I stared at my reflection in the hazy bathroom mirror. “Hm, not bad.” I turned to the left and then to the right. Stuck out my chest for a good view of the girls. “Fuck age, I’m still a perfect ten, baby.” I blew myself a kiss and threw on some clothes. Nothing fancy, of course. A nice band tanktop, some loose pants, and… and…
My hand hovered over the tinted glasses. I didn’t even think about it. It was just a normal part of the morning to grab my glasses on the way out. Well, morning, afternoon, evening, night… whenever I actually got up to head out into town. I thought on it for a moment, but then closed my hand and pulled it away from the glasses. They were the key look to DJ Pon3, not to Vinyl Scratch. “Okay, Vinyl. Just hold it together. This is just a massive change in your life, no biggie.” I took a big breath and slowly let it out.
I sat on the bench at Starswirl Park just thinking about life and junk. I looked up at the weather angels doing their thing, moving clouds around or whatever for this weekend’s rain. In that moment I wondered… do angels ever fuck clouds?
I mean, okay, clouds probably don’t get that hard so it might be a problem for girls to use it. But the guys? A guy can fuck anything with a hole and it can’t be that hard to make a hole in one of those. Then again… water up that high would be cold as Tartarus, right? Could the guy even stay hard.
Amongst my deep philosophical musings on the nature of angels, I actually start thinking about Octavia for some reason. It’s been… fuck, I don’t even know how long it’s been since we talked. That call really shocked me. She was actually the first terran I had ever really spoken too. Not because I was against it or anything, mind you. It’s just that Canterlot isn’t exactly the most diverse city around.
Not quite as homogenous as Cloudsdale, but probably comes in a close second. The angels that handle the weather and guard the archmages are from Cloudsdale or the surrounding towns at the bottom of the mountain. They don’t really live here. You might see them shopping here sometimes or bringing their family to town, but still, you don’t see them just being around town that often. The only terrans you usually see around here are new money business owners wanting to rub elbows and get validation from the super old rich families. Not the group I usually hang out with.
On the day that I had met her, my big brother—Long Play—forced me to join him at a classical show. I bitched most of the way there about how boring it was going to be. I mean, most of these songs are like a hundred years old, so of course it couldn’t be good. I was a dumb shit in my teen days. Damn near most people will say that about their younger years. So the show goes on, and we were watching from one of the balcony seats.
It wasn’t bad or anything, better than what I was expecting. Some of the group’s timing was a bit off, but I doubt the average, non-music nerds in the audience even noticed. However then things kinda died down and a spotlight went down on a single chair in the middle of the stage. Out came this woman carrying her cello. I didn’t care about other styles, but cellos could sometimes make cool samples for my stuff.
She was… breathtaking. I had known I was bi for ages even by then, but if I didn’t I sure as Tartarus would have when I saw her. The thing that stood out wasn’t her figure or anything quite like that. This is gonna sound idiotic, and kinda lame but it was her eyes. Even from where I was sitting, they shone bright on that stage. The rest of her was grey and kinda dull looking, to be honest. Not bad by any stretch, just not colorful. Those eyes though. Those purple, blazing eyes. They shone with more passion and intensity than I had ever seen before. Not sure if I’ve seen it since either. When she looked out onto the crowd, everything fell into a dead silence. When her eyes passed by my balcony, the wind was knocked out of me. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I could only just watch and listen.
She closed her eyes, her bow touched that cello, and my world changed. Her music was perfect. No wasted movement, every single note on time, the perfect pitch, and… it was beautiful. Long, deep notes reverberated in my brain. It was dark, it was somber, it was the opposite of what I usually play, but by Celestia I loved every second. She switched between the short and long notes so effortlessly, as though it was pure muscle memory by this point. Looking back it obviously was, but I had never really seen someone pull it off this well before.
This was my epiphany. Seeing a true master in another style of music changed the way I viewed music itself. My dream of that techno station with great, charismatic DJs changed to a dream of a station that promoted the best of all genres.
With a flourish, the only bit of show she put on to go with the music, she yanked the bow across the cello in that final note and held it straight off to the side. Her eyes cracked open and it was like the rest of the world suddenly existed again. The crowd cheered, and I could finally breathe. But I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. There was no smashing the cello at the end, or burst of pyrotechnics, or lasers. She simply stood, took a bow, and walked off stage. But don’t for a second mistake how she acts on stage for being humble. Octavia is many things, but humble sure is fuck isn’t one of them.
“Sis, if you girl boner gets any bigger we’re gonna get kicked out for indecent exposure,” came a rather annoying whisper.
“Stop talking!” Some of the other people in the balcony stared at me. “Er, sorry. Sorry. I’ll be quiet. You can go back to doing rich person stuff. Heh heh.”
“Such a spaz.” Before I had the chance to respond, I saw Long Play call over an usher and whisper something to him. The guy seems surprised and nodded before running off. “I just got us a little meeting with the owner of this place.”
I huffed, because again, I was a shit teen. “And why the Tartarus would I want to talk to some old theater owner?”
“Well, unlike you, I actually have future plans I’m working towards.” He held up a hand to stop me from arguing. “And it just so happens that the way to his office passes by the musician dressing rooms. It would give you a chance to chat up cello girl.”
“I… but… H-How do you even know I want that, huh? That music was as lame as I said it would be.” I huffed and turned to the said. Mature, I know. Long Play said my face was beet red as well. I wish I could argue that point, but he was probably right.
The usher returned and waved for us to follow him. “Fine, stay here then.” And the fucker actually walked off without me. So after a second or two tick by just to save some face, I run off after them. We passed through a bunch of hallways. Like, seriously, a lot of hallways. I wondered if the person who designed this place was drunk or just an idiot.
Big bro talked with the usher about the history of this place or something like that. I wasn’t really paying attention. We finally passed by the dressing rooms and instrument storage rooms. I tapped on bro’s shoulder and motioned towards one with the rooms with a pink treble clef on the door. Octavia was written under it. “So hey, would it be cool if my sister said hi to the musicians? She’s a huge music nerd and just loves classical music.” Bastard.
The usher shrugged. “Fine with me. Just don’t cause a problem.” With that the two of them walked off. I turned the door and stared at it for a moment. I could feel my heart pounding away in my chest.
I reached up and lightly knocked on the door. Nothing. I tried again, and again got nothing. Destiny was laughing its ass off at me, I’m sure. I took a second to calm myself. Okay Vinyl, pull up your big girl panties and walk in. You’re this big shot noble and music business mogul daughter, so act like it. I turned the knob and peek into the room.
That sight… That glorious sight is still etched into my mind. She was sitting on a little couch in the room, her legs open and her head tilted back. She was resting a cold soda can on her forehead. I saw little bits of sweat slide down from her slim neck to her, um… chest. Octavia had taken off the fancy jacket and tie. She was just in a white tank top that showed some of her midriff. Peeking from under the bottom of her top was the outline of her abs. Her really, really nice looking abs that I badly wanted to feel in that moment.
I had heard that Terrans in general were bigger than us, and naturally had more muscle. This seemed true with Octavia. Aside from the abs I could see the lean muscle on her arms and legs. And speaking of her lower half, damn this girl had a set of hips on her. Probably helped that the pants were off leaving her in her surprisingly masculine underwear. I think my brother has a pair of briefs like that. They hugged her hips pretty well, so I’m not gonna complain. Last but not least, I noticed a pink treble clef tattooed onto her shoulder. I knew it was a rite of passage type of thing to get something to symbolize yourself tattooed on after graduating high school here in Canterlot. Didn’t know other places did it too.
I really hoped I didn’t stare for too long. Time kinda stopped for me as my brain tried to comprehend this beautiful sight. One of her eyes, which were very nice if I hadn’t said that already, opened to look me over before closing again. Now, your girl Vinyl has always been one smooth player able to get any guy or girl to be in the palm of her hands. “H-Hi there!” My voice cracked when I spoke. But it was a smooth crack, you know?
“Do you always just walk in when people don’t answer the door?” she asked. Until that moment I didn’t even notice that I had walked in. She spoke with a Hoofington accent. It sounded really charming, even in spite of her current state of attire.
“Oh, uh, Sorry. I can head out if you want. I just, um, wanted to tell you that I loved your set out there. You were the best one on stage.” Yeah, I’ll fully admit that I sounded like some young fangirl. There’s another little thing that I should point out here. Remember how I said Octavia was never humble? She wasn’t modest either. During our talk she never seemed to care about the fact that she was practically in her underwear here. “A few of the others seemed to have trouble being in time with each other, but you followed the rhythm perfectly.”
“So, you noticed that, huh? Musician or just a big fan?” She always had a rather matter of fact way of speaking.
“Mostly musician, but yeah, I’m a bit of music nerd too. That transition you pulled near the end was pretty cool too.” Now that I had started talking I felt why she was dressed like that. These backrooms are fucking ovens. There’s no damn ventilation everywhere. I don’t care how historical it is they need to fix up this damn theater.
“Thanks. What school are you going to? Are you majoring in a music course?” she asked. “Oh, and quit standing around looking so tense. Sit. There’s a drink in the mini fridge if you want it.”
So, I had a couple options here. There was a part of the loveseat next to Octavia I could have sat on, but given how hot she seemed, and not just in the sense of looking hot to me, I don’t think she wanted someone right by her. So I grabbed the last can of soda out of mini fridge in the room, and sat down. “Actually, um, I kinda don’t have a major right now...” My voice trailed off at the end.
Octavia finally moved the can and sat up to look at me. “Just general education at the moment then?”
“Well, in a manner of speaking. I, uh, actually go Sun Solstice High right now.”
She looked me over. “Yeah, you do seem a bit young. I should have guessed. And take off your bloody jacket. It’s making me hot just seeing you wearing that back here.”
“Hey, I’m a senior! I’ll be going to some fancy schmancy university next year!” I pulled off my jacket and draped it over the chair. Then I cracked open the can and took a drink. “Hurk!” … and that wasn’t soda. That wasn’t soda at all! The carbonated, yet very bitter taste was like a bunch of tiny knives stabbing my taste buds.
“You okay, kiddo?”
“Not!” Cough, cough. “Kid!” Ugh, what the fuck is this stuff?! I finally take a good look at at what I just drunk. Kombucha, apparently a carbonated, fermented tea. Damn health food junk! Why would someone drink rotten tea? “It’s, um, g-great.” I took another quick glance at the stuff written on the can. “Probiotics… Mmm, I love me some biotics!” And just because I was that much of an idiot and hate myself, I took a big drink just to look good in front of Octy.
She just laughed a bit at me, and finally opened hers, drinking it down in a few big gulps before tossing the can aside into the trash. She stood up and went over to her clothes crumpled up on top of an instrument case. “So, what kind do you play?”
I coughed again from the rotten tea. “Play?”
“Music, genius. What kind of bloody music do you play?”
She bent over to pick up her clothes, and I silently thanked Celestia for the view. “Oh, techno.”
“Techno is a rather broad style.” She pulled up her pants. “Anything more specific or do you try to keep it more well rounded?”
“Oh, uh, mostly trance. Nothing too fancy.”
“Right. Since you came to see me, I’ll have to check out one of your, um, gigs someday.” Unfortunately for me, on came the rest of the clothing. She picked up her rather large instrument case and slung it over her shoulder. In no way was I imagining her doing the same to me. Yep. Absolutely not…
Before walking out that door she looked back over her shoulder at me. “Symphonia University. Get in and we can hang out more, and put your music to a real test. Try to impress me as much as I did you.” With that, she was gone. Honestly, I doubt I ever blew her away like she did to me that night. There had never been a time before or since that someone really threw me off my game that fully.
I had stood there for a bit thinking about what just happened when my dopey brother walked back around. “Huh, didn’t think you liked that stuff.” He looked down at the can in my hand.
“I don’t.” I brought the opening back up to my lips, and forced myself to drink it all.
Damn I’m getting old. Here I am thinking of old times while on a bench in the part. Fuck, I need to get out of here before I start complaining about kids these days, or making up how many miles I walked every day.
I stood and checked my phone. About ten minutes left until… until… yeah, ten minutes. Nothing to be nervous about at all. I started walking towards the spot, and soon enough I was in a long row of exotic restaurants from the edges of Equestria and beyond.
Nobles enjoy one thing more than anything else, novelty. When you don’t have to think about money, food, or shelter, then all your thoughts turn to entertainment or any new shiny thing to catch your interest. New things, or things they can cling onto outside of the normal nobility culture are practically like drugs to many nobles. They need them to get that high. To break up their humdrum lives of boring paradise.
Now, I’m not saying I’m much different. Knowing that I have my family’s money to fall back on, a manor to live in, and more connections than most politicians could dream of, I was able to throw myself into a life of vice, music, and whatever keeps me entertained without giving it a single thought.
But, I’m getting off topic. Because of their love of novelty they love things that are foreign. People in Canterlot don’t travel a lot besides the occasional vacation, and Equestria is a gigantic, continent spanning empire of a kingdom. Canterlotians don’t travel beyond the center jewels of the kingdom. Even people from the fringes of the kingdom like the crystal folk up north or the swamp dwellers seem mysterious and foreign to the nobility bubble of Canterlot. So when someone comes to us from even beyond the fringes it blows their minds. They indulge themselves in the exotic.
And now for the actual point of all this: Canterlot has more foreign and ethnic restaurants than any city in Equestria except for Manehatten. Impress the right noble and they’ll set you up with a location just so they can eat there for free, and hear your stories. So, as I walked, I passed through a whole section of the city dedicated to them. Octy and I used to eat out at them all the time in our college years. Being the middle class bumpkin that she was – and she hated me calling her that, by the way – she was just amazed at how she could eat high class food from all across the world, and that it was all in walking distance of the university.
One of them was my destination. My favorite, in fact. An eastern restaurant, I forget the exact name of the country they’re supposed to be from. Never really cared. As I said, I wasn’t excluding myself when I thought of how nobles acted. Still, I was happy to give this place my money. The owner seemed to really care about the food and you could tell she was a damn good cook.
I walked in and looked around. She wasn’t here. Yet, anyway. “Oh, Lady Scratch, come in come in!” The owner, Saffron, insisted on using titles. Probably due to something from her home culture. Never liked having others besides my family butler call me by a title, but I wasn’t going to try to convince her not to. Tried it a long as time ago, and she just insisted on giving proper respect. Who knows, maybe it’s a thing she just does to nobles she likes. “Your final show was great! My whole family listened. My father was so sad to see you go. He thought you were the most sincere person on the radio.”
“Hey, Saf! Thanks. But hey, it’s me we’re talking about. Of course my final show was gonna be great.” She showed me to my usual table. “Hey, I’m actually waiting for someone at the moment. So for right now, how about one of those super sweet teas for me to sip on. The hot kind.” She usually used words from her homeland as the names of her different drinks. Oddly enough, despite all the traveling I’ve done, I really suck at remembering how to pronounce stuff in other dialects. When you hear a thousand names in a year on tour it all kinda comes together into a massive pile of mental mush. Thankfully I come here enough that she knows exactly what I’m talking about.
“Right away, Lady Scratch.” She quickly went into the back. I leaned my head back and stared at the ceiling for a bit. When the fuck did I start over thinking about stuff like this? I’ve never been the ‘wax poetic’ type of person before. Then again I spent most of my life in a daze of being half asleep, rattling my brain with loud music, and indulging in anything I could get my hands on. Or anyone for that matter. Then I had to run the station before getting a management team together. It was very easy not to think, and not to notice what’s going on around you. Saffron came back with my drink. I actually have Octy to thank for this. While my first experience with tea wasn’t good – I still think whoever decided to make rotten tea should be thrown into Tartarus – she did get me to try others, and I found some good ones. With my magic I lift it up and sip from it.
When you live in a daze, and can’t even tell the days apart, it’s really easy to lose all track of time. Like not even noticing when you haven’t heard from your best friend – yes, with benefits – for over a month. Or pay too close attention when they don’t text you back. Oh, she was just busy. Octy was always focused so much on practice and making sure every detail of her performance would be perfect. It was only natural that she didn’t always return a message. Then a year went by with me hearing nothing from her. Yeah, I got that message. I wasn’t a complete moron, and respected that she wanted space.
The door dinged as someone new walked in. I looked back over my shoulder, and saw those eyes. Fucking Celestia, why do they look even better now. Me a ten out of ten? Nah, she’s a perfect ten. I’m hot, but that right there is like a work of classical art that aged with grace. “Vy, decades later and you still let yourself stare while getting lost in thought.” It sounded like a joke, but she didn’t smile, and honestly neither did I.
She sat down across from me. “So, it’s um… It was surprising to hear from you.”
“Yeah...” Her voice trailed off. We were both doing our best to avoid looking each other in the eyes. “You final episode was really nice.”
“Thanks. It was a tough show to do, but seems like most people liked my finale.” And with that a silence fell over us. It was heavy. I could practically feel it hanging over me. Seconds of this that felt like minutes ticked by. Fuck that. “Yeah, we’re not going to do something this stupid. Haven’t talked in decades and we waste it. What a fucking laugh that would be. So Octy, why did you call me? Not that I’m complaining, it was… it was…” I wasn’t sure what I should even say there. When I saw her number pop up it was like my world just froze for a moment and all those damn memories rushed back. I was that dumb teen all over again and was left speechless.
“I don’t know.” Well, shit. That didn’t tell me much.
Finally our eyes met again. “I really don’t. I heard that finale, the parts near the end, and it was like… I was listening to the old you again. The version of you I actually liked. Something pushed me to finally reach out. I didn’t have any idea of what I was going to even say.”
The me that she liked? What? “What do you mean that version of me? I’ve always been me.”
“No you haven’t! I can’t believe you still don’t see that.”
Okay, so my own personal feelings for Octavia’s eyes aside, she has always showed most of her emotions through her eyes. That and just little ways she would say words differently. She’s stoic to most people but get close and you can see that she’s just as emotional as the rest of it. She simply showed it in different ways. Right now her eyes sparks with frustration. Like, a storm of frustration. Mine probably weren’t that different given the situation. “See what?! You never told me jack about your problems with me!”
“Ahem.” We both turned and looked up at Saffron. All three of us gave awkward little noises. “Do you ladies wish for anything else?”
“I’ll, uh,” Octy glanced in my direction, “have whatever tea that is that Vy is drinking.”
“Right away. Also, Madam Octavia, Lady Scratch, you are both of course highly esteemed customers here. But I humbly ask that you do not cause a ruckus. Alright?”
She said it in a very polite way and all, but I had the feeling that if we didn’t mind our manners we were both going to get tossed out. She’s super nice, but she loves her business a lot more than either of us, and I can respect that. “Hey, we’ll be good. I promise.”
She smiled, gave a little head nod and went into the back to grab Octavia’s drink. Then I just realized something. A small oversight that finally clicked in my head, and I couldn’t help but to snicker at it. Octavia gave me a confused look. “You still call me Vy. After decades you still use that dumb nickname.”
Her nose cutely wrinkled as she huffed. “Old habits can become rather deeply ingrained.” The tiniest hint of her lip curling upward showed that I still had a shot of making this not end horribly.
I sighed and slouched a bit, letting any frustration I had slip out of me. If this goes south it won’t be because I couldn’t keep my cool. “Octy, I meant it when I said it would be dumb to waste whatever we want to call this meeting. For this to mean anything we need to get some stuff out in the open. Please tell me why you cut me off.” Was I being too stern and controlling here? I quickly raised my hand before she could actually respond. “And just for pure clarity sake’s, I will take full credit for every fuck up that I’ve done. This probably was like ninety percent my fault, but I want to actually hear it. I...” Don’t want to lose you again. “I just want to know.”
“That’s a simple one, and if it’s what you truly want, I’ll be completely honest. You became DJ Pon3.” Saffron returned with Octavia’s tea, of course cutting Octavia off before she could continue. I sat there waiting, very patiently mind you, while Octavia took her time drinking. Who knows, maybe she is having a hard time wording it just like I do with shit sometimes.
“So, I took on a stage name. How did that… I’m just gonna let you continue.” Nope, not gonna fuck this up.
She lowered the tea and took an extra moment before continuing. A moment that felt like eternity. “You didn’t take a name. You became a new person.” She looked up, dead into my eyes. I think this was something that’s been pent up in her for a long time. “This is gonna sound weird, but from my point of view Vy and DJ Pon3 were two very different people. You were, to put it in your own terms, very chill. Blunt, sure. You still lacked a filter. But you were incredible at getting people to simply relax around you. I could take off any public mask I wear and show weirdness, show my flaws, and you would just accept them. More than that, you would be so incredibly supportive of stuff your friends like even if you knew nothing about it, or even disliked it yourself. You somehow started a bloody chant and a wave when I was on the academic team. And…” She chuckled. “Whenever I would take the lead or something caught you by surprise you so easily became flustered. You were such a bloody dork. A very lovable dork. A dork I...”
I slouched in my seat. That was a punch right to my damn heart, and yeah it fucking hurt. My whole chest was thumping as the old memories came pouring in. Memories that I hadn’t thought of for ages. “And DJ Pon3 wasn’t.” I can’t describe her reaction, but I honestly didn’t want to look up right now. Shit, this was tougher than I expected.
“DJ Pon3 was the opposite. She was certainly not chill. She was not accepting of everyone. She never put others before herself. To DJ Pon3 the only important thing was making sure she was the center of attention at all times. Now, I’m not completely clueless of how musicians in other genres work. I get using a stage name. I get using a public persona, and I tolerated DJ Pon3 when that was all she was. But little by little Vy disappeared. One day I looked at you and realized that there was only DJ Pon3. The person I cared about was gone.” That wasn’t a hit to the heart. That was a fucking sledgehammer. “Now for my part of the problem. I gave up so… easily. I never actually talked to you about the problem. I just walked away assuming you’d figure it out. I wish I could do that differently. Also, I’ll admit that I actually kept you in my life beyond the moment I thought Vy was gone. You were, ahem, a useful target for any pent up emotions I had.”
“Yeah, I remember that part. Heh, I would end up slammed against the wall, your tongue down my throat and you knee between my legs.”
“S-Slammed!” She sounded shocked and her eyes opened a bit wider. “That is a rather dramatic exagerration, don’t you think?”
“I had bruises! Granted, I wore them like badges of honor, but I still got some!” The first part of her complaints were… tough to listen to. Yeah, I fucked up, and now I know for a fact that it was mostly my fault the split happened. Thankfully she threw in her own deviancy to lighten the mood a little. “Here’s the thing, I don’t actually regret becoming what I became. I accomplished so much as DJ Pon3, and I changed the world of entertainment. But… I get that I wasn’t necessarily a good person during that time. I’m sorry I messed up a really important relationship by not turning off my stage persona. I can tell you though that my time as DJ Pon3 is over. I don’t think I could be that person again even if I tried. I also don’t know if I can ever be your Vy again, but I do want to be in your life again. How, um, does that sound?”
“That sounds really nice, actually.” Octy stood and extended her hand. I stood too, grabbed it, and pulled her into a hug, burying my face on her shoulder. Heh, vanilla and lilac. She even remembered my favorite scent on her.
“Okay, okay. I’m good now,” I said as I stepped back, collecting myself. “Had to get that out of my system.” Octy giggled. That hoity toity, Hoofington giggle was something I needed to hear right now. “So, it so happens that I literally have nothing better to do with my time today. Wanna, I don’t know, get something more filling than tea and do some window shopping?”
“Hm, I could actually use some new clothing, and new strings. So, very well.” Yeah, she had a cute little smile when saying that. I wasn’t on as thin of ice anymore. Woo!