Beyond the mirror

by Jay David

Chapter 1: Beyond the mirror

Beyond the mirror

The lunch bell had barely started ringing, and already there was the loud hustle and bustle of the students of Canterlot High making their way towards the cafeteria. Girls and boys from every clique of the school were busying themselves with their normal routines, chatting to their friends, getting their lunches, and finding their usual spots to eat. In the past, most would have stayed with those who shared similar interests, but recently, things had occurred that brought many of them together in ways they'd never been before, so there was more mixing of groups than there normally was.

For it was not too long ago that the impossible had happened. A traveller from another world, a princess, no less, had come into their lives and changed everything. There had, admittedly, been a lot of hectic goings on during her brief stay here, but nobody at this school could deny that things had become all the better because of her time among them. For one particular group of girls, things had been made especially better. For sitting around a table together were five girls who, not too long ago, would never have thought they'd speak to each other on friendly terms again.

These girls were Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie Pie. They had spent much of their lives being close friends, but had been driven apart by the cruel schemes of yet another visitor to their world. And speaking of whom, said visitor was, to the surprise of many, sitting on the same table as them, albeit not as close as the rest. Sunset Shimmer, former student of Princess Celestia, was sitting at her end of the table, quietly eating her lunch. As she'd once promised Twilight Sparkle, she'd tried her best to make friends, realising after much grief on her part just how empty her life was without them. Her once-harsh exterior had grown softer over the last few weeks, a change that was even reflected in her appearance, as she no longer wore the black leather jacket she was one famous for, instead sticking to the purple shirt she often wore underneath.

Things for her had been difficult, but to the credit of the other girls, they'd made an effort to include her in their lives, even in spite of everything she'd done to them. Sunset looked up and listened in on what the other girls were saying.

"And then WHOOSH! The ball went straight into the net like nothing! Those guys from the other school's team never stood a chance!" Dash boasted.

The rest of them knew full well how good Rainbow's skills with a ball were, as Twilight herself had to learn the hard way back when she was with them. Still, Rainbow's talk about sport had been going on for some time now and many of them were getting bored. In an attempt to try and change the subject, Applejack spoke up.

"That's great Rainbow, really. But.....er......Fluttershy! How're things going at the animal shelter?" She asked.

Sunset looked over at the timid young girl, who, as usual, was struggling to work up the nerve to speak with everyone look at her. Out of all of them, Fluttershy had been the first to really try and help Sunset in making friends. Oh sure, all of them had put a token effort in at first, but it took a while for nay of them to feel any genuine camaraderie towards her. Fluttershy though had gone out of her way to make her comfortable among them. Even after everything she'd once tried to do to her and the others, Sunset could not deny that she was one of the kindest and most forgiving people she'd ever met, in this world or the one she came from.

So she paid extra attention to her as she responded to Applejack's question.

"Oh! Um.....well.....things are okay. I mean, nobody's really come to visit. But I guess they were all busy." She said quietly.

All of her friends looked at each other with concern. Even though Sunset would never claim to know these girls as well as they knew each other, even she knew them well enough to know what they were thinking. Nobody really paid that much attention to Fluttershy because of her famously shy personality, so it was doubtful that, even with all the effort she'd put in into getting the shelter more recognised, few would actually pay attention. Although it would have been anathema to do something like this before Twilight's arrival, Sunset decided that she should speak up.

"Maybe you should try something new? Get more people to hand out fliers and such?"

The group looked in Sunset's direction. Although they did not bear the same anger towards her that they had once before, they were, nevertheless, surprised that she would speak up like that. Rarity raised an eyebrow.

"Well darling, I'm all for helping, but are you saying you would be willing to volunteer yourself?"

Sunset considered this. Having made the suggestion, it was only right that she be part of the plan, if only because it would have been expected of her. However, a grim thought came to mind and her expression became a dour one.

"That.....might not be a good idea. You girls might have learned to put up with me over the last few weeks, but I doubt the rest of the school has".

She looked over her shoulder, to the rest of the students eating at their own tables.

"They all remember what kind of person I was. What I did."

Sunset then looked back towards the group, to Fluttershy specifically.

"If I were to be associated with your shelter, that would probably make things worse."

The girls looked at Sunset, at the way she depressingly looked down at her own lunch, before looking towards each other. There was a time when they would have liked nothing better than to denounce her for involving herself in their affairs. But they knew better now. This was not just a case of a girl who had socialising problems. This was someone from another world. A world she could never go back to. This world, this school, and the five of them, were all she had left. And they could not deny that she had at least tried to become a better person since her defeat. Her plans had stopped, as had her commanding attitude, and she'd tried whenever possible to be a part of the group, though it was clear she was often unclear as to how best to interact with them on occasion.

As such, they knew that she was not just trying to get herself out of any work on this one, and so their expressions were softened as they looked at her. Pinkie Pie shuffled her chair closer, then pulled Sunset close in a sudden, and rather embarrassing for Sunset, hug.

"Don't worry, silly! We'll ALL pitch in!" She said jovially.

Sunset was, admittedly, rather taken aback by that, as were the rest of the group. But their expressions soon turned to ones of smiles as all of them moved over to her.  The girl, once an enemy to all of them, looked on with wide eyes as Rainbow Dash sat right next to her and placed her hand on her shoulder.

"Yeah! No way I'm letting you and Flutters have all the fun!" She commented.

In spite of her surprise at all this, and feeling more than a little overwhelmed by the sudden good feeling there was between them, Sunset afforded herself a chuckle. The rest of the group followed suit, and took the time to enjoy this moment. None of them could have ever thought that a day would come when they could look upon Sunset as a friend, but here it was. She was no Twilight, but she was at least one of them now, and for the time being, that was enough.

However, their moment together was interrupted by the sound of somebody clearing their throat behind them. They turned and Sunset's eyes widened even further with shock as she saw who was standing there.


The young boy, Flash, stood there with his trademark spiky blue hair and black leather jacket, carrying a tray with his lunch on it. The look he was giving Sunset was hard to read, though that was to be expected given the mixed history between them. For Flash had been, until recently, her ex-boyfriend. As much as Sunset might have been inexperienced in the ways of romance, even she could see that their relationship had been a disaster. Mostly it had been a power play by her, keeping this boy close, just another means of control like she'd used with everyone else at this school. Flash had been one of the few to ever defy her when he broke up with her, and although she had initially planned to get back at him for that prior to Twilight's arrival, now, she hadn't given him much thought at all.

The boy approached the table and gave the other girls a look.

"Um......would it be okay if I spoke to Sunset? In private?"

The girls were, needless to say, rather surprised by this. Flash was now the only person in this school apart from them that had done anything to approach Sunset in any way, so this was rather unexpected. They looked to Sunset, who was as equally unsure about all this, but she soon sighed and nodded, indicating that she had agreed to this. They gave each other a look before moving away from her, moving off to another table to finish their lunches whilst keeping an eye on the two they'd left behind.

And so, Sunset and Flash were left alone together, staring at each other. Both of them had looks of nervousness on their faces, as this was the first time since their break up that they'd really spoken to each other. Still, Flash steeled himself and moved forward, placing his tray on the table before sitting next to her.

"Sunset......we need to talk."

The girl nodded. Deep down, she'd been expecting this. She was no longer the tyrant she once was, so every bad thing she'd done to others would now come back to bite her. Doubtless, Flash was here to berate her, perhaps over their failed relationship. What she wasn't expecting was what he said next.

"I just wanted to say.......I'm sorry."

Sunset's eyes widened, her face filled with confusion over that remark. She opened her mouth to reply but had a hard time getting the words out. Eventually though, after much patience on Flash's part, she answered.

"You're sorry? For what?"

He looked away, his face making it clear that this was a difficult thing for him to do, before answering.

"I, like many in this school, used to think pretty bad things about you. You were rude to all of us. You constantly tried to drive a wedge between friends. And I don't think I even need to get into detail about how bad our own relationship was."

She looked away, partly out of shame over that last comment. Flash was, to her chagrin, the only real relationship she'd had in this world. To have it end as badly as it did was not something she wanted. And now that she was making an effort to change her ways, her failure in keeping him was something that bothered her even more. Still, she listened on as Flash spoke again.

"But......I understand that you're not from here. This is not your world. The place you came from, your home, is lost to you. As bad as you might have made things for us, I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this must be for you".

That comment was even more painful for Sunset. He spoke truly, as she was cut off from the other ponies she'd known. Her teacher, Celestia, whom she'd once idolized, she would never see again. The glistening towers of Canterlot, the rolling hills and green field of Equestria, they were all taken from her now. Her home was not a place she would be welcomed again, and that was something that had distressed her far more than her failed takeover could ever do.

But she looked up at Flash, whose expression was far softer than it had been towards her in some time. He looked ready to speak, but struggled to say what he needed to. But soon enough, he sighed and smiled.

"I......I forgive you."

It would have been an understatement to say that Sunset was shocked by those words, as her mouth was hanging open for a good few minutes upon hearing them. Flash waited for her to respond, trying his hardest not to chuckle at the sight of this girl, once so harsh, looking so gobsmacked. Eventually, a small smile began to creep onto her face, and she let out a sigh, as though a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She looked Flash in the eye and spoke.

"Thank you. I can't tell you how much that means to me."

He smiled back, and the two of them allowed each other to enjoy this quiet moment they now shared. But then, Flash's face gained a look of worry, as he looked away from her. Sunset raised an eyebrow at this, unsure about what might be bothering him. She did not have to wait long to find out, as he looked towards her again and spoke.

"Sunset......um......have you thought that, maybe......the two of us might.....you know......try again?"

It took her a while to really figure out what he was asking of her, but when she finally understood, she regained her look of shock. She looked at him, trying to see if there was any hint that he might have been joking about what he just said. But there was nothing but seriousness in his eyes. She looked away, trying to think over the offer that had just been put in front of her. Truth be told, there was a small part of her that wanted to get back together with him. But there were many doubts that attempted to silence that desire. One of which now made it's way to Sunset's voice as she turned to face him again.

"But.....what about her?"

Flash didn't need to ask her who she was referring to. Twilight Sparkle. Although it irked her to think of it, Sunset knew full-well that she and Flash had grown close during her brief time here. She had seen it during the dance, that there was indeed an affection between them. And from the look on his face now as he turned away from her, it was clear that he still harboured a small flame for her. He sighed deeply before speaking.

"I miss her. I won't lie about that. And if I had the choice, I might have wanted to be with her in some way. But......she's got her own world, her own friends. A whole other life that I can't be a part of. It would have been selfish of me to ask her to stay, knowing she had all that back home."

He turned to Sunset, his face filled with a look of utter seriousness like before.

"I have to move on, just like I know she must have moved on from me."

Sunset looked at him and realised that he was serious about this. He had indeed made an attempt to leave behind his feeling for Twilight, and now he was trying to make right that which had failed between him and Sunset. It was something she too had tried her hardest to do since her exile here. Her entire world had been left behind, and Sunset too had done what she could to move one in this new world. As such, she was grateful for what he was offering her, that she couldn't deny. But even so, there was another concern that she couldn't help but think of.

"Are you sure about this? I mean, I know that relationships between humans and non-humans aren't exactly welcomed in your world."

He looked at her and gave a brief chuckle.

"Sunset, by my count, I've had an interest in two unicorn girls already. I think I can handle it. Besides, you are human now."

The former unicorn allowed herself to smile at that. Whether this relationship between her and Flash would work, she could not say, but she did know that it was something she was willing to try, despite the poor history the two of them had between each other.  She looked at him with a warm expression, before moving her hand and placing it gently on his. He looked at her and gave a smile of his own, and without saying a word, the two understood that the offer had been accepted. They would try it again.

A thought then came into Sunset's mind and she tilted her head towards Flash.

"You know, you're actually not the first flash Sentry I've dated."

Flash raised an eyebrow at that.

"Oh?" He replied.

Sunset nodded.

"Yeah. There was another one back in my world. A pegasus. Things between us were no better than between you and me I'm afraid."

Flash seemed interested by the prospect of another version of him from some other world, something Sunset couldn't blame him for. An amusing thought then came into her mind, causing her to giggle a little. This prompted a look of confusion from Flash, leading to her explaining.

"Oh it's nothing. I was just thinking how funny it would be if Twilight ended up having the hots for him as she did for you."

Flash chuckled a little himself before answering.

"I doubt that. I mean, it's not like the guy had the same personality as me......right?" He asked.

Sunset opened her mouth to reply, then gained a look of concern.


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