It's Not Fine

by Inky Shades

Chapter X: Silence

“Can you tell me what you're feeling right now?” Fluttershy asked.

“Like I want the pain to end,” Sunset said.

Silence fell over the other end of the phone. Then Fluttershy spoke, “Are you… Are you considering...” Her voice was hesitant as if she didn't want to finish her thought. Sunset heard her take a deep breath. “Are you considering suicide?”

Sunset lowered the phone from her ear and thumped the back of her head against the cabinet. Should she tell her? Is that what you want to do? Burden your friend that you claim to love so much? You're so cruel. Tell her to go home, and hang up the phone.


Spare her. Tell her she has nothing to worry about. Tell her you're sorry for disturbing her. Tell her—Sunset brought the phone back to her ear. “Yes,” she said voice strained. And you call yourself her friend.

“How long have you felt like this?” Fluttershy asked.

“On and off since the funeral,” Sunset said.

“Why didn't you tell us?”

Because you deserved the punishment, right? Suffer alone, but you can't even do that, can you? You're not strong enough. You need to bring down one more friend in flames with you. Selfish to the end. But there is one way out. One way to redeem yourself.

You know what needs to be done.

“I didn't want to be a burden,” Sunset said. That's not the only reason.

“A burden?” Surprise in Fluttershy's voice. “Why would you think that?”

Go on. Tell her everything! Tell her you deserve this purgatory you find yourself in. Make her listen to every horrible, little detail about that day! Do you think she'll still want to be your friend afterwards? Will it matter if she does?

Sunset's grip tightened around the knife. Just let it end here. After a shaky breath, she relaxed her hand. Why fight the inevitable? You don't want help. This is an act, a facade. Nothing more. You know it.

Tears stung her eyes. “Why not?” she asked, voice quiet. “All I seem to be good at is causing pain to those I care about.”

“What? But that's not true.”

“Isn't it? Look at what happened to Twilight, and tell me it's not true.”

“No, it's not. I don't know what we'd do without you.”

“You'd all be better off without me.” Sunset wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.

“Please don't say that! We love you.”

Listen to the strain in your friend's voice. You claim you don't want your friends to suffer anymore because of you, but what do you think you're doing to Fluttershy? Do you need it spelled out for you? Causing pain to others is so ingrained in your nature that you simply can't help it. Do them and yourself a favor.

Sunset remained quiet as Fluttershy's words nipped at the corners of her heart. Then a pang came followed by an echo. 'I love her.' Twilight… Fluttershy says she loves you, but you know what happened to the last person who said that.

Give up.

Do it because they love you. Do it because you love them. There is no greater love than self sacrifice. Unless of course you don't love your friends as much as you claim. No! Of course she—was this the only way to show them she cared? You're beginning to see the light. Send her away.

A resigned sigh parted her lips. “I'm sorry I woke you,” Sunset said. “Why don't you go home and pretend this conversation never happened?”

“No. I-I'm glad this conversation happened. I want to help you.”

A kind offer, but there's nothing she can do. She doesn't know the risks you pose. Only you can fix this problem. Only you can protect your remaining friends. You just have to be brave enough.

“I don't think anyone can help me anymore. I don't know why I thought anyone could.”

“If you thought it was impossible, you wouldn't have called me,” Fluttershy said. “Just hang on. I'm almost there!”

“Don't bother,” Sunset said. “I know what I have to do now, what I've always had to do...”

“I see your building. It'll just be another minute. Can you hold on that long? Sunset?”

Sunset stared at the knife in her hand. A choice. That's what she faced. She closed her eyes and breathed. Slowly, Fluttershy's desperate cries faded to the background. You've thought about it before. It will be so easy… But would it? Would ending her life make things easier?

“Please answer… Can you hold on for one more minute?”

Can you? Should you? Do you want to? What do you want? All your suffering can end this moment. No pain, no guilt. Nothing. You want that, right? That's all you want. The pain to end. The answer sits before you. Why do you persist?


What's left for you with Twilight gone? Your life is in pieces. It will never be the same again. There will always be a hole. You can't live with that. There's nothing left for you, anymore. End your suffering.

Her friends though… 'Would you want to pass your pain?' The thought from the other day flickered in her mind. You keep saying your friends would be better off without you. So which is it? You can't have it both ways, and you know you can't live any longer like this.

Why did she continue? Why didn't she give up? The way out was in her hand, yet she couldn't take that final step. But her grip refused to lessen. Living one more day, let alone one more hour felt like an insurmountable challenge. One that she couldn't beat on her own. Give up! But…

Maybe she didn't have to.

'Can you hold on for one more minute?' Sunset took a deep breath. She didn't know, but she'd have to try—

Frantic pounding on her door.

“Sunset, Sunset! Can you hear me? Sunset, please—”

“The door's not locked,” Sunset said.

In stepped Fluttershy, cheeks red and tear stained. A fragile smile alighted her lips. “You're still here! When you didn't answer, I… I thought that maybe…” Her voice shook.

Then Sunset noticed the butterfly pattern that covered Fluttershy's outfit. She'd run all the way here in her pajamas. “I'm sorry, Fluttershy.” Sunset turned her head away from her as if that'd somehow help her to not think about what she might have gone through during her silence.

“I'm so proud of you,” Fluttershy said.

“What?” After what she put her through, Sunset didn't expect to hear those words. “How can you say that?”

“Because you held on. You're so strong, Sunset.” Fluttershy approached her cautiously, avoiding the fallen cutlery littered on the tile.

“Don't say that!” Sunset's voice fell to a whisper. “I'm not strong. I… I don't even know what I am anymore.” She rested her forehead against her knees. You're broken. Irreparably so. And do you know what you do with something that's broken? You throw it out. Fluttershy may be here, but you can still do it.

“It's okay,” Fluttershy said, and she heard the pause that followed her words. A pause that spoke of hesitance, of carefully selected words as to not push her further into the abyss. But there was nowhere left for her to fall.

“No it's not,” Sunset said. “There's no use pretending anymore. Everything is just… It's too much, you know? I don't know what to do.”

“Can you drop the knife?”

A simple request. Yet it felt impossible, like she was asking her to cut off her arm. The knife was an extension of herself, and no matter how much she wanted to, her grip wouldn't loosen. How weak of her.

She shook her head. “I can't…”

“That's okay.”

“You say it's 'okay', but we both know that's a lie.”

“What would you have me say, then?”

Sunset raised her head and saw Fluttershy crouched across from her. “I… I don't know.” And truthfully, she didn't. There's nothing your friend can do. There's nothing she can say that can help you.

There's no respite—no salvation from your hell. Only by your own hand can you hope to make it stop, but you don't have what it takes, do you? Could you make her watch you bleed out before her eyes? Your pain would be over. Wouldn't that be worth the consequences?

That… that would destroy Fluttershy. It'd be Twilight all over again. 'Have your friends mourn you instead.' Would Fluttershy end up like her? Would she wonder if she could've saved her? Would the pain become too much for her to bear too?

Does it matter? Do you care?

Of course she cared… Really? A dark truth crept on spindly legs inside her chest, whispering to her heart. The truth was that a small part of her didn't care if her actions caused Fluttershy pain—caused her friends pain. And she hated that. And she hated herself for even considering ending her life here and now, but she'd been suffering for so long. She was done fighting that small voice in the back of her mind.

“Can I tell you something?” Fluttershy asked.

Sunset shrugged. “Sure.”

“I want to help you,” she said. “But I don't know how. I don't know what to say to make you not hurt anymore and that makes me feel so… useless.”

Useless. Now that was a word she could relate to.

“It's hard to watch your friend—someone you love suffer.” Fluttershy continued. “You feel helpless. To be honest, I don't think there is anything I can say that will make you feel better.”

“Yeah...” Sunset placed her head against her knees once more.

“But maybe I could share some of your burden with you.” Fluttershy took a deep breath. “Sunset, can you tell me about the accident.”

“The accident?” A chill traveled up her spine. “I don't want to—” But what did she have to lose? “Okay,” she whispered. “I'll tell you what happened.” After a shaky breath, she started. “There's a spot that Twilight and I have—had—that's just off the trail…”

The ground was sludge beneath her feet, and she kept her arms extended to help her keep whatever little balance she had remaining as she made her way down the embankment next to the trail. This is a bad idea. Her mind warned. And she knew that it was, but when Twilight felt determined, few things could stop her. Just a fact. But it was something that Sunset loved about her. However, in this situation, her determination was a problem.

The rain and wind bit at her extremities. “I think I've lost feeling in my fingers,” Sunset said. “I'm telling you, we should turn back. This isn't safe with the storm. We can come back once the weather passes, okay? Twilight?” She glanced to her right and knew right away from the focus in Twilight's eyes that she didn't hear her. “Twilight!”

“Yes?” Twilight held onto a small tree to prevent herself from losing her balance.

“I know you have something important to tell me, and I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but can't you tell me somewhere safer?” A final plead, but she had to try one last time. Though, she knew what the answer would be, what it'd always be.

“But we're so close! As long as we're careful we'll be fine. Okay? Trust me.” Twilight flashed her a reassuring smile.

'No.' That's what she heard. And though she expected that to be the answer, she still held out hope that maybe Twilight would reconsider. But it just wasn't meant to be. Once Twilight set her mind on something… Still, she sounded so certain. Maybe she should trust her.

Up ahead of them was the river, it's waters rough and choppy. Sunset stood near the water's edge. “Alright,” she said. “At least let me go first, okay?”


Sunset flashed her a look that spoke volumes without words. This wasn't up for debate. If they were going to do this, it'd be her leading them over the river.

“Alright,” Twilight said.

After climbing onto an old log, Sunset rose slowly. Once she was quite certain the log wasn't going to roll out from under her feet, she helped Twilight up. “Watch your step.”

Sunset extended her arms out and stepped forward. Together she and Twilight had walked this log countless times and never once did she have any concerns. But the slick of the mud under the soles of her shoes caused her feet to glide over the rough bark. Her right foot slid off the side of the log, and her heart leapt into her throat as she steadied herself.

“You okay?” Twilight asked.

“Yeah,” Sunset said. “It's a little more slippery than I was expecting. Just be extra careful.”

“And you were telling me to watch my—whoa!”

“Didn't I just get through telling you to be extra mindful? Twilight?” After a silence that lasted a fraction of a second too long, Sunset turned around.

But Twilight was nowhere to be seen…

“And like that, she was gone,” Sunset whispered.

“Sunset...” Fluttershy's eyes glistened, and before Sunset knew it, she felt her arms around her.

“I-I...” Her voice wavered and her hands trembled. “I...”

“Shhh.” Fluttershy ran fingers through her hair.

The knife fell with a clang on the floor. As the kitchen blurred, Sunset gripped the back of Fluttershy's shirt. “I wish it was me and not her.”

“I know.”

“I wish she'd never met me.” Sunset clung to Fluttershy like her life depended on it.

“I know.”

“I loved her!” She buried her face into Fluttershy's shoulder.

“I know.”

“I'm so tired of the pain.”

“Maybe it's time for you to stop blaming yourself,” Fluttershy said, rubbing her back.

'What would you do if you stopped blaming yourself?' It sounded so easy. Just stop. A snap of the fingers and she'd have peace of mind. But how? 'You don't know where to find play anymore.'

“I don't know how to stop.” Sunset said. “And even if I did, my life's in so many pieces that I'm not sure if I can ever glue the pieces together again. So what's the point?”

'If you don't come to work tomorrow, then I'm going to have to—'

'Look, I can give you one more week if you need it.'

The words of her former boss, and landlord swirled in her mind, and the gravity of her situation slammed into her like a freight train. What would she do without her job? A quickened heartbeat. Without money, she'd lose her apartment. Pain permeated her knuckles. Where would she—

“To live,” Fluttershy said. “The point is to live despite the pain.”

“I don't want to be alone anymore,” Sunset said.

Fluttershy placed her hands on her shoulders and looked her straight in the eyes. “You're not alone, Sunset. I'm here and I'm not going anywhere.” She sat herself next to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “And no matter what happens, from now on we'll figure it out together, okay?”

“Okay,” Sunset said.

In silence they sat, but that was fine. No other words needed to be said. Because there was a flicker of warmth in Sunset's chest and that was good enough for now.