• 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 37: Soft, Gooey Centers

Once everyone had pulled themselves together, Rarity, Rainbow, and Fluttershy agreed that the next thing to do was to inform the sirens of what they'd shared together. Fluttershy, having been there before, led the way, though Rainbow had been startled to learn that her house was only a few blocks away from theirs. Both Rarity and Rainbow had been startled when Fluttershy reviewed her thoughts on Adagio possibly knowing where all of them lived on the way.

Fluttershy stopped everyone at the door (which remained as dark and foreboding as she remembered, most of all right now) and turned to quietly share something she may have skimmed over during her story. "Now, um, th-the sirens' house is, well... they aren't really from around here, so things might feel a tad strange, but please keep an open mind when we go in."

Raising a hand to her mouth in ladylike fashion, Rarity tittered. "Ohh, I'm sure it's just fine."

When they rang the doorbell, the sound of loud, rapid footsteps coming their way made Fluttershy nervous, but part of her wondered if the Dazzlings just didn't get that many visitors. The black door flung open, revealing a beaming Sonata dressed in a tube top and sweatpants.

"Hi, the-" Her smile was immediately wiped away with a look of wide-eyed shock, her voice fading to a strangled wheeze as she started to sweat profusely.

Smiling a little, Rarity tried to calm her down. "Hello, Darling."

Sonata's eyes shifted to her, then to her friends, then back to her, then she fell backward in perfectly stiff fashion, not moving or saying another word. Aria's voice was heard just seconds before she came around the corner, garbed in a loose, black shirt and tight jeans.

"Who is it, Nat-" For just a second after catching sight of the trio, she locked up like Sonata had, but seemed to do a lot better after the shifty-eye phase. She looked squarely at Rainbow. "...Jig is up?"

Just slightly remorseful, Rainbow nodded. "Jig is up, RuleBook."

Screen-name: RuleBook's eyes narrowed. "You caved."

Rainbow raised her arms in exasperated fashion. "I had to!!"

As was typical of the surliest siren, she crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. "Whatever. What now?"

"Can you get everyone together? I think we need to talk."

Nodding, Aria nudged Sonata with her foot, which apparently freed her from her paralysis as she sat up and shouted toward the stairs.


While they waited for a response, Fluttershy noticed the perplexed stares she was getting. "Sonata calls me Dr. Seuss," she quietly, passively answered. The stares yet remained. She could only shrug. "Sonata calls me Dr. Seuss." She got two simultaneous 'Ohh's before Adagio shuffled into view from the upstairs balcony, overlooking the foyer. The sight of her drew a little blush from all three Rainbooms.

She was clad only in dark-violet, lacy underwear faintly covered by a long, black robe, open at the front with the shiny, silken sash hanging at her sides. The fabric was so thin that she might as well have been draped in a shadow as she stopped at the top of the stairs and looked down at the gathering. They could see even from there that she was wearing the usual layer of dark eyeliner as well.

Rainbow whispered to the others. "As if she needed more of that Evil Queen thing going."

Rarity shushed her, turning to find that Fluttershy was the latest paralysis victim as she beheld her secret lover in a state of undress, though with the added symptoms of a flushed face and light perspiration.

Definitely interested, she thought.

"What is this?" Adagio asked in level tones while pressing a hand to her own forehead, "I'm not sick or anything, so...?"

Just as with Sonata and herself the day their groups spoke in the cafeteria, Rarity spotted no flaw in the (according to Sonata) oldest siren's performance, not one lingering glance at Fluttershy, nothing shown in her expression save for mild curiosity in the form of a single raised eyebrow.

Suppose this is what the others will feel like when they learn what we've been keeping from them. Truly, the effect is chilling!

Aria nodded her head toward a doorway. "Let's talk in the dining room. Put on some pants, okay?" She headed off to wipe the dust off that chair pyramid, Sonata and their guests following. It was difficult to hear from the bottom of the staircase what Adagio had muttered about someone being lucky she wore anything at all as she paced out of sight.

Walking through the house, Fluttershy's warning apparently started to make a lot more sense to Rainbow and Rarity as they took in the sights. It was all as she remembered, give or take one room now having duct tape placed erratically along one wall like some kind of grey, sticky thunderbolt. The hooks and nets hung just where they'd been, she could see that the leaf-blower had been successfully deactivated (or run out of power) and put away, carpets and rugs were still strewn about, the ceiling-hammocks hadn't changed a bit, and the funny-painted walls gave her a weird kind of nostalgic feeling. Her friends, however, still seemed to be adjusting, with Rarity in particular looking ill.

"Man," Rainbow whispered, "dafuq with this house?" Aria must have partly heard her anyway.

"Yea, we got it back when we had our magic, okay? Hotels were too damn small and we couldn't make them feel any homier, so I hope you aren't here to tell us we have to pack up and go or anything."

Rainbow looked almost hurt by the thought. "No, no, nothing like that! There's just something the six of us need to talk about."

"Well, alright then," came Adagio's voice from directly behind them, earning three startled jumps. In addition to the bow in her hair, she was garbed in what Fluttershy recognized as one of her own selections from the mall; the skirt, vest, and blue jumpsuit combo, complete with the heels, she bore her usual smile. "Please, have a seat."


When explanations were through, five out of six girls were silent, the only sound in the room being the constant, near-manic, and slightly unsettling giggles of Fluttershy's no-longer-secret girlfriend.

Aria, leaning a little away from her, raised an eyebrow. "Funniest damn thing you've ever heard, huh?"

"N-no-ho-ho-heeheehehehehehe!" She took a quick breath, but the giggling didn't quite stop. "I th-think I'm just-heeheehahaha-I think I'm just in shaw-haw-hawk-hahahahahaha!"

Sonata, for her part, at least managed to sit in silence. Stone-stiff, bullet-sweating silence.

"Okay, uh," Rainbow bravely offered, "I'm glad you're not, y'know, having a psychotic episode over this or anything, but do you think you could, uh, c-cool it a bit?"

There was a little more laughter before she sucked in a breath, keeping a smile as she glanced back and forth at her two fellow friend-makers-in-secret. "I actually felt guilty for keeping it to myself for so long. What about you two?"

Aria, arms crossed as usual, shrugged a little. "Hey, I was just playing games, nothin' else." To her slight relief, Rainbow nodded in agreement. Now was NOT the time for a hurt, 'is-that-all-I-am-to-you?' lover routine, even as a joke.

Sonata looked much more contrite, her head almost low enough to touch the table. "It, just kinda started with clothes and...?" She gently face-planted. "M'm a bhd grrl."

Chuckling, Adagio shook her head. "Sorry, I didn't mean that to sound so accusing, most of all because I was apparently the first, just..." She flashed the girls across the table an apologetic grin. "Forgive us, this was something we talked about with Sunset Shimmer."

Rarity smiled a little. "Oh?"

"Yea," Aria confirmed with a regretful nod, "no going behind each others backs, no big secrets, no big lies, all the crap we've been doing anyway." She turned her head just enough to see her two oldest friends in the corner of her eye. "Sorry."

Rainbow said it before Fluttershy could. "Hey, if you're thinking it was a super-crummy thing to do, don't. Not just because we did it too and we're supposed to be all about the Friendship™ stuff, but because, I mean, we all kept quiet because we didn't want a huge mess, right? Because we all thought we were the only ones doing it until recently? But now," her smile was just slightly forced, "at least we can talk to each other, right?"

Warm grins were passed around the table, but Adagio wasn't entirely placated. "Perhaps, but where exactly are you intending to go with this? Does what we've shared today not leave this room, or can we expect everyone at Canterlot High to officially regard us as your latest triumph?" The confusion across the table said that not even Her Sweetie understood that last part. "We weren't the only ones to share in our soul-baring session with Sunset Shimmer, and she told us all about what she went through after you took her in."

"Ohh," Rarity said cautiously, "she did mention something like this..." She glanced at Rainbow and Fluttershy, who evidently didn't follow. "I've pursued the matter with Sunset, of what might come if we could do with them what we did with her? She explained it-" she quickly turned to look at the sirens, "-a-and do let me know if I mis-speak, but, the fear was that, seeing the three of you getting along with the six of us, the other students would immediately see you all as 'Sunset 2.0,' so to speak, that you'd be treated with only the pretense of acceptance by virtue of being near us at best, outright scorn and hostility like Sunset faced at worst?"

There was a short silence, broken by a whistle from Aria. "Sounds pretty much like what we talked about back then, yea."

"Well," offered Sonata, "things have kinda changed since then. We've been coming to school for months and nobody even calls us mean names when they know we're around to hear it, and even those people are pretty rare. So like, I don't think we even have to worry about being the school's bitches."

Rarity scowled. "Miss Dusk!"

The entire rest of the table, sans Rainbow, asked at once. "'Miss Dusk'?"

Rarity and Sonata shared a glance before mutually reddening, similarly giving their answer in unison. "N-nothing..." Both caught Adagio's cat-like smile, promising doom later for the poor soul who lived with her. For now, however, the Mistress of Merciless Teasing cleared her throat.

"Anyway, as she said, I think we've made enough of an impression that people giving us trouble as they did for her is a negligible risk, so the real concern is something far more... insidious."

There was a heavy silence, which is when Fluttershy chose to ask. "Uhm... Th-the, 'pretense of acceptance'? Wh-what does that mean, exactly?"

Aria shook her head. "Oh, come on, Squeaky, you're smarter than that. If people saw us with you guys, they'd be all 'ooh, look, the Dazzlings must be okay now, not because we give a damn about them or because they're just trying to live their harmless lives now, but because they're pals with our favorite band!'" She frowned a little harder than usual. "They'd just see us as accessories to you. Get it?"

Rainbow frowned. "I, yea, I think we get it. It'd be like how Sunset only dated Flash to get people to like her, way back when?" She was answered with three simultaneous nods. "But, wait, why is that such a bad thing? If they like you, they like you, so what if it's not for the best reason?" To her slight surprise, it was Fluttershy that responded first.

"How would you feel if you learned people were only even willing to talk to you not because they liked you for you, but for someone you knew?"

The first reply that came to mind was 'I wouldn't know because I'm so awesome,' but the words felt sour before she even said them. She turned to Rarity to see a frown that made her think there'd been experience there.

"It's an ugly feeling, Rainbow, rest assured."

"Yea," agreed Aria, "I mean, as it is? Everyone gives us a wide berth. If that changed overnight because'a you guys, because everyone decided they didn't care about what we did or, I guess, the stuff we still do solely because we were standing next to you, would you call that the 'magic of friendship'?"

They wouldn't, but Rainbow wasn't ready to give up yet. "So, what, you guys are just gonna stay like you are forever, never making any friends on your own?"

Sonata indicated the immediate gathering. "Hello, we made friends with you guys, remember? If we just keep at it, there's bound to be more!"

Leaning back with her arms crossed, Aria nodded. "They'll have to get used to us eventually, right? Besides, I think all of us would rather have few friends than fake friends."

"Indeed," Adagio picked up, folding her hands under her chin as she rested her elbows on the table, "which brings us to the inverse of the matter: Let's say that we made no secret of our involvement with the three of you up to this point and everyone didn't just go along with it. How do you think your peers might react if they learned what we," she used two fingers to indicate herself and Sonata, then Fluttershy and Rarity, "the four of us in particular, have been up to without their knowledge?" She was the only one at the table not to blush even a little. "Would your status as the school saviors be enough to ward off the hushed whispers and scrying stares, or would there be a sudden shift in trust now that everyone knew what you'd been doing behind their backs, whether it was any of their business or not?"

Rarity's eyes widened. "You're saying that we would be treated much like the three of you are?"

"Or worse, for you especially." She idly eyed the ceiling, thinking aloud. "Give or take demeanor, you're the most like what Sunset Shimmer once was, are you not? A social butterfly with nothing if not connections? 'Campus Queen' or something to that effect? It's not a guarantee, of course, but knowing how people are, that could change very quickly. That in mind," she actually gave Rarity a friendly little smile, "it might pay to be careful, no?"

Rather than showing fear or consternation at the idea, Rarity grinned right back. "I'm touched by your concern, Miss Dazzle."

Adagio would have gladly taken the chance to twist 'Miss Dazzle' into a question about 'Miss Dusk' and just what Rarity had in mind for her, but Fluttershy's presence reminded her of an earlier agreement. Shrugging, she wore a little smirk anyway. "Just be glad I have nothing to gain in ruining you." That drew a strangely satisfying look of surprise, but before Adagio could decide whether or not enjoying that kind of reaction meant she was still evil, she herself was surprised by Sonata leaning over to hug her arm.

"Aww, she might act that way, but she and Ria are total softies deep down!"

Fluttershy was happy to hear that for a number of reasons, one of which was for the sight of Adagio (and even Aria!) tinting pink as the rest of the table giggled. That neither said a word to deny it made her happier still.

"Alright," asked Rainbow, "so, what are we doing here? Do we just keep quiet about this until you guys can make some completely not-us friends on your own?" The sirens sharing a quick look before collectively nodding wasn't quite what she was hoping to see. "Can we at least tell Applejack, Sunset, and Pinkie?"

Aria raised an almost accusing eyebrow. "The more people you tell a secret, the harder it is to keep it that way."

This won a slightly guilty expression from Rainbow, but some of the tension left her shoulders when Rarity placed a comforting hand on her back. "Keeping secrets isn't Rainbow's strong suit to begin with, and the poor dear was more than a little distraught when she broke the news to Fluttershy and I."

"Don't call me a 'dear'!"

"Hush. I can't be certain how well they'd take it, but I am certain we can trust the others not to go spreading details we'd rather they didn't."

A silence settled over the table as Aria and Sonata looked to Adagio, who held Rarity's gaze for a long moment. She nodded. "That should suffice for now."

Internally, Fluttershy breathed a sigh of relief. This wasn't exactly a perfect resolution, but it wasn't an explosive disaster, either. Shortly after, the three Sirenbooming Rainbooms departed to inform the other three of what had occurred today, leaving the Dazzlings still sitting at their dining room table.

"Okay," began Aria the second she heard the front door close, "we're trusting all six of them, why?"

As usual, Adagio had an answer ready. "Because in addition to the fact that Rainbow Dash -bless her heroic little heart- was on the verge of making a costly mistake if she kept it to herself much longer, they must know that letting the cat out of the bag could prove harmful to their own friends as well as the three of us. Someone may still slip, granted, but this seems to be the safest option."

Nodding affirmatively, Aria kept her arms crossed. "The first time I played with her, I knew she was gonna be the one to talk first."

Sonata giggled. "I totally thought I was gonna blow it first!"

"You might have," replied Adagio, "had I pressed you for details that night a few weeks ago or inquired where exactly you've been sneaking off to." Her grin turned wide and murderous. "On that note..."

Tinting a lighter shade of blue, Sonata quickly got out of her seat. "W-well, I gotta-" Adagio had already latched onto her, holding her in a tight, but snuggly hug. It took a second for Sonata to register that that was what was happening, along with Adagio practically squeeing as she gently shook her back and forth.

"I'msoproudofyouuu!! I never even suspected you were meeting someone to go at it like- well, okay, I suspected, but my mind's always in the gutter anyway, so I'm still really proud!!"

"Oh-kay," Sonata wheezed as she was squeezed, turning back to her normal color, then a slightly darker shade of blue. Mercifully, Adagio set her down, but took hold of her shoulders to deliver her rapid-fire questions.

"Have you kissed? Have you frenched? Has she touched you? Has she made you squirm and shudder? Has she stuck it in your-"

Dark blue became bright pink. "DAGIII!!"

Adagio's eyes widened in surprise, but her smile didn't weaken. "Me?! Oh my, don't tell me you already need to spice things up with threesomes!" She gasped, though it was difficult to say whether or not she was just hamming it up at this point. "Or, are you both so vivacious that you're not completely satisfied with just each other?! Nata, I never thought you would turn out to be so-"

Sonata let out an agonized groan, giving Aria a face that pleaded 'Help me!'

No such thing was offered as Aria smirked, mouthing "You just have to accept her love." It was one of the most satisfying glares she'd ever gotten out of Sonata.

It wasn't what she'd been doing with Rarity that made Sonata so nervous, really, just what she knew would happen if Adagio caught wind of it. Pretty much what was happening right now. Realizing that Aria had a secret lady-friend too, Sonata grinned mischievously. "Oh, Dagi, aren't you going to ask Ria all about her Rainboom buddy?"

Adagio turned to look at Aria, but only got a calm stare back. "We play games together after school, but there's nothing more to it than that. Anything you wanna know?" To her slight surprise, Adagio did have one question.

"Yes; how is she with grenades?"

"Even worse than I am."

Two questions. "Truly?"




There was a quiet moment, then Adagio turned her focus back to a gobsmacked Sonata. "So, 'Miss Dusk,' hmm...?"

"W-wait," she sputtered, "what about your secret girlfriend?!"

The delightful glow Sonata was giving off did indeed remind her of Fluttershy, which reminded her that what she was doing now probably went a little beyond harmless questioning. This went double considering that some were asked more to see Sonata react to them than to actually hear an answer. Still grinning with delight, she let Sonata go and took a step back. "Alright, your turn. Shoot."

Before Sonata could ask, Aria shook her head. "If Nata and Hairspray have secretly been going at it like rabbits in lingerie-" a spastic noise from Sonata was ignored, "-then I don't think we really wanna know what you'd get up to. No shock that Squeaky is freaky, though. Always the quiet ones, huh?"

Feeling an odd little twinge of irritation, Adagio gave her an honest reply. "Actually, we've been rather chaste, I haven't slept with her even once." Two jaws dropped so hard that part of her was worried there'd be broken teeth. Those shocked, wide-eyed stares would have been priceless if not for the strangely piercing effect they were having on her, leading to a quiet attempt to clarify. "I, I know that's odd for me, and, I'm not completely sure what we have together, but I really do value her company."

Aria quickly grabbed Sonata to pull her into a huddle. "There's no way this isn't a trap!"

"I dunno," Sonata offered with a little frown, "she sounds pretty sincere to me."

"Sigh. That's what I was afraid of."

Giggling, Sonata grinned. "But isn't it kinda sweet?"

"...From her? Yes, disgustingly so."

"For the record, I can hear everything you two are saying."

The huddlers snapped to attention, finding a mildly bemused Adagio standing right where she was a minute ago. Aria opened with a hint of a smirk.

"So, what, you're going all touchy-feely now?"

Clasping her hands behind her back in slightly self-conscious fashion, Adagio shrugged. "I guess?" She felt herself growing steadily warmer under the surprised, searching stares, but she did not take it back. Aria looked a little lost, but Sonata lit up with glee.

"Wait, you get those tingly, fluffy feelings too?! The ones that make your heart beat faster even when you're just sitting there?!" It was by no means the rarest thing in the world, but they didn't see Adagio wearing a sheepish smile very often.

"Sometimes." The silent staring was actually starting to make her nervous, so she was thankful for Aria saying something as she scratched her head.

"The 'cuteness' plan you came up with, where you got that bow in the first place, were they...?"

Still a little flushed, Adagio nodded. "It wasn't exactly a collaboration between the two of us, but she was involved, yes." She held the edges of her miniskirt out with the fingertips of each hand. "This outfit, and a few others, were picked with her approval during our date yesterday."

Sonata touched both hands to her cheeks, possibly in an effort to contain her ear-to-ear grin. "You pick out clothes for each other?!"

Adagio giggled. "Kind of?" Mention of the mall date reminded her of something else, something that, for reasons probably relating to the fuzzy heart-vice as it squeezed her from within, she just wanted to tell someone! "A-and, uhm," the thought still drew a demure blush, "she said, s-said, uh..." Almost involuntarily, she covered her face with both hands. "She said she was glad Coltlantis burned if it meant we could be together!"

Sonata gasped, then Oooooh'd and burst into squealy gigglefits while Aria blushed, trying to cover a smile with one hand.

"Oh, damn! Getting serious, huh?"

Adagio could only reply with girlish giggles of her own. She couldn't remember a time she'd been more embarrassed, but didn't feel a hint of shame in it. It wasn't an unpleasant sensation. Was that why Fluttershy could return to her, day after day? Her thoughts on the matter were arrested by Sonata's angry pout.

"Heeey, wait a minute! Rarity never said she'd destroy a city for me, and we've already done it in every room of her house!"

Aria had no words.

Chuckling, Adagio resisted the (quite powerful) urge to inquire further, instead offering what little experience she could for this issue. "I think you have to wait until at least the first date before she'll declare that kind of love, Nata, might be considered too soon otherwise."

"We've spent time together at her place a lot, does that count?"

"If meeting for a little while on a bench on weekday mornings counts."


Author's Note:

Reactions to the last chapter really surprised me! I figured that since people had pointed the relationships out, I wouldn't be fooling anyone that had seen those comments, which might have been fallacious thinking on my part, but as these (quite correct!) guesses had started months ago, I just thought the cat was pretty much out of the bag.

Not everyone thinks the same way, however, and maybe some others had their own theories, thought the clues were just random details like all those others I've been throwing around since the story began, and maybe some didn't remember stuff from chapters posted several months ago. That last one would be my own reason in most cases. :twilightsheepish:

Still, to those of you that caught on, with either pairing, bravo. :scootangel:

'RuleBook' because she's the only one that bothers to read the manual as opposed to riddling the game out on her own. That she's less adventurous than the others in more than one sense of the word was actually kind of an accident.

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