54w, 5dLyra & Bon-Bon
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***Author's Note*** When I posted my second attempt at a MLP fanfic, I had no idea it would become as popular as it has. I would like to thank everyone who's taken the time to read my little story, and to the two fellows who graciously offered their efforts to help proof-read the mess I had originally posted. Thank you all.
A Change of Face
Living the Lie
"Are you sure you don't want to come with me? We can hurry up and just pick up what we need right now," the aquamarine unicorn said as she started to step out the open door. She looked over her shoulder, a cyan mane bouncing to the side a bit as she looked at the smiling cream earth pony. "I don't want you to just stay at home all day, Hun."
Bon Bon just gave her sweetheart a warm, thankful smile, her soft blue eyes giving a slight shimmer at how much Lyra thought about her. "I'll be just fine. I told you I wasn't feeling very well, so I'd rather you go on ahead. Besides, I'm sure you don't want to try dragging a sick pony all around town while you do the shopping."
Lyra turned away from the door, the minty mare taking a step back into the house to press the side of her muzzle against her lover's. "Aww...you know I'd always want to have you by my side, sweety. But, if you're sure you're not feeling up to it, I wont push you. Just sit tight, and I'll be back before you know it. Hey! Maybe I'll bring you back some chopped lavender. That always seems to help me feel better when I'm sick."
A small giggle from outside brought the two mares' attention out the door for a moment, a couple of young fillies passing by, noticing the two's little sweet moment. This brought an embarrassed blush to the earth pony's cheeks and a smirk to the unicorn's lips. They had gotten a reputation as the town 'filly-foolers' when their relationship had first become public, and it had caused the two of them some short, but rough times. But Ponyville was nothing but accepting, and by now the most the two ever got in the way of remarks was the occasional laugh and playful teasing. It had always embarrassed Bon Bon, which just made Lyra more incorrigible, eager to see that blush spread over her lover's cheeks.
"I'd like that, sweety. You go on now, I'll just be here waiting for you," the creamy mare said, gently nudging her sweetheart back towards the open door with a hoof and a soft smile. Lyra looked back to her, taking a moment to press a small, tender kiss to her lips with the barest of touches before she continued on her way to her planned weekly shopping.
"You take it easy, love. I'll be back soon," Lyra called back as she started down the street. Behind her, just out of earshot, Bon Bon gave a long, slow sigh. If anyone had been close enough to hear, or looking in that direction to see the earth pony, they may have thought she was sorry to see her lover go, or perhaps even longingly admiring that retreating minty flank. But the truth of that sigh was, she was relieved, a small amount of tension leaving the mare as she was finally left alone in the home she shared with the unicorn.
Closing the door, she trotted up the stairs to the bedroom, the earth pony looking a bit more worn out than she had when talking with her lover. She loved Lyra, nothing would change that, but right now she just needed some time to herself. Down the short hall and into the bedroom, she closed the door with a gentle push of a back hoof as she made her way over to the dresser, her blue eyes looking up into the mirror as she sat down on her rump in front of it. She had pushed herself a little too long this time, kept up appearances more than she really needed to. She was risking everything, and for what? Was it because of what had happened in Canterlot? Because the others were so very close now? Maybe it was just that she wished she didn't have to do this anymore. But part of her, the part she never before thought she had, just wished that she was really the pony that her beloved deserved.
With another heavy sigh, her shoulders slumping, Bon Bon lowered her eyes from the mirror to the floor in front of her, and with a sad heart let her guard down.
The cobblestones made a slight clop under her hooves as she made her way towards the market square. Lyra looked up to see the bright sun overhead; it was already past noon. She silently scolded herself for taking so long to actually get to the shopping, but at the same time, she knew she had a good reason. She didn't like leaving Bon Bon alone when she was feeling like that. More than once, she had come home after leaving her beloved there all alone, only to find her nearly in tears. She had asked and begged for Bon Bon to tell her what was wrong, but every time, for three years now, the earth pony had just waved it off, saying she just felt so alone when the unicorn wasn't there. Lyra worried that maybe there was something her lover was not telling her, that maybe something terrible had happen to her in the past. But she trusted Bon Bon to tell her the truth when the time was right, even if it made her heart ache to see her in such a state. Planting her hooves firmly onto the cobbled road, and with a determined gleam to her eyes, she resolved to get the shopping done in record time so she could be back with her sweet candy mare.
"Alright, let's get to this. Then I can spend the rest of the day doing what's important!" she said, a slight blush creeping to her cheeks as she thought of just what the unicorn considered 'important'. How their friends would blush and gasp if they knew just what sort of things the two 'filly-foolers' got up to at night. With a barely restrained giggle, Lyra's horn glowed a soft lime as she reached back towards her saddlebags. Unlike other unicorns, her magic had a feature that made it rather unique. Whereas another unicorn's magical glow would just envelop whatever it was holding, surrounding it like a sparkling cloud, Lyra's magic would reach out delicately, little tendrils of sparkling mist picking and grasping lightly at whatever it was she had a hold of. Bon Bon had asked her about it before, and Lyra had explained, with an embarrassed blush, that it was just something she had started doing while playing her lyre, that it made it easier to pluck the strings. It was a lie. A white lie, but one that she had always felt a bit guilty saying. She may be a filly-fooler, and she shared everything with her sweet heart, but still she worried what Bon Bon might think if she knew that her lover had a 'hand complex'. Ever since she was a little filly, she had felt jealous of, well, certain creatures. Dragons, minotaurs, even griffons. They had fingers that could do things she had to practice at using her magic to do. What took concentration for her they just did naturally. She had even ended up reading about mythical creatures with hands, to the point that reading about legends and folklore had become something of a hobby of hers. She loved the idea of hands, and more than once, she had thought what it would be like to run fingers through her lover's mane, or to slowly caress a fingertip down Bon Bon's back. Or to even reach down and squeeze-
A quick shake of her head helped her push the lewd thoughts off of her mind. She had a job to do right now, and fantasizing about her dreams wasn't going to help her get it done any quicker. With her saddlebag open, her magical fingers reached in to rummage through the contents, searching for the little note pad on which she had scribbled down the list of things they needed from the market. She felt around, recognizing each item her magic touched by its shape. Quill. Coin purse. Water bottle. Screw driver. Mane clip. W-what was that doing in there? Last item aside, something was out of place. A quick scramble through the other side returned similar results. Her golden eyes widened as she realized, in her worry over Bon Bon's condition, she had run off and left her list sitting on the nightstand back home.
Stomping her hooves at how careless she was, her eyes shut tightly as she berated herself, Lyra turned sharply and galloped for home. Maybe, if she hurried, she could get the list, get the shopping done, and be back home with enough time to do what was really important to her: spending time with the love of her life.
A shimmer seemed to pass over Bon Bon as she sat in front of the mirror, but she didn't notice. She had done this far too many times for her to care to watch. Each time she had to do it, it just reminded her of how much she had lied. How terrible she was to the one pony she loved. If she had cared to watch, she would have seen the rather disturbing sight that she had unfortunately grown used to seeing. It started slow at first, at the top of her mane. But it started to spread downwards. At the start, it could have just been a smudge on the mirror. A smudge that started to grow and consume the image of the poor earth pony. Like a fresh painting left out in the rain, Bon Bon's face seemed to melt away, the blue and pink of her mane running streaks through the cream of her face as the color seemed to slowly drain from her eyes and cerulean tears. As the earth pony seemed to disappear, something else started to emerge, like the artist had painted over something too disturbing to show. It wasn't always this slow. But her mood and the unwillingness to let it happen again conspired to turn the normally quick change into a slow, almost agonizing display. Before it all became too much to witness, with another sigh, the once pony took a sharp breath and pushed herself back into full speed. A quick burst of green magical energy, and the sweet earth pony known as Bon Bon was no more.
Slowly featureless eyes as cold as arctic ice looked up to the mirror. The once soft cream coat was replaced by a jet black that seemed to take in the dim light and send back a pale, pitiful gleam of what it had once been. Her ears, once soft and eager, were now torn and frayed. From her forehead sprouted a sharp, bladed horn, meant for stabbing rather than magic. She was devoid of any mane save for the wicked fin that sprouted down the back of her neck. The lie that was Bon Bon slowly looked up from the floor, once again seeing what she so desperately tried to hide away.
"Hello again..." the changeling said in a low, sad voice. At her side, the tattered, transparent wings buzzed slightly, like a locust trying to get comfortable in a new skin. Her solid eyes looked back down at the floor. She hated this, hated seeing what she really was. She wished she didn't have to do this, but the strain of keeping up her false image for so long had become too much for her body. Every few months, the strain forced her to become he true self again. She would feel weak, and her head hurt. Even as she slept in the same bed as that sweet unicorn, she had to keep up her disguise. If she kept it too long, the stress would go from weakness to pain, to agony. Then her body just wouldn't be able to take it any more, and she'd collapse, her true self coming out for all to see. It had almost happened the first time, she had been so caught up that she didn't realize what was going on till she couldn't stand it anymore. She was almost caught then, and she had promised to herself she would never let that happen ever again. She had been careful every time since then. Even after they had moved in together, she was careful to make sure no one ever found out, especially Lyra. But this time, after what had happened in Canterlot, with the Hive now so close, it had become harder to keep her shame hidden.
Lyra knew about Changelings now. Knew what they could do, and what they did...and what they had done to her. The last thing the unicorn needed was to be reminded of that. Or to have her love making excuses to get her out of the house, to avoid seeing her yet again. In the back of her mind, a little voice kept whispering to her what she had once promised silently to her beloved, that one day, she would tell Lyra everything, that she would try and get the unicorn to see that she truly loved her. But that would have to wait a while longer still. Lyra had just gotten over what she had gone through at the wedding, and it would be too much for the false pony to ask of her now.
Another rustle of her wings, and she stretched her legs, feeling the joints creak slightly as her strange hooves rubbed across the wooden floor. An hour or so was all the needed, all she could spare herself. Just some time to recover her strength, just to put up with this face she hated for a little while, and then she could go back to being the pony her little unicorn loved. The changeling's mind wandered, anything to keep away from the awful truth in the mirror. She loved it here, loved being a pony, being a pony loved by another pony. To think, it wasn't long ago that Lyra had even started pestering the local librarian, asking the lavender unicorn if there was a spell that would let the two of them have foals of their own. It was a sweet thought, one that the changeling could only entertain for a short while. If she could, she would love to have a family with the minty unicorn. But how could she explain what the foals would end up being? Some sort of half-pony pupa? She wasn't a queen, she was just a scout, a glorified drone. She wasn't even sure if she could have children.
She was so lost on her mental ramblings that she became oblivious to everything around her, to the sound of the front door opening, and the hooves slowly making their way up the stairs and towards the bedroom door.
Lyra had raced home, taking a moment to catch her breath before stepping inside. A quick look told her that Bon Bon had probably gone back to bed. She needed to get into the bedroom to get her shopping list, but she didn't want to disturb her lover's rest. As softly as she could she had crept up the stairs. Taking great care that each hoof fall didn't ring too loudly, she made her way to the bedroom door, finding it shut. Slowly, those magical fingers of hers reached out as her horn glowed, gingerly taking a hold of the doorknob and turning it, trying to be as quiet as possible, lest the earth pony be sleeping.
The door was cooperating, at least mostly. It opened quietly little by little, giving the unicorn a look into the darkened room, and a view of the figure sitting in the shadows in front of the dresser. As more and more light started to pour in from the hallway, the figure started to come into view. At first, Lyra had thought it was her beloved, sitting there looking at herself in the mirror. But as the light started to brighten, the door getting more open, something else filled the shadows. The dark shape, those torn wings, and curved horn. The door opened fully, giving out the pained groan it had been trying its best to hold in. The groan was followed by a loud, sharp gasp, torn from the throat of a certain unicorn.
Those deep, arctic eyes turned on her, wide with horror at what they saw. The room was filled with green light for an instant, and the black thing was replaced with an earth pony. Bon Bon's mouth hung agape as she looked at her lover, seeing the tears starting to well up in the corners of those golden eyes. A tiny whisper managed to escape her false lips, as if to make any more sound than that would just pile disaster upon disaster.
Her limbs refused to work. Bon Bon had to force herself to take a step towards the door, each movement sending panic and pain through her body as she managed to raise a hoof, reaching out for the one thing she desired most in the world. The one thing she needed more than anything else. "Lyra, w-wait.."
"G-get away from me you MONSTER!"
Choked with tears, Lyra had flung those words at the false pony as if they were knives, her hooves digging into the wooden floor as she turned and launched herself back down the hallway. Down the stairs, she battered the front door aside as she raced out of the house and down the street. The blood seemed to have drained from Bon Bon's body in that moment. She felt as if each step she took was in slow motion, as if she was trying to run through taffy as she tried desperately to stop her Lyra, to prevent her whole reason for being from racing out of her grasp.
In the end, she failed, the horror-stricken pony making it to the front door only to see the unicorn's tail in the distance, shrinking from sight into a minty green speck, as if vanishing from her life for good. That was all she could take. Her eyes wide, her balance failed her as she slumped against the door frame, slowly sliding down to the floor as she just stared off into the distance, her whole world shattered in an instant. As the pain of her now broken life started to creep in on her, very real tears started to flow down the fake pony's cheeks...