• Published 12th Dec 2014
  • 8,108 Views, 311 Comments

One More Dance - LightningSword

A troubled boy on the roof proves that Sunset Shimmer still has to account for her mistakes

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#7 - As the Sun Sets

One More Dance

#7 – As the Sun Sets

Rainbow Dash gathered herself faster than Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie had, and was back on her feet and drying her face in a few seconds. Applejack kept a hand on her shoulder until she was sure Dash would be all right, and when Dash started breathing normally again, she removed it.

“There's gotta be something we can do,” Dash asserted, her voice still a bit shaky. “Dac's life is on the line over something silly, and we can't do anything to help him. There's just gotta be a way!”

“I don't think it's very silly,” Applejack replied. “He's hurtin', and if he's hurtin' this bad, there ain't nothin' silly about it.” She glanced up at Dac's still form, still standing straight against a slowly-darkening sky. “But you're right,” she added, “there is a way to get through to him. We just gotta figure out what it is.”

“Wait a moment!” Rarity announced. “Sunset! You told us earlier that Dactylic loves poetry, right? Well, there you have it! That is his reason to live! We need to remind him what a skilled and passionate writer he is!”

Sunset thought back to the day her stinging words reached Dac, and she realized that Rarity's idea made sense. “That's brilliant!” she exclaimed. “All we have to do is remind him how talented he is!” She rethought her last words, and somehow, it felt good to say them, as if she'd been lying to herself for a long time. She had only attacked Dac's affinity for poetry just to undermine and degrade him, and the idea of using his knack for words as a catalyst for his misery reaffirmed the truth in her mind. Dac really was a great poet, perhaps the best she'd ever seen.

“Hey, Dacky!” Pinkie called up to him. “Do you like to write? I hear you like poetry! I'll bet you write some really pretty prose! Can you recite one of your poems for us? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?”

Like before, Dac completely ignored Pinkie's words.

Applejack took over, “Come on now, Dac! If you can write, then why not do that instead of this? You're a lot better at it, you'd make a lot of people happy, and it'll last a heck of a lot longer!”

“Go away!!” Dac yelled down to them. “I'm no better with words than I am with girls, and you know it!”

“Well, you were rather charming, you know!” Rarity offered in a sweet tone. “So if you are right, then you really are a positively fabulous poet!”

Dac's reply was scathing, “Not that you'd care!”

Once again, Rarity was clearly hurt by Dac's words. She turned away, trying to hold back her own tears. “He just won't listen to us,” she gasped. “There has to be a better way . . . .”

“Well, we don't know what his poetry is like for sure, do we?” Dash asked. “We need to read it to judge it, right? I mean, I'm not into that whole frou-frou poetry stuff, but if it'll help Dac, I'll take a chance with it.”

“Me, too!” agreed Pinkie.

“But, how do we do that?” Fluttershy asked. “We don't even know if he still writes anymore. We'd need to find it first.”

Once again, Sunset became enlightened, “I've got it! His notebook! In his locker! I saw him writing stuff down in it that day!”

“You think that’ll help him?” Dash asked, perplexed.

“I know it will! That's where he keeps all his poems! If we read to him from that notebook, he'll remember what he was meant for!”

“If ya think it’ll help, then that’s what we’ll do!” Applejack urged. “Ask whoever ya gotta ask, Sunset, but ya gotta get that notebook!”

“Break into the darn thing yourself, if you have to!” Dash spurred her on.

“Hurry, hurry, hurry!” Pinkie squealed.

Sunset nodded to her friends, turned around, and raced inside.

The others suddenly heard Dac again, and the threatening tone in his voice made their stomachs clench: “She better not be coming up here!”

“No, no, of course not, darling!” Rarity tried to smooth things over with him. “No, she's just . . . looking for the hall aide that was here a moment ago! Yes, that's it! She, uh . . . wants to know if she's found Principal Celestia!”

“She better not!”

Rarity gasped, “Oh! No, I would hope not! Why would she do such a thing? She . . . she wouldn't want to . . . make you . . . .” She trailed off, her sweet-talking quickly losing its charm.

Fluttershy crossed her arms and hugged her shoulders, staring despondently at the ground. “I wish Twilight were here . . .” she almost whispered it.

The others agreed with a collective nod. Twilight gave them guidance and unity before; she could no doubt be of immense help to them now.

She would indeed be of help to them. They just didn't know it yet.

Twilight Sparkle walked excitedly through the halls of Canterlot High School. Her quest to retrieve her crown had been far more complicated than she had anticipated, but nearly everything she'd needed to do had been done. The Fall Formal was tonight, she had reunited this realm's version of her friends, and together, they had rallied the students in a bid to dethrone her nemesis, Sunset Shimmer. Sunset was aware of this, and seemed more irritable than usual. Even so, her attempts to sway students under her influence through her venomous behavior and her bullying didn't seem to work anymore.

Save on one boy.

“Out of my way, loser! I can’t believe you still haven't learned what a waste of space you are!!”

As Twilight rounded a corner, she heard Sunset's acrimonious tone, accompanied by a bang of the lockers and the dropping of a set of books. Sunset walked past the turn and straight down the hall, either not noticing Twilight or not caring one way or another. Twilight slowly looked around the corner to see who had suffered her wrath (hoping it wasn't one of her friends), and saw a boy on the ground, picking up his books and sniffling. He was of average height and slim build, with parchment-colored skin and spiky, ink-black hair. At first glance, he seemed only resentful of Sunset's rudeness, but Twilight caught something else as she looked on. A single tear dropped from his face and onto one of his books.

“My gosh,” Twilight muttered to herself. “I knew Sunset would be angry, but I didn't think things were this bad.” She watched the boy slowly gather his materials, until he stopped. His crying finally started to show; his body began jerking with his sobs, and his sniffs got louder. It got worse quickly, to the point where Twilight could no longer bear to just stand and watch. She knew she was on a mission, but she had to do something.

She had to help him.

Before she could move, the boy stood up, his cries now fully audible, and he raced back down the hall, covering his face with his free hand. There was one book he'd left behind, but he seemed far too distraught to notice.

“Wait!” Twilight called after him. “You forgot something! Wait!” But it was too late; he'd turned a corner and was out of sight. Twilight sighed and walked up to the spot the boy had been. She saw the one item he'd left behind, and bent to pick it up. It was a simple black notebook.

“I'll have to give this back to him eventually,” Twilight said, looking the notebook over. Opening it, she looked inside the front cover to see if he'd labeled it, and thankfully, there it was, in large, clear print: “Property of Dactylic Pentameter. PLEASE RETURN IMMEDIATELY IF FOUND

“Dactylic Pentameter,” Twilight mused, “that name sounds familiar.” She supposed it could be possible that there was also a Dactylic Pentameter in Equestria; she made a mental note to look into the possibility as soon as she got back. Until then, she had a new short-term goal: get Dactylic Pentameter's notebook back to him.

She was pretty sure it wouldn't be too much of a distraction from her long-term goal.

Why are they still here?

They had been standing down there yelling at him for hours. School was long over by now, and they insisted on wasting their time trying to dissuade him from this. As if I believe them, he thought spitefully. They've already proven that they don't care about me. They were all clear that something’s wrong with me, and that I’m not worth their time.

And Sunset had been right all along—if he had done this sooner, there would have been less embarrassment for him, and less trouble for them.

So why, then, hadn't Dac jumped yet?

Dac had been standing on top of that roof for hours, awaiting that beautiful peace of mind that would come during the freefall, just before the end. He couldn't figure out why he hadn't jumped yet; all hope had been drained from him, he knew nothing was worth living for, and he'd been eagerly anticipating the closure. Actually, he was almost happy again. And they’re responsible, he thought, the bitterness never fading. They didn’t want me, so they’ll be responsible for my death.

Or were they responsible for his hesitation?

No! Dac thought, shaking himself out of his reluctance. If they'd cared, they wouldn't have rejected me! They didn't care enough to think what would happen if they'd turned me down! How much it would hurt! How alone I'd feel! They should've known! They should've thought ahead! They . . . .

It's not their fault.

The counter-argument sprang into his mind almost as quickly as the thought that warranted it. What am I thinking? he asked himself. What on earth am I thinking?

How could they have known how Dac was feeling if he hadn't told them? And how could he possibly blame these girls for his own inadequacies? He was right the first time; there was something wrong with him, and him alone. Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy had done nothing but call him out on it. They weren't in the wrong at all. In fact, even implying that they were had made him horribly wrong. It made him feel even lower than Sunset had made him feel, especially since these same five girls were now pouring their hearts and souls into keeping him alive.

It made him feel even surer that he truly deserved to die.