• Published 23rd Sep 2018
  • 2,581 Views, 774 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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Snow and ice crunched underfoot as Sunset walked. Everything around her was frozen, a wasteland of white and blue. A flurry of snow danced around her as she walked, whipped wildly by the winds cutting up around her. The falling frost stuck to her skin and obscured her surroundings past the point of recognition.

There was no telling how long she walked for, or even where she was walking to. It didn’t matter. Both time and distance were irrelevant to Sunset. She shivered in the cold, holding her arms close to her body in a fruitless attempt at keeping warm.

As she walked, she became aware of something. A flash of darkness against the white, only visible for a moment before it was consumed by the relentless snow. Sunset picked up her pace as she approached the place where it had been.

It was another person. Sunset was sure of that when she saw the figure again. But once again, the snow seized all color, defying Sunset’s attempts to close the distance.

“Hello?” Sunset called as she walked even faster still.

The only answer was the sound of wind.

A memory flashed, but then it was gone. All that there was in its place was ice.

Undeterred, Sunset continued after the person. “Hello, is someone there?”

A figure formed before her, coming into focus with each step through the snow. Sunset recognized the small form of a child, shrouded in darkness as if silhouetted by a light that she couldn’t see.

“Hey, are you…” As Sunset approached, more and more details of the child before her became apparent. Whoever it was had their back to her. “Are you okay?”

The figure turned towards Sunset, who stopped in her tracks as she was struck by recognition. “It’s time,” Applejack said.

Something was wrong with her voice, and she was only around eleven or twelve years old, but it was undeniable that Sunset was looking at Applejack. Sunset broke into a run, desperate to close the distance between them, but she stopped again as the horror of what she was looking at became apparent.

Her normally bright orange skin was pale blue, and neither her hair nor clothes moved in the wind. When Sunset didn’t walk closer, Applejack did it herself. Even her movement was wrong, as she seemed to practically drag herself.

Sunset took a step back as Applejack approached, but she kept coming. “Applejack, what… what happened…?”

Applejack stopped a few feet from Sunset and held out her hand. “You did.”

Up close, Sunset could see what hair Applejack still had was frozen to her skin, as were her clothes. Her body looked bloated, and patches of skin were black with frostbite. She knew exactly what she was looking at, but it was impossible.

“No.” Sunset shook her head. “No, you lived that day. This… this didn’t happen.”

“It’s time to go, Sunset.”

Sunset didn’t want to touch Applejack. She didn’t want to be near her, didn’t want to look at her. But she also couldn’t stop herself. As if she were being pulled by strings, Sunset reached out her hand and placed it in Applejack’s.

It was like nothing she’d ever felt. Or like a memory of a feeling that she’d tried to forget. Applejack’s hand froze to Sunset’s, and it burned as it did. The small icy touch was enough to make Sunset feel like her whole being was on fire.

Applejack ignored Sunset’s pain. She pulled the older woman along with more strength than a child should possess, all without a word. Sunset could only follow. Her hand was fused to the young girl’s by ice that worked its way into Sunset’s veins, leaving them frozen together by more than just their skin.

The wind howled as Applejack pulled Sunset along, until the ground fell from below them.

Sirens approached as Sunset struggled with the seatbelt. She tried to get ———— to respond, but she was met with only the sound of rain.

Everything burned, and whether by fire or ice, Sunset couldn’t tell. All that there was in the world was darkness and pain.

Then a voice cut through the darkness. A shrill cackle that had echoed through her head for years. Sunset’s voice, full of all the pain and malice she had once held so close.

“Did you really think things could be better for you?” Sunset’s voice asked. It came from within her and around her. “Did you really think you deserved better?”

“No! This is wrong!” Sunset fought against the darkness, trying desperately to separate herself from it. “I defeated you!”

Sunset’s voice laughed again. “Sorry, Princess, but not quite.”

The world shot into focus. She was floating above the ruins of Canterlot High School, and everything was on fire. On its own, her body descended in front of the statue, and Sunset saw herself in the reflective surface.

She saw a demon.

She saw fire given solid form.

“Defeated me?” Sunset watched as her mouth moved to speak words she hadn’t meant to say. “You are me, Princess. The weak part of me that’s stupid enough to think she could ever be happy.”

“You’re wrong,” Sunset shot back. Her mouth in the reflection didn’t move as she spoke. “I’m stronger than you. And with my friends, I –”

“Your friends?” Her mouth curved into a wicked grin, and Sunset realized she was only able to speak when the demon allowed her to. “Friends like this, perhaps?”

She spun around, and Sunset saw Twilight collapsed on the ground. Her skin was badly burned, and that was only where it hadn’t been melted away. Exposed bones were broken, leaving her limbs splayed in unnatural angles.

Sunset just laughed again. “What’s the matter, Princess? Can’t handle the person you are?”

“This isn’t me! You did this, I didn’t…”

“Is that what you think? There is no me and you. There’s only you and your inability to accept the fact that you’re responsible for your own actions.”

“But this didn’t happen! I was stopped, I didn’t… I wouldn’t… I’m not this person anymore.”

Sunset turned back to the statue. “Then let’s see what the new you is capable of.”

She stepped forward, into the statue, and the world disappeared around her.

There was so much blood. That was all Sunset could think as they loaded ———— into the ambulance. There was so much blood.

There was no ice.

There was no fire.

There was nothing.

The world around her was nothing but ash. That was all that was left, everything else had been burned away. And deep down, Sunset knew that was all her doing.

Sunset had been here before, even if it sometimes felt like she’d only imagined it. She’d walked the path of ashes to face the things she’d done. She’d walked it to its end, and then she kept going.

“You may have faced your past, Sunset Shimmer, but you have not been held accountable for it.”

The voice struck her with more terror than any other could. It was the one voice Sunset could not bring herself to face again, and the one voice she always longed more than any other to hear.

Sunset did not want to face it now, but her body turned on its own. She turned, and then she was frozen where she stood. Unable to move under the weight of angry magenta eyes.

“It’s time you faced your judgement,” Princess Celestia said.

“I… I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to…”

Other figures rose from the ashes. Cadance, who had only wanted to be Sunset’s friend and was punished for it. Applejack, scarred from years of being Sunset’s favorite target and a past that they still never spoke of. Princess Twilight, who Sunset had tried to take everything from for no reason other than she had been able to succeed where Sunset had failed. The Twilight she has once gone to school with, forced apart from the only friends she’d ever had because Sunset hadn’t trusted her enough. Flash, manipulated and betrayed. Rose Petal, abandoned.

There were others. Rarity, Pinkie, and Rainbow had never been safe from her torment. Snips and Snails had been the only ones who had stood by her for a time, until Sunset replaced them with better friends. Teachers, students, people, ponies, so many faces that Sunset could hardly recognize, could never hope to put names to.

There were so many, and Sunset knew she had hurt all of them. There was nothing she could say for what she’d done.

“But that’s not me anymore,” Sunset said meekly. She turned away, unable to keep staring at the crowd. “I’m better than that now.”

“And you think it is for you to decide that you can erase your past?” Princess Celestia asked her. “Do you believe the past damage has ceased to exist because you’ve decided it has?”

“No, I just…”

Sunset couldn’t find any other words to say.

She would apologize. Although she’d said it before, she could never say it enough. She would face her victims and apologize for the things she’d done. A thousand times, of take what it took.

As she lifted her head, she found there was only one person there.



Sunset ran towards Fluttershy. She was bleeding. There was so much blood, and it had been spilled by Sunset. By her anger and her carelessness. What good were her intentions when she could only cause pain?

Fluttershy fell to the ground. Even as Sunset reached her hands out to grab her, she disappeared, leaving nothing but ash in the place of the one Sunset had hurt more than any other.

No. There was one more.

Sunset heard a quiet voice. She had never heard it before, but she knew immediately who it was.

“M-mom… why did you let me die?”

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