Chapter 8 - Always the Shy Ones
Spike's time with Pinkie Pie had been an experience to say the least. The bubbly earth pony had, to his surprise been far more comfortable with this entire arrangement than he would have expected of her. That's not to say he did not appreciate such a thing, quite the opposite in fact, but it did make for quite a visit. Her advice on matters of intimacy, though coming from a mare who had only experienced it once, would undoubtedly be helpful to him, and he was truly grateful to her for it. But, though they would like nothing more than to spend more time with each other, they knew that Spike had to move on.
And so he did, for the time had now come for him to visit the fifth of the mares, Fluttershy. Spike knew that this one was going to be difficult, though not in the same way that it had been with Rarity. The young dragon was fully aware that the timid pegasus had held a large fear of dragons for most of her life, so he was aware that the prospect of becoming a mate to one would have been a daunting challenge. Granted, Fluttershy had overcome such fears several times in the past, and knowing Spike as she did meant that she was far more comfortable with him than any full-sized drake, but even so, this change in their relationship was going to be quite the hurdle.
For the moment though, Spike had other things on his mind. For he was currently sitting in Fluttershy's home, a quaint little cottage between Ponyville and the Everfree Forest. As Fluttershy was one to do, she had provided a pleasant cup of tea to her visiting guest, and Spike, never one to refuse such a courtesy, had accepted it graciously. However, he would have enjoyed this serene moment far more if it wasn't for the involvement of a certain little rabbit, who was, at this very moment, pounding away at Spike's foot in a vain attempt to cause the drake some discomfort. Spike though was merely irritated by the small creature's actions, and Fluttershy just looked at it with shock when she finally noticed.
"Angel the Third! You be nice and leave our guest alone this instant!"
The small animal ignored it's owners pleas and simply kept kicking the young dragon, that latter now chuckling to himself.
"It's fine, Fluttershy. She's not bothering me, honest."
But the pegasus merely shook her head.
"I'm sorry, Spike. But I can't allow such rude behaviour."
Floating back down to the ground, Fluttershy approached the rabbit and picked her up by the scruff of her neck with her mouth, moving her far away, all while the creature kept glaring at Spike, who had to stifle the need to laugh over how amusing such a glance was to him. Once Fluttershy had put the rabbit away in it's bed and satisfied it with a nearby carrot, she returned to her future mate, who then spoke to her.
"I see she has her Grandfather's temperament."
Fluttershy gave a small giggle before looking away from him with a somewhat nostalgic look on her face. The original Angel was far from being the most pleasant animal to know, as Spike knew from the many times he'd been asked to look after him. But, if there was one thing that little guy had going for him, it was that he truly cared for Fluttershy, and that was one thing Spike could never dislike him for. Still, he felt it was probably for the best to turn the matter back to the reason he was here in the first place.
"Fluttershy? How are you coping? About us, I mean?"
The pegasus' face threatened to turn into a bright shade of red, and so she turned away from him quickly before the blush fully emerged. In all the years Spike had known her, Fluttershy had always managed to get worked up over matters that most ponies would never be bothered with. To her credit, she'd managed to become far more used to such things over the last two decades, but from her reaction, it was clear that there would be some things she'd never be able to stop feeling shy about.
"Um...well...I was a little scared about it at first. I mean...I've never really...you know..."
She didn't finish her sentence, but then, she didn't need to. Spike understood fully what she was trying to say. In truth, it didn't surprise him to learn that she had never been involved with anypony that way, though he'd never say that to her. Even after so many years had passed since their first meeting, Fluttershy had never completely managed to get over her insecurities when it came to interacting with others. Oh sure, she was fine with her friends, but getting to be her friend in the first place was always the biggest challenge. There were times when it honestly seemed like even Rainbow's pet tortoise, Tank, had an easier time coming out of it's shell than Fluttershy.
But what had surprised Spike was that, even in spite of her own insecurities, Fluttershy never seemed to attract the attention of many stallions. While there may have been those who had tried courting her, most just left her alone, perhaps because of her famously shy personality, and even the ones who did try usually gave up when there came no response when they knocked at her door. That in particular had always struck Spike as odd, as he was always of the opinion that she was the kind of mare that should have entire lines of stallions waiting to try their hoof at winning her affections.
Spike couldn't help but feel that, much like with Rainbow, he had managed to gain for himself what most would never have. Although, during his younger years, he'd only had eyes for Rarity, even back then he couldn't deny that Fluttershy was actually quite beautiful. There was, after all, a very good reason she'd been chosen as a fashion model all those years ago. The way her bright pink mane flowed in the wind. those sparkling eyes of hers, even the way she moved, so utterly without sound. She was grace personified, though with that came a delicacy that meant he knew full well that he'd have to be careful around her, even knowing as he did that she'd had more than her fair share of trials over the years.
His thoughts turned to how she might have viewed him and the relationship that their circumstances had placed upon them. He'd never considered how she might have felt about relationships, or even if she'd ever thought about it at all. So, given their situation, he knew it was probably best if he at least ask.
"What kind of stallion would you have wanted, if this thing between you, me and the others hadn't happened?"
The pegasus finally turned back to face him upon hearing that, though her face was no less crimson.
"Well...I, er...don't really know."
Spike nodded at that, If it wasn't something she'd given any thought to, he wasn't about to press the matter. Although, now that he'd started thinking about it, one thought in particular became ever more prevalent in his mind.
"Well, regardless of what you or the others might have wanted, it seems I've what you've been given. Can't imagine what the rest of town might think about this. I can just hear them now, talking about relations like this, maybe even discussing foals and stuff."
The idea that the residents of Ponyville might in some way look down on him and the others because of this mess they'd found themselves in was, to say the least, not a thought he wanted to consider. He considered many of them his friends, and he knew that most would be understanding, but even so, the possibility was always there. To his surprise though, Fluttershy was having a different reaction to his remark. Her face no longer had the bright blush it had previously, and her ears had perked up, with her now looking rather interested in what he was saying.
It wasn't something Spike had really thought about much until now, but he knew that with this being an issue of mates, that offspring were undoubtedly going to be a possibility of his future life. He looked away from her, his face somewhat uncomfortable. Becoming a mate to the six mares was a difficult thing to accept, but the prospect that each of them would be saddled with some kind of half-pony children as a result of the union was something else altogether. But nevertheless, he answered Fluttershy's question, even in spite of that thought causing him some difficulty.
"Yes. That is, if it's even possible for us. I don't know if they'll be ponies, dragons or something in-between, but..."
To his utter surprise though, Spike was unable to finish his sentence, as he looked on to see Fluttershy using her wings to leap into mid-air, her face now fully exposed from behind her long mane, and bearing a look of sheer glee.
Before Spike could react further, he was taken aback by the pegasus darting towards him, so much so that he had to resist the urge to take a step backwards. He looked down at her, with her eyes seemingly even larger than before, and full of that sparkle she was known for having when she got excited about something.
"Oh! How many do you think we could have? What would they eat? What kinds of names should we give them? What do we call them if they're half of both?"
The young dragon looked on, somewhat bemused by this sudden turnabout in Fluttershy's behaviour, with the latter listing off a number of questions that her now-excitedly curious mind was coming up with. This was, admittedly, the exact opposite of how he thought she'd react to all this. His mind had conjured up images of her burying her face in the sofa out of sheer embarrassment at the mere mention of procreation. But here she was, perhaps truly happy at the prospect. Though, to be fair, he probably should have guessed that she might have reacted this way. After all, when he first came to town, his first meeting with her had been marked with a similar behaviour.
Plus, Fluttershy was famed far and wide for her affection and ability when it came to taking care of others, and not just animals. She had proved equally capable of caring for young children, as her experiences with Applebloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo in their youth could testify. He could already picture in his mind what she was probably thinking right now, of her cradling a tiny foal in her hooves. It was a thought that gave him a brief moment of warmth to think of. After all, if there was one mare he knew who fit the typical image of a caring, nurturing mother, it would most definitely have been Fluttershy.
But, even though Spike was rather happy that this subject hadn't caused the more dour reaction he'd expected, one thought kept gnawing away at him, and he couldn't help but voice his concerns to his future mate.
"Fluttershy, I'm happy that you're getting excited about this. But are you sure you're ready? Parenthood is a big responsibility. I don't even know if I'm ready for it myself."
The mare's expression became a more thoughtful one, though only for a moment, as her face then changed to a warm and affectionate smile.
"I know I am. I don't know if ponies and dragons are even capable of having children, but I know I'll be ready for it if they can, and so will the others."
Spike smiled at that. There had been numerous times during this whole thing when his friends had been made to feel down because they had been chosen by his instincts to be his mates. For there to be a moment, even if it was just this one, where there was actually joy caused by this predicament, it was something that gave the young drake more than a little relief. However, that moment faded somewhat when he saw that Fluttershy's expression changed to a more concerned look, as she looked up at Spike, seemingly worried about something.
"But...what you said earlier...about ponies maybe not being okay with this. Do you think that...our kids, if we have them...might not be welcome? What if other ponies make fun of them?"
The dragon frowned at that.
"The children will have a dragon for a father. Those other ponies wouldn't DARE say a word against them."
The look on his face was one that, in her youth, would have utterly terrified Fluttershy, Instead, it caused her to look upon him in a more thoughtful manner. As she pondered this situation, and the idea of him and her together as mates, a new thought came to her mind. It was an idea that led to her smiling warmly at him once more, which was an expression that softened Spike's own face as he heard her speak.
"I think I know the answer to your question, about what kind of stallion I'd have wanted."
Spike raised his eyebrow at that, clearly curious as to what answer she was going to give. Fluttershy took that as permission enough and explained herself.
"I think...I'd want somepony who'd make me feel safe. One who would look out for me, and any family we'd raise. Somepony who would make me feel that there's nothing in the world for me to fear...because he'd be there for me."
The drake looked down at her as she said that, his past feelings of worry starting to erode away. The yellow pegasus looked up at him from her state of thoughtfulness, her expression now a deeply affectionate one, though tinted with a slight blush.
"Um...could you please...hold me?"
To say that Spike was surprised by that request would have been a great understatement. But regardless, he knew why she'd asked it of him. She needed to know if he could provided that feeling she wanted. So, with her still flying in front of him in mid-air, Spike raised both arms and carefully embraced her, holding her close to him. As a dragon, he knew that his strength meant that he would need to take great care in these situations, but he'd learned long ago how to do so. And so, the two of them remained together, with Fluttershy's head leaning against his chest, hearing his heartbeat, his arms still wrapped around her. Spike took solace in this warm moment between the two, and smiled once he heard her soft and gentle whisper.
"Yes...this is what I wanted."