• Published 29th Dec 2018
  • 5,468 Views, 199 Comments

Passed On - Scampy



"You probably thought the pain would disappear with you, but it didn't. It just passed on to someone else." — Twilight Sparkle returns to the human world following her conversation with Sunset. Sequel to Last Light.

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II - Nothing Left to Save

The hospital room housed a small bed, barely as long as Twilight was tall. Various medical instruments and machines hung lifelessly over it, their various screens and lights completely black. A plastic mask with a thick tube protruding from it, which Twilight assumed was for breathing assistance, rested uselessly on the sheets. And at the center of it all...

Twilight found herself unable to move further into the room.

There she was. Or, Twilight assumed as much. The girl in the bed looked nothing like the Sunset Shimmer Twilight had seen during her last visit to this world. Her entire frame was scrawny and frail, betraying the signs of malnutrition. What had previously been long locks of red and gold hair were reduced to a tangled mess of matted brown and orange. What shocked Twilight the most, though, was her face.

Her eyes were lightly closed, the bags beneath them extending out like black bruises that were only accentuated by her sickly pale skin. Her mouth was slightly open, frozen in the moment of its final breath. Twilight could still see a bit of dry blood caked in the corners of her lips, which were turned down as if Sunset’s last thoughts were of anguish and fear.

They had been. Twilight had seen it.

Seeing it again was too much. Twilight choked back a sob, stumbling back against the wall beside the door. How could she have let this happen? Her mind was a cacophony of self-berating and nightmarish memories of her last conversation with Sunset.

I was tired... I was ready,” Sunset had confessed to her.

She had accepted dying. Yearned for it, and sought it out. And Twilight had only paid attention once it was far too late to make any difference. Now Sunset was gone, leaving nothing behind but a life that was too extensively damaged for Twilight to pick up the pieces.

Please, just... Stay here. Stay with me,” Sunset had pleaded with her. “I d-don’t want to be alone when it happens.

Sunset had been alone for so long. Twilight had left her in the care of people she barely knew, and only returned in a single time of crisis. Tears stung her eyes as she slid down the wall.

Y’know, when it’s...” Sunset had whimpered with tears in her eyes. “When it’s time for me to go.

“But it wasn’t!” Twilight screamed. She clambered over to the bed, collapsing beside it as she found and held Sunset’s cold hand beneath the sheet. “It w-w-wasn’t!”

She clung to Sunset, her lungs heaving with every broken sob. Twilight had allowed her friend to slip down a road so dark that Twilight had not even noticed it. And worse, it was not like she had missed signs or purposely ignored red flags. Rather, she had not bothered to look at all. Even once Sunset had slowed and eventually stopped corresponding with her, Twilight never made the effort to see if anything was seriously wrong. She had just assumed that whatever was going on, if it was anything at all, would work itself out.

Were Sunset there, Twilight wondered if she would have told her that things did work themselves out. How had she reached such a depth of misery and self-loathing?

Twilight sunk her head into her arm as the tears continued to stain the sheets. Her fingers intertwined with Sunset’s, as if hoping that a closer connection may bring warmth back to the girl in the bed. As she held on a little tighter, she felt something—a ridge running along the back of Sunset’s hand.

I hurt myself,” Sunset had said. It had been Twilight’s first indication that whatever was happening to her friend was more than just a friendship problem.

Without thinking, she lifted the sheet over Sunset's arm, and immediately wished she hadn’t.

Twilight liked to think she was good at math, but even she could not begin to count the number of scars that littered Sunset’s skin. They were absolutely everywhere, and ranged from impossibly small cuts that could barely be seen, to horrid gashes of scar tissue that stretched thick and purple across her limb, and everything in between.

This was her fault. Every single one of these cuts was her fault.

As she stayed there, weeping over Sunset’s lifeless form, her eyes would periodically watch for any sign of movement. Even now, some foolish thing in the back of her head was hoping against hope that she would see Sunset’s chest rise and fall, and that maybe she just had not noticed until then.

What left was there to do? Sunset had been adamant that she did not want to return to Equestria, so taking her body back against her will was out of the question. The thought of leaving Sunset in this world that had so cruelly cast her aside made Twilight’s heart ache, but this had been Sunset’s home. And for however brief a time, she had been happy here.

So what, she was just supposed to leave her here?

What did it matter? Twilight shut her eyes, wishing for just a moment of mourning free from her nagging thoughts. And yet, the procedural aspect that normally dominated Twilight’s mind could not be silenced, even in her deepest grief.

Sunset would need to have a burial. And that meant a funeral. Twilight had honestly never attended a funeral before, let alone for someone she cared about so much. Was she supposed to plan it? Pay for it? Send out invitations to—whom, exactly?

The other girls. They were still here. They were in the building, just down the hall with Redheart, and they would want to speak with Twilight the second they got a chance. What was she supposed to say to them? What was she not supposed to say? Anger and betrayal combated a grim resolve to not sink to their level, and Twilight had no idea which side would win out.

How could the other girls have so callously tossed Sunset aside? It just didn’t make any sense. Sunset had said that after her years of tormenting all of them, they simply had no trust remaining for her to earn. At the time, Twilight had responded that she didn’t believe in such ultimatums, but now that she was seeing the aftermath...

No. Sunset couldn’t have been that bad. Even if she was, she had done so much to turn her life around and right all of her wrongs. No one deserved to give up on living because they placed their life in the hands of people who could never learn to forgive, Twilight resolved. The onus was on the other girls for turning their backs on Sunset in her most desperate moment. She would not let herself fall into the trap of blaming the victim, nor would she allow the other girls to twist this tragedy into a way to gain sympathy.

Yet in the brief interaction she had shared with the girls, they had each seemed genuinely heartbroken. And the staff member who had brought Twilight here had mentioned that Sunset was surrounded by friends when she passed.

Her mind continued doing flips, trying and failing to analyze every agonizing facet of a reality far too terrible to perceive in its entirety. Were Twilight to decide the other girls were irredeemable monsters and refused to allow them any chance for remorse, she would be falling into the same fallacy that had led to the girls abandoning Sunset. Was forgiveness absolute, even in the face of driving a friend to take her own life?

It could not be that black and white, but Twilight’s eyes were too clouded by tears to see any shades of grey. She hated those girls. She hated them. She trusted them to look after Sunset, and in their blind stupidity they took her away for good.

Twilight wiped her tears away. As she did her best to steady her breathing, her hand drifted over Sunset’s arm, feeling the bumps and ridges of each nick and cut.

This was all wrong. Twilight didn’t want to hate anyone. She didn’t want to feel that seizing, burning disgust every time she thought of them. They had been her friends too, and despite everything, they were just as despondent as Twilight herself.

She ran a hand over Sunset’s head, her fingers brushing through her hair. As they slid through the brown, tangled mess, she could see occasional flashes of crimson and gold.

“I don’t know what to do, Sunset,” she said.

There was no answer.

Twilight felt another surge of tears coming, and she buried her head in her arms once more.

“I-I hope,” Twilight said, her voice trembling, “I hope that you found the p-peace you couldn’t find here.” She glanced at Sunset as if expecting a response. When none came, she continued.

“I know you were in a lot of pain,” she said. “I know you never wanted anyone to feel the things that made you...” She trailed off, unable to complete that statement.

“I don’t understand,” she said. “I j-just don’t understand, Sunset. You were so strong, one of the strongest people I knew. Maybe I’ll never understand...”

There was a knock on the door.

“Excuse me, Twilight?” Redheart’s voice came through. “Are you alright, dear?”

She couldn’t bring herself to answer. After a moment, the door creaked open, and she heard footsteps behind her.

“Twilight?”

“Why?” Twilight said suddenly. “Why did she do this?”

Redheart knelt beside her. “I don’t know, hon,” she said. “It’s not fair. These things never are.”

Twilight felt an arm wrap around her. Her body trembled for a brief moment, then she collapsed into the nurse’s arms.

“I-I should have b-b-been here!” Twilight cried. “I never should h-h-h-have—”

“Shhh, it’s alright, Twilight,” Redheart said. Twilight could feel that the nurse was crying too.

“It’s not alright!” Twilight said, her voice cracking. “She’s dead! Sunset is gone and—and I wasn’t there! I wasn’t there and she killed herself and I didn’t even know there was anything wrong!”

Redheart took a moment before responding. “Sometimes,” she said, “people with serious mental trauma do their best to hide it from people they care about. I’m sure you’re a wonderful sister, Twilight. If she never told you anything, she must have loved you a whole lot.”

Twilight could not stop herself. Her cries devolved into sobs, and finally into screams of despair. She screamed in the tiny room, in the nurse’s embrace, beside the girl whom she had let down. She screamed until she could not scream anymore.

When Twilight’s voice finally died down, her mind began to settle, if just a little bit. There were things to do. Arrangements to make. But before all that, she had questions that needed answers.

“Can you please take me to where you took the others?” Twilight said, her voice dry from screaming. “I need to speak with them.”

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