• Published 16th Nov 2014
  • 18,724 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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A lazy creak of hinges preceded Adagio as she opened her bedroom door and stepped quietly into the hallway. The diffused light of the morning sun drifted down the hall from the west-facing window in the front room. She lifted a cascade of hair from her face and released it over her shoulder, following through into a long, languid stretch. Sighing contentedly, she closed her eyes for a moment and allowed the smell of fresh-brewed coffee to paint its mural on her senses.

One of the other doors in the hallway was slightly ajar, and Adagio peeked in. Sunlight from the drawn window illuminated a jumbled landscape of artist supplies and oversized plush animals, the room’s occupant nowhere to be seen. Hmmm, Sonata. She smiled, inhaling again the rich dark aroma floating down the hall. Thank you.

Sitting down at the table in her nightshirt and boxer shorts, a cup of warmth between her hands, Adagio sighed at the feeling of peace which still lingered from the night before. The room was silent, and she assumed Sonata to be out doing whatever it was she did on her cheerful mornings. She couldn’t recall the last time she herself had been out of bed so early—or had slept so soundly, for that matter. She took another deep, relaxed breath and looked up out the front window.

The sun rising behind the house and its backing foothills illuminated the treetops in the field across the street, slowly painting them in light from the top down. Adagio reflected on how the scene mirrored the change of heart she felt emerging out of last night’s experience. She cupped her hands tighter on the coffee mug and purposefully squeezed, flinching after a moment at the heat. Not dreaming, she smiled, shaking out her hands. She was not so naive as to believe the road ahead would be free of troubles, but was content for now with the feeling that she had finally set foot on the path.

A clattering from the kitchen followed by a muffled curse revealed that Aria was now up and about as well. If Sonata was the bright and alert morningbird, then Aria was the yin to her yang. Wearing only a t-shirt and briefs, her hair still down and frumped after sleep, she walked past and dropped into the chair across from Adagio. Steam rose from the warmth of her own cup, and after a long sip she stated, “You look well.”

“You have no idea,” Adagio replied with another contented sigh.

“I think I do, actually. I remember my first morning after Sonata and the others opened my eyes. It was like this fog that had been weighing me down for months—”

“Had lifted away overnight,” Adagio finished for her. She reached her arms across the table, palms up, and Aria joined hands with her. “Thank you.”

They both sat back again, and Aria took another long sip. “It’s good to see you again, Adagio. I mean, the real you. It was so hard seeing you like that, having been there myself, and knowing what was on the other side… and wishing you could see it too.”

After a pause, she added, “I can only imagine how Sonata must have felt that whole time when we were both so lost.”

Adagio noticed a hint of pain flash across Aria’s face, a hint of something that ran deeper than what they were presently discussing. She was about to inquire further when the doorknob on the front door rattled for a few moments longer than it should have, and the door opened into Sonata in her sweatshirt and running pants, pushing through and holding a pair of grocery bags in her arms. With a quick motion of her sneaker-clad foot, she shut the door behind her and moved to the kitchen.

There was a startled “Eep!” when one of the bags tipped over on the counter, followed by a “Phew,” as Sonata rifled through an open egg carton, appearing to find them all intact.

“Breakfast?” she perked cheerfully.

“Yes, please,” both said in unison, with an added chuckle.

Turning back to Aria, Adagio asked softly, “Are you alright? You looked… If there's something more you needed to say, I—”

“No, it’s…,” Aria interrupted, lowering her eyes past Adagio toward the kitchen. “It’s nothing you did. And not something I wanna dig up right now.” She gave a weak smile and added, “What about you though? We want to make this your day. So if there's anything you wanna do, we’ll go along with whatever.”

Unlike her singing voice, Adagio’s keen sense of reading people had never faltered and was as sharp as ever. She decided against pushing Aria further, though, and followed along with her eager change of topic. “It might sound silly, but I’d like to walk my usual route today. I’d really like to see the scenery without the fog, if you know what I mean. And after that? We’ll see what comes up.”

Amid the sounds of sizzling and grilling, and the smell of butter, bacon and eggs, the two continued their small talk for a while until Aria looked around Adagio into the kitchen. Adagio turned to follow her gaze and discovered a confused yet determined Sonata trying to puzzle out a means of using her two hands to transport four plates and a pitcher of juice from the countertop to the table. The thought of making two trips appeared to have drifted past her and out the window.

Aria stood and made her way toward the kitchen. “Here, I got it,” she fussed. “Silly.”

“Four plates?” Adagio asked, as they emptied their hands onto the table.

“Oh, I asked Sunny to come over,” Sonata said nonchalantly before her eyes widened with an “Ohhh.” Glancing up at the wall clock, she added sheepishly, “I hope that was okay, heh. She should be here soon.”

“Actually, you know… I’m glad for that. If nothing else, I’d like to thank her for what she did for you at the school.” Lifting her fork, Adagio pushed around some of the food on her plate. “And to apologize. I could see all along what you three were trying to do for me, even if my pride wouldn’t let me anywhere near it.

“And on another note,” she said, grinning at the two of them and wagging a forkful of eggs, “I can’t help but feel the hallway last night was more than just coincidence.”

“Yeah… We did kinda hope you’d hear us,” Sonata said. “Sorry we didn’t tell you sooner, it’s just… it seemed like something that needed the right time.” She leaned her shoulder against Aria’s, and the two shared a smile.

Adagio took the bite off her fork with a peaceful “Hmmmm.” The thought of the two of them plotting together to help her after all the scheming she had devoted toward keeping them apart brought a happy feeling of warmth.

“It was her idea,” Sonata continued, pointing her fork at Aria. “She snuck in my room while you were on the couch and asked if I’d help.”

Aria swallowed and studied her own fork as she poked at her plate, a bit of the levity leaving her face. “That look in your eyes had been getting worse over the last few weeks. And I just couldn’t stand to see you like that anymore, not since we found there was another way.” She looked back up at Adagio and went on, “So when I thought I saw you start to crack last night, I knew it was time to try and make you understand. Like she did for me.” Aria brushed once down Sonata’s arm with the back of her fingers.

At this, the two shared a lingering glance before both lowering their eyes to the table. After a few moments of silence, Sonata popped up with a smile toward Adagio, but Aria’s gaze lingered, taking on again that troubled look from earlier, as if some unrequested memory were playing out inside her coffee mug.

Sonata’s smile faded when she followed Adagio over to the pained look on Aria’s face. She placed one of her hands on Aria’s wrist. “Ari,” she said softly. “It’s okay. She should know.” Moving down to squeeze her hand, she added, “It might help both of you.”

Aria lifted her gaze to Sonata and then turned to Adagio. She took a deep breath, and her eyes began to glisten with moisture as she exhaled. “Last night I told you I did some terrible things those first few months.”

So there was something more to this… The unusual closeness these two had shown last night—or that Aria, specifically, had shown toward Sonata. Something must have happened to bring about that change in her. It had seemed so uncharacteristic. Did this memory that was paining her so badly have something to do with that change? It had to… In anticipation of the answer, Adagio nodded with a soft, “Mmm-hmm.”

Aria lowered her eyes back to her plate and set her fork down on it. “I was so angry… and afraid. And mostly afraid of anyone seeing that fear inside me.”

She took another staggered breath. “But even hiding behind the walls I put up, and the doors here, Sonata still saw it. She saw the hurt and the fear, and it was so in her nature to try to help me that she just kept pushing, and pushing, and pushing.” Her voice hardened with each repetition.

“And, of course, I pushed back. You heard all the yelling and the slamming doors.”

Adagio again nodded. Her mind had been so lost and clouded during those early months that much of what went on in the house was blurred, but Sonata’s persistence with both of them and Aria’s near-nightly yelling had been impossible to ignore.

“It went further, though.” Aria looked at her open hands resting on the table. “It got to a point where I was so angry that she wouldn't just leave me alone, that I blew up and pushed back with more than my voice… Repeatedly.” She began to choke up. “And through it all she still didn’t give up. And—I can’t…” With elbows still on the table, she leaned forward and covered her face. Sonata placed a hand on her back and began to rub gently.

Through the mask of Aria’s hands, Adagio could hear her ragged, steadying breaths, as if she were struggling to hold back tears. She’s still so afraid to show that vulnerability… Her thoughts then turned inward with a tinge of regret. Though I’m hardly one to talk, am I?

And it made sense now. Adagio had seen the bruises on Sonata—on the sides of her face and once below her ribs while she was changing her shirt. In her disdain for the two of them at the time, she had dismissively attributed the injuries to Sonata’s clumsiness, or to her being bullied at the school. She also recalled the time when Sonata had suddenly run out of the house and down the street, bawling and clutching her chest as a door down the hallway slammed following a one-sided shouting match.

“I’m so sorry,” choked Aria through cupped hands.

Sonata gently lowered Aria’s hands and met her eyes. “We talked about this, remember? That was so long ago, and I’ve forgiven you.”

“I know, but… it still makes me sick to my stomach.” Aria looked back down at the table. “How could I have done that to you, when all you wanted to do was help me?” she asked hoarsely, clutching her arms and hunching forward.

“It’s alright,” Sonata reassured her. “I’m alright. We’re in a much better place now.” Sonata then turned to Adagio and rested a hand on one of hers. “And we missed you, Dagie. We missed you so much. We’re so happy you’re here with us again.”

Adagio smiled back and was about to respond when a soft knock sounded at the door.

“Sunny’s here!” Sonata hopped up to show her in. At the same time, Aria made her way quickly down the hall and into the bathroom, a single sob wracking her form while she clutched her arms. Which left Adagio alone at the table, with everything she had just heard still setting in. How? She shook her head at the thought of Aria so visibly hurt. And at knowing now just how badly Aria had hurt Sonata. How could I not have seen any of this? She brought a trembling hand to her mouth, attempting to choke back the emotion swelling her throat.

After showing Sunset in, Sonata returned to her chair next to where Aria had been seated. This brought Adagio back up out of her thoughts, and she dried the edges her eyes, hoping neither of them would notice. Sonata’s brow furled when she turned toward Aria’s empty chair. She peeked under the table, scratched her head and then looked around the room.

Sunset’s shoulders tensed while fiddling with her jacket cuffs. She eyed the remaining chair next to Adagio—who worked her expression into what she hoped was a welcoming smile. At this, Sunset finally let out her breath. She returned a smile of her own before taking a seat.

“I gave your bacon to Dagie and Aria,” Sonata said proudly.

“Thanks, Sonata. These eggs look wonderful.”

“Oh, Aria didn’t eat her bacon…”

“Well, the conversation did take a turn.” Adagio glanced over her shoulder down the hall and then back to Sonata.

Sunset followed Adagio’s gaze to Sonata, who shared a knowing look and brought two finger tips up to her cheek. Sunset lowered her eyes to the table with an “Oh,” and was silent for a moment. “I guess she really is the one who ended up with the scars.”

“Karma has a cruel sense of humor,” Aria stated flatly, and three heads turned to see her leaning against the corner of the hallway. “It's alright. Let’s just talk about it.” She took a seat again next to Sonata and wiped one eye with the sweater she’d put on. “I really wanted today to be about you, Adagio, but maybe it’ll be good for you to hear more of what we went through.”

Sonata covered Aria’s hand again with one of her own.

After a few moments, Adagio broke the silence. “All this time, I was too wrapped up in my own funk to see what was going on between you two.” She turned to Sunset. “But you knew, huh?”


“That night…” Aria said. “That first night I let Sonata take me with her, this all ended up coming out. It was a big part of my release. And then the way everyone was so supportive really opened my eyes to what we were missing.”

Sunset turned to Adagio and added, “It’s the same thing those girls did for me after I had—well, you heard. So when I saw most of the others treating Sonata like they’d treated me, I knew I had to help. None of us were surprised she was the only one who came back, but—no offense—”

Adagio raised a curious eyebrow as Sunset caught herself smirking mid-thought. Sunset appeared to pick up on her confusion, and with a light laugh said, “Sorry, I’ll tell you later.” Her face going serious again, she cleared her throat and continued, “But like I was saying, while Sonata was the only one who came back, we still wanted to find a way to reach out to both of you as well.”

“With their help, it really was Sonata who saved me,” Aria said. “And I’m thankful to her, but… it still hurts to remember it.” She closed her eyes and let out a long breath. “Do you remember that night she ran from the house, and we didn’t see her again for over a day?”

“I do,” Adagio replied. She remembered it vividly—the very scene she had recalled earlier. “I feel like I should have done something, but was too depressed at the time to be bothered with thinking about what to do.” She looked up at Sonata and added, “I’d never seen you like that, and looking back now, I can’t believe I wasn’t more worried about you.” She rubbed her temples with both hands. “Ugh… I was so lost.”

Sonata gave no response. She sat motionless, staring at the air in front of her.

“I don’t think I’d ever hit her that hard before,” Aria confessed. “And that broke something inside me. What I never would’ve let you see was me sitting in the corner of my room, head on my knees in tears, replaying over and over that look on her face before she ran out the door. It was something I thought I’d never see. That hope and happiness she always carries around had just… drained out, and there was nothing left.”

Aria glanced at Sonata, whose expression, Adagio noted, still had not changed. Had she even blinked? “It was like her light had been snuffed out. And I knew I was the one that did it. That woke something up inside me. Something that only got brighter when she finally came home.” She squeezed Sonata’s hand gently, causing her to blink and take a quick breath. Sonata looked at Aria, leaned on her shoulder and closed her eyes.

Adagio sat in silence, listening. She saw that Sunset had her eyes lowered with her hands folded in her lap. Both took an overdue breath. Adagio's mind was… She didn't know. In that moment, she felt nearly as shut down as Sonata had looked. The thought that none of this had even registered with her while it was occurring… She took another slow, steadying breath.

“It was the first time I realized I was actually jealous of her irritating happiness,” Aria continued. “I knew I had to do everything I could to keep that alive in her. I’d never forgive myself if I let that part of her die.” She lowered her eyes and sighed. “And so I finally agreed to go with her to meet the others. She was kinda my hero at the end of it all.”

Adagio reflected back on her sour perception of Aria’s falling-in with Sunset and the others, and contrasted it with what she’d just learned. Could I have been any more blind? How in the world could she have missed all of this? She shook her head and closed her eyes. Yes, those two had been such a burden over the years. But still… she had always looked after them, even if begrudgingly. She gripped her arms with huddled shoulders. Her thoughts fell to Sunset sitting next to her. When I turned my back on them… at the time we need each other more than ever. She was right there to help, wasn’t she? Adagio should have been strong for them. She had always taken that maternal role. Always been the guiding voice.

Yet after everything, they were the ones who pulled her up out of that darkness. And Sunset had played a big part in that. Adagio lifted her head, allowing her built-up tension to flow out with a breath. She gave Sunset a sideways glance and saw her sharing a look with Aria.

After a few more moments of silence, Sonata finally spoke. “When I saw what Sunny and the other girls had, I wanted it so bad for us.” She nuzzled into Aria’s hug. “I knew I could help you guys, even if you couldn’t see it. They helped me grow so much, and I just wanted that for you too. I knew both of you were just scared.”

“And after she opened my eyes,” Aria picked up, turning to Adagio, “I understood her wanting to share this and knew I had to help.”

“Thank you.” Adagio smiled softly. “Thank you both.” She caught Sunset brushing a sleeve against her eye.

“No. Not us,” said Aria. “Thank her.” She rested her head on Sonata’s and quietly added, “I don’t know how you did it—how you kept believing and hoping in me when all I did was throw it back in your face.” Her eyes widened for a moment before she looked away with a sharp breath and frowned. “Despair can do terrible things to a person.”

“Stubborn pride as well, I’ve come to realize,” Adagio said. “Neither of us would have taken those first steps, for our own reasons. Thank you, Sonata.”

“We’ve all had our dark places,” Sunset added. “I could never forget mine. But that light. It does something to a person. There really is some powerful magic there, and it has a way of changing you for the better.”

Sonata turned to Aria. “How I did it?” She took a deep breath and let it out. “Well, it’s… I know you guys never really had much respect for me. I mean, I never said anything about it, but I could always feel it—how you talked to me and how you looked at me. I guess I just kept smiling because I thought it was the only thing I was ever good at.”

She looked down and placed both hands on her glass of juice. “But I also knew that we needed each other, lately more than ever. I mean, we’re all we’ve had for so long. So when I thought I found a way to help you, how could I give up?” She shrugged without lifting her eyes.

Aria tightened her hug on Sonata. “I can't say ‘thank you’ enough for what you did for me—for us.”

After a moment, she pulled back and met Sonata’s eyes. “Courage,” she said, blinking away a tear. “That’s another thing you’re good at.” It was Sonata’s turn then to wipe her eyes with a sleeve, and her tiny choked-up laugh lit the room again with warmth.

After their outpouring, the conversation turned to lighthearted matters. Sunset shared a few recent stories of her own, adding to Adagio’s newfound feeling of warmth. And when they had finished eating, Adagio stood and collected all of the plates. She dropped them off at the sink with a “Hmm,” before taking a relaxed breath. “I need a shower. I feel like I owe it to all of you to really enjoy what you’ve done for me today. I’ll be right back.”

The others agreed unanimously, and Adagio heard them return to conversation as she started down the hallway.


Turning the shower knobs off, Adagio relished in a deep, long breath as steam hung in the warm wet air. Her long hair, uncharacteristically lean while wet, was wrung out, and with a swift automatic motion, wrapped up in one towel. She stepped out and quickly draped her middle with a second before closing her eyes and leaning back against the bathroom door.

A new day, a new start, she thought to herself peacefully. Inhale. Exhale. She enjoyed a few more minutes of simply feeling her chest rise and fall with each quiet breath before finally unfurling her hair and beginning her lengthy encounter with the blow-dryer.

After walking down the hall and into her room, she stopped for a moment to consider the waves of clutter and disarray, and how they so acutely reflected her mental state over the last few months. She smiled with the thought of continuing the trend and took note to hold a fall-cleaning session over the next day or two.

Adagio hummed a pleasant tune as she hung her remaining towel and then fished around the room for a clean pair of undergarments and jeans. She slipped them on quickly before heading to the closet, where she instinctively reached for her daily t-shirt and hoodie but then stopped mid-motion. For a moment, she studied the fraying sweatshirt sleeve in her hand and then turned her eyes to the far right end of the hanger rod where—buried deep in the alcove behind the sliding door—her collection of nicer clothes had been unceremoniously shoved aside. There they had remained, willfully forgotten since the incident.

Hmm… it's time.

She pushed the array of frumpy sweatshirts aside and one by one released her treasured garments from their confinement. Fine clothing had been a passion, her penultimate spending vice, second only to her collection of rare, exquisite wines.

“No. No. Hmm, maybe. No.” She went down the line brushing a finger against each top until, “Yes.

She pulled a light-brown padded suede vest and matching scarf from a hanger and set it neatly on the bed before turning with determination to the armoire and unfurling a cream colored, skin-tight, long-sleeved top from one of the drawers.

Adagio turned to her full-length mirror and began lifting the shirt over her head, but then slowed to a stop when her eyes met those of her reflection.

Six months. She lowered her arms again slowly, still holding the shirt between both hands. It had been over six months since she had been able to look herself in the eyes. For another several minutes she simply stared. Stared deep into her own eyes as they began to glisten with moisture.

Vivid memories surfaced and seemed to replace her own reflection as they shifted past. Decades of faces and crowds flitted by, one after the other. Sprawling outdoor theaters. Old western saloons. The dim haze of a smoky nightclub. And from this vantage point in her memory, Adagio could make out a pattern across all of the adoring, yet vacant expressions. All were empty. Spellbound. Lacking any trace of genuine respect.

The memories continued to swirl before finally coming to rest on the adoring faces of the crowd during the band finale at the school. All eyes were locked on Adagio and her magnificent allure. But like the others before, all were devoid of any emotion other than enthralled obedience. Adagio fell to her knees and placed a hand over her mouth as she choked out a breath. There was no true adoration in that, she now realized. Even with all that power… What had we ever really accomplished?

The harsh revelation was driven home further when the scene before her shimmered with a resurgent vibrancy. Another sob escaped her throat as she watched all of the awakening faces turn away from her and toward the band on the hill. Their bewildered hush broke into a chorus of excitement and dancing, their voices joining in harmony with the Rainbooms’ joyous song.

Adagio clutched her arms and leaned forward, lowering her forehead to her knees. For a good minute, she remained this way, breathing raggedly with an occasional sob. Everything I thought I wanted… her mind cried. It really was all for nothing. Hundreds and hundreds of years… And for what? She shook her head and let out a final, pained cry. She huddled there on the floor for another few minutes as her grief and regret flowed out, making way at last for acceptance. A long, deep, cleansing breath followed.

Drying her eyes, she sat up again. Her thoughts drifted back to their conversation at the table this morning, and to Sunset’s happiness and relief as the three of them shared their experiences and their newfound hope.


That’s what this feeling was. This feeling that had been tapping at the door in Adagio’s mind whenever she looked at Sunset Shimmer this morning. She was beginning to see now that perhaps the two of them were more alike than she’d at first thought.

She sniffled and again wiped her eyes, a new measure of determination swelling up within her. Sunset had been through a great deal as well, hadn’t she? Well, no, it wasn’t quite the same. But the experience was surely there. And with her wave of grief receding, Adagio could now say with certainty that she had so much to look forward to. And that it was finally time to step down from her lonely place of pride and seek out the wisdom of experience. I really do want this, she assured herself. And I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Adagio lifted her eyes to the mirror again. Looking softly at her reflection, she traced the fall of her hair, the curve of her nose, but then… What? She leaned in closer with an odd discovery. For centuries, her reflection, as well as Aria’s and Sonata’s, had been constant and unchanging. But now, made even more evident by half a year’s passage since she’d truly looked at herself, she noticed the faintest of lines around the outsides of her eyes. Pulling at the skin on one side with a finger, she watched the line disappear, only to reassert itself as she released the pressure.

A pit began to form in her stomach as this all but confirmed a prior suspicion.

“So this is it then…” Exhaling sharply, she wrapped her arms around her middle and moved up to sit on the edge of the bed, her grief from a moment ago threatening to return. What was going to happen from here? Was it really, finally, over?

The dark cloud setting in around her was scattered by Sunset's laughter in the other room. She narrowed her eyes and steeled herself. No, not today. Today was about enjoying themselves and each others’ company. There’d be time later to worry about this. And it’s not like it was anything immediate—she knew these human bodies lived quite a long time. At the very least, there’d be a good number of years to enjoy this new measure of happiness. And that thought brightened her spirit again slightly.

She quickly retrieved the shirt off her shoulder, stretched it over her figure and then reached to don the vest and scarf before finally pulling on a pair of socks and soft leather boots. She returned to the mirror and tied her hair up in its usual place with a thin, sheer piece of leopard-print fabric before making her way out into the hall.

When Adagio emerged into the main room, she was met with wide eyes from three turning faces, and then startled by an “Aahhh!” as Sonata nearly tackled her, exclaiming, “You look so pretty!”

“Thanks. I really feel it.” Adagio looked down and pulled at one of her sleeves. “It’s been so long.”

“You really do, Adagio,” Sunset said, with her hands folded on the table. She smiled softly. “I'm so happy to see you like this.”

Adagio returned the smile and felt her cheeks grow warm. She stated that after her walk they could discuss what to do for the rest of the day together. But then, opening the door, she turned halfway back to the room and paused for a moment. “Sunset. Would you?” Lowering her eyes with sigh, she added, “Would you mind joining me? I’d like a chance to talk with you.”

Sunset, caught in the middle of a sip of coffee, put the mug down hastily and wiped her mouth. “Uhm, yes. Of course!” She looked at Sonata and then Aria. “You don’t mind?”

“Not at all.” Aria smiled and waved with a ‘go on’ motion.

Sonata clasped her hands together in front of her and rocked back and forth once on her heels. “Have fun!”

As she was leaving, Adagio heard a chair slide and Sonata squeak as if pinched. She turned to see Sonata chasing a grinning Aria down the hallway, and chuckled to herself as she finished closing the door.