• Published 7th Aug 2016
  • 6,162 Views, 302 Comments

Sunset Past the Horizon - Ponealone



Things happen when Anon-a-miss doesn't fess up. Good things and bad things, but mostly bad things.

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Chapter 1: Rumination

“Ding-a-ling” sounded a tiny bell fixed above the door. A fiery haired girl ran into the pastry shop panting. She let the door swing closed behind her sounding the tiny bell once again. A table seating five girls all turned their heads to the source of the disruption and their eyes widened when they saw who approached them.

“Hey! GET OUT!” Rainbow Dash shouted.

Applejack eyed the intruder with contempt. “Yer not welcome here, Sunset!”

Sunset held her hands up in a yielding gesture. “No, wait please!”

The girls spared Sunset a moment to hear her out.

“I know you don't trust me a-and I can't prove I'm innocent but please—” She unzipped her bag and removed a thick book bearing a stylized picture of the sun on the front cover and handed it over.

“Look at this. I've been telling Twilight everything that's been happening and she reminded me. You're more than my friends. You're my family. You know me better than anyone. Ask yourself, would the Sunset Shimmer you know, the real Sunset Shimmer, the person I am now. Would she do this?”

“If-if you're not Anon-a-miss then who is?” Fluttershy asked.

“That's what I've been trying to figure out. AJ, you said us and your family are the only ones who knew your nickname, right?”

“Yeah... But I know none of my family would tell, and I trust you five, you four.”

“Maybe someone overheard it?” Rainbow Dash said.

“Maybe... but what about the party photos? I had my phone with me the whole time after the party...” Sunset said.

“And the only people at the party were us! Well, and my family, of course,” Rarity said.

“Your family? Wait!” A look of sudden realization struck Sunset's face. “Dash, Anon-a-miss posted a science paper you wrote, right?”

“Uh, yeah?”

“Did you have soccer practice the day you got that paper back?”

“Soccer practice? Um, yeah.”

“And the junior team was practicing too, right?”

“Well, sure. They usually do.”

“I know who Anon-a-miss is. It's Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo.”

The bell on the front door rang as it swung open and the three young girls Sunset just named coincidentally appeared.

“Hey, Applebloom and friends, come here for a minute ah gotta ask y'all something.”

“W-what is it sis?” Applebloom grinned nonchalantly.

“You and yer friends ain't Anon-a-miss are you?”

“Anon-a-miss? No way would we do somethin' awful like that. Right guys?” The other two nodded in agreement.

Applejack squinted with a pensive look. “That's what I thought. Well, that's it. Run along now.” The three girls scurried away.

Sunset's blood ran cold. “I-I was sure it was them. That doesn't make any sense, nobody else could have done it! They must be lying!” She regretted her accusation the moment it left her lips.

Applejack bared her teeth and clenched her fists. “The only liar here is you! How dare you try an pin yer crimes on mah little sister! Take yer book of lies and get!”

“Yeah! Take this, and get the hell away from us you demon!” Rainbow Dash pitched the journal full force at Sunset's stunned face. Everything went white.

Snowflakes drifted down from the bright overcast sky peppering everything below with white. Trickles of sunlight struggled through the thick clouds shining barely enough to signify early morning. The motes of ice illuminated by the gentle rays of the sun settled on the windowsill of a frost glazed window attached to a second story apartment. A single dove perched by the window preened its feathers before taking off in a panic when a sudden startled gasping erupted from inside the building.

“Ahh! No!” Sunset exclaimed as she was jolted awake. Pale light stung her eyes prompting a reflexive twist back down on her pillow resting in a comfortable shadow. A shiver came over her body as the frigid air penetrated the sheets. Sunset pulled the covers tighter over herself.

“Not again...” She mumbled under her foggy breath.

Though it had only been about two weeks since the girls exiled her, this morning Sunset felt like she had never been happy once in her whole life. Her memory of spending winters by herself when she had first come to this world had begun to bleed into her memory of the recent weeks. As she drifted out of sleep the memory she was running away from the most suddenly flooded back. Sunset clenched her fists and let out a heartbroken whimper. Tears streamed sideways across her face into her pillow. She curled into a ball as the scene replayed in her head. Her former friends gathered in the hall. Applejack showed pictures Sunset took on her phone at Rarity's sleepover posted on social media by a user named “Anon-a-miss”. The hurtful things each of them said to her as they ended their friendship on the spot were seared into her memory.

“We trusted you Sunset! We thought you were our friend!”

“How could you do this? After all we've been through together?”

“You must have been pretending to be our friend, when all along you were just after our secrets! You—you secret stealer!”

“You're not the person we thought you were! You're not our friend!”

The book on Sunset's nightstand began to glow and vibrate. Sunset lethargically reached for the book and flipped it open.

“Hey Sunset, I just got your message. I'm so sorry I took so long, I think something's seriously wrong with the connection, but more importantly are you alright? How did confronting the girls go?”

Sunset grabbed her pen and began writing. ”Where were you Twilight? You weren’t there when I needed you.”

“I’m sorry, It’s just that I had some business to take care of in the Crystal Empire and then when I got back the portal wouldn’t work for a week. I still don’t exactly know what’s wrong with it. Sunset, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s fine. It’s not your fault the stupid old mirror doesn't work. The girls though, they didn't believe me.”

“What? How? What did you say to them?”

“Exactly what I told you I'd say, but they didn't believe me. Those three little liars denied everything. I just don't know what to do anymore.”

More tears streamed down her cheeks as words magically appeared in her book.

“Sunset... I don't know what to say. I mean you found the culprits, I was certain that would clear your name. No, this isn't what I thought would happen. This is unforgivable, I am coming over there right now.” Sunset wiped the tears from her eyes.

“You're too late. I don't think things are going to be the same anymore. Even if you do convince them what if Apple Bloom and her friends don't confess? The entire school hates me Twilight. They hate me even more than back in the old days.”

“You're not just going to give up are you?”

“Last week when I ate lunch alone behind the school I was cornered by some Anon-a-miss victims. They tried to hurt me and I almost didn't get away. Twilight, I don't know how much more I can take. What should I do?” Sunset rubbed her puffy red eyes as she waited for a reply.

“You can always come back home to Equestria.”

“No. I mean I don't know. I know things are bad here, but I don't have the courage to face Princess Celestia just yet. I don't know what's worse though, being alone in an alternate dimension, or whatever punishment Princess Celestia is going to give me for stealing that crown. Anyways, thanks Twilight. You're the only one I can turn to these days, it means a lot to me. I just wish you could have helped me sooner.”

“Don't worry Sunset I'll do everything in my power to help you get through this. I won't fail you twice. I promise.”

She closed the book and sat it on her nightstand. A quick glance at the clock showed it was nearly time to leave to class. Sunset made her way to her bathroom. The mirror reflected back a girl with messy red and gold hair, sullen bloodshot eyes, and dried streaks of tears down her cheeks. The rusted hot water knob squeaked as she turned it, and a flow of cold water sputtered out. Sunset washed her face, brushed her teeth, and organized her hair. She went to change out of her pajamas, but realized that her emotional exhaustion and subsequent fourteen hours of sleep from the day prior left her already wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Too depressed and groggy to care about breakfast or not wearing the same soiled shirt for another day, Sunset put on her signature black leather jacket, put on her scarf, grabbed her book bag, and headed out on her way to school.

Sunset wasn't sure why she was going to school today. Maybe today's the day her friends will realize the error of their ways and offer their deepest most sincere apologies. Hearing their pleas of forgiveness Sunset could deliver a cool line like I believe in second chances, they would all cry and group hug and everything would be okay.

“Yeah that's what's going to happen today,” the jaded girl mumbled under her breath. Sunset approached the front of her school when something purple in the window of a passing school bus caught her eye.

“Hey was tha— oof!” A passing student violently shoved Sunset to the ground causing her to drop her books. She didn't say anything as she recovered her books while students around her laughed and jeered. A bell sounded and she quickly snatched up the last one and hurried to class.

* * *

Class wasn't terribly eventful although it was the last regular school day before the midterm exams. Sunset carelessly crammed her untouched review worksheet into her bag and left her desk. Leaving the classroom, a group of nearby students threatened and insulted her while another shoved her against the lockers as she passed them in the hall. Over the past week Sunset has gotten used to the casual violence in the halls, she even learned through trial and error various maneuvers to lessen the impact of the abuse. She gracefully rolled and rebounded off the lockers she was callously pushed against and with an outstretched middle finger she swiftly continued on her way to a desolate area behind the school. It was cold outside, but it definitely beat the harassment from the students in the cafeteria. Nobody would let her sit with them anyway. Crouching near a dumpster Sunset was careful to remain hidden in case the gang of students from last week come by again seeking their misguided revenge. Upon unzipping her backpack's zipper she was surprised to find that she didn't make herself a lunch today. A wave of resignation washed over her and conveniently ruined her appetite as she sank against the cold brick wall of the school.

“Sunset?” a voice called out from an arms length away. Sunset leapt to her feet poised to run away when she recognized her spiky blue haired ex-boyfriend standing just around the red brick corner of the school trying to hide his cigarette behind his back.

“Flash... I didn't know you smoked.” She said as she let her guard down.

“You're not going to tell anyone are you?” Flash nervously brought the cigarette to his lips and took a drag.

“Of course not! But I'm not surprised if you don't believe me.” Sunset put her back against the brick wall and slid back down into a sitting position. Over the past few weeks Sunset noticed that Flash Sentry was among the very few students who did not harbor any ill intent towards her. A question formed in her mind, but was answered before she could ask it.

“Nuh uh, you got me wrong Shimmy, I know you're not Anon-a-miss. I was worried that you'd like, care too much about my health and try to get me to quit or something.” Flash blew a thick cloud of smoke.

Sunset blushed at hearing her old pet name while she waved the smoke out of her face and tried not to cough. “You know I'm not Anon-a-miss? How? And no. Smoking is bad, but what you do with your body is none of my business.”

“Remember back when we were a thing I let slip all sorts of deep personal things about myself?”

“Yeah... how could I forget?”

“All that stuff would have been some great gossip material for the Anon-a-miss page, but none of it made it on. Instead she posted about me being in the—” He paused and groaned. “Girl's bathroom.” He begrudgingly mumbled.

Sunset blushed with secondhand embarrassment. “Wait what? Why were you in the girl's bathroom?”

“It was an accident! I swear! I was playing a game on my phone while walking to the bathroom and I wasn't paying attention. I walked into the bathroom and got confused when I couldn't find any urinals. Then, I realized where I was and freaked out. I almost knocked over this screaming freshman girl when I got the heck out.”

Sunset's face changed colors from her restrained laughter. “Don't worry about it too much Flash it happens to the best of—” She couldn't finish her sentence before succumbing to laughter. She immediately disguised her suppressed outburst as a coughing fit to protect Flash's pride.

“Hey, uh are you alright?”

Sunset composed herself. “Yeah I'm fine, a uh bug went in my mouth.”

“That's gnarly.” Flash was convinced. “Anyway, back to my point. If you were Anon-a-miss, she doesn't seem to mind spilling everyone's deepest darkest secrets so I was pretty surprised when she didn't post any of my real stuff, y'know? Also, from the website design it's obvious someone is trying to frame you. If you wanted to fling dirt without anyone knowing it's you then you wouldn't make your profile pic your silhouette and the theme your hair colors. You're way too smart for that.” Flash took another drag as Sunset moved upwind of the cigarette smoke.

“That's... actually... the best thing I've heard in weeks! Now there are two people who think I'm innocent. You and Twilight.” Sunset's face brightened up considerably.

“Twilight!?” Flash's face flushed red and the cigarette fell out of his mouth.

“Yep, Twilight.” Sunset noticed Flash's reaction. “You like her don't you?” Sunset teased.

“O...of course I like her everyone does.” his face returned to it's original hue as he crossed his arms and looked away.

“Yep, they do.”

An uncomfortable silence followed. Sunset pulled out her phone and pretended to check it. Moments passed before a thought crossed her mind.

Sunset sighed. “Hey Flash.”

“Yeah?”

“I never apologized to you for the way I was back then, did I?” Sunset asked, as she fidgeted with her hair.

“I... I don't remember.” Flash looked away.

“Well, I'm sorry for how I was back then and for how I treated you. You're a great guy and you didn't deserve any of... that. And um well, I was kinda wondering—”

“Hey If it isn't Anon-a-miss, trying to dig up dirt on Brad are ya?” A white feathery haired student interrupted. A group of four students with malicious grins approached Sunset from seemingly out of nowhere.

“Huh?” Sunset gasped and spun her head around in surprise as she felt her phone swiftly disappear from her hand.

“Hey! Give that back to her!” Flash yelled.

“Hell no, I bet she has dirt for this week's posts on this thing.” Gilda snapped the aluminum bodied smartphone in half with her bare hands and casually tossed it into the nearby dumpster.

“HEY!!!” Sunset exclaimed as Flash stood looking more upset than her.

“Now that I took care of that how about I break something else in half?” Gilda cracked her knuckles and her gang grinned menacingly.

“Leave Sunset alone! She hasn't done anything wrong!” Flash took a step forward putting himself between the group and Sunset.

“Airing out the entire school isn't wrong? Move it prince charming, we're gonna teach her a lesson.” Gilda put her hand on Flash's shoulder to push him aside, but he didn't budge.

“I SAID. LEAVE. SUNSET. ALONE.” Flash scowled, the hand left Flash's shoulder and the three lackeys each took a step back.

“Poor son of a bitch must be being blackmailed into being a bodyguard.” Gilda said.

“Well if that's how its gonna be then...” A fist made contact with Flash's stomach completely winding him. While doubled over in pain Gilda slugged him again in the side of the face sending him to the ground.

“Flash! No!” Sunset shouted. Flash's vision turned red with rage. He got back on his feet.

Gilda rose her eyebrows. “Persistent are we? Hey Fido you take ca—”

Flash swung his right fist with the full weight of his body backing it clean into the center of Gilda's antagonizing face producing a sickening crack. Gilda shot backwards further than expected and slammed the back of her head against the sturdy post of a chain link fence. She landed motionless in a hunched over position with her arms curled inwards. A small pool of blood formed by her head on the hard frozen concrete. The three other troublemakers gasped in terror and ran away as fast as they could.

“Flash... what did you do? I mean thank you for standing up for me, but I think that was a little too much...” Sunset's voice was exasperated with worry.

“Oh man, I'm in deep trouble now.” Flash reached his bleeding right hand to a bruised spot on his cheek.

“Flash you're hurt, I'm so sorry I shouldn't have gotten you involved in my mess.” Still rattled, she wrapped her arms around him out of reflex.

“Sunset, actually I'm sorry.”

“What? Shut up, you don't have anything to be sorry for. Come on, we need to get you help.” She helped steady his dizzy stagger.

“No. Wait, this has been weighing on my mind for a while now. I need to tell you this.”

Sunset's eyes widened as his words piqued her interest. “What is it?”

Flash took a deep breath. “I... knew about the trouble you were in. I overheard your friends shunning you in the hallway that day, but I didn't do anything to help. I was worried that if I stood up for you then everyone would also go after me. I was a coward, but I don't care about that anymore. Someone wanted to seriously hurt you, Sunset. This has gone too far, even if you actually were Anon-a-miss this isn't the answer.” Noticing tears forming in Sunset's eyes, he tightened their embrace.

“What should we do about her?” A pair of worried opal eyes were fixed upon a bloody and motionless mass on the floor.

“Go tell Principal Celestia about this right away. I'm hauling her to the nurse.” Flash released Sunset and hoisted Gilda up over his shoulder. Blood dripped on his jacket from the girl's shattered face.

“Be honest about what happened. It wouldn't be right if I got off easy for this.” Sunset nodded at his request and he began dragging the limp body to the nurse's office.

Sunset stood dazed for a second trying to process what just happened before taking a few steps back and making a mad dash for the principal's office.

Author's Note:

Feel free to correct my spelling and grammar. Everyone's my editor!

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