• Published 22nd Jan 2020
  • 1,262 Views, 248 Comments

Never Alone - SoloBrony

It's time for Cozy Glow to get back out in the real world and figure out where she fits into Equestria. She's tried superheroics, supervillainy, and accidentally destroyed the world; now she has to try being normal. Yeah, probably not.

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Sass Back

Cozy tilted her head as we walked. "So you all only saw the bits of my life where you were involved?"

I nodded, careful to moderate my pace so the shorter pony could keep up. I'd become so used to being human that the relaxed pace was nice, anyway. "That's right. Anything else was kept private."

Cozy stuck her tongue out at that. "So nopony ever got to see me beat Grogar! That's so unfair."

I giggled, and she joined me. "I would have liked to see that. It was surreal living through the start of that fight as another me, but it was worth it just to see you rush out to confront him like that. You've got some serious guts."

Cozy went into a nervous giggling fit at that for some reason. Uh oh, did I say something wrong? I was about to ask, but she waved a hoof at me dismissively. "It's easy to have guts when you're a super-powered alicorn wearing an awesome suit of armor. It's like I said to you—er, to somepony else before, I basically just fell into the superhero thing by accident."

I eyed the little filly slyly. "Maybe, but you'd get straight back to it in a flash if you had the chance, wouldn't you?"

Cozy started slightly at that. Gotcha. She stammered a bit. "W-well I mean, obviously. It was awesome! And..."

"And it gave you something other than your past to focus on. I get it, trust me. And that's nothing to be ashamed of, you know. Fixating on the past isn't healthy; focusing on your own guilt and berating yourself over past mistakes is only useful if you're about to make them again. Past that point, it's just destructive; getting out there and helping other ponies was constructive. Doing something positive is the best way to leave your mistakes behind."

Cozy laughed at that, taking me completely by surprise. And here I thought I was being insightful! She shook her head and smiled at me. "No matter what Sunset I run into, you're always so focused and optimistic about other ponies. I hope I get like that, someday."

"I can't help it," I said with a shrug, "if somepony as rotten as me could get better, I have to believe everypony else can do it, too."

I blushed slightly as I realized how negative my phrasing was, but Cozy just nodded. "I can see how that works."

We continued on in companionable silence for a while, breaking it only for me to explain various little things that had changed around town. Cozy was surprised to hear Twilight had moved away to Canterlot; even moreso to hear she had taken over sole reign of the entire country. She shook her head as I explained it.

"That must have been really hard for her. I remember her freaking out if a scroll got misplaced; it's hard to imagine her running everything. But I guess she has a lot of good friends to lean on if she starts to buckle under it all, huh?"

I nodded, smiling warmly. "She really does. I kind of miss her, these days; she has even less time to visit than before. But I'm glad to see her settling in so well, and knowing my old home is in her hands – er, hooves – definitely puts my mind at ease."

I mentally chided myself for the slip-up. Cozy snickered at me. "Must be weird swapping between two species all the time, huh?"

"Oh, it's not so—hey, wait a minute, I never told you about that!"

I eyed her suspiciously, but Cozy just waved a hoof dismissively. "It's a long story. I'd just blame Discord if I were you."

I was about to respond when a new voice cut me off – this one gruff and irritable, with a distinct Canterlot accent. "Hey, isn't that Cozy Glow? Shouldn't you be decorating the Canterlot Gardens as a statue right now, you traitor?"

Both of us turned to see an irate unicorn mare. From her voice, I'd expected her to be dressed up in some kind of finery, but she was just wearing a pair of saddlebags, some round glasses, and a hardhat.

Oh no. This is not something Cozy needs to be dealing with right now; I remember what it was like putting up with this kind of thing right after I reformed...

I reached out with my magic to shut the mare up, intent on getting her away from Cozy before things got worse, but the moment my aura came into contact with her I was overcome with images. I was so surprised by what I saw, I forgot about my attempt to protect Cozy for a moment.

To my surprise, though, Cozy looked at the mare calmly and raised an eyebrow. "They said I was too adorable and it ruined the image; your ugly face would make a good replacement."

I barked out a laugh of surprise despite myself, and the mare recoiled in shock. "H-how dare you?! I'll have the guards seize you and throw you into, into Tartarus!"

Cozy rolled her eyes. "Been there, done that. Now as for you..."

She flew up to the mare, hoof to her chin as she eyed the unicorn intently. The mare took an uncomfortable step backwards at the sudden appraising look. This definitely wasn't what you were expecting, was it, snob?

Cozy nodded to herself. "Saddlebags and the hat to make you look like you're here to work, but no construction pony would be caught without a safety vest in Ponyville. Not after the Pinkie Pie balloon fiasco, anyway. And the accent tells me Canterlot, which means you're visiting here with saddlebags but don't want anypony to look too closely..."

The mare's eyes shot wide, and she bolted. Cozy grinned viciously. "Oh, somepony has definitely been naughty."

I stammered a bit, desperate to keep Cozy from figuring out what was actually going on. Not appropriate for fillies! "Er, we should just let her go, Cozy. It's not a big deal."

Cozy looked at me, puzzlement clear on her face. "What? She's cheating on her special somepony, right? Anypony could figure that out."

I went scarlet. "Who on Earth told you about that stuff?!"

Cozy looked at me like I was a crazy pony and giggled. "You can't be serious, Sunset. I may be young, but I'm not exactly a sweet, innocent foal, now am I?"

"W-well!" I cleared my throat forcefully. "Regardless, taking revenge on somepony isn't right, Cozy." I have to set a good example. This is a teachable moment! Come on, Sunset!

Cozy cocked her head to the side. "So, wait, because I'm mad at her and I did something bad before, I'm supposed to let her keep hurting an innocent pony by lying to them?"

My eyes slowly crossed as I tried to process the ethical quagmire I had somehow found myself in. "No, but... I mean, you just have a suspicion. Digging into her personal business because you're mad at her isn't right."

Cozy seemed to consider this for a few moments. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Honestly, it was less that I was mad at her and more that her behavior reminded me of myself; she was looking for somepony to pick on to distract herself from her own mistakes. So I just started looking for what she'd done wrong. I guess that's a weird mixup of my old instincts and my super hero job."

I laughed as I rubbed my forehead with a hoof. "Jeez, Cozy. You are very, very different from how I was when I was trying to reform. It took me a long time to learn that my own wrongdoing didn't give other people the right to treat me like dirt."

Cozy bumped into me playfully as we resumed walking, and grinned up at me. "A very nice person told me that I should think about how I'd want my friends treated if they were in my position."

I feel like I'm missing some kind of joke, here. I nodded and smiled down at her. "Well, that's some really good advice, Cozy. The ponies who care about you don't want to see you get hurt, even if you think you deserve it."

I could only hope I hadn't totally missed the mark with that comment – that would just drive us further apart – but her rapid nodding told me I'd nailed it. "I know, I know. I'm trying. It's weird to be pulled in two directions at once – I know I need to recognize what I did before was bad, but at the same time I can't just sit around hating myself. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself, though; I can't be a superhero anymore, so where do I focus my attention?"

I shrugged easily. "Well, you didn't have superpowers when you became a villain, right? It's clear you've got the skills and ambition to do big things; you just need to find a positive outlet for those talents."

Cozy froze in thought for a moment, and then an altogether unsettling smile took over her features. "Hey, you're right. I built myself up from nothing before, I bet I can do it again!"

I didn't want to alienate her, but at the same time I couldn't help but feeling I'd unleashed a monster. "R-right. Just, ah, make sure you don't hurt anypony this time, of course."

She nodded and began skipping along, and I followed behind while waging a war in my head over whether I should try to figure out what she was planning.

Then I facehoofed as I remembered I should actually do something about that mare we'd run into before.

Author's Note:

Cozy Glow is just an adorable cinnamon roll of aggression, she doesn't need protection.