• Published 28th Apr 2017
  • 5,340 Views, 648 Comments

Neighbors - Tethered-Angel



A familiar face moves into the sirens' apartment building.

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Chapter 3- Reflections

Adagio Dazzle sat hunched over her desk, a jeweler’s loupe held to her eye and a pair of tweezers in her hand. Her windowless bedroom was dark, save for the desk lamp throwing its harsh illumination onto the flat surface. Dozens of blood red crystal shards glittered under the light.

She worked quietly, deftly arranging the pieces of her old gem with steel-steady hands. As she worked, her mind drifted back to the night before.

==O==

“Please, come on in,” Sunset said, holding open the door so Adagio and her sisters could enter. In her hand was the gift the sirens had given her, the little potted cactus Sonata had chosen as a housewarming present. Within her apartment was the rest of her friends, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity. Also there was a sixth girl, one who bore a striking resemblance to Princess Twilight Sparkle. Adagio gulped as Sunset closed the door behind her. She was sure they were safe- she could at least give Sunset that much credit- but if trouble did arise she and her sisters were vastly outmatched.

The expressions on Sunset’s friends ranged from happy, to confused, to nervous. Aside from Sunset, Pinkie and Fluttershy looked the most excited by the new arrivals. Applejack and Rainbow Dash shared an uneasy look, and Rarity turned away to hide a blush. Not-Twilight just glanced at the new arrivals in confusion.

“Hi girls!” Pinkie shouted before the silence could stretch on too long. She jumped up, pulling the sirens into a brief group hug. Fluttershy and Rarity waved.

Adagio turned to her sisters, smirking with a confidence she was not sure she felt. “Well girls, it seems we are welcome after all. Come on, let’s enjoy ourselves.”

==O==

Adagio rolled her eyes as she slid another shard of crystal into place. Those girls, they were so welcoming, so trusting. It was a wonder they had ever managed to stand up to her and her sisters, much less win. It was vexing.

But perhaps not entirely unfortunate. As hard as it was for Adagio to admit it, the loss of their magic had put the sirens in a rather precarious position. They would do well to play nice. Even if they could not be friends, they could perhaps be allies. Their unique experiences with their world’s magic could prove valuable to the sirens. Yes, quite valuable indeed. That one girl, the one who shared her face and name with Princess Sparkle, already provided some very interesting information.

==O==

“Hi,” The purple girl said, extending her hand, “My name is Twilight Sparkle.”

“Seriously?” Aria asked incredulously, “We’ve met Twilight Sparkle. It’s pretty obvious you aren’t her.”

“Really?” Twilight said, cocking her head. “Most people couldn’t tell the difference when they first met me.” She chuckled awkwardly, “But you’re right, I’m not her, at least not exactly.” She adjusted her glasses. “I’m the human version.”

Really,” Adagio asked with genuine interest, leaning forward and gazing deep into the girl’s eyes. “It’s uncanny. I thought the immortals were the only ones with parallels here…”

“Um, yeah,” Twilight said, leaning away from the inspection, “Sunset said that a lot of people here have versions of themselves in Equestria.”

“Fascinating…” Adagio breathed. “So, what’s your story?”

“Oh, um, Sunset saved me from destroying the entire school. She and the others helped me out of some tough situations, and now we’re friends. I’m helping them study their new magic.”

“New magic?” Adagio asked, her curiosity peaked.

“Yes, from our pendants.” Twilight held up the amethyst necklace she wore, the same one Sonata had described from the Social.

“You’re kidding,” Adagio said, grabbing the pendant and eying it closely. She could practically feel the power radiating from it, the Equestrian magic calling out to her. “You’re not kidding,” She laughed drily, releasing the pendant. “Well, good luck with those. They didn’t do us much good, but who knows?” She said with thinly veiled bitterness. As she walked away, she found herself shaking her head in disbelief.

==O==

Carefully, Adagio set the last tiny piece of crystal into place. It was finished. Her old gem was reassembled, its familiar and reassuring shape laying on her desk. Adagio sighed, setting aside her tools.

It was pointless. Seeing the necklaces Sunset and her friends wore had reawakened her hope, but even reassembled, her own power remained inert. Cracks and fissures still riddled the body of the jewel. Even more damning was the utter lack of energy seeping from the cold surface. Once upon a time it had pulsed with a warm glow, feeding her magic. Energy. Power. Now it was worth little more than a chunk of rock. Cold and dead.

With a sigh, she stood up. Worthless, absolutely worthless. Her efforts were in vain, as she knew they would be. As they had been every time. No matter how often she assembled and reassembled the shattered remains, the magic was absent.

Groaning, she eyed her reflection in the tall mirror next to her bed. She looked… tired, as if all her centuries were finally catching up with her. She was not aging- she refused to believe that she had lost her immortality- but the weeks of constant struggle without her magic had taken their toll.

A splash of red in the mirror’s polished surface drew her attention. Not the lifeless remains of her gem, but rather the small bouquet on her dresser. She had moved the roses from Rarity into her room, propped up in a tall glass of water. The sight of them gave her pause.

==O==

“Adagio!” Rarity called out, coming over to where Adagio stood with her arms crossed, gazing over the group. “You came, darling! I am so glad. I meant to extend an invitation myself but, um, I’m afraid something came up. I am sorry about that, I know it was terribly rude.”

Adagio smirked, casually waving away the apology. “It was no trouble, your friends had the invitations quite covered, I think. Honestly, it’s a wonder I was able to convince Aria to come at all. She was getting rather annoyed with the constant interruptions.”

Rarity blushed, looking to the ground. “Oh, I didn’t realize. I hope I wasn’t too much of a bother then…”

“No, of course not,” Adagio scoffed, “That’s just Aria. Besides, I can hardly blame anyone for using manipulation to get what they want.” She chuckled darkly.

“Oh… right.” Rarity said, looking downcast.

Adagio cringed, realizing that she had made a faux pas. She had not meant to accuse the girl of subterfuge, it had been meant as a joke. But clearly it had not been taken as such. How to fix it? She could hardly sing away her mistake. “So,” She asked, trying to change the topic, “What do you do?”

Rarity’s face brightened at the inquiry. “Well, not to toot my own horn, but I am a fashion designer. Not a bad one either, if I may say so.”

“Really?” Adagio said, impressed. “Aren’t you like, eighteen?”

“Yes, I have been quite fortunate.” Rarity smiled, “Principal Celestia was quite generous with her help. She set me up in one of the work rooms in the school and helped me land a rather enviable internship with a company operating out of Manehattan.”

“Impressive,” Adagio said with a low whistle. “I’ve always appreciated the finer things when it comes to clothing. Oh, I remember this one dress I had, some four hundred years ago. The one I wore for my wedding to that sultan…”

“I- I’m sorry, a sultan? Wouldn’t that make you a princess?” Rarity gaped.

Adagio shrugged. “I suppose. It’s happened once or twice. Oh, the stories I could tell of the old courts…”

“Oh, please, you simply must!

Adagio smiled, basking in the attention. The sirens had fed off of hate and discord, but she had thrived on adoration. Rarity was beginning to grow on her.

==O==

The memory made Adagio smile. If she could see herself actually making friends with any of the girls, it would be that one. She certainly seemed to appreciate the finer things in life, and was a fascinating conversationalist. Adagio would not have believed that anyone could make high school drama worth listening to. And the way she blushed when Adagio teased her… adorable.

With a smile, Adagio sauntered over to her dresser, plucking one of the long-stemmed roses from the water. She took a deep breath of its fresh, sweet scent. The smell was nostalgic, somehow. It smelled of new beginnings. She hummed to herself, twirling the stem idly as she leaned back against her dresser.

New beginnings. It was an interesting thought. She and her sisters had lost everything before, and always managed to bounce back. Why not this time?

Perhaps Sunset’s offer of friendship was not so ridiculous.

==O==

“Hey Adagio, enjoying the party?” Sunset asked, plopping down on the couch next to Adagio.

“Yes, I suppose so,” Adagio said, nodding to her neighbor. She had felt herself loosening up throughout the night, although she remained partially on guard, as always. “It’s different from anything I’ve done before.”

Sunset smirked, raising her eyebrow. “You’ve been in this world a thousand years and have never been to a sleepover?”

Adagio smirked. “Not the sort you mean, Shimmer.”

Sunset blushed, laughing politely. “I guess I can relate though. Not to that, but yeah, I sympathize. I grew up in Canterlot, the other Canterlot. My definition of a party was a political dinner or a high-society gala. Not exactly the most healthy places for an impressionable young filly. I wonder if that’s where I picked up some of my worse habits…”

Adagio nodded, wearing a knowing smirk. “Yes, I was just talking with Rarity about my days in the old courts. They were always full of betrayal and intrigue. Perfect hunting grounds.” She chuckled.

“Yeah,” Sunset agreed. “I never had a real sleepover until these girls took me in. It’s nice being able to just relax, no agendas or ulterior motives.”

Adagio sighed, leaning back. “It must be. I’ve only ever felt that way around my sisters, but even as the oldest, I always feel like I’m looking out for them. I don’t begrudge them that, but it’s not always easy. Moreso without magic.”

Sunset put a hand on Adagio’s shoulder, squeezing gently. “I’m sorry. I can’t give you your magic back. Even if I knew how, I don’t know that I could bring myself to recreate such dark spells.” Adagio rolled her eyes, but nodded. “But I think we can help you. Look,” She motioned to the rest of the girls. Sonata was with Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy, laughing at some joke. Aria had gotten cornered by Rarity, and was working hard to maintain an annoyed expression while the latter braided her pigtails. Even then, to Adagio’s trained eye it was clear her fellow siren was struggling to conceal a smile.

“I know you don’t trust me yet, and I don’t blame you. But I want you to know you’re welcome here any time, Adagio,” Sunset continued. “All my friends are.”

Adagio laughed humorlessly. “You’re sure pushing your friendship agenda, aren’t you? Still, they do look happy.”

“Well, like Princess Twilight always says: Friendship is Magic.”

Adagio scoffed. “That’s a terrible line. But fine. Maybe I will take you up on your offer, Shimmer. You sure you can trust me?”

“Trust is earned, Adagio,” Sunset said. “I want you to trust me, but the key to building trust is to show it first. I have something I want to give you.”

==O==

Adagio frowned, setting the rose on the desk. Sweeping up the remains of her gem, she carefully dropped them into a small jewelry box before pocketing it with a sigh. Maybe Sunset was right. Trust had to be shown to be earned. It was time to put a close on a chapter of her life.

She paused at her door, listening for sounds outside. It was mostly quiet. As late as it was, Sonata was certainly asleep, and Aria was probably locked away in her bedroom. Quietly, Adagio opened her door. Soft lights played across the floor from her sister’s room across the hall. Shutting her door behind her, Adagio quietly made her way through the apartment.

Checking the peephole, she exited the apartment into the building’s main hall. Across from her was the door to Sunset’s home. Steeling herself, she stepped forward and knocked softly. No answer, of course. She tried the handle. Locked. Naturally. Taking a deep breath, she slipped her hand into her pocket and drew out a silvery key.

The fitted key turned the lock easily. Adagio smirked. Sunset really had trusted her with the key to her apartment. Adagio could not tell if it was brilliant, or stupid. The old Adagio would have eagerly taken advantage of such a show of faith, with no remorse. But the new Adagio, the one without her magic, she knew what it meant to be vulnerable.

It was a calculated risk. But perhaps no more foolish than giving a former adversary access to one’s abode. If this was a mistake, she stood to lose a part of herself, forever. A now useless part, but valuable all the same. And for what? Acceptance? Friendship? The hope of some sort of power?

Adagio could not say for sure why she had decided to trust Sunset Shimmer. Perhaps it was mere necessity, perhaps something more. Either way, somehow she knew, deep down, that the girl would not betray her. For once there was no agenda. Just hope.

Stepping softly into the kitchen, she set the jewelry box on the counter, next to the potted cactus. Beside it, she left a note.

Sunset,
You showed me great trust, allowing me into your home. I am returning this trust. I cannot bear to throw it away, but I don’t want it near me anymore. Please, look after it for me.
Adagio.