• Published 23rd Sep 2018
  • 4,092 Views, 1,077 Comments

Playing House - Krickis

When Sunset learns about problems in Fluttershy's home life, she invites her friend to live with her instead. For Fluttershy, it’s a shelter from the storm she lives in fear of. For Sunset, it’s the hope to be part of a family for the first time.

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16 – The Sound of Rain

Chapter Sixteen

The Sound of Rain

“Fluttershy, you almost ready?”

Fluttershy groaned in response.

Sunset stood up from the couch where she’d been waiting and walked into the bedroom. Fluttershy was lying on the bed half dressed. Even though they were at risk of running late, Sunset climbed into bed with her. “Still not feeling well?”


Sunset kicked her shoes off, then gently cuddled around Fluttershy. She slowly traced her fingers around her exposed stomach and addressed their daughter. “Come on, Sky, take it easy on your poor mama…”

As if in answer, Sunset felt a small movement. It made her spirits soar, but she kept that from showing since Fluttershy was feeling so miserable.

“I just can’t wait for this to be over with…” Fluttershy grumbled. She placed her hand on Sunset’s and softened her tone to add, “For more than one reason.”

“Yeah, me too.” Sunset took a deep breath, enjoying the content feeling of lying with Fluttershy for a few moments longer than she knew was wise. She had to get to work and Fluttershy had to get to school, but the sense of peace she felt was too good to disturb.

Of course, it would be better if Fluttershy was feeling better. It was nothing to worry about, just pregnancy hormones making her feel bad, but naturally that was only so much comfort when she was feeling sick.

“Maybe you should stay home today,” Sunset suggested, aware that they were running out of time.

“No, I can go.” Fluttershy sat up, so Sunset did as well. “Can you pass me my clothes?”

Sunset did as she was asked, handing clothes to Fluttershy then putting her shoes back on while Fluttershy got dressed. Although Fluttershy moved a little slower than usual, she still got herself ready to go quick enough.

“How do I look?” Fluttershy asked once she was dressed and off the bed.

Sunset grinned and stepped closer, pulling Fluttershy into a kiss. “Beautiful.”

Fluttershy managed a smile at the compliment. “I love you, Sunny. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Sunset shrugged. “Get your own clothes instead of having them handed to you? Doesn’t seem like that big of a loss to me.”

Fluttershy shook her head and hugged Sunset. “You wouldn’t say that if you were in my position. Some days, that’s a lot more than it sounds like.”

“Yeah, I know.” Sunset kissed the top of Fluttershy’s head. “Sure you wanna go to school? I’m sure you can make it up if you miss it.”

“Sunny, it’s the final exam. I’ve got to go.”

“Yeah, I suppose that’s true. Well, you ready to get heading out then?”

“Yeah, let’s go.”

They left the bedroom, but Sunset hesitated before heading out the front door. “Think you could get a little something to eat on the way?”

“Ugh, no, I wouldn’t be able to keep it down.”

Sunset frowned. “Okay, but I’m grabbing you a granola bar. Maybe if you start feeling a bit better you can eat it later.”

Fluttershy waited by the door while Sunset grabbed the snack. “We’ll see. Thanks, Sunny.”

“No problem.”

Once Fluttershy had her granola bar tucked away in her purse, they left the house. As soon as they were in the car and she was buckled up, Fluttershy was leaning against the window looking miserable.

Sunset considered trying to get her to stay home again, but she knew that Fluttershy had a point about final exams. It would be harder to make up, and she would only be further along in her pregnancy by the time she had the chance. Besides, once all her exams were out of the way, she wouldn’t have to worry about school again until after Sky was born.

Since Fluttershy wasn’t much in the mood for talking, Sunset just let the radio play as she drove to her school. They were already running a bit late and she was wary of some dark clouds in the distance, but she was able to drive fast enough to make up the time and reach the school before it started raining.

“Go kick ass in there, Shy!” Sunset said as she dropped her off.

Fluttershy leaned down as she was out, smiling at Sunset through the open door. “Language, Sunny.”

Sunset grinned. “What? It’s a special occasion! Ass kicking is appropriate today!”

Fluttershy laughed and shook her head. “Alright, I guess it’s okay this time. Now hurry to work before you’re late.”

“Wait, you’re forgetting something.”

Fluttershy cocked her head to the side. “I am?”

“Yeah, come here.”

Fluttershy half crawled back into the car, so Sunset leaned closer and kissed her. “There, now you’re really ready to kick ass!”

Fluttershy giggled. “Okay okay. Now get going!”

“Love you.”

“Love you too.”

Fluttershy climbed out of the car and closed the door. She stepped away and waved, then walked into school. Sunset smiled until she saw Fluttershy pause and look unsteady on her feet, but then she was walking back towards the school again.

She knew Fluttershy was fine, that it was just hormones and she’d be okay in a bit, but she still hated to see her girlfriend like that. Not that there was anything she could do now. And anyway, Fluttershy was capable of taking care of herself for the day, so Sunset shifted back into drive and exited the parking lot.

Along the way to her job, the rain started. Just a bit, nowhere near enough to make it hard to see. Maybe it would even be a good thing; if the rain kept up while she was at work, it would deter customers and make her day that much easier.

And maybe soon, she wouldn’t have to deal with customers so much at all. They were still short one manager, and Golden Lucre would be making his decision about Sunset’s promotion any day. He had to, waiting much longer was only making scheduling more difficult, and then there was still training before Sunset could be expected to manage the store on her own. The sooner he promoted her, the sooner the store could get back to its standard operation.

Sunset was optimistic about her chances. There was hardly anyone else going for the position, and she had more experience than any of them. Not to mention that for the past four months, ever since they’d found out Fluttershy was pregnant, Sunset had gone above and beyond giving her all at work.

Which meant arriving on time every day, and despite the setbacks, today was no exception. The clock reported that she had five minutes before her shift started when she arrived, giving her plenty of time to get inside and punch in.

The rain was just starting to pick up, so Sunset ran to the store. The air conditioning felt colder than usual due to being wet, but she ignored that as she made her way to the office.

The time clock was just outside the office in a small hallway. Sunset usually didn’t have any reason to go into the office, but she put on a friendly smile and popped her head into the open door anyway.

All she had wanted to do was greet Golden Lucre if he was there. It was good to remind him that she existed and present herself as the type of friendly person that would be perfect for store management. But then as she looked into the room, she completely froze in place.

Golden Lucre was there, but he wasn’t alone. Standing beside him was a woman close to Sunset’s age, and she was wearing a manager’s uniform. She had pink skin and blue strands in her light yellow hair, and as soon as she turned to Sunset, both of them matched each other’s speechless expressions.

In his usual manner, Lucre seemed unaware or disinterested in the obvious awkwardness present in the room. “Ah, good morning, Sunset. Afraid we’ve decided to hire someone with a bit more managerial experience for the position. Don’t worry though, I’m sure your time is coming soon enough.”

Sunset wasn’t sure which of the two of them she wanted to yell at more. In the end, she barely held it together enough to give a half hearted reply. “Oh, alright then.”

“In the meantime, I’d like you to meet our newest team member, Sugar Breeze.”

Sugar Breeze composed herself before Sunset could and walked across the room. “We’ve actually met before.” She seemed to be studying Sunset closely as she held out her hand. “Hello, Sunset. It’s been a long time.”

‘It could stand to be much longer,’ Sunset thought bitterly, but she smiled as she shook Sugar’s hand. “Yeah, never would’ve thought I’d run into you again.”

Whatever Sugar was looking for, she seemed to find it. Her eyes narrowed slightly as she gripped Sunset’s hand tightly, although with her back to Lucre, Sunset was sure he didn’t notice. “I have to say I feel the same.”

Sunset knew she wasn’t just talking about the surprise appearance. Neither of them ever wanted to see the other again, that much was obvious. But since Sunset’s back wasn’t turned towards Lucre, all she could do was maintain a friendly smile.

“Well, I better get to work,” Sunset said as she stepped away from the two of them. For once she was looking forward to dealing with customers, if only because that would be better than dealing with Lucre and Sugar Fucking Breeze.

If they said anything else to or about her on the way out, Sunset didn’t hear it. She barely heard or noticed anything as she walked back through the store. She didn’t even so much as look at the registers, where she was supposed to be going, walking right past them.

She hadn’t planned to go to the bathrooms, but that was where she wound up. She walked straight for one of the stalls, slamming the door shut behind her, and she screamed.

After a moment, a voice came from another stall. “Uh… are you –”

“Fuck off!”

There was another moment’s pause, then someone flushed a toilet and left without bothering to wash their hands.

Sunset wanted to scream again, but she gritted her teeth and held it inside. How dare he? After everything Sunset had done for this store, how dare he hire someone else instead of promoting her? He couldn’t even admit it was his decision when he literally owned the store – he had said ‘we decided’ as if there was some high council that had convened to determine Sunset’s fate.

Little by little, Sunset’s senses started returning to her. But instead of leaving the bathroom, she just leaned against the stall wall and pulled out her phone. She flipped through her text messages until she found Flash.

‘Just letting you know your uncle’s the world’s biggest dick’

She shoved her phone back into her pocket and folded her arms. She wasn’t even sure why she texted Flash, it wasn’t like he could do anything.

Several minutes ticked by while Sunset did nothing. Objectively she was trying to calm down, but she knew that would be impossible. There was nothing calm about this situation, Lucre had betrayed her, and he had, of all fucking people, used Sugar Breeze to do it. And sure, Sugar didn’t know she was getting in Sunset’s way when she took the job, but that look of hers had been confirmation – their past would keep them from ever being anything other than enemies.

It was enough to make Sunset want to walk out of the store right there and then. To hell with it, let them figure out what to do without her. But… she had a family now, and as shitty as her cashier’s paycheck was, they needed it desperately.

So with nothing else to do, Sunset sucked it up and walked back into the store.

The day did not improve. Throughout Sunset’s shift, she watched as Sugar Breeze pranced around the store, learning how to do all kinds of shit Sunset had known about for years. Lucre had wanted someone with more experience? What, more experience being a suck up bitch? Because Sugar sure as fuck didn’t have much else on Sunset.

Although the two of them didn’t speak again, Sunset definitely caught Sugar Breeze looking her way a few times. And judging from her expression, she did not have high opinions of what she saw.

All day long, Sunset exchanged glares with Sugar. No doubt her foul mood bled into everything else she did as well. Not that she really cared much; she may need her job, but after what Lucre had done, she would be damned if she was going to fight for it.

The day passed painfully slowly. By the time it was over, Sunset felt like she might scream at the next person to speak with her. As such, she didn’t speak to anyone on her way out.

She frowned as she looked out the door. The rain was pouring down outside, and she’d need to cross the parking lot. She thought about buying an umbrella before she left, but that would mean talking to a coworker and giving Lucre more business. Then she thought about stealing an umbrella before she left, but decided it would be too big to get away with.

But the rain was better than the store, so she stepped out into it. She hunched her back to try and keep as much of herself dry as she could, and walked steadily to the car.

She tried to open the door, realized it was locked, then stood in the rain as she fumbled to get her keys out of her wet jeans. By the time she got into the car, she was soaked.

Once the door was shut and she was safely in from the rain, Sunset let her head fall onto the steering wheel. Part of her wanted to scream some more, but a much larger part of her didn’t have the energy.

She leaned back and slumped in the chair, aware that she should get going. Instead, she pulled her phone out of her pocket. The screen had water droplets on it, but her clothes were too wet to dry it off with, so she ignored that. Checking the time underlined the fact that she should go, since she still had an errand to run before picking Fluttershy up from school. That is, if there was still any reason to bother with the errand.

Instead, she returned the missed call she had. The phone rang a few times, then Flash’s voice answered. “Hey, Sunset. Bad day at work, I take it?”

“You don’t even know the fucking half of it.”

“Aren’t you trying not to swear so much with the baby –”

“Not now, Flash!”

After a moment’s pause, Flash’s tone made it clear he knew this wasn’t a time for jokes. “Okay. So what happened?”

“I didn’t get the promotion.”

“Ouch. Did he say why?”

“He said he ‘wanted someone with more experience’.”

“Are you serious? You’ve been there for four years, how much experience does he want?”

“Oh, it’s a fucking load of shit. The bitch he hired? I lived with her back in New Horizons. She’s a god damn year older than me! How much more experience could she possibly have!?”

“Geez, that’s messed up. I’m sorry, Sunset. I wish there was something I could do.”

Sunset sighed. “Yeah, I know.” Even though Flash had tried smoothing things over between them, it hadn’t mattered. Ever since Sunset broke up with his nephew, Lucre had been pushing Sunset down at every turn. Always doing just enough to keep her miserable, without ever doing quite enough to make it clear he was targeting her.

She hadn’t called Flash to get him to do anything, though. “I just… I don’t know what to tell Fluttershy…”

“She knows how he is. She’ll know it’s not your fault.”

“Yeah, but…” Sunset leaned her head against the window and watched the rain come down. “I’ve kind of… mislead her a little bit.”

Flash’s voice was uncertain. “What do you mean?”

“I’ve let her believe that we’re doing okay with money, and we really aren’t. I mean, we’re doing okay now, but we’re one big expense away from being totally fucked!”

“One big expense like a baby.”

“Exactly. I thought, you know, there’s nothing to worry about. I’d get the promotion, we’d have a few months before Sky’s born to save some money, everything would be good. But now…”

“Hey, Sunset, it’ll be okay. Didn’t your friends say they’d help if you needed money?”

Sunset scowled. “They’ve done too much already. They bought us a fucking car, and Applejack’s still buying us groceries. I can’t ask them for more than that.”

Flash hesitated, and Sunset knew what was coming before he said it. “Maybe… you’re gonna have to. Sky’s what’s most important, you know?”

“Yeah, you’re right.” Sunset hated that he was right. “I’m gonna try to figure something else out though, see if there’s some way I can do this without relying on them. Please don’t tell anyone until I have a chance to figure things out.”

“Don’t tell anyone?”

“Well, they’ll know I didn’t get the promotion. But don’t tell them about the money.”

“I guess…” Flash didn’t sound so sure. “Just don’t try to do too much on your own, you know? And remember that I’m around too if there’s anything I can do.”

“Yeah, I know. Thanks, Flash.”

“Don’t mention it.”

“I’m gonna get going. I have to pick up Fluttershy from school.”

“Alright, I’ll talk to you later then.”


Sunset hung up and tossed the phone on the passenger seat. She lingered for a moment more as she watched the rain, then she started the car.

It wasn’t like Sunset felt better, exactly. But talking to Flash allowed her raw anger to shift form, becoming instead a more dull sense of apathy. Her life had never gone the way it should, why had she thought it would start now?

It was hard to see on the way out of the parking lot, and even harder once she was on the road. The windshield wipers moved frantically, but the rain came down faster than they could displace it. Sunset was forced to drive slowly, and since she decided to fulfill her errand after all, she drove in the opposite direction of Fluttershy’s school.

If it wasn’t for the fact that Rarity would ask about it, Sunset wouldn’t have bothered. The whole point had been that with the promotion, she and Fluttershy would finally be able to live a comfortable life together. Or at least live one out of poverty, if only barely. What was the point now?

But still, Sunset drove slowly and carefully to the jewelry store that she and Rarity had visited the week before. With the rain keeping any sane person away, Sunset had an easy time finding a good parking spot right in front of the store. At least she wouldn’t get too much wetter when she trudged through the rain again.

Sunset didn’t bother to run, only keeping her head down to keep the rain from her eyes as she entered the store. Looking up, she saw the only other person there was a sales clerk.

“Hello there, how can I help you today?” she asked, ignoring the fact that Sunset was dripping water all over the floor.

“I have a ring to pick up,” Sunset said as she approached the counter. “I was told it would be ready today.”

“Alright. Name?”

“Sunset Shimmer.”

The sales clerk typed into a keyboard. “Ah yes, just one moment.” She disappeared into a back room, then returned with a small black box.

She opened it to show Sunset, who couldn’t even manage a smile. The band was silver with a green gemstone in the middle. Of course, diamonds were traditional for engagement rings, but Rarity had been certain Fluttershy would prefer emerald. “It’s perfect.”

The clerk set the ring down on the counter and typed into the keyboard again. “And it looks like you’re all paid up, so if you’ll just sign here, you’ll be good to go.”

The document before her seemed to be a release form of some sort, indicating that Sunset had picked up the ring. With how much she and Rarity had spent on it, it was no surprise they wanted legal documentation that the transaction had been completed. Sunset didn’t bother to read any of it, signing her name to whatever end.

“It really is a gorgeous ring,” the clerk said as Sunset handed back the paperwork.

“Yeah. Beautiful.”

“Here’s your proof of purchase, sales receipt, and…”

Sunset didn’t pay much attention as the sales clerk explained what each item she put in the bag was. Mostly different forms – warranties and all that, most likely. If she found a reason to do so, Sunset was sure she could figure it out later.

She waited until the clerk was finished, thanked her, and took the bag. She folded it up so that water couldn’t get into the opening, then held it close to her chest for added safety as she walked back into the rain.

At least she’d been smart enough to have her key out this time, so getting into the car was much easier. She still was too wet by the time she got in, but there was no sense worrying about that.

Instead, she worried about the ring. She pulled it out of the bag, opening the little black box to look at the ring itself.

It was supposed to be perfect. Things were supposed to be better. Sunset would get the promotion, then she’d tell Fluttershy and they’d pick a date to go out and celebrate. They’d have a nice dinner out on the town with their friends, then maybe go for a walk in the evening together.

While they were both feeling good and looking forward to their future, that’s when Sunset would ask her. She hadn’t worked out all the details of where they’d be, or what she’d say. But she would ask Fluttershy to marry her, and Fluttershy would say yes, and they’d be happy.

Sunset looked down at the ring and didn’t feel very happy. What was she supposed to do? It wasn’t like she thought Fluttershy would say no just because Sunset didn’t get the promotion. But everything was different now. The ring was supposed to be a token of their new life together, a life that they could build into something worth having. It would herald in a new wave of happiness for the two of them, a way for them to fully commit to one another and to the family they were starting.

It was supposed to be, but it wasn’t. Now if she proposed, they would have a discount wedding where they spent no expense. They would return to their tiny little house that didn’t even have a seperate room for their daughter. They would save what little money they could for the little time they were able to, then they’d lose it all within months of having a baby to provide for.

Yes, they’d love each other. But love did not buy food, or diapers, or clothes. Their love would not build a life, not on its own.

Sunset stared down at the ring. It was supposed to be perfect. And now? Now it was just a ring in a box.

She snapped it shut and threw the box back into the bag. She haphazardly tossed it in the back seat, letting it come to rest on the floor, where Fluttershy wouldn’t notice it. Later, while Fluttershy was at work, Sunset would find a better place to hide it.

With her errand over and no sign of the rain letting up, Sunset started the car and found her way back onto the road. The entire time she drove, flashes of the life that could have been danced through her mind, hypnotic as the sound of the rain against metal and glass and the constant motion of the windshield wipers.

She barely noticed the trip to Fluttershy’s school. The car stopped and started almost automatically, as Sunset herself drove it on autopilot. At some point, even the thoughts faded away, leaving nothing but bitterness and rain.

It didn’t even occur to her how late she was until she brought the car to a stop. Before she could pull out her phone, Fluttershy was walking through the rain towards her.

Fluttershy reached the car and tried to open the door before Sunset realized it was still locked. She scrambled to open it while Fluttershy stood with her arms crossed. Once Sunset got the door unlocked, Fluttershy got in the car without a word.

“Sorry I’m late,” Sunset said.

“It’s fine,” Fluttershy said in a tone that was not at all fine.

Whatever was going on, they could talk about it at home. No sense getting into a discussion in the middle of a parking lot when it was clear that neither of them was in a good mood.

Sunset did want to say something to Fluttershy, though. She just wasn’t sure what. More than anything, she just wanted to hear Fluttershy’s voice. To feel that sense of peace only Fluttershy could bring into her life. To feel like maybe this, too, could be okay.

No words came. Sunset drove, turning from one street to the next, and there was nothing but silence and rain.

That only lasted so long, however. “Why were you late?” Fluttershy asked after a while.

Sunset was sure she tried to keep it from her voice, but some of an accusatory tone had worked its way into Fluttershy’s question. She frowned as she answered. “Might not have noticed, but there’s some pretty bad weather right now.”

“You’re an hour late because the rain?”

“I got held up at work. Sorry.”

“It’s fine.”

The same tone. Fluttershy was rarely this upset, especially at Sunset. She decided against waiting until they were home to figure out why. “So what’s up? You sound miserable.”

“It’s been a bad day.”

“Okay…” Sunset wasn’t really in the mood to pick things apart, but she wanted Fluttershy to air out whatever was bothering her so she could go back to her usual self. She needed at least that much to go right after the day she’d had, she needed Fluttershy’s support. “How was the final?”

Fluttershy bowed her head. “I knew the answers to most of the questions. I know I did. But then I couldn’t think. Like everything was there, but it was all fuzzy.”

Sunset nodded. “That sounds like what the doctor said to expect. Memory issues, trouble focusing. It’s the pregnancy hormones.”

“I already know that,” Fluttershy said curtly. “Knowing why isn’t going to pass the exam for me though.”

Sunset picked up a little speed. “Just trying to remind you not to be too hard on yourself.”

“I just don’t want to fail my class.”

Normally, Sunset would try to comfort Fluttershy in some way. It was what she did best, after all; talk her way out of problems. But no comforting words came to mind, so she said nothing.

“Plus my feet hurt, and I’ve been bloated all day, and I’m just… I feel so miserable.”

“Yeah, that’s the –”

“I know it’s the hormones.”

Sunset narrowed her eyes and bit her tongue.

Fluttershy turned to look at Sunset for a moment, then turned away. “And then I waited for an hour in the rain.”

Sunset glanced over to give her an incredulous look. “You were in the rain the whole time?”

Fluttershy folded her arms and glared at the floor. “No, not the whole time. Just part of it because I wanted to get away from the school.”

Sunset shook her head. “Why would you go out in the rain? Even if I wasn’t held up, that’s just dumb.”

“I went back after a few minutes. Then I was waiting for you all wet.”

“Hey, don’t pin that on me. I didn’t tell you to wait in the rain.”

“I didn’t say it was your fault.”

“No, you just made it sound like it was.”

Fluttershy was quiet for a moment, but Sunset could feel her glare. “You could’ve at least texted me that you’d be late.”

Sunset gritted her teeth as she turned too quickly for the weather. She was even more upset because deep down she knew Fluttershy was right. It had been months, but in some ways, Sunset had never gotten used to living with someone. It used to be if she ran late, she just ran late, there was no one to care.

They’d talked about that problem of Sunset’s before, so she was angry with herself for making the mistake again. But when she spoke, all that came out was the anger, not the fact that it was directed at herself. “Look, I’m sorry that you had a bad day, but you don’t need to jump down my throat about it. My day’s also been pretty shitty, and I don’t need that right now.”

Fluttershy turned back to the window. “Sorry to be a bother.”

It was as if she was deliberately trying to get under Sunset’s skin. That was the one thing Sunset had been working nonstop to convince Fluttershy otherwise of since they started living together. They’d talked about that before, too.

Well, if that was how she was going to be, the rain would be all the answer she’d get. Sunset knew that some moodiness was expected as another side effect of the hormones, but she had spent all morning trying to take care of Fluttershy.

She’d gone to work where she had to smile through being insulted by Lucre and Sugar Breeze, she’d trudged through the rain, she’d been given a cruel reminder of a life that should have been, and now she was being attacked by the one person who had the potential to make things better.

“You should slow down,” Fluttershy said, only half interested.

“I know what I’m doing,” Sunset insisted.

Fluttershy huffed. “Why don’t you let me drive more?”

“What?” Sunset reared her head back and gave Fluttershy a bewildered look. “It’s fucking pouring down rain! You need more practice driving in the rain before you do something like this.”

“I didn’t mean right now!” Fluttershy snapped, as if that was somehow supposed to be obvious. “But you never let me drive anymore. It’s been months since I’ve been able to drive.”

“It has not been months! And it’s not like I’m stopping you, Jesus, you make it sound like I’m forcing you into some bullshit rules I made up for the hell of it.”

“Sunset, language!”

“God dammit, she’s not going to pick up swearing before she’s fucking born!”

Sunset was aware Fluttershy was looking at her, but neither of them said a word. Sunset focused on the road ahead of them with its limited visibility, made all the more difficult by some asshole behind her with high beams on.

She flipped the switch on the rearview mirror to dim the lights, and for a moment, there was silence. Just the car driving, the windshield wipers, and the rain.

Then another sound started. A sound that proved to Sunset that yes, she could be made to feel even worse. Fluttershy started crying.

At first, Sunset just kept her attention on the road. But even if Fluttershy tried to muffle the sounds, each sniff drowned out Sunset’s fiery anger. Even the ashes dissipated in the rain, leaving her nothing but empty.

“Hey, I’m sorry…” Sunset said gently. She turned to try and smile at Fluttershy, but she couldn’t. It would be forced, and Fluttershy deserved better than that. “I didn’t mean to snap, I just… Well, it doesn’t matter. I’m really sorry I yelled at you.”

When Fluttershy looked up at her, Sunset found a little bit of an authentic smile after all. “It’s okay,” Fluttershy said, sounding more okay than she had the previous two times she’d said that. “I’m sorry too, I – Sunset look out!”

Sunset turned back to the road to see a pair of headlights right in front of her. In the rain, they were the only things she could see. She slammed on both the horn and the brakes, but it didn’t deter the lights that were rapidly coming closer.

She felt the wheels hydroplane, and immediately knew she’d been going much too fast. The lights just drew closer.

Several things happened at once, too many for one single moment. Sunset tried to scan the environment to get a better idea of her surroundings, the car started drifting on its own to the right, Fluttershy screamed, and a horn sounded from somewhere.

Everything suddenly jerked as the front of the car struck something. It was impossible to see what it was, but it was solid and they started spinning.

It was so fast, Sunset couldn’t react. She barely had time to look at Fluttershy, who was silhouetted by high beams.

A horrible sound of impact joined in with their screams, and the car kept moving. Sunset could no longer tell which way they moved, but her shoulder slammed into her door as everything turned the wrong way.

Still, the car kept moving. Sunset couldn’t see what was happening, only feel it as she was thrown around. The only thing she was aware of was the horrible roar, her body moving out of her control, and screams.

Everything came to a stop, and Sunset realized the one screaming was her. She tried to look around, but everything was dark. There were no longer any lights, and distantly she realized that included their own headlights being out.

She felt sick more than hurt, and nothing felt right. “Fluttershy?” she croaked, an automatic question that she hadn’t needed to think about asking.

Trying to move her arm made Sunset feel like she was drunk, and she realized that was because she was hanging upside down. The car had flipped. If it wasn’t for her seatbelt, Sunset would be dead.

“Fluttershy, are you okay?” There was more thought behind this question, and from there it the obvious realization that Fluttershy hadn’t answered her came. “Hey. Hey! Fluttershy! Fluttershy, answer me! Please, Shy, answer me!”

Sunset reached out and touched Fluttershy. There were bits of debri on her skin, and she was wet with what Sunset could only hope was rain water. She ignored that to shake her, desperate for something. “Please, Shy, answer me! You’re okay, tell me you’re okay! Please, oh God, please be okay…”

The only answer was the sound of rain.

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