• Published 13th Aug 2016
  • 6,278 Views, 161 Comments

The Sun Shines No More - CGPH



After getting attacked on the street Sunset’s life begins to spiral out of control. As her mental and physical condition worsens, she soon finds that her salvation may lie with an unlikely trio.

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Chapter Five: More Than Physical

“Wha-“ Sunset tried to get out.

A fist collided with her face.

Before she had time to recuperate, a second fist came. This one right into her gut. She tensed up, and attempted to keel over into the fetal position.

She opened her mouth to breathe, took a jagged breath and closed it again. The taste of pennies was churning her stomach.

“AUUUGGH!” Sunset wheezed as another fist hit her stomach.

An unseen hand took a fistful of Sunset’s fringe, and before she could respond to what was happening, her head was lifted up, only to go careening to the side again as another fist was smashed into it.

“Please… sto-“ was all she could force out.

Sunset flinched herself awake. Her eyes flew open.

A cold wave of relief washed over her as she found the alleyway gone and her bedroom back before her.

There was sunlight entering the room through a gap above her curtains, giving her enough sight to make out the state she was in. She’d had a rough night. She lay sprawled out in the center of her bed, her blankets now tied in knots around her and only covering her bottom half. The baseball bat she’d rested by the bedside table was gone, instead now lying opposite her. A mixture of sweat and drool had stuck her face to the pillow she was currently spooning.

Sunset tried to slow her panting. Her morning breath was foul, and each breath she took emphasized the feel of her sweat soaked shirt clinging to her. She’d been awake seconds and already hated everything. She wanted to rid herself of all these terrible sensations as quickly as she could.

She slowly dragged herself up into the sitting position, leaving a wet patch behind where she had lain. She crossed her legs and hunched over her knees, groaning.

That had to have been one of the worst night’s sleep she’d had in a long time. If she could even call it sleep. She’d woken up a dozen times and changed position at least twice that amount. She’d been sweating profusely, even just having the blanket wrapped around her lower half now was adding to the Niagara Falls she could feel on her back.

Sunset dragged her T-shirt off up over her head. Feeling the moist fabric leave her skin was a sweet release. She tossed it to the floor beside her skirt from last night and brushed her hair out of her face.

'I need a shower, right now,' she thought.

She’d yet to have showered since what happened and it was starting to show. A damp smell already hung in her room, which had just been added to by Sunset removing her shirt. After she’d gotten up properly she’d have to throw her bedsheets in with her laundry.

She threw her covers off and dropped her feet off the side of the bed. They did a short wander around on the floor before coming across her slippers and snaking their way inside. Sunset steadied her hand against the bedside table and slowly pulled herself up to her feet. She still had to take it easy, even though her injuries weren’t the worst thing bothering her right now. She made her way over to her pyjama drawer, took out a clean pair, tossed them onto her bed and then turned to her door. She tugged at the handle and pulled it open.

Stepping out into the hallway, the cold air hit Sunset like a physical blast. Her rough night must have raised the entire temperature of her bedroom, because walking around the house in her underwear had never felt so satisfying. She did a short walk down to the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

She stripped off her underwear and then paused.

Was she supposed to take her chest bandage off during showers? It didn’t look or feel waterproof, but Nurse Redheart hadn’t given any specific instructions regarding it... When Sunset had the cast on her arm all those years ago she had to keep it dry while she showering, was this like that? If so Sunset didn’t see how she could, her chest was kind of an unavoidable area... Maybe she should just skip the shower and go over herself with wet wipes, just to be safe?

'Oh, screw it.'

Sunset pulled the bandage free and dropped it down into the pile of her underwear. She wanted a shower and she was damn well going to have one. She’d put it back on later, and if she struggled fastening it she’d just… she’d Google it, or something.

Sunset stepped into the shower and turned it on. The shower head buzzed and then roared to life, sending a stream of water thundering down beside her. She stepped into it and gave a sharp inhale as the hot water made contact with her body. A chill of goose bumps swept over her naked person. She suddenly felt all the stress she’d already been feeling this morning simply wash away. The transformation to her mood was amazing.

Sunset tipped her head back, allowing the water better access to her hair. It was a few seconds before the water soaked through her hair deep enough to reach her head, but when it finally did Sunset expressed another pleased moan.

Her body had been through so much as of late, to now be experiencing something she could genuinely say felt nice was a refreshing concept. She must have stayed in this position for at least another twenty minutes. Not thinking, not worrying about anything, simply enjoying herself. That alleyway had never felt further away.

Sunset plucked a bottle of shower gel from the basket hanging off the curtain rail. She squirted some into her hand and began to slowly clean herself.

The coldness of the gel was a shock to the system, causing her goose bumps to return, which only made the hot water even more pleasurable.

Sunset was able to stand quite well while she cleaned. She’d cocked her hip to the side, putting most of her weight onto her left side. She occasionally had to put her hand up against the wall to keep herself steady. Sunset paused as she got to the area her bandage had been covering.

'Ohhhhh, sweet Celestia,' she thought.

She gently rubbed the area with her fingertips, causing her goose bumps to transform into goose mountains. That area of skin had been sealed under a bandage for so long that scratching it now felt like the best thing to happen to Sunset in a long time. She lay her full hand flat on the wounded area and applied more pressure to it. Gently she rubbed her hand side to side.

Sunset shivered as another surge of goose bumps shot over her. She gave a stable breath. Her hand movements sent wave after wave of tingles across her body. The area was extremely sensitive, she was borderline hurting herself right now. But it was a good pain, a strange concept but an enjoyable one nonetheless.

She smiled, moved off the area and resumed cleaning. She squirted some shampoo into her hair and began to thoroughly work her way through it.

The trick to Sunset’s amazing locks was that she’d go a long time without using shampoo or conditioner, a fact which Rarity was furious over when she first found out. To stop her hair from smelling or getting dirty between cleaning sessions she had to rinse it through with water every night, which was always a pain trying to keep on top of. She’d clean her hair with product properly once a week, the trouble with hair as thick as hers was that the conditioner always made it very bouncy, and the opposite of how she wanted it. So the days in between using product she was simply cleaning her hair rather than washing it, and then doing it up in plaits until it dried. Then, lo and behold, she had her iconic hairstyle.

Although she was getting a lot better at moving, Sunset doubted it would be any time soon she’d be able to put her hair in plaits again. Lifting her arms that high would be a strain on her chest. She supposed she could always get one of her friends to do it though… Heck, Rarity would probably jump at the opportunity.

Sunset rinsed out her hair, put conditioner in, cleaned, rinsed it out again and then set about cleaning the shower gel from her body. While doing so she started to plan her day’s schedule.

First she was going to have breakfast, which was a must. She could feel the emptiness of her stomach now. She quite fancied a jelly sandwich, maybe with some peanut butter? Then she’d call in sick to CHS and explain what had happened. She couldn’t imagine that taking more than ten minutes, Celestia and Luna were usually pretty understanding when it came to medical things. After she did that however… that’s when the fun really got to begin. She had the rest of the day to herself then. Netflix and cake sounded like a good plan. Although… though she didn’t have an exact time set in mind, at some point today she wanted to get a letter written to Princess Twilight to fill her in on what happened. But… Twilight would probably be busy during the day, she could leave that until tonight, right?

It was another twenty minutes before Sunset finally turned the shower off. She must have been in there for a good hour or so, or it’d felt like that. She stepped out of the shower, plucked the towel from its area on the sink and wrapped it around her being.

The cool breeze of her hallway that had flattered her earlier now betrayed her as she did the short walk back to bedroom. She closed the door behind her, already shivering. She stripped the towel off and began putting on her new PJs. She had to stable herself a few times while putting her pants on, but all in all Sunset impressed herself by how easily she was able to get dressed.

Placing one hand on the end of the bed, Sunset lent her head down until it was almost level with her knees. The acting of doing so disorientated her a little, and she found herself holding her breath.

'Oh sugar.'

Sunset winced as a high-pitched pain started coming from her chest.

She wrapped the towel around her hair a few times and then stood back up. She wrapped it the rest of the way around her head hat-style and then gave a slow rub to the now-sensitive area of her chest.

She’d been doing so well as well. She sighed.

Sunset trekked back into the bathroom and picked up her dirty clothes. She dropped her underwear into the hamper but held onto her chest bandage. She still had to figure out a way to put that back on. She tucked it into her pajama pocket, popped her slippers back on and finally left the bathroom, ready to begin her day.

…If by beginning her day she meant making herself some breakfast and sitting on the couch for six hours. Which sadly, she did.

She ventured into the kitchen and began assembling the ingredients she needed for a sandwich.

She plucked two slices of bread out from the bread bin, plonked them down on the counter and opened the fridge. She took out the jar of jelly in one hand and a carton of orange juice in the other, and then nudged the door shut again with her hip. She pulled open the jar, grabbed a knife from the drawer below her and stuck it in. She stirred the jelly around a little, breaking down the large lumps. Pulling the knife out sh-

HOOOOOONNNK

“GAAHH!”

Sunset’s body cleared five foot into the air. The knife clattered loudly onto the counter.

A surge of adrenaline thundered through her body. The room span. A hot flush hit her. As her feet hit the ground her body froze up and her vision blurred together. There was a thunderous beating noise, almost deafening.

Sunset stumbled to the side and grabbed at her chest. The noise was her heart beat. Each beat felt like a punch in the ears. Her breathing had stopped. Sunset tried harder to suck in air, but it was to no avail. It felt like the harder she breathed in, the smaller her lungs got.

She was so hot right now, she was boiling in her own clothes. Sweat started forming on her brow and her mouth was dry. Her T-shirt and PJ bottoms might had well been on fire. The thumping in her ears continued. Sunset felt like she was going to burst.

Finally she pushed through the breach and was able to gasp out a breath. As the air filled into her lungs, time seemed to pause. Her senses came flooding back. The room spinning around her began to slow. Her temperature plummeted and her stomach spasmed, causing her to hunch over in pain.

She stabled herself against the counter. As her lungs filled to their limit she released the breath in a violent push.

The room around her took shape again. She began blinking, then swallowed. Her breaths became slow pants. She pushed herself up off the counter. As the panic slowly drained away it was replaced with an icy breeze.

She looked around the room in a daze.

Her hands were shaking. She’d gone from feeling on fire to suddenly being freezing. She was light headed, as though she’d inhaled so much air she’d become hollow. She swallowed and licked her dry lips.

Everything was still. She was in her kitchen. The bread bin was to the right of her and the fridge to her left. The knife she’d been using for her bread lay on the counter, jelly splattered around it from the drop.

Her world had gone from explosions and rioting to a desolate wasteland. Sunset felt very alone. She felt more than alone… she felt… she felt…

She pushed the feeling away.

“It was a car. A car’s horn,” she told herself.

She lived on a main road. It was a common occurrence to hear cars honking their horns. Sometimes she heard people shouting to each other from across the street. Sometimes she heard dogs barking, sometimes she’d hear drunken singing, sometimes she heard police sirens. All of them, completely normal noises to her. Just like a car honking its horn was. Completely normal.

'Completely normal.'

Sunset took a deep breath.

Still shaking, she picked up the knife off the counter and resumed making her breakfast. She scooped a dollop of the jelly out from its jar and smeared it across the bread. She repeated this a few times. She didn’t know how many times. She wasn’t paying attention.

Her head felt cold. Her throat felt empty. She felt empty. Empty and cold. But a refreshing empty and cold. But not a pleasant refreshing. Like a bucket of ice water being poured over you refreshing. A shock-to-the-system kind of refreshing. Like an unpleasant surprise.

Sunset stopped spreading the jelly. She placed one slice of bread above the other, sealing the sandwich. She pulled a plate out from the cabinet above her, placed her food on it and left the room.

The jelly jar, the knife and the carton of orange juice all stayed out on the counter. Her sandwich remained uncut in the middle. But Sunset didn’t notice, she only had one priority right now. She wanted out of that room.

She quickly exited the kitchen and turned, entering her living room.

Her living room was very big. She didn’t always remember it being this big.

This big and empty.

Big, empty and quiet.

Without her noticing her walking had begun to slow.

It was very quiet, wasn’t it?

Was it always this quiet in her flat? Had the car honking its horn deafened her? There was no way it should be this quiet. She felt like she was alone in an empty football stadium. Her flat didn’t feel its usual self. Almost like something wasn’t right.

Sunset noticed she’d stopped walking. She shook her head and quickly sat in her usual seat.

She picked up her sandwich with both hands and took a bite. She chewed it quickly and swallowed. Her eyes flicked to the rest of the room.

Had her flat always felt so sterile?

She took another bite, chewed and swallowed.

Was it always this quiet?

Another bite, chewed and swallowed.

Did it always make her feel this alone?

Bite, chew, swallow.

Did it always make her feel this vulnerable?

Sunset snapped her head towards the TV.

That was it!

She always watched TV when she had breakfast. Silly her. Hahahaha! Sunset plucked up the remote and punched in a random code of numbers. The TV flickered to life. A drama show appeared on her screen. A middle-aged woman sat on the floor of a messy living room, crying.

“Maybe I am a mess. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m out of my mind! But, God help me, I will keep these lights up until the day I die!” the woman shouted.

Sunset frowned and turned the TV down. It had come on louder than expected. She picked up her sandwich and took another bite.

That was better! The silence was gone. All she had needed to do was turn on the TV! She never really 'watched' TV when she ate her breakfast, she more just had it on to distract her and wake her up. And that’s just what it was doing. Yessiree. Distracting her from her flat. Not that there was anything to be scared of in her flat. Not that she was scared, or anything.

She’d just been caught off guard, that was all.

She hadn’t been fully awake, the car horn had made her jump. Perfectly normal reaction. There was nothing unusual about jumping at a car horn. She wasn’t being jumpy, she had a perfectly normal, natural reaction.

Sunset stopped chewing. She sighed.

'I’m getting scared over a car horn.' she said to herself.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She didn’t know what this feeling was. Scratch that, she knew exactly what it was. She felt ashamed. Ashamed in herself. She was a jumpy mess after what had happened. Today she’d woken up and felt fine. She had a nice shower and was ready to start the day. But all it took was one small car horn and she’d been reduced to a quivering wreck.

Sunset blinked a few times, trying to dab away at the wetness forming in her eyes.

She was safe in her flat. She knew this. It was fact. Letting everything get to her was pointless. It was stupid, she was stronger than this.

It’s not like she had a fear of the sirens jumping out from behind her fridge and attacking her. At least if she was feeling that she might be able to make sense of it. But her fears weren’t being that specific. Ever since what had happened she just felt as though she’d been stripped of an invisible shield all of a sudden. Her entire world had changed, even being in her flat she felt she couldn’t let her guard down.

She hated this. She hated feeling like this. It was a car horn. It was probably some kid running out onto the road, or somebody too busy texting to go on the green light. Whatever it was it was not worth getting this worked up over.

So… why was she?

Sunset groaned and stood up. She took her curtains in each hand and tore them open.

The light from outside blinded her momentarily, but her vision adjusted the world took shape. The sun was high in the sky, illuminating the street before her perfectly. A dozen or so cars were slowly moving past her apartment block. Traffic was slow, but it was moving. A handful of people stood at the bus stop opposite her house, one of them pushing a pram. On the street below her a man was walking his dog. A bird stood on the roof of the apartment block opposite her, placing some twigs at the foot of a satellite dish. A newspaper blew across the street. A few of the people at the bus stop chatted politely to one another. The people in the cars lightly bobbed their heads to music or made conversation with their passengers.

Everything was calm. Everything was normal. There wasn’t even any sign of what had caused the car to honk its horn. That car was probably two miles down the road by now.

But to Sunset, everything was the opposite of calm.

That nagging feeling of exposure she’d had… she’d just amplified it.

She might as had just opened the window of a submarine. Anxiety gushed in around her like a raging torrent of water. She felt herself get physically picked up by it. The torrent swallowed her whole and began throwing her around like a ragdoll. She was drowning. Her heart dropped and her lungs seized up again.

She yanked the curtains shut.

She turned around and dropped back against the window. Her eyes weren’t adjusting to the sudden darkness quick enough. She began to panic.

'Not again. Please God, not again.'


Life was bustling with activity in the CHS cafeteria. People lined up to get their food, younger students ran around playing games and the art students rehearsed their monologues and overtures to their friends. In the centre of the room was one table in particular, where a fashionista, a farmer, an athlete, a bookworm, a party girl and an introvert sat enjoying their meals together.

“I’m tellin’ ya, there is nooo way it isn’t rigged!” Rainbow exclaimed, throwing her arms up into the air for extra emphasis.

“RD it’s a blood test. Why exactly would the school nurse fake yer blood test?” Applejack asked.

“I dunno,” Rainbow shrugged. “Maybe to stop me entering the Olympics.”

Applejack groaned and rolled her eyes. “Ah not this again!”

“Yeah this again!” Rainbow pointed a defensive finger at her.

“Rainbow, we know yer good an’ all but these are the best athletes in the ‘tire world! You got a long way to go before you can c’mpete against ‘em.”

“You just wait!” Rainbow turned her attention back to her food. “Tell me that again in five years when I’m the world champion.”

Applejack frowned. “World champion at what exactly?”

Rainbow gave a sheepish smile, “I er… haven’t decided yet… BUT whatever I do decide to do I’m gonna be the best!”

Applejack simply face palmed.

“Erm, quite,” Rarity smiled. “I don’t suppose any of you took notes during Mr Doodle’s class, did you?”

Applejack frowned. “Didn’t ya take yer own?”

“Miss Pie borrowed my pen during second period,” Rarity threw Pinkie a deathly glare.

Pinkie Pie lifted her hands up in defense. “Hey, that was your mistake. You’re my friend, you knew what you were signing yourself up for when you gave it me.”

“I got you covered Rarity,” Twilight smiled, taking a notepad out from her backpack.

Rarity smiled sweetly, taking the pad from Twilight. “Thank you, dear.”

“Oh Twilight, do you mind if I borrow that after Rarity?” Fluttershy asked sheepishly.

“Not like you to not pay attention in class, Flutters,” Rainbow interjected.

Fluttershy blushed. “I may have nodded off a tiny bit…”

This caused a group-wide laughter.

“What’s the special occasion?” Rainbow asked.

Fluttershy perked up. “Oh, last night I was watching this new series on Netflix, and girls it’s simply wonderful-”

CUT MY LIFE IN PIECES. THIS IS MY LAST RESO-.

Applejack groaned and pulled out her cellphone. “Aw heck, sorry. Hold that thought.”

“Nice ringtone,” Rarity snickered.

“Shuddup,” Applejack laughed. “It’s Sunset.”

The group all hushed down as Applejack answered the call. She placed the call on loud speaker. The group waited for a voice to greet them, but none came.

Applejack frowned. “Sunset?”

Only then did a voice appear. It was rough and muffled.

“Applejack. Hey.”

Applejack frowned again. Sunset didn’t sound her usual self. Her voice was quiet, like she had a sore throat.

“You okay, sugarcube?”

It took a second before a reply came.

“Yeah. I’m good. How are you?” she sniffed.

Applejack’s eyes grew wide.

“Sunset… are you cryin'?”

The entire group all reacted, their heads snapping in the phone’s direction. Applejack locked eyes with each of them, concern riddled across her face.

A reply didn’t come. Instead just some muffled noises and another sniff.

“Can I ask a favor?” Sunset’s voice croaked.

Applejack did another scan of the group. They all watched her with wide eyes, waiting on her response.

“Erm, sure… Whatever you need,” she said cautiously.

Heavy breathing came from Sunset’s side.

“Can you gimme a ride to school tomorrow?”

Applejack’s mouth fell open as she searched for the next words to say.

“Err… do ya think ya should really be attentin’ school… in your state?”

A muffled cry came from over the phone. The girls all stayed silent, but looked from one another with worried expressions.

“Please, AJ.”

Sunset was definitely crying.

“I’ve got…” she followed up, “I’ve got school work I n-need to do. I can’t risk getting b-behind.”

“Sunset… you should be restin’,” Applejack said sympathetically.

“I-I know but I…” Sunset choked, “… I don’t… I just… I don’t want to stay here on my own.”

Applejack looked up from her phone. Her friends were all reacting the same way, shocked and concerned. Applejack turned to Rarity and gestured towards the phone. Rarity shook her head.

“Ah’m… sorry, Sunset,” Applejack shook her head, “yer in no fit state to be comin’ in school.”

Another choke from Sunset’s side of the line.

“C-can you pass me to Rarity please?” she asked.

Applejack sighed. “Rarity isn’t going to take you either.”

“Could you j-just pass me to her please?”

“Not if yer gonna ask her to take you to school tomo’rah.”

Sunset gave a frustrated sigh.

“Fine.”

Applejack licked her lips before continuing.

“Sunset, what’s wro-”

“I h-have to go. I’ll see you girls when I get back, whenever that will be.”

Sunset hung up, leaving her six friends in a stunned silence.


Sunset’s ominous phone call had instantly set off warning lights within the group. So much so that as the last period ended, they all filled into the back of Applejack’s pickup and set off to go check on her. On the way they had attempt to call her back, but when no answer came that’s when they officially crossed the concerned barrier and into being worried.

The group of girls climbed the last flight of stairs in the apartment block, whispering quietly among themselves.

“She’s probably just got cabin fever or something,” Rainbow shrugged.

“She’s only been home alone fer one day!” Applejack responded.

“What do you think’s wrong with her?” Fluttershy asked quietly.

Applejack scratched her head. “Ah dunno. Maybe she hurt herself or summthin.”

“If she’s hurt herself, why would she be asking for you to drive her to school tomorrow?” Rainbow said a little too loudly.

Applejack rolled her eyes. “Well heck, how else do you wanna explain her weepin’?”

“Girls, shush,” Rarity told them.

They had arrived at Sunset’s front door. Rarity turned to the group.

“Right, ermm…” she glanced over them all awkwardly, “I think this is best done delicately.”

Applejack frowned. “Whaddya mean?”

“I mean, erm… well I mean… Sunset probably isn’t in the mood to be crowded right now, even if we do mean well by it.”

Applejack nodded. “Yer thinkin’ some of us should hang back a bit?”

“Just until we find out what’s wrong with her… Heaven knows the last thing I’d want is to be swarmed if I were in a sensitive state.”

Applejack glanced over the group. “Makes sense to me. Who’s gonna go in?”

“I’LL DO IT!” Pinkie raised her hand excitedly.

Rarity forced out a polite smile. “Pinkie Pie, I think maybe that’s not the… best idea.”

“Ooooh, but I know a bunch of ways to cheer other people up!” she squealed.

Rarity let out an uncomfortable noise.

“Yes, but you can be a little bit… how do you say, 'too much' sometimes, dear,” she placed her hand on Pinkie’s shoulder.

Pinkie gave a confused frown.

“There’s no such thing as too much when it comes to fun!”

Rarity looked at Applejack for help, who sighed.

“Pinkie Pie, y’all are just gonna end up annoying Sunset, not cheerin’ her up.”

Pinkie shrugged.

“Fair enough.”

Rainbow Dash snorted.

“I think maybe it’s best if Twilight and I go,” Rarity gestured to the bookworm beside her. “I have quite a delicate touch when it comes to these things and Twilight’s, well… It might be nice for her to see a friendly face, so to speak.”

Applejack nodded again. “Makes sense. C’mon girls.”

Applejack turned on her heels and slowly led the rest of the girls back down the corridor they just came from.

“We’ll be round the corner eavesdroppin’ if you need us!” Rainbow Dash waved.

Applejack punched her in the hip.

Rarity turned to Twilight, who had been entirely silent up until this point.

“Do you think something bad has happened?” Twilight asked in a hushed tone.

Rarity gave a sympathetic look towards Sunset’s front door.

“I think something bad already did happen.”

She knocked.

The girls waited for a response. None came. Twilight looked to Rarity, concern written across her face. She knocked again, still no answer.

Then something clicked in Rarity’s head.

“Sunset! Sunset, dear, it’s Twilight and Rarity,” she announced loudly, her voice echoing a few times in the empty corridor.

That did something.

Movement could be heard from inside. A moment passed, then there was a click, and the door opened a few inches. An orange face appeared partially through the gap. Rarity repressed a gasp of shock.

Sunset’s eyes were bloodshot, her skin had paled over and her cheeks shone with the wetness of tears. She offered them a half smile.

“Hey.”

Rarity and Twilight looked her up and down, aghast.

“Sunset!?” Twilight’s voice was unexpectedly high pitched.

Sunset nodded and she cleared her throat.

“What’s up?”

Twilight turned to Rarity, expecting her to answer for her. Rarity’s mouth dropped open as she searched for the right words.

“We… we were worried about you. After that phone call we-”

Sunset let out an annoyed sigh.

“You wanted to come check on me?” Her words were harsh.

Rarity was taken aback by the tone in Sunset’s voice.

“W-well I… Yes, yes we did.”

“I’m fine,” she said sternly.

Rarity and Twilight exchanged another worried glance.

Rarity fiddled around with her hands, looking away. “No need to take such a tone… we were just concerned about you.”

Sunset spat out a laugh.

“Okay, here’s a question: If this were any other normal day – and I asked Applejack for a ride – would you have still come to check on me?”

Rarity just noticed now how slurred Sunset’s speech pattern was.

She frowned. “Well no, we came becau-”

“Because you were worried about me?”

Rarity nodded.

Sunset laughed and shook her head.

“I don’t need you guys checking up on me. I’m fine. If I wasn’t I’d still be in-" she hiccuped "-the hospital! I don’t need you guys treating me like a charity.”

Rarity gave an annoyed sigh. “Sunset, dear, please stop it with this. You rang us up crying, of course we’re going to be concerned about you,” she retorted.

Sunset mumbled something inaudible to the two girls. Rarity decided it was best left unheard.

“Why don’t you let us in?” Rarity offered. “We did come all the way down here, after all.”

Sunset blinked. She looked away from them.

“You can’t just turn up a-and invite yourself in.”

“Is that a no, then?” Rarity raised her eyebrows.

Sunset was silent for a second. Then slowly she closed the door separating them. Twilight looked at Rarity, confused. Then there was a metallic rustling and then the door reopened.

The smell hit the two highschoolers like a train. A bitter, musty smell leaked out from Sunset’s apartment behind her, though a lot of it originated from the girl herself. A cough exploded out of Twilight. She turned away from the door and covered her mouth, blushing.

Sunset stepped aside, allowing them entry in. Rarity gritted her teeth against the smell and smiled. Together, she and Twilight stepped inside.

The first thing they noticed (aside from the increased smell) was how dark the apartment had become. Every blind was been pulled and every curtain closed. The only light was the artificial orange glow of the lampshades.

Rarity focused her attention on Sunset. As she locked the door behind the girls, she held herself steady with one hand against the wall. It took her two attempts to fit the steel chain into the lock. When she finally did she turned back around to her visitors and gave a wonky smile.

“Sunset, dear, don’t take this the wrong way but… have you been drinking, by any chance?” Rarity asked cautiously.

Sunset frowned. “I’ve… had a glass of whiskey, yeah.”

“More like a bottle,” Twilight said under her breath.

Rarity repressed a smile at Twilight’s surprisingly sassy remark. Instead she continued, “Can I ask why? It’s barely one in the afternoon, a bit early don’t you think?”

Sunset swallowed. She seemed to give a little look around before answered.

“Calm my nerves.”

Rarity gave a slow nod. She thought about her next words carefully. But as she opened her mouth to say them, Twilight beat her to it.

“Against what?” she frowned.

Rarity shot Twilight a dirty glare. She made a mental note to make that girl look up the word eggshell in one of her many dictionaries.

Sunset’s change in rhythm was instant. She scowled and opened her mouth to give what would have presumably been a harsh response, but Rarity jumped in first, denying her the chance.

“Why don’t we all go sit down, hm?” Rarity pushed Twilight into the living room ahead of her.

Sunset’s living room was just as dark as the hallway but smelled a lot worse. A nearly drained bottle of whiskey stood on the coffee table next to a.... baseball bat? Rarity frowned.

“I suppose a cup of tea is out of the question?” Rarity asked, dragging Twilight down onto the sofa with her.

Sunset stood in the doorway, supporting herself on its frame. She watched her two friends with narrowed eyes.

Rarity nodded. “I presumed as much.”

Sunset slowly made her way into the rest of the living room, tracing her hand along the wall for support. She came to a stop in front of them.

“Why are you guys here?”

Rarity bit her tongue. She had to play this very delicately. Saying the wrong thing could lead to Sunset getting annoyed, which was the last thing they wanted right now.

“Well…” she began, “you sounded really upset when you were on the phone… So Twilight and I thought we would come cheer you up.”

“It was Rarity’s idea,” Twilight said quickly.

Rarity shot Twilight another glare.

“It’s not because we think you need babying or anything like that. We just thought you might appreciate some company,” Rarity reassured her.

Sunset was silent for a while. She watched her friends suspiciously, as if almost expecting them to pull a gun on her. She looked towards the ground and swallowed, before nodding.

She gently made her way over to the sofa beside Rarity and Twilight. As she tried to lower herself onto it she stumbled suddenly. Her body fell backwards, hitting the sofa at a much faster speed than she intended. Her body spasmed in panic, lifting her feet off the ground and sending one of the slippers flying into the air. It dropped down onto the coffee table with a thud, knocking over the whiskey bottle.

Rarity let out a shriek as she and Twilight jumped to their feet. Sunset pushed herself up and began scanning the room frantically, unaware of what had caused Rarity’s scream. The white girl dived forward and snatched up the bottle, which had already spilled the rest of its contents out onto Sunset’s carpet. Luckily the bottle itself had stayed intact during impact.

“I’ll get some paper towels!” Twilight rushed out of the room.

“W-what? Whaaaat?” Sunset slurred, pushing herself up off the sofa.

She stumbled again, this time completely losing her footing. Rarity reacted quickly, pushing her own body forward to catch her. Sunset fell dead weight against Rarity, pushing them both back. Rarity held her ground and pushed back against Sunset. She repressed a gag. The smell of alcohol was so strong now she practically had the address of the brewery.

“Thank you ‘varity,” Sunset mumbled.

With a heave, Rarity pushed Sunset off herself and backwards onto the sofa. Sunset simply dropped into the position she was pushed in, giving no effort to fight or regain her composure.

Twilight rushed in behind them, carrying a roll of toilet paper. She dropped to her knees and began frantically dabbing the mess on the carpet. Rarity looked from Twilight to Sunset. Sunset simply lay, eyes closed, in the position she’d dropped into. This had gone too far.
Rarity sat down next to her and took her face in her hands. That got Sunset to react, whose eyes grew wide and watched Rarity in alarm.

“Sunset,” Rarity questioned her sternly, “why have you been drinking?”

Sunset swallowed.

“I told you. To clam-alm my nerves.”

Rarity nodded. “But why? Why did you need to calm your nerves?”

The conversation looked was though it was going to take the same turn as when Twilight asked. It looked that way, but only for a moment. Sunset’s eyebrows furrowed into a frown and she expanded her chest, likely to give Rarity an earful. But then something faltered. Her eyebrows softened and her death glare became a light squint. Sunset pulled her head back from Rarity’s grasp, maintaining eye contact. Her lip began to quiver.

“I… I…”

The wall fell. Tears flooded into Sunset’s eyes and she choked back a sob. She turned away from Rarity, trying to shield her face with her hair. Rarity responded by grabbing Sunset again, this time pulling her into a hug. Sunset didn’t resist. In fact, she responded by wrapping her arms around her in return. She buried her head in Rarity’s chest and started breathing heavily. Judging by the wetness she could feel developing on her shirt, Sunset was crying.

Rarity lifted her hand up and brushed the hair out of Sunset’s face.

“Shhh sh sh sh,” she cooed.

Rarity looked up at Twilight. She was on her hands and knees, pressing the toilet paper against the stained carpet. But she wasn’t cleaning, she was watching the two with wide eyes. Rarity gave her a sympathetic smile, and gestured towards Sunset.

It took Twilight a second to catch on, but when she did she stood up, dropped the toilet paper and joined the two. She sat beside Sunset on the couch and placed her hand down on the girl’s back. Sunset flinched in response. Twilight backed off, not knowing whether to continue. Rarity gave her an approving nod, and Twilight placed her hand back down on Sunset. She began rubbing her hand in gentle circles.

Sunset muttered something inaudible to the two. Rarity’s eyes flickered downwards.

“What was that?” she asked gently.

Sunset raised her head slightly off Rarity’s chest. Her face was still invisible beneath her hair.

“I-I just feel... so afraid, all the time,” she wept.

Twilight’s expression went from sympathetic to shocked. She looked at Rarity, who pulled Sunset back in for another hug. Sunset twisted her head away from Rarity’s chest so she could speak.

“I hate this. I don’t even feel safe in my bed. I just want life to go b-back to normal.”

Sunset swallowed and continued.

“I feel like I’m just waiting for them to come back a-and… I know they aren’t but… It’s stupid I know,” Sunset hid her face again.

Rarity shook her head. “It’s not stupid, Sunset.”

“No, it is!” Sunset shot back. “I know I’m being an idiot –b-but I feel like I can’t say anything about it either cause you guys will think I’m attention seekin-“

“Sunset, never!” Twilight interjected.

Sunset let out a loud sob. “You guys keep treating me differently! Like you’re babysitting me a-and I don’t want that! I don’t want that. I just… want things to go back to normal.”

As she finished her sentence she lost the little composure she had left and was reduced to tears and sobbing. Rarity continued to cradle her, stroking her hair while Twilight rubbed circles on her back. The purple-haired girl grimaced at the state of her friend. Sunset’s sweat had seeped through her clothes, adding to the stench of her alcohol ridden breath and making her moist to the touch.

The three girls stayed in this embrace until Sunset’s breathing started to slow and her whimpers became silent.

“Sunset,” Rarity began quietly, “if you genuinely feel that way, then we’ll leave you alone.”

This line caused Twilight’s eyes to make contact with her own. She frowned, waiting for an explanation.

Rarity nodded, still stroking Sunset’s hair with her fingers. “We’ll leave you alone. But I want you to know we’re your friends Sunset and we want to help you. Not because we feel sorry for you or we feel obligated to, but because for us, seeing you like this is… it’s heartbreaking.”

Twilight nodded in agreement.

“We want to help you in any way we can. Because we care about you. So what I want you to do is… I want you to think of something for us to do. Put the worry of being selfish aside. I want you to tell us what you want us -as your friends- to do to help you. Are you listening?”

A quiet mumble was her answer.

“If you don’t want us acting the way we are acting, then tell us how you want us to act. You might be healing but you’re not out of the woods yet, and you need our help. Capiche?”

Sunset gently nodded.

“Good…” Rarity sighed. “So… do you still want us to leave?”

Sunset moved her face into view. Hair clung to her face, attached to her by the tears she was still producing. She gave a long sniff. Rarity repressed a grimace at the revolting noise.

“Maybe stay for a little longer,” she croaked.

Rarity nodded.

“If that’s what you want.”

Sunset closed her eyes and buried her face back into Rarity’s chest. Rarity rocked her back and forth. Eventually her cries began to fade into whimpers, and then the whimpers into sniffles. A few more minutes of silent comforting passed before the sniffles turned into snores.

“How did you know she would respond to that?” Twilight whispered.

Rarity swallowed. “I’ve er… had experience, with people in her position before.”

The look on Rarity’s face was not one that invited pushing. Twilight simply nodded in response.

Part of her almost didn’t want to know anyway.

Author's Note:

This story now has a blog post! Check it out here.. In it I just talk about some of the questions you guys have asked, what made me want to do this story, the usual stuff.

Also, bonus points for anyone who can tell me what Sunset was watching and why it was relevant to this story.