Growing Up Dandy

This story is a sequel to Change of Life
Dandelion is a pegasus filly, Cogs and Lavender's firstborn daughter, and a joy to them both. As a changeling though, Cogs had no experience with raising pony foals, so when a crisis arises, he often has to wing it. Sometimes the solutions are more creative than others, and sometimes the problems are unique. After all, how many fillies have a changeling parent?
This is a series of stories that are sequels to "Change of Life" and takes up after chapter 10 (Foals).


8. Who Am I? Part 2



“Let her go, Dandy. Remember how this affected you. Now it’s her turn to work through this revelation. Give her time.”

“She must hate me now! This was all a big mistake.”

For the first time, Fern spoke up. “Trust me, sis – she doesn't hate you. Listen to Dad and give her time.”

Dandelion slumped to the floor, the feeling of helplessness rendering her weak. She murmured, “Please Celestia, Luna, and even Auntie Twilight, let them be right.”

Summer did not return that evening before everyone headed off to bed. Cogs had recounted the events that had happened after Lavender had left, and he asked her, “What do you think will happen if Summer rejects Dandelion?”

Lavender replied, “I think we would get some world-class moping, and a very depressed daughter for several months, but she’ll recover. At her age, everything seems devastating until a replacement comes along. I agree that Summer would make a fine mate for Dandelion, but if it isn't to be, then there’s no sense in crying over it.”

Cogs settled down for the night with Lavender, those words still on his mind, keeping him from falling asleep. After a long while, he heard a muffled thump and some other noises that he could not identify. He eased himself out of bed so as not to disturb his wife, and crept quietly through the house in the direction of the sounds. He heard more noises, much more clearly this time, and identified them as window shutters being closed. One slightly sticking shutter squeaked atrociously in the quiet of the night. He made a mental note to fix that. It was what he tasted though that made him relax. Mystery solved. Time to go back to bed. He climbed back under the covers, snuggled contentedly up to Lavender, and was quickly asleep.

* * *

Dandelion had spent over an hour just staring at the ceiling, the turmoil in her head refusing to let her rest. When a thump was heard outside of her window, it barely registered on her consciousness. However, the persistent tapping on the window finally did catch her attention. She got up from her bed, opened the curtains, and found Summer with her hoof raised to the window pane. Dandelion hastily tried to open the window, only to have the dodgy lock jam. Some frantic jiggling later, and the window finally opened, and Summer slipped inside. Dandelion closed the shutters, cursing the dreadfully loud squeak that one made, and then shut the window before turning to face Summer.

Dandelion stood there for a long moment in front of Summer, unsure of what to do next. “I was so afraid that you would leave again before I got that dratted window open,” she finally said.

“Not a chance of that; I went to too much effort to get here tonight,” Summer replied. “I would have been here sooner except that I had to wait for my parents to go to bed before I could sneak out.”

There was another awkward pause before Dandelion finally blurted out, “I’m sorry for deceiving you. I never meant to hurt you. I’m just an idiot!”

“Stop it, Dandy! I realize that you didn't want to hurt me. The real problem was that you didn't know your own feelings… and neither did I.”

“I… what?” Dandelion was confused, but desperately wanted to understand.

“Do you want to know what I liked most about Sunset that I had not been able to fully recognize until tonight?”

“I’m guessing it’s not his commitment to total honesty.”

Summer snorted in amusement. “Hardly. No, it’s that he’s a male version of you, and now I understand why. I know now why he was always so able to understand a filly’s point of view, why he liked so many of the same things as I did, and why he made me feel so happy. It’s the same way that I feel when I’m with you.”

“You think of me as a stallion?”

“No, you idiot, I mean that I liked him so much because I was already smitten with you.”

Dandelion was thunderstruck. “But… you said you like stallions.”

“I do like stallions. That doesn't mean I can’t like mares also. Lots of mares have relationships with other mares, even those married to stallions. You should know that just from your Dad’s business partners. Golden Words and Moonlit Haze love each other just as much as their husband.”

“Then why didn't you ever say anything to me?”

“Because you had your eyes stuck on Black Ace, or whatever other stallion you were chasing after getting rebuffed by Ace. It was painfully obvious that you wanted a male mate.”

“I've already admitted to being a hormone-crazy filly, but you could still have told me how you felt.”

“Yes, I could have, and maybe that was a huge mistake on my part. I chose not to, hoping that you would get over your obsession with boys and turn your attention back to me,” Summer said wistfully.

“Rainy, was I ignoring you? If so, I didn't intend to. You are my best friend in the world, and now I think you’re even more than that.”

“No, not so much ignoring me, but not paying attention to me the way I wished that you would. Just like you were wishing that the stallions would pay attention to you.”

“So when a stallion who felt just like me started dating you, then you transferred your feelings from me to him?”

“Not quite. I shared those feelings with him, but I never stopped feeling the same way about you. It’s just been so much over so short a time that I haven’t really wrapped my head around things too well, but it’s one reason why I kept wanting you to join with us. I wanted you to be a part of what I was feeling for Sunset for the limited time that he could be here in Whitetail Meadows. Of course now I know why he couldn't stay, or you couldn't join with us. Wait a moment! You were there with him at my birthday party!”

Dandelion grinned apologetically. “That was Dad doing me a favor. He stood in for me while I was Sunset. He’s also the one who shoved my muzzle in the fact that I shouldn't be deceiving you, and only did it so that your birthday would not be spoiled.”

“Your father is a changeling, but he seems to have had more sense than either of us.”

“To be fair, he’s had over two decades of experience as an adult pegasus. It still makes me ashamed that I didn't tell you immediately that I was the stallion that you met at the café that day.”

“So why did you go ahead and start dating me as Sunset?” demanded Summer.

“Like I said at dinner, everything changed when our eyes met that day. Sure, it’s possible that being a randy stallion helped kick it off, but nothing would have happened if I didn't already feel something for you. Dad pointed out to me that I had seen more than a few fillies and mares before encountering you, and none of them made me feel like you did, and I wanted to feel that again.”

“So do you only feel like that when you’re a stallion?”

“I honestly can’t be sure. I created Sunset Blaze to find out what mares wanted from a stallion, and what they would do to get it. Instead I found out that I wasn't just disguised as a male; I was male, and I didn't even know how I felt, let alone how others did. I wanted to explore those feelings with you, and I enjoyed every single moment of our being together like that. When I became female again, those good feelings persisted, but I wasn't sure if it was because of how I enjoyed our dates, or because I still felt the same way about you as a female.”

“Yet you declared at dinner that you were in love with me.”

“I said I think I’m in love with you. I know that I’m attracted to you enormously as Sunset, and I always want to be with you as Dandelion – isn’t that the way love starts? And true love has to be a two-way thing, but I couldn't be sure how you felt.”

“This relationship of ours has been nothing but uncertainties and secrets, hasn't it?” Summer asked sadly.

“It wasn't until I started keeping secrets from you from my fifteenth birthday. Maybe things would have been different if we’d both been more honest with each other.”

Summer nodded thoughtfully, and then came to a decision. “Then let’s do away with all the lies and uncertainties that we can from here on, and I’ll start by saying the most certain truth that I know. I love you, Dandelion. I love you as a mare, and I love you as a stallion, and I’m prepared to wait until you are sure about your own feelings for me.”

Dandelion’s heart started pounding hard at that declaration. She licked her suddenly dry lips before she managed to reply. “I said that I was uncertain if I was in love, but perhaps that was the final lie to myself because I was afraid that you would not accept me because of what I had revealed. But Summer, I've never stopped wanting you to be part of my life. I can’t imagine you not being there with me always. If that isn't love, then I don’t think I’ll ever figure it out.”

Summer threw her forelegs around Dandelion’s neck and drew her into a kiss. Although she was startled, Dandelion barely hesitated to return it in good measure.

When they finally drew apart, Dandelion said with a mischievous smile, “Now that’s something not even Sunset got to do.”

“Want to correct that?” Summer asked coyly.

With a flare of green magic that lit up the bedroom, Dandelion shifted into Sunset Blaze. He tenderly took Summer’s face between his hooves and drew her into a long and heartfelt kiss. The blissful look on Summer’s face when he finished told him that he’d done exactly the right thing. It emboldened him to do one more thing. He got down on his knees, took Summer’s right hoof in his, gazed directly into her eyes and said, “Summer Storm, would you make me the happiest pony in Equestria and promise to be my wife?”

Summer burst into tears, but Sunset was in no doubt that they were of joy. “Yes! I promise to marry you – bothof you!”

“That ought to make it an interesting marriage ceremony,” Sunset said as he gathered Summer into a hug and kissed her again.

When she could talk again, Summer replied, “We’ll have plenty of time to figure that out. We’re only sixteen and still have a couple of years of school ahead of us both.”

“I’m not in a hurry. I have what I really want right now.”

They then shared several minutes of just quietly hugging and kissing. Eventually though, they realized that it was late.

“I don’t know about you, but I think I need to get some sleep now,” Summer said.

“Do you have to go?” Sunset asked with disappointment on his face.

“Well, actually, I don’t think I’d be able to sneak back into my house. I kind of forgot to bring my keys.”

“Oh. I think we might wake people up if we try setting up the spare bed now.”

“Who needs a spare bed?” Summer asked with a straight face.

A smile grew on Sunset’s face. “Right. I think I’d better change though.”

Dandelion resumed her female form – she could not think of it as her normal form any more. Although she knew she probably still had much to learn about being male, she knew now that her stallion alter-ego was as much part of her as her birth sex.

Dandelion pulled back the covers of her bed and asked, “How would you like to sleep?”

Summer climbed onto the left side of the bed and settled down with her back to the center. “Cuddle up to me, please?”

Dandelion climbed into bed, pulled the covers over them, and spooned up to Summer. “Happy engagement night, Rainy.”

“I like it already, Dandy.”

Neither had trouble sleeping thereafter. They did have some very interesting dreams though.

* * *

Next morning, Summer followed Dandelion out of the bedroom, grinning sheepishly at Dandelion's parents and sister seated at the breakfast table.

“Hi. I kind of flew in Dandy’s bedroom window last night. Didn't want to wake you, but I really needed to speak to her.”

Cogs replied, “It’s okay, Summer. I knew you were there. I trust you two worked things out?”

Dandelion nodded. “Mostly. We know that we still have some growing up to do, and we obviously still need to talk to Summer’s parents, but we've reached an understanding.”

“So what did you do last night, if I may ask? As soon as I tasted the feelings in the air, I left to give you privacy.”

Dandelion turned to Summer and said, “See? Changelings are insatiably curious about us regular ponies.”

“Hey! I resemble that remark!” Cogs said in mock outrage as he tasted the humor behind it.

The fillies both giggled before Dandelion said, “Actually, Dad, we talked and cuddled and kissed, then talked and cuddled some more. Then I asked her to marry me.”

“And I said yes,” Summer added.

“Oh, that’s wonderful!” Lavender exclaimed. “I told you Summer would make a good mate for Dandelion, didn't I?” she asked Cogs.

“Hey! I didn't disagree!” he protested.

Lavender gave her future daughter-in-law a hug, following it up with one for Dandelion. Then she asked her, “Did you have sex?”

“No, Mom. We both realize that we aren't quite ready for that yet. Soon maybe, but not yet.”

“I raised a smart daughter, it seems. I’m glad the effort has paid off,” she said as she gave Dandelion a hug.

“Told you she didn't hate you,” Fern said smugly as the fiancées settled down at the breakfast table.

Dandelion said to Summer, “The downside of becoming my mate is that you’ll be getting a smart-ass sister-in-law too.”

“Not quite a deal-breaker, Dandy,” Summer replied with a laugh.

* * *

Dandelion approached her father after school and said, “We’re going to have to tell Summer’s parents the truth, Dad.”

“I know, Dandy. I still don’t particularly want to tell the entire town our secret because of how it might affect your mother and you kids, and I have a responsibility to look out for new changelings, but it would be wrong to hide it from Summer’s parents.”

“I’d like to set up a dinner date for us all for next Saturday, if that’s okay with you?”

“Sounds good to me. I’ll check with Lavender and let you know if there’s a problem.”

The dinner went as planned, and then they disclosed the family secret to Summer’s father and mother. Fortunately they had always been open-minded about changelings, so after the expected initial shock, they handled it quite well. Finding out that their daughter was marrying both a mare and a stallion in one person was a bit harder to swallow. In the end though, there was more debate over whether their daughter should have her wedding with Dandelion or Sunset. Summer, with the support of Dandelion, eventually declared that it would be both. She was in love with a pegasus who had both aspects, so why not two ceremonies? Surprisingly, that went down quite well with them.

When school closed for the summer break, Summer Storm moved into the Cogs’ residence on a permanent basis, and the lovers started a sexual relationship. They both agreed that it was all the better for having waited until the time was right. On Dandelion’s seventeenth birthday, Cogs made her a full-time journeyman apprentice, and she celebrated it by formally announcing the wedding date. Or more accurately, the wedding dates.

Summer Storm and Dandelion Dreams proudly exchanged vows in front of Dandelion’s grandmother, Mauve Prose, who was delighted to be able to officiate the ceremony before she retired from office. Originally Summer’s parents had wanted her to get married to Dandelion’s male alter ego, Sunset Blaze, because of their strong sense of ‘traditional’ marriage, but that would have complicated a lot of things for the newlyweds. Cogs and Lavender had been able to mollify them though by offering them to come to a second marriage ceremony to be held in Ponyville, and officiated by Princess Twilight Sparkle, no less. There the lovers confirmed their vows as husband and wife this time, and Pinkie Pie threw one heck of a wedding reception. The official wedding photo had one very unusual twist though.

“I want my wedding photo to have both my husband and my wife in it,” declared Summer.

“No problem,” Cogs said with a smile. He then transformed into Dandelion wearing a wedding dress.

“I love having a changeling father-in-law!” Summer said with a delighted laugh.




* * *

As the months passed, Dandelion graduated as a full tradespony, specializing in electric motors and electromagnetic control equipment, but able to lend a hoof for any other project that her father wanted her help with. Whitetail Meadows’ growth necessitated more professionals like her, and so did the town’s new weather team where Summer gained a position as a storm-control specialist. Five months after the wedding, Summer became pregnant. Ten months after that, she gave birth to a healthy and much loved son. Or perhaps a filly? Only time would tell for the child of the changeling’s daughter who grew up just Dandy.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Cogs answered a knock at the door, and found an unfamiliar young unicorn mare waiting there.

The mare looked about before saying, “I was told to ask for Zevan.”

“Come into my office,” Cogs said, letting the mare inside. He then led her to his office and closed the door behind them. He then said, “I am Zevan, but from now on you will refer to me by my pony name, Whirring Cogs. Zevan the changeling is only for making contact.”

With a flare of blue fire, the mare transformed into her natural changeling form. “I understand, Mister Cogs. My name is Quazi. I was told that you are the official contact for changelings who wish to make Whitetail Meadows Village their permanent residence, and you could help me with settling in.”

“That is correct, Quazi. What’s your story?”

“I am a new emotion harvester for Queen Lamina’s hive. I’m here to take up a position at the village’s fire department. Besides needing to register with you, I could use a bit of help finding a place to stay until I save enough money for a place of my own.”

“Okay, I just need a few details. Please assume the form that you intend as your permanent pony alter-ego, and tell me the name to go with it.”

Quazi resumed the form of the young mare that she had arrived as – red of coat and yellow of mane, with a fire extinguisher cutie mark. “My name is Fiery Blaze.”

Cogs smiled as he wrote down the names and her hive. “My son’s name is Sunset Blaze, y’know?”

“Oh! I didn't mean to step on your hooves that way. I’ll change it.”

Cogs laughed. “No, don’t worry about it – I won’t mix them up. Although it does remind me of something that might interest you. He and my daughter-in-law are wanting to move out into a place of their own, but money is still a bit tight for a young couple with a foal. However, if you would like to board with them, can tolerate a young foal in the house, and are willing to pay a share of the costs, that would help both them and you. I’d cover your share until you get paid. The added bonus is that they are very deeply in love, and would provide quite a handy source of emotions to aid in your harvesting.”

“That sounds very good, sir. Will they be aware that I’m a changeling?”

“Yes, so there’s no need to worry about that. In fact I think they’re likely to surprise you more than you will surprise them. I’ll introduce you to them after we finish the induction. But first – I need to take a photo for your record. Please keep a neutral expression for the camera.”

When the interview was finished, Cogs led Fiery Blaze out to meet her prospective co-tenants. Behind them, a large cardboard box sitting in the corner of the room faded out of view, revealing a light brown, ten-year old colt with green mane and tail. Forest Breeze giggled at having successfully fooled his father and seen his secret business.

“Now what kind of fun can I have with this?” he wondered as he followed his father out.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Author's Note:

Fun Fact: Sunset Blaze was supposed to be Sunrise Blaze, but I had a brain fade when writing it up, and now he's stuck with that name.

I'm sure that some may have guessed that Forest Breeze would get Cogs' illusion ability, but I hope you liked the reveal anyway. I'm also sure that someone is going to point out that Cogs could taste Forest's emotions, but frankly not only wasn't he looking for them, but his office is next to the living room and plenty of background emotions can be sensed through the walls. If he noticed Forest at all, he dismissed it as being next door.... Or did he?

If you have enjoyed this story, please give me a thumbs-up if you haven't already done so.

Not quite done with Cogs as yet! Check out "The Best Present" which is a short story set during the "Growing Up Dandy" tale.

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