• 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 8: Multi-Hued Fruit Ellipsoids

That happened kind of fast.

Fluttershy wasn't complaining by any means, but reminiscing looking back on that morning's encounter as she walked to her next class, it really felt like things went very quickly. Still, she hadn't stopped smiling since!

It's true, isn't it? 'An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute'?

That wasn't the whole quote, but right now she didn't care. Mental images of Adagio's blushing face kept Fluttershy feeling warm through the day, remembering the kind of beauty it brought out in her. It was like seeing a flower blossom, a tenderness uncovered for all the world (well, just her at the time) to see, a moment of delicate vulnerability that exposed a soft, sweet center.

Stopping in another near-empty hall, Fluttershy's whole face felt hot, and she had no idea why. She shook her head and kept walking.

She still wished they could have had more time together, even if it wasn't spent with her getting to watch Adagio be the one to look bashful for once. They might have, actually, but Adagio left of her own free will, even though the school wasn't due to open for a little while longer. Realizing that was what finally brought Fluttershy back down to Earth.

Did she just not want to be around me anymore? Did I make her uncomfortable? All I said was 'thank you,' was that weird for her?

There had to be something she could do to hold Adagio's attention longer. She already knew her favorite subject, but there was no way Fluttershy could talk about that stuff and keep her head on straight. Maybe there was something else, her only other two friends? Unless the 'other' part was assuming too much, in that case, her only two friends? Adagio brought up Aria's rant on her own, would she be happy to talk about her and Sonata? She made a mental note to try it tomorrow, realizing on the way home that she'd forgotten to try the try the sexy confident walk today.


The next day, Fluttershy was startled less out of malice or playfulness, more because she hadn't been paying attention when the sneakiest siren leaned over the bench and said hello. The dark eyeliner probably wasn't helping.

Adagio chuckled. "Sorry, should I be calling out to you first, or...?"

That it sounded like she earnestly cared was worth any amount of jump-scares to Fluttershy, drawing a smile. "I-it's okay, I'm just really, um, w-well-" Adagio just kept grinning at her in a believe me, I've noticed, kind of way. She refrained from even mentioning the empty seat on the bench, not wanting to risk Adagio feeling even the tiniest bit like she was being pressured into anything she didn't want to do. Clearing her throat, Fluttershy offered the bag containing today's choice of candy. "A-anyway, have you ever seen these before?"

Leaning over to get a better look, Adagio could see a variety of little, elliptical pellets of many colors, each one bearing a tiny, white letter 's'. "Are these a different type of jelly bean?"

Giggling, Fluttershy shook her head. "Not exactly, but they do come in about as many flavors. Try some!" To her slight surprise, Adagio didn't hesitate at all, making two out of four cases of bagged candy she had no visible problem with. Had the candy corn and jelly beans in particular just looked strange to her, or was she just growing to trust Fluttershy enough to eat whatever she offered? Her heart palpitating at the very thought, she almost missed something else she'd grown to cherish as the treat analysis began.

"These are... interesting." She chewed for at least twenty seconds, her face thoughtful. "A lot like the jelly beans, yes, but perhaps more flavorful, I can taste the different juices blending together into an unplaceable uniform... stuff." Reaching into the bag for another handful, she eyed them curiously. "They even feel grainy on the inside, too, but denser, maybe even weirdly metallic, if that makes sense, like compacted versions of the jelly beans. She popped them into her mouth and smiled, the way it felt like only she could now. "Very good, though."

Chewing on a few herself, Fluttershy hoped it just looked like Adagio's own beautiful smile was contagious. "S-so, what do you guys usually do for fun? Outside of school, I mean?"

Pondering the question for a few seconds, Adagio swallowed her current mouthful. "Well, there isn't a whole lot that really grabbed us, hence coming here at all, but we did experiment with a few hobbies. We still have quite a lot of money at our disposal, so buying whatever caught our eye was a cinch." She glanced at Fluttershy, only a bright, welcoming grin where she thought a judging stare would be. Odd. Perhaps it didn't occur to her that their wealth was ill-gotten. "So, when we learned of video games, buying the necessary machines and a number of data disks to go with them led to a good few days' worth of digital exploration..."


Following a talk with Sunset Shimmer, the Dazzlings found themselves in search of purpose. Or failing that, something fun to do. A few different consoles and a small collection of games in their anti-boredom arsenal, (once they figured out where all the wires go) the three were seated on their living room sofa and dove in.

"So how does this one work?"

"The box said it's a shooter. So you, uh, shoot. A lot."

"Alright, then! Which one is the 'shoot' button?"

"I dunno, but I think I found how to throw-"

There was an explosion onscreen, followed by a prompt to retry the level.


Aria had opted to start reading game manuals following their many deaths in the first-person shooter.

"Quick, throw a shell!"

"I'm not holding a shell, Dagi!"

"Use a mushroom!"

"I'm not holding a mushroom, Nata, you have to-ooh, picked up a banana!"

"What do those do?"

"Maybe they attract monkeys."

"What good is that in a race?"

"This is a race?"

"I knew we were driving in circles!"


Eventually, they tried the shooter again.

"Alright, I'm starting to see where this game stands; you shoot the guys who shoot at you first, and no one else."

"So that's what friendly fire means!"

"Didn't we shoot these guys in the last level?"


Then a strategy game.

"Now this is how it always should have been, the three of us in command of our own army!"

"Once we get enough supplies, yea."

"Well, yes, that. How do we do that again, Ria?"

"Manual says we tell the miner units go whack those glowing rock-looking things over there."

"Can't we just steal the enemy's rock-things?"

"Yea, once we've got enough rock-things to build an army to go steal more rock-things with."

"War stinks."


And a dungeon-crawler RPG.

"Picked up a new sword from that ugly, green midget cheiftan."

"Is it better than the other sword? I still can't tell the difference between 'Red Steel' and 'Silverite' or whatever."

"Uhh... It's got a dexerity plus on it, so I'm gonna say yes."

"Ha-ha! I shot that guy with lightning!"

"I think that was a merchant we could have sold the extra sword to, Dagi."

"But now we can take his swords and sell them to someone else, right?"


And a platformer.

"So we just have to keep running to the right, Ria?"

"And not fall down any pits, that's important."

"What do we spend these coins on? Does this game let you build armies too?"


"Ooh, I'll buy one of those!"


Then another shooter.

"I'm sure we've shot all these guys before, Dagi."

"Couldn't be, it's a different game."

"Then why do they look just like the other guys?"

"Maybe they're all clones!"

"Too many clones."

"Maybe we're putting them down before the surplus population eats everything in the ecosystem? I think this makes us veterinarians."

"Veterinarians with assault rifles, I guess."



And then something to do with survival horror.

"I found a rusty key!"

"Does that go to the rusty door?"

"A lot of the doors are rusty. I think you opened one with the bloody key a little bit ago."

"Was that the 'bloody' key or the 'blood' key? Or the red key?"

"This place must be a nightmare for janitors."

"Judging by the mangled dead guys walking around, it's probably a nightmare for everybody else, too."

"But mostly janitors! Why else would the doors get so rusty? They haven't been cleaned in forever!"


The less said of their efforts in the stealth game, the better.

"How did that guy see me? I was in the box!"

"You were moving in the box, Nata."

"So? What do they have against moving boxes?"

"The same thing they have against intruders, maybe?"

"Racists! Well now I'm glad we're snapping their necks!"

Admittedly, things went better when Adagio stopped using various action buttons to pose in front of cameras.


They were on a roll with the shooters. As it happened, most of the main campaigns were over by the time they started to grow tired of them.

"So, I had a thought about these games."


"Not at us, you dunderhead!"

"Oh, relax, friendly fire is off. What is it, Nata?"

"Well, if we keep shooting the same guys over and over again because they're pretty much clones, how do we know we aren't clones just like them? In the game, I mean."

"Are you basing this on what happened in the stealth game?"


"I, I think... I think she might be onto something."


"Yaaay! Onto what?"

"I mean, if they've got some big cloning thing goin' on, maybe we're just the renegades trying to stop them, but first we've gotta take down all the other clones and-"

"-and the random buildings we keep blowing up are cloning facilities, or part of the clone soldier infrastructure, which means-"

"-which means if we don't shoot all these guys and blow up all this stuff, the war will just keep going forever!"

They all spoke in unison. "And that's why these games are so alike!"

The cutscenes told a very different story, but such skippable lessons were lost on the Dazzlings, who still felt like geniuses for solving the imaginary riddle.


"So," Adagio concluded, "while we had some fun, it wasn't all we wanted to do for the rest of our lives. Aria still spends some time after school scouring the virtual world for something more interesting, but for now, here I am."

"And then you tried the cheer-leading squad?"

"Well, Sonata did. We looked at a few different student organizations, actually, but none of them worked out." Maybe it was the slight tilt of her head, maybe it was the big, doe-eyed look Fluttershy was giving her, but something in her expression said she wanted to know more. Well, why not? Adagio smirked a little. "The drama club looked promising, but my worries that we'd all upstage everyone else were put aside, because we didn't get to join in a single production before being blacklisted." She chuckled, a hint of nostalgia to her just-slightly-evil grin. "Not every play they were putting together was a centuries-old classic, you see. We caught them in the middle of an original work, and Aria, being Aria, had some... constructive criticism to offer."

Fluttershy looked just a little skeptical. "Constructive?"

"Well, at first, yes. She pointed out some technical issues, some grammatical mistakes in the scripts, a few anachronisms for the setting of the piece, all valid points." She smiled wider, suggesting that any grief she felt over their expulsion from the club was long replaced by amusement. "However, the manner in which she did so was perhaps less than what such gentle souls might have preferred. The playwright remained adamant that no changes needed to be made, Aria wasn't quite as patient back then and may have called someone a 'talentless hack with no understanding of narrative flow.' Admittedly, it might not have gotten so ugly if Sonata and I hadn't been laughing so hard."

To Adagio's immediately-masked surprise, Fluttershy didn't offer a single scolding word for this, not even telling her they were wrong to have done what they did, or anything else. Instead, she giggled, like it was a harmless joke. Was it? People's reactions were so hard to gauge now...

"After Friday's English class, I can kind of see that. What did you try next?"

Something bubbled up in the back of Adagio's head, telling her that something was wrong here. It asked whether or not she could remember a time Fluttershy, Sunset Shimmer, any of the Rainbooms had reprimanded her group in any way since the battle. Teachers did, Luna and Celestia did, other students did, mostly behind their backs or when they assumed they were out of earshot, but never the six (or Vinyl Scratch, but she wasn't talkative to begin with) that had actually stopped them. Why?

She didn't have time to ponder it now, Fluttershy was waiting for an answer. "Well, the first time we attended gym class, we learned a little about the sports they play here. Unfortunately, when all the running in circles and stretching was done-" Adagio chose to leave out that Coach Iron Will had almost thrown her out of class after her custom stretches may have made two students faint, but she'd definitely succeeded in demonstrating her flexibility, "the first game they had us play was football. Sonata told us as they were assigning teams that she had seen that game on television and gave us a brief rundown of what to do take the lead. As we demonstrated a good understanding of the rules as we thought they were set and I convinced those in charge that physically fit students wouldn't be any worse for wear after being tackled a few times, there weren't any repercussions for this, either."

Fluttershy tilted her head. "Either?"

"Ohh, nothing. We did eventually get in some trouble the next day when it was discovered that football was the only sport we understood, but I maintain that making everything-" the smirk leaned a little toward lewd, "-full-contact would have only benefited the student body in the long run. Probably all the kids who go to CHS, too."

"Isn't that the same thi-" As realization struck, Fluttershy turned red, bringing both hands to her mouth. "Oh my!!"

Snickering with satisfaction, Adagio went on. "It was a shame, Sonata was rather adept at Tackle-Baseball. Made more sense than running in circles like a dolt, at any rate." She frowned a little, shrugging. "They don't let me play dodge-ball anymore, though. The balls rolling harmlessly off my hair apparently doesn't count as a hit, there was an accident with someone trying to bind it for me, -Aria did warn them- and even when it was as tied up as it could get, an honest mistake of my aim followed by an equally unlucky ricochet was the last nail in the coffin." She was a little insulted Iron Will was so quick to believe that she of all people would try to hit such a place. Then again, maybe her banter to the opposing team put certain thoughts in his head? "Now they just let me go early on dodge-ball day."

Fluttershy frowned too, but she saw opportunity for something she'd been wondering about for weeks. "Is that why I see you standing alone outside the locker room sometimes?"

Blinking twice, Adagio's cheeks tinted the faintest shade of red. "Oh, that? W-well, actually..." She looked away, whatever blush had been building going right back where it came from as she looked out over the soccer field. "I'm, due to some misunderstandings, not allowed in the locker rooms-" either one, Luna had made it clear, "-when the other students are changing."

There was just a little doubt in the raising of a pink eyebrow. "Misunderstandings?"

Standing up straight, Adagio looked back at Fluttershy as though she'd been accused of murder, fingertips drawn to her chest (Two seconds!) in melodramatic fashion. "You don't think I would go and do something to make anyone uncomfortable, do you? My intentions were nothing but pure!" She clasped her hands together, making what could only be called puppy-dog eyes. "You believe me, don't you?"

This was almost definitely a trap, a lie, or both, but if she wanted to really earn Adagio's trust, Fluttershy knew she had to give her the benefit of the doubt. She smiled warmly. "If you say you're innocent, then of course I believe you."

Adagio blinked twice, laughing as she returned to her usual leaning pose. "No," she said with a smirk, "that they don't let me in when others are changing is entirely my fault. But really, you'd think those girls could take a compliment."

There was a distant sense of shock not that Adagio had been lying through her teeth, but that she had just delivered a response that didn't surprise Fluttershy at all. Whether or not that was some kind of paradox, she'd work out later.

"So," the siren leader went on, "with none of the clubs we had even the foggiest interest in willing to give any of us a sideways glance, we opted to forsake groups altogether and just try befriending random people at lunch." She shrugged. "Didn't work."

Giggling, Fluttershy spoke without thinking. "I'm a little surprised you would try to make friends at all." Adagio gave her a worrying look, as if to say 'No please, elaborate.' She gulped. "W-wait, I didn't mean it l-like, I-I don't think you're, I-I mean-"

Adagio sighed a little, as though she'd anticipated this. "Relax, Sweetie." She gave Fluttershy a minute to calm down before explaining. "If you were hoping to give me The Talk about the joys of friendship and all that, Sunset Shimmer beat you to it." To Fluttershy's unnoticed delight, Adagio started to get that rosy look as she crossed her arms, looking out at the soccer field again. "The first time we talked, she happened across us in town one day. We had a little chat about why the three of us were still together, what we must have meant to each other to have not gone our separate ways, blah, blah, you can probably guess the rest."

Fluttershy frowned. "You're really not going to tell the whole story?"

With a roll of her eyes, Adagio blushed a little brighter. "I assure you that it was all very huggy and tearful and embarrassing. Sunset Shimmer supervised. Anyway, after that, we just tried to kill time together, find something to do with our lives. Hence? School."

Fluttershy nodded a little. "I guess that makes sense." She smiled genuinely. "Thank you for telling me this, Adagio."

Adagio stared back at her, still flushed. "Yes, well..." She stood up straight, quickly ruffling Fluttershy's hair. "I think that's enough sentimentality for today. See you around, Sweetie."

Straightening her hair as best she could, Fluttershy waited, very patiently, until Adagio was out of sight before checking the time on her phone. She smiled. That might be the longest she's ever talked to me! Maybe all she had to do was bring up things Adagio wanted to talk about? Sadly, it looked like anything she thought was too 'sentimental', anything that made her blush, was off the list.


Then again, she thought through the day's first class, her heartbeat picking up again, Adagio getting all rosy-cheeked is so...


Still, she didn't want to risk Adagio getting uncomfortable around her, and deciding they were done talking for the day seemed like just that. What drew that reaction? Yesterday it was saying out loud that she had done something nice for Fluttershy, today it was, what? Sharing that she and the others had talked to Sunset?

Oh, that's it!

Adagio was a lot like Sunset, or like she had been a little after the Fall Formal; proud, guarded, hesitant to show even a flicker of tender feelings. Well, not those kinds of tender feelings, anyway. Opening the door to the empty gym, Fluttershy decided she'd just have to be patient, to let Adagio share as much as she wanted at her own pace.

Speaking of paces, it was time to practice the shaky confident walk again...

Author's Note:

The image of those three playing video games together just tickles me. :rainbowwild:

I'm over the desired word limit again. Is under 4000 words still short and sweet enough? I think just heavily implying that stuff happened can convey just as much hijinks as writing out every word. :pinkiesmile:

In case it's ambiguous, Sunset talked to the Dazzlings multiple times before the events of the story, checking in on them every so often to make sure they weren't as lost and miserable as she would have been without the other five. She may not be the protagonist of this story, but she still cares. :twilightsmile:

I put Teen ratings on almost all of my stories for creative freedom. Has this one earned it yet?

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