• Published 7th Nov 2014
  • 4,523 Views, 66 Comments

The Swan Song of Adagio Dazzle - Pony Professor

After losing their magic, the Dazzlings are hit hard by shame and sadness. None are more hopeless than Adagio Dazzle, who loses all light in her life and begins to sing a swan song. For sirens, this is suicide.

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Fluttering March

Every house, shop and building the girls passed was more worn-down and dingy than the next. This coupled with the graffiti, neglected roads and pathways, and intermittently functional walk-signs told them that they had entered a part of town that they certainly didn’t want to stay in for long.

“I told you we should have just kept following the train tracks! Now we’re lost in the ghetto!” Rainbow Dash complained.

“Shh! Keep your voice down!” Rarity hissed, “You may be right about where we are but I don’t think the thugs and ruffians that hang around here appreciate anyone calling their neighborhood ‘the ghetto.’” Sunset Shimmer pinched her forehead.

“In any event, we need to get back to a familiar area or Sonata can’t lead us to Adagio. We’ve spent so much time wandering around we’re starting to lose daylight.” Indeed, the sun’s yellow blaze was giving way to orange and red. By now, school at Canterlot High had long been let out, but no one that the HuMane 6 knew lived in any area like the one they were in now. They wouldn’t be able to ask a fellow student or follow a school bus to get back on track. As they came to another intersection, Fluttershy suddenly perked up. She looked both ways and then crossed the street to their left.

“Fluttershy, don’t go runnin’ off on your own around here!” Applejack called after her.

“No, it’s okay!” Fluttershy called back from the middle of the street. “I know where we are!” The other six girls looked at each other, puzzled, but trusted their friend’s sense of direction and crossed with her.

As they continued down their new direction, Fluttershy’s stride became less guarded and she held her head up higher. For whatever reason, she wasn’t scared despite her surroundings. Slightly up ahead, a pair of boys a little older than the age of the girls exited a house and began walking in their direction. They had large, imposing bodies and were dressed just like the “thugs” Rarity had hoped not to run into. At first they were just chatting and joking with each other as they came down the sidewalk, but then they noticed the confused group that had halted in their tracks. Save for one.

“Hi, guys!” Fluttershy waved and greeted the two boys cheerfully.

“Fluttershy!” they said simultaneously. Fluttershy embraced them both in a hug, popping her foot. As Fluttershy’s completely casual approach of these scary-looking young men signaled there was no danger, the other girls slowly walked forward as well.

“Well, well, well, who are these lovely ladies?” One of the boys said, examining the group of friends.

“And how many of them are single?” the other one said.

“Single, but not looking.” Rarity said tersely. The others nervously nodded in affirmation. Whoever these guys were, they knew Fluttershy, but they certainly weren’t as tactful as her.

“Now, now, you two. Don’t be rude,” Fluttershy spoke up. “These are my school friends: Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Sunset Shimmer, and Sonata Dusk. Girls, these are my neighborhood friends: Three Point and Boom Box.”

“You can call me Trey,” Three Point said, winking.

“We’ve been hanging with Flutters ever since she came to the neighborhood.” Boom Box added.

“Came to the neighborhood?” Pinkie echoed, “Does that mean you, like, live here?” Fluttershy nodded,

“My house is just up ahead.” She turned to the two boys, “Sorry to cut the introductions short, but we really are in a bit of a hurry. I’ll talk to you guys later, okay?”

“Sure thing, Fluttershy. We were on our way to a movie anyway.” Trey shrugged.

“But it’s Tuesday.” Fluttershy raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah, Ten-cent Taco Tuesday! You know action-flick explosions are the best with tortillas!” Boom Box beamed. The three said their farewells and the group of girls followed Fluttershy the little ways to her house.

“Here we are, home sweet home.” Fluttershy said in a singsong voice.

Just like most of the other homes in the area, Fluttershy’s place was small and appeared to be on the verge of collapse if not just in need of major renovations. Unsurprisingly, various animals also occupied the home, but they were Fluttershy’s animals, so they were actually fairly clean and well-behaved. They were probably the most intact things in the house. The first room upon entrance was the living room, where a sagging couch faced a modest cathode-ray television sitting atop a haphazardly constructed TV stand. An older video game console was hooked up to it, something that Rainbow Dash decided to take advantage of without even asking. The other girls spread out (as much they could) in the living room while Fluttershy went to the kitchen.

“Does anyone want anything while I’m in here? I’ve got plenty of tea and, um… tea.”

“Tea’s fine, thanks,” Sunset Shimmer said, answering for everyone. A few moments passed in relative silence. The only sounds were of Fluttershy’s animals skittering about and the beeping and blooping of the Haystation 2. Fluttershy returned from the kitchen with a tray full of mismatched teacups and set it on the flimsy looking coffee table. After losing another life, Rainbow Dash cursed and turned around, finally breaking the tension,

“So, Fluttershy, why didn’t you—”

“I’m sorry!” Fluttershy cut her off, “I should have said where I was taking you sooner. It took me a while to realize where we were because we weren’t coming from the direction I normally take from school. Then I didn’t want to tell you that I lived here because I was afraid you would run away. I’m so, so sorry.” She took a deep breath. Another short silence.

“That is so not the issue here.” Rainbow Dash said.

“Yeah, we don’t care where you live,” Pinkie added, “Sure, we were surprised that you do live here, but we couldn’t hate you for it or anything. That’s just silly!”

“I hate to break up this love-fest and all, but we do kind of have a friend to save.” Sonata Dusk interjected.

“She’s right. Sorry, Sonata,” Sunset apologized. She stood up, “It’s good that we got some rest, but now that we know where we are we can keep moving to where Adagio and Aria are.”

“Actually, it’s probably best we stay the night here.” Fluttershy raised her hand shyly.

“What?” Sonata was now angry. “I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but a swan song lasts five days, and we’ve already lost almost four of them! We’ll barely have 24 hours to get to Adagio and convince her to stop singing if we waste an entire night here! It may sound like a lot of time just for talking, but we need those hours. This is a lot more complicated than just going up to her and saying ‘Please stop, I love you!’ I know because I’ve already tried that!” Without missing a beat, Fluttershy responded with uncharacteristic nonchalance,

“Well if we leave now, we’ll all die.”

“Come again?” Applejack said, clearing her ear just in case she had heard wrong.

“A gang runs these parts,” Fluttershy explained, “And they’re no one you want to even cross paths with. In fact, the only reason I’m alive right now is because Three Point and Boom Box are part of the rival gang that keeps the really bad guys away.”

“Okay, now that has to have a story behind it. How’d you end up in a place where a gang has to keep you safe from another gang? Where are your parents?” Sunset asked. Fluttershy sighed and looked down.

“It’s like this…”

“ANOTHER ONE?” Fluttershy’s father was holding the umpteenth rabbit his daughter had brought home by the scruff of its neck. She was sure she had hidden this one well enough, but she guessed at this point detecting any disenfranchised animals was old hat for her parents.

“But, Dad,” she squeaked, “He was all alone and—”

“They’re always ‘all alone!’” he cut her off. “They’re always ‘so helpless’ and ‘just need a friend’ and whatever bull you come up with and I can’t take it anymore!” He tossed the rabbit aside to the sound of a slight yelp from Fluttershy. It scampered out the open back door of the house. The girl, fresh out of middle school, looked to her mother sitting in her chair in the corner of the foyer. Her mom always had a way to bail her out, but this time she was pretending nothing was happening, her nose deep in a book.

“I’m sorry, Dad. I-I won’t do it again…” her voice trailed off. Both she and her parents knew this was entirely untrue. Fluttershy wouldn’t stop bringing home animals and caring for them and rehabilitating them and turning her family’s nice home into a veritable zoo costing them thousands. She couldn't stop. It was against her nature.

“How many years has this been going on, Fluttershy?” Her dad asked a question he already knew the answer to. Fluttershy was silent.

“HOW MANY!” He slammed his fist against the wall. Fluttershy’s mom jumped in her chair a little.

“S-s-six years, sir,” she whispered.

“And how many animals have been through this house?” Another one they both already knew.

“I can’t count. There were too many—”

“Too many! Too damn many! And your mother and I have sacrificed so much—no, too much, for you to be some sort of martyr for these stupid creatures!” Fluttershy began sobbing. Her mother closed her book and set it on her lap. She closed her eyes and did not move. She had to brace herself for what she knew her husband was about to say.

“No more tears, Fluttershy. It’s not going to work this time. You’re gone.” Fluttershy froze. By gone, he didn’t mean…

“If you can take care of these animals, you can take care of yourself. I’m giving you money for you to find a place to stay, and you’ll get enough of a monthly allowance for food, clothes, and school supplies. When you figure out how to leave the outside where it belongs you can come back. Otherwise I don’t want to see you until you graduate.” Fluttershy opened her mouth to argue but no words came out. She wasn’t the arguing type, and even if she was she probably couldn’t convince her dad to change his mind. Not this time, anyway. Fluttershy’s mother had already left the room when Fluttershy looked to be saved again.

The next morning Fluttershy was awoken early to begin packing her bags. The only saving grace that her mother had given her was sparing her the trouble of looking for a place to stay. She handed her daughter a list of apartments and small houses she might want to check out.

“They’re all animal-friendly. I made sure.” She said as Fluttershy looked the list over.

“Mom…” Fluttershy said. That single word was all the questions she needed the answer to. Was this all real? Were they just scaring her into shaping up and not actually kicking their fourteen-year-old out? Why didn’t her mom say something to lessen the punishment like she always did?

“We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t think it was necessary, sweetie. All these animals… it really has gotten out of hand.”

“Will Dad really not let me back until I graduate high school?”

“He’s still really angry, Fluttershy. I doubt it will take him four years to cool down, but at the very least maybe it’s best you lay low for the summer. A few months away isn’t that bad, right?”

Fluttershy’s mother was wrong. A few months away wouldn’t be bad, but she had assumed her daughter would choose one of the places to stay on the list she had prepared and be frugal about her spending.

The very first day Fluttershy was out on her own she found another injured rabbit she named Angel and spent the deposit money on its leg surgery. She could no longer afford any of the places her mother had picked out, so she scoured the newspaper for anything else within her new diminished price range. She found a place that she felt would suit her needs, but it was in a part of town she had never been to before. Once she arrived to check it out, she surmised she would never want to return to this part of town again, but the fear of returning home and suffering worse punishment outweighed the fear of staying here temporarily, so she made the proper arrangements to rent the small house.

Despite the living conditions that Fluttershy had not expected, the first four weeks in her new place were amicable. She could house as many animals as she wanted there and the house came pre-furnished, although to call many of the items “furnishing” would be a generous embellishment. After coming home from grocery shopping one evening she sighed and thought that even if she had to spend her entire high school career here she wouldn’t mind.

That was when that evening turned into hell.

Just before Fluttershy closed the door behind her it burst open, knocking her to the ground. Four young men stormed the house, black bandanas covering the lower halves of their faces.

“Don’t you move, bitch!” One of them ordered. Fluttershy couldn’t move even if she wanted to. She was too scared to even scream. The men went around the house, grabbing armfuls of whatever they could—food, what few decorations Fluttershy had, and even a couple of her animals, and taking it out. Three of them did trips in and out of the house stealing things while the fourth that had ordered Fluttershy still kept a knife pointed at her. After about twenty minutes they had already removed enough that the interior of the house echoed when they came back in. Fluttershy had seen things like this on TV. Now that they were done robbing her, they would tell her not to tell anyone what happened or they’d hurt her family. Or they would have, if reality were so kind.

“Let’s break this bitch in,” one of the men said, shutting the door behind him. Two of the other men grabbed Fluttershy by the shoulders and dragged her to the kitchen table that they had left. Once they laid her on the table realization struck and Fluttershy screamed at the top of her lungs.

“NO! STOP IT!” she yelled. Her voice bounced off the empty walls, making it seem that much louder. “PLEASE NO!” The men only laughed in response. One of them leaned over her and whispered into her ear,

“Welcome to the neighborhood.” He licked her ear and Fluttershy began crying hysterically in between her screams. She tried to kick him away but the other men held her legs.

This was it. All because she couldn’t leave all those animals alone. All because she tried to be a good person. Fluttershy wanted nothing more than to wake up in her bed back at home—her real home—and run to her father and apologize for everything, but no matter how many times she shut her eyes tight and opened them, this was the nightmare she was living. Fluttershy passed out just as she heard her front door blast open again.

A cartoon was on a small television set on top of a clumsily-built TV stand when Fluttershy awoke. She was on her couch covered in a blanket. A small chuckle jolted her up. Did the men really stay in her house that night after what they had done to her? Did she… belong to them now? The young teen decided to muster up some courage to at least get a glimpse at whoever was laughing. If she could remember his face, she could make a break for it and head to the police.

“Oh, you’re up,” the laughing voice broke Fluttershy’s thoughts. He pointed to the television, “Hey, do you like this show? This episode’s pretty great.” Fluttershy only shifted her eyes toward the TV, just in case he made a move. Not caring what was on, she nodded, and her gaze locked back on the person who had woken her up. She had forgotten to try to run. Although the man, or rather boy (he didn’t look but a few years older than her) appeared large and intimidating, she didn’t sense any malice coming from him. His smile was actually kind of sweet. Was this really one of the ones who took advantage of her last night?

“Trey, she’s up!” he called. Another boy about his age came from the kitchen, wiping his hands with a cloth.

“Cool, no hospital bills!” he said.

“He means ‘hi,’” the first boy rolled his eyes. “The name’s Boom Box. This is Three Point, but everyone just calls him Trey.”

“What’s your name?” Trey asked. Fluttershy mouthed her name rather than speaking it. She couldn’t find the strength to force air through her throat.

“Sorry? I didn’t quite catch that,” Trey put a hand to his ear.

“She said ‘Fluttershy,’ dude.” Boom Box said.

“How the hell did you hear that? She barely made a noise.”

“I got the ears, bro.” Boom Box seemed proud of himself. Fluttershy had a moment of security and used it to look around her small living room. The men yesterday had ransacked her house, taking almost everything in sight. Today, however, all that was taken was back. In fact, there was even more stuff in her house than before. She certainly didn’t have a TV twenty-four hours ago. Her new bunny Angel surprised her by jumping into her lap, content as could be.

“What happened?” Fluttershy thought out loud. Boom Box and Three Point looked at each other. Their pleasant faces became serious, and they turned to Fluttershy,

“Those damn Dogs happened,” Trey said.

“Dogs?” Fluttershy repeated.

“Diamond Dogs Onyx,” Boom Box explained, “They run this neighborhood—or at least they used to until last night. We’re part of the Sun Street Guardians, and our raid last night just happened to be at the same time those bastards were trying to hurt you.”

“They didn’t get to. You were… okay when we busted into this house because we heard screaming. You were passed out, but they didn’t manage to do anything major,” Trey continued.

“You’re a gang?” Fluttershy asked.

“The Diamond Dogs are. They have chapters all over the state named after gems and minerals, and the Onyx chapter is by far the worst group. They’ll outright kill you for looking at them funny or being in their territory at the wrong time. Things like age or gender don’t matter to them.

“Us Guardians on the other hand… I wouldn’t call us a ‘gang’ per-se. We just protect our neighborhood and the people in it. The police don’t bother with this area of town ‘cause we’re all poor and stuff, so it’s up to us to make sure our families are safe. That raid I was talking about was to push those mutts out of this part of it. There’s nothing but Sun Street-ers around here now.” Boom Box finished. Fluttershy thought they definitely didn’t sound like any gang members she had seen in movies or TV. These boys just wanted to help her. They might still get into trouble, judging by the fact that they seemed perfectly content at making themselves at home in a fourteen-year-old’s place, but Fluttershy surmised that their hearts were good. She was safe now, after all.

“So what’re you doing here all alone?” Three Point asked.

“My… my parents kicked me out because I couldn’t stop bringing in animals. They gave me money for a place to stay but I kind of wasted most of it, so I’m here,” Fluttershy answered.

“That explains all the furry things running around,” Boom Box said, lifting his feet so a cat could pass under him, “Well, every cloud has a silver lining.”

“What do you mean?” Fluttershy tilted her head.

“This isn’t the fanciest place, but you’ve got us now. We live just down the street, and our friends are all on this block, so no Dogs will mess with you ever again.” Fluttershy began crying again, but these were tears of joy. She thanked Boom Box and Three Point profusely for everything they had done. She decided to stay in the house to repay her debt to the two boys and their gang, though they insisted she could leave at any time as it was still a rough place to live. Over time Fluttershy met more members of the Sun Street Guardians, but remained closest to Three Point and Boom Box. At the end of that summer Fluttershy’s mom tracked her down and said she was allowed to come back as she had promised, but Fluttershy declined, feeling that this neighborhood would help her grow as a person.

“And even though I’m fine now and this street is safe, the Diamond Dogs Onyx are still around, and they like to prowl around at night just to find people to hurt. I can’t imagine what I’d do if any of you went through what I did.” Fluttershy finished her story. Her friends stared at her, surprised that the most timid of them had gone through such an ordeal and seemed to come out all the stronger for it.

“That’s…” Sonata tried to find a way to protest, but from Fluttershy’s story she knew that if the Diamond Dogs got a hold of any of them there was a much lower chance of them reaching Adagio at all than if they waited for sunlight and only lost a few hours. “I’m sorry,” she said.

“It’s okay,” Fluttershy gave a small smile, “I know it’s hard right now, but we’re here for you, just like the Guardians were there for me when I needed them most.”

Applejack yawned,

“Well, I don’t know about y’all, but gettin’ lost and hearin’ Fluttershy’s story got me plum tuckered out. We’ll need some sleep if we wanna hit the ground runnin’ tomorrow.” The others nodded their agreement.

Fluttershy pulled out the bed in the couch along with a couple cots she had in storage. She slept with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie in her own bed while Applejack, Rarity, Sunset Shimmer, and Sonata Dusk used the couch bed and cots. They would awake at first light the next morning.

Author's Note:

Yeah, I took quite a break so this chapter took a while to complete. It was already longer than I anticipated so I kind of rushed the ending of this one, too. The next chapter will be shorter.