• Published 30th Dec 2016
  • 12,679 Views, 221 Comments

Homecoming - Rose Quill

Sunset Shimmer recieves devastating news from her previous world of Equestria. Twilight Sparkle of the human world accompanies her on her journey back home to help support her in her time of need.

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Chapter Two - Departure

I sat at one of the picnic tables outside the school, staring at the weathered top. My friends were all gathered around me, waiting for me to continue. I had already told them about finding out that my mother had died and that I would have to leave for a little while. The silence was getting a little uncomfortable, so I glanced up, finding Twilight looking straight at me, an odd look on her face.

“Look, it’s all right,” I said. “I’ll only be gone long enough to pay my respects and help my sisters take care of any loose ends. Maybe a week at most. ” I forced a smile. “You’ll hardly know I’m gone.”

“Ah don’t know, Sunset,” Applejack said, scratching her head. “Ah remember when mah folks passed, and it takes longer than you think to mend things. If it weren’t for Granny, Ah don’t know what me and Big Mac would’ve done, especially with Applebloom being as young as she was.” She eyed me closely. “Ya sure you’re ok?”

I patted the air between us. “I’m fine as can be expected. I’m hurting, but I’m going to be ok.” The tug in my chest from those words made it seem hard for me to believe. “It may be a while before I can laugh easily again, but I’ll be ok.”

"And I'll be there to help you on that, Sunny!" Pinkie chirped, even though her smile wasn't as wide as normal.

“What was she like?” Twilight said softly.

The question caught me off guard. “What do you mean?”

“What was your mom like? What did she do, what did she like?”

I poked at the tabletop. “I don’t remember a lot, I haven’t seen her much since I was a filly.”

Twilight looked confused for a moment until Fluttershy leaned over and whispered in her ear. “Oh, right,” she murmured. “Pony.” She was still trying to wrap her scientific brain around that idea.

I continued as though I hadn’t heard the exchange. It was common enough since Princess Twilight had come after me a little over a year ago. “She was a painter, mainly community murals. She had a grand gift, and many families asked for her services.” I pulled her picture from my pocket, setting it before me, feeling the tears behind my eyes and forced them down. “My sisters and I would sometimes travel with her and help.”

Rarity took the photo and looked at it. “I must say, darling, the two of you are marvelously photogenic.”

“She loved getting photos taken of us all,” I said, a wistful smile flitting across my face. “Our house was stuffed with them, all sorts of photos from great nature views to us as foals.” I took the photo back and set it down. “This was taken shortly after I got accepted to Princess Celestia’s school. She was so proud of me, and we wrote almost constantly. It wasn’t until my ego got the better of me that I lost contact.”

The tears broke the dam, and the hurt and the accusations inside hailed against my heart. I collapsed forward and started sobbing again. Pinkie and Fluttershy were next to me and I felt both of them rub my back. For once, Pinkie was being quiet and calm.

I felt a hand cover mine, and I glanced up to see Twilight holding it, a few tears in her eyes too. All of them looked upset, sad over my pain and the fact that they couldn’t help me with it. I wiped my eyes and sniffed a few times.

“I’m sorry you guys,” I said, my voice still weepy. “I hate getting like this. I just miss her, and maybe if I hadn’t run away...”

Rainbow Dash slammed her hands down. “What, she might not have died? You can’t believe your leaving had anything to do with that!”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t even know why she died. I can’t say for sure it wasn’t my fault.”

“You can't say it was, either,” whispered Fluttershy.

I shook my head. “But there’s also the years I was here,” I traced the outline of my mother’s face in the photo. “I never told her I was leaving and I know Celestia wasn’t going to tell her I ran into an alternate world because of something I saw in a magic mirror that made me demand she make me a princess.” The memories of that stabbed deeply, making sure the tears kept flowing. “I know if nothing else I caused her and my sisters a lot of heartache.”

“You simply won’t know until you go see them, I’m sure,” Rarity said, reaching out and giving my hand a squeeze along with Twilight. “Just be sure to let us know how things are going and if there’s anything we can do to help.”

“How am I supposed to do that?” I asked with a grim chuckle.

“Leave th' book with one of us,” AJ said. “We’ll be sure to check it every day.”

“Or we could go with you,” Rainbow remarked, an eager look in her eyes.

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Dash,” I hedged. “I don’t know what would happen if you all tried to cross the portal. At the bare minimum, you’d be turned into a pony, and I don’t know how the world would react to two of you. And, if the stories I heard from the Princess are true, you all are moderately famous in all likelihood.”

“But we saw the other me come through and nothing happened,” Twilight said, thoughtful.

I hesitated. “I’ll say that I’m not sure how the mirror works. But it’s still probably not a good idea. Magic can have a weird way of reacting to some things.”

I glanced at my watch and stood up. “Thanks for listening, but if I’m going to be ready to leave when the portal opens I need to go and set some things up.” I pulled the book with my Cutie Mark stamped on it and passed it to Twilight. “Can I trust you won’t try dissecting the book to figure out how it works?” I asked with a wan smile.

She smiled back, but there was something in her eyes that I couldn’t place, her mind obviously somewhere else. Ever since the Friendship Games, there had been a connection between us, and I had felt it resonate during our time at Camp Everfree. I put it down again as the fact that the magic that had awakened in her at the games had been drawn from my friends and I. Along with my newfound ability to sense emotions and memories, I figured I was just better at sensing that fading echo of magic.

The rest of my day consisted of light housekeeping and gathering what anything I’d need once I crossed over, mostly my pendant and a few bits tucked safely in a small bag slung over my shoulder. As night began to fall, I made my way to the school and the Wondercolt statue that held the portal to Equestria. As I approached, I saw a figure waiting by the statue as well, a gray hoodie against the cool air. One I recognized fairly quickly.


She turned, nervously adjusting her glasses. “I didn’t think you should go alone,” she stated quietly.

“What about the book?”

“I left it with Applejack. Seemed safer than anyone else”

“You’re not coming, Twi,” I said firmly. “You don’t know the land or it's social constructs. It is also not quite as safe as this side is.”

“From everything I’ve heard from you and from reading some of the entries in the book this afternoon, it’s a safe enough place for a few days. And I think you could use a friend to be there with you.”

“I’ll have the princess and her friends, my family,” I stated, a little annoyed that she was still arguing against me.

“Are you listening to yourself?” she said, more forcefully than I had ever heard her speak before. “The princess and her friends. They may look like our friends, act like them, but they're not our friends, not really.” Her face held a look that wouldn’t brook argument. “You may be friends with Princess Twilight, but outside of her, you’re going to be alone at first. You haven’t talked to your sisters in years, and Celestia is still going to be in the position of your former teacher and mentor. If nothing else, you need a friend that knows you from more than a few hurried letters.” She adjusted her glasses, a slight blush of embarrassment showing. "And in the case of grief through a loss like this, having a familiar person around you has been shown to help with the recovery process in some studies."

I started to open my mouth to rebuke her statements when the truth of what she was saying started to hit home. She was right, and the thought made me realize how lonely it might feel if the only real ally I had was Princess Twilight. I sighed and rubbed the bridge of my nose, my frustration leaking away. I knew that yelling wouldn't accomplish anything, given how she had reacted at the Games after the attack of the vines and my angry outburst.

“Ok, but let me warn you, the first few seconds are going to be disorienting, and I want you to stay still when you finish crossing through. You’re going to have a different physiology and your center of gravity will be off.” I locked eyes with her. “Not to mention you’re going to look and sound exactly like a local royal figure. Last chance to back out.”

She took a deep breath and turned towards the portal. "Ready," she said, a little tremble in her voice and body that I recognized from Lab days in science class. Just as much as she wanted to help me, she was also going to see something new and that was addictive to her.

"See you on the other side," I said and stepped through.

Author's Note:

The biggest character flaw in Sunset - to me, at least - is her pride. It was what drove her to leave Celestia's school, what caused her to try and steal Twilight's crown, and I'm sure it's what caused much of her self-doubt during Rainbow Rocks.

I can see her wanting to be alone for this, but I can also see her grief blinding her to certain realities and needing someone to throw the harsh light of life onto her path, someone that felt like she owed it to her. Hence, SciTwi uses her own stubbornness to force the issue.

Again, thoughts and opinions always welcomed.