• Published 12th Apr 2014
  • 2,754 Views, 84 Comments

Shimmering On - DerpyStarlet



Sunset Shimmer used to have the whole school in her hand. She can manage without that power... right? The elements want her to learn friendship, but she can't decide if she's being forced or if she is actually learning friendship.

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Family Ties And Pinkie Pies

A rainbow of colors dance around me, a chaotic display. It’s washed over by a calming darkness, I feel a happiness as a pink light bursts through. A pink butterfly forms out of the light and I look at it in wonder. My heart feels warm and fuzzy as I look at it and I feel a single word float through the black expanse towards the butterfly. Kindness. I look at the light and it explodes into a rainbow of colors and dissipates against the black background. I sit in the darkness contentedly.

~~~~~~~

I wake slowly and wipe the sleep out of my eyes, I look to the clock. It’s seven O’clock, I should get up. My thoughts idle on my dream, it’s already quickly fading. I don’t remember much of it at all. I remember darkness and a comforting feeling, then happiness. I can still sort of feel the happiness, but it’s much more faint. The fact I can’t remember more of the dream irks me, but I just brush it aside.

I look inside my drawer and pull out a red blouse, I find an orange skirt and put them on. I grab an orange cardigan as well and put that on. I look at my boots and decide that they’re not really matching this particular outfit. I turn to my other shoes and look over them. I grab a simple pair of red sneakers and put them on, I turn to the mirror and admire my choice. I grab my purse and head downstairs.

I complete my morning routine by getting breakfast and brushing my teeth, I also clean the dishes in the sink and put them away. I check the ice again and turn off the generator, then I head out. After making sure the front door is locked, I head towards the library. The light of the day is already in full swing and a chill breeze blows through the air. Not enough so that I’m cold, but enough to cool my skin. The streets are slowly getting busier as time progresses, it’s a fairly decent walk. I’m going to one of my favorite places, the library. Granted, it’s to help someone I’m not particularly fond of, but it’s the library.

Libraries are the best source for anything and everything you could want to know. The bigger the library, the more knowledge. And the library in this city is bigger than most I’d ever seen in Equestria. I could just go to the library at the school, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not allowed in. The city library is bigger anyway, and it has lots of records on families. That, or we could use the internet and find family records. That sounds like the better idea, because I’m not entirely sure where Pinkie’s parents are. I know that their alive and well, I’ve just never seen them. I also know that Pinkie is staying with her aunt and uncle the Cakes for some reason, I just don’t know what the reason is.

Actually the more that I think about it, the more I realize that Pinkie is one mysterious enigma. There is so much I don’t know about her, yet she knows so much about everyone else. Maybe I could ask her, tell her that I need to know so I can help her with her research. What if something’s wrong? I could be bringing up old scars, I’m not cruel. Am I? Would I purposely hurt someone for the sake of progress and discovery? Hurt someone just so I can leech information from them? Maybe before, I have a second chance now. Does that really mean anything? I have a second chance, but do I want to do anything with it?

I don’t have a choice whether I can be friends with them or not, if I had my choice I wouldn’t have had any friends. Either I force myself to be friendly, or the elements will force me. Am I really against having friends to see it like that? Fluttershy isn’t a bad friend, and I don’t regret it. What’s different about any of the other girls, that I’m not their friend yet? What’s that saying `Don’t knock it till you try it`. I’ll give them all a chance, even Rainbow dash. I probably won’t be friends with any of them immediately, but they deserve at least a chance. Especially with how many I’ve given them, and what I’ve done. Rainbow dash was right about one thing, the things I did are unforgivable. But I’m not looking to be forgiven, I’m hoping it can be forgotten.

I sigh and look at the rate at which I’m changing, I remember being so hateful. Now I’m just slightly aggravated most of the time, or just really bored. What happened to the old Sunset Shimmer? She was cool, I liked her. ‘No you didn’t, you hated her every minute’ I hear my brain tell myself. This is true, I never especially liked what I was doing. I liked the results it produced, but now that Sunset is gone. If you fall to the bottom from the top, do you turn to the conclusion of making friends? Apparently.

I walk into the library and find it fairly empty on first glances, there’s also no sign of Pinkie. I walk down aisle after aisle and look through the rows of bookcases in an attempt to find the over-enthusiastic girl, but it would appear that she’s not here yet. I look at the clock, then I realize that we didn’t exactly set up a time. She could potentially come by at five in the afternoon and I couldn’t get mad at her for being late. I could call her, but I guess I don’t really need her help. The faster I get this project done, the faster I can get to my research. I think that both Pinkie and I knew that I was going to be doing almost literally all of the project anyway. I get started on the research immediately.

~~~~~~~

“Whoa!” Pinkie Pie sits at the breakfast table, various twitches and shakes rattle through her body. Pinkie thinks for a second and she realizes what it is she’s feeling. “Oh no! She’s starting without me!” Pinkie finishes up her pancakes in three big bites and rushes upstairs. She grabs her stuff and stops by the bathroom, she brushes her teeth quickly. Then she rushes out the front door yelling a quick “Bye!” to everyone in the shop.

Pinkie runs towards the library at a steady pace, she can’t let Sunset get too far into the research without her. That wouldn’t be right, she couldn’t let Sunset do all the work. For one, that’s like making Sunset do things for her. She couldn’t just force the assignment on Sunset like that, that’s just mean. For two, Sunset doesn’t have the outline. Pinkie picks up the pace ever so slightly and rushes to the library. Pinkie almost stops by a candy store for a snack, but there’s no time. Her and Sunset can go together after the research is done! Pinkie continues to sprint gleefully down the street, not even getting winded.

~~~~~~~

I look through the files and organize the information I find useful, The projects about halfway done. I’m organizing all the info for the research paper, I have a pretty good idea on what they want. The outline would be nice, but it isn’t really needed. I’m looking at my data and trying to figure out what would make a better second paragraph when I recognize a pink blur in the corner of my eye, I turn and find Pinkie walking quickly up to me.

“Sunset! I came as fast as I could!” Pinkie says, I just look at her in confusion and then turn back to my papers. “How much have you done? not that much I hope, I had the feeling not that long ago!” Pinkie tells me.

“It’s almost done, I just need to organize this paper into flowing paragraphs,” I reply, “Feeling?” I ask idly, then I regret asking. It’s likely I don’t want to know, because this is Pinkie we’re talking about.

“My Pinkie sense told me that you started researching without me! But it looks like you finished all the research!” Pinkie complains.

“That is correct, it’s almost done, now go wait while I finish this up.” I tell her.

“But you don’t have the outline!” Pinkie says incredulously.

“Do you?” I ask.

“Yes…” Pinkie says, somewhat downtrodden.

“May I have it?” I ask.

“Yes,” Pinkie hands me the paper and I look it over.

“Ah, this one should be second,” I rearrange the paragraphs and turn back to Pinkie.

“Those books right there are the ones I found my research in, I believe one of them had Applejacks family too,” I tell her, she opens one up and begins looking at it. Pinkie starts to look through other books that I recognize as more genealogical books and then I find her coming back with old records. I didn’t need to go nearly as far back, most school projects won’t go back that far. I’m finishing up the report when I hear Pinkie gasp loudly.

“Genealogy is the greatest thing in the history of ever!” Pinkie exclaims, she receives a loud `Shh!` from the librarian. I put on my finishing touches and turn to Pinkie.

“It’s done,” I tell her, she looks up from the document she’s holding.

“Sunset! Come look!” Pinkie whispers loudly. I sigh and walk over to her, I look at the document. It’s an older document on the Apple family, I look at the page. It looks like standard genealogical records.

“Wow, records. So exciting,” I say sarcastically.

“No silly! Down here!” Pinkie points to a line near the bottom.

“What is it? I can’t read it, it’s all smudged.” I tell her.

“It says Applesauce of the Apple family lineage is a fourth cousin twice removed of the Pie family! That says Pie, right there!” Pinkie says excitedly.

“Are you sure it says Pie? It’s so smudged,” I point out.

“It is a bit difficult to read, but when I read it I knew in my heart it was true!” Pinkie exclaims. I just look at her and decide not to argue the validity of her claims.

“So… what? You’re a member of the Apple family?” I ask her, I’m not entirely understanding what this means here.

“That’s exactly what this means!” Pinkie receives another shush and she zips her mouth to show she understands.

“Great… well, the paper is done,” I tell her, I just drop the Apple family topic. Pinkie isn’t so eager to forget it though.

“We need to go tell Applejack!” Pinkie whispers to me excitedly.

“No, this is where I step off of this little expedition. You can go tell her, but I’m not going,” I tell Pinkie with finality.

“Please, Sunset? It’ll be fun! I promise.” Pinkie asks earnestly.

“...Fine.” I try to deny, but I begrudgingly accept. That must be the elements doing, I’ll just stay here. She can make me say yes, but she can’t make me mean yes.

“Oh thank you, Let’s get these books put away and we can go.” Pinkie dashes to all the reference books I had out and puts them on the cart, she then puts her books on. I don’t move an inch, I let her put it all away. Pinkie frolicks over to the computer and prints out her paper, then she runs over to the printer and grabs it. “Come on Sunset!” Pinkie calls to me, I feel my legs start to move after her.

“Gah! No! Stop!” I tell my legs, but it’s no use. I start to follow Pinkie, I barely manage to grab my purse as I walk away from the table. I look back and make sure I have everything, then I finally start to follow Pinkie of my own accord. I look forlornly back at the books as the library door closes behind us, we continue to walk to Applejacks farm. “Why’d you have to drag me along Pinkie? Isn’t this gonna be some sort of family business, or family conversation. What do I have to do there?” I ask Pinkie.

“Well, yeah… but it’s nice to have friends there!” Pinkie says.

“That’s my point, why not take one of your friends instead? Why am I here?” I snap, I’m irritated that I’m not doing research. Pinkie stops her bouncing down the street and I see her shoulders slump, she turns to me.

“We’re friends, right?” Pinkie asks me.

“No Pinkie, you want to be friends. I don’t want that.” I tell her irritatedly.

“Then… why did you help me? I thought you helped because you cared,” Pinkie presses.

“I helped you because I was weak, I wasn’t entirely in control of my actions. If it were my choice at the time, I would’ve just avoided you completely,” I tap my foot against the floor and she looks completely downtrodden.

“But…” Pinkie searches for something, but she just stops. “I’m sorry to have wasted your time, go do whatever it is that’s obviously more important than our friendship.” Pinkie turns away and I just watch her, it almost seems as if her hair’s a bit less poofy. “Oh, and Sunset?” Pinkie turns to me just before rounding the nearest corner, I look at her with disdain. “It doesn’t feel so great not being in control of your actions, does it?” Pinkie rounds the corner without blinking. My thoughts flicker to the student zombie army that I tried to create and I feel Pinkie’s words pierce my heart. She managed to hurt me, I didn’t think that Pinkie Pie was even capable of channeling anger.

I look after Pinkie Pie and feel a sadness, I just depressed the most optimistic person I know. That seems to be too low, even for me. It’s one thing to mock someone, and one thing to find them annoying, but it’s something entirely different to take away their optimistic spirit. Pinkie Pie just isn’t Pinkie Pie without it, and to make Pinkie Pie something she isn’t is just wrong. I may not like her, but I don’t hate her enough to do that to her. As much as I dislike the idea, I need to cheer Pinkie Pie up. It should be easy enough, I just have to be a little silly. Maybe even, apologize.

I sigh and walk to the corner Pinkie Pie turned around and look to find the Pink haired girl. I don’t see her anywhere on this street, I continue looking and find nothing. Pinkie Pie was headed to Applejacks, I can find her there. I continue towards where I know Applejacks farm to be, it’s one of the most popular farms and it’s right outside of the city. I walk at a brisk pace towards the farm, I have to make things right. Especially since Rainbow Dash promised me she’d do `something` if I hurt any of her friends, including Pinkie. I’m not scared of Rainbow, I’d just rather not deal with that right now.

I walk up on the apple family farm and walk up to the door, I knock quickly. Applejack opens the door and looks at me in surprise, “Well if it ain’t Sunset Shimmer, what are you doing here?” Applejack asks abruptly.

“Is Pinkie Pie here?” I ask.

“Yes,” Applejack answers simply.

“Can I talk to her?” I ask her.

“Don’t you got somethin’ to be doin’?” Applejack asks.

“This was more important,” I sigh and recount my mistake, I shouldn’t have said the things I did the way I said them.

“Little Sunset’s actually learnin’ somethin’ ‘bout friendship, it’s a miracle.” Applejack says, stepping out of the doorway and gesturing me in.

“Shut up Applejack, I didn’t say anything about friendship. I came to repent for my words,” I clarify.

“It’s a start,” Applejack sighs, I ignore her and walk towards the living room. Pinkie’s sitting on the couch and sulking, she looks up as I walk in.

“Sunset?” She asks incredulously and then she turns away sourly, “What are you doing here?” She asks bitterly.

“I came to apologize, Pinkie. I’m sorry about what I said,” I tell her.

“I thought you had better things to do that didn’t involve me?” Pinkie asks.

“They were less important than this,” I sigh and sit next to Pinkie on the couch. Pinkie looks me over for a second and I just sit there and wait for an answer. A slight smile comes onto Pinkie’s face and I can see her giddiness return.

“Thank you, Sunset,” Pinkie hugs me and I push her away gently.

“Yeah, I’m not a fan of hugging,” I tell her.

“That’s ok, we’ll get you better at it,” Pinkie giggles.

“So, not to be rude or anything, but why’d ya come here Pinkie? It’s farther than any of the other girls houses,” Applejack points out.

“Oh, that’s right I had something to tell you!” Pinkie exclaims excitedly, she reaches into her bag and pulls out the records.

“What would that be?” Applejack asks in intrigue.

“How’s it going Cousin!” Pinkie exclaims as she wraps Applejack in a hug.

“Cousin? What’s this about?” Applejack asks confusedly.

“Pinkie found some records during her genealogy project about your family, and it seems she found a record that proves your related,” I tell her as I watch the spectacle.

“What? We’re… family? That’s crazy! And great! That’s fantastic Pinkie!” Applejack returns Pinkie’s hug and Applebloom walks in.

“What’s goin’ on in here?” Applebloom asks.

“Applebloom! Say hi to your cousin!” Applejack tells her.

“Cousin? Pinkie’s an Apple?” Applebloom asks incredulously.

“It would seem so!” Applejack says.

“Wow, that’s great! How do ya know?” Applebloom asks.

“Pinkie found some records that say we’re related,” Applejack explains.

“Wow! C’mon, let’s go tell Granny Smith and Big Mac!” Applebloom and Pinkie Pie rush out of the room, Pinkie leaves the record.

“Hmm…” Applejack picks up the paper.

“What’s wrong AJ? Not happy with your lot in life?” I ask her jokingly.

“No, I’m just surprised that I ain’t heard ‘bout this before. Seems like something might’ve come up by now…” Applejack inspects the paper. “I’m not seeing where it says we’re family,” Applejack says aggravatedly.

“Right there,” I walk over and point at the line Pinkie showed me.

“There? It’s awfully smudged… Are ya sure it says Pie?” Applejack asks me, I shrug.

“Pinkie seemed sure,” I say non-committedly.

“Well, how can we be sure?” Applejack asks.

“I have no freaking clue, I didn’t even want to come over here. Pinkie insisted on dragging me along,” I tell her.

“About that. Listen Shimmer-” I cut Applejack off before she can continue.

“Yeah, yeah, what I did was awful and you’re mad at me,” I say.

“Actually Sunset, it’s the opposite. I’m proud of you Sunset, you’ve come far in this small amount of time. It takes real effort to come forward and apologize, you’ve shown that you do actually care about friendship. You have my trust Shimmer,” Applejack says, I look at her in embarrassment.

“Whatever, and I didn’t do it for friendship…” I say hotly. “I did it because I couldn’t stand doing what I did to Pinkie,” I tell her.

“Regardless of why, you’re learning,” Applejack insists.

“It seems to be all I’m good at doing nowadays…” I say sadly.

“C’mon Sunset, you’re good at a lot of things.” Applejack says in encouragement.

“Like what?” I challenge.

“Well, uh…” Applejack thinks on it.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’d expect the element of honesty to have more sense when she’s saying things,” I say with contempt.

“Hey! I’m trying to be nice, you’re question just caught me off guard!” Applejack shouts. “Why do ya have to do that? You were being plenty nice before, then you turned all sour,” Applejack says with a hint of sadness.

“Old habits die hard,” I tell her, I stand up from the couch. “You and Pinkie have fun with your `family stuff`, I have work to do,” I turn and leave the house abruptly. I don’t give Applejack a chance to reply, I just head to the library at a brisk pace.

~~~~~~~

Applejack looks after Sunset sadly, they had almost made progress. She had felt that they were bonding, Sunset was being pleasant. It surprised Applejack to be honest, she hadn’t expected to see progress like that for a long while. It’s obvious it’s still going to be a long road to getting Sunset Shimmer to be a true friend, and even longer to help her learn about being a good friend, but it won’t be too long.

“Applejack! Have you seen my paper? Granny smith and Big Mac wanna see it!” Pinkie sees it and grabs it. “Here it is! Say, where’d Shimmer go?” Pinkie asks, looking around.

“She left, she felt that she wasn’t needed. She told us to just go and do our `family stuff`.” Applejack replies.

“Oh, well then lets go! I still have to show Big Mac and Granny Smith the paper! Oh, and Applebloom too!” Pinkie runs over to another room where Granny Smith, Big Mac, and Applebloom are waiting.

“Pinkie, I actually want to talk to you about that. The signature is-” Applejack starts, but she’s cut off by Applebloom once Pinkie shows the three the paper.

“Smudged. It’s all smudged Pinkie,” Applebloom says, she looks over to Pinkie in confusion.

“Well, it’s a little hard to read, but it’s there all the same!” Pinkie says excitedly.

“I dunno Pinkie, how can we tell for sure?” Applejack asks. “I’d just hate for us to get all excited and then be let down if it’s not true. I just want a bit more solid proof is all,” Applejack says. Pinkie looks a little sad, but Granny Smith perks up.

“I know! We can go visit Golden Delicious, her cabin is basically a museum of family history! She’s sure to have a document or something that could prove it!” Granny Smith suggests excitedly.

“Yeah, that could work. Then we’ll know for sure!” Applejack says excitedly.

“What are we waiting for? I gotta go grab some stuff, then we can go on a family roadtrip!” Pinkie says excitedly, she runs out the door and the Apples all watch her hurry down the street..

~~~~~~~

Ugh, looks like it’s about lunch time already. I’ll have to delay my research a little longer and stop by somewhere to eat. I look at where I’m at and think of the good places to eat that are nearby. I see a nearby fast food place and I look at it with disdain. Of all the things in the world I despise, fast food is one of the worst ones. But it is fast and cheap, so I guess I’ll go. I walk to the restaurant and walk in the door, I look at the menu. I order my food and stand by to wait for it to come out, then I hear something.

“Strange how the school is off, did you see the wreckage?” I hear a voice say. I would ignore them, but the repliers voice catches my interest.

“Yeah, but it gives me some time to study before I get involved in the school. I still need to learn the layout and everything else. Public school is much different than private school,” The voice I hear makes me whirl around, but the person speaking has left the building. I managed to catch a glimpse, and I swear that I saw purple. Could that have been Twilight? No, I’ve been going crazy this whole time, now I’m just hearing and seeing things. It’s all the nerves, I’m getting stressed out.

Still, what if I’m not seeing things? Could Twilight really be here? It’s probably the Twilight from this world, but still. People tend to be the same in mirror universes, that’ll mean that this Twilight will be just as annoying and nosy. I can’t handle another Twilight, not now. Well, she doesn’t know me. I don’t know her, we’ll just stay strangers. I’ll ignore her and act like I regularly do. That’s a big if, if there really is a Twilight going to our school.

My food arrives and I take it to a table by the window, I look outside and see a group of friends I hadn't expected to see. Unfortunately, they see me as well. They walk into the restaurant and I sigh, can I go a day without running into every single one of the girls. Rarity and Fluttershy walk up to my table with smiles, I look at them indifferently before turning to look back out the window.

"Hello Sunset, fancy seeing you here." Rarity slides into the booth across from me with Fluttershy at her side.

"Yeah, fancy that. It's not like you followed me into here." I deadpan without looking to her.

"I admit, we did just want to talk. I normally wouldn't come to such a place, but I don't mind if theres a friend here." Rarity offers me a smile and I turn to see it, I look back out the window with disgust.

"We're not friends," I correct.

"The friend of a friend-" Rarity tries, I cut her off.

"Is someone I will tolerate. Nothing more," I continue for her.

"Won't you even try pretending to be friendly?" Rarity asks.

"Nope, harmony has made me more honest," I reply in a mocking tone.

"You're such a handful, it's a wonder you softened to anybody..." Rarity comments. I just turn away in disdain and look back out the window.

"How are you Sunset?" Fluttershy asks. I sigh and turn to her, I think for a second.

"Fine," I shrug, there hasn't been much to this day aside from helping Pinkie. That girl can tell people her lineage on her own accord, I don't need to get involved. "How about you?" I ask absently, Rarity seems to be listening intensely to our conversation. No doubt trying to identify something in the way we talk that makes us better friends.

"I'm doing good. Me and Rarity we're just heading to our first spa trip as friends again. We used to go all the time," Fluttershy says, I can't help but feel a little guilty. No doubt this activity brought happiness to Fluttershy, and it must have stopped when I split them up. "Do you still have to go help Pinkie with her project?" Fluttershy asks.

"No, I finished it up earlier," I answer.

"Well, if you have nothing to do, you could come up with us to the spa. It'll help get you all cleaned up from all the work and things that have been going on." Fluttershy tells me.

"I take showers," I counter.

"Just showers? Darling! Look at those nails, they're looking terribly worn... and your hair is a bit frazzled, and they could help with your complexion," Rarity speaks up.

"Are you saying I look bad?" I turn to Rarity with a frown.

"No, heavens no. You look fine, its just all the subtleties. I'm just saying that you could be looking better," Rarity says hastily. As much as I hate to admit it, Rarity's probably right. She is the schools biggest fashionista, if anybody knows everything about fashion, it's her. I could probably use a spa visit, there’s nothing bad about looking good. Besides, if I can't be the best at the school, I can at least look the part.

"But, I haven't the coin for a trip to the spa," I tell them.

"That's alright, my treat," Rarity smiles and I think it over. I had wanted to go to the library, but I can go there any time. This could be my only chance to go to the spa in a long while, I should take up the offer.

"Okay, I guess I'll come with. But, let me finish my meal first," I tell them.

"Oh joy, I promise you Sunset, this will be fun!" Rarity tells me excitedly.

"I bet," I roll my eyes at her sudden display of enthusiasm. I finish up my meal, thankfully the girls keep quiet the whole time. My thoughts wander to a multitude of things, mainly to the possibility of there being another Twilight. I just can’t get the thought out of my head, not after what the first Twilight did to me. The thought of there being a second Twilight shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, she’s not the same person.

But they are probably similar, they’re like copies. Actually, thats exactly what they are. Copies. They are the same person, in a sense. But this Twilight is still different from the Twilight I hate. Is this Twilight actually any different? How can I be sure? I’m getting way ahead of myself, I don’t even know if it is Twilight. I should save all the questions for if I find she’s actually here. I should really think about the statistical probability of the only other Twilight coming to this school. I should probably also think about the terrible luck I’ve been having with none of my plans working out how I want them too, I wouldn’t put it past the world to set up another roadblock along the way.

“Alright sunset, are you ready to go?” I look up from my musings to find Rarity look to me expectantly. I look down at my meal to find that I absent-mindedly finished it up, I was too deep in thought to notice.

“I guess,” I sigh and get up to throw my trash away. Rarity and Fluttershy head to the store entrance and I follow up, we leave together.

“So Sunset, how have you been faring as of late?” Rarity asks.

“Fine,” I answer quickly.

“Anything exciting going on?” Rarity presses.

“No,” I keep my answer brief and simple.

“Is the work you’re doing hard?” Rarity asks, growing more and more desperate for more of an answer.

“No,” I repeat.

“What do they have you doing?” Rarity seems to be grasping at straws by now.

“Stuff,” I answer, Rarity looks at me with a hard glare, but I just look ahead and continue without so much as a glance over to her.

“Come on Sunset, there has to be a better answer than that,” Fluttershy tries.

“Nope, there really isn’t. I’m just doing a bunch of stuff,” I reply, Rarity looks at me hotly.

“So, how was your time with Pinkie?” Rarity asks. My thoughts flicker to when I made Pinkie cry and when I was working on the essay. I also think of all the excitement Pinkie managed to gather in just about everything.

“Exhausting,” I sigh deeply at the thought.

“Come on Sunset, why won’t you try being friendlier?” Rarity asks.

“Because I don’t know how!” I whirl on my toes and glare at her hard, then I realize my unintentional answer. I had meant to reply snarkily, but the elements made me answer it honestly. I just turn away sourly and continue walking, Rarity just follows after in shock. She clearly doesn’t know what to say, I look over and see her attempting to form a response. She just gives up her futile attempts and continues walking quietly, I thank her internally for dropping the subject. I also rue her for bringing it up, so now it’s balanced once more. Fluttershy seems to be looking at me concerned, but when she notices I’m looking she offers me a weak smile.

`Great, my only friend is now uncomfortable with me…` I think to myself with regret. If only I could be friendly, even the elements can’t synthesize friendliness for me. We continue in awkward silence all the way to the spa, nobody knew what to say if anything. When we get to the spa I see one of the twins manning the register, I can’t rightly say which one. I don’t come here often, or even see them often, but they’re pretty memorable. Still, I can never differentiate Aloe from Lotus.

“Hello Aloe,” Rarity says, apparently she can decipher which twin is which.

“Hello Miss Rarity, and Miss Fluttershy. Oh, and a young miss whom I do not recognize, welcome! Are all three of you together?” Aloe asks.

“Yes, this is Sunset Shimmer,” Rarity tells Aloe. “Could we please get the Relaxation Spa treatment?” Rarity pays for the treatment and I look at the boards. Aloe and Rarity are talking about something, but I’m too caught up with the prices. These treatments are pretty expensive, why is Rarity spending this sort of coin on me?

“It has been a while since you brought any guests, miss Rarity. It’s a pleasure to service you once more miss Fluttershy,” Fluttershy blushes at Aloes kind words.

“Oh, um, yes. Thank you very much,” Fluttershy responds timidly.

“And Miss Shimmer, was it? We hope to do more business with you in the future,” I just nod in understanding and she leads us back to the back room. They set us down in seats and I recognize Aloe’s sister, Lotus, Come out of another room to help with the work. She heads back and a couple other people come to help them after she says something into the room she just came from. The group of people divide themselves and get started on our nails, I watch as they start shaping the nails individually into an aesthetically pleasing shape. We stay quiet for a couple minutes until Rarity and Fluttershy strike up a small conversation. It isn’t until the person working on my hand is almost done and about to move to the other when I realize Rarity is trying to get my attention.

“Sunset? Are you listening?” Rarity calls.

“No, why?” I don’t bother looking over to her.

“I was just telling Fluttershy over here how I’m going to Manhattan next Monday for a young designer’s competition. I have a new line to show made out of a special fabric I’ve been making, and I’m going to display it at the competition. I was wondering if you’d like to come? All the girls are going, and I can get another ticket for the plane.” Rarity says hopefully.

“What? Rarity, a plane ticket?! That’s crazy! Those are expensive, really expensive! Why would you bring me along?” I say in shock. I know Rarity is giving, but an all expenses paid trip to Manhattan? That’s a lot of money that I couldn’t afford in a long while, how can Rarity afford it?

“Because I want to be your friend Sunset! I think that going to Manhattan with us would be a great experience, and I’d love for you to see my new line! I also have six tickets to the Maid of the Mountains, a popular musical that will be playing while we’re there. What do you say Sunset?” Rarity asks excitedly.

“Rarity, that’s a lot of money to be spending, are you sure that you have enough?” I ask warily.

“Yes, it’s all fine. I’m sure, all I need to know is if you’re going.” Rarity presses.

“Well, I would love to get out of town for a while…” I say.

“Yes?” Rarity urges me to go on.

“And it would be nice to visit a big city like Manhattan…” I muse.

“Go on,” Rarity insists.

“And I would love to go with you Rarity-” I start, but Rarity cuts me off before I can finish.

“Wonderful-!” I cut Rarity off before she can say much more.

“But! I still have work to do, and I can’t be sure that they’ll release me from my duties by Sunday.” I continue, Rarity looks down-trodden.

“Oh, I see… you have to… work.” Rarity says quietly.

“What if we wait for you to be released Sunset, you could still go,” Fluttershy points out.

“That’s a big if,” I counter.

“That’s a great idea!” Rarity exclaims. “Sunset, you get your bags packed. Have them ready for if you’re able to go. You said you work every other day, so…” Rarity starts mumbling and counting off on her fingers. “Aha! So you’re last day of work is the Saturday before we leave. If you find out at any time that you’ve been released, just call me or text me and I’ll buy your ticket!” Rarity explains her plan and I just look at the two girls at my side before sighing.

“Fine, I’ll pack my bags and see what happens,” I submit, They both squeal in glee and I just roll my eyes at the display. I look back down and find that they’re already done with the shaping and are dipping my hand into some really warm liquid. “What’s this?” I ask curiously.

“That’s Paraffin wax, darling. It softens and moisturizes. I believe that this particular batch was made with Tea Tree oil, you can smell it. That means that it also clears up your skin,” Rarity explains as they dip my hands in a couple of times and then wrap it with some sort of plastic and then a towel. The wax is really warm and calming, I sit there contentedly. I’ve noticed that they are doing the same thing with my feet, I didn’t pay them much attention though. “It’s a rare and very special treatment. It’s one of the great things about this spa compared to most,” Rarity explains, I acknowledge it with a small grunt.

“It’s been too long since I’ve gone with you Rarity,” Fluttershy sighs in contentment.

“It really has, hasn’t it?” Rarity agrees.

“I’m sorry,” I say absently, I might as well apologize right now.

“Whatever for?” Rarity asks in confusion.

“I forced you guys apart, it was cruel of me,” I say with sorrow.

“That’s in the past, darling. We forgive you,” Rarity soothes.

“I know, but I just figured I should apologize. I know that I did more than I realized,” My thoughts drift to Fluttershy’s confession and I can only think of what else I may have done. I feel sick to my stomach thinking of it.

“Well… thank you. I know it’s hard for you to apologize,” Rarity says understandingly. I look over to Rarity and see her giving me the smallest of smiles, and I feel compelled to smile back. But then my thoughts move to what I may have done to her, could it be worse than what I did to Fluttershy? Fluttershy is one of the most level-headed of them, what could I have done to the drama-freak? I turn away in shame at the thought. We don’t speak much after that, Rarity and Fluttershy eventually return to their Idle conversation. I just sit there and think about all the thoughts going through my head, I really need to organize them into a list or something. I should, but I’m probably not going to. I don’t know what it is, I used to make lists all the time. All I used to do is study. Now that I’ve been forced into learning friendship, I’m not doing a whole lot of that.

I also used to be pleasant and respectable, but I’m neither of those anymore. Now I’m bitter and feared, or hated depending on how much guts you have. Rainbow dares to hate me, and I’m sure everybody else is still afraid of me. The way everybody looks at me seems to give away that feeling, it’s not like I don’t deserve it. What I did was terrible and everybody knows it, even me. I can’t even ignore it as everyone else just being weak, I can’t justify what I did in any way. This makes me helpless to my own emotions, which is a terrible feeling. Thankfully, the spa treatment is doing wonders for my nerves and makes me feel better. I close my eyes and everything goes dark, it’s a comforting darkness.

I remember when the elements fixed me, there was a comforting darkness then too. But it was much more comforting, it was a pure black void and there was nothing but an expanse of black all around me. My thoughts drift to my dream, I remember darkness then too. It had a sort of dimmed effect though, not as powerful and concentrated. It was nonetheless comforting, though I wish I could remember the dream entirely. Oh well, it matters not. All that I know is that it was a pleasant dream and that’s good enough for me.

The spa workers start unravelling our hands and finish on our hands, then Lotus leads us into a changing room and hands us some robes. We change out and into the robes and Lotus directs us into what I believe to be a sauna. Rarity, Fluttershy, and I all sit in the hot room as various colors dance across my vision and a calming mint smell invades my senses.

“So… I’m not going crazy, right? You girls see those lights as well, right?” I finally ask as the colors catch more of my attention.

“Oh, I thought maybe I was seeing things…” Fluttershy says with relief.

“No, it’s a special type of treatment. Chromatherapy, I believe. Along with that mint smell as a form of aromatherapy, they’re supposed to be very calming and rejuvenating. Why? Are the lights annoying? We can ask for them off,” Rarity explains.

“No, they can stay on. I just find more comfort in darkness, the light was just… a surprise.” I tell her, Rarity just nods in understanding and we return to our silence.

“So, you helped Pinkie with her project, right?” Rarity asks.

“Yeah,” I answer, my thoughts are more focused on the annoying lights dancing in my vision.

“Anything interesting in her family line?” Rarity asks. I think on it for a second and decide against telling them anything, that’s her decision to tell them. I’ll leave the Pie and Apple family to the Pie and Apple family. The only family I need to worry about is the Shimmer family, current member, one.

“You’ll have to talk to Pinkie, it’s not my place to say,” I tell her.

“Well, anything happening? What about your house?” Rarity asks, I freeze up and turn to stare at her icily.

“What about my house?” I ask shortly.

“Have you found a new place yet?” Rarity asks.

“Why would I need to find a new place?” I question.

“Well if the house is in as bad a shape as you say it is-” I stop Rarity before she can say much else.

“I never said that the house is in bad shape, I said it was old and beat-up. I have no need to find a new house and I don’t plan to, now let’s never mention my living situation again,” I warn.

“But-” Rarity starts.

“NEVER” I clarify, Rarity just sighs and nods in acknowledgements.

“What’s this about your house?” Fluttershy asks, lost.

“Nothing, it was an accident to tell her,” I say sourly.

“You have a house?” Fluttershy asks.

“I’m not homeless!” I yell, Fluttershy and rarity jump back in surprise. “Why does everybody assume that…” I mutter under my breath.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say it like that. I meant more along the lines of it never crossed my mind, not that I thought you were homeless. I just never really thought too much about where you lived,” Fluttershy apologizes, I just turn with a huff to look at the wall.

“Yeah, well I’m not that keen on telling anybody where I live,” I reply.

“You told me,” Rarity points out.

“That’s different, I didn’t have a choice,” I snap.

“Didn’t have a choice?” She asks in confusion, I slap myself for my stupidity. If they find out that all they have to do to get me to be friendlier is say please and stuff, they’ll certainly use it to their advantage. I need to keep the elements influence a secret if I expect to keep my will.

“Nothing, I told you. It was an accident and it wasn’t meant to happen,” I brush aside her question. She looks at me curiously but drops the conversation. We continue to sit silently as the mint calms our nerves. Rarity and Fluttershy return to their small talk and gossip and I continue to ignore them and gather my thoughts, They flit from one subject to another. Eventually they return to this spa trip and I relish the feeling of the heat on my skin, this trip wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought. Sure, there has been a slew of good and bad conversation topics, but I must admit that there are more good than bad ones. That’s a plus, at least.

The rest of the spa trip goes on without much else happening. After we finished our steam bath we were given an hour massage, that felt really nice. I hadn’t even realized how tense I was until I felt it all massaged away. Then we were given European facials, which was a new experience for me. All the while Fluttershy and Rarity held up a pretty constant conversation, talking about this and that. Some gossip was spread about here and there and I caught a few things, nothing really interesting though. Occasionally I’d be asked a question to which I would give a quick and short answer, then I’d be excluded from the conversation for another long period of time.

Eventually though, it comes time for us to make our leave. We walk out the front door with our own clothes back on, feeling extra fresh and rejuvenated. I almost feel bad that after going back to work tomorrow I’m sure to feel dirty again, almost.

“That was heavenly Rarity, it was great to do that again,” Fluttershy comments as we walk away from the spa. I have no idea where we’re going, presumably to the boutique. Frankly, I don’t care, I don’t really have anywhere else to go right now.

“It was great, wasn’t it? I find it’s even better when you’re with friends,” Rarity smiles hopefully.

“Friend,” I correct. Rarity’s smile fades and she sighs.

“I can only try,” Rarity replies dejectedly, then she looks back up with a smile.

“Oh come on Sunset, you can’t say that wasn’t nice,” Fluttershy urges.

“I can, but I won’t. Because it was, It was really nice and I am grateful. I just won’t say that after one good experience we’re gonna be the bestest of buddies.” I tell her.

“Isn’t that what happened with you and me though?” Fluttershy asks and I pause. That is exactly what happened, but this is different. This isn’t a really great bonding experience and i’m just not feeling like friends, it’s gonna take more than a spa trip to become friendly with me.

“Well, yeah… but this is different. I am grateful, and your presence wasn’t as annoying as I thought it would be. I’m just not one to throw around the word friend lightly,” I explain.

“I see, I’ll have to work harder…” Rarity muses. “Well, maybe we can bond over an experience in Manhattan,” Rarity tells me, “be sure to tell me when you’re released early.” Rarity says.

“You mean if,” I point out.

“No, when. Friendship has a way of working things out,” Rarity says assuredly.

“Right,” I roll my eyes in exaggeration. This whole friendship spiel of theirs can be really stupid sometimes, if not all the time. I will not deny that it’s uncannily effective a good amount of the time, but it is still stupid. "Well, you girls continue doing whatever it is you planned on doing..." I say as I turn away from the two and walk back towards the library. When I said I don't really have anywhere to go, I meant that I'm now free to go to the library.

"Where are you going?" Rarity asks.

"The library, I need to do some research still," I tell them non-chalantly as I saunter away.

"Oh, but Sunset..." Rarity starts.

"No! No, 'but sunset'! No, please come with us. No, why don't you want to commune with us! I just don't and I won't be forced into anything else! I already went with you to your stupid spa and I held my tongue as best as I could, what more could you want from me?!" I ask scathingly. Fluttershy reels back and Rarity looks at me in shock, then she regains her composure and lets out an indifferent 'hmph'.

"Thank you Sunset for practicing what many of us call common courtesy, we're so very thankful," Rarity's tone is dripping in sarcasm, but I ignore her.

"Whatever, I'm out," I turn away indifferently and make long strides towards the library. I turn a corner, as soon as I'm out of earshot I let out a frustrated grumble and kick a stray can. Admittedly, that could have gone better. And Rarity could not be so selfish, but some things just won't happen. 'Wow Shimmer, you've stooped to trying to get yourself to believe something that just isn't true. You just called the element of generosity, the literal definition of selfless, a selfish person.' I think to myself bitterly. I sigh and continue on anyways, despite my regrets. Not about what I said, but about how they sounded. I can't even think of great ways to demean people anymore, of course if I'm demeaning people then it's less than great. Whatever, I need answers, not time to wallow in my self pity. I shake my head of my woes and continue to the library, there is studying to be done.

~~~~~~~

I walk out the library with my stomach growling, I probably shouldn't have put off dinner for so long. I didn't really manage to make any leeway in my research, aside from gather what I know into a list. I also managed to make a couple other lists on some other things, like what I need. I put all the lists in my purse, they're lying in there currently. Now I'm heading back home to throw something together for dinner and more than likely fall asleep. I've had a tiring day full of spending time with the girls, and one day is more than I want to spend with them.

I won't say that their company was less than enjoyable, but I'm just not ready to be that engaged with those girls. I'm still pretty peeved about the crown, but less so then I was before. The post stress rage is mostly gone, in its place is annoyance. This annoyance doesn't hinder my logical thinking like the rage, thankfully.

I ponder these thoughts as I make it home uneventfully, after such a day I don't think I could have stood it if anything had happened. I eat an uneventful dinner and get ready to go to bed, uneventfully. After I finally slip into my bed, it's not long before I'm taken by uneventful sleep. Did I mention how uneventful it was?

Author's Note:

Finally, I got it finished! That took longer than expected. Anyways, please leave a like and a comment, I love to get feedback of any kind. Even if its just something mundane like, 'I really like the color red', or 'I like cake'. But really, who doesnt like cake? Watch your back cake haters, Celestia has her eyes on you.