• Published 25th Mar 2015
  • 5,422 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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All Mine

...And two double cheeseburgers a large fry and a double scoop vanilla shake with whipped cream will there be anything else okay order coming right up and pick up and enjoy your meal sir come again sir and hi welcome to sammy’s what can I get for you today oh no miss we don't have a play area for children here sorry and pick up order number fifteen hi there welcome to sammy’s what can I get for you today and three barbecue burgers a jumbo basket of fries and three lemonades will that be all fellas and sure I can dance ha you guys are so funny stupid gray hair oh hey peachy no I haven't seen your apron anywhere sorry and pick up order number twenty-two and here are your onion rings one mint chocolate chip shake and one rainbow sherbet shake and one banana split shake what did you say oh you didn’t want onions on your burger I hope no more of the gray grows while anyone is watching me I'm sorry about that I suppose I just forgot to nix the burger onions since you liked onion rings cause they're not really different okay sorry sir ma’am how about some complimentary sundaes I'm so tired my break’s gotta be coming up soon oh Seas it's only been two hours j.r. do this one again with no onions please sorry hey again fellas boy you guys sure are energetic please do you mind not grabbing my hair stupid mortals are so stupid sometimes they’re making the biggest mess here’s your bill pick up order number thirty-five and oh rats I forgot to tell you that the steak is supposed to be rare not medium sorry j.r. and here’s your burger no onions those jerks didn't leave me any tip ooo I wish I could sing them silly oh right the sundaes would you like those now ma’am and I'm sorry sammy I screwed up their order and had to give them free sundaes I promise it won't happen again and yea peachy I'm fine I promise my chest burns so bad or is that my scar ugh I feel a little sick and pick up order number forty and here’s your steak sir rare just like you wanted I hate that mage so much I swear if I ever get my fist in striking distance of his stupid face well I'm glad you enjoyed your meal and would you like your check now sir dirt I’m sooo hungry it’s like breakfast barely did anything for me at all oh right it didn't and gosh pumpkin I'm going as fast as I can I wish I could have a little energy just a little teeny weeny mortal heck I'd even take the overcooked wizard sorry j.r. I'm coming pick up order forty-eight why can't everyone just shut up and leave me alone why are mortals so annoying I need a break okay peachy I know that I look tired for the bazillionth time thanks peachy oh my Seas it's still twenty minutes until my break I'm not gonna make it glad you enjoyed your sundaes folks here is your check I'm not gonna make it I need something I need something where is PATTI I need her face thank you folks come again I need to see PATTI.

“There’s gonna be a real DJ, too. I haven’t met her personally, but she and her pink shades came highly recommended. Oh! And I'm going to bake a cake. A huge one!”

“Peach, what are you talking about? You can't bake your own cake for your birthday.”

“Why not? It's my birthday, and I can do whatever I want, Junior.”

“Don't call me that, Peachy.”

“If I do, I can make it as extravagant as I want to without having to fork up half of my paycheck. And… and Sonata can help if she wants. She's an awesome baker! Remember when she baked all of those pies for you when your dog died?”

“Yea. We couldn’t even finish them all. Had to give like three of them to our neighbors. We paid the kid that mows our lawn in pies that week.”

“Plus, Sonata loves a good party. Whaddya say, Sonny? You think you'd want to help me plan and prepare? No one livens a party up like you… Well, maybe that curly-haired girl from CHS.”

“Oh, yea, I know her. She keeps coming over here and ordering like five brownie milkshakes at a time. I think she’s trying to steal our recipe.”

“Whatever. She's not even of legal drinking age, so it's inapplicable. Sonata is the perfect option. Right, Sonny?... Sonny... Sonata!”

Sonata jolted to attention. “Huh? Wh… I wasn't the one who ate all the milkshake ice cream this time!”

Peach rested her palms flat upon the restaurant table’s surface, scrutinizing the droopy Siren. “Sonny, are you feeling any better yet? I mean, I know the answer to that is no, considering you look like crap.” She tucked a pink-orange lock of hair behind her ear. “But do you think that today you might want to actually talk about it with your friends? We’re all ears, you know.” She passed Sonata a defeated smile, already knowing what the answer would be.

“Oh, I'm just a little tired. Had a long loooong night, you know? But, I’ll be okay,” the Siren replied.

Sonata was most certainly not ‘fine’. Even now, it took all of her might not to poke and prod at the swollen and aching mound of flesh in the valley of her chest. Instead, she rubbed her hands together as she was wont to do these days. Her fingers had all gone rigid, the pale skin upon them now a tinge of agitated red. The girl’s hair, once full of bounce and gloss like herself, had all but wilted like an unwatered flower. Her stamina was dying, and as it did, the hidden beast within her, usually so well encased within its adorable, fleshy shell, was beginning to peek through.

When Peach frowned, Sonata looked away. The sensation of chilling dampness upon the back of her neck reminded her of her long lost dorsal fin distending in agitation. “I'll totally help you with your cake! And your party! It'll be the best!” Her declaration sounded about as genuine as a back alley conman’s promises of good fortune and glory to come.

The corner of Peach’s mouth twitched. She took a sharp inhalation of breath, the kind one takes either before sneezing or telling someone off.

“Peach!” J.R. yelped, interrupting what would surely have become a tongue lashing of epic proportions. Reaching out, he snatched up the annoyed waitress’ arm, and gave it a squeeze. “What say you go get some lunch before your break’s over, huh?”

Finding herself too fed up to draw meaning from the look J.R. was giving her, Peach stood. Raising the hand that was holding the notepad she had been scribbling upon, the waitress slapped it down before Sonata’s tapping fingers.

The Siren didn't move. She barely seemed aware that her friend had budged at all. The lack of response stabbed at Peach. “Please, talk to her. I can't anymore,” she wavered before storming off toward the kitchen.

J.R. felt compelled to give the skin beneath his shaggy hair a few precautionary swipes in case of nervous sweat. After all, what could someone like him say to someone like her at a moment like this? Even as she sat there all worn and withered, Sonata’s aura still seemed to glow. Then again, J.R. did also find it awe inspiring whenever she did that thing where she balanced two pens on her upper lip at the same time.

Incidentally, she was doing that right now.

In his usual fashion, it took a couple gawks before the fry cook could prep his mouth for speech. Sonata, finding his dilemma boring, continued to gaze out of the diner window. One of the pens upon her lip clattered to the table. “Ducklings in party hats,” she said, scratching at her chin. The remaining pen bounced off of the table’s surface and onto the floor.

J.R.’s eyebrows arched one after the other. He cleared his throat. “D...uhh… ducklings in…” His attempt at speech mercifully ended when the girl looked at him. Her raspberry eyes, though ringed in shadow, filled him up with something just short of delight.

“Yea. Tiny little party hats,” Sonata said. “That's what I always think about whenever I feel nervous.”

J.R. chuckled at the thought before realizing that she had seen right through his facade. “I… Who said I was nervous?”

Sonata shrugged, again turning to face the window. With new understanding of her own mortality—in some ways more clear than most mortals would ever know—there just didn’t seem time enough for J.R.’s self-consciousness. “Fine. You’re not nervous then. Suit yourself.”

Things went quiet again. Instead of tan, J.R. was now a healthy shade of red. “You're stubborn, huh Sonny? You just don't know when to call it quits.” He gathered that the surprised look on Sonata’s face meant that she had heard him. “Now, I don't know what happened between you and Patti to make you so preoccupied with her; Peachy won’t tell me, but I do know that if you don't stop, you're going to screw up your relationships with the people who are actually willing to give you all of the time in the world.”

Sonata blinked at him. Notably, the cook looked far more hysterical in comparison to her apathetic coolness.

Thinking that perhaps he had said something too complex for the girl to grasp, J.R. took another deep breath. “What I'm trying to say, Sonata, is that your friends—”

“All the time in the world,” Sonata chuckled, the bridge of her nose crinkling. “You can't give me that. No one can.”

Understandably, J.R. said nothing.

This lack of response only seemed to frustrate the Siren. Her hands rested flat upon the tabletop. “Why do people say stuff like that? Impossible things that they don't even mean?” Her brow twitched. “Is it cause they want others to hurt? To poke at them with crazy dreams that can’t come true? You can’t have all the time in the world, J.R. If somebody could give it or have it, it would’ve been me. Not you. And if I can’t have it then…” She huffed and shook her head. “Forget it. You're just as phony as any other.”

Speaking of phonies, where was Patti? She should have been out on the floor over an hour ago.

J.R. balked. His lips bobbed. “Sonny, I was only trying to say that we're here for you. You should pay attention to those that actually do care. Not retaliate out of spite because of some… some waitress jerk. Peachy and I, we only want to help.”

Something old tickled and tingled in Sonata’s brain. It was unruly, rabid for release, and of that place she always had to remind herself never to speak from, never to unleash for fear that the facade of her assumed identity might fall away. Usually, she was able to listen to the words of mortals and never take the inherent idealism within them to heart. The creatures rarely ever said exactly what it was that they meant when it really mattered. This used to irritate her when she had first ventured out onto land together with her sisters in song, but she became accustomed to it soon enough. It never did seem like a problem again after that. At least not until right now.

“I've never met anyone whose feelings about anything were totally, one hundred percent honest,” she said. “You thingies lie about feelings all the time. It's totally true, and you know it.” Her eyes lazily trailed over toward the red kitchen door. “I don't believe anyone except for my sisters anymore.”

“‘You thingies?’” J.R. snorted.

“But I'll play pretend if it helps you feel better. You say your caring will last forever. Fine. Whatevs.” Her hand rubbed furiously against the flesh of her arm. “But don't blow a gasket when I play pretend that some part of Patti likes me. Even if it's just growing from jealousy. Same thing, right?”

J.R. bowed his head and rubbed his temples. “Sonata, just tell me what’s happening. You look like you haven't slept in ages, your hands are covered in cuts, and I'm not even going to ask what that dark spot is on your neck.” he said, leaning forward. “We don't have to go anywhere, do anything about it, or tell anyone else unless you want to. But holding it in is no good. Tell me what’s happening to you to make you act this way.”

Sonata sniffed. Her trembling hand swiped below her nose. The green seeping out of J.R. was stirring up a growl in the pit of her abdomen. “You wouldn't get it,” she croaked.

“Try me,” J.R. pressed.

The confidence in the cook’s tone surprised Sonata. She noted the way his shoulders squared themselves, the way his brown eyes bored into her in that way the eyes of the righteous did. Those hidden things in her ancient brain began to wriggle themselves free, riding toward her mouth upon waves of fatigue and heartbreak. Her lips parted. “You know, I probably would’ve had to get rid of you if I did this a long time ago.” She laughed at herself, not believing she was about to break the most important rule her sisters had taught her. Even still, something compelled her, drawing her words out like a fish upon a line. “I'm… I'm not who you think I am, J.R. Neither are my sisters. I mean, we are, kinda sorta. But we're also, you know… not.”

J.R. made sure to let no inflection upon his face. “Okay. That was easy enough,” he breathed, sitting up straight.

This response only made Sonata more anxious; so, anxious that she didn't notice the sudden jiggling of the kitchen door’s handle in the distance or the cream-fleshed body that stepped through it, darting straight toward the restaurant’s front door. “We’re uh...” she stammered, not quite sure how to explain being an ancient, ocean dwelling enchantress to a fry cook. “This might sound super crazy, but… you see, my sisters and I, we…”

A whisper of brown and a flash of sapphire blue zipped past the Siren’s eyes. As they did, the world slowed down so that Sonata’s brain might better capture the moment.

There Patti was, in all of her insufferable glory, looking rather upbeat, refreshed even. Her uniform was missing in lieu of a pair of dark jeans, and a cozy sweater. Trailing her like a proud peacock’s tail was an enormous plume of green energy, reeking of spite and ridicule. None of these things would have proved too startling to Sonata if it had not been for the fact that right before rushing out of the door, Patti Mint turned, shot her a vindictive smile, and performed a mock salute in her direction.

Sonata shook her head, turned around, and gazed up at the wall clock tacked into the far corner of the room. It was only noon. Too early for Patti’s break.

“Sonny?” J.R. called, drawing her attention. “You and your sisters what?”

That's right. She had been confessing to J.R. “M… my sisters…” she tried again, this time looking out toward the parking lot where Patti’s brown, flip hairstyle was currently bobbing off toward an alleyway that cut to one of the main roads. The Siren’s brow creased. “Where is she going in such a rush?”

J.R. gazed out toward the lot. Upon spotting the brunette, he groaned. “Sonata, forget her. Just pay attention to me,” he pressed, slamming his hands against the table.

Ignoring what she deemed to be a rather puny show of force, Sonata decided instead to pop up, and race off toward the kitchen door.

Pumpkin, Peach, and Candy were waiting to collect a few late morning orders from Sammy when Sonata stormed in. Marching in Peach’s direction, the Siren grabbed her by the wrist, and pulled her off further toward the locker room entrance.

“Sonny! What's gotten into you?” Peach cried, attempting to wrench her arm away.

Every eye in the room was upon them when Sonata turned around and brought her face up close to Peach’s. “What just happened with Patti?” the Siren inquired, trying and failing to keep her voice hushed. “Where is she off to so early? And why isn’t she in uniform?” What the Siren really wanted to ask was why the girl had appeared so damned jubilant when she should have been miserable.

Hearing Sonata’s concern darkened Peach’s disposition. She crossed her arms and jutted out her lip. “It doesn't matter, Sonata. Let it go.”

Sonata’s irises burned. The sclera around them ruddied to pink. The limits of the Siren’s patience had been reached. How dare any of these little creatures insist that she just “let her concerns go,” as if it were so simple a thing for someone like her to do. Didn’t they realize that she was helping them? Sparing them from her harmful nature by unleashing her antipathies upon someone who actually deserved it? If only people like Peach could understand the favor she was doing them. If only they could understand the lengths to which her malicious obsessions could grow, especially under such duress.

“Hey, hey, girls! Cool it!” Sammy cried, leaving his cook station and marching over to where the two were standing. “Sonata, sweetie, what has gotten into you?”

Taking the grill owner up on his inquiry, Sonata suddenly found herself wondering how she had gotten here, to this place where Patti had become so much more to her than what was initially intended. She was supposed to be only a distraction, a hobby, something to briefly take Sonata’s mind off of her own feelings of helplessness. How, then, had the mortal girl managed to become surrogate for whatever weak grasp the Siren had left on her own identity, her own fortitude? ‘Never allow the food to become attached to you,’ Adagio had told her. But Patti was neither food, nor had she an attachment to Sonata. She didn't need Sonata; it was Sonata that now needed her. She needed Patti so that she might empty out all of the spite and anger she could not otherwise release onto Starshot, or Starswirl, or those stupid Princesses, or those horrible, dead and buried Fylleions. She needed Patti to suffer so that she could remember a time when she was a true Siren, not weak and powerless and abused and gullible like on that ancient, Fylleion shrub farm. She needed to see the brunette’s tired, weary face often, and it always, always needed to look worse than her own. Sonata refused to be the greatest object of everyone’s ridicule and pity ever again. Those days were done.

Ignoring Sammy, she turned to face Peach again. “Do ya wanna take her place, Peachy?” she growled, standing nose-to-nose with the stunned waitress. “You and J.R. are always asking why I give stupid Patti so much attention, always talking about ‘true friendship’. Don't you get it, Peach? I'm the nicest, most generous friend you'll ever have. Don’t you know that you could’ve ended up just like Patti if I didn't like you so much? ‘Patti and me’ are so that ‘you and me’ aren’t a thing. You won't have to hurt. You won’t have to cry. So, just thank me, okay? And answer my question!”

“S… Sonny...” Peachy Keen choked, trying to stave off shock.

“We’re friends, right? So, just tell me!” Sonata screamed. She jutted a finger out toward Pumpkin and Candy. “Are you gonna treat me like they do?”

She felt a large hand upon her shoulder.

“She quit, Sonny,” Sammy said sternly, hoping that the calm in his voice would settle the raging waitress. “She came in to collect her things and she quit.”

Peach was quickly forgotten. Spinning around to face the restaurant owner, Sonata searched his face for some sign that what he’d said was a horrible joke. Finding none, she bolted toward the kitchen door.

“Sonata, wait!” Peach called after her, teetering about on jittering legs. All she received in response was the clattering of the restaurant's front door chime.


Patti spun about on her heels just as she was entering the alleyway. She smirked upon seeing who was approaching. “What do you want?”

“You can't quit, Patti. Where will you go? You know there's nothing better around here,” Sonata spat, forgoing greetings and pleasantries in light of her urgency.

“Is that so?” Patti said. “Well it turns out that I found something. Something that pays enough for me to do what I want, finish my classes, get away from psychos like you.”

The Siren edged closer, her arm shooting out to grasp at the mortal girl’s collar. Patti barely dodged out of the way, clutching her purse close to her side. “Don't touch me, you freak!”

Sonata felt hot. Her cheeks burned and her vision went blurry. One moment she thought she might vomit; the next she noted something familiar in the sensation. Her body was straining with itself to do that which was no longer possible. “Yooou-you think that losing me would b-be so easyyyyy,” she stuttered, stomping her foot when the words would not come as she wanted them to. “You know I've chased stupid m-m-moooortals like you for longer than you've even been alive? They all give in in the end. You're stubborn. I get it, Patti. But guessss-s what. So am I!”

There was a trembling in the air, one that Sonata might have recognized if she weren't so lost in her ire. “You just don't understand, do you?” she growled. Her harmless demeanor had fallen away leaving only a trembling, blue container of rage on the brink of explosion. “You… don't… get… to quit. Or leave. You're mine. And I'll keep you for as long as I want!”

With all of the defiance now drained out of her dawdling form, Patti took an unsure step backward, then another. “You really are crazy. You really, really are,” she gasped, the corner of her lip upturned into a diffident smile. “Listen, you stay away from me, okay? The next time I see you, I'm… I'm gonna call the—”

“You think you can just scamper off to wherever you want? You think then this’ll all be over or something? You are s-soooo stupid!” Sonata scoffed. Her last word reverberated through the air. She supposed it was the sound of it bouncing off of the alley’s hollows. “You think that just because those dumb Rainbooms broke our gems that changes things? Just because that lame gray guy keeps making us drain ourselves that I'll stop? I swear to the Seas, Patti, I'm gonna win! Just like I always do!” A familiar sensation of fire grew in her throat. Had anger not blinded her, she might have wondered how such a thing was possible, but as things were, she no longer cared.

I've done this for two thousand years,” she wavered. She didn’t flinch, even when she heard melody escape her throat. Instead, she allowed emotion to wash over her like a wave. Her eyes pierced into the waitress, filled with the spite she had collected for every mortal who had ever done her wrong. “I've done this for two thousand years!” she shrieked.

Freed from the constricting dictates of secret rules and hidden identities, the Siren inhaled deeply, unhinged her jaw, and sang.

And they all bowed and they all broke,
So tell me why should you be different darling?
You'll devour my words until you choke on them,
Since your kind dooms my kin to starving.

Patti turned and ran. She made it just ten steps past the lip of the alley before slowing to a halt. Sonata smiled. Ten steps and eight seconds, just as she had predicted. Patti was, indeed, no match for her abilities.

Your little world blooms into endless beauty,
And suddenly you find your fears are gone.
A tiny voice inside, it bids you closer.
You’ve found the one to whom you’ve always belonged.
To me. You'll see.

The music swelled to surround them. Patti Mint turned about, her arms falling limp at her sides. The brunette’s eyes dimmed, her head lolled forward.

And I dig deeper with each passing moment.
I’ve hooked your very soul upon my line.
If we're to perish then just one more will witness,
The undeniability of the divine.

Patti’s fears poured from her flesh in enormous plumes. Sinking deeper into the buzz of power, Sonata edged forward, her arms outstretched, eyes darting between the brunette’s face and the delicious energy that surrounded her. It was then that the Siren felt the true nature of her ravenous hunger pains, the anguish of starvation, clenching at her insides. How long had she truly been trying to ignore them? Weeks? Months?

It no longer mattered. She had to feed.

Damn worrying about why this was possible, and damn the public spectacle she had suddenly created about herself. At one time, she had remembered why she could not sing. Once upon a time, she knew that there was something important she was supposed to do if suddenly discovered she could. Now, in the heat of the moment, starved for sustenance, all she could think about was gulping down every bit of energy that neared her. That energy would fix all of this mess. It would quicken her again, calm her temper, ease the pain in her soul, perhaps fill the gaping hole within that seemed to grow greater every day.

I've done this for two thousand years,
Patti one more makes no difference to me.

The green—vast and sparkling, pungent and saturated with life—swirled itself into tendrils aimed at her core. Patti had drawn close enough that the Siren could rest her hands upon the girl’s shoulders while impatiently awaiting what was sure to feel like the first meal she'd had in eons.

You'll see.

For just a split second before the emerald rivulets hit her chest, the wick of Sonata’s life force was rekindled. She puffed up, the rose returning to her deceptively youthful cheeks. Her eyes sparkled. Even her hair seemed to bounce back to life. In that moment, she was divinity again, shining, radiant enough to startle any mortal. Even Patti, in the depths of her daze, looked on in complete adoration.

Sonata smiled and closed her eyes.

I've done this for two thousand years,
Patti, one more makes no—

She choked. There was fire in her throat. She coughed once to clear her passageway, then inhaled. Her ruined core drew upon the meal it could no longer tolerate and the flame filled her again. This time it sent her doubling over around Patti’s shoulders, sputtering up something thick.

The song permeating the air ended abruptly, snapping Patti back to consciousness. The brunette stood there with beguiling words not her own swimming through every corner of her mind. It took a moment for her to remember that there was an entire world around her. For instance, there was Sammy’s, that great, aging box of wood and rust covered in even rustier red paint. She could hear the bell at the restaurant’s front door jingling. Four people whose faces seemed familiar were now running toward her. The group consisted of one lanky cook and three terrified waitresses. Patti looked down, remembering her purse and wondering where it had fallen. She noticed the fifth body clinging to her shoulders.

“Sonata, get off of her!” Peachy Keen cried in the distance.

Her head now clear of its fog, Patti brought her palms in and shoved Sonata in the chest. Having put just enough distance between them both, the brunette swung her arm around, and struck the Siren hard across the face. “Touch me again, loser, and I swear you'll regret it!”

Sonata’s world was blanched white, burning, and it all tasted of blood. She felt her body tilt and her fingers touch what felt like asphalt. Her cheek stung. Voices all about her were calling after Patti Mint’s well-being, but not her own. Nodding, she regained her balance and stood up tall.

So much for friendship that lasted forever. It was just as she had told J.R. A mortal’s best intentions could never be pure and true.

Red flashed before her eyes, and then she was bounding through bodies, pretty brown locks in her sights. Diving through the air, she caught Patti about the waist, and brought her crashing down into a pile of cardboard boxes. Lashing out, Sonata struck the girl again and again about the head as shocked gasps and screams called after her.

“You’re mine!” Sonata barked, half in song, half in utter fury. The shaky melody nipped at Patti, but could not take hold. Sonata watched green sputter out of the girl in puffs. Growling trickled out from the depths of her throat, a beastly sound that her human shell should not have been able to make.

“Holy shit! Somebody do something!” Pumpkin cried somewhere to the Siren’s back.

“Quick! Get Sammy!” Candy pleaded.

It no longer mattered. Sonata understood well that she had done something unforgivable. Perhaps the anger she now unleashed upon Patti was not only a result of her frustration, but also her own stupidity, and for the trouble she would surely bring down upon her already suffering sisters.

She roared, tearing at Patti’s hair until, at last, something sturdy and strong wrapped itself about her middle, and wrenched her away.

“Sonny?” an aged voice called over her shoulder.

“What?” she screamed spinning about.

There before her eyes was Sammy, looking just about as heartbroken as she might have guessed he would in such a circumstance. “Kid, what's gotten into you?” he breathed, searching her face for answers.

They stood there like that, staring at each other for what seemed like forever before Sonata felt her stomach drop. Something leaked out of the corners of her eyes. “I'm… sorry,” she sighed, knowing there was no longer any point.

“K… keep her away from me!” Patti yelled as Peachy, Pumpkin, and Candy helped her to her feet. “Did you hear what that nut was saying? Did you hear her voice? Sh… she's out of her fucking mind!”

Remembering Patti, Sonata turned about, sniffing back her tears. She had to fix this. Somehow she had to find a way. She took one step forward. “Patti, I—”

“Sonata, don't!” Peachy shouted, moving to stand between the Siren and the brunette. J.R. and the other girls soon joined her.

Sonata’s eyes went wide. Her jaw dropped. Was this picture right? Was she really watching Peachy Keen and J.R. standing beside Patti and her friends? Were they more worried for that jerk than they were for her?

“I think you need to leave, Sonata,” Peachy commanded, pointing to the main road. “Like, now.”

None of the others objected; not even J.R. Their expressions ran the spectrum between apprehension and full blown disgust.

Not knowing what else to do, Sonata turned to face Sammy, not so much looking for leniency as much as a chance for redemption. “I don't. I don't know what to say,” she murmured, tugging at the end of her ponytail. “I… I don't know what happened.” It was clear to everyone, even herself, that she was lying.

“Sonny, I think the kids have got it right,” Sammy said. “I think you oughta take some time off. Can't have this type of thing happening around here. Go get your things, Sonny. I'm gonna call you and Patti a pair of cabs. I think maybe you need to… to rest, you know? I want you to take it easy.”

“F… for how long?” Sonata inquired, her hands wringing and rolling again.

Sammy scratched at the sparse patch of hair atop his head. “I'll… I'll call ya. Alright?”

Huffing out the remaining air in her lungs, Sonata nodded her head, and gazed down at the asphalt. The Siren dared not look up to see what kind of looks she was receiving as Patti and the others made a wide berth around her on their way back toward the restaurant. “Freak,” Candy hissed under her breath.

Sonata knew she wasn't wrong.

The implication of her song only occurred to her after she had been sitting at the back of the cab for twenty minutes. Using her powers was obviously not something she should have been capable of doing, but results were results, and now only two explanations seemed feasible. Either a brand new portal had opened up in the middle of the alleyway beside Sammy’s parking lot, —or Starshot was nearby. And if the wizard was close, it begged the question--Why?

Sonata scratched at her chin, making sure to duck low beyond the window’s rim whenever an odd shadow happened to zip by.

Mmmm… okay! That wizard guy wants you alone. Couldn't come after you if Ari and Dagi were around. Duh. But why wouldn't he wait until I was on break or taking a whizz or something?
… Ew, I wonder if he watches people take whizzes. Perv.

A passing lamppost startled the jumpy Siren onto the car’s floor.

Maybe he wasn't there for me. Don't know who else would matter to him though, since everyone there is lame and awful and gross.

She swiped a finger at her nose and made a pout. Why was she even thinking about those losers anyway? They were just a bunch of jerks and fake friends. All she was doing was making herself feel even worse. She decided, instead, to think about what she would tell her sisters when she got home. There was no doubt that they would be furious with her, but it seemed a small price to pay if they’d solve this mystery. At least then she'd never have to think about Sammy Salami’s grill ever again.

Her phone’s vibrate function startled her into attention. Fumbling about in her jacket pocket, she collected the device, clicked the talk button, and pressed it to her ear. “H… hi?” she said, realizing that she had not first checked to see who was calling.

“Sonata!” Peachy Keen’s voice called through the receiver. “Where is Patti?”

Sonata’s nose crinkled. “Oh. Hi, Peachy,” she replied, rolling her eyes. “Idunno. Weren't you all supposed to be taking care of every little hair on her precious little head or something?”

“Sonata, this isn't a game. I want to know what happened. I just called Patti’s house, and she isn't there. The cabby said he dropped her off twenty minutes ago, but she won't pick up her phone or return my call.”

Sonata blinked. Her brain began to fizzle and pop. “W… wait. Why would I know what—”

“Sonata, did you go over there? To Patti’s?” Peachy screamed, on the edge of hysterics. Someone that sounded like Pumpkin could be heard cursing in the background.

“I… I didn't do anything, Peach! Believe me!” the Siren stammered, shaking her head. “I… I don't even know where Patti lives!” A thought occurred to her. She gasped. “Wait! You can tell me where she lives, and I'll take the cab over there right now. I can get to her faster that way.” Surely, such a righteous offer would redeem her in Peach’s eyes, even if just a little bit.

“No!” Peachy cried. The shuffling noise of the waitress’ coat being shoved on permeated the background din. “Listen, Sonata. Just go home. I want you to go home, and just stay there, okay? You're not well. I'll check on Patti.”

“W… why are you talking to me that way, Peachy?” Sonata snorted. It came out sounding like a laugh. “Like if I'm some sort of… some sort of…”

“Sonata, please. Just go home, alright?” Peach sighed. “You've done enough damage as it is. I'll call you later.”

The click on the other line made Sonata pause. She blinked, her mouth still hanging ajar. What in Tartarus was all of that about? Patti wasn’t picking up her phone? So what was the big deal about that? Had she and Peach agreed to call each other when the brunette arrived at home?

Pssh. So, they're best friends now? They have to call each other every two seconds? It figur—

“Shut up, Sonata! Totally not top priority!” the Siren hissed to herself, drawing a wary look from the driver in his rear view mirror.

Why was Starshot at the restaurant?

She clamped onto the sides of her head, and bent over, forcing herself to think harder.

Just to watch me look stupid in front of everyone or something? Just to let me know that he was watching?

As the answer dawned on the Siren, her eyes grew wide.

“Everything alright back there?” the driver called. “You… ah… you feeling sick or something?”

“N… no, I…” Sonata breathed, her attention dipping away as revelation after revelation revealed itself to her. “What is your cab company number?” she asked, remembering she now had a portable phone. Typing the number in as the driver relayed the information, she then pressed the receiver to her ear.

“Jiffy Cab Co.,” a nasally voice said on the other line.

“Hi, yea! I ordered a cab down at Sammy Salami’s Grill for a friend maybe thirty minutes ago, but… ummm…”

Come on, Sonata! For once, be a good liar!

“B-but the driver just called saying he wanted extra cash!”

Eh. That'll work.

“I thought you guys figure all that stuff out beforehand!”

“Y… yes, ma’am, we do! Hold on, let me check my books here,” the man stuttered over the sound of frantically flipping pages. “Okay, we've got two cabs at Sammy’s about ten minutes apart. First one was going to 822 Old Canter Way.”

No. That was her own address. “Not that one,” she replied. “The other.”

“325 Sweetgum Lane,” the man said. The pitch of his voice had somehow managed to jump higher. “Of course it would be Larry driving, that knucklehead. You want I should call him up?”

“No, no, that’s alright,” Sonata shot. “I'm near that place right now. I'll head over and deal with it.”

“Okay, Miss. You or your friend have any problems, tell Larry to call in!” the man urged her before hanging up.

Sonata leaned onto the back of the driver’s seat. “Hey, Mister… uh… driver guy, there's been a change of plans. Do you know how to get to Sweetgum Lane?”


“Patti? Patti, you home?” Sonata called, knocking on the door at 325 Sweetgum whilst ringing the bell. It never occurred to her that she was yelling and making a spectacle of herself in the middle of a sparsely spaced residential block. “Patti! I just want to make sure you're there! Scream at me or something! You can even throw a shoe out of the window if you wanna!” No reply. Rubbing anxiously at her hands, Sonata looked around for some other point of entry. She would have to make this trip quick. Peachy was probably going to show up pretty soon.

Making her way around to the side of the house, she took the opportunity to squint through one of its darkened windows, and found herself gazing into an impeccably clean living room. “Gosh. Didn't know she was such a neat freak,” she muttered to herself. Pressing the sides of her palms around the corners of her eyes, she gazed off toward a shadowed corner of the room where a passageway veered right down a hall. Just for a second, she swore one of those shadows moved. “Patti? Is that you?” she called, tapping lightly on the glass. Receiving no reply, she sighed and rested her hands upon her hips.

That settled it. She would have to break in. Fortunately, this wouldn't prove to be too big of a hassle for someone like her. Rooting around the edge of the house, the Siren found a hand shovel lying next to a small garden plot. Collecting the tool, and making her way back to the window, she jammed what she could of its metal edge into the crack between the pane and the sill. Pulling down with all of her might, she soon heard the loud ‘snap’ of the pane lock breaking. Pushing down again, she watched as the window slid open with ease. Thankfully, Patti hadn't thought it necessary to invest in a security alarm.

Wiggling her way into the living room, Sonata thudded onto its cream-colored carpet, and ended up rubbing her head for two minutes before managing to stand. Dusting herself off, she headed toward the passage that led down the hallway. As she turned the corner, something darted into a side door just within her peripherals. “Patti, please! Just answer me, and I'll leave! I swear! Just say something, and I'll walk out right now!”

No reply.

Edging her way down the hall, Sonata turned to peek into the room where she’d seen the shadow disappear. The first thing she noticed upon entering was that a lamp was lit inside; the second being that this was a bedroom. After entering, she shut the door behind her so that she could hear if anyone were to come in or leave. Drawn to the single source of light in her otherwise darkened surroundings, Sonata glanced down upon the lamp’s nightstand.

It was littered with picture frames and jewelry, the type of jewelry that would never go well with Patti’s color scheme. “Geez. Tacky,” she mumbled before remembering that there was a chance Patti was in the room with her. “Oops. I mean... I didn't mean that!”

After a few seconds with no response, she eyed the photos upon the stand. Her brow furrowed when she noticed that Pumpkin was featured in every one of them. Scratching her head, she looked around the room again, taking in the orange and brown color scheme. Then it occurred to her. This was Pumpkin’s house. Patti must have been staying with her after losing her own rental. “Gross,” Sonata groaned, slamming the nearest picture down flat upon the nightstand so that she wouldn’t have to look at it. As she did so, something fluttered up from the wooden surface and floated to the ground.

Now there upon the green carpet sat a small, white square of plastic. Approaching it, the Siren soon recognized it as an instant photograph, the kind that she used to collect in a shoebox for fun about forty years ago. She picked the photo up and brought it close to her face. It surprised her to find that this particular photo did not feature Pumpkin Spice, but depicted Patti instead.

The mortal girl was dressed in the same clothing that Sonata had seen her wearing at Sammy’s that day, so the photo definitely had been taken recently. Its backdrop was the same wall of the bedroom that Sonata was now facing. What was most startling about the image, however, was the look on Patti’s face. The girl was gazing directly into the camera—or perhaps at the one taking the photo—with a look of shock. The photographer seemed to have captured her in that fleeting instant that exists in the space between realization and terror.

“P… Patti?” Sonata said, her voice nothing more than a squeak. She was hard-pressed to draw her eyes away from the photo, even when she heard a tiny, metallic click come from below her chin. By the time she turned about to stare into two burning gold eyes, the metal ring had already been closed about her neck.

“See? Patience,” Starshot said, shooting the Siren a wicked grin. “Had your sister understood that, she would not be covered in bruises.”

The mage leapt back as Sonata swung a fist at him. He lifted his hand. The appendage glowed bright. “Calm down, little creature, or you’ll get one right where I hit you last time!”

“Where is she? What did you do with her?” Sonata cried, wrenching the bedroom lamp up from the stand and chucking it in Starshot’s direction.

The mage dodged out of the way, sending a blast of magic just to the side of Sonata’s head. “Calm down or I’ll disappear, and you shall never see her again!”

Terrified, Sonata’s body went into its natural mode of defense. She brought her palms up to her cheeks, and rubbed the heat out of them whilst fighting off the sudden urge to sing. She wanted to cry, scream, tear the jerk limb from limb with whatever strength she could muster. Instead, she thought of what her sisters might do in such a situation, and took a deep breath. “Where… where is she?”

Starshot beamed. His smile might have been a pretty thing if he hadn’t already been judged a scoundrel. “Much, much better, Sonata Dusk.”

The sound of her name upon his lips sent a chill up her spine. “Shut up,” she wavered. Her knees were knocking together. “Tell me where Patti is. If you've hurt her I'll—”

“You'll what? Sing?” Starshot scoffed, inspecting the tip of a blade he had drawn from one of his pockets. “Your friend… Yes. Well, she is fine, though I don't know why you would very much care. I was under the impression that you despised the girl.”

“Bring her back,” Sonata spat, tugging upon her metallic collar.

Starshot appeared wholly unimpressed. The knife twirled between his fingers. “I'm afraid that isn't the way any of this is going to work,” he said. He pointed the blade’s tip in Sonata’s direction. “You are the one wearing the ring. So, I would suggest that you listen to me.”

Sonata huffed, giving her collar one more fruitless tug.

“Now, now, no need to feign righteousness. We both know why you showed up here,” Starshot prodded. “You’re in a bit of a bind, aren’t you, little creature? Though I cannot say it isn't warranted.”

The mage wasn't wrong. Sonata’s antics over the past month had given her acquaintances good reason to suspect that she was cruel, a liar, perhaps just the teeniest bit deranged. Now everyone was going to assume that she was the reason why Patti Mint had disappeared.

Sonata puffed up with rage. Her cheeks went red.

“Believe me, you will be blamed for this. And with surveillance and tracking not being very rudimentary in this particular plot of time, it shall prove difficult for you or your kin to run and hide as you might have fifty years ago.”

“What… what do you want, then? How do I get her back?”

Fascinated by what he deemed her mockery of sincerity, Starshot allowed his weaponed hand to fall to his side. “Simple. An exchange. Come with me, and the mortal girl goes free.”

Sonata searched around for some means of escape before reminding herself that escape was not currently an option. “N… n-n… no,” she croaked, if only to let the universe’s record show that she did try to be brave and defiant when it mattered.

Calling her bluff, Starshot straightened his back, and stretched out his arms. An ethereal glow emanated from somewhere within his jacket. “Suit yourself. Goodbye forever.”

“Wait!” Sonata cried, bounding forward.

The mage’s magic receded, its blinding light making way for a victorious grin. “Yes?” he chirped, arching a single, blue eyebrow.

The Siren gnawed voraciously upon her bottom lip. Her hands rolled one over the other until the skin upon them began to chafe. “Will… will you take me to Patti?”

Starshot smirked. “Yes.”

“M-my sisters are gonna find you, you know. They'll figure this all out.”

“Oh, I'm counting on it. In fact, I'm quite certain that they will,” Starshot replied, reaching out toward her. “Time magic, remember?”

Sonata recoiled at the sight of his opened hand, the same hand that had hurt her the evening before. “How do I know that you're telling the truth? You mortal thingies lie all the time. How do I know that Patti isn’t already… already…”

“Dead?” Starshot finished. “Not that you are in a position to question me, but I'll have you know that I try to avoid the death of innocents if it isn’t for the greater good. Patti Mint is of little consequence to the rest of this story, Siren. As soon as I get what I want, then the girl shall be free to go on with the rest of her life in her world.” The mage lifted his chin and sneered. “Otherwise, I'll set her loose in some distant dimension where the fiercest mage shan’t ever dare to find her. Now, come along!” He shook his arm, urging the Siren forward.

Sonata gulped down some courage, and gingerly stepped forward. Reaching out, she took his hand. Her trembling fingers were rendered still in his vice-like grip. The mage yanked her to his side, and she recoiled at the layered scent of him—cinders, worn leathers, and powerful rage. Feeling an arm go about her middle, she tried to pull away, and was steadied by a hand squeezing either side of her jaw.

“Do you wish to spend the rest of your miserable life wandering a dimension where everyone exists in pitch blackness?” he asked her as a parent would an insolent child.

Sonata shook her head as much as his tightly gripped fingers would allow. She felt a tear streak down her cheek. Damn it all, she had meant to put on a Siren’s show of courage, not blubber like a guppy.

“Good,” the mage said. “Then I would suggest you do not attempt to fight or sing during our journey. If I happen to drop you along the way, I shan’t guarantee that you will be found again.” Straightening his jacket, the mage gripped onto Sonata one more time, and raised his glowing arm to the sky. “Hold on tight.”

Sonata barely had a chance to shut her eyes before a crack like lightning momentarily deafened her. A powerful energy drew her up off of the ground and forward. The air whipped past her face with such ferocity that her skin began to sting. For nothing more than her growing terror, she held fast to Starshot’s shoulders, burying her face into his jacket. When at last the crack resounded again and the brutal winds ceased, an unnatural silence surrounded her the likes of which she had not known since the very beginning of her life. Blackness extended beyond her sealed eyelids. Her feet met with solid ground though she did not hear them land.

Frightened and distraught, she whimpered into Starshot’s coat, only to be shoved away mercilessly. Her arms flailed about, searching for something to latch onto for comfort’s sake. She kept her eyes shut, afraid of what they might see were they to open. “D… don’t leave me here,” she cried, taking a step forward in a random direction that was as good or bad as any other.

“Open your eyes,” Starshot sighed somewhere in front of her, sounding rather disgusted.

“No. I don't want to!” she croaked, lumbering forward toward the mage’s voice.

“Fine,” he replied, walking away. “Then you shall be lost to the void.”

“N-no, wait!” she protested, tripping forward and hitting the floor hard. Rolling up onto her knees, she rested her trembling hands into her lap and began to weep. “Adagio? Aria?... P...Patti?” she called quietly.

Only the silence persisted. The darkness endured.

Author's Note:

Honestly, do you really wanna hear me give you another inadequate excuse? :ajsleepy:
Regardless, I'm not going anywhere and neither is this fic. :rainbowdetermined2: My non-pony work has just been picking up in a rather absurd way. Honestly, it's kind of suspicious to me. But, there it is.

Otherwise, here is the direct link for the song featured in this chapter: 'To Me'.
And here is the instrumental version:
(I post that simple little link to that simple little song as if it didn't absolutely destroy me to get it done. haha)

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