‘It really isn’t Sunset.’ Misty sat against her bedframe, face illuminated by her cell phone, ‘Anon-A-Miss’s last post happened while she was in the car with me. She didn’t have a phone on her, I only had mine.’ She sent the texts to her group chat between herself, Surprise and Fleetfoot, and put down her phone, waiting for the replies. She looked over at the sleeping girl on the trundle mattress beside her, shaking her head sadly.
Her phone buzzed. ‘I didn’t see her with it out at Soarin’s, either.’ Surprise responded almost immediately.
‘Neither did I.’ Misty agreed.
‘Guys, I’m pretty sure MyStable has an auto-post feature. This doesn’t really prove anything.’ Fleetfoot’s reply made Misty frown.
She glanced over at Sunset’s form again. ‘Maybe so, but you know she’s from another world like Twilight, Fleet. I’m not sure if she knows how to do that.’
‘But she might. And that’s what matters.’
‘We can’t discredit that she might not.’ Misty said. She paused, preparing for the backlash from her next words, ‘I believe her. She’s not Anon-A-Miss.’
‘Your evidence is faulty, Fly. Admit it. She’s still just as likely to be guilty as before.’
‘No. You would know it if you actually sat down and talked with her. Listen, I know we’ve always had our fun talking shit to each other, Fleet, but I mean this. You have to trust my judgement. Please. This could really hurt her.’
She got no response from the chat for a few minutes, and for a moment she considered telling them about Sunset’s homelessness. Shaking her head, Misty steeled herself mentally. 'That’s not my business. That’s for Sunset to tell everyone, when or if she wants to.'
Her phone buzzed again. ‘Okay, okay. I’ll have a little chat with her.’
‘Thanks for trusting me, Fleet.’
‘Hey, that’s what teams are for, right?’
Misty couldn’t help but smile a little at Fleet’s reply.
“Are you sure about this?” Misty asked Sunset after parking her car at the school’s entrance the next morning.
“Yeah.” Sunset had borrowed a typical Wondercolts hoodie from Misty for the day, burrowing her hands into it and pulling the hood over her head. “I need to keep coming to class. They’ll clue onto it not being me sooner or later.” Sunset said, “If I just leave, we’ll never know who Anon-A-Miss is. Clearly, she’s trying to drive me out of school, and I won’t let her get away with it.”
“The posts will probably stop if you leave.” Misty agreed. “I’m just worried for you with our classes being so far and all. Can you make it until lunch?”
“I’ll have to.” Sunset nodded, “I can ignore the glares. I have been for the past four years, after all.” She chuckled weakly.
All eyes were on them as they entered the school, and Sunset saw Misty’s hands twitch ever so slightly. She was staring ahead, mouth pressed into a thin line.
Sunset was fine, for now. As long as we don’t run into any of the girls, I can do this. She told herself, nodding.
“Hey, Sunset!” Sunset nearly flinched; she wasn’t expecting someone to call out her name so loudly in the hall. Not that it gave her away, just that someone would make it so prevalent that they wanted her attention. Surprise approached her and Misty, “Wanna walk to our first class together?” She asked with a smile. The crowd around them looked on in both shock and irritation, but Surprise didn’t seem to care. Or at least, she didn’t seem to notice.
“I… Sure.” Sunset blinked. She wasn’t going to turn down the company, not after the last few days of feeling utterly alone.
“Great! We’ll see ya later, Misty!” Surprise smiled.
Misty smiled back, and her posture relaxed. “See you both at lunch.” With that, she left, leaving Sunset alone with Surprise.
The two girls walked down the hall. “So, Sunset, how was your night?”
“Pretty good. I ended up at Misty’s.” Sunset said.
“Ohh, nice!” She nodded, “Misty’s not usually one for sleepovers. But she has such a big house, so I don’t get why!”
Misty’s home was pretty much a mansion, with a butler and everything. Her father was a politician, and that as much as she’d wanted to believe it, his job wasn’t without scandal. But still, she loved him, and he wanted to do what was best. Her older sister found politics disgusting, the fact that their family money was based almost entirely on it made her sick, and being a daughter of a politician would also mean that they’d make a great tool for political rivals to get at their father. There was a risk of no one being a true friend to them.
Misty shared her sister’s fear, and hid her wealth and background from nearly everyone freshman year. It worked for awhile, but then… She decided to get in Sunset’s way as she climbed to the top of the school.
‘Puh, really?’ Sunset flinched as she could remember her past self saying, ‘This is the idiot standing up to me? A spoiled little daddy’s girl playing tough? I didn’t even need to look that hard.’
What would come next would be a series of Sunset making an “example” of Misty Fly, spilling her secret to the school through the newspaper, and making the girl weary of trusting anyone except her teammates. Sunset had seen it as nothing too earth-shattering to herself, and it wasn’t. Everything pretty much fell into place for her after that. But Misty… Sunset had put Misty in the spot she was in right now.
“-Maybe you should hang out at my place tonight after we all head to Clipper’s.” Surprise continued talking even though Sunset had zoned out completely.
This was getting all too familiar, and it made Sunset shudder, “I’ll… I’ll think about it, Surprise.”
Surprise glanced at her worriedly for a moment, before nodding, “Okay, no big deal.” She shrugged, stopping outside their classroom door.
“Wait.” Sunset said before Surprise opened the door. “Are you not bothered by all this? Everyone’s been glaring at us.”
“Yeeeah, I’m not. They’re all assholes, ignore them.” With a smile, Surprise pushed open the door, and walked in.
Lingering for only a moment, Sunset followed her in. Of course. She sighed mentally, met almost immediately with the glares of a familiar pink-haired girl. Whispers filled the room as Sunset took her seat at the front, and only wavered slightly when Surprise took the empty seat next to her.
“Can you believe that?”
“Isn’t that your cousin, Pinkie?”
“Oh God, does this mean the soccer team’s with Anon-a-Miss now?”
Surprise leaned back in her chair, stretching, “So, have your essay topic picked out, Sunset?”
“Yeah.” Sunset followed her lead, trying to stay as normal as possible and ignore the whispers, “I wanted to start with the 1700’s…”
Class continued on as normal, as normal as the obvious eyes on Sunset’s back could be. Ignoring those stares was easier for Sunset to do knowing that, on occasion, Surprise would look back and glare at the group herself.
It was after class when Pinkie started to approach them, and Surprise motioned Sunset on. “Head to to your next class, I’ll deal with this.”
“You sure?” Sunset asked.
“Pfft, she’s my cousin. I can handle her.” Surprise smirked. “Go ahead. I’ll meet you after my class.”
Sunset hurried ahead, while Pinkie was stopped from heading the same way by the blonde. “Surprise, are you serious?!” Pinkie exclaimed, pouting. “What’re you doing with that… that meanie secret-stealer?!”
“Apparently I’m not being blinded by my ego.” She said, crossing her arms, “That’s really funny, because normally it’s only Dash we have to worry about that with.”
“WHAT?” Pinkie exclaimed, waving her hands in the air. “Surprise! She did this to us, and you’re acting like we’re doing it to her!”
“Because you are!” Surprise replied back sharply. “You can’t tell for sure if she is Anon-A-Miss, but she sure is one easy target to pin all this to, isn’t she Pinkie?”
“We do too have proof! We have lots and lots of it!” Pinkie argued. “Stuff was posted that was only on her phone!”
“Unless the phone was taken.” Surprise pointed out, “And put back on purpose.”
“That’s just crazy! That would mean one of my best friends did it!” Pinkie said.
Surprise frowned, “Really, Pinkie, there’s just as much evidence pointed to any of you as there is to Sunset.”
“Buh-what?!” Pinkie exclaimed again, “Why would any of us target ourselves?!”
“To blame Sunset!” Surprise repeated. “And clearly, it’s working!”
“Y-You’re crazy, Surprise! You’re going to be targeted next, just like we were! Then you’ll see!” Pinkie said.
“...You’re not really helping your own case, Pinkie.” Surprise sighed. “Anyways, cuz, as great as this conversation was, we have classes to get to.” She turned her back to Pinkie. “You really are a coward, by the way. Too afraid of standing up to the masses to speak out for your friend? Man, that’s just sad.” She started to walk away.
“H-Hey! I’m not done with you yet, Surprise!” Pinkie called after her.
“Tough luck. I have a friend to get back to.” With that, Surprise left Pinkie staring slack-jawed at her back.
Face red, Pinkie huffed and stormed off in the opposite direction.
“It wasn’t too bad, was it?” Misty asked Sunset as the two of them followed Surprise into the lunchroom.
“Not as much as I thought,” Sunset admitted, having thrown off the hood to the jacket earlier that day. “I have you and Surprise to thank for that.”
“It was nothing!” Surprise grinned, hands behind her back. “Now come on, people! We gotta snag the good seats before Lightning Dust does!”
“I’m… Sitting at your table?” Sunset asked, looking over at Misty.
“Of course.” Misty motioned to the table in question, where Surprise had teasingly pushed Fire Streak out of his spot. The fiery-haired freshman responded with a gracious shove back.
“Respect your elders, youngin!” They heard Surprise declare as she shoved him again.
“Fuck off, grandma!” Fire Streak grinned back at her.
“...We’re very mature here, as you can see.” Misty giggled.
“Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Sunset chuckled, sitting next to Misty at the end of the table.
“Good, because this just about sums us up about… Like at least 60% of the time.” Misty motioned to the squabbling two.
As Sunset sat, she saw the younger Wondercolts look at the older two in confusion. But seeing as Fleet wasn’t at the table, and the other two seniors making pleasant conversation with Sunset, slowly the others joined in.
“I’m Fire Streak.” The confident freshman introduced, pointing a thumb at himself.
“-Half of the Streak brain.” Surprise cut in with a grin, causing a sandwich to splat into her face. “HEY!” She scowled at the freshman, “That was a total waste of very good food! Think of the children, Half Streak, the children!”
Streak’s expression was sunken somewhere between being afraid and laughing until his sides hurt. The table erupted into laughter instead, as he decided it was the safer decision to look terrified.
“...I’m High Winds.” The other curly-haired girl scooted away from the two once the laughter died down.
“Sup, name’s Lightning Dust.” The blonde said, pushing her way between Streak and Surprise as she sat down. “How’d you manage to get in on the best table?”
Sunset chuckled, “It’s a long story.”
“We’ll tell you if you’ll meet us at Clipper’s tonight, Dust.” Misty said with a smirk.
“You know it.” The girl smirked. “Will Cap be there?”
Misty went silent, eyes wide. She seemed to have realized the same thing as Sunset. ...What if Rainbow decided to show up to Clipper’s?
A few tables over, Dash kept her head down, growling and staring at the table across the lunchroom, eyes locked on Shimmer. “What the Hell is she doing with my team?!”
“And my cousin.” Pinkie lifted her head off the table long enough to say with a sigh. Her hair was noticeably flat.
“I mean… seriously?!” Dash flailed uselessly, “They’re going to turn on me like this?!”
“Ah’d think they’re in on this, Dash.” AJ said, finding no other explanation.
“B-But what the Hell, they’re my team!” Dash repeated again, “Why would they-they turn on me all of a sudden like this?! It makes no fucking sense!”
“Oh, maybe they’re just confused?” Fluttershy offered from next to her friend.
“Yeah.” Scootaloo scoffed from the other side of Dash, “Extremely confused.”
Applebloom and Sweetie Belle looked at each other from next to their sisters, worried glances crossing their expressions.
Scoots caught their stares, nodding sharply at them.
The two nodded hesitantly back, one more “enthusiastic” than the other.
Dash stood, disposing of her tray before storming out of the Cafeteria in a huff.
“H-Hey Rainbow, wait up!” Scoots called, hastily following her idol.
Pinkie sighed as she watched them leave before looking back at the other table. She saw her cousin cross gazes with her, and turn away quickly with a scowl. ‘“You really are a coward, by the way. She sure is one easy target to pin all this to, isn’t she Pinkie?”’ Surprise’s words bounced around in the pink one’s mind.
‘...Something’s dun-doodley definitely not right here.’ Pinkie thought to herself, creasing her brow.
Sunset stared silently out of Misty’s car window as she watched Canterlot’s streets pass by her, as much a blur as the speeding snowflakes falling to the ground in the whipping winds.
“Thanks for the lift, Mist.” Surprise smiled, sitting in the back next to Lightning Dust.
“Yeah.” Dust nodded, “Kinda an understatement to say the weather sucks right now.”
“I can’t believe your parents are having you two walk in this mess.” Misty said, peering at the two of them through her rearview mirror.
“Well, my grandfather’s at work late tonight.” Dust shrugged simply, “Can’t wait to hang at Clipper’s until Soar kicks me out.”
“...Are we talking about the same Soarin?” Misty asked with a chuckle.
The rest of their conversation blurred away, Sunset tapping her fingers nervously on the console. Dash could be at Clipper’s tonight. Especially because of how Pinkie saw her and Surprise together in class today, and surely she told the rest of the girls. If not, the news of Misty and Surprise’s openness had surely spread all over the school. ...Who knew what that crazy athlete would do? Sunset couldn’t help but ask herself if there was anything Dash could do to change the minds of those around her.
She looked over, and saw Surprise laughing from behind Misty, holding her sides and giving a confident grin. Looking over to the driver, she only noticed the worried side-glance of a patient Misty Fly. ‘...No.’ She concluded, closing her eyes. ‘No, there’s nothing Dash could say that could turn them against me.’
Misty looked forward, paying attention to the road. She could tell how stressed Sunset was over all of this, and she didn’t blame her. The idea of Dash coming into Clipper’s today meant that they might lose Fleet’s support entirely, maybe even the freshmen, and a divided team never made for a good thing. Still, Misty knew Dash. This girl was no debater, that was for sure. Spitfire and Soarin weren’t going to fall for melodrama from the spectrum-haired teen, either. It all came down to Fleet, really.
The group pulled up to Clipper’s, and Sunset’s heart clenched seeing the place. This was it. Do or die time. If Rainbow was here, she had to be ready to argue against a screaming, hard-headed ex-friend who wouldn’t hear whatever she was trying to say.
Slowly, the door to the guitar shop creaked open, Misty taking the lead, and blocking Sunset from whatever they might find inside, hoping to shield her even a little.
“Mornin, bitches!” A voice called from behind the counters.
“Fleet! Did you skip again?!” Misty’s body relaxed, seeing no one else but the puffy-headed girl.
“Oh, absolutely. Soarin should hire me at this rate.” Fleet smirked, “He can pay me in booze.”
“...” Misty just gave her teammate a flat look as the rest shuffled in, and Surprise plopped herself onto one of the couches in the back. “Hey Sunset, come sit by me!”
With a relieved sigh, Sunset nodded and went over to Surprise’s side. “Thanks.”
“No problem!” She grinned.
“So… Surprise, I wanted to ask you something.” Sunset said after a moment.
“Sure Sunny, what’s up?”
“You seem a lot like your cousin.” As in, a lot. Sunset added mentally. “It has to be bothering you even a little that everyone was glaring at you today, and… thanks. Thanks for it. It took guts for you to stick by me like that.”
“Really, it was fine.” Surprise smiled in a more serious manner. “I know Pinks and I seem alike, but I’m less insecure than she is. I don’t need everyone I meet to like me to feel assured in myself. ...That’s why I’m kinda ashamed of her.”
Sunset blinked, “Ashamed?”
“Yeah, I mean she goes around claiming that she’s all about making everyone happy, and everyone’s her friend and all that… But in the end, she can be pretty quick to drop whoever everyone else does. She’s so influenced by the crowd. It saves her own image, and her own ego.” Surprise sighed, “Don’t you think that’s a little hypocritical?”
“...I could see that.” Sunset nodded slowly, a frown crossing her face.
“She chooses quantity over quality sometimes, and that’s just gonna hurt her in the long run. I love her, and I don’t want her to get hurt… but she hurt you too, you know? That’s why I have to hang around, swat her in the back of the head sometimes when she’s being thick.” Surprise smirked. “You’re cool and nice, and I think she needed to stand by you. ...I won’t let her keep thinking that she made the right decision.”
“That would help.” Sunset agreed with a smile. “Thanks.”
At that moment, Soarin came into the main room of the shop, holding two brand new guitars, “Hey there kiddos! How was school?”
Surprise giggled, “Oh, Soar, you’ve gotta hear this!”