Lavender felt as if she were floating in black, feeling nothing, hearing nothing, in a void where nothing could touch her. It felt comforting, in a sense, and a part of her never wanting to leave. It felt warm, calming, her mind at ease and her body feeling relaxed. But soon voices began to seep through, frantic and fast. She clawed through the inky darkness, and her eyes fluttered open, letting out a soft gasp.
“Miss Bliss, how are you feeling?” Principal Celestia stared down at her, her hand cupping her student’s cheek gently. Lavender closed her eyes and leaned into the warm touch without realizing, her body relaxing. “You took quite a spill.”
“I... I am sorry about the mess.” The young girl opened her eyes, flinching as she thought of all of her bottles of perfume shattered on the floor. All of her hard work ruined by... Lavender sat up abruptly, causing the Principal to jump back.
She must be going insane, seeing Shim in the music room like that. Maybe her mother was right about going and seeing a psychologist.. Or an exorcist. Her first impression at school, in front of Rarity, was a girl who was psycho, screaming at empty air. A great person to have as a business partner, of course.
“It’s just a few broken bottles, no one was hurt. Besides, the music room now smells wonderful.” Lavender felt the principal set a gentle hand on her back, her thumb stroking to try and soothe. “Luckily, Sunset Shimmer was able to carry you in here. Apparently you’re quite the light little lady.”
“Barely more than a feather.” A voice spoke from the doorway. Lavender’s head snapped around, her body tensing tightly.
Lavender made a sound and scooted back on the bed, her heart pounding wildly as she curled into herself. She needed to get away, far far away from this... This thing!. The girl who looked so much like her friend. Lavender pressed her trembling mouth into a tight line and lowered her gaze, feeling her eyes burn.
“Miss Bliss, this is Sunset Shimmer, I believe you and her are both in your senior year.” Celestia spoke up, smiling at both girls, not noticing the blood draining from Lavender’s face upon hearing her name. “She was very kind to have saved you.”
“Who paid you to look like that?” Lavender’s whispered, gazing deep into the ghost’s eyes, her hands curling into fists. “Who made you dress up like my dead friend?”
“.. Your friend was a Sunset Shimmer too, wasn’t she?” The ghost’s eyes flashed with realization before she took a seat, watching helplessly as Lavender flinched as she drew near. “I guess this answers where this side’s version of me is..”
“What are you talking about?” Anger began heating Lavender’s voice as she sat up, her gaze sharpening. “‘This side?’”
“How stupid do you think I am?” Anger radiated from every word that she spoke, a fire burning in her eyes as she grabbed the front of the doppelganger’s shirt, pulling her close so that their faces were mere inches apart. “Did someone hire you to do this? If so, this is a fucking low prank, even for scum like you. Who paid you, Poppy? She finally wants to get back at the dyke loser?”
“What? No, no, I’m telling you the truth, I swear!” Sunset held her hands up, her eyes widening as Lavender snarled at her.
“Magic mirrors? Alternate dimensions? Talking ponies? That is all bullshit!” Lavender shoved her away, her body shaking hard, her face twisted in a look of pure rage. “I’m not stupid! I’m sick and tired of being everyone’s punchline!”
“Please, Miss Bliss, I know this all seems false, but...” When Celestia reached out for her, Lavender smacked her hand away, turning on her heel and storming out, only to pause in the door.
“I didn’t think the principal herself would be in on a sick joke like this.. You’re really twisted, you know that? I watched my friend die, and you play it like some prank, for what? Because a bimbo heiress is paying you? Go fuck yourself.”
She left them gaping after her, trying her best to fight back the tears that burned her eyes.
Lavender drove home like she were being chased down. She needed to put as much space as she could between herself and that sickening school. When she finally drove into her driveway, she rested her forehead against the steering wheel and tried to control her shaky breathing. It was going to be fine. If her parents wouldn’t let her transfer schools, she’d just stick to classes and ignore everyone. Who knew how many people were on this disgusting joke. Money did make people do very cruel things.
Lifting her head, she noted that her mother’s car was in the driveway, as well as one she had never seen before. With a huff, she headed inside.
She was greeted with silence. But then, soft giggling. In the doorway of the kitchen, she froze. Her mother was leaning close to a young man, giggling softly as he whispered something into her ear, stroking her hair from her face.
“Hello, mother.” The sound of Lavender’s voice, the two jumped apart, her mother having the blood drain from her face and look like a deep in headlights. “Who is this?”
“Ah.. I.. Lavender..” Her mother stammered, red flooding her cheeks as she straightened, setting down the glass of wine she had been holding. She then gestured to the young man who had been far too close. “This is Dirk, he and I work together.”
“Uh huh...” Lavender stared hard at Dirk, causing sweat to begin form along brow. “I see you’ve made friends fast, mother..”
“Yes, you know me, I love making friends.” Penny Bliss smiled at her daughter, though it was rather shaky. “He’s going to be joining us for supper tonight. We’re discussing a project we’re working on.”
Lavender eyed the tall man’s solid build. He was obviously from money, with his manicured nails and groomed dark hair. Who was this month’s flavour..? The CEO’s son? Someone from a rich family..?
“I’m going out to the shed. Eat without me.” Lavender brushed past the duo and raided the fridge for juice and a tub of leftover spaghetti, not giving her mother another look as she headed out the sliding glass door and to the shed in the backyard.
It was midnight before she returned inside. She set her dirty dishes in the sink along with the rest, noticing the two empty wine bottles next to the trash can. Her mother had no doubt left with Dirk, and peeking her head into her parents’ bedroom confirmed this. She watched her father snore, the smell of alcohol practically radiating off of him. But no pity stirred in her heart. Her father was always so blind to everything around him, never noticing what was so obvious. She merely went to her room, locking her door behind her.
With a defeated sigh, the teen headed towards her bathroom, splashing cold water in her face. Her brain throbbed in her head, making the mere act of standing almost unbearable. She took a deep breath and lifted her head. Glancing up in the mirror, Lavender stared at her reflection, the dark circles under her eyes, the large eyes that seemed so lost and infuriated.
Then those eyes drifted to something else in the mirror.
Shim smiled at her, seated on the closed laundry hamper, filing her long nails with expertise and care.
“So, slut, you decide to replace me with a mediocre copy, huh?” Shim sneered st her, Lavender whirling around, using the counter to steady herself, her legs shaking. “God, I always knew you were a backstabbing bitch.”
“No. No, I didn’t...” The words caught in Lavender’s throat as she tried to speak to her friend. Her dead friend, a dead friend who was supposed to have no head. But there Shim was, sitting in her bathroom, looking like a million bucks. “I would never betray you. You were my best friend...”
“Were? Wow, you really are a horrible person. So pathetic, the worst friend ever!” Shim’s beautiful face curled into a mask of rage and hatred. “I’m dead only a year and you decide to replace me, and with a cheap copy? I mean, look at her clothes, I don’t buy second hand shit, Lav!”
“No, Shim, I know.. I- I haven’t been making friends, I couldn’t do that to you..” Lavender felt the tears well up in her eyes as she reached for Shim.
“You don’t need other friends, you only need me! I tell you the truth, I never lie to you! I told you how Poppy and her clique hated our guts, God, Lavender, they fucking did horrible things to you! Remember the video?!” Shim shook her head, tears welling up in her eyes. “Why would you betray me, Lav, why would you hurt your best friend?”
“Shim, I know, I know!” Lavender pressed her hands to her head, the tears flowing more freely now. Her breathing came out in swift, short bursts as she dropped to her knees. “I’m not replacing you, I love you!”
“LIAR!” Shim got right in her face, her eyes glowing red. Her hands wrapped around Lavender’s throat and tightened, cutting off the air. Lavender desperately clawed at the hands that continued to tighten, letting out a bloodcurdling scream.
Only to bolt up in bed, her body drenched in sweat. Glancing at her clock, she saw it was three in the morning. With a groan, Lavender buried her face into her pillow, trying to calm the tremors running through her body.
She slid a shaking hand to the choker she wore around her neck, then swiftly unhooked the clasp of the choker and tossed it across the room. It landing with a soft thud on the floor.
After a moment of silence, she slid out of bed and rushed over to the discarded jewelry. She cradled it in her hands, her fingers ghosting over the soft velvet choker, before freezing when her fingertips met cold metal. The metal charm of an orange and red sun.
“I’m so sorry..” Lavender whispered softly, clutching the choker to her chest. “I’m so so sorry.”