Sucker for a Cute Face

by Eyeswirl the Weirded

Chapter 41: Chapter 41: Silly, Smoky Sugar Sticks

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Not for the first time, Fluttershy awoke with a start, breathing heavily and drenched in sweat. It took her a second to realize that the familiar ringing noise she was hearing was just her panda alarm clock again, which she gave an irritable look before remembering that it was just doing its job. She reached over to shut it off, trying to get her thoughts together as her heartbeat slowly returned to its normal rhythm.

Boy, that was really a long weekend! So much happened in just two days! I went on my first date, got to spend record amounts of time with Adagio, learned a little about her (terrible and scary) hometown, helped her pick out new outfits (She'll be wearing one today!!), our secret relationship was exposed to our friends, most of whom had their own secrets about pretty much the same thing, we worked out a plan to include with Adagio's, I got to spend time at the sirens' house, we had a nice (if embarrassing for everyone at one point or another) dinner together, Adagio walked me home, and-

-she came in, pushed me onto the couch, peeled off my clothes, and-


Not yet!

Fluttershy slapped herself.


The slight stinging sensation helped clear her head a little more, bringing to mind the way Adagio had responded when Fluttershy apologized for thinking about her that way again.

...Oh, yea, she probably wouldn't have minded. Sorry.

Don't worry about it. If anything, this might mean she was right abou-

ANYWAY, I got her phone number and she got mine, so...

She could call her now. Just pick up her phone and send a quick 'Hi! :)'

But, what if Adagio wasn't awake yet? She didn't want to risk annoying her first thing in the morning by costing her sleep, and rest was very important!

That she didn't know what to say and didn't want to make (more of) a fool of herself on messages that could be kept and shown to other people was only a tiny part of it. Honest.

Shaking her head, she got out of bed and prepared for the day... starting with a shower.


The forecast for this week was due to be pretty cold, so she put on a yellow sweater before the ride to school. It might not have been needed, because her mother's questions and comments about the 'curvy girl in the hoodie' on the way to CHS had left her feeling uncomfortably warm again. When she was dropped off, she walked to the bench like usual, her thoughts returning to last night's dinner with the Dazzlings.

I'm still a little shocked that she's held up her end of that deal so well when I've barely held up mine. Well, technically, she hasn't let me, but we both know why.

Sitting on the bench, she sighed. There was something Fluttershy had been worrying about since Adagio outright asked if they were a couple on Friday morning; that she could only answer with "K-kind of...?" She was almost sure they were a real couple now, but only in private. A secret couple. How long did those normally last? How long would it be before the two of them, along with Rarity and Sonata, could hold hands and sit together in public? The thought made her mind wander, but she wrangled it back on track in record time! Things were still a little socially shaky right now, but Fluttershy took solace in knowing that after today, things could only get better! Adagio was coming to school in a friendly outfit to help smooth things over a little more, and with how well cute moments from the sirens had been received in the past, Fluttershy was sure it would only be a matter of time until those three were as welcome at this school as anyone else!

Or, at least, she wanted to think so. What would the sirens do if nothing they tried worked out like they hoped? After the Fall Formal, the worst thing Sunset could have done was to give in to despair, and her friends had never let that happen, but what would she do if the sirens up and-

The next thing she knew, she was short of breath, her heart was pounding, and she was straddling a flush-faced, fast-breathing Adagio, who lay prone on the bench. Also on her body was the last outfit she'd tried on at the mall; the one that was just like her dance outfit, but without the spikes and the jumpsuit part replaced by a cute, half-ruffly dress. To Fluttershy, that she still had the thick rings of dark eyeliner felt like an odd choice to look friendly, even if in a mature, lady-like way. Adagio chuckled, wearing her usual smirk in addition to the shiny, purple bow in her hair.

"All that from a little kiss on the neck, hm? I can hardly wait to see what you do when there are witnesses, Sweetie."


Her memories came back in a rush. A tap on her shoulder, turning to see no one there, tongue-moistened lips pressing against her neck, a fire in her belly, turning around to see Adagio making those eyes at her, saying something flirty, animalistic make-outs, and now the present.

"Oh. Right."

Blushing furiously, she caught herself about a second before she apologized for the wrong things again, but still offered a sheepish smile as she gingerly scooted off of Adagio. There was a bit of teasing related to Fluttershy pouncing, the 'dangers' involved with wearing skirts, and Fluttershy's reaction to the implication that Adagio wasn't wearing underwear before the day's treat was shared; candy cigarettes. It took Adagio a moment to process why Fluttershy was smiling about these, but memory of their first meeting drew many giggles. The sight of Fluttershy putting one of the 'cigarettes' in her mouth and 'smoking' by puffing on it in the cold air had her laughing hysterically, but they spent an otherwise peaceful morning together.


There was an art to smiling. Adagio wasn't sure when exactly she picked that up, but she knew it was a thing now. Her usual relaxed smirk, along with all the rest of them, really, did her no favors here, won her no friends, never even got her any tempting offers. In fact, it seemed to do the opposite for some reason. She understood why, of course; alien world, alien rules, and what would bring company back home couldn't exactly be expected to work here. At least she'd figured out how to work her body to her advantage, but she still had to be careful about her expression.

These were her thoughts as she strolled through the halls of CHS, struggling not to make a face that would undermine the effect her new outfit was having. Heads turned, jaws hung open, and eyes bulged as they beheld Fluttershy's choice in little dresses and hair accessories. The more dramatic reactions only came from a few of the people that witnessed her, but that kind of attention wasn't making it any easier to hold what she determined to be a normal grin.


"Good morning, Adagio!"

"Hello, Sunset Shimmer."

"How are you today?"

Adagio shrugged, making no further attempt to communicate. Sunset, however, did not stop smiling. Much wider than usual.

"I really like the new clothes, much more, uh... not spiky! It definitely looks nice." Blink. "Not that you didn't look nice before, but more-so now! Friendly, even! Has anyone else said so today?"


"That's-... Oh. Well, I'm sure someone's saying it, just not to you, because the thing with that sketch of you? Man, that was all over the school for-... Uh, I-I think class'll be starting in a sec... Youlooknicethough!"

It was completely deadpan, but Adagio at least mustered the will to say "Thank you, Sunset."


Just a little later that day, Adagio got confirmation of Sunset's suspicions while walking down a hallway.

"And Trixie just knows that they'll say this is because of her too! Honestly, The Great and Powerful Trixie maybe draws the attention of Adagio Dazzle, and suddenly everything she does is because of Trixie!"

"So," pondered Cloud Kicker, wearing the amused grin she always wore when Trixie was being Trixie, "you're thinking that she dressed up to get your attention?"

"Yes! I mean no! I me-T-Trixie means that that's just what people will say!" She harrumph'd quite dramatically while crossing her arms. "Really, just because Trixie is a beauty equal to the sirens, if not greater," she said at a slightly higher volume, "it's not like she would cause their leader to change her style just to catch Trixie's eye, no matter how believable it would be!"

Adagio had already walked past the two of them, but Cloud Kicker must have raised an eyebrow.

"Or, such is what Trixie would guess people are saying now, is all!"

Hm, thought Adagio as she went, so close and yet so far.

Would Trixie be counted among their future friends, if this plan worked, or had Adagio's previous interactions with her already ruined that? If the latter, would they have better luck with the people she hadn't teased much at all? Because, that would be kind of a short list. Which was her own fault. Again.

She'd have hummed a little tune to help compose herself, but an agreement with Aria and Sonata that they shouldn't sing in school kept her quiet. Well, quieter. No need to risk people jumping to the wrong conclusions if they heard that the sirens still had any measure of their voices, but it was one more thing on the To Be Shared Later pile.


"Lollipops today, Sweetie?"

"Uh-huh! I was thinking that since you never actually got to eat one, just sort of tasted it, you could have one all to yourself this time!"

"Hm. They make these in... root beer flavor?"

"It's the darndest thing, but yes. You'll probably never see little flavored pellet candies that taste like butterscotch or cotton candy as opposed to some kind of fruit, but little lollipops are the only candy I know that can just taste like other candies!"


Adagio actually refrained from doing anything suggestive with the sucker this time, just quietly enjoying the taste of sugary imitation.

...At least until Fluttershy pointed this out, whereupon Adagio played dumb, discreetly pushed Fluttershy's buttons, flipped her switches, and tricked her into performing lewd acts with a lollipop herself. Her only regret was that she hadn't thought to film the tasty display on her phone.

They talked a little more about magical creatures from Equestria, Adagio relating the weather to the chilling tale of the windigos. When she understood the pun, Fluttershy didn't laugh, but instead needed comforting cuddles. This was equally acceptable.



By some great feat of dexterity, Fluttershy managed to hide her phone in the half a second in which the entire class turned to look at her. Ms. Inkwell turned away from the chalkboard to suspiciously glance around the room.

"What wuzzat? We got a mouse in here?"

Fluttershy burned red and sank down in her seat as the class quietly chuckled at her. She was grateful when Ms. Inkwell fluidly injected the example of a mouse into the lesson to describe guerrilla warfare, which quickly took the focus off of her. Not that the embarrassment wasn't a fitting punishment for the disruption, but that wasn't the one she was really worried about after reading Adagio's text.

[Answering your phone in class, Sweetie? Naughty, naughty...]

The accompanying picture was what really got to her; a close-up of a riding crop held tightly between the fingers of two yellow hands. It was raised just under Adagio's chin where only the underside of her face, set in a truly wicked grin, was visible in the shot. Toward the end of class, it occurred to Fluttershy to wonder how she'd taken that picture hands-free.


Fluttershy had spent a lot of time practicing The Walk in the gym, to the point that she felt pretty comfortable doing it now. She could hold her head high, keep her back straight, shake her hips, and strut in full force! The chances of someone popping in and seeing her never completely left her mind, but she didn't even blush anymore! Heck, she was mainly doing it for that lovely feeling of confidence now, because this was one of few places that she could walk like this unseen. It was halfway through her first return trip that she was startled by a loud, close snapping sound from behind, rooting her to the ground as she locked up and shivered. It was only when Adagio spoke that she noticed she hadn't felt any pain.

"Coming along beautifully, Sweetie," she said while stepping into view from behind Fluttershy, clapping her hands a few more times, "I still think you might benefit from a good pair of heels, but you've definitely got the swing down-" she gave her own hips a meaningful shake while turning around to face her, "-pretty well on your own." Stopping to rest her hands on her hips, she smirked and raised an eyebrow. "Why so tense, Sweetie? It's a compliment."

Flushed crimson and starting to sweat, Fluttershy couldn't meet her eyes. "Uhm, n-n-no r-reason...?"

"Ohh, what's wrong," she asked sweetly, in stark contrast to her increasingly vicious smile, "something on your mind?"

Yet again, Fluttershy felt herself go from being a nearly-invincible person who walked places in sultry style, to a quivering bowl of warm jelly in Adagio's presence. Knowing that she was caught, she jumped straight to the point.

"I s-set my phone to vibrate so it would be quiet, but-"

"But you still answered it in class? For shame, Sweetie, I thought you were an honor student."

"B-but, you c-c-called me!"

"And you knew the school rules. Now," she said while drawing a thoughtful hand to her chin, pretending to earnestly think about it as she drank in the sight of Fluttershy's panicked face and shaking, knock-kneed stance, "what to do with you...?" She let Her Sweetie dwell on the question, waiting until she turned just the right shade, made just the right facial twitches that Adagio knew she was reaching her limit, then shrugged. "Well, I can't seem to think of anything, so I guess we can leave it at a warning." It was, once again, a small struggle not to laugh at Fluttershy's sudden shift to an utterly baffled expression, but one made easier by turning and walking away. "Behave yourself, Sweetie~!"

Standing there for another minute, Fluttershy felt like she'd been wrapped in twin blankets of relief and confusion, then rolled down a hill, possibly while being made to wear a tiny hat knitted from frustration at the same time. She was just trying to picture what colors those fabrics would be when the warning bell for the next class sounded, making her squeak and scramble to make it on time.


"Glad I caught you."

Applejack loosed a shriek that Rainbow would never have let her live down if she'd been there to hear it when Adagio's hand clapped her on the shoulder. Luckily, she whirled around to find that it was just the two of them in this hallway. Despite her blush as the siren gave her a perplexed look, Applejack's eyebrows furrowed.

"Awright, Ah'm just gonna say it; you wanna have an easier time gettin' along with people here at school? Quit sneakin' up on 'em!! Ah don' know what's scarier, that you got the drop on me without makin' a sound, or that ya did it in them heels!" To her continued bafflement, Adagio actually seemed to ponder this, idly stroking her chin.

"...'Don't sneak up on people.' It seems so obvious now that you say it."

Shaking her head, Applejack let out a little sigh. "Why'd ya even start creepin' around like that?"

Adagio crossed her arms and inclined her nose upward. "I'll have you know that in the depths of the sea, it's only polite to control one's velocity when approaching another, and I was raised properly." Air may not have had the same impact as water in regard to fluid motion, but the habit had been thoroughly drilled into her from a young age, especially when approaching someone from behind.

Ooh, la-la? I'm not sure if that one works.

Noting that Rainbow had been right about the similarities to Rarity, Applejack shrugged and rested her hands on her hips. "If you say so. So what'd you wanna talk about?"

At this, Adagio gave her an earnest, sympathetic expression. "You've been having trouble with this, haven't you?" By the look on Applejack's face, she understood the question, so she didn't need to say anything specific out loud. "You proved to me just a minute ago that you prefer to be frank, so I can imagine this situation isn't any easier for you than it was for your friend, but I want you to know that your efforts are appreciated, by all of us." Daintily pinching the sides of her skirt, she ignored her protesting pride and curtsied. "Thank you, Applejack." The medicine went down easier when the Rainboom gave her a surprised, wide-eyed look, then smiled, blushed, and massaged the back of her head.

"Aww, shoot, don't worry 'bout it. It's just what friends do, y'know?"

Not missing that word-choice, Adagio smiled too. "I've been getting that lately, yes. Would it be permissible for me to say 'happy trails, Applejack'?"

Applejack answered with another look of wide-eyed surprise, this time followed up with loud laughter that left her doubled over and clutching her sides. Adagio patiently waited for a more coherent answer, which she got in the form of Applejack smiling and wiping away a tear as she pulled herself together. "Y-yea, sure," she said while turning to walk away, "happy trails, Adagio."

With a satisfied nod, Adagio headed off to her next class. She briefly pondered the use of bumpkin dialect and countryisms for befriending purposes, but that kind of deception felt too much like her old methods.


Fluttershy sat on her bed, covering her crimson face with both hands as slightly tinny laughter poured from the phone in front of her.

"It, i-hit, y-you-hahahahahahahahahahaha!!"

All she could do was whimper. She'd felt so brave when she sent that picture, but she really should have checked it first. It wasn't like the stomach was a naughty region to begin with, but her hands were shaking so badly that she wound up having to explain what she'd sent to Adagio. Results were mortifying.

"Heeheeheeheehahahahaha!" She heard Adagio take a deep breath on the other line. "You're so cute, Sweetie."

"I, j-just thought, it was only f-fair, since-"

"Ohh, don't worry about it. I'm glad you enjoy my presents, and I know how much it means that you would even try to send me your own. I'm touched!" Fluttershy smiled warmly at this, but once again, Adagio was not done with her yet. "Very touched," she said in a low, husky voice, breathing a little louder as she all but moaned through the phone, "so very, very-oh, ah, haa, ahhn~!"

There was a silence as Fluttershy's mouth hung open. Her skin tingled, her mind became a frantic swarm of crazed hornets, all flying in different directions as her imagination ran wild. She was sure that if she were wearing a hat, it would have caught fire.

And then Adagio delivered the killing blow in a bright, peppy voice. "Well, sweet dreams!"


Fluttershy flopped over on her bed, but didn't sleep for quite some time.


The next morning, Fluttershy gave her alarm clock a tired frown, but she got up and started her day just the same.


It was rainy that morning, so Fluttershy brought an umbrella. This didn't stop her from making the embarrassing mistake of sitting on a soaked bench and getting her bottom wet, but when it was too late, she just sighed and remained seated. She didn't have to wait long before Adagio arrived, carrying an umbrella of her own.

"Hm," she remarked from behind the bench, "should I have left mine at home? I think the cliche goes that one of us brings an umbrella for the other."

Looking over her shoulder, Fluttershy giggled. "I-I might have been thinking something similar."

"You're sweet, but I'd have recommended just going inside anyway. Shall we?"

They walked to the school library together, making their way to a cozy chair in the reading area on the second floor, where Adagio pulled Fluttershy onto her lap and held her again. There was much cuddling as they listened to the gentle patter of rain on the skylight, just relishing the peaceful moment together. Adagio actually dozed off a little after Fluttershy's head came to rest against her chest.

Definitely a little bigger than they look!

Her cheeks warmed and her heart beat faster at just how close she was to her beautiful goddess, but what really caught her attention was the little sound Adagio was making. It was like a tiny snore, a quiet rumbling from her barely-parted lips that almost sounded like...

A purr!

Adagio was purring!

Well, she was snoring very, very quietly, but still! Fluttershy had to clamp both hands over her mouth to keep from squeeing and waking the cutest sleeper she'd ever snuggled up to. She cherished the moment with all her heart, but she knew it would eventually end when the warning bell rang. The only thing that kept her from crying was the knowledge that they'd have many, many more moments like this one in the future, and really, she'd be just as sad to miss those.


As had become very common this week, Sunset was smiling even wider than Pinkie when everyone was seated in the cafeteria.

"So, how have our friends from out of town been doing?"

Rarity tittered. "Quite well, Darling, much the same as the last time you asked. On a completely unrelated note, reception of Adagio's new look is predominantly positive! Rumor has it that Thunderbass complimented her out loud and Octavia didn't run away the instant she saw her!"

"But she did still run away?"

"Well, yes, but she's practically the only one that still does that at this point. If this keeps up, those girls may find themselves chatting and socializing like anyone else within a week!"

"And then," said Rainbow, who had a much easier time keeping secrets when she could dress it up like something out of a spy movie, "our friends from out of town might be willing to hang with us? Even with witnesses?"

Pinkie managed to restrain herself to a whisper-screech delivered through the widest jaw-clenchy smile she'd ever made. "Friendsfromoutoftownparty!!" It tickled her that her friends quietly clapped at the stunning display of self-control. All those sessions with Master Aayla Zecora finally paid off!

On the other side of the cafeteria, the sirens were feeling pretty optimistic as well, Sonata in particular.

"-and since she tells me my outfit is already pretty cute, we ended up just making tiny changes bit by bit." At the risk of breaking table etiquette, she lifted one foot to show the light-blue ribbon hanging from her boot, tied at to top of the rim so as to minimize the risk of dragging on the floor. "It's hard to tell how many people are looking from behind me, but now they aren't just checkin' out my butt!" Blink. "Well, not just my butt, anyway."

Chuckling, Adagio turned to Aria, who signaled that she'd done something juicy by turning red and looking away.

"Uh... I, um, might've, like... smiled, winked, and snapped my fingers at someone at the same time! It was horrible!" To her relief, her friends only giggled at her a little bit.

"No need to strain yourself, Ria, but it's good that you're working on your demeanor. For my part, I've been getting plenty of grins and even the odd compliment, but nobody has stuck around when I tried to engage them thusfar."

Sonata frowned. "Why don'tcha just buddy up with Flash? He'd never make excuses and scram, and he's totally popular!"

"Tch, yea," Aria said with her characteristic eyeroll and crossed arms, "because nobody ever swindled the school like that before, right?"

Adagio nodded, keeping her voice down. "Indeed. Sentry is affable enough and he'd be an easy ticket to the rest of the school, right up until someone remembers the old Sunset Shimmer. And then, we'd be doomed, because if someone accused us of doing what she did in that scenario, they'd be right." In that they'd be using him to get more popular, which would be kind of counterproductive to the whole genuine friendship thing they were after anyway. Maybe it was for the best that they could never find three open seats at his table?

No matter. With the way things were going, it was only a matter of time until they finally won some of that unfiltered harmony for themselves!


"Oh, I am just so sorry, class!" Mr. Magnet practically pirouetted in a full circle in the process of draping a forearm across his forehead. "I've done a terrible mis-service to you all, and to Art itself; I've-" His lower lip trembled. "-I've... I've forgotten to bring the subject for today's sketch!"

Just once, he wished the students would gasp in surprise when he did senseless things like that. They didn't, so he shrugged and pulled himself together, idly stroking his long moustache.

"That really does leave us in a bit of a bind, because making trips to the supply closet to switch out the sketching paraphernalia would take up valuable class time. If only we had something else to-..." And then he noticed the student that had modeled for the class once before, looking particularly pretty in that sweet little outfit she'd been wearing this week. He grinned. "Miss Dazzle, you've been a great boon to The Arts once before! Could I convince you to pose for us again in this time of crisis?"

"Uh-" All eyes on her, Adagio had a split-second decision to make: Refuse the chance to be appreciated by an attentive (if small) crowd, or risk another embarrassing sketch (from Fluttershy or otherwise) if she fell asleep on that soft, plush couch again. The first would raise questions if she of all people were to do it, the second came with a chance to earn a few more points toward convincing CHS as a whole that the sirens were good girls now. She braced herself. "-of course!"

She stood and waited as Magnet did his little dance of delight and wheeled the lopsided couch into the center of the room. Subtle glances at her classmates revealed some of them to be particularly excited about this venture, Fluttershy showing it through an adorable attempt to hide her smile by sinking into her hair. She'd happily let Her Sweetie eye her up, down, left, and right for as long as she liked, but she did not want to fall asleep again. Looking cute and approachable was one thing, but she didn't want 'Ohh, wookit da kyoot widdle baby' to be how everyone saw her. She had changed, she had calmed down a lot, she had learned to behave herself, but she was still Adagio Dazzle, dammit! Any friend she made under the mantle of what was assumed about her due to that sketch or any that should follow it would be every bit as false as if she'd gone along with the Sunset Shimmer treatment.

That in mind, she sat on one side of the couch as though it were a normal chair, though she had to lean heavily toward the armrest. One leg folded over the other (though mindful that she was wearing a skirt), she rested one elbow on the armrest and her head against the fist of that hand, her other arm leisurely draped over the back of the couch as she looked out over the class with her standard dominant smirk. To her immense relief, this won no uncomfortable glances or looks of surprise, indicating that her real personality hadn't been overshadowed by a smiling daydream. Relief, however, quickly proved to be her enemy when she remembered just how comfortable this couch was.

Several minutes passed as she held her pose, briefly scanning her sketchers just as she had last time. Looking at Fluttershy helped calm her nerves, but it only took a split-second droop of her eyelids to realize that 'calm' was something she needed to avoid right now. She'd been so cozy in the library that morning, but now she needed to be tense! Active! Her blood pumping and her pulse pounding!

...While sitting perfectly still.

Sea spray!!

She felt her body giving in to the soft cushions beneath her as her eyelids grew heavier, but she would not let mere upholstery get the best of her!

Dammit... Dammit... Dammit!

No one made any notice of her silent distress, which at least meant she was pulling it off so far! Just... forty more minutes to go. Her Sweetie sat at her chair, sketching away with a serene little smile.

Urgh... if only I could play with you in public, Sweetie, then I'd have no trouble staying awake. Wait, that's it!

Internally, she cackled with maniacal glee. She couldn't get up, couldn't move, and, if last time was any indication, couldn't send subtle signals to Fluttershy and easily remain conscious, but she could imagine doing whatever she wanted. Keeping her smirk became effortless when she let her mind wander to places she hoped to show Fluttershy in detail someday, to wonderful worlds of pain and pleasure, to the things she'd do to her Sweetie the day she gave her explicit consent, and things that might be done to her. Fun, naughty thoughts weren't quite enough to keep her heart beating faster on their own, but tensing her muscles to keep from relaxing too much ensured her wakefulness through the rest of Art class.


Fittingly for where some of her fantasies had taken her, Adagio could practically feel the tooth-marks on her behind in addition to the general fatigue and mild muscle aches, because her plan was thoroughly biting her.

I wouldn't mind, but I don't think 'Squirrel' will get me out of this.

By the time eighth period rolled around, she was exhausted, having had to rely on staying tense much more than she'd have liked as Art went on. Still, better to be drowsy in English class where no one was liable to draw her sleeping face and hang the result for all to see. Who knew; feeling as dozy as she was, maybe Harshwhinny would actually call on her again? She'd worn such a smug face the first time she picked Adagio to answer a question in class, but...

Ask a few questions they're not ready to answer, give a few answers they really didn't want to hear, and suddenly it doesn't matter how long you raise your hand. Aria was so right about her.

And Adagio didn't 'ruin' that movie about the talking toys for anyone, it was a perfectly valid point! Maybe if Harshwhinny (And some others, come to think of it!) weren't so keen on running films to fill classtime rather than coming up with their own lessons, this wouldn't have been-

Adagio jerked in place, blushing a little as she glanced around to see if anyone noticed. If anyone saw her almost doze off, they didn't show it.

So tired. Just one more period, then I can go home, flop down on my bed, and sleep like... like a... um...

What's a thing that sleeps really-

Sonata! I can sleep like a Sonata! Sonatas are good for putting people to sleep, right? Was that Arias?

It's not really a factor either way, numbskull, the soothing quality of a song doesn't depend much on whether or not there are instruments or vocals, specifically.

What about Adagios? Am I boring? Dull Dagi sleepy siren? What was I talking abou-


Rare was the day that any of the instructors in her school should be the ones to call her, but Principal Celestia found herself marching through the hallways just the same. Truly, that Marigold Harshwhinny had willingly sent Pinkie Pie to deliver a message was a red flag all its own, she just wished Pinkie had been a little more comprehensible. When she (and Pinkie, whose motor-mouth meandering Celestia had been tuning out) turned the corner, they saw all but two members of the eighth-period English class standing out in the hallway as Ms. Harshwhinny paced back and forth. Her arms were crossed, but the look on her face suggested worry, even fear.

"Ms. Harshwhinny? Could you explain what's going on?"

"N-not exactly," she said, not lifting her eyes from the floor, "but I cannot continue my class in these circumstances."

Celestia glanced at her watch, finding only about twenty minutes remaining in the school day anyway. "What happened?"

"That siren girl, the one we had that talk about? She fell asleep in class."

Unamused, Celestia raised an eyebrow. "You are authorized to wake sleepy students, Ms. Harshwhinny."

"I tried," she hissed back, "but this, this was just-"

"For goodness' sake," Octavia cut in, startling the adults, "Adagio Dazzle passed out in class, loudly fell onto her desk, Ms. Harshwhinny tried to wake her by calling out to her, then she twitched, we all waited to see if she was awake and playing some kind of joke, she twitched again, more violently than the first time, her eyes still shut, then we evacuated the room." She stomped one foot while pointing at the door to the classroom. "Now go fix it!"

She got two wide-eyed stares, reminding her that she was dealing with two grown women who held authority over her, which drew an abashed little grin. "Er, p-please...?"

Celestia smiled amicably. "As you command, Miss," she said with a little bow, making Octavia flush brighter as some of the other students giggled at her, "I'll deal with it right away."

She went into the room to find Adagio sleeping on her desk, as promised. The effect of her hair hanging over the side of the desk in long tendrils as she all but clung to it with her arms was just slightly unsettling, but Celestia didn't see the-

Oh, nevermind, there's the twitching. Definitely twitching. Bad dreams, nothing Zecora can't help with.

Pacing closer, she kept her voice warm and gentle. "Adagio? It's time to ge-" She was just about to touch Adagio's shoulder when the girl shook, actually spasmed in place for a full second as she let out a piercing shriek.

Ice-water pouring through her veins and a shiver running the full length of her spine, Celestia drew back. "Nope!" She quickly backed away. "Nopenopenopenopenopenopenope!"

When she was out of the classroom, she turned and saw Pinkie Pie explaining the situation to Luna.

"-which actually kinda demonstrated the class material, which is why we sorta let her snooze at first, but she wasn't making any cute faces at all and then she got all Twitchy-McExorcism and everyone got super freaked out, so we went to get help, and here you are!"

"I see." She turned and moved toward Celestia, stopping just close enough that her whispers wouldn't be picked up by the students. "I heard that scream. Code Spider, Sister?"

Celestia blushed. "I-it wasn't me, she screamed in her sleep!" There was a pause. She quietly sighed. "But, yes, also Code Spider."

Unsurprised, Luna nodded and headed in. She found Adagio in the same state as had been described, shaking her head when she stopped in front of the desk. "You had me fooled, Miss Dazzle, I thought you might never draw my attention again after these last few weeks of peace. Then again, this is most unlike y-" When she witnessed the rumored twitches, it was time to assume this was no act of playing possum. She seized Adagio by the shoulders and shook her. "Wake up! Wake up!"

This roused the sleeping siren in short order. Sitting up as she got her bearings, she looked at Luna through half-lidded eyes and smirked. "Mmh, Vice Principal Luna," she muttered sleepily, "was just thinking about you..."

Luna frowned. "I find that deeply concerning, given the circumstances." This seemed to confuse her, so Luna waited in silence as Adagio looked around to make sense of the situation.

Her eyes snapping open said she'd realized she was in school, looking around with a hint of panic, pointedly at the scared, worried faces poking in through the doorway, before turning red and covering her face with both hands. "Tell me I didn't."

"Fall asleep in class? It appeared that way, yes." As much as she'd have loved to (revenge!)tease her a little, now really didn't feel like the time. Instead, she employed her sister's practiced Warm Honey voice. "Is there something you'd like to tell me about, Miss Dazzle?" As anticipated, there was no response. Perhaps she needed some time to herself. "The school day is nearly over anyway, so you are free to go if you wish, but if you are having trouble, please talk to someone. Anyone at all would likely suffice, but I speak from experience when I say keeping it to oneself is what makes a Nightmare."

Adagio didn't move as Luna turned and walked out, just hoped in vain that she could will herself to vanish. When she peeked between her fingers to see the other students (and Celestia) still looking at her through the doorway, her insides churned. She quickly stood, strode to the door, pushed past everyone that didn't have the sense to get out of the way, and marched straight home.

Watching her go, Pinkie frowned. She just knew this meant they'd be putting off that big siren friendship party even further now.

Author's Notes:

No, Adagio's undersea etiquette lessons do not explain how or why she learned to cling to ceilings to stay out of sight.

There was going to be a talk about the difference between pretending to be something you're not and changing voluntarily (in the context of that "be yourself" talk and how Fluttershy and Adagio are both a little different from how they were in the start of the story), but I couldn't quite get it to feel right and I knew that if I hammered that bit out to the point that I would be satisfied with it, it might take up its own chapter.

So instead, I'm just going to say that yes, they've changed, people change, but that's not necessarily the same as not being themselves.

Maybe someday, I'll add bonus chapters of this story consisting of nothing but food/candy-based teasing on the bench together. Just for the sheer joy that a flustered Fluttershy can bring.

"Aayla Zecora." Hurheehurheehur.

Next Chapter: Chapter 42: Dark Stains Estimated time remaining: 6 Hours, 55 Minutes
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