Later that day, Fluttershy couldn't help imagining Rarity saying something about her earlier exchange with Adagio being unsanitary.
She could never tell anyone about that, and pray that Adagio didn't either.
It's no big deal to her, is it? She did... that... without any hesitation at all! I bet she does that kind of thing with random people all the time!
Something about the thought saddened her.
Yes. All the time.
Pinkie Pie's voice snapped her out of it. "You keep waffles in your hair all the time?"
"W-what?!" Looking around her group's usual table at the cafeteria, she saw the others staring at her, perplexed. She gulped. "D-did I say that out loud?"
"Well, y'know," continued Pinkie, "for you it was like a soft mumble, but I heard it, and said it again, so it's like we all heard anyway!" There was a pause. "You keep waffles in your hair all the time?"
Fluttershy lowered her head a little as the others awaited clarification on the waffles-in-hair matter. "I, uh, no, it, um, Iwasjust, uh-"
Applejack snickered. "How 'bout that, Rarity? It ain't just ArrDee that spaces out."
Rainbow Dash grinned triumphantly, pumping a fist in the air. "Yyyyes, pay up!"
Rarity looked flabbergasted. "We never made any kind of wager!"
Rainbow snapped her fingers. "Dang." Now it was her the others were looking to for clarification. She smiled. "If I'm not the only one that zones out, I figure I can capitalize on it and act like I made a bet with people that weren't paying attention."
Sunset Shimmer raised an eyebrow. "Wouldn't they need to know an amount before they could pay you anything?"
Rainbow shrugged. "I figure if they're really out of it, they'll just hand over five bucks."
Sunset bit back a comment about taking advantage of people, even for not paying attention, and the conversation carried on until the end of lunch, Fluttershy grateful her own part in it was forgotten this time.
I wonder if Adagio keeps things in her hair...
The next morning, Fluttershy chose to wait somewhere different before school. Today she sat by the statue out front while enjoying a jawbreaker, as it was something that could dissolve in her mouth while she thought about other things. Primarily? Keeping an eye out for any sign of orange fluff. If Adagio had found her at the soccer field once, there wasn't much reason she couldn't find her in front of the school. She sat in silence (as she usually did) the entire time, a whirling mixture of odd feelings churning in her stomach at the thought of meeting Adagio in private again. Remembering their exchange made her lips tingle and her face burn, but the wait for school to start seemed to go a little quicker than normal.
To what was mostly her relief, Fluttershy didn't see any sign of the Dazzlings until much later in the day. The three of them were standing in the hall, idly talking amongst themselves. This would have been perfectly fine, but they were standing close to the door of her next class, which was due to begin in two minutes.
I could take the long way around, take a detour that leads to the same hall, but I might be late for class, or, run into someone else in the hallway!
Trixie looked a little annoyed when they bumped into each other about a year and a half ago, but Fluttershy couldn't tell if the irritable "Watch where you're going!" she'd been given back then meant Trixie might still be mad at her. And then there was the chance she'd see Photo Finish, who might take her picture again! Thoughts of whether or not she'd been making a weird pose or had her eyes closed haunted her for weeks afterward. One minute, thirty seconds remaining to class time, Fluttershy made her choice, moving quickly in the hope of slipping by the trio unnoticed.
She didn't dare look at any of them, knowing the feels-like-I'm-being-watched effect could get her spotted, but walking by, she overheard Aria Blaze.
"-appened again, huh?"
As she walked into the classroom, Fluttershy heard Sonata Dusk.
"That's like the fourth time, Dagi!"
Fluttershy didn't see Adagio again the rest of that day or the entirety of the next one, so she felt secure in her usual place by the soccer field as she enjoyed a candy cane the following morning. Of course, that was when she unconsciously turned her head, finding Adagio's wickedly-grinning face inches from her own. Emitting a startled squeak, Fluttershy fell backward on the bench.
Leaning over the back of the bench as she had before, Adagio cackled triumphantly until her target was sitting up straight again. "I didn't think I'd see you out here twice, Sweetie, do you make a habit of waiting around by yourself?"
"N-no, w-well, k-k-kind of, uh..." She gulped. "Was there s-something you wanted?"
Keeping her relaxed smirk, Adagio rolled her eyes. "I'm still not going to hurt you, if that's what you mean." She was partly surprised that this actually seemed to calm Fluttershy down a little. She raised an eyebrow, pointing at the striped hook Fluttershy was holding. "What's that?"
Fluttershy fiddled with the day's treat, the name for it briefly slipping her mind. "I-it's a c-candy cane." She quickly looked back and forth between it and Adagio several times. "Uhm-"
Adagio held up a hand, her simultaneously laid-back and malevolent smile unchanged. "Don't worry, I remember our last meeting. Right now, I'm just here to kill time." She could do that by replicating their first encounter, but it lost something if they knew exactly what she was up to.
"A-actually," Fluttershy tried not to blush, with poor results, as she held out the candy cane, offering the straight end, which she hadn't licked yet, "would you l-like to, uh, t-try this, too?"
Adagio blinked twice, her surprised expression making Fluttershy feel like she'd done something right before it returned to the passive little grin of superiority the other girl normally wore. "Well, since you're formally offering..." She lightly gripped the cane between two fingers, spent about ten seconds examining the shiny, red and white surface, flipped it around, and slid her tongue along the end Fluttershy had already been licking.
Fluttershy stiffened, watching wide-eyed and red-faced as Adagio slowly tasted the curved stick of peppermint, her tongue caressing and wrapping around it not unlike the stripes themselves.
The delighted smirk derived from Fluttershy's expression again became an analytical look as she started to actually taste the thing. "It's... odd. It's like it's cold, but the weather is warm... But it is, as with the previous form of sugar on a stick, sweet." She tongued the cane's curves a few more times. "Cold-sweet. The opposite of hot sauce, which is more hot-tangy. Do they make cold sauce, too?"
Faced with questions she could actually answer as Adagio's predatory look faded, Fluttershy's brain started working again. "I-I think it's more like, uh... W-well, have you ever had a mint before?"
Adagio's head tilted inquisitively. "Is cold sauce called 'mint'?"
Not sure how to place the feeling Adagio's curious face gave her, Fluttershy smiled a little. "Kind of. It's made from a type of plant that tricks your brain with a chemical reaction and makes it feel 'cold', sort of like the acids in spicy things making them feel 'hot' no matter their temperature."
Looking at the cane again, Adagio nodded a little. "I see." Then the mischievous grin returned as she looked back at Fluttershy and offered the cane. "Thank you for sharing this with me, Sweetie."
Hesitantly taking it, Fluttershy couldn't help turning red again as she eyed the saliva-moistened curve of the cane. She could see streaks in the red where it had melted and smeared, Adagio watching and waiting for her to either turn it around and lick the as-of-yet untouched end, or make those streaks worse. Her heart rate was going up by the second.
Do I lick it where she did? Where I already did? That, that would be like, and, just like last time, but now it's, but, if I don't, isn't that like rejecting her? Would she get mad? Would she get worse? I don't know what to do!!
Before she could decide, Adagio chuckled, pushing off the bench. "Well, I'll be going now. See you again soon, Sweetie."
She sat holding the candy cane for a good minute after Adagio was completely out of sight, still not sure what to do. Rarity would surely tell her to throw it away now, but, if she wasn't being watched anymore...? Taking one last look around, she popped the curved part into her mouth, the sensations of cooled saliva and peppermint exploding through her tongue, extending to warmth in her face and a rhythm in her chest.
Fluttershy was sure Rarity would understand. She of all people knew the value of sharing things.