The sun broke slowly over the window sill that let light into Octavia's kitchen. Although it was just dawn, Octavia herself sat at her kitchen table sipping coffee. She tried not to drink the substance unless she had a concert, but she had not slept well the night before and needed a pick-me-up. All night she had been plagued by visions of Vinyl, depressed, livid, and in pain. Every time she closed her eyes, she had seen those sparkling ruby eyes of her new friend in pain. The images of holding the DJ after the cart had injured her haunted her mind. She had thought that after so long being alone, she had made a friend, only to be the death of them.
She pictured Vinyl, her leg twisted at an unnatural angle, her skin bruising and bleeding in places, and her glittering crimson eyes closing slowly. It was a disturbing thought which caused Octavia to break out into shakes again. The whole night and much of the day before had been the same way once she had returned from the hospital. She told herself that Vinyl didn't need her, that she had just been angry, that she was just joking about her life. Anything to ease the thought that her talented new friend could be out on her own right that moment, freezing in the icy winds and bitter cold of the city. Once she finished her coffee, Octavia had decided she had to take action.
Grabbing a thick wool coat from her closet, she bundled herself up and prepared for a long journey. She had absolutely no idea where to start, so the hospital was her best option. On the way there, every nip and sting of the chilling wind reminded Octavia of the terrible thoughts of Vinyl Scratch alone in this weather. She hadn't been watching were she went, causing her to run straight into a brown stallion. When she stood up, she looked back at the colt. He looked to be a little nervous, but he minded his manners nonetheless.
"I'm so sorry, miss. I wasn't watching where I was going. Are you alright?" The colt asked, genuinely worried. Octavia grabbed the envelope that had landed on the ground and hoofed it back to the stallion.
"I am fine, thank you. I wasn't aware the mail workers had anypony besides Derpy covering this area, are you new?" She inquired, causing the colt to chuckle slightly.
"No, actually I am Derpy's coltfriend. She's off with my daughter right now, and I had to make an important mail delivery," the brown earth pony replied. Octavia nodded understandingly.
"Oh, so that must make you Doctor Whooves. A pleasure to meet you, Doctor," Octavia said as the Doctor bowed his head slightly.
"Pleasure is all mine. I'm afraid I must run, I have a very important letter for a friend of mine who is down on their luck," he said as he started away. Before he made it through the door to the hospital, he heard the grey mare call his name. Turning around, he raised his eyebrows questioningly.
"Doctor, by chance, would you happen to know a mare with electric blue hair, white coat, goes by Vinyl Scratch? I only ask because I know your marefriend surely delivers mail to her. Doc's jaw nearly hit the pavement at the mention of his friend.
"Yes, of course I know Vinyl. Actually, this is her letter. Who might you be? I do feel as though I've met you before. . ." The Doctor said.
"Octavia Philharmonica. I met Vinyl the other day and was there when she had her accident," Octavia explained. The Doctor couldn't help but shake his head in disbelief.
"Oh, Miss Octavia! Yes, of course! I remember Vinyl mentioning she had some engagement with you before this terrible accident? Actually, this envelope is regarding her bills," Doctor Whooves explained. The thought of the papers caused both of their stomachs to knot up.
"Oh? I'm glad she managed to pay them off. I can rest easy knowing she will be alright," Octavia said, but her statement was punctuated by the Doctor Shaking his head. "Is something wrong, Doctor?"
Might as well just tell her. . . "Well, you see, Derpy is Vinyl's landlord. Now, as much as I love Vinyl, she has taken advantage of Derpy's kindness a few too many times, so I prefer to deal with her. She gave me this letter yesterday evening when she. . . She moved out. She left all her furniture and paid the overdue rent. I tried to get her to stay, I truly did, but she wouldn't have it," the Doctor explained. He hung his head at the memory that he couldn't convince his friend to stay any longer.
Octavia was more than shocked at this turn of event, though she had thought it may happen. She had dreaded this reality. "So you are telling me she moved somewhere else after paying her medical bills?" She asked.
Doctor Whooves just shook his head again, his brown mane tossing back and forth. "I'm afraid not, Octavia. She had barely enough food to eat for a day, let alone move somewhere else. She's probably out looking for work right now," he said, causing Octavia's stomach to lurch. Her worst fear had been confirmed. Her new friend was out there, alone, hurt, and freezing. As much as she'd like to believe that Vinyl was somewhere nice and warm where she could make enough bits to live comfortable, Octavia knew all too well that it was difficult to survive when nopony had helped you make a name for yourself.
"Doctor Whooves, is there anything you else you can tell me? Could you show me where she lived?" She pleaded, to which the Doctor answered with a nod.
"Let me just give the nurses her payment and I'll take you back to her apartment," he said, his voice catching as he remembered the last time he had spoken to the DJ. "Well, what used to be her apartment, anyways. . ." It was clear to Octavia that the Doctor had obviously been close to Vinyl. The way he hung his head and spoke of her as though there had been some great betrayal did not make Octavia any more assure that her friend would be okay. The Doctor disappeared inside for a few moments, giving Octavia plenty of time to pace nervously. When he returned, Octavia's head perked up immediately.
They walked in silence with both of them hardly looking up from their hooves. The wind pulled at them, as if trying to pull them into the street. When they arrived at the apartment building many minutes later and the brown colt unlocked the door to what used to be his friend's home. Inside, everything remained the exact same as he had left it. After Vinyl had left, he took it upon himself to start preparing her furnishings for sale. The television sat on the table with a couple of lamps while her large speakers sat on the floor. They had been much too heavy for the pony to lift and far beyond heavy enough to break the legs on the old table.
Octavia looked at the cramped apartment with disdain. It was clearly not the most pleasant living arrangement, and if Vinyl could hardly have afforded to stay there, things were even worse than she had believed. The Doctor spoke up behind her, saying, "She didn't leave much. Just told me to sell the stuff she left behind and she'd be back for any bits later. It sucked to watch her go after such a terrible accident, but she was only trying to help us. . ." Octavia shook her head again, still trying to comprehend why her friend would just leave all her belongings behind.
"So she just left all of this to be sold to whoever wants it?" The Doctor just nodded in confirmation, causing Octavia to nod. She had made up her mind about what she would do now.
Not an hour before, a white coated unicorn had woken from a rough sleep to find herself in the cold. Her memory came rushing back as she tossed her mane. Oh right, I gave my apartment to go live my dream of being homeless. Bucking awesome. What the hay am I supposed to do now? Vinyl rose shakily and tried to stretch as best as possible. It was beyond difficult with a cast on her leg, and she nearly fell over. She glared at the clunky covering with contempt. She glanced toward the door and the glint of sunlight told her that it must at least be morning. Vinyl hadn't slept much that night, as sleeping on a cold wooden floor while wrapped in a stage curtain was far less comfortable than sleeping in her broken bed.
As she grabbed her backpack and tossed it onto her back. With a bit of difficulty, she managed to lift her music player out of the sack with magic and plug it into her ears. She shuffled slowly to the unlocked door to the club and opened it. The wind whipped quickly into the room, causing Vinyl to shiver. She had forgotten all about the wind recently. Unhappily, she pushed herself out the door and pressed play on her music player. Boulevard of Broken Dreams began playing in her ears. Oh, how ironic. . . That's just bucking hilarious, Celestia. What did I do to deserve this? Vinyl thought to herself. However ironic the random song might have been, she couldn't pull herself to change it.
Slowly, she pulled herself along the sidewalk, planning her next move. It was at this time that Vinyl discovered she had absolutely no idea what do to now. I'm unemployed, homeless, injured, and lost. Figures that I never bothered to learn my way around this city and now it's coming back to bite me in the flank. Trotting and dragging her bound leg lazily behind her, Vinyl set out to explore the town before the cold got to her. After several minutes of painfully stumbling around the streets, she found herself next to the pizza place from the night before. Swearing under her breath, Vinyl cursed the cold. Her strength was gone and the pain in her leg told her she couldn't keep going.
I'll just rest a second in the alley and then be on my way soon. Maybe I could head over to Octavia's place, I bet she'd know where I could find a gig. . . Vinyl thought as she sat herself down against a wall in the alley. I need to apologize first, though. Sheesh, I was a bitch back at the hospital. . . Her weariness had caught up to her and her thoughts were fading fast. Soon enough, the DJ was curled in a ball in the alley, fast asleep.
When Octavia reached the club where she first met Vinyl, she realized the door was closed and there were no lights on inside. Obviously Vinyl wasn't working, which made finding her all that much more difficult. Where else could she have gone? Octavia wondered to herself as she walked sluggishly away from the club. Well let's see. What do I know about Vinyl? She's a DJ, she likes to wear her sunglasses all the time, she likes pizza. . . Pizza! That's who I can ask! Octavia took off running towards the nearest pizza parlor, praying to the princesses the whole time that she would find Vinyl there.
After about two minutes of running, Octavia burst from the cold into the stuffy restaurant. Gasping for air, she managed to gasp out, "Vi. . . Vinyl. . . Vinyl Scratch. Have you. . . have you seen her?" The confused mare behind the counter just cocked an eyebrow at first, followed by a shrug.
"Saw her last night. Prolly means she won't be back for a week or so. Poor filly just won't give up on that silly DJ dream of hers. . ." The yellow mare told her. The insult to Vinyl was like a slap in the face to Octavia, and it took all her strength to fight back the urge to spout obscenities at this rude mare.
Begrudgingly, Octavia thanked the store owner and trotted back outside. The wind immediately began it's violent assault on her once more, it's shrieks pulling at her ears. Octavia attempted to turn herself away from the biting cold and a slight sound caught her attention. It was ever so slight, causing the grey mare to strain her ears searching for the noise. It sounded like the faint screech of a guitar riff. Strangely, it didn't sound as though it was produced by an actual guitar, but something more electronic. Loud headphones perhaps.
Her curiosity piqued, Octavia tried her hardest to find the source of the noise. She found herself pulled to the edge of an alley before giving up on the chase. You are supposed to be looking for Vinyl, not some random sound! Get it together! Octavia told herself with a light facehoof. As she began to turn away from the alley, a white ball caught her attention. Cocking her head to one side, Octavia noticed an eight note Cutie Mark on the ball's side. Her heart caught on her throat as the realization hit her. The ball was Vinyl as well as the source of the loud music. Dashing as quickly as possible to her friend, Octavia threw herself around Vinyl.
For a split second, she only felt the joy of finding the white unicorn, but the feeling of cold quickly hit her. She pulled back from the bundle of white fur and touched her friend tentatively. Vinyl was far below normal temperatures, meaning she had been in the cold for quite some time. Octavia began to panic and resorted to shoving the DJ, yelling in her ear, even slapping her with a hoof. Nothing seemed to rouse the sleeping mare. The grey cellist knew her new companion would die out here without help, and she knew how to help.
Struggling under the limp pony, Octavia managed to get Vinyl onto her back. She certainly wasn't strong enough to do this for long, but the underfed pony was certainly lighter than she had initially guessed. Trudging with each step, the cellist slowly but surely managed to haul her friend out of the alley. Turning in the direction of her home, Octavia made it about thirty hooves or so before tripping. She landed roughly on her chin as Vinyl's limp body rolled off of her back and onto the freezing sidewalk. Biting back a curse, Octavia scooped up the DJ once more and began again. This time she made it almost to her home before collapsing.
The pony may have been light, but Octavia was not overly strong either. Sweat rolled off of the grey earth pony as she gazed at the unconscious form of her white friend. For the first time ever, Octavia pushed herself far past physical pain. For the first time ever, it wasn't just for herself, it was for Vinyl. After she pulled Vinyl's cold body onto her back, she slowly made the final steps to the condominium. The weight of her friend bore down on her like a great burden, but Octavia managed to unlock the door and pull them both inside.
Dropping the DJ roughly onto the couch in the living room, Octavia herself collapsed next to the pony. The journey had truly worn her out and as much as she wanted to lie in her own bed, she knew she didn't have the energy to go that far. Giving up on the thought, Octavia just curled up next to the freezing pony, attempting to warm them both. Soon enough, the earth pony drifted off to sleep. A glorious sleep, the first Octavia had enjoyed since meeting Vinyl, but Octavia would gladly do it all again for her only friend in the whole world.