• Published 4th Oct 2016
  • 14,474 Views, 1,273 Comments

Making Family - Cirrus Sky



You can find a home, but sometimes you have to make a family. Sunset is working on that.

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Recalled

The girl sat on the couch was staring blankly. No focus on anyone around her, muttering darkly but without any direction or aim. A small mercy given the circumstances.

“What are we to do?” Celestia was pacing while Luna stood back, unsure of how to truly help. “This isn't something normal, I can't take her to the doctor...”

“'Tia...” Luna reached out to her sister.

“She is regressing Luna! But that doesn't mean we have to watch her carefully, it means she is turning back to a rage filled demon!” Celestia looked over at her sister. Luna was taken aback by how worried the woman looked. Her eyes were bloodshot as tears ran down her cheeks.

She had bodily brought Sunset from the derelict tram building and put her into the car. All the while the blank, black eyed stare remained in place. Sunset did not even react to being sat in the car and the belt clicked into place.

She had taken the journey in near silence, not responding to her mother's pleading or Luna's careful attempts to speak with her. “No one...” and “Nothing.” Were her whispers.

Back in the house, in Sunset's home, she had not reacted either. Sat where she was placed as demonic eyes looked to nothing at all.

“I know. We need help from someone who knows about these things.” Luna caught hold of Celestia. “Princess Twilight can help.” The thought that the princess would know what to do was the only thing Luna had to go on.

“Sunset uses her book to talk to the princess. We can write to her.” Celestia almost threw herself to Sunset on that realisation. The teen still had her backpack on and she always carried the precious link to her friend. Gently, so as not to disturb her, Celestia opened the bag and found the book.

“Here's a pen.” Luna passed one on. The sooner someone could help, the better it would be. She wasn't sure how long she could stand seeing Sunset like this, the teen had to be suffering.

Celestia hurried to find a blank page and write out her message, doing her best not to invade her daughter's conversations with a friend.

-Princess Twilight. We need your help urgently. Something is wrong with Sunset. Please. Help my daughter.- The words were written in a scrawl, far from her usual penmanship, but this was urgent. It was a wonder she had created a coherent message.

The book glowed as the magic took effect, Celestia just had to hope that Princess Twilight was attentive to the book. She held her breath a beat, begging for a reply.

Another glow, the book shook.

-I will be over right away. What sort of trouble, will I need anything?- The words appeared. The princess was coming.

Celestia let out the breath she held and penned her reply.

-It was the stone, she did not come home and when I found her- She slipped and scrawled a moment. -Her eyes were like when she was a demon.-

Celestia barely had time to finish writing before the reply appeared.

-Can someone collect me and bring me to your home. I'm coming now.- She read it aloud.

“I'll go get her.” Luna said, running from the room. “Hang on 'Tia.” She yelled back as the door slammed.

-*-

Luna reached the school to find a worried looking Princess Twilight pacing at the plinth. “Princess!” She pulled over and jumped out.

“I sent Sunset back to find the memory stone. I sent her a warning about the magic, the three day rule. I'd not heard anything from her.” The girl was frantic, shuffling her fists around. Probably a movement she made with hooves at home, Luna mused.

“She didn't come home and when we found her, she wasn't herself.” Luna opened up the passenger door and helped Princess Twilight sit, getting into her own seat she clipped the belt in place for the Princess and herself. “Sunset's eyes... They look the same as her transformation and she doesn't seem to know we are there.”

“What happened when I saw her back?” Princess Twilight was too worried for her friend to be fascinated by the car as they drove.

“Applejack informed us that she took a blast from that memory stone intended for all the girls. She regressed to a point when she was still a pony.” Luna couldn't begin to imagine how scary it had to have been for her niece. “They thankfully destroyed the stone in time and everyone's memories returned, but Sunset was not unaffected.” She paused. “We forgot her too. Celestia and I, we forgot she was our family. The mental toll, she must have been at such a black point.” Luna could not keep the waver from her voice. Fellow feeling affecting her deeply.

“Oh Sunset...” Twilight kept her own tears back, she had thought her friend was more hurt than she had let on. Putting most of her melancholy down to returning to the land she ran from, to the teacher she had threatened and fled. Of course she would also have lost the family that loved her, if all memories had been stolen.

“I count ourselves very fortunate that she did not take irreparable actions.” Luna added. Unsure how closely Twilight knew the girl. The look of fear on the Princess' face told the woman she knew.

“Thank... whoever it is you thank here that she didn't do that.” Twilight shook her head to clear the thought. “Now we need to bring her back.”

“Right.” Luna drove the distance home. She helped the girl out of the car and they hurried into the house.

“Princess Twilight.” Celestia was relieved to see the girl but did not leave Sunset's side. Sat next to her as close as she dared.

Blank eyes turned to the Equestrian and Twilight took a step back. “Sunset Shimmer.” She said to her friend, hoping something was still there.

She received a low reply. “Here to steal the rest.” It was a voice she hated to hear. “Take all that is left.”

“No, I am here to help you back to your Mom.” Twilight replied calmly. She had faced down Tirek, befriended Discord and yes, she had defeated a girl overcome with power in a world and body not her own.

“Those are the first full sentences she's spoken since I brought her home.” Celestia said, reaching out a hand to touch a lock of red-gold hair. The girl moved, light glinted off her geode.

“She's wearing her geode still!” Twilight shouted, an idea had formed in her mind on how to tackle this problem. How to bring Sunset back to herself. They had been researching the new magic Sunset had been gifted with almost since the moment the girl got back from camp.

“Sunset rarely takes it off.” Celestia said, looking across to the Princess. Hope finally reaching her heart as the visitor seemed sure of a way to help her daughter.

“I think I know what to try.” Twilight came closer and gently took Sunset's hands. “She can see into memories, feel another's feelings if she uses the geode.” The princess paused a moment, she'd taken Sunset's hand in the past; to help her and to accept her help. But never in a moment quite so dire.

“If she holds the geode and you hold her hands, maybe you can get through to Sunset.” Twilight hoped her idea made sense to the woman. It was magic that even she wasn't fully sure of. Only guesses on how it worked. “I don't think it would be a good idea for me to try. When she was like this in the past she was not happy with me at all.” Twilight let go of Sunset's hand and lowered her eyes, she knew that was an understatement.

“It won't hurt to try.” Luna urged. She could see her sister hesitate. “You could focus on how much Sunset means to you, your memories of her.”

Twilight nodded, “Exactly. Once those thoughts get through to her, she can fight off whatever has stirred the darker magic.” She squeezed Sunset's hands. “The Elements of Harmony, the Magic of Friendship. Those are what helped her change in the past. A mother's love is stronger than both.”

“I'll do it.” Celestia said, she hadn't once looked away from Sunset, watching silent tears fall as she hoped for a flicker of her daughter in the expressionless eyes. “She has to touch the geode and me, yes?”

“That was how Sunset explained it to me.” Twilight had never seen it in action, but long discussions in the journal about the strange new magic gave her some idea.

“Alright.” Celestia took Sunset's hands and gently guided them to the geode. Steeling herself a moment, not sure what the magic would feel like, she clasped her own and Sunset's hands to the crystal.

For the briefest moment, she saw Sunset's eyes glow and then the world went white.

“'Tia!” Luna moved to support her sister, at the burst of magic both mother and daughter had slumped on the couch, though they still held on to the geode. “Are they alright?”

“I don't know.” Twilight said quietly, looking at the clasped hands. “This magic is new to me, to Equestria. We have to hope and believe that their love will overcome the darkness.”

“It will work.” Luna said, believing with all her heart. She had to have faith. It was all they could have right now.

-*-

Alone. Alone in the dark, forgotten and unloved.

Sunset couldn't bring herself to even move. She knew this place wasn't truly real, she had closed her eyes in the sad little room she had called home and opened them here in the darkness. Now her thoughts were muddy, revolving around her loss and sadness.

Before this concealing dark, a very different and painful darkness had gripped her. One that was leading her to endings. Sharp, razor edged plans to take a path of no return.

In this shadowy nowhere she had no motivation even for those things.

“Sunset!” A voice broke through her miasma. A voice she knew, belonging to someone she loved, someone who loved her.

Memories flooded her mind. Memories of herself from another's point of view. Of a girl struggling to fit in at school, who had some strange issues with simple tasks but powered through the problems to achieve good grades. She saw bad days, the school's biggest meanie, with a hint of concern and a hope for improvement colouring the memories.

A replay of her greatest low passed before her eyes. But there was fear for her in these memories, a witness to her pain and a heart crying out to help. Relief to see her pulled from a crater was followed by visions of her working hard. Pride at the improvements to her behaviour.

The memories came faster, a realisation that Sunset was alone became shopping to furnish a room. Heartache to see the place Sunset called home, stark worry when she was sick blooming into absolute love.

Sunset was taken aback. These were her mother's memories. Memories that started before the fall formal. Already a seed of concern and love had been there. Almost from her entry to this world.

“Mom.” Sunset called out. She wanted out from this place. To return to her home.

She saw Celestia's dreams then. Hundreds of little moments she had wished or wistfully dwelt on. A tiny baby, tufts of red and gold hair, held in her arms. A toddler pushed on a swing-set as her twin braids flew back in streaks of red and blonde. Seeing the child into her first day of school, through spelling bees and math competitions, guitar recitals and sports games. A grades, hand-drawn pictures and music sheets populating a refrigerator door.

In her mind, in her dreams, Celestia wished to have been Sunset's mother from the start.

It beat the demon back, put her away where she belonged. The magic that she had shielded herself with, without even realising it, was stripped away. The world came back to her.

Sunset had arms wrapped around her and a voice that warmly filled the wound in her soul. “Come home Sunset. My daughter.”

-*-

“Something is happening.” Twilight whispered, amazed. Luna jumped back from the pair as a brilliant light filled the room. They had remained close, observing them with worry.

“Wow.” Luna blinked and looked at her older sister. White wings, pony ears and an impressive hair extension had all appeared as Celestia had held tight to Sunset's hands, both still clasping the geode the girl wore. Sunset's own pony ears poked through her hair as the magic acted.

“That was unexpected.” Twilight said, looking in awe. “The girls transformation is from their link to the elements of harmony. That was what we thought... Of course Sunset Shimmer proved an exception. But I put that down to her Equestrian heritage.” She stopped talking when the pair moved.

“Mom?” Sunset opened her eyes and looked up so see her mother with some unexpected additions. Pony ears poked through pastel hair and Sunset realised that great white wings were wrapped around her.

“Sunset.” Celestia let her tears fall freely. There was not a trace of blackness in Sunset's eyes now, her child had returned to her.

“You're both alright!” Luna jumped the pair, threading her arms around her sister and niece. Putting herself within the wings embrace. “I was so worried.”

“I'm sorry, I'm so sorry...” Sunset said, feeling a fresh wave of tears rising.

“Hush now, you do not need to be sorry Sunset.” Celestia said, she gently ran a hand through Sunset's hair and brought her hand back up and stroked a pony ear. “Magic took away all our memories, you were alone. I know you did not turn back into the old you.”

“I-” Sunset sobbed and buried her head in Celestia's sweater. “I nearly did- did something that could never be undone.” She was crying, tears soaking into soft fabric. The arms around her were tightened. “The demon, it stopped me... It must have.”

The magic faded, hardly noticed after the revelation.

“And we have you back safe and sound.” Celestia said quietly. It hurt her heart, knowing that Sunset had been suffering so much.

“We have you still.” Luna added. It was painful to hear, but she knew from experience that supporting Sunset was the best help.

They parted then, to sit beside Sunset, each holding a hand. “Sunset.” Twilight stood, a hand to her mouth and tears wetting her cheeks.

“Princess Twilight!” Sunset looked shocked, not expecting to see her friend.

“You should have told me more, I could have helped... I could have at least heard you out.” Twilight shook her head, physical effort to drive away the thoughts racing through her head after Sunset's admission. “I care about you.”

“I know.” Sunset sniffed, “You were all I had left these past few days.” She blinked a few more tears free. “Why are you here?”

“After we found you, you weren't responding to us.” Celestia said carefully. “We asked Twilight for help using your journal. She rushed here to us.”

“You used my geode.” Sunset knew that much. A yawn cut off anything else.

“I think we should head for bed now. It is rather late.” Celestia said. Mostly to Sunset, but she was very tired after the evening she'd just had.

“Yeah. I didn't sleep at all last night.” Sunset was feeling a lot more her usual self. Either the magic or just being back with the people who loved her most was healing the hurt.

Of course, there would be things to confront in the morning, but right now everything was alright. She had her Mom, she had her Aunt and she had her best and first friend. Tomorrow was another day, a day she would reach.