FimFiction Link - Short ID: 57956/integration
Published: Nov '12 — Feb '14
Caramel becomes a changeling for the sake of Sash (Sassaflash), following the events of ACW.
My previous and only frame of reference for this author was "That Changeling's a Bad OC" and these stories are nothing alike. Besides the fact that a great deal more attention is placed on the characters actions making sense (in other words, it's much better written), the start of the story is also quite slow. Most of the fic involves two parallel timelines: Caramel being transformed into a changeling after pledging himself to Chrysalis's hive in return for joining his beloved, and Caramel growing up with Sash in Ponyville and their falling in love with each other.
The Ponyville scenes are sweet, and juxtaposed with the horror and misery in the changeling hive. Throughout his months-long transformation by way of experimental royal jelly, the story puts on the appearance of intending to shuffle him through the entire changeling organizational structure (an obvious vehicle for delivering gobs of changeling worldbuilding). With how awful the TF process is, you might expect this to be a body horror fic, but Caramel is almost completely unfazed by the loss of his equinity. Likewise, this fic doesn't portray changelings as having a hidden superior ant civilization, no, they live in caves with no amenities and are persistently on the verge of extinction so you'd be forgiven for expecting this to be a misery porn fic. Again, Caramel has no difficulty whatsoever maintaining a chin-up attitude, all this thanks to Sash.
Anyway, the slow paced exploration of changeling society is finished around Ch 8 when Caramel first feeds on a pony and Integration starts firing on all cylinders. Previously, I asked the thread if there were any changeling fics which did a better job with integration than canon and got nothing. While it is a common trope of "OC tells Chrysalis she's stupid, kills her and takes her place to join ponies and changelings for the greater good," it does not seem to be the case that anyone did a better job than the show. Enter Integration! Spoilers, but one way to do better than canon is to not have Chrysalis remain stubbornly stupid. Raugos does an outstanding job writing a smart, but ruthless Queen Chrysalis who repeatedly proves her competency and can be convinced to join Equestria instead of wastefully needing to be deposed so an OC can do the obvious thing in her place. The fic ends with a peace treaty between the nations, but not before several nice bits of characterization for the best princess are delivered, and a fairly generic boss fight.