I’m a monster. I deserve to rot in Tartarus. Now they’re never going to give me a chance. Why did you have to be so stupid! She was just trying to help! And I bucking decked her! No wonder she left, she probably couldn’t stand to be in the same room as me.
Sunset was lost to her rambling thoughts, completely unaware that she wasn’t alone until Fluttershy sat on the bed next to her. She let out a startled cry at the sudden appearance of the timid girl, pitching herself backwards and off of the bed.
“Sunset!” Fluttershy exclaimed, nearly tripping over herself in an attempt to get to the girl as fast as possible. She didn't even notice the red stains that were left on the spot Sunset threw herself from.
Sunset groaned in pain, her entire body tensing and curling in on itself. Tears forced their way out of her tightly shut eyes, adding to the general look of pain and misery.
“Sunset,” Fluttershy whispered as she kneeled as close to the trembling girl as possible without touching her. “Can I t-touch you?” The shy girl blushed at her words. Sunset only gave a small nod, curling onto her side and into the fetal position, her back facing away from Fluttershy.
“Thank you, Sunset,” she said softly, “I promise not to hurt you, but please tell me if I do.”
Sunset gave another nod, her body aching and throbbing in pain. I didn’t realize how much I hurt, she thought to herself. It's like my entire body is one huge bruise. Sunset shifted when she felt Fluttershy's fingers tracing over her arm and shoulder, sighing in relief when the pain started to abate. Neither noticed the pony ears glowing faintly before disappearing when a firm knock came from the other side of the door.
“Y’all ok?” Applejack called, opening the door enough to pop her head in a bit. “Uhhh, where’d y’all go?”
Fluttershy lifted her head up above the bed enough for the farm girl to see her. “Over here,” she called out with a slight wave.
Rarity pushed past Applejack to survey the room. “Are you two alright, darling?”
“And why’re y’all on the floor?”
Both girls froze at the pitiful whimper that came from somewhere near the bed.
Applejack looked at Fluttershy, concern in her eyes. “Was that Sunset?” Her heart broke at the small nod the pink-haired girl gave. Rarity left without a word, tears filling her eyes when she heard another sob before she managed to close the door. She needed a minute to collect herself.
“It hurts…” Sunset whined, her eyes screwed shut yet still allowing tears to flow out of them. This hurts worse than...Sunset had to pause in her comparison, having to muster up enough energy to think about the traumas of her past. Well, that hurt a lot too. Just in a different way.
Fluttershy noticed Sunset start to become agitated again, so she began to stroke Sunset’s hair a bit to calm her down. When her breathing evened out enough, Fluttershy looked up at Applejack with tears streaming down her face and a determined look in her eyes.
“We need to treat her wounds before she can sleep.”
Applejack merely nodded in response.
“Sunset?’ Fluttershy said softly, stopping her comforting ministrations. It took a few times, but eventually Sunset woke up with a groan.
Applejack knelt down next to Fluttershy. “Sunset, we gotta clean yer wounds 'fore they get infected,” she said firmly.
Sunset just groaned again. I don’t wanna move. Everything hurts when Fluttershy isn’t touching me.
“Here darling, I have a feeling you desperately need these.”
Sunset opened her eyes in surprise. When did Rarity get here? She looked at the girl who was standing above her, blushing when she noticed how the girl was bending over with her hand outstretched. Sunset ignored her blush and looked at what Rarity was holding.
“What’s that?” She asked, immediately suspicious of the white objects.
“It’s acetaminophen, of course,” Rarity responded with uncertainty and confusion. Her brows furrowed further at the lack of comprehension adorning Sunset’s face.
“Have you… never taken medication before?”
Sunset’s face lit up at the question. “That’s medication? What does it do?” For the first time that night, color seemed to return to Sunset’s face. Her excitement was contagious, bringing smiles to the other girls in the room.
She looks like Sweetie Belle when I first showed her my sewing machine.
“Why, it helps with the pain!” Rarity said as she knelt down besides Applejack. “I can't promise it will take away all of your pain, but it will certainly lessen it.”
“Really?” Sunset asked excitedly, trying to lift herself up off of Fluttershy’s lap only to wince and gasp in pain.
“Eeyup, you best take that sooner rather than later, sugarcube.” AJ helped Fluttershy maneuver Sunset into a sitting position so she could take the medication Rarity had so generously brought.
Fluttershy nodded as she handed Sunset a bottle of water she fetched from under her bed. “Especially if we want to get those wounds of yours cleaned.”
Ugh, Sunset thought as she popped the pills into her mouth. I just want to sleep. Sunset took the bottle of water and downed half of it with the pills, thankful for the cool liquid.
A sudden knock brought all eyes towards the door. Rainbow’s eyes widened at the unexpected scene she found.
“Uhh, why are you guys all on the floor?”
“Ooooh, is it a floor party?!” Pinkie Pie asked, popping her head inside of the room behind Rainbow. The chromatic girl rolled her eyes and stepped further into the room.
“Pinkie and I just wanted to let you guys know the pizza’s here.” Rainbow crossed her arms and leaned against the door frame. “Do you want us to bring it here?”
Pinkie bounded over to the group of girls sitting on the floor.
“Should we eat before or after you girls stop the bleeding?” Pinkie took note of the red blood stains that were on the bed and the floor, her hair deflating a bit.
“Bleeding?” Rarity asked, her expression turning to one of horror.
“Yeah! There's blood all over the place! I was wondering why you guys were taking so long to check it out.”
At that, all the girls turned to Sunset, who now looked ashamed and afraid.
“Uhhhh,” Sunset said, holding the bottle of water in a death grip.
“Sunset,” Fluttershy started, her voice firm. “Are you bleeding from somewhere we don't know about?”
The flame haired girl shrunk into herself, wincing at the way her clothes were sticking and pulling at her suspected wounds. I knew I was hurt, but even I don't know how bad it is. Sunset had her suspicions, and could definitely feel blood soaking her shirt and even clinging to her leather jacket. It's why she hit Applejack when she tried to take off said jacket.
“I uh..” Sunset sputtered, her eyes darting around and her breathing speeding up.
“Not again,” Applejack said under her breath, but without any real malice.
Fluttershy, Rarity, and Applejack took up what they all realized would be a regular position in the coming weeks. Fluttershy sat closest to Sunset, her arms wrapped loosely around the girl and her hand tracing over the girl’s shoulders. Rarity sat up on the bed so she could have better access to Sunset’s hair, though she was sure to avoid the sport where she found blood earlier. AJ, with only a little hesitation, knelt in front of the spiraling girl. Using the gentleness she learned from Fluttershy, the farm girl cradled Sunset’s face and tried her best to meet the flickering eyes.
“Sunset, ah need ya to breathe a mite, ya hear? Just breathe.” AJ stroked Sunset’s grimey cheeks, wiping away the tear tracks from earlier with the help of fresh tears.
“We ain’t gon’ hurt ya, ok? Yer in good hands now.”
Fluttershy squeezed the tiniest bit to show Sunset that they were all there for her.
“Just relax, darling. Think about how good it feels to have your gorgeous locks played with,” Rarity chimed in, blushing a bit at her own words. Really, the girl was stunning. And her hair was nothing short of radiant. Already, Rarity was envisioning the types of outfits that would enhance the girl’s already striking qualities. Now is not the time, Rarity, she scolded herself. Perhaps at a later date.
Everyone in the room was relieved to see Sunset start to calm down. Rainbow and Pinkie shared a look before quietly leaving the room.
“You get the ice cream, I got the pizza,” Rainbow whispered, ready and willing to help in any way she could. Even if that was just helping with food. Everyone knew that Rainbow wasn’t the best with emotions, but she promised herself to try for Sunset. What she had just seen was more than enough proof that Sunset needed help, and lots of it.
“Okey-dokey-lokey!” Pinkie whisper-yelled back, bounding over to the freezer to grab a tub of Unicorn Sherbet, snickering to herself at the irony.
By the time the girls returned to the room with the food and plates, Sunset had calmed down enough to breathe regularly, but she was now crying into Fluttershy’s shoulders.
Pinkie decided to take matters into her own hands and snuck around the girls like a ninja, popping out of unexpected places until she popped up right next to Sunset.
“Good heavens, Pinkie!” Rarity cried out, pulling her legs onto the bed. “Must you always sneak up on us?”
“Duh, that’s what makes surprises so great!”
Pinkie reached into her cotton-candy hair and pulled out the tub of sherbet, handing it to the still crying but now curious girl beside her.
“Do you like sherbet?” Pinkie whisper-yelled. Sunset nodded her head with a small smile. Not my first choice, but definitely not my last either.
“Good, now eat it!” The party planner pulled a spoon out of her hair and handing both to the now visibly amused girl.
“Uh, thanks Pinkie.” Sunset managed a soft smile and an even softer giggle at the theatrics of the very pink girl. A flicker of pony ears appeared on Pinkie’s head, but everyone was too absorbed with the feeling of joy that came from seeing the broken and battered girl smile and laugh, despite how small both were.
“Go ahead and eat a few bites, darling,” Rarity cooed softly from her perch on the bed. “You’ll need a bit of sugar before we get to those wounds you haven’t told us about.”
Sunset shrunk into herself a bit at Rarity’s words, feeling guilty for not telling any of them. But why would I? We’re not friends, not really. And what if they’re only doing this because Princess Twilight told them to? Suddenly she didn’t have much of an appetite. Fluttershy noticed the girl’s shift in mood and glared a tiny bit at Rarity, which looked more like a look of annoyance than anything. Still, it had the desired effect as Rarity offered a sheepish look in return. The shy girl turned her attention back towards Sunset.
“Please tell us where you’re hurt, Sunset. We only want to help you.”.
“Yeah!” Rainbow piped in from her seat at the foot of the bed. “And I for one don’t wanna know what Vice-Principal Luna will do to us if we don’t take care of you.” A shudder ran through her and Pinkie, both remembering the last time the Vice-Principal had caught them setting up a prank in Principal Celestia’s office.
Sunset didn’t feel any better at their words. Deep down, she was terrified that she was some sort of pet project. I don’t want to feel like that again, she thought to herself. Celestia was motherly sometimes, but I still wonder if I was some sort of charity case.
“Come on, Sunset. We need tuh get ya out of them clothes and into some nice ‘n comfy ones.” Applejack looked around the room and noticed that Sunset and Fluttershy were the last ones left to change. “Shy, you go get changed. We’ve got ‘er.” Sunset and Fluttershy both looked down at Fluttershy’s outfit, neither having realized that she was still dressed for the dance.
“Oh, I’m so sorry Fluttershy!” Sunset scooted away from the girl, ignoring the pain she felt everywhere at the movement. “I didn’t mean to keep you from changing…” she whispered, feeling guilty again. I don’t think I’ll even be able to make it up to these girls, and especially not Fluttershy. Sunset didn’t notice the other girls sharing a look of sadness. I can’t even bear to think about everything I did to her.
The girl flinched when she felt a hand on her shoulder, moving away from the gentle touch she was craving. Had she been looking up instead of at her lap, she would have felt even more guilty at the hurt in Fluttershy’s eyes.
“Sunset, you didn’t keep me from anything. I want to help you.”
Sunset continued to look down, tears running off of her nose and onto her scraped up hands. She heard a sigh and then some rustling. They’re probably leaving. Sunset’s eyes welled up with even more tears. I always push people away.
The tearful girl was not prepared for a yellow hand to pull her face up rather forcefully. What she found terrified her.
Fluttershy was kneeling in front of her, though she was positioned in a way that she was towering over the trembling girl. Her eyes were firm but not unkind, though her mouth was set in a hard line.
“Now you listen here, Sunset Shimmer.”
Sunset straightened up her back at that, her training commanding her to despite the pain it brought.
“We all want to help you. But we can’t help you unless you let us. So you are going to accept our help tonight, and you will not say any more sorries until tomorrow. Am I clear?”
The room was silent, everyone collectively holding their breath.