Vinyl Scratch whistled to herself, a jaunty and upbeat tune that matched the slight bobbing of her head and pattering of her hooves on the hardwood floor. The sunlight filtered through the windows of the small music studio she shared with Octavia on the ground floor of their Ponyville home. On one side, Octavia’s cello and music stand stood in proud isolation, surrounded only by a few small piles of sheet music left on a table or even on the floor, victims of one of Octavia’s manic inspirations. On the other side, separated by an invisible no-mare’s land, was Vinyl’s domain dominated by her mixing board, speakers, lights, and enough winding cables and wires for a pony to get lost in. The problem, of course, was that she was in here and the large, unwieldy, and rather heavy pile of equipment she had just hauled back from her most recent show as out there. Carefully, she lit her horn and seized hold of it, wincing a little from its weight.
Her tongue stuck out of the corner of her mouth and her brow wrinkled in concentration as she channeled her magic through her horn to cradle the pile of equipment that she was currently trying to angle through the door. “C’mon, c’mon,” she muttered, walking slowly backwards while the precarious stack of speakers and other digital detritus floated obediently towards her. A frustrated growl escaped her as the very edge of the floating pile bumped into the edge of the doorframe, coming to a stubborn halt. “You got out this door and you’re gonna come back in it,” she said aloud.
With a highly focused effort of will, she caused the levitating gear to slide a mere centimeter or two to the left and resumed pulling it into the house. “Haha! I am victorious!” she said with a grin. That grin disappeared as her back hoof suddenly found itself tripping over something. “Whoa—“ she yelped even while she tumbled to the floor. The sudden distraction of the impact caused her attention to shatter and with it the light of her horn extinguished. “Fuck me with the moon!” she spat as she hauled herself back to her hooves and trotted over to where her stuff had fallen. First inspection looked promising: nothing had cracked or broken, since her stuff fortunately hadn’t fallen very far. One lone speaker, however, had tumbled off into the part of the room belonging to Octavia. That was the first piece she recovered, floating it back off the floor to rejoin its brethren. When she moved it, however, Vinyl’s breath caught in her throat. Underneath its bulk was the bow that accompanied Octavia’s cello, except now it was in two pieces. Vinyl swallowed hard, staring at it in horror. Admittedly, she wasn’t an expert on classical music or its instruments, but she was 100% certain that it was supposed to be whole, not in two pieces.
“Oh, I’m fucked. I’m fucked. I’m fucked,” she repeated like a mantra, trotting in panicked little circles. “Tavi’s gonna be mad. She’s gonna be so mad.” Her brain raced on autopilot, leaving behind all capacity for rational thought beyond the fact that her marefriend was going to be mad and that that was a bad thing. Finally, her uncontrolled thoughts hit on the only thing that seemed to offer salvation; She can’t be mad if she doesn’t know. Grabbing the broken halves in her telekinetic grip, she scuttled off to the kitchen and shoved them down into the trash can, making sure they were covered up for good measure. “Crisis averted. Now I just have to get her a new one from the store before she tries to play again, which won’t be till tomorrow afternoon since she’ll be home late tonight. It’s good. It’s all good.” She gulped. "At least, I hope it's good."
“Vinyl, what the hay?” Octavia demanded. She dropped the broken bow on the ground before her and pointed a single grey hoof at it, as if she really needed to point out the source of her ire. “I distinctly remember that not being broken when I left this morning.” She glared at Vinyl. “Do you have anything you’d care to say?”
Vinyl looked at the bow. She looked back up at Octavia. Then the bow once again. What should I say? What can I say? For good measure, she looked back up at Octavia one more time. Okay, step one: apologize. Apologizing is always good. “Uh, I . . . sorry?” she offered meekly.
Octavia snorted, eyes narrowed. “That bow cost me three hundred and seventy-five bits, Vinyl. You’re going to need to try a little harder than ‘sorry.’ You could at least explain to me how you were able to break something you shouldn’t even have had your hooves on in the first place, and why I found it shoved down in the rubbish bin instead of being told about it.”
Vinyl drooped, as if she subconsciously wanted to melt into the carpet and disappear. Even the sharp angles of her manecut practically looked like they were shrinking. Staring into Octavia’s eyes, Vinyl felt like a deflating balloon. Don’t make her mad, don’t make her mad. She swallowed hard and reminded herself to put on a brave face. “It was just a stupid accident, Tavi, I swear!” she stammered. “I was trying to move my into the room and I kinda, uh, lost control and dropped them down while they were floating over your pile of music books that the bow was sitting on.” A sickly grin crossed her muzzle. “It was just a stupid accident, right? You aren’t gonna, uh, hate me or anything are you?”
“Hmmph,” Octavia snorted with a toss of her mane. “And as for finding it in the rubbish bin like a candy wrapper hidden by a guilty foal?” she continued her interrogation.
“Oh, uh, yeah. That.” She clopped her hooves together anxiously. “I kinda didn’t want you to see it and get mad. I was gonna go buy another one from the music store and replace it before you noticed.”
“And you were under the impression that you could simply waltz down to the Ponyville music store and purchase a brand new ebony and mother-of-pearl cello bow inlaid with diamond mesh and reinforced with carbon? That was custom made to my exact measurements and created with an acoustic core tuned especially for my cello?”
“A mare can hope?”
“Ugh,” Octavia groaned in frustration, placing her hooves solidly over her eyes. “Vinyl, you — what on Equestria is wrong with you?” she interrupted her tirade, foreleg outstretched towards Vinyl in accusatory gesture.
Vinyl peeked out from behind her forelegs where she had briefly taken trembling refuge when the blur of Octavia’s moving hoof registered in her vision. She blinked in surprise and then hesitantly lowered her legs. “Uh, nothing. You just scared me a little is all.”
Octavia froze in place, eyes flicking from the tip of her outreached hoof to the mare in front of her who had just thrown up her hooves in undeniable defense against her. Somewhere inside her, the tide of anger was ebbing and new emotions were replacing them. “Vinyl, did you think I was going to hit you just now?” she asked, carefully lowering the offending limb to the floor.
“No, of course not,” Vinyl denied immediately, shaking her head to underscore her point.
“Are you sure about that?” Octavia asked softly. “Because, to me, it looked rather like you were trying to keep me from striking you in the face.” She tilted her head. “I know I can have a little bit of a temper, but surely you can’t think I would do anything so unforgiveable to you.”
“Yeah, I know you’re not gonna hurt me or anything, but . . . “ she trailed off, idly dragging a hoof across the floor.
“But?” Octavia prompted.
“But, let’s just say I’ve had experiences before with special someponies who weren’t nice like you.”
“Vinyl, I—“ Octavia trailed off. What does a pony even say to that? Everything that flashed through her head seemed woefully inadequate and hopelessly trite. This wasn’t how this conversation was supposed to go at all!
“It’s okay, Tavi. Really. I just kinda freak out if somepony gets mad at me and starts moving their hoof around,” Vinyl demurred, brushing her mane out of her face absently.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Octavia asked. Talking is good, right?
“Nah. Not right now.”
Octavia blinked. “Are you sure?”
“Ah. Well, okay.” She paused, momentarily lost for words. "If you ever change your mind, you can always talk to me, you know."
“Would you like a hug?”
Vinyl smiled at that one, a genuine smile this time. “I think a hug sounds pretty awesome right now.”
Octavia spread her forelegs wide, allowing Vinyl to make the first move. Seconds later, she stepped into the waiting embrace and buried her muzzle in the long black mane while grey limbs loosely encircled her. “I’m sorry, Vinyl,” Octavia murmured into her ear.
Eyes closed in calm, Vinyl enjoyed the warmth and scent of her special somepony. “For what? I’m the one that broke the cello bow thingy.”
Octavia snorted. “Forget that for right now. I’m sorry for scaring you, of course. I hope you can forgive me.”
“As if I could ever hold a grudge,” Vinyl said. She snuggled closer into Octavia’s shoulder. “And I really am sorry about breaking it. It was my fault, being stupid and not paying attention. I promise I’ll take better care around your stuff.”
“I can buy a new bow, silly filly.” She paused to kiss Vinyl on the side of her head. “I could never replace you, with all the bits in Equestria.”
“So, you’re not mad, then?” Vinyl asked, a cautious note present in her voice.
Octavia sighed. “I AM mad, Vinyl. Make no mistake, I am not pleased that my property was damaged through sheer negligence. But, sweetness, I will never take my anger out on you. No matter how angry I am, I will never put a hoof on you out of anything but love. You’re the mare that I love, and you deserve far better than that.” Again, she kissed Vinyl on the side of the head. “You’re safe with me. Okay?”
“Okay,” Vinyl agreed. “You’re pissed at me, but you love me and you’re not gonna beat the hay out of me, right?”
“Yes, love,” she said before pausing and continuing. “Of course, if I ever figure out which of your former suitors is responsible for this little conversation we’ve had, I make no such promises regarding him.”
Vinyl shuddered at the sudden drop in the timbre of Octavia’s voice. “Don’t talk about that, Tavi. Please. Just don’t.”
A mental stomp forced those budding thoughts out of Octavia’s mind. Not helping, Octavia. “Very well, I shan’t bring that up again.” Their embrace lasted several more moments, the silence between them drawing out into a comfortable blanket that enveloped both of them. Then, Vinyl’s stomach growled like a hungry manticore, completely shattering the moment. She giggled and a blush spread across Vinyl’s cheeks. “Somepony hungry?” Octavia teased, releasing her from her grasp and taking a small step back.
“Hehe, yeah, I guess,” Vinyl agreed. Truth be told, she was starving. She hadn’t been able to eat anything all day, sure that the knots of stress in her stomach would make her regret it.
“I’m not sure about you, but I don’t feel much like cooking this evening. Would you care to escort me to a late dinner, mon amour?” Octavia asked, holding her hoof out in invitation accompanied by a demure smile.
“I love it when you speak Prench,” Vinyl said with a shudder that traveled from her horn to her tail, with a few interesting detours along the way. Stopping only to lightly take Octavia’s outstretched hoof briefly in her own, they trotted together out the door and into the twilight of Ponyville’s early evening.