• Published 25th Mar 2015
  • 5,085 Views, 451 Comments

We Are What We Are - Theigi


What does it take to transform three innocent youths into the most fearsome enchantresses two worlds would ever know? Redemption be damned. Sometimes one's past is too painful to leave behind. A dark, novelesque & musical Sirens origin story

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A Stable Mundanity

The air was thick and pulsing with an old, familiar melody. Adagio Dazzle watched the deep, teal waters crash against the rocks on the shore. She was in a daze. Something wasn't right about this place, but she couldn't put her hoof on what. The emotions running through her—that of a profound sadness hovering silently beneath a rather plastic and fragile sense of joy—seemed inexplainable. It felt quite valid to be feeling these things, but for the life of her she couldn't remember why. Turning her gaze back toward what lay before her, her eyes met with a deep purple pair belonging to a rose-ish pegasus. The questioning look on the other pony's face made her nervous. Somehow she just knew that she had missed something.

It took a moment for the pegasus to speak. When she did, the words came labored and slow. "Well? If it were to be done again, knowing what would happen, would you?" she asked as she scratched the strange shadow of a birthmark between her chest and neck—a birthmark almost identical to Adagio's. The pegasus' expression almost pleaded for a reply.

Adagio blinked. She remembered this question too, and even though she couldn't recall what it was about, she had the feeling that it was something bad, something that held much weight depending on what her reply would be. She found herself unable to answer. Instead, she felt very much like crying.

Gazing down at her lap for a moment, and then staring back up at the glum pegasus, she was met with a tired look of frustration. Thus, it surprised her when the other pony seemed to fall into a state of meditation, running her hoof through one of her purple and green pigtails.

She then decisively reached out to touch her lap. "It's fine. We are alright," the pegasus said sounding a bit unsure of herself. The words echoed as Adagio felt the pony's hoof graze lightly against her. The touch was cool before it began to tingle, then burn. Something hit her in the chest as hard as a brick, and suddenly she was falling through blues and wisps of green, flashes of fire, and choking darkness. A buzzing in her ears became louder and louder until she swore she might go mad.

Adagio awoke with a start, jolting upward in her bed as the penetrating buzz of the alarm clock echoed against the walls of her skull. No matter how many weeks or months passed, it seemed that accursed digital shriek was something she would never get used to, especially considering what the sound of it had come to signify.

Reaching over to bang her fist against the off button, she finally took a moment to breathe deeply, and release a long, telling sigh. Her shoulders slumped as her eyes roamed about her body, remembering her arms, her fingers, her legs, and the burning scar that now lay in the space between her chest and chin where her now shattered pendant once sat. She glanced toward the slivers of light peaking in through the ribs of her window blinds. Scratching the unruly orange mop that sat atop her head, she gingerly rose to her feet, braced herself for a moment as she cracked her back, and slowly made her way out into the hall.

Dragging her fingers against the wall as she turned the corner, she hissed when they snagged upon a splinter protruding from a rough, worn patch upon its surface. For a house that had been charmed away from its previous owners about fifty years ago, things mostly seemed to be holding up well—not counting the essentials, like plumbing and wiring, which Adagio insisted on having maintained every two years anyway. Still, there were a couple flecks of chipped paint, worn wood here and there, and an iffy boiler in the dusty basement. She supposed that these weren't cause for immediate concern, especially since it was still summer, and especially considering the three girls' relatively new, dire, monetary predicament. Sucking upon the pained digit, Adagio eyed the patch sharply, and continued on her way.

Her morning routine was committed to memory at this point. First would come a knock on Aria's door at the end of the hall, then a quick tap on Sonata's as she headed toward the shower, and finally the inevitable second bang on that insufferable Aria's door after leaving the bathroom. Sonata was never any trouble when it came to getting up for work in the morning. While she was definitely not the brightest individual anyone was sure to meet, one thing amongst a few others that Adagio had always admired about the cheery, blue-haired girl was her tireless work ethic. She wasn't prone to complain or question, and even after they had lost their powers, she never once objected when Adagio had given them all the news that they would have to begin to make their living just like everyone else. In fact, it was Sonata who had first obtained a small job as a waitress to support her sister sirens whilst they were all fighting through those, first, emotionally draining days directly following their defeat at the Battle of the Bands.

At first, Adagio wasn't sure if any of them would pull through the crushing depression, the fighting, and not to mention the horrible physical symptoms of withdrawal from their no longer being able to feed on negative energy. In its place, the girls had to gradually learn to consume more cooked food than they usually would, something that their systems were definitely not ready for. One minute they would be hurling curses at each other, the next they'd be hurling up their dinners. However, despite their inability to consume this energy, they were still, for some reason, able to see it as it floated from and around its sources, venomously green, delicious smelling, and completely unattainable to them. Perhaps it was their fate kicking them while they were down for them to be further cursed with the ability to perceive that which they hungered for the most without ever being able to devour it again.

Between all these things were the tears. It had been dreadful, to say the least. There were a few times Adagio had been on the brink of leaving them both to their own corrupted devices, but fortunately she hadn't. Looking back, she didn't suppose that she would have been able to make it through the guilt that was sure to come afterward if she ever did leave. She wondered to herself whether this was actually a selfish decision or not, and in the mean time, recognized that while nothing would ever be able to heal the wounds of their profound loss, at least now she could breathe easier knowing that their lives had finally reached some sort of stable mundanity.

The warm water against her goldenrod skin was more than a comfort. Showers were life giving to her. After all this time living in this land-bound body, any moment spent in her beloved element was a moment worth cherishing. It was truly one of the highlights to her day, surpassed only by her ritualistic evening bath hour at which time it was expressly forbidden for anyone in the household to disturb her.

Feeling refreshed after washing away yet another evening's worth of haunting dreams, Adagio quickly wrapped her hair and body into two fresh towels, and headed back out into the hall. She began to hum to herself, but no sooner had she, did her brow furrow. The cracking, unfamiliar sound that escaped her throat was something that still broke her heart. Her greatest talent and her greatest love had been to sing, just like her companions, but she refused to let the tragic circumstances of their situation get to her, at least not right then. Even without their powers, she still considered herself the former sirens' leader, and knew that she couldn't allow herself to fall into a state of complete listlessness and despair right when they needed her the most. There would come a time for true grieving, a time to sit down, and actually comprehend what her life had turned into, but not now. Not for her.

Her eyes brightened when the enticing aroma of coffee and bacon wafted up from downstairs. Pausing a moment, she turned her head to face the steps. "Scrambled eggs, Sonata?" she called to the girl she knew was currently bustling about the kitchen.

"They're coming! Black pepper and cheese, right?" Sonata's cheery, though hoarse voice called from below.

A small smile escaped her. Turning about, feeling a little more chipper, she was suddenly met, again, with the off-putting sight of Aria's closed door sitting still and silent at the end of the hall. Grumbling to herself, she marched over, and banged loudly upon it, twisting the expectedly locked knob for emphasis. She knew that this would alarm the dour girl lurking within into consciousness at the threat of her personal space being invaded. "So help me, Aria, you're not going to be late, again!" she cried. "Don't make me pick the lock like last time!"

To her utter surprise, Aria's door swung open as Adagio hurled her fist at it one more time, almost making her fall into the room. The look on the rose-colored girl's face was nearly homicidal, and the fresh, dark circles around her tired eyes certainly didn't help this. She was clad only in her underwear; the worn, gray, oversized shirt of some obscure band; and a pair of ironically cheery, yellow slippers that clashed horribly with her skin. Her hair was loose, disheveled, and hung down to her waist in purple and green waves. Slowly sticking an indignant finger into the center of Adagio's chest, she prodded her as she spoke. Her eyes sparked. "My time slot got shifted. I start in the afternoons now. Do not. Come into. My room. Ever," she croaked painfully, her throat raw. She wasted no time in slamming the door back in Adagio's face.

The orange-haired girl huffed to herself, but decided it best not to get into an argument with her sister so early in the morning. Right before she turned to walk back to her room, she heard Aria's door crack open again. This time only a small, fuchsia nose and one purple eye peeked through the slit.

"Is that bacon she's got down there?" Aria rasped, her tone no less rude.

Adagio crossed her arms, and raised an eyebrow. An amused smile spread across her face. "Maybe, but I'm feeling extra hungry this morning; so, I'm not sure if there will be any left overs," she teased as she finally turned to head back to her room, waving a hand at the angry purple eye that watched her go.

Breakfast was relatively silent as usual, but the three girls were far too familiar with each other to feel anything resembling discomfort about such a thing. Sonata, who was currently flipping through a fashion magazine as she picked at her plate, had fixed up a reasonable batch of bacon and pancakes with a single platter of scrambled eggs set for Adagio. Adagio, fully dressed for the day in a knee-length black pencil skirt and frilly white blouse, ate quickly and daintily unlike Aria who, after somehow managing to drag her unwashed, underwear-clad body downstairs, now sat slumped over her plate, shoveling forkfuls of bacon and pancake into her already overpacked mouth. Adagio stared at her with a forkful of eggs hovering between her lips, uneaten. Her eyes trained on the half-naked siren before she put down her fork, and picked up the nearby coffee pot in order to top off her mug.

Despite what Aria Blaze might ever have been willing to admit out loud, it was clear to both Adagio and Sonata that she was the least able to cope with the loss of their powers, not to mention their beautiful voices. Oh, it had definitely taken a while for reality to set in, considering Aria's affinity for striking out in anger at that which she deemed confusing and unacceptable. However, after that first week and a half of rage, and countless half-formed plans for retaliation that always fell through, the dark cloud of realization moved in to overshadow all else. For the entire first month after their defeat, the pinkish girl had been utterly inconsolable, and Adagio, the peer whom she found more tolerable, could not get a word in with her before random objects and spiteful curses were hurled in her direction. Sometimes in the middle of the night when Adagio would make her secret trips to the attic where she stored a millenia's-worth of cherished belongings—things she liked to visit to reminisce, especially during these tough times—she would pass by Aria's room, and hear the faint sounds of muffled sobbing. At first, the protective instincts that Adagio never liked to admit she had would kick in, and she would always feel the need to venture forth to comfort the girl. However, time had proven to her that this was not a good idea, especially now. She knew that Aria at least partially blamed her for what she deemed the utter destruction of their lives. Perhaps she was correct in thinking so.

Still, it was never good to leave someone like that in their deeply depressive funk. Sure, knowing Aria, some of her reclusive ways were par for the course, but lately a few of her actions had begun to worry her companions. The usually aggressive and razor sharp girl had become even more reserved and reclusive than usual. She hardly spoke of her own volition anymore, and would quite often disappear for long swathes of time, sometimes returning home clearly drunk, disheveled, and exhausted. Her sense of humor had become even more grim and cold as she would now find amusing that which others would deem slightly disturbing. Sonata burning a finger upon a hot pot, for example, would inspire mirthful laughter, while accidentally receiving a static shock to her own finger would set her to chortling. At first it was annoying to the eldest former siren, but then gradually it dawned on her that maybe, just maybe, this was Aria's way of beginning to get comfortable with the idea of her own vulnerability, and more troubling, her own mortality. Of course, the other girls were immortal, like herself. Thus, it was made plain that a siren's mortality could only exist when the siren decided it should. Though such thoughts terrified Adagio, it was undeniable that Aria's current state had become a problem to which she could not foresee a happy conclusion. The girl needed a distraction from her own thoughts. So, in addition to forcing her to get a job—a concept which was obviously met with much resistance—Adagio also decided to be mindful to try to communicate with the other girl in whichever way seemed possible, even if she hated her for it. Therefore, when small opportunities for interaction presented themselves, she decided she would take them. Some way, somehow, Aria and Sonata would know that they were all still here and still living.

Placing her mug down, Adagio smirked at the sight of the sulking girl once again. "How difficult would it have been to put on some pants, for chaos' sake? I know we're all going through a great deal right now, but you don't have to eat as if you've completely given up all self respect," she chided before rolling her eyes, and taking a bite from her plate of pancakes. "Besides, you know you're going to barf again if you stuff yourself that much."

To this, Aria slowly raised her head, and turned it to stare lazily at her elder. Her mouth was packed to bursting, but for a moment it appeared as if she might actually say something to her. Adagio raised an eyebrow, waiting for the inevitable rebuttal or snide remark, and instead was met with a loud, disgusting belch after which Aria turned her attentions back toward her meal.

"You're revolting," Adagio sneered as the dour girl raised a middle finger toward her in return.

Sonata's snickering, which had been tittering since Aria's gross display, was suddenly silenced at the sight of her rude gesture. She seemed to quietly be praying for calm to prevail as she glanced between the both of them. Anyone could see, looking at her own weary, darkened eyes, that she too had been taxed by all the goings on of the past few months. "Oh, come on, girls. Don't fight. It's Friday! I hear that new vampire movie that came out is pretty good. Why don't we go check it out tomorrow?" she posed gently, trying to change the subject.

To this, Aria sat up straight in her chair and laughed, small bits of pancake escaping from between her lips. She forced her mouthful of food down, and turned to Adagio who had already risen to her feet, mug in hand, preparing to head out. "Yea, Adagio. Why don't you go check out the frilly vampire movie with her?" she chortled, completely ignoring Sonata's bruised expression. "You two could make it a date!"

Adagio had been maintaining her composure all morning, but for some reason the obnoxious sound of Aria's forced laughter was the tipping point. Slamming her hand against the table, making all of the dishes on top shake, she passed the pinkish woman a serious and unamused expression which demanded nothing less than complete attention and respect. It was a look that even Aria knew not to test. Taking off a pair of sunglasses that hung from her neckline, Adagio placed them upon her face. Then, without missing a beat, she turned to walk briskly toward the door. "Sorry, Sonata," she called back without a second glance. "Some kid I teach just started cram school on Fridays. His dragon of a mother thought it would do the poor bastard some good to have his piano lessons on Saturdays—double time. With me. That level of bitchiness is admirable. Besides, we've gotta save the money."

After she put on some black flats and a sweater the same color as her eyes, she picked up a stack of notation booklets, and turned to leave. Sonata, too distracted with her own thoughts, stared only for a moment at Aria who now looked into her plate with an expression even more tired than the one she had come downstairs with. Turning her attention back toward the eldest siren, Sonata quickly bolted upward, and raced to stop her from walking out of the door.

Even with her body blocking Adagio's path and precious time of the essence, Sonata still found it troublesome to find the proper words for what it was she had wanted to say.

Knowing that the younger girl didn't usually put that much thought into her words, Adagio immediately became suspicious. Once again, one of her sleek, orange eyebrows rose slowly, twitching in expectation of that which was sure to annoy her."Sonata," she said in a cautioning tone. "What is it?"

"I... Well..." the other girl began.

"Spit it out! I've gotta go!" Adagio yelled, threatening to push past her.

"Weeelll, you see, I was just thinking that perhaps we've been cooped up in the house for too long, and it's not good for us to just work and stay home, and work and stay home all the time, and we should really try to get out this weekend, you know? Like to the movies or a restaurant or camping, or—"

"No," Adagio interrupted harshly, pushing past her, but not before plopping her empty coffee mug down in the blue girl's hands. "We simply can't afford that right now, and you know it."

Sonata turned as she walked past, a heartbroken expression upon her face. "Adagio, it's just this one time!" she pleaded. "I... I think it would do us all some good!"

"I said no!" Adagio yelled with finality as she turned onto the sidewalk, and headed down the street. "And I don't want to hear about it, again!"

Gripping feebly at her own shoulder, Sonata bowed her head. She then headed back into the house, slamming the front door behind her.

She and Aria now sat at the table, both in a glum state, picking at what remained of their breakfast.

Thinking that she might finish the rest of Adagio's eggs, Sonata had placed them beside her own plate, only to end up picking at those as well. After a while, she glanced upward, remembering that Aria was still there. "Want these?" she posed, raising the plate of half eaten eggs toward the glum, rosy girl.

Aria stared at her for a moment as if contemplating whether or not it was worth it to get a verbal jab in while Sonata was feeling vulnerable. She decided against it. "Pass 'em here," she stated, reaching for the plate, and immediately digging in.

Sonata looked at her curiously, a memory clearly having dawned on her.

Aria, catching her eyes twice between mouthfuls, managed on the third glance to address her staring. "What is it?"

"Have you been having dreams?" Sonata asked gently, beginning to twist the end of her blue ponytail around her finger.

Aria looked her over, and then cocked an eyebrow. "Of course I dream, genius. Though, lately the theme is mostly about how that bitch Adagio ruined our lives," the dour girl croaked before focusing her attention back onto her plate.

"Come on, Ari. You don't mean that. You know that Adagio has always tried her hardest for us," Sonata gently chided, not wanting to get the other girl's temper up. She immediately knew she had failed when Aria's head snapped upward to gaze at her, fire in her eyes.

"How can you still believe that?" she hissed at first. "Seriously, Sonata, how on Earth can you still believe that? That bitch? Adagio has only ever tried her hardest for herself!" She banged her fist on the table, making Sonata jump in her seat. "Despite what she may tell you, despite whatever lies she may tell herself, we're just her accessories. We've always just been her accessories. A means to her end." She said this last bit almost as if she were crushed to hear herself speak it out loud. By and by, she picked up her fork, and began to eat once again.

It appeared as if Aria's words had only served to confuse Sonata, considering the slightly contorted expression upon the younger siren's face. Aria already knew what it was that proved difficult to understand, but she refused to mention it. She refused to acknowledge that perhaps what had happened to them at the Battle of the Bands at the hands of those stupid, stupid Rainbooms was, in all actuality, none of their fault. Especially considering their own natures, and their need to harvest and feed upon negative energy for sustenance, it would seem that what had happened was simply the result of some good timing and some very bad luck.

A sudden look of profoundness washed over Sonata's face. It didn't happen often, but during the few times it did, one was able to see clearly the two millennia's worth of depth that lay beneath that seemingly naive exterior. As much as could be said about the other girl's processing abilities, Aria still had to admit to herself that the endless lives' worth of experiences they had acquired in this world was something that they all had in common. They had just decided a long time ago to express it in very different ways. Sonata's go-to choice seemed to be relentlessly attempting to drive everyone around her insane with silly commentary. "We are what we are, Ari," she began in a low, unwavering tone. "Adagio will be Adagio, and you know that we aren't much better. You know that we're the same."

"Well, we aren't sirens anymore, are we? We aren't vessels of chaos, anymore. Hell, we can't even sing worth a damn, anymore!" Aria hissed, cutting straight to the point. "And now that we're no longer sirens, what does that make us? Answer that, oh sage. What is our purpose? What are we here for now? To live out our eternity toiling away like a bunch of those pitiful saps out there? At least they're given the pleasure of dropping dead after half a century or so!"

Everything went dead silent as the air became as thick as the pancakes Aria had dug back into.

Sonata looked calmly into her lap, either unable or unwilling to process what the other girl had just said. Instead, she chose to change the subject. "I dream of the beach. The one from the beginning, where we met. Do you?" she posed.

Aria's gaze tellingly snapped up to meet her own.

"It's just that, lately I've been hating to sleep. Lately, the dreams just don't stop. I feel like... something horrible is going to happen. I've gotta get out of this place for just a second! Somewhere, anywhere besides this place and Sammy's," Sonata blurted, resting her forehead tiredly in her palm. "Idunno, I feel like I'm losing it or something, you know?" She shrugged, looking up, and pointing a tired yet syrupy sweet smile in Aria's direction.

At Sonata's words, the tiniest flicker of concern flashed across Aria's face, but not one the blue haired girl would have ever noticed. Taking a moment to breathe deeply, Aria swallowed her mouthful of food, and gently placed her fork down beside her plate. She then dusted off her hands.

For a moment, Sonata thought that maybe she might say something encouraging.

"You know, Sonata, you're asking me a lot of questions way too early in the morning," Aria muttered, turning onto an unexpected offensive. "Do I do this to you? Do I pop up, dripping hearts and shrill sounds all over the place, asking you a bunch of questions first thing in the morning?"

Sonata stiffened in her seat. "No, but—"

"Okay, then. So, could you please just give it a rest?" Aria yelled, after which the room fell into another depressing silence, only to be broken by the sounds of her continued munching.

After a moment of watching Sonata's sad face stare down at her half-eaten pancakes, Aria sighed heavily, and rolled her eyes. She leaned back in her seat. Resting a hand on her full belly, she glanced the younger girl over once again. Perhaps it was only to clear the air of the previous conversation that she finally spoke up. "You know you can still go to that thing, or whatever it is you were talking about, right? Your glampire flick," she began.

"No, I can't. Adagio said that we have to save our money," Sonata replied, her voice leaking disappointment.

At this Aria only scoffed, rolling her eyes, once again. "Our money. Right. Leave it up to Adagio to lay claim to every damn inch of everything that someone doesn't plant a flag down on first. She's got some nerve, considering she refuses to sell all that old, useless jewelry she's got stashed away in the attic. We shouldn't even have to work. Listen here. Adagio isn't the one showing off her 'gals' to those greasy dudes down at that ol' burger joint for two dollar tips," Aria stated, crudely grabbing her own breasts, and squeezing them for emphasis. "You are. Far as I'm concerned, you should be able to do whatever you want with your money." She sneered before reaching forward to snatch up the last piece of bacon, and chomping down on it.

The question of whether to disobey Adagio didn't often occur to Sonata, but it was clear that it had at that particular moment. Her eyes, so similar to the eldest siren's, went wide, and slowly she began to nod as if convincing herself of something. "My money," she breathed.

"S'right," Aria agreed, pointing at her with the bacon strip.

"Yea!" Sonata yelled, rising to her feet, and slamming the table. A glimmer of confidence grew in her eyes. Catching sight of Aria one last time, she raced around the table toward her sister siren. Her arms instinctively opened, preparing for an embrace. "Let's do it! Let's go out together! We do need a break, right?"

"Ah!" Aria protested, holding out her bacon defensively, and wielding it like a sword. She almost fell backward out of her chair in an attempt to get away from the impending hug. "No touching rule, remember? Touching bad!"

"Oh, right," Sonata giggled, quickly putting her hands back where they belonged: at her sides.

After the seated girl was absolutely sure that her sister would not attempt another embrace, she relaxed back into her seat. "Okay, number one," she began, feigning composure. "I don't like you."

Sonata's face fell into an adorable pout, one that, at least today, was incapable of penetrating Aria's energy-starved, and possibly hungover psyche.

"Number two, I've got plans. There's a horror movie marathon on Saturday, and I don't wanna be disturbed."

"Ok, well... I mean... thanks, Aria. You don't think Dagi will be too angry, do you? It's been such a long time since we... you know. She'll understand, right?"

Aria stared at the doe-eyed girl with an expression that begged the question: What do you think? Taking one last chew at whatever remained in her mouth, she sighed before rolling her eyes, and returning her attention to her nearly empty plate. "Sure, she'll understand."

It wasn't until Sonata had skipped back upstairs to grab some things before work, and then quickly headed back down and out of the front door, that Aria finally reached across the table to grab what was left of the cheery siren's pancakes.

"Idiot," she mumbled to herself before picking up her fork. Before she could put a single mouthful between her lips, she felt a terrible tremor in the pit of her stomach, and tasted a strange sweetness upon her tongue. She gagged, and dropped her fork. Covering her clamped mouth with her hand, she bolted up out of her seat, and raced across the room toward the nearest toilet.

___

"There's my favourite waitress!" the mustached, tan-hued, white-haired wall of a man cried in a heavy city accent as Sonata rushed into the half-empty establishment.

She quickly tore off the jacket that she wore over her work clothes: some black shorts along with a black waist apron, and a red shirt with 'Sammy's' emblazoned across the upper right chest. "Sorry! Sorry, I'm late!" she huffed as she picked up an empty tray from the counter, and rushed toward the back of the restaurant to get to her locker.

The mustached man smiled, and shook his head as he watched her pass. "It's only a minute past ten, my dear. Take a breath, why don'tcha? And tell that kid of mine to bring his tail out here!" he said as he moved to head back behind the grill to turn some of the sausages that had begun to sizzle.

Pausing at the doorway to the back rooms, Sonata decided to take the man's statement to heart. She inhaled almost too deeply, and then let out a long, loud breath. Afterwards, she popped up to smile at Sammy. "That did feel good! Thanks, Sam! I'm on it!" she exclaimed with a genuine smile as she disappeared through the door.

In the dull gray back rooms, a far contrast from the bright red and white main floor of Mr. Sammy Salami's Diner and Grill, Sonata rushed to her locker, took a moment to carefully enter the lock combination, and popped it open. The interior of her locker looked exactly as anyone who knew Sonata might suppose it would. It was covered in photos of her sister sirens, favourite celebrities, a few mismatched pieces of old jewelry, pink socks, and one cracked mirror having long outlived its usefulness. Practically throwing her jacket inside, she reached into the locker, and pulled out her name tag which she immediately began to wrestle into place.

Just at that moment, the nearby back door swung open making her jump. She pricked her finger with the tag pin, and cried aloud, bending over, and sucking on the sore finger.

At the same time, in from the back parking lot rushed a tan-hued, green-haired young man, far too tall and far too skinny. He waved his arms apologetically, clearly having heard Sonata's cry of pain. "Sorry, Sonny! Didn't mean to scare you, there. Just taking out the trash!" the young man exclaimed, forcing an embarrassed smile, and backing up into the open bathroom door to wash his hands.

Sonata forced the pain in her finger down, and plastered her own smile onto her face. "Oh, it's okay, J.R. It's nothing, really. Just a poke!" she muttered, turning her attention back toward the pin, and finally getting it into place.

"Junior! That you?" Came Sammy's loud, booming voice from out front. "Get ya rear out here! We've got a ton of orders waitin' for ya!"

Poor J.R.'s attention was torn in every which direction. Choosing, hesitantly, to finish speaking to Sonata, he tried to glance over her shoulder at the offended finger, then rung off the excess water from his hands. "You sure? Hold on a sec," he said, reaching into the mirror cabinet, and popping out a band aid. Hustling over quickly, he held it out for her to take.

Glancing down at the band aid, Sonata noticed that it was covered with small, pink hearts. Her eyes brightened, and she gleefully took it from him. "Cy-oote!" she exclaimed, opening it up, and quickly wrapping it around her aching finger. "Thanks, J.R.!"

Fighting off the heat that threatened to overtake his entire head, J.R. scratched the back of his dome, and smiled. "Eh, it suits you," he laughed, his cheeks turning red.

Sonata smiled sweetly at him, and suddenly the tan-colored boy found himself lost in her gaze.

His smile widened at the sight of her. Slowly, his lips parted, and it seemed as if he was fighting with himself to find the right words to say.

"Junior! I'm not gonna ask ya again!" Sammy called once more from out front, a twinge of irritation leaking into his voice.

"Oops! Gotta go," J.R. exclaimed bashfully, backing up toward the front rooms. "See you, Sonny!" He immediately disappeared through the door, but not before miscounting the distance it took to keep himself from accidentally slamming his back into it first.

Sonata smiled. Shaking her head, she closed her locker, preparing to head back out to the floor. "Kinda goofy, that kid," she muttered to herself, admiring her band aid one last time before walking away.