My parents will be here in three days, I thought as we walked to Fluttershy’s cottage. I should be preparing, getting ready for our meeting and trying to figure out just what I wanted to say. Instead, I was humoring Vinyl and looking for a pet. Certainly, it would be a novel experience, as I had never owned a pet before or even seriously considered the option. They were nothing more than distractions, really, but if Vinyl wanted one, I could humor her. Besides, her argument that it could improve my parenting skills wasn’t completely without merit. I certainly needed all of the help I could get.
“You excited?” Vinyl asked as we continued our walk. “It’s been so long since I had a pet, I am totally looking forward to it. What should we get?”
“I don’t know,” I said shaking my head in an attempt to dispel the looming spectre of my parents’ visit. “If you will recall, I’ve never owned a pet before, so any advice or ideas I have are completely unfounded.”
“Cool,” Vinyl said, nodding her head. “That means I get to pick it out then.”
“As long as I have veto power, that sounds acceptable to me,” I said as I berated myself for not being able to walk faster. We were going to waste half the day walking to Fluttershy’s, and we’d already spent quite a bit of it in bed. The thought of those hours made me frown and blush at the same time. While it was certainly an enjoyable experience, the total lack of control on my part was unacceptable. I had to control myself or risk falling to Vinyl’s level. I am Octavia Melody. I will control my actions, I reminded myself. There was certainly nothing wrong with enjoying my more intimate time with Vinyl, but my inability to resist my baser impulses was problematic. I was not a simple beast, and it wouldn’t do to go around acting like one. At the very least, I could control myself in public.
“Yeah, sure,” she said as the cottage came into sight. I scanned the area to make sure Discord, spirit of chaos and a close friend of Fluttershy, wasn’t nearby and was greatly relieved to find that he wasn’t. Even though it had been five years since our last meeting, I was not particularly eager for another. After Nightmare Night had almost caused me to lose my mind, the thought of spending more time with him wasn’t… It would be better if I didn’t see him on this trip.
“Fluttershy!” Vinyl yelled as she knocked on the cottage door. “Do you have any pets up for adoption?” There was a long pause as we waited for a response, and after a moment the door unbolted and opened a crack. A teal-blue eye looked out at us from the crack.
“Hello?” Fluttershy asked tentatively as the one visible eye looked between Vinyl and myself. “Oh, Vinyl, Octavia, what brings you– Why do you look so young?”
“It’s a very long story that doesn’t make that much sense, but the short version involves a magic potion Vinyl bought and decided to drink for reasons I cannot begin to fathom,” I said before Vinyl had a chance to give her version of events.
“Oh, alright,” she said, her eye looking down at the ground before darting back up towards us. “Did I hear you correctly when you said you wanted a pet?”
Vinyl nodded and I felt the urge to qualify her agreement. “We wish to look at your pets, and if we find one we both like then we will gladly welcome it into our home.” As I spoke, the door to the house flew open and Fluttershy walked out, positively beaming at us while I heard music come in from somewhere. She led us to her backyard as the music grew louder and she started to sing.
Now Vinyl my dear, I cannot express my delight.
It’s abundantly clear that somewhere out here
is a pet that will suit you just right.
Why didn’t she speak to me? Also, why was she singing? I opened my mouth to try to put an end to the song, but Vinyl cut me off.
I can’t wait to get started, but first let me set a few rules
it’s of utmost importance the pet that we get–
“Hold it!” I said, interrupting her and causing the music to come to a halt. “Can we please do this without a musical number? I’m under quite a bit of stress, and would prefer it if we could get this done without having to sing my way through this.”
“Oh, were we singing?” Vinyl asked, her forehead wrinkling. “I mean, I knew we were talking, and I guess our conversation was kind of lyrical, but I didn’t know we had actually broken out into song.” My wife turned to face Fluttershy. “She has this Pie gene thingy that makes her… I don’t know, I guess it makes her notice more when singing starts and some other stuff.”
Fluttershy smiled politely and nodded her head. “Oh, I am very familiar with the Pie gene,” she said, careful to emphasize the word “Pie.” “Now then, do you have any ideas about what you might like?”
“Do you have a snake?” Vinyl asked scanning the menagerie that surrounded us. Fluttershy nodded.
“No snakes,” I said. “I will veto any idea that involves a snake on general principle. They are scaly, dangerous, have no legs, and utterly terrify me.”
“Fine,” Vinyl said, tapping her chin with a hoof. “What about a turtle?”
“I’m sorry,” Fluttershy said, frowning, “I haven’t had a tortoise or turtle who needed a home in years.”
“Alright,” Vinyl said, putting her thinking face back on. “Any chance you have an alligator or–”
“We have a filly on the way!” I yelled, cutting her off. “Why in Equestria would you think a deadly predator and our daughter would be an at all good combination?”
“Well, see, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that we had a daughter on the way,” she said, grinning sheepishly and looking at the ground. “Was mostly just focusing on how cool it would be. I mean, Pinkie’s gator is getting really big now, and when she takes it for a walk it’s like the coolest thing ever.”
“Perhaps we should stay away from reptiles,” I said nodding my head at Fluttershy. “What else do you have?”
The music suddenly sprang back to life as Fluttershy sang.
I have falcons and eagles,
they are both quite regal,
or perhaps what you need is a dark and mysterious–
“You’re singing again,” I said to Fluttershy, rolling my eyes. Apparently, even I wasn’t exempt from the fact that all teenagers love to roll their eyes. I was just more aware of it.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, blushing and looking down at the ground. “I didn’t mean to.”
“Hey, it’s no big deal,” Vinyl said, moving to press her flank against mine and stroke my mane. “Tavi’s just a bit grumpy today because we had to leave the bed.”
My expression matched Fluttershy’s as I turned to look down and find the ground suddenly fascinating. I very much wanted to be upset with Vinyl for her brazenness, but I just couldn’t bring myself to be upset with her for touching me. No, I was quite happy with it, and that was the problem. Here I was, in public, enjoying my wife’s touch while a friend looked on. That was bad enough, but instead of properly keeping my composure, I found myself adjusting my weight slightly to lean into her touch and draw closer to her.
I couldn’t be mad at my wife, so I settled for at least being properly embarrassed and quickly drew away from her warm touch. “I am… I’m sorry,” I said, barely able to meet Fluttershy’s eyes, something made much harder by the fact she was looking at the ground as well. “I am rather stressed about my parents’ impending visit, and I shouldn’t have taken my frustration out on you. If you wish to sing, go ahead.”
“It’s fine,” Fluttershy said, giving me a tiny smile. “Everypony gets stressed at times, and if you don’t want me to sing, I won’t. I don’t really know when I’m doing it, anyways. It just kind of happens.”
“I’m well aware of that fact,” I said, lifting my head up high in an attempt to regain my dignity. It didn’t work and I still felt utterly mortified. “Anyways, shall we look at what pets you have that wouldn’t endanger our filly?”
“Of course,” she said, flapping her wings and fluttering over to a group of squirrels, mice, and guinea pigs. “These little babies are perfect for any filly, they’re small and easy to care for.”
Vinyl gave an exaggerated yawn. “Something cooler please? You know, maybe something I wouldn’t accidentally crush underhoof when I woke up with a hangover?”
“Oh dear,” Fluttershy squeaked.
“I have to agree with my wife on that,” I said. “Not the part about the hangover, but the general sentiment. I would prefer it if my first pet wasn’t a rodent. Is there any chance you have a dog or cat? They seem like the ideal starter pets.”
“Wow,” Vinyl said, trying not to laugh as I noticed how uncomfortably close she was standing to me, causing my heartbeat to quicken. I took a deep breath and steadied myself, I had to control myself. “You picked the two pets even more boring than rats.”
“They aren’t boring, they are just common,” I said, frowning. “I know I said I didn’t care what type of pet we got, but when I said that, I was thinking it would be either a dog or a cat. I apologize for being somewhat misleading.” Vinyl unintentionally brushed against me as she moved to look at some of the other pets, and I felt my whole body get warm. Why couldn’t I keep myself composed?
Fluttershy just whistled, and we were soon mobbed by a swarm of dogs, each barking happily at us and wagging their tails. I found myself taking a step away from their overwhelming enthusiasm while my wife happily played with them. Maybe a dog wasn’t for me, I thought looking around for a pet that was slightly more manageable before seeing a flash of black peeking out and vanishing behind the chicken coop. I trotted to investigate while Vinyl continued to tell every dog there that they were a good boy.
Behind the coop, a black cat with white spots looked at me, its body pressed against the ground as if it were trying to make itself invisible, a feeling I was quite familiar with. “And what’s your name?” I asked the cat.
“A fine name,” I said, sitting next to the cat. For whatever reason it didn’t run from my presence and even allowed me to stroke its ear and back. “I am Octavia Melody, though I suspect you’ll just end up calling me Tavi. Almost everypony does.”
Yes, I am aware that talking to a cat is utterly insane, but I felt the need for a companion, and a creature incapable of talking made for an ideal partner. “Likewise. You know, you’re not a bad little cat. If I wasn’t so certain that Vinyl would pick one of those brute dogs to be our pet, I’d be amenable to taking you home with us. Of course, my wife can be very hardheaded when she wants to, and lately I’ve had a hard time saying no to her. All it takes is one kiss and my ability to think rationally completely evaporates. Honestly, just the thought of her is enough to drive me to distraction.”
This time, the cat just stared at me.
“You’re right, that was rather too much information to tell a new acquaintance, wasn’t it? I apologize, but like I said, I’ve been needing a confidant, and you fit the bill,” I laughed. “First I have to deal with months of pregnancy, then Vinyl turns into a teenager, and then, due to reasons not entirely clear to me, I transform as well. You understand some of my frustration I hope?”
The cat nodded and I looked around the area. “You’re the only cat here, aren’t you?”
“I can sympathize. When I first came to this town, I felt like I was the only sane mare around for miles. The town responded by driving me mad, and now I’m talking to a cat. I suppose the sensation is similar to being the only cat in a yard filled with dogs,” I said, the cat purring as I stroked it. On the topic of dogs, Vinyl came bounding back behind the chicken coop, a brown shaggy beast of a dog as large as she was keeping pace.
“Check it out, Tavi, this is Brutus, isn’t he just the best?” she asked while Brutus panted, apparently either quite content or just hot. Considering his thick coat, the latter seemed more likely.. My new confidant moved to hide behind me at the sight of the thing and I felt myself inclined to do the same.
“Vinyl, he’s as large as you are,” I said, eyeing the dog nervously, unable to see its eyes as they were hidden by his fur.
“Yeah, but Fluttershy says he still has a bit of growing to do. I bet he will be able to carry us around by the time he finishes.” Because that’s what the dog needed, to be even bigger. “So, what do you think, can we keep him?” She looked at me with such eagerness and yearning, I found myself struggling to say no to her.
“Oh, I didn’t mean to disturb you,” Fluttershy said, causing me to pull away instantly as my joy collided with a wall of shame. My cheeks were positively burning as I struggled to look at the demure yellow pegasus, “I was just wondering if you’d found any pets you might like.”
“Yep!” Vinyl said. “Brutus is the best, and apparently, Tavi found a cat she likes, as well. Totally pegged her as a cat pony.”
“Indeed,” I said. “Would it be possible for us to take two pets?”
“Of course,” Fluttershy said. “I’m so glad Portia finally found a pony she likes. I will be over later today with some basic care items for you.” She smiled at us. “I’m sure you two will take great care of them.”
Fluttershy headed off towards her cottage, and I turned to look at my new companion. “What do you say, Portia, should we head home?”