Complex Apartments

by Phaoray

Chapter 1: Getting to know your neigh-bor

Fluttershy groaned, opening one bleary eye and looking around the darkness of her small apartment. She stretched out a foot and reveled silently in the feeling of the soft yellow pajamas she was wearing while her mind tried to focus. Something had woken her up in the middle of the night.

In the gloom of her nightlight, Fluttershy could see the sleeping form of Angel at the foot of her bed. It wasn't him.. As her senses returned to her, Fluttershy finally took in the soft sound of crying coming from outside her apartment.

Fluttershy lifted herself up with one wobbly arm and gave out a deep sigh before working her way out of bed. She couldn't ignore the sound. No matter how bad of a day she might have had, Fluttershy couldn't let someone else suffer, even if said person was the cause of her bad day. Still, she couldn't help feeling just a touch of irritation mixing into her thoughts as she stumbled towards her apartment's front door.

It's not her fault, her mind argued. She's just.....complicated.

As quietly as she could, Fluttershy closed her apartment door, and made her way over to the one directly in front of her. A gentle knock was all it took for the door to open, confirming to Fluttershy that the other person had been expecting her to show up, like she always did.

This very girl had intentionally knocked Fluttershy's books out of her hands yesterday at school. Fluttershy tried to ignore that as she gently stared at the girl in front of her. The girl who was looking back at her now with tears in her eyes as she leaned against the door frame.

Sunset Shimmer.

Wordlessly, Fluttershy opened up her arms, and immediately felt Sunset cling to her, sniffling. Fluttershy began running a hand through Sunset's hair while making gentle soothing noises.

Why does this keep happening? Fluttershy thought, sighing inwardly, as she held the normally aggressive and angry girl close.

And why is it getting worse?

With a nervous smile, Fluttershy approached Canterlot high school. The heels of her boots made a nice little crunching sound as she walked thanks to the leaves that had just started to fall a few days ago. The wind would kick them up into the air in beautiful trails of reds and yellows from time to time. Though she disliked the end of Summer, Fluttershy loved the beautiful colors of the leaves falling all around her.

While she wasn't quite as distraught about the beginning of the school year like her friend Rainbow Dash was, Fluttershy's nerves always got the better of her. Would she like her new homeroom? Would someone in her classes be upset with her? Would the teacher hate her and call on her all the time, or even like her too much and call on her all the time? These and a dozen other thoughts were the reason she found herself walking to school a half hour earlier than needed. It gave her time to work through her fears and settle her mind.

As the school came into view, Fluttershy saw someone standing in front of the school's statue. Amidst the swirling leaves stood a girl Fluttershy knew but had never interacted with; Sunset Shimmer. For a minute, she admired the way the blowing leaves around Sunset seemed almost like an extension of her hair as they drifted lazily through the air. Hiding a blush, Fluttershy slowly walked towards her.

I wonder why she is here so early?

Sunset seemed surprisingly rigid in posture, almost glaring at the bottom of the statue as she muttered to herself. Fluttershy only managed to pick up the last few words as she approached.

"-Have to start now, she won't beat me. She's going to regret-"

Sunset turned back towards the school, but stopped as she noticed Fluttershy several yards away looking at her curiously.

Despite swallowing a few times, Fluttershy couldn't say anything. A tremor began creeping up her arms at the awkwardness. The intensity of Sunset's cyan eyes held her trance-like. For a few seconds, it seemed to Fluttershy that Sunset was just as lost as she was on what to do.

Sunset quickly corrected that thought.

"Can I help you?" she said, giving Fluttershy a glare.

"Uh-uhm, yes? Oh! I-I m-mean no? N-not that y-you couldn't, I-I mean-"

Sunset rolled her eyes in irritation, her tone turning dismissive. "Get lost, doormat."

"I-it's a-actually Flu-"

"Excuse me!?"

"N-nothing! Nothing!"

Fluttershy fled, doing a fast walk towards the corner of the school while shivering. Her hands painfully gripped the straps of her backpack until she was almost at the corner. Nervously, Fluttershy took a quick peek behind her, hoping Sunset was ignoring her again.

However, Sunset was still watching her, but with an almost sad expression. Confused at this, Fluttershy started to turn around to ask what was wrong. However, while in mid-turn, the expression disappeared from Sunset's face, being replaced with a rapidly angering one. She began stomping towards Fluttershy.

With a strangled cry, Fluttershy ducked behind the school and kept going, wondering what she had done wrong, and why the school's star pupil was acting so strange.

A little over a month had passed since the first awkward day of school for Fluttershy as she made her way down the hall. She hadn't won the friends lottery this semester it seemed. She only shared a math class with Rarity, and had the rather poor luck of sharing gym with Rainbow Dash. Oh, she cared deeply for her rainbow haired friend, but she was quickly getting tired of being grabbed and used as a human shield during dodge ball.

Her way of making me feel included is a bit...much. M-maybe I could ask her to just help me get better? B-but I don't want to disappoint Rainbow if I can't keep up. Could I-

Her train of thought was derailed as the person in front of her suddenly stopped, causing Fluttershy to bump into them. She mumbled out a quick apology before ducking her head and giving a quick glance over at them. Her body went rigid as her eyes came across the leather jacket the other person was wearing, and she slowly looked upwards.


She found herself gazing into a familiar pair of confused cyan eyes.

It wasn't Gilda.

The confusion in those eyes quickly evaporated under a storm of wrath. "Why aren't you watching where you're going, doormat?" Sunset roughly asked.

"I-I'm so, so s-sorry, I-uhm-"

"Can it."

Fluttershy quickly went quiet as she felt Sunset grip her shirt and force her up on her tip-toes, Sunset's angry eyes looked into Fluttershy's panicked ones from just a few inches away.

"You're that wallflower I saw in front of the school, right? Mumbleshy?"

She remembers me!

Not a good thing right now!

"F-Fluttershy..." she gasped out, legs quivering as she tried to maintain her balance. Sunset almost seemed to growl a little before her voice turned soft, almost silky, and very familiar. Fluttershy had been used to overhearing this tone of voice last year.

"Whatever, it's not important. I told you to get lost last time, didn't I?"

Fluttershy quickly nodded, impressed at Sunset's memory concerning a little thing like her. She was relieved when Sunset finally let her go and took a step back. Fluttershy's knees shook as she heard people whispering around her. Her attention was still on Sunset however, and the confusing things happening with her face.

Sunset's eyes seemed almost hesitant, apologetic even as they looked at Fluttershy. Her arms gave just the slightest of shivers as they tensed up. A quick glance at those watching them though seemed to harden some kind of resolve in Sunset as she growled out.

"You're not good at listening, are you? I said GET LOST DOORMAT!"

Sunset roughly hit Fluttershy with her shoulder as she sauntered past, almost causing Fluttershy to fall. While she wobbled for a minute, Fluttershy managed to keep her balance.

Oh, th-thank goodness she's gone...I-I guess she just doesn't like being touched, maybe?

The late bell rang, abruptly cutting off her train of thought as she scurried to her class.

Fluttershy groaned and collapsed onto her bed, a cup of tea on the table beside her. If it wasn't for the spa visits with Rarity every week, the combination of volunteer work and school would probably turn her into a nervous wreck. Well, more of one. Fluttershy absently stroked Angel's head as she let the calm and stillness of her apartment drag her mind away for a moment.

This was one of those rare occasions Fluttershy silently thanked her parents for finding her a small hole in the wall apartment. Due to their small size, her apartment and the one across from it had always been hard sells for the land lord. Combine that with the fact that the apartment was at the end of the hall, and the two rooms directly next to it were a storage room followed by a barely used washroom, and it was easy to understand why Fluttershy felt it to be so tranquil. She wasn't even sure if the apartment across from hers was occupied yet, but if so then it was a very quiet tenant. She giggled a little at the thought of knocking on the door and finding a copy of herself answering it.

The leaves were so pretty on the way home today.

Often of late, the Fall reminded her of Sunset. She hadn't bumped into her again in the last few weeks, but Sunset was definitely making her presence felt by everyone in the school lately. She was pretty, but beneath that Fluttershy had a nagging feeling that so much more was going on inside. The Sunset Fluttershy had heard of last year was, if not friendly, then at least polite with everyone. She'd become the pride of the school thanks to her grades, her athleticism, and her manners. What had changed over the school break? Flash Sentry was still her boyfriend, so it couldn't be heart break over a bad breakup.

Sunset had been hard to ignore in the past. She would speak, and you'd just get drawn in. Before this, Fluttershy would have been a bit thrilled to have Sunset's attention. But now...

"She's still cool." Fluttershy whispered to herself, wondering how proud Rainbow would be of her for using the term. "She's just...scary."

Sunset calling her a wallflower was true, even if it stung a little. Fluttershy was ignored a lot, but it let her see things others didn't. Quiet observation had served her well over the years, and it helped Fluttershy see the differences in Sunset.

Over the first month of the new school year, Sunset's talks with others had begun to take darker turns. She was becoming more like a bully if someone upset her, and she was becoming increasingly easy to upset. She would still smile at the teachers, still talk sweetly sometimes to other students, but everything about the situation screamed to Fluttershy that Sunset was seeing the school the way a predator would, and everyone else was her prey.

Sunset's eyes kept coming to the forefront of Fluttershy's mind during these thoughts. They were so expressive; so filled with anger. But, Fluttershy also saw regret in them. She couldn't understand what was happening in Sunset's life, but wished she could.

I want to go home.

Sunset reminded herself of this in her room as she looked over the MyStable page, and entered the stolen password.

But I can't go home, not like this.

Lyra's profile popped up. Lyra worked during this time, so she wouldn't be on for another hour or two, more than enough time for what Sunset had planned.

I'm not a failure. I'm not. I deserved everything I had.

Within a few minutes, the message was typed and ready to go. Her plan over the last year was finally ready to take the next step. The first big step. All she had to do was send the message. She hesitated. It couldn't be this easy, right? She'd looked over so much about this world, how people manipulate one another. Being able to tear two people apart at the click of a button just sounded...ridiculous.

If it was so ridiculous, then why was she still hesitating?

Grrr, grow up Sunset! Just click the button and-

"-Destroy the first of many friendships." She whispered.

Sunset continued to debate with herself until an image of Celestia finally hardened in her head. An image of her smirking that arrogant, conceited smirk she always had when she berated Sunset for treating others like the tools they were. Like Sunset was to Celestia; just another tool in her stupid plans!

I can't, I WON'T let her win!

Sunset sent the message, her insides writhing in pain and anxiety seconds later at the act she had committed.

"You'll pay for forcing me to do this, Celestia."

With a sigh, Fluttershy opened the door to her apartment. As soon as she got inside, she began stripping off the dress Rarity had put so much effort in making for her. She had wished Rarity could have stuck around longer, but understood why she hadn't.

The Fall Formal had been, to put it nicely, a disaster.

That's not very fair, she chided herself, brushing her silky hair out as she thought. Pinkie did her best on the decorations, and a lot of others had fun. It's probably just me and poor Rarity that feel this way...

Shortly after the Fall Formal had begun, a mishap occurred at the punch table involving Rarity, her beautiful white dress, and the punch bowl. Murmurs of 'The Red Queen' had begun to circulate before Rarity had run off to the bathroom. Fluttershy followed and tried to help, but it had proven useless. Rarity left the school, insisting that Fluttershy stay and enjoy the party for her sake. It was so sad, Rarity had been a shoe-in to be voted as Princess of the Fall Formal. Her elegance, looks, and willingness to help out anyone made her a favorite in the running. Sunset was a close second for sure, but her changes had students getting nervous. The only other two that signed up, Lyra and Bon Bon, were...nice, but Fluttershy couldn't say much else about them, having never talked to either of them.

The choice of Princesses drastically lowered as everyone noticed the school's favorite pair of 'best friends' were absent. Maybe they had gotten sick? There were always together, so it would make sense. But, with them gone, the only other girl running, Sunset Shimmer, won by default.

Fluttershy finished changing and, after a glass of water and double checking on all her animal friends, slipped into bed. Maybe tomorrow would be a better day.

Still, Sunset looked happy on the stage, wearing that crown. Her first dance with Flash had been breathtaking. I hope Rarity can be happy like that next year. Maybe I should try to convince her to wear a red dress at the next dance, just in case?

With a start, Fluttershy woke up, sitting straight up in bed. Her dreams had been sweet and filled with animals at first, until the sound of an animal dying interrupted the harmony, turning the dream into a nightmare of some of the less happy days at the shelter she volunteered for. After taking a few breaths, Fluttershy realized the noise was not just an echo in her head still, but actually happening.

"O-oh my."

She clambered out of bed quickly, trying to ignore the spots in her eyes as she turned on the light and began checking through her animals.

"I-is everyone okay? W-what's going on? Is anyone hurt?"

After waking up most of them for a quick checkup, Fluttershy sighed in relief to find no one hurt. The sound persisted, but had gotten much quieter now. A faint sniffle or sob every so often was all that lingered, but it was enough to break Fluttershy's heart. Slowly, she followed the sound, realizing it was coming from outside her apartment.

Quietly, Fluttershy opened her door and creeped out into the hallway, closing it as silently as possible behind her. The old rug underneath her feet felt a bit awkward, but she wasn't about to go back and get her bunny slippers. The strangled sound was a little louder now, and emanated from the apartment in front of her own.

O-oh, what if they're hurt. S-should l I get help first? C-call the manager?

Another sniffle and the sound of a nose being blown overruled Fluttershy's desire to delay.

N-no. Whoever lives there is hurt. I have to be strong. W-whoever is in there need might need help.

Fluttershy approached the door, and gave it a gentle knock, needing to repeat it twice more as she actively tried to fight against her own nature and make a sound another human might actually hear.

After the third knock, she heard the sound of footsteps slowly approaching. A clicking sound later, and the door opened a few inches.


Fluttershy took a step back as a puffy, cyan eye peered out at her from the barely lit room. The eye widened in recognition, and the door opened a little more. Red and yellow hair Fluttershy knew so well was bedraggled and lifeless, trailing down the other girl's shoulders listlessly. The girl's grimace at seeing Fluttershy was clear, but there was no heat to it this time.

Fluttershy never imagined Sunset Shimmer could look so miserable.

Sunset's hand slowly reached out, the door widening more as Sunset took a half step out to reach Fluttershy. The hand lightly gripped her throat as Sunset quietly whispered to Fluttershy in an almost emotionless tone.

"I don't care why you're here, tell anyone you saw this, and I'll destroy you."

Fluttershy put her own hand on Sunset's, giving it a squeeze, whether in comfort, or fear of Sunset's grip tightening, she didn't know.

"I...I won't."


With that, Sunset let Fluttershy go and stepped back into her room, preparing to close the door. She gave a quiet hiccup, emboldening the already frightened girl in front of her to speak.

"I-I'm sorry."

Sunset gave Fluttershy a confused look. "What?"

With a audible gulp, Fluttershy continued. "I'm sorry that you're hurting. I-I don't understand why, but if you want, m-maybe I could help?"

The kind words caused Sunset's eyes to widen as another gentle voice replayed in her mind from long ago.

I don't understand what you're thinking, Sunset. But, I want to. Can I not help you somehow?

Sunset's eyes met Fluttershy's as the shy girl continued. Sunset's own starting to tear up as Fluttershy's gentle blue eyes flashed to a pair of worried amethyst ones briefly in Sunset's head.



"I...I just...I didn't want-"

Before Fluttershy knew it, Sunset was crying into her shoulder. Fluttershy was scared to death for the first moment herself, but calmed down and slowly wrapped her arms around Sunset. A redness came to her face as Fluttershy looked around and realized how awkward this would look if any of the other tenants came out into the hallway just then.

Gently, Fluttershy maneuvered them both into Sunset's room, holding her close the entire time.

With a shiver, Fluttershy woke up to a light snoring noise next to her. A brief glance at the clock confirmed to her that it was a few hours before school, much earlier than she normally woke up. Snow was still coming down outside, wrapping the world in its cold embrace and doing Fluttershy no favors as she got up and tip-toed across the cold floor and away from the bed. With one more look to confirm Sunset was still asleep, she gently opened the door and went back to her own apartment.

Fluttershy's life had gotten a bit more complicated over the last few months.

After the first night in Sunset's apartment, and an innumerable amount of threats the next morning, these little get togethers between the two girls somehow became a monthly occurrence, despite Fluttershy still having no idea what was wrong. All she knew was that Sunset was becoming worse to others in school. Students began to move out of her way when she got close, or would look at her in fear as she passed them. Sunset's abuse of other student's was still quiet and mostly unknown to the teachers, but it was treated like a badly kept secret now.

Fluttershy was no exception to this abuse, which was one of the reasons she made sure to be out of Sunset's apartment before she woke up. Sunset was bad enough when she would leave Fluttershy backed into a locker between classes, shaking in her boots. The extra warnings to not tell anyone about what was happening between them was too nerve wracking to start a school day with for the poor girl.

Despite what happened at school, their odd routine continued. Sunset would wind up breaking down, Fluttershy would wake up, knock, and then stay with Sunset for the night. Fluttershy couldn't understand much beyond the fact that she was acting like a total pushover, but she wanted to help Sunset. Maybe if she found out what was wrong, Fluttershy could help her find her way back to the nice girl she was last year.

Sunset had fallen asleep first. A quick session of fidgeting in the bed confirmed this to Fluttershy. With a blush, she indulged in the thoughts she kept as far away as possible while Sunset was awake. She felt her cheeks heat up from the arm Sunset had left over her stomach, just inches below her chest. The silken feel of Sunset's hair on her arm, combined with the weight pressed against that arm from both Sunset's head resting against it, and her hand lightly holding Fluttershy's wrist had made it hard to concentrate on anything but all the warm fuzzy feelings in her stomach.

Fluttershy's eyes gently traced the curves of Sunset's form. A few vivid thoughts were quickly shooed away as she felt the compulsion to lick her own lips. Sunset, when asleep, was beautiful. No stress, no pain; just an innocent, sleeping face. Fluttershy wished Sunset could be this way around her when she was awake, or even show this side at school.

Fluttershy wished for many things on these nights, many of which caused her to do her best not to squirm around on the bed and wake up her bully/crush.

N-no door in my face yet. So far, so good. Fluttershy thought bemusedly.

She swallowed while doing her best not to cower in front of Sunset. A small cake from Sugarcube corner was in Fluttershy's hands, huddled close.

Sunset gave the canary colored girl in front of her a raised eyebrow.

"Why are you here?" she said flippantly, crossing her arms.

"U-um..w-well, I-I know you're not um...upset r-right now, b-but I-I thought-"

Sunset stopped Fluttershy's nervous talk with a flick to the forehead. "You thought you could come over here because it's Hearth's-because it's Christmas? Did you stop to consider that I might already have plans?"

Fluttershy squeaked, knees starting to shake. "W-well, y-you were h-home, s-so I t-thought that you m-might not have any p-plans?" Fluttershy held the cake a few inches towards Sunset, averting her eyes.

With a annoyed sigh, Sunset grabbed the cake with one hand, though she didn't tug it out of Fluttershy's grasp. "We're not friends you know. None of...this... changes that."


"And this isn't going to help you at all if you get in my way at school."


Sunset looked Fluttershy's shivering form over for a few seconds. When no other words were forthcoming, she rolled her eyes and finally took the cake. "Fine. So long as you get that." Sunset walked into her apartment, leaving the door open for her odd companion. After a few deeps breaths, Fluttershy followed, closing the door behind her.

"So," Sunset sat down on the opposite side of her couch, looking her nervous guest over. "Aren't you normally with your family today?"

"They don't really celebrate Christmas." Fluttershy stated, giving Sunset a crooked smile. "Or, well, any holiday, really."

Sunset looked at her curiously. "But you do." Fluttershy nodded, averting her eyes for a second.

"My parents kind of...travel a lot, teaching about nature, or doing whatever they feel like at the time," Fluttershy grumbled out.

Sunset chuckled a little at that, showing her companion a little smirk. "Not fond of your parents I take it?"

With a blush, Fluttershy looked down and twiddled her fingers. "I do love them, and it's totally okay and I understand it's who they are, but they aren't the most...family oriented. They wouldn't bring me with them because 'the man' is forcing me to attend school," Fluttershy said, making air quotes.

Sunset outright laughed at that, scooting over and giving Fluttershy's hair a quick ruffle. "I kind of know how you feel, I didn't get along well with my mentor. She was like family to me."

"Oh?" Fluttershy asked, a lilt of curiosity in her voice. "Did something happen between you two?"

Sunset turned her head to the side and glared at the snow falling down outside her window. "She was a stuck-up-prick that abandoned me the minute she found out I was smarter than her." Sunset looked back at Fluttershy with an annoyed expression. "I'm going to make her pay for what she did to me."

Fluttershy sat still for a second, trying to come up with something to say. Was this the reason Sunset had changed so much?

"I-if you don't mind me asking, w-when did she a-abandon you?"

Sunset shrugged. "A couple of years ago? Does it really matter? I'm not letting her get away with it, even if it takes me years to get back at her."

I-I guess that's not why she's acting like this then.

The room went silent after that, with Sunset staring at Fluttershy. her staring didn't make thinking any easier, and eventually Fluttershy blurted out the first thing that came to her mind.

"G-good luck with that?"

Sunset's stared at her quizzically for a few seconds, before giving Fluttershy a small grin.

"I'm beginning to like you, Doormat."

After Fluttershy left, Sunset cleaned up the dishes, and stored what was left of the cake in her small fridge. The apartments were cramped, but it had served Sunset well so far.

And if things continued to go as she wanted, she wouldn't be using it next year anyways.

Sunset went back to her desk, beginning to look over her notes and lists on who she had to meet tomorrow, who was getting a little more backbone than she liked and needed to be spoken with again, and on what people she still had to deal with. Her list of problem people at school was fairly short by now, only consisting of four names. A small part of her mind reminded her that these four were friends with her little doormat of a neighbor.

She sighed. "Fluttershy..."

When had she let this go out of control? You don't make friends with your tools, and that was how Sunset had to think of everyone at Canterlot High now; tools. She couldn't play favorite's, but it wasn't wrong to have a specific tool, for a specific purpose, right? Sunset couldn't let this distract her, and it wouldn't be for long, but she could indulge herself a little, right?

It was nice being with someone who seemed to care for her again. Flash had made some half-assed attempts at it, but Sunset couldn't pretend to care for him. He was popular, he was well liked, and Sunset could use that. That was as far as her attachment to him went. Having him close to her also kept all those creeps that liked her 'bad girl' attitude from hitting on her.

This whole world has too many perverts in it.

After a few minutes, Sunset realized that her planning was sluggish tonight. Her thoughts kept roaming over to the canary doormat next door. She remembered the hurt, scared look Fluttershy gave whenever they met in school. She didn't like it, but Sunset couldn't be seen giving her more consideration either. Still...

I guess it wouldn't hurt to leave her off of my watch list. She thought. I really don't think I need to give her anymore reminders at school. She has the spine of a jellyfish, I'm sure she won't cause me any trouble.

Admittedly, Sunset knew Fluttershy wouldn't give her any trouble, but she had kept the girl on her check-up rotation more out of wanting to interact with her as opposed to why she had to keep her eye on others. But if Sunset's little meetups at school were a little less forceful with the shy girl, no one would probably notice, right? The thought helped ease Sunset's mind a little.

With a nod to herself, Sunset looked over the passwords and ID's of each of the four she needed to tear apart soon. Fluttershy had practically gifted her own information tonight, leaving her phone out on the table when she left to use the bathroom. And Fluttershy had a strong connection to these girls. Maybe Sunset could use that. A small part of her mind rejected that idea, but was immediately squashed down. Time was slipping by, and she had a selfish, conceited Alicorn to crush.

Sunset smiled to herself, practically oozing pride. Everything was going perfectly. She smiled and looked out the window at the fading light of the day, admiring the few patches of green she could see from her apartment.

The Spring Fling had gone just as she hoped, crushing all but the last few sparks of rebellion in the school. All she had to do now was maintain it, and plan for her end game. She chuckled darkly to herself, bringing a candy cigarette up to her lips, one of a pack that Fluttershy had left on her door step a few days ago, and pretended to puff on it.

She was in a good enough mood to act a little silly, and these things were fun when she wanted to mess with others.

Sunset's fun was slightly disturbed however, when she heard a nearby door slam. The slight vibration she felt meant it could only be her neighbor. Surprised, Sunset listened for a few moments, her thoughts turning darker when she didn't immediately hear anything. A nagging thought began ringing in the back of her head.

Her trap might have finally caught the last four sparks she had needed snuffed out.

W-why? Why did this happen?

Fluttershy continued to echo that thought in her head as she rocked herself back and forth on her bed, Angel trying to comfort the inconsolable girl.

Pinkie had lied to her. Pinkie didn't just accidentally mess up a few weeks ago like Fluttershy had first thought, but she had actively destroyed Fluttershy's silent auction to help the animal shelter by turning it into a rave. Fluttershy cried at how much that hurt. Pinkie's continued texts to her mocking her about how 'great' the silent auction had gone were downright cruel. The fact that every text had the word 'silent auction' in it only proved that Pinkie knew what she had done.

Fluttershy had tried to talk to her since it happened, to respond to the texts, but she just couldn't confront Pinkie on it. She was too scared. Others in her group had done it for her, in their own way. But today Rarity and Pinkie had fought, and fought hard. Rainbow and Applejack were already either fighting or ignoring each other over something they refused to tell anyone about. And tonight had been the final straw for their little group.

Her entire being ached as she clutched the picture she normally kept on her dresser of her and her four friends when they were younger. Fluttershy hadn't made more than acquaintances in school past them. With this 'break' they had decided to take, she felt so alone. She blew into a tissue Angel handed her, doing her best to keep her voice down to not bother anyone.

Her face crinkled up and she buried her head in a pillow, hugging it tightly and ignoring how wet it was becoming. She felt more than heard a loud, pounding sound, signalling an incoming headache. The pounding continued twice more before Fluttershy realized that her head wasn't in any pain. Sniffling, she took her head out of the pillow


Squirming back and forth in frustration, Sunset knocked on the door again. Her head and insides felt like they were being stung by little bees as the soft crying continued from inside the apartment.

She was crazy. This was crazy! Sunset bit her lip, growling to herself. She shouldn't be here, she knew this would happen. She caused this to happen! So why was she here!?

It wasn't my fault! she argued against her twisting insides. They were too close, they stood out too much! I couldn't have that if I wanted to keep everyone in their own little groups!

The artists with the artists, jocks with jocks, Sunset had divided everyone in school into categories for a reason. It was simply easier to control them if she knew how each group would think based on their aspirations and mentality. She had dozens of graphs and countless formula's proving it!

"Fluttershy..." Sunset growled out, knocking louder on the door, trying to channel her emotions into anger like she was used to doing. Why did Fluttershy's friends have to be so...unique? Why did they have to stand out?

A gentle click, and the door opened a half an inch, revealing a small part of a very sad girl to Sunset. Any anger Sunset had been channeling died out the second the door opened a little more, revealing the full extent of her 'plans' damage.

Fluttershy was doing her best to hold back from breaking down in front of Sunset, but tears freely fell down her face as she shivered. Her puffy eyes and slight shudders as she held in her sobbing were obviously signs of a losing battle as she tried to work her mouth to say something.

Without a word, Sunset awkwardly held her arms out, trying to give a smirk that didn't come off as condescending.

"Bad day?"

Fluttershy's sobs grew louder at that and she stopped holding back, slowly shuffling forward into Sunset's embrace as she let it all out. Despite the pain she was feeling, Sunset gave a mental sigh, disappointed in herself for not realizing the obvious.

Of course unique people would flock to Fluttershy, they couldn't ignore her. She was special.

That's why I'm here, isn't it?

Life was painful for a few weeks after that. As Spring gave way to Summer, Fluttershy began meeting up with Rarity, and Rainbow Dash again, relieving some of Fluttershy's anxiety about being alone. It still hurt to think about their old friendship group, but Fluttershy was just thankful to not be alone anymore. She loved animals dearly, but knew the difference between a pet and a friend was vast. Being thought of as a crazy pet lady did not appeal to her, despite how her friends liked to joke about it...had liked to joke about it.

With Summertime came the annual school trip to the beach, a time honored tradition Luna insisted on since becoming Vice Principal, and one Celestia grudgingly accepted while knowing just how useless of a chaperone her sister would be during it. Each teacher had a roster of student's assigned to them, and were meant to look after them the entire trip.

Unfortunately for Fluttershy, she was part of Luna's group.

"I'll be back, go enjoy yourselves and meet back here when you hear the teachers start blowing their whistles. I would appreciate it if you did not get yourselves in trouble." Luna had informed them before walking off. Most of the group assumed she had gone to the bathroom and waited, being used to staying in an area designated by their instructor's during these trips. However, after twenty minutes, it became evident that Luna had ditched them. The group then started to split off into two's and three's. Nervously, Fluttershy found herself following behind a random group she had snagged onto quietly consisting of Rumble, and two other guys from Canterlot High School she didn't know.

Fluttershy blushed as her eyes went back and forth along the beach, seeing the shirtless men, and at what some girls interpreted as bathing suits. Fluttershy herself had a simple light green two piece on. It had taken her years to get up the courage to wear anything but a one piece, but she was sure she could pull it off this time. The little bunny on the back of the bikini gave her confidence that she would be okay.

At least, so long as she was wearing a slightly too long light blue shirt to hide most of it. Next year she would consider getting the courage to show it off. Maybe.

After about ten minutes of chatting and wandering, one of the guys looked behind him. A few briefs nudges brought the groups attention to the cute girl following them.

"Hey, Fluttershy." Thunderlane called out, giving his friends a smirk before looking back at her. "Didn't see you there."

"O-oh. Sorry, I was j-just-"

Rumble put a hand up to cut her off. "Hey, it's okay, babe."

Fluttershy went red, much to Thunderlane and his companions' amusement.

"What's with that reaction?" Thunderlane continued. "It's cute. I wonder how much cuter you'd look if you took that shirt off. We're at the beach, ya know?"

Thunderlane stepped forward, while his friends continued to grin from behind. Fluttershy stepped back, but within a few seconds Rumble had grabbed the bottom of Fluttershy's shirt.

"O-oh! U-uhm, I-I prefer it on, i-if you don't mind."

Thunderlane grinned, giving her a wink. "And what if I do mind?"

Fluttershy's face went scarlet as she tugged her shirt down, Thunderlane teasing her by flipping her shirt up a little every few seconds and giving a whistle whenever he exposed more of her bikini.

"Damn, Fluttershy, it's a sin for you to be wearing this at the beach, just take it off and come join us for awhile, what do you say?" Thunderlane flashed her a pearly smile as he lifted her shirt a bit more forcefully.

"N-no! I-"

"And just what the hell are you doing over here!?"

With a startled grunt, Thunderlane was pushed to the side. Sunset Shimmer, wearing what Fluttershy could only describe as a red thong and a small, fire-themed top, quickly dominated Fluttershy's vision.

"U-Uhm, I-"

"Shut up!" Sunset barked, grabbing Fluttershy's shoulder. "I thought I was pretty clear what would happen if you didn't get me my-"

Sunset cut off and looked behind her, glaring at Thunderlane and the others who all took a step back at the menace in her face.

"You three." Sunset pointed at them. "Scram."

Thunderlane looked about to argue before Sunset gave him a impatient look.

"Okay, okay. Sorry Sunset." Rumble grumbled out. "Didn't mean to keep her away from your errand."

Thunderlane and the others muttered and walked away. Fluttershy was about to let out a sigh of relief before freezing up at Sunset's annoyed glare. Before Fluttershy could stammer out a thanks or an apology, Sunset leveled a finger at her.

"You. Follow."

Sunset stomped off. Though it was a very pretty stomping, in Fluttershy's opinion. Sunset made deep imprints into the sand as she marched, kicking up a bit of sand despite being barefoot. Fluttershy followed dutifully behind Sunset, but quickly found that when her eyes moved from the other girls' feet, it became...problematic. She was unable to stop her blushing or her roving eyes as they took in the view of Sunset's shapely legs and bikini. Of particular note was Sunset's curved hips. Fluttershy had never thought about it in math, but she was developing a definite appreciation for curves today.

A minute or so of Fluttershy's mind going numb and fuzzy was interrupted by a short, sharp whistle.

"Huh?" Fluttershy blathered out, eyes focusing again at the sound of someone whistling again. Her eyes moved up and her blush quickly froze over to dread as she found Sunset looking directly at her with an eye brow raised as if to say "Are you seriously checking me out right now?"

"Oh! Uh, uh, s-sorry, I-I-"

Sunset interrupted her with a sharp tone. "Never mind. We're here."

Looking around, Fluttershy could see others in the distance, but for the most part, they were by themselves along a small stretch of rocks and beach. Sunset already had a large, red beach towel out, a comfortable looking beach chair, and an umbrella keeping the towel thoroughly in the shade set up.

"You." She pointed to Fluttershy, snapping her fingers before pointing to the towel. "Sit."

"O-oh, y-ou don't-"

A glare let Fluttershy know it wasn't a request. With a blush, Fluttershy sat down on the towel, doing her best to keep from getting sand on it.

"There." Sunset gave her a smirk. "Good girl. Now, take that shirt off."

Fluttershy's eyes widened at the command. "W-what!? B-but I-"

"You were staring at me the whole way here, weren't you?" Sunset interrupted, arms folded in front of her as she walked behind Fluttershy.

Fluttershy began to tear up, too frozen to turn around. "I-I'm sorry, I-"

"No." Sunset commanded as she leaned down, gripping the back of Fluttershy's shirt with her hands. Despite the forceful tone, Sunset's grip on her shirts hem wasn't pressing on her. "No tears. You stared at me like a piece of meat, it's only fair you return the favor, right?"

Fluttershy took a deep breath, working to shake off the desire to cry. It was her own fault this was happening.

Another thought rose up, unbidden.

Sunset wants to look at my body.

Fluttershy's thoughts heated up a little at that. Sunset wouldn't want to look if she thought Fluttershy was ugly, would she? Maybe it would be okay? If it was just Sunset and no one else?

Still, Fluttershy could feel the prickly waves of embarrassment and shame shooting out of her body.

Sunset made a disappointed sound from directly behind her, causing a little spark of lightning to shoot up Fluttershy's spine. "Look, I'm trying to be nice about this." She heard a throaty chuckle before Sunset continued. "It's not your fault I'm hot, but do you really think it's fair that I let you get away with staring at me without returning the favor? No one else is going to approach us. Well, not if they know what's good for them. So it's just you and me here. Just take it off, then I'll sit in the chair over there, and so long as you stay on the towel no one will even know someone is here with me."

Fluttershy bit her lip. "Y-you're s-sure...?"

Sunset growled. "Are you calling me a liar?"

"N-No! I j-just, w-what about F-Flash a-"

"That jerk? He's wasting time with his friends. Trust me." Sunset chuckled darkly, setting another shiver down Fluttershy's spine. "No one will interrupt us."

Fluttershy took a minute to get her breathing under control, hoping Sunset's choice of words wasn't intended to be as ominous as they sounded.

Sunset sighed impatiently from behind her. "Let's make this simple. Take off the shirt, leave it off until we have to get up and leave, and I won't touch you again until the end of the trip. Or," Sunset leaned close, practically whispering in Fluttershy's ear. "I take your bikini bottoms, and let you run back to the bus from here." She finished mischievously.

Slowly, Fluttershy brought her hands down to her shirt. She squeaked a bit when Sunset's hands came to rest on top of hers.

"Good girl." Sunset's voice sounded amused, almost eager. Her hands gripped Fluttershy's a little tighter. "Now, on the count of three."

Time went by so quickly.

Sunset sighed as she looked out the window of her apartment. Summer was just about over with, much like her school life; and much like her time with a certain cute little tool of hers.

A few days before the Fall Formal, and I finally get everything I always wanted.

So why was she not happy?

Sunset grunted with frustration and took out her phone, flicking a finger over it to reveal a picture of Fluttershy, face down and doing her best to be as small as possible as she remained prone on a red beach towel. Had that really only been a few months ago? She put the phone down and shook her head.

Eye on the prize, Shimmer. I've worked too long for this. I can practically see the look of terror on Celestia's face when my army marches through her castle.

There was just one thing she needed to take care of now. With a sigh, Sunset picked up her phone again.

Do it quick, like ripping off a band aid.

"W-what?" Fluttershy asked, gripping the locker behind her. Sunset had asked to meet her here between classes. Fluttershy had been a little hopeful, happy even, since this was the first time Sunset had asked to meet her in school. But, when Sunset led her back to the end of the barely used hallway, the one with a light bulb that seemingly never gets fixed, Fluttershy began to worry. That worry gave way to fear as Sunset gave her a stern look, and made it clear that this wasn't a friendly meeting.

"What's there not to understand?" Sunset callously stated. "Even if you hear me having one of my...fits, don't come over anymore. This, this thing we've had? It was nice, but I'm over it now."

Fluttershy brought a hand up to her own cheek, balling it up tightly in distress. "I-I'm sorry, did I do something wrong? I-"

"No, no, it's nothing like that. I-"

She hesitated, watching as Fluttershy bit her lip and tried not to visibly shake.

It'll be worth it Sunset assured herself. It has to be.

"I just don't need you anymore. Okay?" Sunset finished as calmly as she could.

"I-I just...I t-thought..."

Sunset groaned inwardly. Why is she making this so difficult!?

"Look,-" Sunset started, giving her a predatory smile. "You knew what this was. I told you, we weren't friends. We were never friends. It's not my fault if that stupid little mind of yours didn't understand that. Don't bother me again, okay? In fact, it might be better for both of us if you transferred."

"T-tranferred!?" Fluttershy gasped in shock. "N-no! Please! I-what, I don't understand."

Like a band aid.

Sunset's smile turned to a thin line. "Fine. Let me make it clearer for you."


Fluttershy brought a hand up to her burning cheek and took a step back as Sunset gave her a glare. Sunset ignored the way her insides felt like they were twisting up on her.

"Go. Away. If you come near me again, I will hurt you. If you speak to me again, I will make you wish you went to a different school."

For a long tense moment, neither side said anything. Finally, Fluttershy's face crumpled and she ran past Sunset, sobbing.

Sunset stood there for another good long minute, getting her own emotions in check before she turned around and started walking.

It's better this way. For both of us.

Sunset thought back to the day at the beach, at how fun it was to poke at Fluttershy. The smallest teasing turned the girl such a nice bright red. Traces of doubt began to rise up in her mind.

Was she betraying Fluttershy, the same way Celestia had betrayed her? Could Sunset have done anything differently? Could she have kept a hold of Fluttershy in some way despite her plan? She didn't have an answer. All she could do now was move forward and get revenge on the one who had started this war.

She turned her mind back to Celestia, and her new protege; Sunset's replacement.

No. I can't let everything be for nothing. I can't let her win after she gave everything that should have been mine to that brat.

"Thanks for waiting." She called out to Flash. He was still leaning up against the wall a hallway down just like she had left him.

"Yeah, no problem." She noticed he didn't have on his usual care free grin. "What happened with Fluttershy?"

"Oh. Don't worry about it. I just let her know to stop bothering me."

Flash gave her a surprised look. "Wait, didn't you two hang out at the beach? I thought you were friends?"

Sunset shrugged. "It doesn't matter. I don't need her anymore."

With a shake of his head, Flash's tone became angry. "Sunset, that's not cool. You can't just throw people away like that."

Ugh, why is everyone so damn dramatic today? It's not going to matter in a month or two anyways. So what if I...damnit!

"I can do whatever the hell I want, Flash!" Sunset angrily shouted back. "If I want to tell that doormat off, I will! If I want to tell you off, I will!"

"Well maybe I don't want to stick around to hear that, Sunset!" Flash shouted back.

Sunset blinked, as her anger turned to surprise. "Wait, what's that supposed to mean?"

"You know, I don't know what happened to you since last year, but I figured you were getting better. You kept mentioning Fluttershy when we talked, so it sounded like you were close. You didn't hang out at school, so I figured you did stuff outside of it. I thought you were getting over...whatever the hell happened that you won't tell me about. But now..."

"Flash, nothing happened over the break! I already told you!"

"Then who are you, Sunset!? Because you're sure as hell not the Sunset I knew last year."


For a minute, they each glared at the other. Finally, Flash turned away from her.

"I'm done with this. I hope you have a good life, Sunset. But I don't want any part in it."

"...Like I give a fuck..." Sunset said, turning around and quickly walking the other direction.

Sunset began feeling moisture build up around her eyes as she made her way to a bathroom. In the back of her head, she could almost hear Celestia laughing at her.

"I won't be your hidden mistake, Celestia! I won't let you do this to me!"

After entering the bathroom, she immediately kicked open one of the stall doors and sat down, burying her face in her hands as she screamed in frustration.

"Soooooo...." Pinkie said, elongating the word out for a full thirty seconds. "What do we do about her?"

The five of them were still gathered around the statue, beginning to uneasily look back and forth at each other due to Pinkie's question. None of them really knew how to approach Sunset after what just happened.

"I-if you don't mind, I-I'd like to stay behind." Fluttershy quietly murmured to her friends.

"Darling, I would suggest otherwise. I know she's had a...recent change of heart, but I wouldn't want to leave you alone with her." Rarity nodded over in Sunset's direction where she was still huddled behind one of the broken walls of the school.

"Yeah, I'm not sold on that idea either, Flutters." Rainbow Dash chimed in. "No offense, but she did turn into a raging she-demon less than an hour ago..."

"I-it's fine. Really. Look," Fluttershy explained, gesturing over to where Sunset was hiding. "She's hurt, she's scared, and the last thing she needs is all five of us crowding her right now. Let me make sure she gets home, and tomorrow we can figure out what to do, o-okay? She won't hurt me. She's not...capable of it right now." Fluttershy looked down at the ground, trying to hide how little she really believed that herself.

The other four looked at each other with worry. "Are you sure about this darling?" Rarity asked.

Fluttershy nodded, gripping her dress and trying to look firm. "I am Rarity. I'll be fine. I promise."

"Ah don't like it, but ah trust you, sugarcube." Applejack turned around and looked to where her family's truck should be parked. "But if she does anything funny, you call us right away, all right? We'll be back here like black on a skunk."

It only took a few more reassurances for Fluttershy to finally find herself alone with Sunset. It took more than a few self reassurances before Fluttershy could start the tentative steps towards Sunset's hiding spot.

"S-sunset?" she called out quietly, putting a hand on the ruined wall Sunset was behind.


"A-are you okay? Y-you're not hurt, right?" Fluttershy asked, concern lacing her voice.

"...I-I'm not...I...I'm not injured..." Came the croaked reply.

"Oh dear. I'm sorry, Sunset. I wanted to see you earlier. B-but everyone was so insistent that you needed a bit of time alone. Is there anything I can do?"

"J-just...just go home, Fluttershy. T-this hurts enough without you rubbing it in right now."

"W-what?" Fluttershy gasped out. "I-I'm not rubbing anything in! I'm just...worried."

Coughing was the only reply she received.

"H-hold on a minute!"

Fluttershy made her way back down the hallways leading to the gymnasium the party had been in just a short time ago. Looking around, she managed to find a pile of empty plastic cups on one of the tables. A quick trip to a water fountain later, and Fluttershy was back outside with Sunset.

"H-here." Fluttershy said, carefully putting the cup down on Sunset's side of the wall and withdrawing. A few seconds later, Sunset's hand reached out and grabbed it. After another minute, Sunset's hand reemerged at the side of the wall, resting on the ground and holding the cup. Heat went to Fluttershy's face as instinct took over.

Be bold, Fluttershy!

Before the hand could possibly disappear again, Fluttershy reached around the side of the wall and gently grasped it at the wrist. A startled gasp came from Sunset.

"What are you doing?" Sunset asked, her tone much clearer after her drink.

"I-I'm trying to...be here for you..."

Sunset groaned at that statement, but gave out a short laugh afterwards.

"You're crazy."

"I-I don't want to upset you, really, b-but, you just blew up part of the school."

"So, what? I'm not in any state to talk?"

"..." Fluttershy gave her hand a squeeze.

Sunset half snorted, half sobbed at the unspoken response.

"A-all right. So, what now?" Sunset asked, wiping her dirty, tear streaked face vigorously.

"O-oh! Umm...we could, go back home?"

The wrist Fluttershy had been holding up to this point slipped from her grasp until she felt fingers entwining with her own.

"Will you be there...?" Sunset whispered, her voice choking up at the end.

Fluttershy smiled, her own tears threatening to pour out at the question.

"Of course."

Fluttershy had quickly found out just how exhausted Sunset was, regretting not having her friends there to help her as she half-carried Sunset back to her apartment.

Once inside, both girls spent a few minutes cleaning themselves up before collapsing on Sunset's bed, too tired to change. A silent minute or two went by before Sunset turned towards Fluttershy. Sunset pressed against Fluttershy and breathed in her scent, before roughly burying her head in the girls chest. Fluttershy's urgent squeaks of protest went unnoticed. After a minute or two of nearly hyperventilating, Fluttershy's beet red face cooled slightly, letting her take in the shivering coming from Sunset as she clung to her. With a clearer head, Fluttershy gently began running her hand through Sunset's hair as she thought about how crazy the last year had been thanks to her neighbor.

It really was amazing to Fluttershy, more so in all the changes she'd seen in Sunset over such a short time.

Their first meet up in the Fall, with Sunset's total dismissal of her, followed shortly by Sunset's first breakdown.

Sunset's grudging acceptance of Fluttershy coming over and hanging out with her on Christmas day in the Winter.

Fluttershy's own breakdown in the Spring; the first time Sunset had comforted and cared for her in return.

Their awkward meetup at the beach in Summer, filled with Sunset's strange way of saving Fluttershy from those boys, only to tease her afterwards.

It had all led back to the Fall, a time that Fluttershy felt so reminiscent of Sunset herself.

All of it, all of those different faces and changes with each season's passing. They had ended up with the two of them being here. In this bed. Together.

Without thinking, Fluttershy pressed her face forward and gave Sunset a kiss on the forehead. A few seconds later she pulled back as her brain caught up with her actions too late. Sunset's head dislodged from Fluttershy's chest and their gazes locked onto one another.

"What was that?" Sunset asked coolly as one of her hands slipped up the back of Fluttershy's neck.

"I-uhm, I-i'm sorry! I-it j-just happened! I-I-"

Fluttershy's panicked words were cut off as Sunset's hand gripped the back of her neck, and pulled Fluttershy forward. The kiss was brief, but Fluttershy saw stars for a few seconds after Sunset let her go.

"I'm not sorry." Sunset whispered out, tears trailing down her cheeks again as she planted her head between the crook of Fluttershy's neck and held her tightly.

"S-sunset?" Fluttershy asked nervously, rubbing Sunset's arm carefully. "Are-are you okay?"


"O-oh. U-um...i-is there anything I can do to help you?"

Sunset visibly shuddered. "C-could you just...hold me?"

Fluttershy wrapped her arms around Sunset and held her tight, ignoring the little drops of water falling onto her neck. "Of course."

"A-and, could you still be here in the morning?" Sunset continued, squirming a little. "It feels like someone tore my insides apart. It hurts."

Fluttershy rested her chin against the top of Sunset's head and closed her own eyes. "Of course. I'll be here as long as you want me to be."



Sunset gave a deep sigh, nuzzling Fluttershy's neck as the past few days of stress and emotional roller coasters caught up to her. The pain was still there as she faded into sleep, but it no longer hurt as much as it had a scant few hours ago.

Fluttershy had already started on healing those tears.

For the first time in a year, Sunset didn't have to wake up alone.

Author's Notes:

Well, that was a rather intense week of writing. Hope you like it. My first non-Trixie story!

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