• Published 12th Feb 2018
  • 5,015 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."

  • ...

Two More Conversations

When Sunset answered her door, Twilight was taken aback. Sunset's expression was blank and apathetic. She had noticed earlier in the day that Sunset was distracted and preoccupied. She had also noticed that she and Applejack didn't appear to be speaking.

And now, her friend was in front of her. Sunset looked exhausted. Her hair, normally vibrant and bouncy, hung limply from her head. With the exception of being conscious, Sunset looked no different than she had while she was in the coma.

“Come on in,” Sunset said, standing aside. Twilight came in. Sunset closed the door and gestured to the couch.

“Go ahead and have a seat. I'll be right back, I need to feed Ray.”

Sunset climbed the stairs leading to her loft, while Twilight took a seat on the couch. On an end table next to it were a few empty soda cans and a half-empty Chinese takeout container with a pair of chopsticks sticking out of it. Twilight leaned over to look inside the container and immediately recoiled when she caught a whiff of the odor emanating from it.

“Oh, sorry,” came Sunset's voice. She came around and grabbed the takeout container. “I forgot about this. I guess I went nose blind.”

Sunset tossed the container in the garbage and returned to the couch. She sat down and fixed Twilight with that same unnerving blank stare. “Well? Say what you have to say.”

Twilight blinked. “Are you okay?”

“I'm fine,” Sunset answered. “I just really don't want to have this conversation, if you want me to be honest.”

“I don't either.” Twilight looked at her feet, swallowed, and looked back up at Sunset. “Why did you do it, Sunset?”

Sunset sighed and drew her legs up on the couch. She wrapped her arms around them and rested her chin on her knees. “The same reason I did anything back then: just to get more power and influence. I would have done the same to anyone who decided to run against me.”

“But you outed her.”

Sunset looked at her toes. “I know. But that wasn't part of the plan. The idea was to insinuate she wasn't a nice girl. I had no idea she was gay.”

Sunset looked up. “And if I had, I promise you, I wouldn't have done it.”

“Really? Why?” Twilight's face was perplexed. “From what the girls have told me, you would do anything to win back then.”

Sunset's expression softened and regret appeared. “Not that. Never that.”

“I don't understand. Why not?”

Sunset sighed. “Because it would make me a hypocrite, Twilight. I may have been a mean, selfish, ambitious bitch, but I always made sure everybody knew exactly where I stood on anything.”

Twilight considered Sunset's words and blushed. “Wait... you'd be a hypocrite? Sunset, are you – ?”

Sunset rolled her eyes and interrupted. “Yes, Twilight, I like girls. I like guys too. Big deal. But even at my worst, I wouldn't ever use someone's orientation against them. The idea is repulsive and offends me on a fundamental level.”

Sunset looked at Twilght and saw her friend looking at her warily. She sighed and tried to smile. “Sorry, that was harsh. I'm not mad at you.”

“I just...” Twilight trailed off and she looked away from Sunset. “I know. And I know you've changed, but it's hard. I just don't know how to feel about that. I mean, I'm not gay or bi, but it's just so repellent to me that you would do that, intentional or not. I'm sorry.”

Sunset put her feet down and leaned forward. She lightly touched Twilight's shoulder. “I don't blame you. It was probably the worst thing I've ever done in my life, and now, I'm paying for it. No, other people are paying for it. Have paid for it.”

Sunset's eyes began to sting and she wiped them with the palm of her hand. “I don't know what I can do to help you get past this, Twilight. All I can say is that the person you met at the Friendship Games is who I am now. I still have a temper, and I don't think that will ever go away, but I'm a better person.”

She reached out and took Twilight's hand. Twilight looked up, trepidation on her face. Sunset's own expression was pleading.

“Please, Twilight,” she said. “Please give me the chance to prove it to you.”

Twilight swallowed, her own eyes tearing up. She took her glasses off and wiped them. She didn't put them back right away, instead looking at Sunset with sad eyes.

“I... need some time to think, Sunset,” she said. She put her glasses back on and stood up. “I'm sorry. I don't want to leave you like this, but I can't give you an answer right now.”

Sunset nodded. “That's okay. I understand. Take as much time as you need.”

The two girls walked to the door. Twilight opened it, then turned and hugged Sunset. “I promise I won't take long.”

“Okay.” Sunset returned the hug. The two broke apart. Twilight gave a timid wave goodbye and left the apartment. Sunset closed the door and slumped up against it. She let out a long sigh.

Her phone began to ring. She reached into her pocket and looked at the screen. She sighed again as she saw the call was from Applejack.

Might as well go for broke.

“What do you want, Applejack?”

Ten minutes later, there was another knock at the door. Sunset had used the time to do some basic cleaning around the apartment. The whole time, her mind had been preoccupied with thoughts about Twilight and Applejack. She was worried she was on the verge of losing Twilight's friendship, and she was concerned about the promise Applejack had extracted from her on the phone.

Everything seemed to be falling apart. Sunset had felt disconnected from everything over the last few days. Like she was outside her body just watching things happen. And what she was witnessing frightened her.

Her friends were pulling apart. Twilight was unsure about her motivations. Rarity always seemed to find an excuse to not hang out with them. Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash were as close to the group as ever, but it had been a while since all seven of them had been together for fun.

And Applejack? Sunset didn't know what happened there. When Applejack had outright said she was glad their enemy had died and not them, something in Sunset had snapped and her temper had once again gotten the better of her. Now, as far as she knew, Applejack was coming to finally have it out with her.

And with the knock on the door, it looked like that time had come.

Sunset sighed and opened the door. Before she knew it, Applejack had thrown her arms around her in a frantic, almost desperate embrace. Sunset blinked, confused.

“I'm so glad you're here,” Applejack said.

“I'm... glad I am too?” Sunset was still confused. Applejack let her go and stepped back.

“I'm sorry about yesterday,” she said. “I was just tryin' to... I dunno, get you to see that you were blamin' yourself for somethin' that really ain't your fault.”

Sunset sighed. “Applejack, I – “

“Can you just let me say this, please?” Applejack asked. She walked fully into the apartment, closing the door behind her. She strode past Sunset, then turned around to face her friend.

“It ain't your fault she's dead. And I'm sorry she's dead too. I didn't mean to make it sound like I didn't care. But, you've been a zombie the last couple of days. It wasn't bad at first but today...”

Applejack trailed off and dropped her head. Sunset walked over to her.

“AJ?” she asked, concerned. Applejack raised her head and Sunset blinked in surprise at the tears she could see forming in the farm girl's eyes.

“I've seen the look you had today before. And I needed to come over here so I could let you know that I ain't mad at you. Not a bit. I'm still here for you, sugarcube.”

Sunset smiled. “And I appreciate that. But, I don't get why you thought I wouldn't be here when you came over.”

Applejack gave her a sad look. “Because of your voice.”

“My voice?”

“You may not have noticed, but there was a note in your voice. I've heard that note before. And I don't ever want to hear it again from someone I love. It don't end well.”

“Applejack, I don't know what you – “ Sunset cut herself off as her brain finally put everything together. Her eyes shot fully open. “You thought I was going to kill myself?”

Applejack nodded. Sunset put a hand over her mouth, then put it down. “My god, AJ, why? I'm not suicidal.”

“Not yet, maybe.” Applejack walked over to the large picture window in Sunset's wall. She looked out over the hills and mountains that made up the valley the city lay in. “But you're slippin', Sunset. If somethin' didn't happen to stop you, sooner or later, you'd consider it... and then you'd go through with it.”

“You can't possibly know that,” said Sunset. Her voice was soft, careful to keep any accusation or anger out of it.

“Yeah, I can.” Applejack turned her head and Sunset saw something she had never seen in the farm girl's face before: pain. “Because I've seen it.”

Applejack rubbed her face and walked over to the couch. Sunset followed and sat down.

“You ever hear what happened to my parents?” Applejack asked.

“It was a car accident, wasn't it?” Sunset asked. That had been the story around the halls of Canterlot High even back during her queen bitch days. It was another fact that she had dismissed as off limits for her purposes.

“Kind of,” Applejack answered. “My dad died in a car accident. He was drivin' back from deliverin' some cider out to Dodge Junction. He got caught in a storm in the canyon. The road was slick, his brakes gave out and – “

Applejack stopped and wiped her eyes. Sunset put a hand on her shoulder. Applejack put her own hand over it and looked back at her.

“The funeral was a few days later. Apple Bloom was too young to understand what happened. But Mom did. Mom understood all too well. After the funeral, she started pullin' away. She kept thinkin' what happened to Dad was her fault. She was supposed to get the brakes on the truck checked, y'see? But she didn't get a chance to do it. Dad knew about it, and said he was sure everything would be fine.”

Applejack took her hat off and looked at it. Her voice was small and distant, far from the usual boisterous tone she normally used. “We all tried to get on with things. Mom tried to put on a brave face, kept smiling, kept making out like everything would be fine. But I could hear it in her voice.”

“The note?” Sunset asked.

“The note. It was always there. When she was laughing. When she was angry. When she kissed me good night or woke me up in the morning. But we didn't notice then. I think I might've be the only one who did, afterward.”

Applejack put her hat in her lap and looked at Sunset. Her eyes were brimming with tears that refused to fall. “And then, one morning, she didn't wake me up. Because she didn't wake up. And she never would again.”

“Oh, Applejack.” Sunset leaned forward and the two girls embraced. Sunset felt Applejack's strong arms hold her tightly, almost desperately. After a while, they separated. Applejack sniffled and wiped her eyes.

“She kept blamin' herself for Dad. And she kept it from us. She couldn't move on, y'see? She left a note. Told us all she loved us, and she was sorry, but she just couldn't go on with the pain and the guilt.

“And after her funeral, I vowed that would never happen to anyone I loved again.”

Applejack reached out and took Sunset's hand. It wasn't apologetic like Twilight's grip had been. It was firm, strong, and reassuring. “So when I heard the note from you, I knew you were fallin'. And I want you to know that I'll always be there to catch you, to help you up, anything you need.

“I ain't losin' anyone to the note again. Ever.”

Sunset looked at Applejack, her own eyes watering. Then she shot forward and the two embraced again, collapsing in tears and bawling. They stayed that way for a long while, crying out their shared pain. One crying for old love and loss. The other for guilt both deserved and undeserved.

Ultimately, it wouldn't resolve either one's anguish, but for that brief time, the two managed to find respite in each others arms, coming together in love and friendship.