Sunset splashed some water on her face, and then looked in the mirror. An emotionally –dead looking teenager stared back.
So this is what a black hole feels like, she thought, as she reached for the paper towels.
Over two months had passed, and Sunset was still reeling from the pain she had endured. Even being around the girls was more than she could bear. There were days where she would mentally hit herself, asking herself why she didn’t just go through the portal and be rid of them once and for all.
And yet, she couldn’t bring herself to leave the people who had called themselves her friends, who were there for her after her fall from grace, who gave her life purpose. She had felt the warmth of friendship, regardless of her current doubt about their intentions, and she literally felt she would die if she had to go back to that cold, lonely existence.
So she decided to take a third option; people hated her for being bad, and when she tried to be good, it blew up in her face. So she decided to be neither. Neither bad nor good, she would just be. She would only do or say when asked, and she would not stay too long. Just enough to keep around, not so much as to push away or to open her heart. She was never going to make that mistake again. She was never going to let her “friends” hurt her again, and she was never going to give them reason to hurt her again. Not an ideal system, but overall she was content with it.
Yeah right. Pull the other one; it shoots fireworks.
She crumpled the towel in her hands and threw it without turning from her reflection. Perfect basket. She didn’t hear a lot of noise outside, so she inferred that a good majority of the students had gone home for the day.
Sunset looked at her watch. It was 3:30. Mrs. Shy usually had dinner ready at 5:00, which meant she had time for a “long walk” on the way to Fluttershy’s.
As she opened the bathroom door, she ran into several familiar faces.
Oh good. Here’s the lynch mob. Two months behind schedule, but whatever, let’s get this over with. So what now? Turning the janitor into a toad? Backing up the toilets on the second floor? Sneezing? Please tell me, what unholy sin against nature have I supposedly committed this time?!
“Um, can I help you?”
None of them said a word. As Sunset gazed at the faces of Trixie Lulamoon, Bon-Bon, Lyra Heartstrings, Roseluck, and Thunderlane, she found that not a single one of them would look her in the eye. Trixie opened her mouth and then closed it several times.
Well, that’s a first. The Great and Pretentious Trixie has nothing to say.
Sunset looked behind the group and saw DJ Pon-3, one of the few students who had behaved cordially towards her and in fact, had remained neutral on the subject of Sunset’s supposedly being Anon-A-Miss. Once she was certain she had caught her eye (it was hard to tell with those sunglasses) she gestured towards the group of students blocking the bathroom door. Maybe she’d know what was going on.
Pon-3 shrugged, and then folded her arms, apparently waiting to see how this was going to play out.
Hate to disappoint her, but I’m in no mood for a soap box.
“Okay, um….bye, then.” Sunset gave a small wave and started to walk away.
Don’t stop. Keep going. Keep – no. No no no no NO! DAMMIT! Why do you keep turning around?!
Trixie froze, her cheeks a light pink.
“I…”, she started, then cleared her throat and began pompously, her cheeks still flushed, “Ahem. That is, Trixie and her associates wish to speak with you regarding an urgent matter.”
For the love of Celestia, would you quit with the third person?! You’re not on stage right now!
Sunset folded her arms and nodded slightly, a sign for Trixie to continue.
“Trixie has been doing some thinking and she has come to the conclusion…that…” Trixie hesitated a bit, as if the next words coming out of her mouth were a vile poison. “…that maybe…she has made an….” She swallowed a massive lump in her throat “error…in judgement.” At the look on Sunset’s face, Trixie made a dramatic pose and declared, “Yes! Shocking, I know.”
Wooooooow. Move over, Rarity. You’ve got some competition for the drama award.
“But none-the-less, given much thought, Trixie has decided that…in retrospect…..” Trixie suddenly looked very unsure. She started to fiddle with her hands as she tried to find the right words. “Trixie’s behavior and…the behavior of her fellow classmates were… we…I…w-what I mean is-”
“Oh for Pete’s sake!” Tired of Trixie beating around the bush, Bon-Bon stepped forward and looked Sunset directly in the eye. “We want to apologize.”
Sunset’s eyebrows nearly leapt off her face.
“We shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions the way we did.” Lyra said, staring at the floor. “And we shouldn’t have screamed at you the way we did, and drove you out of school.”
“Especially after everything you did during the Battle of the Bands.” Roseluck added, wiping her eye. “We should’ve let you tell your side of things.”
“We were jerks, and we’re sorry.” Bon-Bon concluded. The others nodded vigorously in agreement.
Sunset stood there, unsure of what to say. They looked sincere enough.
But appearances could be deceiving.
Once Sunset’s name had been cleared of being the one spreading rumors, the student body had begun acting strangely around her. While they no longer glared or whispered about her, they still avoided her like the plague. And whenever she entered a room, the students would immediately stop talking.
After everything she’d been through, Sunset was expecting the worst, and was simply waiting for the other shoe to drop. She had not expected this.
And honestly, she would’ve preferred a lynching.
Two months ago, Principal Celestia revealed that not only had Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo posted their sisters’ most private and embarrassing secrets and framed her for it, they had also been posting submissions from other students.
The students of Canterlot High, or at least a portion of it, had known she had been innocent. They knew she hadn’t done what she had been accused of. And they still pointed fingers at her.
They had used her as a scapegoat so they could bully other students and get off scot-free.
Sunset hadn’t felt this angry or upset when the entire student body was booing her during the Battle of the Bands semi-finals. At least then their anger towards her had been justified, and they had being brainwashed as an excuse.
Sunset stared at the remorseful faces of her fellow students, who were starting to fidget nervously at her silence, idly wondering how many secrets they each had posted. How many lives they ruined.
Finally, she gave a deep sigh, and said, almost cheerfully, “Okay. Apology accepted.”
And with that, she turned and walked down the hall.
To say the group was shocked was a gross understatement. Trixie’s mouth was nearly on the floor as she blinked rapidly. She turned to DJ Pon-3 and gestured wildly at the air where Sunset previously stood, silently asking what the hell just happened.
Pon-3 just shrugged, and walked off, having no reason to stay now that the show was over.
With a noise of frustration, Trixie took off down the hall after Sunset.
“So, that it, then?” Trixie asked when she had finally caught up.
“Yep. That’s it.” Sunset said casually. Her pace had quickened considerably, and Trixie was now struggling to keep up.
“Just like that?”
“Just like that.” Sunset’s fist clenched tightly, but Trixie didn’t seem to notice.
“I mean..I’m just..surprised is all. Most people in your position would be…understandably, of course….I mean, not that Trixie wants you to hold a grudge, it’s just that-”
Sunset stopped so suddenly that Trixie nearly stumbled. Sunset’s hand unclenched, and two drops of red fell to the floor. Trixie paled, taking a step back.
Trixie winced at the monotone in Sunset’s voice. She sounded so….defeated.
Sunset spoke, not turning around. “If you’re really sorry…..then just leave me alone.”
Sunset walked away, and this time Trixie did not follow. She stared at Sunset’s retreating back until it disappeared completely. Then, unsure of where to go from there, she turned and walked down the empty hallway in the opposite direction.