The Worst

by SquiggelSquirrel

…what has been seen

Twilight Sparkle took a moment to admire the flowers outside Fluttershy's house, before joining Sunset Shimmer on the front doorstep. She was nervous about her second ever sleepover, especially since Pinkie Pie had said that Fluttershy would be inviting a new friend, but also pretty excited — Princess Twilight had given her a lot of advice regarding sleepovers, and she was eager to put the theory into practice.

Things did not go as smoothly as she had hoped, though. When Fluttershy had ushered the two of them into her hallway, where Twilight immediately noticed a girl she didn't recognise leaning against the wall, Twilight had stepped forward to introduce herself, only to find Sunset's arm raised to block the way.

It was Sunset who spoke first.

“Fluttershy, what's going on?”

Before Fluttershy could answer, though, the other girl spoke up.

“Oh, don't worry.” She sauntered towards them. “I'm not here to fight, and I have no interest in your little sleepover. I'm just going to be staying in the spare room, by myself, and I thought I'd better make it clear right away that I don't want to be disturbed.”

The girl shot a look towards Twilight, who had instinctively sidled in behind Sunset.

“What!?” she growled, “don't tell me the Princess of Friendship is afraid of me now?”

“Oh, I-I'm not…”

“This is the Twilight Sparkle from this world, Adagio. You remember how everypony seems to have a counterpart here?” Even as Sunset explained this, Twilight stepped forward, swallowing her anxiety, and offered her hand, with what she hoped was a friendly smile. The other girl — “Adagio” — peered down at the outstretched appendage.

“Twilight,” Sunset continued, “this is Adagio Dazzle. She's the leader of three sirens who used their voices to spread dark magic all across Equestria, before they were banished to this world. She tried to take over the world a few months back, but we destroyed the pendants which gave them their mind-control powers, so I guess now she's just a regular teenage girl.” Adagio frowned, as that last part seemed to be directed more at her than the quivering, bespectacled girl standing beside Sunset.

Twilight's smile had faded entirely. Her hand, still outstretched, was now visibly shaking. Still, she didn't back down.

Adagio stared at her a while, tilting her head on one side while considering this turn of events. Eventually, one corner of her mouth twisted into an unpleasant smile, and she reached out her own hand, lips parting as she prepared to say something. She was interrupted , though, when Fluttershy spoke her name.


For some reason, this froze the siren in her tracks. Her eyes darted back towards Fluttershy, then to Twilight again. Her jaw shifted from side to side as she glared at Twilight, before she finally let out a dismissive grunt and knocked the outstretched hand aside with the back of her own.

“Whatever. Stay out of my way, and we can all sleep peacefully tonight.” With these words, Adagio spun on her heel and marched off to her room.

Fluttershy lead Twilight and Sunset up to her room, where the rest of the girls were already waiting. Upon entry, Twilight was greeted with a hug from Applejack, while Sunset received one Rarity. Pinkie sat on the bed, grinning and waving wildly, while Rainbow Dash beamed at them from the desk chair.



“Hey guys!”

“Eee, I'm so glad you both made it, now we're all here!”

“I do hope that dreadful Adagio Dazzle didn't you give you too much trouble, darlings.”

“An' speaking of,” Applejack turned to Fluttershy, “now we're all here n'all, an' not meanin' t'be rude, but d'ya mind explainin' just exactly why she is here? Last I checked, we weren't exactly friends with her.”

Fluttershy turned to Rainbow Dash, and between the two of them, they began to recount the day's events in full.

That night, Twilight Sparkle found herself lying awake, wondering what kind of world-view a girl like Adagio Dazzle must have. Even during Twilight's recent transformation into “Midnight Sparkle”, the darkly angelic she-demon who had tried to destroy the world, she hadn't really thought of herself as “evil”. If anything, she'd considered herself above such notions. It was hard to imagine any human choosing to be “evil”, but then again, the “Dazzlings” hadn't started out as humans.

She wondered what kind of trauma Adagio Dazzle had been through in the last few days, and whether this really was an opportunity for the girl's redemption. Twilight was still wondering about this when she drifted off.

Rainbow Dash hadn't planned on spying, honestly. She'd just been having trouble sleeping, and gotten up in the night to get herself some warm milk. True, this meant walking past the door to the spare room where Adagio Dazzle was supposed to be sleeping, and of course, it was best to do this quietly, without turning any lights on, so as not to wake anyone, but so what? If Adagio Dazzle really was asleep, the door would be closed, and there'd be no harm done, right?

Truthfully, she really hadn't expected to hear a muffled noise coming from the kitchen, and she hadn't expected to find anyone in there when she peered through the open door.

The lights were off, but moonlight flooded the room, and Rainbow's eyes were already adjusted to the dark. It was easy for her to see the ice cream tub on the table, and for her to recognise the girl sat, or rather, slumped at the table, as Adagio. The moonlight illuminated the spoon in her hand, and the dark stain on her lips.

Mostly, though, Rainbow's attention was caught by the way the moonlight glistened off Adagio's tear-soaked cheeks, which quivered as the girl sat, sobbing, and gazing vacantly into the darkness of the ceiling.

Dammit if seeing that hadn't felt like a kick to Rainbow's guts. As she crept back up to Fluttershy's room, her thoughts churned sickeningly, but she could reach only one conclusion: Fluttershy's wait-and-don't-pry policy wasn't going to cut it this time. They had to do something.

Rainbow just wished she knew what.

Half an hour later, Adagio heard someone coming down the stairs. She knocked the chair over, rushing to the kitchen sink to wash her face. The door was just ajar, but someone still felt the need to knock before entering. For a moment, Adagio considered trying to hide the ice cream, but it was pretty obvious she didn't have time, so she headed straight from the sink to the door to cut whoever it was off before they entered.

The hallway light was on. Fluttershy was standing at the door, with a deeply concerned look on her face.

“Um, a-Adagio? Rainbow Dash said that you were crying…”

Rainbow Dash has a big mouth,” Adagio snarled, “and apparently an even bigger nose, if she's shoving it into other people's business.”

A muffled “thump” from the stairs caused Adagio to step further out of the kitchen, to discover the all the other attendees to Fluttershy's sleepover, perched on the stairs and trying to listen in on the conversation without being noticed.

“UURGH!” Adagio exclaimed, causing Fluttershy to flinch as she stabbed a finger in the girls' direction, “this,” she hissed, “is none of your business. Any of you!”

Fluttershy stepped back with a small nod. Sunset Shimmer, however, seemed undaunted.

“You're right, it's not.” Sunset descended the stairs, into the hallway. “Just tell me one thing, Adagio: Is there anyone else you can talk to about whatever this is?”

Adagio hesitated, and stepped back. The other girls began to follow Sunset's footsteps. Now that they could see her clearly, Adagio seemed far less intimidating than usual, less like a deadly super-villain, and more like a frightened teenage girl. Maybe it was the lack of makeup, or the haunted look in her eyes, the way she rubbed her elbows, or the way her hair simply hung down loose behind her.

The pastel pink pyjamas with the yellow butterfly motif probably contributed to the effect, though. She was even wearing fluffy bunny slippers.

“That…” Adagio began, “I mean, why would I want to tell anyone?”

“Because it will make you feel better,” replied Sunset, stepping forward. “Because this is hurting you, and you need to ask someone for help.”

“Th-that's ridiculous,” stammered Adagio. “Why would having more people know about this make me feel better?”

“I don't know,” replied Sunset, “but I promise you, it does. We want to help you; Whatever it is, I promise, we won't use it against you. Your secret is safe with us.”

A small voice from the back of the room interrupted.

“Um,” Twilight Sparkle had raised one finger, stepping forward to interpose her question, “is that OK? I mean, what if it's something really bad, or illegal?”

Twilight squirmed slightly as every pair of eyes turned to her.

“I can't speak for all of you,” answered Sunset, looking across the girls, “but Adagio needs someone she can trust. I am promising not to tell anyone her secret, if any of you aren't comfortable with that, maybe you should head back upstairs.”

Moments passed. Twilight nodded silently and stepped back into the group. No-one left. Eventually, Rainbow Dash spoke up, her expression far more subdued than usual.

“We promise.”

Everyone turned to Adagio. Her eyes darted around fearfully, and she backed away, her bottom lip quivering.

Then, she just seemed to… deflate. Her arms dropped, she stared down at the floor, and after a pause she turned back in to the kitchen, gesturing for the other girls to follow her.

Soon, Adagio was sat at the table, the kitchen light were on, and all the girls were gathered around her. She rubbed her face in her hands, kneading her head back and forth, before straightening up and beginning her tale.

“I… I went…” When her voice faltered, she closed her eyes, drew a deep breath, opened her eyes again, slowly, and let out a long sigh.

“I went home early. There was a mix-up at work. They didn't hear me come in. They didn't know I was there.”

“My sisters…” she added.

“They were arguing. I thought they were… it sounded like arguing. I thought it did.”

No-one else noticed the way Rarity straightened up, eyes widening and lips pursing.

“I… I walked in on them…” Adagio continued. She was wringing her hands together, interlocking her fingers in a series of scissoring motions, twisting from one to the next. “… not right away. Only after… after they'd been… 'at it', for a while.”

Sunset Shimmer was still smiling gently. Applejack and Rainbow Dash wore slowly deepening frowns as they tried to tease out the meaning behind Adagio's words. Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie simply looked politely interested, and Fluttershy just looked nervous.

“I walked in, and they were…” her throat caught, and she had to take another deep breath, “… doing it.”

Sunset's expression slid from friendly smile to confused shock. She turned to glance across at the other girls, meeting Rarity's expression, which mirrored her own. Fluttershy was glancing around uncertainly at the other girls, looking worried and slightly panicky. Pinkie Pie's expression was still blank, polite, curiosity, but Twilight's was more troubled, though still focussed on Adagio. Applejack and Rainbow Dash's expressions hadn't changed.

A silent pause followed Adagio's pronouncement, and only when it was clear that she had finished speaking, Applejack cleared her throat softly, and spoke up:

“Um, sorry but, doin' what, exactly?”

Adagio tried to glare at Applejack, but it was half-hearted at best. Her gaze dropped to the table, her lips curled, and her teeth clenched. Her bitter snarl came out coarser than anything she'd uttered so far.

Each. Other.