Twenty years ago
“Forget it, I’m not gonna do it.”
“But the greatest and most powerfullest Trixie demands it.”
“I don’t care. The not at all interested Sunset will not get into that thing.” She folded her arms and gave her friend a stern look. “Also, as I told you repeatedly over the last few months, just because I put your superlative in the yearbook, doesn’t mean you can use it time and again to get your way.”
Trixie stood right in front of her and looked at her with big round puppy eyes. “Pleaaaase” she almost squealed. “Do it for Trixie?”
“Ugh.” She rolled her eyes. However, she couldn’t help but smile at Trixie’s dramatic overcompensation. In the last few weeks, these outbursts had become less frequent. At least when she was around. But right now, Trixie was all up in her act, piecing together every detail she needed for this evening.
“Mhm hm mhmmmmmfine,” Sunset finally retorted, “On one condition!” She picked up the very tight looking dress Trixie had provided. It was slitted almost to the hip and it was sequinned from top to bottom, making it sparkle no matter which way the light shone on it. “You give me your top hat. I think It would make a wonderful addition to this dress. And, it will distract people from the general slinkiness it radiates,” she grinned and watched Trixie hyperventilating.
“WHAT? No, no, no, no, Sunset. Trixie is the magician here! You are not going to use my top hat. You are a mere assistant to my greatness, and it is I, Trixie, who should wear this accessory. It is vital to some of my Illusions, you can’t just take it and ruin everything.” Trixie rambled on and walked up and down, passing Sunset every few paces.
Sunset tried to hold it together for way longer, before she burst out laughing, but she couldn’t. “Calm down, I didn’t mean it. I just wanted to see you get a little flustered. It is delightful to watch when you are freaking out about something this small.”
The other girl inhaled again to let out another rant: “Sunset Shimmer, this is not a tiny, little show or some random school performance. This is a pivotal moment for the great and powerful Trixie. Today will be the day where I, Trixie, will be discovered as the new rising star on this stage and the greatest and most powerfullest career of Canterlot will begin this evening! Trixie will then live a glamorous life like all the famous magicians. And you, Sunset Shimmer, can be of service to achieve that. Not only can you help Trixie as her greatest and most powerful assistant. No, you can –”
In general, Sunset would have interrupted her by now, but this time Trixie’s outburst seemed to have more punch to it than usual, so she decided to let her talk. Trixie was very earnest and determined.
As the words tumbled out of her counterpart’s mouth, she couldn’t help but ask herself what would happen if Trixie really got discovered tonight. Right before the end of the school year and just a few weeks before graduation. It really could help her career afterwards. And it sure wouldn’t be her to let Trixie down.
“– to be honest you can’t really do anything wrong. And therefore, you and Trixie are going to be the best…”
Sunset took a step forward and just hugged her. A gesture that Trixie had come to love in her, she would never admit in public, though. But in a personal setting, she had confessed that Sunset’s hugs comforted her and helped her get stage-Trixie under control if she went rampant again.
Sunset wasn’t sure if that was the only reason though. In the last couple of weeks the casual hugs had become more frequent. Now it wasn’t unusual for Sunset to hug her friends every so often. But Trixie’s embraces were - for lack of a better word - more intimate than with her other friends.
As usual, Trixie went rigid in surprise, presumably because she was so preoccupied with herself at the moment. Sunset then proceeded to whisper something in her ear that made her friend relax considerably: “Don’t worry. I got your back.”
She felt the other girl shiver and then put her arms around her, squeezing very tightly. A warm feeling spread through Sunset’s body and she wasn’t sure if she herself didn’t enjoy the intimate hugs a little more than she cared to admit.
“But how could you employ such a terrible man?” Trixie asked briskly, before putting more sugar in her coffee, stirring it vigorously.
Sunset blinked a few times and realised that she must have zoned out for a minute. She frowned at the cup Trixie had in front of her. It wasn’t to be blamed for anything and yet still had to take the punches. “He is not working for me, he rented the theatre from me. There is a difference in that,” she retorted as the memory faded away, “I have no control over his business, nor is it my responsibility as a landlady to look after what he is doing with his place as long as he is not breaking the law.”
“But he broke the contract!” she shrieked “With me, Trixie! How could he do that!”
Raising her hands in a calming manner, Sunset tried not to anger her further. She knew Trixie and her outbursts. Arguing against it most likely ended in her throwing a smoke bomb and vanishing through the back door. She had to suppress a snicker as she thought of the multitude of times Trixie had done that in her youth and failed miserably in vanishing unnoticed.
“Look,” she began, “I can’t tell him to pay what he owes you. That’s simply not my place.”
Trixie mumbled something under her breath and finally put her spoon aside, trying to take a sip from her coffee. To Sunset’s astonishment, it did seem to calm her a little. “I don’t know. If you hadn’t interrupted me, I would have gotten my money from him”
“I’m pretty sure that nobody was inside at –” Sunset looked at her watch “– 10.30 in the morning.” She smiled and took a sip from her own cup.
“That’s… true, I guess.” She wiped her eyes with her hand and looked up again. “I was trying to get someone to open up for twenty minutes, before you arrived,” she responded.
It took her a moment to come to a realisation and then she looked at Sunset suspiciously. “Hm, why did you arrive there? That’s a big coincidence, if you are not the resident of the building, isn’t it?”
Sunset cleared her throat and her cheeks heated up as she tried not to blush. “I… was on my way to work,” she answered hesitantly.
It did not go unnoticed, and Trixie continued to stare at her former friend.
Trixie was never good on a social level aside from the stage. Whenever it got heated, or awkward, or even if she just had a plain conversation that went a little deeper than a puddle, she tended to brag her way to the top of that social interaction, just for the sake of it. But she could tell when someone was lying.
Most likely this resonated from the early days of her magical career. From the beginning she was keen to learn the art of deception. Her parents always tried to encourage her - if she did not fool them entirely - to become better and better at hiding emotions, telltale signs like looks, or even blushing when something went wrong.
As long as she was the great and powerful Trixie, almost nothing could get the better of her. Maybe that was the reason she could boast herself out of most situations, even if everything else went wrong. At least stage Trixie could.
And that’s why an uneasy Sunset Shimmer, or any person for that matter, told her exactly that they were lying or better yet, hiding something from her if they behave like that.
“Trixie doesn’t believe you,” she said while staring holes into the redhead in front of her.
Looking helpless, Sunset took in a deep breath to say something, but then she resigned and deflated like a balloon.
“I wasn’t on my way to work,” she admitted, “I received an alarm from the security system of the theatre. You got caught on camera.” She shifted on her seat embarrassedly.
Trixie on the other hand was too baffled to even get a straight reaction out of herself. “Y-you knew it was me? Y-you were following me?”
“I wasn’t. I recognised you on the cameras. So, I thought I would come over, you know, see what the problem was.”
“That’s preposterous!” she replied, “I don’t know what to say to that. Followed. Like a common criminal. Just because your staff—”
“Whatever!” she exclaimed, “You thought it would be appropriate to follow me! Me! The great and powerful—,” she rambled just to be silenced by Sunset’s raised hand.
“You don’t have to do this again,” Sunset said softly.
“Do what? Trixie is not doing any—”,
“This,” Sunset raised her voice just above speaking level, before quieting down again, “– this, Trixie. Your demeanour. The whole ‘Trixie persona’.” She sighed and tried to look the other woman in her eyes which was harder than she thought it would be.
Trixie went silent as Sunset spoke up which – in High School – never happened. She avoided Sunset’s gaze and folded her arms in defiance.
Most people didn’t call her out on her behaviour. And even if they did, she usually talked over them just to get to her point. But this was different. Sunset wasn’t mean, nor loud or aggressive. And there was more.
Sunset knew her. They had been through some pretty rough times, like the time someone tried to erase all of Sunset’s memories. She was the only one by her side as that happened. The next few months they were friends. Good friends even.
After graduation they kind of drifted apart, as it usually goes. But apart from any other people around her, her friendship with Sunset had been real. Something she never came close to again after that.
All of a sudden, the café they were sitting in seemed way too small for her taste. Her breathing sped up and she clutched her arms tight, wrapping them around her body. She became much smaller in her chair as her thoughts went haywire and raced through her mind. Her pupils dilated, as her anxiety level rose and she felt that she was losing control.
Taking deep breaths, she tried to decide if she should just jump up and leave or curl into a ball on the ground.
Her eyes darted from her cup to the sugar dispenser and every other object on the table. How could Sunset talk to her like that? They haven’t seen each other in years. And now she felt that it was her right to scold her? For what? Wanting to get paid? Being herself?
Trixie flinched as something pulled her away from her train of thoughts.
Sunset Shimmer had switched places and now sat just beside her, placing her hand on her shoulder.
Trixie looked up, tears in her eyes, right into her old friend’s worried looking face. She felt her warm breath touching her cheek. How long had she been sitting next to me? she thought, gazing into Sunset’s light blue eyes. Had they always been this bright?
Sunset tried to wrap her arms around her but hesitated. Trixie knew that Sunset would only try to comfort her, so she nodded very lightly. Still her eyes widened as Sunset pulled her into a gentle hug.
Trixie hadn’t had this much physical contact in who knows how long, so she returned the gesture vividly and pulled herself deeper into the embrace. She pressed her face against the redhead’s neck and tears kept streaming silently over her face.
The moment their skins touched, Sunset’s eyes flashed in a silvery, white burst of magic, overwhelming her with images of her thoughts.
Trixie in front of the theatre, frustrated.
A child, resembling Trixie, wearing a magician’s outfit on stage, while everybody is laughing at her for her failed tricks.
Her, arguing with a man in a suit in front of a stage
A man’s voice, singing a lullaby
A heartbeat later, Trixie heard a small whisper in her ear. A quiet and soothing tune brushed warm over the side of her face and it felt tranquilising.
Her eyes opened up and her lips parted with an inaudible gasp as she remembered. She remembered the lullaby her father used to sing to her, every time a show went wrong, or anytime she was upset. She hadn’t heard that song out loud in years, barely remembering the words that faded from her memory as time went by.
After Sunset was finished, they broke apart, both in tears. Trixie’s eyes were wide. After what felt like an eternity she finally spoke: “How did you—,” she whispered, her voice cracking.
Instinctively Sunset raised her hand and grasped at the small amulet that hung around her neck. Usually people didn’t notice when her magic did her thing. Then again, usually she didn’t use her knowledge gained to influence someone. At least not that obvious. And especially not in recent years with her magic diminishing more and more.
The only other person she’d offer help in that way was her best friend. But she had known Twilight for years. They discovered their magic together. That is a bond you can’t share with many other people.
“I-I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it,” she answered in shock, “My magic wasn’t supposed to do that. It hasn’t done this in years. It showed me some of your emotions and… and this song seemed to be of help when—”
She stopped talking when Trixie embraced her again. Suddenly she was very aware of her heartbeat and a rush of sensation flooded her every being.
“Thank you, Sunset.”