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52w, 5dVinyl Scratch/Octavia
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54w, 1dVinyl and Octavia
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Vinyl casually swilled another gulp of her drink, her sense of fulfilment only becoming more complete by the moment. Of course, while alcohol has rarely been considered a functional vector for gaining spiritual peace in general pony society, Vinyl had always found it to be an excellent relaxing agent. It dulled down her fervent miasma of thought into an enjoyable trickle that unveiled itself to her at a much slower and more manageable pace.
It was because of this new state of mind that she failed to notice the barcolt’s repeated attack runs on her vicinity, swooping down on nearby tables and claiming their abandoned glasses. Each strafe drew closer than the last, and they were finished with a fervent glance over at the pair. The barcolt had managed several of these passive assaults before Vinyl finally noticed the attention she and Octavia were receiving. She stared down the barcolt as he moved to assail the table adjacent to her and Vinyl, causing him to cough lightly and cloak himself with a polite smile.
“Good evening, ladies. I hope you’re enjoying your night?”
Vinyl shrugged, displacing Octavia for a moment. Octavia had fallen asleep on her shoulder, an understandable idea given the trials the day had brought to her. Octavia rarely enjoyed the sensation of being involuntarily awoken. The fact that the method employed this time was a not-so-subtle jerk of the shoulder from Vinyl hardly aided her disposition to being woken up.
“Yeah, apparently Octy here was too.”
“Shu...silence, you. Are we still in the bar?”
“Yeah, you’re normally meant to walk home before you hit the hay.”
Octavia slid off Vinyl’s shoulder, propping herself on the table in an attempt to stay alert.
“You could have woken me sooner, or at the very least, in a more graceful manner.”
Vinyl shrugged once more, mirroring Octavia’s pouting expression for good measure.
“What can I say? You looked so peaceful, and I enjoyed the silence.”
Octavia’s pouting passed beyond Vinyl’s ability to mimic, her brow narrowing into an irritated glare. It was the same glare Vinyl had once told Octavia she enjoyed thoroughly. It furrowed her brow into delicate, little lines framing her fiery eyes as she continued to glare. The barcolt had, meanwhile, been watching with his jaw slightly ajar, hoof raised in the air pointing at the pair.
“You’re the two fillies from the story, aren’t you? I remember you two little lovebirds from the night Butters visited!”
“Oh Celestia...we’d prefer not to discuss this matter, good Sir.”
“Yeah, Octy didn’t like the fact she was on the receiving end of your buddy’s tuba joke, mate.”
Octavia buried her face in her hoof, groaning as she rubbed her face.
“Oh, I’m very sorry about that, ladies. I just enjoy reading her works. All of them. The one with you two is most likely the premier so far, definitely her most popular!”
Octavia was face down on the table, moaning her words into the beer-stain encrusted wood.
“So which one is this, again. So we know which copies to burn?”
“Oh, it’s, ‘The Cellist and the Charlatan,’ from Issue fifteen...released on the fourth of Mare...went gold three days later. Why you’d want to burn it, I’d never understand!”
“You have a worrying memory for something private, yet based on events that have never actually occurred.”
The barcolt shrugged, maintaining his now somewhat unsettling grin as he did so. Octavia hadn’t seen him blink yet. She was certain ponies physically couldn’t withhold blinking for this long.
“Well, you must admit that it was an extremely interesting story, at the least.”
“It was the creation of the piece in its entirety that I disliked. Again, I’d really like not to discuss this matter, so if you’d please, mister barcolt.”
“That was an implication that you should leave. Now.”
The barcolt took a step back, remaining still very much in range of the pair’s speech. Octavia found the resulting silence extremely uncomfortable, prompting her to turn back to the awaiting barcolt with a furious glare in her eyes.
“Can we help you at all, sir?”
The barcolt idly pawed the ground with a hoof, staring at a point just below Octavia’s space on the couch.
“I was just wishing to say, I knew you two would be great for each other the moment I first saw you both. It was so adorable the way you stared into each other’s eyes. You’re my waifus, you two.”
The barcolt ejected a dreamy sigh from his lips, staring wistfully up towards the ceiling.
“Well. As flattered as we are, we’d enjoy some...privacy, if you’d please.”
The barcolt leapt back to attention, his already fairly effeminate voice tinged with soprano levels of pitch.
“Okay, I’ll be just over there if you need anything at all. Anything.”
Octavia and Vinyl watched as the barcolt scampered away to the bar, still glancing in their direction between serving customers.
“Well, that stallion is quite...”
“Creepy? I’m thinking creepy, Octy.”
“What is a, ‘waifu,’ anyway?”
“I think it’s that stuff ice-cream cones are made of.”
Octavia sighed, sipping some of her now-warm wine, before spitting it out into the glass as casually and discreetly as she could manage. Warm wine was as enjoyable as warm ice-cream, in her eyes.
“You know what, have you finished your drink yet, Vinyl?”
“Yeah, I finished it before you woke back up. I got kinda bored with nopony awake to talk to.”
Octavia turned away from the still-omniscient barcolt back to Vinyl, trying to pierce the shades she had decided to wear again that night. Octavia secretly despised the glasses, they made it extremely difficult to gauge Vinyl’s thoughts, as though she were hiding from something. She felt that, perhaps, breaking them would be a considerably fortunate accident. As long as Vinyl didn’t feel too attached to them, that was.
“Well, I’m finished. The barcolt is unveiling an aspect of his personality I find disconcerting, and I’m very tired. What say we go home now? I’ve had enough fun for the night.”
“What...we’re going home now?”
“Yes, I don’t really want to stay here.”
“As in both of us?”
“Unless you want to stay?”
Vinyl shook her head, nearly displacing the shade from her snout.
“Just...uhh, are we going home...together?”
“Well, again. If you want to.”
The statement hung on the edge of Octavia’s lips, causing Vinyl to grin. Though Octavia couldn’t see into her eyes, she could see right into Octavia’s. She had to admit to herself that she liked what she saw. Invitation admonished by uncertainty, a look that made Octavia’s eyes sparkle in a most alluring way.
“If you insist, madam Octavia. I suppose I will have to take you home like a gentlecolt would.”
“How chivalrous of you. Let’s go then, just...try to avoid eye contact with the barcolt.”
Vinyl stepped in behind Octavia, finding her eyes drawn to the cutie mark on her flank as she trotted in her wake. Octavia glanced over her shoulder, a less irritated expression than she expected catching Vinyl’s attention.
“When I say, ‘don’t look at the barcolt,’ I don’t mean stare at my rump instead.”
* * * * * *
The decision having been made en route to their destination, Octavia found herself following Vinyl into her flat, carefully treading over a secondary carpet of DJing magazines and old glowsticks. She made to sit on the couch, but noticed her intentions impeded by a disarrayed assortment of vinyl records, pop tart boxes, and record player parts. She gently brushed the detritus to the side, before comfortably resting herself on the sofa.
Since Octavia had mentioned her sudden pangs of hunger during the walk home, Vinyl wandered off into the kitchen to organise some food. Alcohol made a habit of draining her stomach, it seemed, and the organ often attempted to compensate with yet more food. Not often a clever idea, but the situation normally presented itself when Octavia was not in the mental state for clever ideas.
Vinyl’s couch, while hardly being an exemplary sample of furniture - or, at the very least, well kempt - was extraordinarily comfy due to the fact each of the springs inside it had broken through age. This resulted in an almost beanbag-like effect where Octavia found herself sinking euphorically into the depths of its suede comfort, until she resembled an aristocratic prairie dog.
Vinyl finally returned from the kitchen, a swarm of teacups and toast in her horn’s aura. Octavia would normally complain at the notion of eating jam on toast like some sort of pre-school filly, but, at that moment, she was far too famished to complain to any degree.
The record player parts and other paraphernalia were delicately raised from the couch in a haze of magic, and placed on a side cabinet with an almost reverent level of care. Octavia stared at the pile, chewing on a piece of toast with a thoughtful expression on her face. She finally finished the piece - and several more - before she found her mouth available to perform other, less nutritious tasks. One such task was breathing, the other being speech.
“Why the pile of record player parts? Did you get bored and attempt to destroy them?”
Vinyl held up a hoof, furiously working her jaw to chew the toast, before swallowing. Octavia had to admit a level of contentment that at least some of her more gracious ways were wearing onto Vinyl’s composure.
“Well, course I broke ‘em at first. It’s the only way I could get to the parts.”
Octavia’s outstretched hoof wavered over its position indicating the pile of parts, as she tried to understand the intentions behind the actions.
Vinyl’s magic grasped the parts in a grey aura, levitating them under their mutual muzzles. She brought each item forth one-by-one as she spoke, waving them in front of Octavia’s eyes to give her a closer look.
“This part here is an anti-crackle filter, keeps the records playing more cleanly. This one’s a multi-purpose deck for all different sizes of records, this part here is for anti-vibration when the record’s playing, ‘specially when you’ve got a banging bass nearby. A higher grade stylus here to catch the music better, and a high-grade magic board for running it all. Oh, and I took the case from this one...because I thought it looked cool.”
Octavia’s jaw slackened at the tsunami of unsuspected knowledge. While she was normally able to process unexpected situations fairly coherently, alcohol is a substance well known for its ability to confuse such thought coherency. In fact, some could argue that was the entire reason anypony drank it in the first place.
“Well...I see you’re getting fairly in-depth with this. I never knew you to be the technical expert, Vinyl.”
Vinyl waved a hoof at Octavia in a modest manner, swatting the compliment out of the air.
“Nah. Record players are easy, just an analogue circuit with a small pre-amplifier to boost the signal out through the phono. Wiring stereo’s a pain in the rump, but it gets sweet results. Trying to get an amp up and running is a lot harder, trust me.”
“Again...you have a lot more knowledge on the subject than I expected.”
Vinyl chuckled, her hooves free, and her toast had long been consigned to the place in the sky where toast goes after it vacates this world. She dusted the crumbs from her hooves, and found a convenient gap in a nearby pile of cereal boxes to sit her plates on top of.
“I’m a DJ, if I can’t get a decent setup built for myself, what good am I? Kinda like how you build your own cello, right? A lot of guitarists build their own instruments.”
Octavia nervously poked her own cello case, suddenly aware of how little detail she had afforded to it in her thoughts. It was simply a machine that fulfilled its intended purpose, nothing more or less.
“I received my cello as a present on my birthday. Most musicians I know simply have one made for them.”
Vinyl’s eyes lit up, her mouth gaping into a genial maw.
“You’re kidding? Building your own stuff is half the fun! You get to spend forever tweaking it until it’s perfect, and it sounds just right for you. I woulda thought you’d be all over your cello like that.”
“I just...let it play. Tune it, and that’s it.”
“Ah, obviously I take far more care and attention in my profession, Miss Octavia.”
Octavia snickered, before realising that she was in fact snickering, and instead turned her mirth towards a falsetto laugh. Vinyl’s lips quivered as she attempted to hold a poker face, before they reached their resonant frequency and shattered apart, allowing deep, heaving laughs to break through.
“Oh, Vinyl...you really are a kidder.”
“I was serious.”
“Shut up, you.”
Octavia playfully cuffed Vinyl around the ear, who jerked away from the hit in mock pain. She rubbed the, ‘sore spot,’ signalling her hurt feelings with a firmly pouted lip.
“Octy, that wasn’t very nice. You’ll have to kiss it all better, now.”
The sly wink Vinyl had attempted was turned to a confused blink midway through the motion as Octavia cuffed her again, slightly more forceful this time than before.
“Hey...if I told you I liked it when you hit me, would you stop?”
Octavia held her hoof in mid-air, musing over the question with a contented smile on her face. She hesitated a moment, before cuffing Vinyl again, lowering her hoof to defer towards a sly wink of her own.
“Well, I would consider that you would be a very strange mare to enjoy such abuse. But I already know you’re a strange mare.”
“I prefer not mainstream, much more flattering.”
“But of course. If hitting is the only thing you enjoy, I don’t know how far we can go before I have to bludgeon you with your own record player.”
Vinyl locked her eyes with Octavia’s, trying her best to maintain a coy expression.
“Oh, there are other things I enjoy too. But I think you’re kinda familiar with them after that night.”
“On the contrary, I can’t remember a thing about that night. You may need to...re-educate me, if it’s not too much of an effort.”
Vinyl smiled, leaning in closer to Octavia and whispering in her ear.
“Just one warning, though. I like teaching through demonstration, if that’s okay with you.”
Octavia blushed, coughing into the sole of her hoof in an attempt to hide it. She giggled, before being whisked away by the hoof as the lesson began.