• Published 25th Nov 2014
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Being You - bahatumay



Applejack and Rainbow Dash decide to settle a bet about who works harder by recruiting changelings to imponyate each other.

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Setting Up

As terrible as it may sound, many tribalist jabs do have some basis in reality. Earth ponies are known for their durability and resilience, and any earth pony would agree that this was true.

This extended to their tolerance for alcohol. Applejack woke up the next morning with a mild headache, nothing that a large glass of water and a warm shower couldn’t fix.

As she sat up, though, she came face to face with a much-more-miserable-looking Rainbow Dash. Her mane was unkempt, her eyes were half-closed, bloodshot, and drooping, and her disheveled coat carried traces of the hay from the floor where she’d spent the night.

“Mornin’,” Applejack said cheerfully.

“Not so loud,” Rainbow growled/pleaded.

“I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Applejack said, a wide smile crossing her face.

“Right. I can't believe you didn't let me in last night,” Rainbow complained.

“You didn’t ask.”

“That’s because I passed out.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed. I mean, the words stopped, but that was about it.”

Rainbow made as though she wanted to give Applejack a semi-friendly slap upside the head with her wing, but just extending it sent waves of nausea coursing through her body, and she ended up stumbling and groaning instead.

Applejack suppressed a giggle. Part of her wanted to leave Rainbow here, but earth ponies are also known for being generous, and that was another stereotype that Applejack fit. “You can shower first if you want, and I’ll make you breakfast,” she offered.

“Thanks,” Rainbow murmured, slowly rotating and shuffling back towards the bathroom.

* * *

After a nice hearty breakfast, two tall glasses of pure apple juice, and more water than had fallen in yesterday’s rainshower, Rainbow had managed to regain a semblance of normality.

“So did you think any more about our idea last night?”

Applejack paused on her plate scraping. “Our what?”

“You know, the whole replace-each-other-with-a-changeling thing.”

Applejack set the plate on the drying rack and dried her hooves. “You were serious about that, were you?”

“Well, yeah,” Rainbow said. “I mean, I wasn't entirely serious before; but now that I’ve thought about it, it might be pretty fun.”

“Fun,” Applejack repeated dryly.

“Yeah, fun.”

“For my changeling, anyway,” Applejack grinned, beginning to warm up to this idea. “Just gotta remind it to snore while it's napping 22/7.”

Rainbow straightened up indignantly. “Oh, yeah? My changeling is going to have to take boring classes at Ponyville Community College just to pretend to be you.”

“That’s it,” Applejack said firmly, throwing down her rag. “We’re settling this.” She paused, and frowned. They were missing a very important piece of this competition. “But where would we find a changeling?” she wondered.

Rainbow tapped her chin. “I have an idea.”

* * *

“I see.” Twilight turned around and focused on reshelving her book. “Interesting tidbit of information: in not-too-recent history, unicorn nobility used to debate proposals twice, once sober and once drunk, to make sure that whatever they were proposing sounded good in both states.”

“And so this passes that test, right?” Rainbow asked.

Twilight spun around. “No!” she nearly shouted. “This is ridiculous! You intentionally want changelings to imponyate you?”

“No, we intentionally want changelings to imponyate each other,” Rainbow corrected. “There’s a difference.”

Twilight facehoofed. “That’s even worse,” she said.

“It’s brilliant,” Rainbow argued. “We just get the changelings to do our best impression of each other. First one outed is the loser.”

“Not only is that asinine, it’s risky,” Twilight pointed out. “Ithri and Remi would never… that is…” Her voice trailed off as she realized she had said too much. “I… uh…”

“Who?” Applejack asked.

“Nopony,” Twilight said, a bit too quickly. She turned to replace a book on her shelf.

Rainbow darted around so she could glare at Twilight right in the eyes. “You know where we can find changelings, don’t you?” she asked, eyebrows narrowed. “You’re hiding them somewhere. You’re holding out on us!”

“What?” Twilight said far too quickly. “No, of course not! That’d be silly! What, do you think I’d agree to keep a couple of changelings hidden in exchange for the chance to do a little studying on them and maybe practice some of my social skills in a non-threatening environment?”

Rainbow narrowed her eyes even further.

“That… sounds exactly like somethin’ you’d do, sugarcube” Applejack admitted.

Twilight exhaled, defeated. “Well, I might,” she amended, “and I might know where they are; but I doubt they’d be up to it. You’re basically asking for them to get caught, and they’re really trying to not, you know, get caught.”

Applejack and Rainbow Dash shared a grin. “It’s worth a shot,” Rainbow said.

* * *

It really was a nondescript apartment. Had they not been looking for it, they might have ignored it completely. After double-checking the number on the battered mailbox hanging from the dingy wall, Rainbow Dash knocked on the door in the pattern, one knock, four in a lilting pattern, then two.

“Who is it?” came a voice from behind the door.

“A friend looking for a favor,” Rainbow repeated.

“A favor? From who?”

“A bug in pony’s clothing,” Rainbow answered, giving the password Twilight had provided.

The door clicked, and slid open. Two stallions stood there. They looked like twins with their colors reversed; almost like the spa twins except male, and with a darker color scheme. “Then come in.”

Rainbow's eyes flicked between them, and then she kicked the door shut and started. “So you’re Ithri and Remi,” she said.

“I’m Ithri,” the one said

“I’m Remi,” the other said. “Or, I could be Ithri.”

“Or I could be Remi,” the first continued.

“But we can be whoever you want,” they said in unison, smiling widely.

Rainbow blinked. She could have sworn that Remi’s teeth had gleamed.

“That was creepy,” Applejack said, taking the tiniest of steps back.

“Did you think so?” Ithri asked, sounding disappointed. “We’re trying to figure out a way to make our introduction more appealing.”

“It kindof sounds like you're running a scam,” Applejack said. She didn't exactly get along with the last set of twins she'd met who had had a rehearsed introduction like that.

Remi frowned. “Ah well,” he said. “We'll just keep… adapting.” He chuckled lightly, as if at an inside joke.

“What brings you here, anyway?” Ithri asked.

“We want you to help us settle something,” Rainbow said.

“Settle something?”

“That sounds foreboding,” Remi agreed, sharing a brief look with his brother. “You know, we don't really do the whole 'making ponies disappear' thing. Really not our gig.”

“What? No, no! Not like that,” Rainbow said quickly. “We're having a competition.”

“A baking competition?” Remi asked hopefully, glancing down at his plate. Applejack suddenly noticed that whatever he’d been eating was blackened beyond recognition. Their talents must not have extended to food.

“No,” Rainbow said.

“A… sensual competition?” Ithri suggested.

“Wha- no! Ew! No!”

He raised his hooves disarmingly. “Hey, we get some strange requests,” he said by way of explanation.

Morbid curiosity won out. “Like what?” Applejack had to ask.

Remi crossed his hooves and shook his head. “Doctor-patient confidentiality,” he said, a little smile crossing his face.

“Horseapples. You’re not a doctor,” Rainbow accused.

Remi scrunched up his face, and then he burst into flames. When they faded, there stood a pony with a brown coat, a blonde mane, and a cutie mark with a stethoscope curled around a syringe. “I most certainly am, Miss Dash,” he said, with just the right tinge of haughtiness, “and I’ll thank you to leave my patients alone.”

“Can you not?” Rainbow said, taking a tiny step back. “That's pretty creepy.”

They shared a look. “Calling us creepy and asking a favor?” Ithri observed. “She’s got guts, I’ll give her that.”

“This is either gonna be good, or really stupid,” Remi agreed.

“So what is this competition?”

Their expressions remained fairly flat as Rainbow explained the contest.

“I dunno,” Ithri said slowly. “It sounds a bit crazy.”

“Definitely half-baked,” Remi added. “And it's a bit risky.”

“It's very risky,” Ithri concurred. “Like not doing anything special for an anniversary risky.”

There was a pause.

And then both grinned. “When do we start?”