think anything of hatching you. It didn't even occur to me that I would actually be bringing a living being to the start of its life. At that moment, all that hatching you meant to me was the passing of my entrance exam. But when I saw you outside of that egg, I instantly cared so much for you. I felt protective of you. I had hatched you, and I felt that made you my responsibility.

"But I was in danger of losing you almost right from that moment. One of the proctors who had given me my exam wanted you to become property of the school. He said that having a newborn dragon hatchling so readily available was an unprecedented opportunity, and he wanted to keep you locked up on the school grounds for research and study. The thought of you being locked in some cage, cold and alone, without anyone to love you made me angry, and so I protested. There I was, a mere filly, arguing with somepony who was probably more than three times my age, right in front of my parents and right in front of Princess Celestia. My parents tried to get me to stop. They said that I had just made it into the school, and now I was running the risk of being kicked out before I even got started. But at that moment, I didn't care about that. All I cared about was saving you. In any case, the proctor refused to argue with me. He told me that I had no say in the matter, especially after I had 'acted so recklessly', releasing all that magic which could have caused much more damage than it had. That was when Princess Celestia spoke up, and to my tremendous bewilderment and relief, she said that I was right. She said that she wouldn't allow a living creature to be locked up against its will in her own school, and I felt so much satisfaction in watching him storm out of the room. I had won, he had lost, and you were safe.

"However, my parents told me that I was too young to look after you myself, which meant that your fate was still in question. The biggest thing that I feared was that somepony else would claim you, and I would never see you again. The very thought angered me. I had been the one who hatched you. You were my baby dragon, and I was ready to do anything to keep it that way. I wanted to have the chance to be to you what Cadence had been to me. Princess Celestia seemed to understand how I was feeling. She seemed to know how much I wanted you in my life. She told me that you would be looked after in Canterlot's nursery, and that I could see you anytime I wanted. She said that she would look after you whenever I couldn't. She assured me that you would never be locked up or used as a research subject, and you would be turned over into my care when I was old enough.

"And that was that. In a matter of twenty minutes, that day suddenly became the greatest day of my life. Not only had I just become Princess Celestia's personal student and received my cutie mark, I got to meet you and you were going to stay in my life. I didn't know it then, but I needed you much more than I realized. Once I was enrolled in school, I felt a loneliness that I never really felt before. I was much too busy to see Shining Armor or Cadence anymore, and of course, as you know, I had no interest in making any other friends. Spending time with you was usually the only thing I really looked forward to. I loved playing with you. One of the games you loved the most was when I would put you on my back and jump around in circles while you held on for dear life. You would laugh so hard, and I would just keep on going until I was too tired. I would read to you all the time while you were cuddled next to me, usually until you fell asleep. And all of this was just as enjoyable to me as it was to you. Whenever I was feeling down, being with you was enough to lift me up. You brightened my life, Spike, and I'm not sure how I would have made it through school without you."

Twilight gently stroked Spike's forehead with her hoof.

"And you still brighten my life. Spike, the thought of sending you away has never even crossed my mind. Not once. Like I told you before, that's never going to happen. Ever. And do you know why? Because you're more to me than just an assistant. You're so much more. You hold a special place in my heart that no one else can ever occupy. You are absolutely, completely, 100% irreplaceable to me."

Spike gazed at Twilight in stunned silence. He had heard the story of how Twilight had hatched him multiple times, but nearly everything she had just said was completely new information to him. There was nary a word to accurately express how he was feeling at that moment, but there was one thing he truly wanted to know.

"Why...why haven't you ever told me this story before?"

"I wanted to spare you the worries of what could have been," Twilight answered. "Remember, were it not for Rainbow Dash doing a Sonic Rainboom at that very moment, I don't know what would have become of me, or you."

Spike felt as though a cool, soothing breeze had gently lifted him up and was nestling him peacefully. To think that Twilight had saved his life from the moment he was born, and he had never even known it until now...

"I'm so glad it was you who hatched me, Twilight," he smiled at her.

"So am I," Twilight returned the smile. "You're the greatest assistant I could have ever asked for, Spike. I've never thought otherwise. It's time for you to permanently put aside any fears that I will ever replace you or send you away."

"Yeah, I know," Spike whispered.

"By the way, I forgave you for that thing a long time ago," Twilight said. "You don't need to make it up to me. Besides, it was mostly my fault anyway. You were only with me that day because I hadn't been able to spend a day with you in over a week. I should have waited until I was finished with my work, but I was too impatient. That never happened again, though."

"But wait a second!" Spike said as something occurred to him. "If that guy wanted to study me, then that was finally a chance for ponies to finally learn more about dragons, right?"

"It was no big consequence. Besides, most ponies are much more interested in learning about adult dragons, not hatchlings. If he wanted a hatchling to study, he could have gone out and found his own..." she leaned close to him, lowering her voice to a whisper. "...because there was no way I was going to let him have mine," Twilight chuckled.

Spike grinned. There was nothing for him to fear anymore. There was nothing for him to worry about. All was well.

Twilight gave Spike another spoonful of Dewthunder, and he once again felt the icy, lemon-flavored tonic slide down his throat.

"Your fever shouldn't stand any chance now," she assured him.

With his mind still swirling around the story, Spike was back to sleep within minutes, but not before feeling yet another peck on his forehead.

Next Chapter: Good Night, Twilight Estimated time remaining: 3 Minutes
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