The first two weeks of college flew by with all the freshmen slowly getting used to the workload and pacing. While the classwork wasn't that hard for Vinyl, learning to share a room with somepony else who wanted the friendship to work was harder. It did help that both sides were willing to learn and compromise, with Vinyl realizing that she was actually starting to enjoy the gray mare's company.
While Vinyl was taking music classes as well as business/marketing classes, she still made her own mixes to try and stay in practice. It was part of her skills that she kept honed; perfect pitch, perfect hearing, and the natural ability to mix and DJ.
While Octavia was away at her various clubs until late in the evenings, Vinyl had plenty of time to herself to mix and sing some of the songs herself.
It was during one such evening that Vinyl was putting together a more powerful mix with her singing. She was hopeful about being roommates with Octavia and even though it had only been two weeks, Vinyl maintained the hope against her more realistic nature and the strength of that showed in her mixes and singing.
She set up a mini-microphone on the desk which hooked up to her laptop to record her singing. She had her headphones on to be able to hear the current track and time everything just right. Once it was all set, she began to sing.
“There's a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch, it's bringing me out the dark
Finally I can see you crystal clear
Go 'head and sell me out and I'll lay your shit bare
See how I leave with every piece of you
Don't underestimate the things that I will do
There's a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch
And it's bringing me out of the dark
The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can't help feeling
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hoof
And you played it, to the beat …..”
Unknown to the singing unicorn, Octavia had finished rehearsals earlier than usual and was frozen in the doorway, listening intently and completely.
“Throw your soul through every open door
Count your blessings to find what you look for
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold
You'll pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow
We could have had it all
We could have had it all
It all, it all, it all
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hoof
And you played it to the beat....”
Once the last few notes faded away, Octavia finally remembered how to breathe.
“That was beautiful! I thought you said you couldn't sing!”
Vinyl gave a jump of surprise.
“Oh buck!” She began to scramble to hide what she had been doing, closing her laptop, shoving the microphone into a drawer, and taking her headphones off.
“How, uh, how long were you there?”
“I heard most of it. That was amazing, why are you trying to hide it?” Octavia closed the door behind her as she put her saxophone away and turned to the unicorn.
“Why are you back so soon? I thought that your practices ran later than this.” Vinyl shifted where she sat while her hooves twiddling with her headphones, unable to be still.
“It finished early. You know, you don't have to hide it from me, all the dorm rooms are sound proof since there are so many different students living here, so no one else heard you singing. Please, if you really want I won't tell anyone about it.” Octavia pleaded while holding her hooves imploringly in front of her.
Vinyl sighed and put her headphones down. She ran a hoof through her short mane while she thought of the best way to explain. After a minute of thinking, with Octavia about to give up, Vinyl sighed once more and decided the best way was her way, bluntly.
“Everyone thought it was weird how I can copy any sound and pitch. Add my perfect hearing and the other orphans thought I was a freak. Soon I became the target of blame whenever a pony was lying about what was actually said, claiming I had said it while sounding like them. And, if I sang, sounding almost like the recording, they thought I was trying to trick or fool them somehow. If they knew it was really me singing, they claimed some really dumb shit about how I got my ability in return for some evil deed or something.” Vinyl rubbed her forehead.
“I grew up with so many idiots that it became habit to hide all that I can do.” Vinyl turned away, resting her head on her hooves on the desk, unwilling to see a similar reaction from the earth pony.
Suddenly, a pair of hooves wrapped around her white barrel and a head rested in the middle of her shoulders.
“They were fools and not worth your time to think about or the memory to recall them. I think you sing beautifully. You should join a singing group!”
Vinyl had stiffened at the touch, unused to the contact but sat up more at the end of the little speech and hugged the forelegs with her own for a moment. She then gave the gray forelegs two taps which Octavia understood to mean that hugging time was over. Octavia went to her desk and faced the unicorn who also turned from the desk to face the gray mare.
“Besides, you're here to learn about being a better DJ right? Aren't DJs supposed to boast, brag and flaunt their many skills and talents?” Octavia raised a brow in question at the white mare, which caused Vinyl to laugh at the statement, realizing that it was quite true.
“Yeah, I guess so.” Vinyl rubbed the back of her head as she continued to chuckle.
“You know, the best way to show your singing skills would be joining a singing group...” Vinyl raised a brow as she smirked.
“... like Equestrian Girls. We need all the help we can get.” Vinyl gave a snort, she had a feeling Octavia would ask that.
“Please? Could you think about it at the very least?”
Vinyl shook her head slightly and sighed.
“I'll think about it, but I can't promise anything.”
Octavia smiled and clapped her hooves twice before clearing her throat and grinned. Vinyl couldn't help but lightly laugh at Octavia's attempt at trying to remain dignified while the gray mare blushed at her child-like moment of joy before growing serious once more.
“Vinyl, why did everyone dislike you so much?”
Vinyl looked away, all traces of laughter gone.
“I'd rather not say.”
Octavia looked downcast for a moment before reminding herself of the progress made so far in being friends.
“Alright; just remember that I'm here if you need me, ok?”
Vinyl nodded and hesitated.
“Uh, I'm, you know, ah, here if you want any help too, uhm, I guess.” Vinyl couldn't look up from the floor as she posed the offer, unsure of how Octavia would react to it.
Octavia wasn't sure what to make of the hesitant offer until she remembered what little Vinyl had told her of her past life. No one liked her and no one wanted to be near her. Octavia smiled as she realized just how much progress they had made from their first encounter.
“Thank you. If I need anything, I'll be sure to come to you first.”
Vinyl blushed as she wiped at her nose embarrassed and unused to such a response.
Octavia could sense that the unicorn was embarrassed and decided to change the topic to something less sensitive, such as the emblem on Vinyl's laptop.
The earth mare had noticed a bold 'DJ P0n-3' written in black on the white laptop and couldn't quite understand what it meant. Vinyl then spent the next half hour explaining L33T SP34|< and how all the cool DJs had some l33t in their titles. Then it took another half hour to teach the classy mare to write and speak it.
Octavia thought it was a joke at first, having never seen anything like it before, until Vinyl showed her different websites where it was being used or translated. Octavia couldn't get enough of it, she thought was hilarious. Vinyl, amused to see the classy mare enjoy slang, joked that they should pass notes to each other in L33T.
“Sure, let's write to each other in L33T.”
“Uh, oh. But I was joking, we don't have to, you know. I mean... I like talking to you...” Vinyl's hoof was once again against the back of her head, Octavia was starting to wonder if she had a pair of magnets in her hoof and head or something.
“Oh! Well, I like our talks as well. Perhaps we can just write about something that happened in the day or some such. We could keep a journal to pass back and forth. We would still talk like this though. The journal could just be a side-project.” Octavia tapped her hooves together nervously, she was pleased to hear that Vinyl liked their talks but she wanted to try having a 'pen-pal' of sorts as well.
Vinyl sighed as she felt herself give in. Who knew she was such a softy?
“Alright, but it has to stay in our room; it's not as L33t if everypony knows about it.” Vinyl scrubbed at her face before reaching for a spare notebook they could use.
Octavia bounced in place momentarily, unaware that Vinyl never took her eyes off the gray mare across the room. Vinyl smirked lightly, pleased that something she was doing brought somepony else joy instead of annoyance. She had a feeling that she would do just about anything to keep it that way, it was a nice change from her last roommate.
Soon their days took on a new routine, one that both mares enjoyed greatly. While Octavia was out with her different practices, Vinyl would either work at the record store or make new mixes. Then when they were both at home they would sing, play music or just talk together. They used the journal to speak l33t, filling it with non-important talk of classes, teachers and ponies they knew. It turns out that Octavia had lived in upper Manehatten and they knew of similar landmarks around the city.
And while they had fun, Vinyl knew Octavia was still worried for Equestrian Girls. The earth pony sang every night when she thought the unicorn was asleep, though at the sound of Octavia's beautiful singing Vinyl would wake up and listen to the whole thing.
Vinyl felt bad for her, but wasn't sure if she could really join A Capella. It felt silly joining such a group, but she really did like singing with Octavia. It wouldn't have been so bad if Vinyl had found another club to join but she still thought they were all lame. This meant that she wasn't busy with work or clubs and still had to join one more club before the month was up.
Her indecision about joining lasted until the day of auditions.
Octavia was already at the auditorium with Claire Belle, reviewing the applicants. They were sitting in a medium-large auditorium that had been built into the ground to produce the proper size without going over the one story tall requirement of all the buildings on campus. They sat in two red cushioned chairs near the front while the three other A Cappella groups sat around the auditorium. Everypony was facing the plain wooden stage where the applicants showed off their singing abilities.
Vinyl had come in at the last moment, trying to psych herself up when she heard the colt before her singing 'Since you've been gone'. She face-hoofed, realizing that they must have been given something specific to sing and the time to prepare.
(Let's just get out of here. You know they won't like it... But Tavi will know and she'll be disappointed in me. She may not know that I'm here, but she knows that she had asked me to join, though she was nice enough to not pester me about it... Ah, buck it. What's the worst that can happen? These 'nerds' laugh? Can't believe I'm doing this...)
Vinyl stepped onto the stage to stand directly in front of Octavia and Claire and scuffed a hoof along the ground.
“Sorry, I, ah, didn't know that was the song we had to do.” Vinyl made sure to only look at Octavia who looked like Hearths Warming Day came early.
Claire was shocked while the rest looked a little bored by this time.
“No no, it's ok. Sing whatever you want.” Octavia waved a hoof to reassure the white mare while Claire looked at the gray mare in surprise at how friendly they were. Octavia did say that their relationship with each other improved but she hadn't quite believed her at the time.
Though what happened next did surprise everyone but Octavia. Vinyl had begun to sing, choosing not just any old song or even the one that the colt had been singing. She sang Mandy Mare's 'Only Hope' as though she meant every word, in a perfect intimidation of how Octavia had been singing the last few weeks.
Octavia was flattered and extremely happy that Vinyl had come and auditioned with that particular song, just like how she sang it in their dorm room.
Claire, on the other hoof, recognized the style as Octavia's, having heard her sing in general and that song in particular before. The cream-coated earth pony had a dilemma on her hooves, Vinyl was very good and they needed every pony they could get, but she also knew that Vinyl was rude and independent. Claire wasn't sure how well Vinyl would work in a group but decided to make the effort, she wanted to make it the Finals this year for sure.
Vinyl felt like an idiot. She tried not to look at anyone else but Octavia when she was done though couldn't help but notice everypony's expression of shock. It didn't help that Octavia wouldn't say how the unicorn did and said that she would see her later in their room.
After pacing in their shared room, Vinyl was pleased to see Octavia come inside and smile at the unicorn. Though what happened next did confuse the DJ even more than the silent treatment she had been getting after her audition. Octavia asked for permission to blindfold and lead the white unicorn 'someplace'.
If it had been anyone else trying to lead Vinyl someplace blindfolded she would have thought they were trying to prank her and she would have tried to fight them off. But this was Octavia, and if she couldn't trust the gray earth pony by now, she would never trust anyone. With great reluctance Vinyl allowed Octavia to put the blue and yellow cloth over her face, though they did spend a few minutes arguing about taking off the glasses to be properly blindfolded.
It was after Vinyl threatened to break the whole thing off that Octavia realized there must have been something from her past making her act like that and gave up the argument. They compromised by tying the whole thing around her head while she had the glasses on, and soon were on their way.
After walking for a while, Vinyl came to a stop and felt ponies on either side of her while Octavia walked away.
Vinyl held back a whimper at the loss of the one pony she trusted in the vicinity though she still frowned her annoyance. Vinyl heard giggling that sounded familiar and could hear Claire Belle nearby, greeting everypony in a vague way. Vinyl assumed that this was the initiation into the Equestrian Girls and tried to not fidget.
"You have all impressed us with your talents. We shall now announce and greet our new members...
“The sopranos: Cloud Kicker, Windy Day and Silver Note...” With this pronouncement, Claire unveiled three different ponies, all peagasi.
Cloud Kicker was a mare with yellow and light-amber mane and a light persian blue coat, who's Cutie Mark was that of a sun with a cloud in front.
Windy Day was a mare with a sky-blue coat and purple mane with a saxophone with a few quarter notes coming out of it.
Silver Note was a silver and gray maned mare with a light brown coat with three eighth notes slurred as a Cutie Mark.
Claire had each pony hold out their right hoof to hold the handkerchief that was originally blindfolding them and continued down the line of ponies.
“The mezzos: Pinkie Pie and Vinyl...”
At this point, Claire revealed the extremely excited pink mare and slightly shocked white mare, who was taking the chance to look at her fellow club members.
“And the altos: Lyra, Blossomforth, Arpeggio, and Beautiful Composition.”
With a last flourish , Claire removed the clothes from the last four members.
Lyra was a pale green-coated unicorn with white with teal highlight mane and tail with a lyre for a Cutie Mark.
Blossomforth was a pale cream peagasus with light green and pink-ish red mane who had a Cutie Mark of two flowers, one pink and one blue.
Arpeggio was an earth pony with a pink mane and green coat, with triplet notes made from dark green leaves for a Cutie Mark.
Beautiful Composition was a purple-navy coated unicorn, who had a dark red with lighter red highlights and a couple of sheets of music scores for a Cutie Mark.
Vinyl was mildly surprised that Pinkie Pie was there, but somehow had expected it. Pinkie Pie, for her part, bounced excitedly and waved to everyone in line who met her eye. Vinyl couldn't help but laugh as she waved back while looking around her.
The room the eleven ponies were in was wide and long, with excellent acoustics. It had a piano and some full length mirrors placed around the room as well as enough space for everyone to have a seat in the center.
Claire and Octavia stood in front of a table facing the new members. The table was covered in a frilly tablecloth with lots of lit candles ranging in size but most rather melted as well as a large chalice filled with a deep red liquid.
“Alright fillies, hold out your handkerchiefs and repeat the oath of an Equestrian Girl.” Vinyl raised a brow at the fact that they had an oath to fulfill but followed along with everypony else and lifted her right hoof higher.
“I, sing your name.” Claire instructed.
(Seriously?? Seriously, sing our names? Alright, come on Vinyl, it can't be that bad.)
An odd collection of singing broke out, not in tune with one another and with no organization to what or how they were to sing their names sounded pretty bad, which pained the white unicorn's ears for a moment as she sang her name in a moderate volume. Claire grimaced so quickly that Vinyl wasn't sure if she did or not, and continued on with the oath.
(Never mind. That was pretty bad.) Vinyl just barely managed to keep back a grimace of her own at the sound.
“Promise to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of an Equestrian Girl...” Vinyl followed along with a roll of her eyes as she tried to not be exasperated with the oath.
(Come on; go to your happy place Vinyl. A nice, big club, pounding music, cheers... Back in your dorm room, yeah, that works. Away from stupid oaths, singing without any judging eyes, along with a gray mare with the voice of an angel... Wait, what?! Why's Tavi in my happy place... Best not go into that.) As Vinyl had been thinking, her ears and voice went onto autopilot to copy along and when she came back from her musings it was to confusion as to the last part of the oath.
“And I solemnly promise to never have sexual relations with a Treble Maker or may my vocal chords be ripped out by Timberwolves?” Vinyl was pleased to note that this is what everypony else was saying so she got the words right, but wasn't sure if that part was serious or not.
Claire nodded in satisfaction before waving Octavia forward, who now held the chalice and presented it to the first in line, who happened to be Cloud Kicker.
“And now, drink the blood of your sisters that came before you.”
Cloud Kicker sniffed the drink before shrugging and taking a gulp. Octavia moved on to each pony, having them take a taste of the drink (Pinkie Pie had made a sour face after drinking and could be heard to mutter that Sarsaparilla was better). When the gray mare stopped in front of Vinyl, she raised an eyebrow in question as she took a half step back. Octavia smiled reassuringly and whispered to the white mare.
“It's not really blood, just wine. You don't have to drink a lot of it, just a sip would suffice.” Vinyl's face went back into a neutral expression and took the cup with her magic, taking a small sip.
With a pleased smile Octavia continued down the line until everyone had taken a drink.
“Welcome to the Equestrian Girls!” Claire exclaimed with a tense smile as the new recruits cheered, with Pinkie Pie and Vinyl being on the very end ranges of cheering, Vinyl barely doing so and Pinkie Pie simply ecstatic.
Vinyl was actually more amused at the pink mare's happiness than anything else (Pinkie Pie having jumped up higher than anypony else and waved all four hooves independently from each other) and almost didn't hear Claire mutter to Octavia.
“What have we done?” Octavia had a more natural smile on as she glanced at the high strung pony next to her.
“I think it will be just fine, don't fret.” Vinyl glanced over and for a moment it seemed like Octavia's smile grew a little warmer but before she could even think about it a loud shout came from a certain party mare.
“This calls for a PAAARRTAAAYY! Everyone else is having one just a block down the road and they only just started a few minutes ago and are really lacking in the proper punch, treats and games departments, something that I, Pinkie Pie, MUST correct!” Pinkie stood on her hind-legs, one hoof pointing upwards with the other on her chest.
A few of the others stared at the exclamation while Cloud Kicker put a hoof around the pink mare's shoulders and gave her a small shake-hug.
“I like the way you think. Let's go show them how to really partay!” Together they lead the way out of the building to the party where the other A Capella groups were celebrating with their new members.
Vinyl hung back and joined Octavia at the end of the group heading out. The white unicorn saw how uneasy the earth pony was about the kind of party that was happening and gave her a nudge.
“Come on, Pinkie Pie's going to 'fix' the party, it won't be that bad.” Vinyl smiled, pleased that there would be somepony around to host really interesting parties that didn't serve a lot of alcohol in this college.
Octavia smiled as well and gave a small blush as she looked at the ground briefly before looking at the mare next to her.
“Thank you for joining. It means a lot to me.” Octavia gave the unicorn a nudge back as they continued on their way.
Vinyl bashfully waved away the thanks and remained silent the rest of the trek to the party, though she kept a blush on her face since she wasn't use to such thanks or praise.
Once they arrived the group split up slightly to mingle, with the original partiers warmly greeting the new arrivals and Pinkie Pie running off to bring 'proper' party supplies. Vinyl and Octavia hung back however, noticing the drunken behavior of their peers and unwilling to drink anything until Pinkie Pie returned with non-spiked punch that would be protected against such actions.
Once Pinkie Pie made it back the others didn't seem to mind the simpler games and everyone partied well into the night, though two mares retired from the party early.
The crowd had been getting rowdier and several pairs of ponies had started to make out in the middle of the party. While Pinkie Pie either didn't care or notice, Octavia and Vinyl didn't care for such behavior and they headed back to their room.
Since they both had a long day, they fell asleep quickly, though Octavia stayed awake long enough after Vinyl fell asleep to write in their journal about just how much it meant to her that Vinyl had joined Equestrian Girls. She had a feeling that the unicorn was still unsure about whether she was needed or wanted there. Octavia intended to change that, the mare she was slowly getting to know was worth a lot more than what she thought of herself.