"Wow, sleeping with you may be the best thing that ever happened to me!"
Sunset's eyes widened. Pinkie's hair deflated.
The temperature in the room plummeted.
"Wait," Twilight said softly. "What?"
Sonata blinked rapidly, then put a hand to her mouth. "Oopsie!" she said with a cute giggle. "I forgot we were keeping that a secret." She leaned toward Twilight and cupped her hands around her mouth. "You didn't hear that," she stage-whispered.
"Ah...hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!" Flash giggled nervously, rubbing the back of his head. "Yes! Slept! Here in this house, because she was tired and needed a place to sleep! So she slept! Here! Where I sleep!"
Twilight narrowed her eyes and folded her arms. "Oh, so you're saying you didn't have sex with her?"
Uncle Rear raised an eyebrow at Flash. "Boy, what even made you think that was gonna work?"
"I don't know, I panicked!" Flash flailed. "Look, Twilight, I—"
"No! You know what?" Twilight said in a loud, falsely cheerful tone, a disturbing smile on her face. "Who you...FUCK!...is NONE OF MY BUSINESS!" With that, she marched out of the kitchen. They heard a door elsewhere in the house slam. Fluttershy let out a terrified squeak and slid low in her seat.
Sunset blinked. "Wow. It took me a whole year of living in this world to start saying that word."
Pinkie shrugged. "Eh. It's been that kind of day."
"I know, right?" Sonata said.
Everybody turned slowly to glare at her. Sonata recoiled. "Oh," she said softly. "Right. Kinda my bad, huh?"
* * * * *
It took Sunset a minute to find Twilight. She'd found Flash's parents' bedroom and was sitting on the bed in a full-on furious pout.
"Twilight," she said softly.
Twilight's eyes snapped onto her. "Did you know?"
Sunset grimaced and sat down. "Yeah."
"So you were just gonna keep this from me? Lie to me?"
"Look, it's complicated, alright?" Sunset said with an aggravated groan. "Flash called me out of nowhere early this morning, this shit's been going on all day, and we were busy dealing with this whole idea of Sonata blackmailing Flash into letting her live here. Then you showed up and none of us were expecting you, and..." She threw her hands up. "Panic! We panicked."
Twilight blinked. "Wait. Hold up. Blackmailing Flash?"
Sunset winced, but recounted the day's events to that point. When she was finished, Twilight sat stonefaced, wringing her hands aggressively in her lap, one foot swinging against the bed like an overclocked pendulum.
"So let me get this straight," Twilight said at length, ticking points off on her fingers. "Flash was, umm...trying to get over me...I think?"
"More like whining pathetically about not getting to see you for a while," Sunset said with a smirk.
Twilight rolled her eyes. "I guess I could try to sneak away a little more often," she said. "And Sonata, she had a fight with the other Sirens and got kicked out?" At Sunset's nod, Twilight continued, "Sonata went home with Flash, they had sex." She grimaced. "Then Sonata decided she'd force Flash to let her live here from now on." Gritting her teeth, she continued, "Apparently half of Canterlot has been in and out of this house all day watching this whole thing spiral out of control, then I showed up and you all lied to me to cover for Flash, and then Adagio showed up to kill Sonata and we had that whole scene in the kitchen just now. Does that about cover it?"
"Pretty much, yeah."
Twilight sighed, flopping back onto the bed. "I don't know what to think here," she said tiredly. "I'm mad at all of you for lying to me. I'm mad at Flash for having sex with that ditz. I'm mad at Adagio for pretty much existing." She took a deep breath, then deflated like a beach ball. "But...listening to Sonata..." She swung her legs against the side of the bed. "I mean, she just wants a better life for herself, right? A chance to be happy and stop being caught up in all that...that..." She gestured vaguely with a hand.
"Toxic bitchiness?" Sunset suggested.
"Yeah, that." Twilight looked up, a helpless expression on her face. "I wanna be mad at Flash for sleeping with her and I wanna be mad at her for the stunt she pulled this morning, but..." She sighed again. "They're both so pathetic and pitiful I just can't!"
Sunset snorted. "Yeah, that about sums it up," she said.
"But I'm still pretty ticked at all of you for lying to me!" Twilight added quickly and sharply.
Sunset winced. "Yeah...that...wasn't cool. I'm sorry. Really." She held out a hand. "Come on," she said awkwardly. "Let's go back to the others."
Twilight groaned, took Sunset's hand, and stood up.
* * * * *
The scene in the kitchen hadn't changed much. Uncle Rear was on the phone about the broken windows. Adagio was scowling darkly at the room in general. Pinkie and Fluttershy were tidying up the kitchen quietly. Flash looked miserable and full of dread. Sonata kept wringing a napkin on the table.
Everyone looked up as Twilight and Sunset returned. Twilight took a deep breath. "Okay," she said. "I'm pretty ticked off at all of you for lying to me about what started this whole thing, but..." She sighed. "I kinda understand why, so..." She wrung her hands. "I want to help you, Sonata. I think you deserve to live the way you want to live, and if you want a fresh start and a new chance at life, I'm all for helping you with that. But I don't think you can start a new life by forcing your way into somebody's guest room with half-baked threats and blackmail. That's not a healthy way to start a new life."
"Yeah, probably not," Sonata agreed with a shrug. "It's all I've got though. Well, it was until Flash agreed to let me stay for a bit on his own."
"Right, about that," Twilight said, turning to Flash, who paled. She closed her eyes and smiled. "That was sweet of you to offer and I know you offered because you're a good person and want to help her. I'm..." She took a deep breath. "I'm not mad at you for what happened last night. Really, I'm not." She opened her eyes. "I'm sorry I blew up at you like that when I found out."
"Uhh...it's cool," Flash said numbly.
"I mean, it's not like..." Twilight waved her hands around, an awkward look on her face. "I mean, we're not...we just kinda...you know?"
"Uhh...yeah," Flash agreed vaguely.
"I mean because, heh...you're you and you're here, and I'm me and I'm there, and we can't be, you know, here and there...you know?"
Sunset groaned. "Twilight," she said. "I think you're getting off track here."
"Oh, right." Twilight coughed. "So anyway...Sonata." She clapped her hands together briskly. "I'll have to clear it with Princess Celestia, but if you wanted to come back to Equestria, you—"
"Bleagh!" Sonata said, pulling a face. "No way!"
Twilight blinked. "No? But...but Equestria! It's where you're from! You got blasted out of your home world by—"
"Does Equestria have cable TV?" Sonata asked. "Cat videos on the Internet? Crispy, crunchy beef tacos?"
"Then keep it," Sonata said indifferently.
Adagio raised an eyebrow. "What happened to this place being 'the worst'?" she asked cattily.
Sonata shrugged. "Eh. I honestly think it's the company I've been keeping. Besides, there never were that many of our kind in Equestria." She looked around the room. "At least here, I'm the same species as everyone else. Kinda makes stuff like friendship and fitting in and, y'know, sex a lot easier, right?"
"W-well..." Twilight coughed. "I mean, it's not that ponies don't have friends who are other species. I mean, there's tons of cows and donkeys and stuff in Equestria and...oh! Griffons! We know a lot of griffons! And my best friend and number one assistant is a dragon!"
"Yeah, but Sirens are kinda...well...we were pretty much the only three in the whole world," Sonata pointed out. "I mean, we're not quite seaponies and we're not quite dragons. Pretty much the only creature we have anything in common with is Discord!" She snorted derisively. "Like what, I'm just gonna randomly go back and make friends with the spirit of chaos?"
"Well you could," Twilight said lamely. "I mean, he's good now, it's..."
"Twilight?" Sunset said. "Give it up." She shook her head and chuckled. "If Sonata wants to live in this world, that's her choice. We've just gotta figure out how to make it work, that's all."
"Right, sorry," Twilight said sheepishly. "I guess I just...heh." She looked around the room. "So—"
"FLASH? Why are the front windows broken?!"
"Grk—!!" Flash said, pale and sweating. Uncle Rear grimaced.
"Oh horseapples," Sunset grumbled, pinching the bridge of her nose.
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."