• Published 21st Apr 2017
  • 2,257 Views, 100 Comments

Cross Reference - Eyeswirl the Weirded



Following the events of the Friendship Games, various parties adapt to their new lives.

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Chapter 10: Shifting Routines (Part 1)

Crystal Prep was a pretty snazzy place.

Aria had had that thought more than once since their first day here, but the pretty furniture, polished floors, art hung on the walls, important-looking books, futuristic computers and gizmos (granted, it was still pretty weak compared to what they had in Coltlantis, but seeing as how this was all done without magic, she couldn't complain), and super comfortable chairs quickly made Crystal Prep's library one of her favorite places. They even had private little rooms in this three-story house of study, with air-conditioning! It was the perfect place to work on their presentation, but not as perfect a place as she would've liked for general hangouts.

They didn't let you bring food in here and just using the huge, how'd-they-even-fit-that-through-the-door tv screens to goof around and watch movies would probably get them thrown out, but Aria firmly kept this room in her mind for what she had to look forward to when she was commanding this kind of money. Of course, no facility in the world was going to make Sonata happy about doing schoolwork, as she signaled with a groan and a miserable grimace.

"This kinda suuuuucks. If we didn't have to pick our own topic and how it helped out the Adjustial Revolution, we coulda been like, halfway done by now!"

"It's Industrial Revolution, and-"

"Wait, really?"

"Um... Yea. You might wanna start paying attention in class, or it's gonna come back to bite you."

Ignoring that, Sonata defended her stance with an angry pout. "Adjustial makes more sense, because they were adjusting to a different part of history!"

Sometimes, Aria needed a few extra seconds to process the level of Stupid that Sonata was operating on, but she couldn't dwell too long or the idiot might think it meant she'd 'won' somehow. "...That's, kinda implied by the 'revolution' part."

"Is not!"

"Is too!"

"Is not!"

"Is too!"

"Is not!"

"Is too!"

"Is not!"

"Is too!"

"Is-"

Glitter Spark nearly kicked open the door as she stepped in, an exasperated look on her face. "Are you both five years old?!"

Aria and Sonata sat in stunned silence, the former drawing a blank for how to respond to the someone other than Adagio catching them like that.

She'd call us idiots all the time, but is that really how people see us?

As Powder Glitz stepped in behind her, Glitter continued. "I knew you were idiots,"

It is!!

"but I don't know how you even got this far when you carry on like that!"

"For real," nodded Glitz, "I thought you guys were gonna be serious competition, but this is sorta disappointing."

That, for whatever reason, was the line that made Aria angry, brows knitting as she fired off the line she'd been waiting days to use. "Big talk for a couple of nobodies."

It'd have been great if she could remember the clever and devastating word choice she'd picked out in her head the other day, but Glitz and Glitter both looked like she'd just spit on their shoes, so she stuck with it.

"I've done my homework on you two, and it wasn't a long paper, because according to Sunny Flare and her gang- y'know, the girls who have actually done something since they got here-" the sight of Glitter's eyes narrowing and her jaw clenching was so, so welcome, "-you two are all talk, no action, and that's literally all anyone can say about you."

That last part might have been embellishing things a bit, but it was working great in getting Glitter to seethe in hatred, even if Glitz was still just sorta standing there. Passively. Aria still didn't like that girl's eyes, so she looked away from both of them and pretended to focus on the book open in front of her while dismissively waving a hand.

"We don't have time for you, so if you could just crawl back under your rock, that'd be great."

It took effort not to smile at the rage in Glitter's shaky voice.

"Y-You arrogant-"

Aria immediately cut her off, still not looking at her. "Hey Sonata, how many uses for the steam engine do ya think you can find? I figure that's a good enough link right there."

"I'm talking to-"

It was hard to say whether Sonata caught on to the plan, or if it was her own natural Sonata-ness that had her talking over someone. "I know I saw pictures of old-timey cars and boats with clouds over 'em, so at least the gettin' around business."

"Cool, we can start there."

Her eyes firmly on the book, Aria let herself smile at the sounds of Glitter's frustrated groan and stomping out of the room, glancing up to see her sleeve vanishing around the doorway. Glitz, however, stood where she'd been, no expression on her face, yellow, creepy eyes locked on Aria's for at least three solid seconds before she turned to follow Glitter. Aria shivered.

Luckily, Sonata didn't seem to notice. "Maaan, there's a lotta steam stuff to talk about! This'll take us hours!"

Aria shrugged. "Then we'll catch the late bus back. This is important, so we've gotta do an amazing job on it, remember?"

"Uuugh..."

For once, she actually chuckled at Sonata's pathetic whining. Maybe because she could kind of sympathize this time; the work was totally boring to actually do, but once they had the info down, they could talk about how they'd spice up the way they'd show that info with some good old siren razzle-daz- their own flair, and that was gonna be more fun.

Not wanting to worry Adagio, she dug her phone out of a pocket and started on a text.

*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*

Dancing alone in the gym wasn't fun anymore.

At first, Adagio felt free; it was just her practicing her moves with more space than she could ever need, like she had the whole ocean to swim around in again, but inevitably, she would stop, open her eyes, and see the big, empty, somewhat dim room as the sun slowly sank. Every time, it made her feel a little more like there was something wrong with her, like she'd contracted some serious mental illness and it was only a matter of weeks before she was dancing on the roof, or in a subway, or in the middle of an intersection, possibly trying to direct traffic with high kicks and hip-thrusts.

That was why she opted to just head home a little early today, not even having switched out of her usual clothes (plus the spiked collar Sunset gave her) to wait around in the cheerleader outfit as she headed for the exit, worries about going senile whirling about in the back of her mind.

It's because I don't normally dance alone, I'm sure. I hardly danced at all before I met Aria and Sonata, and was seldom apart from them after, so it only makes sense.

Luckily, she'd soon be home, they'd soon join her, and maybe the three of them could sing karaoke or something if they weren't too busy with-

She jumped as her phone pinged (still an unfamiliar feeling, because they used to be physically near each other all the time), quickly pulling it out to see Aria's text. She stopped just outside the school, by the repaired horse statue.

Oh... I'm home alone tonight, then. At least for a couple more hours.

Well, that was fine. She was the one who sent them to the school of higher standards, after all, they needed that time away from her. Same as she needed time away from them, if she was going to find more potential comforters.

...Which was going poorly so far.

Where do I even begin? Sunset told me her friends were assigned to her, I got to know her through a mutually beneficial arrangement, and I haven't seen anyone doing anything that impressed me! What does 'it just happens on its own' even mea-

She was snapped out of this thought by someone tugging on a short, puffy pant-leg of her siren suit, looking down to see one of the Rainbooms' sisters with a worried look on her face. And, a colorful cheerleading outfit, strangely enough.

"You okay, 'Dagio? Yer lookin' sorta serious."

"And standing out here by yourself," added the purple-haired one, similarly garbed to the first.

The purple-and-pink-haired one had two cents of her own. "Which is kind of worrying."

I knew it!!

She didn't respond to their question, though, instead posing one of her own. "Why are the three of you dressed that way?"

Forgetting their concerns immediately, all three smiled, the bumpkin being the first to speak. "We'll show ya!"

The three of them quickly moved into a triangular formation, drawing pom-poms made from many colors of thinly-cut strips of colored construction paper from somewhere and sucking in deep breaths. Adagio held up a hand.

"Stop."

Three breaths were released in the form of sputtering and a short coughing fit.

"You okay, Sweetie Belle?"

"I'm f-hack, hack, ahem... I'm fine, Scoots."

A hand on one hip, Adagio raised an eyebrow. "Have any of you passed a sex-ed class?" The looks they gave each other were a clear enough 'no,' but she waited until they said it anyway.

"W-well," Applejack's sister muttered, "no, but-"

"I won't be involved in any sort of cheerleading operation with anyone that hasn't at least completed Health, it was my only rule to Celestia when I agreed to be the new captain. That in mind," she said as she continued toward the sidewalk, pointing at one of their paper pom-poms, "good luck with the arts and crafts."

"Wait!"

Stopping with a look over her shoulder, she found three frowns where she'd expected scowls.

"The three of us don't really have much we're good at," explained Applejack's sister, "so we try all kinds'a things an' see what sticks."

Sweetie Belle smiled a little. "It doesn't have to be cheerleading, but we'd like to do something together with you."

Adagio raised an eyebrow. "Me, specifically?" They must have been sharp, for children, because she could see in their faces that they caught the suspicion in that question.

'Scoots' scratched her head as she looked away, regret on what Adagio could see of her face. "Full story? We weren't really nice to Sunset when she turned herself around, so we didn't wanna do the same thing again with you."

"And Twilight Sparkle?"

The trio shared a quick, confused look, the red-haired one tilting her head as she asked.

"Why would we give her the bad guy treatment? She's been pretty nice since she got here."

"Other than nearly destroying the universe?"

It took a moment's contemplation, but she saw it click in their heads simultaneously, announced with a trio of "Ohhhh"s before they whispered to each other.

"The thing with the portals, right?"
"I totally forgot about that!"
"Same here!"
"I thought it was somebody else."
"Naw, she just looked dif'rent, like when Sunset was flingin' fireballs at people."
"Oh, yea."

Seeing that Adagio was now looking at them like they were covered in tree sap again, Sweetie cleared her throat. "I guess, part of it's that, since she's already made friends and been getting along with people, that mistrustful period came and went so fast that it was like it was barely there, but there are some around here that have been waiting for you to do something bad ever since you came back. But," she added with a smile, "we wanted you to know that we're not one of them."

"Three of them," corrected 'Scoots,' drawing a raised eyebrow from the one she was increasingly tempted to call 'Bow Bumpkin.'

"What're you, a calculator?"

Scoots raised a fist in mock menace. "I'll calc you later!"

There was a pause as the trio looked at each other before bursting into gigglefits, which they were surprised to see Adagio joining in. She composed herself a second later, partly covering her mouth with one hand as if to hide her embarrassment.

"Regardless," she said without looking at them, "given that I won't be aiding your cheerleading prospects any time soon, I'm afraid I have nothing to offer you."

I may have a variety of skills, but I doubt any of them are kid-friendly.

Bow Bumpkin smiled brightly. "Then maybe we could all try somethin' new!" Adagio looked confused again, so she glanced at Sweetie and Scootaloo. "We still got that super-mower all hooked up, right?" Then back to Adagio. "You wanna trim up a field with us?"

"...'Super-mower'?"

"It's like," Scoots began, "we've got this big ol' tractor-slash-lawnmower thing ready to go at Sweet Apple Acres, but Granny Smith, Big Mac, and everybody else tell us we're too young to use 'heavy machinery' for some reason, but with you here-"

"-We can do all the stuff we've always needed a chaperone for," Sweetie finished with a smile.

"So," asked Bumpkin, "whaddya say?"

She closed the question with big, wide puppy eyes, which the other two immediately backed up. Adorable as it was, Adagio had long ago developed an immunity to Sonata's tricks, but the idea did intrigue her.

What, really, did she have to do if she refused? Sit at home, by herself, until Aria and Sonata finished their schoolwork? Most likely not even to share the details of what they'd been up to today, or at any point since their transfer? She could probably call Sunset, but her time was already mostly monopolized by her older friends, and to just insert herself into their activities felt lonely awkward pathetic inconsiderate.

I'm looking for potential comforters, sympathetic ears and shoulders to bear the full story of what happened in Coltlantis, and these girls are nowhere near ready to handle such a thing, couldn't possibly understand what we've been through.

...Still...

The three of them were friends, right? She'd learned of the shoulder-touching gesture from observing the Rainbooms during the friendship games, so if nothing else, she stood to gain a wider repertoire of comforting actions at no real cost. Yes, that was abundant reason to play along with these girls.

She allowed herself to smile. "Alright, where is exactly is Sweet Apple Acres?"

The Canterlot Misfits Club beamed with joy.

*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*

"Alright," Sophisticata sighed into her clipboard, "the wardrobe is finished and up to live performance standard, so I think we're ready to begin rehearsals in costume."

Garbed in a purple, Victorian-era dress, Octavia looked over herself with a faint smile. "We're fortunate that the fashionistas have such an appreciation for theater, we couldn't have afforded more than one outfit like this on our budget." And even then, the quality would have certainly been in question.

"We'll still need more people to wear 'em all," noted Golden Hazel, wearing a beige dress similar to Octavia's, "but Rarity's crew'll probably help us out again."

"Enough about them," snapped Trixie, dressed in black, high-heeled, knee-high boots, very tight, leather pants (which complimented her developing muscles nicely, if she may say so herself!), a long, close-fitting, dark-brown coat over a corset and white blouse covering just enough cleavage that they wouldn't get in trouble again, the outfit complete with a wide-brimmed hat the same hue as the coat, "we already have enough people to play the stars of this show!"

"Yea," an uncostumed Indigo Wreath said with an eyeroll, "but not all the bit-parts and the most important role of our little vampire story; the vampire." He was surprised by a smiling Watermelody gently putting a hand on his shoulder.

"Don't worry, we're doing the murder-mystery thing at the same time, remember? The audience isn't going to know who the vampire is until pretty much the very end."

"Okay, but do we know who that is yet?"

Silence. Watermelody looked away with an awkward laugh.

"Might have a point there."

"I was hoping we could get Rarity for that role," Sophisticata frowned as she flipped to another page on her clipboard, "but one of the conditions for using her resources was that she be cast as the heroine's mother." Something about wanting to see if she could play the part of a mature, older woman. Sophisticata hadn't pried.

Octavia idly rubbed her chin. "Given her history, using Sunset Shimmer there would be... uncomfortable, perhaps. The same goes for Adagio Dazzle, if she would agree to help."

"Eh," shrugged Indigo Wreath, "they'd both be way too obvious, and Sunset's better as a stagehand anyway. If we wanna keep that whodunnit feel going right up to the end, we need somebody they'd never see coming. Think we could get Pinkie to do it?"

There was a pause as all present contemplated that mental image, and while they didn't all imagine a hyperactive bloodsucker that only bit diabetics, everyone laughed just as hard.

"Okay, okay," said Golden Hazel as she pulled herself together, wiping away a tear, "we doin' this or what?"

Getting the last of her giggles out, Sophisticata cleared her throat. "The scene is after the vampire's second attack, when Parapluie D'argent, the eccentric night-hunter, arrives to assure Lily Vieil Arbre, the heroine suspected to be the vampire's next target, and Canard Assis, her closest friend, that no harm will come to them. In three... two... one!"

"Fear not, tender maidens," boomed Trixie as she pantomimed throwing open a door, "for your prayers have been answered!!"

"Cut!" Meeting Trixie's mild scowl with a sheepish smile, Sophisticata held a thumb and index finger very close without touching. "Bring it down just a little, please, we don't need to deafen the front row."

Tinting pink as the others giggled, Trixie rolled her eyes and tried again, performing the same motion as before. "Fear not, tender maidens, for your pra-" She was interrupted by a sharp pain on her behind. "-AAAAAAAAAAAIIIEEEE!!"

While Trixie's hands covered her stinging backside, everyone else covered their ears.

"Trixie," complained Watermelody, "you don't need to deafen us, either!"

"It's not my fault," she retorted while turning to check her rear for arrows or needles or fireballs or whatever had hit her, "something bit me!!"

Not finding any trace of what put out a cigar on her ass, she looked further behind her to see the rich brat from the other day, peeking around a distant corner and clutching a BB gun with a fiendish grin on her face.

That little-!!

Unfortunately for the forces of cosmic justice, the runt immediately disappeared around the corner, and Trixie couldn't risk damaging her costume in a chase. But there would be revenge later, dammit!

Indigo Wreath scratched his head. "Other than the volume, that wasn't too bad. We sure it's too late to make this thing a comedy?"

"Kinda," answered Golden Hazel, arms idly crossed over her stomach, "'cuz it's our last show of the school year and comedy is always rated lower than the straight-faced stuff."

"Yet we put Trixie in a leading role?" He barely managed to stumble out of the way of a very shiny, but blunt, plastic sword swinging toward his head. "Woah!!"

"Stand back, ladies of House Vieil Arbre," growled Trixie, her eyes full of fire and unspent rage, "for I believe I have found the horror of the night!"

Not for the first time, Indigo paled, raising both hands in defense as he stepped back. "T-Trixie, calm dow-"

"TASTE MY BLADE, FIEND!!"

"Gyaagh!!"

As Indigo was chased around the room by a rabid vampire hunter, Watermelody quietly watched, arms folded and her cheeks puffed out in a pout.

"Why is it always her?"

Standing next to her, Golden Hazel leaned closer, a playful grin on her face. "Because somebody won't just say something?" She snickered as Watermelody lit up like a stoplight and looked away, trying to pull her hat down to hide her face.

Author's Note:

These two chapters are more or less centered around Adagio's first outing with the CMC, but with other stuff going on at the same time.

Aria and Sonata are great wise guys for pointing out/poking fun at weirdness with the main cast and the things we've come to accept about our magical girl variety hour, but having been magical supervillains themselves, aren't immune to the occasional moment that looks weird from the outside either. As Sugarcoat is already down with the weirdness, Glitter Spark feels like the perfect candidate to do a little pointing/poking herself, in a 'who wises the wise guys' kind of way, if that makes sense. :pinkiesmile:

Speaking of those two, I feel like I should clarify that Indigo and Aria's quasi-rivalry is still on, it just hasn't mattered for anything since the first few chapters. Indigo was never meant to be the main rival, but she's still vaguely antagonistic. For now.

I like the chemistry I ended up with for the Drama Club members (bar Nolan North, who wasn't present this time and might not ever be), but I don't think I'd want to do a story entirely about them and whatever clubs they involve in their productions. You may lose a lot of potential readers doing anything longer than a one-shot, but there's a lot more to play with when you pack all of your ideas into bigger stories! :raritystarry: