• Published 3rd Mar 2015
  • 13,875 Views, 2,271 Comments

Sucker for a Cute Face - Eyeswirl the Weirded



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

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Chapter 52: Mutually Heart-Inflating Mouth Curvature

>-Octavia Melody: TRIXIE, YOU FOOL!! -6h 42min ago
_____>-Pixel Pizzaz: Eesh. She said you can just opt out, calm down. -1h 12min ago
__________>-Raspberry Fluff: Yea, if you believe anything one of the DAZZLINGS says. -1h 3min ago
__________>-Bon-Bon: Maybe she meant the part where Trixie started stalking them in the first place? -59min 22s ago
>-Luna: This... also explains much. I am uncertain as to whether or not detention for Miss Lulamoon is called for if she is to become your target again, but I will be keeping my eye on you, Miss Dazzle. -6h 18min ago
_____>-Adagio Dazzle: As always? ;) -6h 15min ago
__________>-Luna: ... -6h 1min ago
__________>-Celestia: Walked into that one, Sister. -5h 48min ago
________________>-Luna: BITE ME! -5h 47min ago
_____________________>-Adagio Dazzle: ...As always? -5h 28min ago
__________________________>-Celestia: NO!!! -5h 21min ago
>-Aqua Blossom: Ohhh, crap! -6h 8min ago
>-Roseluck: INNOCENCE PROVEN! WOOP WOOP! -5h 55min ago
______>-Violet Blurr: Yea... sorry! -5h 39min ago
______>-Sweet Leaf: Our bad! -5h 12min ago
______>-Mystery Mint: Sorry, Rose! -5h 6min ago
___________>-Roseluck: WOOP WOOP I SAID. -4h 42min ago
>-Aria Blaze: Ugh. We're not allowed to kick her ass for this, are we? -5h 41min ago
_____>-Sonata Dusk: Wouldn't be very friendly of us. -5h 32min ago
__________>-Adagio Dazzle: It could be, but only as long as it's safe, sane, and consensual. -5h 25min ago
________________>-Aria Blaze: ... -5h 12min ago
________________>-Luna: She even does it to her own! DO YOU SEE WHAT I LIVE WITH, SISTER?! -2h 33min ago
>-Ringo: It begins anew. Take to the streets. Rend your garments. And prostrate yourselves before the coming wave. -5h 30min ago
_____>-Teddy: Wut. -5h 18min ago
_____>-Paisley: Freak. -5h 11min ago
>-Ditzy Doo: But, there's still gonna be adorable, fluffy cuddles, right? -4h 35min ago
_____>-Sonata Dusk: Confirmed! -4h 29min ago
___________>-Ditzy Doo: D'awwesome! -4h 14min ago

---

"Well, the weekend was sorta quiet," Sunset mused at the lunch table, "but now that we're back at school, how have you been holding up, Fluttershy?"

"I'm doing great, thanks!" Her smile weakened just a little. "Well, I mean, other than the usual, but I always knew that dating Adagio would attract some extra attention anyway." She wasn't sure if it was a good or bad thing that even the most... speculative whispers didn't compare to Adagio's teasing from just this morning. Nothing public had happened yet, but Fluttershy had to cool her head in the fountain again.

"Good to hear, I guess. Though, to be honest," she said while looking at another table, "that's not the only thing I'm worried about."

The other five turned to see Trixie sitting alone at one end of a table. With her back turned to the group, it was difficult to gauge her exact feelings, but her solitary position was a pretty big hint.

Rainbow groaned. "Are we seriously gonna feel sorry for her? After what she did to Fluttershy?"

Tilting her head, Pinkie frowned. "Why not? I know she didn't get zapped by anything, but it sorta sounded like she had a pretty hard time before anyone even knew what she was doing. No point in making it worse, right?"

"Well, yea, but..." She looked around for any sign of support on the It's Too Early To Forgive Trixie front, but the best she could find was Applejack hunched over the table, looking a little disgruntled. "What do you think, AJ?"

"Honestly? It ain't really Trixie that's got me sittin' on bent wood here. Ah mean, it's got to do with her, but more why she did it than what she did." Sitting up straight, she adjusted her hat. "Way I figure it, she went off her rocker 'cuza her thing with Adagio, right? 'Cuz even if she thought she was up to somethin', bein' Adagio's friend meant that much to her? What does that say 'bout us? Does all that magic we been singin' about mean doin' anything to keep a friendship goin'?"

"She wasn't trying to keep a friendship going," Rarity said with a frown, "she was acting out of hurt, fear, and confusion, though the severance does appear to have played a part."

"Ah guess. Still feels like there's a lesson in all that somewhere."

Sunset beamed. "Already wrote to Twilight!"

The group giggled, with Applejack turning to look at Rainbow when they were done. "Ah ain't happy 'bout what happened either, Rainbow, but it ain't worth goin' after her for it now."

"Likely not," Rarity nodded. "You know, I had several sources report odd behavior from Trixie in these last weeks, but, well-"

Pinkie smiled. "She's sorta weird already?"

"Yes," Rarity said with a wry grin, "we do have a few such characters around here." All present giggled as Pinkie beamed a bright, innocent smile. "But really, had Trixie not built such a reputation over the years, we might have looked into what she was doing a little more, but with things as they were, we may never have even known it was her if she hadn't come forward. Perhaps that is worth considering when judging her actions as a whole."

"Alright, I get it," Rainbow said with a slightly agitated arm-wave, "but this had better be the last of this stuff we see from her." Blink. "I mean, whether she gets caught or n-, I mean, she shouldn't be doing it at all, so even if she doesn't get caug-er, like, in the event that she does it and does get caught, I'll be like, wait-"

The group again giggled as Rainbow tried to figure out how to say what she meant to say, but Fluttershy spared another glance for lonely-looking Trixie before looking to the sirens' table. From the glances they were giving Trixie, it was possible that they were thinking something similar.

---

Adagio sighed. She wasn't opposed to asking her newest (?) friend to join her group for lunch, but couldn't remember what the etiquette was for inviting someone to a lunch table from when Sunset had tried to do it for them. Could it be as simple as 'we won't eat you, so sit down'? Well, perhaps more pressing were the feelings of the friends she already had, and luckily, Aria continued to wear hers on her non-existent sleeves as she sat there, arms crossed and her face all scrunched up.

"...I've said it before, right? Like, over and over again? Because I stand by it."

Sonata frowned. "Are you really, really sure you're mad about people doing whatever they want to us and us not being allowed to get 'em back for it, and not that you just wanna punch somebody really hard in the face?"

Aria flinched. "I- no, that..." They agreed to stop lying to each other. The two stares made her begrudgingly remember this. "Well, m-maybe, but I only feel that way because people can do whatever they want to us and we can't get 'em back! Do you know what some of these pricks have been saying about us? It isn't just boys that've been treating Nata and I like-... like, um..." It was always so hard to keep an angry expression when she was trying to think. "Uh, Nata, what's a good-"

"Like the last two donuts in a box? Ever since you and Dr. Seuss went public, Dagi, it's been like a race was on to 'score a siren' before all three of us were taken. The attention was sorta nice at first, but I'm already, y'know... We might've actually been better off with the 'friends don't let friends date dazzlings' thing."

Hm, mused Adagio, suppose seeing the local authorities on friendship, if there is such a thing, allow Fluttershy to be near me sent certain signals. Now they're harassing these two because the option is clearly 'open.'

What had she told Fluttershy once? That even beauty was only a conditionally good quality? Canterlot High wasn't exactly a prison, not even during the utterly inane Detention class, but being especially attractive didn't seem to be doing them any favors on the friend-making front right now.

"And no matter how politely we say no," Aria continued, "some of 'em have the gall to give us dirty looks for it!"

Adagio shrugged. "We've gotten away with plenty ourselves, Aria." Even if not where it mattered most.

Aria sighed. "Yea, I guess. Didn't they make us pay for the mascot suit from a while back, though?"

"I offered in the hopes that it would be seen as an olive branch." They took the money, naturally, but it seemed the bridge was still burned. Along with the old mascot suit. "As before, we-"

"I know, I know!!" Groaning, Aria let her head fall to one hand, propped up on the table. "I know it wouldn't do us any good to beat someone senseless, but can I just gripe about it?" To her slight surprise, Adagio gave her a little smile.

"Yes. Yes, you can."

Sonata was smiling too, which made Aria grin contentedly. "Great."

"If it helps," Sonata offered, "Trixie's probably gonna be getting her ass handed to her again when Dagi goes back to picking on her. How's that going so far, by the way?"

Her smile slipping away, Adagio shuffled in her seat. "Well... I tried talking to her this morning after second period, but things were kind of... awkward. More-so with the entire class watching our every move. We barely said hello before moving on. I'll try again later today, when there aren't as many gawking faces around."

There was a lull in conversation, which Sonata, like anyone trained in the ways of the modern teenager, answered by bringing her phone out. "Still no bites on the accounts so far, not even any comments telling us to get bent."

"Fishing is all about patience, Sonata. I think. Certainly isn't the fashion."

Another lull. Conversation was getting difficult these days if they didn't want to drift back to the same few topics, the same few unresolved issues, over and over, but Aria had something to add. "They've got some games on that site, but like, all of 'em are boring or designed to psychologically manipulate the player into coming back again and again for a hollow sense of achievement, and usually try to get you to buy progress whenever they can get away with it too."

"Like you and Doom for the week you were absorbed in that -what did you call it- mass-multiplayer game?"

Aria facepalmed, letting out a slow, shuddering breath. "I don't. Want. To talk about it." She smiled when Sonata and Adagio giggled, opting to spend the rest of the lunch period ripping on the stupidest games she'd found on that site.

---

Strolling through the halls later that day, Adagio tried not to smile too widely at the fearful stares and anxious glances she was getting. By now, it was almost nostalgic for her! Still, she didn't see Trixie where she could have sworn she used to stand around this time, doing simple tricks for anyone that would pay attention to her for a minute or two.

I should probably ask her number, or give her mine. That's a thing that friends do, I'm sure of it.

Regardless, she did see the back of another familiar target, and still had to make good on her promise to CHS...

"Hello there."

She contained herself to her usual smirk as Octavia whipped around, eyes deliciously wide and panicked, but rather than freezing up or just tearing off again, Octavia raised both arms to make a finger-cross as she tightly shut her eyes and screeched "IWANTTOBELEFTALONE!!"

Taking a second to interpret that, Adagio smiled, raised both hands defensively, took a step back, and walked off without another word. The ensuing whispers behind her meant that everyone saw that, right? That they got the message? No matter what she'd heard about the details of Sunset's reign, CHS as a whole must have been smart enough to get that much, right? She chose to think so as she caught sight of an even more familiar target, feeling herself smile wider and wider the closer she got. As fate would have it, Fluttershy wouldn't see her coming either...

"EEK!!"

Startled though she was to be grabbed from behind so suddenly, Fluttershy registered that Adagio was just hugging her before she had even finished her frightened yelp. One arm gently wrapped around her midsection and the other across her shoulders, just barely brushing across her neck, Fluttershy felt all warm and tingly as Adagio rested her chin on Fluttershy's shoulder. "H-hello!"

Adagio giggled. "Hello!"

She said something else, but Fluttershy missed it when she remembered that they were in the middle of a hallway. Not an otherwise empty one, either. The stares, those wide, focused eyes, had her burning up in seconds as they scanned her being embraced by her girlfriend, a very tender moment out in the open for all to see! "Uh, d-d-Adagio, um, p-p-people are s-staring at-"

"I know," she whispered, "does that bother you?"

"Uhm, w-well-"

"All those faces," she continued in huskier tones, "looking directly at you, your every movement, every facial twitch, every trembling muscle a clue as to exactly what you're feeling." Fluttershy could hear the wicked grin. "It's almost like you're standing here naked, isn't it?"

This was it! It had begun! Teasing in public! Just like she'd fant- feared! She could practically see the steam cloud rising from her own face, not even sure if she was properly standing up with how badly her knees were shaking, but she didn't fall over when Adagio started pulling away. Something in the back of Fluttershy's head wished she could stop those fingers where they were as they slowly slid across her skin, but the hug was broken anyway. Adagio chuckled.

"Well, try not to think too hard about it. See you in Art, Sweetie!"

And off she went, leaving Fluttershy flushed and breathing just a little harder than was dignified in the middle of the hallway. Familiar instincts kicked in as she covered her face and walked as quickly as was permitted to her next class, unwittingly covering up her wide, wobbly smile while she was at it.

---

The next morning on the bench, Adagio giggled for a minute straight when the topic of yesterday's Art class came up. Fluttershy, covering her crimson face with both hands, muttered pitifully.

"It wasn't supposed to look like that!"

Chuckling, Adagio shook her head. "I may have been coloring your thoughts, Sweetie, but you were the one who drew it."

Fluttershy took solace in the fact that she honestly had an 'alternate interpretation' for... what she ended up making. Mr. Magnet wouldn't let her destroy the picture, but at least he discreetly agreed not to hang it on the wall. As embarrassed as she was, she stole a glance at Adagio anyway just to see the strangely enthralling, happy-evil look on her face that came with moments like these, which was when she noticed something that made her hopeful.

"Y-your eyeliner looks a little thinner this morning! Does that mean...?"

Blinking twice, Adagio smiled tenderly. "They're not gone yet, but they are going away at last. Once more, thank you."

They hugged, scooching over to lean against each other for a while. As nice as the peaceful, cuddly quiet was, Adagio eventually asked a question.

"So, have you thought about what you'd like for that custom picture?"

Fluttershy froze in place as her thoughts sped ahead of her.

She had thought plenty about that picture over the last few days, but while a wide variety of ideas danced in her imagination, she couldn't decide whether to treat it as a special gift and ask for something beautiful (Adagio as the central figure in Birth of Venus, maybe), or use it as it was probably intended and ask for something... naughty. Whether or not there would be extra teasing for the latter was another thing to worry about. She had thought of calling Adagio to ask about a specific outline of what she considered acceptable, but she remembered that Adagio had promised to give her a picture of herself, in any pose, any outfit, doing anything Fluttershy wanted.

Knowing Adagio, 'anything' meant 'anything.'

But, instead, she looked to Adagio with a shy grin. "Um... C-could I get a picture of you smiling, maybe?" The transition was slow as Adagio processed exactly what her offer was being cashed in for, but the blend of wide-eyed surprise and a tender blush told her she wouldn't regret her choice. Even so, a long silence meant she probably had to explain a little. "I've put a lot of thought into it, and, while I might like to, uhm... y-you know... use it... like that... if I only have this one to ask for, using it for something d-dirty feels like a waste, so... just a smile, please? I would really like a picture of you being happy."

She was squeezed in an especially tight, but cuddly hug, her heart seizing up when she heard what sounded like sniffling. It was quiet and only lasted for about half a minute, but she gently pat Adagio on the back anyway. When Adagio spoke, it sounded like she was a little calmer.

"My plan was to offer other rewards for other tasks, Sweetie, it wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime offer. Just wanted to keep it one at a time for simplicity's sake."

In the blink of an eye, her imagination exploded, then sucked its scattered contents back into itself. "Oh! Does, does that mean-"

"No spoilers on what I might ask you to do, but yes, I was kind of thinking more custom pictures might be fun. That in mind, do you still want the-"

Not hesitating for even a second, Fluttershy answered with a grin. "Yes, please!" There was a brief shudder as Adagio most likely tried to suppress the resulting eruption of feelings, not unlike Sunset had a few times, but Fluttershy just rubbed soothing circles on her back for a minute. She was a little startled when Adagio quickly grabbed and turned her, but before she knew it, she'd been pulled around to face the same direction as Adagio as they sat together, the click of a phone-camera alerting her that a picture was taken. Adagio held her phone so that Fluttershy could see.

"Like this?"

It was a selfie of the two of them looking directly into the camera; Fluttershy wide-eyed and surprised, Adagio wearing an earnest, blissful smile, not a hint of malice or mischievous glee to be found. There were a few thin, black streaks running down the sides of her face from the dark eyeliner, but because Fluttershy was there to witness the cause, it didn't detract from the smile for her, leading her to make a big one herself.

"I love it!"

Giggling, Adagio nodded and started fiddling with her phone. "Good. I'll need to touch up my make-up now, but..."

An electrical noise let Fluttershy know that she'd received a message. She now had the picture in her possession! Adagio winked at her.

"I'll let you know when I have another task for you."

That was ordinarily the point where Adagio would stand up and walk off, but considering that they no longer had anything to lose in being discovered together, the two cuddled on the bench right up to the warning bell.

---

Adagio held the door second period, like usual, but when Trixie stood nearby, just out of the doorway so as not to block traffic, she didn't quite know what to do.

"Um... Good morning?" Trixie stood there looking at her as though her head were on backwards. "...So, missed me?"

"Okay, look," Trixie said flatly, "I get that you're not the most socially-able person around, but you don't have to act any different from before. How did you treat Aria and Sonata when you first met them?"

A hint of guilt on her face, Adagio shrugged. "As subordinates with whom I rarely spoke for the first several weeks we worked together?" Trixie raised an eyebrow. "...Did you want me to do that with y-"

Annoyed, Trixie tinted pink. "Trixie is not your servant!!"

The familiar opening was presented, but Adagio found herself struck with indecision. They were friends now, right? How did she treat Her Sweetie when that realization came? When exactly was that? The day she got sick, right? What had changed after that? It was all so fuzzy now, she couldn't even remember how things had developed between her, Aria, and Sonata over the years, but she was almost positive that Trixie had said she actually liked her teasing. Platonically! Sort of. Hesitantly, she allowed her mouth to curve into a faint smirk. "Are you sure? We both know how good you've gotten at following me around."

Flushing brighter, Trixie's jaw dropped for a second. "I, that-...!" She anticipated some kind of follow-up, but Adagio just kept looking at her as though she was trying to coax a kitten and worried it would run from her, an uncertain nervousness in her eyes as they stood there in silence. This was a side to the big, scary siren she'd never seen before, but the air still felt awkward, so Trixie tried again, crossing her arms and huffing. "Well, someone has to keep an eye on you!"

The smirk shifted a little, becoming something between her usual expression and a genuine smile. "Does that include the camera?"

Still blushing, Trixie wore a haughty grin herself. "Of course, for evidence purposes!"

Adagio chuckled, nodding. "Right, evidence, for careful review later." Idea! "On that note, would you like to join Ria, Nata, and I at lunch? It'd be much easier to carefully review me up close, ideally not from under the table."

Trixie burned red, but even so, she giggled, a normal, even friendly smile on her face. "Well, since she is formally invited, Trixie shall gra-" The smile vanished. "-wait, the other two won't kill me, right?" Adagio shook her head, so she smiled again. "Haha, super, Trixie shall grace you with her presence!"

Adagio nodded. "See you then, Silver."

For perhaps the first time, she was smiling all the way to third period.

---

Having just finished loading up her tray in the cafeteria, Fluttershy nearly dropped it when Trixie hooked her by an arm and started walking with her. She wasn't rough, but Fluttershy had to move a little faster than normal to keep up.

"Trixie knows you're scared to go to the sirens' table alone, but now Trixie is here to join you, so there's nothing to worry about!"

"Uh-"

"Yes, you're quite welcome!"

Though not resisting her forced escort, Fluttershy blinked twice. She'd had more than a few one-sided conversations in her time, but Trixie was an expert! It didn't escape her that, given her pride, Trixie was most likely projecting her own feelings onto Fluttershy as an excuse to bring her along, but she had been wanting to sit with Adagio for a while anyway. The thing that had kept her from doing so this past week was still around, of course, but she managed to block out all those floating, disembodied eyes by looking at those of her friends, meeting their concerned stares with a reassuring smile.

Come to think of it, I guess Trixie wasn't that far off, even if not for the reasons she probably thinks.

The sirens (well, Adagio and Sonata) greeted the two of them with smiles, not needing to make room because there was already plenty of that at their table.

"Didn't know you'd be joining us, Sweetie," Adagio said with a smirk that bordered between excited and amused, "did your friends?"

Taking a seat, Fluttershy blinked once. "Huh?"

"You know," Aria said noncommittally, a bored look on her face as she inspected her nails, "the other Rainbooms. We wouldn't wanna rock the boat any harder, right?"

Fluttershy didn't answer right away, and not just because the look on Trixie's face said she was only just now remembering that Fluttershy had other friends. The way Aria and Adagio spoke, some subtle detail she couldn't pinpoint in their tones, told her there was a little more than the face value of what they said. Then it hit her that while Trixie was almost certainly aware that Fluttershy was a Rainboom, she probably didn't know about Rarity and Sonata's relationship or Aria's friendship with Rainbow. The way Sonata's eyes flickered to Trixie two times felt like confirmation. "Um, I-I'm not sure, but, it probably wouldn't bother them."

"Perhaps not," Adagio nodded, "but we should still be careful about these things."

"We shouldn't talk about anything relating to the two still-secret relationships with Trixie around," was what Fluttershy read between the lines. Considering to whom they owed the first secret being spilled, even if she grew to regret it, that made a lot of sense. But, was it right to keep Trixie out of the loop like that? Deceive her so soon after she, Adagio, and possibly Fluttershy herself became friendly?

"Th-that's true," Fluttershy muttered, "but, friends can trust each other, right?"

"I think we can trust Trixie."

Sonata shrugged. "Yea, but you'd have to be friends for a while to get there, ya know?"

"We should wait until we've known her longer."

Fluttershy frowned. "Well, kind of, but you have to offer a little trust to build more, and some people can surprise you."

"What I said, but in regard to letting Trixie in on the secret. She's already shown she can be sneaky."

"But that much," said Adagio, "depends on what those involved with one another are willing to put at risk to secure that trust."

"Aria and Sonata are the ones that still have secret friendships going; let them decide whether or not they want to tell Trixie."

Fluttershy nodded. "Well, that's true."

It was up to them. Fluttershy didn't like leaving Trixie out any more than she liked hiding from her own friends, but it wasn't her decision to make, and she hadn't forgotten how she felt when her own secret was blown. At least it all worked out in her case.

None of the sirens offered any further thoughts as Trixie glanced around the table, one eyebrow raised. "Trixie appreciates you guys being sensitive to her, but she couldn't quite follow; are the other Rainbooms mad at me for this?"

There and gone in a heartbeat, the panic that Trixie had known exactly what they were talking about left a guilty twinge in Fluttershy's chest. The sirens, however, were probably more accustomed to deception as Adagio smiled.

"I'm sure that even if they were, they'd forgive you."

Trixie looked content with this, but Fluttershy heard an echo of either "We would most likely forgive Trixie even if she spilled again," or "I hope you'll forgive us for keeping this from you." Maybe both.

"So," Trixie started, giving Aria and Sonata slightly fearful, apologetic looks, "we haven't exactly talked before, but, um..."

Aria rolled her eyes. "We might be a little pissed about what you did, yea, but we're not gonna make you our gopher to make up for it, okay?" And not just because, even if it wasn't in a way they wanted, Trixie might have actually done them a bit of a favor. At least, once you got past the whole school being more obnoxious than ever thing.

Trixie blinked twice, then smiled. "Okay then!" There was an awkward pause, which told Trixie that none of the other four girls knew how to engage Normal Social Mode. Luckily, they had Trixie! "So, I tried inviting Cloud Kicker and Fuchsia Blush along, but they both went all pale, made excuses, and quickly walked away, which was probably a 'no.'" She'd barely spoken to Fuchsia since the Battle, actually, the same way that pretty much everyone else stopped talking to their bandmates when it was over.

Sonata raised her hand in classroom fashion. "Was it because of the stalking thing?"

Trixie practically face-planted on the table. "N-no! Trixie has definitely not been treated any differently on account of her subtle observation activities, and has easily gone five minutes of talking to someone without them poking fun at her for it!" Dead silence. Four stares. She sighed. "...It's not like I'm an outcast now or anything, but people are sorta awkward around me now and even Cloud Kicker (we're still talking, thank you very much!) teases me a lot about the stalking." Shrugging, she mumbled the rest. "Which I'll admit I maybe deserve on account of having stalked someone. Kinda just glad nobody's tried to have me arrested, actually."

Feeling another tiny tingle of that weird sort of nostalgia, Adagio offered a sympathetic smile. "It was generally awkward for us too, when we first returned, and Sunset tells us she had it even worse." She chuckled. "In fact, she wouldn't say who, but it sounded like a few particular people almost enjoyed making life difficult for her, directly harassing her on a regular basis, so by comparison, we could have it much worse, right?"

Aria raised an eyebrow. "And how much does that actually say? Anything can always be worse, that's like the worst way to look on the bright side ever."

"Didn't you just say it could always be worse?"

"Uh. Yea?"

"Then how can it be the worst way ever? By your own words, such a state is unachievable."

Aria's mouth popped open. Sonata snickered at her. "Gotcha there, Ria!"

While Aria sputtered to revise her statement, Fluttershy kept very, very quiet, stealing a glance at a slightly downcast Trixie. The sirens might not have known, but Sunset's biggest bully harasser person who made life difficult was Trixie herself, and from the look on her face, the full weight of it was hitting her like she'd been headbutted in the stomach by a dolphin. Not thinking about where that simile had come from, she wanted to do something to make Trixie feel better, but, well... this was a tunnel Trixie had been needing to go through for a while now, just like Sunset did. If nothing else, she wanted to make sure someone was there to comfort Trixie when she stepped out into the light, and maybe she, Adagio, and even Aria and Sonata could be the ones!

And that made her wonder...

"Uhm, e-excuse me."

Grateful for any escape from the tag-team teasing she was getting from Adagio and Sonata, Aria quickly turned toward Fluttershy. "Y-yea, what?"

"Do you three, uh-" It only hit her that she might possibly be overstepping her bounds after she'd started asking the question, "d-do you ever, um, think maybe, er, I-I mean if, it...?" The three of them, and Trixie, just stared at her. She took a quick breath. "D-doyou ever feelbad ab-bout theBattle?!"

Instantly, Sonata, Aria, and Adagio pointed at her while snapping their fingers, the three of them giving their answers at the same time.

"Yes!"
"No!"
"Maybe!"

There was a short silence. All three smiled, snickered, and giggled like schoolgirls before Trixie raised an eyebrow. "Um. What was that?"

"That," Aria answered through a laugh, "was the answer to a question we've been waiting for someone to ask for months. Didn't think it would take that long, but the payoff was pretty good anyway."

Adagio pat a still-giggling Sonata on the back. "To answer the question, we do, and we don't." Her expression turned serious. "On the surface, we've come to understand just what it was we were doing, what we tried to do by pitting everyone against each other for our own gain and, before we came to this world, a hollow sense of vengeance."

"Breaking people up is a really, really mean thing to do," Sonata said with a frown, "and we did it just so they'd act like they loved us instead for a little while. Forever, if we could get enough juice."

"And that's pretty messed up," nodded Aria, arms crossed, "so, yea, thinking about it? We're sorry. But..."

Sonata's contrition was replaced with irritation. "Nobody else actually lost anything, nothing was broken, and nobody got hurt, but we're dealing with a life-long punishment anyway. You try telling someone that breaks your legs for trying to swipe their wallet that you're sorry."

"Then sticks you in twisted casts to make sure they never heal right," Aria added idly. Shrugging, she offered Fluttershy a genuine little smile. "Well, y'know, mostly."

Fluttershy managed a tiny smile back, and not just because she fully understood where they were coming from.

"Not helping at all," Adagio thought out loud, "is the way most of the student body has treated us since we arrived, which recently grew worse." Trixie flinched, which she responded to with an apologetic little smile and a shrug. She made the mental note to quit rubbing it in like that before moving on. "Quite contradictory to the sort of things they sang about when Twilight was around, actually. Unless-" she glanced at Aria and Sonata, "-you two have been getting fewer unwelcome advances?"

Blushing a little, Sonata pouted. "Someone actually slapped my butt earlier," Aria's outraged expression was cut off when she said the rest. "and they didn't even pull my hair or call me a bad girl first!" She turned to look at the otherwise frozen Aria, whose mouth hung open as her face quickly heated up. "What?"

Barely even sputtering, Aria's forehead smacked against the table as she muttered. "You guys are so embarrassing."

Sonata and Adagio giggled, then looked at Trixie, who, also blushing, immediately held up both hands in defense.

"No comment!!"

Smirking, Adagio looked straight at Fluttershy, who had only just barely managed to wrangle her thoughts out of the gutter.

"Uh..."

"Yeees?"

Oh, she's giving me that look again!

Relax, answering her question is easy.

Oh?

"Harder and harder!"

ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL US?!

Fumbling for anything to say, Fluttershy stuttered out a half-dozen syllables before Adagio chuckled, her jungle-cat stare quickly fading to a relaxed smirk.

"So, any updates on the MyStable situation, Nata?"

"Not yet!"

Glad though she was to be released so soon, somewhere in the back of her mind, Fluttershy felt an odd little pang of worry.

Was... was that it this time? She only looked at me. I mean, not that I want her full attention on me alone all the time (anymore), but that felt kind of... short. Come to think of it, she didn't stick around for long in the hallway earlier either, but was that just because we didn't have much time anyway, or...

She took a good look at Adagio, vainly hoping to somehow draw an answer from her usual, nonchalant expression as she and the others discussed the possible social consequences for Trixie if she were to add any of them to her profile.

...is she worried I can't take it? I didn't even try to say 'squirrel,' so is it that she's worried about me, or just stopped where she felt like stopp-

A sudden noise made her jump, then blush vibrantly when she realized it was her phone. Giving Trixie and the sirens a sheepish smile, she answered the text from Pinkie by turning to look at her friends' table, doing her best to tune out all other faces she saw, smiling, and waving.

---

Waving back, Applejack smiled. "Well, looks like she's holdin' up fine."

Rarity nodded proudly. "She's a big girl. Remember that no matter what the rumors say about Trixie, Fluttershy was the one to tame Adagio. Mostly."

Rainbow snickering for an unusually long time drew a few looks of concern. "I-" She had to take a few deep breaths to get her gigglefits to subside, but her smile held strong. "Sorry, just, RuleBook tells me stories about the other two sometimes. The way she talks, they're actually pretty cool too."

Sunset raised an eyebrow. "So cool that it makes you laugh uncontrollably?"

Her cheeks warming, Rainbow shook her head, though her smile persisted. "N-no, it- when she said 'tame Adagio,' it reminded me of-hehehehehe! It was like, there was this time with-pffthahahahaha!" She breathed deeply. "There was this time with two big ol' monsters, sea monsters, cuz' that was where they lived, and like, they had a power plant thingie that-" Devolving into the occasional syllable between giggles again, her whole face turned red. "Ogawd, I can't, it's ba-ha-ha-haaad, hahahahahahaha!"

"...So, anyway," Rarity picked up, "while I might have suggested that we extricate Fluttershy from their company immediately some months ago, I think she'll be fine spending some time with them."

Applejack nodded. "Ah don't see 'em takin' her away or nothin', so... guess we wait and see how things go."

"Yea," breathed Rainbow, wiping a tear from her eye as she pulled herself together, "and when all the stuff with the Dazzlings is sorted out, remind me to give Adagio a high five."

"For what," Pinkie all but pleaded, never thrilled to be left out of something funny, "high five her for what?!"

Rainbow snickered. "If I said it at the lunch table, Rarity'd hit me."

Silence.

"...Well," Rarity said quietly, crossing her arms with a neutral expression. "I suppose we should thank you for abstaining, then."

"Pay up!"

"No."

"Dang."

The five of them giggled.

---

Dear Diary,

Today, Trixie brought me with her to the sirens' table. Things were just a little tense, but I would say everyone got along pretty well! Things have been a little weird for Trixie since Adagio's message went up, but I think it'll-

Staring at the page for a long moment, she sighed.

...That's not what I want to talk about right now.

Pretty much nothing happened in Art class today, even with Adagio sitting near me. I mean, it wasn't that she just didn't have the energy, I think, because I know she's been sleeping better (I still call to remind her every night, which I'll do until it starts being annoying for her) and the looks she gave me said she was more than willing to torture me a little more, but she just, didn't.

It's hard to describe, Diary, but I got the feeling that she was holding back today. We're very public now, there's no need to restrain herself, and I even (I am very proud of this by the way!) managed to whisper that even if I don't expect her to tease just me anymore, the offer is still open for her to do whatever she wants to me. She smiled, nodded, told me that my fly was open (I'm less proud of falling for this, because I wasn't even wearing pants),*chuckled at my reaction, and that was it.

Am I just being too needy? It's not like I'm expecting her to be feeling playful ALL the time, but I'm worried she thinks I just can't take it. It's true that I've had a few very, very uncomfortable moments this week, up to and including small groups of people directly asking me questions about my-

*AND I MEAN THAT I WAS WEARING A SKIRT!!

questions about my relationship with Adagio. I've actually skipped doing the confident walk a few times (I don't think I really need to practice it anymore... but I still do anyway! ♥) for fear of someone popping into the gym, seeing me, and asking about it. But, still, I'm doing okay, I can take this, and I want Adagio to know that. How do I show her?

---

She knew how.

It had been a pretty regular day, from cuddles on the bench, to Adagio leaving her another racy picture (it was a standing shot of her legs this time! With thin stockings!), to joining Trixie and the sirens for lunch (which was something she wanted to do until Trixie was completely comfortable with them and the friendship was solidified, as she explained to her friends), to a fleeting brush of Adagio's fingertip across her shoulders in the hallway as she walked by.

Okay, maybe there was a lot that wasn't 'regular,' but she still felt like Adagio was restraining herself when they were in public, and Fluttershy knew just how she was going to prove that she could handle more. It was a sketching day, and when Art class rolled around, she talked to Mr. Magnet in private.

She'd done the confident walk a few extra times that morning, a little surprised to find that she didn't feel any different from usual while doing it, at least as long as no one was looki-

She was brave, she was strong, and she could do this!

"So, class," Magnet began, visibly uncertain, "I promise I didn't forget the model we were going to sketch today, but I've very recently gotten a, uh... request. As you all know, Miss Dazzle has offered her services to The Arts twice now, so I can't very well refuse the right to anyone else that should choose to be drawn for the class."

No one listened to the rest of his little speech as Fluttershy sat on the lopsided couch in the middle of the room. She sat normally, her hands in her lap and a peaceful little smile on her face. She felt herself blush a little and an entire anthill's worth of tiny, fidgeting movements scrambled at the back of her mind with everyone looking straight at her, but she held the pose and expression, looking at Adagio in particular in the hopes that her message would get across. Adagio was looking back at her in surprise, but when class started, she got right to work, which made Fluttershy's heart beat a little faster.

It wasn't an easy class period, but she didn't visibly shake, didn't cry, didn't get up and jump out the window, didn't do anything that would have shown extreme nervousness. Looking at Adagio helped, especially when she smiled back with a look that conveyed some kind of pride in her, maybe even admiration! She couldn't stare for too long, of course, or she'd start getting all fluttery, so it turned into kind of a balancing act between feeling uncomfortable looking at the other students and seeking encouragement from Adagio. By the last ten minutes, Fluttershy was starting to sweat a little, but eventually, class came to an end.

Standing up, it suddenly hit Fluttershy that there would be a bunch of pictures of her now. Luckily, Adagio either didn't notice the way her knees were shaking, or didn't care as she approached, her own Fluttersketch under her arm and a bright grin on her face.

"You really are full of surprises, Sweetie, never thought you would volunteer for something like that."

Fluttershy chose not to take the chance that Adagio wasn't in Read Between The Lines mode. "I wanted to sh-show you that I could handle it."

Though she heard the stutter, Adagio nodded, her smile no weaker. "And so you have. I won't say you were perfectly still, but all things considered, I'd say you did beautifully." Fluttershy glowing with delight at the praise made her all warm inside, but she had a little more to offer. "Speaking of performance," she turned the sketch so Fluttershy could see, "how'd I do?"

All too happy to take in an idea of exactly how Adagio saw her, Fluttershy scanned the page as though committing it to memory. The lines were lightly drawn, the image sharper and more detailed towards the face, and while her entire body was rendered on the page, special focus was given to her eyes and hair. It made for an almost eerie sort of portrait, making Fluttershy feel like she was looking at some kind of ghost in pencil lines, but she couldn't stop smiling if she wanted to.

Adagio noticed, letting out a bashful little giggle. "If you like mine, you should see Ringo's."

Flushing crimson, Fluttershy immediately responded with "No thank you."

"Are you sure? I could see from where I was sitting that he put particular emphasis on your-"

"Th-that's okay, I really don't-"

"It was actually pretty tame, all things considered. At least he was one of few to depict you clothed."

Fluttershy's jaw dropped, a little steam cloud floating off her face as she stood rooted where she was. "...Eek."

Giggling, Adagio hugged her. "Kidding."

Sighing with relief, Fluttershy melted into the embrace, not saying a word as she tenderly nuzzled Adagio's shoulder. Then they heard Mr. Magnet.

"Er... Ringo, I do appreciate your creativity and expressiveness, really, but artistic license doesn't really apply to sketching models."

Fluttershy's eyes grew to saucers as she burned red again. "I-I thought you said-"

"Kidding about them drawing you naked, Sweetie."

"...Eek."

She hadn't seen the giant, winged, crystal unicorn since that night at the Battle, but she distantly wondered if praying to it not to let Ringo's picture be hung in the hallway would be some kind of blasphemy against Friendship.

---

Closing her locker, Sunset breathed out a sigh of relief for the end of another school day. Then she turned, startled to see Trixie standing just a little too close to her with an anguished look on her face. "Uh-"

"I'm sorry."

"It's okay, I just didn't hear you comi-"

"I'm sorry for how I treated you after the Fall Formal. You were already dealing with a lot and I got my jollies making it worse for you, almost hoping you would either get fed up and go off so the others would beat you down again, or just run away from school. Even once everyone else accepted you, I still rubbed salt in old wounds at almost every opportunity." Brushing one arm with the opposite hand, she studied her shoes. "I got my own taste of what it's like lately, and, I'm sorry."

"Is it too early to hug you?"

Trixie looked up to find Sunset smiling. "Huh?"

Sunset chuckled. "My friends got touchy with me sooner than I was ready for and I had to explain the concept in detail to the sirens before they'd let me do it to them, so I thought I'd try asking first this time." Hesitantly, Trixie nodded, making a sound of surprise when Sunset wrapped her arms around her. "Apologies accepted, Trixie."

Glad though she was not to get yet more of her own medicine by way of refusal to forgive, Trixie could feel her face burn. She'd specifically waited until no one else was around so that it wouldn't sting as much if Sunset went off on her, in rage or mockery, but she didn't want to be seen like this, either! Still, she didn't wriggle out of it, instead forcing herself to at least put her own hands on Sunset's back in a token effort at accepting the (entirely too intimate!) method Sunset had chosen to bury the hatchet. Mercifully, she was only held for about a minute.

"And," Sunset said with a serious expression, holding up one index finger for emphasis, "if anyone starts ribbing you and says 'no offense,' you're allowed to take offense anyway if it does offend you. Don't put up with that crap; if you have to be good, they can at least be considerate."

Trixie blinked twice. "Uh... okay?"

Sunset nodded sharply, her expression unchanged. Trixie left during the awkward silence that followed, but Sunset had told the sirens the same thing. Fair was fair!

Speaking of those three, she thought as she fished out her phone, they're still struggling to get along here. Fluttershy even told us that they said they were sorry about the Battle of the Bands, even if they're still a little bitter about their loss. I get that, but if Trixie of all people can turn around like that, maybe it's time I helped them along a little...

Author's Note:

It went longer than expected. Again. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, I must be wiffle-bat waffle kersploingo mallets. :derpyderp2:

I'm getting a lot more out of the comment section thing than I thought I would (Which is to say, more than one instance), possibly because CHS as a whole has become a lot more involved at this phase of the story. That said, I think this is the last comment wall. Probably. Though they are fun to write, because I can easily have a whole bunch of people interacting at once. Maybe one more in the last chapter or so...

It occurred to me that I didn't have to spell out the double-talk, but I didn't want anyone to be confused about that part.

Sorry about Rainbow's inside joke, I know it probably wasn't as funny for you, but a scene I put together in the Rarity+Nata/Aria+Rainbow spin-off sort of felt like the kind of thing that Rainbow would mention to others. That probably made no sense, but I'll get to that particular scene some day.

I'm still not totally decided yet (I'll still have to play the game first to know how to depict the final rival anyway, when it's released in a few years) but another point in Yandere Trixie's favor:

"Uhh, what are you doing with that ________?"
"This? Er, The Great and Powerful T-Trixie is-"
"Actually, I don't wanna know, bye."

In Yandere Simulator, the player can join the art club, put on the artist's smock (I think is the term), stab someone to death, and run around covered in blood without raising suspicion, because everyone thinks it's just paint.
Another option is to join the music club, meaning no one will bat an eye if Yandere Chan goes around with a huge violin case on her back. It's obviously just instruments, right...? (You can chop up bodies and transport the limbs, head, and torso to the incinerator.)

It occurred to me that Trixie would have a similar angle going for her. Fluttershy would have to be subtle and careful, but if Trixie's antics before the story would start her with a reputation as a weirdo (I'll be taking liberties with the idea behind the Reputation Meter anyway), it'd be that much easier to have her get away with most of the insane things she'd be doing to (non-lethally) eliminate rivals.

I think it says something that I'm writing this many author's notes about a story that doesn't even exist yet, but I don't know if it's mainly good or bad. :derpyderp2:
And yes, I am ABSOLUTELY going to end each AN of that story with "And thank you, for following the development, of (Story Name)"

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