• Published 28th Apr 2017
  • 5,338 Views, 648 Comments

Neighbors - Tethered-Angel



A familiar face moves into the sirens' apartment building.

  • ...
9
 648
 5,338

Chapter 1- The New Neighbor

Somewhere on the outskirts of Canterlot city, far from the hustle and bustle of the more respectable parts of town, a row of abandoned buildings lines an old industrial railway. Old, run-down warehouses, most of them should have been condemned years ago. But one of the buildings has found a new life. Despite its unpleasant, worn exterior, it has become a haven for those who wish to live outside of the main stream of civilization. Those who through choice or necessity wish to remain under the radar.

This building was home and haven to three girls in particular, the sirens, Adagio, Aria, and Sonata. Despite their youthful appearance, each girl had been walking the land for over a thousand years, sustained by their magic and their wiles. But they had recently fallen on hard times, their magic stolen, the gems they used to harness their powers shattered by a handful of mere teenagers.

Now they gather, lost without their magic, once again thrust into the unknown. There is nothing left for them but to brood. Brood and despair…

“Boo-yeah! I win again! Fork it over, girls!” Sonata cheered as her sisters groaned. “Hand me that sweet, sweet green!”

“You do realize this isn’t real money, right Sonata?” Adagio asked, handing over a pile of fake paper bills, as well as her last title card. “It’s not even green.”

Aria, who had gone broke twenty minutes ago, rubbed her temples. “How do you always manage to get Boardwalk and Parkplace?”

“Duh,” Sonata said, pointing to her face and then the board, “They’re blue, I’m blue. It’s a match!”

“Right,” Aria rolled her eyes, “that makes so much sense. How come you never end up with the blue ones at the start of the board then?”

“I dunno,” Sonata shrugged. “So what do I win?”

“A very special prize,” Adagio said, “You get to clean up the board!”

“Yeah!” Sonata cheered. “…Wait, that’s not fair!”

“Sure it is, it’s in the rules,” Aria said, brandishing the game pamphlet.

“Is not!”

“Is too.”

“Then let me see it!” Sonata snatched the paper free from Aria’s grip and began pouring over it frantically. “Ah-ha! I knew it! You made that up!”

Aria shrugged, “Sue me.”

Adagio rolled her eyes. “You two are such children. Sonata, we’ll help clean up. You still have to go get groceries.”

“Oh, right! I almost forgot!” Sonata sprang to her feet, rushing off to grab her coat.

“Wait, you gotta help clean up first!” Aria called after her, to no avail. “Ugh, you’re the worst.”

“Aww, I know you two love each other,” Adagio said mockingly, gathering up a handful of fake bills. The floor was a mess from where they had been playing, with dice, plastic houses, and title deeds tossed about haphazardly. “Besides, this will probably go faster without her help.”

“Yeah, well… shut up.” Aria retorted, reaching under their worn leather couch to grab an errant hotel. “Why do we trust her with the shopping again?”

“Because she cooks.” Adagio folded up the board before settling it into its box. “I’m hopeless when it comes to picking out fresh ingredients, and last time we sent you, you came back with sixteen bags of chips and two dozen different energy drinks.”

“Hey, that shit’s good though!” Aria protested, finally fitting the lid onto the overstuffed box.

“Hardly a healthy diet,” Adagio countered.

Sonata walked back into the room, wearing a light jacket over her regular clothes. “Alright guys, I’m going! We’re having enchiladas tonight!”

“Did you remember your wallet this time?” Adagio asked.

Sonata panicked for a moment, hands shuffling to each of her pockets before she let out a relieved sigh. “Yup, I remembered!” She spun toward the door, weaving through the apartment’s modest kitchenette. “Bye!” She called as she stepped out, “I’ll be- Eeep!” The whole aparement shook as she darted back inside, slamming the door shut and throwing her back against it. “Guys,” she hissed, “We gotta hide. They’re here!”

Aria and Adagio glanced at each other before looking at their sister. “Who’s here?” Aria asked impatiently.

“The Rainbooms,” Sonata whispered harshly, voice quivering.

“What!?” Adagio demanded as she and Aria jumped to their feet. “Show me.”

Sonata nodded, wordlessly stepping away from the door and gesturing toward the peephole. Adagio crept up, bending slightly so she could look through the tiny fisheye. “Damn!” She swore, straightening up. She quickly turned the lock and deadbolt, then threw the security chain up for good measure. “How in Tartarus did they find us?”

“They must have followed us after their stupid little social thing,” Aria seethed. She grabbed a long knife from the kitchen counter, taking up position across the door from Adagio.

“But that was weeks ago,” Adagio hissed.

“Guys, what are we gonna do?” Sonata whispered, panicky.

Adagio frowned, face hardening. “You two watch the door. I’ll be right back.” She spun, half-sprinting down the short hallway that connected to her and Aria’s bedrooms. Throwing open her door, she ran to her nightstand and rifled through the top drawer, retrieving a small revolver and a handful of bullets. After the Battle of the Bands, she had realized that she could no longer rely on magic to protect herself and her sisters.

Aria raised an eyebrow as her older sister walked back into the kitchenette, shakily loading her firearm. “We that serious?” She asked, “I’ve got a crossbow.”

“No,” Adagio said, snapping the cylinder home and pocketing the gun. “This is for insurance, I don’t want to provoke them, and I certainly don’t want to attract the attention of the authorities.”

Aria nodded, returning her attention to the door. “Huh, well, I have good news and bad news.”

Adagio raised her brow, putting a hand on her hip and fixing her sister with a questioning look, all of which went ignored. “And?” She demanded.

“Well, I’m about ninety percent sure they aren’t here because of us…” She trailed off, squinting at the peephole, “…but I’m pretty sure one of them is moving in.”

The girls were silent for a moment. Adagio and Sonata felt their jaws drop. Adagio recovered first, working her jaw for a few seconds before she could form a single word. “What?”

Aria shrugged. “They’re carrying boxes into one of the apartments. Looks like Bacon Bits has a key. Hold on… yup, it’s her alright. That one was labeled ‘Sunset’s stuff’.”

Adagio groaned, pinching the bridge of her nose and collapsing against the wall. “Of course she is. Of all the rotten…”

Sonata looked between her two sisters, blinking questioningly. “So… they aren’t here to smash us to itty bitty pieces?” Aria shrugged. Adagio shook her head. “That’s good, right?"

“Not really, no.” Aria said.

“It’s only a matter of time before we run into each other.” Adagio elaborated. “And there’s no way that’ll go well after the stunt you two pulled at the farm.”

“Oh yeah…” Sonata hung her head.

“Hmm…” Aria hummed. “What if we ‘run into’ them first?”

Adagio shook her head again. “No, not while they’re all here. That’s just begging for trouble. All we can do for now is keep an eye on them, and pray that they don’t decide to pay us a visit.” The others nodded in agreement.

==O==

“You know, if kind of makes sense,” Adagio said, taking a long pull from her bottle of wine. She and the girls had set up camp by the door, one of them keeping an eye through the peephole at all times. They had kept the talking to a minimum, and spoke only in hushed voices. Fortunately the activity across the hall seemed to finally be winding down. Adagio continued, “Of course Sunset would rent a place here. I should have seen it coming.”

“What do you mean, Dagi?” Sonata asked. It was her turn at the door.

“Well, think about it. Why are we here?” Adagio pressed.

Aria scoffed. “Because Starswirl was a dick.” She upended her can of soda and chugged it.

Adagio waved her hand dismissively. “Not what I meant. I meant here here.”

“Oh,” Aria shrugged, crumpling her can and tossing it at the bin. It clattered to the floor among half a dozen others. “It’s ‘cause our credit’s shit. Like, nonexistent.”

“Exactly,” Adagio snapped her fingers. “We aren’t from this world. We never age. Legally, we don’t exist.”

Aria facepalmed. “Of course. She’s from Equestria, and she doesn’t even have the connections we do. Of course she would eventually wind up going through Flim and Flam.”

Adagio nodded. “Exactly, those scoundrels will rent to anybody, as long as they get their money. We didn’t even need our songs for those idiots.” She hummed for a moment thinking. “Still, they should have let us know that Shimmer of all people was barging in. I think I’ll have to have a word with our dear landlords…”

Grinning, Aria brandished her knife, spinning it deftly between her fingers. “You know, I think I’d like to be there for that.”

“Easy, Aria,” Adagio scolded, snatching the knife away. “As much as I dislike those slimy conmen, we need them. Like it or not, they have kept our secret this long, and their services are too valuable for us to simply throw them away just yet.”

“Yeah, well I still think-”

Knock-knock-knock!

The sudden noise caused all three sirens to jump, and Sonata had to clamp a hand over her mouth to keep from squealing. “Um, hello?” Asked a quiet, hesitant voice, “Is anyone there?”

The sirens waited in deathly silence, looking at each other with wide eyes. They could all feel their breathing quicken and heartrates jump as adrenaline surged through their brains. Adagio broke into a cold sweat, and Aria bit her lower lip so hard she could taste blood. Sonata kept her mouth clamped shut, her gaze darting back and forth between her sisters in a panic.

“What’s happening, Fluttershy? Any reply?” A second, more muffled voice filtered through the door.

“No, I don’t think anybody’s home,” Said the first.

“Oh well, we tried. Let’s head back inside.” The sound of footsteps accompanied the suggestion, and soon the sirens were again alone.

They continued to hold their collective breath for another minute, before Sonata finally gathered the courage to peek outside. “I think they’re gone.” The others let out sighs of relief.

“Black waters! What in Tartarus did she want!?” Adagio hissed.

“Fuck if I know,” Aria hissed back, “Probably some friendship bullshit or something.”

They were both quiet for another moment before Adagio again broke the silence. “Did we just get terrorized by the shy one of all people?” The others nodded, looking ashamed. “Ugh, that’s pathetic.” She stood. “Enough of this. We’ve been cowering in here all day, hiding from a bunch of damned teenagers! Sonata, double check the locks, I’m going to bed.” She paused, taking another swig from her bottle. “Aria, in the morning, we’re going to have a talk with miss Shimmer. We’re sirens, for ocean’s sake. It’s time we acted like it.” She spun and strode out of the room, walking with a swagger that belied her weak knees and nervous heartbeat. A moment later the door to her room slammed shut.

Aria and Sonata glanced at each other. With a shrug, Aria stood as well. It had been a long day, and being scared for one’s life really takes its toll on a person. Not that she would ever admit it. “Guess she’s got a point. It’s pretty late, no reason to stay out here any longer.” She turned to leave but something caught her sleeve.

“W-wait,” Sonata whimpered, clutching Aria’s shirt in a death-grip. “Can, um, can I sleep with you tonight?”

Aria rolled her eyes, yanking her shirt free. “No.”

“Please! I know you’ll make fun of me but, um, I’m really scared.” Sonata whimpered.

Aria turned a glare at her sister, but it softened when she saw the very real fear on her face. “Sonata, I have a hammock. Even if I wanted to you couldn’t sleep with me. What’s wrong with your loft?”

Sonata’s eyes flicked over to the ladder leading up to her space. “Nothing! Nothing, but, it’s right by the door, a-and if they come for us, I’m not strong like you or Dagi…”

Aria sighed. She could feel her resolve start to crack. “Sonata, where is this coming from? You were just fine running into them at the Social.”

Sonata shook her head. “No, I was terrified! I just wanted to do something nice for Dagi! But then you got hurt, and now they’re right across the hall! We were hiding from them all day. You and Dagi were scared, I could tell! Why would you be scared if they weren’t gonna hurt us?” Her voice broke at the end, and a few tears were threatening to form in her eyes.

Closing her eyes, Aria took a deep breath. What happened at the Social had been partially her fault. Okay, maybe a little more than partially. Regardless, she could not let her sister go to bed in the state she was in. Slumping her shoulders, she let out a long groan. “Ugh, fine, tell you what: You sleep in your bed, and I’ll pull out some spare blankets and sleep on the couch, okay? I’ll be right there.”

Sonata bit her lip, looking between Aria, the couch, and the ladder to the loft. “O-okay,” She said. Aria grunted, and began treading off to fetch the things she would need. She did not get far before she was grabbed from behind, and Sonata pulled her into a tight hug. “Thanks.”

Aria nodded, reaching awkwardly behind her to pat Sonata’s head. “Sonata?”

“Yeah?”

“Leggo.”

==O==

Sunset Shimmer whistled happily as she lugged her full clothes hamper down the hall. She was having a good morning. The last few years had been rough, but last night she had been able to sleep in a bed she could call her own, in an apartment rented with her own money. She no longer had to rely on her friend’s charity or break into the high school after hours just to find a place to sleep. It felt good.

Still humming to herself, she spun and bumped the laundromat door open with her hip. She may not have been in the best part of town- the landlords were sketchy at best- but at least the place had all the necessary amenities. As long as she had a healthy supply of loose change and her own detergent, of course. Nothing was free.

Happily, Sunset noted that none of the machines were in use. Praising her good fortune, she immediately claimed two of the washers, dumping her clothes in without bothering to separate colors. Rarity would have had a heart attack at that but it was all the same to Sunset. After double-checking the settings and measuring out the soap she added the required coins to each machine and started them up.

With that minor chore done she stretched, sitting on the floor against the wall and pulling out her phone. She was somewhat surprised by how empty the place was, for as big as the building was. She had hardly seen any of her neighbors, but then maybe that was the point of a place like that. She had only met one other tenant, and he had been less than friendly. Perhaps she was better off not meeting anyone else after all.

Sunset was suddenly startled by the sound of the door slamming open. She pocketed her phone and rose to her feet, eager to make a good first impression on whoever had come in. “Hi there! I’m-” her voice caught in her throat, and her heart seemed to skip a beat as she recognized the figure at the door.

“Sunset Shimmer,” An all-too-familiar voice answered her. “We know.” Adagio strode into the room wearing a confident smirk. Her sister Aria followed closely behind, leaning in the doorway with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face, pointedly blocking Sunset’s escape.

“A-Adagio!” Sunset swallowed thickly, “What are you doing here?”

The eldest siren chuckled, slowly circling so that her prey was between her and her sister. “Whatever do you mean, Sunset dear? Why shouldn’t I be here?”

Sunset crossed her arms, jutting her chin out in bravado. “Come on, Adagio. Isn’t the whole cornering-someone-in-a-dark-hallway shtick old by now?”

Adagio stepped forward with a predatory grin, drawing a finger down the lapel of Sunset’s leather jacket. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean. We’re just saying hello to our newest neighbor. Isn’t that right, Aria?”

“I had to sleep on the couch last night, because of you,” Aria growled.

Sunset whirled, indignant. “Me? How is that my fault?”

Aria advanced on her, poking her in the chest and pushing her back a step. “Because, dumbass, you moved in across the hall from us, and now Sonata is terrified you’re here to finish the job you started when you stole our powers.”

Sunset’s eyes widened, and she took another step back, right into Adagio. “What? Wait, wait a minute… You three live here!?” She buried her head in her hands, “Oh, Celestia, why?”

“What’s the matter, Sunset?” Adagio purred, “Can’t stand the thought of sharing a space with your defeated rivals? Too good to rub elbows with the Dazzlings?”

“What!? No!” Sunset huffed. “I just needed a place to stay! I didn’t even know you were still in Canterlot, after the social.”

Adagio was silent for a minute, looking deep into Sunset’s eyes. Sunset returned her look with equal intensity, unwilling to be pushed around in her new home. Adagio searched her expression, seeking any hint of deception. She shared a glance with Aria, then let out a slow breath, her tough façade seeming to drain away. “So, you aren’t here to hurt me or my sisters. Thank the gods.”

Sunset shook her head emphatically. “No. And I take it you don’t want to hurt me, either?”

“I’ll get over it, I’m sure. But no, you living here is just as much of a surprise to us.” The room fell silent for several minutes, the trio eying each other carefully, simply getting used to each other’s presence. Finally, Adagio broke the silence, slapping her palm to her forehead and letting out a hearty laugh. “Of course! Of course it was an oceans-damned coincidence! All that worry over nothing.” The tension seemed to drain from her body, the anger and fear draining away in the presence of her one-time foe. Sunset could not help but join in, laughing as her own apprehension melted away.

“Fine then,” Adagio said and stuck out her hand, offering it to Sunset. “My sisters and I have enough to deal with, without you and your pathetic friends crawling all over our backs, so I’ll offer you a deal. You stay out of our business, and I’ll stay out of yours. Truce?”

Sunset eyed the proffered hand for a second, pausing only a moment before grabbing it with a confident smile. “Truce,” She said, “You know, Adagio, we’ve had our differences, but I’m just as eager as you are to put them in the past. Celestia knows I needed that after my own defeat. But now that we’ve cleared the air, I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful-”

Adagio raised her hand, cutting her off. “Don’t even finish that thought, Shimmer. We are neighbors, nothing more.” She brushed past Sunset, out the door. “I am willing to be civil, but I’m not ready to be friends. Come along, Aria,” She called back.

Aria locked eyes with Sunset. “Like you told me last time, I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, if only for my sisters’ sake. But if you hurt either of them, I will end you.”

Sunset nodded sincerely, and Aria left with a grunt. Sunset stared after them with a bemused expression. Despite their aggressive approach, they had not seemed so much dangerous as… scared. They obviously weren’t the villains she remembered from the Battle of the Bands. They didn’t even seem like the troublemakers she had thought they were at the Sisterhood Social.

Still though, people acting out of fear could be just as deadly as those acting out of malice. She decided to be careful, and try not to push them too hard. In the end, it would all come down to trust. Maybe they could be reformed, like she was. Maybe they already were. A lot could happen in a few months. She would be careful, but could afford to give them the benefit of the doubt, just as her friends had done for her.

Adagio had denied it, but Sunset suspected that maybe, just maybe, they could be friends. She retrieved her phone from her pocket, a thoughtful expression on her face.

==O==

“Sonata, we’re back,” Adagio called as she opened the door to their apartment. It had been locked, but fortunately not chained. Pocketing her keys, she stepped inside, glancing around the apparently empty apartment. “Sonata?”

“Come out, idiot! It’s us!” Aria yelled, slamming the door behind her.

A blue head poked out over the edge of the loft. Sonata eyed them suspiciously, then nodded. Her serious expression turned into a grin. “So, did you talk to Sunny? Did you kick her butt?”

“We’re fine, Sonata,” Adagio assured her, “She’s not looking for trouble.”

“Oh,” Sonata said. “So… she’s just our neighbor?”

“Yeah, she’s our neighbor.”

“Oh… yay!”

Author's Note:

Well, here's the start of the adventure!