• Published 22nd Mar 2020
  • 1,149 Views, 98 Comments

Empty Sky - Krickis

Sunset has been happily dating Twilight and Fluttershy for a year now, but when they start talking about the next step in their relationship, it brings up old demons that Sunset has never quite moved on from.

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1 – Talking to the Flowers

Empty Sky

Chapter One

Talking to the Flowers

There were days that changed everything. Throughout her life, Sunset would argue that she had experienced more than her fair share of them. Often, at least, she knew they were coming. The date of the Fall Formal had been ingrained in her mind for months, even if she hadn’t expected it to change her quite like it had; she had planned at least a day in advance before coming back to Equestria; and while she never would have predicted she’d wind up in a relationship with Twilight and Fluttershy, she had known some change was coming the entire week before.

Other times, change caught her unaware. For instance, there was the day she fought with Celestia that had changed everything, or losing her girlfriend to the glamour of touring with a rock band. Not to mention the lingering sound of rain, which had haunted her for years.

Whether the changes made themselves known ahead of time or not, Sunset’s life could be characterized by a string of drastic changes. When she would later look back on this day, she would realize it marked another one. Not as pronounced as many of the others, but just as important.

Not that she knew that at the time. She woke up to the feeling of someone petting her mane, and she kept her eyes closed as she snuggled in closer to her marefriend. It had to be Fluttershy that she was pressed against, since she slept in the middle, although Sunset had no idea which of her marefriends was stroking her mane.

Almost as if she knew what was coming, Sunset held onto that peace for as long as she could. She kept her eyes closed and tightened her hold on Fluttershy as a smile worked its way to her face.

“Mmh.” It seemed that Sunset’s squirming had woken Fluttershy, who wrapped a foreleg around her. That had to mean it was Twilight who’d been petting her.

Sunset opened one eye, and the first thing she saw was Twilight’s smiling face. She was resting her head against Fluttershy and had her foreleg extended to Sunset. “Morning, beautiful.”

“Morning, dork,” Sunset said with a smirk.

“Hey!” Twilight grinned. “You know, I think you were cuter while you were asleep.”

Fluttershy chose that moment to wrap her free foreleg around Twilight. “Twily may be a dork, but you’re not exactly far behind, Sunset.”

“Yeah, well… I don’t show it as much.” Sunset decided to show exactly how much more composed she was than her nerdy marefriend by sticking out her tongue.

Twilight responded in turn by stretching a wing across Fluttershy to bap Sunset on the head with it. Before she could retract it, Fluttershy pulled her foreleg from around Twilight and placed it on the wing, holding it in place so that Twilight was covering her small wife with it.

“I’m surprised you two are up already,” Fluttershy said.

Sunset shimmied up a little so that she could rest her head beside Fluttershy’s. “I probably wouldn’t be, but a certain somepony woke me up…”

“No fair, you keep picking on me today.” Twilight pouted, then turned her head away. “I just thought you were so cute while you were sleeping, I wanted to pet your mane. See if I try to be nice to you again.”

“Hey now, I never said I was complaining,” Sunset said with a smirk. “But what were you doing up, anyway?”

“Well, I do have a pretty big day ahead of me. I think I –” Twilight paused to yawn, which spread to Sunset as well. “I think I should probably get ready instead of waiting to the last minute.”

“You don’t have to get out of bed just yet, do you?” Fluttershy asked with a smile. “I just want to cuddle you two a little bit to start the day.”

“I think I can manage to squeeze that in.” Twilight shifted her position so she could kiss Fluttershy’s cheek. “So what do you have planned for today?”

“Well, there are those baby bunnies. Even though they’re a week old, I’d still like to check on them and make sure they’re doing okay.”

Sunset smiled, though she felt a little bad for Twilight. “Aww, Fluttershy gets to play with baby bunnies while you have to work, Twi.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me.” Twilight had been summoned to Canterlot by Celestia for a meeting with Prince Rutherford of Yakyakistan. Which wouldn’t be so bad, but it meant spending a few days away from Ponyville on official princess business. The others had offered to go with her, but with it being a long trip and a relatively routine one, they decided Twilight, Spike, and Pinkie would go while everyone else stayed back in Ponyville.

“At least you get to see Prince Rutherford again,” Fluttershy said.

Twilight managed a smile. “Yeah, and it’s only for a few days. It should be fine.”

“So what about you, Sunset?” Fluttershy asked.

Sunset shrugged. “I’ll probably be down in the workshop. I want to see if I can make any progress on that projector we’ve been working on.”

“As long as you don’t show me up by finishing it without me,” Twilight said with a smirk.

“Hey, no promises,” Sunset shot back.

“You and that projector.” Fluttershy kissed the top of Sunset’s head. She didn’t really understand the need to invent a new projector since Equestria had video projection technology already, but Sunset wanted to increase the video quality while allowing longer reels of film, giving Equestria the ability to make full-length films. “Sure you don’t want to come with me to see the babies? Their fur is coming in.”

“I guess I could make a detour for some baby bunnies.”

Fluttershy giggled. “Good.”

“Sure, just make me jealous.” Twilight finally pulled back her wing and shifted to a sitting position. “I see how it is.”

“Hey, you could come with us,” Sunset said. “What’s half an hour?”

“Uhm, missing my train?” Twilight quirked an eyebrow. “I’m not flying all the way to Canterlot with Spike and Pinkie.”

“Fair enough…” Sunset sat up as well, stretching out her hindlegs one at a time.

Fluttershy shimmied up to a sitting position, leaning back against the headrest. “Uhm, I was thinking…”

Both Sunset and Twilight turned to look at her, so she hid in her mane and squeaked out a “Never mind…”

Sunset and Twilight exchanged glances. This wasn’t like Fluttershy. She was getting better at talking to ponies, and she never had problems like this while talking to her lovers. “What is it, Shy?” Twilight asked.

“I was, uhm, I was just thinking…”

Sunset took hold of Fluttershy’s hoof and leaned against her, that way she would have one less set of eyes on her while she told them what was on her mind. “It’s okay, Shy. It’s just us.”

“Well…” Fluttershy took a deep breath. “Twily and I kind of talked about this a long time ago, actually…”

It had been a year since Sunset had started dating the couple, but she still couldn’t help but feel worried at that. If Twilight and Fluttershy had talked about it without her at some point, did that mean it was about Sunset?

“Something we talked about a long time ago?” Twilight thought for a moment, then realization flashed across her face. “This… isn’t about baby bunnies, is it?”

Fluttershy squirmed. “Well, no, not bunnies…”

“Uh, I think I’m the only one a little lost here…” Sunset looked between her marefriends.

Fluttershy looked to Twilight, and Sunset recognized she was looking for encouragement. Instead, Twilight answered for her. “I think what Fluttershy wanted to talk about was, uhm, foals.”

“Foals?” Sunset repeated, her chest growing tight. “Like… like raising foals? Together?”

“I just thought, uhm, we could talk about it…”

“We can,” Twilight answered quickly. It was good that she did, because Sunset couldn’t get her own words to work. “It’s… a lot to think about. But it’s good to talk.”

“I’m not expecting us to rush into anything,” Fluttershy said. “I just… wanted to at least bring it up.”

Twilight nodded. “What do you think, Sunset?”

Sunset blinked and tried her best to jumpstart her words. The only thing she could manage was, “So you two have talked about this?”

“A little,” Twilight said. “That was years ago, though. Remember that tour of Equestria we did? It was before that. We decided to wait until after the tour to bring it back up, and then we had the wedding to plan, and then we started dating you.”

“It just kind of kept getting pushed back,” Fluttershy said. “But now… Twily and I are married, and you’ve been with us for a year. And everything is going so good, I just… thought it might be the right time to talk about things.”

“And… I agree.” Twilight bowed her head and rested it on Fluttershy’s chest. “I’m not sure how I feel about raising foals, but… it’s a good time to talk about it.”

That made sense. The logic was impossible to argue with, and yet… it may be a good time for them to talk about it, but Sunset? She wasn’t sure there would ever be a good time for her to talk about having kids.

“Right, so…” Twilight looked up to Fluttershy. “How… do we talk about this, exactly?”

Fluttershy giggled and nuzzled against her wife. “Well, you know you pretty much raised Spike on your own already.”

“Yeah, but he’s my brother,” Twilight said. “Don’t get me wrong, I know I played a huge role in raising him, but we lived with my parents and they did the important stuff. Even when I moved out, I had them right down the street until we moved to Ponyville.”

“Uhm, Twily?” Fluttershy poked Twilight’s nose. “We live with your parents now.”

“Oh yeah…”

Fluttershy smiled at Twilight, then turned to Sunset and frowned a little. “What do you think, Sunset? Because I think Twily would be a great mom.”

“Yeah, definitely.” It was easy to agree with that, at least. “You both would.”

“And so would you,” Fluttershy said with a smile. “If, uhm, if you wanted to be one.”

“I don’t know. Well, I mean…” Sunset sat upright and forced a smile. “It’s… well, of course it’s a lot to think about. I guess I’m just a little overwhelmed.”

“That’s understandable,” Twilight said. “It’s a huge change for all of us.”

“I think we could do it,” Fluttershy said. “Twily, I know you said before how nervous you are to have kids, but you raised Spike just fine. Sunset and you both mostly work here in the castle, and I’m right in Ponyville, so there will always be someone around. And then there’s your parents and Spike here to help.”

“I think I’d be a little afraid of leaving Spike in charge…” Twilight murmured.

Fluttershy frowned. “That’s not fair, you know he’s very mature for his age. And he wouldn’t be in charge. Even if the three of us had to go somewhere together, your parents are retired, and I’m sure they’d be happy to help.”

Twilight sighed. “You’re right.” She nodded and repeated again with a bit more certainty. “You’re right. We can do this, so that’s not what to figure out. We need to decide if this is something we want to do.”

“I think… Well, I’ve always known I wanted foals,” Fluttershy said.

“I wish I was as certain as you are, Fluttershy,” Twilight said, then she smiled. “But… it’s kind of been on my mind a little too. I’ve been… thinking about how nice it might be to have somepony we could teach.”

“You’d be a wonderful teacher, Twily.” Fluttershy turned to Sunset. “Have you ever thought about having a little foal running around?”

“I… I’m sorry, but I really haven’t.” Sunset looked away, feeling like the odd one out in more ways than one. “I guess… I think you two would be amazing moms. There’s no doubt about that, I couldn’t think of anyone who could do it better. But it’s just a lot to think about.”

Sunset was aware that she was repeating herself, but she couldn’t think of anything else to say. Fluttershy also seemed to notice, but she just smiled and extended a wing to brush against Sunset. “Okay, we’ll leave it for now. Twily has to get ready for her trip, and you and I have some baby bunnies to go see. We can all take some time to think it through and come back and talk about it again in a little bit.”

“That sounds good to me,” Twilight said as she rose from the bed. “I should go make sure Spike’s ready.”

Sunset got out of bed too. Suddenly, she didn’t really want to go see baby bunnies. She didn’t want to see baby anything, really. But she’d told Fluttershy that she would go with her, so she went through her outfits looking for something to wear.

As she did, Twilight left the room. After a moment of looking through dresses, Fluttershy came up behind her and rubbed against her side. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Of course I am,” Sunset said, almost automatically. She put on an effortless smile to convince her marefriend that she meant it. “It’s just… wow, you know?”

“Try not to think too much of it,” Fluttershy said with a giggle. “We’re in no hurry.”

“Yeah, fair enough.” Sunset picked out a dress and slipped it over her head. Try not to think about it. As if she could possibly think about anything else.

But she didn’t want to upset Fluttershy, so she just smiled along as she followed her out of the castle.

What did Sunset think?

Sunset thought this was too much for her to process. It was a huge change in their lives, and one she was not prepared for. It may be true that they could handle this, but this was still going to be a choice that would define their lives for decades to come, if not forever.

She thought that this hit a little too close to something she didn’t want to think about. Fluttershy’s words had been well meant, but they reached into her and wrapped their fingers around her heart, and every time Sunset thought about them, they squeezed just a little bit tighter.

And yet, she thought it wasn’t her place to tell Twilight and Fluttershy that she didn’t want a kid. To tell them that maybe she never would. They were married, and she was just their marefriend. After a year together things were going good, but what was one year when the two of them had been together for so much longer? How could she possibly tell them what to do in their relationship?

Sunset thought that she didn’t want to think anymore. But what else could she do in this situation? All that there was to do was think, there was no turning it off. Not when the question hung thick in the air, making it hard to breathe.

She needed to get away. Away from her thoughts, away from that conversation, and, as much as she hated to admit it, away from her marefriends.

So once they had checked on the baby bunnies – which Sunset had pretended to be delighted about – she returned to the castle. She knew that Twilight and Spike would be gone by then, which meant it would only be Twilight’s parents hanging around. And if Sunset went down into the basement to work on her projector, they wouldn’t bother her until dinner time.

But… Sunset didn’t really want to work on her projector. That’s what she told Fluttershy she was going to do, but once she got to the castle, she realized she didn’t want to. Instead, she made her way up to their bedroom.

It wasn’t where she wanted to be either, not when she could practically still hear the conversation that had taken place on their bed. But the bedroom did have something she wanted in it. As soon as she was in the bedroom, she walked over to a desk with a journal on it. It had once been Celestia’s, then it passed to Twilight, and these days, it was Sunset’s. Meanwhile, the copy she used to have was now someone else’s as well.

‘Hey AJ, you busy? Got something I’d like to run by you.’

Sunset stared down at the journal for a few moments, hoping to see a reply form quickly, but none came. It wasn’t surprising; it was the middle of the day on a weekday, Applejack was probably at work.

But Sunset wasn’t in the mood to wait around. She scribbled another message in the journal, saying that she was just going to head over, then she took a purse and the journal with her out of the room.

If Applejack was busy on the farm, she wouldn’t say no to an extra pair of hands to help her. Doing farm work wasn’t exactly Sunset’s idea of a good time, but it would help her friend, and Applejack would be certain to make some time to talk about what was on Sunset’s mind. It was unlikely that Applejack would have answers for Sunset, but at least she knew why Sunset felt the way she did.

Sunset only paused once she reached the mirror that connected the worlds. She looked at her reflection and felt the familiar pull in her chest. It had dulled over time, but going through the portal always had a way of cutting through her armor.

And that pause gave her time to think about what she was about to do. Did she even want to talk to Applejack about this? Sure, if Sunset was going to talk to anyone, it would be Applejack, but…

Sunset shook her head and took a breath. She’d learned this lesson time and again – she couldn’t keep things bottled up. She’d done that too many times before, and every time, it always blew up on her.

So she put the journal in its place in the machine, took off her dress since it wouldn’t fit on the other side, and strapped the purse around her neck. Then with one more deep breath, she stepped forward.

As often as she used the portal, Sunset still hated this part. She’d gotten used to it, to the extent it was possible to get used to being pushed and pulled in all different directions simultaneously, but that didn’t amount to a whole lot.

At least it was a short experience. Only moments after she went through the portal, Sunset was stumbling out the other side. As usual, she fell to her hands and knees, but she was quick to pick herself up.

A quick look around revealed that she hadn’t been seen. That was good, it was always awkward to make excuses about suddenly appearing out of nowhere, since most of the students at CHS weren’t there for all the magic stuff that had happened during Sunset’s senior year.

Dusting herself off, Sunset started walking. She had about fifty dollars and a bus schedule stowed in her purse, but she didn’t have a phone. It would be nice to be able to call Applejack or Pinkie for a ride, but electronics stopped working if they were brought through the portal.

So with nothing else to do, Sunset walked to a nearby bench that marked a bus stop and took a seat. She asked a passerby for the time then checked the bus schedule, learning that it was about fifteen minutes before the bus arrived.

It was a painful fifteen minutes. The summer heat may not be in full swing yet, but it was uncomfortable to wait. Worse, she had nothing to keep her company but her thoughts, and that was exactly what she wanted to avoid.

What would she do? If they really went through with it, if Twilight and Fluttershy decided they did want a foal, what would Sunset do? Would she just deal with it and try to stick with them despite how she felt? Could she? She loved them both so much, she didn’t want anything to come between the three of them, but this was something she was not prepared for. For fuck’s sake, she’d only been dating them for a year!

A tiny voice in her head reminded her that a year was much more of a foundation than what she had last time, but a much louder voice reminded her of exactly how bad things like this could go. That voice echoed through her head, until she couldn’t hear anything else, and it made her want to jump out in front of the bus and hope that all of her problems could just go away in an instant.

Oh. The bus was there. It eased to a stop in front of her and its doors opened. Sunset stood up and walked in, pulling a few dollars out of her purse to insert into the machine and pay for her fare. She found a seat next to a window and stared out of it as they drove off.

Even though there wasn’t a whole lot to do on the bus, it was much better than waiting on the bench had been. It was air-conditioned for one thing, which did a lot to make it more bearable. But more importantly, since she started living in Equestria, travelling by automobile had become something of a novelty to her again. She entertained herself just fine by looking out of the window and noticing the city pass her by.

Along the way, her thoughts turned to the differences in her life now compared to when she lived in Everton. After spending her whole human life connected to the internet, she had expected technology would be hard to live without, but she missed it less than she thought she would. Her work on technology in Equestria gave her plenty to do and was very fulfilling.

But there were other differences, things that weren’t immediately apparent. When it came down to it, there was mainly one thing that could be said about life in Ponyville that she could rarely say about life in Everton.

Sunset was happy. For the first time in a long time, Sunset was actually happy with her life.

She couldn’t just give that up, no matter what came. She was happy with her marefriends, she was happy with her work, she was happy with her life. Sunset was happy, and it took a trip back to Everton to see that.

Except now it was all on the line. If her marefriends decided it was time for them to have a child, then Sunset’s good life was at risk. It wasn’t Sunset’s place to get in the way of their happiness, but if she didn’t, if she just let this happen, then she was putting everything on the line.

‘So much for not thinking about it…’

Sunset sighed and glanced around the bus. Most of the people on it were looking at their phones. Maybe Sunset did miss human technology, at least a little bit.

The bus took her most of the way to Sweet Apple Acres, leaving her with just a short walk until she was with her friend. Hopefully that would be enough to finally get her mind off this situation. Hell, doing some work on the farm may actually be a welcome relief.

Another reason to prefer Equestria – pegasi always gave ample cloud cover on particularly hot days. Without humans having control of the weather, the sun had been given free rein to beat down on Sunset as she walked, and she couldn’t even blame anypony for it.

It was hot enough that by the time she reached Sweet Apple Acres she was already covered in sweat. Maybe she’d make quick use of Applejack’s shower, just to rinse off. She walked up to the door and knocked on it, thankful the awning gave her a little bit of shade.

Of course, there was no answer. She wasn’t sure why she thought there might be – she knew they were at work on the farm already, and Apple Bloom and Granny Smith would be at CHS until school got out.

Grumbling about going back into the sun, Sunset walked around the house to get to the orchard. She placed her hand over her eyes to shield them from the sun and looked around. She didn’t see Applejack, but she did see Big Mac, so she made her way over to him.

“Big Mac!” she called when she got closer. He stopped to look at her. He was holding a bucket of apples that Sunset knew she would have trouble carrying, and yet he held it effortlessly with one arm.

He nodded as she approached. “Good afternoon, Sunset.”

“Hey, Mac. Is AJ around?”

“Nope.” He shrugged and shifted the bucket of apples. “She’s out of town on business today. Sorry.”

“Well, fuck.” Sunset frowned and shoved her hands in her pocket. “That’s what I get for coming by unannounced, I guess.”

“If you wanna wait inside you’re more’n welcome to, but she’ll probably be out pretty late.”

“No, thanks though. I probably shouldn’t stay out that late.” Sunset quickly ran through her options in her head. She could use the Apples’ phone to call Pinkie, which was probably the smartest move. But as much as Sunset loved Pinkie, she wasn’t really sure she wanted to be around that much positivity today. And while Pinkie would understand Sunset’s position with children, Sunset didn’t really feel comfortable letting down her guard enough to talk to her about it.

She could ask Big Mac to give her a ride back to CHS, but he didn’t know about Equestria and Sunset didn’t know how to explain to him why she needed to go to the school. Alternatively, she could wait until Apple Bloom got home, but she’d probably go crazy from being left alone with her thoughts in the meantime, and Apple Bloom wasn’t any better than Pinkie for actually talking about what was on her mind.

No, she’d be better off just going back to Equestria. There wasn’t anything else she wanted from Everton, so she might as well head home.

She smiled at Big Mac. “Can you just tell AJ I dropped by? I’ll see her some other time.”

Big Mac nodded. “Will do.”

Sunset turned and left him to his work, making her way back to the front of the house. She walked slowly, not in any particular hurry, and along the way she tried to think of something better to do than return to the castle and be miserable.

It hit her all at once, and then there was nothing else she could have done. Not that it would make her feel better, but well, she was already here…

Almost on their own, Sunset’s legs carried her along the edge of Sweet Apple Acres. It wasn’t even that she wanted to, it was just that there was no other choice for her.

There were flowers in bloom, but then, of course there were. They had planted them years ago now, and they had only spread since then. Years… it had been two years, and yet it all felt so close to her.

Sunset fell to her knees and ran her hand against the small headstone. She sighed and bowed her head. “Hey, Sky. I guess it’s been a while, huh?”

Sunset wasn’t sure why she said anything at all. Sky couldn’t hear her. Fluttershy had always believed in heaven and all that, but Sunset never had. She wasn’t talking to anyone but the flowers.

Sunset kept talking. It only made her feel worse, but she kept talking. “I’m doing okay. You know, life in Equestria shimmers and shines and all that. It’s a good place to be. A good place to build a life. I wish you could see it.”

Sunset bowed her head. As if Sky could see anything. Just because Sunset saw Sky everywhere she looked didn’t mean that it went both ways. “I… You know, I still see you in every child. Isn’t that dumb? I mean, you know I live with ponies now, and you were a little human girl, but I… I always see you. No matter what.”

If Sky had any reply to that, Sunset couldn’t hear it.

“It gets bad sometimes. I guess I kind of like kids? It’s a shock to me too, trust me. But only older kids, because when I see babies… they’re all you.”

Sunset took a breath to steady herself. “I miss you. And your Mama. I miss the life we were building, and I shouldn’t, because… because now I have this new life, and I’m happy, but I just… I remember that first time we got an ultrasound, and you –” Sunset laughed a little, and a tear escaped when she did. “You were so small. Barely even anything at all, but you were there. God damn it, you were there, and I could see you, and… and it was like the first time you were real to me. The first time I stopped thinking about you as just this thing that we’d have to figure out how to take care of, the first time I really thought… I was gonna be a mom. I was gonna be your mom. That became the thing I wanted more than anything else in the world. And even now, I still… I still want to be your mom.”

Sunset wiped her eyes. “And now… Now my new girlfriends are talking about having a kid, and all I can think of is you. How am I supposed to just help raise some other kid? I don’t want another kid, I just want you back…”

Sunset couldn’t help but laugh at that. “How pathetic, am I right? I mean, you can’t even hear me… You’re gone, and now there’s nothing left, and I’m just sitting around talking to myself.” Sunset stood up. “As if I ever have any answers…”

She took a deep breath and looked around. “I can’t have another kid. Not when I’m the reason you died. Not when I couldn’t make things work with your mom. Not when I can’t stop seeing you everywhere I go. It just… it wouldn’t be right.”

What was she doing? Sunset shook her head and walked away without saying goodbye. There was no point. She was only talking to herself, after all. And try as she might, she could never get away from herself.

Sunset walked, but not really to the bus stop. She wasn’t sure where she walked to, she just had to keep moving. She couldn’t stop, she couldn’t let her thoughts catch up with her. She needed to stop thinking, she just needed these thoughts to fucking stop!

She placed her hands on the sides of her head as if the thoughts were sounds she could block out just by plugging her ears. She gritted her teeth, and it was all she could do to keep from screaming in the hopes it would block out the thoughts.

And she walked. She wasn’t sure where she was walking to, but she walked into town and wandered aimlessly. She thought she vaguely recognized where she was, but she didn’t stop to figure out if that was true or not.

Her feet seemed to know where they were going though, so Sunset just let them go there. At least that was one thing she didn’t have to think about. She turned down a sidestreet here, crossed the road there, went straight through that intersection.

In the end, she only came to when she realized she was standing in front of a building’s open door. A building that she definitely knew, but also knew she definitely shouldn’t walk into.

It wasn’t that long ago. A couple of years, but it felt like yesterday. She would have walked in without any hesitation, would have just walked up to the counter and ordered a drink without a second thought.

The bar before her was nothing special, only notable in that it was walking distance to Applejack’s house. And yet, it represented so much of what Sunset had left behind.

She was better than this. She was a whole year sober, she couldn’t throw that away now. She wasn’t sure why she came here, but she needed to just keep walking.

Keep walking. This wasn’t right, wasn’t who she was anymore.

No. That wasn’t true. Sunset knew exactly why she walked here. It was what she did, it was who she was. Just like when she lost Sky. This was her answer back then too.

Sunset walked into the building and up to the bar. The last time she was in a bar, she had refused to drink and walked out with her head held high. She told herself she should do that now, but she didn’t tell herself very loudly.

“What can I get you?” a bartender asked her. Sunset hadn’t even seen him walk up to her.

Sunset shook her head, ready to tell him she didn’t need anything. “Anything,” was the only part of the thought that left her lips, however.

“Let’s start you off easy, huh?” He pulled out a wine cooler and set it in front of her.

Sunset couldn’t help but smile at the choice. Wine coolers had been the first thing she had ever drank. They barely even had alcohol, what did it even matter if she drank one? It might even help shake the restless feeling and calm her down.

She took a sip, the familiar fruity taste making her smile more. She’d missed this. Yeah, she’d just drink one wine cooler, sipping it slowly to pass the time. No big deal. Twilight drank, after all, and she was always fine.

Besides, this place was so fun. People were sitting around talking, there was good music playing, some people were playing pool. It was… okay, it was just a bar, nothing amazing. But Sunset liked the atmosphere, and for the first time, she wasn’t thinking about kids.

She finished her wine cooler and pushed the empty bottle across the table. That was it, it was time to get going, just like she’d planned.

“Can I get you something else?” the bartender asked as he threw out the bottle.

Sunset knew she should say no, but… she deserved this. She did so much back home, and it wasn’t like she was going to stay out and get wasted. No one was even home waiting for her, anyway.

“Yeah, sure.” Sure grinned. “Let’s amp it up a little, though. Got a specialty?”

“I make a mean whiskey sour.”

Definitely heavier than a wine cooler. “Sure, I’m game.”

The bartender poured a few different kinds of liquids into a cocktail shaker and shook it up, then poured it into a glass for her.

A little voice in her head told her to change her mind, but Sunset wasn’t listening. She picked up the glass, and she took a drink.