• 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 16: Ranting, Fool's Gold, and Gigglefits

Her composure regained and another glass of orange juice downed, Adagio smiled without a trace of malevolence or smug superiority. "I think I'd have written a song about this stuff if not for the name." The smile immediately died. "And, well, you know."

Fluttershy frowned too. "I'm sorry."

Adagio didn't look at her, moving her shoulders in a quick shrug, though she didn't need a mirror to know the look on her face wasn't a friendly one. "Did I ever tell you exactly where having our gems destroyed left the three of us?" She still wasn't looking at Fluttershy, but assumed she shook her head. "I'm not entirely clear how it works, but at the right volume, the right projection, something happens with our vocal cords. When we try to sing, it sounds like-" she couldn't bring herself to say it, "-well, you remember. That isn't the only oddity all three of us have been saddled with since your spell crippled us," there was no keeping the bitterness out of her voice, but if she didn't say this now, she probably never would, "just talking loudly enough does something to us, you remember what I said about Sonata at the pep rally? How she sounded shrill and high-pitched? That wasn't just raw enthusiasm, that happens every time we shout, or scream, or yell, hiccup, sneeze, or as you may recall? If we laugh hard enough."

Dead silence. It took Adagio longer than she'd have liked to admit to work up the courage to look Fluttershy in the eye, but when she did, she saw a look she had no words for. And Adagio knew a lot of words! It wasn't quite pity, wasn't quite sadness by itself, some kind of mixture of the two, or both of those and some other feeling, but it didn't feel like she was being looked down on.

Despite dozens of thoughts swarming in her head, Fluttershy couldn't enunciate a single one of them. She knew Sunset, at the very least, used to be good with magic, and that even if she had no idea what could be done to help, Twilight would probably be able to figure something out. But if she couldn't, or just wouldn't, the thought of getting the sirens' hopes up for nothing was too painful to bear.

Perhaps even worse would be if she could just ask Twilight, if it was as simple as waving a magic wand and giving them everything they had before, dark magic and all. Would the sirens behave now? Or would they go right back to the way they used to be with a vengeance, Adagio just dropping her and-

Or, what if, even in the ideal outcome of restoring their voices without the spell power, her friends and the sirens started fighting anyway? How would everyone react? What if Fluttershy came out and said she'd been talking to one of the sirens without telling anyone, was accused of 'taking their side,' and one little spark kicked off a powder keg of hurt feelings on both sides? No matter how Fluttershy looked at it, there was so much that could go wrong that the whole situation just made her want to cry.

"I, I suppose," Adagio eventually managed, "that we should count ourselves lucky we can still speak at all, but I can't help thinking of telling someone they should be glad only one of their arms was torn off. You don't have to say anything, but, I guess, I've just been wanting to tell one of you that for a while." Her piece said, she looked Fluttershy in the watery eye and waited.

Breathing softly, Fluttershy barely whispered around the lump in her throat. "I don't know if it means anything now, but I can't apologize enough for what happened to you. I can barely imagine what it must be like to have lost something so precious," she gently took hold of one of Adagio's hands in her own, continuing when she wasn't pushed away as she feared she might be, "but please, please believe me when I say we never meant to hurt you like this. I could try to pretend it was some kind of justice, but justice is supposed to be even, and nobody else has lost anything from the battle. It isn't right, it isn't fai-"

"It never is."

The reply had been so flippant that Fluttershy felt as though she'd been slapped across the face. "...What?"

Adagio rolled her eyes, her tone almost indifferent. "Life in general? It's never fair. It's not fair that we essentially robbed those rich stiffs a while back, it's not fair that few of those rich stiffs have done anything to earn what they had in the first place, it's not fair that millions don't get to enjoy the luxury they do. I could go on, but pertaining to you and I? It's not fair that my group was permanently maimed after our confrontation while Sunset Shimmer wasn't, it's not fair that you feel like you have to try to shoulder the blame for that alone, and don't tell me you're not."

Adagio started to raise her voice as she went, but it didn't quite reach what could be called yelling at her, "It's not fair that we were banished, from our home and then from our home dimension, for doing what we were good at, it's not fair that you were bullied for something you enjoyed when you were younger to the point you effectively gave it up, and it's not fair that no matter what the three of us do, not even our lovable dope Sonata can make a single friend with which to enjoy the supposed 'magic' that comes with it in that insipid little school of yours, because despite just that? People only focus on the negative!"

She stopped to take a few breaths, her rant having been said in one or two. When Fluttershy still didn't say anything, just held her gaze, Adagio sighed. "Aria and Sonata told me about yesterday, you know. Nobody really talks to us, but they do talk, and nothing, thankfully, is wrong with my hearing. I know there are rumors about all three of us, how I in particular never do more than pester random people until they reach their limit or run away." She shrugged. "I won't pretend I don't do that, but have you heard the ones about how I always tried normal conversation before screwing with them?"

Fluttershy shook her head, her face mostly passive.

"No? Of course not. I tried to behave when introducing myself to people, but it was never long before I proved to be too much for them, and after a while, almost everyone just assumed that even my attempts at casual small-talk must have been some kind of trick, a conversational trap to embarrass them. All anyone notices, all anyone remembers, is that which hurts and irritates them, and it's a wonder that was our power supply for so long? Do you think we never tried to be good before? I guarantee you that if Equestria remembers the three of us at all, the phase in which we sang simply to lure people away from our home doesn't come up." She shook her head, as if to dislodge the memories. "I got tired of it, people that recognize me assume I'm there to bother them right away, and if that's what they want, that's what they'll get."

At last, Fluttershy spoke. "They know the words, but don't sing along?"

Adagio blinked twice, the words tickling her memory and eliciting a tiny smirk, which got Fluttershy to smile a little too. "Right. Actually, I heard about Twilight Sparkle's little song in the cafeteria, before the Fall Formal, how everyone joined in and took up her two-faced mantra." Little twitches in Fluttershy's face said she took at least a modicum of offense, but she wasn't saying anything about it. "'Magic of friendship,' right? Then where was it for those that sought it out, those that practically begged for it? How many people actually took that message to heart? Sunset told us all about how she was treated, and you and I both know how easily the three of us tore your supposedly united school apart. No one outside your group learned anything from dealing with Sunset Shimmer, your so-called 'unity' amounts to a population that revels in victories won entirely by someone else, possibly barring Vinyl Scratch, but ask them to stand up and show the same spirit on their own?" She shook her head, teeth clenched. "It all dries up, no hint of anything that came up in your songs, that's all just someone else's mess to sort out, because they can't see past the negative that we pull kicking and screaming to the surface, that shows everyone just how ugly they can really be deep down. That's Twilight Sparkle's legacy; a sick joke played on an unwitting populace by a brain-washing musician." Adagio gestured to herself. "Sound familiar?"

Fluttershy held her gaze for a long minute, frowning. "Do you really believe all of that?"

Adagio crossed her arms, glaring. "Shouldn't I? Was anything I said less than the truth?"

"...I think so." To her slight surprise, Adagio's glare didn't magnify, but became a slightly irritable version of the curious face, which urged her to go on. "You said nobody ever sees past the negative, that no one you talk to remembers more than your teasing, right?" She took a deep breath, her heart beating faster as she forced the words. "If that's the case, what do we have?"

Staring back at her wide-eyed, Adagio slowly opened her mouth, then closed it again. She looked away, Fluttershy giving her a minute to think. Taking a long moment to reflect on all of her interactions with Fluttershy since they met (well, in person, one-on-one), she saw the hole in her reasoning, starting to smile. "You... You remember more than torment, don't you?"

Fluttershy smiled too. "I do, and you really aren't so bad. I remember that when you first approached me on the bench, you startled me, but only by accident, and that you didn't tease me at all right away." She giggled a little. "I thought it was strange, that I could be the only one you didn't play with to start, but that was never the whole story. All this time, you've tried to talk to people normally, but what people talk about is-"

"-is that which bothered them... myself included." Shrugging somewhat guiltily, Adagio made a sheepish little smile. "I've spent more than a few hours pondering our collective standing with the student body, and the way you respond to me didn't come up even once. Sorry about that, but I never said I was any better." Fluttershy just kept her cheerful expression, doing that wrong-response-she-was-weirdly-fine-with thing again. "Well, I haven't really bothered to play nice in the last week or two, everyone kind of knows me by now, but now that I think about it, you are an exception to the rule, and I've been more vicious with you than anyone."

The smile grew stronger. "And if at least one person can look past 'the negative'...?"

Adagio didn't answer the unfinished question, but she smiled too. "Friendship?"

Blink. "Huh?"

"You asked what we have," Adagio started to blush, twirling a lock of poofy hair around a finger, "and, I think, i-if you really don't mind everything I put you through, then-"

Reaching out to rest a hand on her shoulder, Fluttershy smiled warmly, turning rosy herself at the contact. "I don't mind at all."

Independent of the fever, the heat in Adagio's face intensified, bringing with it a nervous little smile. "Th-then, I, uh..." She managed a shrug, working some measure of cool aloofness back into her voice. "I don't mind a kiss."

And then Fluttershy went hot enough to roast marshmallows by dangling them in front of her nose. "W-WHAT?!" Then it hit her. "Oh, th-the, f-from when, I-I, and, uhm..."

Adagio nodded. "Maybe not right now, don't want you re-catching your own cold again if you haven't already, but..." She seemed to take interest in the ceiling for a moment. "It just, caught me off-guard the first time. But," hesitantly looking back at Fluttershy, her grin and her blush were renewed. "that I can do that at all, that I can relax around you, th-that alone is-" giggling, she shook her head, an awkward sort of smile plastered on her face, "is it bad?"

Fluttershy smiled too. "I d-don't think so."

Sitting close together, the two locked eyes, grinning warmly as Adagio reached out to hug her newest friend in such a way that allowed her to immediately return it. They stayed that way until Fluttershy felt a hand somewhere you're not supposed to touch during a hug, which made her squeak and quickly pull away, red in the face with her own hands protectively over her posterior. "ADAGIO!!"

Confused, Adagio gave her an innocent little head-tilt. "What? I thought you were about to do the same thing."

"W-why would I be t-t-t-touching your b-b-b...b..."

There was a relaxed smirk. "My what? Can't quite hear you, Sweetie."

"Y-your, b-b-b-" she gulped, worried she might soon need the fire extinguisher out in the hall, "b-back of your pants!"

Adagio chuckled, wiggling her hips. "I can give you a lot of good rea-" The mood was killed by another lasting, poorly-timed coughing fit. At least she knew it meant she wasn't into being choked. Clearing her throat, she could at least appreciate that Fluttershy was no less red than a minute ago. "But, really," she said with a straight face, "in the context of hugging, it occurred to me that the embrace is a thing done for warmth and softness, no?" Still looking a little like a stop light, Fluttershy nodded. "Right. So what part of the body is warmer and softer than the behind, for most people?"

Fluttershy's jaw dropped, both for the perverted reasoning... and because she couldn't immediately refute it. Luckily, Adagio apparently wasn't just looking for an excuse to feel her up, because she waited the two and a half minutes it took for Fluttershy to get her thoughts together. "Uhm, w-well, I-I guess that's n-not exactly untrue, b-but, it's, I-I mean, th-that place is considered, a-and, t-touching it is, uh-"

"Akin to touching these?" Adagio had, with a completely normal expression, undone the top few buttons of her shirt. When she started to pull the fabric apart to show more of her chest, Fluttershy turned away like one of the vampires she'd read about in the face of a sunlit window. Fitting, because she felt like she, too, was about to burst into flames.

"Y-YES, th-those parts of your body are, uh-" She felt a gentle, and hopefully chaste, hand on her shoulder, making her turn back to see Adagio frowning.

"Sorry. I'll keep working on it."

Staring at her for a long moment, Fluttershy managed a slightly exasperated smile. "Okay, then. You were coughing again, how are you feeling?"

Adagio shrugged. "I think I'll be alright, but I'm a little tired. I, uh," She looked away, unintentionally sealing a new expression in Fluttershy's memory as she lightly worried her lower lip while twirling a lock of orange around a finger. Fluttershy would think of this one as her bashful face. "I was thinking," she said in a whisper, "do you think you could, just for a minute or two, help me get to sleep?"

Fluttershy hadn't even recovered from the blush of a minute ago, but she was still supposed to be a nurse right now. "What, um... w-what do you need?"

"Well, I mean, if at least one of us can still sing..." She earnestly tried to keep the bitterness out of her voice, "it would be a shame never to use that gift, don't you think?"

Her heart swelled. That any of the Dazzlings could ask any of her group to sing for them, to sing to them, was by itself some kind of miracle. That it was Adagio asking her was almost more than Fluttershy could process, tears welling in her eyes as she smiled brighter than any time in recent memory. "I'd love to!"

---

A little later, Fluttershy sat on the edge of Adagio's bed, the room silent as she watched the sleeping siren. Her smiling face was so serene, so angelic and peaceful, that it made her want to take a picture, add a caption to it, and find a way to post a big, five-hundred-foot-tall version of the image to a skyscraper somewhere so that everyone could look up and see 'There IS good in the world!'

She may have been biased by fondness for this particular sleeping angel, but she could hardly even think of her as the same girl that had once tried to enslave the world with dark magic. Leaning closer, Fluttershy brushed her own hair back so as not to risk it getting in the way of what she was about to do.

"Good night," she whispered by Adagio's ear, "and sweet dreams!" Before she could have second thoughts, she leaned in a little closer and gave Adagio a quick peck on the cheek, pulling away before she could linger long enough to do more than that. Adagio didn't seem to respond to the instant of contact while Fluttershy was waiting for her own heartbeat to return to a steady rhythm, though watching her enjoy restful sleep certainly helped. It also made Fluttershy feel a little teeny bit like a total weirdo, since it looked like all Adagio needed right then was sleep, and that meant it was time to go. Silently getting up, she tip-toed to the door, gently cracked it open, gave Adagio's sleeping form one last, lingering smile, and went out, quietly closing the door behind her.

On her way down the stairs, Fluttershy got an eerie sense of foreboding, like something was enclosing on her posi-

Sonata, her skirt regained, appeared out of nowhere and grabbed her by the shoulders the instant her foot touched the bottom step, her face anxious as she rapidly shook her captive. "How is she, how is she, HOW IS SHE?!"

Eyes rolling around in their sockets, Fluttershy's world was a blur, though she did make out Aria chuckling from somewhere nearby.

"She can't talk if you shake her, remember?"

Sonata sighed, but didn't lose the note of desperation as she let Fluttershy go. "C'mon, Dr. Seuss, give us the news!"

Shaking off the vertigo, Fluttershy smiled. "She'll be okay, but she's resting now, so please try to be quie-SQUEAK!" She was immediately picked up by Sonata in a bear-hug, getting squeezed and shaken again.

"Ohh, thankyouthankyouthankyou!! We thought Dagi was gonna die or something, but now she's not! At least not from being sick!"

"You're, welcome," wheezed the human stress ball, who caught sight of Aria with her arms crossed and a little smirk on her face.

"Put her down, Nata, we'll need her alive if Dagi gets sick again."

"Oh, right!" Sonata quickly released her, smiling apologetically. "Sorry about that. And the leaf-blower thing!"

Aria nodded a little. "And really, thanks for looking after her. It's usually her that takes care of us around flu season, so we've never really had to worry about this kinda thing."

Touched, Fluttershy smiled. "I was happy to help."

They said their goodbyes and she headed out, but the clack of her white heels on the pavement woke her up to something that had slipped her mind, making her sprint back to the door and rapidly knock on it, but hopefully not loudly enough to wake Adagio upstairs. "Wait, please, open the door!!" By the time they did, Fluttershy was beet-red, holding the nurse hat in both hands. "C-could I have my normal clothes back, please?"

Aria gave Sonata a deadpan stare, getting a sheepish smile in return as Sonata closed one eye, rapped a fist against that side of her head, and stuck her tongue out one side of her mouth in a 'silly-me' gesture.

---

That night, Fluttershy lay sprawled out on her bed, her diary resting on her stomach and her hand stinging with writer's cramp. Today had been very, very eventful, but her thoughts returned for an eighth or ninth time to that which she'd denied herself the very realization of when going into Adagio's room:

I was in Adagio's bedroom. Just me. And her. And me. In a fetish outfit.

A very tame version of a fetish outfit, perhaps, but the thought was still like a thick layer of hot sauce on her face now. That was okay, though, because if she'd let it in while she was there, she was sure she'd have fallen apart. Not helping at all was the memory of a firm, wandering hand.

And, while she was still awake, if I had... kissed her... in her room... on her bed... just the two of us...

She thought about it so hard her vision was starting to go blurry. Well, she thought, giving her right hand an experimental flex and finding that moving her fingers still hurt, I guess I can try writing left-handed for a while...

---

Wednesday morning, Fluttershy sat on the bench feeling just a little groggy, but at least she managed to get all of her thoughts to paper the night before. Finishing a yawn, she opened her eyes to see Adagio, standing in front of the bench and smiling warmly at her, a tiny hint of color to her cheeks that almost completely offset the dark eyeliner.

She spoke gently, one hand on her hip. "Good morning, Sweetie."

Fluttershy smiled too. "Good morning. Are you feeling better?"

Adagio nodded, taking two steps to the side and facing away from her. "I am. Thank you."

And then she stood still, not saying another word, her back to Fluttershy. A sudden sense of tension was making her uneasy, like Adagio had some kind of bad news she needed to share, but couldn't find the words for. Before she could work up the courage to ask if something was wrong, Adagio's head flicked to the left and right, quickly scanning the area before she looked at the bench. Hesitantly, she sat down next to Fluttershy, her face bearing a look of caution as she continued to glance around.

Looking at her, Fluttershy frowned. She knew that look, she'd made it herself a thousand times. It was a look that said she was expecting someone to come and tell her that she shouldn't be there, that she was doing something wrong and should just save everyone the trouble and leave before she made things worse.

Fluttershy hated that feeling, and everything that came with it.

Some kind of defiance bubbling up in her head, she reached out to rest a hand on Adagio's wrist, thinking of every time the siren had ever genuinely smiled at her to make one of her own. She didn't speak, but hoped her expression would be enough to say 'I'm glad you're here.'

By the look on Adagio's face, surprise slowly shifting to what might have been warm gratitude, maybe it was. "You know," she started, "The first time I saw you was that day in the cafeteria, but I don't think we've ever been formally introduced." She held out a hand, something from the back of Fluttershy's brain telling her she was supposed to kiss it. "I'm Adagio Dazzle, pleased to make your acquaintance."

Tilting her head, Fluttershy couldn't help giggling a little. "Isn't this kind of silly after a few weeks of knowing each other?"

Adagio's smile didn't change in the slightest. "Yes. Now do it."

Fluttershy laughed a little harder. "Okay!" She took Adagio's hand. "I-I'm Fluttershy, and it's nice to meet you too."

Grinning a little wider, Adagio started to giggle as well. "Charmed!" As they shook hands, she smirked. "I'm still going to call you 'Sweetie,' you know."

'Sweetie's' smile had only gotten stronger. "That's okay with me."

They maintained eye-contact, Adagio starting to snicker, Fluttershy trying not to laugh, both getting steadily louder. A few seconds later, they were both laughing, faces tinting red at the senseless little exchange, but at least they could say they'd formally met now.

When the two had caught their breaths, Fluttershy was still smiling. "Have you ever had chocolate coins?"

Adagio blinked, completely lost. "Have I...? What?"

Giggling again, Fluttershy reached into her bag to retrieve the day's treat. "Ordinary chocolate encased in gold-colored foil, try one!"

Taking one of the offered doubloons, Adagio eyed the thing carefully with the assumption that the aforementioned foil was not to be ingested. She glanced at Fluttershy, who was unwrapping one herself starting with little folds on the sides, and mimicked her action. Unveiling enough of the substance to take a bite, she chuckled. "Chocolate money? Isn't that a little bizarre even for candy? I can even see the effort of carving them to look like real coins was employed."

Fluttershy nodded, her smile no weaker. "Yes, but I think that's part of the charm! They're silly, but fun, like edible pirate treasure!"

Lacking meaningful commentary on the constitution of chocolate, Adagio instead turned her attention to her new friend, smirking a little. "Did that come up in those stories you read? Digestible currency?"

"N-no," she answered with a giggle, "but it's fun to imagine."

The two of them downed another coin each before Adagio spoke up. "You can do more than imagine, you know." This got her a confused look. "I mean, I suppose back then, imagination was the most you could apply to those tales, but look at who you're talking to now. I, Aria, Sonata, and likely Sunset Shimmer all lived among lifeforms you probably won't find in this world, learned about some of them first-hand." She shrugged a little. "If you wanted to know more about any given species, I could at least take a stab at it."

Taking a moment to ponder the possibilities, Fluttershy hesitantly smiled. "Did... d-did you ever meet a huge, three-headed doggie?"

Adagio's sinister smirk returned, but there was a twinkle of amusement in her eyes that kept the look from being threatening. "Yes, actually. Funny story..."

Author's Note:

The given lullaby isn't quite what Fluttershy sang for her, but I think it gets the idea across.

So that's the Sick Episode! 16,000+ words in total. I started on it some time last week. Now remember the days when I thought I'd be keeping all of these chapters under 3k words and join me in screaming at the sky. :derpytongue2::twilightangry2::flutterrage::rainbowwild::duck::pinkiecrazy::applejackconfused::eeyup:

The end here is a fade-out, not a cliff hanger, but this is the end of the sick chapters. Next time, a day through the eyes of our favorite walking cream-puff!

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