• Published 11th Oct 2015
  • 24,630 Views, 335 Comments

Finding Home - Cirrus Sky



Sunset Shimmer has to live somewhere right? But where and how did she get there?

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Chapter 2: Winter

Celestia dropped Sunset off at the park where she was meeting her friends for their picnic. They had stopped at a mini-mart so the teen could grab some chips and cola to share with the girls. “Bye Mom!” She made a point of shouting and waving the car off. Five girls all turned to look at the gate and the surprising word from their friend.

“Mom?” Pinkie Pie asked as soon as Sunset joined them. “When did you get a Mom? I mean of course you had a mom at some point but I thought she would be a pony in the world you came from and not someone who can drive a car and bring you here to the park today now.” She took a massive breath after that sentence.

“I'm going to tell you.” Sunset said, smiling and sitting on the blanket amongst her friends. She placed the cola and chips on the blanket. “I know everyone has been worried about what I get up to once the school day is over. Where I go when I'm not with any of you.”

“I was just scared that you were all alone in the cold and the dark.” Fluttershy said softly.

“We weren't ever sure and things can be a sore subject for some folks.” Applejack admitted. “Ah didn't want to push.”

“There was a reason we had you visit and sleepover so often darling.” Rarity added.

“I know. It's just mom didn't want me to say anything. She was worried I would get treated differently, especially so soon after everyone had started to see me as a better person.” Sunset explained.

“Okay. So are you going to tell us?” Rainbow sounded impatient.

“Yeah. That was the plan. There is a bit of background to it all though.” Sunset made herself comfortable. “It all started right after winter break.”


“Would Sunset Shimmer please report to the Principal's office.” The announcement came over the school tannoy. Fortunately, unlike in the past, no one began to mutter about She-Demons or Anon-o-miss.

“Looks like I need to go in girls. I'll see you in class.” Sunset smiled to her friends and headed to the office. She had spent a great holiday period with the girls, finally experiencing a family celebration over the experiences of her unfeeling years past. The hurt from the Anon-o-miss incident was healing and soon there would be another school event to push back the painful memories of what had happened at the fall formal.

She reached the office and entered. “Hello Sunset. I just want a little chat.” Principal Celestia greeted her student. The school secretary wasn't at her desk, so the teacher had met her. She led Sunset into her office and the principal took her seat.

“Is everything okay?” Sunset sat in a seat on the opposite side of the desk. Well used to this arrangement, both from her time as a bully and her time as the outcast.

“That is more the question I wished to ask you.” The teacher said. “Have you had any more problems from that gossip page? I made sure to share the full truth of the matter during the whole school assembly.” Sunset had not needed to attend that gathering. The Principal had shared the truth; from two jealous sister's not thinking things through and playing a petty prank, to the fact that all the students had then started to share secrets of of others to see them published on the page.

“No one has given me any trouble about it. A few have even apologised for thinking it was me.” Sunset said, she had accepted that her reputation had been half the issue during the incident. That her schoolmates expected it wasn't the problem; it was the rejection from her friends that stung.

“I also have a few concerns I would like to address.” Celestia said, picking up a file. “The number listed for a home contact won't connect and I don't recognise the address you've given.”

Trying not to look like a deer in the headlights, Sunset scrambled for a reply. “I uh... It's a new built place and the phone-line is still a little tetchy...” Celestia looked unconvinced.

“Sunset. I have camera footage of you bedding down in the school library for the night.” Celestia tapped her desk a moment, thinking. “I know better than to call that trespassing, but please don't lie to me. I worry for the welfare of all my students.”

“There are security cameras? Bummer.” Sunset slumped in her seat. “I, I was going through some tough times when all my friends blamed me and wanted nothing to do with me. I didn't want to spend another night alone and... and sleeping in the library helped me feel closer to Princess Twilight. She was about the only friend I had at the time and I knew she had slept in the library during her first visit.” Sunset drew an arm across herself and held onto her jacket, smoothing the faux leather with her thumb.

“I see. Alone though? You don't have anyone at all?” Celestia looked through the file. “I knew your claim that you parents were overseas had to be untrue after the fall formal, but I had assumed that there was someone in your life who could look out for you.”

“No. There isn't.” Sunset admitted. “Though I do have somewhere with a roof to live in. It's okay.” She sounded like she was pleading with her teacher.

“Sunset. I have a duty of care that extends a little beyond the school gates. I know you got by fine for a few years, but I may have to get the Children's Service involved.”

“No! I can't! What if someone finds out what I am? They'll take me somewhere or try and get to Equestria...” Sunset began to panic.

“I know, that is why I called you here instead. I would like to see your living arrangements for myself. If I think they are alright, I will continue to allow this...situation, to pass.” Celestia took out a notebook. “If, however, I have reservations about things after my check, I will have to create an agreeable solution.” She made a note in the book, Sunset couldn't see what it was.

“No government involvement?” Sunset asked, begged.

“Minimal, if I want to put an alternative in place.” Celestia said. “You will take me to wherever it is you are living once after-school clubs and meetings are over, today. Alright?”

“Yes Principal Celestia.” Sunset was reluctant to take the teacher to her home, but it had to be done. She really was lucky that she had this chance, any other authority would have called in Children's Services right away.

“Thank you Sunset, and please, know that I am doing this because I care.” Principal Celestia said.

Sunset left the office and went to class. At the end of the day she would face whatever was coming.

-*-

Classes and the school day passed far too swiftly for Sunset's liking. Her friends had picked up on her low mood, but they had put it down to holdovers from the horrid treatment before the holidays. Everyone had been feeling too guilty to really tackle the issue, so the doleful redhead had been superficially cheered up but mostly left alone.

When everyone had gone home, three of her friends glad to avoid harsh truths, Sunset waited outside the school building for her teacher. “Thank you for allowing this Sunset.” Principal Celestia said when she found her student.

“It's okay.” Sunset still stood a little guardedly, she really wasn't entirely hopeful about the outcome of this. “Anyone else would probably have turned me away from school on day one. Or called in someone after I went all she-demon... This is virtually the only thing you've asked of me.”

“Shall we head out then?” Celestia looked around, the school grounds were empty of students and she had explained her plans to her sister. They would be undisturbed. “How do you reach your home?”

“I usually take the bus, but I can direct you if you'd prefer to drive.” Sunset began mentally figuring the best route from the school.

“I think driving would be more direct. My car is in the staff lot.” Celestia led the teen to her car, smiling to herself at Sunset's impressed look at the vehicle, it wasn't exactly a car you would associate with a school principal.

With Sunset's precise directions they soon arrived at the building she called home. Already Celestia had her misgivings, the red-brick building was an old tram-house from the city's historic past. It was in an area that was far from residential and the whole site was fenced off. A faded sign on the front declared it property of Toity Holdings. “Don't worry, I checked at the Library and City Hall. There is some kind of fight between Historic Canterlot Heritage and Toity Holdings so this place is in limbo.” Sunset said, leading Celestia to the spot in the fence where two railings could be pulled aside for entry.

“I see, we are well past that date printed on the sign.” Celestia followed, glad she had swapped her tidy suit jacket for something a little harder wearing. After she passed through, Sunset replaced the railings and slipped in the bolts that had been missing.

“Extra security.” Sunset said, noticing the scrutiny. “Most people leave this place alone, I think it was pretty much stripped of anything valuable years ago, but it doesn't hurt to dissuade people more.” After checking the railings were no longer easily shifted, she carefully led her teacher through the overgrown surrounds to the building. They halted at one of the boarded up archways trams had once entered through. With a little grin, knowing this would probably impress her visitor, Sunset poked a finger into a knot-hole and pulled back an otherwise anonymous door.

“Did you make that?” Celestia asked when they stepped in, stopping to look at the ingenious arrangement of hinges and woodwork that concealed the door.

“Yeah, it seemed a good idea, to keep things safe.” Sunset took a small bar of metal from her book-bag and slid it through a latch on the door. “I found this place a little while after coming to this world. Then, once Twilight had..reformed me, I thought that my reputation alone wouldn't be enough, so I made the door instead of just pulling the boards free when I needed to.”

“That is very clever of you.” Celestia made a note, perhaps she could convince the relevant teachers to let Sunset take an accelerated course, the girl deserved some recognition for the skills she had.

“Thanks.” The pride in Sunset's voice was modest, the praise painting a light blush on her face. Again, Celestia was struck by the great change in the former bully, as an educator it warmed her heart to see. “Uh, anyway, it isn't too far to where I stay now. I'm just up there.” Sunset pointed to the corner of the building and what had obviously been an office. A little internal structure held up near the roof on an iron-work scaffold, steps led up to it from the ground.

“Are those safe?” Celestia asked, the metal was black painted but tell-tale streaks of orange at the fastenings indicated rust.

“They're a little rickety on the steps, the worst of it is a few steps missing one of their four bolts.” Sunset warned, starting her ascent, “But I marked those with glow-in-the-dark paint. Just in the corner where the bolt is missing, they wobble a bit if you tread there and that can be a bit shocking.”

“I'll pay attention then.” Celestia said, following the teen. The more she saw, the more unsure she was of leaving Sunset to live here. Alone.

At the top of the stairs Sunset paused and reached into the office through a missing window pane nearest the door. She made a few movements and brought her hand back out, holding a small padlock. “I jury-rigged a way to lock it higher up, no one would think to check that when they can't open the door. I keep the key in the lock though, I was always too worried it would get lost otherwise.” She explained. Celestia just nodded.

With the door unlocked, Sunset opened it and Celestia followed her in to her home. Sunset was quite proud of the place she lived in, having created it all herself. The office space was divided into two by a thin wall. The front half had a table, evidence of school work and a stationary set were placed on it, a paper plate and a few discarded take-away cartons were on the other side. “Heh, I usually find a dumpster when I have a full bag of packages. I never leave food out.” Sunset said, sheepish. She pointed to a battered cooler under the table. “I keep everything edible in there, or there will be rats.”

“What about laundry and plumbing?” Celestia said, trying not to shiver at the mention of rats. She couldn't see anything usable in the little office space, but a plastic crate in the corner had toiletries inside.

“This place has a shower room and toilets.” Sunset looked pleased with herself. “The building was put up before the neighbourhood had water-mains so there is a bowser on the roof that collects rain-water. It filters through rocks and charcoal, I don't drink it, but it is fine for flushing and I can have showers. Cold showers, but clean is clean right?” She opened the interior door. “As for laundry? I have a jar of coins and there is a laundromat a few blocks over.” Letting Celestia into the room, Sunset stood back. “And here's my room. Not quite a palace tower, but I like it.”

Celestia looked around the little room, it was clear that Sunset was very proud of her self-sufficiency and this space she had carved out for herself. If this had been the girl's bedroom in a proper house then it would have been quite charming.

The bed was a futon lifted off the floor on wooden pallets, a pile of blankets and a sleeping bag on top certainly looked cosy for the night. Old crates lined the walls around the bed, they were covered in candles of all shapes and sizes and it looked like new ones had been placed on the remains of old by the amount of wax. Knick-knacks and photographs of Sunset and her friends were nestled in spaces between the newer candles, a safe distance from flames and certainly new additions if the layer of old wax below them was any indication. A Rainboom's poster was on the opposite wall, the guitar Sunset played balanced on a stand beneath it. There were two crates away from the bed, one labelled books and the other clothes. A gym bag with laundry in was next to those.

If you ignored that there was no electricity or heat, that the girl had to use an old shower room and toilet block with only cold water... It looked like a nice little nest away from the world, one that Celestia would have liked to have had when she was a teenager.

Celestia looked to the teen, Sunset was clearly nervous for her reaction, though the nerves warred with defiant pride. For the briefest of moments the teacher saw her sister as a youngster, it brought a little stab of hurt to her heart; Sunset had no one when she was not with her friends and only here to go back to at the end of the day. “This is very nice Sunset, though it has not made me less worried...”

“Principal Celestia-” Sunset began.

“No Sunset, this is important. Please hear me out.” Celestia cut her off. The girl nodded but her whole bearing had turned guarded and reluctant. “You have carved out a niche yes, a rather decent one all things considered, but you have no electricity, no heat. You have to take cold showers and wash clothes at the coin-op...” Celestia trailed off to get a handle on her emotions. “What do you do for drinking water? You mentioned there are rats? How do you charge your phone, seeing as that is all you have if there is an emergency?”

“School for two of those thing; I fill a few bottles at the water fountains and there is a bookshelf in the library, one of the reference sections no one really uses, it has a power outlet hidden behind the books. I plug my phone in there to charge. We aren't allowed to use our phones in school hours, so I leave it there during classes and fetch it after.” Sunset's tone was dull, resigned, as if she was waiting for trouble or punishment. “The other? I clean up all the food crumbs, I've never been full enough to leave leftovers, and I put any food in the cooler so nothing attracts rats here. Fluttershy told me about a humane repellent too, so I put that down at the door and any gaps in the wall.” Sunset realised she'd revealed that hunger was often her companion, she hoped Celestia would let it slide.

It looked like she would have to let the teacher start putting a plan in motion to remove her from this place.

“Sunset.” Celestia put a hand to the teen's shoulder. “You are young, you shouldn't have to live a life like this... I would be working to help an adult out of this kind of situation, let alone a child.”

“I'm not a child.” Sunset grumbled, though she didn't pull away from the caring touch.

“No, but you are not an adult. You should have some care-free times, someone to look out for you. Somewhere warm to live.” Celestia resisted pulling the girl in for a hug, right now it probably wasn't the best idea with the guarded girl. “I will keep my promise though. This is... tolerable for now. However, I am going to look into what options are there so that we can improve your lot without risking your liberty and attendance at the school.”

“Thank you Principal Celestia!” Sunset was so happy to hear that she wouldn't be taken from her friends that she threw her arms around her teacher. The woman paused for a moment before putting an arm around the girl and placing a caring hand atop her head.

“On one condition. Please promise me Sunset, if anything gets worse or you need help, talk to me?” Celestia felt the teen nod against her. “I'll give you my personal number. Day or night, weekday or weekend. Even the holidays. If you ever need help you can call me.”

“Thank you.” Sunset whispered.

“Meanwhile, I will find a way to get you into a proper home.” Celestia added.

“Alright.” Sunset agreed. If only to assuage the guilt growing inside her.

-*-

Sunset saw her teacher back to her car and returned to her little living space. She didn't know that the educator watched her walk back, warring with the emotions that were demanding she take the girl home right away. There was snow on the ground and they had both been able to see their breath on the air, even inside! “I think I need to contact Chrys and Discord.” Celestia decided as she finally drove away. One way or another, she was going to see Sunset safe and cared for.


Sunset had to pause in her storytelling, she had five friends wrapping her into the biggest hug they could muster. “Okay girls?”

“You should have said something!” Fluttershy was crying, tears streaming down her face. Her voice was louder than usual even, she was so upset.

“You better have somewhere to stay now or you aren't leaving here alone.” Rainbow said, a determined look in her eye.

“Any one of us would have been happy to have you!” Applejack added, actually sounding angry.

Sunset bit back the retort that she would have been utterly homeless if she had been living with one of them at that time and the events preceding it. But it was mean to think, let alone say. “You know, I am telling you all this now so that you have some background to what has happened since right?” She said, pushing the negative thoughts back.

“Yeah silly billys! Sunset wouldn't have shouted 'Bye Mom' to someone if she was still living all on her lonesome in an abandoned building.” Pinkie Pie said still quite chipper, though her hair had lost some of its bounce. “But she still should have said something!”

“I would have at least given you a few more sweaters darling.” Rarity chided, keeping her arm around her friend. She was concerned as to what had motivated Sunset not to ask for any kind of help at that time.

“It is okay girls, really. You were all a great help just being my friends. I didn't want to worry you. I mean, I am telling you everything now so that you won't worry still.” Sunset smiled, feeling so warm and loved in the embrace from her friends. “Can I carry on with the story?”

“Please. I really want to know how everything got better.” Fluttershy said quietly.

“Right, things changed about two weeks after that, but Mom told that there was a lot more going on beforehand.” Sunset said. “I didn't know about it until after, but I'm glad it happened.”

Author's Note:

Just so you know, the flashbacks between the lines are just that; Flashbacks to events. Sunset is telling her friends a story about what happened but the flashback relates information she would not know and not be sharing.

Hope this stood up to whatever bar I set last chapter....

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