• Published 24th Apr 2017
  • 8,222 Views, 353 Comments

Empty Skies - SunnyDays



With gossip and slander rampant at CHS and a target put on Sunset Shimmer's back, she flees the school in search of solace. She never expected to find allies in the most unlikely of groups: CHS's soccer team, the Wondercolts.

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3 - Clipper

“...Pinkie said something incredibly weird, though.” Surprise had explained her confrontation with her cousin in the halls to the surrounding group, getting Spitfire, Soarin, and the freshmen caught up with today’s latest developments, “Something along the lines of ‘You’ll be next, then you’ll see’.” She looked around the room, a frown crossing her face, “You don’t think…?”

“No.” Sunset sighed, “Pinkie wouldn’t make herself the laughing stock of the school.” Fleet gave Sunset a flat look. “Well… She wouldn’t put herself in harm’s way for a joke this cruel, that is.” She amended. “It has to be someone else, but someone who was at our sleepovers.” Sunset paced back and forth across the floor of the guitar shop.

“Well,” Spitfire watched her pace, “Might as well go down the list, right? Fluttershy?”

“Oh ho, no way.” Sunset denied, shaking her head.

“Yeah, true.” Spitfire agreed, not needing anything else to prove that. “Rarity?”

“A little more plausible, but I really don’t see her throwing herself under the bus to stir up drama.” Sunset reasoned. “And AJ is an awful liar, I’d be able to see her guilt from halfway across the school if it were her.” She leaned against the counter, rolling her eyes a little. She was mad at them, sure, but they were still her friends. And she knew them better than most people at the school did. In fact, she was waiting for the day that she didn’t know every dark secret about someone at CHS.

“...Dash?” Spits asked wearily, frowning.

“Too embarrassing a subject.” Sunset said, “I don’t know why she’d pu-”

DING! Three different phones went off at once, alerting them to a new MyStable post. Misty immediately gave Fleet a look, and the puffy-haired girl just shrugged evenly.

“Oh great, here it comes.” Surprise sighed, opening up her phone, “Let’s see what the… Huh?”

“I don’t want to look.” Fleet scoffed, “What is it, Surprise?”

“...It’s pointed at Dash.” Surprise said breathlessly. “Specifically. It’s a long post; something about getting her head stuck in the bleachers after trying to show off.”

“Pffft, bwahahahaha!” Dust roared with laughter after reading the post, “Really, cap?! How did you manage that?” She asked no one in particular.

Spitfire and Soarin simply looked at each other, blinking.

“That… Doesn’t make any sense.” Spitfire’s brow furrowed, “Only Soarin and I were there with Dash that day. I remember that story-” She let out a snort of amusement, “Pretty fondly, but I know Dash doesn’t.” She tapped a finger to her lips in thought.

“Does this mean…?” Misty looked between her two older friends.

“Let’s not assume and jump on the Dash-is-the-worst train.” Soarin said simply.

“Yeah, there’s gotta be something more to this.” Sunset said. “Are you sure no one else was with you that day? No firefighters to help get Dash’s head out, or passerbys?”

“We got her out just fine by ourselves, but the passerby thing is more than possible.” Spitfire nodded slowly, “But I wouldn’t know why they would’ve been quiet about it for this long. That was Dash’s sophomore year.”

“I’ll tell you why: blackmail.” Sunset replied simply. “Once again, I don’t see Dash threatening her own ego for this. There has to be another answer.”

“Does it have to be someone at your sleepovers?” Surprise asked.

“I mean, I guess not.” Sunset said, frowning and glancing at her phone, “Someone could’ve stolen my phone when I wasn’t looking, I guess.”

“And replaced it before you noticed?” Fleet glanced at her, “Yeah, right. That’s kinda a stretch.”

Misty sighed, finally rising from her seat, “Well, it’s getting late, and there’s a snowstorm about to kick up tonight. We should think on it a bit more and sleep on it. Where do you want to stay for the night, Sunset?”

“What do you mean?” Spitfire asked with a chuckle, “We all planning sleepovers?”

“Not exactly.” Sunset said with a reserved sigh, “I-” She swallowed hard, trying to bite back the truth. She looked around at the faces around her. ‘You need to trust them with this. They can help you.

“You?” Fleetfoot asked, raising an eyebrow.

...She’d like the truth. She’d start to trust you more knowing you’re willing to tell the truth.’ Sunset took in a breath, “No, I… I have nowhere else to go.” She put simply. Fleet choked loudly, spitting the water she was drinking back into her paper cup, looking over at Sunset with a softened expression. The pity made Sunset’s spine tingle uncomfortably, but she ignored it.

“You’re homeless?!” Surprise exclaimed.

Sunset slumped over a little, “Always have been. Turns out not having papers because you’re a unicorn from a magical pony land doesn’t give you many options in real estate or jobs.” She snorted slightly, crossing her arms.

Fleet rubbed the back of her head silently.

“...Well, shit.” Soarin cursed, brows furrowing. She was way too young, and no one should be just living on the streets.

“So, she’ll be staying with me as long as she needs to, unless you all are willing to give her a place for the night.” Misty said simply.

“With that palace of yours, I doubt your parents would care...” Spitfire chuckled dryly.

“They’ll have no say in the matter.” Misty replied.

“I’m sure you’d rather have a place to yourself, right Sunset?” Soarin asked her suddenly.

She blinked in reply, “Well… I mean, I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but that’s way out of my realm of expectations right now.”

“Right.” Soarin mumbled, eyebrows still creased together.

“So, we’re back to the original question: My house, or Surprise’s?” Misty asked again.

“Um, well…” Sunset looked between the two.

“No worries if you’re not comfortable; I understand.” Surprise gave her a saddened smile.

“The disappointed look guilt-trick. Savage.” Fleet muttered under her breath.

“I think I'll stay with you tonight, Surprise.” Sunset smiled at the hyper girl, who fist-pumped.

“WOO! I’ll go get the car waarrrm~!” She bounded out of the shop.

“SURPRISE, WAIT, THAT’S MY CAR!” Misty ran out after her, noticing her car keys in Surprise’s hands. Sunset went to follow them.

“Sunset, wait.” Soarin stood from where he was sitting, “I… I know it’s not much, but, maybe I could help you get a place to stay.”

“‘Not much’?! Soarin, that’d be incredible!” Sunset turned on her heel, her eyes threatening to well with tears.

“Well, in return for you working the register every so often and locking up the doors at night; I’d be willing to convert the store’s breakroom into a little apartment for you.” Soarin gave her a sweet smile.

Yes!” Sunset sniffled, “Wh-when can I start?”

Soarin chuckled softly, “Just show up tomorrow, and I’ll get you orientated.”

“Thank you, Soarin! Thank you so much!” Sunset nodded eagerly, shouldering her backpack.

“No problem.” He shrugged with a smile, “I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

“Th-thanks again!” Sunset ran out to Misty’s car, suddenly more uplifted.

Spitfire leaned back against the counter. “You couldn’t help yourself, could you Soar?”

Soarin’s face reddened, his cheeks hot. “No…” He sighed, “I’d want someone to help Shadey if she were in that situation.”

“They do seem a lot alike.” Spitfire nodded. “But hey, free labor, right?” Spitfire joked knowingly.

“Yeah, free as in I’ll be paying the bills here still.” Soarin smirked, “Not to mention the $10 an hour she’ll be getting.”

“You’re too good, Soar.”

“I think she deserves a break in life after everything.” Soarin said earnestly, making his way to the back of the shop, “Sounds like I’ll need help moving a mattress in, you free?”

“Eh, sure. I’m off-season.” Spitfire followed Soarin into the back.

Fleet got up off the couch, “I’ll help for a beer!” She followed as well.

NO, Fleet! Stop asking, damn it!”

Dust snickered from where she was still sitting on the couch.

---

“Hit the showers, guys! Good work tonight” Dash called to the basketball team, towel around her neck as she took a seat on the bench, taking a minute to catch her breath. She pulled her phone from her bag, and immediately the notification of a new Mystable post appeared on her screen. Dash sagged, ‘Great, do I even want to look?’ She rolled her eyes and was about to turn her phone off, before pausing. ‘What if Shimmer ripped my team a new one? ...I have to know. What’d she do to them?

Pressing on the notification, she noticed that the post had no picture for once. But the title was all she needed, “Captain Rainbow Crash?!” She growled aloud, happy that the gym was empty now. Reading more into the slandering of her ‘good’ name, Rainbow began to pace back and forth, eyebrows furrowed.

It made no sense. ‘What the Hell?! Only Soarin and Spitfire were here for this, and it was years ago!’ She paused. ‘Spitfire and Soarin. Why!? They wouldn’t do this to me, and this was before Sunset even came around!’ Her eyebrows shot up, ‘They don’t give a shit about this high school drama, and they swore they’d never tell! ...Something’s not right here.’ Dash’s eyebrows furrowed again, and she tugged her bag onto her shoulder and ran out the gym doors.

---

“That has to be like the best job ever!” Surprise grinned, “Working at the HQ!”

“And Soarin seems incredibly kind.” Sunset smiled back, hugging her backpack to herself. “I’ve been trying to get a job ever since I arrived here. What’s it like?”

“Stressful.” Misty sighed. “I’m not a people person.”

“Had me fooled.” Sunset chuckled softly.

“Oh, shut up.” Misty pouted, and Sunset laughed a little louder.

“But yeah, jobs are great!” Surprise said once Sunset’s laughter died down, “You get to answer questions and help people and talk to them a lot!”

“And stare at walls for hours.” Misty added cynically.

“And make good friends with your coworkers and sometimes even their friends!”

“Surprise, not everyone gets to work in a small town toy store.” Misty shook her head.

“Well, everyone should.” Surprise insisted as Misty pulled up besides her house in the Cloudsdale district.

“...Dash is your neighbor?” Sunset asked, suddenly frozen.

“Oh yeah, she lives like two houses down.” Surprise said. “...Is, uh, is that a problem?”

Sunset took a steadying breath, holding her head high, “No, no, it’s fine. Thanks for the ride, Misty.”

“Not a problem.” Misty looked concerned as always, “Are you sure you’re going to be alright?” Surprise went over to the door, opening it and calling something inside that Sunset couldn’t hear.

“Yeah, it’ll be fine. It’s not like Dash’ll try coming to the door, right?” Sunset asked, rubbing her arm.

“Right. Well, tell Surprise that she doesn’t have to walk to school tomorrow, I’ll pick you both up.” Misty said.

“Alright, I’ll tell her.” Sunset nodded, “Have a good night, Misty.”

“You too, Sunset.”

Sunset stood in the middle of the front yard, watching Misty pull away before following Surprise inside her home.

“Welcome to my little slice of heaven. Or, well, Pie if we’re gonna put it that way.” Surprise grinned. “Hope you’ll be comfortable!”

Sunset readjusted the backpack on her shoulders. “I’m sure I will, until Soarin has my place ready for me.” She smiled, the idea of having an actual room to herself still making her giddy with excitement.

“I’m sure it’ll be great!” Surprise assured with a nod.

“I feel like there’ll be so much to prepare for.” Sunset said, grabbing an apple from the fruit bowl at Surprise’s gesture.

“Like what?” Surprise asked, leading Sunset into her room.

“You know, getting things for an apartment. Pictures, lamps, decorative pieces. Things like that.” Sunset set her backpack down, rummaging through it for a pair of her night clothes.

“Riiiight.” Surprise’s eyelids lowered, and she rubbed her chin with a grin. “Gotcha…”

---

“Alright, so. I’m gonna have to really scrub down this little kitchenette. I was thinking the mattress could go up against that wall.” Soarin pointed out. “And she’ll probably have room for a little sofa there.”

“Yeesh, the walls are so bare in here.” Spitfire said, putting her hands on her hips, “Definitely needs a woman’s touch.”

“Where ya gonna find the woman?” Fleet snorted with a smirk, having been pacified from her rampant booze-raid with a soda. It nearly flew out of her hand as she dodged the box of tissues that had been thrown at her. “...Keep to soccer, Spits.” She snickered.

“Shut it, Flatfoot!”

“I’ll leave that up to Sunset.” Soarin continued talking, ignoring the family feud behind him. “Anyways, I’ll help her save up enough money to buy a nicer table then this crappy old thing, and-”

“-Eeey, Cap! Aren’t you tired from basketball practice?” They heard Dust’s voice from the front of the shop.

“Huh?” Fleet blinked. “Is Dash here?”

“Something’s up, Dash is never here on Thursdays.” Soarin said, heading to the front of the store with the other two.

Rainbow Dash stood shivering in shorts and her basketball jersey, immediately looking over at the two graduated CHS students. “Soarin! Spitfire! I need to talk to you!” She said, the howling winds from the outside were immediately silenced by the muffled bump of the door closing behind her.

“This about the Anon-A-Miss post today?” Spitfire took point, as always.

Dash and Fleetfoot locked eyes, Fleet nodding simply to her current captain. “Yeah.” Dash said, “I’m really confused, though. I dunno how else that secret could’ve gotten out… You didn’t tell anyone, did you?” She asked, already cringing slightly.

“Of course not.” Soarin replied, “You told us not to.”

Rainbow let out a sigh of relief, “Thought so. Thanks, guys.” Soarin crossed his arms, frowning slightly. “But yeah, there’s gotta be some other way that she found out that story.”

“Really, Dash?” Soarin’s words cut deep like a knife. Fleetfoot backed away from him. “You’re going to believe us that easily, but you didn’t do that for Sunset?”

Rainbow took two steps back, hands up defensively. It was common for Spitfire to give a verbal lashing to teammates that fell out of line, while Soarin took a softer approach to problems. It was weird to be at the receiving end of the regularly calm and playful man’s anger, and it stung more than Spitfire’s words ever could. Dash didn’t like the idea of the swap in approaches. “Wait, wait, what?”

“You don’t get it?” Soarin’s eyebrows furrowed, “Really? Even after standing up to Spitfire and Fleetfoot for me, you’re going to defend yourself? You’re nearly doing exactly what they did to me, to Sunset!” Spitfire and Fleet flinched heavily, both looking away.

“I-I-” Rainbow couldn’t even finish her thought.

“What makes it much different, Dash? I was so relieved, so indebted to you when you refused to take my place in the Championships. I knew you wanted my spot, Spitfire knew it too.” Soarin’s eyes hardened again, “And you know what, Dash? Someone wants Sunset’s spot right now. It’s so obvious that whoever this Anon-A-Miss is, they want Sunset’s spot in your group, and you’re playing right into their hands!” Rainbow was slack-jawed at this point, not even trying to dispute the older man, “Where’d that loyalty go, Dash? Are you so blinded by your self-image that you don’t care about standing up for your friends anymore?! You’re turning into them!” He finished his angry rant, face red and letting out a few angry breaths.

Stunned silence filled the room as Soarin cooled down a little. “...I’ll be in my office.” He muttered, stomping off and slamming his office door closed. Fleet let out the breath she was holding.

“He never completely forgave you two for that, did he?” Rainbow asked Spitfire and Fleet quietly.

“Well, he’s still here.” Spitfire sagged against the counter, letting out a long sigh. “So he’s mostly forgiven us.”

“Come on, Spits, it’s Soarin.” Fleet smiled weakly, “Happy-go-lucky, dork, Soarin; surely he’s-”

“-You guys backstabbed him, Fleet. I wouldn’t forgive you for awhile either.” Dash said, crossing her arms. “...But I’ve never seen him explode like that.” She looked up at Spitfire, “Do you think I turned my back on her too, Cap?”

“Yes.” Spitfire sighed, “I think Soarin got a bit out of hand with what he said, but I agree with him on one thing: Sunset’s innocent. Someone’s pinning her up as Anon-A-Miss and watching the tomatoes fly. You and your friends could’ve been there to help protect her from this, but you didn’t.” She looked over at the girl sitting awkwardly on the couch, “You listen too, rookie. Learn from our mistakes; It’ll save you a lot of shit in the long run.” Dust just nodded along.

“Then… What should I do?” Dash’s voice cracked a little, a tear threatening to streak down her face.

“Stand with your team, damn it.” Spitfire said with firm resolution, “Be the captain, and believe in your players. Set them straight,” She glanced at Fleet, who stiffened. “And stay by your friend. I almost lost mine, and you could just as easily lose yours.”

Dash looked down her tightly clenched hands, “I-I will.”

“Good, now get some actual clothes on, you’re going to freeze your nuts off if you try walking home in that getup.” Spitfire said with an more amused smile.

“Thanks, Spits.” Rainbow chuckled weakly, ducking in the bathroom.

Fleet relaxed, before looking over at her old captain, “You weren’t just talking to Dash, were you Spits?”

“No; you need to stand by your teammates too, Fleet. I know you and Fly are always at it but you need to trust her judgement.”

“Already thinking of it.” Fleet shrugged.

“Don’t just think it, do it, Flat.” Spitfire snorted, walking over to the windows at the very front of the store.

Fleet frowned, watching Spitfire’s back as if she were going to say anything more.

“...I was an alpha bitch too.” Spitfire muttered softly to herself, watching the snowflakes outside calmly settle onto the top of the ever-thickening blanket.

Author's Note:

Feels good to finally get this one off my chest. I have no idea why this took so long, but hey, here it is! I'll probably have more to say tomorrow after I've actually slept, but for now, I need to crash.

Thanks again to Uria for putting up with me as I was banging this one out. I'll just say it was definitely a team effort. xD