• Published 21st Oct 2017
  • 4,904 Views, 337 Comments

Sparks Catch - Tale Swapper

Sunset Shimmer has emerged from the events of Anon-A-Miss with deeper bonds with her friends- and a proper home for the first time in a decade. The fires of friendship burn brightly within her. But Friendship is magic, and fire tends to catch...

  • ...

Igniting Tinder

Sunset's mind was cloudy- but for the first time in days, lacked any sort of headache. Rolling over, she sighed. That feels so much better. I don't know why that headache lasted for so long, but I'm glad it's gone. Her brow furrowed for a moment. Hang on, this doesn't feel like my bed... or my sleeping pad back at the factory... what's going on-


Gasping, Sunset sat up. Her vague, half-formed hopes that the whole disaster of a few minutes ago had been some sort of hallucination was quickly dashed. The music room was in shambles, with instruments, backpacks, paperwork, and Rainbooms scattered like detritus after a storm. Even as Sunset choked back a startled yelp, Applejack groaned.

"Mah head- dammit, Ah ain't felt like this since that time Ah swiped a bottle of the medicinal-"

Rainbow Dash jerked aware, her yelp cutting off Applejack's words. "Agh! Head hurts..."

"Darling, could you please keep it down? A lady needs her beauty sleep-" Rarity's eyes jerked open, and with a short cry, she lept to her feet. "Although- perhaps not on the ground."

Fluttershy came to her hands and knees, one hand held to her forehead. "Oh dear, oh dear-"

Pinkie Pie was the last girl to awaken "Ooh- this feels like that one time I mixed Red Stallion, pop rocks, and syrup..."

As the girls staggered to their feet, Sunset started trying to recall what had happened. "Okay- is everyone all right? No one hurt?"

All the other girls responded with a surprising lack of injuries- save ferocious headaches from all sides. Rainbow Dash was the first to make the obvious inference. "Wait- Sunset, you described your headache like- something in your head trying to get out, right? 'Cause I think you spread it around."

Sunset drooped. "Sorry, girls. I think that was a magic surge. I hadn't had one of those for years back in Equestria, and there's no magic here, so-" Instinctively, Sunset reached out mentally to probe the non-existing magical field- only to get feedback as a shimmering web of magic resonated around her, invisible to the naked eye.

Or not. "Orrrr...." Sunset's eyes widened. "Girls? We might have a problem."

"Besides my guitar getting trashed?" Rainbow said grumpily, looking over the dents and busted strings of her red instrument.

"Yeah. A lot more important." Sunset decided to take a calculated risk. Looking down at her hands, she focused. At fist, nothing happened. Focusing outward, she began to see a slight glow resonate around her fingers.

Rainbow muttered, looking over her guitar, until she realized the others were all staring at something. "What- what is-" She looked down at Sunset's hands and spotted the bright red glow. "Oh shit, Sunset it's happening again-"

Pinkie slapped her hand over Rainbow's mouth. "Shh! Hold on, I think she's-"

Sunset watched as in the space between her fingers, a small, ornate shape of light wove into existence. With a push of will, she projected it outward- with immediate results.

Rainbow glanced down, eyes wide, as a red glow covered her guitar. Dents popped back out, strings reattached, and the bent neck straightened itself. With a dying hiss, the magic faded away, leaving her guitar whole again.

Rainbow looked up. "That... was... AWESOME!"

Rarity smiled. "Indeed, darling. I assume that was magic?" Sunset, still looking down at her hands, nodded. "Well, I'm impressed." Suddenly, her mouth formed a small "O", but before she could continue, Pinkie beat her to it.

"Wait! So, Sunset had her headache, and then she did a little magic, and then the big "Bwoosh" happened, and then she did more magic, but before that her headache went away- OOH! Doesthatmeanwehavemagictoo?"

Sunset looked up and met Pinkie's gaze. "I think... maybe? But, there wasn't a magical field here, I don't..."

Applejack put her hand on her sister's shoulder. "Sunset, hun, we can figure that part out later. Fer now, we gotta put the room back in order before anything else happens. Them we can figure out what's goin' on, okay?"

Sunset nodded, then turned to pick up a desk. Halfway bent over, she stopped, and blinked twice. "No. NO! This isn't something we can just wait about, Applejack!" Spinning around, she glared at her sister. "If you all just got- infected by magic, if you surge without warning, there could be worse consequences! We're all time bombs until we use our magic! Hell, I don't even know if this is the only time it'll happen to me or not!"

Applejack glared back. "Sugarcube, Ah know! But we gotta clean up a bit or else we won't have a place to talk-"

Sunset looked around at the mess. With a quick grunt of assertion, she looked around at her friends. "Stand back."

Fluttershy, who had been stepping forward to resolve to the fight, took a step back. Everyone else froze, watching as Sunset's hands began to glow, much brighter this time. With a wave of her hands, the detritus covering the floor became engulfed in her red aura. Within seconds, desks returned to their places, instruments perched atop desks, and trash was deposited in the waste basket.

Sunset collapsed into a chair, breathing heavily. After a few seconds of catching her breath, she sniffed, then stared down at her hands. They looked like they'd been badly sunburned- even as she noticed the burns, pain lanced though her fingers. "Okay- hands are not nearly as effective conductors as a horn- right. Magic is a lot harder to use here, it seems."

Within seconds, Fluttershy had crouched over her, examining the long fingers on Sunset's hands critically. "Oh dear- Sunset, are you alright? I may have something for these..." Moving quickly, Fluttershy went to her backpack and dug out a bottle of lotion. "This cream should help a bit. So, if you'll just hold still..."

"Thanks, Fluttershy." Looking at the confused, shocked, and, in one case, excited faces (Pinkie Pie was bouncing at 50RPM, and was only speeding up) Sunset started to explain what happened. "I think- the headaches over the last several days must have been magical suppression headaches. In Equestia, if someone is capable of performing their species' magic, but tries to prevent themselves from doing so, then they start getting antsy, and eventually start having phantom pains- or headaches, wingaches, hoofaches- whatever fits their magic."

Rarity frowned. "Darling, I thought you couldn't do magic in this world? We haven't seen anything like that before, you know."

"No magic? Rares, we've been gettin' pony ears for a few months now. Hell, Dash was fixin' her song 'cause she wasn't getting us to pony up. If that ain't magic..."

"It is." Sunset spoke up. "But- it's natural, harmony magic. It draws upon the power of Equestria, leaking out through the portal. This?" She nodded down at her hands, even as Fluttershy continued to fuss over them. "This is channeled magic- I'm creating a set pattern in my mind, and projecting it. That's not possible without a magical field to work with. But when I surged, it seems to have set up a web of magic." She glanced around. "As far as I can tell, it's pretty fragile- it might just dissipate on its own."

Sunset felt Fluttershy pause beneath her. "Your new headaches are possibly because you've been woven onto the magical field, but I'm not certain how. We're going to have to-" Sunset paused as a second distortion caused the still fragile web of magic around her to shiver. The pain in her hands vanished, and Fluttershy gave of a relieved sigh. Looking down, Sunset's eyes widened.

As Sunset spoke, Fluttershy rubbed her burn ointment into each of Sunset's fingers, absently tracing the strange whorls the magic had left in the burns. The headache was making it hard to think, but even through the throbbing pain, Fluttershy could tell that she would be fine, even if it persisted. Sunset, meanwhile, needed proper treatment. Burns on hands could cripple if left untreated, and Fluttershy's burn cream wasn't going to be enough. She needed to get help.

An edge of frustration cut through her headache. Sunset needs to be careful- this could have been bad. I just wish there was more i could do... Thinking back over what had happened a bare month ago, Fluttershy felt her frustration grow. We hurt each other badly, didn't we? And Sunset helped to heal me then. I wish I could do more to help her- but it's not like I can heal her that easily-

As Fluttershy's mind brushed through that thought, her headache spiked- then abruptly dissipated, leaving her a tad woozy. Her eyes widened, even as she saw lines of pink light run through Sunset's hands. The voices around her had cut out, but she didn't notice, intent and watching as the pink wiped away the burns, leaving behind raw but healed flesh. Her eyes narrowed as she watched two lines of pink move through Sunset's torso, burning out on twin points of damaged flesh on her friend's upper back.

Sunset's hands were fine, the burns washed away. A fading pink glow around them matched the pink glow which surrounded Fluttershy's hands. The healing magic, however, didn't stop at Fluttershy's hands- small flickers of pink light burned in her eyes. She carefully examined Sunset, then frowned. "Scars?..." she muttered softly.

Without preamble, the shy girl's magic suddenly winked out. Fluttershy blinked a couple of times, and then smiled softly. "My headache's gone..." She seemed then to realize what had happened to her- and that every eye in the room was upon her. She squeaked, hiding behind her hair.

"Fluttershy? What did you do?" Examining her fingers, Sunset noticed that every inch of the burns she'd accrued had been wiped away. "Impossible." she muttered. "Pegasai don't have healing magic." Sunset pulled in a deep breath.

"I mean- I had magic before. So me getting it back isn't to outlandish. But if you guys are getting magic just by being here, we're going to start seeing problems real fast."

"Really, darling, I can't see the issue." Rarity looked around. "I mean, it's not as though we would be irresponsible with any magic we might-" She suddenly paused, then turned to look at Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash. "-never mind."

Rainbow spoke next. "So- you've got your old magic back, and Shy's got some sorta healing magic. What do the rest of us have?" She glanced behind her, disappointed at the lack of wings. "I get that this new stuff is different from Ponying Up- but why?"

"Ah think that's what Sunset's gettin' at, Dash." Applejack massaged her head. "Dammit- this headache's gonna be a bear to deal with. Hey, Shy? How'd ya get this new magic workin'?"

Before the shy girl could emerge from behind her hair and respond, Sunset spoke up. "Are you crazy? My magic exploded, Applejack! If you try to use yours- if you even have any- it could be way worse-"

"Better to have it happen 'round you, so you can help me out." Applejack said firmly. She grimaced, rubbing her temple.

Sunset pulled in a breath, then let it out. "Alright. Yeah, that's- that's probably true. But not here. If we're going to experiment, I want to set up some place remote- and call in an expert." Looking around the room, Sunset's eyes narrowed. "Yeah, definitely not here. If I had to guess, our magic headaches will be worse, and magic easier here at school."

"So- we're done for the day, everyone?" Dash looked around at the group. Aside from Fluttershy, none of the girls looked well- each was wincing at the spikes of pain echoing through their skulls. "Okay- then let's get out of here. We can talk later- if leaving school behind gets rid of these headaches, I'm gonna head home."

Shining Armor massaged his temple. "Listen, Twilight," he said as he paced around the cubicles at work. "I know this is important to you, and that Mom and Dad are both busy, but don't you think you're being a little... obsessive?"

His colleagues on the fore watched as their youngest member paced in a circle, phone held tight to one ear. As the voice on the other end of the line petered out, he groaned. "Even if Cinch asked you to keep investigating, I have something I need to do tonight." The voice spoke up. "No it's not for work." More speech. "No, it's not an emergency. It's just, I'm going to..."

He trailed off as the voice spoke up one last time. "That's blackmail." The voice responded again. "Twiliey, could you call in that marker another time?" Listening, the young officer hung his head in defeat. "Alright, I'll drive you. But if you try to call in that fact again-"

The call ended. Shining Armor stared down at his phone, then let out a massive groan. How does Canterlot High have anything to do with her research?

Author's Note:

Okay- let me take a gander as to why we've never seen healing magic in MLP proper. (Has anyone else noticed that? No healing?)

As a kids show, the last thing MLP wants to show kids is blood, (And other more mature topics) and showing a pony's broken legs (or wings, broken horn, etc.) fixed instantly might give kids the wrong idea about how medicine really works.

Seriously, Fluttershy should have healing magic. It fits her personality and drive to a T. Whenever possible, her magic should nurture, heal, and protect.


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