• 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 33: Mistakes Were Made

Following the purchase of Fluttershy's pirate uniform and the last outfit Adagio tried on (all of which Adagio insisted she be allowed to pay for, what with her abundant affluence and everything), Fluttershy put her hat back on and the two headed to the food court. They kept an eye out for anyone remotely familiar, but the only people in the area at the time were a few mall-cops that appeared to be on break, a small pack of twenty-something women excitedly chatting about a line of boots said to be equipped with built-in pepper-spray dispensers, an elderly couple, and a very, very fat man eating by himself.

They procured a meal (there had been teasing about Fluttershy wanting a side of big, juicy peaches while they waited for their order) and sat at a table by a corner of the area, but true to her word, Adagio regularly scanned their surroundings anyway.

Fluttershy couldn't tell if Adagio was just being considerate or if none of the options had appealed to her, but she hadn't ordered any meat. Either way, she wasn't sure if she should have said anything, because she'd long ago grown to tolerate people eating meat around her and had never tried to force her friends to do otherwise. They'd also procured a big bunch of fries in one of those plastic baskets lined with paper to share between them, which was where Fluttershy chose to start.

"Need any salt with those, Sweetie?"

Chewing, Fluttershy determined that the fries were a little bland, but she shook her head. "No thank you, I always feel a little bad about using salt."

Even behind Adagio's shades, it was clear that an eyebrow had risen. "Salt? You're not going to tell me that they get the substance from animals in this world."

Giggling, Fluttershy shook her head. "N-no, it's not that, just..." She briefly studied the nearby salt-shaker. "Well, even if you only sprinkle a little bit, not all of it stays on the food, so some of it just goes to waste." Unless you licked the plate clean, of course, but the funny looks she'd get for doing it had long since broken her of that perfectly practical habit.

Adagio still looked uncertain. "...And? They're specks of dust, Sweetie, I don't think anyone will miss them."

"Maybe not in one meal's worth, but like, cumulatively, you know?"

Folding her fingers under her chin as she rested her elbows on the table, Adagio studied Fluttershy's face for a moment, her own calm and neutral. "...Your reasoning is that adding salt enough times, no matter the ratio of salt consumed vs. thrown away, you'd inevitably have enough to fill a salt shaker when someone else would have needed it, correct?" There was a nod. "Does the fact that they don't charge extra for use of condiments factor in?"

"W-well, whether we have to pay for it or not, I'm sure someone does."

"Yes, a cost so low as to be utterly negligible." With an earnest expression, Adagio lowered her shades enough to look Fluttershy in the eye, though something about the effect drew a little blush from her economically-conscious girlfriend. It was something Adagio would have to investigate later. "Maybe it is a waste, but there are times that can't be helped, and you shouldn't let that stop you from taking what you want." Grinning a little, she winked. "I'm not suggesting you go snatching suckers out of people's mouths or anything, but..."

Turning a little rosier, Fluttershy smiled too.

Adagio went on. "Back when my group fed on negative energy, do you think that even the gems, Coltantian artifacts perfected over millennia of development, operated at 100% efficiency? Even if the energy in this world were more substantial, no offense,"

"None taken."

"we still only pulled in about 93% (give or take fluctuations in empathic convergence) of the power present at each feeding. It might not have made a difference in the end, but no matter what we did, something went to waste." She indicated the salt shaker with an index finger. "You could probably stuff that whole thing in your pocket when no one was looking (I know I don't have to tell a good girl like you not to, but please don't, as the mall-cops over there are already giving us funny looks), and the people running this place wouldn't do more than shrug their shoulders and move on, because the effort of recovering the missing shaker would be much more than what it took to grab another one from the nearest kitchen supply shop."

She smiled. "Honestly, I find there's a bit of catharsis to be had in indulgence, even just in tiny ones, like, say... buying a treat to enjoy every morning?" Fluttershy's eyes widening said she got the message, drawing a chuckle. "Maybe it's selfish, but-"

"But," Fluttershy said with a little grin, "if you're not at least a little selfish, you'll never be happy?"

Adagio beamed. "Right!" She smiled as Fluttershy boldly took hold of the shaker and sprinkled its contents into the fry-basket. Said sprinkling was done carefully, but still.

I really need to find a way to show appreciation for her actually listening to me, not just dismissing my philosophies as automatically wrong by virtue of not being her usual 'friendship and harmony' platitudes.

Not phrasing it like that felt like a good way to start, but before she could find the right words, Fluttershy spoke again.

"W-well, in that case, um..." She let the rim of her hat hide her eyes as she looked down at the table. "I-it's not about wasting anything, I guess, but, uh... s-something I wanted to know, b-but only if you don't mind telling me, uhm..." She had to look Adagio in the eye to ask. "What... wh-what was that, 'pressing charges' thing about?" Adagio blinked once. "You know, b-back in Principal Celestia's office, when-"

"Oh!" She scratched her chin, thinking back to the day she saw her Sweetie covered in frosting. Before her mind could wander to the usual places, she ventured a guess. "You want to know what happened that made Celestia grateful that I didn't pursue legal action?" The answer was a nod, which looked just a little cuter in that big hat of hers. The story was a little embarrassing for her, but Adagio didn't want to detract from the lesson of moments ago. Besides, she definitely owed Fluttershy for that bikini trick. She cleared her throat. "Alright, it started the week we returned to CHS..."

---

This world was very different from the one which Adagio and her followers had once known, a fact made clearer to her all the time. One big change was the school system, in that what they had running in this world was a sad, twisted little joke in comparison, though she couldn't really blame this species for not being as advanced as the Coltantians had been. To humanity's credit, they hadn't gotten themselves utterly annihilated yet. Yet. Adagio didn't see any atmospheric calibration spires in place anywhere she'd ever been in this world, so maybe that day was still a good ways off.

More to the point, they had strange classes here, enforcing instruction of things that may or may not be forgotten before the students' graduation whether they had any use past that point or not. Perhaps the most perplexing class was the one Luna had dragged her to; 'Detention.' Adagio could not for the life of her deduce the true purpose of sticking a half-dozen people in a room with a teacher that strictly tries to keep the room silent and nothing more. It was very odd, doubly-so as the class took place after school hours, but Adagio had managed to... make things fun, while she was there. Long story short, Adagio wasn't allowed in Detention class anymore, at least not with the other students and poor Miss Cheerilee. That, or she passed in one session. Hard to tell.

Luckily, Luna (who looked just a hair frustrated at the time) thought up a program for solo-study comprised mainly of locking Adagio by herself in a small room on the third floor. She even sealed the window with chains. Not big, heavy ones, but chains none-the-less. When the door was shut and locked, Adagio briefly analyzed the room, finding it to be a little cramped for an average classroom. Desks were pushed all the way to the walls and lined up in shorter rows than the usual arrangement, the teacher's bulky desk had to be shoved into a corner leaving very little wiggle room for the chair, and there was maybe a square meter of space in which to stand in front of the board. Not helping matters was the placement of stacks of boxes and some kind of bulky machine Adagio couldn't begin to identify in the back of the room, taking up valuable(?) learning space!

"Oh," she thought aloud, "perhaps... perhaps this is some manner of shop class? Am I to solve a puzzle of sorts?"

The room had little space, the management of which was a reasonably valuable skill by itself. Examining a few of the boxes, she found not all of them to be filled with various supplies and pieces of metal. Was it related to the big, bulbous thing in the back of the room? Thinking about it, they might have been pieces of the device, but more importantly, the boxes weren't filled to the brim, which meant space wasn't being utilized!

Looking to the bulky machine, she decided that taking it apart as best she could and stuffing the pieces into the boxes was the way to go. At least as long as just moving some desks out of the room (locked door and windows) wasn't an option. She approached the metal... thing, took hold of a knob of some sort between two fingers, and twisted it off with little effort. Nothing happened, so she deposited the knob in the nearest box and proceeded to remove a loose bolt, some kind of plate with a broken hinge, and another knob somewhere. Things only got worrying when she displaced a pipe by tugging on it really hard, steam spraying out of the opening with no signs of stopping. The small room quickly became warm.

Ohh, I should not have worn a hoodie and jeans today.

She wouldn't have worn anything at all, but these damn rules! Stripping right now seemed like a logical choice, but she remembered the whole reason she'd been drafted into Mystery Alone Time class in the first place had something to do with her having ignored the clothing rules again. If she continued to disregard those rules, she and the others might get thrown out, returning them to boredom limbo. The sweating siren remained dressed as steam continued to pour in.

She was probably going to get a bad grade in this class.

---

About forty-five minutes later, Luna walked briskly down the hall to retrieve the young felon, quickening her pace when she noticed the wisps of steam in the air.

"What is that little degenerate up to now," she hissed under her breath, "is there no end to the things she'll do for attention?" Unlocking the room as steam continued to seep from beneath the door, she gave the handle a twist and pulled... to no avail. She pulled harder, finding the door to be stuck tight. "W-what? Adagio Dazzle! Open this door!!"

The door-muffled reply came with obvious irritation. "What do you think I've been trying to do? You locked me in, remember?!"

"You mean you cannot...?" Luna's eyes widened in horror.

She is trapped in there. With what may be dangerous temperatures.

"J-just hold on," she shouted through the door while backing up, "I'll have you out momentarily!" Without waiting for a reply, she kicked the door as hard as she could, but it barely budged. She backed up to kick it again and again with similar results, even when she tried a roundhouse kick and a running start from several feet away. She kicked until it hurt to stand on that foot, but the door did not yield. There was no time to lament her foolishness for having deliberately chosen a room with a sturdy door in which to confine Adagio, but it had felt necessary at the time. Instead, she dialed an emergency number in her cellphone while shouting through the defiant barrier.

"Miss Dazzle! If you can still hear me, open a window to release some of the steam!"

"I would, but someone had them sealed with chains. Very kinky, by the way, do you use this kind of equipment often?"

Her face growing as hot as the vapor that continued to flow out from under the door, Luna grumbled a stream of swears under breath until the maintenance man picked up.

---

Twenty minutes later, a man in a jumpsuit stood outside the room with her, but Luna was no happier for it.

"What do you mean you cannot open the door?!"

He shrugged his shoulders. "I mean 'xactly what I said, it's a no-can-do. And it ain't just cuz'a the old wood in the doorway swellin' shut with all that heat an' moisture, there's a busted piece'a tech in there that's makin' all these fumes, right? They passed a law back in the eighties 'bout how ya can't go riskin' public places when there might be toxins in the air."

"T-toxins?!" Luna was nearly pulling on her own hair in exasperation. "If the room were full of poisonous gas, would she still be breathing in there?!"

"Well, breathin' poison."

Adagio offered her thoughts from behind the door. "I'm not breathing poison."

Luna pointed to the door. "She's not breathing poison, now help me get it open!"

"Yes, please help her get it open!"

The maintenance man didn't move. "But then we'd risk breathin' poison!"

The trapped siren sounded increasingly irritable. "This room is so fogged up I can hardly see the door I'm yelling at you through! If this were some kind of toxin, I'd die the minute I exhaled!"

Dire as the situation was, Luna noted Adagio's capacity to be a smartass as a sign of decent health. She turned to the legally-dogmatic dolt in the jumpsuit. "If we cannot open the door, how are we to retrieve the student inside?!"

"Uh..." He took his time in looking back and forth between her and the door. "I'unno. Break a window, I guess? That wouldn't be flooding the school, just the environment. They were way more lax about the trees and all that back then, ya'know?"

Luna cupped her hands around her mouth to shout through the door. "Adagio! If you cannot pry them open, break a window to increase air-flow!"

In the room, the sweat-drenched siren all but scoffed. 'Break a window'? I don't think so. Adagio smelled a trap. She knew that her group wasn't wanted in CHS, and trying to trick her into damaging school property, with a witness, at that, would be just the thing to justify throwing all of them out for good! It'd be the same as if she...

...if I were to take my clothes off again. That'd be against school rules too, wouldn't it?

Was this whole thing a set-up? Luring her into a little room, having her trigger the steam, and waiting until she could be caught doing something to relieve the heat? Were they trying to get rid of her so soon? Surprisingly, the thought of it actually hurt, making Adagio turn away from the door in disgust, though the sudden motion made her a little woozy. She'd have crossed her arms as well, but such an action had a way of conserving warmth in the body, which, along with her abundant hair and clothes, wouldn't do her any favors right about now.

Out in the hall, Luna grew more frantic with the trapped student's silence. "Miss Dazzle? I said you can break a window!" No response, does she not have the strength? "Adagio Dazzle! Just pick up a chair and swing it at the glass!"

Not going to work, thought Adagio, I'm not going to- She shakily fell to one knee, which was odd, because her head felt lighter by the minute! Actually, the ground felt relatively cool on her sweat-dampened knee... She sunk lower, meeting the welcoming tile floor with all-due haste. Ahhh, that's better...

"That sound," Luna said as she pressed an ear to the door, "I think she's collapsed! We need a ladder, now!!"

---

Following a third-story, window-smashing rescue that Luna had to carry out herself while the maintenance man bumbled about with questionably-necessary gasmasks, a very dozy and dehydrated Adagio was princess-carried down the ladder. It was a remarkable feat of balance by the vice principal as she carried the hooded girl, though the only witnesses were the oaf in the jumpsuit and a squad car.

There was a bit of explaining to be done to the police, first for why they appeared to be breaking into the school via a third-floor window, then why it was deemed necessary to enact seclusion of a student outside of an emergency situation. However, after having been allowed a long drink of bottled water, the girl in question surprised all present by insisting that the event was an honest mistake, that no harm was done (to her anyway, she couldn't speak for the window or the machine that the maintenance man had to climb the ladder to go in and fix), and asking that charges be dropped. The school was let off with a warning not to allow a repeat of this incident, something Vice Principal Luna solemnly swore on.

A little later, Luna sat on the school steps next to a slightly soggy siren, waiting in silence as she guzzled down her third bottle of water. When her thirst seemed just about quenched, Luna spoke quietly. "I cannot apologize enough, Miss Dazzle, I had never intended things to turn out this way. If I had known that old boiler were capable of malfunctioning to such an extent, I would have never selected that room for your detention." Truly, the timing for such a thing could not have been worse.

Having riddled out that she may have been a little hasty in her judgement of the situation before, Adagio hoped her reluctance to look Luna in the eye would be read as her usual insouciance. "Don't worry about it." More-so because the pipe breaking was my own fault in the first place...

However, Luna wasn't quite satisfied with this. "I'm afraid I must, as your life might well have been in danger. I cannot believe I am asking, but why did you not simply disrobe? Surely, the heat would have been more bearable without such warm clothing."

"Well..." Now Adagio looked at her, but only fleetingly. "There are rules about staying clothed in school, right?"

Something in Luna's heart sank. "You endured that Hell just to abide by regulations?" The only reply was a shrug. Luna had gathered that the sirens were foreign to this land in the same vein as Sunset Shimmer, but it was clear they did not understand their new(?) environment as well as she had. Perhaps assuming otherwise had been Luna's error. If their greatest crime (well, second or third greatest) was that they could not easily integrate with a new society, a new world, then Luna did not want to punish them further for trying.

"Perhaps there can be an arrangement," she said with a hopeful grin, "I will ask that you not remove your clothing under ordinary circumstances on school grounds outside of restrooms or locker rooms, but if it is a matter of life and death? You are permitted to strip naked anywhere you please."

Looking directly at her now, Adagio smiled. "I fully accept those terms!"

Luna smiled a little wider, sensing that some kind of understanding had been reached. Then Adagio asked a question.

"Oh, could I add just one more place to the list?"

Luna raised an eyebrow. "Where did you have in mind?"

She leaned over enough to bring her lips to Luna's ear and growled. "Your office, ten minutes."

Luna whipped her head backward, a murderous glare saying what the law would never allow her to. It was almost intense enough to hide her equally furious blush.

Adagio grinned cheekily. "So... It's a 'maybe'?"

Author's Note:

Remember their little talk back in Chapter 17? This was the context. :pinkiehappy:

Alternate title: Sweet, Salty Selfishness

I've heard that Fluttershy has a Shining Armor of her own. That is, a hitherto-unknown brother that they're going to tell us totally existed this whole time and wasn't just made up for the sake of whatever they're doing that episode. I'm not thrilled about Maud Pie's introduction either, but she's at least kind of fun to have around.

That in mind, I'm disregarding FlutterBrother entirely in my work until sufficiently pressed to do otherwise, same with the rest of the Schrodinger's Family Members floating around.

Next time: History lessons with Adagio!

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