Spike walked slowly down the library stairs, his long tail twitching against the handrail.
"Twilight?" he called into the bookshelves.
A figure sitting in a nearby chair turned its head and smiled.
Spike gazed upon the wrinkled face of his best friend and closest companion. Her mane was frizzy and grey, with a barely visible pale pink streak running down its middle. Her horn was slightly crooked, and her knees were visibly weak; in short, time had not been kind to her. But nevertheless, she was Twilight.
"Evening, Spike." she croaked softly before pushing herself off her chair. She cringed in pain.
Spike was beside her instantly. "You okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine."
He helped her up slowly and placed a hand on her back. He towered above her, being at least twice her height. His scales extended almost as long as one of her hooves and his claws had grown to full length.
"How are you feeling?" he asked, a warm smile glowing on his face.
"I'm great, thanks, Spike." she replied, looking up at him.
She managed a light chuckle. "I'm always tired nowadays, Spike." she paused and stared blankly at the flames flickering in the fireplace across the room. "It's been a few days since we've seen our friends, Spike. Can we go have a look?"
"Of course!" he said cheerfully. "Just give me a second."
Twilight made her way to the rug in front of the fireplace and sat down. She looked out the window to see Luna's moon shining brightly against the clear night sky.
Spike walked over to a small shelf near the side of the stairs. He grabbed the only object on it-a tattered red book-and joined Twilight, half-laying down beside her.
He placed the book in front of him and opened it to the first page. A slightly yellowed-out photo was stuck to it. Both dragon and pony stared wistfully upon the picture of them with their closest friends. Friends who now lived on in spirit.
"Remember when we took this picture, Twi? Just a few months after we arrived in Ponyville?"
"How long it's been, Spike. That was the beginning of our lives, wasn't it?"
"I still remember. Our first Summer Sun Celebration." He didn't take his eyes off of the photo. "Seventy years ago."
Twilight nuzzled up against him and followed his gaze. "All the adventures we had."
Spike's eyes trailed onto a cyan pegasus with her hoof in the air. "Ten seconds flat." he chuckled, his voice dropping. The fireplace crackled.
Rainbow Dash had been the first to go. Loyalty. Ambition.
"You remember that day she got the letter?" he asked.
"Never forgot it."
"Dear Rainbow Dash, based upon your exceptional performance in the Wonderbolt Academy, you have been selected to be-" Dash dropped the paper and blinked, before picking it up and dropping it again. "I-I-I'M A WONDERBOLT!" She grabbed the five ponies and the dragon standing in front of her into an extremely tight hug. "I'M A WONDERBOLT!" She did a loop in the air. "I'M A WONDERBOLT!" She laughed with glee and took off into the distance, leaving a rainbow-coloured flash in her wake.
Twilight felt her eyes water as she let them wander to the other end of the picture.
An orange pony stood in a half-courtesy with a slight smile perched on her lips.
The old mare's thoughts drifted from their first sleepover to Applejack's last rodeo.
Spike sucked down a sob. "You know one of the last things she said to me?"
Twilight looked up.
"Stay as strong as your scales." He he squeezed one of his arms with a hand. "I'll never forget it."
"Well, you wouldn't want to betray Honesty."
"She'd buck me in the head if I did."
Twilight chuckled lightly.
Their thoughts shifted to those of a pink pony standing joyfully near the edge of the photo, grinning from ear to ear.
Twilight stared at Laughter in silence. "I could never, for the life of me figure out how her Pinkie sense worked."
"Pinkie Pie never really settled down, did she?" said Spike.
"A pony like her? Doesn't surprise me." They sat in silence for a few moments. The fire crackled noisily and settled back down. Twilight hummed to herself softly.
"You put your right hoof in." Spike sang in a low voice.
She turned to look at his pained expression.
"You take your right hoof out."
"You do the pony-pokey and you turn self around." Twilight chimed in.
"And that's what it's all about!" they finished in unision. Both managed a smile.
"Thanks Pinkie," he said softly. "Thanks for making us smile."
They looked at the picture again and this time Kindness looked back.
Just a few months ago. Twilight thought to herself. Two tears fell simultaneously onto the page containing the photo.
Spike wiped his eyes and Twilight's as well. "She was the kindest, sweetest and most compassionate pony we ever met."
"We'll never, ever, forget you Fluttershy." Twilight brushed a hoof against Fluttershy's pink mane.
Spike got up hastily and prepared to walk off.
Twilight touched his leg.
He looked back with wet and pleading eyes but she maintained her gaze. "Stay."
He reluctantly sat back down but kept his eyes away from the book.
"Look at her picture Spike. You can't bottle yourself up like this. I talked to you about it before." There was concern in her wavering voice.
"Rarity..." He looked upon Generosity's face. Her beautiful face..."I always loved her, Twilight, always..." His sentence dissolved into a sob and the tears started flowing.
Twilight could feel her own cheeks getting wet and she pulled Spike into a hug. They cried for what seemed like ages, remaining cradled in each other's arms. "I'm still here, Spike. You and me."
"J-just like in the beginning."
"Just like in the beginning." she agreed.
"And I'll stay with you." he said, still sobbing. "Until the end."