• Published 30th Jun 2014
  • 7,137 Views, 156 Comments

20% Sweetier - Hap

Sweetie Belle magically derails a science experiment, causing her to switch bodies with Rainbow Dash. They try to masquerade as each other, but the weather team needs help and Diamond Tiara, well, is Diamond Tiara.

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Chapter 1: Half-Baked

Twenty Percent Sweetier

Chapter 1: Half-Baked

Scootaloo peeked around the edge of the doorway, hesitant to greet the other ponies already in the makeshift basement laboratory of the Golden Oak Library. Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom were bickering over a pot of dirt and a box of odds and ends. Twilight Sparkle’s wings poked out of her labcoat as she bent down to fiddle with a tangled mess of wires surrounding Rainbow Dash.

“Heya, kid,” Rainbow said with a grin.

“Oh, you’re here!” Twilight said. “Come on in, Scootaloo.”

“Yeah, stop wasting time up there. I got things to do, and I’m gonna do them faster than necessary,” Rainbow said with a wink. “Don’t make me come out there, ‘cuz, uh,” —she lifted one hoof and made a show of examining the multi-colored wires sprouting from every square inch of her body— “Twilight’s already got me plugged in here.”

Scootaloo shuffled down the stairs, regarding the gauge-covered machine with wide eyes as it spat out long strips of chart paper. Her gaze was inevitably drawn to the Scootaloo-shaped hole surrounded by a tangle of wires similar to Rainbow's. She let out something between a gasp and a whimper, snapping her head around to look in the opposite direction.

Twilight let out a sigh and glanced at the clock. Before she could speak up, Rainbow poked her with a wing and whispered, “Give her a minute, this is a big day for her.” Twilight grumbled but went back to fiddling with dials and switches.

With a nervous laugh, Scootaloo darted to a position in between Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, and peered into the box as they unpacked it. “So… what are you guys working on today?” She attempted a smile but achieved only a sweating grimace.

Sweetie popped up with a grin that threatened to outshine the sun. “I’m using my magic to help Apple Bloom make a potion!”

“Betcha can’t guess what the potion’s for!” Apple Bloom said with a smirk.

Scootaloo stuck out her tongue and pondered the objects on the table in front of her. In addition to the pot of soil, there was a small pile of apple seeds, a sheaf of wheat, a pat of butter, three sticks of curled cinnamon, and something that looked like bamboo. Her eyes widened as they fell upon the last object, a strange flower with heat waves shimmering off of its strangely square petals, arranged in concentric rings of white, yellow, and red. “What…” she said as she reached a hoof toward the curious blossom, “is that?”

Apple Bloom slapped Scootaloo’s hoof away then said, “Zecora says it’s a fire flower, an’ it was really hard to get.” She narrowed her eyes and pulled the tiny flowerpot away from careless hooves, adding, “So try not to smush it.”

“Okay, I give up,” Scootaloo said. “What’s the potion for?”

Puffing out her chest with a grin, Apple Bloom took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and opened her mouth to speak. She was then interrupted by Sweetie who sprung into the air and gushed, “I’m making apple pie!” She bounced up and down with a sparkle in her eye and joy bubbling out of her heart.

Apple Bloom crushed that joy with a heavy glare. “No, I’m makin’ a potion that’ll grow an apple pie tree. Sweetie’s usin’ her magic to combine the ingredients.”

“Come ooooooon, Apple Bloom! Rarity won’t let me use the oven anymore,” Sweetie said, throwing herself on the floor and hugging the earth filly’s leg.

“An’ I don’t want you burnin’ down mah…” Apple Bloom looked around, scrunching her eyebrows at the lack of ovens or other cooking appliances. “Um, I guess that’s the point. We’re gonna make a tree that grows the whole pie, so ya can’t set nothin’ on fire.”

Sweetie pouted up at Apple Bloom, her lip quivering and the corners of her eyes drooping toward the floor.

Apple Bloom rolled her eyes and sighed. “Fine. I suppose we can say that we’re makin’ an apple pie, together.” As she helped Sweetie to her hooves, Apple Bloom added, “Actually, if this works, then there’ll be a whole bun—” She grinned. “A whole bushel of apple pies!”

Everypony in the room watched her roll around the ground in spasms of laughter, kicking and gasping. Several moments of this passed as the other ponies pretended to chuckle and made uneasy eye contact with each other. Apple Bloom finally climbed to her hooves. She wiped a tear from the corner of one eye, and when she had caught her breath she said, “Heh, apples.”

Sweetie leaned over to Scootaloo and threw a foreleg around her shoulders, whispering, “I’m sure glad my family isn’t that weird, am I right or what?”

Scootaloo gazed blankly straight ahead, chewing on the inside of one cheek. She blinked.

With a silly and completely unjustified grin still on her face, Apple Bloom said, “C’mon Sweetie, let’s get set up.”

“Hold on a second,” Scootaloo said. “I get the fire flower, that’s how the pie gets baked on the tree. But since when do you put bamboo in an apple pie?”

“Oh, Scootaloo,” Sweetie said with a patronizing grin, “you’ve never baked a pie before, have you?”

Apple Bloom rolled her eyes again. “It’s not bamboo, it’s sugar cane.”

Sweetie mimicked Apple Bloom’s eye-roll. “Heh, yeah, that’s totally what I meant. Heh heh…”

Scootaloo regarded Sweetie through narrowed eyes. “Uh huh.” She snuck a glance at the imposing machine that waited for her, then asked, “Is there anything I can do to help you guys? Anything at all?”

Apple Bloom squinted one eye and raised the opposing eyebrow, a look that she’d been practicing since her earliest crusading days, when Applejack would evaluate their plans with nothing more than that face. Apple Bloom wasn’t quite ready to pull it off without any words, so she went ahead and asked, “Scoots, shouldn’t y’all be over there, gettin’ hooked up to the whatsit machine?”

Scootaloo looked over her shoulder toward Twilight and Rainbow Dash, who both nodded vigorously in reply to Apple Bloom’s question. At this, Scootaloo hung her head and began shuffling over to their side of the basement.

When Rainbow saw Scootaloo dragging her hooves, she reached out and poked Twilight with a wire-covered wing. “Hey Twilight, why don’t you get us a glass of lemonade, or something?” Rainbow gestured toward the kitchen with her eyes.

“Huh? Oh, right!” Twilight said. “I’ll, um, give you two some privacy.” She winked at Rainbow and trotted toward the kitchen.

Rainbow facehoofed at Twilight’s lack of subtlety, but it seemed like Scootaloo hadn’t noticed. She merely continued her trudge toward the machine where Rainbow fidgeted and squirmed.

When Scootaloo had finally shuffled close enough to Rainbow, she extended a wire-draped wing to ruffle the filly’s mane before drawing her into a side-hug. “C’mere, squirt. Do you wanna tell me why you’re suddenly very un-excited? I thought you wanted to do this empanada of propriety?”

Scootaloo recoiled slightly and looked up at Rainbow Dash with a mixture of confusion, pity, and awe. “The empathic proprioception test?”

“Yeah, whatever.” Rainbow rolled her eyes. “You wanted to know why you’re having trouble flying, and with this machine, I can feel what you feel when you try to fly, like the position of your wings and your muscles. That’s the whole point of today, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Scootaloo said, then just sighed. After a moment of looking at the floor, she said, “I’m just kinda nervous is all.”

Rainbow knelt down to meet the filly at eye level. “If it’s a technique problem, then I can give you personal lessons, even use this machine to show you how it feels to use your wings. If it’s a physical problem, then I can design some exercises for you. Don’t worry, kid, you got this.”

With a tiny sniffle, Scootaloo looked up at Rainbow. “But what if there’s nothing wrong at all? Maybe I’m just a failure.”

Careful to not detach any of the wires, Rainbow stood and puffed out her chest, striking her bravest and most confidence-inspiring pose. “So what if you find out that you can’t fly? That doesn’t make you a failure. Even on the ground, you’re one hundred twenty percent awesome!”

Scootaloo blushed and looked up. “Thanks, Rainbow Dash.”

Twilight trotted out of the kitchen carrying a tray with her magic, still wearing her labcoat and safety goggles. As she carefully set the tray on the table and began pouring glasses of lemonade, she poked her goggles and giggled. “You know, I didn’t think that making lemonade would be that dangerous, but if it wasn’t for these goggles, I would have gotten lemon juice in my eyes. I think I’m going to wear them every time I use the kitchen from now on.”

As Rainbow picked up a glass, Twilight put a hoof to her chin and said, “Actually, I think I’m going to write a letter to Princess Celestia, recommending that everypony wear safety goggles while cooking. SPIKE! Make a note.”

Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo both looked all around the basement, but saw no sign of Spike, and no sign that Twilight noticed the lack of baby dragon. With a shrug of her shoulders, Rainbow downed her lemonade in one gulp.

Scootaloo didn’t reach for a glass.

“Aren’t you gonna drink your lemonade, Scoots? Twilight risked her life to make this tasty beverage.” Rainbow set her empty glass back on the tray.

“Nah,” Scootaloo said, prompting Rainbow to hastily grab another glass and begin drinking. “I don’t want to drink a bunch of lemonade just before I get hooked up to a machine for who knows how long.”

Rainbow froze mid-gulp, with wide eyes shifting left and right, before she chugged the rest of the glass. She dramatically wiped her mouth with one fetlock, then said, “Heh, I’m not worried. Why don’t you hit the bathroom before we get started, ‘cuz, you know, I don’t want to have to wait for you to get disconnected right in the middle of the impressive prognostication.”

Twilight scrunched her nose like she smelled a homeless Diamond Dog. “You mean the empathic proprioception?”

“Don’t care,” Rainbow said. “You do the science stuff, I do the flyin’ stuff.”

Scootaloo slid sideways, away from Rainbow Dash. “Oookay, well, I’m just gonna go use the bathroom, really quick.” She disappeared in an orange blur, leaving an adorable little cloud of dust behind.

As she picked up the tray, Twilight leaned over to Rainbow Dash, narrowed her eyes, and whispered, “Empathic. Pro-prio-ception.” She raised one eyebrow, shot Rainbow a hard look, then trotted back to the kitchen, sipping her own lemonade.

“Aw, they’ve got lemonade over there!” Sweetie said.

“Don’ worry ‘bout that, Sweetie Belle,” Apple Bloom said as she carefully arranged her ingredients on a marble-topped laboratory table. “We can buy all the lemonade we want when we have an apple pie tree.”

Sweetie sat down, crossed her forelegs and pouted. “But I’m thirsty nowwwwwww!

“We can get a drink when we’re done with the potion. For now, y’all need to concentrate on the combinin’ spell Twilight taught ya.” Her pink bow bobbed as she zipped back and forth between the table and a chalkboard, checking and re-checking her calculus.

Sweetie’s mouth began to water as she watched Rainbow reach for her second glass of lemonade. Rainbow laughed and tossed her mane back in slow-motion, full of sparkles and floating in some ethereal breeze, as the thirsty pegasus tasted the sweet citrus nectar and smiled the smile of those who have tasted life in its fullness.

Sweetie wished that her friend was named Lemon Bloom and had a lemon farm and was about to grow a lemonade tree.

Apple Bloom poked Sweetie with a hoof, prompting her to wipe the drool off of her chin. She turned back to the table in front of her and sighed as she looked at the nonsensical arrangement of ingredients. With one last jealous glance at Rainbow Dash chugging lemonade, Sweetie grumbled and tried to remember Twilight’s combining spell.

“Now remember,” Apple Bloom said, “the order of the ingredients is important. The tree can’t bake the pie too early, and we don’t want the crust on the inside neither.”

Sweetie licked her teeth and narrowed her eyes in an intense focus, muttering sideways, “Yeah, just like baking an apple pie.”

“NO!” Apple Bloom shouted. “Don’t think of it as bakin’! It’s just magic, just a combinin’ spell!” She danced on her hooftips, chewing her bottom lip and begging, “Please, Sweetie, don’t think about bakin’ at all!”

With a confident grin and a raised eyebrow, Sweetie placed one calming hoof on Apple Bloom’s chest. “Relax. I got this.”

Sweetie turned back to the experiment, took a deep breath and stuck out her tongue. She pointed her horn at the table and started to concentrate. The air crackled and hummed with raw power as the universe bent to her childish will. Her horn glowed a cheerful green and threw sparks of the same color that drifted gently to the floor at her hooves. She could feel the spell taking hold as she closed her eyes and concentrated on the complex shapes that represented the leylines of each individual ingredient before her.

When the spell had woven itself in her mind’s eye, she released the burst of magical energy. Unfortunately, while her eyes were closed, the angle of her head had wandered slightly, so that the magic beam missed the table of precisely-arranged ingredients. Perhaps more unfortunately, her mind had also wandered slightly; her thirsty thoughts weaved Rainbow Dash into her spell.

The bolt of emerald magic shot out of Sweetie’s horn, burning a swath through the air as it passed a wide-eyed Apple Bloom, who turned her head to follow the ill-fated trajectory. The arcane energy passed by the apple seeds and cinnamon, flew over the pot of rich soil, and sailed directly toward Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow’s eyes went wide when she noticed the bolt coming her way. She tensed for a takeoff that was impossible in her tangle of wires. Realizing that she was trapped, her pupils shrink as the green reflection grew in her eyes.

The blast of magic hit like an arc of lightning, connecting Sweetie Belle and Rainbow Dash, blasting them both into the air and stretching out their limbs in electric spasms. A piercing viridian light permeated both ponies, highlighting their skeletons, before finally dissolving into a faint glow that faded as they climbed to their hooves.

A halting voice came from the kitchen: “Thaaaat… can’t be a good sound.”

Twilight was certain that somepony was getting in trouble out there. She just wasn’t sure whether it was the young, irresponsible, immature Cutie Mark Crusaders, or the young, irresponsible, immature Rainbow Dash. She rolled her eyes, and left the lemonade pitcher on the counter before turning to check on the ruckus.

When she stuck her head around the corner, she saw surprisingly little damage, though Rainbow Dash and Sweetie both had fork-in-the-toaster manestyles. The empathic proprioception machine seemed mostly intact, but some of the wires looked a bit toasty around the connectors. Twilight allowed herself a grin as she trotted over to Sweetie and Apple Bloom.

Twilight wrapped a wing around Sweetie, and said between chuckles, “Sweetie, I absolutely love what you’ve done with your mane!”

Across the room, Rainbow Dash squeaked, “What’s wrong with my mane!?”

Before Twilight and Apple Bloom had a chance to try outdoing each others’ confused faces, Scootaloo bounced back into the room, humming part of the Crusaders’ theme song. She froze in mid-air when she saw Rainbow Dash standing wide-eyed, with wisps of smoke curling off of her frizzy ears.

With a gasp, Scootaloo zipped over to the machine, standing in front of a still-dazed Rainbow Dash. “Omigosh Rainbow, are you oka—”

Scootaloo cut herself off with a snort, then a giggle, then a guffaw. “Hahaha, Rainbow Dash, I TOLD you not to drink so much!” She turned around to face the others, and pointed at the floor under the multicolored pegasus, struggling to speak through her laughter. “Rainbow peed herself!”

“I did NOT!” Sweetie said, her voice cracking.

Rainbow Dash looked down, pouted, and began to cry great arcing streams of tears, adding to the puddle on the floor.

Dainty grunts filled the air as Sweetie heaved her shoulders rapidly. Her pace slowed when she looked across the room and saw Rainbow Dash. She turned her head to look at her own back, panting. “Twilight,” the tiny unicorn filly said as she narrowed her eyes and turned to face the princess. “What did you do to me this time?”

Scootaloo, still cackling with glee, interrupted Twilight’s reply, pointing a hoof at Sweetie. “Rainbow, you—” snnnkt “—you p-peed in the machine! Bwahahaha, even I know that’s bad for electronics!”

“I did NOT!” Sweetie said, “Sweetie Belle peed after I left!” She shoved Scootaloo for emphasis, causing her to fall over where she continued to roll in laughter.

Rainbow had recovered enough by this time to join in the bickering. “It wasn’t me! Rainbow peed before I got here,” she said, stomping a wet hoof and pouting with wounded eyes.

Apple Bloom shouted, “ENOUGH!” and looked from Rainbow to Sweetie and back again. “I think we can all agree that, whoever peed, gettin’ struck by some kinda magical lightnin’ is a durn good excuse.” She looked up at Twilight and added, “Doncha agree, Twilight?”

But Twilight was too busy drooling and twitching her eye to respond. Luckily, Spike chose that moment to walk into the library with Rarity.

“Alright,” Spike intoned, “who broke Twilight this time?”

Apple Bloom pointed first at Sweetie Belle, then at Rainbow Dash, while Scootaloo did the opposite, and Sweetie and Rainbow pointed at each other. Spike slapped his forehead.

“Oh,” Rarity giggled, walking over to her little sister, “Sweetie, what have you done to your mane?”

“I don’t know,” Rainbow cried, “and nopony will give me a mir-ror-or-or!” She sniffled, lifting one hoof and tugging ineffectually on the tangled wires that held her in place. “Rarity, help me!”

Rarity raised one eyebrow and pursed her lips. “Buh?” About thirty-seven rapid blinks later, she had regained her senses. “Rainbow, what in the world has gotten into you?”

With an unamused expression, Sweetie replied, “Sweetie Belle.” When Rarity looked down at her, she continued, “And I’ve gotten into her, apparently.”

“R-Rainbow? Is that you?” Rarity asked her sister incredulously.


Rarity turned to the motionless Twilight and gave her an experimental poke with one dainty hoof. Twilight snapped out of her reverie with a shake of her head, then grabbed Rarity with both forehooves. “I’ve figured it out!”

“Yes, dear,” Rarity said, “we know that Rainbow Dash and Sweetie Belle have switched bodies.”

“No,” Twilight shook her head, “I know how it happened. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle were trying to make an apple pie tr—”

“What!” Rarity said. “You let her cook with magic? No wonder…”

Apple Bloom harrumphed and butted in front of Rarity, poking her with an adorably tiny, yet accusatory, hoof. “No, I was makin’ a potion to grow an apple pie tree. Sweetie was just usin’ her magic to combine the ingredients.”

“I just wanted to help,” Rainbow said with a pout.

Twilight trotted over to the machine, and began pulling wires off of Rainbow while she continued her explanation. “The empathic proprioception machine was hooked up directly to Rainbow’s nervous system, the same way a unicorn’s horn is connected to her magic. When Sweetie’s combining spell missed, the magic was absorbed by these wires, combining Sweetie with Rainbow’s body, and Rainbow followed the magical arc back to Sweetie’s Body.”

Rarity lifted one hoof disdainfully as she approached the puddle. “Sweetie, did you—”

“NO! Rainbow peed before I got here.”


Apple Bloom rolled her eyes and heaved a frustrated sigh.

While Twilight tried to assess the state of the empathic proprioception machine, Rainbow Dash stepped out of the bathroom, attempting to dry herself off with one of Twilight’s fluffiest towels. However, her long legs made her stumble into bookshelves and her extra limbs kept catching on the towel, eliciting winces from both her and Sweetie.

Sweetie shouted across the room, “Hey, careful with the feathers! Rarity, make her be careful with my feathers.”

“Rarity, make her fix my mane! She’s doing it wrong,” Rainbow retorted.

“Look what she’s doing to my mane. Curls are totally un-aerodynamic! Besides, I’m not supposed to be beautiful, I’m supposed to be” —Sweetie dropped into an aggressive stance, legs braced wide against the floor, head down with a big grin— “awesome!” Her unkempt mane, in Rainbow Dash’s typical low-maintenance aerodynamic style, flopped over one eye.

Twilight ignored the bickering and trotted over to Rarity. “I have good news! It should be easy enough to reverse the body swap, but I’ll have to modify the machine to work both ways because I don’t think Rainbow can safely replicate Sweetie’s accidental spell. I can probably have it finished in a day or two.”

“Oh, thank goodness!” Rarity brought one hoof up to her chest. “Now I won’t feel guilty for laughing at them,” she said with a snicker, hiding her face behind a book.

Spike walked up with an armful of books and said, “I know what you mean! Look at ‘em go.” He set down the books and planted his hands on his hips, chuckling along with Rarity. A moment later, he gasped, and his green eyes grew wide along with his toothy smile. He reached out with both arms and pulled Twilight and Rarity into a huddle, speaking in a soft voice. “You know what would be hilarious? If they had to pretend to be each other until they switch back!”

“Actually,” Twilight began with a devilish grin, looking from Spike to Rarity and back, “Rainbow Dash is always telling me how great pranks are. We could make up a reason for them not to tell anypony. You know, just for a little while. To objectively measure the humorous potential.”

The argument behind them faded into the background. Spike was dancing with excitement as he whispered, “Yes! We have to do it!”

Rarity chewed her lip for a moment, then spoke up. “As funny as that might be, I’m not sure that it’s very nice to play such a joke on our friends, not to mention my little sister.”

A perceptive pony would have realized that the faces Spike was making meant that he was torn between the potential for a hilarious practical joke, and wanting to agree with Rarity. Instead, Rarity chalked it up to indigestion, and patted him on the back.

Twilight said, “You’re right. Let’s not make things any more difficult for them.”

As they broke the huddle and turned back to the room, Rainbow and Sweetie marched up to them with grim determination on their faces. Sweetie said, “We can’t tell anypony. Me and Sweetie Belle will pretend to be each other for a day or two until you put us back.”

With a nod, Rainbow said, “Apple Bloom is right, it doesn’t matter who peed. Nopony can find out.”

Twilight held up a hoof and asked, “Couldn’t you just leave out the part about p—”

Her completely reasonable question was cut off by a pair of claws pinching her muzzle shut. “Good idea!” Spike said with a cheerful nod.

Rainbow Dash grew a confident grin. “The weather for the next couple days is easy peasy. All I have to do is” —she shot a covert glance at Sweetie— “sleep in an apple tree?”

“Yep, easy. I’ve got the hard part,” Sweetie said as she shined one hoof on her coat. “I have to try not to be awesome, ‘cuz I don’t wanna accidentally get Sweetie’s cutie mark for her.”

“Yes,” Rarity said with a giggle, “this is a grand idea.”

Author's Note:

Chapter 1 has been edited by the venerable RazgrizS57