Thank you. To be honest, the fact that the last season was so weak on multiple fronts makes it a little easier to stomach. He's not the only one who took a hit, nearly everyone did. So I'm in good company for wanting to gloss over parts of it.
As the last season made rather clear the writing for this show isn't exactly sterling and never has been, even considering the target audience of children. So the cynic in me has worried about being guilty of that at times. However I did successfully extrapolate a number of plot developments and canon personality traits for him in the later seasons based on my reading of him in the early ones, back when others dismissed me as pretending a weak character was better than he was. And many of the aspects I enjoyed the most about him early on did see some kind of followup. I like to think I did a decent job of grasping his character and didn't just imagine all of that depth out of thin air.
He's not the only character I've done this with but he is the one I've felt the strongest desire to do it for, and doing it makes me like him further. Chicken vs egg. I do tend to microanalyze a lot of his scenes, just because I feel the animators put extra amounts of love into them so there's plenty of cute and quirky details to pull out. The dainty way he holds a fork and steps off his bike for instance.>>3280906
Late addendum but shipfic tends to depict him as the big strong protector half of a couple, especially with Keith, which is funny because the show suggests the total opposite. Because of his self-sacrificial nature what he needs the most is someone to protect him as much as he protects others. And Keith is always saving his hide because he pushed himself too hard. His VA confirmed this interpretation at a recent con--says he fell for Adam because what he needed was someone who'd be there for him and provide for him, cover his blind sides. He's the "taking" partner more than the "giver", a hero who needs one of his own.