Adagio is definitely still evil, but not in the way my friends are afraid she is. Sorry, I mean, the others were worried today because she showed up wearing the ribbon I gave her (which she wore to school of her own free will!!), so they got to talking about how the sirens might have been up to something. I don't think anyone hates them, they just don't want to take any chances, but that means they can't give them a chance, either. Sunset was the first to defend them out loud, and Rarity sounded like she wanted to trust the sirens too (though, yes, that might have partly been because fashion was involved. Re: Adagio wearing the ribbon to school), and even if I didn't say so, I appreciated that from both of them. Rainbow was the one that brought it up this time, but she wasn't adamant in thinking we had to be careful or anything, I think she really was just worried.
She cares, and that's always a good thing!
Then I saw Adagio... doing things... with her lunch. I fainted. In the lunchroom. My friends brought me to the nurse's office and I had to pretend I had no idea why I fainted like that, so Pinkie thought I might have overexerted myself in talking too much when I said it was wrong to keep an eye on the sirens all the time because they'd always feel unwanted that way, which Pinkie noted really wasn't a whole lot of talking, but that it was a lot at once for me and she worried that if I didn't build up my mouth muscles, I would faint like that more often. She started moving my jaw around with her hands while doing her ventriloquy to make it look like I was talking, which made it hard to politely ask her to stop and the others giggled and it was a little embarrassing, but Pinkie was just showing that she cared too.
Unfortunately, fainting in the middle of lunch meant I was getting looks from people for the rest of the day, which was a little scary, but there weren't that many. I guess no one was really all that surprised that I of all people fainted for no apparent reason? Maybe there's a bright side to being... how did Aria say it that one time? 'My group's biggest chicken'? I wonder if she still calls me 'Squeaky'. Ha, it almost sounds like an affectionate nickname, now that I think about it! Maybe the same is true of 'Dr. Seuss'? I kind of want to ask Adagio what her friends think of me, maybe we could exchange respective friend-thought situations?
Speaking of Adagio; Art class. Applejack approached her while she was molding some kind of disc-covered aberration out of modeling clay.
Note: Adagio's artwork has almost always been surreal and unusual. The last time we worked with clay, Mr. Magnet asked us to make some kind of hand, anything that could feasibly be used to hold something, so Adagio made some kind of knuckle-squid. It looked like it was made of the bones of a human hand, right down to the anatomically-correct joints, but with multiple twisted fingers in random places. I've been too scared to ask why she smirked at me when it was done.
Note Post-Script: She can draw, mold, fold, even paint! Where did she learn to do all of these things so well?
Anyway, Adagio and Applejack talked for a little bit. I was scared things were going to get confrontational, but Applejack only asked her a few questions about the bow, like why she was wearing it instead of her spiked band and whether or not it was a hassle tying it on. Luckily, she didn't ask where Adagio got it.
Adagio responded that she'd been trying new things a lot lately (I was facing away, so I couldn't tell if she was looking in my direction when she said it) and that the bow was no trouble. Then she asked about Applejack's hat, calmly raising the question of whether or not it was still considered rude to wear hats indoors. Applejack quickly said that she'd just let Adagio get back to molding now without answering, but Adagio didn't seem to mind.
Miss Zecora goes everywhere in robes (she reminds me of a wise sage!), so I don't think Applejack's stetson is too much of a violation of the dress code or anything, but she still looked a little sheepish for the rest of the day. She cheered up again at one of our usual get-togethers at Sugarcube Corner later in the day when Rarity said there was nothing rude about having a personal style and that nobody had complained so far, right?
Rarity cares too. They all do!
...On that note; this morning, Adagio said she 'owed Aria and Sonata results' when talking about wearing the bow today. Does she feel compelled to do things for them, like she has to make up for their current situation? Does she feel like it's all her fault? It reminds me of when she said I shouldn't try to take full responsibility for them losing their voices, even though I'm the one that wrote the song (I don't know if she knows that already), and if Adagio feels like she's to blame for what happened, well, maybe it's something we have in common?
I don't know where I'm going with this, but the thought makes me weirdly happy. It probably shouldn't, because she told me I shouldn't feel like anything is all my fault. If it ever comes up in conversation, I have to tell her that it's not all her fault either. It might have been her plan, as much as it was my song, but neither of us knew things would happen like they did, and I think both of us wish it could have been different.
I shouldn't dwell like this.
I wonder what she meant by 'one of few times'? I'm a little surprised someone as strong and confident as Adagio could ever feel helpless, but I guess everyone gets that way sometimes. What makes her feel vulnerable? Just squirrels in her clothes? Being tickled? Was the time she was sick another one?
...Weren't all of those because of me? Am I the main cause? Because that's not okay with me! I want her to feel safe and comfortable around me, the last thing she or any of the Dazzlings need right now is to feel threatened by anybody! I should do something nice for her, or at least stop doing things that wind up hurting her. I'll be more careful with the morning treats from now on, I think, and I'll bring something I know she likes tomorrow. Maybe caramel cubes? Kissing might be a little more interes
The next morning, a piercing cacophony made Fluttershy sit up in bed with a start, sweat dripping from her face and her hair plastered to her head. When she'd gotten her bearings, she realized the sudden noise was just her panda bear alarm clock. Equally distressed and relieved to have been awoken, she gingerly tapped its plastic head to turn it off. Waking up like this, her heart pounding and spine tingling, wasn't a familiar experience for Fluttershy, who sat on her bed and trembled until she could steady her nerves enough to breathe normally again. When she could make words, she knew just the ones to test her tongue with.
Most mornings before school were spent double-checking homework or playing with Angel (if he felt like it) or maybe even logging into MyStable for a bit if she was feeling especially bold, but this morning, she needed a long shower to wash off the sweat. With any luck, freezing water would help with her steaming face, too.
Wednesday was not shaping up to be a high point in the week for Fluttershy. Nothing terrible happened, but she had, as feared, gotten so flustered just looking at Adagio (who wasn't wearing the bow that morning, sadly) that she could barely speak intelligibly, less-so following a sudden, suggestive mention of tacos. Luckily, Adagio had demonstrated her usual patience, which gave Fluttershy time to take multiple deep breaths, offer caramel cubes, and clarify that no, it wasn't anything that Adagio had done, specifically.
A playful expression featuring a raised eyebrow and a few teasing questions followed, but even if she didn't hear a peep of 'squirrel', Adagio stopped of her own accord and administered especially cuddly hugs and a little kiss on the cheek when Fluttershy's face started overheating again. For once, she found herself somewhat relieved not to have gotten a full lip-contact kiss from Adagio, because she couldn't say what she'd have done had it happened.
They talked about Equestria for a little while and Adagio left off by gently brushing her fingertips along Fluttershy's spine during a hug. Fluttershy appreciated her restraint, but the look in those red-violet eyes said there was a lot more where that came from when Fluttershy was ready for it. She had managed to stop worrying about whether that referred to the hugging or the teasing, and the implications either way, right around lunch time, if only because her attention was seized by a friend's frazzled expression.
"Rainbow," Fluttershy was the first to quietly ask, "is everything okay?"
The young athlete in question sat shaking in her seat, eyes nervously darting about, hands in her lap, and beads of sweat forming on her increasingly flushed face. "Uh," she managed while shrinking down in a near-perfect role reversal, "I, I-I'm-"
Sitting next to her, Applejack leaned over with an eyebrow raised. "Why're ya holdin' down yer skirt like tha-"
"MY EYES ARE UP HERE!!"
Quite a few people then turned to look at Rainbow, making her yelp and dive under the table. The others shared a look and went after her, ducking by their seats to see what was the matter.
Pinkie beamed, but kept her voice to a whisper. "Secret hidey party! Be careful not to get gum in your hair from the underside of the table!"
Rarity in particular was aghast, ducking her head lower and holding an arm protectively over her purple curls.
Frowning in concern, Sunset put a hand on Rainbow's shoulder. "I second Fluttershy's question; is everything okay?" She could tell very plainly that it wasn't, of course, but she'd learned asking anyway was usually appreciated.
Rainbow gave her reply while hugging her knees to her chest. "I-I dunno, it, it's like..." She quickly gave each of them a quick glance. "Do... do you guys think I'm a p-pervert?"
Jaws were dropped. Not a single one of them wore a look other than utter bafflement, but Applejack managed to voice the question. "What in tarnation gave ya that idea, Sugarcube?"
Her eyes going squarely to the floor, Rainbow gulped. "Well, I, kinda talked to one of the sirens a little bit ago."
To her private relief, Fluttershy wasn't the only one who went wide-eyed with worry, even if it probably wasn't for the same reasons.
Sunset was the first to ask. "What. Happened."
Still not looking up, Rainbow shrugged a little. "You guys heard about Sonata comin' to school in high heels today, right? How she's been tripping and falling and stuff pretty much all day?"
Fluttershy had not heard about that, but couldn't see the Dazzlings at all from under the table, not even their feet.
Rainbow went on. "Well, we know their boss has been acting even weirder for a while now, so I just thought I'd talk to her to see what was up..."
Contrary to popular belief, Rainbow Danger Dash wasn't an idiot. She knew things were delicate with the Dazzlings right now and she wasn't going to do anything to make it worse. In fact, she was going to help make it better! But first, she needed to know what the heck was going on with those three, and the best way to do that was to ask.
Lessee, she thought to herself while wandering a nearly-vacant hallway, that time she messed with Fluttershy, she was right around the gym at about this time of day. Oh, crud! Is she already there now, doing it again?! I should-
She spotted orange fluffiness, done up in a familiar spiked headband again. Adagio was casually strolling down the hall, proudly wearing that Just Try And Stop Me kinda smile she always had, but no sign of the other two. Rainbow grinned, though not nearly as evilly. Now was her chance!
"Hey," she said in as calm and dip, dippy, dipla-
"Yea, thanks. Heh, I toldja you were our brainiac, Sunset!"
"Hey," she said in as calm and diplomatic a fashion as she knew how, "can I talk to you for a sec?"
Adagio's smile slipped away, but she didn't look angry. Instead, she wore a completely blank, neutral look, right about on par with Maud Pie's perma-poker-face. Maybe that was just her diplomatic mode. "Yes... Rainbow Dash, isn't it? What do you need?"
"Please don't take this the wrong way," Rainbow Diplomacy Dash began with a friendly smile in her opening play of getting-along-ness, "but you guys have been acting a little funny lately, AND THAT'S FINE," the slightly annoyed look Adagio was giving her left as soon as it came, which felt like a save, "I don't wanna tell you what to do, but I've gotta ask; is something goin' on?"
Tilting her head a little as she thought about it, the siren hmm'd meaningfully before replying. "Not that I know of, no. Just coming here to pass the time, as we've been doing." Adagio shrugged, offering an apologetic little smile. "I am sorry, but I don't know what to tell you."
Rainbow kept disbelief off her face, knowing it would get her a penalty. At the same time, Adagio wasn't really open for asking what that bow had been about, at least not yet. "Then, like, Sonata just felt like comin' to school in high heels? That she keeps tripping in?"
Chuckling, Adagio raised an eyebrow. "Does it really strike you as any stranger than the time she self-immolated?"
Shoot! Verbal curve-ball! Straight out of the left field! Not knowing what a word meant was fine, because the diplomatic fallback when you didn't know was to just agree with whatever they said! "Uh, no, I, kinda guess not." That Adagio just nodded once felt like a few points were scored somewhere, but then came the game-breaker.
"Since I answered one of yours, might you afford me a question as well?"
She kinda talks like Rarity, doesn't she...? "Sure, go for it."
Adagio smiled. "Thank you." Then her face went back to Maud Mode; totally blank. "There's something I've been wondering for a while now; are you an exhibitionist?"
Rainbow's jaw hung open. "Uh... Whuh...?"
Adagio's passive expression remained. "Do you take ecstatic joy in being seen in a state of undress, are you aroused when exposed to strangers, do you get off on flashing people? I ask because of those shorts you wear."
"Your shorts," she repeated while taking up a thoughtful, one-hand-on-chin, the-other-on-the-elbow-of-that-arm pose, "a very tight little garment worn under a slightly shorter skirt. I'm reminded of underwear, you see, and as I now know that there are taboos about exposing such articles, the fact that your under-pants are plainly visible makes me wonder; is it for an illicit thrill? I ask for purely educational purposes, of course."
Rainbow quickly tried to cover the legs of her shorts with both hands. Never having thought about her outfit like that before, the idea that she was technically flashing everyone that saw her lower body was a startling revelation, to say the least. She couldn't speak, eyes nervously darting about, legs shaking, and her face redder than the most vibrant hues of her hair.
Adagio's face hadn't changed in the slightest as she did that curious little head-tilt thing again. "...Keeping your answer to yourself, then? Hm... Well, I suppose that tells me all I need to know. Take care, Rainbow Dash."
And then she walked away, leaving Rainbow to sheepishly shuffle to her next class with both hands tightly holding her skirt down as the warning bell rang.
Still under the table, everyone gave Rainbow sympathetic looks, Applejack again being the first to ask. "So that's what this is about? Somethin' she said to ya?"
Fluttershy hoped that tone only meant 'she' as in 'the girl already known to embarrass the heck out of people,' though she wasn't sure if that was what Adagio meant to do this time.
"Yea," answered Rainbow, face still buried in her knees, "pretty much. I can't decide if taking the shorts off would be better or worse, or like, if I should take off the skirt instead, but that I'm thinking about taking my clothes off in school at all, doesn't that make me a total freak?!"
Pinkie to the rescue! "Nah," she said with a giggle, "I think about taking my clothes off all the time! I keep most of my stuff in my hair anyway," she pulled out a waffle to make the point, "so I wouldn't even need pockets!"
Sunset raised an eyebrow. "You keep waffles in your hair?"
"Not all the time."
Rarity shook off the weird sense of deja vu, instead patting Rainbow on the shoulder. "Darling, there's nothing wrong with having a personal style, remember?" She smiled at Applejack, who returned it before the two (gently) fist-bumped. "Just because you're wearing those shorts under another garment, it does not make them 'underwear.' Even if it did, no one has ever expressed the slightest discomfort around you for it, have they?"
Rainbow raised her head a little. "I... I guess not? But, maybe, um..." She gave Rarity a sheepish look. "Well, I mean, clothes are your thing, so-"
The young fashionista beamed. "Say no more, Rainbow, I'd be happy to help you find a look you're more comfortable with! How does right after your usual practice ends sound?"
Managing a smile, Rainbow nodded. "Yea, sounds like a plan."
Rarity contained herself to a friendly grin. Sunset Shimmer yesterday, and now Rainbow! Mama's on a roll!