The sun over Equestria was hovering at it’s its peak, Dash's daylight fleeting and she hadn't spotted the forlorn filly yet. She had narrowed her search down to the safest patch of wood out of ponyville without having to cross the entire town again from the crusaders' clubhouse. It had to be where the young pegasus had gone before. Rainbow Dash found herself flying lower than recommend in order to search under the thick branch layer. So far into her journey she hadn't found anything of significance, a few common hoof prints from various travelers, a burned out fire and a piece of gold lined cloth. She studied the patch closely; it hadn't been affected by the elements yet so it must have been discarded recently. She considered for a moment and decided to take the lead, cutting a left on the road and heading toward Manehatten as fast as she could while watching closely.
Before long 2 familiar bouncing shapes came into view, Dash pushed ahead of them and stopped, cutting off the remaining crusaders path.
"What are you doing out here? I told you to stay back in town."
"No, y'all said tah tell our sisters wha' happened, an' we did jus' that. Now we're gonna fin' our friend." Applebloom replied, getting a glare in response.
"Girls, this isn't one of your crusades, you could get seriously hurt out here. You need to go home, right now." she motioned for them to turn around.
"Not until we find Scootaloo!" Sweetie Belle called out.
Dash sat and placed a fore hoof on their shoulders, "I'll find her, but I can't have you two wandering around out here, you'll get hurt. Trust me, I'll bring her back."
"Ya promise?" Applebloom asked.
"Pinkie Pie promise, but only if you two get home."
"Fine, come on Sweetie Belle, let's go" the two reluctantly obeyed and began down the path toward home, if they kept a good pace they could return before the sun set. Rainbow Dash watched them leave until they were out of view and turned to resume her journey.
She arrived at the outer edge of the surprisingly modern city shortly after, the sun was just making its way downward and she could spend the day high above the streets in search of the familiar purple maned filly. It wouldn't be easy in a big city but it was all she had to go on.
Before she had gotten long into her trip she felt the familiar sensation of her growling stomach reminding her that flying all day without food could end badly. Ignoring the thought to just keep searching she landed and chose a small building among the countless others where she could get a quick meal. Coming up to the small restaurant she stepped inside, not unlike those in ponyville there were a few tables scattered about with various types of city ponies eating quietly at respective tables. A few sat empty with remaining scraps left over from previous visitors. Dash grabbed a newly cleaned table in the corner, she lifted the menu and picked out a simple sandwich and water, she didn't have time to waste with the complex menu. The waiter brought her food out and chuckled at the sight of yet another apparent country pony at his table for the afternoon. He shrugged it off and returned to work.
Dash took her sandwich hungrily and made quick work of the delicious treat, relaxing for only a moment after, she found her mind wandering on its own. Accounting the last two days, more had happened in them than most of her previous adventurous encounters. She thought about Scootaloo, if she had been led to the city then she could only imagine the filly wandering alone through the busy streets, alone and heartbroken... And it was all her fault, Scootaloo could die out here and it was her fault. 'No! I can't think like that. I'm going to find her.'
She laid her payment on the table and bolted back out the doors, she had to find the young fan before night came and the city turned into a very dangerous place. Dash had never experienced the danger first hand but working with weather ponies from other areas left her with little to imagine, the stories were brutal, weather stallions from the city coming across mares in the early mornings, a few lucky ones would survive. She felt her wings beat harder, her speed increased and her eyes darted through the streets with focus she normally saved for extremely high speed flight.
* * * * *
Night was falling, her heart was racing faster than usual as the realization set in, she wouldn't be able to search over night, it was far too dark to inspect the streets clearly. Her mind reeled at the thought of leaving the filly alone here, if she was indeed in the city alone she may not fair well. Rainbow Dash could only hope she was elsewhere, deciding it was best for her to grab a room and wait for morning. The city's complete lack of clouds narrowed her options to one of the many apartments. Luckily one close to her offered overnight rentals. Parting with a few of her remaining bits she was lead to her room, situated on the 3rd floor, room 304. Small and sparsely furnished it was more than enough for her likely sleepless night. She walked to the nearby window and gazed out and down the street toward a setting sun hoping Scootaloo would be alright come morning if she couldn't find her.
"And here we are, Casa Dé Scratch. Well, one of them at least." The DJ pushed open a door to a suitably sized apartment that looked as if it was abandoned long ago. Room 404 in a cheap building it was one of her many randomly scattered residences. Having made more than enough money during her prime days she kept them rented, just in case.
"You have more than one house?" Scootaloo asked with an uncertain tone.
"They come in handy... sometimes."
The filly pushed her way inside and inspected the main room, there was nothing outstanding about it, a small couch and some chairs. To the side looked to be a few amps and spare cords Vinyl had most likely forgotten about long ago, and a modest view over part of the city. The apartment was a cheap place she kept rented for special occasions and this was by any standard a fairly special occasion.
Vinyl shut the door and watched the younger pony as she made her way around the apartments small rooms, her mind fell into its own fit of exploration. Scootaloo had only a day prior been homeless and had her dreams crushed by some ego-centric star who sounded to have her head too high in the clouds to know how important she was to a child. The DJ felt her normally manic grin fade; she caught herself and shook the thoughts away, just because she had made mistakes as a filly in the city didn't mean she couldn't stop it from happening to the lost pegasus. Drugs ran through the streets freely, she had made the mistake with them long ago, while she was able to keep away from them at a young age her night life as Equestria's most popular DJ in her later years tended to leave her finding very... creative ways of releasing her stress. This came on more than a few occasions into tricking a mare or stallion home for a fix. It was shameful, something Scootaloo could never know about. She needed a role model, and Vinyl may not have been the best option, but it was better than leaving her to the monsters living alone tended to bring out.
Satisfied with her walk around Scootaloo returned to her newly found friend.
Vinyl felt the filly's gaze and looked back to her through the colored glass of her shades. She led the orange pony over to the couch and took a seat, resting from the long walk. Although she was well accustomed to long journeys the younger of the two was exhausted from the trip to the city. Laying in a pile on the large couch she relaxed and turned her attention to her new friend.
"So what's with the sunglasses?" she prompted the electric maned mare.
"Wow, you are the persistent one." she put a hoof to the rim of the glasses and thought for a moment, "I have had these things since my first days as a DJ, a gift from a friend long long ago." She paused in thought again. Something about the filly seemed to leave her thinking more than usual.
"So why wear them all the time?"
"I dunno, never thought about it, I guess it was to remind me of her back then, she was kinda my hero. I just got used to having them on. And here we are, wore them every day since I can remember."
"I guess that makes sense." she rested her head on the couch and unintentionally fell into a deep sleep. Much to her own confusion her dreams were once again filled with Rainbow Dash. This time her idol had pulled her from a near lethal fall, the filly found her wings useless, limp at her sides, her throbbing head confused her. Dash struggled to remain airborne as Scootaloo lay across her wings awkwardly; it looked like they were trying to escape something. She lifted her aching head from Dash's cyan coat to watch a large dark hoof slam into her former hero's side. She watched in horror as the duo fell limply into a forest below.
"No!" she cried out, her wings flapped instinctively and she toppled off the couch where she had rested. Regaining control she lifted herself from the floor, pushing the nightmare from her head. Vinyl kicked open the door to the next room, a record caught in her magic spinning wildly over her, a weapon of mass irritation if needed. Seeing the filly laying on the dark floor she released the record, forgetting to stop its motion first it imbedded itself in the soft wall. She trotted over to the filly and took a seat by the window, gazing out and down the street at a dark sky.
Scootaloo couldnt shake the image of Dash from her head. Even after her cold denial she was still drawn toward her. She hardly noticed Vinyl sitting beside her, just watching out the window at the stars. The same stars she had spent so many nights sleeping under alone. It was different now, she had always hoped Dash would take her in, but instead she had the white DJ. The mare had taken her in without question immediately, truly caring without persuasion. She grinned and leaned against her friend, thinking about her life, short as it was.
Vinyl felt the filly's head resting against her side and carefully maneuvered her head to glance down without being noticed. No pony could see behind the dark shades as her eyes began to moisten, her own faults behind she was certain now, Scootaloo would stay with her. She needed to settle down from her past anyway, having abandoned the alcohol and drugs far prior her life was turning around. The thought of loosing the new friend was able to bring out emotions she hadn't felt in many many years.
"Hey Vinyl..." the filly asked almost inaudibly.
"The one and only." she replied with a calmer tone than normal as to not ruin a moment.
"Do you ever miss your friend? The one who gave you your sunglasses?"
Vinyl thought it over for a moment before replying. They had gotten caught up in a pretty swift falling out long ago, one she wasn't willing to recall the details of. "You know, I guess I do... Things probably could have gone better. We had a pretty rough end."
"I think I miss Dash, maybe. I don't know."
"Makes sense, it's not in our nature to run, but it’s nice to have options, even if she never knew how you felt. Maybe you should tell her sometime."
The filly simply nodded in response and continued the watch outward. The DJ resumed her position of quiet thought as well. They sat and contemplated their respective past, Scootaloo's being much shorter but no less eventful in its own right.
Carefully she lifted a blanket from the couch with her magic and draped it over the two, silently watching out the window. Feeling as if their troubles were mere feet away and yet farther than ever.