• Published 12th Feb 2018
  • 5,006 Views, 204 Comments

In the Days That Followed - shallow15

Sunset Shimmer and her friends try to get their lives back to normal following the events of "Repercussions."

  • ...

The Note

“Applejack? Are you okay?”

“Huh?” Applejack's head shot up. She had been sitting in the booth, resting her hand on her chin, idly playing with the straw in her soda. The school day was over. Rarity had a physical therapy session. Rainbow Dash was at soccer practice. So, Applejack had joined Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy at the diner at the mall for milkshakes.

Not that she had been drinking much of hers. She was preoccupied with the awkward silence happening between her and Sunset. At lunch earlier in the day, Sunset had come over to their usual table and had made sure to take a seat on the same side as Applejack, but as far away from her as possible. They hadn't spoken directly to each other through the entire lunch period. And as soon as she was finished, Sunset had left the table, telling Twilight she would see her after school.

She hadn't said a single word to Applejack.


Applejack yelped and sat bolt upright in her seat. Pinkie Pie's face filled her vision. Pinkie grinned brightly and sat back in her seat.

“Good!” she chirped. “You're back.”

Applejack sighed. “Sorry, gals, just kinda preoccupied.”

“Yeah, we kinda noticed.” Pinkie grabbed her milkshake and began sucking it down. “What's going on?”

“I dunno if I wanna talk about it.”

“Did something happen between you and Sunset?” Fluttershy asked.

Applejack blinked and groaned. “Am I really that obvious?”

“No... well, yes,” Fluttershy answered. “At least when something's bothering you.”

“So, tell us what's going on!” Pinkie piped up. “Then we can work it out and start all hanging out together again.”

Applejack blinked and thought. Pinkie's right. All seven of us haven't been together except at lunch since... last Saturday.

Filing the thought away in the back of her mind for now, Applejack took a drink from her shake and looked at her friends. “I kinda screwed up yesterday when I gave her a ride home.”

“What happened?” Fluttershy asked.

Applejack sighed and told them about the disastrous conversation she had with Sunset the day before. “And now, I dunno if she even wants to talk to me anymore.”

“We've all been through a lot over the last few days,” said Fluttershy. “I think she may be overwhelmed.”

“Yeah,” Pinkie added. “I know I had to take a day or two to recharge after all that. Maybe Sunset just needs more time.”

“Maybe after we talk to... her parents on Saturday, Sunset will be able to move on. You know how prone to guilt she is.”

“Yeah, but I coulda handled the whole thing better. I shouldn't have yelled.”

“Maybe not, but give her some time,” said Fluttershy. “She still has to work through things with Twilight and maybe she hasn't really come to terms with what happened.”

“I just wish she'd stop takin' the weight of the world on her shoulders.” Applejack leaned back in her seat again. “I worry about her. She lives by herself. No family around when she needs it. I mean, sure she can talk to Princess Twilight through the journal, but she still spends a lot of time alone.”

Fluttershy nodded. “I worry about her too. Especially after what happened. She's only been out of the hospital for a couple of days now.”

“Maybe I should plan a sleepover for all of us?” Pinkie was subdued. “I mean, after Saturday when we do... the thing? Something to try to get a little bit of normal again?”

“You're askin' permission?” Applejack quirked an eyebrow. “You never ask, you just do.”

“I know, but I know after everything that's happened, I just thought that until we all started feeling like our old selves again, maybe I should not just spring a party on everyone.”

“I think it's a good idea, Pinkie,” said Fluttershy. “It could be exactly what we need.”

“Really?” Pinkie's mouth curled up in a smile. “Okay! I'll put everything together and we'll all get together at my place Saturday night!”

“I can bring some games over!” Fluttershy's voice was excited. “We just got Pawns vs. Everybody!

“Oooh! I love that game!”

As Pinkie and Fluttershy began planning the events of the upcoming sleepover, Applejack found herself staring at her soda again.

I gotta do somethin'. Sunset's gonna keep blamin' herself for what happened. An' I'm pretty sure she's gonna be even lower after talkin' to Twilight.

Sunset was the center of their group now, even Applejack knew that. She didn't start out that way, but the group had become stronger after the Battle of the Bands, and everything felt complete once Twilight had transferred to Canterlot High. Seven friends, closer than sisters, with the magic Sunset had brought through the portal binding them together. But ever since last Saturday, it felt like their center was slipping. Things were fragmenting and it was forcing Applejack to confront something she hoped she would never have to confront again.

She was on the verge of losing her family.

“To hell with that!”

Pinkie and Fluttershy looked up with quizzical noises at her outburst. Applejack's face was stern and determined.

“Are you okay, Applejack?” Fluttershy looked at the farm girl, concern evident.

“I gotta go. Sorry, gals.” Applejack tossed a couple of bills on the table and left the diner. She stalked out to the parking lot. She had borrowed Granny Smith's truck today, which was a small mercy, since she didn't have the time or inclination to fight with the starter on Big Mac's truck. As she climbed into the cab, she got out her phone. She stabbed at Sunset's name on her contact list and put the phone up to her ear.

“What do you want, Applejack?” Sunset's voice was low and cold. Applejack frowned. She didn't like the way her friend sounded.

“Are you all right, sugarcube?”

“Yeah, I guess. Twilight just left. We talked.”

“Everything all right between you two?”

“Maybe. I don't know. She didn't really say much when she left.”

The tone of Sunset's voice was familiar and frightening. A quote from a poem Applejack had studied in English class came unbidden to the farm girl's mind.

Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.

She frowned, her natural stubbornness rising up in her chest. Not today. Not ever.

“I'm comin' over.”

“It's fine, Applejack,” Sunset protested. “She just needs time to process everything.”

“This ain't about Twilight.”

“Look, if this is about yesterday, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have been such a bitch to you.”

“It ain't about that neither.”

Sunset's sigh was audible over the phone. “Applejack, it's been a long day and I'm really not in the mood for company right now.”

“Sunset, I'm sayin' this 'cause I love you; tough shit. I'm on my way. I got somethin' to say to you and I'm not leavin' you alone until I say it to your face. Understand?”

There was silence then: “Fine.”

“Good. I'll be there in ten minutes.” Now that she knew Sunset would see her, Applejack allowed her voice to soften. “Just... promise me you'll be there when I get there, okay?”

“What do you mean?”

“Promise me. Please.”

“Okay,” Sunset's confused voice said. “I promise I'll be here when you get here.”

“Good. Be there soon.”

The call ended and Applejack started the truck. Sunset may have been confused about her request, but Applejack heard the note in her voice. The note she remembered hearing when she was much younger. The note that ended in tragedy.

The note that Applejack refused to let herself or anyone she cared about ever hear again.