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The air in the room had suddenly become so tense that it could be cut with a knife. Octavia stared at Neon with such heavy intensity it was a wonder the stallion hadn't burst into flames. As oblivious as the pink party-pony could be at times, even she could easily read this situation. She quickly and quietly made her exit, leaving the two ponies by themselves.
"Oh good, she left. That means I will not have any witnesses for what I am about to do," Octavia snarled.
"Octavia, I-" Neon started. He would have continued, if the pregnant mare had not suddenly closed the distance, a hoof to his throat.
"I should end your pathetic existence where you stand, you selfish, heartless monster!" Octavia yelled, a small film of tears appearing along her eyelids. To her shock, Neon did not object or fight.
"...Go right ahead," Neon said simply.
"...What do you mean by that?!" Octavia asked, very much confused by the very uncharacteristic introversion the stallion was now showing. In fact, something about him didn't seem right at all. His mane was unkempt, his face covered in a darker shade of fur than the usual light blue, and massive bags outlined the undersides of his eyes.
"Don't you see, Octavia? Since that night, my life has completely gone down the drain," he said. "I'm no longer allowed to perform at the bar where we had our 'incident', Poly left me, and it only got worse from there..." he said. Octavia backed off for a moment.
"Speak. I had better hear nothing but the truth," Octavia warned, her voice threatening enough to send even the most hardened Royal Guardscolts scurrying off in terror. Neon straightened himself out as best he could, clearing his throat.
"Well... after Poly and I went our separate ways-"
"I am certain you mean, 'she left me because she caught me cheating on her'," Octavia corrected, vitriol all but apparent in her voice.
"...Right," Neon said. "After... that happened, I tried to work things out on my own. No big deal, I've survived on my own before, I can do it again... or so I thought," he said. "Turns out that Poly went around and told every bar and club about the stunt I pulled back there, and I've pretty much been blacklisted from every club, restaurant, bar, and dance hall in Canterlot. They see me as a liability and somepony who will cause them more damage than bring in bits," he said. "I broke her heart... and she was the one who was supposed to keep me from going crazy after Vinyl left me... I was convinced- wholly and truly convinced that I was going to spend the rest of my life with her," Neon chuckled, a fresh wave of tears making its way to the surface. "Then... something happened. The fire faded, the magic died... and the next thing I knew, she was leaving me. I was so hurt that... that I only thought of hurting her as badly as she did me... and I did," he finished, shaking his head. "I didn't just hurt Vinyl... I hurt Poly too... and boy did she hurt me bad," he said, making a noise halfway between a laugh and a sob.
"Serves you right for what you did," Octavia said bitterly. Neon then continued.
"It didn't end there... not only did I get blacklisted in Canterlot, but now I can't get work anywhere!" he said, half-laughing. "I... I can't believe how utterly stupid I was," Neon said, looking at his hooves. "It wasn't until I woke up one night in a gutter, bleeding out of pretty much every hole in my head with no where to turn that I realized something. I'm a scumbag. I'm a low-down, dirty piece of garbage that quite frankly, doesn't even deserve to be in the same room as you right now. What I did that night, was something nopony should ever do. I'm not here to apologize, because I know you won't forgive me. I'm not deserving of such a luxury... but I do want to start back on the right path," he said, staring Octavia straight in the eye as he said this. "I'm not asking you to believe me, or to forgive me... I just want this chance. I want this chance to do right by not just me... just saying I'm looking for redemption would be selfish. I'm doing this for Vinyl. I've done nothing but screw her over since the day I met her," he said. "I've been a horrible coltfriend, I've been a horrible partner... and I've been a horrible pony overall for what I've done..." Octavia blinked in surprise as a new sound filled the room- tears hitting the tile beneath them. She looked over at Neon, noticing his form had shrunken significantly... and tears were running down his face. While the stallion had done nothing to rectify what he had done, and she still held a great deal of anger for him, she had been raised differently.
If ye see another pony hurtin', do yer bes' ta comfort 'em... ya never know- they may become yer bes' ally in a time o' need,, Octavia thought, remembering one of her father's many life lessons. Octavia made a tentative step towards him, but froze as he began to speak again.
"I thought I was over her..." Neon said, looking up and away from Octavia, not bothering to conceal his tears. "I sincerely thought I had moved on, and that I would be perfectly okay to see her with somepony new, not to- to do what I did!" he exclaimed. "I couldn't handle it... I couldn't handle seeing her with another pony. When I saw how happy you two were together, something inside me- something told me, to destroy it. 'If I couldn't have it, neither could she,' I thought. 'It isn't fair, why does she get to have the life I wanted!?'" he yelled. He then looked at Octavia. "...and Poly, I- I can't- I can't stop thinking about her! I- I hurt her bad, Octavia, I can't believe I hurt her like this... what was I thinking!?" he asked himself as the tears continued to flow, the question hanging in silence for a few moments.
"You really love this mare, do you not?" Octavia asked.
"I do... I can honestly say I do, and I threw it away over a petty grudge, only to end up with nothing!" Neon said, trying desperately to stem the flow of tears, but nothing worked. "She was the one... she was the mare I was destined to be with, not Vinyl... I was too blind to see it, and now it may be too late..." His soul had been laid bare, and it was at Octavia's discretion to tread lightly... or crush him completely.
"It is never too late," Octavia said softly. "If she truly means that much to you, then I am certain you will find a way to make this right, no matter the cost... just as you are doing right now with me," she said.
Neon was speechless. After all that had happened, after everything he had done, Octavia had still found it within the kindness of her heart to offer words of encouragement to the stallion. He simply hung his head, covering his face with his hooves as he wept. After a short while, he wiped his face and spoke. "I... I'm so sorry, Octavia... I genuinely and truly am. I can understand if you never forgive me for this, and to be honest, I know I wouldn't forgive me... but please, give me this chance. Give me this chance to do at least one thing right by Vinyl..." Neon asked, sinking to his knees. "Please... I'm begging you for this, Octavia, I've used what little money I had left to get here to do this," he said. Octavia felt a pang of sympathy for him... one she never expected to have.
"How... how do you intend to get home?" Octavia asked.
"Home? Hah!" he laughed bitterly. "After what I did? Do you really think I could go back to the apartment I shared with Poly? I can't even think about her without wanting to shrivel up and die! I don't have a home!"
... He's homeless... the poor stallion lost his home because of all this, Octavia thought, unable to even fathom not having somewhere to come home to everyday. No job, no marefriend, no home... as bad as what he did was, nopony deserves this.
He then took a deep breath to calm himself, and began again. "... It's Vinyl's and your wedding day tomorrow, it's a momentous, extremely special day for you two. I want to support her through this! I want to help you give her the day I never could... and as for Poly, I'm going to go find her, and even if she doesn't take me back, I'm going to tell her everything I told you today... but I wanted to do this first," he said. "Please... give me this chance..."
Octavia sat in silence, pondering her decision. Neon's heart pounded in his chest, the tension once again becoming palpable. After about five minutes, Octavia opened her mouth to speak. "...Fine. You can be the DJ tomorrow night..." The wave of relief that washed over Neon almost overwhelmed him.
"U-Understood, Octavia... I promise you won't regret this. I swear my life on it," he said. "...and please, don't tell Vinyl I was here. I... don't want to upset her..."
Octavia nodded curtly, and Neon quickly scampered out of Sugarcube Corner. Octavia let out a heavy sigh, still absorbing everything she had just heard. He would not have made so much effort to come here with what little bits he had left if he did not mean it, she thought. I can only hope that you stick to what you have told me, Neon...
"...Why didn't you tell me Neon showed up?" A voice said softly from right nearby, abruptly interrupting her thoughts. Octavia looked around, and felt a chill run up her spine when she found Vinyl sitting on the ground near the entrance to Sugarcube Corner, tears running off her cheeks and into the dirt beneath her.
"Vinyl, I... I had no idea you were right outside," Octavia said, immediately taking a seat next to Vinyl. She wrapped a foreleg around her, pulling her into a close embrace. "How much did you hear?"
"All of it... every last word that came out of his stupid mouth!" Vinyl yelled, her emotions having been thrown for a massive loop. "I want to believe him, but I- I just-" she let out an exasperated grunt, burying her face in her hooves. "WHY DO I FEEL SORRY FOR HIM!?" she yelled, unable to comprehend what she was feeling.
"I... I do not have an answer Vinyl, I just cannot believe how far he has fallen because of this," Octavia said, gently carressing Vinyl's shoulder with a hoof to calm her down.
"I can't help but feel like this is somehow my fault! I- I knew he had dated mares that treated him like trash before me, and- and I promised him that I wouldn't do that to him... I didn't think it would turn out like this," Vinyl said, burying her face in Octavia's neck.
"Vinyl? Is everything alright?" Bonbon asked, appearing from behind the open door to Sugarcube Corner, Lyra right behind her with grocery bags. They immediately set their things down and closed in on Vinyl.
"What happened? Is she okay, Octavia?" Lyra asked, very much concerned.
"Physically, she is fine... emotionally, not so much," Octavia explained as she continued to comfort Vinyl.
"We saw a stallion running down the street a few minutes ago... do you know him?" Bonbon asked.
"Y-Yeah, I do..." Vinyl said.
The four mares sat in Vinyl and Octavia's living room, Vinyl sipping a cup of hot cocoa that Octavia had made her to calm her down.
"Wow... that's quite the story, Vinyl..." Lyra said, trying to take it all in.
"Well, it must mean something that he came all this way riding on all he had left in the hopes that you'd give him a chance," Bonbon reasoned.
"I did give him the chance. I can only hope that he meant what he said and that he intends to keep his word," Octavia said, positioning herself so that Vinyl could lean against her. She felt a small twinge of pain, but brushed it off.
"I just wanted to be friends with him... not for this to happen," Vinyl said softly. "He was such a great pony... and I did exactly what I promised I wouldn't..."
"You shouldn't beat yourself up about this, Vinyl. You had no idea this would happen," Lyra reasoned. Octavia shifted again, feeling a bit more pain, but thought nothing of it.
"I mean, if he got bitter because you wanted to end it with him, that's all on him, right? If I wanted to break up with my colt-friend because we weren't connecting or things were just fizzling, then I think that if he goes nuts after that it really isn't my fault," Bonbon said. Octavia shifted again, this time pushing Vinyl off her.
"Octy, what's up? You keep shifting," Vinyl pointed out.
"I am not sure... I keep getting pains, and they keep- ugh!" Octavia groaned, feeling a powerful pain shoot through her abdomen. "V-Vinyl... something is happening..."
"What? What's the matter?" Vinyl said, immediately sitting up. "What are you feeling?"
Another powerful pain shot through her abdomen, forcing tears out of Octavia's eyes. "I... I think the foals are coming..."