The kitchen door opened. A tall, broad-shouldered, pot-bellied man with fading cobalt hair and a thick mustache walked into the room. Next to him stood a woman with long, curly lawn-green hair and high cheekbones, with a sturdy build and wearing a deep maroon dress.
"Girls," Uncle Rear said calmly, "meet Vance Sentry and River Melody. Flash's parents."
Sonata tilted her head. "I thought your dad's name was Chop?"
"Nickname," Uncle Rear said absently. "He was a helicopter pilot when we were in the Navy together. Funny story—"
"Rear," Vance said sternly, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Flash," he added with more bite.
"Uhh...h-hey Mom, Dad," Flash said shakily. "Didn't expect you home until—"
"Storm cut our trip short," River said in clipped tones. "Now, explain all this, please."
Flash sighed. "I...honestly can't," he said. "It's been a really crazy day and it's kinda still in the middle of happening."
"Hmm. Well. From the looks of it, you invited a bunch of girls over, the front windows got broken, and..." Vance frowned. "How'd you get mixed up in this, Rear?"
Rear blinked. "What, me? I just came to visit Flash and walked in on a big teenage soap opera," he said. "I called the window guy just before you got here, by the way."
"Let's get back to who broke the bloody windows?!" River snapped.
Everyone pointed to Adagio.
"I'm calling the police right now," Vance said, pulling out his phone.
"And I'm outta here right now," Adagio said, rising to leave.
Sunset gut-checked her and slammed a heel on her foot. Adagio went down with a pained hiss.
"Ow! Dammit, you—"
"No need for the police, Chop," Rear said in a calm tone. "The skank with the big hair is going to pay for the windows, right?"
"I'd rather burn this whole house down with all of you in it!" Adagio snarled.
"Adagio," Twilight said firmly. "You broke their windows. You'll pay for their windows. Or else you'll find out what's worse than being trapped here without your magic."
Adagio glared at her. "You wouldn't," she sneered. "You're far too goody-goody and forgiveness and friendship is magic, I know your kind."
Twilight glared at her, arms folded. "You don't know me as well as you think," she said. "My patience and my general ability to put up with someone's crap only goes so far, and right now, everyone in this room is on thin ice with me." She paused, blinked, then turned to Flash's parents. "Ah! Except you two, we haven't even met, aheh..."
Adagio groaned in frustration. "Fine," she snapped. She reached into her hair and pulled out a money clip, from which she peeled several bills. She practically threw them at Flash's dad. "There," she said. "Enjoy your windows. I'm done with all of this." She stood up and shot Sonata a glare. "Your stuff will be on the curb. You'd better come get it before it all gets stolen." With that, she pushed past Flash's parents and left the house, slamming the front door behind her.
"Wow, what a total bitch," Pinkie commented into the vacuum of sound she left in her wake.
Vance blinked, shook his head, and picked up the money from the floor, idly counting it. His mustache twitched. "Well, that'll fix the windows," he mumbled. "More or less." He sighed and looked around the room. "Alright, I still want an explanation," he said. "What the hell is going on here?"
"Short version?" Sunset spoke up, drawing all attention to her. "Flash let this girl—" she pointed at Sonata. "—crash here last night because the girl that just left here kicked her out last night. Sonata here, umm...kinda tried to pressure Flash to let her crash here indefinitely, and I got tangled up in it, so did Ditzy and, well..." She gestured to the room at large. "Anyway, when we found out just how messed up Sonata's life really is, we all kinda took pity on her, and Flash was willing to talk you two into letting her stay here until she can get her life together." She shrugged helplessly. "That's pretty much where you two came in."
Vance and River glanced at each other. River shrugged. Vance frowned. "And the windows?"
"Adagio got really really mad at me for a text I sent her when she tried to make me come home," Sonata said. "Like, she wanted to kill me she was so mad."
"She's not exactly a nice person," Fluttershy said.
"Maybe you should call the police, Vance," River said.
"Not a good idea," Sunset said. "Trust me, it's better to let it go where it is now. We pick up Sonata's stuff from their place, none of us ever have to see her again, she'll probably blow out of Canterlot with the other one in a month or two and that'll be that. You call the cops on her, you'll make a thing out of it. Then you'll never be rid of her."
"Yeah, being rid of Adagio is better for you, trust me," Sonata said. "You want her hair outta your hair, and getting her arrested is just gonna make her mad."
River frowned. "Flash?" she asked. "Just how did you get mixed up with another deranged sociopath?" She bit her lip, then glanced at Sunset. "No offense."
Sunset rolled her eyes. "None taken," she said with a weary sigh.
"We just...kinda bumped into each other in town last night," Flash said with a shrug.
"Flash," Twilight warned. "Tell them the truth."
Flash paled. Everyone looked to Twilight, then to him. Uncle Rear smirked.
Flash sighed. "Okay, so I was kinda bummed out last night, I met Sonata, she was bummed out because of...well, you saw what she has to put up with." He shrugged. "She came home with me, I guess one thing led to another..." He trailed off, not meeting his parents' gaze.
River shifted awkwardly. Vance made a low sound in his throat. Rear rolled his eyes. "Chop," he drawled, "now you know you brought girls home when you were Flash's age." He folded his arms. "Remember that one time you brought that college girl home, the one you met at a party? What was her name, Tia?" He raised an eyebrow. "I certainly remember. The two of you were so drunk you decided you were gonna try to 'cure me' of being gay, remember?"
"OKAY OKAY!" Vance cried, throwing up his hands in surrender even as a look of pure panic crossed his face. All eyes turned to stare at him in disbelief. Flash, for his part, looked like he was about to be sick. River narrowed her eyes, her frown deepening.
"Vance?" she asked archly.
"I WAS SIXTEEN!" Vance cried defensively. "I didn't even KNOW you then!"
River snorted and folded her arms in a way that said they were absolutely not done talking about it, but relented, casting her eyes to Flash. "So you brought this young lady home and slept with her," she said.
"Y-yeah," Flash said, nodding and swallowing. "A-and then this morning, when I woke up and..." He coughed. "I panicked. I mean, I don't do stuff like this, you know I don't!"
"That's true, he doesn't," Sunset said. "He's too much of a dork to pull something like this most of the time."
"That's true," Vance agreed. At Flash's incredulous look, he raised an eyebrow. "What? You're a dork. Until today, the worst thing you ever did was have Sunset Shimmer as a girlfriend and you know it. Uhh...no offense."
Sunset just sighed and made a roll of her hand for everyone to continue, but her eyes were pointed squarely at Sonata—as were Twilight's and Fluttershy's. Sonata blinked, then sighed and spoke up.
"Umm...so yeah. I...umm...kinda maybe used the sex thing to try to blackmail Flash into letting me stay here?" She put on her best innocent look. "That's...kinda how we got here, with all these other girls showing up and the whole Adagio and the windows thing."
"Yeah, we came to help because we're Sunset's friends, and friends help friends," Pinkie said, pointing to herself and Fluttershy.
"And I just happened to be in town today and got caught up in all this," Twilight said. "Of course, if I hadn't been here, this probably would've ended in somebody getting maimed or killed," she added in an undertone.
"Probably, yeah," Rear agreed. "I don't know exactly what you said that calmed the bitchy hair girl down, but she definitely seemed to not want to push her luck with you."
"Yeah, why is that?" River wondered. "I mean, you don't exactly look like you could take a punk rock skank like that in a fight, or—"
Sunset laughed. River blinked and stared at her. Sunset held up a hand as she struggled to control herself. "S-sorry," Sunset chuckled. "Sorry," she said again once she mostly had calmed down. "No, you're right, Twilight probably wouldn't be much use in a fight here," she said. "But where we come from, she's...well...not somebody you wanna cross. And I'd have beaten Adagio unconscious and dragged her back where we come from, and I can handle myself in a fight, so..."
"Oh God, this is all that crazy magic stuff that's been happening at school lately, isn't it?" River asked shakily. "I swear, you kids and...and whatever crazy thing is happening at that school..."
"Pretty much," Sunset said. "Me, Twilight, Adagio, Sonata here, we're all from the crazy magic place."
"They filled me in on all the details," Uncle Rear said with a grin. "Now I wish I was in town more often!"
Vance frowned. "So let me get this straight," he said, pointing at Sonata. "You tried to blackmail my son into letting you stay here because he slept with you?"
"Umm...yeah," Sonata said. "And that was wrong, and I'm sorry."
"But it's okay, because I get why she did it now," Flash said hastily. "And...and I do kinda still want to let her stay, because...because she needs help. I mean, she wants to be able to make it on her own. If...if she could just crash in the guest room until she can get herself together...?" He gave his parents a pleading look.
Vance and River looked at each other. "We'll think about it," Vance said. "I...guess at the very least, she can stay the night, and...maybe we'd better go pick her stuff up." He sighed. "Flash, Sonata, you'll go with me to do that. Girls? It's time you all went home. Rear, can you stay here with River and look after the house, maybe put tarps up on the windows?"
"Can do!" Rear said with a jaunty salute.
"Umm...Twilight, do you need a ride back to the portal?" Fluttershy asked. "I have to drive Sunset home too, so..."
"I'd appreciate it," Twilight said. "Pinkie's scooter is kind of hard on my butt."
The three girls were halfway to CHS in a van full of gruesome implements of murder when something occurred to Sunset.
"Wait a second," she said. "When Flash's dad was sixteen...a college girl named Tia..." She looked at the others. "You don't think...?"
Fluttershy's eyes widened, and she nearly veered off the road. "Oh my," she whispered, her face burning crimson.
Twilight frowned. "What? I don't get—" Sunset wrote something on a piece of scrap paper, underlined it, and handed it to Twilight. Twilight's eyes widened. "Oh," she said. "Um. Wow. Okay then!"
The rest of the drive back to CHS was really awkward.