"Wow, this place is...small. And cramped."
"And doesn't look very cozy."
The Sirens' apartment was in a dingy, run-down building in a part of town where most of the streetlights didn't work. When Sonata unlocked the front door, Kim and Ron were treated to a view of a tiny living room with discolored, threadbare carpet, trash all over the room, an old, stained sofa with some of the stuffing peeking out of splits in the cushions, a couple of steel folding chairs next to a rusty old card table, and a small television set perched on a milk crate. A girl with dusty purple-pink skin sat on the sofa. Her hair was grape soda purple with thin seafoam-green streaks, tied up in twin ponytails. She looked up as the door opened; her eyes fell on Kim and Ron, and she frowned. "Jeez, Sonata...why'd you bring people here?"
"Umm...I kinda did something that...didn't go as planned."
The girl on the sofa snorted and rolled her eyes. "There's a surprise."
Sonata frowned. "Kim, Ron, this is my sister Aria Blaze."
"Hello Aria," Kim said. "I'm Kim Possible."
"And I'm Ron Stoppable."
"And I don't care," Aria said. "Thanks for stopping by, hope I never see you again."
"Aria, they need our help," Sonata said.
"Our help? Our help?" Aria stared at Sonata incredulously. "Sonata, we don't help people. We never have. We never will. That's not who we are."
"Well...maybe just this once?" Sonata pleaded. "Because they're kind of stuck in this world just like we are, and it's kind of my fault..."
Aria seemed about to retort, but stopped suddenly. "Wait. What do you mean, 'stuck in this world'?" She looked at Kim and Ron. "You're...you're not from Equestria, are you?"
"No, we're from a completely different world," Kim said. "Sonata told us all about Equestria and this place after we got here, though."
Aria frowned. "Okay. So...Sonata...how is it your fault that two strangers from another world wound up here?"
Sonata took a deep breath. "I tried to open a portal back to Equestria and it backfired."
Aria stared at her. "You...you WHAT?!"
"Well the two of YOU haven't been doing anything but moping and being miserable jerks since we lost the battle!" Sonata cried. "I...I just wanted to go home. I wanted to get away from this stupid world."
Aria gave Sonata a level, measuring gaze. "How...what made you think you could even find a way to open a portal home?"
"Oh, there's one at the high school," Sonata said. "It just isn't open. I thought if there was any magic left in the pieces of my gem, I could force it open. So I hooked all my gem pieces up to a car battery and taped them to the portal."
Aria stared at her. "That...is the most idiotic thing I've ever heard you say or do."
"It worked," Sonata said, crossing her arms.
Aria blinked. "Say what?"
"Well...it half-worked," Sonata said. "I mean, I did open a portal. Just...not the one I was trying to open, and all it did was dump these two here and explode."
Aria stared, slack-jawed, from Sonata to the two aliens. "You...have got to be kidding me."
"It's true," Kim said. "And Sonata said she'll help us try to find a way back to our world. And in return, we're going to try to help you get back to your world. But only if you promise not to hurt anyone ever again."
"Hmm..." Aria rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "ADAGIO! GET OUT HERE!"
Down the tiny, narrow hall, a door opened. "What IS it, Aria?" a grouchy voice answered. A third girl walked into the room, and Kim had to fight the urge to stare at her hair.
Ron didn't even make an effort. "That...is a LOT of hair," he said.
The third Siren had light apricot skin, a perfect figure...and at least sixty pounds of orange hair. Her hair was larger than her head and torso combined.
Hair Girl stared at Kim and Ron, frowning. "Who are they?" she asked.
"They might be our ticket home," Aria said. "Kam and Run, was it? This is Adagio."
"Kim, actually," Kim said.
"And Ron. With an 'on'."
Adagio studied them haughtily. "They don't look like much," she said. "I don't even have to have magic to know they're not from Equestria."
"No, but they're not from this world either," Aria said. "Sonata, explain it again."
Sonata told Adagio what she had told Aria. As she spoke, Adagio's expression shifted from measured annoyance, to surprise, to anger, to disbelief, to thoughtful contemplation.
"...and so Kim and Ron want to help us figure out how to get that portal open so we can go home," Sonata said. "And they need our help to find a way back to their world."
"Hmm..." Adagio stroked her chin. "And you say you'll help us if we promise to change our wicked ways?"
"You have my word," Kim said.
Adagio stared levelly at Kim for some time. "I'll think it over," she said. "In the meantime, you can spend the night here. Tomorrow you'll need to make other arrangements, you understand." She gestured around the tiny living room. "We aren't exactly a five-star hotel here."
"So not the drama," Kim said. "Thank you for letting us stay tonight."
"Kim, you can stay in mine and Aria's room!" Sonata said excitedly.
"Hey! What about me?" Aria asked hotly.
"Oh, you can stay in Adagio's room with her," Sonata said airily.
"Fine," Aria grumbled. She glared at Ron. "You. Couch."
A short while later, Kim followed Sonata to a tiny room that held only a large wardrobe and a small bunk bed...and piles of dirty clothes in the corners. "You want the top bunk?" Sonata asked. "It's usually mine, but if you want it..."
"No, I'm good with the bottom. Unless you want the bottom."
"Nah, I like the top bunk." Sonata climbed up to her bed. "I'm sooooo tired," she said. "G'nite, Kim!"
"Goodnight, Sonata," Kim said as she slid into the bottom bunk, staring out the tiny window at the starry sky.
She wriggled around. The mattress was rock hard, and a spring was poking her in the rear end.
She fluffed the pillow and turned over, using her cheerleader agility to contort her body in such a way as to avoid the rogue spring.
Another spring caught her just below her armpit.
Outside, a dog started howling. Two more joined in.
"This is gonna be a long night," Kim muttered.