• Published 17th Dec 2014
  • 2,862 Views, 288 Comments

The Soul's Savior - Dusty Old Qrow

Sunset Shimmer has fallen. At her lowest point, she recieves help from a girl who helped beat her - Rainbow Dash. Meanwhile, CHS teacher Time Turner has his own journey of healing. How do their stories connect?

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Chapter 9: One More Light

Author's Note:

Alrighty, here we go.

Not a lot of Sunset this time around, but there'll be more of her next time. This is the chapter I was most looking forward to revisiting. Thanks to thehalfelf for extensive help on this chapter - I really wanted it to be as good as possible. It means a lot, man.
title song:

Sunset wasn’t used to lunchlines.

In days past, she would just take some nerd’s lunch money and buy something from the vending machines, or straight-up steal someone else’s lunch if she really wanted to. It was easy, with how much they feared her then. But now that fear was gone, and her power along with it, so she was forced to wait in the line like a normal student.

If only past me could see me now, Sunset thought. She’d probably have an aneurysm.

Standing in the line, surrounded by students who more than likely hated her guts, Sunset felt calmer than she probably should have. It helped that her new friends were with her; Applejack stood in front of her, with Pinke behind and Rainbow Dash to Sunset’s right. Just having them with her helped keep her calm, which she appreciated immensely.

“Oooh, I’m so excited!” Pinkie squealed loudly. “It’s our first lunch as a group again! It’ll be just like old times!” the party girl yelled loudly. Some students behind her shot her odd looks and glares, but she either ignored them or didn’t notice at all.

“Well,” Applejack piped up from in front, “not exactly like old times.”

“We do have a plus one this time,” Rainbow Dash said with a smile, bumping Sunset’s shoulder with her own. Then suddenly her demeanor shifted, her shoulders slumped and her face fell. “By the way, Sunset, there was something I forgot to mention.”

The line shifted forward. As a group, the four girls took a step closer to the front. “What is it?” Sunset asked.

Rainbow Dash rubbed at her arm. “I talked to Fluttershy earlier.”

Oh, Sunset realized.

Rainbow saw the look on Sunset’s face and winced. “Yeah. She, uh, wasn’t too thrilled about you having lunch with us.” Sunset saw Rainbow’s gaze move from her to a table across the room, at which she could barely make out the forms of Rarity and Fluttershy sitting next to each other. “She wanted me to tell you that she’s still on board with being friends and all. She just… needs a bit more time.”

“That’s… completely understandable,” Sunset said softly, looking at the tiny form of Fluttershy. Her chest twisted with emotion - a bit of disappointment, but also something else. Something that felt like satisfaction, strangely enough. Finally, someone who doesn’t forgive me immediately, she thought. Out of everyone, I should have guessed it would be Fluttershy.

Sunset couldn’t tear herself away from looking at Fluttershy until she felt Pinkie nudge her from behind. The line moved forward another space. “Don’t worry about it, Sunny!” Pinkie exclaimed. “Fluttershy’ll come around eventually! Girl’s too nice for her own good.”

Sunset hummed in response.

“Like I said, she still wants to be friends with you,” Rainbow continued. “It’s just… well, you know. She took everything the hardest out of all of us,” she said sadly.

Sunset frowned. “I was hard on her specifically. I knew she wouldn’t fight back,” she said quietly. “I was horrible to her. She has every right to be apprehensive.” She felt someone’s hand on her shoulder. She turned to the side and saw Rainbow Dash giving her a slight smile.

“It’ll be okay, Sunset. I know Fluttershy. I don’t think that girl’s ever held a grudge in her life. We just need to be there for her when she’s ready.” Rainbow Dash’s smile became wider for a second, before her eyes flicked back to Fluttershy and Rarity’s table, and then it fell again. “Whenever she’s ready,” she whispered.

Sunset leaned into Rainbow’s touch. It distracted her from the twisting in her guts. Give her space, and then be there for her when she needs it. That’s what a friend does, right? Sunset asked herself. I just have no idea what I’ll say to her. I don’t think “I’m sorry” will cut it, this time.

Eventually Sunset found herself at the front of the line with a tray of food that looked like it was months past its expiration date. She made a face at the sorry excuse for food, but found herself being dragged along by her sleeve by Rainbow Dash, leading her to their table. Sunset’s eyes locked onto Rarity’s as they approached. Rarity gave a wide, dramatic wave as they strided forward.

“Yoohoo, Rainbow Dash! Applejack!” Rarity’s face was absolutely beaming, and it remained so even as Sunset stepped closer. “And Sunset Shimmer! How happy I am to see you all.” Rarity was seated left of Fluttershy, and Applejack slotted smoothly on her right. Rainbow Dash stopped, looked at Sunset, and then sat directly opposite of Rarity. Sunset took a few shy steps forward and sat opposite Applejack. Pinkie bounced over with her tray of food, somehow not spilling a crumb, and sat on Rainbow Dash’s other side.

“I must say, it feels great to have us all together again,” Rarity said, her tray pushed away, untouched. “And with the addition of Sunset. Certainly not a development I saw coming just a few days ago.”

“Tell me about it,” Applejack said, crunching into an apple. “Havin’ her stay the night at my house was somethin’ Ah thought Ah’d never see.”

“Hey, it worked out, didn’t it? A fairly genius move on my part, I’d say.” Rainbow Dash said with a proud look . Applejack smiled and rolled her eyes playfully.

“Hush you,” the farmer said. “Don’t go gettin’ yerself a big head, there. Oops, too late.” Rainbow Dash simply stuck her tongue out in response.

“Ladies, please,” Rarity interrupted. “I’d rather none of that on our first lunch reunited.” Suddenly, Sunset found Rarity’s face leaning closer to hers. “Sunset, darling, I apologize for not getting in touch with you sooner. But let’s make up for that! How are you doing so far?” Rarity asked expectantly. Sunset didn’t say anything for a moment, letting Rarity’s words hang in the air as the fashionista blinked several times.

“Uh…” Sunset started. “Better than I expected, honestly. I know you all made a promise to Twilight, but I thought you guys might be a bit more apprehensive about all this.”

Rarity sat back down and shook her head. “Pffsh, absolutely not. You did some terrible things, yes, but you were simply misguided. You’ve changed - as evidenced by your sitting here now. We’d never turn away someone in need of friendship.”

Sunset cocked her head to the side. Is it just me, or is she way too eager? Sunset cleared her throat awkwardly. “That’s really nice of you all. Nicer than I deserve.” For a second, Sunset flicked her eyes to where Fluttershy sat. The shy girl was busying herself with her food, eating as slow as possible and trying to make herself appear small.

Rarity’s eyes followed Sunset, widened, and then flicked back. “Now, Sunset dear, forgive me if I’m getting ahead of myself,” Rarity asked, drawing Sunset’s attention back to her. “But do you know what you intend on doing next? I can’t imagine this has been simple for you.”

Sunset shook her head. “You’d be surprised… Most people so far have been really forgiving with me. You guys, The Apples, Mr. Turner…”

Rarity raised an eyebrow. “‘Most’?”

“There were a few people in Turner’s class,” Sunset answered. “Crimson Napalm and Tennis Match, I think? I don’t really know them all that well.”

Rarity made a face and crossed her arms. “‘Crimson Napalm’? Who names their kid something like that?”

Sunset shrugged and leaned forward. “I don’t think his name is the issue at the moment. Point is, he and Tennis Match aren’t the only ones holding a grudge,” Sunset said solemnly. “There’s gonna be a heck of a lot more, believe me.”

“Don’t you worry about a thing, sugarcube,” Applejack said, holding a stripped apple core. “If anyone tries anythin’, we’ll be there to help ya.”

“Agreed!” Rainbow exclaimed. Rarity nodded along, and Pinkie Pie smiled widely. From the corner of her eye, Sunset saw Fluttershy’s head make a slight movement. A nod in agreement? A shake in disapproval? She didn’t have any way of knowing.

Sunset’s eyes flicked between the other girls at the table, before she sighed and hung her head. “Thank you, girls. I really can’t tell you how much it means to me,” she said softly. Suddenly there was a hand on her back, and she looked up to see Rainbow Dash looking at her with a smile.

“Don’t worry about it, man,” Rainbow said. “That’s what friends are for. Give a shout and I’ll come running, no questions asked.”

“Don’t you mean ‘we’ will come running?” Pinkie piped up with a coy smile.

Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow. “That’s what I said!” She said in a raised voice. Sunset didn’t know if she was imagining it, but it seemed as if her cheeks were redder than usual. “Anyway! Lunch is almost over! You’d better finish your food before the bell rings.”

Sunset looked disdainfully at the sorry tray of food in front of her.

Time Turner stood outside Sugar Cube Corner yet again.

He’d avoided this place for so long, yet here he was for the second time in a week. His heart thudded in his chest and his entire body felt as if it were on fire. He gulped down a lungful of air to calm himself but all that did was accelerate his heartbeat. Turner put his hands in his pockets and closed his eyes tightly, letting out a long breath through his nose. Through the sounds of the hustling and bustling of the people around him, Turner heard singing.

Calm down, Turner, he told himself. This is it. I’ve waited for this day for so long. I can do this.

Could he, though? He wanted to, so badly. But oh God, what if he messed this up? What if he ruined this, ruined them, like he ruined everything? Turner started shaking, his arms trembling at his sides. His knees wobbled, threatening to give out from under him. He was going to fuck this up, he just knew it.

You were a coward before, and you still are now.

Turner raised a foot and slowly inched to the side. I’ll call Berry later and apologize, he thought. It was stupid of me to even think of this. I can’t do this.

He turned to his left and took a step forward. In the back of his mind he remembered how he felt on that day, being told his wife was not coming home. He remembered the darkness, how it creeped over his soul until there was nothing but black. He recalled the hopelessness, the despair, and how there seemed to be only one way out. The phantom feeling of a gun, heavy in his hands, echoed against his palms.

Just then his phone vibrated. Turner froze on the spot and blinked. His body was still now; even the shakes were gone. His heart seemed to freeze in his chest before starting to beat again. Slowly he looked around himself and saw that he was down the street from Sugar Cube Corner. He shook his head and brought his phone from his pocket.

On the screen was a text from Berry Punch. It simply read, “We’re ready.

Turner locked his phone and put it back in his pocket. He stood there for a few moments, letting the other pedestrians move around him as he struggled to organize his thoughts. What was that? He asked. I haven’t had an episode like that in some time.

The fog in his mind dissipated. Turner stood, blinking as the world came back to him. He slowly turned back to face Sugar Cube Corner and began walking towards it. No matter. I have to do this, Turner thought. I’ve come too far to throw this away. He reached the glass doors and pulled them open, then stepped into the bakery. From outside, Turner thought he could hear singing.

He stood in the doorway, gazing through the bakery. His eyes swept across the tables and booths until he found them. Berry Punch, Derpy, and Dinky all sat on one side of a booth towards the back of Sugar Cube Corner. Berry was against the wall, Derpy in the middle, leaving Dinky at the end, their faces all set in solemn expressions.

Now or never, Turner, he told himself. Now or never.

Turner gulped. He brought one hand up to straighten his tie, and then stepped towards them. As he walked, their eyes caught his. Derpy saw him first, and she gave a slight wave. Dinky looked his way and her eyes followed him as he walked. Berry smiled a small smile and straightened her posture as he slid into the other side of the booth.

“Hello everyone,” Turner greeted. He cringed slightly at the noticeable wobble in his voice. “I… I hope you all are having a good day.” He placed his hands on the table and started twiddling with his fingers. “If I may… has your mother said anything to you about why I’m here?”

Derpy cleared her throat before speaking. “She, uh, she said you had something you needed to tell us,” she said. Softer she added, “something big.” She then looked between her sister and mother before looking at Turner again.

“What’s this about?” Dinky asked. She was more than a head shorter than her sister, which clearly showed inside the booth. Her gaze never left Turner, and he felt as if she would pick up on any weakness he showed.

Before Turner could answer her, Berry spoke. “Girls, I told you years ago that you were adopted, and that I adopted you from a close family friend. Do you remember?” She spoke softly, a clear motherly tone in her voice. The girls both nodded, and she continued. “I met your birth mother when we were little kids. We were friends for almost our whole lives,” Berry said with a smile. Turner recognized the sadness in her eyes. “Her name was Ditzy Doo.”

“You told us this before, mom,” Derpy said. There was no attitude in her voice, no impatience either. She clearly knew the importance in this conversation.

“I know,” Berry said. “But it’s important. Ditzy loved you both very much. She was so excited to be a mother. I remember when she told me she was pregnant, and I’d never seen a person so happy. The day she brought you home, Derpy, I’d swear she was glowing brighter than the sun.”

Dinky looked at Berry Punch for a second and then turned to look at Turner. “Did you know our birth mom, Mr. Turner?” She asked.

Turner nodded. “... I did. We were very close. I…” He closed his eyes and breathed in deeply. When he opened them, he locked eyes with Berry, who simply nodded. His breath hitched in his throat, but he fought past it. Turner gulped and continued. “Girls, what I’m going to say is going to be a bit shocking. I’m…”

He took in a final breath.

“I’m your father.”

There was silence.

It was as if the world had come to a complete standstill. As the words left his mouth, he felt his ears begin to ring and his head began to swim. The singing from outside sounded as if it were playing in his head. The sounds of the other patrons faded away into nothing, and it seemed as if everything but their booth had faded to black.

Then all at once it came back.

He focused his eyes and looked at his daughters. Both sets of eyes were wide with shock. Derpy's mouth was stuck moving though no words came out, while Dinky simply stared, lips pressed into a thin line. Berry eyed them both cautiously, a hand outstretched towards them.

“Girls?” she asked.

“Wait,” Dinky said. “You? You’re our dad?” Turner couldn’t read any emotion in her words. They were strained, most likely in shock.

Turner nodded slowly. “I am.” He let the words sink in. Derpy slowly tilted her head downwards, looking at the table. Dinky continued to stare a hole in his forehead. “I know this is, well, a lot. If you have any questions, I’m glad to answer them.”

Derpy looked up at him quickly. “Why’d you give us up?”

His heart skipped a beat, though he supposed he shouldn’t be surprised. Of course that’s her first question, he mused. If only I had a good answer.

Turner kept quiet for a few moments. He clasped his hands together and rubbed his thumbs back and forth. “Ditzy, she…” he started, then stopped. His tongue felt like sandpaper. His throat was scratchy. His collar felt much too tight.

“After your mo-” he caught himself, and sighed. “After Ditzy passed, I… was not in a good place. You must understand, I loved you both, but living in a world without her wasn’t something I was prepared for. I almost did something… cowardly.”

His breath shuddered. Turner tried his best to ignore the looks on the girls’ faces as his words set in, but their expressions burned into his mind anyway. “Luckily I was talked out of it, but that made me realize I wasn’t fit to take care of you. When you were born, Berry Punch was declared your guardian in case of emergency. The process of exchanging custody was simple. The rest is history.”

No one spoke for a long time. The silence was almost deafening, save for the singing outside. The other patrons at their tables became louder - some seemed to be arguing. Turner did his best to tune them out. Derpy wore a thoughtful expression on her face and Dinky had decided to cease looking at Turner altogether in favor of staring at the table.

“What was she like?” Derpy asked quietly, “our birth mother.” She leaned forward, resting on her elbows. Turner looked at her for a few moments. He felt the corners of his eyes begin to sting, she really did look so much like her mother.

“In school, some called her strange,” Turner began shakily. “She didn’t have many friends. Ditzy was different from most others. Her eyes were crossed, just like yours, Derpy. That made her clumsy, and she had issues in some subjects, but she never let any of that get her down. She stayed bright and cheerful the entire time I knew her.”

Derpy blinked, and her pupils became crossed. Her expression turned sad. “So I get this from her?”

Turner nodded. “You do. And she got it from her mother.” He looked at both of the girls. “You both look so much like her.” His voice shook even more. He breathed deeply to steady himself. “Ditzy never let her disability stop her. Did you know that she used to work here?” At his question, Derpy shook her head. “Just like you do now, Derpy.”

Turner shifted to look at Dinky. “And you, Dinky.” The younger sibling flinched at her name, but didn’t look at him. “I know how seriously you take your schooling. Ditzy was much the same way. You both have that drive to do your best.” Turner stopped and sighed. “That was one of her best qualities.”

Berry Punch nodded. “I met Ditzy one day after school,” she started. “A group of boys had just finished teasing her about her eyes. But once they walked away, her face was still smiling bright. She skipped away like the whole thing never happened.”

“How did you meet her?” Dinky asked Turner. Her voice was tense and she still refused to look at him. Turner couldn’t blame her.

Turner swallowed and continued. “I met her only a few days after Berry did. You see, as a kid, I was the type to stay inside during recess with my head in a book. One day, Ditzy saw me sitting alone and dragged me outside. She never let me stay inside after that.”

“Once Ditzy set her mind on something, no one could stop her,” Berry said with a laugh.

“Oh, no,” Turner shook his head. “She was a force of nature. No one could stand against her when she was determined.” He allowed himself a quiet laugh. Turner rested himself on his elbows as his smile slowly dropped from his face. “Your mother was the most amazing woman I have ever met,” he said, his voice dropping to barely above a whisper.

“Can…” Derpy started. “Can I ask… how she died?”

Turner flinched back violently. His head snapped up to look at the girl, his eyes wide in shock. “That’s… I-” he stuttered, trying to regain his composure. “I… Oh, I’m sorry, Derpy…” he said breathlessly. “Of course. You have a right to know. It was a car accident. Someone ran a red light… she was hit head on.”

Nearly twenty years on, that was the worst thing in Turner’s eyes. It was nothing out of the ordinary. A common death. Ditzy Doo died unremarkable and remembered by none other than those close to her. Time Turner’s world had been destroyed in a single instant, and for many others it was simply another day. How could the Earth keep turning when the best part of it had been stolen away?

“That’s awful,” Derpy whispered. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Turner.”

Turner’s breath hitched. “You don’t need to say sorry to me,” he said. “But thank you.” He looked at his daughters. Derpy’s eyes had uncrossed now. They were full of emotions that Turner couldn’t place. Dinky continued looking everywhere except for at him, her eyebrows angled and lips pulled into a frown.

Look at what you’re doing to them, he thought. You did this to them. You’ve made them feel these things, you monster. You just had to be selfish, didn’t you?

Turner did his best to pay his thoughts no mind. “Girls,” he began, “I just want you to know that I haven’t come here today expecting anything. I don’t want you to feel like I’m barging into your lives, or trying to change everything. The last thing I want is for you to feel pressured about anything. I want to be in your lives, to be there for you. But if you don’t want that, then I won’t. I won’t force you.”

Derpy and Dinky both turned to look at each other, and then back to him. Dinky’s face trembled with emotion, while Derpy held a downtrodden expression. The sisters stayed silent for a long few moments before one of them finally spoke.

“I…” Dinky started. “I… Mr. Turner, why did you wait so long? If we really mean that much to you, why didn’t you say something sooner?”

“I was scared. Scared that I would hurt you, or that Berry would think I was trying to take you from her. I was scared of that… and I was also just scared of doing it. The very thought terrified me. I suppose the answer is just that I’ve been a coward.”

Dinky’s mouth opened and closed, but no words came out. Her eyes locked with Turner’s for a second, and he saw how they seemed to glaze over for a split second. Her eyes narrowed and her mouth formed a sharp frown. The singing from outside returned in full force.

“That’s it? You were scared?” Dinky’s voice dripped with venom. “Because you were scared, mom had to raise two kids on her own? We had to grow up without a dad because you were scared?”

“I-” Turner tried to say, but Dinky cut him off.

“I don’t ever want to see you again.”

With that, Dinky stood and stomped away. Turner watched her as she reached the front doors of the bakery and stepped outside. He watched through the glass doors with wide eyes as she moved to the street corner and stood.

“Um,” Derpy spoke. Turner turned to look at her. “I… I should probably go check on her.”

“Yes, that would be for the best,” Turner said with a sigh. “Please tell her that I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way.”

Derpy nodded as she exited the booth. “I will.” She stood and cast a glance towards the exit. “For what it’s worth, Mr. Turner, I appreciate you telling us all of that. It couldn’t have been easy,” she said with a soft look in her eyes.

“It wasn’t. But I’m glad I did.”

Derpy smiled. “I’m glad you did too. I don’t know what will happen next, but I promise that we’ll be in touch. Right, mom?”

Berry Punch began to exit the booth as well. “Yeah. Time, I’ll keep you posted. I promise we’ll figure things out soon.” As she stood, she looked down at Turner and smiled. “I’m proud of you. You really did it.”

Turner chuckled. “I almost chickened out.”

Berry just shook her head. “Well, what matters in the end is that you did it. Come on, Derpy. Let’s get your sister and head home. You two have a lot to think about, I’m sure.”

Nodding, Derpy followed Berry to the doors. She looked back at Turner and flashed a bright smile, though Turner noticed the strain. “Bye, Mr. Turner. Keep your spirits up!” Turner watched her go and waved slowly. They opened the doors and stepped through them, and suddenly Turner was quite aware of the empty seats in front of him.

He could hear the singing from outside again, clear as day. Turner crossed his arms on the table and rested his head in his elbow, letting out a long sigh as he did. All at once his entire body relaxed. Stress he didn’t know he’d been holding was released, and he suddenly felt very tired.

Ditzy, what would you have done? He asked. If it had been me, and you were here now. Am I doing the right thing?

He remembered their expressions as he told them the story of how Ditzy died.

You’ve hurt them, because you had to be selfish. They were happy. Happy without you. What right did you have to mess that up?

In his head he saw Derpy’s smile as she left Sugar Cube Corner. I haven’t messed it up. Derpy seemed to take it well. She needs some time, obviously, but she’ll be okay. I didn’t mess her up, he told himself.

Dinky’s look of pure anger flashed in his mind. And what about Dinky? You’ve upset her so much. All because you just had to get it off your chest. She hates you now. You could have avoided all of this.

She doesn’t hate me, Turner insisted. She’s angry. She deserves to be.

In the back of his head Turner remembered sitting in his room, on the edge of a bed too big for one person. He remembered the feeling of holding something weighty in his hands. He remembered the feeling of cold metal being pressed against the side of his head, and the feeling of his finger on the trigger-

Turner recalled the sound of a door opening. He recalled the feeling of the bed giving way as someone sat next to him. He recalled soft fingers delicately taking the gun from his hands, and a soft voice ringing in his ears as he fell into Luna’s arms, tears falling down his face.

You should have pulled the trigger, his head told him. Who would even care about you?

Turner’s body stiffened. He slowly sat up straight and blinked a few times. No, he thought. I won’t go through that again. I refuse. Turner got out from the booth and gingerly rose to his feet. He gave Sugar Cube Corner a long look before stuffing his hands in his coat pockets and walking towards the door.

They would care. I am cared for, and they would mourn me. I won’t put them through that, Turner told himself as he walked outside. Images of Luna, Celestia, Berry Punch, Derpy, and Dinky flashed in his mind as he walked along the sidewalk. The singing faded away as Time Turner left Sugar Cube Corner behind.