• Published 16th Nov 2014
  • 18,742 Views, 235 Comments

An Open Door - SkycatcherEQ

A look inside Adagio’s emotional state and her journey forward roughly six months after Rainbow Rocks.

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The sound of the front door startled Adagio back to awareness. With a groan, she opened her eyes and tightened her grip on the empty wine bottle before it could roll off onto the floor. Propping herself up on the other hand, she glared at her two housemates when they walked in. “Fun evening?” she chided.

After putting her things down, Aria, with that same soft look as before, sat down in the middle of the couch next to Adagio. Sonata walked past with her eyes lowered and took the final seat to Aria's left.

“How can you do it?” Adagio asked, gesturing to the door as she looked first at Sonata and then Aria. “How can you stand to be seen following them around like little lost dogs? Have you lost all sense of who we are—what we were—before they shattered us?”

Aria sighed and closed her eyes. “I get what you’re feeling… I do. For those first few months, I was there too.” She glanced up to Sonata and smiled, but then lowered her gaze to the floor. “I was so angry. At them, at this world, at both of you.”

She turned to Adagio and continued, “It was so easy for me to place all my blame on you and your plans. I was wrong for that. And I know you don’t have that same kind of easy out. So yeah… I can see why you're so mad at them.”

She was right, of course. Adagio couldn’t just pin the blame on someone else and run away from it. It was her who pushed them to take that calculated risk at the school—and with good reason. There appeared to be nothing at risk. None of them could have expected the way everything would come crashing to the ground in the end.

“And what about you?” Adagio asked, looking over to Sonata as she placed the empty bottle on the coffee table. “How could you bear to be around that place after what happened?”

Sonata sighed and stared off into the kitchen. “I guess… I think I was just lonely. I don’t let you guys see it much, but I just kinda felt sad.” She lowered her eyes and folded her hands in her lap. “We were never really that close before anyway, but after that night it just hurt so much. I didn’t know what else to do. But… I knew I couldn’t just stay in my room all day crying.

“And yeah. It was hard. But I guess it was still easier than the way I felt around here. And when I went back, almost all of them were mean to me. But you know who wasn’t?” She narrowed her quivering eyes at Adagio. “Those girls—Sunny and her friends.”

‘Sunny’. Adagio grimaced at the notion of cute nicknames being attributed to that group. But then her expression softened. It struck her that... while Sonata was always happy and bubbly on the surface, the past few months had shown hints of a genuine… contentedness in her that hadn’t been there before. Adagio felt the fog in her mind begin to lift. Memories filtered through of Sonata’s growing confidence lately with things she was passionate about. Whereas in the past she’d have simply frowned and sulked off with a pouted ‘okay…’ Her daily insistence with sharing her new outlook had been difficult to ignore. Her budding talent for sketching and painting had certainly left its mark around the house. She truly had begun to carry herself with a new measure of inner strength and purpose.

Adagio felt the grip of her resistance begin to loosen. And in its place sprouted this… unfamiliar sense of uncertainty, made even more surprising by the emotional stillness and a feeling of calm that crept in with it. What was happening here? She looked down at her hands while breathing quietly in and out. But then… Gah. She ran her fingers through her hair and shook the confusing thoughts from her head. “But our songs…” she said, feeling the resistance tighten again. “That power. What are we now without it, with our voices broken?”

“You must have felt it,“ Aria responded, looking Adagio in the eyes. “Yeah, the Old Songs are gone. We’ll never have them back. But gone with them is the hunger.” She brought a hand up to her neck. “Those gems. You know they were just as much a curse as a source of power.”

“Of course I know,” snapped Adagio. “How could I forget. But that power. Oh, that power.” She brought her palms up in front of her and clenched them into fists. “I know you must have felt that.” She narrowed her eyes at Aria. “That rush we hadn’t had in centuries. It was right there. And they ripped it from us!”

“We had the power, yes,” Aria responded, holding Adagio’s gaze. “That rush. All our memories of Equestria. I know you wanted more.” She paused for a moment and then added softly, “I did too. But then… yeah. We lost all of it.” She closed her eyes again and took a deep breath. “Look. I know this may be hard to believe. But with where I am now, I don’t miss it.

Sonata nodded with a “Mmm-hmm,” smiling at Adagio.

Hard to believe indeed. Adagio, at a loss for words, simply stared at Sonata for a moment and then back to Aria.

Aria opened her eyes again and smiled. “We remember what it feels like now to have people who enjoy us and want to be around us. It’s not forced, there’s no magic—they just like us for who we are.” She crossed her arms, leaning forward slightly. “And I don’t have the words to tell you how good that feels.”

At this, Sonata smiled broadly and wrapped Aria in a tight hug. Adagio raised one eyebrow and prepared to inch away from Aria’s impending wrath at the invasion of personal space. But instead, the other eyebrow followed when Aria closed her eyes and leaned into the hug. Where was the predictable growl, the shove, and then the shouted rebuff?

As Adagio composed herself, Aria turned toward her again. “Think about it, Adagio. Think back through all those hundreds of years, even in Equestria. Sure, the power was exhilarating, but was there ever a time when you really felt fulfilled… and actually happy?”

Equestria. Adagio's memories began to swell with the tide and her mind dove in. Scenes flitted past of youthful ambition, an opportunity taken to grasp at power, squabbling neighbors, jealous lovers, the blinding rage of war. All those satiating, empowering emotions—sometimes coaxed, other times offered freely. She had reveled in the surge that flowed from each of those encounters, and she longed again for that seductive power which had dwelled within the Old Songs. That such beauty and influence could be simply willed into existence was a heady, staggering rush.

But in the end, the rush never lasted; it was never enough. And so the search always began for the next.

Her expression darkened slightly, when it occurred to her that every memory was laced with her perpetual struggle for control. Manipulating trade relations, planting a seed of suspicion in the wife of a village mayor, even playing Aria and Sonata against one another to keep them within her grip. There was never an end to the plotting, the scheming. There was never a moment when the stress of maintaining this control didn’t weigh somewhere in the back of her mind.

And for all that work, all that effort, had there ever truly been an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of her labor? Had there ever been any ‘fruit’, beyond simple sustenance?

Adagio’s brow furled as she struggled to think why this had not crossed her mind until now.

And that thought drew her to the unfamiliar, hollow, painful memory which had begun to creep into her reveries since the shattering of their pendants. It was a strange sensation, as if she could remember the feeling of the experience, yet not the actual experience itself—a feeling of listlessness, the absence of fulfillment—an emptiness in her soul that revealed itself whenever the rushes of power subsided.

But why? Why had this feeling never existed before that searing light? The light had burned away everything she knew. Or perhaps… it was just everything she thought she knew? Perhaps there was something more, something hidden deep within that was only able to reveal itself once the red stone’s influence had been stripped away.

She brought a hand up over her heart at the thought. Could it be? Might some actual sense of fulfillment to that emptiness be what Aria had found and lacked the words to adequately describe? The way she related her experience evoked a faint sense of longing in Adagio that both frightened and relieved her at the same time.

“Adagio.” Aria’s voice pulled her back to the couch and the dimly lit room.

With a quizzical look, Aria continued, “Yeah, for the first few days my mind was a mess. Angry, hopeless. Like there was just this… hole in place of everything I was. More than once, I wondered what it’d be like to just end it all. I couldn’t go on feeling like that.”

For a few days, mused Adagio with a dour smirk. She recalled the utter hopelessness and alcohol-dulled thoughts of ending the pain that had haunted her for weeks.

Aria closed her eyes and sighed. “I got past it, but those first few months I was in a dark place; I did some terrible things.” She glanced over at Sonata. “But then when I finally let this one talk me into going with her, well…”

“Please, Adagio,” Sonata begged, leaning forward from around the other side of Aria. “Will you please come with us next time?”

Adagio again noticed Aria glance sideways at Sonata, this time with a warm smile. What had happened to these two? Well, Sonata had always been Sonata, but Aria—Aria with all her anger, Aria with all her bitterness. Who was this now sitting next to her? Had she truly rediscovered some spark of happiness, despite everything they’d been through?

Adagio was struck again by that earlier feeling of calm and its accompanying warmth. She took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’ll think about it,” she said quietly, looking down at her hands.

At this, Sonata yelped out a “Yay!” and bounced on the couch a few times before being interrupted with a yawn. “Gosh I’m tired.”

“Yeah, I need some sleep,“ added Aria, putting a hand on Adagio’s knee, “Think about it.” She smiled, stood up and walked down the hall to her room, with Sonata following suit to her own door across the hall.

After hearing both doors shut, Adagio leaned back into the corner of the couch and closed her eyes. Was it possible? In spite of everything they had lost was there some path, however humble, that led to a future worth pursuing?

Every fiber of her past was pulling at her in refusal. Yet there they were—Aria and Sonata. She couldn’t recall the last time the three of them had simply sat and talked like that in such a heartfelt manner. Had we ever? She opened her eyes and looked around the room. This feeling, this atmosphere. It began to fill her with a comfortable warmth. It was… peaceful.

Closing her eyes again, she settled into a quiet stillness as the sensation drifted around her.


Adagio stood and turned off the last of the lights. After her eyes had adjusted to the darkness, a faint glow from the hallway crept into the edge of her vision. Taking a step around the corner, she noticed a sliver of light fanning out across the floor from Sonata's cracked doorway. When she slowly approached the door, the sound coming from within caused her eyes to widen in shock. She fell back against the wall and steadied herself with one hand, placing the other over her heart while gasping for breath.

Aria was inside as well. And the two of them… they were singing.

Not the broken dissonant sounds of before, but something—something beautiful. Aria’s pure, clear melody drifted amid Sonata’s deeper backing harmonies, carrying images of ages past, of a time long since forgotten when… happiness was a feeling the three of them had known. And could it be? To think they might have rediscovered some piece of that… after all this time? That thought, carried on the raw, innocent emotion of their song, began to chip a crack in the dam Adagio had built up in her mind. A torrent of thoughts swirled as she slid down the wall to sit on the floor.

How? her mind gasped. How are they doing this?

She leaned her head back against the wall. Her breath came more rapidly, and she wondered just how long this had been going on, how long ago their voices had returned. Had they been singing like this together for some days, some weeks now?

Her eyes narrowed, and her hands balled into fists as a familiar coil of anger began to rise.

And if so, why hadn’t they told me?

No. Relax. She forced a long, slow exhale. What they shared with her earlier this evening had been so genuine. It lacked any trace of the tension that used to persist between them. Adagio assured herself that Sonata and Aria wouldn’t hide something like this from her for selfish or spiteful reasons.

She stared down at the floor between her feet. Perhaps they thought I wasn’t ready yet. She gripped her knees tighter and sighed. Or had they been trying to tell me all along, and I just wasn’t listening...

But was she ready now? Adagio thought back to the faint spark she felt awaken inside her while sitting in the quiet earlier.

It’s worth a try.

She pulled her knees up close to her chest and—as she had for centuries before—began to blend her voice with theirs, this time singing barely above a whisper. Out of habit, her song rose to spin its influence and control in a way that weaved over and through the harmony the two were creating. But her voice remained discordant and broken.

No. Nothing, she sighed.

With arms still on her knees, she looked down again at the floor and brought her wrists to her temples. Her eyes began to quiver.

What is wrong with me?

And as her mental pacing became more frantic, she was drawn again to the soft light that struggled to glow within the void left behind by her old song. Again she slowed her breathing and calmed herself. Had the others felt this too? This glimmer, this light, this… hope? They must have.

Adagio closed her eyes, breathed in and exhaled deeply, a part of her built-up resistance crumbling and flowing out with the breath. For several minutes she sat silently in the dark hallway, simply listening to the sound the two of them were creating around her.

And as she listened, she began to realize that it did truly possess no hint of the Old Songs.

The Old Songs. At this, thoughts of stolen power and resentment again began to rise, but she was surprised at the ease with which she quelled her anger this time—as if it was in and out with a breath.

What is this song? There was an element of purity to it, and surprisingly, a lack of any ambition other than the simple joy of expression. The dam weakened further. Small cracks began to form. Part of her was afraid of the release she felt was coming, but another part of her yearned for it. She was so tired… So tired of maintaining this vigilance over her despair.

With eyes still closed, Adagio again began to sing, this time without any motive for control, simply asking her voice to join and harmonize with theirs. The sound that arose remained ragged, but she pushed through the frustration. The cracks widened and spread. Tears began to well up in her eyes.

She clenched her fists against her forehead to steady her thoughts as they began to quaver. Sing, she urged herself. I don’t care how it sounds, just sing! She pressed her eyes closed, forcing the first few tears down her cheeks. Turning inward, she felt the tiny spark of light begin to grow. Her song took on a new hint of softness and clarity.

No! You must maintain resolve, the old voice scolded in her mind. If you break, you admit defeat. You must not let them win!

But what has all of this ‘resolve’ done for me?! she countered. Half a year’s worth of empty, grey existence? It had just been one day after another. Hollow. Meaningless. Hopeless.

But then… these two here, Adagio thought, as her mind calmed again. She could no longer deny the warmth and the new life they had brought with them into this small house in recent months. Why can’t I have that, too? she pleaded. What gain has there been in clinging so stubbornly to the past? She recalled again the look of pity in Aria’s eyes before she’d walked out the door earlier. And then the compassion the two of them had shared with her during their talk on the couch. Her voice faltered at the thought. But then the soft light lifted her with an aura of comfort. Her song took on a renewed sense of strength and determination.

Adagio again turned her focus to Aria and Sonata, and to the beauty they were creating around her. They had found it. She had seen it earlier, and she could hear it now in the expression of their song. The two of them had discovered a new sense of freedom and hope.

And they had tried for so long to share it with her. Again, here they were. All she had to do now was let go. Let go of her pride, and the bitter resentment. I can have this too, she thought. All I have to do is let it in. She choked out a single cry of surrender. And the spark of light began to grow, pushing aside the last of her resistance along with the darkness. She released all desire for control, and from a place of humility allowed them to guide her emerging voice. Her song grew louder, clearer, and began to join with theirs in harmony.

This isn't defeat, she willed. It’s moving forward!

And with that, the dam burst, and the light exploded to fill the void in her heart. Her voice rang out, with tears flowing freely as the release she’d longed for washed over her.

Adagio sank her forehead to her knees, and a deep, soulful sobbing overtook her breath and drowned out her song. But she had felt it. She had found her voice. No magic, no mask, no manipulation, but something sourced from deep within. Had it always been there, stifled under the darkness that was burned away all those months ago? She didn’t know. She didn’t care right now. She knew there would be a time for that later.

After the wave of release subsided, a tide of regret swelled in its place. She recalled the disdain she’d harbored for so long toward her companions. She had never made any effort to disguise it. She shook her head between her knees. I don’t deserve this, her mind cried in shame. I don’t deserve this gift they’ve given to me. After everything she had put them through—the ridicule, the relentless drive, and then the fall, in the end it was Aria and Sonata who were there to lift her up.

Deep, steady Aria. Brave, innocent Sonata.

Adagio’s thoughts returned to their voices when she heard quiet footsteps approaching the bedroom door. As the two of them drew near, their song began to evoke a new emotion. The tranquil sense of joy that had been flowing around her settled into a soft embrace of sympathy and compassion.

Tears continued to stream down her face while she attempted to choke out a melody. She looked up to see Aria kneeling to her left, and Sonata sitting to her right as they took her in their arms.

They put their heads down on her shoulders, and the three of them sang.

For the first time in half a year, the three of them sang. Together.