When your close friend dies, even finding love can only provide the smallest amount of comfort.
Wob Niar is a changeling, split off from the hive and possessing the memories of the late Rainbow Dash. She wants to find her own identity, her own life.
Fluttershy is a Pegasus, recovering after the loss of her closest and dearest friend. But she had been hiding a secret from her, from all of her friends: She likes mares, and had a small crush on Rainbow Dash for a very long time.
These two will fall in love, of course. But they'll need to keep it a secret from their friends, especially an increasingly paranoid Pinkie Pie...
Wob Niar did not go to Rainbow Dash's funeral. They existed to give closure; She already had that. She got it when she let her former self go.
She finally pulled the blanket off before getting off the couch. One check outside the window of the quaint little cottage showed that it was around midday. She felt a tug at her leg, and saw a familiar white rabbit.
“Right, you want something to eat. Well, I'm feeling peckish myself, and we both know that I should probably eat first.” Wob said with a grin that showed off her fangs as the rabbit shuddered. She didn't actually eat meat, but Angel didn't need to know that.
Wob looked through Fluttershy's kitchen. She found the flavor of tea she preferred, and started up the brew before preparing a simple daffodil sandwich for herself.
As she chewed her breakfast, Wob reflected on her situation. She was grateful that Fluttershy gave her a place to stay, since she felt uncomfortable taking up Rainbow Dash's residence. She may have her memories, but it just didn’t feel right.
Wob had pretty mixed feelings about being in the body of a changeling. On one hoof, very few ponies here accept her. The racism was understandable, since their only recent knowledge of changelings was from that invasion of Canterlot a while back. This led her to adapt a disguise whenever she went outside, since she would prefer not to be stabbed again.
On the other hoof, though, she's glad she didn't take over the body and life of a normal pony. As far as she knew, changelings have a hive mind, and the one she took over was apparently cast out due to a genetic defect. That meant she wasn't hurting anypony just by existing.
The tea kettle started to whistle, so Wob took it off the burner and poured herself a cup. She watched the steam rise for a minute before taking a sip. The bitter drink burned the inside of her mouth. Still too hot.
Wob sighed and pulled out a carrot and some lettuce out of the fridge to make a salad for that ungrateful rabbit.
- - -
Once again, Wob found herself quite bored.
She began looking through Fluttershy's room. She knew that snooping through one's belongings isn't quite the nicest thing to do, but she was really just looking through the books. It just so happened that Wob figured that there's a chance she might keep a book somewhere other than on the bookshelf, which was full of animal care books anyways. Helpful, but not something to curl up with.
She checked under the bed for any books that she might keep under there, and was met with the sight of a box.
“Ah, there we go.” Wob said as she pulled the box out. “And hey, if Fluttershy really didn't want anypony to look through it, she would have locked it.”
Wob tried to open the box. It was locked.
“Ah.” Wob said with a flat face. She moved to put it back under the bed, when she saw a small book next to where the box was under the bed. She reached out, and managed to pull out the book.
Wob raised an eyebrow. It seemed to be called “Vanilla Under Moonlight”. The image on the front seemed to be two silhouetted ponies in an embrace in front of a waterfall.
“Looks like a cheesy romance novel.” Wob said with a shrug. She was about to put it back when she noticed the name of the author.
“Well, what do you know?” Wob said, her eyebrow going back to its raised position. “If I had to guess, this is a cheesy lespony romance novel. Neat.”
She opened up to a random page, and started skimming. Her eyes widened, and her cheeks were stained with a crimson blush. She was wrong. This was an erotic cheesy lespony novel.
- - -
Wob looked up from the book when she heard the front door open, and listened to the hoofsteps. Fluttershy entered the room.
“Why didn't you tell me you had these books before you left? This is gold!” Wob said with a small cackle.
She stopped laughing when she saw the shocked and very pale expression on Fluttershy's face.
'Ah. This probably explains a bit.' Wob thought. “Fluttershy?”
The butter-yellow pegasus let out an “Eep!” before dashing to her room and slamming the door.
“Well buck me.” Wob groaned. She noticed an angry white rabbit tapping his foot.
“I'm going to go comfort her.” Wob said before getting off the couch. She walked up the stairs to the bedroom, then knocked on the door.
“Hey, 'Shy.” Wob said. “Listen, I-”
The door opened swiftly to reveal the face of quite an enraged pegasus, giving Wob a look that sent shivers down her spine.
“Okay, geez, sorry!” Wob said. “Sorry for poking around your room, I just wanted something to read, that's all.”
Fluttershy's expression softened, though only a little.
“If it's about why you have this book, don't worry about that.” Wob said. “I like mares, too. Well, I might like stallions too, but I prefer the fairer sex. It would be stupid of me to judge.”
The pegasus seemed quite surprised by that. “Y-you mean you're...?”
“That's what I just said.” Wob replied. “You'll get yourself a nice, pretty lady someday. Like deserves like, after all.”
Fluttershy blushed and shrank back a bit. “You... You really think so?”
Wob nodded. “I know so, 'Shy.”
The shy pegasus gave a smile that warmed Wob's heart, before hugging her. “I'm... So glad, Wob.”
The changeling chuckled awkwardly. “Oh, uh, for what?”
“To know I'm not alone.” Fluttershy whispered.
Wob blushed a bit. “Ah, right. Well, if you ever need to, you know, talk about it, I'll always be here, and always understanding.”
“Thank you so much, Rainbow...” Fluttershy said, her closed eyes tearing up.
Wob blinked. “Er... Wob. My name is Wob.”
Fluttershy ended the hug and looked away in shame. “Oh... Sorry...”
Wob sighed. “It's alright, I mean I do look a lot like her...”
The cream-yellow mare gave a sad smile. “It's just... I still can't believe she's gone... She was there for me for so very long... Um... You have her memories, right?”
The cyan changeling paused, then nodded slightly.
“When she d... When she di... When she, you know... Was it painless, at least?” Fluttershy asked, tears streaming down her cheeks.
A cyan mare with plain dark blue hair and red eyes entered Sugar Cube Corner. She looked around, and trotted over to an empty table in the corner of the bakery. She gave a soft sigh as she rested her head on the surface.
She heard slow hoofsteps approach her. A small scratch as a chair was moved. She looked up and saw a dull gray mare with plain violet bangs and brilliant blue eyes sit opposite of her, holding a plain muffin.
“Hi there.” Wob said quietly.
Maud slowly blinked, and looked at the empty space in front of Wob.
“I came here to get a snack, but I kinda forgot that I don't actually have any money.” Wob explained with a hollow chuckle. “Still, getting some fresh air is nice.”
Maud pushed her muffin towards Wob. “We'll share.” She said with a monotone.
Wob gave a small smile. “Thanks, but you don't have to. Don't bother wasting it on me.”
Maud leaned forward.
“Fine, I'll eat the damn muffin.” Wob mumbled as she took a bite. It tasted quite nice, if simple.
Maud took the next bite. Wob noticed somepony walking towards them, a pink pony with flat dark pink hair and familiar blue eyes. Wob recognized her as Pinkie Pie, but noticed that something was very off about her.
“Hey, sis, who are you eating with?” Pinkamena asked with a hostile gaze at Wob.
Maud paused to swallow. “I don't know.” She said simply.
“My name is... Er... Wob.” Wob replied. “I'm new to town.”
Pinkamena stared at Wob point-blank, really invading her personal space.
“Erm...” Wob said nervously.
The unnerving pink pony backed off. “I'm sorry... Welcome to Ponyville, Wub.” She said with the second fakest smile Wob had ever seen. “I'd love to throw you a party, but...”
A sad sigh escaped the muzzle of the once enthusiastic party pony.
“I'm just not in the mood...”
- - -
Fluttershy sat on the red-and-white checkerboard blanket as she chewed her daffodil sandwich, staring off into the distance.
“-shy? Fluttershy, are you alright?” She heard Rarity ask.
Fluttershy blinked, then sat up. “...Huh?” She asked, a little dazed.
“Are you okay, darling? You've been staring at nothing the whole picnic.” Rarity said. She gently put a hoof on Rarity's shoulder.
“I'm fine...” Fluttershy lied quietly.
“No, you're not. You've barely said a word for days.” Rarity replied. She turned Fluttershy's head to look her in the eye. “You can talk to me. It's about Rainbow Dash, isn't it?”
Fluttershy sighed and looked at the ground, her vision getting blury from the tears welling up. “I... I miss her so much...”
Rarity pulled the pegasus into a hug. “We all do. We miss her dearly.”
- - -
Wob was quiet as she re-entered the cottage. With a green flash, she took off her disguise. She slowly made her way to the couch, and lied down upon it.
She stared up at the ceiling.
You shouldn't exist.
“And yet I do anyways.” Wob said to herself.
You are still the echo.
“And I will be for some time.”
You cause her nothing but grief.
“What are you talking about?”
You remind her of me.
“I don't mean to. I can't help my appearance.”
That is a lie.
“This appearance just feels natural for me, okay? I'm not a Changeling completely, I'm uncomfortable while under disguise.”
But you still can do something about it. For her.
“I... I guess you have a point. But I don't want to look like a changeling completely. I'm not one.”
You are, you just don't admit it.
“Look, didn't I let you go a long time ago?”
It's not that simple. It never is.
“Fine, I'll think of something. I'm trying to stray away from being you, anyways.”
You never were me.
You tried to pretend when you first awoke, but we both know you don't act like me.
“And you don't talk like her, either.”
“Um... Who are you talking to?”
Wob turned her head and saw Fluttershy standing in the doorway, blushing. Next to her was a surprised Rarity.
Wob rolled onto her hooves. “Ah, right. Hi, Rarity. My name is Wob Niar. I'm that changeling that Twilight hopefully talked to you about.”
Rarity tilted her head. “...No, I can't say she had.”
“Luna damn it.” Wob said with a sigh and a shake of her head.
- - -
“So, you're saying you have all of Rainbow Dash's memories?” Rarity asked with an eyebrow raise before sipping some of her tea.
“Pretty much, yeah.” Wob said with a nod. “Confused the Tartarus out of me the first time I woke up. I thought I was her. Next thing I know, I'm having a complete mental breakdown when I found out that I was not. Didn't help that I was blasted with some spell and captured.”
“Oh dear, that mustn't have been very nice...” Fluttershy said with a frown.
“It wasn't. I actually woke up with Luna, two guards, and Trixie in the cell.” Wob said.
“Trixie?” Rarity said with distaste. “Why was she there?”
“Well, she was the one that captured me. That, and she's the Knight of Magic and personal student of Luna in that universe.” Wob explained.
Rarity barely managed to keep herself from spitting out her tea.
“So, long story short, Luna had me stay at Trixie's place. She didn't like me, so she dumped me off at Rose's.” Wob said.
Fluttershy thought for a moment, before getting a shock of recognition. “You mean Rose Quill?”
“Yeah. Apparently, she was the Knight of Honesty.” Wob said. “We almost had a thing, too.”
“A... 'thing'?” Rarity asked. “You mean you dated her?”
“Sort of. We might have been able to have a happy life together, but I chose to go back here instead.” Wob said. “I knew that the changeling that killed me was still out there.”
“You mean the one who killed Rainbow.” Fluttershy corrected.
“Yeah, sorry. That particular memory is so vivid, I keep forgetting that it wasn't me that it happened to.” Wob said. “There were a few other things that happened to me, too. Met Derpy Hooves, who apparently is the Knight of Kindness, got a free book from the Knight of Generosity, got stabbed by the Knight of Loyalty-”
Rarity wasn't able to stop herself from spitting her tea out this time. “What?!”
Wob nodded. “Apparently, he didn't get the memo of me not being evil or something.”
“Deary me...” Rarity said, before looking down. “...Sorry about the carpet, dear.”
“It's okay.” Fluttershy said with a sigh.
“That's pretty much all that happened, really.” Wob said.
“Hmm...” Rarity said, thinking. “Tell me more about these 'Knights of Harmony'...”
The ground was ice, the sky flame. The flat surface stretched to infinity, and reflected the burning clouds above.
It also showed Wob's reflection. When she looked down, though, the reflection turned into Rainbow Dash, glaring right back at her.
“I thought I got rid of you.” Wob growled.
“What, you thought if you just said 'I forget you' or something and smash the mirror, that it would just disappear?” Rainbow snapped right back. “It's not that simple. It never is. The reflection can never hope to destroy the original image.”
“Well, I understand that now.” Wob sighed. “You were her friend for a very huge chunk of her life, from what she told me. A large part of all these ponies' lives.”
“Took you long enough.” Rainbow said. “But you are still just an echo.”
“I don't want to be an echo!” Wob yelled. After a pause of silence, she began to walk forward, mirroring Rainbow's movements exactly. “I need to be somepony, not just something.”
Rainbow laughed. “Like that's going to happen any time soon.”
Wob shot a glare at the reflection. “Shut up! You're not anything like Rainbow Dash! Fragments of her memory still swarm my mind, and she was never as mean-spirited as you!”
“Death does funny things to ponies.” Dash said darkly, her gaze straight ahead. “Gives them a different perspective, sometimes a different personality.”
Wob stopped, her right forehoof hovering in the air. “...What did you just say?”
“I said it changes ponies.” Dash said, smirking.
“...You aren't Rainbow Dash, because I am.” Wob said. “Right?”
“Not quite.” Dash replied.
“I have her memories, I have bits of her personality within me... I want to be a new pony, but I'm held back by you.” Wob said, now starting to get it. “Whenever I look in the mirror, I see you. I see what I used to be, but I'm not you anymore. I'm not your reflection.”
Rainbow Dash began to glare intensely at Wob Niar. Suddenly, she reached through the ice and grabbed Wob's neck, choking her.
“You. Are. NOTHING!”
The changeling blinked. Her body ached slightly, and she tried to get herself oriented. She was on her side, in the living room.
Okay, I just had another bad dream. Perhaps I should see a psychologist about this.
She shook her head and got up. It was nighttime, about 1 in the morning, from what she could tell from the clock. She buzzed her wings slightly, then walked outside for some fresh air.
It was rather cold.
“Gh...” Wob sighed as she began to walk. As she put one hoof in front of the other, her thoughts began to wander. She was a fairly lonely mare, and could use some companionship. Well, okay, Fluttershy was a nice friend. A rather pretty friend. One she knew swung her way-
No. She's still grieving over the loss of her dear friend. Wob thought. It wouldn't be right to take advantage of her.
Though, on the other hand, perhaps it would do the pegasus some good.
Perhaps... Wob mused, her head tilted. I don't think one date will hurt. But I'm a changeling, I don't think she'll want to go out with a changeling!
Wob's muzzle scrunched up slightly. Or perhaps she wouldn't mind. I mean, she is a very nice pony, I don't think she would say no to one date, just to try things out. Who knows, something might develop, something beneficial for both of us.