45w, 2dThe Fillyfoolers.
5d, 20hWriting Gold
5d, 20hThe Writer's Group
5d, 20hSensual Fiction (SFG)
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50w, 4dTwilight's Library
47w, 5dVinyl Scratch/Octavia
42w, 2dMUST KEEP FOLLOWING!!!!1
3d, 11hchangelings need love to
27w, 5dThe Changeling Federation
5d, 4hRory’s Semi-Favorites
22w, 3dFimFiction Gold Archives
25w, 3dVinyl and Octavia
18w, 18hVillains of Equestria
17w, 3dThe Herd
23w, 2dWorld-Building Alliance
22w, 6dThe Changeling Empire
20w, 2dy8happy`s read later pile
3d, 11hchangelings are awesome
Sunlight streamed through the second floor window and onto the window bench, warming the white unicorn sitting on it. She watched the ponies coming and going in the streets below, wishing she had the freedom to explore the town and live her life as the other ponies did. But the armor-clad pegasi that patrolled the streets were a constant reminder of exactly why she was confined to this small apartment as a prisoner of circumstance.
Another reminder of her captivity was the presence of the ponies in chocolate-brown vests wandering through town. That was the uniform of the CLEaR team, her true pursuers. Even now they combed the crowd below her, watchful eyes seeking any discrepancy or odd behavior that may indicate a changeling in their midst.
One of the brown-vested ponies caught her eye, one who seemed altogether more eager to interrogate the passers by; a pony who was a shade too enthusiastic in her task. A pony with mint-green fur and a lyre cutiemark.
“Lyra’s at it again,” the unicorn called over her shoulder.
Octavia looked up from her laying position on the cushion in the middle of the room where she had been deeply engrossed in one of her favorite novels. “Again? She must be putting in some serious overtime hours. What is she up to now, Wubsy?”
The changeling wearing Vinyl’s form turned from the window. “Looks like she’s going around giving random ponies the third degree. Knowing her M.O., I’d bet the questions probably center around you.”
The gray pony nodded serenely. “I would second that bet.”
Lyra had been relentless. She had kept a near-constant vigil on Octavia ever since the encounter with “her” and Vinyl two weeks prior; the green unicorn had been close behind Octavia whenever she left the house and remained pointedly near the cellist’s home the rest of the time. All while clad in that ugly brown uniform.
“Is it just me,” Wubsy asked, “or does the whole mint-wrapped-in-brown thing remind you of an ice cream sandwich?”
Octavia gave her an odd look.
“What? I can’t help it, I’m thinking like Vinyl. Blame her for the connection, not me.”
The cellist rose and stretched out to loosen her joints, then walked over to the window. She peeked at the green mare below. “You know, now that you mention it there is some resemblance.”
“Can’t fault her tenacity,” Wubsy said, returning to the previous topic. “Once she sets her teeth on something, she doesn’t let it go.”
“I’ll assume we’re talking about Lyra?” the true Vinyl casually asked as she emerged from the bathroom along with a curtain of steam which spread out from the doorway. Her mane was slicked straight down with moisture, its trademark spikiness fighting to return after a long shower. But as she walked into the living room her soaked mane was already beginning to overcome the water and return to its natural shape.
“Yeah,” Wubsy confirmed. She vacated her spot in the sunlight so Vinyl could take a peek for herself.
Vinyl went to the window and also looked down at the green pony who had directed her line of questioning to Berry Punch. “Huh. Is it just me or does she remind you of an ice-cream sandwich in that vest?”
“It’s not just you,” Wubsy called over her shoulder as she trotted to the couch for a nap.
She had grown rather fond of her naps. They had started as a way to break the tension of being chased by CLEaR twenty-four seven, but after a few days the sense of urgency had faded away and it had become her escape from the monotony and boredom that filled her days. Truth be told, though, there weren’t two other ponies in the world she would rather be trapped with.
“Does Wubsy seem a little down to you?” Vinyl whispered to Octavia in concern.
“I wouldn’t doubt it,” Octavia whispered back. “She’s been cooped up in this small apartment for two weeks straight. I would be climbing the walls if it were me. Poor dear must be going absolutely batty.”
Vinyl considered this carefully. “Well then we need to get her out of the house. She deserves some fun after everything she’s been through.”
“I agree, of course. But how are we going to manage taking her anywhere with Lyra watching our every move? And where would we take her if we could?”
Octavia sighed heavily. “Well, I have an idea on that. It’s not something I wanted to do but I guess these are desperate times. Alright. Here’s the plan...”
Half an hour later, Octavia emerged from the front door of the apartment looking very shifty. As a matter of fact, even if one weren’t looking for a reason to suspect Octavia of something one might notice she looked suspiciously shifty. Shifty for the sake of looking shifty. Of course, Lyra noticed nothing of the type from her hiding place amongst the shrubs under Octavia’s window. All she saw was her target leaving the house looking as though she were about to do something shifty.
Shifty was exactly what Lyra had been waiting for. Another pony might notice just how conspicuously suspicious Octavia was being, but Lyra’s eagerness for her target to do something suspicious blinded her to common sense. Finally, after two weeks of hiding in the bushes, photographing Octavia’s daily activities, going through her trash, and covertly collecting the occasional hair sample, she would finally have her chance to prove that she was right. (She wasn’t entirely sure what she was looking for in Octavia’s trash, but she was determined to leave no stone unturned.)
It was for the good of Ponyville, really. If Octavia was a changeling, Lyra had to reveal her. Any extreme could be justified in the pursuit of defending her friends. For all she knew, the real Octavia was hidden in away in some cave, trapped in a changeling cocoon and waiting for Lyra to ride out to her rescue. They might have had their share of disagreements, but Lyra would never leave Octavia alone in the dark with those monsters. The way she had...
No. She couldn’t think about that. Just focus on the mission. Reveal the imposter, and save Octavia. Nothing else mattered.
Lyra waited until her target had moved along the street a ways and then emerged from her cover, trying to move quickly from hiding place to hiding place so as not to be seen as she tailed the the supposed imposter.
Once Lyra was safely out of sight, the door opened again and Vinyl and Cloud Kicker made for the park.
Wubsy was in awe at the scene before her as followed Vinyl through the park. It had never before occurred to her that grass could make sound, but she fought not to stop and listen to the odd rustling sounds it made when the wind picked up. A shadow passed overhead, and a trio of young fillies giggled as they chased a strange orange disc as it gently floated by. Vinyl cleared her throat pointedly, and Wubsy followed her to a semi-secluded area further in.
“Ah!” Wubsy sighed contentedly as Vinyl rolled out the blanket onto the fragrant green grass by the lake bed. “It’s so good to be outside again! Sunlight just doesn’t feel the same through a window.”
Vinyl nodded as she began setting out plates for the two of them and then began heaping them both with salad from the well-stocked picnic basket they had brought. “Yeah. I’m glad to see you feeling better. I know it must be a pain in the flank to always be cooped up in that tiny apartment.”
Wubsy flopped back onto the soft grass, letting her body sink slowly into its delicious green embrace.
Vinyl smiled at the changeling’s indulgent actions. “Not bad, right? I remember coming here as a filly and lounging on this grass for hours. They really keep it in good shape.”
Wubsy giggled in Cloud Kicker’s voice. “It’s heavenly. I know this is dangerous, Vinyl. I know you and Octavia are risking a lot just to get me out of the house for a while and I wanted to say thank you. I really appreciate it. I wish I could come out here and lie in the grass every day.”
Vinyl felt a quick pang of guilt at having to keep Wubsy inside all day every day. “I’m sorry, Wubsy. I can’t promise anything, but I want you to know I’ll try to find a way you can get out more often. We have to be safe about it, but I’ll try.”
This was met with a warm smile from the purple pegasus. “Thank you, Vinyl. That means a lot. Now, let’s tuck in.”
With that reprieve, the two of them settled down and enjoyed their meal, chatting about anything that came to mind and laughing at each other’s jokes. Soon enough both ponies were sprawled out on the grass, lazing serenely as they digested the delicious fare Vinyl had prepared.
Neither pony was sure of how much time had passed before Vinyl sat up. “Hey. I have an idea. How about we go for a swim?”
Wubsy also rose from the grass. “A swim? Alright. Sounds like fun.”
The two ponies trotted down to the lake. Wubsy dipped a hoof in cautiously. “Are you sure about this, Vinyl? The water’s pretty co--”
“CANNONBALL!” The white unicorn sailed over Wubsy’s head and landed in the lake, sending a huge spray of icy water to coat the pegasi. Vinyl surfaced and shook out the water from her mane before laughing at Wubsy, who was still sitting on the shore looking like a surprised filly. “Oh c’mon Wubs, It’s not that bad! Jump in already!”
Wubsy glared at her before slowly walking into the lake and lowering herself in. Now that she was submerged, the water didn’t feel nearly as cold. In fact, the warmer surface water took the chill out of the spray she had been treated to. Wubsy dived down and paddled around for a second before coming back up and giggling a little. “Wow, this is great. I’ve never been swimming before.”
Vinyl looked at the purple mare treading water beside her. “You’d never know it. You’re a natural.”
Wubsy looked down at her hooves, which were moving about and keeping her afloat. “Yeah. I was wondering about that. I’m not sure if I got it from Cloud Kicker or if it’s just instinct, but swimming feels familiar.”
“Oh yeah? Well let’s see how good you are.” Vinyl’s head disappeared suddenly and Wubsy looked around the lake. There were no bubbles to give away Vinyl’s location and the water wasn’t calm enough to look for ripples. The changeling looked into the water, trying to see some sign of her friend but unable to see even her own hooves in the murky water.
She was about to strike out for shore when she felt a tug on her back hoof, and she was only just able to take a lungful of air before she was pulled underwater. She playfully wrestled with Vinyl under the surface for a few seconds before they both headed topside and burst from the depths, laughing happily.
“This is too much fun,” Wubsy laughed. “I’m having the time of my life!”
“Yeah,” Vinyl agreed. “There’s nothing quite like getting wet with a friend on a hot summer’s day.”
“You could have just asked,” Wubsy returned. “I would have been glad to get you wet.”
Both ponies looked at each other with the same shocked expressions on their faces. “What did you say, Wubsy?” Vinyl asked.
Wubsy fumbled around an excuse for a second.
“Hey, Wubs. I’m flattered and all and it’s not like I haven’t thought about it before but... I mean I have Tavi to think about and...”
“No! It’s not like that, I swear! It was Cloud Kicker! She thought it and it just slipped out!”
Vinyl knew all too well of Cloud Kicker’s overactive libido and her penchant for hitting on anything with hooves. But the statement, innocent as it may have been, opened a new door that Vinyl had been intentionally ignoring. Vinyl shook the thought from her head. That wasn’t a good way to be thinking. Wubsy was too innocent and naive to take advantage of like that.
“Alright. I’ll let you off the hook because I know what Kicker is like.” Vinyl smiled, trying to play the whole thing off as a joke. But Wubsy had other thoughts.
“Wait just one second, Vinyl Scratch. You’re not getting off that easy. Did I just hear you say you’ve thought about it?” Wubsy asked in a mock scandalized voice. “You’ve been fantasizing about me? Vinyl, I had no idea!”
It was Vinyl’s turn to panic as the accusation landed. “Hey, that’s not what I meant! I was just trying to let you down easy, you know? I have Octavia and--”
“So if Octavia wasn’t around you’d jump me?” Wubsy asked, fluttering her eyelashes playfully.
A frown crossed Vinyl’s face. “You know something, I’m not sure I like you as Cloud Kicker. I forgot just how predatory she can be.”
Wubsy laughed as Vinyl's eyes narrowed in a scowl, the corner of her mouth twitching as she fought back a smile. Soon enough Vinyl couldn’t hold back any longer and started laughing as well. They played in the water a while longer, splashing and giggling, and eventually headed back to dry land to lie out in the warm sun and dry their coats.
Wubsy stretched out with a luxurious sigh, letting her wings unfurl and lay out on the grass at her sides. “Something got you excited, Wubs?” Vinyl teased.
Wubsy looked at her with confusion. “What do you mean?”
“Well you’re popping a serious wingie there.”
This didn’t help Wubsy’s comprehension in the slightest. “I don’t get it. What’s a wingie, and why are you grinning like that?”
Any further teasing was cut off by the sound of approaching hoof-falls on the gravel path nearby. Two mares walked along the path, chatting merrily through their walk.
“Pull your wings in,” Vinyl whispered urgently. Wubsy complied just as the mares turned the corner and came close enough for Wubsy and Vinyl to overhear the topic of their conversation.
“... think it’s a great idea as far as it goes, I’m just not sure it’s enough.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. These things are dangerous. It seems like we could be a lot more careful about it.”
Rarity and Rainbow Dash rounded the corner and Wubsy looked over to see Vinyl’s concerned expression, which the unicorn quickly hid. Vinyl was well aware that Cloud Kicker worked with Dash on the weather team and knew this could go south very quickly.
“I trust Twilight’s plan obviously,” the posh dressmaker commented. “I’m just not sure it’s enough. Those changelings are crafty. We can’t afford to let our guard down for even a moment.”
The prismatic daredevil nodded her agreement. “I think we should be on the attack! That queen has to be running low on juice after getting zapped by Twi’s brother. I don’t see why Celestia doesn’t just march in there and burn the changeling hive to the ground and be done with it.”
Rarity shrugged. “A bit heavy-hooved, perhaps, but I can’t argue with the sentiment. All we did was repel them. There’s nothing to stop them just coming back and trying again. And we can’t keep the precautions up forever; if we keep playing defensively they’ll eventually find a way through. We need to go on the attack and-- Oh, look who it is.”
Dash followed the unicorn’s hoof and saw Vinyl and Cloud Kicker laying out on the grass. She nodded her head toward them and Rarity obliged, joining her friend as they approached the relaxing ponies.
“Good afternoon Vinyl, Cloud Kicker. Nice to see you both again.”
Vinyl and Wubsy rose to their hooves. “Good to see you too, Rarity. Still keeping cool, Dash?”
Dash and Vinyl shared a quick hoof-pound. “You know it, Vi. And you? Still dropping beats like nopony’s business?”
Vinyl laughed. “You caught me at the wedding, didn’t you? Why don’t you tell me?”
Dash returned the laughter. “Fair enough. And you, Kicker? Trying to score a bedroom mambo with the town’s leading DJ?”
Vinyl was a bit worried about how Wubsy would respond, seeing as she wasn’t aware that the pony she was currently impersonating was Dash’s direct subordinate on the weather team.
“You know it! Can’t keep me down, I’m always on the move!” the changeling crowed in a dead-perfect imitation of Kicker’s usual energy.
Dash smirked. “Well I think you got your work cut out for you. From what I hear, Octavia’s pretty particular about who she lets Vi mess around with.”
Wubsy gave Vinyl a lecherous sidelong glance. “That’s fine; I love a challenge.” Vinyl shuddered at the uncanny accuracy of her performance.
Rarity cleared her throat to change the subject. “Well Dash and I were just discussing the recent changeling countermeasures. I know we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.”
Wubsy didn’t miss a beat. “I think they’re great, those changelings sound terrifying. We can’t be too careful in my opinion.”
This single statement petrified Vinyl. Nopony could quite make out her expression with her eyes hidden behind her glasses, but her body tensed at what she had heard.
“You alright, Vi?” Dash inquired with a bit of concern.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m just not sure about this whole thing.”
Rarity and Dash looked at each other in surprise and then back to her. “Care to elaborate, dear?” Rarity prompted gently.
“Yeah. I just think that deciding off-hoofedly that every single changeling is some evil monster just because of what the queen did is a bit shallow.”
Dash chuckled nervously. “Well c’mon, Vi. You gotta admit that--”
“I’m not finished!” Vinyl let frustration crack her facade just slightly. Fortunately she realized she was going down a dangerous path and switched tactics. “You know how I was treated when I came out? I was treated like an outcast. I was ostracised because my family, the ponies I needed to understand most, were so busy trying to put on a good show of accepting me for who I am they forgot to do any of the actual accepting.” She stomped her hoof on the ground as her mouth twisted into an indignant grimace. “I’ve spent my entire life having to fight against the currents of stereotypes and prejudices just to make an impression that’s more than just ‘that fillyfooler’ and you’ll excuse me if I take umbrage at anypony who judges another pony on what they are rather than who. You want them to burn down the hive, Dash? What’s next? Do you want them to start on the fillyfooler bars after they’re done? If you ask me, the entire CLEaR team is nothing more than a hate group!”
Vinyl knew that would hit home. Dash may have been in the closet, but Vinyl had seen her sneaking into the clubs in Canterlot from time to time and hiding close to the walls, desperately trying to pretend she wasn’t there. The distinctive rainbow mane would stand out against the walls of any club, much less the sort Vinyl and Octavia frequented. Seeing Ponyville’s resident daredevil sneaking around like a guilty foal had a tendency to draw the eye.
Dash looked utterly taken aback. “Woah, cool your jets Scratch. I get what you’re saying and you’ve got a point. I dunno that I’d trust a changeling, but I don’t wanna judge somepony just for being who they are. I didn’t mean to offend you.”
The concession was more to calm the enraged unicorn than anything else, but Dash could somewhat see her point as well.
Rarity however was staring daggers. She eyed Vinyl with venom as Dash said her farewells and continued along the path. Rarity turned to follow, choosing a route that took her within whispering distance of Vinyl. “You should be careful what you say Vinyl, or somepony may get it in their head that you’re a changeling sympathizer.”
“Last I checked, a little sympathy was a good thing,” the DJ bit back.
“Remember this and remember it well,” the fashionista hissed. “Twilight Sparkle is a very dear friend of mine. She’s one of the kindest and most understanding ponies I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. If I hear a single whisper about her being the ringleader of a hate group again, I’ll be looking for you.”
“Hey Rarity!” Dash called from a few yards up the path. “Are you coming or what?”
“Of course Dash,” Rarity replied, her aristocratic chill returning like a light switch had been flipped. She cantered with poise to join her friend and the two mares continued their walk along the sunlit path leaving a fuming Vinyl and an extremely worried Cloud Kicker in their wake.
“You didn’t have to do that Vinyl,” Wubsy said as soon as they were alone again. “You didn’t really make things any better.”
“I disagree,” Vinyl said with a hint of a smile. “I’m not going to sit around and watch two ponies who don’t know any better go around bad mouthing somepony they’ve never even met. Besides, if you’re ever going to have a chance to live a normal life, somepony is gonna to have to stand up and point out that the entire town is acting like a bunch of knee-jerk idiots.”
Wubsy smiled. “That’s very sweet of you, Vinyl. You’re a really good friend, standing up for me like that.”
“Yeah well don’t go lauding my virtue just yet. Hearing them talk like that struck a really bad chord with me. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I’m not so sure that if I hadn’t found you, I wouldn’t be agreeing with them wholeheartedly. I guess I kinda snapped because I saw who I could have been and I didn’t like it.”
Wubsy put her hooves around Vinyl’s neck in a hug. “I couldn’t blame you. After everything the changelings have done, everything I’ve done, it’s no wonder everypony is so upset. What matters is you know better and you’re being more supportive than I have any reason to expect.”
The two of them shared a quiet moment together and turned to go. With the sun beginning to dip, Octavia would be expecting home before long.
“That was a pretty impressive speech, Vinyl. I never pegged you as a pony to use words like ‘umbrage.’”
Vinyl blushed. “Well I can’t take all the credit. I actually lifted most of that speech from Octavia. My parents were really cool when I came out.”
Wubsy laughed at this and pretty soon had Vinyl chuckling alongside her. Then they both fell silent as they walked towards town, watching the beautiful colors of the sunset light the sky ablaze. They said nothing, just enjoying each other’s company. Until...
“So should we bang now?” Wubsy asked without warning.
“Bwah?” Vinyl almost faceplanted into the gravel path when the shock of the question hit her.
“Sorry. It’s this whole Cloud Kicker thing, it’s really throwing me off.”
They arrived back at the house and opened the door to find Octavia sitting on the couch, a cup of tea in her hooves and a conflicted look on her face. “Oh hello, girls. Why don’t you come have a seat? I’ve got a story to tell you that will knock you off your hooves.”
Vinyl looked at Wubsy, who shrugged and nodded over to the couch. They joined Octavia and turned to her in expectation. “Alright Tavi, spill the beans. What happened?”
Octavia took a long, slow sip from her tea. “You two will not believe the day I had. Get comfortable because you aren’t going to want to miss a moment of this.”