• Published 6th Nov 2014
  • 21,381 Views, 2,676 Comments

The Evening Sonata - Daniel-Gleebits

When Sunset Shimmer hears strange sounds outside her apartment, she finds an old enemy who seems down on her luck. Can Sunset Shimmer help Sonata Dusk to cope with her life as a normal teenage girl?

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The Evening Sonata. Part 1

The Evening Sonata Pt1

Sunset Shimmer’s apartment was in a rather small, rambling building not far distant from the school. Contributing to the school’s good reputation, or perhaps as a result of it, the apartment housed none but pleasant, good natured people, all of whom usually had a kind thing to say. In bygone days, Sunset Shimmer had been the one exception, but now she too was able and willing to say Hello Mrs. Balm! and I hope that dissertation goes well today, Mr. Sweet!, to her pleased, albeit surprised, neighbours.

The apartment itself was cheap and small, and her old self had scorned it as something she would improve on when she attained the power she desired. Now, after almost three years living here, it had a homely, welcome feel. Nothing changed here, nothing interrupted her personal time or quiet serenity – except when Pinkie Pie visited – and nothing unusual ever happened.

Not until last Friday, anyway.

Sunset pushed open her door with her foot, setting the grocery bags down on the kitchen counter, and preparing to switch the TV onto her favourite show, Power Ponies: Back in Action!, when there came a discordant, muffled noise from somewhere above. She paused to listen.

It sounded rather as though a bag of cats were being drowned in thick pudding whilst someone beat them with an aluminium bat. Sunset set down the remote and moved around her apartment, trying to hear where the sound was coming from. A television blaring above or below, perhaps? She didn’t think so somehow. Nor from old Mr. Ferry who lived across the hall. He only watched old films late at night, and she couldn’t imagine this horrible sound coming from any black and white film. Not this sound at any rate.

On an impulse, she opened the window in her sitting area, and briefly heard the sound louder, until it was swiftly cut off. She waited for a few moments, looking all over the street below, but couldn’t see or hear the source of the noise.

This curious occurrence wouldn’t have interested Sunset much more than as piece of random gossip to tell her friends, if it didn’t happen again, and again. For five consecutive evenings. Each time, Sunset poked her head out of the window, listening for the source, but it was always distorted by the winds blowing passed her floor.

“Come to think of it,” Applejack said, when Sunset mentioned it to her. “I heard a sound like that too, when I was driving home from the farmer’s market last Saturday.”

“Oh yeah,” Rainbow Dash snickered, when Sunset spoke to her during team practice. Dash wiped her face with a towel and took a swig of water before continuing. “Was coming home from late practise last Friday and I heard it coming from near your apartment. I almost called Fluttershy to tell her an animal was hurt!” she laughed, offering Sunset the bottle of water, which Sunset politely declined.

Rarity, Pinkie, and Fluttershy meanwhile, had not heard a thing, and had no gossip to give until the following Thursday, when all six of them met at Sugarcube Corner.

“It was the oddest thing, darlings,” Rarity said, waving her ice cream spoon daintily. “I swear the other day that one of those Dazzlings girls came into my parent’s establishment. You know, the one with the blue ponytail.”

“Sonata?” Applejack asked.

“Yes, that’s the one,” Rarity said absently. “Anyway, it was the most dreadful thing. Her clothes are in tatters I don’t mind telling you, and for all that she and her friends were evil, they did have fabulous style.” She shuddered. “It was a travesty to see clothes in such a state.”

“What did she do?” Dash asked. “She try to rip you a new one?”

“Not at all,” Rarity shrugged, as though she were still rather surprised by the encounter herself. “She just wandered around the markdown bins for a while, shivering and not talking to anyone. I felt so sorry for the poor dear that I gave her a coat free of charge.”

Sunset blinked. “The other Dazzlings weren’t with her?”

“Not that I saw, darling. The poor dear didn’t seem herself, you know. She positively ran away from me when I tried to talk to her more,” Rarity said, taking a bite of her coconut sundae, and then choking on it. The door to the cafe had just opened. Sunset and her friends turned one by one to see the new arrival, and each elicited surprise in their own way.

Rarity choked quietly on her ice cream, massaging her throat with her eyes streaming.

Applejack lifted her hat up a bit, frowning slightly.

Rainbow Dash sat up properly from her laid-back position across two chairs, eyebrows raised.

Fluttershy let loose a squeak of surprise which she hastily hid as a small sneeze.

Pinkie Pie gasped loudly, and let the three spoons she was holding fall dramatically with tinkles to the table.

Sunset Shimmer stared whilst patting Rarity on the back, her insides giving an unpleasant squirm at what she was seeing.

Sonata Dusk, rubbing her arms, stepped out of the winter cold of outside into the welcome warmth of the cafe, and for a moment seemed to just allow the sweet scents of pastries and tea to wash over her for a moment. As Rarity had described, her clothes were worn, dirty, and torn in places, except for the magenta coat she was wearing over them. Covertly, she put a hand in her pocket and fished out some notes and coins, counting them with an air of desperation. With a relieved little sigh, she proceeded eagerly to the counter, evidently unaware of the table full of girls silently watching her.

With an indecent look of hunger in her eyes, she ordered a pastry, handing over the somewhat dirty looking money. Mrs. Cake gave her a sympathetic look, and handed her a coffee too.

“No, no, it’s on the house,” Mrs. Cake said kindly. Sonata had been looking fretfully at the coffee, and was looking confused.

“Um, why?” she asked, quietly.

“You need fattening up, dear.” Mrs. Cake smiled at her. Sonata looked truly perplexed, and unsure whether to take the coffee or not. Perhaps unconsciously, she fingered a black strap around her neck. Mrs. Cake meanwhile turned to serve another customer. Tentatively, as though expecting the coffee to suddenly dart away, Sonata picked it up, along with the bag containing her pastry, and turned to leave.

Half way to the door, her eyes looking a little over-bright, she suddenly seemed to notice Sunset’s table. She froze, her eyes widening. She remained like that for a full seven seconds, she staring at them and them at her. Then she dropped her coffee. The hot liquid burst from the cup, splashing over her legs and over the floor. She cried out, more from surprise than pain. Now everyone in the cafe was looking at her, whispering and turning to get better looks.

Without knowing really what she was doing, Sunset stood up, and so did Fluttershy.

“Oh!” Fluttershy said with concern, as Sonata looked down at the mess on the floor as though she’d broken a priceless ornament. She bent down, evidently unsure of what to do, but picked up the cup and tried to scoop the coffee back up. This elicited some snickering from the patrons all around.

Fluttershy handed Sunset a wad of napkins, and the two of them began cleaning up the mess.

“Are you alright?” Fluttershy asked Sonata. Sonata looked at her as though she thought Fluttershy was going to bite her. “Here,” Fluttershy offered her some napkins too, as the rest of the table came over. Mrs. Cake tottered out from behind the counter, hooting and calling her husband to get the mop.

“I... I...” Sonata stammered. She looked up at the four behind Sunset and Fluttershy, and then at Mr. And Mrs. Cake rushing over.

“Do your legs hurt? Did you get burned?” Fluttershy asked.

Tears in her eyes, her breathing rapid, Sonata ran, bursting through the doors of the cafe and out into the winter wind. Sunset stared after her, unsure of what she was feeling.

“Wow,” Rainbow Dash said, flatly. “What was that all about?”

“Reading between the lines, darling,” Rarity said, sarcastically. “I get the feeling she rather fears meeting us.”

“You can be kinda scary, Rarity,” Pinkie Pie said, wisely.

“What!?” Rarity cried, indignantly.

“See? Like that,” Pinkie said, side-stepping behind Applejack, who rolled her eyes.

“I feel bad for her,” Fluttershy said to Sunset. “She looked so scared.”

“Yeah,” Sunset agreed, distractedly.

Sunset sat in her apartment that evening, fingering a pen in her hand and staring at a blank page of her journal.

Dear Princess Twilight,

She was pondering exactly what to write after this, but nothing was occurring to her. As she sat there, nibbling on some biscuits and sipping some tea, she let her mind wander to the scene in the cafe. The entire scene had shocked her, made her uncertain. She’d been convinced that the Dazzlings were bad people, independent and fierce, rather like her old self had been. Unwilling to show weakness or need.

If that is what Sunset set the bar to as counting towards being a bad person, then she could no longer hold Sonata under that name. She’d been alone, helpless, desperate, and pathetic. And the role had been unfamiliar to her, Sunset had seen that. The puzzlement at a show of kindness from Mrs. Cake had been apparent. Again it reminded Sunset of...

There it was again; that horrible sound like animals being tortured. Sunset put down the pen and journal and went quickly to the window. Poking her head out, she listened carefully, determined to discover what it was. As before however, the winds around the building made the sound impossible to trace. Then a paper bag dropped out of nowhere and hit Sunset’s hair, buffeted by the wind and sinking into the growing darkness below. Sunset looked up.

“The roof?” she muttered, confused.

The stairway to the roof was, strictly speaking, a maintenance stairway and fire exit. It wasn’t strictly speaking supposed to be for everyday use. Nonetheless, Sunset mounted the stairs two at a time, slowing down as she came to the door at the top, which was ajar.

Peering through the crack, she saw a figure standing on the roof by its edge, singing. Which explained the sounds reminiscent of a banshee at karaoke night. The sun was setting, gilding the figure in shadow, making it impossible to see who it was. As Sunset stepped out of the stairwell, she noticed an old wooden shed with its door slightly open too. At one time it must have held tools, which had been unceremoniously dumped to the side. Now however, the interior was covered in a makeshift insulation of cannibalised cardboard boxes, and contained several old, discoloured blankets. It looked rather as though someone had taken to sleeping in there.

Whilst Sunset contemplated this, the singer had stopped her ‘singing’, and was now crying quietly over by the roof’s edge, their shoulders trembling as they sniffled and sobbed.

“Um... hello?”

The figure jumped, falling back against the short wall and pressing herself against it. Sunset gaped.


“S-Sunset Shimmer...?”

They stared at each other for a moment or two.

“Y-You live here?” Sonata asked, fearfully.

“You live here?” Sunset asked at the same time, looking incredulously at the shed.

“I-I’m sorry,” Sonata trembled, standing up shakily. “I didn’t know. I’ll go, I-I’m sorry.”

“No, wait!” Sunset reached out impulsively and seized Sonata’s wrist. “You... you don’t have to...” She felt Sonata’s arm shaking. “Do you want something to drink?”

It took a little coaxing to get Sonata to her apartment, where she made her a cup of strong hot tea with cream. Sonata sat on the edge of her seat, as though ready to jump off at any moment, looking uneasy and jumping at any time Sunset spoke.

“Have some biscuits if you want,” Sunset said, shoving the packet forward on the table. Sonata held her cup like she thought someone would steal it, glancing at the biscuits and offering a quiet thanks. “So...” Sunset said, tapping her own cup.

“Can I ask you something?” Sonata said, suddenly.

“Yeah. I mean that kinda counted as asking something, so yeah.” Sunset smiled, hoping this instant of humour might lighten the mood. Sonata’s mouth trembled for a moment, as though she were going to smile.

“Why did you invite me here?”

Sunset thought for a moment. If she was honest, she wasn’t quite sure. “I felt... bad for you,” she said, remembering what Fluttershy had said. “You shouldn’t be out in the cold.”

Sonata looked genuinely confused. “But we- I... I tried to... you know.”

“Well, yeah, you did,” Sunset conceded. “But so did I, you know? And my friends like me anyway.”

A long silence followed this, during which Sonata stared into her cup. The miserable look on her face made Sunset wonder if she might actually try to drown herself in it. She looked around the room for inspiration for something to say. Her eye alighted on her journal.

“So where are your friends?” she asked pleasantly.

“What?” Sonata asked, apparently coming out of a reverie.

“The other two, Adagio and... the other one?”

“Aria,” Sonata said, tonelessly. “They’re gone.”

“Gone, how?” Sunset asked, hesitantly.

“Gone, as in left town.” Sonata bit her lip for a moment and blinked her eyes a few times. “Adagio and she, well. They didn’t always get along anyway. But now that we can’t sing anymore, they argued and... and...” with a great sniff, she started to cry, shutting her eyes tight and trying to fight back the tears.

Sunset wasn’t really sure what she was doing. ’Comforting’ people wasn’t exactly something she had much experience in it. Nonetheless, she sat down next to Sonata on the sofa, and placed a tentative hand on her shoulder. She patted it a few times, feeling incredibly awkward. Sonata looked at her suddenly, looking as surprised and uncertain as she did when Mrs. Cake had given her the coffee. Sunset found herself taking in the features of her face rather than look her in the eye like a person should: a smudge on her cheek, her wilted ponytail, her slightly open mouth, the tear shimmering under her chin.

“Why are you being nice to me?” Sonata asked. She sounded utterly bewildered. “I’m... I’m worthless. I’m stupid; I have no sense, no skills. I can’t do anything. Why are you doing this?”

“Don’t talk about yourself like that,” Sunset said reprovingly. “Surely you can do some-“ she stopped, as she thought about the preceding days. It now dawned on her as plain as day that what she had heard were Sonata’s attempts to sing without her pendant. She had tried for days in a place she evidently thought that no one would hear her. Where no one could judge her.

“Singing was the only thing I was ever good at,” Sonata gulped. “I can’t do anything now.”

Sunset felt an inkling of guilt here. She exhaled, her tentative grip on Sonata’s shoulder becoming more confident, more reassuring.

“Do you feel the same way? As when you were with the Dazzlings? Do you feel the same greed, the same lust for recognition?”

Sonata stared at her, her eyes going out of focus. “I... don’t.” The words seemed to take even herself by surprise.

“I felt the same way. I guess I’m being nice to you because... if I don’t believe that you deserve to be given a chance, then I didn’t deserve one either. I mean trying to hypnotise everyone with music to take over the world is pretty bad, but turning into a raging she-demon and trying to fry Twilight and her friends with a fireball has to be a little bit worse. I mean, if you look at it that way.”

Sunset felt a heat rise in her cheeks as she realised she was rambling. Sonata merely looked at her, her expression vague.


“Um, yeah?”

“Could I ask you to do something for me?”

Sunset blinked, slightly taken aback. “Sure, what?”

“Could you hold me, please?”

Sunset was fully taken aback. Her immediate instinct was to protest, but something in Sonata’s face made her rethink it. Tentatively, like a young bird on its maiden flight, Sunset opened her arms in what she hoped was an inviting manner. With more soberness than Sunset was expecting, Sonata leaned into her, resting her head on Sunset’s shoulder, and placing both arms around her middle.

“Well, Sonata,” Sunset said, lightly. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so serious.”

“I’ve not had the luxury of being an air-head recently,” Sonata whispered.

Sunset searched momentarily for some other way of lightening the mood, but every attempt was failing miserably. She rubbed Sonata’s back for a moment, before being hit by an overwhelming smell that made her nearly choke.

“Say, Sonata,” Sunset said, trying not to gag. “How about I make us some dinner? Do you need to use the bathroom or anything?”

Sonata pulled out of the hug. “Actually,” she said awkwardly. “Do you mind if I use your shower? It’s... been a while.”

Sunset internally sighed with relief and put on a cheerful smile. “Not at all, not at all! It’s all yours. I’ll get the dinner. Pasta good for you?”

Whilst the pasta bubbled and boiled and the vegetables microwaved, Sunset took a quick look at the bathroom door. She clearly heard the sounds of running water, and so thought it safe to enact her plan. Picking up her phone, she dialled a number, and hoped that everything tomorrow would work out.

- To be Continued

Author's Note:

The first part of a possibly six-part story, possibly more if I run out of room. Hope you enjoy it, all :)

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