Cold Hands, Warm Heart

by desolate_account

On a Cold Winter's Day

Walking through the streets of Canterlot was a jarring experience. She, having once lived in Equestria for many, many moons, could easily look and find the similarities between her old and new worlds. For instance, the Library located near city center was dedicated to and named after the sanctimonious asshat who had booted her from her home. Or at least… the human version of said sorcerer. Whenever she strolled by the ancient building, her magenta eyes narrowed bitterly in its direction. Damn that dusty old unicorn.

Adagio grumbled, shoving her hands deep within the pockets her leather jacket provided. On a chilly day like this, the bit of warmth it gave was more than welcome. Of course, she could be relaxing in the perfectly cozy confines of the van. But no, they needed to buy some food for the next week and evidently Sonata and Aria were too busy dicking around doing who-knows-what to make sure they didn’t all starve.

Once upon a time they’d been able to subsist comfortably off of the magic they stole. It wasn’t as tasty as a warm, cooked meal (not that they could afford those too often nowadays,) but it’s what they had always known. Not to mention, free. But alas, Sunset Shimmer and her friendship inquisition had stolen that option from them. Now in order to survive they needed to stuff food down their throats like any other mortal creature. Ugh.

But it wasn’t all bad. Despite losing their precious amulets, they had managed to re learn singing through hard work and determination. After all, it was something they all loved to do. How miserable would it be to lose their one and only passion, second only to sucking the negativity from others? It also offered a source of income. It wasn’t much, but since the battle of the bands and the fiasco at Canterlot High, the three had been able to make a manageable living by singing at music festivals, restaurants, bars, and the like. Not enough that they could afford an actual house, but enough that they had a roof over their heads, food to eat, and okay-ish access to simple luxuries. It wasn’t an extravagant life, but it could be worse.

That all said, and aforementioned, the sirens now needed food to eat. Their mini fridge didn’t hold much, and they only had but so much cupboard space. So when they bought, they only purchased enough to last a week or so. It was time to stock up once more and, much to her disdain, the grunt work had been pushed on Adagio this time around.

“I swear,” the siren growled hushly under her breath. In the cold weather, visible puffs formed around her mouth as she grumbled. “Those two are lucky I put up with them. I don’t know why I do, but if I didn’t, they’d be going very hungry tonight.”

She was nearing the grocery store, and as such, decided to pick up the pace a bit. Her curly hair bounced behind her with each step she made. This week they had only done a couple shows and neither had been particularly large. Not hardly as big an audience as they'd had during The Starswirled Music Festival. Why in the world that dumb sorcerer's name was attachted to the little shindig aside, it had been a pretty fun performance. Despite running into Shimmer and her bouncy pink friend. Paid pretty well too. Anywho, between their last couple showings they had made a grand total of $125. That should be more than enough for a week or two worth of cheap stuff.

Adagio began making a mental checklist of everything they needed. A couple packs of water, some basic sandwich makings, maybe some fruits and veggies… Milk, some snack food, something to put on toast lest Aria have a conniption fit over her "boring, dry, crispy bread."

Let’s see…

Adagio’s eager speed walking began to slow to a gradual halt when an intriguing noise managed to pull her out of her head.

It was music. Wonderful music at that.

Normally she wouldn’t spare a second thought for whatever asinine garbage the residents of Canterlot were getting up to, but something about the tune was… alluring? Humming with interest, Adagio scanned the surrounding area in search of the source.

It didn’t take long to find. Soon enough, her gaze fell upon a girl. It wasn’t anyone she recognized. Which really wasn’t that strange. It was a pretty big city after all. The girl was sitting on the sidewalk, a couple buildings down from the grocery store, playing away at an old guitar. Seeing no harm in pausing for a listen, Adagio crept over to get a closer look.

As she approached, the siren noticed two significant details.

1. The girl was clearly homeless. Between the scraggly old sweater, the dirt caked on her jeans and the cardboard sign, it was kind of overwhelmingly obvious what her situation was. To anyone with half a brain at least.

2. As if it hadn’t been obvious at a distance, wow, she could sing. Like really really sing. If Adagio weren’t such a petty bitch (self admitted of course, and done so with pride,) she may even call herself impressed. Not only that, but she was quite nice on guitar too.

For a moment, the cold weather and biological need to eat faded from the forefront of her mind.

The girl’s fingers glided swiftly up and down the frets and plucked elegantly at the strings of her worn and battered instrument. Despite its appearance, the rickety old thing made such a pleasing sound. Like butter to the ears, really. But her guitar playing, as lovely as it was, couldn’t hold a candle to her singing voice. Smooth as silk and softer than a newborn filly. Damn this girl could sing.

Adagio then noticed something. She couldn’t tell for the life of her what this chick was saying. Her voice, as great as it was, was warped and foreign. It was obvious she had some kind of accent, but what precisely that accent was alluded her.

No matter, even with the odd and mysterious cadence, it sounded great. How long had it been since Adagio had stopped to appreciate someone else’s music? Goodness, she couldn’t even remember. She supposed that being a siren and all, her standards were fairly high.

Soon enough, the girl’s song drew to a satisfying close. The final notes from both her instrument and her voice hung in the air for a brief moment before dissapaiting; making true on that famous saying, ‘all good things must come to an end.’

The girl’s eyes opened and she let out a breath. It would seem she hadn’t yet noticed the spectator standing nearby.

Adagio debated how much worth there’d be in complimenting her. It wasn’t in her nature to go out of her way giving props to strangers. But raw talent such as that going unnoticed really would be a shame. Not for the sake of the girl really, more so in the name of music and art in general.

Coming to the conclusion that, sure, there wasn’t any reason not to give kudos, Adagio stepped forward. Though she made sure to keep in mind, the longer this took, the longer until she was safe from the cold.

She’d make it snappy.

Swaggering forth, Adagio placed her hands on her hips and raised an eyebrow down at the girl. She tapped her on the shoulder and offered a smirk. “Say, that was some fancy playing you did there. In fact, if I wasn’t such a sovereign on a mic, I might even feel compelled to kiss your ass completely.”

Evedentally, the girl hadn’t expected to be touched or spoken to or… acknowledged at all. She nearly leapt out of her skin when touched. She let out a surprised yelp which, for the record, was both pitiful and bizarrely adorable. When she looked up at Adagio, the siren finally got a good look at her face. Blue skin, a slight bit darker than the skin on that rainbow haired tomboy from CHS. Bright, golden eyes and cheeks dotted with freckles. Very messy hair, though that was to be expected. Her mane, so to speak, was silver-white and tied back in a frizzy ponytail. Her lips looked chapped, most likely from the cold. And above her eyebrow, barely hidden by hair, was a faded scar.

When the girl continued not to say anything, Adagio decided, perhaps a bit devilishly, to have some quick fun teasing her. “What?” She asked, fluttering her lashes and smiling with an amusement crossed her face. “Never seen such a majestic being up close before? It's okay, I understand.”

“E-er…” The girl looked around, seeming to be some mix of confused and nervous. “S-sorry.” She stuttered, pulling anxiously at the baggy sleeves on her sweater. “I wasn’t expecting anyone to approach me.”

“Hm..” Adagio hummed to herself. “I see. I take it not many people wish to speak to a dirty street gal such as yourself, huh?”

She blushed, clearly embarrassed, but nodded in agreement nonetheless. “Yeah… Guess not.” Her accent remained thick and interesting, though remarkably more understandable now that she was speaking normally. Maybe she had been using an entirely different language while singing, Adagio thought.

“Yeah well, people are assholes. Learned that as soon as I got here.” The siren replied flippantly.

The girl made a chittering noise, and rubbed her hands up and down the sleeves of her oversized sweater. Didn't take a genius to figure she'd be cold. Who knows how long she'd be sitting out here, and even with her leather jacket, Adagio was feeling the bite of the temperature.

"Cold?" The siren asked with feigned curiosity, though she already knew the answer.

"Uh… y-yeah, a little." The girl answered, continuing to rub herself for warmth. Truthfully, the chilly weather only made it more impressive how masterfully she'd been playing. Hell knows her fingers probably felt ready to fall off.

"Why not hang out in one of these buildings for a bit?" Adagio questioned. "Must be better than freezing out here."

"I um…" The girl looked down, once more looking embarrassed and, dare Adagio think, a little ashamed. "I tried. I tried a few different shops. They all told me to leave. Not good for business."

Why was that not even surprising. Adagio sighed and shook her head. As dumb as that was, she herself was starting to get a bit numb in the fingertips, and was wanting quickly to get inside. "Yes well… I'm really not surprised. Businesses do tend to have a bug up their butt over these trivial things." She looked down, meeting the gaze of the street performer. "But yeah, I need to get going. Thanks again for the entertainment."

She turned to leave, feeling that her obligation as a fellow musician had been fulfilled and was now in dire need of a heater. However, she was stopped by a quick call after her. "W-wait!"

She groaned and rolled her eyes. The chat was nice and the music even more so but she was done here and wished to leave. "What?"

"I-I uh… thanks for talking to me. Can I ask you your name?"

Adagio's eyeroll redoubled in effort, but she responded regardless. "Adagio."

"Cool… Uh… I'm Dolce Harmony. Will you uh, be around again anytime soon?"

Adagio heaved a tired sigh and shrugged. "I don't know. If I feel like it."

Dolce went to say something else, but the siren was already walking briskly away.

As she entered the store, it occurred to her that the girl's guitar case had only a few dollars lying inside of it. And though she knew there was no way in hell she'd ever part with food money for some random girl…

Why did the feeling of loose change in her pocket tie her stomach in such an uncomfortable knot?