It took a bit of negotiation, but Sunset managed to escape the school without Principal Celestia seeing her.
I can’t believe they have to text Luna updates.
The Vice-Principal only agreed to let Sunset go to Fluttershy’s house so long as the girls all texted her nearly hourly with updates, treated her wounds to the best of their ability, fed her, and made sure she wouldn’t die. Sunset blushed at the memory of Luna’s words.
“I expect her to be alive and well tomorrow. Treat her as you would a very delicate houseplant.”
The girls looked confused, though Rainbow and Pinkie shared a small laugh together.
“I’m not a houseplant,” Sunset mumbled under her breath.
Luna had smirked then, letting her facade fall away for a moment before telling Sunset that she would be taking the girl to a family doctor the next morning to have a look at her injuries.
“If you require surgery, my sister and I will cover the expenses.”
Sunset had flat-out refused to agree to that. After exchanging some heated words, she managed to get Luna to agree to pay for medication and nothing else. With more shame than she was willing to show, Sunset informed Luna of her stache of bits hidden in an abandoned building that she had taken when she had gone back to get the crown. Everyone had taken a few moments to process her words, all while Sunset’s face was heating up with guilt.
Celestia, I don’t deserve any kindness. I can’t believe any of them want to help me.
“Did you...acquire them by legal means, dear?” Rarity had asked, voicing the thought that was undoubtedly on everyone's mind.
All Sunset could do was shake her head and look away in defiant shame, tears stinging her eyes once more.
Gah! Why can’t I stop crying! This is the most I’ve cried since I first got here. Sunset had paused to think about that more. Well, since I was under King S’s thumb.
Thankfully, Fluttershy was able to get them all on another topic by asking the Vice-Principal if they could take Sunset home, as she was getting weaker by the moment. Only then had the blue woman relented.
Now Sunset found herself seated next to the lean soccer player in the back of the minivan Fluttershy was using while her parents were away visiting her brother. Every bump caused Sunset’s injured back to rub against the seats, so she ended up leaning forward and resting her elbows on her knees to keep the pain at bay. Her head throbbed where the rock cut her, and muscles she didn’t know she had ached.
“You ok Sunny?” Pinkie asked from her perch in the passenger seat. Despite Fluttershy’s warnings, the girl was leaning precariously over the back of the seat without a seatbelt, constantly watching Sunset.
“Really now Pinkie Pie, I think we are quite capable of watching Sunset,” Rarity groaned as Pinkie leaned farther over the back of her seat, invading the fashionista’s space.
Sunset blinked slowly at the pink girl. “Sunny?” The flame haired girl couldn’t help but feel thrown off by the nickname.
“Yeah! You’re our friend now so you get a nickname!” Pinkie didn’t wait for Sunset to react but she did notice the way the girl balked at the word “friend.”
“Meet Rares, Dashie, AJ, Shy, Pinkie, and Sunny!” Pinkie Pie pointed to everyone as she said their names, even herself, before gesturing wildly when she got to the damaged girl who was struggling to keep up.
“Ohhhh-kaaayyy,” Sunset said. She suddenly felt like her body was lead and was too tired and in pain to focus on the party planner’s words.
Rainbow took note and waved her hand in front of the former queen bee’s dazed face. “Earth to Sunset.” Sunset took a full five seconds to turn to the athlete and focus her eyes enough to respond.
Rainbow just shook her head and put one of her hands on Sunset’s shoulder in what she hoped was a comforting way.
“We’re almost to Fluttershy’s place. Try not to pass out before we get there.” Sunset could only nod at the blue girl’s words, the pain coming back in waves and preventing her from doing more than the barest of movements.
Less than five minutes later, the minivan parked outside of the garage of a very ordinary two-story house. Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie got out first so they could help the rest of the girls get Sunset out of the van. In the end, it was decided that Applejack would carry Sunset into the house, being the tallest and strongest of the group.
“H-hey, don’t I get a say in this?” Sunset protested with a blush as Applejack picked her up in a bridal carry. Her embarrassment was almost enough for her to forget the pain searing along her back.
“Ee-nope,” the farm girl responded with a smug smile, barely breaking a sweat as she carried Sunset into the modest house.
Almost immediately upon crossing the threshold, Applejack stumbled over Angel Bunny.
“Ahhhhhh!” Sunset cried out, holding onto the tall girl for dear life and burying her face into a very muscular shoulder.
“Awww, you guys are so cute!” Pinkie Pie said once both girls were sure they wouldn't fall or be dropped, respectively.
Applejack glared at her pink friend. “Oh hush,” she retorted, though her face was nearly as red as Sunset's mane from the trip.
“That was a rather adorable shriek, Sunset my dear,” Rarity said with a smile and a slight giggle.
“Way to almost drop her, AJ." Despite her small stature, Rainbow managed to bump the farmer's shoulder enough for Sunset to feel it. Both she and AJ refused to respond, though Sunset couldn't help but smile a bit at their banter.
Is this what friendship is? They tease but there's no malice behind their words. Sunset was entirely inexperienced with this sort of conversation. Everything in the castle was a competition, and everyone in the Hive just wanted to outlive each other. Sunset didn't even want to think of her time with King S.
Fluttershy, who had gone to her room unnoticed, popped her head out of the open door down the hall. “Over here, AJ.” The tall girl nodded and started walking towards Fluttershy.
“Pinkie and I are gonna set up the living room while you guys get her set up,” Rainbow called after the farmer.
“Sounds good tuh me,” she responded before following Fluttershy through the door and into her room.
“Oooooh, sleepover time!!”
Rainbow and Rarity both laughed at the pink blur that shot past them.
Rainbow was the firs to recover. “You gonna help?” She asked, nodding her head and pointing a thumb towards the direction Pinkie had taken off in.
Rarity shook her head. “No, I do believe my help is needed in the bedroom.” Almost immediately, a harsh yell could be heard coming from Sunset, followed immediately by a slew of curses from AJ. Both girls looked at each other in fear and concern.
“You go see what’s wrong. I’ll help Pinkie set things up.”
Rarity nodded and rushed over to the host’s bedroom.
“Is everything ok in here?”
“You tell me,” AJ grumbled as she held a rag to her nose, blood drops staining her dress.
The fashionista let out the loudest gasp of horror that any of the girls had ever heard before rushing over to the farm girl.
“Give me!” Rarity yelled, making grabby hands at Applejack’s dress. “Before the blood sets!”
“Uh, Rarity?” Applejack mumbled, “Ah think we’ve got bigger fish tuh fry.” She gestured at her assailant with suspicious eyes, though deep in her heart she knew Sunset didn’t mean to wallop her.
Said girl winced at the sudden attention being paid to her. The first thing Rarity noticed was the way Sunset was holding her right wrist with her other hand as if it was an uncontrollable animal. The next thing she noticed was the now familiar panic beginning to rise. Fluttershy was standing between Sunset and the other girls, looking torn.
“Are you ok, Applejack?’ she asked, her eyes shifting between her and the terrified girl on the bed.
Who do I help? Sunset was wrong to hit her, but Applejack did try to pull off her jacket without consent. Fluttershy observed the way the girl refused to let her back touch anything. I wonder if she’s hurt more than she’s letting on. Fluttershy’s suspicion grew when she remembered how Sunset never actually answered when she and Luna asked about any further injuries.
“Ah’m fine, Shy. Ah don’t think she busted mah nose, just bruised it a bit is all.” Applejack pulled the rag away, smiling when no more blood gushed from her nostrils.
“Good, now will you puh-lease give me your dress so I can get that dreadful stain out?” Rarity was practically begging on her knees, her voice nearing hysterics.
“Hold yer horses, girl! Ah need tuh get mah clothes from Shy’s van first.”
Rarity grumbled something about modesty before straightening up.
“Fine,” she huffed,” But I am going with you!” With little more than an eye roll, Applejack left the room with Rarity in tow.
Fluttershy followed the girls and gently closed the door behind them, leaving it only slightly ajar. When she turned back around to face Sunset, the sight she found nearly shattered her heart.
Sunset sat on Fluttershy’s bed with her knees pulled up to her chest and her arms folded at the top to cradle her head. She was rocking back and forth, mumbling to herself softly and crying.
“Oh, Sunset,” Fluttershy whispered before slowly approaching the girls like she would an injured animal. Sunset didn't react at all, lost in her own mind.