• Published 9th Feb 2012
  • 2,352 Views, 121 Comments

HeartBeats and HeartStrings - DJ-PonRainbowFireJack

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

  • ...

Chapter Eight

Chapter 8

Vinyl was settling into life at Octavia's, but she couldn't honestly say that the change was an easy one. More than once she had found herself sleeping on the floor. When Octavia's asked her why she would merely shrugged and say that the bed was too comfortable. Truly, everything about living with Octavia was too comfortable. Her flat was comfortable, her furniture was comfortable, but, most frighteningly, her company was comfortable. Even though they bickered often, Vinyl found herself enjoying the uptight cellist's company. Even so, she couldn't pull away as she had done in the past. Something about Octavia pulled her in and made her forget that no personal relationship would end well. Somehow over the next week Vinyl forgot that she had resolved to never trust again.

The hardest part of Canterlot to adapt to was the culture. Canterlot was much more upscale than Manehattan, at least the part of Manehattan Vinyl had frequented, and there didn't seem to be a slum-town portion. The closest she'd been able to figure to be a low-class sector was the Upper East Corner, and even that seemed to be much better than the ghettos of Manehattan. Luckily for Vinyl, however, drug culture seemed to be prevalent across Equestria, from the dankest slums to the classiest gated communities. Unluckily, the prices in Canterlot were jacked way higher than in Manehattan. The more familiar side of Vinyl that lacked proper courtesy almost took Octavia's money, but that tiny little voice inside of her head with the proper voice of her older sister always stopped her. "That is most certainly unacceptable, Vinyl! it said, entirely affronted that she would even think it. "Octavia has taken you in out of the kindness in her own heart! It would be more than a little rude for you to steal money from her to feed you habit! Even so, Vinyl quickly began to run out of what little money she had. Before long she would be out and then what could she do? It wasn't like she could just walk out and start asking for jobs. She had no identification and she didn't want it either, at least not a real ID. The last thing she wanted was for anypony here to figure out who she was and send her home, for even after all these years she still feared that she would be returned there.

Vinyl had quickly learned that Octavia did not spend much time in her home, which perhaps accounted for it uncomfortable cleanliness. During the week, Vinyl realized, though Octavia had graduated from the conservatory, she was not content with her education, for she took classes during the day. This left Vinyl at home alone most of the time, which thus far had not been a problem, though Vinyl wasn't sure how much more she would take before her boredom would explode into a series of minor disasters. Many nights Octavia and her string quartet played at a variety of venues and parties around Canterlot, thus rendering her unavailable for contact on many nights as well.

That Saturday, however, was Octavia's day off. She had no classes and no work and thus was home to witness Vinyl's rising panic. Vinyl sat in complete silence on Octavia's living room sofa. She still had some money left and occasionally she went out on to the streets while Octavia was in class and managed to scrape up a little more. She'd lived like this for years in Manehattan. The only difference was that this time she actually had a warm, comfortable home to return to. So why did she feel so panicked?

Octavia didn't miss her silence. "Is something bothering you, Vinyl?"

Vinyl shrugged but didn't say anything. How could she? Octavia didn't approve of the fact that Vinyl was a user and Vinyl didn't really want to listen to that lecture right then. She thought about the cocaine she had hidden under mattress in her bedroom. She really wanted that right then, but she couldn't really go and take it while Octavia was sitting there. But god dammit she needed it. She didn't use heroin regularly she just occasionally treated herself to the mind numbing relaxation that it provided. The drug she used was still cocaine. She couldn't stop.

"Vinyl, don't act like this. If we are to live this way then we must have full disclosure."

"I think there are some parts of my life you are better off not knowing about, doll face," Vinyl said darkly, pushing herself farther back into the couch cushions.

Octavia pursed her lips. "Vinyl, I know you have... habits... that I do not approve of, but it's not like you to be this despondant."

"How to do you know what I"m like? You barely even know me."

"I know enough."

Vinyl sighed. "I'm fine. Really. I am."

"No you're not."

Vinyl didn't look at Octavia. What could she do now? Octavia seemed truly concerned and some part of Vinyl that she had thought had died a long time ago was truly touched, but how could Octavia help her? She couldn't ask for Octavia to give her money to support something that she absolutely hated. She would never do it, for one thing. But maybe she could bend the truth a little? Maybe if she didn't tell her exactly what she needed the money for it would work out. Vinyl didn't particularly relish the idea of taking even more from Octavia, but her need drowned out her morals.

"I just... Sometimes when I'm at home alone I need to get things and I don't really see that much of you. I... I don't have much money, you know, and it would be really hard for me to get a job since I have no identity."

Octavia cocked her head. "Vinyl, are you asking me to leave you money when I leave?"

Vinyl didn't look at her. She couldn't. "I mean... if that okay... I don't wanna cause you a lot of shit or nothin'."

Octavia considered it for a moment, then smiled. "I can manage to leave you with a little. I do make good money in the quartet, and I feel it's my responsibility to take care of you until you can do it yourself."

Vinyl nodded, but she didn't say anything. She couldn't say anything. She was filled with too much guilt over lying to Octavia. Part of her wanted to retract the request, say she didn't really need anything. Part of her wanted to just continue what she had been doing and keep playing desperately on the streets while Octavia was in class, trying to get enough money to feed her habit. But that part of her was gagged by the greater part that needed that money. That part of her coaxed her to push her guilt aside and change the subject.

"Yo, Octy!" she said suddenly, sitting up a little. "We never did establish that list of rules you were talkin' about. You've been so busy since I got here."

Octavia smiled. "No, I suppose we didn't. I'm surprised you brought it up. You don't seem like the kind to pay much attention to rules."

"Oh, I'm totally not gonna follow them," Vinyl said, grinning jauntily. "I just figured you'd like to tell me what they are since you're such a stickler for rules. You know, so you can yell at me when I break them?"

Octavia rolled her eyes. "I feel extremely sorry for the ponies that had to raise you, Vinyl."

The smile slid off of Vinyl's face. "Don't," she said darkly, "they don't deserve that."

Octavia looked at Vinyl sadly. "I wish you'd tell me what happened to you."

"Forget it. It's not gonna happen."

"Fine... rules, then... Well, rule number one is, of course, not calling me sweet sweet cheeks."

"Yeah, ok... sweet cheeks."

Octavia scowled. "Rule number two... No drugs in the house."

Vinyl's mind strayed to the coke she had hidden under her mattress. "Okay, no prob. Next?"

"Rule number three... Try not to break anything."

"I ain't a clutz, Octopus."

"RULE NUMBER FOUR!" Octavia practically yelled. "No weird pet names."

"But I like them!" Vinyl complained, bolting up.

"I hate them."

"That's why I like them."

"I figured."

Vinyl grinned and leaned down onto the sofa. "I can't promise anything for that one, babe. I think you'd make a bitchin' octopus."

Rolling her eyes, Octavia plowed on. The rules were fairly simple. If you take it out, put it away. If you eat on it, wash it. If you turn it on, turn it off. If you mess it up, clean it up. If you drop it, pick it up. If you open it, close it. All very household rules. The kind of rules that she had never obeyed when she was living at home, but she figured that since Octavia had chosen to take her in out of the kindness in her heart that she could at least try to follow them. But, as she told Octavia after every rule, she couldn't promise anything.

"I suppose it's only fair to ask you if you have any rules of me. You are living here as well, after all."

Vinyl thought about it for a minute. "Just one."

"And what would that be?"

Vinyl pierced Octavia with the most intense stare she could muster. "Never ask me about my past and never mention my parents again."

Octavia looked right back at Vinyl, completely unfazed by her unflinching stare. "I can't promise anything, Vinyl."

Octavia tried her hardest to respect Vinyl's wish and not ask too many questions about her past. Honestly, she wanted Vinyl to trust her and clearly the best way to earn that trust was to be respectful. It was hard, however, and she often found herself looking curiously at Vinyl, wondering why she did or said certain things. She found herself wondering about Vinyl's mysterious parents whenever she heard Vinyl's accent. They must have been terrible for Vinyl to be so reluctant to talk about it. More than anything Octavia wanted to be able to tell Vinyl that whatever her parents had done to her hadn't been her fault, but she couldn't do that without knowing what had happened. She couldn't find out what had happened without asking Vinyl and that would be compromising her trust. It was all so confusing and frustrating.

Of course, the mystery that shrouded Vinyl was far from the only thing about the girl that was frustrating to Octavia. As days passed to be became quite obvious that Vinyl's manners were hardly up to par. She didn't have much regard for the feelings of others when she spoke, often insulting Octavia or the ponies Octavia spent her time with and she didn't even seem to realize that she was doing it.

"Vinyl, you do realize how rude and inconsiderate that was, right?" Octavia asked after one of these moments. Vinyl had been talking about Octavia's obsessive neatness, saying that the apartment felt like nopony lived in it. Octavia would have let the complaining slide had it not been for the comment that followed: "It's like you're a fucking drone or something. You're as lifeless as the apartment."

Vinyl shrugged. "It's true, ain't it?"

"Just because something is true doesn't make it okay to say, Vinyl! Besides, I am not lifeless!"

"What do you call it then?"

"I have responsibilities, Vinyl. I have school and work to attend to. Excuse me if that means I don't have much time for leisure activity."

Vinyl rolled her eyes and lit up a cigarette. "Whatever you say."

Octavia made a noise of disgust. "Vinyl, I'm not going to try to stop you from smoking, but I won't let you do it in here. If you're going to insist on that disgusting habit take it outside."

Vinyl rolled her eyes again and, much to Octavia's fury, put the cigarette out on the the arm on the sofa. It sizzled and burned a small, round hole into the fabric. Octavia stood up and snatched the cigarette out of Vinyl's hoof. "How dare you!" she said, aghast. "I can't believe you would do that!"

"Damn, Octavia, it's just a fucking sofa. It's not like I killed something that's alive."

"It doesn't matter, Vinyl! It's my property and you just destroyed it!"

"No, I didn't," she said in exasperation. "It still works, don't it?"

"But you still burned a hole in it! How is that okay to you? Honestly, Vinyl, with behavior like that it's no wonder you had such a hard time with your parents!"

The moment the words came out of Octavia's mouth she regretted them. She saw all of the nonchalant arrogance slip off of Vinyl's face. It was replaced with a scowl and dead eyes that Octavia truly hoped she would never see again. Vinyl just looked so fiercely hurt by the thought of her past that Octavia began to wonder how cruel her comment had actually been. She put a hoof on Vinyl, but Vinyl pulled away angrily, refusing to look at her.

"Vinyl, I'm sorry. I didn't mean that. I shouldn't have brought it up."

"Damn right you shouldn't have," she snapped. "That was my only fucking rule for you, Octavia."

"Vinyl, I'm really sorry."

"Sorry don't cut it."

Octavia frowned. "Then what does, Vinyl, because honestly I can't think of anything more I can do. Personally I think it is incredibly unfair that you think it's alright to burn holes in my property, but the moment I mention your past you act like I've delivered you some deep, personal offense."

"Well, you did, so that might have somethin' to do with it. Dammit, Octavia, you don't know shit about me. How dare you act like you know."

"I don't know anything about you because you won't tell me."

"And it's gonna stay that way. Stop bringing it up, Octavia. I'm serious about this."

"Then stop burning holes in my furniture and take your smoking outside."

"Fine," Vinyl said grudgingly.

This is how it was with Vinyl. It was such a struggle to get her to conform to basic rules and etiquette, but Octavia had to tread delicately around her emotions. She didn't seem to care a bit for what others thought and she certainly didn't care for their feelings, but if you even came close to insulting her it was enough to make her blow her top. It was extremely hypocritical, but whenever Octavia tried to point that out Vinyl would get get moody, foul, and impossible to deal with. The most frustrating part about all of this was that Octavia never really knew what was going to set Vinyl off. Most of the time she was seemingly happy and fun-loving, if a little crude, and she was actually extremely good company. Most of the time Octavia could overlook Vinyl's crass sense of humor if it came with happy company, but sometimes it didn't. Sometimes Vinyl was so moody that Octavia prolonged the amount of time it took to get home from her classes just to avoid her. Of course, that usually ended up being a mistake, because leaving Vinyl alone for too long usually ended in some disaster that could range from minor to panic inducing.

One day Octavia arrived home to find Vinyl standing right in front of the door grinning sheepishly. Tipped off to the fact that Vinyl had done something bad, Octavia narrowed her eyes in suspicion. "What did you do?"

Vinyl laughed uncomfortable. "Now, come on, babe... That's a rude way to greet somepony right when you get home."

Octavia waved her hoof dismissively. "What did you do, Vinyl?"

"Nothing! So, uh... how was your day?"

"It was fine," Octavia replied, her voice still dripping with her suspicion. "A little long. I'm actually quite hungry, so if you'll excuse me..." Octavia tried to cut around Vinyl but Vinyl quickly stood in her way, her eyes wide.

"How about we go out to eat?" she said hurriedly. "Surely you'd like to take me to some restaurant you like around here."

Octavia glowered. "No, actually, I'd rather just stay in tonight. Please get out of my way, Vinyl."

"Are you you sure?" Vinyl replied, still trying to stop Octavia from passing. "I mean, we could have a nice night out, get to know each other better..."

"Get out of my way!"


"Why are you so eager to keep me from going into my own kitchen, Vinyl?"

Vinyl sighed in defeat. "Okay, fine... I was tryin' to, umm... I was tryin' to climb your refrigerator and I might've knocked it over."

Octavia stared at Vinyl in complete shock. She definitely hadn't seen that one coming. "How in the world did you manage that? WHY WERE YOU CLIMBING MY REFRIGERATOR?" Vinyl cut her eyes to the side sheepishly. In the moment she looked like she was about five years old. She was a little girl who had just been caught doing something bad and was afraid that she was going to get in trouble. The sight almost melted Octavia's heart. Than she remembered that the pony in question was sixteen years old and had just knocked over her entire refrigerator. She schooled her expression and looked at Vinyl pointedly. "Well?"

"It just... Okay, this probably sounds fuckin' retarded, but you know... I was... I was high and I thought it might be fun to see if I could."

"You were high? You have the maturity of a small child already, Vinyl, you don't need to be taking drugs to make it worse," Octavia said exasperatedly. She pushed past Vinyl and into her kitchen. What she saw made her groan. Vinyl had indeed knocked over the appliance. Food was strewn across the floor and her bottles of milk and juice were shattered on the ground. "How did you even manage this, Vinyl? You're so skinny still. How did you possibly weigh enough to knock over the refrigerator."

Vinyl shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe you just have a shitty fridge."

Octavia rolled her eyes. "Did you even try to set it back up?"

Vinyl hung her head in shame. "I tried... but my magic... it's not very strong. I couldn't do it alone."

"So you were going to wait for me to come home and find it?"

"No!" Vinyl said defensively. "I was gonna pick it up before you found it, that why I was trying to get you out of the apartment again. I... I went downstairs and flirted with some of the big guys down there. They should be up to help me pick it up any minute."

"You flirted with guys to get them to come help you pick up a refrigerator," Octavia repeated slowly. "Vinyl... I thought you were a lesbian..."

"I am! I was just trying to get some help."

Octavia rolled her eyes. "You are so ridiculous sometimes. Come on, use your magic to help me pick this up."

Between the two on them they did manage to get the refrigerator standing without the help of the guys from downstairs. Octavia looked around her ruined kitchen in dismay. There was food, drink, and broken glass everywhere. It seemed that they were going to have to make a shopping trip sooner than she had expected. She examined her refrigerator and groaned.

"It's broken. I'm going to have to call a repair pony."


"I would say it's okay, but it's not, Vinyl. Why were you taking drugs in my house again? I told you not too!"

"I wasn't! I took them in the alley like you said! I was just high in your house!"

"And look what it made you do!"

"It won't happen again!"

"How can I know that? How can I know that you won't destroy something else? Honestly, Vinyl, I ought to put you in a straightjacket just so you don't make a mess of things."

Vinyl froze on the spot and looked back at Octavia with wide, slightly frightened eyes. Octavia was taken aback. She hadn't thought that the comment would do anything more than make Vinyl roll her eyes, or maybe get defensive. But this expression wasn't like any of the expressions she had seen on Vinyl's face before. This wasn't teasing, or a grin, or even angry or defensiveness. This was all out fear. Octavia frowned and took a step towards Vinyl, but Vinyl pulled away from her as if she'd been shocked.

"I'm not crazy," she said, her eyes still wide.

"I never said you were, Vinyl."

"You threatened to put me in a straight jacket!" she yelled, her eyes still wide. Octavia noticed the pupils were still dilated. Vinyl was still high. "That means you think I'm crazy!"

"I wasn't being serious, Vinyl!"

Vinyl squeezed her eyes tightly shut. "You're gonna ship me away! You're gonna make me leave! You're gonna lock me up in some funny farm someplace!"

"Vinyl, no I'm not!" Octavia was completely nonplussed. She didn't know where this was coming from. "Vinyl, what wrong?"

"NOTHIN'S WRONG WITH ME!" Vinyl yelled, backing all the way against the wall. "I'm normal! I'm normal!" She dissolved into tears. They were the first tears Octavia had seen from Vinyl. "Please don't lock me up, Mom!" There was a moment of silence. "I mean.... Octavia," she said, realizing her mistake.

Octavia was silent for a moment. "Vinyl... what in the world happened to you at home?" she said softly. For she knew how that whatever it was Vinyl hadn't moved on and she wouldn't. Whatever had happened behind the doors of Vinyl's home it wasn't anything that anypony would forget easily.

"I'm fine," Vinyl said, catching her breath. "It's nothin'. No big deal." Her eyes, still big, cut over to the mess on the kitchen floor. "I'll clean that up."

"Vinyl, I think you might need to go lay down for a while. Don't worry about the mess. I'll get it." Octavia reached out to take Vinyl's hoof, but Vinyl pulled away.

"I said I'll clean it up!" she snapped. Octavia backed away slowly and left Vinyl to clean up the mess.

Octavia was greatly disturbed by what she had just witnessed. She had seen Vinyl get angry and upset when reminded of her past, but this was the first time she'd reacted in a panic. Although it was undoubtedly brought on largely by the drugs it was still indicative of a very concerning past. More than ever Octavia wanted to know what had brought Vinyl to where she was in life, but now she was more afraid than ever to ask. That had been worse than any moodiness. The fear and panic in Vinyl's voice and in her eyes... Octavia never wanted to see that again.

Octavia thought about this well into the night. She didn't talk to Vinyl again, but she could have sworn that around midnight she could hear Vinyl softly crying from her bedroom.