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The Last Page (Sunset)

HolytntDiver Jun 13th, 2018 66 Never
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  1.  
  2.  
  3. Sunset Shimmer sat on the bleachers overlooking the soccer field, twirling a pen anxiously in her hand as she looked down at a blank page. Her friends were all laughing and playing together on the field, all except Rainbow, who was trying to make a lighthearted, afterschool game of soccer into a do-or-die competition. Sunset didn't want to play though, her stomach had been twisting with worry all day, her journal burning a hole in her backpack as it was the only thing she could even think about. Just like every other day.
  4.  
  5. Sunset brought her pen down to the book sitting in her lap. She bit her lip as a thousand different ideas stormed through her head. How should she start it? A joyous greeting like usual, or should she just get straight to the point? She didn't want to sound rude, but she only had so much room on the page to talk to Twilight. Should she talk about her worries with graduation or some of the problems she'd been having with her friends, or should she check up on how Twilight was doing and the progress she might be making on her side of the portal. Sunset's hand hovered over the page, the anxiety building up inside her as the tip got closer until she let out a frustrated grunt and let the pen drop out of her hand. This was just too important to make a mistake.
  6.  
  7. Sunset let out a long sigh and flipped the page over, her heart dropping at the sight of nothing but that hard leather back. She'd been doing this for weeks now--spending hours just thinking about something to say only to come up blank or second guess herself that it wasn't that important and she had to think of something else to really make her last page count. Sunset felt that familiar dread build up inside her chest again, forming that lump in her throat and making her just want to break down at the constant stress.
  8.  
  9. With a deep breath and a hard gulp, Sunset fought back the urge to make a scene in front of her friends yet again. Instead, she flipped through the pages, chastising herself for wasting so many of them on pointless, casual conversation. She was smarter than that, she should've used each page for something of the utmost importance, not trading 'how are you's' and helping each other with tiny emotional issues. Sunset couldn't help but let another frustrated growl escape her lips at the thought, that knot in her stomach just growing tighter by the minute.
  10.  
  11. Sunset flipped back to the last page, her eyes focusing on Twilight's last letter to her.
  12.  
  13. ...I'm really happy to hear things are going so well for you! I know it can be tough thinking about what you might do after school is over--I know I never thought I'd have a future outside of studying--but I know you'll make the most of it. You really shouldn't waste so much time worrying about it. If I know your friends like I think I do, even if they do all move away I know they wouldn't even think about not staying in contact.
  14.  
  15. Also, I've made some really promising progress with the portal! Since the book stopped working as a conduit, I've been doing a lot of experiments with the mirror itself to try and force the connection and I think I'm getting close to a breakthrough. It's only a matter of time before I figure it all out and I'll be over there as soon as I can! I'd really love to go over all the notes I've made about it with you; I've learned so much about inter-dimensional magic that could be groundbreaking in so many different fields that I get giddy just thinking about it. But I won't ramble about it since I'm starting to run out of space.
  16.  
  17. So please, don't worry so much, Sunset. I'll have all this figured out soon and we'll get another book. I really do enjoy talking with you, so it's one of my highest priorities right now!
  18.  
  19. Hope to talk to you soon!
  20.  
  21. Your friend,
  22.  
  23. Princess Twilight Sparkle
  24.  
  25. Sunset must have read that page a thousand times by now. She could recite it word for word at this point. She could hardly believe she first saw that page almost a month and a half ago now, with still no word back from Twilight. Sunset checked one last time on the back page for that familiar purple ink, but to no avail.
  26.  
  27. A soccer ball bounced off of the metal bleachers beside Sunset, making her jump and let out a yelp as her journal and pen clattered to the metal step below her.
  28.  
  29. "Uh, fore?" Rainbow said, rubbing the back of her neck and giving Sunset a sheepish smile.
  30.  
  31. "So much for being the best player on the field. Y'all can't even kick straight," Applejack said. Rainbow gave her a quick scowl in return.
  32.  
  33. Rarity started up the steps, giving Sunset a concerned look. "Are you alright, darling? She didn't hurt you did she?"
  34.  
  35. "No, I'm fine," Sunset said, reaching down to pick up her book and pen.
  36.  
  37. "Would you like to play with us now? You've been sitting here for an awfully long time," Rarity said, taking a few more steps up towards her.
  38.  
  39. "Yeah, a little exercise is better than moping all day, don't you think? That's a pretty dumb way to spend a Friday afternoon if you ask me," Rainbow said as she ran past for the ball. Rarity shot her a quick glare and then looked back to Sunset.
  40.  
  41. Sunset let out a long sigh, looking down towards her knees. She couldn't imagine doing anything with them right now. All she could think about was that last page and how it could be the last time she ever got to talk with Twilight again.
  42.  
  43. Rarity looked down to the journal in Sunset's hand and let out a soft sigh. "Are you still worried about Princess Twilight?"
  44.  
  45. Sunset slid the book into her backpack, not being able to look Rarity right in the eye. "Yeah..."
  46.  
  47. Rarity put a reassuring hand on Sunset's shoulder and gave her a warm smile. "Darling, I'm sure she's hard at work trying to open the portal again. It's only a matter of time before we're all sharing cupcakes and Sugarcube corner."
  48.  
  49. Sunset gave Rarity a weak smile in return, but it quickly faded as she stood up and put her backpack on. "It's been months..." she said quietly, more to herself than to Rarity. She tried to put on that thankful smile again, but it contrasted so sharply with her mood it didn't last long either. "I think I just need to head home for now, girls. I've got... some homework to do."
  50.  
  51. Rarity let her hand fall away from Sunset's shoulder. "Be sure to tell us if you need anything, okay? We're worried about you, Sunset."
  52.  
  53. Sunset offered up another weak smile. "Thank you," she said as she took the first few steps down the bleachers.
  54.  
  55. "Y'all sure you're gonna be alright?" Applejack asked as soon as Sunset stepped onto the field.
  56.  
  57. "You know what always cheers me up? A triple double chocolate banana split with mushrooms, cashews, and brown sugar! You wanna try it?" Pinkie said with a bright smile.
  58.  
  59. "I'm alright, Pinkie, thank you though." Sunset walked solemnly off the field with each of her friends watching her with worried expressions as she left. Sunset let out a sigh as she looked back at them. The last thing she wanted to do was spread her sour mood to them, so she just kept walking, her mind still racing with worry about the book weighing down her backpack.
  60.  
  61. Sunset sighed as she leaned her head against the cold concrete of the school statue. It had been a long, restless night for her yet again and she could feel the dark circles forming under her eyes. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and checked the time. She'd come out here before the sun even came up, and it was already high in the sky, shining its light down onto the open book in her lap, her favorite pen sitting between the pages. She scrolled through all the loving texts of support all of her friends had sent her the night before, asking her how she was and if she wanted to do anything today after she left them so early yesterday. Sunset didn't have the heart to respond to any of them, so she just slid her phone back into her pocket and focused down on that infernal last page.
  62.  
  63. She picked the pen up and clicked the top, hovering the tip closely to the page. Just write something already she told herself, just get it over with! Sunset clenched her teeth as she forced her pen closer to the page. She wanted to tell Twilight about how stressed she was, how much she wanted to see her again just so she could vent and let go of all of the stress that was consuming her, but all those words would take up so many more pages than what she had. The thought of wasting what could be her last chance to talk to Twilight in years made her sick.
  64.  
  65. Sunset let out a breath she didn't know she was holding and let her pen fall into her lap. She'd lost count of how many times she'd done that just today. With a heavy sigh, she closed the journal in her lap and put her head in her hands. A frustrated grunt escaped her lips. She desperately hoped the portal would just give way behind her and Twilight would walk through and tell her it would all be okay, that she would hand Sunset another book and they'd go out to a coffee shop and just talk about everything. Just the thought of spilling all of her negative emotions out made her feel better, but that feeling was sapped once she realized how long it might be until she could do that again.
  66.  
  67. Sunset flipped the pages open once again and looked over all those wonderful conversations she'd had with Princess Twilight. Never in her life had she had someone who cared so much about her, who really wanted to listen and try to help. Sure, her friends in this world were wonderful, but she hardly ever had such deep, intimate conversations as she had with Twilight. She flicked page after page, a small smile crossing her face as she remembered all the emotions she poured into this book and how much that friendship meant to her. It all came crashing back down to reality once she reached the last page once again.
  68.  
  69. That overbearing sea of white taunted her as she looked down at it. She wanted so badly to just pick up her pen and feel that loving embrace of Twilight's caring words again, but it would only be once, and if she messed up... Sunset picked up her pen yet again, going over what she might say in her mind. She thought about getting a piece of paper out of her backpack to outline what she might say again, but then the thought of the hundreds of pieces laying around her trashcan with the same idea just discouraged her.
  70.  
  71. Something snapped inside Sunset. Months of frustration and pent-up emotions finally came to a head inside her and built up a sickening feeling in her stomach. The feeling rose up her being until Sunset finally let it out in the form of a frustrated scream. She pushed the book out of her lap and onto the concrete in front of her, not wanting to even look at it anymore. When her lungs couldn't keep going anymore, Sunset let her head fall between her knees as tears welled up in her eyes.
  72.  
  73. She watched as tears fell down onto her skirt. The reality that she wasn't going to be able to talk to one of her best friends for years finally came down on her hard and she felt the first trembles of her sobs grip her like a vice.
  74.  
  75. "Sunset!" she heard someone yell. Just seconds after something crashed right into her side and wrapped its arms around her tightly, so tightly that Sunset couldn't even breath to cry anymore. "We've been looking for you all morning! Are you alright?" Pinkie asked.
  76.  
  77. "H-hey, P-Pinkie. C-could you--?"
  78.  
  79. "Oh, right." Pinkie gave her a sheepish smile and let go of her. "Why are you crying? What happened? Was someone mean to you? Or did it start raining in this specific spot? or did--"
  80.  
  81. Sunset waved her off as she wiped the tears off of her face with the sleeve of her jacket. "I... I'm fine, Pinkie."
  82.  
  83. "We're not buying it this time, dear. We can tell you've been crying," Rarity said as the rest of the girls finally caught up with Pinkie. Rarity leaned down and picked up Sunset's journal, dusting off all the dirt it caught when Sunset threw it. "We really need to talk."
  84.  
  85. "Yeah," Applejack said, "We could'a heard that scream from halfway across town."
  86.  
  87. "You sounded like a dying animal or something," Rainbow added, earning an elbow from Applejack.
  88.  
  89. "Sunset, we know how stressed you've been about the portal and Twilight. We're here if you want to talk to us," Rarity said, handing the book back down to Sunset.
  90.  
  91. Sunset slipped the book into her backpack, not wanting to even look at the thing anymore. "I should just forget about it. There's nothing you girls can do to help anyway," Sunset said solemnly as she zipped up her backpack.
  92.  
  93. "We're here to listen, Sunset," Rarity said.
  94.  
  95. "Ain't good for you to keep everything all bottled up inside."
  96.  
  97. Sunset let out another sigh and wiped her eyes again to make sure the last few tears didn't worry her friends. "It's just... I usually talk about this kind of thing with Twilight. Now that I can't..."
  98.  
  99. Rainbow sat herself down beside Pinkie and Sunset. Fluttershy soon followed suit and sat on the other side of Sunset. "You still have one more page in your book, right? Can't you just tell her to hurry up with fixing the portal and get another book?"
  100.  
  101. "I don't think that's how it works, Rainbow," Rarity added.
  102.  
  103. Sunset looked down at her backpack. She ran her hand over the stiff denim and imagined the book that had been tormenting her. "She told me she's been trying, but that was months ago. I don't know if this is something she can fix."
  104.  
  105. "Ya think there might be something we can do from our side? You were real good with all those gizmos when you were trying to figure out our magic. I'm sure we could try something," Applejack said, leaning down and putting a reassuring hand on Sunset's shoulder.
  106.  
  107. The fond touch was lost on her as she only sank deeper into a slump. "I couldn't even do anything besides break all of those machines and get magical goop everywhere. I'm useless over here."
  108.  
  109. "There's got to be something we can do to help..." Fluttershy said. "If anyone knows what to do it'd be you, Sunset."
  110.  
  111. Sunset let out another sigh and began to stand up, not able to look her friends directly in the eye. She slipped her backpack over her shoulders and looked out towards the sidewalk. "I think I just need to be alone right now."
  112.  
  113. Both Rainbow and Applejack moved in front of her. "Oh no you don't, sugarcube. We ain't just gonna let you walk away hurting like this."
  114.  
  115. "Yeah, you're no fun to hang out with when you're down in the dumps," Rainbow said.
  116.  
  117. "Not helping," Applejack said pointedly.
  118.  
  119. Rarity walked up behind Sunset and slid her backpack off her shoulders for her. "We need to talk about this, darling. You've been down in the dumps for weeks now and we're all worried about you."
  120.  
  121. "I... I'm sorry girls," Sunset said, her chest tightening up at the thought of letting down her friends.
  122.  
  123. "You have absolutely nothing to apologize for," Rarity said, "We all have our blue spells and we're here to help you through yours. Now, do you think that this last page is really something to get so worked up over? Twilight said she was working to try and fix it and if you ask me you can do just fine without her for a little while. What would a few... Sunset?" Rarity asked as she heard the first few sniffs coming out of her friend.
  124.  
  125. Fluttershy stood up along with Pinkie to give her their concerned expression as they saw a few tears fall down her cheeks. "A-are you okay?" Fluttershy asked.
  126.  
  127. "No!" Sunset blurted out. "Don't you guys get it? Without Twilight to talk to and ask for advice, I wouldn't even be here. The only reason we're even still friends is because she taught me how to care, she told me how to make sure I was always there for you guys, how to be kind after so many years of being so awful. Without her I... I..."
  128.  
  129. "Wow, that was stupid," Rainbow said. Her bluntness shocked Sunset even more than usual, making her hold her breath as she looked up to Rainbow. "Even I know how much of a load that one is. Remember when we almost lost to The Dazzlings when they broke out those crazy fish dragon things? If it wasn't for you, we probably would've all been mindless zombies for a bunch of power-hungry villains again... er, no offense."
  130.  
  131. Sunset sniffed. "N-none taken."
  132.  
  133. "What, have you given up on the whole 'I could've just shredded them into submission' routine?" Applejack asked her.
  134.  
  135. "Hey, I'm trying to help."
  136.  
  137. Fluttershy poked Sunset's shoulder, trying to get her attention. "Remember when you had that idea for the fundraiser for the animal shelter? It would have had to shut down and put all those animals down if it wasn't for you. Twilight didn't have that idea, remember?"
  138.  
  139. Sunset could remember the bright smile on her face when she told Twilight about that one, and how wonderful it made her feel after bullying Fluttershy for so long. She was right, that really was all Sunset's idea.
  140.  
  141. "And I don't know anyone who can come close to as many friends as I have! Except for you. I don't know how you do it," Pinkie said.
  142.  
  143. Rainbow let out a quick laugh. "Heh, we've actually had a few bets on whether some of the new kids met you or Pinkie first. You'd be surprised how much money I've suckered out of Applejack by betting on you."
  144.  
  145. Applejack shot a sour expression over at her. "You ain't gotta rub it in."
  146.  
  147. "What!?" Pinkie gasped. "How could you, Rainbow?"
  148.  
  149. Rainbow shrugged. "Hey, the girls got a knack for getting people to like her. Maybe if you toned it down a bit Applejack might win some of her money back," Rainbow said with a sly smile towards Applejack beside her.
  150.  
  151. "Huh..." Sunset said, still feeling that knot in her stomach. The warm words of her friends were already drying up her tears, even if she didn't feel too much better. She ran the sleeve of her leather jacket over her face to wipe the last of them off. "I still have so much left to learn though. Without Twilight I don't think I can keep any of that up."
  152.  
  153. "What's there to keep up? You're basically our Twilight already," Rainbow said.
  154.  
  155. "What's that supposed to mean?" Sunset asked, stealing a quick glance back at her backpack, her mind centering on the book again.
  156.  
  157. "Well when there's a friendship problem around the school, you're usually the one to solve it. Without you I don't think I could even still be friends with AJ with how stubborn she is."
  158.  
  159. "With how stubborn I am?" The two of them exchanged a few heated glances before Rarity stepped in.
  160.  
  161. "I think they're right, dear. You remember that night you stayed over with me while I was looking after Sweetie belle and her friends? They couldn't stop fighting over that boy, what was his name?"
  162.  
  163. "Rumble," Sunset added.
  164.  
  165. "Right. You stepped in and told them how some boy wasn't worth losing each other over, or something along those lines. You put it so much better than I could. Anyway, the point is, I've never seen anyone calm those girls' bickering like you, dear. The notion that you would be useless without Twilight is honestly laughable."
  166.  
  167. "I don't know, Rarity... I've never been without her there to talk to before. I'd still be the old me if it wasn't for Twilight." Sunset ran her fingers through her hair nervously and looked away. She wanted to believe Rarity, but doubt still clouded her mind and uncertainty about keeping up all this and not slowly slipping back into her old ways circled her thoughts.
  168.  
  169. "Would you stop thinking about Twilight? You've accomplished so much with your friends here. Don't you think you should be proud of that?" Rarity asked her. Sunset shied away from her, not sure what to reply.
  170.  
  171. "Oh! Idea! You could be our Princess of Friendship!" Pinkie said with a bright smile as she circled around Sunset. "We could have an inauguration, a big after party, and oh! I could even make you a big chocolate crown to wear for all of it. We could invite the whole school and show them how you're the exact opposite of a she-demon now!"
  172.  
  173. Sunset couldn't help but let a tiny smile cross her face at Pinkie's antics. She'd long since buried her old desires for royalty, but something about her friends thinking she was deserving of the role sparked a little bit of life in her again. "Thanks for the thought, Pinkie, but I don't think I could fill that role."
  174.  
  175. "You kiddin'? You'd be right as rain for it, Sunset," Applejack said with a smile.
  176.  
  177. Rainbow looked away for a moment. "Well I'd like to think of myself as the perfect leader of our group," she said, earning a few more pointed glares from her friends, "but I think you'd make a pretty good Princess I guess."
  178.  
  179. Sunset choked up for a moment, though she wasn't entirely sure why. "Do you guys really think so?"
  180.  
  181. Rarity put her hands on both of Sunset's shoulders and gave her a warm, caring smile. "Darling, if anyone was fit for the role it'd be you. You mean the world to all of us and, frankly, I'm not sure how we ever got on without you."
  182.  
  183. Sunset felt tears running down her face again, but this time they were coupled with a sense of legitimate joy as a smile crossed her face.
  184.  
  185. "You could always talk to us, you know, if you ever really need a friend like Twilight," Fluttershy said.
  186.  
  187. Applejack offered up that same warm smile. "I know we ain't no magical pony princesses, but we're here for you just the same."
  188.  
  189. "I... I don't know what to say, girls," Sunset said, her voice shaky and cracking, but a wide smile spreading across her lips as she looked over each of them.
  190.  
  191. Rarity pulled her into a tight hug, silently urging the rest of the girls to follow. With every single one of her friends wrapped around her in a loving embrace, Sunset broke down, letting the frustration turn to joy through her tears as she tried to hold all of them tightly. "I don't know what I'd ever do without you guys," she said quietly, their tender affection leaving a beaming grin on her face.
  192.  
  193. "You'll never have to either. We'll always be here for you, darling. It's the least we could do for our Princess of Friendship.
  194.  
  195. Sunset took a deep breath, her cheeks already protesting from her smiling so hard. "Thank you so much..."
  196.  
  197. After another few tender moments, the girls all let Sunset go, their faces still adoring their warm grins. Even Rainbow had a sappy smile on her face. Sunset walked over to her backpack and unzipped it, pulling out her journal and pen. With one last run of her sleeve over her cheeks, she flipped open the book to that last page that had tormented her for so long.. She looked over her friends one last time, happy to absorb all of their love and support.
  198.  
  199. Sunset took a deep breath and clicked her pen. "I think I know what I'm going to write to Twilight now."
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