“…So… Where we goin’ tonight, Tavi?”
A brash, bold, marshmallow-like pony with an electric-blue mane and mirrored eighth notes-cutie mark gazed intently at the pony next to her as they trotted along the snowy streets of Manehattan. Her large purple shades hide any trace of emotion that might be dwelling in her eyes. Her smile, however, gave her away as she waited for a response.
“Well, we’re going to-”
“Oh, wait, let me guess. Let’s see…”
Vinyl Scratch put her forehooves to her head, miming deep thought.
“OMMMM…..The great and all knowing DJ P0n-3 predicts plenty of boring music on the horizon, followed by a 60% chance of drinking and a possibility of intimate, fun-for-all-”
The pony with the treble-clef cutie mark began to turn red, and cut off the unicorn before she could get to the end of her sentence.
“Shhh, Vinyl! We’re in public here!”
The white unicorn turned to her fillyfriend and grinned from behind her mirrored shades as she began to enjoy mocking Octavia in her usual fashion. Before she could craft one of her witty responses, however, the cellist remembered the other insult she had received from the white unicorn beside her and cut her off yet again.
“-and, for your information, my music is not “boring”. If you seriously intend to convince me that those thumps and screeches that you listen to is somehow ‘music’, then you are more deluded than I originally thought.”
But at this point Octavia knew the pony next to her well enough to know when to block her for maximum effect. The DJ was like a good band; once she got started, she wouldn’t stop making noise until she ran out of material. The main difference was that the band usually had ponies that wanted to hear the noise it made.
“Because nothing. We are going to see one of my favorite musicians, and I’d like to enjoy it for once.”
Vinyl kept it up. “So, assuming we can survive the tedious, tiresome, totally-tepid-“
Octavia swung around from her brisk trot to gaze at the white pony with just a hint of ferocity, cutting off her surprisingly eloquent alliteration. The two were by now in an abandoned alley, taking a shortcut through the back streets to make it to the concert on time.
“Vinyl. I really want to see this concert. I really want to enjoy it. Is that so much to ask?”
The unicorn, taken aback by the change in the earth pony’s mood, was surprisingly silent for once (for a record-breaking time of a couple seconds). Then, in a gesture quite out of character for her, she lowered her head.
“I’m sorry, Tavi. I’m just good at pushing buttons.”
Octavia gazed at the mare before her, and her anger melted. She knew Vinyl, and cared for her, and hated to see her like this. Looking around and finding the two alone, she smiled and put her forelegs around the white DJ, nuzzling her neck.
“I’m sorry too, Vinyl. I tend to forget how… exasperating you can be.”
The DJ, always one to bounce back from a blue mood with almost the speed of a certain pink pony fond of parties, smiled impishly back at Octavia.
“Aww, it’s okay, Tavi! But could ya possibly stop using such big words? I’m so left behind by all your classy intelligence!”
“Oh, Vinyl, you are so… it means-”
But the sneaky unicorn had other plans. With Octavia distracted (rolling her eyes at Vinyl was always a favorite of hers) she snuck a hoof into her side and began to tickle her.
“Nevermind, Tavi! I found something more interesting.”
“Vinyl! Not- please- stop it!”
“I’m afraid I just can’t, Tavi. You’re too funny when you start laughing. It’s such a change from your usual personality!”
Octavia fell over laughing, landing on her back in the soft flurries piling around the two. Vinyl immediately took advantage of the opportunity and landed on top of her, grabbing a hoof full of snow and rubbing it in the other pony’s face. The grey mare, still giggling, tossed her mane back and forth as she attempted to evade the fluffy whiteness.
All of a sudden, the two mares found themselves with their muzzles surprisingly close together. Vinyl, the constant prankster, leaned down and kissed her lightly, which distracted the earth pony just long enough for her to grab another hoof of snow. Tavi, expecting this, stopped Vinyl’s foreleg with her own hoof and, laughing, pushed it back into the DJ pony’s face. The white pony sputtered, wildly shaking her head to get it all off and accidentally knocking loose her trademark shades in the process, revealing the vibrant, ruby red eyes behind them. Octavia suddenly became passive, staring upwards. The unicorn, sensing the change, also stopped her onslaught to gaze at the earth pony below her. The two had just recently discovered their mutual feelings for each other, and neither was quite sure where to go from… wherever it was they were.
They let the moment linger for a second longer, then, smiling happily, got to their hooves. Vinyl attempted one more snowball, which Octavia blocked easily. The white unicorn returned her shades to her eyes, prompting an exasperated yet contented sigh from the grey earth pony.
“Vinyl… you really do have such lovely eyes. Why must you hide them behind those garish things?”
The DJ pony grinned over at her paramour, the shades once again hiding the spark in her eyes that Octavia knew was there.
“Maybe it’s because I just like to hear you complain about it!”
Octavia, feeling that everything was right with Equestria, linked her forehoof with Vinyl’s.
“Come on, you. We have a concert to get to, whether you like it or not. Afterwards.... well, we’ll see what happens.”
Vinyl turned with mock surprise to her companion.
“Why Tavi, did you just suggest that we-“
The cellist grinned, a surprisingly good imitation of Vinyl’s own. “I didn’t suggest anything, my dear. You drew your own conclusions.”
The DJ pony knew when she was being teased, and responded to it with equanimity.
“Well, fine then, Tavi. This can wait till later tonight.” She winked, adding, “You’re always more fun with a little alcohol in you.”
Octavia giggled again, finding herself winking back. “Oh, you.”
The two continued on their way through the windswept winter streets, each contented with the other's happiness as they hoped the night would go on and on.
*** *** ***
With the concert over, the duo stepped out of the recital hall into the bitter winter weather. The wind had picked up while they’d been inside enjoying the music (even Vinyl had begrudgingly admitted it to be “tolerable, I guess”). Octavia, of course, had loved every minute of it, and the white unicorn liked to see her happy. But now, emerging from the cozy warmth into the harsher elements outside, the cold began to set in, and both mares wished for nothing more than to be somewhere out of the snow. Without realizing it, they moved closer together to cut the wind between them. Vinyl spoke first, feeling a sense of déjà vu as she did.
“Sooo… Where to now, Tavi? The night’s still fairly young…”
Octavia pretended to think for a moment. “Well, across town there’s an accordion recital-“
“WHAT?” Vinyl started, shocked. “And you call my taste in music disturbing? An accordion? That’s just-just so- just-“
The earth pony smiled as the unicorn sputtered and fumed. “Relax, Vinyl. I’m just pulling your hoof.”
The DJ lowered her shades enough to glare over the top of them. “An accordion, my dear Octavia, is no joking matter.”
“Why, whatever happened to ‘Tavi’?” The grey-maned mare snickered, looking back at the glare innocently.
“You know, one of these days I’m going to tie you down and just-”
“If this is headed where I think it’s headed, I’m going to repeat my comment about being IN PUBLIC.”
“…I was going to say make you listen to an entire rock opera.” Vinyl winked, laughing at Octavia’s embarrassment.
The earth pony blushed, then covered by assuming a businesslike demeanor. “Ah. Well, in that case, where are we off to?”
Vinyl suddenly canted her head, and an air of mystery crept into her voice. “Say, where’s your cello tonight?”
“In my apartment. Why?”
“How much trouble would it be to grab it? I’ve got something I’ve been meaning to show you, and seeing as we have time now…”
Octavia, intrigued, pushed further. “What is it?”
Vinyl raised her shades to their usual position. “Ah ah ah, that would be telling! And after that accordion crack, who says I have to tell you anything?”
The cellist, now on the receiving end of the ribbing, was put off. “Well, if you’re planning on taking me to one of those… ‘establishments’ you work at – the ones with the headbanging and the fights- then you can forget it!”
The white pony, getting into her rhythm of bothering her favorite mare, grinned even wider, then assumed an expression of agony.
“You’re breaking my heart, Tavi! When I become a world-famous DJ and everypony is lined up to see me, then you’ll see! Besides, at least I get to rock when I play. You get to stand in one place and rub two pieces of string together!”
The cellist bristled. “Why, you dare-! If you think for even a single second that your music is even remotely comparable to mine, then-”
Vinyl laughed and held up her hooves in surrender. “Okay, okay! Just pokin’ fun at you, Tavi.”
Octavia “hmphed” and began to walk. The DJ pony chuckled and began to follow her, on their way to her apartment. As they passed through the mostly deserted streets, Vinyl began to hum a couple bars. Octavia recognized the tune. It was a popular piece that had come out recently, and was (for once) something they both enjoyed. Though she tried to resist, she soon found herself humming along.
“Let me tell ya youngin', man the old days were grand
You could walk down to the beach and plant your hooves in the sand…”
Before the two had reached Octavia’s apartment, they were both singing out loud. As the cellist opened the door to her flat, laughing, the unicorn finished the last line with a bow to the empty street.
“Feelings I've never felt before!”
As Octavia turned to watch Vinyl take her bows to the vacant pavement, she could imagine what the white mare was seeing in her mind: the song finished, the crowd would go wild for the hip new performer with the wild electric-blue mane. Public attention was one thing the DJ did not fear.
Vinyl finished her showing off and turned to see the other mare contemplating her, her eyes soft. Never one for too much emotion, she tried to play off the grey mare’s evident loss for words as nothing as she trotted inside nonchalantly.
“Yeah, I’m great, I know. No need to stare, and autographs are encouraged. Now, are you going to get your cello or, do I have to find it for you?”
Octavia shook her head, smiling. “I know where it is, thank you very much. Just a minute.”
“Hurry up, before I die of boredom in this abhorrently clean flat!”
The cellist smiled again as she trotted further back into the apartment. She smiled a lot these days, and she had been noticing a seemingly permanent lift in her mood since Vinyl Scratch had come into her life a few weeks ago. No longer was her life nothing but practice, recital, and repeat. Now she looked forward to each new day as it came, as each one brought another opportunity to see (and tease) the one pony who had quickly come to dominate her life. She hurried to find her cello and make sure it was in good shape so she could find out what it was Vinyl wanted to show her.
The white unicorn stood in the hall of the flat, alone with her thoughts (contrary to what Octavia liked to insinuate, she DID have them). As she gazed about her at the neatness of the apartment she had come to know so well in such little time, she began to think about Octavia and how quickly things had come together between them. Just a few short weeks… but tonight would be a surprise, no doubt! She’d finally be able to show Tavi the reason they hadn’t been to her own apartment (besides the slight lack of organization) for a week. She’d been working every chance she could on this, and she’d finally get to see the grey mare’s reaction.
Vinyl was snapped out of her reverie by the sound of the other pony returning with her cello. She grinned as she looked up, ready as always with a witty comment.
“Oh, there you are! I was just about to eat my hooves out of boredom, but then-“
“Careful, Vinyl. We are still in my apartment, and I still have the option of bludgeoning you with my cello case, then claiming you were trying to break in.”
“Oh, Tavi! What a sweet thing to say! I’m just all warm and fuzzy inside!”
Octavia let her inevitable smile show through. “Silence, you cur. Now, what was it that you wanted to show me?”
“What was that? I’m still trying to figure out why you called me a curb. I mean, I know I’m a step up from the average, but-”
“No! I said- nevermind. What did you want to show me?”
“You’ll just have to come with me! Won’t that be ever so fun? Like an adventure into the unknown!”
Vinyl grinned inwardly, remembering the last time she had used the phrase ‘adventure into the unknown’. “…Okay, okay. No, we’re not going back to that one place where they asked you how far up your cello bow could go if-”
“That’s enough, Vinyl!”
“Well, it was kinda funny… I mean, come on, how could you even get that many monkeys in one room?”
Octavia was blushing now, but trying to hide it through an outward bravado of impatience with the infuriatingly smug mare. “What am I going to do with you?”
“Hmm, well, I think if we grabbed a couple of drinks, unplugged the telephone and-”
“Alright, alright, sheesh! You’re waaaay more fun drunk. Remind me to ask you about the Supermare saddle later.”
Octavia blanched. “…The what?”
“Oh, last time we got drunk at your place, you got a Supermare saddle from somewhere and starting running around the apartment jumping off furniture. You may have been trying to fly, but-“
The cellist was horrified at what she was hearing. “Oh, Celestia, please tell me-”
“-but all that kept happening was you kept falling over on your back and waving your forehooves in the air. You were yelling something… let’s see, what was it…”
“NO! That’s okay! Don’t worry, I don’t want to know what it wa-”
“Ohhhh, right. ‘Lex Hoofur! Lex Hoofur!’”
“Oh, dear Celestia…”
“Vinyl… come here. I need a clear swing with my cello case.”
The white unicorn smirked. “Alright, alright. I’ll stop, promise.”
“I’ve heard that before.”
“Darn, you know me too well. No hooves crossed!”
Octavia sighed, smiling a little from the side of her mouth. “Come on, let’s go.”
*** *** ***
"Vinyl... Are we heading for your apartment?"
"Now, why would you say that, Tavi?"
Well, the fact that we're standing outside your door, and your magic is fumbling with the keys is a slight hint..."
"Surprise! We're going to my apartment!"
Octavia sighed. "Remind me again why I put up with you..."
Vinyl beamed. "Because I'm just so fun to have around!"
"Right... No, that's not it."
The white unicorn chuckled as the lock finally clicked open. "So cruel, Tavi! Come on in!"
"Is it safe?"
"Well... if you watch your step... mostly!"
Octavia entered the apartment cautiously, looking for anything that might have grown feelers and would be more than happy to crawl up an unsuspecting pony's leg. Seeing nothing in the immediate vicinity, she braved a few more steps into the darkness. The DJ, on the other hand, was either ignorant of the danger inherent in her flat or just so used to it that she disregarded it.
The cellist stopped in the entrance hall and looked around, silently laughing at the contrast between hers and Vinyl’s apartments. While hers was tidy and sparse, tastefully furnished and with art on the walls, Vinyl’s was more like the den of a just-starting-out rock band, with old, broken furniture and posters of music idols festooning the walls. ...And some unknown blue stain in a couple places.
Vinyl, already deeper in the apartment she had the tenacity to call a home, called back to her. “Come on, slowpony!”
“In a minute! Let me get my hazmat suit first!”
“Har har. Come on, Miss Witty Pony.”
Octavia began to forge her way carefully through the apartment. As many times as she had been there in the past couple months (not at all recently, though- was that part of what Vinyl wanted to show her?) she had never seen the apartment in its entirety. It had the entrance hall, a small living room that turned into a kitchenette at the far end, a bathroom, and a hall at the back leading further in. The hall led to a bedroom, with a few other doors at the end. Octavia was familiar with all of the first rooms, but the doors at the end of the hall were a mystery to her. She had always assumed them to be closets of some sort, but thinking on it some more, she realized that with the layout of the apartment and the spacing of the building next to it, there had to be something more substantial than an empty closet. (Or perhaps not empty; the untidy unicorn may have left other… things in there. If they were anything like the rotted mess Octavia had found upon opening her fridge one time, she didn’t want anything to do with them.)
Crossing the living room, which was furnished with an old couch, a radio set, and assorted trash and odds and ends all over the place, the grey earth pony came to the hall. Peering into the darkness after Vinyl, she saw that the bedroom door was open and the room looked the same as ever. Where was Vinyl…?
The DJ’s voice came down the hall out of the shadows.“Now, where’s that light switch… Ah-ha!”
The hall was flooded with light from the door at the end, and Octavia, whose eyes had become adjusted to the darkness, covered her face with a hoof.
“Come on in! I’ve been waiting to show you this.”
Her eyes acclimating, the mare moved forward down the hall into the lighted room. When she uncovered her eyes, she gasped:
Vinyl had turned the room (which, from the look of it had been an unusually large spare bedroom used for storing something in a past life) into a miniature recording studio. The room had been split in two by a divider: one half for the live room and the other half the control room. The DJ pony, with her advanced knowledge of audio and recording, had most likely done a good job on the setup and wiring of the studio, and had even covered the live part of the room in sound-absorbing foam. Octavia was speechless. Such an amount of work, all done in… well, she’d last been to this apartment a couple weeks ago.
“Vinyl! This is…” The cellist paused, still at a loss for words.
The unicorn grinned her customary ‘I’m so pleased with myself’ grin. “I know, right? I’ve got just about everything, I think. Took some time to learn, it’s of course different from what I usually work with, my turntables and stuff, but-”
Octavia just looked on as Vinyl launched into one of her in-depth explanations of the mechanics behind sound and recording. The cellist was customarily on the ‘supply’ sound of music, and was used to just doing what she was told and playing when she was told to play whenever she went to record an album.
“-and that’s it! So, the reason I asked you to grab your cello was… well, you know…”
The grey earth pony smiled. “Because…?”
“Well… you know… I thought we could… trytorecordasongtogether.” Vinyl, slightly embarrassed by now, spit out the rest of her words in one breath.
Octavia had, of course, surmised this, but she enjoyed hearing the other mare say it. “Has that ever been done before?”
The white unicorn recovered from her embarrassment with her trademark ease. “Mixing classical music with my sick beats?”
“Err… something like that.” Octavia let her rolling eyes carry into her voice.
Vinyl, oblivious to the slight sarcasm, continued happily. "Not that I know of, but I think we could figure it out! Why not try new things?"
"Well, maybe! Then again.... I remember what happened last time you said that."
Vinyl winked. "You know you enjoyed that."
“I'm not answering that."
Vinyl moved forward to rub her muzzle against Octavia's neck. "Of course… you know, if we work on this together, you might just have to stay here overnight a little more often..."
The grey earth pony closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of the white unicorn’s coat against her own. She began to move her forelegs up and around Vinyl’s neck, and caressed the electric-blue mane she found there, gently tugging and twisting her hoof around in it. She felt the DJ pony begin to do the same to her mane, and the sensation was a bit more than pleasant.
“My, my, my, now that is quite tempting.”
“Isn’t it though? I knew I was irresistible.”
“Oh, is that what you think?”
“Nah, that’s what I know.”
“Well, it’s getting late… How about if we work on this project tomorrow?”
“You mean the song, or us-”
Octavia stopped and pulled back to look at her disapprovingly. “Yes, the song!”
“Ohhhh. In that case, since it is sooo late…?”
Octavia sighed flamboyantly. “Well, because it’s so late, I don’t know if I can make the long trip back to my apartment tonight. Plus, the blizzard seems to be starting again. Might I humbly request shelter and… a bed?”
The unicorn removed her shades and grinned slyly.
“Let it snow, baby. Let it snow.”
*** *** ***
Vinyl Scratch opened her eyes. She blinked, closed them, flipped over onto her other side, and opened them again. Something was different.
-Was she okay? …Yes. Not hungover, which was nice. Not that she often woke up hungover, it was just that- oh well, not important.
-Where was she? Her apartment. Her bed. All was well there.
-What about Tavi?
This question, the sleepy unicorn wasn’t sure of. She turned back over on her other side, stretching her legs in the large bed as she did so. She caught a glimpse of a dark grey mane on the pillow next to her, and followed it down to the sleeping body of the mare next to her. Vinyl’s face broke into a wide smile as she remembered the previous night’s… festivities. Octavia was a proper pony most of the time, for sure, but… she snickered at the memories.
Then it hit her. That’s what was wrong! She had woken up on her own, when usually Octavia had to come and drag her out of bed.
Well, the music-savvy pony thought, this is odd. What do I now?
Once she realized she wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep, after kissing her gently on the snout, she slipped out of the bed without disturbing the dozing cellist. Early last night, she had learned that Octavia had nothing pressing to do today, so the blue-maned pony felt no need to wake her. She trotted into the hall and looked both ways. She could go to the kitchen, and try to find something actually edible for breakfast, or she could go to the recording studio and try to finish getting those extra mic jacks wired.
Vinyl gave up the first option as impossible and started toward the open door.
Octavia woke later, in much the same fashion. She stretched luxuriously, and realized her ‘host’ was no longer next to her. She raised her head from where she had sunk down into the bed and looked around. The room was empty.
The grey earth pony rolled out of the bed and stood on her hooves. She was still a little fatigued, as she had been up... late last night, but she felt pretty good this morning. She moved out of the bedroom, and paused in the hall.
It wasn’t hard to find out where her favorite DJ was; one just had to follow the muffled sounds of tinkering (punctuated with a curse here and there). Octavia trotted down the hall and pushed the door open to see Vinyl under the mixing board console, her hind legs splayed out from beneath, presumably working with her magic and forehooves.
“Celestia-flippin’ son of a bucking-”
“Watch your language, now, Vinyl!”
The marshmallow white pony rolled out from under the console and smiled, for once without her trademark shades. “Figures you’d come in the only time all morning I curse.”
“I believe that. And I also assume you have a bridge to sell me?”
Vinyl chuckled. “Sure, suspension or arch?”
The award-winning cellist laughed in spite of herself. “Always ready with a snappy comeback. Can’t you just accept you’ve met your intellectual better?”
The blue-maned unicorn got to her hooves and moved forward, tugging Octavia toward her with a tendril of her magic. “Aw, you know me. Where would I be without a good line?”
The mare being pulled allowed herself to be drawn closer, until the two were close enough for her to lean forward and kiss Vinyl tenderly. The white mare responded with equal intensity, and the two found themselves enjoying a private moment. After a minute, however, Octavia broke away.
“Now now, it’s much too early. Time for breakfast.”
“Aw, but Tavi!”
“No buts. I’m assuming your fridge still isn’t in the ‘digestible’ or even ‘non-poisonous’ category?”
“Well, if you like mold…”
“I guessed as much. How about if I go out and get something?”
“No, like socks.”
“Silly Tavi, you can’t eat socks!”
The grey mare sighed. “I’ll be back in a while.”
Vinyl laid back down and prepared to slide back under the console. Upside-down, she grinned up at Octavia cheerfully. “Bye! Bring me some socks, too!”
“See you in a little bit, Vinyl.”
*** *** ***
Octavia trotted through the streets, on her way to her favorite market. The roads and alleys of Manehattan were ensconced in the snow, but it was neither too deep nor too unpleasant for the earth pony to walk on. The sun reflected off the gleaming whiteness, giving a shine to the world that it rarely had, and the cellist found herself wondering if she should have taken Vinyl’s glasses, to cut the sparkle a little.
Ah well, she thought. Nothing to do but enjoy it! And blink often.
Finally, she turned a corner and found the store in front of her. Finally, she thought. Now to find something for her and Vinyl. She knew from experience that the blue-maned unicorn, similar to a good teenage colt, would eat just about anything, and lots of it. What mattered to her was more along the lines of whether or not it was moving when she ate it.
Octavia moved into the market and began to peruse the aisles. Luckily, she had thought to bring a saddlebag she kept with her cello for spare sheet music, so, after emptying it, she had taken it with her, if only to avoid carrying one of the market’s shopping baskets in her mouth. Celestia only knew what other ponies had carried those before her.
Let’s see, Tavi thought… bread, sugar, butter, milk-
A voice came from behind her. “Octavia! It’s been sooo long!”
[a]i love it! Cant wait for the next chapter!
[b]Fantastic Love the Vinyl Scratch Fics
[c]Great Story! Can't expect the next chapter! ;)
[d]Awesome fic! I love how you depict the relationship between Octavia and Vinyl, always keeping each other on their toes. Can't wait for next chapter!
The cellist turned, hearing her name. She started when she recognized a dark blue mare with an off-white mane she had seen at a charity soiree a few weeks back; something about well-known musicians of the day supporting the youth. Octavia remembered that the mare was a pianist, but what was her name…?
The pony continued. “How are you?”
“Oh, um, just excellent, thanks. Just picking up a few things to make breakfast.”
The unicorn before her seemed skeptical. “That seems like a lot for one pony…”
“Well, I’m making enough for a friend as well.”
This was dangerous territory. While Vinyl and Octavia were not ashamed of their relationship, neither wanted to jeopardize their way of life because of the close-mindedness of other ponies. Family members and close friends had been told after a time, and all, after an initial shock, had seemed to take the news... as well as could be expected. However, the relationship was not officially public, and thus Octavia grew wary of the other pony’s inquiries. Luckily, the blue mare continued without noticing any awkwardness on the cellist’s part.
“Well, that’s nice. I need to get on with my shopping and get back as well; I have work to do. You see-”
Octavia drifted off into a mild reverie centered upon wondering why, if the pony had to finish up and get back, was she still standing here talking. It seemed like the most illogical thing to do. Most upper-class mares didn’t make sense to the slate-grey pony, and she was glad she had found Vinyl. She was so unlike other mares that-
Something made her snap back to attention. “I’m sorry, what was that?”
The pony, who Octavia finally remembered as being Lyrica de Crescendo, looked reproachfully at her. “I said, my new project is just so interesting. My coltfriend Vibrant Beats is going to try to make a mix of my piano with some of the newer music of today, to try to capture the younger crowd. Sort of a classical-meets-hip, thing, I suppose, although, for the life of me, I’m not sure how it will turn out!”
Octavia was startled. Wasn’t that just what Vinyl had suggested last night? “That sounds… interesting.”
Lyrica looked pleased with herself. “Well, you know, it is the first time anypony has tried it. Being a pioneer isn’t easy, but somepony’s got to do it!”
The cellist was getting annoyed with the blue mare’s boasts and continuous chatter. “Well, actually, a friend of mine recently built and wired her own recording studio. She proposed I try very much the same thing with her! I’m afraid your idea simply isn’t as original as you thought.”
The snooty pianist was put off for a moment, but recovered her composure and her haughtiness quickly. “Oh, isn’t that nice! Best of luck to you, of course, but I’m afraid you simply won’t be able to compete with our mixes. Vibrant has all the state-of-the art equipment, and more experience than your friend could ever have. With my talent at the keys, we’ll have an album out in no time. He says piano mixes the best, anyway, so your little cello might not suit the part.”
Octavia ground her teeth silently as she heard the contempt in Lyrica’s voice, first for Vinyl’s talent, and then Tavi’s own instrument. Knowing what was expected of her socially, though, she made herself generate a polite laugh and even forced a smile.
“Oh, I don’t know about that! I think anything is possible.” Thinking of Vinyl, she added with a small (genuine) smile, “Why not try new things?”
Lyrica, unimpressed, forced her own smile. “Well, my dear, the best of luck to you! But not too much!” She tittered, then pushed off, levitating her shopping basket ahead of her with her horn.
Octavia took a moment to recover from the incident she was already coming to remember as horrid, and then shook her head to clear it. Time for that later. For now, Vinyl would be ready to eat the earth pony herself if she didn’t get back in time to make breakfast.
*** *** ***
“Vinyl? I’m back, and I got a few things for breakfast!”
“Hang on, you mean this cello I’m cooking isn’t necessary?”
“Oh, you wouldn’t dare.”
“You’re right. Cellos taste much better raw!”
Octavia smiled as she entered the living room and saw Vinyl sitting on the floor in the middle, fiddling with a few parts to her turntables. The technology-apt pony had once again donned her trademark shades, and she beamed behind them as she saw the grey pony’s slightly annoyed -yet smiling- look.
“So, whadja get?”
“A few things for French toast. Good enough for you?”
Vinyl sighed. “I guess it’ll have to do, but next time-”
The snappy comment was cut short by a freak occurrence of Octavia’s hoof to the side of the head. “Silence. You know full well that it’ll be the best meal you’ve eaten in several days that I haven’t fed you.”
The DJ pony grinned bashfully. “Alright, alright. I suppose I do appreciate my live-in chef.”
Octavia, already on her way to the kitchen, tossed her mane over her shoulder. “You’d better, or you might find something… unpleasant in your breakfast.”
*** *** ***
20 minutes, 8 slices of toast and some syrup later, breakfast was ready. The two ponies sat down on Vinyl’s couch to enjoy Octavia’s supreme cooking. As always, the grey pony ate calmly and elegantly, while the white horned pony shoved her snout into the plate and devoured the sugary goodness she found there. The cellist, doing her best to not comment on the disturbing lack of manners, realized that this was as good a time as any to inform Vinyl that her idea was not totally original.
“So, I met an… acquaintance of mine who plays the piano at the market today…”
Vinyl was still buried in her breakfast. From somewhere in the depths of her chewing Octavia heard an “Mhm.”
“And, well, it seems she and her coltfriend have come up with a new project…”
“And it’s attempting to combine classical and modern music… Somewhat like us…”
The DJ pony immediately stopped chewing. She looked up slowly, the gears turning in her head. When she spoke, it was through a mouthful of crumbs that Octavia winced at.
“WHAT? Are you serious? They’re doing the same thing as us? What? When did this happen? Did they steal it from us? Did you tell them about it? Are they any good? Nevermindthatonewe’rebetter! But what about-”
Vinyl went on and on. The earth pony had known she’d get a response much like the one before her now, but it was still hard to get a word in edgewise.
“-And if they even try to use the same mixes as me I’ll buckin’ mess them up, and then I’ll- I’ll-”
“And then, if the doctor manages to remove it, we’ll stick it right back up-”
“…What, Tavi? What?”
Octavia took a deep breath. “First of all. I didn’t tell them about it, they came up with it on their own. Second, they’re using a keyboard/piano for their classical side. Besides, what are we even going to do with it?”
“I don’t know! Be first! That’s important! And maybe if- No! When! When it’s good, we can maybe try to run it by some record companies.”
“Hmm... Fair enough. Anyway. Third, I have every confidence in you.”
She smiled confidently at the unsure DJ in front of her, then set aside her plate, seeing Vinyl had already finished. She moved slowly over to her fillyfriend’s side of the couch, seating herself closer. She reached out with a hoof and removed Vinyl’s sunglasses, revealing her beautiful scarlet eyes. She gazed into them, and with the most determination as she could muster, said, “Calm down.”
Vinyl still looked tense. Octavia decided on a more direct approach, and a sly note crept into her voice.
“Or... are you telling me that the great DJ P0n-3 is afraid someone could actually beat her at something?”
The taunt did the trick. Vinyl’s eyes flashed, her horn glowed, and her shades were restored to their rightful place.
“C’mon, let’s give it a shot.”
*** *** ***
“Okay, so you know what you’re doing?”
“Vinyl, I’ve recorded enough times to know HOW TO PLAY IN FRONT OF A MIC.”
“Alright, alright. Let’s run it.”
Octavia began to play, her cello bow sliding easily over the strings. The music began; a slow piece that sped up quickly at the point where Vinyl’s part would eventually come in. Octavia wondered yet again how it would end up. It sounded good in theory, but… nopony knew yet.
From within her came a calming peace, a blissful feeling that came over her whenever she was playing. It was what enabled her to play so flawlessly at recitals and concerts, how she was able to tune out all other distractions. She closed her eyes to focus more and played harder, in sync with the music now, feeling the swells and falls of the notes. It was at times like this when she felt she could forget about everything and almost everypony else in all of Equestria…
Vinyl stood in the recording booth, gazing at the cellist before her with the dark grey mane and closed eyes, her brow furrowing slightly as she concentrated. She felt her heart go out to Octavia’s, feeling the flow of the music with her as the earth pony played. She smiled. It always felt amazingly good to watch the pony she cared about play, and today the feeling was heightened by the knowledge that this time they would be combining their music into something formerly unheard-of.
…Well, almost unheard of. That dirty, lowdown- Vinyl’s teeth ground at the thought of Lyrica and her coltfriend. Octavia had since told her the full contents of that morning’s conversation, and hearing her favorite mare be… bullied like that had infuriated the DJ. She hated nothing more than coming in second, and the fact that these ponies had the guts to insult her and Tavi like that… She mentally swore for the eighth time that day to come out on top of the other musicians. And, should they ever meet, she’d have a few choice words to add. And gestures. And injuries.
Octavia finished the last note and held it, before letting her bow drop gracefully and bowing elegantly in the direction of the booth.
“Well? How was that?”
“Perfect, Tavi!” The unicorn came out from the little space behind the console and kissed the cellist on the cheek.
“Why thank you, Miss Scratch!”
Vinyl giggled and pretended to throw a rose toward the stage musician in front of her. Octavia delicately ‘caught’ it in her teeth, then struck a pose with her cello that could only be described as... ‘provocative’.
The white pony, predictably, fell over onto her side laughing.
“Oh… Tavi… (heh) Please… do that next time you’re on stage…”
The idea of such a thing made Octavia, herself laughing now, fail to hold the facial expression she’d made with the stance. She placed her cello to the side before flopping down, giggling, next to Vinyl, who was still in hysterics.
Eventually, the laughs subsided, and they lay there for a comfortable while, both happy with what had been done and ready for a break. Composing the music would be the hardest part, and it had taken most of the day to decide on the overall tone and write the beginning. The two eventually figured out somewhat what they wanted their piece to sound like, and Octavia had rehearsed the opening a few times.
Once the cellist’s fairly complicated piece was mostly ready, it would be Vinyl’s turn. She would go back through and add in different beats and melodies from her records and mix them for her own special touch. What Octavia had just finished recording was the first part of her side of the piece. Both ponies felt that they were well on track.
A minute slipped by, then another. Both ponies were comfortable in their own thoughts and each other’s company. Eventually, Vinyl rolled onto her hooves and stretched, then spoke.
“It’s getting kinda late. Dinner here, and more music afterwards?”
Octavia got up as well, then smiled. “Oh, I would love to, but I have to go to work tomorrow. My ensemble is rehearsing for a new show, and I need to be there.”
Vinyl, visibly disappointed, lowered her head. “Aw, dang. Here I thought we’d be able to work on our …harmonizing later.” The wink was audible.
“Vinyl, there’s more to life...”
The unicorn laughed roguishly. “I know, I know. It’s just fun ta mess with ya.”
Octavia grinned and reached out to whisper slyly in the other mare’s ear.
“…In more ways than one, hmm?”
Vinyl flashed a look of satisfaction over her shades and smirked. “You know it!”
The grey earth pony hugged her paramour tightly.When at last the two drew apart, it was with longing, but understanding.
Vinyl spoke first. “So, I’ll see you tomorrow night? I have a gig in the afternoon.”
The two began walking to the door, Octavia pausing to make sure she had all of her music and equipment in her cello case. They stopped in the entryway for one more embrace before Octavia pushed out into the cold winter night, thinking only of her lover and of her music.
*** *** ***
[See, here I am, being good by EQD’s standards. Not posting notes at the beginning of the chapter. xD ]
I feel like I should apologize for the cliffhanger at the end of Chapter 2; that was probably mean. Whoops. ^_^ I just wanted people to be hooked, and, if you’re reading this, hopefully it worked! Now you know who Lyrica is (though you haven’t yet met Vibrant. ;)
Anyway, I know this is only the third chapter, but as this is my first ‘hardcore’ (as ‘twere) fanfiction, I would like to quickly thank all the people that have read, followed, and enjoyed it so far. I’m writing it for you guys, for everyone who’s willing to peruse and appreciate it. Legere est bonum[a][b]!
Expect the next chapter a week or so from[c] now!***
[a]Only when it's fanfics like this! No other times :P
[b]Hey, thanks! :D Nice translating, btw
[c]Following and waiting.
[d]I must say im completley in love with this fanfic! keep up the good work:)
“HEY, TAVI! That you?”
“Who else would it be, Vinyl?”
“How should I know? Why don’t you ask them?”
Octavia, entering the back room of the apartment, shot a confused look in Vinyl’s direction. “Ask who?”
“The ponies who come into my apartment! Ask them who they- nevermind!”
A week had gone by since the two musical ponies had set out on their quest to prove their superiority. Octavia had not run into Lyrica again, and since she didn’t know what her coltfriend looked like, she didn’t have to worry about avoiding him, either. She was quite sure Vinyl hadn’t run into them, too; otherwise the papers might have had a story more interesting than “FANCY PANTS DECIDES NOT TO TRIM MOUSTACHE”. The music, originally so simple, had proven to be a bit of a handful, yet both ponies were determined not to give up. Lyrica’s not-so-subtle taunts had done that much. The difference between the two musicians was apparent here, however: The DJ was in favor of working nonstop to come out on top, while the cellist knew that life had to have breaks. The earth pony had, in fact, arrived after an early-evening band rehearsal to try to convince Vinyl to take a break and go out for a dinner date.
…’date’. Octavia realized it had been a long while since she had even thought that word. Before she met Vinyl, and had entered into their current… arrangement, she had only been on one date, and that had been a fiasco she’d rather not even think about. She had never really thought of what she and the white DJ were doing as ‘dating’. It just... was.
Well, she thought, a name’s just a name. A rose is a rose is a rose, and that same rose by any other name would smell as sweet… some famous pony had said that, she knew , but she couldn’t recall who. Not that it mattered too much; whatever was going on in her life made her happy. It would have to be named and discussed sometime, but now was not the time. Now was the time to get Vinyl to stop working.
“So Vinyl, I was thinking…”
“Uh-huh. Hey, do you think we need to re-record that bridge? It was a little quiet and-”
Octavia tried again. “No, Vinyl, I think you’ve been working too hard-”
“Yep. So, if we transpose it up two-”
The cellist sighed. She should have known better than to try to reason it out. She trotted over to where Vinyl was still talking. The pony looked beat, and even her trademark shades were askew. Octavia reached down and, with her mouth, pulled the plug on the console. She knew there would be backup copies.
The white DJ’s mouth abruptly stopped moving, her eyes panning crazily over the now-black console. She was still trying to figure out what had gone wrong when she noticed the plug in Octavia’s mouth, and the deadpan look the earth pony was giving her.
Octavia dropped the plug. “Vinyl, you’ve been at this all week. The times you weren’t at work, you were working here. Now, look. I made reservations at Le Equine Foin for two for 7:15. I don’t have to work tomorrow till later, and you never have work in the mornings. Why don’t we take the night off? We’ll go out to eat, and… Well, we haven’t been to my place in awhile.”
The unicorn pushed her shades up and rubbed her eyes. Slowly she spoke.
“You’re probably right, Tavi. I’m tired of these dials and sliders, anyway. Also, how far can those rich snobs have gotten? Probably not as far as us! We’re nearly sorta kinda done!”
“Definitely probably not that far. Now come on, go get ready and we’ll be off!”
Vinyl got to her hooves and trotted to the bathroom to freshen up. Octavia watched her go, then turned the light off in the small recording room and shut the door.
*** *** ***
“No, Vinyl! The main course comes first. Stop complaining that they made your pie wrong.”
“Well, I can’t help it if they tried to put hay in my pie!”
Octavia grinned in spite of herself. No pony was as uncultured as Vinyl; why she kept bringing her to these upper echelon places was beyond the cellist. Maybe it was because the white unicorn always managed to provide some comic relief among the stuffiness of the ‘posh’ ponies; to put Vinyl with a crowd of the upper crust was always terribly embarrassing, yet often so entertaining that the grey earth pony couldn’t resist doing it repeatedly.
“Just eat it.”
“Fine. But on the way home can we get some pie?”
The dinner was going fairly smoothly. Vinyl had ordered without too much of a hassle, though all the options the waiter had prompted her with had made the unicorn so confused she attempted to hide behind her menu in the hope that he would go away. Octavia had stepped in with a barely suppressed laugh and finished ordering for her. The two had, as the unicorn had noted, just received their main courses. If I’m lucky, Octavia thought, we’ll get out of this one with dignity intact.
Just then, she glimpsed the waiter heading their way, leading two ponies. Those colors, that blue…
Oh, Celestia, the earth pony thought. Can my luck really be that awful?
Vinyl, who was just about halfway done devouring her food, noticed the sudden blanched look on the other pony. She swallowed. “Hey, what’s the prob-”
The cellist realized she had one lifeline left. The other pony didn’t know what either of their rivals looked like. If she could play it cool, and hope neither of the other two would notice her, they might still have a chance to pull off that entire “with dignity intact” thing.
“Oh, nothing! Nothing at all. I- just tasted something disagreeable, that’s all.” Octavia hoped her eyes didn’t show her gaze flicking between the DJ in front of her and the party of two the waiter was leading dangerously closer each second.
The seconds stretched out in front of the apprehensive earth pony until she felt she could hear them passing. Her heartbeat was fast and pulsing, and she tensed herself to leap between Vinyl and the other two ponies should they get close enough to do battle.
Six tables… five… four…. three… Oh, thank you Celestia. The waiter finally stopped, and showed Lyrica and Vibrant to their table- two tables down from where Vinyl and Octavia sat. The table in between held two very elderly, formal-looking ponies.
Vibrant lived up to his name. His coat was a flawless white, but his bright red and yellow mane was spiked and his tail was flashing everywhere he could show it. Lyrica, by comparison, looked more refined; her dark blue coat shimmered as she sat herself gracefully on one side of the table. Octavia could only hope the two ancient ponies in between the two tables would continue to obstruct the view.
Vinyl, on the other hand, had noticed nothing, and was just finishing her meal. Her ever-insatiable hunger tamed slightly for the moment, she settled back on her haunches and looked at the earth pony across from her.
“So, how was your day? How was rehearsal?”
Octavia blinked. Rehearsal… she thought. What had happened again…? Not important, anyway.
“Oh, well, just the usual, I’m afraid. Nothing interesting.” The cellist hoped the unicorn across from her wouldn’t notice the tremor in her voice. Calm down, she thought. There’s no problem here, just enjoy your meal.
Vinyl hadn’t noticed anything, and continued, unheeded. “Well, that’s alright! I spent the day trying to up the quality of those tracks we did last time, so I can mix the next beats I’ve got planned in. It’s gonna be great, I just know it!”
Octavia managed a wan smile. “Of course, Vinyl.”
The DJ paused, studying her face. “Are you sure you’re okay? You look a little… y’know, sick.”
Octavia sighed. She knew she couldn’t hide much from Vinyl. Her earlier plan was ridiculous. Realizing there really wasn’t a way to get them both out of this one without confrontation, she steeled herself for the white unicorn’s reaction.
“You remember that pony I told you about? Lyrica?”
Vinyl tensed. She remembers, alright.
“Well, she and her coltfriend are sitting two tables down from us.” Rethinking what she had just said, she added, hissing, “No! Don’t turn around!”
Vinyl, who was already in mid-turn, froze. Octavia continued in a low voice.
“Turn back towards me. Good. Now, relax. No, you’re still tense. Relax. There’s nothing to worry about.”
“But Tavi, she insulted you, she’s a –”
“Don’t worry about it! I’m fine; I don’t care what somepony like her thinks.”
“Are you sure? I could-”
“But you’re not thinking ahead. If you go over there now, you’ll give them exactly what they want, and might be humiliated in the process. Act with some discretion for once. If you know what it means, that is.”
The slight jab at the end of her speech raised Vinyl’s spirits a little, and her red eyes flashed behind her shades.
“Know what it means? I can’t even spell it! But I can do.... this!”
The unicorn pony picked up her water glass in her magic and balanced it precariously atop her muzzle. The waiter, who happened to be trotting by, gave her a withering stare as he passed. Vinyl responded with a radiant smile that made Octavia laugh.
The rival pair was forgotten for a peaceful moment. The DJ’s attention span could be limited at times, and the cellist was charmed by her whimsy. All the same, had the grey earth pony not distracted her, the other pony may have stormed over there.
“What am I going to do with you? I can dress you up, but I can’t take you anyplace, can I?”
Vinyl winked and balanced Octavia’s drink next to hers, speaking very carefully to avoid upsetting the glasses on her muzzle.
“But Tavi, we’re not dressed… we’re not wearing anything besides that teeny little bowtie of yours!”
“Well… there’s nothing wrong with having class!”
“Besides wearing bowties, you mean.”
“Much classier than those pieces of plastic over your eyes.”
Vinyl grinned, then assumed a pompous air another white unicorn would have been proud of. “Well, I never! Insulting my style when you, my dear, clearly have none yourself?”
Octavia gasped theatrically. “You dare! Whelp! I have more class than you ever will!”
Just then, Vinyl over adjusted her balancing act. Gravity set to its work, and one of the drinks began to topple. Just as the glass was about to hit the ground, it was caught-
In a dark blue aura of unicorn magic.
*** *** ***
Don’t worry, you will get to meet Vibrant. Also, just wanted to say that with spring break over and AP exams coming my way, updates might be a little sparser. I think I can get one more in before the tests start in earnest, but after that there may be a break. Nevertheless, the only way to make me stop writing this story would be [error 404: not found]. So make sure to stick around. :) ***
[a]I love it keep up the good work :)
“My dear Octavia! What a pleasure to see you here!”
Octavia gritted her teeth and played her part. “Oh, Miss de Crescendo. How are you?”
“Just wonderful! I’m here with my coltfriend, you know.”
“Why yes. I do believe you mentioned him last time we…crossed paths.”
“Oh yes, I must have. He’s so talented, you know. He and I-”
Vinyl, who couldn’t take any more, cut in. “So, you’re the Lyrica I’ve heard about, huh?”
The blue musician pony, who had ignored the DJ up until now, turned her eyes distastefully towards her. “Why, yes. And you must be the pony who was about to throw her wine all over this room.”
The DJ pony, fuming, was about to spit out a retort that would most likely not be appropriate for all audiences when Octavia hastily jumped in. “Lyrica, this is my… erm, friend, Vinyl Scratch.”
Lyrica was unimpressed. “Charmed. Now, Octavia, remember what I told you about that other day in the market?”
The cellist grimaced. “Well, vaguely.”
“Well, I saw you here and just had to come over to tell you about how well we’re doing!”
Octavia saw an opportunity. “Oh, yes! Speaking of that project, this is just the pony I was telling you about! Vinyl here has plenty of experience in today’s music. She’s also a very successful DJ.”
The dark blue unicorn turned her full attention for the first time on the angry white unicorn beside her. “Oh, you’re that pony? I see.”
Vinyl bristled. ”What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Only that my expectations have not been exceeded by any stretch of the imagination.”
“Why, you- you and your pimp colt over there can-“
It was Lyrica’s turn to look aghast. “You impudent little filly! At least I have a colt in my life. You’re out to dinner with-”
The pianist broke off, her eyes narrowing. When she spoke again, a note of suspicion had crept into her voice.
“…with another mare.”
Octavia blushed. “Now, Lyrica, I can assure you that Vinyl and I are just friends.”
The blue mare looked disdainfully down at them. “I’m not here to judge, Octavia. Your fans might, though. And I surely hope you don’t have any misconceptions about entering your…work-”
Vinyl and Octavia both heard the condescension in that word. The earth pony simply closed her eyes and gritted her teeth, but the white unicorn tensed herself to attack the mare looking haughtily down at her.
“-in Fancy Pants’ music festival next week, against my own and Vibrant’s.”
Vinyl started. “Tavi! The festival! I forgot that was coming up!”
Fancy Pants held a music competition every year for promising new artists and groups. Fancy himself and his paramour, Fleur de Lis, did the judging, and the winner was chosen based on nothing but the enjoyability of the music. First prize was, of course, a record contract. The contest accepted all genres and styles, and the contest was open to all types of ponies, important or not.
“That’s right,” Lyrica said. “And we’re in it to win it. So you deadbeats can forget about it. Go back to your little clubs and leave the music to the actual musicians.”
-That did it. Vinyl couldn’t restrain herself any longer, and lunged for the blue pianist, a snarl on her face. Octavia, who had been expecting this, leaned forward and threw a hoof in her way. Even so, the DJ got one swing at her antagonizer that came within an inch of her nose.
Lyrica jumped back, gasping and scowling at the unicorn. Recovering her composure, she tossed her mane, and with a “hmph” she began to walk away, adding “Heathen!” for good measure.
Vinyl growled, glaring after her. Just then, the wine glass Lyrica had grabbed caught her eye. The DJ grinned, and her horn began to glow.
Later, the grey pony would berate herself for not responding a second earlier. As her brain put together what was about to happen, she opened her mouth to stop her, but she was too late. The wine glass whizzed through the air, stopping right above Lyrica’s head. The glass tapped her twice on the ear, and when she looked up-
The cellist sighed, exasperated. Vinyl giggled. In a high-pitched voice, the DJ said sweetly, “Oops! So sorry! Must be my heathen magic.”
Lyrica turned around, a look of disbelief on her face. Behind her, Vibrant was getting up. He didn’t appear to be a bodybuilder, but Octavia could see he wasn’t a small stallion.
“Vinyl? If you’re done attempting to get us kicked out, a hasty retreat seems to be in order.”
The DJ’s shades flashed as she grinned maniacally. “Nah! Let’s take ‘em on! I’ll go all Rampony on their flanks!”
“Aw, please, Tavi?”
“Look at him!”
“I am looking! He doesn’t look so tough!”
“According to you, neither did the last ruffian you decided to ‘buck up’!”
“That was different! I just happened to miss the fact that he was seven feet tall! I coulda taken him with one hoof behind my back if he’d been a little smaller!”
Vibrant was starting to move in their and Lyrica’s direction. “No, Vinyl! We’re leaving, now!”
Octavia threw enough money on the table to cover their respective dinners, (which, sadly, they had only eaten the first course of) and began looking around for their exit. Lyrica still stood aghast at the liquid dripping down her coat, and the rest of the restaurant had begun to notice what was happening. Octavia and her troublemaking friend needed to get out, fast.
-Front door? No, that way led past the very angry pianist and her about-to-be-if-not-already enraged coltfriend.
-Window? Vinyl would surely enjoy the action movie feel of it, but Octavia preferred not to have to pay for a new one.
-Roof? What kind of choice was that? Neither of them were pegasi, and crashing through the ceiling was likely to be just as costly as the window, if not more.
-That left the back of the restaurant. Octavia knew there had to be some sort of kitchen entrance, and with that in mind, she grabbed Vinyl and began to push her towards to double doors at the back of the room.
The two had broken into a full gallop by the time they reached the doors, pushing them open just as Vibrant, who had reached his marefriend and discovered what had happened, let out a rather loud, enraged growl.
“I think we made it angry.”
“I didn’t! You did!”
“Well, it’s angry!”
They burst through the doors to find a private back room full of elder ponies, evidently celebrating the birthday of one of their party. The cake had just been cut and placed on individual plates. The entire party gaped at the sudden intrusion of the two mares, who looked back with equal confusion.
Vinyl’s wits reacted first, and she said brightly, “Pardon us. Would any of you happen to have any Grey Poupon?”
Octavia facehoofed, and then quickly smiled reassuringly at the even more confused crowd.
“Excuse my friend. We were just looking for the exit.”
The cellist dragged the DJ pony around the table, Vinyl shamelessly attempting to steal a slice of cake as they went. They reached the kitchen doors beyond just as the double doors at the front of the room flew open again. Vibrant and Lyrica stood there, heads swiveling in all directions.
Lyrica pointed at one of the still astonished senior ponies. “You there! Where did they go?”
The pony raised a befuddled hoof at the kitchen doors still swinging in Vinyl and Tavi’s wake. The white and blue ponies began to cross the room in pursuit.
One of the partygoers turned to the pony next to him.
“I think I need to check my medication. Grey Poupon? What in Celestia’s name is that?”
*** *** ***
The cellist/DJ duo burst into the kitchen, well aware of their pursuers. They could hear Lyrica and Vibrant behind them. Octavia looked warily around the kitchen while Vinyl peered out of the small window back the way they’d came.
“..Uh, Tavi? They’re coming. Fast.”
The earth pony ignored the unicorn. She was busy smiling at the rather unsmiling kitchen staff, some of whom had momentarily paused to stare at the intruders. One in particular caught her eye.
The cellist nudged the pony next to her in the side and whispered from the side of her mouth. “Vinyl, I want you to turn around slowly. And smile. And for Celestia’s sake, don’t say anything.”
The unicorn turned around, saw what her fillyfriend was looking at, and began to gasp, then quickly fell completely silent when the grey pony kicked her.
“Hush! Follow my lead!”
Standing in the middle of the kitchen was unmistakably the largest pony either of them had either seen. He seemed like he would easily rival the Princess of the Sun for height. His cutie mark was a large -very large- knife, (on a grey background) much like the one he was currently holding with his magic. The knife was only rivaled in size by his enormous moustache, dark black and trimmed to perfection. A tray of carrots lay before him, half of them chopped. Octavia gulped again.
Vinyl attempted to hide behind her. Whispering to the cellist, she said,
“I think he mustache us a question...”
Octavia began to laugh, then quickly shut up as the stallion’s gaze intensified.
“Patronz ahr not allowed een ze kitchen.”
The cellist spoke, trembling. “Oh, well, yes, of course, very sorry. We were just... looking for the exit. Weren’t we, Vinyl?”
The voice came from behind the earth pony. “Uh... yeah! Right! Sure! Yep!”
The frown remained. “Patronz ahr not allowed een ze kitchen.”
“Oh, yes, you said that. We’ll... We’ll just be leaving, then.” Octavia had spotted the door marked ‘Exit’. Right behind the massive moustache pony. With the knife. The big one.
The grey earth pony pulled the DJ out from behind her, and together, they made their way cautiously around the cook. The rest of the kitchen staff had long ago gone back to their business, apparently deciding that the large pony could take care of two mares.
The aforementioned cook of abnormal size followed their progress across the kitchen with a steady glare, but Octavia sensed that he would allow them to leave unharmed. As long as they made no sudden moves. As long as they made sure not to intrude on anything else. As long as-
“Octavia! Get your lousy excuse for a fillyfriend over here! She’s gonna lick my hooves clean!”
...Right. As long as two very angry unicorns don’t smash into the doors, throwing them open with a loud bang and causing everypony in the kitchen to freak out and drop what they’re doing. Drop what they’re doing again, that is.
The eyes of the very large cook in the middle bulged out, almost to the point where every pony in the room was secretly sure that they would burst from his skull. He was shocked. Fifteen years of working in this restaurant, and he had never been interrupted as rudely as these four ponies had just interrupted him and his work.
“MORE? VERE AHR DIS PONIES COMINK FROM?”
The cook had transferred his angry stare to Lyrica and Vibrant, who seemed to shrink under it. He began to advance upon them, obviously looking for an answer to his question.
Octavia saw her chance. Pushing Vinyl once more, she began to move them both towards the door again, sneaking slowly. The cellist glanced back once to see the blue pianist hiding behind her coltfriend. Even the latter unicorn was having trouble thinking of exactly what to do. A few more feet, and they would be free...
A loud clattering came from behind the large cook, halting his advance on the two unicorns. He turned to see Vinyl and Tavi grinning hugely and nervously at him just as the entire array of pots and pans that the DJ had knocked over came crashing down around the two.
The large unicorn stallion turned began to advance upon them, obviously intent on seizing and using them as the main ingredient in the soup he was making. Or possibly even making them clean up the mess.
“LOOK VAT YOU DEED!”
Vinyl turned around to inspect her hoofwork. Octavia winced as another pot hit the ground with a loud clanging. The DJ turned back to the knife unicorn with a wider smile.
“...Yeah, sorry about that... Tavi, don’t you think we should be leaving now?”
“You’re not going anywhere until you apologize!!!”
“NO! NO LEAVINK!”
“Right... Tavi, Lyrica and super ‘stache over there say we shouldn’t leave.”
“It seems that way, yes.”
“Well, how about if-”
But just then the door of the kitchen opened once more, and one of the elderly ponies from the party stuck his head in.
“Pardon me, but what’s going on in here?”
Looking around, his eyes widened. “Oh! Is it something to do with Grey Poupon?”
Vinyl giggled. Octavia sighed. Everypony else looked confused.
Vibrant, having had enough, spoke for the first time. His voice was deep and loud, the voice of somepony used to being on top. He seemed to have calmed slightly from his outburst earlier, and his tone was placating. He wanted to avoid dealing with the cook they were all currently avoiding. He pointed at the cellist with a hoof.
“You. You and that- disgusting hooligan over there-”
Vinyl had heard enough. “That’s it. We’re out of here.”
She gave the halfway toppled pile of pots another buck, and the avalanche began again. Losing no time, the DJ pulled Octavia out of the way, and the two of them galloped for the exit, amid the raging turmoil in the kitchen. Cooks cried out, busponys ran to and fro, and waiters piled high with plates of food stood dumbfounded. Vinyl saw one with her pie and reached for it, but was nudged away by the earth pony as they neared the exit.
Lyrica and Vibrant began to give chase, only to be stopped by the knife unicorn.
“OHH, NO YOU IS NOT!”
Lyrica shrieked in anger. “But they’re getting away!”
“BUT YOU IS NOT GETTINK AWAY!”
Vibrant tried to reason, but his anger was mounting again. “Hey! We didn’t knock your little pans over!”
“No! Now if you would kindly move your colossal flank out of the way, we’ll be going-”
The bright white unicorn intended to finish with “-after the ones who did knock them over,” but he was cut off by a fairly loud growl from the cook, who looked quite unhappy to have his plot called colossal. The crowd of kitchen staff all froze, eyes flicking nervously from the offended pony to the two visibly shrinking from him. Nopony moved, and certainly nopony paid any attention to Vinyl and Tavi as they turned and escaped through the back door into the darkening city.
*** *** ***
“Oh, Celestia, did you see the look on that big one’s face when he called him fat?”
“No, Vinyl. I was too busy attempting to escape the restaurant without being arrested, fined, or attacked.”
Vinyl, who had collapsed with laughter the second the two were out of sight of the kitchen staff, was still on the ground in the snow in hysterics. Octavia was nervously watching the back door, but apparently either nopony inside had seen them leave, or nopony cared. The cellist didn’t mind which it was, as long as they were leaving scot-free.
“But the best part was he was! That unicorn was huge! I mean, he was just... blimp-sized!”
“That’s rude, Vinyl!”
The grey earth pony looked down with distaste at the still-laughing unicorn, but the DJ’s laugh was infectious. Octavia found herself grinning at the all-too recent memory of the gigantic cook.
“Come on, you know he was!”
“Alright, alright. Maybe... Now can we please go?”
“Heh heh... Fine...”
Vinyl got to her hooves and the two began to exit the alley they had come out into, the blue-maned pony still giggling slightly.
“AND YOU NO COME BACK! FAT-FLANK!”
Vinyl stopped. “Uh... Tavi? Did you hear that?”
“Yes. I’m afraid to admit what it may have been, though.”
“Come on, I wanna see this!”
The couple broke into a gallop again, reaching the entrance of the alleyway in time to see the large unicorn standing on the front steps of Le Equine Foin with a large saucepan held in his magic, brandished above him like a club. On the other side of the street, Vibrant and Lyrica were making haste in the opposite direction as fast as their hooves would go, each trying to get in front of the other. Various snippets drifted back to the two as they stood looking after them in amusement.
“Not with a maniac behind us!”
“Get your flank out of the way!”
This display put the DJ and cellist, having pulled back into the alley, into laughing fits again. Even Octavia rolled on the ground this time, laughing until her sides hurt.
“Oh, Vinyl... did you see them go? Like Discord himself was after them!”
“I saw, I saw! Did you see that cook waving the saucepan! Oh, Celestia, I can’t breathe!”
Gradually the laughter subsided. Neither of them made to leave the alley right away. Octavia moved a bit closer to the unicorn. It was getting cold in the alley, but the walls broke the wind, and it really was quite peaceful as the sun began to set.
“...Why do I bring you anywhere, Vinyl?”
The DJ grinned. “Aw, Tavi. It’s because I’m so much fun to have around!”
“I don’t suppose I can argue with that. It’s worth the amusement.”
Another peaceful silence fell as Celestia’s sun sunk even lower on the horizon, and darkness began to fall around the two. Eventually Octavia spoke again.
“So... do you still wish to retire to my flat?”
Vinyl turned to face her. “Why, yes, Tavi, I do! Taking advantage of your excellent hospitality would be most delightful.”
“Vinyl! There were so many large words in that sentence! And more than one of them had 3 syllables! I’m so proud of you!”
“Now, now. You wouldn’t take me any other way.”
Vinyl moved closer. “I don’t suppose I can argue with that.”
The darkness was now complete, and nopony saw the two as they embraced.
*** *** ***
“It’s nice, this time of evening. Isn’t it?”
“Yep! Quiet and peaceful. I always like walking home from my DJ’ing gigs late at night.”
The two were making their way through the increasingly windswept streets, huddled together for warmth and affection.
“Are we going to enter that festival? Fancy Pants’s? It’s in a few days, you know.”
Vinyl turned. “Buck yeah! Why wouldn’t we?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I was just wondering.” She smiled at the white unicorn. “Luckily, all we have to do to enter is show up with our music. We’d be far too late for any registration process. Fancy Pants certainly is a stallion of some class, to allow everypony in.”
“Yeah, he seems pretty chill. We’ll see for sure when we win!”
“Getting ahead of ourselves much?”
Vinyl gave her trademark shades flash. “Nah, we got it! If those two foals are our only competition?”
“Well, just keep in mind that we haven’t heard their music.”
The unicorn brushed this off with a smile and a mane toss. “Don’t care!”
Octavia laughed gently. “I should have known better than to try warn you. This is a far cry from how you were when I first told you about them, though.”
“I hadn’t seen them yet.”
“Besides, we’re just about done!”
“Well, that’s splendid. And I’m glad I finally convinced you to take a night off.”
“Me, too! So what do you wanna do tonight?”
“Well, I have a few new records, and I thought-”
“Have you met me?”
“Are you insulting my music?” Octavia looked sideways at her favorite pony with a smile that dared her to answer.
“I thought not. Besides, I have to crack that tough, contemporary-music fanatic exterior sometime.”
“Good luck. You’ll need all of Equestria’s help!”
“Oh, we’ll see about that.”
*** *** ***
“I really hate it when you’re right.”
The DJ pony had discovered the pleasure of quiet classical music as background noise for two ponies enjoying each other’s company. At the moment, the two were snuggled comfortably on the couch, intertwined and at peace with themselves and the world. There was a fire in Octavia’s small hearth, and the room was pleasantly warm and cozy. Vinyl’s hoof toyed gently with the earth pony’s mane, and the latter mare had her eyes closed and was gently humming to the music. The white unicorn gazed down, captivated, at the grey mare. She felt exultant and blissful (a welcome feeling for the usually ‘cool’ unicorn) like this whenever the two of them were alone together like they were- nothing else around but the two of them. Vinyl was all of a sudden in a playful mood.
“I think I’m falling asleep. Too much boredom.”
“You just said you liked it!”
“I changed my mind.”
“And you’re more fun when you’re angry.”
“Now really. Why do I even-”
She stopped as Vinyl ran her hoof down the full length of her dark grey mane, enjoying the feel as it rubbed her back and caressed her neck.
“I don’t know, Tavi. Why do you?”
Octavia sat up slightly, and turned to face the DJ pony. Her full, deep purple eyes gazed into Vinyl’s scarlet ones, and the unicorn found herself once again momentarily at a loss for words.
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“Why I put up with you. Don’t you know?”
“Is it because I’m awesome?”
That one caused the cellist to laugh. “Not exactly.” She moved up and closer to Vinyl.
Octavia’s words drew a flood of anticipation the DJ. Yes, they had spent the night together several times already, but there was always something behind it. Their current relationship was a major part of both their lives, and neither of them were fillies, but it was not something they talked about often or even named. Vinyl certainly had had her share of... encounters before meeting the earth pony, and yet there had always been something missing in those relationships, something that wasn’t there that made the experience useless. Those bonds had all petered out fairly quickly, due to mutual eventual disinterest and lack of intensity.
Not so with Octavia. Vinyl couldn’t stand herself for it, but the emotion she let her usually hardcore self show with that particular mare was genuine and...mushy, she thought. But there was something there, something that enticed her and made her smile every single time she saw the other pony. The unicorn badly wanted to hear what the grey mare was going to say.
“Well.. what, then?”
“You really don’t know?”
Maybe Vinyl knew, but she was afraid to say it. She had never told another pony that in a relationship, had always been afraid of the commitment, of the word itself. It seemed so final, so trapping. It had the possibility to label her as held back, lame, and old-fashioned. Not something the on-the-rise DJ would say if she wanted to stay popular.
But right now she wanted to hear it. Wanted to say it.
Octavia’s violet eyes seemed to grow larger, encompassing Vinyl’s entire range of vision. Something was playing in the background, some other classical song, but the specifics were lost on the white unicorn. Her entire world was focused on those eyes, and the pony behind them. The eyes are the window to the soul.. hadn’t she heard that somewhere?
Octavia was still waiting.
“Maybe I want a hint?”
The cellist smiled and shook her head. “Always the same. No slave to emotion, you.”
Vinyl continued staring at her, waiting. She managed one word.
Octavia turned her eyes back on the white unicorn. “Yes, Vinyl. Yes. I love you.”
*** *** ***
“So I’ll see you later on?”
“Well, yeah, Tavi! I have to go get ready for my gig. I’m trying out a new set tonight, and I wanted to play through a few songs once on my own decks before I went.”
The two musician ponies were lingering in the doorway to Octavia’s flat as Vinyl was preparing to leave. The conversation passed back and forth, seemingly unable to find an end.
“And you stay away from that song. I don’t want you worrying about it!”
“Gee, Tavi. Except for what happened last night, I’d think you were my mother.”
“That’s quite a scary thought.”
“Except she was more easygoing than you are.”
“I cling to the hope that one day manners might penetrate your brain.”
“Yeah, yeah, and I wish that one day you’d lighten up and be as crazy as me!”
“Equestria couldn’t survive two of you, Vinyl.”
“I’m taking that as a compliment.”
“Just promise me. Humor me for once.”
“Oh, I always bring humor to you!”
Octavia looked at the DJ flatly.
“...Alright, alright. I promise. You’ll come over later, and we’ll finish things up. I won’t touch it until then.”
Octavia looked pleased. “Good. Best of luck with your gig!”
“Good luck with your rehearsal! Bye, Tavi!”
“Until later, Vinyl.”
The two ponies embraced tenderly. Octavia turned her head and whispered “I love you” into her paramour’s ear. Vinyl felt heat rush into her at those words, and a burst of happiness. She returned the same three words in a fierce whisper, and then turned and started down the street, happily humming the tune from one of the tracks she was going home to work on. There was bass to be dropped, and DJ P0n-3 was just the one to drop it.
*** *** ***
Across the street, rather well concealed in an alleyway, a pair of binoculars was lowered slowly with a blue aura of unicorn magic. Next to the owner of those eyes, a camera was lifted down, in a white glow.
All’s fair in love and war, Octavia, Lyrica thought. I won’t be denied that prize. And if I have to stoop to mudslinging to win, so what? I’ve got all the mud I could ever need.
*** *** ***
Vinyl was in her element. The crowd was raving, the ponies hopping and dancing to her beat like the world would end if they ever stopped. The bass pumped, the speakers were on the verge of blowing out, and there was not one old pony in sight. Life was good.
“YOU LIKE THAT?”
A resounding “YES!” followed. The DJ grinned hugely. She had them.
“DJ P0n-3 CAN’T HEAR YOU!”
The following shout of affirmation devolved into wild screaming and cheering as a new track started in- The last one of the evening, Vinyl thought with regret. She had an earlier gig that night, and there was another DJ waiting to go after her. Somepony new, looking to ride off the fame of an already-successful performer. She didn’t mind. She liked to help out the new ones, help those with tastes akin to hers. She knew they could never be as impressive as her, so why not?
The song came to an end, and the lights came up a bit, signifying the end of her gig. She gave her signature record scratch.
“DJ P0n-3 OUT!”
This was greeted by a large amount of booing and shouts of ‘Encore!’ and ‘Don’t leave us, P0n-3!” Vinyl looked around once, and then exited the stage, climbing down in time to see a familiar grey mare coming towards her through the crowd. She smiled happily and waited to be reached.
A few hairs in the earth pony’s mane were slightly askew, and she had a definite air of feeling out of place, but she was nonetheless happy to see Vinyl. She trotted up and reached her neck out to nuzzle her before remembering there were still other ponies watching. She pulled her head back, then put it forward again, then pulled back, slightly red. She looked like somepony trying to convince herself of something.
Vinyl decided to disregard the strange behavior for the moment and grinned at her. “Later on, Tavi. But what are you doing here?”
“Well, my rehearsal let out early, and I happened to know where you’d be, and I wanted to surprise you!”
The white unicorn was genuinely pleased. “Aw, aren’t I just the luckiest mare of them all! How long have you been here?”
“I caught those last two songs. I’d lecture you about the misuse of tempos and pitch, but I suspect I’d be alone in that argument here.” She winked slightly.
The DJ laughed. “Yeah, that crowd was going crazy. If they had their way, I’d still be up there, mixing the night away.”
“And enjoying every moment of the spotlight, hmm?”
“Yeah!!! But I had plans tonight, so no encore. Let me grab my stuff from the back, and I’ll meet you out front. We’ll blow this popsicle stand, and head for my place.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
The cellist turned to forge her way back through the crowd, and Vinyl turned to the backstage door to collect her gear. She pushed through the door with her magic and had just rounded up all her belongings when the door behind her opened and another unicorn came in. She was young, wearing a black jacket over her dark green coat. Her mane was a nice shade of yellow, and her eyes were an unusual shade of gray. The shape of her saddlebags hinted at a collection of records inside, and the older unicorn correctly assumed that this was the new DJ. The green pony stopped moving when she saw Vinyl, and her mouth dropped open slightly in recognition of one of the top DJs in the area.
Vinyl grinned, and, with her magic, pulled a record from her saddlebag. Without looking at which one it was, she flipped it over to the younger pony, who managed to catch it in her own magic. She fumbled with it for a second before holding it up and reading the label.
“The Living Tombstone? Really?”
The blue-maned DJ smiled and nodded. “They’re all ready for you, out there.”
The green pony looked at the record again. “Can I really use this? Will I be okay? Oh, Celestia, I’m so nervous!!”
Vinyl gave a small smile, remembering her start as a DJ. She turned and began to walk towards the backdoor exit, stopping once more to glance at the still-shaking filly.
“Good luck, kid. You can’t miss!”
*** *** ***
Vinyl exited the club, feeling even more exalted and on top than usual. Nothing could touch her. Nothing except what greeted her beyond the door.
“Whaddya mean? I’m perfectly qualified to DJ here!”
“I’m sorry! I don’t hire DJs on no credentials. And I certainly don’t hire thugs, so intimidating me isn’t going to work.”
The club owner was up against the wall of the alley, but wasn’t backing down. Vibrant Beats was standing over him, staring at him in an obviously unsuccessful attempt to browbeat his way into employment. Both turned when they saw Vinyl standing in the doorway. The club owner easily recovered his dignity and, disregarding Vibrant completely, addressed her.
“...Ah, Vinyl. You finished your set? Excellent. The new kid should be on after you, she seemed promising.”
The white mare stared, fazed for a moment by Vibrant’s appearance. “Uhh... Yeah. Yeah, she did.”
“Good.” He turned back to Vibrant. “This is my best DJ. She’s got references and acclaim from all over Manehattan.”
Vibrant looked like he’d swallowed something distasteful. “She can’t possibly be better than I am.”
The club owner sighed. “Look. Fancy Pants’ music festival is coming up. You want in? Win that contest, and I’ll consider it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to tend to my club. It’s freezing out here, anyway.”
He brushed past Vibrant, politely maneuvered around Vinyl, and shut the door behind him, leaving the two white unicorns looking at each other. The mare moved first, walking up to the large stallion and attempting to move past him. Vibrant threw a hoof in her way.
Great, Vinyl thought. “Can you move?”
“Get out of my way.”
Vinyl looked up at him defiantly. “Get the buck out of my way before I have to hurt you.”
It was a fairly empty threat, and they both knew it, but the white mare knew she’d go down fighting. She was trembling with barely controlled rage that this Celestia-damned son of a ***** would come here, come to her club, try to get her job, and intimidate the owner in the process.
Instead of moving, however, the stallion DJ looked down at her, and something changed in his eyes. He smiled lecherously, and the sight made Vinyl’s fur crawl.
“...You know, you’re not bad lookin’. If Lyrica doesn’t work out...”
The mare couldn’t believe what she had just heard. If she was angry before, she was nuclear now.
“You.. You..” She sputtered, too angry to even come up a clever retort.
However, the white stallion frowned. “Oh, I forgot. You’re a fillyfooler.” His face brightened. “Well, I suppose I could go two at once...”
Vinyl had had enough. She wasn’t even going to dignify him with an answer. Using her magic, she shunted Vibrant aside and walked past, unconsciously mimicking Octavia’s ‘dignified’ look. Her brain finally kicked into its usual wittiness, and she smiled wickedly.
“I don’t know about that. Looks to me like that part of you is just as small as your brain is.”
Being the pony she was, though, she couldn’t leave it at that. Within a second, she had scooped up a fair amount of snow in her magic, spit in it, and flung it backwards. She heard the loosely packed snowball hit and the growl that followed, and then she was gone, galloping full tilt for the mouth of the alley and emerging to see Octavia waiting for her with a smile on her face. Her face grew confused when she saw the white mare, grinning wildly and running for all she was worth.
“Vinyl? What is it?”
The unicorn gestured with a hoof. “No time! Come on!”
Octavia, getting caught up in the laughter coming from the blue-maned mare, smiled, confused, and began to follow her. The two ran off into the city in the direction of Vinyl’s apartment.
*** *** ***
I have Mixing- er, mixed feelings about this chapter, myself. It’s certainly more emotional and d’aww inspired overall than the last one. Those of you who feel that you’d rather have laughs than emotion, I apologize. I’ll be funnier next chapter, I promise. :) To the rest of you, I hope you enjoyed Vinyl and Tavi’s sweet moment. I know it’s been done before in other fics, but I wanted to write it myself, put my own spin on the scene, and I really enjoyed writing it. Hope you liked it! :D
One more item of business: I’m not dealing with any of that canon stuff here. I don’t care what happened in the season finale. Vinyl’s eyes are RED. (Especially in this fanfic, where the color has already been established.) I don’t think that should bother anyone enough to stop reading, but I just wanted to let you all know that they’re going to stay that color. Sorry if you’re offended. :/
Thanks for reading! I want to shout out again to everyone who reads, and everyone who makes a point to comment and tell me they’re enjoying this story or what they think of it. It’s what makes me edit my chapters 2-3 times each and put my all into it. Thanks! :D***
***Sorry about the long wait! Have an extra-long chapter to make up for it!- Aryn***
“So, he actually tried to...hit on you?”
“Yep! What a loser. I hope some of the spit got in his eyes.”
The musically-inclined mares were in front of Vinyl’s apartment, waiting in the cold while the white unicorn pulled out her keys. Octavia had just been informed of the full contents of Vinyl’s run-in with Vibrant, and was as offended as the unicorn was.
“I would have shoved a cello bow down his throat! Two at once indeed!”
The blue-maned pony laughed as she finally opened the door. “Yeah. I wish Lyrica could have heard that. She’d have-” She cut off, momentarily shocked by something that had just occurred to her.
“Vinyl? What? What is it?”
“He knew I was... That we... that I was... with you.” The DJ pony blushed slightly, unsure of how to phrase it.
Octavia, however, smiled. “Oh, is that all? He probably just assumed that because he saw us at dinner.”
Vinyl’s shoulders relaxed, then slumped. “Oh, right.”
The note of disappointment was not lost on the grey pony. Her face took on the same indecisive look that the DJ had noticed earlier in the night, when she had just appeared in the club, and the unicorn suspected she was about to hear what had caused that particular hesitation.
Octavia took a deep breath. “Besides. Maybe we shouldn’t worry too much about that, anymore.”
Vinyl turned to her, her head rising, and used her magic to remove her shades, revealing her brilliant ruby-red eyes. The snow swirled gently around them as she contemplated the earth pony. Octavia waited with bated breath for the coming response she knew had the possibility to be life-changing.
The cellist laughed. “Truly, Vinyl? That’s all you want to say?”
Vinyl blinked. “What? What else am I supposed to say?”
Octavia’s smile remained as she sighed. “Oh, nothing. Let’s just go inside, shall we? I’m cold, and I think we can talk about this much more after we win. I intend to beat those two if it’s the last thing I do!”
The white unicorn shook off her confusion and grinned. “Isn’t that a little cliche, Tavi?”
“I don’t care! You need more cultural exposure, anyway.”
“I watch Saturday morning cartoons. Isn’t that enough?”
“It’s actually more than I expected.”
“Ha! See? I do have good taste!”
“You have a taste. Nopony ever said anything about ‘good’.”
“That doesn’t count.”
“Well, fine! Then what taste do I have?”
Octavia smirked. “An excellent one in mares.”
“...Oh, I walked right into that, didn’t I?”
“Absolutely. Now can we finish this?”
Vinyl replaced her shades as they wandered into the apartment, Octavia setting her cello down. She wouldn’t need it, they had since recorded all of the acoustic tracks they’d need, and now the rest was up to the DJ’s magic and the cellist’s opinion. Still, it made her feel better to have it with her.
Vinyl was already down the hall. “Come on, Tavi! Let’s finish it!”
“Can we please standardize the tempo and lower the bass a little this time?”
“Silly Tavi! That’s not how you drop the bass! Not by turning it down!” Vinyl had the board loaded up.
“I’ll show you......... you just DROP THE BASSS!!!!!”
“Ah. So by screaming, and by adding lots of bass while reducing the other instruments. Wouldn’t ‘ADD MORE BASS’ make more sense? Dropping sounds like you are, in fact, attempting to lower it.”
“Stop trying to analyze manestream catchphrases, come in here, and help me DROP THE-”
“Alright, I’m coming! Just stop yelling!”
“I heard that!”
*** *** ***
Octavia opened her eyes. Darkness. She blinked a few times, trying to clear her vision of sleep, and sat up. Her eyes began to focus and adjust better. She saw Vinyl’s mane on the pillow beside hers, and smiled gently at the sleeping form. Why was she awake...?
The reason for her interrupted sleep suddenly became apparent. A loud noise came from outside, then a muffled word. Sounded like a curse. The cellist began to tense up.
Vinyl’s bedroom was fairly plain; and, since Octavia was there, relatively neat. Moonlight spilled into the room in a thin white beam from the partially open curtains, illuminating the floor in a diagonal line. Glancing out, the earth pony could see that it had stopped snowing.
She rose to her hooves. Glancing back at the still-sleeping Vinyl, she began to trot towards the door. She paused hesitantly when another oath came from outside, but strengthened her resolve and continued out of the bedroom and into the hallway.
The noises were coming from somewhere outside the living room. Tavi trotted down the hall slowly, pausing at the entrance of the room to peer carefully around the corner.
One of the windows in the living room had an odd glow coming from behind its blinds. The earth pony gasped and took a few steps back when she saw a shadow move across it. She was about to return to the bedroom to rouse Vinyl and call the police when a few more words from outside stopped her.
“Come on, Vibrant! You spend so much bucking time bragging about how strong you are, you can’t even open a measly window? Pathetic!”
“Shut it, Lyrica. Why are we here, anyway?”
“I told you! We have to find out what they’re entering in the contest and steal it!”
“Alright. Just don’t make any noise.”
“Don’t tell me what to do.”
Well, Octavia thought, That’s that mystery solved. I suppose I should do something. Or...
Glancing carefully back towards the window to make sure it wasn’t open yet, she made her way cautiously towards the window. Smiling to herself, she positioned herself as close as she dared, deep in shadow.
It wasn’t a long wait. Vibrant had the window jimmied open soon, and stuck his head in. Tavi held her position, waiting for better prey. The head retreated, and, with a loud whisper of “Ladies first!”, was replaced with Lyrica’s. The blue unicorn looked carefully around the seemingly deserted room, then began to climb inside.
Octavia waited until she had both of her forelegs inside, then made her move. Stepping forward quickly, she brought her mouth very close to her pianist’s ear, and, in a calm and controlling tone of voice, she said,
Lyrica’s reaction was immediate and gratifying. Her eyes bulged, her mouth opened to scream, and her entire body jumped. A second before emitting what would have been an earsplitting screech, her reason kicked in and she clamped a hoof over her mouth. In the act of doing so, however, she knocked herself off balance, and her other foreleg went out and her back hooves scrambled for purchase before slipping straight out backwards. Octavia heard not one, but two muffled grunts of pain, and grinned as she realized that Vibrant had been standing directly behind Lyrica when her hooves collided with his skull.
Lyrica was recovering her hooves and looking rapidly around the room, trying to catch sight of Octavia, who was still ensconced in a shadow. The blue mare pulled herself completely into the apartment, falling again as she did so. She sprang shakily to her hooves, and finally perceived where the grey of the earth pony separated from the black of the night. She glared.
Octavia stifled a giggle at the pianist’s rumpled mane, torn clothes, and general appearance. Lyrica had obviously chosen her own outfit for her little raid. She was wearing a turtleneck spray-painted black in most places and sporting a rip, and a ski mask which looked like it had been turned backwards and had more holes cut in it, including one for her mane, which stuck out at odd angles. Her eyes peered through two holes cut in a slit-shape, and what little of her expression could be seen suggested she was quite unhappy.
“What are you looking at?”
The cellist couldn’t hold it anymore. “Did a three year old filly dress you, or did you come up with that... outfit all on your own?”
“What? No! I mean- This is a breaking and entering... What was it, Vibrant?”
From behind: “Camouflage.”
Lyrica turned back. “That, yeah.”
Octavia laughed harder.
The large stallion poked his head back through the window and caught sight of the grey earth pony. “So one of them is up. Great. I think it’s time for her to go back to sleep.”
He climbed through the window (much more gracefully than Lyrica) and stepped menacingly towards the cellist. She took a step back, her laughter banished, and her eyes widened as the stallion raised the crowbar he had used to open the window high with his magic. Octavia’s eyes were locked onto the the weapon as began to come down, closer, faster-
A yawn echoed around the room, and action halted. Standing in the hallway leading from the bedroom, Vinyl had appeared, her mane askew and her glasses left behind. With sleep-deprived eyes, she inspected the room, then, seemingly finding nothing awry about it, proceeded to shamble through it to the kitchen. The two unicorns and the earth pony gaped as the DJ pony opened her fridge, removed a jug of milk with her magic, and drank straight from it.
A moment later, Vinyl stopped drinking, and let out a contented breath. She replaced the milk and closed the fridge door, then turned to the rest of the living room. Her eyes popped open.
“What are you- Tavi- What- What’s going on?”
The cellist looked back to the two intruders, who were still dumbfounded by the delayed response, and rolled her eyes at them.
“That’s just the way she is.”
Vinyl’s expression grew even more confused. “I’m.... what? Huh?”
Vibrant hefted his crowbar in his magic again. Octavia glanced nervously at the DJ.
“Er, well, you see, we have two unexpected transients, and they seem to have somewhat dubious or, even malicious intentions, and-”
Octavia ducked as the crowbar came down, a swishing blow that surely would have knocked her unconscious. Vinyl was still staring incredulously at the scene before her.
“Smaller words, Tavi!”
The earth pony yelped as the crowbar came down again. Lyrica had now joined in, and was using her magic to toss various objects from around the room. Octavia took a deep breath and let out,
“Bad ponies come to do big harm! There! Simple enough?”
“Ohhhh.... Why didn’t you just say that?”
Octavia took a glancing blow from a clock and staggered a bit before regaining her balance.
“Oh! Right, right.”
The white unicorn added her own magic to the fray. Vinyl’s apartment was rapidly being demolished, to the point where it looked even worse than usual.
All of a sudden, Lyrica stopped her assault and glanced around. The battle continued about her as she spotted the hallway and began to gallop towards it. Octavia caught sight of her as she went.
“Vinyl! She’s heading towards the studio!”
The blue-maned unicorn glanced up from the furious battle she was engaged in. Realizing exactly what the earth pony had said, she threw one last lamp at Vibrant, catching just above his left foreleg, and knocking him over. Without stopping to look, she DJ mare leapt onto and then over her couch, and disappeared down the hall in pursuit of Lyrica.
Octavia made to follow her, then paused, glancing back to see Vibrant on the floor. Sighing, she moved cautiously over to where he lay, peering closely at his form in the pale moonlight. He was breathing regularly, but the cellist could see that he must have struck his head on the sofa leg when he went down. He’ll be out for while-
The earth pony whirled at the sound of more fighting. A few low shouts came from down the hall. Leaving Vibrant on the floor, she broke into a gallop. As she approached the studio, she could make out a flurry of insults in both Vinyl and Lyrica’s voices.
“Spawn of Discord!”
Octavia entered the recording studio to find the two unicorns with horns locked, each furiously attacking the other with her magic. Vinyl stood between the blue mare and the bank of controls, valiantly defending their music. Shouts continued to emanate from the two.
“Bite my flank! You floozy!”
“You uneducated dunce!”
“Your coltfriend is a cheater, too!”
Lyrica growled. “You’re just jealous! I know you’re with Octavia every night. At least I have taste! You couldn’t do any better than a stuffy, boring, earth pony?”
The cellist wasn’t remotely surprised by the pianist’s opinion of her, but she had heard enough. Spotting her cello case lying against the wall, she raised it high in her hooves and brought it down neatly on the thick part of Lyrica’s skull, knocking the unicorn out cold. Vinyl gaped at her. Octavia looked back at her.
“Tavi, you... That was awesome!”
“Thank you, Vinyl.”
“Is your cello okay?”
“I certainly hope so. It should be; the case is a sturdy construction. It’s certainly been through more than your decks have, believe me. The gentlecolt unicorn I purchased it from promised me it was infused with a protection spell.”
“Wow. And you believed him?”
“Not at the time, but it was a good deal and a good fit for my particular instrument. Looking back, however, he may have been telling the truth.”
“So what are we going to do with them?”
“I’m not sure. Let’s get her out by the other one in the living room.”
Vinyl lifted Lyrica’s unconscious form in her magic and they began to move out the door.
“Vinyl! We’re not going to murder them! Watch her head!”
The unicorn smirked. “Oops. Clumsy me.”
“We don’t want to give her any worse mental deficiency than she already has.”
“You really are mean.”
“Hush. You know it’s true. Besides, I’m not the one hitting her head on doors.”
Vinyl winked. “I told you, that was an accident.”
They reached the living room, and Vinyl dumped Lyrica unceremoniously next to her coltfriend.
Octavia sighed. “I need a drink.”
The white unicorn grinned. “Alright! I’ve got tequila, vodka, and even some of that disgusting wine stuff somewhere! Oh, and last week I picked up-”
“No! I need a drink of water. Water.”
Vinyl was visibly disappointed. “Oh.”
“I think I can guess what you were thinking...”
“You know me.” Vinyl winked again. “Alright, hold on.”
She trotted into the kitchen and returned a minute later, carrying two glasses of (what was hopefully) water in her magic. She placed one in Octavia’s hooves, then settled on the couch next to her with the other
“So what are we gonna do?”
“I don’t know, Vinyl. I suppose we should call the police.”
“Can we loot their stuff?”
“Look at this place! You have enough junk already!”
“Hey, wait, that’s right! You can’t blame me for the mess anymore! It was their fault!” She gestured with a hoof at the two still unconscious bodies on the floor.
“What about the mess in the rest of the other parts of the apartment?”
“Like the ones who stole your brain!”
“Ha ha. You know, I happen to be- Hey, watch it!”
The cellist had balanced her glass precariously on the arm of the couch, and she turned just in time to see it tip. The water spilled over the side and onto the unconscious form of Vibrant below. Octavia, leaning over the side, let out an “eep!” as she waited for him to open his eyes, but he continued to breath regularly, and his eyes remained closed.
She turned back to see Vinyl hefting the broken lamp in her magic again and motioned for her to stop.
“Don’t worry, he’s still out.”
Vinyl seemed let down. “Can I hit him anyway?”
“No. ...Hey, come here. Look at him.”
The DJ looked over the edge of the couch. “Ha! His mane!”
The stallion’s normally immaculate mane was matted and wet where the water had hit it, and was still bright and stuck up where it hadn’t. Vinyl cracked up.
“He looks like a red and yellow peacock!”
Octavia began to giggle too, and peeked back over the edge at Vibrant. “He does! He does!”
“Oh! We should take a picture and spread it around!”
“Haha... no, no. I dearly wish we could, but we have to call the authorities. They did break in.”
“We’ve already wasted a fair amount of time. If we don’t call right now, there might be problems.”
“Come on, you.”
The pair retreated to the kitchen to make their call.
*** *** ***
Hearing the voices retreating, Vibrant cracked one eye open, just a fraction. Thank Celestia, they were finally leaving. Keeping his body low, he rolled over, inadvertently kicking Lyrica in the flank. No matter, she could take it.
He got to his hooves in a crouch, still keeping behind the couch. A loud giggle from the next room made him grimace. Laugh at my mane... They’d pay. But right now, the important thing was to get out before authority of any kind was called in.
He shivered inadvertently. The wind was blowing through his wet mane, and he turned. The window! The mares had been stupid enough to leave it open, and cold winter air was blowing through it. Well, that suited him just fine. Time to go.
The pianist opened her eyes and stared at him.
“We have to go. Now.”
She still seemed a little asleep. “Wuzzat?”
Fighting to keep his voice low, Vibrant leaned in close to her. “Listen to me. We need to leave. If we don’t, we stand a chance of being arrested. This terrible bucking plan was all you’re damned idea, so get your bucking flank up before they call the police.
At that her eyes flew open and she sat up quickly. “What did you just say to me?”
The stallion didn’t waste time with a face-off. Instead, after checking to make sure the other two were still in the kitchen- arguing with somepony on the phone, that was mares for you- he began to move stealthily towards the window, with Lyrica somewhat behind him.
Vibrant reached the window and stepped easily through it, as before, into the cold of the winter night. His hooves made imprints in the snow next to the ones they had made coming in. Damn. He’d have to take care of the tracks.
He turned around and stepped aside to allow Lyrica to exit. She got one foreleg over, then slipped on the snow under her and fell forward. Her back hooves shot out from under her like earlier, and she inadvertently bucked the windowsill with a loud CRACK.
Both unicorns froze. From within:
“Did you hear something?”
“What? Uh, yeah, maybe.”
“Maybe? How does one ‘maybe’ hear something?”
“You- I don’t know. Nevermind. I’ll go check it.”
“Thank you. I’ll continue to try to raise the authorities, who seem to enjoy sleeping a little to much to help the people. I cannot believe that one colt hung up on us...”
Vibrant immediately grasped the situation and turned to leave. Lyrica, however, stood still, her recent knock on the head still affecting her cognitive processes. Vinyl’s head came into view, and the eyes of both mares widened.
“Tavi! The prisoners are escaping!”
“ ‘The prisoners’? Wait, we’re not a jail!”
“Well, they’re getting away!”
Lyrica finally reacted. “Vibrant! Do something!”
Through the window, the stallion could see the blue-maned mare galloping towards the window, her horn beginning to glow. With no time to lose, he lifted Lyrica with his own magic and threw her roughly down the alley before turning to follow himself.
Behind him, he heard a loud ‘WHUMP’ and turned to see a large pile of snow from the adjourning roof sitting where they had been a moment ago. Throwing snow at me didn’t work this time, he thought with a grin. As a bonus, the snow would prevent them from being followed quickly and would cover a large amount of their tracks.
It almost couldn’t have failed better.
*** *** ***
Vinyl stood at the window. The pile of snow had just blocked any hope of getting through the window, and all she could do was watch as the two ponies who had just broken into her home and threatened her and Tavi escaped. She felt like a failure. At least they were both okay.
As if to confirm this statement, Octavia trotted into the room with a sigh of exasperation. “Those.. those incompetent, loathsome, lackadaisical foals can’t be troubled to wake up. I suppose since they’re gone that it really isn’t worth-” She stopped when she saw Vinyl, and, without another word, moved next to her at the window. She took in what had happened and how her favorite mare was feeling, and silently rubbed her neck against the unicorn’s.
“Don’t worry about it. We’re both fine, and getting them arrested would have just meant a lot of legal shenanigans for us.”
“But they got away!”
“So? Actually, their attempt at thievery was so lacking it was comical. I don’t think we’ll see them again in the middle of the night, either.”
“I don’t know, Tavi...”
The grey mare turned the other pony’s head away from the window with a hoof and kissed her tenderly for a moment. In a stern voice, she said, “Forget about it. We’ll deal with whatever happens tomorrow.” Then, with a sensitive smile, she added, “For right now, I’d truly like just to fall back asleep. In the hooves of a certain somepony.”
Vinyl blushed red beneath her white coat and smiled back, feeling the call of sleep herself. She closed the window, then turned and followed Octavia back down the hall, and to the comforting darkness beyond.
*** *** ***
Well, that was fun! We’re getting closer to the music festival, only a few chapters left till we get there.
I want to take a quick second here and give a shoutout to a friend of mine who recently did a reading of the first chapter of this fanfic. He goes by DaWeed aKaPinkiePie, and for English being his second language, it’s not bad. Check it out here if you’re interested in hearing the first chapter again.
As always, I appreciate any comments/opinions/things you guys would care to share! Tell me what you liked, what you didn’t like, what you thought needed more purple elephants, etc! (Well, maybe not the purple elephants.) Hope you enjoyed reading!***
***Sorry about the wait, again! Long chapter, and full explanation at the end! -Aryn***
“Why don’t we report them?”
“What good would that do, Vinyl? We have no proof it was them. I’m fairly sure they’ll have an airtight alibi. How would they ever be convicted?”
“I don’t know! Something about a rogue ex-cop and his own brand of justice?”
“So we’re just going to do nothing?”
“No, we’re going to beat them in the competition tomorrow night.”
“Yeah, duh. But that’s it?”
“Well, at some point we’ll try to clean up your flat.”
“Better mares than you have tried. ...Well, no, they haven’t, but it’s still a bad idea.”
Octavia smiled and shook her head. “I realize, but it must be done. May Celestia protect us. Now, I need to get to rehearsal, and I believe you have somepony to talk to.”
The two had decided, as the DJ pony had just confirmed, not to inform the law about their late-night visitors. However, Vinyl had decided to tell the owner of the club, in the hopes that it would further convince him to ban Vibrant from working as a DJ there. In addition, the white mare could pick up her paycheck, which would come in handy when Octavia forced her to get a new dress for the music festival. The two were just parting ways.
“Oh, right. Alright, seeya later, Tavi. Love ya.”
The cellist smiled. “The same to you, of course. See you later. You have a gig tonight, correct?”
“Yep! Can I force- I mean, convince you to come?”
Octavia rolled her eyes in mock uncertainty. “Oh, I don’t know. I’m not sure I could handle such an affront to proper music two nights in a row...”
Vinyl’s lip went out, and she pouted. “Aww, Tavi! How can I perform without my sweetheart there to cheer for me?
“Oh, I’m so sorry, dear. Shall I bring a sign that says ‘I <3 THE DJ’?”
“Can you? Please?”
Octavia laughed and kissed the side of her mouth. “I’ll think about it. But I will come. I’ll meet you later for dinner, around seven. Adieu!”
They set off in opposite directions down the street, the grey mare carrying her cello, the unicorn sporting her shades. There was no sign of the scuffles of the previous night, and no pony attempted to stop either of them.
Octavia in particular grinned at this. I suppose they really are too embarrassed to try anything else. Worthless cowards. Now, for rehearsal. Let’s see, today is... She stopped suddenly. Oh, Celestia! Today’s waltzes, and I forgot my music at home! Quickly altering paths, she headed for her own place.
Vinyl, meanwhile, was humming to herself as she trotted through the snow, not minding any other pony or paying much attention to possibility of assailants. We trumped em enough last night, she thought. Of course they’re not gonna show their ugly faces.
After a short while, the white unicorn arrived at the club she had seen Vibrant at the night before. Being fairly late morning, it was likely that nopony was there besides the owner, and perhaps a few ponies who were cleaning and prepping for that night. Vinyl let herself in through the back and made her way to the owner’s office. The name on the door said SALSBURY DOMINAT in large block letters, just like always. Sal never was much for style, she thought. As an earth pony who managed his club by himself, he was a fairly straightforward owner, simple and honest. He’d seen enough, and it was easy to see how he had been able to deal with Vibrant so easily last night.
“You were great! I’m happy to welcome you to the group. You’ll play here, again, tonight. Okay?”
“Yes! Thank you, sir!”
Vinyl, hearing that Sal had company, reached the door and used her magic on the knocker hanging on the front.
“Yeah? Who is it?”
The blue-maned mare pushed open the door with a hoof and saw the young filly from the previous night standing in the owner’s office, looking extremely pleased. Her saddlebags were missing, but she was sporting the same black jacket.
Sal spoke at once. “Ah, Vinyl! Good to see you. I’m sure you’ve come for your paycheck. Hold on just a sec, I have it here somewhere…” He began to rifle through his papers, then looked up and gestured with a hoof. “By the way, this is Evie Stelar, our new kid. I think you met her last night.”
“Yeah, yeah I did. So you did good, kid? I told you. That record come in handy?”
Evie nodded. “Yeah, it did! Thanks again!” A slight hesitation crept into her voice. “Can…Could I hold on to it for a little while longer? I had an idea, something I want to work on.”
“Yeah, go for it! Good luck to you.”
The green mare smiled thankfully as she began to leave the office. “Thanks!”
Sal finally succeeded in locating Vinyl’s paycheck. “Here you go, payday. Mandatory something about it being ‘good to have you on staff and all that.’”
Vinyl grinned and took it in her magic before growing serious once more. “Sal. You know that colt from last night?”
The earth pony looked perplexed. “Yeah, what about him?”
“Don’t hire him. Ever.”
“Why, because he’s a jerk? That’s not really a reason not to hire somepony.”
“No, he’s more than that. Listen, he and his marefriend broke into-” The DJ broke off for a second, unaware of how to explain- “…the apartment of a.. friend of mine.” she finished with a lie.
“Were you there?”
“Yeah. I... happened to spend the night.”
“Are you sure it was him?”
“Absolutely. I knocked him out with a lamp.”
Sal looked at her with a mixture of amusement and disbelief. “With a… Okay, not asking. So where is he?”
“Well, he woke up and kinda escaped while we were trying to call the police.”
Sal frowned. “Wait, what? Hold on. This friend of yours… is it that grey mare?”
Vinyl started. “W-Who? Ta- Octavia?” Her mind began to race furiously, unsure. She opened her mouth, then closed it as a sentence popped unbidden into her head from the previous night.
Besides. Maybe we shouldn’t worry too much about that, anyway.
“Yeah, it was her,” she said, somewhat defiantly.
The earth pony gave her a slightly knowing smile. “Oh, I see. Alright, then.”
The white unicorn was unsure of what to do. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“What? Nothing! She seems like a nice mare and all. All I’m saying is that maybe you should stop attempting to hide things, y’know? Some ponies aren’t as ignorant as others.” He considered Vinyl a moment as she thought this over, then continued, in a more businesslike tone.
“But that’s none of my business. So you saw him. That’s nice, but no pony is going to buy it, and I can’t deny his DJ credentials on the basis of your word alone. See, I asked around about him a little. Ponies have heard of him, and he might have the qualifications. Don’t know about the attitude, though.” Vinyl looked ready to argue. “Hey, that’s not to say I don’t believe you, because he looked like a creep to me, but if I turn him down for no reason, I’ll get my head handed to me by a lawyer. No. Do you have any proof?”
Vinyl sighed. “…Not exactly.”
“See, that’s a problem. I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we just stick with what I told him? He has to win Fancy’s contest before I’ll even look at him. What are the odds of that happening?” His face grew thoughtful. “Hey, are you entering that? That’d be good publicity, if you win.”
“Yeah, me and- yeah, yeah I am.”
Sal grinned again. “Sounds good to me!”
Vinyl, however, was still unsure about Vibrant. “I still don’t want him coming here.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. We have bouncers. As a matter of fact, I met a guy recently that looked like he’d be great for the job. Really big, knife cutie mark. Had some sort of accent, I think…”
The white unicorn’s eyes widened and she began to edge towards the door. “Yeah… I don’t think he sounds like a good fit.”
“You don’t think so? He had his own saucepan, too. Maybe we can hire him as a bouncer-chef. Two for one, you know?”
Vinyl was out the door. “See you later, Sal.”
*** *** ***
Octavia arrived at her group rehearsal nearly twenty minutes late, mentally berating herself for her tardiness. This was the third time this week she had arrived so late. The group’s sousaphone player was just finishing packing away her instrument, carefully and neatly, as the cellist nearly galloped into the room.
“Beauty! I’m so sorry, but-”
She stopped when she realized that she was indeed talking to only the mare. Beauty Brass, a friend of Octavia’s, had a bass clef cutie mark and a light blue coat, which stood out all the more, as she was the only pony in the room.
“What’s going on? What happened to practice?”
“Oh! There you are, Octavia. I’m sorry; we decided to move practice to Sunday before you got here.”
“Well, we all wanted to enjoy the day, we decided that we were good enough, we just had rehearsal last night, and” -she looked meaningfully at Octavia- “we were missing a cellist.”
The grey mare looked down at her hooves. “Right... sorry, Beauty. I was... Well, I’m sorry I was late.”
The sousaphonist peered closer at her. “This isn’t like you. There’s something going on, isn’t there? Frederic mentioned that he thought he saw you in Le Equine Foin a couple days ago with some white mare. He wasn’t sure it was you, though, and I didn’t think you were... well, that way inclined.”
Octavia raised her head, then looked down again. Her mind was spinning with what to say, what to do, what to reveal. She and Vinyl had just talked about this, but had they reached a conclusion? No- Oh Celestia, Beauty was still waiting for an answer. The grey mare closed her eyes. What to say, what to do, what to-
“Octavia? Are you okay?”
-reveal, what to- No. A fleeting image of Vinyl flashed before her mind’s eye, and a new resolve came into the cellist. She took a deep breath, then opened her eyes.
“Would it be... a bad thing? If I were?”
Clearly, this was not the response the blue mare was expecting. Her eyes opened wide, and she was speechless for a second. Oh, Celestia, Octavia thought, I’ve ruined everything. I was wrong, we should have kept silent, we should have not talked about this, ponies aren’t ready-
But Beauty was smiling now. “Hey, don’t scare me like that. For a second I thought you were going to tell me you were into puppets, or something weird.”
The grey pony’s hopes rose a fraction of an inch. “I... what?”
“Nothing! Just threw me for a loop. Octavia, a fillyfooler? Wouldn’t have expected it.”
“But... But is that wrong?”
“What? No, at least not by me. I don’t go that way, but I suppose you do. Listen, relationships are relationships, no matter who they’re between. If you’re happy with her, then you should be with her. Nopony cares, or should care, what choices you make besides you.”
Waves of relief washed over the cellist. Nothing wrong...?
“That’s not to say everypony is going to agree. Don’t let the few ponies who think they can get into others’ business run your life. Just...”
Octavia was smiling now. “Just what?”
Beauty smiled back. “Please, please, please try to get to rehearsal on time. Please?”
The grey mare looked chagrined. “Oh, yes.... Let me apologize again. I shall try, I promise.”
She turned to go, then paused. Beauty was still watching her, an amused and surprised, yet somehow enlightened, look on her face.
“Don’t mention it. Dang, never would have guessed it...”
Octavia left grinning.
*** *** ***
“See, isn’t this good?”
“I suppose it is enjoyable enough. I do, however, miss my wine...”
“There’s more to alcohol than wine, Tavi.”
The two had reunited for dinner at a restaurant of Vinyl’s choosing this time, a quiet hole-in-the wall place Octavia had walked by a few times and never noticed. It was early evening, and they were enjoying their meals quietly before heading out to Vinyl’s gig later that night.
Octavia sighed. “If it weren’t for that last bit about alcohol, I’d think my way of conversing was rubbing off on you.”
The DJ unicorn raised her glass of cider in her magic and grinned. “My dear, I am a connoisseur.”
“That sounded like me as well. Excellent. Now, for the love of classical music...”
“Oh Celestia, no. Never!”
“Well, a pony can always hope.”
“Won’t do you any good, Tavi.” Vinyl beamed. “How was rehearsal?”
“Oh! I suppose I neglected to mention, I didn’t have rehearsal.”
“Huh? I thought it was planned for today.”
“It was. Apparently they decided to move it to Sunday.”
Octavia sighed. “Well, for one thing, they thought they were practiced enough. For another, they were missing a cellist.”
“Ohhh. So you were late again, huh?”
“Grievously so, yes. I almost can’t help it; leaving your place, I always seem to have to stop by mine to pick up something I’ve forgotten, and then... Well, anyway, by the time I got there, only Beauty remained.”
“Oh, wow. Sounds like I’m rubbing off on you.” Vinyl winked.
The cellist answered with a small smile. “Maybe, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.”
“How can it not? There’s more of me! And I’m perfect!”
“Hush, you. What did- what’s that gentlecolt’s name?- Salvatore- say about our little skirmish last night?”
Vinyl was silent for a moment as she recalled her discussion with Sal. Attempting to gather her thoughts on everything he had said, she began, “Well, I told him about it...”
“He said that he believed me, but not many other ponies would. Apparently, even though Lyrica and Creepy-Beats are jerks, they still have some kind of reputation. Sal’s going to consider hiring him if they win the contest.”
“What? Why, how in Equestria can he just-”
“His reputation, I think.”
“Hmph. Did he say anything else?”
Vinyl nodded. “Well... He kinda asked about you.”
“Me? Whatever did I have to do with the conversation?”
“He wanted to know who I was with last night, and then he guessed it was you.”
Octavia considered this. “..Oh, really? And what did he say about that?”
“Something about it being none of his business, but that some ponies are not ‘as ignorant as others’. Tavi, do you think he was telling us to... you know, go bigger?”
Octavia was startled. “ Perhaps. How uncanny, though. My conversation with Beauty took almost the same turn. She was startled, but remarkably accepting.”
It was Vinyl’s turn to show surprise. “What? Yeah, that is weird. So what do we do?”
“I’m not sure, Vinyl. I think for now we should worry more about the competition and leave this until afterwards, like we decided earlier. But, just to know, since I didn’t get a real answer last time...”
“...Would you be adverse to such publicity? I’m simply wondering...”
The DJ shook her head immediately, recalling her resolve during her discussion with Sal. “No, I’m good with that.”
Octavia beamed. “Excellent, then. Let’s go, shall we? Your gig is nearing.”
“Aw, c’mon. We’ve got time, and they’ve got more alcohol...”
“No, you don’t want to be late. Or incapacitated.”
Octavia smiled and got to her hooves to go, trying to prompt Vinyl to do the same. “No. Come, let’s go. We’ll go to my place tonight, afterwards.”
Vinyl sighed and got up, shaking her head in defeat. “Alright, fine. I’m coming!”
Octavia hesitated, then self-consciously kissed the white unicorn, causing them both to blush slightly. They proceeded out quietly, cautious of strange looks from other ponies, but none came.
*** *** ***
“See? Now we’re here early!”
“It’s better than being late, isn’t it?”
“Late is fashionable!”
“Vinyl, you wouldn’t know fashionable if it stole your decks and then tried to play accordion music on them. In front of you.”
Octavia laughed. “Come on, let’s go inside.”
They entered the club, Vinyl smiling at the bouncers, who smiled back in recognition. The music hit them like a wave. The white mare immediately began to bob her head, and even the cellist allowed herself to tap a hoof. The beats pumping out of the large speakers placed everywhere was infatuating, and the unicorn craned her neck to see who was on the stage. The crowd was dense, however, and she couldn’t get a clear view.
Octavia nudged her. “Do you have your things?”
“Do you have your things?”
“What? I can’t hear you!”
“Your records! Do you have them?”
Vinyl finally understood. “Oh! Yeah, I dropped them off here before I came to the restaurant.”
The grey mare kept her voice loud enough to be heard over the music. “Oh, good. So who is this?”
“I don’t know! I can’t see!”
“It’s quite go- I mean, it’s not that bad!”
The white mare looked at her with mock astonishment. “What? Tavi, did you just say you liked this? How could you?”
“I never said that! I just said it wasn’t bad!
“No, it’s not! I simply meant that-”
“Same thing same thing same thing same thing same thing same thing-”
Vinyl put on a serious face, and, in the best deadpan Octavia voice she could muster, she said, “Matureness. Oh, yes, indeed. Most indeededly. Smart things. No fun. Wine. Big words.”
Octavia giggled and poked at her with a hoof. “Oh, stop it. That’s not me!”
Vinyl raised her shades to wink, then lowered them again. “If it wasn’t you, then how did you know who I was being?”
“I... I just...” the cellist stopped, realizing the argument was a halfway-decent one. “You really are infuriatingly clever at times.”
“Did you just call me smart? I’m honored!”
“Don’t get used to it.”
“Well, with that emotional boost, I think I’m ready to tackle the crowd!”
“After this pony finishes, whoever he or she may be.” A terrible thought struck the grey mare. “It couldn’t be Vibrant, could it?”
Vinyl shook her head slowly. “I don’t think so. Sal wouldn’t do that, he’d keep his word.. At least, I think...”
“Well, let’s find out!”
The two pushed nervously through the crowd, which was packed and dancing furiously. Several times, Octavia would have to skirt around groups of dancing ponies that Vinyl just merged into, and one time the earth pony bumped into an energetically dancing grey pegasus with a green-white bouffant. The pegasus stopped grooving and turned to look at her long enough to exclaim, “BANANAS!” before going back to his rave.
Note to self, Octavia thought. Next time, send Vinyl to scout for screwy ponies.
Not until they reached the tables at the far end were they able to see the pony responsible for the beat that was driving the mass of dancing. Vinyl stared.
“That new filly!”
Octavia looked quizzical. “Hmm?”
“The new kid! She was here last night, and this morning. What was her name... Evie!”
“She’s new? Well, she seems to have the crowd on her side!”
The song ended, and Evie removed the record with her magic. Smiling happily, yet with an air of uncertainty, she waved a hoof at the crowd before leaving the stage and disappearing through the back door. The crowd cheered lustily for her, then settled down as they awaited the next performer.
Vinyl turned to Tavi. “I guess that’s my cue.”
“Indeed. She was good, though.” Octavia gestured her closer, looking around surreptitiously. Still slightly unsure, she kissed Vinyl like in the restaurant, and then smiled at her. “Break a leg!”
“I always do! Or, I mean, I try not to get injured. Or, I mean... you know what I mean.”
Tavi rolled her eyes good-naturedly. “Just go get them, Vinyl. I’ll sit at this table and attempt to ‘blend’.”
The DJ laughed and turned to go. “Good luck with that, Tavi. Enjoy the show!”
Octavia watched her disappear though the back door to prepare for her set, then laughed to herself as she reached into a saddlebag and pulled out a small sign. She laid it on the table before her. It said, “I <3 THE DJ.” She looked down at it, thinking.
To no pony in particular, she said, “Perhaps I’ll use it. If I feel like it, of course.”
The cellist glanced around the club, then called a nearby waiter for a drink before settling back to enjoy the evening.
*** *** ***
Hey, guys. Sorry about the wait again. This time, it was for a good- no, excellent reason!!
As you might have noticed, Mixing Relationships has a new cover picture! And it’s AMAZING! It was created by the incredible JackiePhantom13, because she’s an awesome person who has my eternal gratitude. Here’s her DA: http://jackiephantom13.deviantart.com/ I don’t care how many views she has, she deserves more! Go check out her other stuff, it’s really, really good!
And yes, I did steal Evie's last name from somewhere. +1 if you knew the reference, and for the rest of you, go check out Parov Stelar's music, if you have nothing better to do!
In other news, let me know what you thought of this chapter! It’s a little slower, not as much action as the last one, but hopefully it stands alright on its own. Next chapter, the long-awaited festival arrives!***
[a]Had a few grammar issues, but as a whole not bad. Seems that the story is taking a big breath getting ready for the big chapters.
-Wait, sunlight? Dang. That usually means waking up.
Vinyl Scratch opened her eyes. She was in the large bedroom of Octavia’s flat, with the curtains thrown open and sunlight streaming onto the bed. Judging by the brightness, it was fairly late morning.
The DJ pony rolled over. She was alone; the covers on the other side of the bed were thrown back. Vinyl was beginning to wonder where the cellist had gone when the reason for her own awakening became apparent. Drifting in through the open bedroom door, a record was playing. Beethoofen’s... something or other. The unicorn wasn’t sure which number or piece it was.
Suddenly, a new sound distinguished itself from the music. Vinyl heard a low, sweet humming, attuned perfectly to the melodies. From the sound of it, her favorite mare was in the kitchen, making breakfast and enjoying the measures that were still coming from the living room. It was beautiful, peaceful.
The white mare laid back, contemplating the ceiling for a moment before closing her eyes and allowing herself to enjoy the sonorous tones. She sighed contentedly. Waking up like this, where she knew everything was right with her world... hearing the melodious tones of the mare she loved in the next room, and knowing that she would get up, and trot in there, and see her smile... The unicorn couldn’t imagine a better feeling, in all of Equestria. Life, at that precise moment, was just so... perfect. Even the room, which Vinyl begrudgingly admitted was nicer (or at least cleaner), than her own, contributed to her feeling of wholeness.
She lay there, with her eyes closed, doing nothing but enjoying the music, until the sonata came to an end. Slowly opening her eyes, she rose to a sitting position on the bed, cocking her head to the side for more. Tavi was ri- I mean, this type of music could be worse. As long as she’s not here to see me enjoying it...
A white shape on the floor by the bed caught her attention. Vinyl got to her hooves, then curiously lifted the piece of paper off the floor with her magic. It was the small sign from the previous evening, still with its affectionate message emblazoned on the front. The sight of it and the memory of the fact that Tavi had actually brought made the white mare’s heart soar, then sent her into a fit of giggles, and she collapsed on the bed, the sign facedown next to her.
“Awake! And feeling good, I see?”
Vinyl looked up to see Octavia smiling at her in the doorway, seemingly ringed with sunlight. Her mane was slightly disarrayed, suggesting that she too had recently gotten up, but the DJ couldn’t have cared less. She was extremely happy to see her, and began to rise to her hooves, until she caught sight of the sign again and collapsed, laughing once more. The sight of it had prompted another memory from last night: Tavi with the sign, on top of the table she was at, having a grand time pretending to be a ‘hip’ fan by waving it and yelling, ‘LOVE YOU, P0N-3!”
At the moment, though, Octavia was still standing in the doorway, starting to grin. “What is it?”
Weakly, the DJ raised the sign face up with her magic and waved it back and forth in the same motion the cellist had used. The grey mare immediately understood the reference, and began to laugh herself.
“Do you... heh heh... do you remember what you did?”
“Only too well, Vinyl.” Octavia blushed and laughed again before pointing a hoof at the white pony. “That story doesn’t go anywhere beyond us, right?”
The unicorn got to her hooves again and shook her head, grinning still. “Right, right. Of course, my dear Tavi!”
“Mmmm... Why don’t I trust you about that?”
Vinyl stuck her nose in the air. “I simply can’t imagine! I’m offended at your mistrust, my dear!”
Octavia playfully cuffed her on the nose with a hoof. “Right. I’ll believe this one just as much as I believed the one the other day about ‘I never curse’.”
The DJ giggled again. “Oh, come on! That was a good one!”
“No, it was clearly... Oh, nevermind. Would you like breakfast, or are you too busy crafting deceptions?”
“If by ‘crafting deceptions’, you mean ‘being smarter than you like usual’, then yes. And if by ‘breakfast’ you mean ‘the fresh muffins I can smell from here,’ then also yes!”
“Come on, you.” Octavia smiled, shaking her head. She turned and walked back through the doorway, beginning to hum along with the record that had just begun another piece.
Vinyl watched her go, her mind drawing back to her feelings of a moment ago. The harmony they had together...
Hey, speaking of harmonies- Oh! The white unicorn started. The festival is tonight! The sudden realization shocked her. All the preparation and anticipation... she hadn’t really expected it to come; more like hover, always just a little ways away. But here it was, looming.
She gave a tight smile. But we’re ready. Oh, yeah. We got this. She couldn’t wait to see the look on Lyrica’s face when they were announced first place... She’d go up on stage, as smug as possible, and look straight at the blue pianist. She’d take the award, and then she and Tavi would go confront the two, just to rub it in their prissy, stuck up-
“Vinyl! Are you coming?”
The DJ started again. Whoops! Plot evil later. Eat muffins now. She laughed and began to trot towards the kitchen as the remnants of her fantasy fell away.
*** *** ***
“So what’s up for today?”
It was just after breakfast. The two were sitting closely together on Octavia’s couch, planning.
“Well, I don’t have rehearsal, and I think you have off from work?”
“Yeah, the club doesn’t usually run during big music festivals. Who would come?”
“Right. So, then, we have the day to ourselves.”
Vinyl’s eyes sparked. “Oh! Let’s-”
Octavia gave her a wry look. “Think carefully, now...”
The blue-maned mare stopped, then grinned broadly. Octavia kept looking at her. The unicorn opened her mouth, then closed it.
“Let’s.... listen to whatever Tavi suggests?”
Octavia laughed and kissed her. “Excellent choice. We’ll get to what you had.... planned later tonight, I imagine.”
“So what do we do for the rest of the day?”
“Well, later on this afternoon, we have to go by where the festival is being held and drop off our entry for judging. We also need to go back to your place and look for something decent for you to wear tonight.”
“Yes, I know. It’s terrible.” Tavi rolled her eyes.
“If I’m going to be tortured later, then what fun thing to make up for it are we doing now?”
The cellist beamed. “I thought we’d have a delightful morning of my holding you down and forcing you to listen to classical music!”
Vinyl’s eyes widened in mock fear. “Noooooooo!!!”
Octavia laughed and shook her head. “Uh, uh. I went to your gig last night and listened to all those strange noises that you called music. Now it’s my turn. This is what you get for coming to my place, after all.”
The DJ considered this, then winked. “That’s a fair trade.” She sighed and laid back, putting her forehooves behind her head and closing her eyes.
“Alright, I’m ready. Bring it on.”
The grey mare grinned. “Oh, I shall.”
“But next time it’s my turn!”
“We’ll have to be at your place next time, then.”
“Fine.” The unicorn relaxed and prepared for the worst. And later tonight...
*** *** ***
“Well...Here we are...”
“Yes, Vinyl, this is it. Having second thoughts?”
The two had just arrived at the festival, and were looking up the steps at the doors. It was a cold night, but the snow had stopped falling, and Luna’s moon shone brightly, illuminating the snow on the street with a shimmering gleam.
“No, no. ...Have you ever entered one of these?”
“I can’t say that I have. My group has always been enough for me. Haven’t you, though?”
“No... Always been too... y’know, lazy.”
“Is that all?”
“Maybe a little afraid to, by myself.”
Octavia smiled at the mare next to her. “Perfectly reasonable. Shall we go inside? It’s cold out here.”
Octavia was wearing an off-white dress, elegantly, yet simply, cut, with a light grey trim. It seemed to compliment her manner and taste. Vinyl, meanwhile had had to be convinced to even wear a dress. After the cellist had braved her fillyfriend’s closet long enough to discover that there was nothing remotely wearable, she had dragged the DJ to several different stores until they had found the perfect dress: A midnight black, perfectly colored to contrast with both Tavi’s dress and Vinyl’s own coat, and trimmed with neon-dark blue, to accent her mane. She had even been convinced/forced to leave her shades at home, though Octavia was secretly sure she had them secreted away in a pocket somewhere.
They entered the double doors, held open for them by a pair of smiling doorcolts, and abruptly stopped. Fancy Pants rented a new place each year for the festival, but this year, he had really outdone himself. Though the two mares had been there earlier that day during their shopping to drop off their record for judging, they had been received at the door and had not gotten to look inside, at what they took in, breathless, now.
The doors opened onto a long hall, with great stone pillars on either side. Down the middle of it was a lush red carpet trimmed with gold, and at regular intervals down the sides were small tables for ponies to sit at. At the end of the hallway was another set of large doors, thrown open to offer a view of the dance floor, which was pumping with a large crowd. On either side of the door were majestic spiral staircases leading to what Octavia assumed was a balcony area.
Standing in front of a large ice sculpture in the middle of the hall, dapper and personable with his moustache and his suit, was the host himself. Fancy Pants stood with his own marefriend, Fleur de Lis, shaking hooves with ponies from all social classes and backgrounds. He passed no judgements; the new and unheard-of musicians got just as much attention from him as did the rich and famous ponies.
Octavia reacted first, overcoming her own awe to smile at her companion’s expression. “Impressed, Vinyl?”
The white unicorn struggled to close her gaping mouth. “This... this- ...this?”
The cellist laughed. “‘This’ what?”
“We’re going to win... in this?”
“Vinyl! We haven’t won yet. Come, let’s speak to our host.”
“Oh... oh, right.” Social situations were not usually the DJ’s thing, but Octavia had a sneaking suspicion things might go better with Fancy. He had that effect on ponies.
They trotted down the center carpet, smiling at other ponies and at their magnificent surroundings. When they reached the ice sculpture, they stopped and waited to talk to the host, who seemed to have no limit to his smiles and interest in other ponies. When they reached him, Octavia introduced herself and Vinyl.
“...Good evening! I am-”
Fancy Pants broke in immediately. “No need for that, Ms. Octavia! Of course I know who you are; you always perform quite beautifully at my garden parties. But who, might I ask, is your lovely companion?”
Octavia glanced at Vinyl, smiling. The white unicorn had gone a pale pink under her coat at the attention.
“This is Miss Vinyl Scratch, a very close friend of mine, and the pony with whom I prepared an entry. Vinyl?”
The DJ gulped, then stepped forward, still unsure of what to do. “How... How do you do?”
This was enough for Fancy, who smiled broadly and shook her hoof. “Excellent, thank you!” Considering them a moment, he added with a wink, “You know, I think I recall your entry. Quite admirable, if I’m not mistaken. You two ought to stay around; and enjoy yourselves!”
Vinyl’s eyes lit up, and even Octavia looked pleased. “We intend to, yes. Thank you!”
Their host smiled and waved them off, seeing another group of ponies arriving to talk to him. As they walked away, the white unicorn leaned in close to the grey mare, talking excitedly.
“Did you hear that? He remembers our song! And he told us to stick around! That proves it!”
Octavia allowed herself a grin of elation. “Well, it doesn’t prove anything, but yes, yes, he did!”
“Yes, it does! Let’s party!”
“Why don’t we go up on the balcony first, and survey the ballroom?”
“Alright, I’m with you. I can see how good we’ll look from above when we win later tonight.”
The two ponies climbed the stairs, gaining an impressive view of the entrance hall as they did so. When they reached the top, they passed through a doorway onto a balcony that ran all the way around the ballroom, offering an excellent view of the dance floor and the-
“Hey, there’s a bar!”
At several points along the upper level, sliding glass doors led to outside balconies, where the snow had ceased to fall and instead sat glimmering in the light of Luna’s starry sky. All the doors stood closed, but the mares could see a few couples enjoying the privacy and quietude of the night. The music was still quite loud up where they were, above the ballroom, but it was lessened, and outside, with the door shut, it would be barely noticeable. At a few places around the upper story, tables were placed. There were a few ponies at them, cooling down from the dance, but, overall, the top floor was fairly deserted.
“Come on, Tavi! Let’s look over!”
Vinyl trotted to the edge and glanced down. Octavia followed her, a bit wary of the height, but still eager to see Manehattan’s upper crust mixing with its lower. Everywhere she looked, ponies were dancing to the beats coming from large speakers at the end of the room. Nopony was DJ’ing; as part of Fancy’s attempt to appreciate everypony, all of the acceptable songs that didn’t win either first, second, or third were being played for the dance. If a musician heard their song, they knew they hadn’t won. Ponies that heard their entries were discouraged at first, but always felt better once they witnessed others grooving to their creation.
“Look at ‘em! I wish I had this crowd at my gigs!”
“Quite, Vinyl! All of them, so happy, so energetic, so- uh oh.”
“Far left corner.”
On the bottom floor, withdrawn as far as possible from the rest of the crowd, were two familiar blue and white unicorns, looking haughtily down on the ponies around them. They did not dance, and it was a reasonable assumption that they were only present for the awards.
“Oh! Oh! I bet we can drop something on them from over there!”
Octavia seriously considered this for a moment. “Well.... If we...” She shook her head. “No, no, we can’t.”
“Hah! You were close, there! Good, good, let the mischief flow through you....” She waved her forehooves in small circles.
The cellist smiled and pulled Vinyl away from the edge and back towards the stairs. “No, come on. I think it’s time for a drink.”
The DJ glanced once more longingly at their rivals, then turned and followed happily after Tavi.
*** *** ***
“What can I get you two?”
The bartender, a light brown earth pony with a blond mane tied up in short pigtails, and, fittingly, a wine glass cutie mark, smiled at Octavia and Vinyl as they trotted up to the bar. It was loud, but the bar was located in a niche in the side of the ballroom, so she didn’t have to shout.
Vinyl took the lead. “I think I’ll have some tequila tonight.” Sneaking a look at the grey earth pony next to her, she added, “Tavi wants some-”
The grey mare broke in. “Uh uh, Vinyl.” She winked. “I don’t think I can trust you ordering for me.” Addressing the bartender, she said, “I’ll have a glass of Chardonnay.”
The unicorn interjected. “Wait!” The bartender paused, looking amused.Vinyl turned.
“Tavi!” The DJ gave her companion the best puppy dog eyes she could muster, pushing out her lip for effect. Octavia laughed, and adopted a pacifying tone.
“Alright, alright. What should I have?”
The white unicorn’s face lit up. “Yay! Oh, let’s see. How about... Tavi would like to try vodka, because she never has! Deprived pony.”
The bartender looked at the grey mare for confirmation, winking. “Are we sure this time?”
The cellist laughed and gave her assent, and the bartender set about getting their drinks. She returned a moment later carrying a tray with both glasses on it, and set it on the bar in front of them. Octavia reached for bits, but the bartender waved her away.
“Don’t worry about it! Fancy Pants has everypony covered for the night.”
Vinyl’s eyes opened as wide as they would go, and her mouth dropped open. She began to hyperventilate slightly.
“Did... did you just say...”
The brown earth pony laughed and nodded. “Yeah, you heard me right. But listen to your fillyfriend; you should come back later and try some of our wine! My uncle makes it, we’re a family-owned business. My name’s Angevin.”
Vinyl was still salivating over the prospect of free alcohol, but Octavia grew more serious at the brown mare’s comment. “I’m sorry; did you say...?”
Angevin leaned forward. “Oh, I’m sorry! Are you two not together? It just seemed like it. I see a lot of ponies come and go, and I know when to judge a couple. Was I wrong?”
Tavi considered her options, glanced at the bartender pony’s smiling face, and decided. “Actually, yes, we are. I’m Octavia, and this is Vinyl. I was just... surprised, that you picked it up so quickly.”
Angevin laughed. “Oh, that’s just my experience with ponies coming through, like I said. Also, well... you two just rebound off each other so well, it seemed like a logical assumption. Anyway, so, you really should try our vintage, especially if you like wine.”
The cellist smiled and nodded. “I think I will. Vinyl, on the other hand...”
At the mention of her name, the DJ put her drink down and grinned. “Hey, if it’s free, I’ll give it a shot!”
“That’s the spirit!” Angevin smiled and left to fetch the wine.
“I’ve just made two important discoveries.”
“One is that we really did misjudge other ponies. I think we’ll be... okay. As a couple.”
Vinyl grinned and leaned over to kiss her on the corner of her mouth; a combination of a response to Octavia’s comment and the alcohol starting to kick in. “Excellent! What’s the other?”
“I think we’re going to be quite drunk by the end of this night....”
The white unicorn raised her glass with her magic in a toast.
“Sounds like a party!”
*** *** ***
“Hey, dudettes! Watch it!”
“Oh! So sorry!”
The two mares had just finished their drinks and had made their way onto the dance floor, immediately colliding with a dark blue pegasus with shades remarkably similar to Vinyl’s own. A pair of black headphones hung around his neck. The pegasus shook his blue and black mane to settle it back into place, then grinned at them.
“S’all good! Great music, huh?”
Octavia smiled and kept her mouth shut. Vinyl, on the other hand, nodded vehemently. “Aww, yeah! This is awesome! Almost as good as- OH MY CELESTIA.”
Both Tavi and the unknown pegasus glanced where the white unicorn’s scarlet eyes were focused. They saw, at the far end of the room, talking with a fairly distinguished-looking pony, a very light grey earth pony with a blue mane, with red tips. To the cellist, this meant little, but both Vinyl and the pegasus gasped in unison.
“What? Who is that?”
The pegasus answered. “You don’t know? That’s Tomb himself!”
Vinyl blinked rapidly. “Am I dreaming?”
“No, it’s really him! Woah!”
Octavia looked at both of them. “So... What? Hello?”
The white DJ ignored her, still staring. “I don’t think I could go over there...”
The pegasus shook his head. “I wouldn’t; not while he’s busy. But personally, I intend to see if I can get an autograph later. Catch you two later!”
He disappeared into the crowd before giving them his name, and Octavia turned her attention back on her companion. “Hello? Vinyl!”
The unicorn shook her head and grinned at her. “Sorry. It’s just, he’s really famous and all.”
The cellist smiled. “Fancy Pants knows a lot of famous ponies, and they all come to his parties.”
“That he does, Octavia! Which leads me to wonder why you two are here.”
The two mares turned, coming face-to-face with Lyrica and Vibrant. They were dressed to match, in dark red. Lyrica’s mane was down, coiling around her neck, and Vibrant’s was restored to its regular spiky, bright-red and yellow state.
Vinyl immediately went defensive. “Riiight, because you and peacock-colt over here are just swimming in admirers.”
Vibrant took a step forward and growled menacingly. “You....”
Octavia stared him down. “I think what my companion is insinuating is that you looked quite amusing after you broke into her apartment, tore it up, and suffered a spill on your precious mane. I think there are some police ponies over there, I’m sure they would be quite interested to hear about that...”
Lyrica snarled. “You have no proof anything happened. Why should they believe you?”
The white mare jumped back in. “Because you’re a low-down, filthy, unwanted little floozy who can’t tell that her ‘coltfriend’ is a sneak?”
The pianist gasped. “What? Never!”
Octavia added in with her trademark sarcasm. “Oh, don’t worry, Vinyl. I’m sure she’s not innocent, herself, anyway.”
Lyrica glowered at her. Vibrant’s eyes flashed murder. Vinyl stared defiantly at him.
“‘Two at once’, isn’t that right, Vibrant?”
The stallion stepped forward again. The white mare stepped to meet him, and they scowled at each other, faces nearly touching. Next to them, Octavia and Lyrica were doing nearly the same.
“Well! Is everypony enjoying themselves?”
The staredowns broke off, and everypony gaped at the sudden arrival of Fancy Pants on the dance floor. He smiled benignly at them. Behind him, Fleur looked on in mild amusement.
Octavia became coherent first. “Yes, thank you. We were just-” She glanced witheringly at Lyrica- “discussing some things with Miss de Crescendo and her, ahem, coltfriend.”
Fancy Pants continued to smile. “Oh, well, then, I’m quite sorry to interrupt! Pray, continue your conversation.”
The four ponies looked uncertainly at each other.
Lyrica finally gave the cellist one last death stare. “Well, Octavia, we’ll be seeing you and Vinyl later tonight, at the awards. Don’t forget to hang around, to see us win!” She tittered. “Come on, Vibrant.” They made their way through the crowd, disappearing within seconds.
Fancy Pants turned to Vinyl and Tavi. “Dear me, I don’t like to judge, but those two seem... well, rather uptight. Wouldn’t you agree?”
The mare with the electric-blue mane burst out laughing, and even Octavia had trouble holding in her snickers.
“Oh, I don’t think you know the half of it...”
*** *** ***
This was a fun chapter for me... :D The festival is finally upon our intrepid heroines, and the night has only just begun!
Hey, fillies and gentlecolts! I want to explain one thing here. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but the reason I really like The Living Tombstone is that, aside from liking him as an artist, he was the first brony musician that I ever heard. That’s why I decided to do him homage, both with his OC in this chapter, and his other little references in earlier chapters. I feel that I owe something for introducing me to the fandom, as ‘twere. :)
As usual, I hope you’ve enjoyed the chapter! Leave a comment, let me know what you like, didn’t like, all that. I love the support I’ve been getting! I owe you guys. ^_^ Next update should be out in a week or so!***
“Tavi! That was awesome!”
“Heh... heh... Why... Thank you, Vinyl...”
The two were up on one of the unoccupied balconies, getting some fresh air. The night was still quite chilly, but to the two ponies catching their breath after an hour of spirited dancing, it felt wonderful. After Fancy had left them on the dance floor, the pair had been in high enough spirits to cut loose, and Octavia had dazzled everypony (including her date!) with an impressive display of hoof-work. She was seated in the snow, and Vinyl was standing next to her, nearly hopping.
“Where did you even learn to dance like that? I mean, that was great! Classy, too!”
The cellist shook her head, grinning. “Whew! I don’t recall, actually. It just... felt right.” She winked. “Perhaps it was your bad influence.”
The unicorn was ecstatic, and began to wave her hooves in success. “Alright! I knew you would come to the dark side sooner or-”
“Come, now, is there really a need for a victory dance?”
Vinyl lowered her hooves and grinned. “Do you need to ask?”
Tavi smiled and got up, linking her forehoof with the unicorn’s. “Now, now, save it for when we win!”
The DJ cocked an eyebrow sardonically. “I thought you said not to ‘get ahead of ourselves’!”
“Oh, well, now. That’s not getting ahead of ourselves, that’s just... confidence! That we’ll win. Because we will.”
“Oh, now it’s official?” The white mare smiled.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, it is.”
The two left the balcony, closing the door behind them. The upper area of the ballroom was deserted; all of its previous occupants had since joined the throbbing mass of dancers below. Outside, a few more couples lingered on the balconies, but none could see the two musical mares as they gazed at the ponies whirling about below.
“Hey, look over there!”
“Hmm? Where- Oh, there they are again...”
Lyrica and Vibrant had, after their brief encounter, retreated to their corner, and were once again gazing at the crowd with distaste. Lyrica glowered balefully at every remotely happy pony that came near her, and Vibrant’s facial expression could have been chiseled in granite. Neither looked very happy with the other, either.
“Heh.. heh.... heh heh heh....”
Hearing the malicious laugh, Octavia looked at her companion warily. “Vinyl... Exactly what are you plotting?”
Vinyl winked. “Well, you know, you didn’t let me do it before...”
The cellist looked puzzled. “I didn’t let you... what? Do what?”
Instead of an answer, the DJ set off along the balcony towards a spot above their rivals, with the grey earth pony following cautiously. When they had reached the spot directly above the two unpleasant ponies, the white unicorn motioned for her partner to be silent. Looking around, her gaze caught upon a nearby table. It had nothing on it save a tablecloth and a small candle. Removing the latter item carefully with her magic and placing it on the ground, she next lifted the tablecloth and brought it closer to her. Vinyl inspected it carefully, then nodded.
Enlightenment struck. Octavia stuck out a hoof and opened her mouth to stop her, but the unicorn had already tossed the tablecloth over the railing and was galloping furiously for the stairs. “Come on, Tavi!”
“Vinyl, you just- Oh, we’re getting thrown out!”
The DJ laughed defiantly. “No, we’re not! Come on, faster!”
The cellist began to laugh as she ran. Perhaps it was the alcohol, or getting caught up in Vinyl’s mischief, but dear Celestia, she felt good, even if they were about to get thrown out of the festival.
The two reached the stairs and burst out of the balcony, taking the steps down two at a time. At the bottom, they slowed down and strolled inconspicuously into the anteroom, passing the ice statue. Up and down the hall, formal-looking ponies who either didn’t wish to dance or were taking a break sat enjoying themselves in each other’s company. Since the pair had arrived earlier, a large buffet table had been set out, stocked high with food. Vinyl’s eyes went round.
“Look, Tavi! Look!”
“I see it! Didn’t we eat dinner?”
“Like, two hours ago!”
“And I’m hungry again!”
Octavia glanced behind them at the doors into the ballroom. No ponies appeared to be forthcoming to accost them, and she sighed in relief. At any rate, she thought, I hope it really did land on them.
She smiled. “Alright, fine, fine. Let’s go inspect the cuisine.”
The pair trotted over to the table, the cellist checking behind her again. Nothing still. When they reached the buffet, they were greeted by a smiling waiter pony with a platter cutie mark.
“Hello, ladies! What would you like?”
Up close, the smorgasbord was even more tantalizing. Muffins in every flavor stood in neat rows next to a large collection of succulent-looking fruit. Small daffodil-and-daisy and cucumber sandwiches sat on small napkins. Next to those, small souffles were placed on their own plates. On the far end waited the dessert items: delicious-looking pies in every flavor, cupcakes with multi colored frosting, smaller, individual cakes with a strawberry on top, donuts heaped with powdered sugar, and eclairs drizzled in chocolate. At the very end of the table stood another smiling pony, serving ice cream in small dishes.
Octavia immediately began to feel a rumbling in her stomach, and conveniently forgot that she, too, had eaten just a few hours previous. She turned to Vinyl.
“What shall we get? ….Vinyl?”
The DJ was gone, already by the far end of the table, talking to the pony attending to the ice cream. The cellist glanced back at the first waiter pony as he raised his eyebrows.
“That may have been the fastest I’ve ever seen a pony move.”
Tavi laughed. “That’s Vinyl... Always a slave to her stomach.”
The waiter chuckled, and gestured with a hoof at the enticing array before him. “Well, is there anything I can get you?”
The grey earth pony licked her lips and pondered. “Perhaps I’ll have... Oh, my. This all looks delicious. I’ll go with a chocolate muffin, if you don’t mind, and then move on to dessert. Thank you!”
The pony behind the table fetched it for her, placing it on a small plate. “Not a problem! Enjoy.”
Octavia took her plate in her mouth and trotted down to the end of the table, arriving just in time to hear Vinyl say to the second waiter:
“-over there. Okay?”
The pony nodded, smiling, and trotted back through a kitchen door behind him.
The cellist put her plate down and cocked her head to the side. “What was that?”
The white unicorn smiled slyly. “Oh, nothing! What’d you get?”
Octavia raised an eyebrow in question, but didn’t pursue the matter. “...A muffin. Yourself?”
“Oh, I think I’ll have... uhhhh... a donut. Yeah. I’ll have something else later.”
The earth pony gave her a look of disbelief. “Really?”
“That’s all? By the way you looked at this table, I’d have thought you’d have it halfway cleared by now.”
“Wellll.... I’m not all that hungry. We had dinner and all, right?”
“But you just said-”
“Hey, why don’t we go sit over there?” Vinyl pointed at a small table across the room, with two cushions. Around it sat a few other groups of ponies, talking and enjoying themselves.
Octavia was becoming quite baffled by her companion’s behavior. “It’s quite crowded over there. Why not down that way?” She indicated another table down the hall.
The white mare shook her head. “Nah, that’s too far to walk. C’mon!” She trotted off towards the first table she had pointed out, levitating her donut in front of her.
The cellist shook her head in confusion, then picked up her muffin again and carried over to the table. She put it down, smiled at the ponies around her, then sat across from Vinyl, who was, quite oddly, seemingly ignoring her donut. She smiled sweetly at Octavia.
“So, Tavi! Having a good time?”
The earth pony, more confused than ever, nodded. “Why yes, of course. And you?”
Vinyl beamed at her. “It’s great! I’m really glad we’re here together!”
Octavia blushed as a pony behind the DJ turned around and frowned at the unicorn’s loud voice. “Vinyl! A little quieter; other ponies are trying to enjoy their food!”
The mare continued smiling. “Oh, of course, Tavi! Sorry!” She leaned forward and gazed at the cellist.
The grey mare was slightly unnerved. “Um... Vinyl? What are you doing?”
Vinyl winked. “Gazing dreamily into your eyes. Duh.”
Understanding flowed into the cellist, and she berated herself for her blindness. She winked back, then leaned forward, mentally grinning, to match the DJ. “Oh, of course, dear.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the pony at the next table turn and start at the sight of them. She kept her straight face, not turning to look.
Meanwhile, Vinyl was struggling not to laugh. “So! Um.... love of my life... Nice weather we’re having?”
Octavia let out an involuntary giggle at ‘love of my life’, then fought her mirth back under control. “Oh, yes, quite. It is a tad cold, but I’m sure the fire of your passion will keep me-” She couldn’t finish, and buried her face in her hooves, shaking with suppressed laughter.
Vinyl kept control a little better, but her expression was beginning to shake. “Um, yeah, keep you warm. Oh look! Here comes our food!”
The cellist glanced up to see the waiter pony from before carrying a platter towards them. He set it down with a smile and a wink, then turned and trotted back to the buffet. Octavia stretched forward to see it, and sensed several ponies who had heard their conversation behind her doing the same.
On the platter was a small cake, in a heart shape. Inscribed on the top in fancy red lettering was “V + T”. It was cut into two pieces down the middle.
As soon as they had made sure of what it said, Octavia could feel the ponies behind her turning quickly back to themselves, with a ‘minding our own business’ air. Still, she could sense the whisperings going back and forth.
Checking surreptitiously behind her to make sure that all the other ponies were too busy gossiping about them, and no longer paying attention to them, she leaned forward again, this time to whisper.
“Vinyl! You clever little trickster!”
The DJ grinned. “You liked that? I almost lost it with the ‘love of my life’.”
Octavia laughed again. “That was a tad over the top. But, you just... Well, I mean, I did say that we should be more public, but this?”
The unicorn gave her a cocky look. “Go big or go home!”
The earth pony shook her head, still in slight disbelief. Vinyl continued whispering, more serious now.
“Hey. Judging by the looks of these ponies, they’re all over the place. We’ve just given them the biggest piece of gossip of the night. The fact that we’re together publicly will be all over the party by the end of the night, and all over Manehattan by morning.”
The cellist began to worry again. “But... Vinyl, what if we made a mistake? What if only a few ponies are accepting, and the rest aren’t? What if those ponies spread it and everypony avoids us? What if-”
“Calm down.” Vinyl’s scarlet eyes gazed into Octavia’s, serious this time. “We don’t care. I don’t care what they think. You shouldn’t care what they think. We’ll be fine” She grinned. “Plus, we’ll probably find out early on tonight. When we win, I bet Lyrica’s gonna throw something big at us to knock us down....”
Octavia’s heart soared. “...And by already coming out, we’ve already taken away the biggest ball of mud she had to throw. Vinyl, have I ever told you how intelligent you are?”
The DJ grinned. “Nothing I don’t already know, but thanks.”
The grey mare raised an eyebrow, then rolled her eyes, laughing. “Fine. I’ll give you this one.” She smiled tenderly. This was remarkably clever, though. And the cake was sweet.”
Vinyl raised her piece of the cake in her magic, suddenly businesslike. “I know. Let’s eat!”
Octavia bent her head and began on her own piece, not noticing the pleased blush that had spread across the DJ’s features.
*** *** ***
“-And yeah, so I told them that they could take their bananas; I didn’t need to go to the moon! And then-”
Half an hour later, the two mares were still sitting at their table. All the adjacent tables had cleared out, and they were alone, a fact which both relieved and worried Octavia. Vinyl was in the middle of a story from work when a dark green unicorn approached. She was wearing her customary black jacket, and her yellow mane fell in a natural style about her face.
Vinyl didn’t notice her at first. “-and then I grabbed a record, and just blasted it, and-”
“Um... Miss Scratch?”
“Huh?” The DJ turned from the table, seeing the other unicorn behind her. “Oh! Hey... Evie, right?”
The other unicorn’s gray eyes lit up at the recognition. “Yeah! Hey, I saw you over here and I wanted to thank you again for lending me that record! ….Thanks!”
Vinyl smiled at her. “No problem, kid. From what I saw the other night, you’re doin’ alright in the club!”
Evie blushed. “I guess, maybe. Thanks! Uh... Again!”
She looked curiously at Octavia. Catching the look, the blue-maned mare gestured at the cellist with a hoof.
“This is Octavia, my darling, and my better half. Or at least, that’s what she’ll tell you. Right, Tavi?”
The grey mare laughed, then smiled at Evie. “Indeed. Vinyl is quite wicked, a fact she seems to be proud of.” She looked at the white unicorn. “And Vinyl, did you just use the word ‘darling’? Are you feeling alright, or are we still performing?”
The DJ laughed. “Just wanted to see if you were paying attention!”
Evie’s light blush had deepened slightly at the word ‘darling’. She smiled back, then looked nervously around. The three ponies were quite alone, save for the two waiters across the hall. Noticing the other DJ’s anxiety, Vinyl sighed.
“What? Are you gonna tell me you have a problem with that?”
The green unicorn drew back in confusion for a moment, then shook her head vehemently. “No! No, not that. I have to tell you something...”
Evie stepped closer to the table, lowering her voice. “You’re the hot topic of the party right now. I don’t know what happened, but everypony is talking about you.”
Vinyl turned to her paramour and winked. “Hey, we’re the talk of the town! And later we’ll be the stars of the show!”
Octavia gave her a tight smile, but quickly focused her attention back on Evie. “And? What else?”
“Well... that’s it. They’re all talking about you being together.”
“And? And?” The cellist was on edge, ready for the worst.
Evie shook her head. “That’s all. I just wanted to make sure you knew why everypony was going to be staring at you.”
The grey mare was confused. “But... didn’t anypony condemn us? Wasn’t anypony angry?”
The green unicorn shrugged. “Not that I heard. I saw this one couple that I’m sure would have been, but they left before the word got around. Celestia, they looked uptight...”
Vinyl and Octavia exchanged glances. Vinyl spoke first.
“...Really? What’d they look like? You remember?”
Evie laughed. “Oh, yeah, I do. The mare was pretty common, I think, except for her stuck-up expression, but the stallion was ridiculous. Picture this: giant, spiked, red-and-yellow mane, with a white coat. He looked like a red-and-yellow peacock!”
The other two mares grinned at each other. Octavia spoke first.
“How about that, Vinyl? That does sound quite ludicrous.”
“You’re right. Glad we’ve never met anypony like that!”
The green unicorn took no notice, and continued. “Oh! Oh! And I remember what made them leave, too! Somepony dropped a tablecloth on them from the balcony! It was a great shot, too. Landed right on them! They couldn’t figure out what had happened, or how to get out, for at least a minute!”
The mare with the electric-blue mane was laughing harder now. “Oh... (heh)... Celestia... What’d they do?”
Evie’s grin grew even larger. “When they finally got it off, they were mad. The snooty one looked like she was ready to curse somepony out, and the stallion looked like he was going to skip the cursing and tear some pony limb from limb! They ran right by me, and I heard the hoity-toity one going ‘I know it was them! Move your fat flank!’”
Octavia glanced around. “Where did they depart to?”
“Oh, I think they went upstairs, somewhere. I doubt they’ve talked to anypony since. ...Not that they were talking to anypony before the tablecloth fell on them. I tell you, I looked at Fancy Pants the second after it fell, and you could tell he was having trouble not laughing-”
“YES!” Vinyl pumped a hoof in the air in success. Evie looked at her in confusion.
“What? ‘Yes’ what?”
The cellist gave the white mare a look, then smiled at Evie. “Vinyl just likes mischief. So, I saw you at the club the other night. You were quite good!”
Evie beamed, clearly feeling more at ease then when she first trotted up. “Thanks! Are you a musician?”
“Nope! She’s a cellist.”
Octavia pushed her with a hoof. “Silence, you! I’m a professional cellist.”
The green unicorn laughed, delighted. “You two are great!” She suddenly became excited again. “VINYL! I forgot to mention! Oh my CELESTIA!”
The older DJ looked at her. “What? You mean Tomb?”
Vinyl grinned. “I know! I saw him! I have to get an autograph!”
Octavia cut in. “Alright, you two. Might I suggest we return to the dancing? If, that is,” -she looked at Evie and indicated herself and her date- “you think things won’t be too awkward for the two of us?”
Before she could answer, however, Vinyl spoke, rolling her eyes. “Who cares? Let’s go!”
“But- but what if-”
“C’mon, Tavi!” Vinyl dragged her to her hooves with her magic, and pushed her towards the door. The three ponies reached it just in time to hear the music fade away, and the crowd hush. From within, Fancy Pants’s voice came.
“Is everypony in here? It’s time to announce the winners of this year’s festival!”
*** *** ***
Oh, that was mean, wasn’t it? Kind of like the cliffhanger from Chapter 2. Sorry! ^_^ I’m already working on Chapter 11, so don’t stone me. This was more of an interim chapter, anyway, we’ll get into the good stuff next update.
I’d also just like to state that I made myself hungry with the buffet description. -_- Will someone please send me delicious cakes? :D
And of course, all ridiculousness aside, I really appreciate the continued reading! Leave a comment! And continue being awesome!***
***Thanks for not stoning me last chapter! Here’s your reward! -Aryn***
“Tavi! Tavi! Didn’t you hear that? C’mon!”
The cellist’s heart rate had escalated. All their hard work, the rivalry with Lyrica and Vibrant, the complication of their relationship, all about to culminate in just a few short moments. Nevertheless, she managed to keep her voice fairly level. “Alright, I’m coming. How about up there, to the right?”
A small stage had appeared at the end of the ballroom, apparently set up by Fancy Pants’s well-paid and evidently well-trained staff. On either side were sets of steps for ponies to ascend to receive awards. On it, at a microphone, stood the stallion himself, with Fleur beside him. Off to the side of the stage stood a few other ponies. Most were unknown to Octavia, but the artist that had so excited Vinyl -Tombstone- was among them. He stood calmly, surveying the crowd.
The DJ was already moving. “Sounds okay! Let’s go!”
Octavia glanced around for Evie, but the green unicorn had slipped off on her own. As the pair trotted further into the ballroom, the stares of other ponies were almost palpable. No opinions were voiced, however, and the crowd did not reject them as they passed through it to a spot to the right of the stage, just as Fancy Pants began to speak.
“Thank you, fillies and gentlecolts. I must say, it has been a very pleasant evening. Are you having a good time?”
Their gracious host looked amused as his words elicited a huge cry of approval from the crowd. When he could be heard again, he continued.
“I’m delighted to hear it! Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. I know that all of you came here tonight hoping to be the pony in this envelope, and I apologize for the fact that not everypony could win. As you know, we play the songs of the runners-up during the dance to show our appreciation for them, and, by the amount of dancing I’ve witnessed tonight, they went over quite well. Am I correct?”
Another loud cheer. When this one had passed, Fancy grew more serious.
“But now, it’s time to announce those who were at the top. Please know that this was a very tough decision, and Miss de Lis and I had our hooves full. However, in the end, the winners were chosen. And here they are.”
Fancy Pants flourished the envelope in his magic, and opened the top flap. The crowd held its breath, waiting for-
The unicorn closed the envelope and winked. “Dear me, I nearly forgot to mention the prizes! Doesn’t everypony want to know?”
A largely negative response followed, along with cries of “Read it!” and “C’mon, Fancy!”
Their host smiled and shook his head. “May the crowd have its way. I’ll read the prizes as we announce winners. In third place this year- Oh, wait, something else I simply must mention.”
General groans from the audience.
“Now, now, this is somewhat interesting. We had many new entries this year, but there were two in particular that struck a pony as revolutionary. These both were well-written as well as entertaining, and both made it to the top three. In third place this year, for a remarkable mix of classical and electronic techniques-”
This was it. Vinyl and Tavi consciously moved closer together, linking forehooves. The cellist glanced around and caught sight of their rivals halfway across the room, still alone, in their own space in front of the stage. They too were on edge, hanging on Fancy Pants’s every word.
“-Oh, wait, that’s right. The prize! The prize for third place this year is... A lifetime of free meals at one of my favorite popular downtown restaurants! Le Equine Foin has been in business for many years, and was, in fact, responsible for tonight’s catering! As a matter of fact, why don’t we have their chief representative here tonight, give the award? Chef Couteau Serat!”
From the side of the stage opposite Octavia and her companion, a very large unicorn stallion ascended the stairs and approached the mic. His cutie mark was a very large knife, and his moustache was immaculately styled, just like last time.
The DJ gulped. “T-Tavi? Is that... who I think it is?”
“GOOD EVNINK, PONIES!”
“I think it might be, Vinyl...”
“Oh... I was afraid of that...”
Chef Serat took the envelope from Fancy, and pulled out the first card. He squinted at it, then looked out at the crowd.
“Ze winners for third pleze and my perzonal guests at ze restaurant ahr... LYRA-CA DE CRES-CENDO AND VIBRANT BEETS!”
Vinyl immediately tapped her companion. “We beat them by two places! Yes!”
The crowd began to applaud, masking Vinyl and Tavi’s laughter. They watched with glee as their greatest rivals trotted up the stairs, forcing smiles to show to the cheering crowd. When they reached center stage, Fancy Pants shook hooves with them, then stood aside for the Chef to give the prize.
The very large unicorn smiled and held out the award, then paused a moment. He narrowed his eyes.
“Have I zeen you two somevhere before? At ze restaurant, mebe?”
Lyrica shrank back, and even Vibrant swallowed nervously. “Oh, I don’t think so. Never been there before! Of course...”
The pianist jumped in from behind him. “Of course, we’ll have to come down now that we’ve won this lovely” -she gritted her teeth- “award.” She turned to the crowd, and forced another smile. “Thank you so much for the honor. And Fancy, dear- this party is a delight!” She tittered, and quickly trotted offstage. Vibrant, glancing at the still-confused Chef Serat, hurried to follow her. The crowd murmured.
Fancy Pants had smiled genially when the blue mare had addressed him, but his expression changed to one of minor disgust once the pair had left the stage. This was quickly replaced again with his ‘host’ smile again, and he looked out over the crowd.
“Well, then! One prize down, two to go! Now, we’ll announce these next two at the same time. I must say, they were very close when it came to the judging, but we simply had to make a decision. Now, the prizes are: For first place, the winner will receive- as every year- a recording contract with my own studio, Fancy Records. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to be the next star artist-”
Fancy paused and winked at the crowd. “-And a chance to work more with my own charming self.” General laughter followed.
“But getting back to business. Second place this year will be awarded a monetary prize of five hundred bits, and a complete makeover of their recording studio or their instrument- to give them the means to come back and win first next year.”
“So, to the winners. Fleur, may I have the last two names, please?”
The elegant pink-maned unicorn passed him the last two envelopes. The eyes of every pony in the room focused on them as he raised them high in the air, and began to pull open the flaps.
Vinyl quickly turned her head to look at Octavia. The motion caught the cellist’s eye, and she glanced at the white mare. “Vinyl....?”
The DJ, for once, had no words. In the middle of the crowd, she leaned forward, and kissed the cellist, just as Fancy pulled the slips from the envelopes and read out the names.
“And the winners are... In second place, Misses Octavia and Vinyl Scratch, for their stunning infusion of classical and modern styles! And In first, a fairly young entry that completely blew us away with a remix of The Living Tombstone’s “Like a Spinning Record”, Evie Stelar!”
The crowd erupted in cheers. The DJ and the cellist stared at each other, wide-eyed with surprise. They glanced at the stage, then back at each other. In sync, they said, “Evie?”
The green unicorn was already ascending the stairs, her face a mix of excitement and shock. As Vinyl and Tavi made their way to the stairs, still considerably flabbergasted, Evie reached center stage, and the microphone.
“Oh my oh my oh Celestia wow... Um... Thank you, everypony! Um.. Wow... this is... Thank you, Mr. Pants! I mean, Fancy. I mean, Fancy Pants!” She glanced around the stage frantically. Seeing Vinyl coming towards her, her eyes lit up, and she turned back to the crowd.
“Oh! And I need- have to- um, to thank my friend and guide who made this possible- who lent me the record that I made the remix of! Miss Vinyl Scratch!”
Vinyl stopped short, her mouth open even wider than when Evie was announced as first. Her eyes sparked with irony-filled amusement. “I... You... you used that record?”
Evie nodded ecstatically. The shock was wearing off, and the excitement was setting in. “Uh huh! I just thought it would sound good if I added a few things here, and changed a few things there, and-”
“-And it did.”
From behind them, the light gray pony with the blue mane trotted forward to stand between Vinyl and Evie. Both went immediately silent, and stared.
Tombstone continued, looking at Evie. “Fancy called me specifically to listen to your remix, and I was quite impressed. You’ve got a future ahead, if you’ll take it, and I look forward to seeing you at Fancy Records as you start your contract.”
Evie went back to looking dazed. The earth pony turned to Vinyl.
“-And as for you, I’ve heard many good things about you around Manehattan. Your song is quite well-done, and you-” He glanced at Octavia next to her- “you both should be proud. I’ve been looking for a new style to experiment with, and yours seems to be perfect for innovation. Might I request your assistance in a few of my upcoming songs?”
Vinyl blushed deeply and looked almost as stunned as Evie did. Octavia, less dazzled, stepped forward to shake the artist’s outstretched hoof, smiling.
“That sounds delightful. Thank you very-”
“This is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve EVER heard.”
The voice came from the edge of the crowd, coming closer. All on stage turned to find its source, only to see Lyrica de Crescendo climbing the stairs once more.
Fancy Pants stepped forward first. “Excuse me, Miss de Crescendo?”
Lyrica didn’t hesitate. “Shut it. You and your tramp of a marefriend over there can kiss my flank. How could you give the prize to them?” She indicated Vinyl, Octavia, and Evie. “I have more musical talent in my hoof than them!”
The host drew back in indignation. “Miss de Crescendo, I HIGHLY suggest that-”
The blue mare wasn’t finished, and decidedly ignored Fancy. She turned to Tombstone. “And you! I thought at first I’d get to see Scratch over there lose her dreams, and not get to meet you! After you picked the wretched little filly first, I thought that at least I’d have some measure of satisfaction! But no!! You had to go and partner with them, too! Well, you know what?”
She turned to the crowd, which had remained in a state of silent shock the entire time. “Would you all like to know what?”
This didn’t phase the pianist, who was well past the point of no return. “They’re fillyfoolers! Dirty little fillyfoolers! And I have PROOF! VIBRANT! Drop them!”
A noise came from above. Octavia, who had been wondering suspiciously the whole time just where Lyrica’s coltfriend was, got her answer as she glanced up and caught sight of the stallion on the upper balcony, emptying a sack onto the crowd below. Fluttering out of the bag were what looked like thousands of pieces of paper.
As the first sheets hit the floor, Vinyl snatched one out of the air with her magic and jumped. “Tavi! Look!”
It was a picture of the pair sharing a kiss outside of the cellist’s apartment. The image was quite clear, and Octavia clenched her teeth in anger at the thought of being spied on.
However, she was beaten to Lyrica by another. Fancy Pants, having caught a picture himself and witnessed its contents, didn’t bother with formalities. Tearing up the picture and levitating the mic to himself, he advanced on the pianist, speaking into it so that the entire crowd could hear.
“MISS DE CRESCENDO!”
Lyrica stopped for a moment, overwhelmed by the volume. When everypony could hear again, Fancy continued.
“You clearly have no respect for the decency of anypony. Your manners are deplorable, and you are a horrid loser. You and your- oh, look, there he is now.”
Coming towards the stage was Vibrant, presumably done dumping pictures. He had rushed down the stairs, and now was striding through the crowd, which parted before him as if he were infected with some virulent plague. He reached the stairs up to the stage as Fancy continued talking.
“-You and your coltfriend should kindly remove yourselves from this festiv-”
Fancy stopped short and considered Vibrant with a new interest. Cocking his head to the side, his face suddenly lit up in recognition, and he grinned and called to the stallion.
“Oh, -Vibrant, was it?- Don’t I recall seeing you at the club the other night? It seems to me that you were with a yellow pegasus that evening, but perhaps my memory isn’t quite what it used to be.”
Lyrica turned to her approaching coltfriend, a mixture of fear and fire in her eyes. “What is he saying? I thought you were visiting your mother!”
The white stallion shook his head. “I don’t know what he’s talking about. I would, um, never do that!”
From across the stage, Vinyl chipped in in an imitation of Vibrant’s voice. “‘Two at once’!”
“Why do they keep saying that? That’s the second time tonight!”
“Well... That is... I never...”
Fancy Pants jumped back in. “Oh! That’s correct! She was a bartender someplace, wasn’t she? Yellow coat, red mane. Fit perfectly with you.”
Lyrica’s eyes were beginning to show death for the stallion next to her, who could do nothing but shake his head in an unconvincing manner and stammer for his defense. Fancy Pants, after considering him with distaste for a moment, resumed his earlier tirade.
“At any rate, it is one thing to be unhappy about losing to a rival. It is something else entirely to invade their privacy and call them ‘dirty’. I, for one, am quite willing to bet that their relationship is much more solid than your own.”
Lyrica glanced out at the crowd, looking desperately for backup. However, all the ponies who had heard of the relationship earlier in the evening were already losing interest in the pictures, and many were tossing them on the ground. The pianist was shocked.
“But.. but... they....”
Fancy advanced one more time, bringing him almost nose-to-nose with the blue unicorn, for a final blow.
“AND, you may be assured that your prize will be rescinded. I am considering not allowing you to enter any further contests, as well. I have never seen two ponies act so infantile and petty in my entire life. Now, take your worthless selves, and please leave!”
Lyrica, soundly defeated and disheartened, turned to leave, almost bumping into the red and yellow-maned pony behind her. Seizing on a chance to retain some dignity, she began to berate her ex-paramour.
“Vibrant! Move your lousy, cheating, fat flank out of the way!”
The white stallion was about to open his mouth for a rebuttal when the entire stage went silent, reacting to one thundering voice.
Chef Serat stepped forward from where he had been standing on stage. His face was an image of wrath, and his eyes blazed. Even his moustache seemed angry.
“YOU TWO! YOU VERE ZE VUNS!”
Lyrica trembled and took a step back. Fancy Pants subtly moved back as well, to allow the chef pony a better line of sight.
The pianist glanced at Vibrant behind her, and then back at the large, angry unicorn. She began to slide to the side, attempting to escape his field of vision. The chef continued to glare at her, and Lyrica quavered under the look.
“Um.... which ones? I don’t, uh, know what you’re talking about!”
“OHH, YES YOU DO!”
Vibrant tried to smile. It looked grotesque. “Uh, I don’t think that-”
The chef pointed at him with a hoof. “YOU VERE ZE VUN WHO SAID IT! FAT-FLANK!”
Lyrica decided to take the lesser of the two evils before her, and moved behind her (now temporary) coltfriend. “Get him, Vibrant! Go!”
The white stallion had other plans, however. He swallowed loudly, and the fierce points his mane were spiked into seemed to wilt a little under the chef’s menacing gaze. He raised a hoof in front of him in a placating gesture.
“No, no, what I said was colossal, and that has a very different- ”
Vibrant froze, realizing what he’d just uttered. All eyes were on him as his mouth hung open, his face an image of the only thought going through his mind:
Serat narrowed his eyes and gave a small malicious grin. Vibrant trembled.
From across the stage, Vinyl had recovered her wits. “Oohhh, busted!”
Octavia poked her with a hoof. “Shhhh!”
However, the crowd had already picked it up. Echoes of “Oohhhhhh!” were reverberating around the room, and several members had already begun laughing at Lyrica and Vibrant’s semi-terrified expressions as the very large unicorn began advancing slowly towards them again.
Without moving his gaze from his quarry, the chef called offstage to an attendant. “JACQUES! ZE BEEG VUN!”
Evie glanced back at Vinyl and Tavi, confused. “Did he say, ‘the big one’?”
The two older mares exchanged looks, each guessing the meaning of those words. Octavia answered.
“I’m afraid so.”
Evie began to turn back, still talking. “Well, what does that mea- Oh Celestia, that’s big.”
From the shadows next to the stage, an extremely large saucepan had been thrown. The large unicorn caught it in his magic, and raised it.
“CHEF SERAT GIVE YOU VUN CHANCE TO BE LEAVINK!”
Lyrica and Vibrant opened their mouths to protest.
“But, I’ve got a perfect right-”
“Listen here, you overblown-”
“TWO!” The saucepan raised a little higher.
“Why don’t we all just-”
The pan began to come down. The pianist saw it and panicked, shoving Vibrant in front of her to block it, and jumping off the stage. She landed clumsily among the crowd, then picked herself up and began to bolt for the doorway. Behind her, the stallion (who was seriously considering no longer being her coltfriend) abandoned all remaining shreds of dignity and virility and followed her, jumping and nearly landing on a brown pegasus in the crowd. The pony leapt back with a look of disgust.
Serat bellowed and gave chase, yelling. “OHHH, NO! YOU IS NOT GETTINK AVAY LIKE ZE LAST TIME, IN ZE RESTAURANT!”
He too jumped from the stage. The pegasus that Vibrant had virtually landed on saw him coming and nearly fainted. A friend from the crowd dragged him out of the way just as the chef landed, sending a tremor through the ground. He still held the pan high in his magic, and began to chase the two out of the ballroom, still roaring. The crowd watched as all three ponies disappeared through the door to the hall.
Muffled shouts continued to punctuate the silence that reigned in the ballroom. Every eye was trained on the doorway, and all ears were straining to hear.
“-AND NO COMINK BACK AGAIN! OR I MAKE YOU INTO ZE SOUP!”
The outer doors were shut with a bang. There was silence in the hall. No pony dared breath.
Chef Serat poked his head in through the door to the ballroom., his smile wide. “OOOKEE! ZEY AHR GONE!”
The audience erupted into cheers, much to his surprise. He looked befuddled at the praise, then shrugged and smiled some more. He had left his saucepan outside, presumably in the hall with one of his waiters.
Fancy Pants turned to the musicians remaining on stage. “I apologize for the rude disturbance. At least we’re done with those two.”
Returning to center stage and levitating the mic to him again, the host calmed the crowd. When they were quiet, he made a few closing remarks.
“Well, then. Did everypony enjoy this year’s festival?”
The shout of agreement trailed off as Fancy shook his head. “No, no, you didn’t. Simply because, it’s not over yet!” We’ll have more dancing, more music, and Angevin at the bar is still serving up drinks.” The blond-maned pony waved cheerfully at the crowd. Vinyl gave a small hop of excitement at the prospect of more alcohol.
“Chef Serat is still serving gourmet treats outside, and the balconies upstairs are still quite the private location for any young couples.” He winked clearly at Vinyl and Tavi.
Octavia froze, waiting. This was it; all the ‘coming out’ before had paled compared to this millisecond. This was different; this wasn’t a few ponies. This was exhibition. Her eyes closed. Up on stage, before everypony, without the shameful antics of their rivals to distract the crowd from passing its judgement...
The cellist opened her eyes at Vinyl’s call, to a multitude of smiling and cheering ponies. She stood there, mouth slightly agape, as the applause tapered off and the crowd waited for Fancy’s closing words.
Nothing. They said nothing. No hatred, no cruel laughter, no anger...
Their host continued. “So, please, enjoy yourselves! Fleur and I cannot eat all the leftovers! And, for the love of our dear Princess Celestia, never stop making music!”
The din at this from the aggregation of musician ponies in the crowd was deafening, and Fancy smiled contentedly. He was one of the few upper-class ponies whose expensive hobby it was to help other ponies- it always made him feel excellent, like nothing else could. Seeing Vinyl and Tavi glancing at each other and blushing, he gestured to Evie.
The green unicorn came to him, and the white stallion whispered something in her ear. Evie smiled and grinned, nodding emphatically. “Oh, yes, that’s fine!”
Fancy thanked her and left to speak to the ponies in charge of the music.
Meanwhile, the second-place winners had just begun to leave the stage when they heard a quiet, yet refined voice behind them.
“Wait a moment, please!”
They turned to see Fleur, smiling kindly. “I wanted to thank you for being here tonight. Manehattan- all of Equestria- needs your example.”
The pair smiled, still in slight shock. Vinyl looked a bit confused. The pink unicorn shooed them off with a hoof. “Now go! Go dance! Have fun!”
The musically-inclined mares climbed down from the stage and began to make their way through the crowd. Halfway through, Fancy Pants’s voice came back over the microphone.
“Breaking our usual tradition of playing the song of first place winner first, with permission from Miss Stelar, we’re going to switch the order these first songs will be played in. Will everypony please clear the center of the dance floor? Except for the second-place winners, that is.”
Vinyl and Octavia looked around in confusion as a wall of ponies receded from them, leaving them in a large clearing. Without warning, a familiar melody came over the speakers.
Their eyes locked. All the gazes of the other ponies were focused on the two mares in the middle as their song began to play, but those two had eyes only for each other.
The DJ extended her hoof formally. “Could I have the honor of this dance?”
Octavia smiled and took the hoof.
*** *** ***
Hey, fillies and gentlecolts. Take a look at the description. Does it say ‘complete’ yet?
That’s cause it’s not. ;)
We’re close, though. (Can you say ‘epilogue’) Anyway, a few things to mention:
-I tried to make this ending pretty obvious. I mean, there had to be a happy ending, but of course our favorite heroines couldn’t win- that would be too cliche. I think a lot of you guessed what was going to happen, and I’m okay with that!
-I made Tombstone’s OC pretty classy and eloquent here. I don’t know if that’s how he talks, or how his OC should talk, but it seemed to fit, so I wrote his dialogue like that. Sorry if you know different. D:
Was everyone pleased? LET ME KNOW! Leave a comment, send me a message, etc. Love you guys! Hold on for one more week!***
Chapter 12: Epilogue
“Ugh... where in Celestia’s name am I...”
Lyrica de Crescendo froze as she rolled over. Truly; where was she? This wasn’t her bedroom...
The blue unicorn flopped over again to see that she was laying on her couch, in the main room of her apartment. Her coffee table was a mess, and there were empty cartons of ice cream everywhere. The carefully stacked magazines she usually kept stacked there were tossed against the wall in a heap.
Wait. What were the ice cream containers doing there? Lyrica considered them carefully. There was a dirty spoon next to them; a casserole spoon, larger than a regular-size utensil. She glanced down at herself to see ice cream stains on her coat. She must have eaten all this ice cream last night-
With the force of a cyclone, the memories of the previous night came flooding back to her. Lyrica collapsed back into a huddle on the couch, and cried. She cried for her failure, she cried for her humiliation, she cried for her love, her-
No. Her hate. Her loathing. She cried harder, remembering the wretched discovery of Vibrant’s treachery. She cried for her own blindness and loneliness. Here she was, with no pony to comfort her. It had been her and Vibrant against the world; she had turned everypony else away, ridiculed them, exposed their flaws and their inadequacy, and took pleasure in their pain. She hadn’t needed them; she had a coltfriend. She was rich, and talented, and no pony else was as good as her.
But then her carefully-laid world had crumbled. Her relationship with Vibrant became more forced as time went on, more focused on baiting and arguing than on themselves. Perhaps he had been like that all along; perhaps Lyrica had just been too blind to see it. It had started with meeting Octavia and her fillyfriend in the restaurant, and escalated all the way up until last night, where, after being forcibly ejected from the festival, the mare had reached the end of her rope with the stallion. Standing in the snow outside in the street, with no pony else around, she had said,
“I can’t believe they threw us out like that! How could they not see that we were the best?”
“I don’t know, Lyrica. Maybe it was your insane ranting, your cursing, or your complete lack of tact.”
“Shut up, Vibrant! Why didn’t you help me?”
“You didn’t need any help acting the fool!”
“And you the coward!”
“Did you see that chef? He was twice my size!”
“In more ways than one, I’m sure!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Lyrica stopped herself and felt that she was approaching the edge of hysteria. “Celestia, Vibrant, what happened? To us?”
“What the bucking hell are you talking about?”
“No! Don’t talk like that. You used to be different, you used to be less angry, less harsh. What happened?”
Vibrant chuckled without humor. “I’m quite the actor.”
Lyrica felt the first rays of actual doubt creep into her. She had been an actor herself, earlier, to retain her dignity by berating Vibrant in front of the crowd, but she had assumed all along what Fancy Pants had said to be false.
“What.... What are you saying?”
“Damn, Lyrica! Are you this dense?”
Anger. “I’m not dense! I’m trying to save a relationship!”
The white stallion grinned, again without humor. “Relationship? Oh, Lyrica. This was a mutual partnership; something of use to both of us. You got a strong, handsome protector, to help you in your asinine plans, and to help you make your song. I got... well, my pleasures.”
Lyrica’s body was numb, and not from the cold of the snow still collecting around her. She felt the black hole inside her, the last solid facet of life crumbling. The night could not get any worse.
At last, she managed to talk. “You... you used me?”
Vibrant looked incredulous. “Seriously? After you spent all of our time together bossing me around? Calling me a foal? Insulting me when I couldn’t do things fast enough, or well enough?”
“But... That wasn’t all of the time...”
“It was close enough.” The stallion considered her, then, as an afterthought, added, “Don’t worry. You weren’t the only one.”
That was it. That was confirmation. “...Fancy Pants was telling the truth? Earlier?”
Vibrant made a face like he had tasted something unpleasant. “That foal? Damn him. And those irritating fillyfoolers... You hated them, too.”
“But were they telling the truth?”
Vibrant turned and began to walk away from her, down the snowy street. “I’ll tell you what, Lyrica. You go your way, and I’ll go mine.”
Lyrica gasped, and shouted after him. “You cowardly little lowlife piece of SCUM!”
The night after that was blurred by her misery. Lyrica had always been harsh to Vibrant, and he back, but she had always believed him to be true to her underneath. Now he was gone, and so was everything else in her world.
The pianist turned over on the couch again, away from the ice cream containers and the heartache. She faced into the cushions.
A short time passed. Gradually, Lyrica cried herself out, and her spell passed. Vibrant’s influence began to diminish as her self-esteem raised a tiny bit. It was as if her body was tired of being miserable, and had decided to regard the stallion’s dishonesty as unimportant.
Raising her head, she glanced around, and gathered her resolve. Getting to her hooves, she used her magic to carry all of the containers to the trash. As an afterthought, she threw out the spoon, as well. She restacked the magazines, and was trotting out of the room to clean herself up when her piano caught her eye. She quickly washed her coat off, then returned to the room. Eyeing the piano, she crossed to it, and, using her magic, picked out a few chords. The sound encouraged her, and she played a little more. She began to improvise a quick song, a quick, aggressive song, that channeled her feeling. She was free, she was herself again, she had the power to do whatever she wished, she didn’t need him, she didn’t-
A noise came from the small box by her door. Lyrica glanced over to see the intercom on; it was one of the ponies working on the bottom floor of her apartment building.
“Miss de Crescendo?”
The blue mare scrambled to reach the intercom, almost falling. “Y-Yes?”
“There’s a unicorn down here to see you. Wants to know about piano lessons, or something.”
Lyrica glanced around, her mind whirling. She didn’t usually do lessons, but she needed something, something to raise her confidence. The money would come in handy, and it was something to occupy her time, since she no longer-
She choked back another flow of emotion. No. She didn’t need that. Besides, maybe the client would be a handsome stallion. No need to think about anything else.
“Send them up, please.”
The pianist released the intercom button, smiling to herself. See? Things were already looking up. She glanced around the room, making sure everything was in order. It was close enough.
Then her eyes happened upon a mirror. Oh, Celestia... Her mane! It was atrocious, and that client was coming! Hurriedly, she snatched up a brush from across the room with her magic, galloped to the mirror, and began brushing furiously. She heard the sound of approaching hooves, and brushed faster.
A knock. Lyrica glanced around desperately. “Hold on, please!”
The knocking stopped, and the unicorn heard a quiet, high voice from outside, with a bit of fear. “Oh, I’m sorry, Miss de Crescendo! I didn’t mean to disturb...”
The blue mare stopped brushing, and lowered it slowly. That voice...
Hearing no reply from the other side, the voice continued. “Um, Fancy Pants recommended you. I wanted to learn piano, to help with some of my music. I told him that you looked really uptight and that you might be upset with me, but he said that he didn’t think you were yourself, and that you were really a very good pianist, and-” The voice cut off, cognizant of what it had just said. Quieter: “Oh, Celestia! Now I’ve blown it...”
Lyrica, all thoughts of her mane banished, approached the door slowly. She knew she should check the peephole, but her magic seemed to turn the knob of its own accord.
The door opened to reveal a dark green unicorn with a black jacket and gray eyes. She looked timidly at the pianist, who looked back in utter confusion. Is she here to laugh at me? To rub her victory in my face? Lyrica prepared for the worst.
Evie hesitantly extended a hoof. “I don’t know if you remember me, but my name is Evie Stelar. I heard your song after you, um, left last night, and I admired your playing. Could you teach me to play like you?”
The blue mare was dumbfounded. She opened her mouth to respond, but couldn’t say anything. She tried again, but still nothing came out. Helpless, she gestured with a hoof for Evie to come in. The green unicorn trotted in cautiously, then turned back to Lyrica, her eyes lighting up.
“Oh! I almost forgot!” Using her magic, she pulled out a small purse from a pocket in her jacket. “I have money in here, to pay you for lessons. I got a lot for the, uh, record contract-” she gulped fearfully at having mentioned the festival again- “and, um, I can pay you well.” In her nervousness, she opened the purse the wrong way, and a few bits fell out, along with a scrap of paper.
Mechanically, Lyrica helped her pick up her things, still not trusting herself to say anything. She had no idea of how to act in this situation. Her magic found the piece of paper, and unconsciously, she brought it up to her face.
It was a picture of a fairly large stallion, with the same gray eyes as Evie, and a coat a slightly darker shade of green. His mane was a very, very dark orange.
Seeing Lyrica inspecting the picture, Evie rushed to explain. “Oh! That’s my older brother. He’s a guitar player. I have his picture, and he has mine.”
The blue mare liked what she saw. She finally found her voice.
“Evie, dear, I would be quite happy to give you piano lessons. Come along here, we’ll discuss your music and what you would like to learn.”
The green unicorn, evidently feeling better now that Lyrica was talking, smiled tentatively and went to sit on the couch. The pianist turned.
Things are looking up, she thought as she closed the door.
*** *** ***
Across Manehattan, another door closed. This was the door to Vinyl Scratch’s flat, and it closed behind herself and Octavia as they entered.
The pair, after the end of the festival (and a large number of further drinks), had returned to Octavia’s flat, radiantly happy. They had stayed the night there, and awoken late in the morning. After a breakfast of French toast (so reminiscent of all that time ago, when Vinyl had threatened to eat the cello), the grey mare had uttered a few dreaded words:
“Well, I suppose we had better get over and attempt to clean up your flat...”
Vinyl had nearly choked on her breakfast. “What? But we won five hundred bits! Let’s just hire somepony!”
Octavia shook her head good-naturedly. “Let’s save that money, for now. At the very least, let’s go over and have a look at how bad it is, hmm?”
“Do we have to?”
“You know the answer to that question as well as I do.”
The DJ swallowed her last bite and gave up. “Alright, fine. Let’s go see it again.”
“Come on.” The grey mare had pecked her on the cheek and made ready to go.
And now they were standing in the entrance hall, looking down it into the living room. The mess already looked bad, and they could only see a few feet of it.
Vinyl tapped her companion. “Quick! If we leave now, we don’t have to look at any more of it!”
“Now, now, it’s not.... that... bad... oh, my. Is that the lamp you used to hit Vibrant?”
The white unicorn looked, and then nodded, grinning. “Uh-huh! That was a good shot!”
“That it was! It’s also a fine mess, however...” The grey mare trotted further down the hall and kicked a piece of the lamp with a hoof. It skittered off into a corner of the room.
The room truly was a wreck. Not many things were unbroken, and the shattered pieces of everything else were scattered over every possible surface.
The DJ followed her companion in and glanced at the wreckage. Deciding to disregard it, she climbed over it to reach her refrigerator across the room. Once there, she opened it with her magic and inspected the contents, finally selecting the same carton of milk she had drunk from the night of the fight. She finished it off, and then turned to the trash can. Realizing there was no point, she glanced at the state of the room, and tossed the carton haphazardly in the center.
“The room’s bad enough without you tossing garbage around it!”
“Awww, come on. It doesn’t even make a difference.”
Octavia sighed, and crossed the room carefully to her. She looked around, and shook her head.
“Vinyl, you know....”
“You may be right. We’re never going to get this cleaned up; it looks like somepony tossed a bomb in the window.”
“Oh! Oh! Let’s go back to your place, then!”
“Why would you say that? Are you admitting that mine is superior?”
“No! Never! Maybe!”
The cellist laughed. “My flat is neater. Therefore, it is better. If only it was larger...”
Vinyl stuck her tongue out. “Mine has me in it, so now it’s better.”
Octavia looked at her and rolled her eyes. “Oh, very mature.”
“Yeah, yeah. Know what else isn’t mature?”
“This!” Without further warning, the DJ leapt at the grey mare, catching her around the middle and tickling her.
“What? No! (heh) Vinyl!” The cellist backed up, with the unicorn following her, pressing the attack.
Suddenly, Octavia tripped on an overturned table and fell backwards, landing on her back with her hooves in the air. Vinyl fell as well, and landed on top of her.
They froze. Deja vu was prevalent.
“Do you remember a few weeks ago? When we were on the way to that concert, and fell over in the snow, just like this?”
Octavia’s heart soared at the memory. “Yes, yes, I do. That was quite... pleasant.”
“You know what?”
“If we were outside, there would be so much snow in your face.”
The cellist groaned and rolled over, knocking the DJ off. “Honestly? That’s all you came up with?”
Vinyl giggled and poked her. “Come on, Tavi. You know I love you!”
“Ugh. Anyway, about your flat... You can’t stay here. This is deplorable.”
“That’s okay by me! I’ll stay with you some more.” The DJ winked at her.
“Well, I suppose, since we’re all over Manehattan publicly, it couldn’t hurt to-” Octavia stopped.
“‘Hurt to’ what?”
The cellist didn’t respond at first. She stared out a window, clearly reaching a revelation. Vinyl waited.
Suddenly, the earth pony snapped back to earth. “Vinyl! How difficult is it to move the recording things you have in the back?”
The DJ laughed. “Well, since I never really screwed em down, not hard at all. But why?”
“Don’t you see?”
“We won five hundred bits. We both make a fairly steady income, and we have an equipment makeover waiting for us!”
“So that’s it! We’re already public, we’re in love, let’s move in together! Let’s get a new flat, together! We can sell this one cheap, as it is. Let somepony else clean it up. Mine will go for a little more, and we can save that. ”
Vinyl’s brow furrowed as she considered this. It wasn’t something she had ever thought of; it had always seemed to her like they’d continue in their way forever. This was a change.
“So... Live together? All the time?”
“Yes!” Octavia’s eyes were bright. Vinyl could see her planning it all out in her head. “We’ll go shopping for a bigger, better apartment! Pay for it with the prize money! We’ll set up the recording equipment there, and make it better with the makeover we won!” She sat down amid the chaos in the room and grabbed the DJ’s forehooves in her own. “Do you see? No pony cares if we live together any longer! We have the world in our hooves!”
Vinyl was starting to see it. She sat down as well, and grinned. “And we can get a huge, king sized bed, and sleep all day if we want to, and then we can get up, and you can make breakfast-”
The cellist gave her a look. The unicorn laughed, blushed, and started over.
“-I mean, we can make breakfast, and then we can play music over our new sound system, and...” She trailed off, thinking of it.
They sat like that for a time, happy in each other’s company, thinking of the future.
*** *** ***
“Tavi! Tavi! Did you see this?”
“Hold on, Vinyl! Come out here!”
A week had passed. The pair, acting on their plan, had been from apartment building to apartment building, looking for their ideal place. They hadn’t found anything perfect... until now.
They had already been to two other buildings that day, and found them somewhat lacking. Now, they were in a large-scale, fairly high-class apartment building, for their last planned visit of the day. They had been shown to a vacant flat on the top floor, and been left alone to inspect it (a bad idea with Vinyl, but the owners didn’t know that, yet).
The apartment was wonderful, with everything they needed: a large living room, a kitchen for Octavia (correction: Octavia and Vinyl) to cook in, a spacious master bedroom with a plush, king-sized bed, and two sizable guest bedrooms, perfect for setting up their recording equipment. The price was hefty- (a little more than the previous apartments)- but the cellist knew they could make it work.
The apartment was, after all, beautiful. But there was one final factor that Octavia wanted to investigate before deciding: the roof.
They had been told when they were shown up that top-floor tenants had the privilege to occupy the roof when they wished. The grey mare badly wanted that all-around view of Manehattan, and so urged Vinyl to come out of the apartment and into the hall so they could go up.
“Wait, did you see this? Look!”
Grudgingly, the cellist poked her head back into the apartment to see the DJ playing with the drapes in the room. They were remote controlled, and raised and lowered on their own. Vinyl was enchanted with making them go up and down again and again.
Octavia grinned, shaking her head. “Come on, you. Trust me, no matter how many times you press the button, the shades will still go up and down.”
Vinyl made a face at her. “Stop ruining my fun!”
“I’m sorry. Well, not actually, but can we go up on the roof, now?”
“Fine...” The unicorn stuck her nose in the air and strutted past the cellist, pretending to be angry. The earth pony smiled and poked her in the side with a hoof.
Vinyl jumped. “Hey! Tender area!”
Octavia giggled. “Let’s go, you.”
They started down the hall towards the door that led to the roof. None of the other tenants of the floor had been around when they had been shown up to inspect, and none appeared now, but as the pair passed one of the doors, the sound of piano music floated out to them.
Vinyl commented. “That’s not too bad! I wonder who that is.”
The cellist nodded in agreement. “Indeed; we shall have to visit them.”
“So is this it? Are we moving in here?”
“Let’s see how the roof is, first.”
They reached the door at the end, and pushed it open, leaving the (somewhat familiar) piano melody behind. Climbing the stairs beyond, they could feel the cold beginning to assert itself.
“Ugh! When is it going to get warmer? I’m sick of this!”
As the two emerged on the roof, they were silenced by the breathtaking view. It was late in the evening, and the sun was just finishing setting. All of Manehattan was laid out below them, with a few higher buildings behind them. The street lights were lit, and they could just barely see ponies in the distance on their way home from various places, or perhaps on their way out; whether to dinner or other entertainments. It may have been loud down below, but on the roof, the silence was immaculate.
Without speaking, Vinyl and Tavi trotted to the edge. The snow was light, but as the cellist had just remarked, spring was right around the corner. They watched as the last few slivers of the sun began to sink below the horizon.
Finally, Vinyl broke the silence. “...Tavi?”
“Mmmm?” The cellist moved closer to her paramour, snuggling herself to her.
“Are we going to choose this apartment?”
“I think so. Do you?”
“Yeah. It was great, and this view.. maybe we could just come up here sometimes, and sit? Just like now.”
“Mhm...” The earth pony murmured contentedly. They sat in silence for a little longer.
This time, Octavia broke the quiet. “You know, ponies may think we make quite an odd couple.”
Vinyl looked at her curiously. “Maybe. But would you want us any other way?”
The cellist shook her head immediately. “No. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
“And now that we’ll be living together, all the time, we really will be a real couple, won’t we?”
There was no need for an answer, and they both knew it. Octavia kissed Vinyl deeply as the sun vanished completely over the horizon, and darkness fell about the two lovers, who sat in their own light.
*** *** ***
***Author’s (final) note: Going to be a long one, sorry. xD
Dear Celestia, that felt odd to type. After the six or more months I’ve spent working on this, it feels very weird, almost wrong, to end it. But this particular tale is over, and I hope you enjoyed the ending. ^_^
Speaking of the ending... I did not anticipate the flow of sympathy for Lyrica! I had never really considered her too closely, but as I read the comments, I realized that she did get taken advantage of, a little. So I tried to give her a happier ending here. I hope you guys thought it was fair; and I hope that Evie’s final appearance surprised some (if not all) of you. ;)
But overall, happy ending is happy.
A couple of final, closing things:
-If anyone knows what book the quote “You go your way and I’ll go mine” is from, you are my hero. I hope someone out there has read it. :)
-Here’s something... I’ve already had one person ask if they could make a song, using the fic’s title. My answer is, go for it! If anyone out there is a musician, and wants to try their hoof (hand, sorry) at creating what they thought Vinyl and Tavi’s song (or any of the others!) sounded like, I encourage you to! If you would be so kind as to send me a link, I intend to continually update the end of this note with a list of links, for future readers, so I can add it here. :D
-Last thing from you guys: I can’t tell you how much I love all of you. Being that this was my first serious fanfic, I’m blown away by the amount of support I received for it. Thanks, to all of you. I know several people who have been following and commenting from the beginning, and I love them for it. You guys are the best! <3
That being said, I have one more (tiny!) favor to ask of you. 1)What did you think, and 2)Where should I go next? Send me a message, drop me a comment, email me, whatever you would like, with any comments you have, or any suggestions as to what you want to see next. Should I do Mane 6 stuff? Daring Do? Whatever! :D (I’m open to all suggestions besides clop and grimdark).
And if you don’t want to leave anything, that’s fine, too. I thank you for reading, and for coming along with me for this ride. It’s been a wild one. See you around. :)
Signing out for the last time on Mixing Relationships,
EDIT: First track! By cadeyyz. Link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUVBNw_I_LU&feature=plcp
[a]I read your whole fic from early this morning to just now and I absolutely loved it. If this is your first fic then you deserve alot of praise because it was very well written and I did like your choice in Lyrica's ending. Where to go next I can't say because the possibilities are endless for you. Your a very skilled and talented writer and personally I would go where your imagination feels the most comfortable or expressive. I can't wait to see what you come up with next : )