• Published 21st Apr 2017
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Cross Reference - Eyeswirl the Weirded



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

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Chapter 11: Shifting Routines (Part 2)

"Woo-hoo!"
"Wheee!"
"Yeaaa!!"

While she didn't look like she was having as much fun riding the hybrid of tractor and lawnmower as the three girls seated on the machinery behind her, holding tightly to the railing all around the seat, Adagio was definitely smiling. At least, she was when Big Macintosh could see her face from where he stood by the barn.

He'd figured, when Apple Bloom called him to ask about bringing out the big mower, that it'd be another open-and-shut case of 'You're not old enough, so no,' but when she and her friends showed up, he found out that they had back-up. More than that, it took about a minute of talking to her to see that she was more level-headed and mature than Applejack, and if she was old enough for Granny Smith's liking, it'd be a hard sell saying 'no' to this girl. Even without that funny hundred-years-old thing he'd heard one of Applejack's friends say about the Dazzlings.

She didn't even bat an eye when he said he'd feel better if he could keep an eye on them, so that's what he was doing now; watching the big mower go around with the sounds of girls at a playground. Or, maybe a playground full of lawnmowers. Warmed his heart a little.

That it meant it'd save him time cutting the grass was a mighty fine bonus, too, because even if she was a little shy of trimming close to trees (probably afraid she'd cut up roots or something), Adagio was hardly even missing spots anywhere.

Still, if she wasn't lying about having a license (not that it mattered, as long as they didn't go on the open road), he wondered where the Dazzlings learned to drive.

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

"So, dude, you probably get this all the time, but I've never heard anybody answer, so I gotta ask; why Sunny Flare?"

Sitting across the table from his assignment partner, Neon Lights, as the two took notes on the medicinal breakthroughs of the time period, Prince Blueblood remained silently thankful that Mr. Lights had agreed to straighten up his vernacular a little when the time came to speak to their class.

"Does one need a particular reason?"

"Kinda? I mean, when you're the guy every girl in school is not-so-secretly keeping their eye on, it's weird to go for the one that sorta treats men like criminals waiting to happen. Why not somebody prettier, like Fleur or Crystal Lullaby, or even one'a those new chicks?" There were other cute girls, like Lemon Zest, High Kick, Powder Glitz before Glitter Spark got to her, Orange Sherbette, and some others, but those were the ones people talked about.

"Fair enough, I suppose. In short, it is because she is one of very few proper young ladies in more than appearance, her dignified air more than the shallow imitation projected by most girls of her standing."

"Huh. I guess that's cool."

Blueblood smiled, but only he would ever know why. What he said may have technically been true, but it was far from the real reason he pursued Sunny, just the one he'd learned got people to leave him alone about it.

In truth, he grew fond of her because despite the girl very genuinely being a haughty, elitist, vapid shrew, he had long ago recognized the altruistic spirit she carried in everything she did. Well, at least when not dealing with those she determined to be competition of some sort, at which point, he acknowledged, she could get a little too stereotypically 'Crystal Preppy' about it, but even her termagant moments had grown endearing to him.

Oh, certainly, his classmates expected Perfect Prince Blueblood to find himself an equally Perfect Princess™, to seek out the fairest maiden of the land and live out some fairytale existence free of worry or struggle, but nothing he had ever said seemed to smother the flames of that little fantasy. Blueblood was very much aware that he was just a man, albeit a young one, and that there were no perfect people.

Human beings had faults, and having seen the good and the bad in Sunny Flare, Blueblood was secure in his feelings for her, because overall, she was a good person without being too good a person. She was nothing like Dean Cadence, whom Blueblood always suspected, but could never prove, was hiding something. That, too, was something he liked about Sunny Flare; there was no facade, no attempt to cover her faults, she wore her imperfections on her sleeves.

Not those metal bracelets, per se, unless one considered being a closet sci-fi junkie to be a fault, but that was beside the point.

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

"Alright," breathed Adagio as she wiped her brow with one of the oven mitts she'd just taken off, "now we just have to wait."

Leaning in close to peek through the little oven window (but not close enough to touch it, a lesson she'd learned the hard way) of the Apple Family kitchen, Apple Bloom whistled. "Will ya lookit that?! Ah don't think we've ever had brownie mix just in the pan buhfore!"

It usually had a funny way of getting all dribbled all over the sides and being uneven in the pan somehow, which meant half the pan was thin, overcooked brownies and there'd be burnt bits of brownie mix all over the rim when they pulled it out of the oven. Those were never fun to clean off. But now, the long, glass cooking tray was so clean and so even it looked like they'd gotten Rarity to help with it! There wasn't even a mess outside the pan this time, and that was always even less fun to clean up! She turned to Adagio with a bright, proud smile.

"These're lookin' like the best brownies we've ever made! You've really got a knack fer organizin', huh?"

Adagio chuckled. "I have some experience in directing people, yes."

It helped that there were formal directions on the box, and the Canterlot Misfits Club, as she'd learned they call themselves, were surprisingly good at following directions. At least, when she gave them all specific instructions. She hadn't picked up any new friend-making/comforting secrets yet, but it amazed her how things changed when the bickering was toned down a little. Looking over her shoulder, she watched the other two enjoy the remains of the brownie mix. Sweetie Belle busied herself with carefully licking the whisk without getting its sticky contents all over her face while Scootaloo quickly scraped the bowl with a spoon.

Sonata gets like that with sweets too; wolfing them down like someone's going to take them away. Probably because Aria makes a game of stealing a bite whenever Sonata's guard is down.

Sunset had told her that friends ribbed each other, that a little teasing was normal, but she'd begun to wonder if Aria and Sonata's... moments... were a little more than-

"Hic!"

"Ah toldja that'd happen, Scoots," sighed Apple Bloom as she shook her head, "why do ya always eat so fast?"

"I-hic!"

Sweetie Belle giggled. "How'd we cure it last time? Standing on your head while yodeling the alphabet?"

Scootaloo sighed. "Can ei-hic!-either of you hold my legs? Staying upside down is-hic! hard."

Adagio looked at Apple Bloom. "Where do you keep the peanut butter?"

Blinking once in confusion, Apple Bloom pointed to a cabinet. "Uh, in there, next to the mayo. Why?"

"Hic!"

"Get me a butter knife, would you?"

Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo watched as Adagio retrieved the jar of peanut butter, accepting the knife from Apple Bloom with a benevolent little smile-

"Hic!"

-before turning to Scootaloo. "Do you have any peanut allergies?"

"Um, no, but-hic!"

"Good," she said while offering the knife and the jar, "get a big glob of this on the butter knife, then eat it all at once."

"...H-hic!-huh?"

"Just try it."

Perplexed though she was, Scootaloo did like peanut butter! Taking the jar and knife as ordered, she scooped out as much as she could and opened her mouth wide to get the whole thing in one bite.

Chewing was a whole different thing!

It took her about a minute, not sure how to feel about the others watching her pig out on smushed nuts, but she eventually got the whole thing down, capping it off with a big gulp of air.

...And no hiccups!

"Wow," she said with a smile, "I'm totally using peanut butter for hiccups from now on!"

"It worked," cheered Apple Bloom, wrapping both arms around Adagio's waist, "thanks, Sis!"

There was a pause as Apple Bloom seemed to realize what she just said, Adagio looking down at her in confusion. "'Sis'?"

Backing away with her arms sheepishly folded behind her back and a bashful smile, she burned redder than her namesake. "Uh, haha, sorry, Ah uh, got a little mixed up."

Sweetie Belle smiled. "You do have that Big Sister feeling to you."

Resting a hand on a hip, Adagio smiled in amusement. "Do I, now?" All three girls nodded affirmatively, drawing a chuckle and a mild blush. "Right, well, what are we putting on these things when they're done?"

Peanut-butter-and-chocolate-chip-topped brownies were a first for the four of them, but Adagio pondered the merits of making such a thing at home.

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

There weren't a whole lot of students that Twilight felt close to since kindergarten, and even fewer teachers, but one of those she remembered fondly had told her, possibly in jest, that the difference between messing around and doing science was writing things down. While she believed there was more to it than that, writing things down certainly helped, and could only help her with her current project.

Unless I successfully trigger magic of some sort that erases/incinerates/animates my notes, but those specific outcomes are highly unlikely. I hope.

That in mind, she wrote down what she'd done to tweak the Spectrometer Mk.II since last time and her intentions this time. Just in case something happened and whoever found her notes needed to know what not to do. Terrifying thought, but she knew she was exploring dangerous territory here.

Setting down her pencil, she got to work, flipping the switch on the Mk.II and focusing on the feelings she'd been led to believe the Rainbooms the Rainbooms and Adagio the Rainbooms and the sirens? everyone shared when what could be called the Magic of Friendship manifested. Warm security, being wanted, passive fondness, all those things she'd gotten to experience first-hand since coming to CHS, as well as vague sensations she couldn't quite put adequate descriptors to. Recalling specific moments helped considerably, or at least she had to assume it did, because it was as she did so that the Mk.II started to light up.

There was a light at the top of the cylinder, just where she'd have expected magical energy to be concentrated, but the beeping sound that was supposed to acknowledge this wasn't heard, nor did anything show up on the device's external display. She didn't know if it was possible to think/remember harder at it, but she did keep up what she was doing to find out whether this could be a sustained effect, or if it was building the longer it went on. Her answer for now was the latter, because the light gradually grew brighter and she was startled by a brilliant, purple spark shooting out of the top of the cylinder, which was when she stopped concentrating (obviously!).

A pang of distress crackled through her heart as the light began to fade, but as much as she wanted to immediately try again, just to see what happened, it was, ironically, thoughts of her new friends that firmly convinced her to shut off the Mk.II.

The spark had dissipated in less than a second and didn't seem to have any lingering effects or cause any damage, but it was worrying all the same. Quickly disassembling the Mk.II, she again picked up her pencil, jotting down her immediate recollection of what had happened in addition to the note that, with the current design, she may have accidentally created a miniature cannon. Another redesign may have been necessary to prevent out-of-control magic blowing a hole in her roof, or the fabric of reality. Still, she smiled.

Progress!

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

"I can kind of see why your sisters forbade you to do this one, girls."

Adagio stood back, perplexed, as Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle helped Scootaloo into the hanging seat held between two trees by giant rubber bands. Being launched into the sky wasn't something that made sense to her in daylight hours, but seemed like an especially bad idea now that the sun had gone down. The stars were brighter out here, but not enough to see where the passenger would land without trouble.

"Yea," Scootaloo answered with a smile, "but now that you're here, we totally can!"

"No, I mean, I think I agree with them that you shouldn't."

"Why not? I know you let Aria and Sonata climb around the bike ramps like they were monkey bars during the Friendship Games."

"Wha-"

"And Ah heard they roller-skated down that one big hill in town," added Apple Bloom.

"That was-"

"Not to mention the stuff with magic, which is a lot more dangerous than anything we get up to."

"Those two," Adagio said with a mild scowl, "are more than old enough to make their own decisions!"

It'd have been a very bad idea to send them to Crystal Prep if they weren't. Not that they hadn't had some... unwise moments, but it still held that she couldn't force them not to do those things.

Scootaloo scratched her head. "How old is that, anyway?"

"Usually somewhere in the late twenties, maybe later, but in this world, I think it's legally considered to be twenty-one. And yes," she said the second the girl in the giant slingshot opened her mouth, "I know your sisters aren't twenty-one either, but I haven't seen them or their friends doing anything like this."

"Have you hung out with Rainbow at all?"

"No, why?"

"Well-"

Before Scootaloo could deliver her answer, they heard none other than Rainbow shouting in their direction.

"There they are!"

Adagio turned to see her, Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie for some reason, all four holding flashlights as they closed in. Rarity sounded like she'd had to run around Sweet Apple Acres after dark a few too many times before, and it showed on her face.

"What, were you thinking?!"

Applejack seemed evenly angry and disappointed. "Thought you knew better than this."

Adagio crossed her arms. "This wasn't my idea and I was trying to talk them out of-"

"No, no," Pinkie said with a handwave and an apologetic little grin, "not you, we were talking to them."

Confused, she turned in the direction Pinkie was pointing to see a stern-faced Rarity wagging a finger at Sweetie Belle as Rainbow lifted Scootaloo out of the seat.

"Honestly, Darling, I thought you'd dismantled this mad contraption ages ago, and on top of that, you're setting a terrible example for Miss Dazzle here!"

Applejack was similarly unhappy with her younger sibling. "Y'all know how hard it is fer someone tryin' to go straight without you bein' a bad influence on 'em?"

At the sound of three 'we're sorry's from the Canterlot Misfits Club, Pinkie giggled, looking at Adagio to find her all 'what the heck just happened?', so she tried to help. "Canya believe something like this happened before with Sunset? Back then, though, we jumped to conclusions and thought it was her fault, so that was an easter egg full of vitamins, and not the neat dinosaur ones, either! Also, Big Mac told us you were probably out here and he didn't follow because he felt like you had a pretty good head on your shoulders and wouldn't let anything happen, and he's usually a good judge of character and all, but it's still late and unless you guys were just telling scary stories or something, it'd probably be better to do whatever you were doing during the day anyway, so we came out to find you, and now here we are!"

"...I, see."

"Sorry about them," Rainbow said to her with an abashed grin, "they sorta drag people into their shenanigans sometimes, hope they didn't get you doing anything bad."

"Er, no," she said uncertainly, still amazed that the consequences of this little venture apparently weren't falling on her, "just... lawn-mowing, baking, and... well, whatever this was going to be."

"Cool. Anyone joined your squad yet?"

"No."

Rainbow blinked in surprise. "Really? Weird, know I heard somebody talking about it..." She shrugged and smiled. "Well, if you've got nothin' better to do, you could always give any of us a ring."

"I'll text you our numberrrrrs," sing-songed Pinkie.

"I-"

Looking over her shoulder as she was led back toward the house, presumably for a ride home, Sweetie Belle smiled. "We've usually got nothing planned after school, if you want to join us again." Rarity cleared her throat. "Um, to do, non-dangerous stuff, I mean."

Adagio had vaguely hoped to learn a thing or two about friendly, comforting behavior this afternoon, but she quietly reeled at the thought of gaining nine contacts in one day (if Rainbow's offer extended to all of the Rainbooms, that is). "I'll, think about it," she answered instinctively, making her way back toward the house, and therefore the road, "Aria and Sonata should be home by now, so I'll be seeing you."

Goodbyes were exchanged, Pinkie sticking around the Apple house for a little while after for another taste of those peanut-butter-choco-chip brownies! While the two of them sat at the Apples' kitchen table, Applejack asked her.

"What Rainbow was sayin' about somebody wantin' to join the cheerleaders, was that you?"

Swallowing her mouthful of mutant Reese's explosion (which she was totally going to use as the name for this recipe if there wasn't one already), Pinkie giggled. "Nah."

"Really," she questioned with a skeptical eyebrow, "'cuz the rest of us were sure you'd be jumpin' around swingin' them ruffly things with the best of 'em inside a week."

Pinkie shrugged. "It's not that I don't think it'd be fun, or even that I wouldn't be good at it, just..." Her smile weakened. "If I went in all hyperactive all over everything, I might end up taking over the cheerleading stuff through sheer, well, me-ness, but that me-ness would be meanness in this case because I'd be shunting Adagio off to the side, either going so nuts with it that I'd end up pushing her out altogether, or she'd get fired up and do things her own way so hard that I'd get pushed out, but because her way is full of her-ness, everyone would act like she was the bad guy for it." Now she frowned. "Even if it didn't go that far, it's possible that she'd just get fed up with me and quit, like 'Oh, one of the school's heroes wants this now, guess I'd better fudge off and do something else,' and I'm pretty sure she actually kinda likes cheering, so I really don't wanna take that from her!"

Applejack blinked slowly. "...You told her any'a this?"

"No, but," she smiled again, "I'd rather be setting up parties and stuff anyway. Besides," she admitted with a sheepish blush, "I only got a D in sex-ed."

Author's Note:

While a few particular details of the sirens' backstory remain secret to all but Adagio and Sunset, she was comfortable enough letting the Rainbooms know that she, Aria, and Sonata were over a century old and came from an advanced, undersea civilization. Some additional friends and family know, but no one at Crystal Prep does. Yet.

I was weirdly tempted to have Blueblood reveal that his reasons for chasing Sunny were sinister and make him a villain heavy on dramatic irony, but it'd have come out of nowhere and I have no idea how it'd have fit into the rest of the story. Wouldn't have done wonders for the tone, either. :derpyderp2:

The peanut butter thing usually works, but the key is to disrupt your breathing. Another method is to exhale as much as you can, then hold your breath for a minute or so, but I prefer peanut butter. :pinkiesmile: