• Published 19th Jan 2015
  • 12,063 Views, 442 Comments

Firebird Dahlia - The Albinocorn



Sunset goes home to Equestria to reconcile with her family. But ten years is a large bridge to gap, especially between sisters.

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Everglow


“Sounds like you had quite the eventful evening yourself,” Celestia said, smiling over her teacup.

“I’ll admit, it beat getting covered in Smooze goo.” Sunset and Celestia shared a laugh. They sat in the same room Celestia had received Sunset in when she first returned. It had been two days since the Gala, and though Sunset had heard the full story of Discord and the Smooze from Twilight, it was fun to hear her teacher’s perspective on it.

Celestia took a long sip of tea once their laughter subsided. “So, how did things turn out between your parents?”

Sunset made a lopsided smile, her ears pinned back. “Well, it’s no fairytale ending. But, they’re talking. I think they’re taking things slow and kind of starting over. Ultimately, I think I knew this would happen if everything went to plan, so…” She made a full smile. “Everything worked out in the end.”

“Indeed it has.” Sitting with her back to the window and the sun streaming through, Celestia looked like an angel outlined in gold. “I’m so very proud of you, Sunset. I told you, it takes a very brave pony to try and correct their mistakes. You’ve grown up so much since I last saw you. All I can say is, I’m proud.”

Sunset felt her cheeks might burn off. “Thank you, Princess.” She nibbled on a cinnamon and ginger cookie until the glow in her cheeks faded, her mirth going with it. “Princess, I still have a problem though.”

Celestia set her cup down. “What is it?”

The pillow Sunset was sitting on had become too soft, prompting Sunset to stand and pace the floor. “I made up with my sister and got my parents to talk. I couldn’t be happier about it.” Sunset stopped, shook her head, and kept pacing. “But, I still have friends and obligations in the human world. We can open the portal whenever we want, so I can pop over and visit my family, but…” Sunset looked at Celestia with wide eyes. “I can’t keep doing that forever, can I? I’m going to have to pick one world eventually.”

Celestia quietly stood and walked around the table to drape a wing over Sunset. “You don’t want to say goodbye to your human friends, but you’re worried about your family if you leave again.” It wasn’t a question. Celestia had always been good at reading Sunset’s emotions.

“Yeah. I can’t have it both ways. But I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to choose.”

“The time difference between our worlds is dramatic. It would be hard to keep up with both.” Celestia nuzzled the top of Sunset’s head. “I’m afraid I can’t help you make that choice. It’s one only your heart can decide. But, like I’ve told Twilight, friends and family stay with you, wherever you go.” She pressed a hoof against Sunset’s chest. “Your heart is big enough to carry love across two dimensions.”

Sunset crossed her hoof over Celestia’s. “Thank you.” She knew she wouldn’t get an easy answer, especially from Celestia. Still, Sunset missed hearing her advice. And Celestia was right, as she usually was; whichever world Sunset picked, her loved ones would still be with her. She was sure the choice would make itself clear in time.

“Well,” Sunset said, slowly pulling herself out of Celestia’s embrace, “I should probably head out. I’m supposed to be heading back this evening.”

Celestia nodded, gracing Sunset with one more radiant smile. “It was so wonderful to see you again, Sunset. I missed you so much.”

Sunset made an about face and threw herself back into Celestia’s chest, hugging her warm fur. “I missed you too, Princess. I’m sorry I ever ran away.”

“Shhh. No more apologies. I forgave you a long time ago.”

They stood there for what seemed like hours. Eventually, Sunset had to pull away and move on; they both had responsibilities to attend to.

As Sunset opened the door, Celestia called out, “Sunset, wait.”

Sunset turned back, ears lifted.

“I may not be able to make your choice easier, but perhaps there is something else I can do.”

******

The glass doors swung open, and Twilight led four ponies inside, making a sweeping motion with her hoof. “And this is the library.”

“Wow,” Dawn said breathlessly, “All of this is so amazing.”

“Looks kinda gaudy,” Spitfire whispered into Sunset’s ear. Sunset bit her lip to keep herself from laughing too loud.

They moved to the back of the library, where the mirror sat attached to its amplification device. Small hums and beeps bounced off the crystal walls. Sunset took a moment to appreciate the scientific and magical ingenuity that had gone into this device. Twilight had overcome space and time just to help her friends, and with incredible speed to boot.

Twilight picked up her journal and set it at the top of the machine, then flipped the main switch. The humming grew louder, and the glass flashed brightly before settling into a purple vortex.

Zephyr whistled. “That’s quite the contraption there.”

“Yep, this is the gate that connects our two worlds.” Twilight pointed to the receiver. “Initially, it only opened based on the positions of the moons in both worlds, but I was able to override that by creating a new foci—”

Sunset put a hoof on her shoulder. “Maybe later, Twilight.”

Twilight blushed. “Right, ruining a family moment. I’ll just—”

Before she could slip away, Sunset pulled her into a tight hug. “Thank you for everything, Twilight. I couldn’t have done this without you.”

“Yes you could have. You need to believe in yourself a little more.” Twilight pulled away and took a step back, leaving Sunset to face her family.

Dawn and Zephyr stood shoulder-to-shoulder, almost leaning into each other. They both looked at Sunset with a mixture of pride and dejection.

Sunset stepped up and hugged both of them, becoming crushed between their combined weight. “I love you both so much,” she whispered.

“We love you too, sweetie,” Zephyr said.

“And this isn’t goodbye. I’ll come back, I promise. Just think of this as… summer camp.” That got both of them to laugh. Sunset wiggled out from their hold and reached into her saddlebag, pulling out a lightly wrapped package. “Here, this is for all of you.”

Dawn took it and unwrapped it, revealing a brown journal with Sunset’s cutie mark stamped in the middle. “What is it?”

“It’s a magic journal. Princess Celestia made a second pair, and I have the other one. With this, I can stay in touch and talk to you whenever.”

Dawn clutched it against her chest. “Then we’ll take good care of it.” She wagged a hoof at Sunset. “You just make sure to check in often, okay? Or else I’ll send your father to go check on you.”

“And don’t think I won’t do it,” Zephyr said, his threat lessened by his smirk.

Sunset kissed both of them on the cheek. “I wouldn’t doubt it. I promise, I’ll write whenever I can.” She turned to Spitfire at last. “So…”

Spitfire waved a hoof. “Spare me the emotional stuff, we’ve done enough of that.”

“Agreed.” Sunset still pulled her in for a hug, which Spitfire quickly turned into a headlock and gave Sunset a noogie. “Okay, okay, I give!”

“Whoohoo!” Spitfire let go and threw her hooves up. “Still the champ!”

Sunset fixed her mane and massaged her scalp before punching Spitfire in the shoulder. “I can’t stand you sometimes.”

“Feeling’s mutual.” Spitfire wrapped a wing around Sunset and pulled her in for a half hug. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way. You did good, dodo.”

We did good.”

Spitfire lightly pushed her off. “All right, go on, get out of here. Just promise you’ll come back soon.”

Sunset walked up to the dais and looked back at the four ponies she loved. “I promise.” As she turned away, a chorus of goodbyes rose up behind her. She brushed the tears away before stepping into the swirling vortex.

******

Dear Mom and Dad,

It’s Sunset, writing you your first letter from another dimension. See? It’s just like summer camp. Or an interdimensional exchange program. I hope both of you are doing well.

There’s so many things I could tell you about the human world. You probably wouldn’t believe half the things I said though. I’ll try to stagger them so I don’t overload you guys.

I got here the day before school started, thankfully, so I didn’t miss anything. My friends were so happy to see me again, and were glad I made up with everyone. I wish I could introduce them to you. You’d know I was in good hands, er, hooves once you met them.

School’s going good. I get top grades as usual. That didn’t come out arrogant, did it? Anyways, everyone’s excited for the Friendship Games that start next week. It’s a competition between our rival schools. Well, maybe excited isn’t the right word to use. Everyone’s anxious for the games, since the Shadowbolts (our rivals) beat us every time the games happen. Maybe it’ll be different this year. Rainbow Dash thinks so.

That’s all for now, I think. Yes, I’m eating well, and I’m properly dressed for the weather (did I tell you that humans wear clothes like, all the time?). I miss you guys and I’ll try to visit soon. Tell Spitfire I said hi.

Love, Sunset.

Sunset closed the journal, the front showing off her parent’s and her sister’s cutie marks. She leaned back on the steps of Canterlot High, watching the sun sink behind the mountains. She bent her arms and stretched her fingers, still getting a feel for her second body.

More maneuverability and flexibility, less magic. It wasn’t the best trade off, but Sunset knew how to make it work. Her eyes fell to the portal housed inside the Wondercolts statue. Here or Equestria? The great unknown or home?

Before she could get carried away with her thoughts, her journal buzzed in her lap. Sunset made a small squee at the quick response.

Dear dodo,

Way to remember me at the very end. I’m touched.

Spitfire.

Smirking, Sunset uncapped her pen and began to write.

Sorry, I didn’t think you were around. I figured Mom or Dad would hang on to it. What’s up?

Nothing much. I’m crashing on Mom’s couch right now. She and Dad are cooking in the kitchen.

Really?

Don’t get all excited, they’re just cooking. Oh, and they say hi.

Tell them I said hi.

Done. So, you gonna kick flank at these ‘Friendship Games’? Lame name by the way.

Maybe?

Don’t ‘maybe’ me. You better go out there and win!

Ma’am, yes, Ma’am!

That’s better. You better come visit when they’re done, too. I wanna hear all about it.

I dunno. Are you gonna have security chase me away again?

Depends on if you win or not. Consider that an ultimatum.

You’re terrible.

Only to you. Well, gotta go, time for dinner. Good luck with those games.

Thanks. I love you.

Love you too, sis.

The End

Author's Note:

That's a wrap! Thank you everyone who read and commented. Here's the postscript for the story if you're inclined to read it. Just some after thoughts and behind the scenes looks. See you all around!

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Comments ( 78 )

That's a great ending. I think that you were right not to actually end all the plot arcs but just give the sense that things were moving forwards. Things like this don't end neatly and in a tidy way; sometimes you just have to make do with shaking up the status quo.

So... Will Spitfire be proud of Sunset winning the dirt bike race? :rainbowdetermined2:

“Indeed it has.” Sitting with her back to the window and the sun streaming through, Celestia looked like an angel outlined in gold. “I’m so very proud of you, Sunset. I told you, it takes a very brave pony to try and correct their mistakes. You’ve grown up so much since I last saw you. All i can say is, I’m proud.”

"All I can say is,"

Needs to be a capital I there.

Honestly, with this, The Long Road, and Double Sun Daze, I'm kinda saddened I read Sunlight first. It put off your other stuff for a while, and that was a mistake.

7334641
Actually, I'm a little disappointed with the way things were left with Sunset's parents. What can I say? I'm a romantic, and I prefer happy endings.

And so you finish another good story. While not as good as Long Road or Time this was still a pleasure to read.

Right when I settled down to read the update, two more chapters were posted. :rainbowderp: Well alright then. This comment will cover the final three chapters of the story.

“Pfft.” Rarity waved a hoof. “Honey, this is what I live for. Besides, this is the first Gala I get to attend since we were, ahem…” Rarity looked at the ceiling. “Banned.”

Sunset quickly threw a hoof over her mouth to cover up the snort she had made. “Banned?” she asked, trying to keep her voice level.

“Yes, banned,” Rarity deadpanned. “Ever since that debacle three years ago.”

...okay so Sunset and Spitfire are taking their parents to the same Gala Discord disrupted. That could get weird. Also, I find the notion of the Mane Six being "banned" from the Gala when Celestia herself is the one who invited them in hopes they'd do exactly what they did. And, y'know...hosts the Gala.

Sunset tried to steer her mother down the hall, but she remained resolutely still, eyes still fixed coldly on Celestia.

Oh horseapples.

“What?”

“Hahahahaha!” Discord tossed his head back. “Oh, Sunset, that’s hilarious! What a great story! Oh, Fluttershy, didn’t see you there.”

:facehoof: Good grief...

Fluttershy’s lips turned upwards in a small smile. “Oh, yes. Twilight told us that story. Um, I’m very glad you didn’t… do that, Sunset.”

:rainbowlaugh: A perfectly Fluttershy response!

The Smooze: Moment Killer.

The aftermath of the Firebird Dahlia was sappy, sweet, touching, and perfect. *sniff*

Such a heartwarming ending, too. Nicely done, once again.

So it was the first once mentioned in an earlier chapter. Works for me!

Albinocorn, I can't stress enough how stoked I am that you got back to this story after nearly a yearlong hiatus and finished it. I've had the pleasure of reading a lot of awesome stories on this site, but this one is -without doubt- my favorite. It brought an interesting tale to life, gave wonderful characterizations, and certainly captivated me in a way that few manage to do. Thanks for sharing this one with us. It is truly a smashing -and fiery- success.

You are absolutely wonderful.
Thank you so much for being so inspiring. :)

All i can say is, I’m proud.”

The I should be capitalized.

And thus another Awesome Sunset Shimmer story comes to a close.

Sunset made a lopsided smile, her ears pinned back. “Well, it’s no fairytale ending. But, they’re talking. I think they’re taking things slow and kind of starting over. Ultimately, I think I knew this would happen if everything went to plan, so…” She made a full smile. “Everything worked out in the end.”

Good.

“The time difference between our worlds is dramatic. It would be hard to keep up with both.”

Got that right.

“I may not be able to make your choice easier, but perhaps there is something else I can do.”

Wazzat?

“Yep, this is the gate that connects our two worlds.” Twilight pointed to the receiver. “Initially, it only opened based on the positions of the moons in both worlds, but I was able to override that by creating a new foci—”

NEERRD!

“Whoohoo!” Spitfire let go and threw her hooves up. “Still the champ!”
Sunset fixed her mane and massaged her scalp before punching Spitfire in the shoulder. “I can’t stand you sometimes.”

Heh.

Done. So, you gonna kick flank at these ‘Friendship Games’? Lame name by the way.

Kinda is.

Loved it :) Are you planning to make a sequel?

The fu** I'm really bad at happy endings like this :raritydespair:

Yay, conclusion! Actually, these chapters posted so fast I didn't even realize the story had concluded already. I'm always happy to read Sunset return to Equestria stories (lot more of them these days), but this was always one of the more unique takes, what with the focus on Sunset's parents (and not Celestia) and Spitfire as her sister. I like the way most of the plots conclude, I don't mind that we don't have definite happy endings, instead positive progress is being made, so I'm fine with that.

I'm happy and sad to see this fic conclude, I remember when I first stumbled on this fic that this was the only "canon" post-RR Sunset fic of yours (compared to the AU Sunset of Time and LRtF), which was in some ways more interesting and less interesting, as odd as that sounds. Thank you for another great Sunset fic, looking forward to whatever you write next.

Honestly, I loved this story all the way through... Thanks for giving me a great story to read, and go with all the rest ;)! :twilightsmile: 7

Thank you for the story. I had almost forgotten about it after the long hiatus, but was happy you continued it. The notion that it fits in between the events of the second and third EQG films was a nice touch, and I appreciate how you ended the story with a sense of ongoingness and gradual improvement instead of a simple conclusion in which everything is fixed perfectly.

It was great to see Firebird Dahlia finished and it was a pleasure to read.

Nice to see this get completed. Seems a bit tame as endings go, but does seem neat and tidy. Any chance of a sequel? I mean it would be kind of slice of life I expect, but it'd be interesting to see further development even if timescales are bound to screw everything up. It's mighty awkward if a day in EQG land is, say, a week in Equestria. It seems problematic if a single year or two of schools equals substantially older family...

7336487
7341504 There is a chance of a sequel, but I won't promise anything. I would like to explore Sunset and Spitfire's relationship some more, but I have other things that take priority. If there is a sequel, it wouldn't be out until next year at the earliest.

You did it again, Albinocorn! 11/10! :twilightsmile:

And the true epilogue.
I said it before, I'll say it again - wonderful.
And indeed, a more natural pace for the story to end - nothing happening abruptly, everything takes time. But Dawn and Zephyr took the right approach; no rushing into anything.

This story was a real joy to read. Thank you for the time you put into it - you did really well :twilightsmile:

Oh, also... the back-and-forth in the journal on the end was pretty clear to me, but maybe you could differentiate when Sunset's writing and when Spitfire is doing so. Just to avoid any confusion whatsoever (maybe make one italic AND underlined, or something).

Found this story this morning. Figured why not. Gave it a shot. Got hooked read it at work and when i got home. Finished it and loved it. Then I think.... Who wrote this great story. *looks at author* Of course The Albinocorn.... writer of a good chunk of my favorite fics... Now just waiting on the sequel to long road to friendship...

Loved it, cant wait for whats to come next!

7341712 Plottwist/idea for a sequel, Sunset comes back to visit and meets their cousin...Sunburst...and Sunset also meets Starlight...boom!:pinkiehappy:

7342221

Seriously, why am I the only one bothered by the fact that there was no definite happy ending with Dawn and Zephyr? Look, I know its more realistic this way, but this a story about magical talking multicolored ponies; reality kinda checked out at the beginning. Besides, I prefer happy endings.

7357457 I like happy endings too, but there is only so much you can see and read about before you crave at least a bit of change. That's why I liked how it was pulled off here.

7357466
I can understand that, but I still wasn't entirely happy with how it ended on that front. Ya know, in the Postscript, the author actually said they considered having them fall back in love at the end, but decided against it, as they felt it was too "Disney Channel". And what, I ask, would have been the problem with that? FiM is pretty Disney-esque in a lot of ways, after all...

7357475 Because I like my stories with a little sense of realism, magical ponies or not. Things don't always work out perfectly in real life. Maybe Dawn and Zephyr will get back together someday, but for now, realistically, this is where I see them at.

7357488

This is understandable. I'm just a little nettled you considered getting them back together, but ultimately ditched it. And yes, i know things don't always work out perfectly in real life, but this story isn't real life.

7357496 But it's still Albinocorn's story :twilightsmile:
That's what this ultimately boils down to. It ended the way the author wanted to. I myself think it was a nice touch - future was not certain, but it definitely wasn't negative. So in a way it was a happy ending.

I enjoyed it very much.

This was an impressive and highly enjoyable story. I approve.

7357853
I suppose. I guess it just wasn't my kind of ending.

Fantastic story, one of the best I read, and not too long, either. Kept me entertained at work today, that's for sure.

Your depiction of Sunset and Spitfire as sisters was so realistic and believable that I couldn't not accept it as headcanon. I'll have to see how some of these Sunburst and Sunset as siblings stories stand up in comparison.

Keep up the good work!
24

This was a well-written story with good pacing. I like the realistic way you handled the parents, and the way you used the GGG as a backdrop for Sunset and Spitfire finally performing the Firebird Dahlia.

7398394
Aaaand another person praising how the parents were handled. Is there literally no one besides myself who woulda preferred them getting back together? Screw realism...

This was a great story about Sunset making amends with her family. I liked the interactions the characters had with each other and enjoyed this story greatly.

This was a really great story, and I very much enjoyed reading it. Now I feel bad for Sunset having gone so long in my headcanon without even letting her family know she's alive. Oops. Sunset and Spitfire as sisters was a fantastic idea, I seriously can't overstate that. Thanks for writing this :twilightsmile:

7336552
You call THIS a happy ending?

7335048
Ya know what would have been even more heartwarming? If Dawn and Zephyr had gotten vack together. But no, Albinocorn thought it was "too Disney", whatever the hell THAT means...

7740031 It means there's no such thing as a perfect happily ever after.

7740023 In a way yes but better than ( kill all characters) type of ending or the ( Exiled endings)

7740500
Who cares? Pony is pretty "Disney" as is, and what's wrong with a perfectly happy ending in fiction? Seriously, with all the praise that aspect of the ending is getting, am I missing something here?

7783323 I thought you said you were over this?

7783418 Some people live to bitch. :unsuresweetie:

7783418
I'm really sorry. :fluttercry: It's just that, when things happen in certain stories that I don't like, they come back to bother me at intervals. Don't ask me why. :derpytongue2: It's also that, and the fact that, after reconciling with Spitfire, Sunset's goal was to fix the rest of her family, but by story's end, she hadn't entirely succeeded. I don't like it when protagonists fail in their goals, honestly...

7783427
See my reply to Albinocorn, and honestly, that was uncalled for. I can't help it if I don't like how a story ends...Just like how I don't like it that, when Spitfire was at her bitchiest and most unreasonable, neither Soarin' nor Dash gave her an Armor Piercing Slap.

After rereading this I have to say I would love to see a squeal

7825669 It's not off the table, but it's low on the list of things I'm trying to write right now.

7825677 I understand. I love all your stories I've read. I just would like to see more sisterly antics. OR possibly Spits coming to visit Sunny.

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