• Published 23rd Sep 2016
  • 1,044 Views, 27 Comments

As the World Falls Down - HudsonHawk

Sunset Shimmer tries to reach out and make amends to a boy she helped humiliate, who's doing something worse than trying to kill himself... living out of spite.

  • ...

The Stranger

"Well, we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out
And show ourselves when everyone has gone
Some are satin, some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They're the faces of a stranger
But we'd love to try them on..."
-Billy Joel, "The Stranger."

"Now do you remember?" Silver asked bitterly.

Sunset did now.

She remembered how Blueblood came to her for help in putting Silver in his place... how she she had bought all the dollar store dog food she could in order to fill that Gatorade container... how she baited Silver... how she had texted Blueblood with the selfie to let him know to spring the trap... how they had laughed as they brought his hopes up and then mercilessly dashed them to pieces...

Oh yes, she remembered now...

She didn't know why she didn't remember him. Maybe when you've tormented so many people, you can forget a few people here or there... he was right. For her, his humiliation was simply another Tuesday.

But she knew in her heart that as much as that was true, what was just as true was that she wasn't that person anymore. She wanted now, more than anything, to make things right with those she hurt. Doing so got her a close friend in Dac... maybe more than that. To Sunset, Dac was a brother she had never had.

"I... I'm sorry..." Sunset began.

"Oh? You're sorry?" Silver began, somehow more bitter than before. "Well! That fixes everything! You said you're sorry, everything's all better-WRONG!!! Things aren't fine, you deceitful succubus!"

In retrospect, Sunset didn't know how to start her apology. In the shock of remembering what she had done, she could only say the first thing that came to mind.

"Look, Silver-"

But Silver wasn't finished. Not by a long shot.

"I HATE you, Sunset Shimmer. I have NOTHING but hate for you. If you took this building apart, laid every single solitary piece next to each other, and wrote the word 'hate' all over each piece in the smallest possible size with a Sharpie, the result wouldn't equal ONE-TENTH of the hatred I have for you! I did nothing to you, and you helped that dickweed humiliate me! And yet you think it can be brushed over with a 'I'm sorry?'"

"Now if you'd listen-"

"No, you listen!" Silver said, getting in her face. "You go around acting like you've changed, like you're regretful of what you've done. But you tried that before with me, and look what happened. People like you DON'T change! People like you DON'T know what it's like to be bullied! You don't know what it's like to be toyed with and mocked for someone's amusement! You've never known how it feels to think that you're less than human, that your only point to existing is to be someone's punching bag!"

Sunset tried to think of a biting reply, of something that could shut down Silver's argument completely... but she couldn't. She couldn't at all. He was right. Even in Equestria, she had never really been a victim. Sure, there were some comments thrown her way when she became Celestia's pupil... but they were more along the lines of "teacher's pet" and "apple polisher" than anything truly demeaning...

"If I had my way..." Silver continued, "I wouldn't want to see you again, I wouldn't want to hear you again, I wouldn't want to be in the same room with you, in the same building with you, in the same city, in the same state... but I can't have my way, so I just want you to leave me the hell alone."

The sound of the door being unlocked renewed Silver's vigor. He quickly grabbed his stuff off the desk, and as the door opened to reveal Vice-Principal Luna, all Silver could say was this:


He quickly excused himself as he passed Luna, then rounded the corner and was out of sight.

Sunset fell into the nearest chair, her head in her hands and mind weary with thought.

"Miss Shimmer..." Luna began, "...detention's over. You can leave now."

Sunset looked up, embarrassed. "Oh... I'm sorry, Miss Luna."

"I don't know if I'm ever going to get used to the respectful Sunset Shimmer..." Luna started as she walked over and took a seat next to Sunset. "...but I've been around enough to know when there's a lot on your mind. Do you need to talk?"

Sunset took a breath and sighed. "I think so."

"Then go ahead." Luna said, in a voice going from stern authority figure to big sister. "I'm all ears."

Sunset was stunned. "Even after all the trouble I gave you... after everything I did to all of you... you still want to help me?"

"Miss Shimmer..." Luna said, placing a hand on Sunset's shoulder, "...if I didn't try to help or listen to a student in this school, I would be derelict in my duty as a vice-principal."

Sunset laid her head down in her arms and sighed. "Even a monster like me?"

"Sunset..." Luna said, radiating concern.

The use of her first name took Sunset by surprise. As long as she had known Luna, she had only been formal and professional with her students. She never heard her use any student's first name.

"...are you listening?" Luna asked.

Sunset looked up to see that Luna's normally stern look had softened into an almost motherly look of concern, which Sunset figured ran in her family. She nodded.

"You're not a monster. Not at all."

"Yeah... my past says otherwise..." Sunset replied, a tear beginning to fall down her cheek.

"The past is just that, Sunset... the past." Luna said as she handed Sunset a tissue from her pocket. As Sunset dabbed her eyes, Luna continued.

"You can't change what's passed, no matter how hard you try. What matters is what you do in the here and now. And to be quite honest, I'm proud of you."

"P...p...proud...?" Sunset said, gobsmacked.

"Yes." Luna said, smiling. "I was starting to think you were a lost cause. It would have been a shame, because you had and still have a lot of potential. But then the Fall Formal happened, and now you know what I see? I see the Sunset Shimmer that I knew was in there all along. Sure, you still have to see me in detention from time to time, but you're in here because you were defending other students, not because you were tormenting them."

Sunset looked away. "I just wonder how many more I hurt as much as Dac and Silver... to the point where they couldn't take life anymore. I mean, I was able to save Dac, and I'm grateful for it because... not only did I fix a mistake, but I gained a brother... but after seeing Silver, I wonder if it was just a fluke..."

"I heard, Sunset." Luna said, bringing Sunset's face up to look at her. "I heard Mr. Screen's comments when I came to unlock the door. And he's only half right. Only SOME people like you can't change, and that's only either because they cannot see what damage they're doing, or they just don't care as long as they have their fun."

"I... I put so much hate in his heart..." Sunset said, more tears coming down.

"Sunset..." Luna started as she handed Sunset some more tissues, "...I'm going to tell you a story about myself at your age..."

Sunset dried her eyes and nodded for Luna to continue.

"When I was your age... I... I was a bully, too." Luna began.

Sunset looked at her, a little shocked. "You? The stickler for law and order?"

"Miss Shimmer..." Luna said, slipping back into stern mode.

"Sorry..." Sunset replied.

"Anyway... when I was growing up, I hated Celestia. She was just so... perfect... She got the straight As, the awards, the praise..."

Luna cleared her throat and kept going.

"Meanwhile, I was incredibly average. I could only pull in Bs and Cs, and I wasn't particularly athletic... At the time it felt like even if I could cure cancer or pull off some kind of miracle, my parents valued her more than they did me because they always told her how proud they were of her and it felt like I could never measure up. So I picked on others."

Luna looked down in regret as she continued.

"I wanted everyone to feel like how I felt. I pulled the most hurtful pranks. I slashed teachers' tires. I played with lonely guys' emotions... but I figured they'd bounce back. Back then, we didn't know as much about what bullying could do to a person and what it could lead to. I figured it'd just make them feel bad, but they'd feel better eventually... maybe I knew what it did and I was just trying to convince myself otherwise... I had a permanent spot in detention and a record that had be brought in by someone with a wheelbarrow."

Luna chuckled a bit at the thought of the wheelbarrow, but stopped to collect herself.

"What changed you?" Sunset asked.

"I came home from detention one day and found Celestia crying. She had gotten her report card and was crying because she got a B. Of course, my parents were comforting her and telling her she'd do better next time."

Luna took a breath, then continued.

"I got angry. They were always hard on me for getting Bs and Cs and wondering why I wasn't like Celestia, and here they were telling Little Miss Perfect that a B wasn't the end of the world... so I mocked her. I told her that it looked like she wasn't so perfect after all."

"What happened?" Sunset asked.

"They forced me to go up and apologize. I just wanted to get it over with so badly that I didn't bother to knock to enter her room... and I saw her cutting..."

Sunset's jaw dropped.

"She had her skirt off and she had one of the blades from the razor she used to shave her legs. She was cutting on her thigh so no one would notice any scars... I'll never forget it... she was saying to herself that she wasn't perfect, that she'd never be perfect, that our parents didn't love her anymore... and then she saw me..."

Luna's voice began to crack as she continued.

"I felt lower than I'd ever been in my life. All this time, I thought Celestia's life was easy, but all I had seen was a mask. She had an enormous pressure on her to get those grades... those honors... for the first time, I saw my sister for who she really was: not an overachiever, but a flawed, normal human being. All that hate and that resentment toward her disappeared."

A tear began to fall down Luna's face.

"She yelled at me to get out... that she didn't want me to see her like that... but I didn't. I took the blade out of her hand, threw it away, and gave her the biggest hug she'd ever gotten from me. I just held her... and that's when my parents came in..."

Sunset gave Luna one of her tissues back so she could dry her eyes. Luna kept going.

"Well, we had to go through family therapy, of course. The first night after we started that, I felt lower than I ever did because of how I let my resentment take over and let me hurt others..."

"Are you afraid that I'll be a better princess than you? You know I'm ready! YOU DON'T WANT ME TO BE A PRINCESS!!"

That long-buried memory shot to the front of Sunset's mind. Oh, how she knew what resentment could do...

"...and I was in my room, crying... it was like I felt all the pain that I caused others at once, and I was convinced that I was a monster... that I wasn't worthy of any forgiveness... and then my sister heard me, and I'll never forget what she told me. They're words I'm going to pass on to you, Sunset."

Sunset looked up at Luna, eager to hear her.

"She said 'Luna, if you were really a monster, you wouldn't be feeling all that regret. You wouldn't be wishing to take it all back and try again. True monsters wouldn't care.'"

Luna sighed as the weight of the memory came down on her.

"I told her that nobody would forgive me for what I did, and for the first time, my sister told me what I want to tell you."

Luna looked Sunset dead in the eyes.

"She said four simple words. 'I believe in you.' Four simple words that helped me turn myself around. Four simple words that made our relationship stronger... 'I believe in you.'"

"So..." Sunset started, "...did they forgive you?"

"I did my best to make amends, Sunset." Luna replied. "I paid those teachers back for the tires I slashed. I apologized to those I had bullied. Some didn't forgive me, but the rest, when they saw that I truly had changed, did. Some still didn't, but you know what? I tried, and that's all you can do."

Luna chuckled again.

"You know, the odd thing is... one of those lonely guys I led on?"

Sunset nodded.

"We're dating now. We met up at the 20 year reunion."

Sunset looked at Luna, incredulous.

"It brings me to the other point of this, and another lesson I want to leave you with. There are times that I want to go back and keep myself from doing all those hurtful things. But then I think that if it weren't for how I was, my bond with my sister would not be as strong as it is, I wouldn't have someone who believes in me, and I wouldn't be dating a really good guy. It's both our successes and our failures that make us who we are, Sunset. Never forget that. The lowest points in your life can lead to the highest points."

Sunset took a breath and got out of her seat.

"Where are you going, Miss Shimmer?" Luna asked.

"You're right, Miss Luna. I'm not a monster. I'm not that person anymore. Dac wasn't a fluke. Dac showed that no matter what, I will try. Even if Silver won't forgive me, dammit, I will go down TRYING!"

"That's the spirit, Miss Shimmer." Luna said, proudly.

Sunset headed for the door, but stopped to look back as she opened it.

"Thank you, Miss Luna, for the lesson. I'll never forget it."

Luna nodded.

"I believe in you, Miss Shimmer." Luna said as Sunset walked out the door, determined to fix her mistake.

Author's Note:
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