• 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 54: Electric Anxiety

It had come to be a familiar scene in the sirens' house during early weekday evenings, especially on Friday night; Aria and Sonata in their separate chairs, Adagio lying on the couch, all three wearing mic-equipped headsets with controllers in their hands and a game on the monitor. Now that she wasn't spending the later portion of the day exhausted (the eye-bags were almost gone, too!), Adagio had more time for things other than staring at her ceiling fan in the vain hope of catching up on sleep, completely unaware of how she'd been preventing herself from doing exactly that just by letting her mind wander.

Of course, she'd forgotten what she used to do in place of that activity, but spending time with Aria and Sonata was usually fun. Aria had found a game about genetically-engineered super cops cleansing a city of gang warfare or something like that, jumping several stories into the air to lock onto some hapless thug half a block away, then shooting four more before even touching down on the rooftop as the shootout began. Joining them in this virtual venture was Rainbow 'Doomprism' Dash, whose tinny, borderline maniacal cackles sounding through their headsets had all three smiling in amusement as Rainbow's avatar flung another virtual truck at someone.

Because, Serve and Protect, apparently. They were future cops.

Adagio didn't think too much about the specifics of what was going on, both because it let her paint the virtual world with her own imagination and because it left her more time to think about other things, like how things had been going at school lately. Not focusing on these matters while trying to sleep didn't mean never considering them, and turbo-kicking virtual henchmen off buildings was about as mindless as it got.

Still no change in our situation at school, but at least nothing has gotten worse. I had kind of thought it would, what with people generally not liking it when their heroes are told off, but if anyone knows about that little exchange, perhaps they know about our second talk as well? Could just be that Sunset and Fluttershy never told anyone, but I wasn't exactly keeping my voice down the first time. At least I can explain myself if anyone takes issue with that little episode, provided they're willing to listen.

Like Trixie. I'd have never guessed she could do more than talk and talk and talk, but perhaps her hope is that if she waits and listens through other peoples' thoughts and anecdotes, they'll listen through hers?

That's a bit of a pessimistic thought to have towards a friend, isn't it?

Yes, but everyone is ultimately selfish to some degree, and I would argue that understanding how my friends think is a component of getting to know them better. We've gotten to do a bit more of that during lunch, when she joins us, as she and Fluttershy have on and off for the last few days. I should ask them if they worked out some kind of schedule between us and their real regular friends.

She lost her train of thought when the doorbell rang. Glancing at the others, she smiled, sat up, said "Shark test," directed her onscreen avatar to jump into the nearest body of water, and got up to answer the door. When she did, her eyes shot open.

"Sweetie?"

"Hello!" She lightly clutched the strap to the backpack she was wearing. "I-is now a good time for a sleepover? I think brought everything I could need."

"Um..."

Adagio had several questions, such as why Fluttershy's hair looked just a little disheveled, or why she hadn't called ahead first (not that the assertive move of coming over prepared in advance wasn't welcome!), or what brought this up, or whether or not this meant she was finally accepting that offer to work out with them (or just wanted to watch, Adagio would take it at this point!), but most importantly, she had Fluttershy on her doorstep and asking to be let in for a sleepover. Aria and Sonata wouldn't mind, right?

"I, er-... Come in?" The warm, faintly relieved smile she got drew a particularly tingly jolt from the fuzzy heart-vice.

"Thank you!"

When they entered the living room, Aria was the first to notice. "Oh, hey. What's up, Squeaky?"

Sonata turned her head. "What's with the bookbag?" Her eyes widened with horror. "Wait, no, is this a surprise study-session?! Did Rarity tell you I was doing bad in History?!"

Adagio's eyes narrowed. "You're doing bad in History?"

"Oh, crap!!" She shot Aria a bail-me-out look, but Aria just looked down her nose at her in disdain.

"Tsk. Tsk."

Sonata glared. "If I knew where you were messing up? This is where I'd be telling!"

"And it's precisely because I know that you slipping up will lead to her keeping an eye on both our grades that I've been doing all my homework."

"Grrr!"

As the two quietly bickered, Fluttershy and Adagio continued to stand there, the former keeping her own voice down.

"I can hear everything they're saying."

"Yes," Adagio whispered back with a wry grin, "yes you can."

"What should we do now?"

"Nothing. Either they'll escalate things to yelling or they'll realize we're talking about them now and cut their own conversation short. Probably. To be honest, I've never had a third party with me during these exchanges."

"Oh." Fluttershy smiled. "Well, I, guess I'm honored!"

It was Adagio's giggles that won Aria and Sonata's attention, which left the four of them in slightly awkward silence when they stopped.

"So," Aria tried again, "what's up, Squeaky?"

While a little part of her had hoped Adagio would explain and possibly enforce the situation herself, Fluttershy steadied herself with the help of her girlfriend's encouraging little smile. "I was th-thinking I could, uh, st-stay the night here?"

Worry clear in her face, Aria glanced at the others before asking. "What, were you thrown out of your own house? Did your mom not like that you were seeing Dagi, or-"

"No, no," Fluttershy said with a quick head-shake, "nothing like that, I just, uh, th-thought it might be nice to spend some time together, and i-if you'd have me again, I'd kind of hoped-"

She was silenced by Adagio's arms gently wrapping around her from behind, one over her shoulder and the other around her side. Adagio looked to the others with a little smirk. "Can we keep her," she asked in a faux-pleading tone, "please?"

Sharing a disbelieving glance with Sonata, Aria opted to play along. "You'll have to play nice with her, keep her fed and put her to bed on time."

"But of course..."

As the words were breathed directly into her ear, Fluttershy suspected they were said more to her than to Aria, leaving her mind fuzzy as Adagio gently, slowly stripped her backpack away (the connotations of the act were not lost on Fluttershy, who burned brighter as the other two sirens blushed in kind), set it on the nearest wall-hook, and again brought her to the couch, seating Fluttershy on her lap.

"Ooh, wait," Sonata declared somewhat urgently as she got to her feet, "this is like a slumber party, right?!"

Aria's eyes widened. "It is... Holy crap, it is!" She jumped up too. "We trained for this! Dagi, quick, distract her!"

Fluttershy blinked twice. "D-distract?"

She seized up when a hand delicately grasped her shoulder, another on her chin to guide her into a kiss...

---

"Okay," Sonata said as she wiped her brow, "I think we're all set."

The coffee table was now adorned with snacks, drinks, and a TV guide (long out of date, but they were still learning), the couch and chairs bolstered with pillows and blankets to make a modest fortress, and the sirens' very first overnight guest, her hair now a little more disheveled, was starting to come to as the end of Distraction Procedure Mk.1 (which would need to be adjusted for use on someone other than visiting girlfriends) let her catch her breath. Rainbow had needed filling in about why the sirens' avatars had all stopped moving.

"Guys, if you're gonna go AFK, at least say something!"

"Sorry," giggled Sonata, "had to make a pillow fort real quick!"

"Got a guest over," Aria clarified, "you are now an audio-witness to our first slumber party. Man, that sounds girly when you say it out loud."

"Guest?"

Fluttershy wasn't sure Rainbow would hear her, but when Adagio put a headset on her head, she smiled. "Um... H-hello, Rainbow."

"Fluttershy? You didn't tell us you were- aw, wait, crud, this is because'a the whole... everyone-only-knows-about-you-and-Dagi deal, innit?"

"It would be kind of hard to explain if someone other than me were seen coming to or from this house, I'm afraid."

"Yea," she answered with a hint of disappointment, "I guess... So, Nata said you were building a pillow fort, does that mean...?"

"Yep," Aria answered with a chuckle, "it's the weekend, so, we're free for a while."

"Awesoooome!"

The four in Fort Crashing Couch (Aria won the game of rock-paper-scissors to name it) giggled, Adagio handing Fluttershy her controller, which was met with a confused look.

"Um... Aren't you in the middle of-" She was cut off with a very gentle hand massaging her shoulder, the sensations sending shivers through her skin as Adagio whispered into her ear.

"Sweetie, when I have you in my hands, how could I play with anything else?"

"Uh, I-I, oooh-hoo..."

"Hey," Aria chided, "no seduction in Fort Crashing Couch. If you wanna deflower her, take it upstairs." She blinked. "A-and, no taking it upstairs, because it's, w-we're in the middle of our first slumber party!"

Adagio chuckled. "Of course. Sorry, Sweetie."

"Th-that's okay," she answered, flushed, "I'll, just, uh..." She looked back and forth between the controller and the screen. "What was my screen-name again?"

---

Aria, Sonata, Rainbow, and Fluttershy played virtual super-cops for a while longer, taking a detour from fighting crime after Fluttershy accidentally kicked a futuristic minivan straight through a flock of pedestrians while trying to issue a parking ticket. Rainbow had nearly laughed herself sick. The four of them, made fugitives with the less powerful, AI-controlled police force, took to the sea until the Wanted Level meter depleted, where they at least confirmed that there were no sharks in that game.

"I was thinkin' it'd just be a matter of time," Aria noted, "like if we swam far enough out or just over deep enough water, we'd hear a noise, then BAM, swallowed in a heartbeat."

Sonata shivered. "Hated those things... totally unrealistic portrayal of sharks, too!"

"Because the floating-egg collectibles, pointy-eared people, roaming monsters, magical, color-coded energy stuff just floating around, and overall fantasy-world vibe that game had going were 'realistic'?"

Sonata's eyes narrowed. "You be quiet!"

"I'm with Nata," Rainbow mused, "those sharks were literally nightmare fuel."

"Ooh," said Adagio, an evil smirk growing on her lips, "speaking of nightmare fuel, scary stories are a regular thing at sleepovers, right?"

"Yeeeaa...?"

"Why don't we compromise that a bit with what we're doing now? We have a few horror games we could play."

It was in this moment that Aria and Sonata regretted telling Adagio about the Screaming Ball of Crazy, but Rainbow replied before they could object.

"Aw, heck yea! I know a few that'd be great for that! I mean, if you don't mind, Fluttershy...?"

Fluttershy, comfortably sitting in Adagio's lap, showed no sign of opposition to this plan as Adagio practically pet her. "It could be fun, I think."

Looking one another in the eye, Aria and Sonata said a silent prayer that they wouldn't see the dark metamorphasis a second time, but otherwise readied themselves for action.

---

"Ohmygoodnessohmygoodnessohmygoodness!!"

"I know it's a lotta zombies, Flutters, but just keep shooting!"

"Man, can you imagine if we didn't turn the gore down?"

"Quiet, Nata! Also: GET THIS THING OFF ME!!"

"Hold still, Ria!"

"Do you not see me being dragged by the 80-foot-tongue monster?!"

"No, too many zombies in the way!"

"I'm throwing a molotov!"

Ten seconds later.

"This is worse!"

"So much worse! And I'm still being molested by Licky McGee here!"

"It'll balance out, trust me!"

"I'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorry!!"

"Squeaky, quit apologizing to the ravenous, flesh-eating hordes!"

"I'm s-sorree-hee-hee!!"

"Look, see?! The fire's going out and most of the zombies are dead!"

"You mean more dead!"

"Quiet, Nata."

"Hehe!"

"Oh, goodness, that was hectic. I'm going to check these buildings for supplies."

"Go nuts, Squeaky, we'll pick off the rest of the stragglers."

"I think I hear someone crying in here!"

Adagio started giggling as Aria, Sonata, and Rainbow all cried out at once.

"FLUTTERSHY, NO!!"

---

After the incident with the treacherous, crying claw-monster, they opted to play something a bit more relaxed; a survival-horror game set in a big, scary castle populated by tenacious stalkers out to kill the players in gruesome ways. As the focus was on avoiding confrontation by running away from the psychotic killers and solving puzzles with inventory items and pieces of the level environment, Fluttershy was already feeling right at home, especially once she found and rescued the loyal dog companion.

"Eeeee! There's even a button to pet him!"

"Yea, great, but that's not gonna distract the hulking, cannibal rapist with down syndrome if he finds you."

"Oh, he is not a rapist, Ria, he just likes playing with dolls!"

"You haven't seen the game-over screen when he catches you."

"Nuts to the doll-guy, the maid is way worse! Just the way she laughs is so freaky that I bet it bumped up the content rating on this game, but the visceral noises if she gets you..."

"Yea. Getting caught in general; seriously not fun, so keep an ear out for when the background music suddenly stops and-"

"OH, CRAP!"

"Run, Nata, Run!"

"Wait, the kick button stops right about at junk-height, I'm gonna try kicking him!"

Punt!

"...KICKING DOES NOTHING!!"

"Get outta there before your panic meter goes off!"

"Right, forgot we were playing as total wimps!"

"Look for a closet or something!"

"Or under a bed! The hiding spots usually have a message or something when you walk past 'em!"

"I found a wardrobe!"

A tense moment passed as the monstrous brute briefly searched the room, then left in pursuit of 'his dolly.' Sonata breathed a sigh of relief before a female voice was heard from within the game.

"Miss...?"

The maid had been waiting in the wardrobe.

Over the sounds of rending flesh and piercing, psychotic laughter, Aria and Sonata looked at Fluttershy, who was... still administering virtual head-rubs to the dog, a look of pure bliss on her face as a very content Adagio gave her much the same treatment in the real world. Shrugging, the two opted to count themselves lucky and move on.

---

After escaping Castle Psychosis (it turned out that the big, dumb doll guy had a key to the front door in his hut), Rainbow suggested they move on to a game that took place in a different castle. Preferably one where they could defend themselves.

In theory, anyway.

"Dodge-roll, dodge-roll, dodge-CRAP!"

You Died.

"Told you just rushing past 'em wouldn't work, Nata."

"Bite me, Ria! It was working until they started shooting homing arrows!"

"Why would you wanna skip the fighting, anyway? You don't get any loot or their souls if you don't kill 'em."

"Because in case you haven't noticed," You Died. "grrr... The fighting is SUPER HARD!"

"Not if you're smart and careful, and maybe just a little opportunistic. Look how many of these undead soldier guys I've taken out just by backstabbing 'em when they're chasing Squeaky."

"G-glad I could help..."

"Pfft, sure," Rainbow replied with audible challenge, "if you wanna play it like a wuss."

Aria smirked. "Oh, yea? How did your last eight direct frontal assaults go?"

You Died.

"...I-I'll get it eventually!"

"Nuts to this, I'm joining Dr. Seuss's thing."

Rainbow's retort was cut off,

You Died.

along with her avatar's head for the ninth time.

"Sigh... yea, count me in."

"Welcome to the Dark Side, Doom."

Rainbow was audibly smiling. "Shuddup, Arbie."

Grinning with amusement, Adagio arched an eyebrow. "'Arbie'?"

"It's, uh... Like, Rulebook. 'R. B.' Or 'Aria Blaze.'"

"You two are so cute together."

Aria and Rainbow shouted at the same time. "WE'RE STRAIGHT!!"

The other three giggled.

---

After a slightly hectic boss-fight, they switched to a horror game set in a castle that felt more like a mansion, give or take the murderous, mutilated husks, carnivorous wall-jelly, and evil, unknowable blackness following them around. This was another in which self-defense was not a viable option.

"You guys keep the shambling freak-show busy, I'mma loot this room."

"What for, Ria?! You've already got all the lantern oil you can carry and like a hundred tinder boxes!"

"Well, yea, but... loot!"

"If we were in the same room, I'd fist-bump you!"

"Yea, sure, you two have your kleptomaniac friendship moment while I'm getting eaten by this walking, burlap sack fulla meat and pointy bones."

"It's just 'cuz you suck at sneaking around, Nata. Look at Squeaky; already made it all the way to the flooded basement."

"I-I'm kind of stuck here, actually..."

"The monster in there will only kill you if you stay in the water too long, just go from one conveniently-placed box to the next and you'll be fine."

"I-I try, but, the second my toes touch the water, he makes that noise, a-and-"

"You hop right back onto the box?"

"Sorry."

Sonata beamed. "Ooh, I've got an idea!"

Adagio watched, perplexed, as Rainbow, Aria, and Sonata worked together to drag random boards, boxes, and any other objects they could move around with the game's physics system to bring those objects to the flooded basement, throw them in the water, and use them as floating platforms to avoid the water monster.

It didn't work, because only two or three of them were stable enough to jump on, but the group managed to play keep-away with the monster (it could only chase one at a time, after all) long enough for Fluttershy to solve the area's puzzles unmolested, grab any 'loot' she could find, and get out of there in a touching display of teamwork.

---

"Awright," Rainbow said with a yawn, "I'm gonna hit the hay. Applejack wrangled me into helping her do stuff tomorrow."

Aria offered a two-finger salute she knew Rainbow couldn't see. "Catchya later, Doom."

With game time ended, Sonata beamed. "Okay, time now for the part where we fall asleep watching movies and/or reruns!"

"Oh, uh," Fluttershy said as she gently removed herself from Adagio's lap, to the latter's slight dismay, "c-could I use your restroom first?"

Aria nodded, crooking a thumb over her shoulder. "Down the hall, right around the corner."

"Thank you!" She got up, picking up her backpack from the hook on which it had been placed. Noticing this drew some perplexed looks, she smiled a little. "T-toothbrush, and er, things." The sirens nodded, so she took this as a blessing and set off.

When she was gone, they sat in awkward silence for a moment. Aria looked at Adagio. "So, looks like your plan didn't work." She got a raised eyebrow for this. "Y'know, making Squeaky play horror games so you could see her go all scary? Like we told you about?"

Adagio visibly puzzled for a second, then her eyes widened. "Oh, that!"

"You forgot?!"

"I might have gotten distracted by the cutie on my lap. Next time?"

Aria facepalmed, but Sonata giggled. "Wait 'til you get your own sweetheart, Ria, then you'll know what it's like!"

"I keep telling you I'm straight!"

Adagio and Sonata shared a look. The former tilted her head. "Straight people can have sweethearts too, Ria."

Aria's mouth hung open for a moment as she pondered this. Reaching much the same conclusion, she blushed. "Right... Sorry, force of habit or something, I guess." She smiled as the other two giggled. "Kinda think I'll put all that off until things aren't so shaky for us, though. Surprised you two are just diving into it when we've got all this other stuff goin' on."

Smiling, Sonata shook her head. "We didn't choose it, silly, it just sorta happened."

"Well," mused Adagio, "there were conscious decisions that led to where we are, but I don't think growing so close with our respective Rainbooms was one of them. I'll grant that maybe it could have happened with better timing, but even with everyone talking about us, Fluttershy and I haven't had it too bad."

Aria shrugged. "Good to hear, I guess. How're things between you and Sunset since the...?"

"Publicly? Unchanged. I may not hate her anymore, but we still can't very well be friendly if we don't want everyone thinking we're in the Rainbooms' pocket now."

"Because then we'd get the fakes," Aria sighed, "which wouldn't even be that bad if we still had some real friends, but things bein' what they are...?"

There was a quiet moment. Adagio lightly shook her head. "Progress is slow, but it's there. Trixie has come to talk with us at lunch almost every day lately, and-... Well, okay, she isn't exactly popular, but her own two or three friends might give us a chance someday, and provided we got along with them too, we would have our own decent social circle. On that note, any chance anyone has been treating either of you like Trixie did me?"

"No dice," Sonata answered with a frown, "I was sorta hoping Luna might've been tsundere for me when she put me in another class after the brownie thing, but she had no idea what I was talking about when I asked."

"Ooh," uttered Aria as she gave Adagio a curious look, "Luna used to follow you around a lot, do you think...?"

"Only doing her job, I'm afraid. She hasn't even called me into her office lately, let alone the Detention class." She brushed a thoughtful hand along her chin. "Doubt she'd sit with us at lunch anyway."

Sonata scratched her head. "Are we even allowed to make friends with the people who work there? I never see anyone else just chatting up teachers or the janitor or anything."

"Pfft," scoffed Aria, "what, like we'll get even less popular if we manage to win over the staff or something? We go there to make friends, so anyone we can talk to is fair game." Remembering a favorite classroom passtime of hers, she tinted red and averted her eyes. "Though, uh, you guys might have better luck?"

Chuckling, Adagio shook her head. "Wouldn't count on it. Cheerilee, Harshwhinny, and Coach Will all hate me, and the rest don't exactly smile when they see me." Not that she had to ask why.

"Not even Inkwell?"

"Not even Inkwell. Granted, at least she never gives me weird looks. Or, weird looks that she doesn't give everyone else."

"What about Magnet?"

Adagio paused, then smiled with cautious optimism. "Do you think he'd-"

"Wait," urged Sonata, "do you really wanna be a high school girl asking a grown man to be your friend? Especially when he's already had people draw you in sexy poses? I kinda like the guy too, but if anybody gets the wrong idea, somebody might go to jail." The others stared at her in perplexed, mildly accusatory silence. She blushed. "I-it happened in one of Rarity's soap operas, okay?!" The stares abated, so she took her chance to change the subject. Or, get the old one back. "Anyway, the Home-Ec teacher probably doesn't like me either, and that was before the brownies. Heck, it was before that time with the eggs!"

"Hmph," Adagio said with a haughty smile, "we don't need them anyway, I learned to cook without Home-Ec."

Snorting, Aria wore a tiny smirk. "Not that you're bitter about being left out of that class?"

Sonata smiled. "Or pulled outta Gym?"

"Yes," Adagio replied in an icy deadpan, "thank you both."

Giggling, Sonata got out of her seat to sit next to Adagio on the couch and wrap her in a hug. "Sorry."

Adagio silently reciprocated, leaving Fort Crashing Couch quiet until Aria, feeling a little left out herself, got up to join in. They were just about to start singing again when they remembered the reason they weren't in their own beds right now.

"Squeaky's been gone a while."

Sonata looked around. "Think she's still looking for the bathroom? Not like this is a BIG house."

Gently (and somewhat reluctantly) freeing herself from the group hug, Adagio got up. "I'll go check on her."

When she reached the first-floor bathroom, she stopped to find the door open and the lights off. The sink was dry, so if Fluttershy had been here at all, she hadn't washed her hands.

For shame, Sweetie. For. Shame.

Her next guess was the upstairs bathroom, Fluttershy possibly having been too self-conscious to use one on the same floor as people who might hear her doing anything anywhere near a toilet, but she popped into the costume room just in case Fluttershy was feeling festive or even just nostalgic.

No Fluttershy.

On the off-chance Fluttershy was interested in the work-out offer now of all times, she checked the empty gym before heading upstairs, but that bathroom was vacant too. Now she was starting to worry, but just as she was about to call out to Fluttershy, she heard a shuffling noise. From her own room.

...Sweetie? Are you doing what I think you're doing?

She wasn't sure why else Fluttershy would sneak into her room this late at night, with a backpack full of mystery contents, but Her Sweetie had surprised her a few times before...

And Hell, even if it isn't anything naughty, it's more than enough to tease her with!

Adagio crept up to the door, and knowing that the squeaky hinges would give her away, -Note to self: Oil up doors in the future for stealth entries/exits!- she flung it open, smirking at the sight of a startled Fluttershy standing near the center of the room, having been fiddling with her backpack as it rested on the bed.

"My, my," Adagio purred as she strode closer, a vicious smirk on her lips, "was the bathroom an excuse, or... were you just freshening up?"

"Uh-"

"I mean, Ria did say that if any deflowering was to go on, we should take it upstairs, and... here you are. Trying to tell me something, Sweetie?"

"I, I-I, th-this is, um..."

Cherishing the way her stuttering girlfriend fidgeted and blushed, she stopped just in front of Fluttershy. "Yeeees? What was it you had in mind that involved sneaking into my room at this time of night?" The unintelligible reply Fluttershy directed at her feet was every bit as delectable as usual, but after about a solid minute, Adagio was starting to wonder.

She's not calming down... if anything, it looks like she's getting more nervous. Sweating, shaking, and glowing like a Christmas tree. I should ask if something's been bothering her or-

In a blink, Adagio was grabbed by the wrist and thrown onto her heart-shaped bed, narrowly missing the backpack as she landed on a cushion of her own hair and her legs hung over the side. She quickly sat up. "What ar-"

Fluttershy practically pounced on her, seizing both wrists to press her against the bed as she leaned in. Adagio gasped as she felt a series of frantic kisses along her neck and collarbone, followed by a shaky replication of what Adagio herself had practiced on Fluttershy with her tongue and teeth on that day they tried the sugar sticks. The sensations sapped her strength (or just her will to resist, it was hard to tell) as she felt her clothes being unfastened, soft, warm hands frantically running over her skin, probing everywhere as they surveyed in apparently random fashion, Fluttershy's tongue having moved to inspect the interior of Adagio's mouth, hot breath on her lips as her own breathing picked up.

With Fluttershy's hands still wildly moving over her skin and occasionally lingering in a few favorite areas, it was getting hard to think, but this situation was difficult to interpret as something other than Fluttershy finally giving into her urges in the most direct possible way. Adagio hadn't exactly compiled a list of things she'd use to determine that Fluttershy was ready, because the idea was to wait until she said it herself, but feeling a trembling hand snaking its way into her undergarments for the fourth time in the last minute, she firmly gripped Fluttershy's shoulder as her other hand gently worked its way along Fluttershy's spine.

However, the second she started to pull at Fluttershy's shirt, she heard a shrill, terrified noise, felt two hands roughly pulling hers away, and a rush of cold as Fluttershy's body heat left her, rapid footsteps quickly growing fainter just before she heard the front door slam.

Sitting up as she started to catch her breath, Adagio looked around to find herself alone.

What... What just happened? What was that about?

Fluttershy's backpack was gone too, and it didn't sound like she was on her way back upstairs. Adagio struggled to process the last few minutes, but she was certain of a few particular details:

She had caught Fluttershy in her room.

Fluttershy had, quite aggressively, initiated very intimate physical contact.

Adagio reciprocated.

And Fluttershy ran from her. Not just ran, but sprinted out of the house in terror.

The thought made her throat contract as her insides twisted into cold knots.

Why? What did I do wrong? Was there something else I was supposed to do first? She didn't ask me to do anything! She didn't say anything at all! Was that important?

She reached for her phone, absentmindedly trying to decide whether to call or text.

But she started... that! What was I supposed to think it meant?

She grimaced at the little screen, not sure if Fluttershy would answer her at all.

Did it mean something else? Do romantic relationships have a step before sex that involves mad, frantic fondling? Was I supposed to be doing it back?

She agonized with her phone for several minutes before deciding to just call and ask what was going on, each sounding of the electric waiting noise a tighter, more strangling squeeze of the heart-vice until the answering machine sounded. Adagio immediately hung up and called again, not feeling any better through the second round of it. Nor the third. She tried to ignore the burning tears trickling down her face during the fourth. By the sixth time, she heard footsteps coming up the stairs, her heart beating irregularly as she dared dream Fluttershy had come back, but a tingle of deja vu told her it was Aria and Sonata. When the two stepped through the door with looks of anxious dread, Adagio answered their silent question in a croak.

"...She ran from me."

Author's Note:

Sooo... you'd probably like to go straight to the next chapter to see the resolution to what just happened, but if you don't mind putting the dramatic tension on hold for a minute, here are some author's notes. :twilightsheepish:

Tried to do one of the game session scenes without colors even with multiple characters this time. I know the colors annoy some people, but here's hoping a little extra effort is enough to keep it clear who's talking at a given time. Also, as usual, I've taken creative liberties with some of the games they're playing, which might make them a smidge harder to guess. (though if it really is hard to tell who's saying what, I'll go back and color things)

You Died. is the exception, because... You Died.

It occurs to me that I could have distinguished everyone's voices with accents, but they weren't playing with strangers and the cat was kind of out of the bag between the lot of them anyway.

I was tempted to include a bit with Little Nightmares after having recently watched Markiplier play through it (hilariously, the reason for him descending into insanity this time is the credits), but I didn't want to spoil anything about it. Plus, the only way I could think of for more than one person to be playing it* was some kind of turn-taking speed-run thing where players go one at a time and see who can get through each segment the fastest or something, which seemed like needlessly clunky exposition for something that wasn't going to matter a few paragraphs down.

*As you may have noticed, every single game in this world seems to have multiplayer options, even when I'm referencing what were strictly single-player games, which will be explained a little more in one of the spin-offs.

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