• Published 3rd Mar 2015
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Sucker for a Cute Face - Eyeswirl the Weirded



Adagio finds Fluttershy alone one morning, and many to follow.

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Chapter 12: Flavor Crystals on a Stick

Clarity was nice.

It was an increasingly rare thing in Fluttershy's world ever since the leader of the Dazzlings approached her on the bench almost three weeks ago, but it never completely left her. Friday evening, during that transitory period when the sun was still going down, she sat in a rocking chair in the sunroom of her house, enjoying the cool air through a cracked window and the quiet tranquility of the hour. The presence of Angel Bunny, laying peacefully on her lap, only made it better as she gently pet him and rested a hand on his fuzzy little belly, fingers nestled in his fur, just feeling all safe and cozy. This made it easier to process thoughts that generally made her feel the opposite. Most of Adagio's behavior was hard to interpret, more possible explanations buzzing around Fluttershy's mind the more she dwelt on her actions, word choices, facial expressions, body language, that gleam in her eyes that just dared her to-

Eaaasy, girl. Think. Breathe. Focus on the cute bunny.

Belly rubs were administered as much for Angel's sake as her own. Calm, she remembered how just that morning, she got responses that signaled a few things beyond the shadow of a doubt: Adagio cared about her, and had hugged her with the intention of making her feel better. Granted, she did so with some slightly funny ideas in her head, but her heart was in the right place. Something else that had become almost painfully clear to her was that she did want Adagio to go further with the necklace. Or heck, skip the necklace entirely and just-

Pet the bunny, pet the bunny...

She did, scratching the space behind one of Angel's ears with a fingertip, which drew a little leg kick that made her smile and filled her insides with warm fuzzies. She had feelings for Adagio, that was another little tid-bit of clarity to cling to, the ambiguous part was how to respond to them. Telling her friends would eventually be necessary, but they didn't even know she was meeting Adagio in private yet! Would they tease her too? Adagio already pushed her to her limit on a regular basis, even if she was merciful enough to back down when she saw Fluttershy's blood vessels reaching critical mass, so she wasn't sure she could handle more on top of that. How would Adagio respond by the time it would probably take Fluttershy to work up the courage (a few months, being optimistic) to tell her?

Angel Bunny's soft fur and pleased little reactions to her attention helped chase away increasingly scary thoughts as her heart settled down again. So, telling anyone at all was out for now, but she'd get there, she just didn't know how. That was fine, wasn't it? You didn't always know just what you'd do in life, which path you'd take around an obstacle. Sometimes it was as simple as walking around, sometimes you could hide in a hole until the obstacle went away on its own, and sometimes you'd charge head-first into the obstacle out of desperation and panic. No matter what she ended up doing, she knew she couldn't worry about it. That came up in their song at the Battle, after all, not being afraid of the dark.

Fluttershy smiled, looking forward to Monday morning, and whatever came with it.

---

Both to prevent being startled again and to minimize the chance that she was making Adagio feel guilty by getting startled so often, Fluttershy kept her focus on the world around her as she waited on the bench. This time, she was alert, this time she was aware! Of course, Adagio probably still could have snuck up on her if she really wanted to, but it felt like they were finally past that stage. Or, of doing it on purpose, anyway. She was just about to slip into reminiscence of wickedly gleeful, but strangely beautiful expressions following successful jump-scares when she barely heard footsteps in the grass nearby, snapping her back to attention as she turned to see Adagio walking toward her.

Today, she wore normal shoes, jeans, and a dark-violet hoodie. And the dark eyeliner. She waved a little as she approached. "Morning, Sweetie."

"Good morning!" She retrieved two long, thin sticks wrapped halfway in thin plastic, offering one to Adagio. "Have you ever tried rock candy?"

She took it between two fingers. "Can't say I have. I'm going to guess they aren't actually made of stone?"

Fluttershy couldn't help giggling as she unwrapped hers, as much to demonstrate how to do so as to actually taste it. "No, but they're very... crunchy!"

"I should hope so," she said while tearing open the wrapper to reveal the shiny, craggy, purple substance on a stick beneath it.

"You really don't like misnomers, huh?"

Adagio raised an eyebrow, her tone bordering on defensive. "What's wrong with that? They're confusing."

Smiling a little wider, Fluttershy nodded in agreement before nibbling on the treat in her hand, leaving Adagio to do the same.

She eyed the thing from a few different angles, appreciating the way light of the early morning sun glinted off the crystalline material before hesitantly tonguing the tip. As suspected, Fluttershy hadn't asked her to stick something sharp enough to cut herself with into her mouth. She bit down on the edge, biting a little harder until she felt it crack, then bit down again to crush the not-stone in the same manner as Friday's sugary ringlet. "It's a little tougher than the necklace, which at least lends some amount of credence to the name. Brittle, but not-oh!" She smiled as she tasted grape at greater intensity, realizing that the fragments were slowly melting in her mouth and chewing a little to speed it along. "I get it now, it's a congealed liquid of some sort, condensed around the stick like dried blood!"

Fluttershy nearly choked, tiny pieces of rock candy spraying from her mouth as she coughed and sputtered.

Adagio seemed to realize her mistake, lowering her head a little and whispering. "Sorry."

When she could breathe again, Fluttershy gave her an equally worried and inquisitive look. "Is that really the first thing that came to mind?"

With a little shrug, Adagio looked away. "I blame Aria, she was showing us a game that looked interesting last night and it had really detailed gore physics."

Fluttershy shivered, hugging her arms to her stomach. "Oh, I can't even watch things like that."

"Sorry."

"Huh?"

Adagio shrugged a little, frowning. "I'm not sure what else to say, so, sorry."

Looking at her, Fluttershy was sure that if Adagio had pony ears like she and the others did when they performed together, they would have been down.

And then she had the mental image of Adagio with pony ears.

Ear-to-ear smiles weren't supposed to be sheepish or accompanied by a blush, Fluttershy was pretty sure, so her face probably looked a little funny now. "I-it's fine, I, you, uh, d-don't worry about it!"

Still looking a little contrite, Adagio looked out over the soccer field and returned to biting off chunks of rock candy, leaving Fluttershy to do the same. She didn't look back even when they were both finished.

Curious about this, Fluttershy tilted her head a little. "Uhm-"

"I'm guessing you've heard?"

"About what?"

Glancing at her, Adagio smiled a little. "Oh, good, I at least get to tell my side of it first! You recall I wasn't sure exactly how to go about showing affection physically in a way that doesn't land me in the Vice Principal's office again?"

Turning only a little red, she nodded. "Uh-huh?"

"I got thrown out of the library on Friday while trying to look it up."

---

CHS's library wasn't the most popular hang-out spot in the school, but there were almost always enough people there to make any sentiments that it was a good place for privacy fall flat.

Dammit.

Shrugging, Adagio moved toward the front desk with her usual, confident stride, making an effort at a friendly smile. If she had made as much effort to research the difference between 'friendly' and 'amorous' before today, this might have been more effective. "Hello there," she said in equally friendly tone, "where might I find literature on physical intimacy?"

Cheerilee only stared back at her in shocked silence.

"For purely educational purposes, of course!"

---

Adagio sighed, resting one elbow on the back of the bench and propping her head up with that arm. "In hindsight, I can see how my choice of words may have been misconstrued. Didn't help that I'd dealt with that teacher before." I have no idea what that class was supposed to be about, but damned if it wasn't fun! "So, yes, no matter what anyone says, I wasn't looking for pornography in the school library."

Fluttershy choked on air for a minute.

"Sorry."

"I-it's okay..."

"Anyway, I know better than that; if I wanted to find that kind of thing, I'd use the computers. Just typing in the word 'tentacle' can-" It was while waiting through another round of shock-induced coughing fits that Adagio wondered if maybe filtering her thoughts a little more would prolong Fluttershy's life expectancy. "Sorry."

"It's n-not," she made the effort to clear her throat, "It's not your fault." She really went to the library for that... Hasn't anyone ever hugged these girls? She said her talk with Sunset had been 'huggy,' but it looked not a lot was retained. And Sunset had gotten pretty good at hugging! Was that on the same list as swearing for things siren society just didn't know? Maybe that made a certain amount of sense for aquatic creatures.

Adagio opened her mouth, but slowly closed it again, looking out at the soccer field.

"What?"

"Hm?"

Fluttershy leaned to get a better look at Adagio's face. "What were you going to say?"

"Nothing." It might have been that she had to glance at Fluttershy to see if she bought it that gave Adagio away. "Well, I mean, I was going to suggest that I just watch my language much more carefully, but you said the other day that you didn't want me not being myself, and I'm not sure if self-editing like that counts, so...?" She shrugged. "What do you think?"

Touched that Adagio would remember what she'd said and take it to heart, Fluttershy smiled. "You aren't doing anything wrong. If anything, I'm just too sensitive, I hear about, uhm... th-those kind of things all the time, and, so it's like-"

Adagio raised an eyebrow. "Hold on, it's fine for me to make you uncomfortable because, given my demeanor, such is effectively my lot in life, but not fine for you to get uncomfortable for essentially the same reason? It has to work both ways to work at all, Sweetie."

Fluttershy blinked twice. "W-what?"

Nodding sagely, Adagio's tone was almost authoritative. "Being considerate isn't too hard, but if I'm not to truly change myself to suit the tastes of those around me, then neither should you. I feel no shame for my body, you apparently do, and neither way of thinking is inherently wrong. Right?"

It had been a long, long time since someone had suggested that Fluttershy's timid nature wasn't just a problem that needed fixing, even her friends regularly urged her to stand up for herself more often. However, in the defense of everyone who had ever said it was a problem, she at least understood what they meant, how it limited her, and the benefits of being just a little more assertive that she strove for even now. Even so, she could never explain the perspective that could come from standing back and observing in silence. Literally, she always got self-conscious or started babbling when she tried to clarify the points of view staying quiet sometimes offered, but maybe, with her own slightly unusual mannerisms, Adagio understood this kind of thing too? Just the thought of it warmed Fluttershy's chest, that feeling spreading to the rest of her body, particularly in the facial region as a smile formed on her face and tears gathered in her eyes.

Oh, sea spray, thought Adagio, you're making her cry! Quick, elaborate! "I mean, let's say everyone just dropped any and all faults with their character right now, the entire population offering only the 'best,' most desirable traits, the exact same traits everyone else would have. Sound like fun?"

Smiling a little wider, Fluttershy shook her head.

Okay, still smiling, but why are there tears?! You're not supposed to get those with smiles! Playing through, she didn't let her worry show on her face, instead maintaining a confident grin. "So we have that being different, even in readily undesirable ways, is not wrong so much as inconvenient. Provided your kind of difference doesn't actively hurt anyone, I wouldn't say it's really a problem, would you?"

The statement made Fluttershy feel lighter, like a daisy under a pile of dirt that had been mercifully brushed away, letting it feel the sun's rays. Not wanting to ruin the moment by crying tears of joy, she quickly wiped her eyes, shaking her head once. Looking at Adagio, her heart beat a little faster as she watched the way the morning light almost formed a frame around her, projecting the image of a fluffy, smirking angel. Simultaneously terrified and touched deeply that such a figure would take notice of someone like her at all, she kept her mouth shut, offering only a tender smile in place of the chance that she'd babble like an idiot if her tongue weren't pinned down.

Crisis averted! Smiling genuinely herself, Adagio gave an affirmative nod and returned her gaze to the soccer field. "Good. I was actually talking to the others about this last week, how there's no sense in any of us making even a single friend if we have to do so through a mask of 'ideal' behavior." She chuckled. "Aria said it was mostly just Sonata and I that caused problems, but I know she really meant to say-"

Not for the first time, Fluttershy accidentally tuned out, staring at Adagio's face (well, the side of it she could see) in silent fascination. She watched her lips move, the glimmer of gentle grace in her eyes, the little hint of warmth in her cheeks as she spoke of her friends, and her perfectly smooth skin overall. This was the girl that teased her at every opportunity, but always let up when she thought she was going too far, the girl that took great delight in seeing her tremble in fear and shake with embarrassment, but still apologized for it, and even agreed not to startle her on purpose!

I'm sure that if someone to talk to was really all Adagio was after, she could have gone to some coffee shop or something this time every morning, could have talked to random people on the street on the way to school, or even skipped it entirely to spend as much time as she wanted with whoever she wanted, but day after day, she chooses to come see me!

That thought alone was like a tree growing straight out of her heart, the roots sinking deep, the branches stretching out every which way, every individual leaf eager to catch all of the light her dazzling, fluffy sun would rain down on them! The sun was Adagio's face. Or something. She wasn't sure that made any kind of sense right now, but she wanted to kiss that face! And, feeling a rare burst of courage/assertiveness/confidence/mango-scented madness, she sat up straight, leaned closer, and pecked her on the cheek!

It was as Adagio flinched and sharply drew in a breath that Fluttershy remembered that striving for what you want is all well and good, but there are different rules when that something is another person. Another person with thoughts and feelings. Another person now staring back at Fluttershy in wide-eyed, red-faced shock, holding a hand to her cheek.

"Whuh... wh-what was-"

Feeling at least four different kinds of contrition, Fluttershy made the effort to pull as much of her own hair in front of her face as possible. This proved difficult with her hands shaking, fingertips tingling, and her whole head so hot she couldn't tell how much of it was actually concealed. "S-s-sorry, I-I was j-just, I th-thought I-"

"No, no, it's fine," Adagio insisted, regaining her composure and retaking her relaxed pose of a moment ago with just a hint of rigidity, "just, you know, wasn't expecting it."

Unable to wrangle her tongue again for the next minute (No, not like with the fireball!!), Fluttershy could only loose a series of squeaky whimpers, but as usual, Adagio was apparently willing to wait. "I-is it," she eventually managed to whisper, "is it really okay...?"

Still a little alarmed, Adagio was grateful that Fluttershy hiding her whole face meant she couldn't see her own, letting out a chuckle. "Of course. With all I've been doing with you, a little kiss is nothing." Waitthatsounded- "N-nothing to worry about, I mean!"

A single, cyan eye appeared through the soft pink. "You're... not angry?"

Opening detected, Adagio smirked. "Sweetie, with just half of the things I've said to you up to now, I'm surprised it took you this long to give in to my splendor." Unable to gauge Fluttershy's entire reaction through just her eye and a light tremble, she brushed her own hair to the side as much for an excuse to look away as for emphasis and returned her gaze to the soccer field. "Do whatever you like, I'm not about to call the cops."

Now both eyes bulged through the pink shroud. "Y-YOU CAN GET ARRESTED FOR KISSING PEOPLE?!" Somewhere in the back of her head, a tiny Pinkie Pie said something about jail time for serial kissers being rough, but she was kind of busy right now.

Snickering a little at her surprise, Adagio shook her head. "No, just... I'm not angry, not bothered, not anythi-" there was a split-second pause in which she drew a blank for what to say, quickly shrugging, "-do it again if you don't believe me."

The same side of Adagio's face was essentially presented, the older girl exactly where she was a moment ago. Fluttershy was still reeling with shame, but...

Well, she did just offer...

Leaning in slowly, Fluttershy let most of her hair fall from her face, heart hammering in her chest as she heard voices that simultaneously demanded that she halt her own movement entirely, and screamed for full speed ahead. Slowly, carefully, as though Adagio were made of glass (or rock candy!), the latter side more or less got its wish as she moved close enough that Adagio could feel her gentle breathing on her cheek, drawing another blush that only grew more vibrant the closer Fluttershy got.

Despite a mostly calm facial expression, Adagio erupted into luminous crimson when Fluttershy's lips made contact with the same spot as before, keeping that hue even as Fluttershy squeaked and pulled away like she'd been touching her face to a hot stove. "Y-you see?" she asked with her casual, confident grin-smirk, "Nothing to worry about." All things considered, she must have done a better job of sounding cool and collected than even she'd have guessed, because even though she was burning up herself, Fluttershy smiled back at her.

"R-right!"

Nodding affirmatively, Adagio managed to reign in the lightning ripping through her innards by renewing the earlier topic. "So, yes, there's a bit of a balance to be drawn between all that 'being true to who you are' talk and bettering oneself, I think." With the redness in her face starting to die down, she held a hand to her chin ponderously. "Those must be two difficult philosophies to mash together, maintaining personal integrity and accepting it in others while simultaneously encouraging a golden ideal to live up to. Seems a little contradictory, in fact."

Thinking about it for a moment, Fluttershy frowned. "That's... not quite the idea." Adagio's curious face was focused on her again, tickling her heart and drawing a little smile. "Well, I've thought about it a little myself, and, I think, being a smarter, stronger, prettier person overall might be nice, but no one is supposed to be pushing anyone else to be perfect. Everyone is different, they always will be, but people aspire to being those things anyway, to having more of good qualit-"

"Conditionally good qualities." Even with Fluttershy looking back at her in confusion, Adagio didn't get the impression it was out of surprise for the interruption. She shrugged. "Brains aren't so desirable for doing menial labor, physical strength is useless when making life choices, and beauty is perhaps the last thing one wants in a prison yard."

It took Fluttershy a minute to connect the dots on that last one, but when she did, "Oh!!" she lit up again. Finger twiddling did less to chase away those thoughts than she'd have hoped, but focusing on Adagio helped to tip the balance. "Y-yes, I, uh, think I s-see what you mean... So, whether they're always good to have or not, people praise and admire those qualities in others regardless."

"And as people generally jump at the chance to be adored by those around them, striving to be the best themselves isn't uncommon?" A stare of dawning shock and horror wasn't quite what Adagio was going for, so she gently pat Fluttershy on the shoulder, speaking in the most soothing tone she could muster. "Not accusing, not damning your society, just making note of it. If you wondered at all why converting almost everyone was so easy for us, now you know."

Fluttershy nodded slowly, letting all of the implications sink in. "R...Right. But, we're not supposed to act that way, I think, it's like-"

"People know the words, but don't sing along?"

She blinked twice at the weirdly fitting metaphor. "Y-yes, that, um... I think that might be it. It's not that you and your friends aren't okay the way you are, it's just, after what happened, people might be slow to give you a chance."

Adagio hadn't forgotten those weeks in the cafeteria, nor that Fluttershy herself had been visibly frightened the first time she approached. And yet, here she was. What was the difference? Even if she was too spineless to tell me to leave, she could have just run away, which she only did after I pushed her hard enough. Where is the line? Pushing off the bench, she wanted to think about this alone for a while. Along with how one little kiss (well, two now) could leave her so frazzled. "Suppose there's nothing to be done for it. See you around, Sweetie."

Focusing on that lovely puff of orange fluff, Fluttershy felt as warm as if she were wrapped in it from head to toe. Just be patient, Adagio, I'm sure everyone will welcome you, Aria, and Sonata eventually. Until then, she had a bit of reminiscing to do, silently weighing the pros and cons of trying to run all the way home that very instant to write about this morning's encounter in her diary. Repeatedly.

I kissed Adagio Dazzle!

I kissed Adagio Dazzle!

I kissed Adagio Dazzle!

TWICE!!

Every single part of the statement had her burying her face in her hands and shriek-giggling like she'd lost her mind, managing to stop her legs kicking with the knowledge that it had only been on the cheek. Her mad, tornado-of-fireflies-in-her-belly gigglefits were cut short by the warning bell, but she'd be hiding behind her book again today, for sure.

Author's Note:

Alternate title: Dazzle-Frazzle!

Adagio rolled a critical failure for diplomacy, at a -15 reputation penalty to start! Luckily, Fluttershy leveled up today. :twistnerd:

Also; rolling touchy-feely-spontaneous-kissy bits in with more philosophy was maybe not the best idea, but it was the best way I could manage to string this chapter together. Let me know if it feels as rambly and ham-handed to you as it does to me after around five considerable edits. :pinkiesick:

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