• Published 12th Dec 2014
  • 8,136 Views, 311 Comments

One More Dance - LightningSword

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

  • ...

#9 - A Reason to Live

One More Dance

#9 -- A Reason to Live

Dusk became more and more pronounced as time went on. The girls could now see their breaths in the air, grey and amorphous with each exhale. Glancing at Dac, who still stood on the roof, had given way to staring for long periods of time. Sunset had been gone for nearly an hour, and each minute added worry and misery to the girls' collective emotions.

“Dactylic!” Rarity tried again to reach him. “Darling, please listen to us! We still care about you! We don't want you to die! Of all possible ways to handle your distress, this is the worst possible way!”

Dac said nothing.

“Hey, Dac!” Dash took over. “Come on, man, we're trying to help you! You can't threaten to jump off a building every time you have a bad day! You just have to pick up the pieces and move on!”

Again, Dac didn't say a word.

“Now, listen, Dac,” Applejack made the next attempt, “I know deep down you don't want to hurt us like this! You fancied each of us, right? Well, I know you like us enough not to do this to yourself! If there was anything you could do for us to prove that, this'd be it!”

“Umm . . . Dac?” Fluttershy tried to speak up. “Please don't jump. You're not a bad person. You're perfect just the way you are. Please don't do this. Please . . . . ?”

“Yeah, Fluttershy's right!” Dash added, more loudly. “Don't let that stuff Sunset said get to you! You shouldn't let anyone label you like that! You're awesome! But you won't let people see that if you go through with this!”

It seemed as though Dac wasn't listening to anyone anymore.

“This is a bad sign, girls,” Rarity assessed. “Maybe he's getting ready to do it! Oh, gracious, this is absolute agony! Whatever shall we do?!”

Applejack struggled to say something comforting, but by now, her well of comfort had run dry. “I . . . I don't know. I just plum don't know.”

Pinkie Pie was inches away from shedding more walls of tears when she tried once again to get Dac's attention, “Dacky! Please talk to us! Just 'cause none of us is your girlfriend, doesn't mean we can't all be your friends! We wanna be your friends, Dacky! We want you to feel better! Honest!” Once again, Pinkie's cries were in vain, and she sank to her knees, her will close to evaporating as well.

“What are you doing here?!”

All five girls looked up at Dac when they heard him speak. It had been faint, perhaps not aimed at any of them, but it definitely came from him.

“Who's he talking to?” Dash asked, squinting to see who had joined Dac on the roof.

“Dactylic, darling, is someone else up there with you?” Rarity asked him directly.

“Oh, I don't know if I can take much more of this,” Fluttershy said weakly. “We don't know whether Dac will jump or not, we don't know what to say to help him . . . and now this . . .” She hugged herself tightly, her shivering not just because of the cold.

After a few seconds, the girls heard something that livened their spirits instantly:

“It's okay, girls! I'll take it from here!”

“What are you doing here?!” Dac spat as he saw Sunset Shimmer standing on the roof with him.

Sunset shivered against the cold, made even worse because of their distance from the ground, and kept her hands behind her back. “It's nice to see you too, Dac,” she said, smiling warmly.

“Who's he talking to?”

“Dactylic, darling, is someone else up there with you?”

The calls came from below; the girls had reacted to Dac's outburst. Dac glanced down at them, then back to Sunset; he was so angry, so suddenly, that he could barely process clear thoughts anymore. “Come to watch me drop?” Dac continued spitting his venomous words. “Just another day of getting what you want, isn't it, Sunset?”

Sunset sighed and looked down, not bothering to hide the hurt she felt at his words. “I know you're still mad at me,” she said morosely, “and you have every right to be. But you have to believe me when I say that I'm different now. I want to make up for all the bad things I've done, and I want to start with you.” After hearing more commotion coming from the ground, Sunset yelled out to her friends, “It's okay, girls! I'll take it from here!”

Dac stared daggers at her. “I don't buy that for a minute. You just know they'll hold you responsible. But don't worry, I'm sure they won't make you clean me off the pavement.”

“Dac, please, listen to me!” Sunset's voice went up as her eyes began to water. “I feel awful about the way I've acted! And I feel even worse about the way I treated you! I never meant for this to happen! I never wanted you to die!”

“Stop lying to me!!”

“It's the truth! I really do want you to live! And those five girls down there, they want you to live, too! You have too much in your favor to leave us now! You're a wonderful person with a good heart, and you have so much talent! You have too much to live for! You can't do this, Dac! You just can't!”

Dac found himself shocked at what he saw—Sunset Shimmer, the cold, callous bully who, a month ago, had declared him unfit to exist, was close to tears and begging him not to jump? This was too good to be true. She had some other motive to do this, he knew it. Why else would she be trying to reverse the damage she'd caused to begin with?

Unless she really did feel remorse.

Dac fought hard to keep from considering that Sunset really wanted redemption. And yet, seeing her here, hearing the poignancy of her words, it made sense the more he resisted the thought. It was possible, if unlikely, that Sunset really did want forgiveness.

Something else she had said made the whole argument collapse. She had insisted that he'd had a reason to live. That was pure nonsense, and he was sure they both knew it. “You're full of it,” Dac accused. “You show me a reason to live, and I'll show you something that would've kept me off this roof in the first place.”

Sunset took a deep breath and responded firmly, “Fair enough.” She took her hands out from behind her back, and she revealed what she'd been hiding. It was a thin black notebook.

Dac's notebook.

Dac stared at it, and a wave of emotion threatened to drown him. His anger was boundless, his shock froze him in place and kept him from lunging at her, and his melancholy weakened him, body and mind, to the point where he could hardly stand. “Wh- . . . why . . .” he tried to speak, every word requiring a hundred percent effort, “. . . why are you doing this to me . . . . ?”

Sunset eyed him with rock-solid determination. “Because whether you believe it or not,” she said with a voice to match, “I care about you.” She then opened the notebook to the first page and began reading the first poem she saw out loud:

“Can you believe when I say that I love you eternally?
Or will you turn from me wishing you never had noticed me?
Trying to capture your love is like toying with miracles
So my last way to express my affection is lyrical”

Sunset felt her throat close up as she finished reading. “Dac, this . . . this is beautiful. You really are talented.” She paused for a moment, blinking away more tears, “I . . . I was wrong about you.”

The bitter look in Dac's eyes returned. “You said it was trash before,” he snapped. “Why should I believe you now?”

“Dac, I was wrong before! Your poetry really is beautiful, I mean it!” Insisting on her point, Sunset flipped through the notebook to another poem, and when she found a shorter one, she began to read:

“A star in the sky
Beautiful and far away

“That's a haiku, isn't it?” Sunset asked. “You did so well on those when we covered them in class. See, Dac? Your work makes people happy. You can't tell me this isn't reason enough for you!”

Dac didn't speak. He looked down at the roof under his feet, unsure of what to say. The longer he listened, the more he was convinced that Sunset's words were genuine. But at the same time, he fought against the need to believe it—he almost didn't want to believe it.

“You still don't believe me?” Sunset asked desperately. “Okay, how about this one?” She picked out another poem on the same page and read it aloud:

The ability to remain unseen
In pain, unclean, unwanted, despised
Disguised by a rise of secrecy
To seek, to see
A way to be seen, to mean what I say
I pray each day to catch your eye
Match your sigh of longing
With need of belonging
Wronging me when you turn away
Burn day after day, wasting time
Is belonging a crime?
Or an upward climb to the unreachable
Unteachable skill
Unmastered still
Losing will, ready to kill or die
Still I'll try to catch your eye
My, my, how time flies
When one cries, wanting to be, to see
A friend
Can it be? Could it ever?
I'm thinking never
Severed ties
Covering lies with fantasy
False ecstasy
For love and friendship, it seems
Only happens in dreams”

Sunset stopped and looked up at Dac, the desperate begging in her eyes. “You get it now?” he asked, his voice soft, low and final. “You just had a look into my mind through those poems, and you still think I have a reason to live? You're just grasping at straws, now.”

Sunset admitted, his work was dark in its own way. In fact, this was proof that Dac had been ill for a long time, maybe even before they knew each other. But she didn't want to give up on him. Not after what she'd just read. Dac had so much promise, and he was willing to overlook it, to throw it all away, just to end his suffering.

“I wish I could tell you how sorry I am,” she admitted. “I wish there was some way to get you to believe me. I wish I could convince you that we care about you . . . .” Her head sank down, and her arms slumped at her sides. She felt more and more helpless by the second; she couldn't think of anything else to say, and reading Dac's own poetry to him, her last best chance, had yielded nothing. Sunset began to feel as though everything up to this point had been in vain, and that there really was no hope for Dactylic Pentameter.

Out of the corner of her eye, Sunset saw something drop out of the notebook as it hung lazily in her hand. She reached down to grab it before the wind could blow it away, and saw that it was a wrinkly, folded-up piece of paper, the same kind as the notebook. She unfolded it and saw what was written on it, and more tears formed in her eyes immediately:

I will wait, trusting fate, struggling not to hesitate
y will try to walk by, but they'll never catch my eye
ne chance, for romance; sway my heart, with graceful dance
u will see, we'll be free, a world of love for you and me.

A chunk of it was missing, making it hard to read, but Sunset knew exactly what it was supposed to say. This was the poem she had taunted Dac about, a month prior. She had ripped it out of the book and crumpled it up, causing the damage, and yet Dac still felt the need to keep it. The poem that Sunset had blatantly insulted still existed. This meant something huge—as much punishment as that one work had taken, both physical and verbal, Dac had still kept it. It was small and subtle, but Sunset could swear she knew what this meant for Dac.

He may still have had a small glimmer of hope in him.

Sunset opened the back cover to tuck the page back inside, and saw more writing on the back page. It was strange and messy, but otherwise legible—it wasn't written by Dac. In fact, as Sunset read it out loud, she quickly realized whose handwriting this was:

Dear Princ Dear Dactylic Pentameter,

You probably don't know me, and I don't think we'll ever get another chance to talk, but I hope you read this soon. I've seen you around a couple times, and I couldn't help but notice how sad you are. In fact, today, before giving this notebook back to you, I heard you crying in the restroom. I don't know what made you so upset, and I'd understand if it's something you'd rather not talk about. But whatever it is, suicide is not the answer.

“I don't know you, so I don't know what kind of pain you're in, or exactly how much. But if it's enough for you to consider taking your own life, you can't allow yourself to think that way. Whatever you're feeling right now may be strong, and you may feel the need to give in, but I know you can keep going. And if it seems like nothing is stronger than the pain, I'm here to tell you that there's one thing no depression can overpower, no pain can erase, and no sadness can undermine. And that something is friendship.

“I know it sounds strange, but friendship is stronger than you could possibly know. Take it from someone who's had first-hand experience, and don't just take my word for it; see it for yourself. You'll know for sure that friendship isn't just strong, steady and life-changing. It's magic.

“If you still feel bad after you read this, then take me up on my offer, and look to the comfort of friends to help you. I've made some really amazing friends here at Canterlot High, and I know you can, too. Even if you feel rejected or unloved, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rarity and Rainbow Dash can help you, be there for you, and give you the strength you need and the peace of mind you deserve.

“Thank you for taking the time to read this, Dactylic Pentameter. Even though we've never formally met, and even though I never even told you my name before now, I consider you a friend. And if I'm ever back at Canterlot High, be sure to look for me if you need me. I'll be there for you, too.

Your faithful stu Yours sincerely,

Twilight Sparkle”

When Sunset finished reading, she looked up to see Dac staring back at her. His face was completely blank, and his body was still. He looked as though he might not even be breathing.

“That's what it says,” was all Sunset could say. She even folded the notebook back and held it out to him, so he could see it for himself. Dac stood there for a few more seconds, staring at this note from a stranger (the only part of it he could see clearly was the grossly oversized signature at the end). Sunset felt her heart speed up when she saw Dac move, and almost couldn't believe her eyes when she saw Dac slowly walk towards her, away from the edge of the roof.

He came closer and closer, his steps clumsy and dragging, but he was finally a safe distance from the edge. Dac soon reached close proximity with the notebook, and was able to read it clearly. It took several long minutes, and at one point, Sunset fleetingly wondered whether he was even conscious. Finally, she was sure he was done reading; he closed his eyes and he began to cry. He wrapped his arms around himself, dropped to his knees, and released deep sobs that seemed dragged from the deepest part of him. He was doubled over, almost looking like he was in pain, and his sobs of anguish got so loud, they echoed across the twilight sky.

Sunset got down on her knees and put her hand on Dac's shoulder. “It's okay, Dac,” she cooed to him, “it's gonna be all right now. It's all over. There's no need to worry anymore. You're okay, now. You're okay.” After a few seconds, she reached her arms out, wrapped them around Dac, and held him closely as he cried. He shook in her arms and wet the front of her shirt with his tears, but she didn't mind. This was the first step back from oblivion, and Dac had the right to cry as hard as he wanted, for however long he needed.

Soon, Sunset sat down on the roof and allowed Dac to lie down next to her with his head in her lap. As his tears soaked her skirt, she kept one arm around him, and she ran the other through his spiky black hair. He cried for what could have been hours, but it wasn't quite clear, even to him, what kind of tears they were. But after everything he’d been through, to be pulled away from suicide by the caring words of a stranger and the gentle hand of his former tormentor—every possible emotion contributed to Dac’s tears tonight.

“Shh, it's okay, Dac,” Sunset whispered to him as his cries slowly gave way to sleep, and she carefully slipped off her leather jacket and draped it over him. “It's okay . . . shh, it's gonna be okay . . . you're gonna be okay . . . .”

Author's Note:

All of Dactylic Pentameter's poetry are original works written by yours truly, LightningSword. :raritywink: