Rarity clapped her hands together quickly, calling the attention of the other girls in the room.
“Ahem,” she said, clasping her hands together, “While this night has certainly been an experience, I do believe we should all hit the hay, as it were.”
Almost as if planned, Pinkie and Sunset let out the biggest set of yawns any of the girls had ever seen. Fluttershy and Rarity shared a giggle, while AJ and Dash chuckled at the two girls on the bed.
“I rest my case,” Rarity pointed out once both girls were finished. Sunset had a small smile on her face, coupled with a slightly goofy expression that made her entirely too adorable for her own good.
Fluttershy moved over to her bed, sitting on the other side of Sunset.
“You’ll sleep on my bed,” the shy girl said, raising her hand when Sunset looked like she was going to argue. “No arguing, please. We just want to make sure you’re safe and comfortable.” Fluttershy placed a gentle hand on Sunset’s, staring at the girl. Sunset bit her lip, her tired mind racing.
They’ve already done so much for me. I can’t take her bed! Where will she sleep? And what if they all leave me alone? Sunset tensed at the thought, her hands clenching the throw blanket that was draped over her shoulders. What if I change back into that thing in my sleep? What if I hurt them? After everything they’ve done, I don’t think I could handle that.
Sunset started to tear up as she curled into herself. Fluttershy moved closer and softly called to the girl.
The flame-haired girl didn’t respond and only retreated further into herself. I don’t want to be alone. I’ve always been alone. I’m just so tired…
When she didn’t respond, Fluttershy gestured for Rarity to come over. The fashionista switched with Pinkie, making sure to give Sunset enough room should she react violently again.
Rarity gently rested her hand on Sunset’s own. “Sunset darling, you need to breathe.” Fluttershy in turn rested her hand on Sunset’s shoulder, careful to avoid the bandages.
I wish I could sleep and never wake up. Sunset abruptly slumped forward, pulling her hands up to cradle her face while she broke down in tears.
It would be so easy… just a few pills and I could escape this never ending nightmare.
Rarity glanced at Fluttershy, unsure about what to do. Her shy friend looked at Sunset before looking at the rest of their friends in the room. The fashionista nodded and set about ushering the others out into the hall.
“Ev’n me?” Applejack whispered, her heart set on helping Sunset through another one of her panic attacks.
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” Rarity whispered back. “Fluttershy and I have a plan we would like to try out.”
Applejack nodded and turned to leave with Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash.
“Good luck,” Dash threw back before the door closed.
Rarity went back to the bed, her shoulders squared and her determination set.
“I’m so tired,” Sunset muttered under her breath. Fluttershy held Sunset’s hand with one of her own, her other hand rubbing Sunset’s neck. Rarity took her spot on the other side of Sunset though she kept her hands to herself at the moment.
“Darling?” Rarity cooed, making sure she was angled to look at Sunset.
The broken girl looked up at Rarity with the saddest, most devastating eyes the fashionista had ever seen. Her heart broke for the girl, but she knew now was not the time to think about why.
Rarity laid a gentle hand on Sunset’s leg. “Can you please tell us what’s wrong?”
Sunset blinked back tears. How can I tell them I want to die when they’ve been trying their hardest to keep me alive? She lowered her cyan eyes to her lap, her free hand clenching at the blankets beneath her.
“Take your time,” Fluttershy reassured with a surprisingly firm squeeze of her hand. Sunset nodded before taking a deep breath to collect her thoughts.
Everything is so overwhelming right now, she whined to herself. I can’t even accept a bed without freaking out.
Sunset turned to look at Fluttershy with guilt heavy on her heart.
“I just feel like I don’t deserve any of this,” she said quietly, her voice gravely in a way neither girl had experiences. Before Fluttershy could respond, Rarity reached out and pulled Sunset’s chin so she was face-to-face with the alabaster young woman.
Oh wow, her eyes are really pretty. Before Sunset could ponder that line of thinking, Rarity decided to scold her.
“Now you listen here, Sunset Shimmer,” Rarity huffed, her hand leaving the girl’s chin to cradle the side of her face. “No one deserves anything. It is up to us to decide how generous we want to be.” She moved her hand from Sunset’s waves to her surprisingly muscular arm, squeezing it firmly.
“We are being generous and kind to you because we want to be.”
Sunset looked at the girl in shock, awed at her assertive attitude. I wonder where mine disappeared to?
Fluttershy nodded and squeezed Sunset’s hand. “We wouldn’t be helping you if we didn’t.” Both girls waited as Sunset processed their words.
Sunset stared at her hand, confused by her feelings. Why on Equus would they ever want to help me? I’ve been nothing but horrible, to both of them. She looked back up between the two girls, memories of her cruel actions playing on loop within her mind.
You worthless doormat.
I heard you were running for Spring Queen. Such a shame you chose to humiliate yourself this way.
Do you really think you’re helping any of those animals? I bet you only volunteer at the animal shelter because they’re your only friends.
Wow, I never thought anyone born so low could somehow manage to sink even lower.
Sunset couldn’t understand why anyone would help her. She deserved punishment. She deserved pain. Tarturus, she deserved to die for all of her crimes.
“Sunset?” Fluttershy gently cupped the girl’s face and turned it to look at her.
“Please let us help you. We just want to see you get better. And,” Fluttershy tucked a strand of fiery hair behind Sunset’s ear, “If you let us, we would like to become your friends.”
Sunset broke at that, launching herself into Fluttershy's shoulder. Has anyone ever wanted to be my friend? Sunset couldn't remember. I wasn't lying when I told Princess Twilight that I know nothing about friendship, but I didn't actually believe that these girls would want to be friends with me. When it came down to it, Sunset was convinced they would just teach her about friendship and then leaver her all alone once they were done. Why would anyone want to be friends with me? She continued to sob, letting out all of her feelings when she heard someone start to sing.*
Fluttershy locked eyes with Rarity and opened her mouth to sing along.
Sunset stopped crying and began listening to their words. She recognized the song from one of the video games Flash played. It also happened to be one of her favorites.
Fluttershy gently nudged Sunset to lay down while Rarity helped Sunset get under the covers, her face warming at the look of awe the exhausted girl was giving her. She made sure to lock eyes with Sunset, cupping her cheek to get the point across as she kept singing.
Sunset felt tears pricking her eyes, but was too captivated to acknowledge them. Fluttershy began stroking Sunset’s hair, smiling when the girl’s eyes flickered shut at the ministrations. Rarity stroked Sunset’s hand, helping to relieve all the tension and fear from the former pony’s mind.The girls kept singing but Sunset was too tired to focus on their words. Instead she focused on the way she felt. Safe.
There was no other word for it. She finally felt safe in this miserable world. Gone were her fears of starvation, whether it be by food or comfort. Right in this moment, Sunset knew that things would turn out better. Maybe things wouldn’t be perfect, but at least she could feel safe in assuming that her life would never be as bad as it had been.
As Sunset faded into unconsciousness, she heard the girls finish their song and smiled.
Home is just a sunrise away…