• Published 9th Feb 2012
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HeartBeats and HeartStrings - DJ-PonRainbowFireJack



The story of the love and lives of Vinyl Scratch and Octavia

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Chapter Seven

Chapter 7

Vinyl awoke the next morning much earlier than she had intended to with a panicked feeling in her stomach. Now that she was out of Manehattan, how was she going to get her fix? She didn't know if there was even a pony you could buy from in Canterlot. She sat bolt up right, her heart beating and her head reeling. She scrambled out of bed and ran out into the main part of Octavia's apartment. It was still darkened. She peered out the window. It was still dark outside. It must be extremely early. Maybe she had time to sneak out before Octavia woke up. She glanced around the apartment one last time before shrugging on her coat. She noticed that it smelled cleaned. Octavia must have washed it after Vinyl had already gone to bed the night before. She's just too damn helpful, Vinyl thought as she quietly opened the front door and slipped out into the dark morning.

It was chilly out, but there was no biting wind like there had been in Manehattan. She supposed it was because she wasn't surrounded by ridiculously tall buildings that acted as a wind tunnel. She walked through the streets, keeping her eyes out for suspicious looking characters. She rounded the corner of the next street and she found him, a pony in a dark cloak with a black hat tipped low over his eyes to obscure his identity. She approached cautiously, still uncertain if he was who she was looking for.

"You lookin' for somethin', little filly?" he whispered to her. She almost laughed. When he spoke he effected a gruff whisper, clearly trying to disguise his identity. His manner was melodramatic and extremely affected. Dealers in Manehattan hadn't been anywhere near this ridiculous, but, then again, this was Canterlot. Maybe ponies in every walk of life were a little ridiculous.

"Depends," she said, joining his act of secrecy. "What are you offering?"

"Depends what you want. Also what you have to offer."

Vinyl threw caution to the winds. "You the dealer 'round here?"

The man said nothing, but he tipped his hat to affirm his identity. Vinyl pulled what was left of the money she'd gotten for Octavia's concert tickets out. "What are ya sellin'?"

"What are you buyin'?"

"Smack, coke... whatever ya have..."

The dealer looked up an down the streets, then beckoned for her to follow. She followed him uncomfortably down an alleyway and in through a small door. Inside there wasn't much, but inside trap door Vinyl say that the man was hiding a number of drugs, many of which she hadn't even tried. "Whaddya need, kiddo?" he asked.

"Smack... and the rigs... lost my old ones back in Manehattan."

"How much do you need?"

"A dime bag."

The man got her needles and syringes, then a small bag of dope. Vinyl frowned. Ten bits worth of dope in Canterlot was a lot less than ten bits worth of dope in Manehattan, but she knew better than to say anything. She would just have to find a way to make more money. Surely there was a club or two around here she could play in. She took the paper bag the dealer handed out to her. "Same street corner, same time, every day?" the man asked.

"Works."

"I'll be seein' you then."

Vinyl walked back to Octavia's apartment. The sun was starting to rise now, casting a pale orange glow on the street. She walked up the stairs quickly, then let herself into Octavia's apartment. Much to her relief it was still dark. Octavia was probably still asleep. Poor thing was probably exhausted after staying up so late the night before. Trying not to wake her, Vinyl tip-hoofed across the room and into kitchen. She pulled a container out of the cabinet and used it to mix her powdered dope with water. Then she took it back into her bedroom, closed, the door, and loaded up her syringe. She tied her front leg up tightly with a shoelace she'd been wearing around her neck for this purpose exactly: to help her find her vein. She located it and slowly injected the needle into the vein.

Suddenly the door opened. Vinyl jumped, causing the needle to fall out of her arm and onto the floor. She cursed loudly, rubbing her leg where the injection sight had been. Octavia screamed a little and covered her mouth. "Oh my goodness, Vinyl, I'm sorry!"

"God dammit, woman! Don't you fuckin' knock?"

"I'm sorry... I should have, you're right... wait... Vinyl... were you doing drugs in my house?"

Vinyl hesitated, biting her lip. "I was hopin' ya wouldn't find out about this," she mumbled, stooping down to pick up the needle.

"Vinyl, I can't allow you to do that."

"Why not?" Vinyl snapped defensively. "It ain't any of YOUR business what I do. Doesn't hurt you none."

Octavia frowned. "Actually, it does. This is my house. I can get into trouble if you do drugs here. Besides, it's bad for you."

Vinyl rolled her eyes. "Please don't give me that lecture... like I said... it ain't your business."

Octavia sighed. "Fine... I'll leave you be... but in the future... I can't believe I'm telling you this... There's a little alley out back of the apartment building. If you must use... That's a place you can do it and not get caught."

Vinyl looked at Octavia in astonishment. She hadn't seen that one coming. "Thank you," she said as Octavia backed out of the room and closed the door.

Vinyl stared at the closed door for a moment, then shrugged. If Octavia was going to help her out with this, she was fine with that. She blew off the needle and re-positioned it in her front leg. She injected the drug with a sigh of relief. The effect as almost instantaneous. As the euphoria washed over her, her head dropped down onto her chest and her eyes fluttered shut. All the times she'd used heroin since the first time it had been different. She supposed the first time she had used she had been so hyped up on her emotions that it hadn't been as sedating. Since, however, it had the usual effect that it was suppose to have. It was different, but she liked it. It made her forget all the bad things that had happened. When she was high she floated on a cloud where only she existed. It was peaceful there. Comfortably peaceful.

Octavia sat in the kitchen awkwardly, sipping on her mug Earl Grey tea in silence. She was highly uncomfortable with the whole situation. She and Vinyl had managed to get off to a terrible start on their first morning together and that was eating at her. What was eating at her more though was what was going on behind the door she had shut on Vinyl. She'd known Vinyl had probably picked up some vices, but she hadn't realized what they'd be. It was uncomfortable to sit at her kitchen island with her tea knowing that Vinyl shooting up drugs while she did. It wasn't right, but there wasn't really much Octavia could do about it.

A while later Vinyl came out. She was acting a little more sloth-like than before, but over all she seemed to be mostly fuctioning.

"What's crackin'?" she asked with a lazy smile.

"Nothing," Octavia said primly, taking a sip of her tea.

Vinyl frowned. "Don't act like that," she said crossly. "I'm not addicted to smack or anything. I'm just a casual user."

"Right, and I believe that."

"Really, Octopus! I'm fine!"

Octavia frowned. "Did you just call Octopus?"

"Yeah... got a problem with it?"

"Well... yes... I'm not an Octopus..."

Vinyl shrugged. "Yeah, but your name is Octavia... made me think of an Octopus... but whatevs... when are we goin' out to get the shit we were supposed to get."

"As soon as we're both ready to go."

"I'm ready when you are."

So Octavia left to get ready. She stood in the shower for perhaps a little longer than she should have, but she couldn't help herself. After all that had happened in the last twenty-four hours it felt good to just stand under the hot water to ease all of her tense muscles. After a while she quickly washed up, then shut off the water and stepped out of the shower. Then she looked up and screamed, clapping her hooves to her mouth. Vinyl was sitting on the countertop, staring at her expectantly. "Took you long enough," she said.

"My goodness, Vinyl!" Octavia she reprovingly. "What do you think you're doing?"

Vinyl shrugged. "I got bored of waiting out there, so I came to see what was taking you so long."

"You can't rush these things, Vinyl! I can't believe you walked into my bathroom while I was showering! Do you have any idea how rude and inappropriate that is?"

Vinyl smirked. "It's not like we wear clothes or anything... I'm not seeing anything that I haven't already seen, although," she looked Octavia up and down, "I have to say, you make one sexy wet-maned mare."

"Out! OUT!" Octavia demanded, feeling a blush rise on her cheeks.

"I'm goin', I'm goin'!" Vinyl said, walking out of the bathroom with a smirk on her face and closing the door behind her.

Octavia let out a noise of frustration as she began to dry her mane rather violently with her towel. Who did Vinyl think she was, just walking into her bathroom in the middle of her shower? Did she know nothing of what was considered acceptable social behavior? Octavia picked up her hairbrush and behind to abuse her mane, still fuming. And then the nerve of her comments!... Sexy wet-maned mare indeed. She flipped on her blow-dryer and began to dry her hair.

In the time it took her to get ready Octavia had managed to calm herself from the incident with Vinyl in the bathroom. She walked out to join her house guest in the living room. "Ready to go?"

"You still mad at me?"

Octavia sighed. "No... but when we get home we are establishing house RULES!"

Vinyl groaned. "Blech... rules... not really my forte, sweet cheeks."

"Rule number one," Octavia replied. "Don't call me sweet cheeks."

Vinyl smirked. "Okay, Octopus... But let's talk about this later... We have to go get my straightener."

For the first time Octavia noticed Vinyl's hair. She hadn't paid much attention before, as her mind had been preoccupied with the drug use and the incident in the bathroom, but now that she was looking she noticed that Vinyl's hair looked incredibly different than it had before. As it was no longer weighed down by dirt Octavia now say that Vinyl's hair was wavy and kinky as if she had slept with a bunch of braids all over her head. She smiled. "It actually looks kind of good that way," she said.

Vinyl grimaced. "Ugg... no... we're getting the straightener."

"Fine," Octavia said, smiling as they walked out the door.

As they walked down the street to the store on the corner Octavia watched Vinyl out of the corner of her eye. She seemed to be perfectly healthy and cheerful, other than being a little skinny and her pupils of her eyes which were now contracted where they had been obviously dilated the day before. That wasn't a good sign. It implied that Vinyl was on multiple drugs. That was a certain way to end up killing oneself. Unfortunately, Octavia didn't feel she had the right or authority to make Vinyl stop doing anything.

Octavia watched as Vinyl looked the streets up and down. She supposed that her new roommate was trying to familiarize herself with the territory. It was kind of interesting, the way she scutinized the area. Octavia wondered what she was seeing. Was she seeing things about the quarter of town that Octavia had lived in for a few months now that she herself hadn't noticed at all. In that moment she almost wanted to get inside Vinyl head, but at the same time knew that it was probably a dark place that she didn't want any part of. There was definitely a certain haunted look behind Vinyl's fun-loving exterior that Octavia was certain didn't come from the drugs.

"Have you lived here long?" Vinyl finally asked as they neared the store.

"Not really... a few months. I only graduated from the Conservatory back in May."

Vinyl looked distinctly surprised. "And here I was thinking you'd lived there the whole time... You got enough money to afford that place just since graduating music school?"

"You needn't sound so surprised, Vinyl," Octavia teased as she opened the door to the neighborhood Pony-Mart. "You learned yourself that tickets to my concerts are worth fifty bits a piece."

"Yeah, well... I figured I inflated the price."

"Not really. In fact, you might have reduced it."

Vinyl cursed under her breath. Octavia scowled at her language, but inside she was secretly laughing at Vinyl's obvious regret that she had not asked for more for those tickets. Not that it really mattered now. Octavia fully intended to provide for Vinyl in every way she could. In the spirit of that, she walked up and down the isle, picking up food. Over time she began to notice that things that she had never purchased in her life were beginning to appear in her shopping cart.

"Vinyl, where did this chocolate pudding come from?" she asked in annoyance.

"I wanted chocolate pudding," Vinyl said with a shrug.

"It is terrible for you, Vinyl. Especially this processed stuff they put in these little plastic cups. You haven't had proper nourishment in forever. You need healthy food, not pudding."

"Well, I haven't had pudding in forever either," Vinyl said stubbornly. "So I think I deserve some."

"Fine," Octavia said with a sigh. "Let's go get that straightener you think you want."

"Ya mean the straightener that I really need right now because I look like a psycho?"

"You do not look like a psycho."

"Quit tellin' me my hair looks fine and buy me a straightener, woman!" Vinyl yelled.

Octavia looked at her appraisingly. "You know, I don't have to do any of this, so a little respect would be appreciated."

"You want respect? From me?" Vinyl began to cackle as if the idea of her showing any amount of respect was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard in her life. Suddenly Octavia felt a little worried about how their relationship was going to develop.

"Yes, Vinyl, I want respect from you. Is that such a hard thing to ask for?"

"Bitch, you have no idea."

Octavia frowned. "Just go get your straightener. And don't call me bitch!"

Vinyl grinned. "Okay... Octopus."

"Just get your thing!"

As Vinyl picked out the straightener that she thought she needed Octavia silently fumed. She had never met a more infuriating pony in all of her days of living! It was as if Vinyl purely existed to drive everypony else on the planet insane. She supposed it was her own fault, however, that she had to put up with this. She had invited Vinyl to come live with her after all. She should have known that the sixteen year old would be a handful.

Later the pair returned home, toting their groceries with them. If there was one thing to be said for Vinyl's usefulness, it was that it certainly make carrying things a lot easier. It was useful to have a unicorn friend. Even if Vinyl wasn't particularly skilled at magic, which she didn't seem to be, she knew the spell to carry things with her magic and that, at least, made everything easier. They entered Octavia's apartment and dropped the groceries off in the kitchen.

"Give me my flat-iron!" Vinyl demanded. When she said things like that she most certainly sounded like a teenager.

"What's the magic word?" Octavia replied innocently.

"Abra Kadabra! Now hand it over!"

"Honestly, Vinyl, didn't anypony ever teach you manners?" Octavia asked as she handed the appliance over.

Vinyl pondered it for a moment, then shrugged. "No, not really," she concluded finally before bounding off to the bathroom.

"Just out of curiosity," Octavia shouted after her as she herself bustled around the kitchen, putting things away, "why did you need the straightener? Why couldn't you just do it with your magic?"

There was a moment of silence. "Umm... Well... I know this sounds weird, but the hair manipulating spells are actually pretty advances and, well... I don't know a lot of magic."

"I suppose that makes sense," Octavia said thoughtfully. "You did run away from home at a fairly young age... and by the way you talk it doesn't sound like you lived in a very nurturing or educational environment." She said this last part with a slight nudge her voice. She couldn't help it. She wanted answers to what had happened to make Vinyl end up where she was in life.

Vinyl didn't reply for a long time, but Octavia could hear the anger and pain in her silence. "That's none of your business," she replied, her voice bitter and resentful.

"I'm sorry," Octavia said, drifting over and poking her head into the bathroom. "I didn't mean to pry."

Vinyl turned around with a hint of a scowl on her face. Her hair was now impeccably straight, though with all the layers she'd hacked into it the night before it was straight a couple different directions. "Well, ya did," she said.

"I apologize. It was rude of me... Your hair looks... interesting."

Vinyl glanced at herself in the mirror. "It's the first time it's looked half-way decent in years now."

Octavia smiled. "This is decent to you?"

Vinyl smirked. "What? Not straight laced enough for you?"

"It is most certainly not my style... although," Octavia cocked her head thoughtfully, "in some strange way it does work for you."

"I know my own hair," Vinyl said with a shrugged as she brushed passed Octavia. "Now, I'm hungry!"

"What would you like?"

"Food."

"Well, that's helpful," Octavia said, sarcasm dripping from her tone. "But can you be a little more specific?"

Vinyl thought for a long time. In fact, she thought for so long that Octavia began to tap her hoof impatiently. Then, after a build-up that seemed to go on for ages, she finally responded. "Good food."

Octavia made a noise of frustration. "You are insufferable."

"I've been told."

"And yet, some how, you don't seem to be doing anything to remedy that fact."

"Why bother?

"Out of respect?"

Vinyl rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. Don't start on me with all this respect crap. Respect isn't something that I just hand out, okay? If a pony wants respect, they'll earn it."

"I've done nothing but be hospitable and charitable towards you, Vinyl. Besides, you ought to apply the same standards to yourself. How can you expect others to respect you if you don't respect them?"

Vinyl shrugged. "Who says I want respect?"

"Everypony wants respect."

"Well, not me! I don't need other ponies."

Octavia raised her eyebrows. "You don't need other ponies? Well, feel free to take your leave then, Vinyl, as you clearly don't need me!"

The silence rang throughout the room. Octavia stared at Vinyl intensely, but Vinyl seemed unable to make eye contact. Octavia could tell that what she had said had had some affect on the young girl. Finally, after what seemed like a decade, Vinyl spoke. "That's not what I meant."

"Then, pray tell, what did you mean?"

"I just... I don't... I mean... I guess I've just been alone for a really long time."

Octavia's expression softened. "Well, you're not alone anymore. I promise, Vinyl. You're not alone."