• 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 18: Liquid Dark Magic

Fifth period was, as ever, dull enough that Adagio had plenty of time to think. Today's mental showcase included the possibility that she was very right regarding what she'd said about patience that day, reaffirmation that she couldn't get away with so much as looking at Fluttershy during school, and in a roundabout way, the state of her own breasts.

She'd only been trying to be patient with people for about half a school day, so it was little wonder it didn't seem to be paying off yet.

Being caught with her favorite playmate wouldn't just leave Fluttershy embarrassed and possibly angry with her, it would hurt Aria and Sonata too when the whole thing inevitably spiraled into disaster and tears. She'd finally made a friend, with one of the Rainbooms, at that, and couldn't even tell anyone. Awareness of this fact did nothing to make her feel like being patient.

This led to formally crossing out thoughts and ideas of what she'd do if she dropped in on Fluttershy doing her walk again, to everything she wanted to say about her one-time nurse oscillating her cute little behind, to thoughts of Adagio's hair covering her own rump, to how hers was probably a little bigger than Fluttershy's, to how the ratio between the two of them was probably the exact opposite in terms of human chest meat. Glancing down at herself, Adagio couldn't decide whether to be frustrated or grateful that hers weren't particularly outstanding, even though she got the impression they were meant to be a woman's primary feature in this world, at least with the way the boys (mostly) acted.

On the other hand, she'd learned that these bizarre lumps could be very sensitive, and never wanted to test that again, so having them be barely noticeable under a vest most of the time felt like a point in her favor. At least she could still show off everything else without much fear of someone touching an overly vulnerable area. Sometimes, she still missed her gleaming scales, both for their beauty and for the protection they offered. Not that human bodies were a complete loss, but...

Class ended. Adagio's next class was just down the hall, so she opted to wander around at random for a bit, talk to people, make some friends, figure out free energy, achieve world peace, and maybe cure cancer while she was at it. Anything was possible, right? She saw Trixie facing away from her, doing a card trick or something for a little cloud of freshmen. Polite and patient person that Adagio was, she waited until the trick was finished before walking up behind Trixie. The kids caught sight of her and stared in horror like she was the Nuckelavee itself before the lot of them quickly dispersed.

Sure, go ahead, run, not like I have anything to talk about with kids anyway. Besides, she thought with a growing smirk, I have bigger fish to fry...

Trixie watched in bewilderment as her deserters fled before looking around for the reason. Adagio would have matched her movements to stay behind her, but there was only so much time for these hallway games, so she was spotted quickly, drawing a delightfully emphatic scowl from her target.

"What do you want, Adagio Dazzle?"

Oooh, she's blushing already! She had determined weeks ago that if she couldn't play with her favorite toy (friend now) in public, she could certainly amuse herself with the rest, worry-free. She sidled a little closer to Trixie, reaching out to rest four fingertips on her shoulder. "It's funny you should ask..."

Trixie stepped back, smacking the hand away. "W-whatever it is, you won't get it from Trixie!"

"Oh?" Keeping her fiendish smile, Adagio gave her a calculated look, 60% conviction, 40% arousal. "I think I might. Have you ever had the pleasure of a strong drink, Silver?"

Glancing around, Trixie decided there weren't near enough witnesses to let peer pressure override the fear of Luna overhearing her saying something compromising. And, y'know, being honest and all that crap. "No, of course not, Trixie is well under twenty-one! Unlike you, you moldy bag-lady!"

Adagio chuckled, her expression unchanged as she stepped closer. "I look mature to you, do I?"

"That's not what-"

"Then you believe me when I say I have some familiarity with liquor." Another step closer. "With what it does." And another, Trixie was backed against a locker and starting to sweat. "With what it can make you do. It reminds me of you, actually."

Just as she'd hoped, Adagio must have used just the right inflection for that to sound vaguely flattering as Trixie gave her a cautious look. "Really? How?"

The predatory smile faded to a happier one as Adagio leaned back, grinning as though Trixie were an old friend. "You both make things disappear, of course!" Then she leaned in, growling into Trixie's ear. "Fears, inhibitions, clothes... sound right?" The evil grin returned as Trixie shook like a red, sweating, stammering leaf before slipping away, detonating another smoke bomb, and presumably fleeing as Adagio cackled maniacally.

Life was still good sometimes.

---

Interesting fact about standing back and waiting? It gave you a chance to smell the roses, so to speak, like when watching a steady stream of people slowly flowing through one side of a double door instead of, you know, opening the other door and doubling the speed at which everyone could get through. It was something Adagio had never really noticed before, as she'd always been one to either gently push people aside when she needed to access a crowded area, or clear her throat and let her presence take care of the rest. That second method worked much better in recent weeks.

Anyway, there she stood, silently watching as a dozen or so students at a time huddled together to squeeze through the one door opened by the first person to reach the pair of doors right next to each other and not a single one of them thinking to take two seconds to remedy the situation by opening the other door. It was as fascinating as it was mind-boggling, doubly so because more than a few of those she observed looked annoyed about having to slowly shuffle through the doorway as they were.

Either they're putting on an utterly senseless act in pretending to be impatient, or they're genuinely irritated by how long this is taking and doing nothing about it. Maybe this is one of those cultural things I just don't get, but until I get a chance to ask Fluttershy, I'm going with 'people are stupid.'

Truly, the logic often proved unassailable, there was a reason she'd thought of this world as pathetic, not terribly long ago. Regardless, she grew tired of going all Fluttershy's method and opted for a compromise. Fluttershy was fond of those too, right? She approached the closed door from along the wall, where the student stream was thin to nonexistent, reached out, hooked a few fingers around the handle, slowly pulled it open, and stood back, waiting. She got more than a few odd looks, again, but people filed through the widened opening just the same.

Lovely progress!

As the horde of less intelligent beings thinned, Adagio felt a hand on her shoulder. She smirked, turning with intent to say something about appreciating directness until she saw Luna.

"Adagio Dazzle? Sister wishes to see you."

Adagio stared back in bewilderment. Was opening two double doors at once some kind of taboo here?! Had she actually violated a cultural norm of unbridled stupidity?!

However, Luna didn't look angry, or even the least bit annoyed. Noticing Adagio's consternation, her voice was very calm. "No, you are not in trouble." She grinned wryly. "This time."

Cautious, Adagio crossed her arms. "Then what's going on?"

"I'm afraid I cannot divulge that information here, but please stop by her office soon. Right now is good, actually." And then she walked away, leaving Adagio to realize she was holding a door nobody was going through. Shrugging, she made her way to the principal's office.

---

Principal Celestia sat her desk, arms folded over the organized chaos of papers that perpetually littered it. Across from her was Filthy Rich, something of a regular in her office on account of his daughter's behavior. This time, however, he expressed concern about what Diamond might do after witnessing some other students.

"You know what those three did, everyone knows! I can't believe you haven't expelled them already."

Celestia was fortunate in having years of experience in maintaining a perfectly serious expression no matter how hard she was laughing inside. "Yes, the incident in which the three of them influenced quite a few people with magical songs, which were evidently neutralized by a giant, crystal unicorn with wings. And rainbows." She tilted her head, the poker face undented. "How would you like me to explain that to the state board?"

Filthy facepalmed, sighing. "Just like with that Shimmer girl, then? But, there have been two of these incidents now, you must be able to do something!"

"Such as?"

He shook his head in exasperation. "Just, tell them to get out, maybe? Forbid them from attending? Whatever you have to do to ensure that my little girl stops coming home gushing about what those harpies did that day."

Celestia's expression was still very calm, but her tone took on the thinnest hint of a cold edge. "I see. You are asking me to bar them from my school, to tell them to be gone and let someone else sort them out. Is that correct?"

"Yes!"

"Hm. Then, you would have me simply push troubled students away, rather than trying to help them? To let my problems fall entirely to someone else? To let those girls, and any others that don't immediately fall in line, simply find their own way in our wayward little world? 'Look after the good ones and devil take the riff-raff'? Is that it?"

Filthy was visibly choosing words. "W-well... No, but-"

"Is that not what you've suggested? That anyone that cannot easily be made to cooperate simply be done away with? Is that the kind of world you want to live in, Mr. Rich?"

After a moment's contemplation on where his own daughter would stand in such an arrangement, he sighed. "...No."

Her point made, Celestia smiled warmly. "I know I have not shown great aptitude in dealing with the three of them myself, but rest assured that as long as they come through those doors, I will continue to try."

Filthy nodded a little. "I see. We'll just have to hope they straighten up, then?"

"It has worked before."

"I guess... Thank you for your time, Principal Celestia." He walked out into the reception area, immediately catching sight of the fluffy menace that he'd caught (well, heard about) Diamond trying to emulate a few times. That wayward mass of orange was bobbing with her head, the smiling girl attached to it holding one hand over an ear, eyes closed as she sat in one of the chairs by the door. "Hrm," he muttered on the way out, "toxic little..."

Adagio's head just kept bobbing until Filthy's footsteps were no longer audible, at which point she opened her eyes in a glare. She forced the expression to become her usual, relaxed smile when she heard Celestia clear her throat, which made her turn to see the principal leaning through the office door. "Oh, sorry, didn't notice you there, are you ready to see me now?" By the look of Celestia's frown, she wasn't fooled. Letting out a silent sigh, Adagio let her hand fall away from the non-existent headphone and stood up, the two of them sitting in the office a moment later. As Adagio didn't want to sound impatient, she let Celestia open discussion.

"I've gotten a few reports, from students and staff alike, of odd behavior from you today, Adagio."

Crossing her arms, Adagio raised an eyebrow. "You're going to have to be more specific."

Celestia smiled a little. "Specifically, two teachers and thirty-eight students have come by or left messages that you've been standing quietly behind people, holding open doors and waiting until everyone else had gone through first before using it yourself, and holding ninja throwing knives behind your back by concealing them in your hair." That Adagio started laughing at that last one said it probably wasn't true. She knew when Adagio was up to something by now, and her demeanor in those cases was usually a smug smile and a look that said 'Yes, I am up to no good. Now prove it.'

Violence hasn't really been her style, anyway.

"I'm going to guess the third issue was overactive imagination?"

Wiping away a tear as her giggles were reigned in, Adagio nodded. "Creative, I'll give them that."

"And the first two?"

Adagio's humor quickly faded. "Being patient draws complaints now?"

"Not complaints," she said with an affable smile, "worries. I don't see a problem yet, but it is a little unusual for you. Is there anything you'd like to tell me?"

"Yes, put a sign on every double door in this building with a message that goes thus: This is a door, doors can be opened." Celestia blinked slowly, which drew a shrug. "No, nothing."

"I... see." Double doors? Is that code for something? Is it better not to think about it? "That's not the only thing I wished to discuss with you today." It was with a tiny stab of guilt that she drew Zecora's note from her desk drawer, Adagio growing a little stiff and apprehensive when she saw it. "There have been some concerns about your behavior overall, particularly in Gym." The look on her face said Adagio had no questions about why. "As such, we would like to move you to Art class that period."

"What?!"

Celestia frowned, doubly so because she was aware that physical education was a popular class and one of few the Dazzlings seemed to enjoy. That it was the only one they all had together didn't make this any easier. "I, Vice Principal Luna, Zecora, and Coach Will all discussed it during the lunch period and we agreed that, cathartic as it may be, the aggressive, competitive nature of Gym wasn't helping you to fit in, not to mention your-" she made a valiant effort not to blush, "locker room hijinx. The hope is that in Art, a much calmer setting, you'll be free to express yourself through nonphysical means, but I wanted to consult with you on the matter first."

Adagio crossed her arms, trying not to scowl with contempt. They were giving her a choice, but only in the sense that she could go along with whatever was pushed on her or be openly defiant, thus making her, and likely the others as well, the undisputed 'bad guys' again. Ooh, wait! She raised an eyebrow. "What about the others? Are they being moved to a 'softer environment' too?"

Celestia shook her head. "I'm afraid you will be alone in this. I am aware they have not been perfectly behaved either, but pointing out rules that the coach forgot for the games and getting a little too enthusiastic about the day's activities aren't the same as, say, eyeing up nearby students during stretches-"

"Like they aren't doing the same to me?"

"-and loudly commenting on their findings?"

"...Touche."

Giggling quietly, Celestia kept her expression as serious as she could manage without coming across as unfriendly. "You make a lot of students uncomfortable, Adagio, and while I can appreciate that Gym clothes may make avoiding such instances troublesome for you, the hope is that Art will be a more relaxed place. You recall that Sonata was moved from Home-Ec?"

"Because of one little mistake, you mean?"

"And one massive mound of shifting, twitching, groaning brownie mix, yes."

Adagio snapped her fingers, as though making a declaration in a courtroom drama. "But the mistake itself was small!"

With a tiny smile, Celestia nodded. "And now she is in English that period, where there seems to be no incident. You already have English, so we decided on Art." Her face grew concerned, her tone gentle. "However, I want to make sure you are alright with this. What do you think? Would you like to stay with your friends in Gym seventh period, or take a chance at making new ones in Art? The choice is yours."

Oh, I'm so sure!

Adagio had gotten more than an inkling of where it would go if she refused, but thinking about it? She really did risk getting Aria and Sonata in trouble along with her too often, seeing as how they still defaulted to her lead even when she was just playing with people's heads for kicks. She sighed. "When do I start?"

Feeling like some measure of progress was made, Celestia smiled warmly. "The necessary papers should be sorted out over the weekend, so you're free to enjoy today and tomorrow."

Adagio nodded once, though she clearly wasn't happy with these developments. "Anything else?"

"Possibly." Losing her cheer, Celestia glanced to the doorway, where Filthy Rich had walked past Adagio not ten minutes ago. She'd heard what he said on the way out, and knew Adagio did too, likely along with everything that came in the minutes before. She looked at Adagio with a concerned frown.

She stared back, her face the picture of apathetic indifference. "What?

Celestia shook her head. If Zecora couldn't get anything out of this girl, she probably couldn't either. "Nothing, thank you for stopping by." It was as Adagio silently got up and walked out that she remembered something, quickly rising from her chair to call after her through the doorway. "Oh, and thank you for never pressing charges!"

Adagio turned on a heel, confused. "What?"

Nodding, Celestia offered an apologetic grin. "I never said anything, for that time you were-"

Tinting red as realization struck, Adagio hastily, dismissively waved a hand. "I told you, it's fine, that whole situation got blown completely out of proportion and I don't bear a grudge for what happened." So stop mentioning it already!!

Standing in the reception area, the two heard a quiet voice. "P-pressing charges?"

They turned to see Fluttershy standing in a corner, covered in pink frosting.

Adagio immediately slapped a hand over her own mouth, the first six things that sprang to mind not being acceptable in front of Celestia. Or any witness, really. Luckily, it may have just looked like ordinary surprise, because Celestia giggled a little.

"There was an accident in Home-Ec," she explained to Adagio, "her mother dropped off clean clothes just a short while ago." Then she turned to her icing-spattered student. "Nothing to worry about, Fluttershy. Have you been waiting long?"

Fluttershy shook her cute, delicious little head. "N-no, uhm... i-is there a changing room nearby, or...?"

Chuckling, Celestia moved to retrieve the bag of clothes waiting in her office closet. "I'll stand outside the nearest bathroom, if it makes you more comfortable. One moment."

This left a window of maybe ten seconds during which Adagio stood alone in a room with a frosting-covered Fluttershy. As the living cupcake had feared, Adagio grinned devilishly, eyeing her from head to toe while sloooowly licking her lips.

Just as Fluttershy was turning that perfect shade of red, her knees shaking, she opened her mouth. "Uhm-"

Adagio darted her head forward and snapped her teeth, just like she had the day Fluttershy brought orange slices, to roughly the same effect as her extra-tasty friend-target suppressed a gasp, quickly averting her eyes and taking up that adorable, knock-kneed stance with her arms held close to her chest. Satisfied (mostly), Adagio put the predatory look away, regaining her relaxed grin the second Celestia popped through the door with Fluttershy's change of clothes and a little note.

"Your mother also left a message. It says, 'Be sure to change into clean underwear too, okay? Love Mom.'" She looked up to see Fluttershy looking absolutely mortified, hiding her luminous face in both hands as Adagio, whom Celestia now remembered was still in the room, snickered behind her hand.

Oops! Sorry, Fluttershy...

---

Celestia and the most tempting way to spoil one's appetite left for the nearest restroom so the latter could get changed, leaving Adagio to head back to class. She'd have to ask what happened specifically that got Fluttershy covered in frosting, but hopefully it wouldn't be Sonata's fault this time. More-so as she wasn't even supposed to be in Home-Ec anymore. Regardless, the rest of sixth period passed without incident and, not particularly worried about getting called to the office again for this, Adagio held the door. She hadn't timed it, but everyone went ahead through maybe a few seconds faster this time, if only because most walked a little faster than normal to get out of the room. Everyone, Adagio noticed, except for Vinyl Scratch, who was still seated with her head propped up on one arm.

Taking a quick look around and finding the room to be empty apart from Vinyl and herself, Adagio smirked, pacing over to the girl that, while never having said two words to any of her group, was still directly involved with the destruction of their gems and the mutilation of their vocal cords. She leaned in front of Vinyl, pressing her hands flat on the desk and bending forward enough to leave her chest level with Vinyl's sunglasses. "Far be it that I should dictate this kind of thing, but shouldn't you be getting to your next class as well? Or," the predatory smile widened, Adagio's tone getting a little lower as she kept the space just under her neck directly in front of Vinyl's glasses, "has something caught your attention?"

She waited. No response. Vinyl didn't say anything, didn't look away, didn't turn red, didn't even move.

Adagio kept her smirk. "Shameless thing, aren't you? Well, you're more than welcome to stare, I'm-" She heard a little sound, like a very, very quiet gurgle coming from Vinyl. It sounded almost like a snore. Adagio snapped her fingers in front of the girl's face, getting no reaction. Swiping the glasses right off her quasi-enemy's face, she found that Vinyl's eyes were closed, fast asleep.

It would be another minute or two before students started filing into this room, or maybe much longer if there were no classes in here seventh period, but either way, there was more than enough time for a little mischief. It was as she pondered the fourth or fifth possibility that came to mind that Adagio found herself giving her dozy target another look. She was calm, quiet, a peaceful little smile on her face, just passing another boring day in school by getting a little rest. Adagio could sympathize, smiling a little herself. She gently replaced the sleeping girl's spectacles, the urge to wake her as abruptly and unpleasantly as possible gone as she silently moved away from the desk.

...On the other hand, there was no reason she couldn't do something nice for poor, sleepy Vinyl, was there?

She quickly tip-toed back, delicately lifted one of Vinyl's headphones, and released a warm, shuddering breath in her ear. Vinyl tensed just slightly, emitting a tiny sound as her cheeks flushed. Grinning wickedly, Adagio whispered, "Sweet dreams!" into her ear, gently replaced the headphone, and then quietly walked away, for real this time, heading out the door and to her next class. It wouldn't be her fault if Vinyl was late next period anyway, right?

---

Gym was a lot of fun today. As she knew she'd be essentially getting kicked out next week, Adagio held nothing back. She had let out borderline erotic groans during the warm-up stretches, winked at everyone that made eye-contact with her, issued sportsmanlike pats to the behinds of her (female) teammates in volleyball (the cutest reaction for that actually came from Sonata today), made it clear that they were more than welcome to do it back to her (one did!), extended the offer to the entire room (five did!), and of course made her usual running commentary on the physique of her peers. Only complimentary, of course! That Coach Iron Will just sat there ignoring her the whole time meant he probably knew what was going on and had opted to just wait out the last two days without a word to her. Spoilsport.

Still, she had a good time, so much so that she didn't even mind the usual wait outside the locker room in nothing but her tiny, purple Gym shorts, tight tank top, and dull, heelless shoes. It was actually something of a sad thought; that this was the least she seemed to be able to get away with wearing in school and that it would be the second to last time she wore it.

What is the deal, anyway? Hotpants and white shirts that essentially turn see-through once you've worked up a sweat are fine when half the room is dressed that way, but in a classroom it becomes indecent? It's just like the stupid swimsuit/underwear/nothing rules.

Not that it mattered. No pool in the world would ever match the breadth of the sea she used to know. Having found some surprisingly depressing thoughts to dwell on, Adagio was grateful to have her attention snatched by Aria poking her head through the door.

"Hey, everyone's done changing, you can come in now."

Walking in, Adagio immediately stripped her own top off, but the other girls just quickly filed past her and went straight out the door. She did get a few lingering glances, however, which always made her feel pleasantly warm inside!

Aria faced away from her as she changed. "So what's all this we're hearing about you holding doors and stuff? Just tryin' to get a look at people's asses when they go by?"

Having just taken her shorts off, Adagio glanced over her shoulder with a smirk. "No, if I wanted to do that, I'd, I don't know... just have them turn their backs to me?" She grinned wider as the side of Aria's face flushed crimson, her hands immediately tugging the back of her vest downward in a vain attempt at covering the curves plainly visible through her tight, tight pants.

She was saved by Sonata, calling from somewhere else in the locker room. "So what's up, Dagi?"

Pulling her tights up, Adagio shrugged, even while fully aware that neither of the girls she could openly be friends with were looking at her. "Just thought I'd give it a try, maybe show people the three of us can just be polite for its own sake if we feel like it."

Aria nodded a little. "Worth a shot. What about that little show in there?"

Adagio rolled her eyes. "That wasn't a 'show,' my shirt got stuck on the net. Besides, I looked it up and there's nothing obscene about the stomach."

"Not that, the way you were all..."

"Handsy!" called Sonata.

"Yea, that."

Sighing, Adagio finished dressing by pulling her vest on, brushing her hair outwards so that none of it remained caught in her clothes. "Suppose now's as good a time as any." That made Aria turn to face her, though Sonata was still out of sight. "Tomorrow is my last day in Gym, they're moving me to Art starting next week."

Sonata sounded like she just heard the cafeteria was out of pudding. "Aww, we can't play with balls together anymore?"

Aria firmly ignored that word choice, looking protectively irritable as she crossed her arms. It was a very Aria expression. "And what's that about? Why're they cutting us up even more?"

Frowning, Adagio wasn't sure what to tell them. Aria never liked that this was their only class together, but they guessed that those in charge figured it was the only one in which they wouldn't chat amongst themselves the whole period. As though the three of them utterly lacked the self-control not to. She shrugged. "Something about Art being 'better' for me, like how English was 'better' for Sonata."

"Age of Brownies. Just you wait, Canterlot... Just you wait..."

Adagio went on. "I'm not exactly thrilled, but I'll ask that neither of you raise a fuss about this. Going by my very recent experiences, we're still the bad guys here no matter what we do, so complaining about our treatment will only sound like we're planning to start trouble again, or an outright declaration of war." Granted, she couldn't blame people when they actually did act a little apathetic to the standards of this society, most of all herself, but the more scrutiny they got, the stronger the temptation to misbehave became. Vicious cycle.

"Tch," Aria all but spat, "Yea, don't worry, we all know the score by now." Glaring, but not wanting to glare at Adagio for this, she instead turned to Sonata's general direction. "Hey, what are you still doing over there anyway? Because if it's something that needs fuses, I'm gonna smack you!"

"It's noooot!" Sonata stepped around the corner with a slightly annoyed look on her face, but neither of her companions noticed that at the time so much as her attire. Aria's jaw dropped, Adagio's eyes widened, but neither said a word as they took in the sight of Sonata wearing a full set of matching, white, lacey bra, panties, stockings and a garter belt. Noticing that she and her fancy undies were noticed, Sonata beamed, posing with her hands on her hips. "I toldja I knew what to do with this funky crud!"

Adagio beamed with pride. "Good girl, Nata!!"

Turning red and looking away, Aria facepalmed. "You guys are so embarrassing."

---

The last class of the day passed without incident, so the Dazzlings met up in the foyer and headed home together, Adagio chuckling with delight every time someone turned their head to gaze at Sonata's sexy, stocking-clad thighs.

Aria shook her head. "Can't believe you wore that for the rest of the day."

Sonata pouted a little. "What?"

"Wearing that stringy, do-me-riffic stuff under your clothes? That's the kinda thing you'd do if you lost a bet."

Her eyes glinting with wicked glee, Sonata grinned impishly. "Really? You'd wear it if you lost a bet?"

Aria grew apprehensive, giving Sonata a cautious look. "N-ye-well, I mean..."

"Just under your clothes? It is underwear, y'know."

"It sounds like some kind of punishment, that's all I mean to say here."

Sonata was still grinning like she was about to spring a trap. "Then the next time we make a bet, I can set that as the condition if you lose?"

Aria looked like she was regretting this whole line of conversation as sweat trickled down her forehead. Amusing though it was, Adagio came to her rescue. "Leave her be, Nata, it'd be a waste of a bet anyway." She got two simultaneous 'huh's for this, which made her giggle. "Think it through. If Ria were to wear elegant undergarments with those pants, it wouldn't exactly be a... comfortable fit." She and Sonata took a few seconds to appreciate the look on Aria's face as she grew increasingly self-conscious. "So wearing them under her current attire is a no-go. She could conceal them entirely under our usual alternative, but then they'd be entirely concealed, which kind of nullifies the point."

"Sooo," Sonata offered, still grinning, "we'd need a second bet to get her to go somewhere in a miniskirt?"

Aria blanched.

"No, no, don't be ridiculous, we're talking about Ria here." Adagio waited until juuust the point where Aria's grateful smile reached its peak before giggling evilly. "We'd have to have her go out in nothing but the lingerie!"

The look of shock she got for that line was priceless. Aria then scowled and looked away. "Hate you both."

Adagio and Sonata both laughed, long enough that Aria hesitantly started giggling along with them. After about another minute of walking, Sonata was looking herself over. "We really could use a little changing up in the outfit department. I'd start wearing stuff from the costume closet to school, but we already got in trouble for that once."

Pouting a little at the memory, Adagio sighed. "I still don't see what the problem was, mine was specifically labeled 'Schoolgirl.'"

Neither Aria nor Sonata had the heart to say anything. But they did quietly giggle the rest of the way home.

---

A few hours of post-school kicking back and relaxing later, Adagio opted to try one of a few new things she'd been getting practice at since meeting Fluttershy; cooking! Specifically, she'd only been trying it for the last few days, the time in which their kitchen actually had a decent stock of food to cook with. Aria had proven fond of microwavable meals (as well as the microwave, but that was another story), Sonata generally liked anything she could just scarf right down, but Adagio wanted to try the more sophisticated route. Indeed, blending ingredients and heat with measurements and timing was almost like composing a song! A song she could stuff her face with after!

In theory, anyway.

Results were often mixed. As in, she might have been able to put what she cooked in a blender and it would make precisely as much difference, but she was getting better! Today's discolored bowl of steaming slop at least had distinctive flavors for the first few mouthfuls. Then she realized that those were just the things that floated to the top, possibly to escape that which sank to the depths. That was about all she could stomach before giving up for the day and eating a bowl of cereal followed by half a bag of grapes dropped leisurely into her own mouth while leaning back on a comfy chair, but there was always next time.

Walking out of the kitchen, she saw Sonata sitting at the bottom of the stairs and putting her shoes on. "Hey, Nata."

Sonata jumped, giving Adagio a wide-eyed, hand-in-the-cookie-barrel kind of look for just a split second before smiling. "Yea, hey, hi! What's up?"

Suppressing a reaction to that odd look, Adagio shrugged. "Nothing much. You done anything interesting recently?"

"Uh... Nah, not really."

"You haven't been playing with matches?"

Sonata rolled her eyes and groaned. "No, I haven't set anything on fire lately."

"And?"

"And I haven't put out fires that were supposed to be there." How the heck was she supposed to know what a Luau was, anyway?

"Good," Adagio chuckled, motioning to her most accident-prone friend's shoes, "going somewhere?"

Sonata briefly regained that flicker of panic. "Y-yea, to, a, place! And stuff."

Adagio glanced out the nearest window. "It's almost night time, where would you be going so late in the day?"

Sweating even a little bit wasn't making her look any less suspicious, nor the wide, nervous grin as she stood up. "Just, y'know... out?"

Raising one eyebrow, Adagio held her with an appraising look.

Going out in the evening, not saying where, that anxiety in her face? Ooh, la-la~!

Adagio showed only a friendly smile. "Well, have fun." She stepped forward to hug her, pausing for a fraction of a second to make sure she didn't do so in such a way that pinned Sonata's arms to her sides. "Be a good girl, stay out of trouble, and don't offer candy to strangers."

Hugging her back, Sonata giggled. "Gee, thanks, mom."

Smirking just a little, Adagio whispered into her ear. "I'll leave the door unlocked, alright?"

Sonata turned red. "Eh, r-right, thanks..."

Waiting until the front door was closed, Adagio waited four more seconds, drew her phone, and typed up a quick text message to Sonata.

[One last thing? Be sure to use protection! ;)]

Pressing SEND, Adagio pocketed her phone. "Three. Two. One." She heard Sonata's voice from outside.

"GYAH!!"

Adagio spent the next minute cackling triumphantly, only laughing harder when Sonata messaged her back with a series of angry, typo-ridden emoticons. Catching her breath, she found herself alone in the silence. She wasn't actually certain Sonata was going out to indulge in animalistic lust for a while, but even if she was, Sonata was a big girl and could take care of herself. At the very least, maybe she'd get up to something that would make for a funny story later?

Adagio shrugged. May as well see what Aria's up to. Pacing into the living room, she found Aria leaning back on the couch in front of the big-screen TV, a controller in her hands and a microphone-headphone combination gadget on her head. Those were useful for having a little extra fun with other players online, the Dazzlings had learned.

From the look of things, Aria was explaining something to a player named 'DoomPrism,' her usual co-op buddy when her fellow sirens weren't interested. "Oui," she said in a French accent, as was her preference for this sort of thing, "use TK on zat garbaj truck, hold eet in frahnt of you, zen hold ze sprint buttahn an' charge down ze street." The screen filled with calamity and explosions, Adagio hearing tinny, maniacal laughter from the other side of the connection as Aria smiled. "Oui, zat is quality chaos, well done, ami."

Leaning over the back of the couch, Adagio giggled, but kept her voice down. "Having fun?"

Aria nodded to her, not looking away from the screen. "Totally, you can really go nuts in this game. Wanna join in?"

Tinting pink, Adagio shook her head. "That's alright, I'll wait until you and Doom have worked out the highlights."

"Sure thing..." Aria waited until Adagio had pressed off the couch and turned to walk away before smirking. "Comrade Adagio." She didn't get to see their near-shameless leader blush, but hearing her tense up and freeze where she stood before continuing a little faster than before was every bit as satisfying.

Huffing silently as she turned a corner, Adagio shook her head.

I don't know how they ever talked me into joining that ridiculous little shtick.

Aria had worried about someone recognizing her voice and came up with Mademoiselle Aria to disguise it. Once Sonata got the idea of crudely imitating Photo Finish to hide her own, it wasn't long before both repeatedly urged Adagio to do something similar. It might have made her feel a little sexier, but there was really no sensible reason for her to spend all online interaction talking in a Russian accent.

Marching up the stairs, she'd shaken off the warmth in her face by the time she'd entered her room, flicking on the light and looking into a full-length mirror. She was briefly torn with indecision as to whether she wanted to stare into that one or the one on her vanity, but settled for the choice that came with a cushy stool to sit on. She only wanted to examine her face, anyway. Doing just that, she prioritized her eyes, particularly the eyeliner applied that morning.

Still there, just as it was!

She continued to stare at herself, slightly bothered by how her own eyes seemed to hold her, the dark rings she'd painted onto herself reminding her of some abyssal horror peering out from a deep trench.

You didn't wear make-up before.

Times change, I do a lot of things differently now.

But not for no reason.

Yes...

She sighed, tracing a finger very close to one eye, rubbing away a thin layer of the dark substance in a trail leading toward her temple. Then realization struck.

The eyeliner!! I'm an idiot! Of course everyone's more scared of me than ever, it's only in the last, what, week or two that I've been painting dark rings around my eyes?!

Slamming a fist against the vanity counter-top, she cursed herself for not realizing such a thing could even have an effect, for forgetting she'd even been wearing it through the day. Fluttershy didn't seem to mind, and if the squirmiest cutie she could find was alright with it, how could anyone else be afraid? It made more sense when she didn't think about it, at least not enough to remember that Fluttershy was no true coward, unlike Twilight's legion of stupid, spineless, self-righteous-

She wouldn't like you thinking that way. Not even because some of them are her friends, she'd just be worried about your mental health.

Sighing again, Adagio made the conscious effort to calm down. She wiped away another streak of eyeliner with a fingertip, this time in a line smearing down toward her cheek, and was reminded why she wore the stuff at all.

She wouldn't care, you know.

In the sense that it wouldn't bother her, but she'd still ask about it.

True. What are you going to do?

Nothing. I'll work something out, fix this myself, and it'll be like nothing was ever amiss.

Fine, maybe she never finds out and everything goes on as before. Then she can get sick of you for the regular reasons.

...

Well it wasn't like she could just not fluster Fluttershy, the girl was so bashful it barely took a wink to spike her heart-rate! It was all fun and games now, but sooner or later, be it weeks, months, or, if she was lucky, years from now, Fluttershy was sure to get sick of being someone's plaything, even to the merciful comparatively tame degree the game had reached. It wasn't even a matter of just watching words, and they'd specifically laid out rules that nobody should be acting as anything but themselves, that was the beauty of their friendship, that there was no need for a facade at all! Adagio loved talking to Fluttershy, loved playing with her, loved their small-talk, loved trading philosophy with her, loved making her squirm as much as making her smile, but she'd gone too far at least once and come close too many times more! Sooner later, it was going to be too much, Fluttershy would snap and shout at her, in that I-would-never-sic-a-squirrel-on-you way Adagio knew she could, she'd declare that she didn't deserve to be treated that way, and she'd be right!

No, wait...

She'd been following the rules as Fluttershy herself set them, hadn't she? Talking was fine, implication was fine, accusation was apparently not, kissing on the cheek was fine, hand-touching was fine, bottom-touching was not, etc. The only ways Adagio could find these limits was either to notice Fluttershy setting them by committing the specific actions, or by crossing them herself by accident, which brought the risk of upsetting Fluttershy. This returned her to the problem of a moment ago.

But, Fluttershy definitely likes me, she wouldn't have put up with me for so long otherwise, and she almost always looks happy to see me.

She turned to look at her heart-shaped bed, remembering when Fluttershy came in and sat with her. In a nurse outfit. And then nothing steamy happened. The fact that Fluttershy's interest was non-sexual just made it all the more frustrating and confusing.

MOSTLY non-sexual, I should say. I know she stares at my ass when I walk away. Everyone does, or at least tries to, that's kind of the idea.

Well, usually. It had been a little awkward the day she caught Sonata ogling her without a hint of denial, but at least it meant Sonata was honest with herself. And others. To an almost worrying degree. That in mind, Sonata probably really wasn't sneaking out to meet a lover tonight, or she'd have outright said so. Right?

Still, I know there's more to it with Fluttershy.

Why are you so worried about this anyway? Even if she pushes you away, you've still got people like Trixie to screw with to your heart's cont

No. I have other targets, I have other playmates, but apart from Aria and Sonata, I have no other friends.

...And how long before they get fed up with your salacious sense of humor too? What if Sonata really is out on a date tonight, an earnest attempt at a relationship, and you just made her nervous? What if that's what had her so evasive?

Adagio made the mental note to try to fluster her oldest companions a little less often.

Anyway, Fluttershy. She likes me, for more than my body, more than my voice, more than pure admiration, because cute little offering pose or not, she doesn't see me as an idol to be worshiped, which means she isn't just a thrall to be lavished by.

She hated this, having a fondness for someone, but total lack of control over them, making it a vulnerability. It was a weak spot, a tiny, soft, secret, precious, embarrassing, tender little weak spot that she didn't want to give up.

I'm sure there's a dirty joke in there somewhere, but she isn't around to hear it right now anyway.

Wiping off the rest of the eyeliner with an old shirt she'd never even worn, Adagio stood up, groggily paced the five steps to her bed, barely stopped herself from falling into it, and wavered indecisively for a minute before determining that undressing before sleep was probably a good idea. Stripped, she sprawled out on her bed, knowing that there was nothing more she could do about the Fluttershy situation than there was about their voices. The ones they lost under her command, no less. They'd all had a chance to cry that out during the time with Sunset Shimmer, but it didn't stop being true.

Shaking her head as the troublesome thoughts piled up, Adagio closed her eyes, waiting for the morning.

---

Eventually, she reached the point where she couldn't lie in bed any longer, certain even without turning to look at the un-set alarm clock on her bedside refrigerator that several hours had passed. She must have spent at least a few of them out cold, right? Dwelling on such troubling thoughts just before bed had not been a great idea. Feeling too stir-crazy to be still a second longer, she sat up, got dressed in another of her duplicate dance outfits (Sonata was right, we really could use new threads, if only to change it up a little more), moved over to her vanity, flicked on the lights surrounding the mirror, and sat down to apply today's layer of eyeliner. She'd considered adding lipstick many times, but she didn't like the way it could make anything she ate taste funny if she wasn't careful. Besides, Fluttershy would never live it down if she were caught with lipstick smeared on her face, neck, or clothing.

It's never exactly gone that far, but she's surprised me a few times now...

When it was done, she grinned a little, batting her eyes at herself and blowing a kiss. Standing up, she headed downstairs and got some coffee brewing. It was too early in the day to experiment with cooking, but cereal and milk were plentiful and tasty. And coffee.

To think, the residents of this world figured out a way to harness dark energy not in miniature incantation prisms, but in water!

It had almost made her take back what she'd said about their world being pathetic on the spot. By her third cup, she wondered if Aria and Sonata heated up and drank what she didn't when they eventually woke up, or if they just poured it on the curb in a weird, quasi-memorial service because she wasn't home at the time. She was pretty sure they both drank coffee, sometimes.

There was still an hour before Fluttershy was due to be at school, so Adagio headed to the living room, turned on the necessary machines, turned down the volume so as not to wake the girls upstairs, sat on the couch, picked up a controller, and tried to remember the instructions Aria had given DoomPrism. It took her about ten minutes of wandering around to find a large vehicle, but there was a kind of zen in just walking the virtual world, seeing the sights, appreciating them in all their digital splendor. It was nice when a game let her do that, just aimlessly tour the world map with nothing getting in the way or demanding she defend herself, just leaving her free to explore the nonexistent city at her own pace. Then she found a garbage truck.

"Telekinesis... hold it in front of you... get on the street... sprint."

She was rewarded with instant noise and explosions, fire and screams, rag-doll physics and death. She smiled. The only thing nicer than the peace of a big, open-world map was destroying that peace and making every living thing in her virtual playpen regret the day they were coded. Fluttershy wouldn't approve of how she chuckled darkly to herself as she pretended to wipe out scores of imaginary population, but what she didn't know wouldn't hurt her. Or stop Adagio from hurting hundreds of fake people.

KRAK-BOOOM!!

"Heeheeheeheeheeheeheehee..."

---

It was with more than a hint of hesitation that Adagio found herself walking down the street to CHS, but it would raise questions if she broke pattern again. Besides, it wasn't like she had anything better to do. Before she knew it, she was standing a considerable distance behind Fluttershy's bench, staring at the pink plume that first caught her eye, and before she could convince herself not to, she took a step forward. The sound of her spiked boots momentarily crushing the grass underfoot was louder to her than ever.

Will she be startled again today?

Crunch.

I try, I really do, but I can't help it when she zones out.

Crunch.

Does that make a difference to her?

Crunch.

If it keeps happening, it's just one more thing for her to get annoyed about.

Crunch.

I want to make her blush,

Crunch.

I want to make her squirm,

Crunch.

but I don't want her annoyed with me.

Crunch.

If she gets annoyed, she'll eventually push me away.

Crunch.

There'll be nothing I can do to get her back.

Crunch.

Her friends, my friends, would only encourage separation,

Crunch!

because I tease her,

Crunch!

because I torment her,

Crunch!

because even when I'm-

Crunch!

not trying to-

Crunch!

I always-

Crunchcrunch!

but, she never-

Crunchcrunch!

no matter what I-

Crunchcrunch!

because she-

Crunchcrunchcrunch!

but, I still-

Crunchcrunchcrunch!

Adagio slapped both hands on the back of the bench as she came to a stop, feeling oddly short of breath. "Fluttershy!!"

"EEP!"

I'm sorry! "I need to ask you something."

Her heart already beating much faster than normal, Fluttershy stared back at Adagio, the shock of the sudden appearance, the urgency in her face, and the sound of her own name from Adagio's lips spinning like an egg-beater in her head, denying more than a dumb nod in reply.

The siren's expression was firm, but her eyes were tinged with fear. "Do I bother you?"

"W...w-what?"

"Do I irritate you, am I an annoyance, do you ever wish I'd just leave you alone some mornings?" The corners of her mouth twitched as though she was trying to smile, "Because I can, I can go by whatever schedule you like, Hell, I could skip whole days if you'd be more comfor-"

Fluttershy held up a hand, her voice quiet, but eyes pleading. "Wait." Seeing Adagio's mouth close and some of the tension fall from her shoulders, she went on. "No, you aren't a bother. You definitely make me jump sometimes, and, I know you don't always mean to, but you do frighten me a little, and that's okay." Shock and confusion were never so prominent. Smiling a little, Fluttershy patted the seat on the bench next to her. "Sit with me, please?"

Gingerly, as though she'd momentarily forgotten how sitting was done, Adagio stepped around and took a seat, making a face like she'd done something wrong.

"At first, seeing you at all filled me with fear and worry, not knowing what you were thinking, not knowing what you going to do, but, when I understood that you meant no harm, I started to relax." Fluttershy smiled sheepishly. "I-I'll admit that I don't know if I ever completely relaxed, but before long, I actually, well... You remember that morning in the library?" Adagio nodded once. "I think that was when I was sure that you weren't just picking on me, because that was the first time you held back. Once I knew that, I knew we could be friends."

Holding a hand to her chin, Adagio tilted her head, making a variant of the analytical face. "The next day, that was when you proposed the deal, wasn't it? That we'd eat candy together if I didn't startle you? The one I've repeatedly broken by accident?"

Fluttershy frowned, but renewed her grin as an idea sprang to mind. "Then, maybe we could do something else? I like sharing with you, Adagio, and I know you can't help catching me off guard, so, why don't we just enjoy a treat together every morning? Or, if I bring something you don't like, we can just talk, talking is nice too!" She gently reached out to take Adagio's hand. "We can do that whether you startle me or not, just as long as you come by every morning! I won't say I'm never scared around you, but I'm not scared of you." Her smile turned warm and welcoming, hitting Adagio like a super-charged version of Celestia's best effort at the same expression. "I don't hate you, I never have. Please don't think otherwise. Okay?"

Adagio could feel tears welling in her eyes, but she mustered her will to keep an even voice and project only the utmost confidence as she closed her eyes, crossed her arms, and grinned haughtily. "R-right, well, that's exactly what I suspected. Mostly. Mostly what I expected."

Fluttershy didn't quite believe that, but hadn't stopped giving the benefit of the doubt. Besides, she kind of admired that prideful attitude, even if it made Adagio act a little silly sometimes. Even then, what was wrong with silly? Still, she felt like she needed to say something, leaning a little closer. "H-hey, Adagio?" Adagio turned back to face her, making that adorable little 'huh?' face. "I-I, uh, I was thinking, um, s-since you're here-"

Kiss me.

"I mean, when you're here,"

Kiss me.

She could feel herself heating up, Adagio looking back at her with a mildly perplexed, but patient expression. "k-kind of like right now, but-"

Kiss me!

"I-I mean, it d-doesn't necessarily have to be right now, but-"

Kiss me!

"well, now is fine too, so, um-"

Kiss me!

Her heart was hammering in her chest, Adagio just quietly staring back at her, not making a move. "I was j-just thinking, we, could-" Adagio's head tilted just barely enough to look like she was about to lean in for a lip-lock, triggering a short series of words and movements borne of panic. Fluttershy reached into her bag, grabbed the first thing her fingers touched, "wouldyoulikea-" and rapidly yanked it upwards, slapping Adagio in the face with a notebook.

Recoiling, Adagio held a hand to her cheek. "Ow!!"

Fluttershy internally screamed, needles of pure ice assailing her spine as she babbled incoherently. That ice extended to her heart when it looked like Adagio was glaring at her, thawing a little when it became a pained smirk.

"Very funny, Sweetie." The way Fluttershy quickly shook her head, getting that teary-eyed look when she stopped, only left Adagio confused.

"I, I didn't, it was an, I'm sorry, I didn't mean-"

Piecing together the most likely explanation in her head, Adagio started to giggle, letting her hand fall away from her slightly sore cheek. "I get it, Sweetie, it's alright." She smirked. "I know how it is, and don't worry, you're far from the only one who loses control of their body around me." Fluttershy let out a satisfying little squeak as she tinted pink, Adagio's evil grin growing as she scooted closer. "I mean, just the thought of touching me sends some people into a dreamy little daze. Sound like anyone you know?" The answer was apparent, but Fluttershy was still very much conscious. That or her eyes were rapidly tracing over Adagio's body of their own accord. Win-win!

Her hand darted out to seize Fluttershy's wrist, moving it to rest her hand flat on Adagio's thigh. The low, long whimper this drew as Fluttershy burned hot enough to roast marshmallows over made Adagio chuckle fiendishly, letting go and reaching out to lightly touch the trembling girl's chin and turn her head to force eye-contact. However, Adagio dropped the sadistic look in favor of a sympathetic one, her voice warm and gentle. "You're sure I don't bother you, Sweetie?"

Fluttershy blinked twice, but even through the blush, her brain recovered faster than she'd have dared dream. "I..." She smiled, making no effort to move away from Adagio even by an inch. "Y-yes, I'm sure!"

Her smile growing wider, Adagio made less of an effort to hide the shine of tears in her eyes this time. "That's all I wanted to hear." The two of them locked eyes, their faces already close, both at least a little red in the face. "Sweetie?"

Breathing was getting difficult. "Yes?" Adagio pointed downward, where Fluttershy's hand was still on her thigh. This made her tense up, unintentionally contracting her fingers, which immediately drew a wide-eyed look and a deeper blush from Adagio, who sucked in a breath through her nose as Fluttershy jerked backward, her own face (and hand) feeling unbearably hot. "S-S-SORRY!!"

The groped siren, however, just giggled, laughing a little harder by the second even as her face grew redder. Holding a hand over her mouth, she managed to contain herself before the high-pitched giggling phase was reached, but she was definitely smiling by the end of it. "As I was saying, hm?"

Fluttershy let out a nervous giggle, still flushed herself. This time, she was much calmer when she reached into the backpack, making sure she had a grip on the little bag before gently lifting it where Adagio could see. "Would you like a peanut butter cup?" Sudden memory. "N-no actual chunks of peanut in this, I promise!"

Adagio smiled, leaned over, and kissed Fluttershy on the cheek.

Author's Note:

...Not yet, reader. Not quite yet.

I finally finished this just before going to sleep last night. Next chapter will be shorter. Maybe. Hopefully. Such is the plan. See you next week.

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