• Published 5th May 2018
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Seven Days in Sunny June, Book V: The New Frontier - Shinzakura



The conclusion of the Seven Days in Sunny June saga! The world has changed, and those within it must cope with the aftermath of what has happened.

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SEVEN YEARS AGO: Changes

SEVEN YEARS AGO
Broadlands, Virginia

“Ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t change time”

Normally Ziggy Stardust’s music was something that Glitter absolutely adored. When she was a teenager, she used to fantasize about marrying him, even with all the rumors about him being gay or something. But now that she was older, she understood the lyrics a little better – especially the ones to this song.

“You’re not going to come home, Aunt Glitter?” Aria had asked her, and it broke the woman’s heart.

“Ari, the work I do in Singapore is very important,” Glitter said, knowing that was a half-truth. The work could be done at any engineering company anywhere in the world. It was just one of the guys who worked at the company, a fellow American, who really made it worth working there. “Do you remember what I told you three about work?”

“If it’s not worth doing right, it’s not worth doing at all,” Adagio chimed in.

“But you know I miss you three every day, right?”

“You do?” Sonata asked. “Then can we come live with you?”

She shook her head. “No, you can’t. As much as I would love you to, my apartment is too small for all of us and besides, you need to be here for your dad, okay? He’s going to be lonely without Softy, and you three are supposed to make him smile.”

“Or else he’s going to run away again,” Adagio said with the tone that only a child knew.

“That’s not fair to your father,” Glitter reminded her. “He has a very important position in the government.”

“No! He’s going to run away again! He ran away when Mommy died and you had to take care of us and he’s going to do it again now that Softy’s gone!” Adagio looked at her aunt with the gaze of the broken. “I don’t want to be alone anymore! I don’t!”

“You won’t. It’s not going to happen again, I promise.”

“State is thinking about assigning me to the Embassy in Baghdad,” Sky said softly. “I had thought about not taking it before, because I was going to be a father again. But now? It might just be what I need.”

“You fucking coward,” Velvet hissed. The rest of the family was there, too, save for their parents, who had flown back to San Diego earlier in the day. “You’re running out on your children again.”

“Yeah, thanks for making a liar out of me, big bro,” Glitter snarled. “Velvet and I don’t agree on much, but this time I think she’s spot on. You are a fucking coward! Why are you doing this to the girls?”

Sky looked at his sisters. “Ladies, you don’t understand.”

“Then explain it to me.” They turned to see Armonia walking into the room – and she was not happy in the least.

“I thought you had caught the flight back to Canterlot with Tia and Lu?” Velvet asked her.

“I took a later flight on purpose. Sky and I have a different relationship than the rest of our family does, because we were sweethearts once, and so I know him on a more intimate level than you do,” the older woman told her. She then looked at Sky. “Or at least I thought I did.”

“Moni….” he started.

“No. Do not think you can do that to me, Sky,” she said coldly. “Ladies, please leave. I think your brother and I should have a private discussion and besides, I think you need to prepare for the inevitable.”

“The inevitable?”

“You’ll understand.”

The two sisters got the point and departed. Velvet looked at Armonia and said, “Be careful.”

The woman smiled wolfishly. “You should know it is not I that should be careful, Velvet.”


The two looked at each other for a while before Armonia wandered over to the house bar, where Sky had kept a well-stocked liquor cabinet. “There was a time,” she began, “where I would have left my husband for you. I love Chivalry like no tomorrow, and he has given me Cadenza. But even still, I knew that if you had only asked, I would have left him.” She poured a whiskey on the rocks for herself. “When we decided that we were better off being friends? I lied. I hoped that time would make you realize you cared about me as much as I did about you, and that even when I met Chivalry and married him, and when I had Cadenza, that somehow you would realize where you belonged.”

“Moni, I—”

“I’m not done yet,” she growled. “When you finally met Lotus and told me, your oldest friend and once-love, that you had finally found someone, I was both jealous and happy for you. I learned to put away childish things, foolish hopes like my emotions because I had a husband I loved and a child that was my world. But even then, I had still hoped. And when Lotus was murdered by those bastards, I knew you would hurt. I didn’t want that, but there was nothing I could do.

“I never thought you would abandon the children you had with her. I think it shocked me more than I could say, because the Sky I knew once told me that he wanted a family, because family meant more to him than anything. And then here you were, with three children, three beautiful little girls, and you abandoned them.”

She swallowed the whiskey in one draw, then poured again. “And then I heard that you took another bride. One only a handful of years older than my own child. As odd as it may seem, I don’t blame you for that. Softspoken, from what I know, was a beautiful young woman and she made you feel alive, something you clearly needed. By this point, I was long past my feelings for you, but I still valued our friendship, because you have been my oldest and closest friend.”

She picked up the glass and walked over to him, a smile on her face – but clearly not a happy one. “And now your child bride is dead, and you are running away from your children again, Sky. And I see a man who looks like someone I loved – I love – very dearly both as friend and once-lover…and I don’t see that man at all. Do you know what I see? A weak, spineless fool who let himself fall apart so badly that his baby sister had to grow up faster than necessary. And then you turned to the arms of a child…and foisted a child on her. Maybe that would have made you wise up. But then tragedy struck and you know what? You are running again.”

With a move so fast he couldn’t track it, she slapped him across the face. “How long before you find some pliant fifteen-year-old girl in Baghdad? How long before the cycle occurs again?”

His hand went to where she’d connected, and he glared at her. “I don’t like your tone, Moni.”

“And I don’t care for what you are doing to your and Lotus’ children. Would you have done the same if Softspoken had her child and then died? Your girls are being forced to grow up one step short of feral, Sky. Cadenza told me that to protect Sonata from a misunderstanding, Adagio hit her cousin Twilight – and Aria trained a bow on her. Those are not the actions of children – those are the actions of sociopaths who become that way because they have no parents in their lives. And I am not talking about Glitter, or Softspoken or even Lotus. There is only one parent at fault here – because he doesn’t have the courage to stay and raise his children.”

He glared at her. “I think you should leave.”

“Yes, I think so too,” she said, genuine sorrow in her eyes. “I see the boy I loved is gone and the man I cherished isn’t here anymore. I don’t know who you are.” She looked away, and Sky thought he saw tears in her eyes. “Goodbye, Sky. We probably won’t see each other ever again.”

“Moni, I….”

But she was gone.

Back at the hotel, Armonia sat by the bar, with Velvet, Night and Glitter. Tomorrow they would all return to Canterlot, leaving Sky here with his children.

“Velvet, you are not to leave tomorrow,” Armonia told her in a stern voice.

“I know. Night and I have talked about it, and so have Glitter and I.”

Glitter chimed in. “I would do anything for those girls – I practically see them as mine. But I can’t give up my life as it is right now. And they need stability right now, stability Sky can’t – or won’t – give them.”

Night was quiet. “We’re already raising Octavia half the time because of how busy my brother and sister-in-law are. But thankfully my last book sold enough that we were able to look into getting a newer house out in San Palomino.”

“Really? I was not aware of that.”

Night laughed and nodded. “When I was Shining’s age, I thought I’d be a sci-fi writer. Didn’t pan out, so I became a physicist. Wrote a book just to get it out of my system, and now the number one non-fiction book out there is mine. My agent called me and actually asked if I had any fiction that I’d dabbled in. Said I could be like Billion Stars himself, both respected scientist and well-known celebrity.” He swirled his drink in his glass. “It was enough that the university wants to offer me a raise, because they probably think Shasta University’s going to want to hire me away when my contract is up,” he joked.

“The point is, we have a house big enough for Twily, the baby, Tavi and Shiny here,” Velvet answered. “And if we have to accommodate three more girls…well, family takes care of family.”

Armonia smiled. “You’ve been a mother three times, Velvet, and as Night says, you’re raising your niece as well. Can you take three more girls in?”

She looked at Night, and in return, he took her hand. “I’ve always wanted a large family,” she admitted. “Who knows? Maybe when the girls get settled in, we’ll think about adopting someday as well.”

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