Sunset didn’t wake up during Rainbow’s shift. The star athlete sat on the floor next to the bed the entire time, conscious of Sunset’s breathing. She knew Sunset was having bad dreams, though she wished she didn’t.
Sunset could be heard mumbling in her sleep, even if she didn’t move much.
Don’t hurt me…
Just wanna die
Rainbow wanted to throw up after that one. Yeah, Sunset was a huge bitch to all of them, but Dash would never wish those thoughts on anyone.
Dash wasn’t an idiot, despite what people said. She knew Sunset had gone through some real shit, the type of stuff that never really leaves you. I know what that’s like, she thought morosely to herself. Her hand drifted under her iconic rainbow bracelet, feeling for the scars underneath. There was a reason she always wore them, and why she made sure no one ever saw her left wrist. Thank god for Spitfire.
Dash just hoped they could help Sunset through everything. They all knew something was different about her. Gone was the queen bee who got everyone to do her bidding, even the teachers. In her place was a battered and broken girl, likely a product of abuse like so many other students at CHS.
Before Dash could sink even further into her depressing thoughts, Fluttershy quietly opened the door.
Fluttershy slipped into the room, resting a hand on her friend's shoulder. “You can go sleep now, Rainbow.”
“Thanks, Shy,” Rainbow responded, carefully getting up from her spot and stretching. “She didn’t wake up, but she was mumbling a lot.”
Fluttershy nodded and decided to record her time with Sunset. We can’t be too careful, especially after what Pinkie said.
“Goodnight Rainbow Dash.”
Fluttershy pulled her vanity chair next to the bed. It was a full-sized one, though Sunset seemed to be taking up less than half of the space on the bed. Has she ever slept on a full-sized bed before? Though they hadn’t talked much about it, Fluttershy wondered just how different Sunset’s world was from theirs.
Do they sleep in beds? Do they have stables? Twilight was a princess, so they must have castles for them to live in. Fluttershy couldn’t help but speculate.
A noise from the bed drew her attention. Sunset was trying to shift onto her back, but whimpered every time her wounds touched the bed.
Fluttershy’s heart broke for the girl. Here in the dim light, Sunset looked younger than she had ever seen her.
How old is she? When did she come to our world? Fluttershy had so many questions to ask Sunset, and couldn’t help but wish that she had asked Twilight all of them while they were getting ready for the dance.
Maybe we can get some answers once she’s all healed up.
Sunset didn’t wake up at all during the night, but each girl reported hearing her mumbling, whimpering, and crying in her sleep.
By the time AJ’s turn came around, Sunset started quieting down. Her mumbles seemed to be dream related because she didn’t cry after the first ten minutes the farm girl was in there.
The sun had been up for half an hour or so by then so AJ, well-accustomed to early mornings, used her time to study the befallen girl and think.
Ah’m not sure I trust her just yet. The farmgirl watched as Sunset tried shifting, only to whimper at the pain.
But ah’ll be darned if’n I let her suffer anymore. Applejack knew what it was like to take your pain and push it onto someone else. After her parents died, she looked for anyone and anything to blame. Best keep an eye on’er. Wouldn’t want her hurting herself or the others.
Before she could think more on it, Sunset’s eyes opened. Applejack was up and ready in an instant.
“Sunset?” she called, her hands up in what she hoped was a calming manner. The former pony looked at her in fear, her pupils as small as pinpricks.
“Yer safe, ya hear?” AJ took a tentative step forward, her heart sinking at the way Sunset flinched. “We ain’t gonna hurt’cha.” With as much care as possible, Applejack slowly walked up to the bed. Sunset seemed paralyzed, the only indication that she was alive being her increasingly rapid breathing.
Applejack knelt by the bed.“I need yah tah breathe, Sunset.” The scared girl turned her head to look at AJ, her breathing slowly starting to even out. Applejack whispered encouraging words to Sunset as she calmed down, her voice gentle and soft like Fluttershy taught her.
Eventually Sunset calmed down enough to move. First was her hand that reached out towards the farmgirl. AJ was surprised, but took the offered hand firmly between her own. Sunset marveled at how rough and firm her hands were. Still gentle, though.
AJ helped Sunset sit up once she was calm enough. “Do you know where you are?”
Sunset nodded, her eyes tearing up as she looked down at her lap in shame. Time’s up.
The farmer frowned at the obvious signs of fear Sunset was displaying; head down and to the side, eyes lowered, and a slight tremble in her hands. Course, that could be cuz’of her injuries.
Applejack sighed as she sat down next to Sunset, frowning even more when she flinched away. “Miss Luna’ll be here at eight-thirty, so you’ve got a little o’er an hour of sleep, if’n you want it.” Sunset looked up in surprise, fully anticipating the girls to have changed their minds since last night.
“We ain’t lookin’ tah hurt’cha, Sunset.” Applejack sat next to the quiet girl on the bed, making sure to keep some space between them lest Sunset get spooked.
Sunset stared at her lap for a few moments, her thoughts racing loudly. AJ coulda sworn she heard them from her spot on the bed.
AJ blinked. “I beg yer pardon?”
Sunset looked up with tears and confused anger in her eyes. “Why don’t you want to hurt me? Why help me?” AJ opened and closed her mouth, not used to Sunset’s anger after seeing her so broken last night.
“Am I just a charity case for the Princess?” Sunset looked out the only window, glaring at the sun with all her might. Tears streamed down her face, though not from her idiotic choice to stare down the sun. “Is that all I am, all I ever was?” Applejack stood between Sunset and the window, though Sunset refused to acknowledge her.
Again, the former pony refused to look anywhere but through Applejack. The farmer took a deep breath, intent on giving Sunset a proper scolding. Sunset spoke before she got the chance.
“I should be dead.”
Applejack felt the wind get knocked out of her.
“Now you listen here, missy-”
“Did you know that I almost froze to death when I first came here?”
AJ was thrown for a loop at the sudden change in topic. She shut her trap, knowing that Sunset needed to get this out. Her voice was soft and her eyes distant and misty. The farm girl quietly sat next to Sunset; close enough for her to reach out yet not so close as to spook her.
“No ma’am, I didn’t.”
Sunset chuckled quietly at the formal address. She still refused to look away from the sun, though she wasn’t really staring into the flaming ball of gas. She was thinking about her Sun at home, the one who made her feel like she was almost worthy of being someone’s center of the universe. Almost.
“I didn’t come prepared, not really.” Sunset looked down at her chest and pulled on the cloth there. “You humans are incredibly weak and vulnerable, you know that?” AJ and Sunset shared a chuckle before Sunset’s eyes unfocused again, lost in her memories.
“I came here at the start of winter without anything but the clothes the portal gave me.”
‘What the hay?! Where in Celestia am I?’ Sunset looked around in fear. She knew the portal would take her to another dimension, but what on Equestria was wrong with these creatures? Everywhere she looked, these inhabitants were walking around like dragons. Sunset shivered as the wind picked up, noticing the distinct lack of mana in the atmosphere. Her eyes widened in fear and realization.
There’s no magic here.
“In Equestria, the weather is controlled by the pegasi,” Sunset chuckled, though there was no mirth in her eyes. “I’ve never been so cold in my life.”
Applejack’s heart broke at the shiver that went through Sunset. “How old were you?”
Sunset finally looked at the girl sitting next to her, surprised at the question yet still expecting it.
“I was 16 in my world, but I came over in the body of an 11 year old.” Sunset’s tone didn’t change but her eyes spoke plenty.
“Oh Sunset,” AJ whispered as she tried to move closer. Sunset flinched away, breaking the farm girl’s heart even more. Sunset stared down at her lap, wringing her hands. The two girls sat in silence for a moment before the former pony whispered out words that absolutely tore AJ’s soul to shreds.
“This world is cruel to a girl who has no one.”