• Published 25th Aug 2015
  • 5,117 Views, 170 Comments

Sweet and Sour - MythrilMoth



As part of her rehabilitation, Aria Blaze is forced to move in with Fluttershy.

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Wino and Dine

As Aria sat at the table the next morning, she contemplated Fluttershy's parents. When she'd first been forced to move in with the family, she'd been so angry with the situation and so bent on finding a way out of it that she hadn't really paid much attention to them. As the days passed into weeks, however, she started taking note of them—not nearly enough to bother remembering their names, but at least enough to figure out what made them tick, to a degree.

Mr. Whatever, as she thought of him, was a pretty typical, nondescript guy. He had light green skin the color of fresh puke, silvery-white hair that piled up in a curly wisp atop his head, and a neatly trimmed, thick white mustache. He tended to wear long-sleeved shirts and ties of various shades of blue or brown, tan or brown slacks, and black or brown shoes. She'd never seen him wear a suit jacket, but he did occasionally wear black square-framed glasses that magnified his emerald green eyes.

Mrs. Whoever—Fluttershy's mother—was pretty for an older gal. Her flawless skin was a shade of yellow only slightly darker than Fluttershy's, her hair was a deep, rich rose pink and hung down her back in long, loose waves that curled at the ends to look vaguely like rosebuds, and she had soft magenta eyes which were often, but not always, magnified by square-framed green glasses—she wore them around the house, though whenever she went out, she always put in her contacts. She was always smiling kindly, even if sometimes it seemed a bit forced, and Aria had never once heard her raise her voice. She tended to wear frumpy dresses and an apron most of the time, but Aria had seen her work out in the living room on weekends, and knew she had a trim, fit figure that she worked hard to maintain.

As Mrs. Whoever laid out breakfast and Fluttershy sat down at the table, Aria thought about her talk with Fluttershy the night before. As annoying as Fluttershy and her friends were, and as frustrating as the situation was, Aria had spent half the night thinking, and something had finally dawned on her:

Now that she didn't have her magic, now that the Sirens were effectively no more, she was going to need help to get by in this stupid world. As disgusting as the thought was, that meant...

Ugh...

Making friends.

After all, very few people made it to the top without help. And the Sirens no longer had the resources or the reputation to carry them through life.

Which meant Aria was going to have to do what Sunset Shimmer had done after her fall.

And that thought truly sickened her.

"Aria? It's time for us to leave if we're going to get to school on time," Fluttershy said.

Aria shook herself and nodded. "Yeah yeah, alright." She hurriedly finished her breakfast, then grabbed her bag. "Let's go."

* * * * *

The walk to school from Fluttershy's house took fifteen minutes. Halfway to school, Fluttershy suddenly stopped walking and turned, wide-eyed. Aria followed her gaze and rolled her eyes.

There was a man sitting against the corner of one of the brightly-painted buildings, half in and half out of the mouth of the alley. His sickly green skin was covered in grime, and the patched, ragged trenchcoat he wore was stained and filthy and moth-eaten in places. He looked up at them with a bleary, veiny gaze.

"What, you've never seen a hobo before?" Aria said derisively.

"Oh my," Fluttershy said softly, tears welling in her eyes. "You poor, poor man."

"He's just a hobo," Aria complained. "He doesn't matter."

"Aria!" Fluttershy snapped. "Everybody matters! And someone in his situation absolutely deserves kindness!" Slinging her pack off her back, Fluttershy dug around in it and pulled out a small sandwich baggie full of carrot sticks. She walked over to the homeless man and knelt down slightly, offering him the carrots and a smile. "Here, please," she said. "I know it's not much, but...it should help, right?"

The man focused his gaze on her and smiled, reaching out for the carrots with callused hands in torn fingerless gloves. "Thank you," he said.

"You're welcome," Fluttershy said brightly. As she turned back to Aria, the homeless man stood up suddenly.

"Wait, miss! I have something for you, too!"

Fluttershy turned back and smiled. "Oh, that's not necessary," she said. "Really, I'm happy to share a little of what I have—"

"But I insist!" the man said. He unbuttoned and opened his coat.

He wasn't wearing anything underneath.

Fluttershy stopped short, eyes wide. Her brain seized up, her lips moved, and all she could manage was a shocked, muted squeak.

Aria scowled. "UGH!" She walked up to the grinning flasher, drew back her foot, and kicked him squarely in the balls.

His eyes rolled back in his head, his face twisted up into a pained grimace, and he crumpled in on himself, falling to the sidewalk like a sack of flour. The carrots slipped out of his hand, landing at Aria's feet. She scooped them up and offered them to Fluttershy. "Here."

"Umm...I...I don't want them back..."

"TAKE THE FUCKING CARROTS!"

"Eep! O-okay."

Fluttershy put the carrots back in her pack, then pulled out a bottle of hand sanitizer and a couple of tissues and vigorously scrubbed her fingers. Aria rolled her eyes and resumed her trek to school, Fluttershy following quickly a moment later.

* * * * *

Fluttershy spent most of the morning in a rattled, disturbed state. At lunch, her friends were quick to notice.

"What did she do this time?" Sunset asked.

Fluttershy looked up. "Huh? Who...?"

"Aria. What did she do this time?"

"Oh...! N-nothing," Fluttershy said.

"Then what's wrong?" Rarity asked. "You look positively traumatized."

Fluttershy ducked her head, her face flaming. "W-we, umm...ran into a homeless man on the street this morning. He...exposed himself."

"EWW!" Pinkie said. "Nasty!"

"Ugh, what a creep," Rainbow said. "There ought to be laws against that."

"There are," Sunset said.

"How ghastly," Rarity said, shaking her head.

"So what happened after that?" Sunset asked.

Fluttershy ducked her head. "Aria, umm...kicked him. In...in the privates."

There was a long pause. Then the entire table erupted in laughter.

"AWESOME!" Rainbow said.

"He sure as shootin' had THAT comin'!" Applejack said with a grin.

"Bet he'll think twice before he does that again!" Pinkie added.

Sunset smirked. "Okay, maybe Aria's not all bad."

Sonata giggled. "You can always count on Aria for things like that. This one time, in Fillydelphia? Some guy tried to stick a flute up my—"

Across the cafeteria...

"So then I kicked him again, and again, and then I picked up this broken baseball bat that someone threw in the alley, and I started wailing on him over and over again!" Aria said. She looked around the table at her rapt audience, smiling evilly. "There was so much blood." She buffed her nails on her shirt. "Yeah, I pretty much killed him."

"Whoa," said the guy with the red mohawk.

"In-tense," another kid said.

Back at the Rainbooms' table...

"—and then she stuffed him head-first in one of those porta-potties and knocked it over so he couldn't get out!"

The girls stared, slack-jawed and wide-eyed, at Sonata.

"Uhh..." Rainbow said.

"Holy cow," Pinkie offered.

Sonata giggled. "That's what she'd tell you if you asked her about it. What really happened is she offered him twenty bucks to play a concerto on it."

Every girl at the table facefaulted.

"Yeah...those were good times..."

"If...you say so," Rainbow said, edging away from Sonata.

"But kicking some punk in the junk totally does sound like something she'd do," Sonata said, sipping her juice box.

* * * * *

On the way home from school, Fluttershy said, "You know we're going out to dinner tonight, right?"

Aria tilted her head. "We are?"

"We talked about this, remember? It's Mom's birthday."

"Oh." Aria shrugged. "Cool."

Two hours later, Aria found Fluttershy, wearing a pretty green dress and slippers, Mrs. Whoever, wearing a very classy black evening gown and heels, and Mr. Whatever, clean-shaven and wearing a black suit, all waiting in the living room. For her part, Aria was wearing the outfit she'd worn to the ill-fated finals of the Battle of the Bands.

Fluttershy frowned. "Aria, don't you have anything...nicer to wear?"

Aria scowled and folded her arms. "I have what I have, okay?"

"It's fine," Mrs. Whoever said with a smile. "Let's just get going."

"So where are we going?" Fluttershy asked.

"This Italian place we've been wanting to try," Mr. Whatever said. "They have a huge menu of pastas and pizzas and hamburgers, and I've seen the pictures of the desserts they sell on their website. They look amazing, and I'm not even a big dessert eater!"

"That sounds lovely," Fluttershy said with a smile. "Doesn't it sound lovely, Aria?"

Aria shrugged. "Whatever."

They got in the car and drove clear across town to a place called Suri's Italian Kitchen. "Well, this is the place," Mr. Whatever said.

Aria frowned. "There sure aren't a lot of cars here."

"Hmm...there aren't, are there?" Mrs. Whoever said.

They got out of the car and headed for the door. They were swiftly greeted by a brown-skinned man with deep-set, beady eyes, a suspicious set to his jaw, and thick, shaggy black eyebrows. "Welcome guests welcome!" he said in a thick Yakyakistani accent. "You come, you sit!" He grabbed a handful of menus and led them over to a table. As they sat down, he handed them the menus. "What I get you to drink?" he asked.

"I'll just have water with lemon," Fluttershy said.

"I'll have a raspberry iced tea," Mrs. Whoever said.

"I'll have a ginger ale," Mr. Whatever said.

"Root beer," Aria said.

"Okay good," the Yakyakistani man said. He wandered off.

As the others scanned the menus, Aria looked around the place with a bored frown. There weren't very many customers at tables, and fewer still had food. A frazzled-looking girl with short seafoam hair scurried out of the back, carrying two plates which she placed in front of a pair of diners. She leaned in and spoke quietly and hurriedly to them, then ran back into the back.

Aria turned her attention to the menu. It was an unusually complex menu, and a lot of the offerings listed off ingredients she didn't know anything about.

"My, they certainly have a diverse menu here," Fluttershy said.

"Yes, they do," Mrs. Whoever said.

The Yakyakistani man came out with their drinks, placing them on the table with very little real care (and in the wrong order). "What you want appetizer?" he asked.

"I think...we'll have the herbed flatbread for the table, and..." Mr. Whatever hummed thoughtfully. "The homemade meatballs for everyone? Does that sound good?"

"Sounds good to me," Aria said.

"Umm, I think I'll have the oil cured black olives instead of meatballs," Fluttershy said.

The Yakiyakistani man wrote that down, then nodded. "I get that out right out to you. My server come take your dinner order in a minute." He bustled over to the point-of-sale system and punched something in, then disappeared into the back.

Mr. Whatever subtly rearranged their drinks. "I don't think much of that guy," he muttered under his breath.

"I don't think he showered today," Aria muttered. "Or yesterday."

A few minutes later, the frazzled-looking seafoam-haired girl walked briskly over to them, pad and pencil in hand. "Hello," she said in a timid, breathless voice. "I'm Coco, I'll be your server this evening. Umm...I think your appetizers should be out soon?"

"That's fine, dear," Mrs. Whoever said gently.

"Okay, umm...what would you all like?"

"I'd like the house salad," Mrs. Whoever said, "with vinaigrette, and the baked penne."

"And I'll have the sausage and pepperoni pizza, twelve inch," Mr. Whatever said.

"Umm, I'll have...the pear salad and the spaghetti aoli," Fluttershy said. "No wait, scratch that, instead of the aoli, I want the tomato spinach ravioli."

"I'll try that Blue Ribbon burger," Aria said. "And sweet potato fries."

Coco finished writing that all down, then asked, "Would you, umm...would you care for a large pizza for the table?"

They looked around at each other and shrugged. "Sure," Mr. Whatever said. "What do you girls want?"

"What do you recommend?" Mrs. Whoever asked Coco.

Coco visibly cringed. "Oh, umm...well..."

"How about the three cheese with tomato sauce?" Fluttershy suggested.

"Whatever," Aria said.

"I think that sounds lovely," Mrs. Whoever said, handing her menu over to Coco.

"A-alright then," Coco said. She collected the menus, then said, "Umm...your appetizers should be out soon, and...and I'll see about getting those salads out to you..."

As she wandered off, Mrs. Whoever smiled. "Well! I don't know about you, but I have a feeling everything's going to be lovely!"

"The chef here certainly has confidence, with a menu like that," Mr. Whatever said.

Fifteen minutes passed.

Coco came by to refill their drinks. "Excuse me," Mr. Whatever said. "We still haven't seen any sign of our appetizers."

"Oh, I'm terribly sorry," Coco said. "It's...it's coming, I promise. And the salads. Umm...just hang on just another minute, alright?"

As she left, Aria's gaze was fixed on another table. "You know...they were here when we got here. I haven't seen anything come out to their table."

"Maybe there's a problem in the kitchen?" Fluttershy suggested.

A minute later, the Yakyakistani man returned with a grumpy expression, slamming a skillet with a greasy-looking lump of flatbread on their table. "Appetizers," he grunted. He placed four shallow bowls with six large, breaded meatballs on the table, along with four covered styrofoam tubs of marinara sauce.

"Umm, excuse me," Fluttershy said. "I...I asked for olives, not meatballs..."

The Yakyakistani man glowered at her. "You want to make food slower?" he asked.

Fluttershy shrank down in her chair. "N-no...meatballs are fine..."

The man grunted and stampeded away.

Mrs. Whoever frowned. "That man is very rude," she said.

"Yes," Mr. Whatever agreed.

Coco scampered into view, balancing two salads. She nearly tripped as she reached their table, but managed to put the salads in front of Mrs. Whoever and Fluttershy. "Sorry for the wait," she said.

"Excuse me," Mr. Whatever said. "My daughter ordered olives instead of meatballs, but the man who brought out our appetizers was very rude to her when she spoke up for herself."

Coco winced. "I'm terribly sorry about that, sir. I'll...I'll see what I can do about those olives."

"Would it be possible to speak to the owner about that man's attitude?" Mr. Whatever asked.

Coco flinched. "Umm...that is the owner," she said.

"Oh dear," Mrs. Whoever said. "The owner is serving tables?" She looked around. "Are the other servers off tonight?"

"It's not even that crowded in here," Aria said.

"Y-yes, well..." Coco looked uncertain. "I'm, umm...the only server right now. The only server. They fired the other girl yesterday."

"Oh my," Fluttershy said.

"I'll be right back with those olives, and I'm so so sorry," Coco said, before darting off again.

The four diners looked at one another, then sighed. "At least...we have the appetizers and the salads," Mr. Whatever said. He cut a meatball in half with a fork and took a bite. He chewed thoughtfully, his brow furrowed. "Hrm."

Mrs. Whoever examined her salad. "They certainly went heavy on the dressing," she said. She frowned. "It looks rather...wilted, doesn't it?"

Fluttershy poked at her salad. "None of this is fresh," she said.

Aria tore off a strip of the flatbread and wrapped it around a meatball, then chewed on it for a minute. She let out a snort of digust. "This tastes like a toilet paper roll," she said.

Coco returned with a bowl of olives floating in oil, placed it in front of Fluttershy so quickly it splashed out onto the table, and scurried off again.

They all watched her go.

"Maybe...it'll get better when the rest of the food arrives?" Mrs. Whoever said.

Making judicious use of the marinara sauce provided, the red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese on the table, and some ordinary table salt, they managed to make their salads and appetizers vaguely edible, eating them slowly as they waited.

Twenty minutes later, the owner appeared again. "Hello how is everything?" he grunted with a lowered brow.

"Our food seems to be taking an awfully long time," Mr. Whatever said.

"Sorry sir we are very busy much backing up of orders."

Mr. Whatever looked around the mostly empty dining room. Only two other tables were occupied, and the two men sitting at one table were openly glaring at the owner.

The owner retreated into the kitchen.

"Well this place is a shithole," Aria said.

"Now, Aria," Mrs. Whoever chided. "I'm certain there's a very good explanation for this."

Coco rushed out and placed a plate of ravioli in front of Fluttershy and a plate with a large, visibly saturated burger and a dozen sad-looking sweet potato fries in front of Aria. "The pizzas are coming, please be patient," she said breathlessly. "I'll freshen up your drinks in just a minute!"

"Refills two dollar," the owner said absently as he whisked past the table.

"What." said Mr. Whatever.

Fluttershy took a deep breath and picked up a ravioli on her fork. She popped it in her mouth, chewed...

...then spit it out into her napkin. "Oh," she said. "Oh...oh no."

"What's wrong, dear?" Mrs. Whoever asked.

"These are horrible," Fluttershy said. "They're frozen. They're all runny and...and freezerburned, and...oh..." She picked up her water and took a long swig.

Aria examined her burger. "Okay, I'm no chef, but...I think there's way too much runny stuff on this."

Fluttershy frowned. "The menu said something about white truffle oil," she said. "I don't...really see why you'd even want that on a burger..."

Aria took a bite of the burger.

The burger took a piss on the plate.

The others stared at the puddle of grease that had leaked out of the burger.

Fluttershy covered her mouth with one hand, her cheeks bulging.

Aria let out a growl of frustration, stood up, picked up the plate, and stormed into the kitchen, ignoring the others' protests.

* * * * *

Aria found a pink-skinned woman with lavender hair in a high ponytail laying out ingredients on a pizza crust. She marched over to her. "Are you the chef?"

The woman looked up and frowned. "Who are you? Why are you in my kitchen?"

Aria slammed the burger onto the counter. "Look at this!" she yelled. "Look at all this SHIT that leaked out when I took a bite of this!"

The chef frowned. "That's truffle oil, mmkay? It's supposed to do that."

"BullSHIT!" Aria said. "This is like, way too much grease for one burger!"

"Look, I'm the chef here, mmkay? If you don't like it, maybe you shouldn't order it."

"How am I supposed to know I don't like it if I don't order it?"

"LOOK, little girl," the chef said, pointing a knife at Aria, "My recipes are FLAWLESS, mmkay? I know what I'm doing. YOU don't know anything because you're a kid who's probably never eaten a burger that cost more than two dollars and had anything but ketchup on it! Now get OUT of my kitchen and sit back down, or get out of my restaurant!"

Aria glared at her. "And what's taking so long with the pizzas, anyway? We ordered two pizzas—"

"HERE'S YOUR FUCKING PIZZA, MMKAY?!" the chef screamed. "DAMN! Give me time to COOK IT FIRST!" She waved her knife, a dangerous glint in her eye. "Get out before I call the police!"

The Yakyakistani man quickly rushed over, grabbed Aria by the shoulders, and strongarmed her back into the dining area. "Out! Out you go now! Sit down! I bring pizza soon, okay? Okay! Go!"

Aria rejoined the family at the table. They were watching her with wide, concerned eyes.

"Aria, you...you probably shouldn't have done that," Fluttershy said.

"This place SUCKS!" Aria cried. "And that crazy bitch pulled a knife on me!"

Mrs. Whoever's eyes flew wide open. "Oh my God..."

Mr. Whatever frowned. "I think I've had just about enough—"

The chef stormed out of the kitchen and SLAMMED a pizza, still on its baking sheet, in the middle of their table, knocking over their glasses. "Here's one of your PIZZAS!" she screeched. "I'll get the other one out WHEN IT'S READY!" She stormed back to the kitchen, banging the door as hard as she could.

Mr. Whatever, Mrs. Whoever, Fluttershy, and Aria all studied the sausage and pepperoni pizza as though it were a dangerous animal.

Mr. Whatever cut a slice, picking it up. The center sagged visibly. He took a bite, then put it back down, wiping his mouth. "It isn't even cooked all the way through," he said. He stood up. "Girls, I think...I think we should go."

"Absolutely," Mrs. Whoever said.

Coco scurried over, clutching a rag fearfully. "Is—is everything alright?" she asked.

Mr. Whatever pulled a five-dollar bill out of his wallet and handed it to her. He whispered, "Good luck." Squaring his shoulders, he stormed up to the counter, where the owner was watching them suspiciously.

"You leaving? One second, I add up check."

"We're not paying," Mr. Whatever said. "You got our orders wrong, the service was inexcusably slow, the food is terrible. I refuse to pay."

The owner glared at him. "You eat, you pay."

"Nothing was edible! We're still waiting on the pizza we ordered!"

The owner pointed at the uneaten pizza on the table. "Just brought you pizza!"

"We ordered more than one pizza!"

"TELL THEM I'M COOKING THEIR FUCKING PIZZA RIGHT NOW!" the chef screamed from the kitchen.

The owner's glower became murderous. "You upset my wife, I call police."

The chef suddenly stormed out of the kitchen. "HERE! THIS IS YOUR THREE CHEESE AND TOMATO PIZZA AND YOU CAN ALL SIT DOWN ON IT AND SHIT IN IT!" She slammed an uncooked pizza onto the counter, splattering tomato sauce all over Fluttershy's dress.

"Oh! My...my favorite dress," Fluttershy whimpered, staring down at the stains.

"It's an ugly dress anyway," the chef said waspishly, before storming back into the kitchen.

Mr. Whatever trembled. "This is inexcusable," he said.

The owner picked up a pizza cutter and waved it at him threateningly. "You get food, you eat, you pay. I call police. You pay, then you get out. I CALL POLICE!" He slammed the blade of the pizza cutter onto the counter with a menacing clang.

Aria scowled fiercely. "Enough is enough," she said. She stormed into the kitchen, ignoring Mrs. Whoever's protests. While the owner ranted and raved at them in Yakyakistani, Fluttershy and her family watched the kitchen door with wide, terrified eyes.

Loud, furious screams and profanities issued from the kitchen...which soon turned to panicked, angry screams, followed by an earsplitting shriek, followed by terrified screaming.

Aria stalked briskly out of the kitchen and back up to the family. "We should go. NOW." Without waiting, she hurried to the door.

Fluttershy and her parents exchanged nervous glances and followed her.

"Aria? What did you do?" Fluttershy asked nervously.

"Get in the car. Hurry. We need to go."

"I'm all for that," Mr. Whatever said. "I hope I never see this place or that terrible man again."

"I don't think that'll be a problem," Aria said as Mr. Whatever started the car.

They pulled out of the parking lot and coasted to a stop at the intersection. Just as the light turned green, there was a tremendous explosion. Fluttershy, Mrs. Whoever, and Mr. Whatever jumped.

As they turned and drove down the next street, Mr. Whatever shakily asked, "So...who's up for Burger Butt?"

"Sounds good to me," Mrs. Whoever said, eyes wide.

They drove off into the night as sirens filled the air and a plume of smoke rose from the burning restaurant.

* * * * *

Half an hour later, they were back home, safe and sound, with cheap fast food takeout on the kitchen table.

"Well, this dress is ruined," Fluttershy complained miserably as she unwrapped her chicken sandwich.

"Maybe they can get the stain out at the cleaners," Mrs. Whoever said.

"And if not, we'll...we'll find you a new one," Mr. Whatever added.

Fluttershy sighed. "I guess..." She looked up tearfully at her mother. "I'm sorry your birthday was ruined," she said.

"Oh, honey," Mrs. Whoever said, smiling. "As long as I'm with you and Dad, I'm happy." She glanced at Aria. "And you too, Aria dear."

Aria smirked. "Sure. Umm...happy birthday and stuff."

"Do you, uhh..." Mr. Whatever swallowed nervously. "Do you think we should maybe tell someone about what happened at that restaurant?"

Fluttershy glanced at Aria, then down at her ruined dress. "What restaurant?" she said in a light, cheerful tone. "I don't remember any restaurant. Do you, Aria?"

Aria snickered. "We didn't go to any restaurant," she said. "We got drive-thru, came home, and watched a movie."

"That's absolutely right, dears!" Mrs. Whoever said with an overly bright, cheerful smile as she added pepper to her bacon cheeseburger.

Mr. Whatever shook his head. "Well...that's that, then," he decided. "Let's see what's on TV."

Author's Note:

Suri's restaurant is based on a certain infamous restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona.

(The character of the owner is depicted as Yakyakistani, with much the same temperament as the yaks depicted in season 5 of FiM. The real-life owner of the aforementioned restaurant is Israeli, and far more psychotic than this character.)