• Published 10th Dec 2017
  • 1,466 Views, 42 Comments

A Is For... - shallow15



Following the Fall Formal, Sunset Shimmer has a a week of sleepovers where she learns new things about her new friends.

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Rarity

“All right, darling,” Rarity said, putting her lunch tray down opposite Applejack. “How did it really go last night?”

Applejack looked at Rarity in confusion, then swallowed the mouthful of sandwich she was working on. “Pardon?”

“You and Sunset. The rest of us drew straws earlier and she'll be coming over to my place tonight. I want to know what I can expect. Do I need to lock up the silverware? Hide Mother's heirloom jewelry? Get Sweetie Belle rabies shots?”

Applejack quirked an eyebrow. “What in the hell is wrong with you?”

Rarity blinked at the scorn in her friend's voice. “Well, I just assumed that – “

“That Sunset was just as much of a pain in the patoot she was a couple of weeks ago.” Applejack finished. “Actually, she wasn't. Things were rocky to start with, but we hashed things out. After that, everything was fine... sort of.”

“Sort of? What do you mean 'sort of?'” Rarity asked.

Applejack sighed. “She ain't kiddin' about the nightmares. I had to spend the rest of the night in the bed with her.”

“Really?” Rarity's eyes sparkled with the promise of juicy gossip,

“Get yer head outta the gutter,” Applejack snapped. She put her sandwich down and fixed Rarity with a serious expression. “These nightmares are bad. Real bad. She looked like a scared little kid when she woke up. When was the last time you saw Sunset Shimmer scared of anything?”

Rarity considered and her eyebrows raised. “Never. She was distraught at the Formal, but I don't recall her ever being frightened.”

“She's tryin', Rares. I can tell. But she's got a ways to go before she's gonna fully make up for everything she did. Give her a chance. Don't assume the worst, don't shut her out, and most of all, don't get all... you tonight when she comes over.”

Rarity looked at the farm girl. “Pfft-tsk-tch! I shall make sure that she is welcomed with open arms and the utmost hospitality!”


“What are you doing here?” Sweetie Belle hissed when she opened the door and found Sunset standing on the stoop. Sunset's face fell and her shoulders slumped.

“Um... Rarity invited me over tonight,” she offered weakly . Sweetie Belle folded her arms.

“Uh-huh.” Not taking her suspicious gaze off the redhead, Sweetie tilted her head back and yelled for her sister. “Rarity!”

The two girls stared at each other for a long while. When Rarity failed to arrived, Sweetie Belle gave Sunset a superior smile.

“Yeah, I thought so. I don't know what you're up to, Sunset Shimmer, but you're not doing it here. Get lost!”

The younger girl slammed the door shut. Sunset blinked, then looked at the ground, before hitching up the backpack on her shoulder and grabbing her sleeping bag from where it lay next to her.

I should have known this would happen.

She turned around and began walking toward the street. She blinked in surprise as she felt a tear roll down her cheek. She wiped it away and sniffed.

“It's fine. It's fine,” she murmured. “She might have just forgotten. Or her parents said no. Or... something.”

“Sunset? What on earth are you doing, darling?”

Sunset turned to see Rarity standing on the front stoop. The fashionista dashed down the walk and took Sunset's arm with one hand, while picking up her sleeping bag with the other.

“Let me get your sleeping bag. Where were you going?”

“Home,” Sunset muttered.

“Home? Why?” Rarity blinked and smiled. “Oh! Cold feet? Darling, you were invited. I'm delighted to have you spend the night.”

“Oh... okay.” Sunset swallowed. “Um, does the rest of your family know I'm coming?”

“Of course they do,” Rarity answered. She let go of Sunset's arm and grabbed the door latch. “Mother's been in the kitchen all afternoon preparing a lovely meal for dinner.”

“Oh... great.” Sunset looked at her feet. Rarity noticed and put a hand on Sunset's shoulder.

“Don't worry, darling, I told Mother you're a vegetarian and she promised to take that into account.”

Sunset looked up, surprised. “Really?”

Rarity nodded and opened the front door. “Sunset, you are my guest, and as such, it is my responsibility to ensure that your visit is as pleasant as possible.”

“Wish someone had told that to your sister,” Sunset muttered under her breath. Rarity's head turned sharply toward her.

“What was that?”

“Nothing,” Sunset said, grabbing her left elbow. “Never mind.”

“Did Sweetie Belle say something that upset you?” Rarity frowned when she saw Sunset's expression. “She did! Well, this is completely unacceptable! Sweetie Belle!”

Rarity dropped the sleeping bag and stalked off into the living room. Sunset blinked and stood in the foyer, unsure of what to do.

“Oh, you must be Sunset Shimmer!”

Sunset jumped at the new voice and turned to the other door in the foyer, which apparently led to the dining room. The woman who came in had a bright smile and a large purple bouffant hairdo. Sunset guessed this was Rarity's mother.

“Um, yes. Hello,” Sunset said quietly.

“I'm Cookie Crumbles, Rarity's mom. But you probably already figured that out!”

“Uh.. yeah, I guess so.”

Cookie's grin widened. “Well, I hope you're hungry. Rarity said you're vegetarian, so I made Eggplant Parmesan for dinner.”

“That sounds great, Mrs. Crumbles,” Sunset said quietly. “Thank you.”

“Well, I figured this would be an excellent opportunity to get to know you.”

Sunset blinked and looked up. “Know me?”

“Oh, Rarity's told us all about you!” Cookie's smile didn't move but Sunset noticed her tone of voice shifted. It became harder, more accusatory.

“She did?” Sunset felt her stomach sinking. Cookie leaned forward and lowered her voice.

“Oh yes, everything. Especially about last spring.”

Sunset's eyes widened as Cookie's eyebrows lowered into a frown. She put a hand on Sunset's shoulder and leaned in close.

“That's right, I know exactly what you did to my daughter last spring,” she whispered, her voice hard and cold. “And she may have forgiven you, but don't think either of us have forgotten it. Now, Rarity says you've changed, so I'm willing to give you a chance, but I've talked to the other parents in town, and I've heard things about you. So if this is one of your little schemes so you can hurt her again – “

“It isn't! I promise!” Sunset blurted out, her voice panicked and frightened. “No schemes! No plans! Please don't send me away!”

Cookie blinked and leaned back. She blushed and cleared her throat. “Um... okay. Uh. Well, dinner will be ready in about an hour. Rarity's room is upstairs, third on the right. The bathroom is right next door. Why don't you go on up and I'll find Rarity and let her know you're up there.”

“Um, okay. Thanks, Mrs. Crumbles.” Sunset picked up her sleeping bag and started up the stairs. Neither of them made eye contact as she ascended. Sunset found Rarity's room, closed the door, leaned up against it and sighed.

Gonna be a long night.


Dinner was awkward and uncomfortable. Rarity had apparently had it out with Sweetie Belle, so the younger girl didn't do much except eat and shoot Sunset the occasional dirty look. Cookie Crumbles was also subdued, although she made the occasional attempt at conversation.

Rarity's father, Hondo Flanks, was much more personable. He greeted Sunset warmly when he arrived home from work but he quickly disappeared into the den and wasn't seen until dinner, where Sunset learned why it was Rarity didn't really talk about her father: he made jokes. Bad jokes. A LOT of bad jokes.

“I gotta quit smoking ziggurats before it kills me!” Hondo finished his latest atrocity with a large grin. Cookie and Sweetie Belle laughed appreciatively. Rarity rolled her eyes and leaned over to Sunset.

“I am so sorry you have to endure this, darling,” she whispered. “Father has an... odd sense of humor.”

Sunset smirked and whispered back. “It's fine. Trust me, after hanging out with Snips and Snails for so long, I'm used to corny jokes like that.”

“Now, if you thought that was funny, listen to this!” Hondo wiped his mouth with his napkin and leaned back in his chair. “A horse walks into a bar...”


“I am SO sorry, Sunset!” Rarity said for the sixth time as the two girls came into her bedroom. “He didn't know any better.”

Sunset took a deep breath and let it out through clenched teeth. “How would he feel if I came down there and told an endless series of jokes about gorillas acting like morons in public?!”

“Honestly, he'd find it hilarious,” Rarity muttered. She put a hand on Sunset's shoulder. “He didn't mean any harm by it, Sunset. Well, no more than he usually does by telling those terrible jokes.”

Sunset took another deep breath and relaxed. “Okay, okay. It's not like he had any idea I come from a world of magic talking ponies.” Sunset blinked and shot Rarity a suspicious look. “Does he?”

“No, Sunset, darling,” Rarity grinned. “It's not my place to tell anyone where you come from.”

Sunset flopped down on the bed. “Okay. I'll let it go then. So now what do you want to do?”

Rarity placed her phone in the charging station on her nightstand. She touched an icon and music began playing from the speakers built into the charger. “I hope some soft jazz is all right?”

“Sure.” Sunset looked down and saw the corner of a sketchbook sticking out from under the bed. She reached down and picked the book up. “Hey, do you mind if I look at your designs?”

“Hm?” Rarity turned her head and saw Sunset with the sketchbook. “Oh, that? Those are just designs that didn't work out. They're embarrassing, really.”

“Oh, okay.” Sunset put the sketchbook down and looked at the floor again. Rarity saw her dejected expression, came over and sat down, picking up the sketchbook and opening it.

“Well, maybe a second opinion wouldn't hurt too badly.”

Sunset looked down at the dress on the page. “What's wrong with this one?”

“Well, the lines and the colors were right, but I never felt like it flowed as well as it could. It didn't seem to matter what sort of extensions or accessories I put on it, it never looked right.”

Sunset frowned at the sketch for a moment, then her expression brightened. “Do you have a pencil?”

Rarity quirked an eyebrow, but went over to her desk and came back with a mechanical pencil. Sunset took it and clicked it a couple of times before flipping it around and erasing a few lines. She flipped the pencil again and began sketching.

“I think the problem is you made the skirt too long,” she began. “If you shorten it here, but add a sash that hangs from the waist and can be looped around the arms, it might give you the look you want.”

She handed the sketchbook to Rarity, who looked it over. Her eyes widened and a grin spread across her face. “Yes! Yes, Sunset, darling, it's absolutely divine! The perfect blend of skirt and accessory!”

Sunset grinned. “Glad you like it.”

“I LOVE IT!” Rarity reached over to her nightstand and produced her colored pencils. “You simply must assist me further!”

“You want my help?”

“Absolutely! With your eye, I could have a whole new line for next season! I might even be able to get a job at Prim Hemline's boutique!"

Sunset grinned at her friend's enthusiasm. She picked up one of the colored pencils. “Well, if it means you'll get your dream job...”

Rarity's shriek of delight was inaudible to the human ear. Several neighborhood dogs howled in response.


Sunset looked down at the swirls of red and gold on her toenails and smiled. “That's really cool. Thanks, Rarity.”

“My pleasure, darling.” Rarity closed the bottle of nail polish. She glanced over at her alarm clock. “ Oh my, it's later than I thought. If you'll excuse me for a moment, I'm going to change for bed.”

“Sure thing.”

“Back in a bit!” Rarity grabbed a nightie from her closet and left the room. Sunset changed into her own pajamas and rolled out her sleeping bag. As soon as she was done, Rarity came back into the room.

“Sunset? What are you doing?”

Sunset looked up from where she had finished setting up her sleeping bag. “Just setting up where I'm going to sleep.”

“Oh, no no no no, darling!” Rarity grabbed Sunset's pillow and tossed it onto the bed. “You are my guest, so you get the bed. I insist.”

“Rarity, you don't have to do that,” Sunset protested. “I'm fine on the floor.”

“Never!” Rarity thrust a finger into the air. “You shall have the bed and there will be no further argument on the matter!”

Sunset tried to keep it together, but soon burst out in laughter. Rarity soon followed. After a few minutes the two managed to calm down. Sunset wiped the tears from her eyes and pointed back at Rarity.

“How about we share the bed, that way nobody has to sleep on the floor?”

“Agreed.” Rarity pulled back the covers and gestured. “After you.”

Sunset climbed into bed. Rarity turned off the lights and followed suit. The two of them lay in the dark for a while. Sunset looked over at her friend.

“You're sure you're okay with this? I don't mind sleeping on the floor if it bothers you.”

“It's perfectly fine,” Rarity answered. “Remind me to tell you about the first sleepover Applejack and I had with Fluttershy back in junior high. We had to share a bed then too.”

“Why do I get the feeling that did not go well?” Sunset smirked.

“Let's just say the two of us spent a lot of weekends doing yard work at the Shy house afterwards.”

The two giggled and got comfortable. Sunset rolled on her side and yawned. Another rocky start, but the night had wound up going well once again. She closed her eyes allowing sleep to over take her.


Rarity had only a split second's warning before Sunset shot upright in bed and screamed. The fashionista let out a scream of her own and panicked when she opened her eyes and couldn't see anything.

“Good lord, I've gone blind!” Rarity flailed her arms, then calmed down when she felt the sleep mask still on her face. She quickly took it off and turned to Sunset, who was hunched over her knees. Rarity could hear the redheaded girl sobbing quietly. She leaned over and gently rubbed Sunset's back.

“Sunset, darling, are you all right?”

Sunset's voice came out choked and harsh. “They're getting worse.”

“How so?” Rarity's voice was quiet and supportive.

Sunset looked up, her eyes red from crying and exhaustion. She sniffled, then shot over and hugged Rarity tightly. “I killed you.”

Rarity's eyes widened, her brain uncertain how to comprehend what she had just heard. “Pardon?”

Sunset wiped her eyes. “I turned into the demon again, and you were there and I killed you. I – I tore you apart. And I couldn't stop myself. I wanted to, I tried to, but I couldn't stop. And the blood...”

“Yes, I think I get the idea, darling.” Rarity held her friend and rubbed her back, trying to keep her own shock at Sunset's dream from overwhelming her. Sunset began crying again.

“I'm sorry,” she sobbed. She broke away from Rarity and began pulling the covers back. “I shouldn't be here. I'll go home.”

Rarity grabbed Sunset's arm as she tried to get off the bed. “You will do no such thing, Sunset Shimmer. You came here for my help with these nightmares, and that is exactly what you are going to receive.”

Rarity held Sunset close until her friend's sobs had ended and her breathing returned to normal. Sunset sniffled one more time then leaned back. “Thanks, Rarity.”

“Think nothing of it, darling. Are you all right to go back to sleep?”

“I think so.” Sunset sighed and began moving to get back under the covers. The two girls adjusted themselves and soon got settled. Rarity looked over at Sunset.

“Go ahead and close your eyes, darling. I'll stay awake until you're asleep.”

Sunset didn't answer. Rarity frowned and saw the outline of Sunset still lying on her back, her posture stiff and tense. Sunset's head turned toward her and when she spoke, her voice was quiet and frightened.

“Rarity? Am I a good person?”

Rarity swallowed, unprepared for the question. She considered for a moment, then replied.

“Well, darling, I don't know if I can answer that.”

“Oh.” The dejection in Sunset's voice was evident.

“No, no, don't misunderstand me,” Rarity quickly added. “I only say that because we're just now only getting to know each other. You must admit, we haven't exactly been close while you've been at school.”

“Yeah,” Sunset rolled onto her side, facing Rarity. She reached out and took Rarity's hand. “I'm sorry for what I did to you last spring. It was horrible and rotten and you didn't deserve it.”

“Thank you for that, Sunset. I accept your apology and I forgive you.”

“Applejack said I had the potential to be a good person.” Sunset's voice was wistful.

“If she said that, then she undoubtedly thinks it's true. And Applejack's word on that is good enough for me.”

“Really?”

“Darling, you've made mistakes, but you're trying to make up for them. And you want to be a better person, don't you?”

“Yes.”

“Then there's hope for you. And I will be there to help you every step of the way. It's what we all should be doing for each other. We're all we have, when it's all said and done.”

Sunset frowned in confusion. “What? I don't think I understand.”

“Well, I just meant that since this life is all we get, I believe we should help those who need it to the best of our abilities. We only get a scant seventy to maybe a hundred years, if we're lucky, barring illness or disaster. Then we go in the ground and that's all. And I think we should be using that time to try to make things better for ourselves and each other.”

Sunset blinked as she thought about some of the things she had researched when she had first arrived in the human world. “You don't believe there's an afterlife?”

Rarity let out the exhausted sigh of someone who had been asked the question far too many times. When she answered it was rote and mechanical.

“No, I don't believe there is life after death. I don't believe there is a blissful plane of existence that awaits us if we've been good people. Likewise, I also don't believe there is a realm of pain and torment for the evil and horrible people when they die either.”

Sunset scrunched down into the covers. “Sorry. Didn't mean to offend you.”

Rarity squeezed Sunset's hand. “No, I'm sorry. I'm just so used to having to argue the point when this comes up. I forgot you wouldn't have the same views on it that others do.”

Rarity blinked as a thought occurred to her. “What exactly do the inhabitants of Equestria believe in?”

“What?”

“Well, do you believe in one god? Multiple gods? Is there, I don't know, some eternal elysian pasture where good ponies go when they die?”

Sunset thought for a moment. “Honestly, I never really thought about it. Most ponies don't. I guess, the closest thing we have to a god is – “ Sunset trailed off and sighed. “ – Princess Celestia. But even then, I don't think of her like that. She's long lived and has the power to raise the sun and the moon, but she never really seemed to want to be worshipped for it.”

“Then who do the ponies pray to?” Rarity asked.

“No one, really.” Sunset sat up in the bed. “All the stuff humans tend to pray for, ponies do themselves. Aside from a few places where wild magic overrides pony magic, ponies control the weather and the seasons. They take care of the animals. Earth ponies tend to the land and the plants. So, yeah, religion is something that really doesn't exist over there.”

“And when they die?”

“Ponies tend to live in the moment. Some of the older ponies have various ideas, but there's really no one defining belief in what happens after death.”

“What about you?”

Sunset frowned. “What about me?”

Rarity smiled gently. “What do you believe in, Sunset?”

Sunset considered. “I... don't know. I thought I had everything figured out, but now...”

She trailed off and hugged her knees. Rarity sat up and put a hand on her friend's shoulder.

“Do you want to know what I truly believe in?”

Sunset looked up. Rarity brushed some of Sunset's hair from her face.

“I believe in you.”

Sunset blinked and looked incredulous. Rarity giggled.

“I know it sounds terribly corny, but it's true, darling. I believe that you will fully turn yourself around and soon everyone will see you for the intelligent, beautiful, and yes, kind girl you are.” Rarity leaned forward and touched her head to Sunset's. “That's what I believe in.”

Sunset smiled and threw an arm around Rarity's shoulders. “Thanks, Rarity.”

Rarity returned the hug. “Any time, darling. Now, I think we need to get back to sleep. School, sadly, waits for no one.”

Sunset nodded and laid back in the bed. Rarity grabbed her sleep mask and put it on, resting it on her forehead. She grabbed the blankets and pulled them up over the two of them. “And if those nasty dreams come back, don't hesitate to awaken me, all right?”

“All right.” Sunset yawned and rolled over onto her side. “G'night Rarity.”

Rarity reached over and stroked Sunset's hair again. “Good night, darling.”

She dropped the sleep mask over her eyes and slid under the covers. Sunset felt her friend bump up against her as Rarity got comfortable. Within moments, she was sound asleep, a smile on her face.

Author's Note:

Atheist.

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