Adagio ran her hand down her face, wiping stray raindrops off as she stepped onto the porch of a modest, one-story house. She took a deep breath and pulled her hood down, quickly checking to make sure no loose hairs had come out of her shoulder-length ponytail. Content that she looked presentable, she stepped up to the bright green door. It looked freshly painted, in contrast to the chipping tan paint of the rest of the porch.
Steadying herself with another deep breath, Adagio reached out and pressed the small, circular doorbell. She heard a pleasing chime coming from inside the house. It reminded her of some tune that she couldn't quite place.
She could still run. There was no reason for her to be doing this. She could just leave and forget all about it. Adagio bit her lip when she heard footsteps approaching the door. Too late to run now. She straightened up and attempted to put on a smile. Failing at that, she settled on a blank look. At least she wouldn’t appear as depressed as she felt.
The door opened, and Adagio gave smiling one more try. The person on the other side had no such trouble.
"Adagio!" she cried. "Oh my goodness, what are you doing here?"
Adagio smirked and half-heartedly attempted a wave. "Hey, Sonata. How's it been?"
"It's been wonderful!" Sonata leaped forward and wrapped Adagio in a crushing hug, something that she gingerly returned. Sonata broke the hug off and stood in front of Adagio, her big, goofy grin out in full force. "I can't believe you're actually here! It's been, what, twenty years?"
Adagio's smirk widened a little and she nodded. "Yep. Gotta say, you look different."
Sonata chuckled and patted her shoulder-length hair. "Eh, well, you know, I'm not exactly a teenager anymore, now am I? And you would not believe how much I save on shampoo." She chuckled and crossed her arms. "Not that you haven't changed your hairstyle, though. It seemed like you used to be able to hide all three of us in that mane of yours."
"Yeah, well, I guess you have a point about us not being teenagers anymore. The look just didn't work." Adagio groaned and rubbed her temples. "Twenty years. Seems like forever ago, doesn't it?"
"Well not for me," Sonata said, shaking her head. "You would not believe how fast time has been flying by for me."
Adagio flinched back, causing Sonata's smile to deflate slightly. "Doesn't that... bother you?"
Sonata shrugged. "No, not really. Not when the time I do have is pretty awesome." Sonata turned and beckoned Adagio forwards. "Well, I'd be a poor host if I let you stay out in the rain. Come in!"
Adagio followed Sonata into the house, closing the door behind the two of them. "Shoes off, if you don't mind," Sonata said, pointing to a mat next to the door. "I just mopped and vacuumed."
Adagio snorted and shook her head. "You? Mopping and vacuuming floors? I never thought I'd see the day when a member of the Dazzlings did menial labor."
Sonata frowned and raised an eyebrow. "Come on, Adagio, this is my house. I want to make sure it looks nice."
"Uh-huh." Adagio noticed a pleasing aroma drifting through the house and began sniffing the air. "You cooking dinner or something?"
"Well not me," Sonata said. "I can't cook worth anything."
"You'd better believe it," a voice from the next room said. "It made for a disastrous, yet oddly charming first date, if I do say so myself."
The two turned in the direction of the voice just in time to see an orange-skinned man with messy blonde hair coming out of what Adagio presumed was the kitchen, if the apron he wore was any indication.
Sonata groaned and facepalmed. "Pro tip, Adagio: never make a green bean omelet. Nothing good will come of it."
"Especially if you leave a few slivers of eggshell in there," the man said, wrapping his arm around Sonata's shoulder. Sonata groaned again, causing the man to chuckle. He extended his hand towards Adagio. "Hi, I'm Bartlett, but everybody calls me 'Ben.' I'm the one around here that can actually cook."
Adagio took Ben's hand and shook it, but didn't miss the golden band on his ring finger. Frowning, she looked over to Sonata's left ring finger to see a similar golden band.
"You're married," she said quietly.
Sonata nodded and leaned her head on Ben's shoulder. "Just celebrated our nine year anniversary last month. I would have invited you and Aria, but I couldn't track you two down."
"Not that we really parted on the best of terms anyway," Adagio mumbled.
"That was a long time ago," Sonata said. "Besides, what better time to reconcile than during a wedding?"
Adagio shrugged. "I guess. Not sure I would have shown up anyway, though."
"I figured, but, well, I also knew that I had to try." Sonata grimaced. "I guess it doesn't matter now, though."
Ben quietly cleared his throat and broke away from his embrace with Sonata. "Well, you're here now, so the two of you can catch up while I make dinner, yeah?"
Sonata's smile returned, and she planted a kiss on her husband's lips. "Sounds good. We'll be out back, okay? Just let us know when it's ready."
"Cool," Ben said. "It should be ready in about twenty minutes." He turned to Adagio and smiled. "You're welcome to stay for dinner if you want."
"He's making chili tonight," Sonata chimed in.
"We'll see," Adagio said. "Right now, though, we gotta talk, Sonata."
"I figured you weren't here to see how I was doing." Sonata sighed and beckoned Adagio forward. "Come on, it's just through this hallway."
Adagio followed Sonata through the hall, glancing at the picture frames lining the walls, stopping briefly at one in particular: Sonata and Ben clad in wedding attire, sharing a kiss.
"Do you want some lemonade or water or something?" Sonata called out, reminding Adagio of why she was walking down the hallway in the first place.
"No thanks, I'm good," she replied.
Adagio put on a little more speed to catch up with her friend, reaching her just as she arrived at a sliding glass door. Sonata opened it, stepping aside so that Adagio could step out onto the small wooden deck first. Once Adagio felt certain the two wouldn't be disturbed, she wheeled around and fixed Sonata with a sharp glare.
"How could you do that? How could you marry some schmuck like him?"
Sonata smirked and leaned against the railing. "You haven't tasted his chili, Adagio. The first time he made that for me I knew it was meant to be."
"I'm serious, Sonata," Adagio said through gritted teeth. "You were a complete dunce, but you were still a siren! Someone who could control whomever she wanted just with her voice! You're content to just be a lowly housewife, vacuuming and mopping and being subservient to some goof and his chili?" Adagio groaned and leaned forward on the railing, putting her head in her hands. "The world, Sonata Dusk. It could have been the world. Could have been the world."
Sonata scoffed and returned Adagio's glare with one of her own. "That's not fair, and you know it. I'm not subservient to him any more than I'm subservient to you. We're equal in our marriage. I'm happier with him than I've ever been. I don't want the world." Sonata turned away from Adagio. "And it's Sonata Scorch now."
"Charming," Adagio snarked. "You really are domesticated now. I never thought I'd see the day where that happened to any of us, even you. If it weren't for those stupid goody two-shoes, we'd be unstoppable!"
"Yeah, and do you know what would have happened if we’d won? We’d spend the rest of our lives fighting to stay on top!" Sonata snapped. "I'm perfectly happy here. If I got my powers back and Aria walked through that door so that we could go back to the way things were, I'd say no. I wouldn't even think about it."
Adagio tightened her jaw and reached into her hoodie pocket, grasping the object that had been haunting her for the past three sleepless nights. She turned her head and withdrew it, offering it to Sonata.
"What's this?" Sonata asked with a frown. "A newspaper article? Why would—" Sonata looked at the paper and her eyes went wide and immediately began brimming with tears. She put a hand up to her mouth. "Oh no," she whispered.
"For a freaking purse," Adagio mumbled. "He stabbed her and left her to die just because he wanted her freaking purse." Adagio looked back to Sonata, her glare back in full force. "Her, Aria Blaze, one of the Dazzlings who should be ruling the world, just left to die in the gutter like she was nothing."
"Adagio, I..." Sonata folded up the article and handed it back to Adagio, wiping her eyes with the back of a hand. "I don't know what to say. I just... oh no."
"We weren't ever supposed to die. Forget ruling the world; we weren't even supposed to endure death. Especially not like that. Left to die in a gutter, scared, alone, in pain..." Adagio bowed her head. "And forgotten. We're not nothing, but she died like she was."
"Adagio, this is awful." Sonata sniffled and wiped her eyes again. "I don't even know what to feel right now. But that was the fate we had to face when our gems broke."
"It shouldn't have been that way."
"I can't agree or disagree with that. Aria definitely deserved a better fate than she got. I know that much. She should have been given as long and happy of a life as she could have gotten."
Adagio glanced over at Sonata and snorted in vague amusement. "You used to be such a ditz. If I asked you two plus two you'd have to think about it. What happened to that Sonata?"
"I grew up. I had to. I wasn't invincible." Sonata stared into the distance. "Learned that the hard way. Got hurt a lot. If I didn't have Ben, I don't know where I'd be right now."
"So you are subservient to him," Adagio sneered. "You depend on him for your self-worth."
"When are you going to learn that going through life with the help of someone else isn't weakness?” Sonata said, putting a hand on Adagio’s arm. “We're not going to live forever, Adagio. We can't do this alone. He feels the same way about me."
"But he's a weak mortal!" Adagio retorted, shrugging Sonata’s hand off.
"So are we, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you can let go of this bitterness and hatred you have."
Adagio chuckled humorlessly. "Well, I have a lot to be bitter about."
"Of course, but we did kind of bring a lot of it on ourselves, didn't we?" Sonata pointed out.
"No, it just started when we lost our gems," Adagio mumbled. "It was all downhill from there."
"And what did you do to fix that beyond feeling sorry for yourself and being angry at the world?"
Adagio opened her mouth to respond but was cut off when a faint cry came from inside the house. She frowned and turned around to see Sonata already halfway inside. She hurried to follow her, taking a moment to shut the door behind her. When she turned back around, Sonata had disappeared, but Adagio simply followed the cries until she reached a brightly painted room filled to the brim with stuffed animals and various toys. Sonata sat on a rocking chair in the corner, an infant in her arms, rocking back and forth and singing.
Adagio's jaw dropped when she heard the music coming from Sonata. Somehow, it sounded better than when she had her powers. Perhaps she had regained them.
"How are you doing that?" Adagio whispered. "We lost our powers when the gems broke." She moved closer to Sonata and knelt before her, a hungry look in her eyes. "What did you do? How did you get them back?"
Sonata's mouth twisted into a snarl, and she hugged the infant closer as if shielding it from her. "I am not feeding off of my son, and if you even think about hurting him in any way, I will do whatever I have to to protect him, is that clear?"
Adagio stood up and backed away, her hands up at chest level. "Hey, hey, I didn't mean it like that. I was just wondering, that's all."
"That had better be all."
"But the question stands, Sonata. How did you get your powers back?"
"I didn't." Sonata leaned down to lovingly nuzzle her son. "I think even the Rainbooms would laugh at how corny it sounds, but when I started dating Ben, I noticed each day I started to be able to sing better. Then when we got married and I had T.J. here a few months ago, well..." A small smile crossed her face. "I've never loved anyone as much as I love the two of them. I've never sung better, either."
Adagio sighed and rolled her eyes. "You're right, that does sound corny. I can't understand how you believe that stuff."
"You'd believe it too if you lived even a moment of it, Adagio." Sonata stood up and gently put her son back in his crib. "I truly do believe that."
"Sure." Adagio sighed and shook her head. "Well, I came over to tell you about Aria. I told you about Aria. I should be heading out."
Sonata grimaced and looked down at the floor. "Are you sure you don't want to stay for dinner? I'm telling you, his chili is amazing."
"I'm sure it is, but I can't. I just..." Adagio wiped her eyes before Sonata could see the tears forming in them. "I can't."
The two walked over to the front door in silence. Sonata opened it up as Adagio put her shoes on and stepped out into the drizzling rain.
"You're welcome anytime, Adagio," Sonata called out. "I'd... we'd be happy to have you."
"I'd bet you would," Adagio muttered.
"It doesn't have to be all bad. You don't have to be alone."
"Yes, we do," Adagio said, turning back to Sonata, the rain dripping down her face masking her tears. "You may delude yourself with your 'happy' life, but you need to wake up. We'll die alone and forgotten, just like Aria."
"Alone? Maybe. Forgotten?" Sonata shook her head. "You came over to tell me so that we could mourn together, Adagio. We remember. How is that her being forgotten?"
"Maybe, but when we die, no one will remember."
"You don't know that. You never know what impact you've had on someone." Sonata sighed and leaned against the door frame. "You're right. We're gonna die someday. I could get stabbed by a mugger tomorrow. I could be told that I have an inoperable tumor in my brain. I could slip and break my neck going to check on T.J. right after you leave, but you know what? In my last dying moments, I'm going to look back on the last twenty or so years and think to myself, 'you know? I think I did alright.' I'm being the best wife to Ben and the best mother to T.J. that I can be. That's all that matters to me."
"Fine. Have fun with that." Adagio continued walking away, but a thought struck her and she stopped. "You're going to die, Sonata. I'm going to die. Have you really, truly realized that? Has it even set in at all?"
"I realize it every day. No, I'm not going to live forever. Then again, who does? Best thing is to be happy."
With that, Adagio walked away, leaving Sonata to watch her disappear into the rain. She put her hood back up, not even trying to stem the flow of tears, her mind fighting her hatred of Sonata being domesticated with how much she hated being alone.
Adagio reached her car and slid into the driver’s seat. Sonata’s words kept ringing through her ears, causing her to put her hand in her hoodie pocket and grasp her phone. Her mind flashed back to Sunset Shimmer. She tried to take over the world too, right? Maybe she’d understand. She shouldn’t be too hard to track down. Just for a talk.
Adagio groaned and thunked her head against the steering wheel. She tossed her cell phone on the seat next to her and started up her car.
Maybe tomorrow she could try to contact Sunset, or even see Sonata again.
Maybe next week.