While she was still looking forward to spending time with her animal friends just as much as usual, Fluttershy opened the door to the shelter with a sigh. She shuffled past the front desk, barely looking at any of the critters as she made her way for the back room. It wasn't that she didn't want to pick up a whole armload of them and cuddle her worries away, but she kind of had to get some work done today, even if she couldn't tear her thoughts from the disaster that was last night's date. Maybe she was making mountains of molehills, but it felt like just about everything had gone wrong.
They went to the Chinese buffet place (Fluttershy still couldn't pronounce the name without fear of offending someone's ancestry) and things were okay for maybe two minutes. Not usually carrying much in general, it had somehow it had slipped Fluttershy's mind to bring enough money for dinner. Despite assurances that she had nothing better to spend that money on, she felt awful about making Adagio treat her (again) when it was supposed to be the other way around.
Then they were noticed by a small group of CHS students, who were neither discreet nor polite in the way they watched her and Adagio the whole time, making a few unwelcome comments primarily toward the latter. Adagio insisted that she didn't mind, that it wasn't bothering her, and while her delivery was convincing to the point that Fluttershy honestly wasn't sure how she felt, it definitely bothered Fluttershy. Adagio, annoyed on her behalf (or possibly just annoyed), offered to 'get rid of' their audience, but Fluttershy couldn't let her do anything that might make it harder for the sirens to make any friends at CHS later. She'd gone into the building with vague plans of flirty behavior, hopes of impressing Adagio with her boldness, but when there were people she might see again watching her, it all shriveled up and dried out! Kind of like the shrimp.
The food hadn't been particularly outstanding either, and while they did get decent meals, there was nothing new or tasty enough to make Adagio do more than go "Ah.", like when her fortune cookie said "Worry does not beget change" (she described the cookies as tasting like stale potato chips, at that), no delighted/surprised expressions the whole evening.
They still had some fun talking and it wasn't like those watching them were whispering and snickering to each other every single second, but it definitely wasn't the evening Fluttershy had in mind. At the very least, they agreed on going somewhere more private next time.
When she got to the back room, Fluttershy started going over the shelter's stock of animal food.
More than enough to feed the birds for a few weeks, puppy chow reserves look good, treats included, but we could use a little more gerbil mi-
She heard the door shut behind her, sending shivers through her entire body. Slowly, she dared turn around. "Ad-"
It wasn't Adagio. Standing there in a black cloak with the hood drawn back was Trixie Lulamoon. From the dull glare in her tired eyes, it was possible that she was still mad about that time Fluttershy bumped into her a few years ago.
"Fluttershy," she stated flatly, "I need to talk to you."
"Um... Okay," she replied, distantly guilty and ashamed at her own sense of (thankfully fading) excitement in this situation. "How did you get in here?"
Trixie snorted, her lips curving into an amused smirk. "I've learned a thing or two about being sneaky in the last couple weeks."
That was it. Just 'Oh.' Fluttershy wasn't even shaking or anything. Her smirk slipping away, Trixie slowly raised an eyebrow. "...You're pretty calm about this."
Fluttershrug. "I'm sorry?"
"I even brought these-" she said while pulling a chocolate bar and an especially soft teddy bear from her cloak, looking just a little disappointed, "-because I thought you'd be wetting your pants or screaming for help when I snuck up on you."
She smiled sheepishly. "I don't know what to tell you." Then she realized that Trixie had intended to comfort her if she needed it, and grinned in earnest. "Oh, but thank you for being so considerate!"
Her jaw slackening, Trixie gave her a long stare. "...Being with her really changed you, huh?"
Fluttershy giggled. "I guess so. But," she asked as the situation started to catch up with her, "why did you want to sneak up on me?"
Returning the bear and bar to her cloak (indefinitely borrowed from the Drama club since the accompanying witch hat went missing), Trixie sighed. "I'm sorry."
The smile faded. "What do y-"
"If you pretend you don't know," Trixie cut her off, scowling, "I swear I'm just gonna smack you!"
Flinching at the threat, Fluttershy brushed one arm with the opposite hand, instinctively lowering her eyes to the floor. "...I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt." She heard something like a laugh out of Trixie, or at least a loud, uneven breath.
"Yea," she muttered, her head down, "you would. But, you shouldn't, because, I did it. I was the one that took those pictures."
Trixie shook her head. "It's a long story." A tapping sound alerted her to Fluttershy now sitting on a nearby box, patting the space next to her. She had really, really anticipated rage or tears or even just an ice-cold glare, but this girl was smiling as she invited her to take a seat. It wasn't a big, happy smile, but still.
Fluttershy, for her part, thought of what Sunset had said the other day. Whatever her feelings on the person that revealed her and Adagio to the rest of the school ('kind of peeved' felt a little extreme), she was far more worried about what would happen when the sirens found out too, and if she understood the reasons, maybe she could help explain things and keep them from doing anything... mean. Whether the culprit 'deserved it' or not. They hadn't just sat back and let anyone pick on Sunset, right? Everyone deserved a little kindness, and judging by the way Trixie had completely dropped her haughty, 3rd-person speech pattern, she could really use someone to talk to right now.
Trixie sat beside her for a long while, visibly looking for the best place to start. "...It's her fault, you know."
Maybe 'kind of peeved' was just right. "What do you mean?" Peeved-ness shrunk a little when Trixie looked at her with a glint of hurt in her eyes.
"Why'd she pick you? What do you have that made her just up and forget everyone else?"
Feeling a flicker of guilt in her chest, Fluttershy hesitated to answer before Trixie went on.
"She used to come by every day to mess with me at least once, but out of nowhere, it's 'Take care, Trixie!' and then nothing!" Fluttershy didn't say anything. She wasn't asking why that bothered her or about Adagio leaving her alone being a good thing. Thinking back to some of the things she'd witnessed, she had a hunch about why. "...When those three came back, I was still pissed about the way she used me for her plan, the way she messed with my head to rope me into her schemes, and I let her know it. Of course, she just smiled that evil smile of hers and before I knew it, she'd made it look like I was saying I missed her!"
Fluttershy giggled, immediately transitioning to a sheepish, rosy-cheeked smile when Trixie shot her an annoyed glare. "Sorry, just... that sounds like something she would do."
Trixie huffed. "Yea... It kept going like that for a couple months; her making a fool of me again and again, but at the same time? She was always so... nice about it. She never insulted me, never accused me of unflattering things no matter how often I did it to her, just-..." She blushed, giving Fluttershy an angry pout. "Well, y-you know already." The way Fluttershy's face colored further confirmed that she did. "But, when she did stuff like that, it sorta felt... I mean, it was almost always embarrassing, but the attention made me feel like I was special. The way she talked, the way she looked at me, the vague come-ons, empty or not, always made me feel prettier, sexier, greater and more powerful, even! I didn't want to say that because I didn't want her to win, so..." She shook her head. "I don't know. I was hoping to turn the tables for once with the underwear thing, but I think you got to see that one backfire."
Trixie let her head fall to her hands, each arm propped up on a knee. "And then she just ditched me, said she was done with me and never gave me another look! At first? I was actually glad! I thought I couldn't have been happier that she'd finally decided to leave me alone! Then I started to miss it... After a few days of being ignored, I wanted her attention again, but she wouldn't even give me a sideways glance." Her eyes clenched shut. "I felt like trash, like I wasn't worth bothering with to her anymore, and I knew it wasn't that she hated me for my trick, because she won that time!" Adagio won all of their little matches, actually, but that wasn't the point! "But that was it; after that, she barely looked at me, just threw me away!" She stifled a sob. "Just like I wanted her to..."
When a steadying hand soothingly brushed against her back, she wanted to push Fluttershy away, to yell at her for all of this being her fault in one way or another, but couldn't muster the self-control to do more than sit there, pitifully shaking as one of her victims tried to comfort her. "I c-cast a sp-spell, you know? I didn't th-think it-sniff-worked, but-" The words were lost as she descended into blubbering, Fluttershy gently hugging her until she calmed down. Ironically, the teddy bear and chocolate bar in Trixie's cloak were used to comfort Trixie herself when Fluttershy asked her to bring them out again.
Quietly, as though afraid too much noise would hurt Trixie somehow, Fluttershy asked a question. "What do you mean 'a spell'? Do you have some kind of magic too?"
Crumpling up the wrapper and stuffing it into her cloak pocket, Trixie shook her head. "No. I don't know. It was just a dumb 'witchcraft for dummies' manual, but it-..." Squeezing the bear to her stomach, she sniffled. "R-right after the underwear incident, I was confused, frustrated, humiliated, and pissed, just wanting any way to guarantee she never beat me again. So that night, I grab the book from the back of my closet. I only did it to feel better, but it looks like it worked anyway, because the spell I cast was supposed to get her to leave me alone." Her voice broke, "It worked!" but she managed to keep herself from outright crying this time as she silently, but greedily accepted the there-there pats.
When the internal ache had mostly subsided, she sat up straight again and sighed. "So, she forgot about me. Just like that. Eventually, I tried to just let that be it, tried to ignore her too, just accept it and move on, but then she started acting really weird, even for one of those three. Or, that was what I told myself, at least. I started getting more and more paranoid that, knowing her, it was all another trick, that she had to be up to something, and her little nap in 8th period was the last straw for me. I told myself that if someone didn't keep an eye on her, she'd pull off something big and horrible right under everyone's noses. That was how I validated stalking her for a while." She paused to look at Fluttershy for a response, but rather than judgmental scorn or righteous indignation or anything, Fluttershy was looking at her with concern.
Maaaaybe I shouldn't share my thoughts about how I was pretty sure the whole 'nice girl' thing she does was all an act to lower everyone's guard so she could do whatever she wanted. It was probably the paranoia talking.
"Thinking I'd get grabbed and dragged off to a basement somewhere if she or the other two caught me spying on her, I went out of my way to be careful with it, to make sure she'd never know I was there." She tried hard to sound proud of that, but maybe if she had been caught, things wouldn't have gone this way. "I used one of my tricks, a ninja-blanket patterned to looked like the cafeteria floor (and harder to notice in the shadows under the table), to eavesdrop on their conversations at lunch."
She left out the part about reaching out to touch Adagio's leg the time she briefly lost herself while staring at those long, smooth curves, but Fluttershy didn't need to know about the almost suspiciously cute sound Adagio produced at the time.
"But, that wasn't enough after a while, so I got a camera with a good zoom-in range and hung back, usually stayed far enough away that I was sure she wouldn't see me right away if she looked in my direction. I must have been good at it, because she never even turned around with an I'm-being-watched look on her face, and if she always knew I was there anyway and felt like toying with me (a constant concern!), I'd have gotten my limbs rearranged by her minions by now."
Fluttershy tried to speak up to correct the word 'minions,' but Trixie was still a faster talker than her.
"I tailed her on and off for days to figure out what she was up to, but couldn't find any evidence for an evil plan until the day I woke up way too early for a normal person (thinking the sirens were not normal people), staked out their house, saw her leaving surprisingly soon (I was right!), followed her to school, and saw her talking to you on the bench." She couldn't look at Fluttershy at all now, no matter the face she'd get for it. "I thought, back then, like, 'Ah-ha, she's worming her way into the Rainbooms' good graces to destroy them from within!' or something, so I snapped a pic and watched her rile you up for a while before school started. I thought I'd need evidence, so I got a lot of pictures, like when she got you to do that thing with the licorice-" A spastic noise and rapid rise in temperature in the air next to her made Trixie deadpan. "Relax, I already deleted everything." She still didn't look, but Fluttershy sounded relieved. "-and when you stared at her butt while she was walking away-" Another noise. "Deleted!" Another relieved sigh.
Trixie shook her head, muttering. "I don't know why you even bother, that skirt makes it harder to see than ever and her hair covers most of it anyway."
"Nothing. So, anyway, I tailed her whenever I had time, saw her go into your house, but couldn't get any closer than that without the chance of getting arrested for burglary or something (in hindsight, a ski-mask was a poor choice), so I went home to think about what she could be doing with you, why the other two weren't there with her. I was up until about two in the morning thinking about what she must have been up to, how, if this wasn't just some scheme, she could throw me aside for someone as dull as y-err... Sorry!"
There was no response.
"...S-so, I knew she hadn't teased anyone since the underwear thing, but the paranoid thoughts I'd been using to justify myself got buried when I figured she probably just liked you. I wanted to talk to her alone, but by the time I got to the bench Monday morning, you were already there too. I saw you kissing, and..." Feeling her voice tremble, she tried to hurry through the rest of the confession. "I lost it! Thinking that she could just drop me like a rock, completely throw me away like I was never anything to her, it... it wasn't fair! Seething at the sight of you two together when I had been brushed off, I took one more picture, finally knowing just how I was gonna 'get back' at her! Even halfway through first period, I still hadn't calmed down when I made that account, posting those pictures to show everyone in the most cowardly way possible!"
Short of breath, but not daring to reclaim it at a rate that fully satisfied her lungs, Trixie remained silent, waiting for the reaction. There was no sound, no sensation of hands on her now, in comforting or strangling fashion, but she could still keenly feel Fluttershy looking at her. The tension quickly grew unbearable, Trixie just wanting any sort of release from the moment when she jerked her head toward Fluttershy. What she saw, of course, almost made her wish she hadn't.
Fluttershy was crying.
It was the silent, tears-streaming-down-their-face kind as Fluttershy gave her a miserable, heart-stabbing look.
"I'm sorry." She shook her head the second Trixie opened her mouth. "No, listen! Everything you felt, everything you went through, I know what that's like, because I felt the same way because of you!" She sniffled, Trixie thankfully not interrupting her with more than an incredulous stare and a dropped jaw. "She stopped coming by to tease you, and everyone else, because I asked her to after the underwear incident! People started saying, b-because of her act, that you must have been her girlfriend when I was the one spending time with her every morning. I got so frustrated, I threw a plush octopus at a window!"
Trixie stared at her, increasingly perplexed.
Sniffling again, she blushed. "That's a very violent outburst for me, okay?" Trixie managed to nod dumbly in response. "I-I was jealous, the very idea burning me up so much that I couldn't take it, and I-... Well, I-I didn't really realize it at the time, but with slightly different wording, I practically begged her to be my girlfriend the next morning, which, at the time, meant teasing me and me alone. She agreed." Recognition lighting in Trixie's eyes told her she didn't need to say much more. "That was why she picked me. That was why she ignored everyone else. It wasn't you, it wasn't even her, it was me, because I wanted her all to myself. I only had to deal with that horrible feeling for half a day, but I knew exactly how I would have felt if she'd just stopped talking to me, and I'm so sorry to have made you go through the same thing."
And, now that she thought about it, who knew how many others? There couldn't have been that many people that enjoyed Adagio's games, but she did once say that only two had ever asked her to stop, and neither were students. Part of that had to be that you don't generally believe a bully (for whatever value that word fit Adagio) would stop if asked, but Fluttershy was sure she'd heard Sunset mention having told other people about it.
"So..." Trixie looked confused. "What, you just, got jealous over her teasing other people? Of her making fun of them?"
"It isn't just making fun, it's how she shows affection!" Blink. "W-well, th-that's at least part of it..."
Trixie shook her head. "Even so! I get feeling left out, I get wanting more attention for yourself, but it's not like she was cheating on you! Riling people up is not the same as screwing them, no matter how much innuendo is involved!" She knew that was pretty extreme language to use in front of Fluttershy, as the crimson feedback immediately confirmed, but if she didn't say this, she might burst. "If you were dating Pinkie Pie, would you tell her not to throw parties for anyone but you? Tell Rarity you were the only person she could make clothes for? Even if they agreed to it, do you really think it'd be something they wanted?"
Her mouth hanging open for a minute, Fluttershy had no answer. Reigning in the feelings she'd long let run rampant in regard to Adagio, she thought hard about the question.
I remember now; earlier this week, the day after the pictures went up, I had meant to tell Adagio that there was no reason she should have to tease only me anymore, because everyone knows without a doubt now that we're together. I meant to tell her because it was something I never should have asked for in the first place, because her teasing was something I decided was special between us. I wanted her to be mine, but I didn't just ask for that, did I?
She'd begged Adagio not to tease anyone else, told her she could do whatever she wanted to her in exchange, and received her first three kisses as a result. Because, Adagio said, she felt like she'd been wanting to do that for months.
Within the first couple weeks, I had specifically asked Adagio not to limit herself so much, then turned right around asked her to limit herself just to appease my insecurities, when I should have just asked her to be my girlfriend. We were already kissing each other on the cheek by then, and she figured that we were essentially a couple anyway not long after!
In a twisted kind of way, she knew now that she'd let her insecurities beat her again, making some slightly controlling decisions because hearing the other kids at CHS, who had no way of knowing the truth, refer to Trixie as Adagio's girlfriend had made her feel so threatened, so envious, that she lost herself for a while.
Noticing just how depressed Fluttershy was starting to look, Trixie felt like she'd just kicked one of the puppies she'd walked past on the way here. "H-hey, uh, I-I mean, it couldn't have been that bad, right? She still said 'yes,' didn't she?"
"To something I shouldn't have asked for in the first place." It was the fact that they weren't girlfriends and Fluttershy wanted them to be, wanting more and neither giving up nor going for it, that had hurt so much. She knew, without a doubt, that if Adagio had asked her to give something up in exchange for monopolizing her in some way, even if it were something she really enjoyed, she'd have accepted in a heartbeat, whether it was good for both of them or not. Adagio had pushed her to be a little selfish, but now it felt like she had taken it too far. She had only been thinking about making herself feel better that morning, even if the reasons she was upset weren't completely rational.
"You don't get to tease anyone but me because it'll make me mad." With that door open, I wonder what else I might have asked for, later on down the road.
Maybe she was a little wiser now.
"And, uh," Trixie said offhandedly, "not like I'm really one to judge, going all jealousy-fueled stalker myself. But now it doesn't matter, because, it, the pictures are still, and-..." She took a second to gather her thoughts. "You told her not to play with anyone else, she stopped, I lost my head over it, exposed both of you to the school, and now not only is everyone in your business, but half of them are blaming innocent Roseluck for all of it." She cracked a tiny smile. "Heh. It's great. It's my best trick ever. Yay Trixie."
The complete lack of mirth with which it was delivered clued Fluttershy in that the statement might not have been sincere. Knowing that she didn't mean for any of this to happen either, Fluttershy quietly rubbed her back.
"I h-have to tell everyone," Trixie muttered, her breath hitching, "tell them I took the pictures."
"You don-" Fluttershy was startled when Trixie quickly turned to look at her, furious.
"Don't even start," she hissed through gritted teeth, "because as much as I want to -and believe me, I'm tempted- to take advantage of your perfect, infinite, good-girl patience-" Fluttershy detected just a hint of mockery in there, but it was probably the hurt talking, "it's the only way to clear Roseluck without blaming someone else, and it's the only thing I can fix now!" Rage quickly ebbing away as tears began to flow again, she sniffled, the wretched look on her face plucking at several strings in Fluttershy's chest. "...Adagio is going to hate me forever now. She used to c-call me 'Silver,' y'know? I was never very confident about my hair, but that was the feature she noticed about me, instead of calling me 'Loudmouth' or 'Drama Club' or 'Hack Wizard' like others have. No matter how she used it, 'Silver' always felt like a compliment, even if I refused to let her 'win' by showing it. Not anymore."
The thought of Adagio not calling her 'Sweetie' ever again had her latching onto Trixie before she knew it, distantly relieved not to be shoved away and/or screamed at. "You love her too, don't you?"
"WHAT?!" Now Fluttershy was pushed away, but only enough that Trixie could look her in the eye. "Where did you get that ide-..." Thinking about how her actions could be interpreted, Trixie produced a blush bright and hot enough to rival Fluttershy's own most embarrassing moments. "No, I- we, sh-she, no, that is not what I-"
"It's okay, I know how it-"
Trixie shook her head. "No, nononono, what I feel for Adagio is nothing like-"
"There's nothing to be ashamed of, she's a very beautiful girl and very kind once you get to kn-"
"Listen to me, dammit!!"
"She might not show her soft side easily, but it-" She squeaked when Trixie seized her by both shoulders.
"Look, I. Am. Not. In. Love. With. Her. I have no romantic designs on Adagio Dazzle, that's all you, I was upset because it looked like she ditched me for no reason at all, but that doesn't automatically mean I want to kiss her upside down in the rain or whatever, even if I'm open to the possibility of wild, mind-blowing sex somewhere down the line!" Both of them were red now, but with the way Fluttershy was looking at her, Trixie felt herself get just a little warmer as her eyes narrowed. "Don't judge me, you've seen that little sparkle in her eyes!"
She had. She very definitely had, but that didn't make it any easier to articulate.
Folding her arms, Trixie huffed. "...How did you get so involved with her, anyway?"
Fluttershy smiled sheepishly. "I sit at that bench every morning before school because I don't like taking the bus and it's the only time my mom can drop me off. She found me there a few months ago, we got to talking, and I started sharing candy with her. It kept up like that until, well..."
Trixie raised an eyebrow. "Sharing candy? Is that what they're calli-"
"ACTUAL CANDY," Fluttershy answered in a shrill squeak, talking quickly as her face warmed up again, "you saw, like with the l-licorice?! She tasted a lollipop I was eating on the first day, I liked talking to her, teasing and all, so I shared a candy cane the next time she stopped by! Th-things like that!"
"...Huh. You know, as much as I liked her attention, I don't think I started doing anything to invite her over until after she'd left me alone. I know there are a few others that had their eye on her-" she stopped to snap her fingers, pointing at Fluttershy, "m-more like the way you did, I mean!" This got a quick, understanding nod from Fluttershy, so she went on. "-but you were probably the first to make a move."
Very warm and happy butterflies danced through Fluttershy's chest, drawing a bashful smile. "I guess?"
"I feel like I should be annoyed somehow, but it's not like I blame you." Grinning, she raised her hands in front of her as though cupping two grapefruits. "Seriously, that ass is like-" She remembered who she was talking when Fluttershy let out a particularly high squeak, gaining a rosy blush herself. "Ehh, well, a-anyway, yea, you two making goo-goo eyes at each other wasn't what bothered me."
"Oh... Then," Fluttershy asked with a curious head-tilt, "why? Why would it bother you so much that she'd leave you alone in that case?"
Huffing, Trixie crossed her arms. "How would you feel if one of your friends just dropped you like a sack of bricks?"
'Hurt,' was most certainly the answer, but before Fluttershy could say that, she and Trixie were startled by the door to the storage room flinging open.
Standing there was Adagio, her wide, piercing eyes locked on Trixie. "What was that last part?"
Deep in the back of her mind, Trixie was assembling a smart remark about the last thing she said being about bricks, but it would never see the light of day (or even the dim light of a storage room) under the layers of fear and shame that showed on her petrified face.
Fluttershy managed to think much faster. "H-hello, Adagio, um-" She was silenced with a fingertip as Adagio stepped closer.
"Sorry," she said calmly, her gaze not leaving Trixie, "I just need to be sure I heard right." She had to take hold of Trixie's head to regain and keep eye-contact. "...You said a friend up and forgot about you. Were you referring to me?"
Shaking, Trixie clenched her eyes shut. "H-how long were you-"
Even if it wasn't directed at her, the return of Adagio's demanding voice made Fluttershy shudder. "Please. Answer. The question."
Gritting her teeth, Trixie managed to look her former tormentor in the eye. "Of c-course I mean you!! How many other people willingly talked to you on a daily basis?!"
Her tone just as annoyed, Adagio let go of Trixie's head. "Ignoring the one I until recently kept secret-" Trixie flinched. "-and my two oldest companions? There may not have been many others, but I thought you despised me!"
Trixie stood up. "If I really hated you, would I keep coming back?! Sometimes it was me, sometimes it was you, but one of us would start up your little routine almost every time we saw each other and we're both one of few regular relationships the other has! We're friends by default!!"
Blinking twice, Adagio looked to Fluttershy with a puzzled expression, as if to say 'Is that true?' While cute, it was a look that Fluttershy didn't have time to fully appreciate as she tried to work out Trixie's idea of friendship. The two of them looking at her in anticipation of a reply did not help her think. "Uh, I... Well, it's certainly a little unorthodox, but I guess that could be seen as some kind of friendship...?"
Arms crossed, Trixie nodded affirmatively. "See? Friends."
A eye twitching suggested that Adagio was far less content with that answer. "And how the Hell would I have known that?! I barely understood the idea of friendship some months ago and you're the one that was here when Twilight first showed up!"
"That is....! T-true! Dammit!"
Adagio stared irritably at an increasingly sheepish Trixie, but neither said another word. Fluttershy took the chance to help them both cool down a little.
"Um," she started with a hesitant grin, "not that I'm not happy to see you, Adagio," this drew a tiny smile and blush, "but what are you doing here?"
"I wanted to reassure you that last night wasn't your fault-" for once, she ignored Trixie going all red and wide-eyed, "-and thought we could make up for the date by spending some time together today. I was told you'd be back here and had barely gripped the doorknob when I heard something about magic." An abashed smile on her face, Adagio twirled a lock of long, orange curls around a finger.. "And, I know, bad me for eavesdropping, but hearing you talking to Trixie about magic, I froze up, and couldn't bring myself to just open the door until that friend comment. So..." She nodded to Trixie. "Why didn't Twilight sing about anything like this?"
Feeling that the subject was a little above her expertise, Fluttershy smiled apologetically. "Uh... it, just, didn't come up, I guess?"
"Hm... But, it is a valid form of friendship? Not like the offers Ria and Nata have been getting from a few boys?" Over the last few days, it had become clear to all of them that Flash's damage control could only do so much.
Seeing Trixie stare at Adagio with her face frozen in a blend of hopefulness and shock, Fluttershy thought carefully. "I, guess there's no reason it can't be, but, could I maybe suggest a slightly more conventional angle or two? L-like, um, did you two ever just talk normally?"
Huffing, Adagio crossed her arms. "I tried to be civil on our first day back, but-"
"Waitwaitwaitwaitwait," Trixie sputtered while shaking her head, stopping to give the other two girls incredulous looks, "aren't either of you two pissed at me?!"
Fluttersmile. "I'm not, because I understand what you've been through. I may not have been happy about it, and I hope you'll never do something like this again, but you said you were sorry, and I forgive you." She looked to Adagio, whose unreadably calm expression held Trixie like a vice.
Hm, she thought as Fluttershy and Trixie waited for her answer, hates the feeling of just being dropped? Of someone she felt close to up and abandoning her? Yes, I might know what that's like...
"Well, I may not be thrilled, but if I heard right (again, sorry about that), it sounded like you had your reasons." She arched an irritable eyebrow. "I most certainly am annoyed, though. Do you know how many fun scenarios I had in mind for when it was finally time to reveal things? All up in smoke now." It took a bit of effort not to grin when Trixie hung her head.
Internally sighing with relief at how well Adagio was taking this (Aria and Sonata might be another story), Fluttershy was reminded of something she'd meant to say to Adagio earlier this week. "Um... sp-speaking of apologies... I'm sorry too."
Adagio pointed the inquisitive look at her now. "Once more, I'm going to need more details before I hold you accountable for anything."
Though she tried not to, Fluttershy couldn't help smiling a little. "I should never have asked you to tease me and only me, because I should have asked you to go out with me instead. I know they led to the same place for us, but-" she nodded to Trixie, "-I never meant to cut anyone else out of a chance to be your friend."
Adagio folded her arms. "There are ways to interact with people other than teasing." Looking away, she muttered the rest. "Though, they haven't gotten a lot of results for me. Or, any of us, really."
Thinking for a moment, Fluttershy smiled. "I haven't made a lot of friends being quiet and reserved, either, but even acting the way I do, I still treasure the ones I've made just the same. You might not find many people like me and Trixie, but if you-" she and Adagio said it at the same time, "-can't be yourself, no one will be happy in the end." Her smile faded. "I was the one that asked you not to be, and for that, I'm sorry."
Adagio shrugged. "You offered me the chance to do whatever I wanted, to be myself at you in full force, I just didn't take it."
"Because we both knew that if you actually did, it would lead to-... well, pretty much where we are right now. I've been thinking that, since everyone knows we're together now, it doesn't really matter if you fluster anyone else anyway, so there's no reason to hold back at all anymore."
"Other than everyone assuming I've regressed to my old ways if I start acting more like I did before?"
"Uh..." Fluttershy's mouth worked in vain for a few seconds, but she couldn't think of a reason the other students of CHS wouldn't think such a thing, especially with the talk going around about even the sirens' nicer behavior all being part of some insidious (and imaginary) plot. It was as she strained for a way to stop that part from happening that Trixie spoke up.
"So what if they do?" That had to be the first time Trixie saw Adagio Dazzle look so confused, which might have helped her take up a slightly haughty hands-on-hips pose. "It's not like you went around harassing people like Sunset used to, and if 'your old ways' just means playing mind-games and not another magical takeover plan, -and since you haven't just done that by now, it feels like a pretty safe bet that you're never gonna- then it's no worse than Pinkie Pie being really hyperactive all the time, or Ringo being a freaky pervert, or Lyra and Bon-Bon refusing to just kiss already for pity's sake, or Rainbow Dash's monstrous ego, and people put up with all of those just fine!" The last one got her a pair of deadpan stares, which left them in awkward silence for a moment. She coughed. "And, y-yes, that may loosely apply to me too, but the point is that all of those people have friends of their own that either don't care at all or don't let it bother them, so-" she dramatically balled a fist, "the ones that do can suck eggs!"
There was a pause as Trixie held her pose, Adagio again looking to the senior-most Friendship person in the room. "...Did Twilight ever say anything about that, or...?"
"Um..." It was increasingly clear that Trixie took a very unconventional route with the Magic of Friendship. "Well, n-no, but, I think Trixie has a point." Trixie beamed with pride! "It's not like everyone will always be close to everyone else, and, it's true that friends will accept you for who you are, so..." She smiled. "That in mind, I think it'd be okay if you went back to teasing people."
Adagio's worried frown said she wasn't sold. "Sweetie, you begged me in tears to be the only one I played wi-"
"I know, but I promise I'm over it now! Or, a-at the very least, I will be, because no matter what," she stood up, "I won't forget that no matter what anyone thinks," gently grabbed Adagio, "we're the only ones who do this!" and dipped her, initiating a long, intimate kiss, lovingly returned by the recipient. A moment later, they separated, Fluttershy feeling a familiar rush of warm tingles at the rosy-cheeked smile Adagio was giving her. "Or, the only ones we do that with, I mean. Among other th-things?"
Though she did hear that last part, Adagio was a little too flushed to properly capitalize on it. She'd never been handled like that in front of witnesses! Looking at Trixie, she was vaguely gratified to see that she was magnitudes more embarrassed about the situation, turning her crimson face away so quickly that Adagio was almost sure she heard vertebrae snapping.
"Uh, I, er-"
"What," Adagio asked in level tones, "did that make you uncomfortable? Here I thought you enjoyed watching us together." She allowed herself a tiny smirk as Trixie grew even more fidgety. "To think, you used to tell me over and over how you 'weren't moved by such carnal impulses'..."
Burning brighter, Trixie quickly turned to look back at her, making all manner of short, erratic arm-motions. "I-! Tha-! Y-! It-! I-! Bu-!"
Even if she felt a pang of sympathy, Fluttershy giggled. More importantly, even if she felt a much smaller pang of unease, she absolutely refused to let it drive her anymore, because she knew that Adagio still loved her! Looking at the fluffy tease in question, she was mildly startled to see Adagio staring right back at her out of the corner of her eye, visibly scanning for any slightest sign of her being upset. In the hope of erasing her doubts, Fluttershy gave her a warm smile, which grew when Adagio hesitantly returned it.
"So," Adagio calmly began, cutting off Trixie's sputtering noises, "how exactly do we proceed from here? We can't very well keep this meeting entirely to ourselves."
Pulling herself together, Trixie remembered the avalanche of guilt and shame she'd woken up to for the last few days. She gulped. "I have to tell everyone what I did, what I've been doing."
Adagio raised an eyebrow. "I might have missed the part that explained what that would solve. The way I hear people talking, it sounds like they're caught up in the fervor of Evil Siren dates Heroic Rainboom-" she paused to look directly at Fluttershy, "-which is not how I see it, just how I've heard it discussed-" back at Trixie, "and aren't looking for a scapegoat for anything."
Trixie looked at the floor. "Roseluck might appreciate it."
Adagio briefly needed filling in about Roseluck and her situation. Showing her the relevant comments hastened things considerably.
"I see... Alright, I have an idea."
"Ahahahaha! You cannot catch The Great and Powerful Trrrrixie~!"
The sight of hamsters happily rolling around in their little hamster-balls always warmed Fluttershy's heart by itself, but Trixie letting them chase her around the room was a fun way to spend their playtime. Their food and water refilled and an order placed for more gerbil mix, Fluttershy walked over to Adagio. "How's it coming along?"
Sitting with her phone, Adagio made an uncertain noise. The three of them had worked out exactly what they wanted to tell everyone, but wording it right took some time. "I think I got all the points across, but... Well, take a look."
Reading over the message, Fluttershy smiled. "It looks okay to me!"
Adagio wasn't as enthusiastic. "You're absolutely sure that this is fine? No part of this bothers you in the slightest?" She got a smile and a nod. "Well, alright... Here goes."
-Adagio Dazzle: Hello, students of CHS.
As most of you may be aware, I have been seeing Fluttershy (whom you may remember as the one you call whenever you want help with your pets at no charge) in secret for some time now. As most of you were not aware, but may have suspected, it was actually Trixie that exposed this detail. I'll ask you all not to hold this against her, because we've talked, and given my own track record, the poor thing was, in part, just terrified for the fate of her school if I got my wicked hooks into it again. The other part was that, as most of you may recall, I used to go about teasing and tormenting people, especially her, on a daily basis.
I had never suspected that my attention would be so missed!
You see, I was asked very, very politely to desist in my games for the general public, and in the hopes of everyone getting along better, I acquiesced. It hadn't even occurred to me that anyone might actually be distressed by such a change! It has since come to my attention that some find such passivity unsettling, enough so to follow me around with a camera just to make sure I don't disrupt your peaceful lives. Well, worry no longer, my dear classmates, for if my silence has been the cause of unrest, I'll happily pick up where I left off.
However, for those of you that were pleased about that grace period, those of you that would genuinely prefer to be left alone, fear not. If you would rather I leave you in peace, all you have to do is ask.
See you all soon! ♥
...This is ordinarily the part where I would leave a signature or something, but you can already read my name next to the post. -Just Now