• Published 17th Sep 2012
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Scootaling - GrassAndClouds2



Scootaloo's a changeling. How will her friends react?

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Foaling Around

Sweetie looked suitably embarrassed. “I’m really sorry Scootaloo. But…”

“But what?!” Scootaloo scowled. “Did you tell everypony I was, uh, some kind of monster or something? They’ll throw me out of Ponyville!”

“No we won’t!” said Snips, bouncing up in the air. “We just wanna see some awesome shapeshifting!”

“Snails kept saying that changelings ate hoof clippings, and he was being real mean about it, so I told him that I knew they didn’t because you were one and you never ate hoof clippings,” said Sweetie, quickly. “And I think he told the other foals. I’m really sorry I didn’t keep your secret.”

“Come on, less talking, more shapeshifting!” said Snails. “Turn into some really awesome pony!”

“Turn into Twilight and show us some amazing magic!” yelled Twist.

“Turn into Miss Cherilee and tell our parents that we have too much homework and they should complain to the school board about it!” called out Noi.

Scootaloo tried to say something, but she couldn’t make herself heard over the clamoring of foals for her to turn into something else. I could deny it, but I’d be lying, and then they’d think Sweetie was lying and that’d be unfair to her. And it’d be cowardly, I mean, Rainbow Dash would never hurt a friend to save herself.

“Hey, are you sure she’s a changeling?” Featherweight called over to Sweetie. “I mean, she’s not doing anything.”

“I, uh…”

Scootaloo gulped. She couldn’t let Sweetie get hurt… even if she was mad at her for breaking her secret. Well, she could, but she could never look Rainbow Dash – or her own reflection – in the eye again. “You can’t tell anypony else, okay? None of the adults! They’ll throw me out of town!”

The foals instantly quieted and nodded.

“We promise,” said Snails.

“Hey, didn’t you tell all of us?” asked Dinky.

Snails blushed. “I mean, I promise from now on!”

"Pinkie promise," insisted Scootaloo.

"Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye, come on, come on, hurry up!" said Snips in a rush. The other foals promised as well, most of them a little more sedately.

Scootaloo rolled her eyes, but she had to show the others that Sweetie wasn’t a liar. She took a deep breath, braced herself for shouts of disgust or fear, and shifted into her native form.

There was silence for a few seconds.

“That is SO COOL”! yelled Snips.

“Awesome!” echoed Snails. “I bet even the Great and Powerful Trixie couldn’t do that!”

Dinky had come over and poked Scootaloo’s shell with a hoof. “Wow, your coat’s all hard! You must be, like, indestructible!”

Scootaloo blushed a little. “You’re not scared?”

“Why would we be scared? You’re still Scootaloo, right?” asked Sweet Wheat.

“Yeah, and you’re even more awesome now!” said Snips.

Right, I guess they weren’t in Canterlot during the invasion. They’ve never seen changelings before. So they aren’t afraid. Scootaloo smiled. “Thanks.”

“Can ya turn inta ma sister?” asked Apple Bloom. “Then maybe ya could go ta Big Mac an’ tell him that ya don’t want me doin’ pig feedin’ duty anymore!”

Scootaloo giggled, and with a shift, looked the spitting image of Applejack, except for her (still blank) flank.

But the others didn’t care. “WOAH!” several yelled. And then there was a chorus of ‘change into me next! Change into me!’

“Hey, calm down!” said Apple Bloom, who seemed to have appointed herself as Scootaloo’s manager. “One at a time!”

Scootaloo did a few more quick shifts, but she was beginning to tire. She turned back into her Scootaloo form, then paused. “Hey, uh, can we pick this up after school? Wouldn’t want to be late for Miss Cherilee’s class, would we? And I can’t do too many at once…”

“Are you tired?” asked Sweetie Belle.

“Maybe a little.”

“Changelings get energy from love, right?” asked Twist. She was one of the more booksmart of the foals, and knew a lot about foreign species.

Scootaloo nodded.

“So if you’re too tired to shift, we just have to love you more!”

“… huh?”

Sweet Wheat grinned. “Everypony, hug Scootaloo!”

Scootaloo’s eyes widened as the mob of foals bore down on her. “Wait, what? No! Aggh!”



“So how did all that friendship and love feel?” Apple Bloom asked.

“I got run over,” complained Scootaloo. “And I think Snails stepped on my wing.”

“But how did the friendship and love feel?” pushed Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo burped and smiled a little. “Very filling.”

School was just starting. The foals, of course, were a bit more rambunctious than normal, and Scootaloo was still getting a few requests to change into this or that every few moments. It was almost a relief when Miss Cherilee walked through the schoolroom door.

“Good morning class!” she chirped. “Are we all ready to learn?”

There were the usual assortment of groans and murmurs, but most of the foals did take their seats.

“That’s wonderful!” she said, ignoring the less-than-enthusiastic response. “Now, today we’re going to learn about geography!” She began drawing a mountain on the board. “Geography,” she said, around the chalk that she was gripping with her teeth, “Is the study of –“

“Ooh, ooh!”

Cherilee turned to see Snails waving his hoof in the air. “Uh, yes?”

“Can we learn about changelings?”

Scootaloo shot a glare at Snails, but the unicorn seemed oblivious. “Please?” he continued.

“Oh, yeah!” Snips grinned. “Let’s do that!”

Cherilee blinked. “Now, class, geography is very important. We can’t just—“

But her voice was soon drowned out in a cavalcade of foals begging to learn about changelings. Scootaloo wondered if it would look too suspicious if she hid under her desk for the rest of the day.

Cherilee began to look concerned. “You’re not worried about the changelings showing up here, are you? While a group of changelings did attack Canterlot, they were defeated and hurled far away.”

“No, we’re not worried,” said Twist, “But, uh, what if one was still here? We’d need to know what changelings are like so we could be her – or his – friend!”

“Yeah, we wouldn’t want to do anything silly because we didn’t understand her,” said Sweet Wheat. “Please, teach us about them!”

“And cause all of her friends got blown away, she’d need new ones!” chimed in Snips. “Really badly!”

Scootaloo wondered if running out of the room would look too suspicious.

Cherilee smiled at that. “Why, that’s very sweet of you, Twist, Sweet Wheat, Snips.” She looked at the foals, most of whom were looking at her with large, pleading eyes. “Well, I suppose we can do a short lesson on changelings.”

“Why?” Diamond Tiara sniffed. Scootaloo had been relieved to note that neither she nor Silver Spoon were among the group of foals that Snails had told her identity to. “We already know about them. They’re a bunch of big, ugly, evil bugs who drink blood and tried to take over Equestria. Nopony can be friends with them.”

“I heard they don’t even have hearts,” said Silver Spoon. “They can only walk around due to evil dark magic!”

Scootaloo flushed, but before she said something stupid and self-incriminating, Cherilee intervened. “Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon! That’s enough!”

“What?” asked an utterly befuddled Diamond Tiara.

“That was a very offensive thing you just said.” Cherilee looked disappointed. “While it’s true that the changelings who attacked Canterlot were bad, that does not mean all of them are, anymore than a group of bad ponies means that all ponies are bad. While there are no changelings in Ponyville, if one ever does arrive, I expect all of you to treat him or her with the same level of respect, courtesy, and kindness that you would treat another pony.”

“Well, what if a bad changeling shows up and tries to imitate somepony?” Silver Spoon asked.

Cherilee smiled. “Changelings might be good at imitating other ponies, but we’re all such good friends here that they’d never get away with it for long. If any changeling tried to imitate one of you, for example, I can guarantee that I’d know right away!”

Scootaloo blushed, but fortunately, Cherilee didn’t seem to notice.

“But, to the point – yes, changelings are different from us, but no, they are not monsters.” Cherilee began to draw on the board again. “As to the rest: while it is true that changelings are technically members of the ‘bug’ family…”



“So, ah guess ya’r technically a bug?”

Scootaloo giggled and flicked a bit of bread at Apple Bloom. “I am not. Cherilee’s wrong. And she was wrong about a lot of the other stuff too. We do not hatch from eggs!”

“How do ya hatch, from rocks?” asked Apple Bloom, and then dodged the next bit of bread.

School was over for the day, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders were taking the catapult out for another try. Applejack had found out what they were doing and had insisted on setting up a ‘landing site’ on Sweet Apple Acres, so that if something went wrong again, the projectile would at least land on pillows and cushions and not in Carrot Top’s irrigation pond.

“Sometimes my sister says I bug her. Does that make me a changeling part of the time?” wondered Sweetie Belle.

“Nah. You can only be a changeling if you can do this.” Scootaloo flashed green, and in an instant, she was a perfect replica of Sweetie Belle.

“Hey! You’re still making my horn too small!”

“I did not!”

The novelty of having a changeling as a friend was still present in the Crusaders’ conversation, but by the time they got the catapult set up again, the three had become focused more on getting their marks. It was even helping to distract Scootaloo from worrying if any of her classmates would forget their promise and tell the adults about who she really was. "I wonder how much weight this can throw," she mused.

“How far d’ya think we’d need ta throw somethin’ ta get a cutie mark in catapultin’?” asked Apple Bloom.

“We’d probably need to set a Ponyville record,” said Scootaloo. “Hey, I know! What if we asked Rainbow Dash to put some clouds on the path so whatever we sent could bounce off them? Then it might go further!”

“But what could we launch that bounces on clouds?” asked Sweetie Belle.

“Doesn’t Twilight have a cloud-walking spell? We could have her enchant a rock or something and have it bounce all the way across the Everfree!” Scootaloo grinned. “Or what if I got in my scooter and got a big running start, and then we launched me? I can stand on clouds!”

“Wait. Didn’t Applejack say that we had to aim at the landing area?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Yeah, but this is so much cooler!” said Scootaloo. “It’s what Rainbow Dash would do.”

Sweetie Belle nodded. “Maybe we can get Twilight to put the cloud walking spell on us!”

“Ah dunno. Ever since we gave Miss Cherilee an’ ma brother that love poison, she’s been kinda cautious ‘bout givin’ us magic stuff,” said Apple Bloom.

“What if… another pony asked her to do it?” said Sweetie, with a mischievous grin.

“Hey, that’s right! Scootaloo, ya could impersonate, ah dunno, the princess or somethin’, an’ order her ta do it!”

“What? No!” Scootaloo shook her head. “I don’t want her to get suspicious. Besides, I couldn’t use my powers to lie to somepony and pretend to be another pony that didn’t agree to it. That would be wrong.”

“What if you became Pinkie Pie and asked her? Pinkie wouldn’t mind!” said Sweetie Belle.

“It’d still be lying to Twilight.”

“Oh.” Sweetie paused. “Could you at least show us your Pinkie Pie impression?”

“Uh…”

“We’ll help launch you as high as you want!” said Sweetie. “We’ll send you into space if we can!”

Scootaloo looked around to make sure that there weren’t any spies, then quickly did the shifts. “Happy?” she said, in Pinkie Pie’s voice.

Apple Bloom grinned. “Awesome! Now let’s go ta AJ an’ say it’s time for a big party!”

“AHA!”

The three turned to see Diamond Tiara poking her head out from behind a thick apple tree.

“Snails and Snips were saying today that you were a changeling! I didn’t believe it, but now I saw it with my own eyes!” She pointed an accusing hoof at Scootaloo. “You’re a gross bug monster!”

“I am not!” said Scootaloo, changing back into her usual form.

“Yeah! She’s a better pony than you are!” yelled Sweetie Belle. “She’s brave and cool and a really good friend!”

“But she’s not a pony,” said Apple Bloom.

“That’s not the point.”

Diamond Tiara shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. Snips and Snails didn’t tell the adults, but I might. And if I do tell any of the adults, I bet they’ll throw you out of Ponyville in about ten seconds!”

Scootaloo gulped.

“So!” Diamond Tiara grinned. “You have to do what I want, or I’ll tell everypony in town who you really are!”

“Ya can’t do that!” yelled Apple Bloom. “What if they get scared?”

“That’s not my problem.” Diamond Tiara laughed. “I’ll think about what I want you to do tonight. Let’s talk tomorrow.” She grinned and walked off.

“Why – we’ve gotta do somethin’!” said Apple Bloom, as soon as she was out of earshot.

Scootaloo was thinking. “You know how I just said I wouldn’t impersonate a pony to another pony without their permission?”

“Yes?” the others asked.

“I’ll make an exception.” Scootaloo grinned mischievously. “Here’s what we’ll do…”



Diamond Tiara sauntered home, smiling merrily. She could have the Crusader dolts do her homework, style her mane, give her hooficures… anything. They’d have to, or she’d tell the adults that Scootaloo was a changeling, and they’d boot her out of town lickety-split.

“DIANA RICHMOND TIARA!”

The foal paused, surprised to hear her real name. Her father only used it, or shouted like that, when she was in trouble – but she hadn’t done anything all afternoon; she’d mostly spent her time chilling in Sugar Cube Corner and thinking up humiliating tasks for Scootaloo. What was going on?

She hurried up to her house. “Yes, father?”

“Get inside.”

Confused, Diamond Tiara headed into the living room. “… is something wrong?”

“An hour ago, I ran into Colgate. Apparently, you showed up an hour ago to cancel your dental check-up. And then Cherilee sought me out – it seems you also canceled our parent teacher conference. And you said that I told you to cancel them.”

“What? No I didn’t!”

Filthy Rich ignored this. “And then I bumped into Bookwise, who was quite surprised that I had also canceled your tutoring sessions.” Rich shook his head. “I wasn’t sure what you were planning on doing instead of your tutoring, but fortunately, I bumped into Aloe and Vera, who told me that you had scheduled a weekly appointment with them at exactly the same time.”

Diamond Tiara put it together. “Father, no! That wasn’t me! You have to believe me!”

“You need to learn, Diamond Tiara, that you can’t simply avoid unpleasant but important tasks. Dental hygiene, and your education, is important. Looking nice is fine, but it cannot take precedence over your studies and health.”

“It wasn’t me! It was Scootaloo, she’s a changeling and she pretended to be me! She—“

Filthy Rich looked disappointed. “And now you’re lying to try to escape the consequences? Diana, really, do you honestly think I’d fall for such an obvious lie? Shame…”

“I’m not lying! Honest!”

But it was futile.

A few minutes later, after having been banished to her room and informed that she would now have twice as many tutoring sessions, Diamond kicked a pillow against the wall. “It’s not fair!”

She heard giggling outside her window. She went over to it, opened it, and saw the Crusaders hanging off of her windowsill and looking at her.

“So, are you going to be nice now?” asked Sweetie Belle, as sweetly as she could.

“Or do we need to keep going?” asked Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo said nothing. She just grinned, and shifted her teeth to be a little more fang-y. They looked very… creepy, when contrasted with the rest of the orange foal.

Diamond Tiara gulped. “Alright, fine, you win! I won’t tell anypony!”

“Yay!” The three Crusaders brought up their hooves to high-five each other… and began to fall off the window, since they were no longer gripping them with two hooves. “Aaah!”

Diamond Tiara winced as they began to tumble. “I got beaten by those idiots?” she muttered.



“That was awesome!” said Scootaloo. “We showed her!”

“Yeah!” cheered Apple Bloom. “We sure did!”

They were back at the catapult, preparing it for another launch.

“Ah wonder,” said Apple Bloom, suddenly, “If we could tell each other apart if Scootaloo tried imitatin’ us?”

“Nope,” said Scootaloo. She smiled cheekily. “I’m way too good at mimicking.”

“Nuh-uh.” Apple Bloom giggled. “Ah bet that ah could figure out if anypony or anythin’ else was you or the real deal!”

“I’d take that bet!” Scootaloo grinned. “I’ll bet… I’ll bet a cupcake at the Sugar Cube Corner that I can turn into something, before the end of the day, that you think is the real thing!”

“Deal!”

Sweetie giggled. “Ooh, ooh, I wanna watch!”

“Oh, you will.” Scootaloo smiled as she began to work on the catapult – a rope had come loose. “Just you wait!”

Time passed; first thirty minutes, than an hour. They did a couple more test launches with the catapult, one of which sent a pillow hurtling past the landing site and somewhere near the center of Ponyville, and one of which resulted in the catapult’s launcher just flipping over and slamming the cushion into the ground in a muddy splat.

“Day’s almost over!” called Apple Bloom. “Ah’m gonna win the bet!”

Nopony answered her.

Apple Bloom turned to see that both Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo had vanished. “Hey, no fair collaboratin’!” So Scootaloo’s going to replace Sweetie? Well, no problem. I know Sweetie’s ticklish under her chin, and Scootaloo doesn’t know that, so I’ll just tickle her there and—

“Oink!”

Apple Bloom leapt to her hooves as a large pig ran past the catapult. “Mr. Muddy? How’d ya get out of yar pen? Come back!” And she gave chase.

She was able to catch up with the pig after about ten minutes of ducking through the trees. It was tough, but she managed to corner it right by a large mud puddle. “Come on, ah’ll get ya—“

Suddenly the pig turned and jumped at her.

Apple Bloom squeaked, but she didn’t have time to dodge. The pig knocked into her and they both fell into the mud. “Hey!”

The pig grinned.

“Hey, wait a minute…”

The pig flashed green, and then Scootaloo was standing on top of Apple Bloom. “I win!”

“Aw, ah forgot ya could do animals too!” Apple Bloom got up. “Now ah’m all muddy.”

“You’re not mad, are you?”

“What? No, that was fun!” She grinned. “But ah’ve gotta get ya back soon. So be ready!”

“Get me back how? You can’t shapeshift.”

“No, but ah can… uh…”

Scootaloo smiled.

“Oh, ah’ll think of something!”

And then they – and Sweetie too, who had been hiding in the bushes to watch – burst into laughter.



“Let’s do it again tomorrow!” said Apple Bloom. “Ah think we’re makin’ real progress!”

“We launched five pillows, and half of one hit the landing site.” Scootaloo grinned. “Yesterday, nothing we launched hit anywhere near what we wanted! We’re improving!”

Sweetie Belle was quiet. In fact, she’d fallen more and more quiet as the afternoon had worn on.

“Something wrong?” asked Scootaloo. “You okay, Sweetie?”

Sweetie paused, then gave Scootaloo a big hug.

“Hey, no hugs!” Scootaloo didn’t struggle too hard, though. There was little point in trying to fend off Sweetie when she was in a hugging mood. “What’s up?”

“I’m worried. What if Diamond Tiara had told somepony first? Or what if another pony finds out?”

Scootaloo shrugged. “I don’t know. Zecora said I can stay with her even if the other ponies don’t like it, but… I mean, I’d hate not to be able to play in Ponyville anymore.”

“What if you told them first?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Told them first?”

“Yeah, then they wouldn’t think you’d been lyin’ ta them. Ah mean, if ya just told ‘em, ah’m sure they’d come around.”

“I don’t know… wasn’t it Twilight that sent all the changelings flying away at the wedding? I don’t think she likes us very much.”

“But she didn’t send you away,” pointed out Sweetie Belle. “Why?”

Scootaloo had no idea whatsoever. “I was hiding in a basement.” Scootaloo blushed. “With you two, remember? Maybe the spell didn’t reach down there.” That's probably not it, but I have no idea what else it could be...

Apple Bloom shrugged. “Maybe it only hit the bad changelings.”

“Can spells figure that out?”

“Ah dunno…”

They were silent for a while, and then Scootaloo sighed. “I know I should tell them. But I’m scared. And I know I shouldn’t be, and I know Rainbow Dash would probably call me a chicken, but…”

“No, she wouldn’t. She knows ya ain’t a chicken.” Apple Bloom grinned. “Whatever ya decide, we’ll back ya up.”

“Thanks.”

Scootaloo stared up into the cloudless sky. Somewhere up there, Rainbow Dash was practicing her tricks. Was it really fair to keep secrets from her? And the rest of the town? They’d been so nice to her, and done so much for her…

“What if we did it at a big party?” said Sweetie Belle. “Nopony can get mad at a party!”

“Gilda did,” said Scootaloo.

“She’s not a pony. She doesn’t count.”

Apple Bloom grinned. “Yeah! We could call it a, a ‘Scootaloo says somethin’ important’ party! An’ Pinkie could set it up an’ ma sister could cater an’—“

“I… if I do it, I kind of want to tell Rainbow Dash privately.” Scootaloo smiled a little. “I mean, just me and her. The others, sure, a party might be fun.”

“Are you going to?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo paused, thinking it over. Did she trust the ponies in town? Did she trust Rainbow Dash?

“…yes.” She nodded. “I’ll tell them tomorrow.”

Her friends hugged her again, and this time, she didn’t complain even a little.