• Published 15th Nov 2013
  • 5,119 Views, 321 Comments

Stages - Bunnybooze79

It was supposed to be Octavia’s first big moment in her beginning career. To her dismay a unicorn named Vinyl Scratch stole her spotlight and left an impression on the cellist she would so soon not forget.

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Chapter 10

Weeks passed.

Octavia was on her way home after another futile attempt to get a part in a small band performing in a garden party. Her mood had not changed however and she took the rejection far better than before. In no small part due to Vinyl’s influence and her efforts to help Octavia finding a way to create her own music.

There had been no real progress in that area. Try as she might, Octavia simply lacked the spark of inspiration to come up with her own melodies. But she really enjoyed playing along with Vinyl and it always cheered her up.

The two mares got along very well. Sometimes Vinyl would have a crazy idea, like putting empty yoghurt beakers on Octavia’s hooves while she slept. The unicorn would then wait patiently for Octavia to wake up and try to walk. Octavia would soon join the unicorn rolling around on the floor with laughter at the sight and think of something to get back at her. She discovered that Vinyl had a very low tolerance for anything too spicy. So she had spiked her juice one time with tabasco sauce. The result had been hilarious to watch and Vinyl saw the humor herself some time later after she got the feeling back in her tongue.

Octavia nosed open her mailbox downstairs in the foyer, took out a bunch of mail and made her way up to her apartment. She unlocked the front door and casually kicked it closed with a backhoof after she had gone through.

“Hey, Octavia!” Vinyl greeted her from the couch where she was reading a magazine. “How’d it go this time?”

Octavia put the mail she had been carrying in her mouth on the coffee table and moved towards the music room to stow away her cello.

“No luck once again.” Her voice remained cheery however.

“That sucks….once again.” Vinyl continued her reading about the finer art of making crochet toilet seat covers. Not that she would ever crochet anything herself, let alone a toilet seat cover, but it was so absurd she just had to continue reading it.

Octavia trotted back into the living room and sat down on the short end of the couch. She briefly sorted through her mail. A couple of magazines, another letter from her parents, this time from Zebrica and….

What’s this?

“There is a letter here for you.” It was a bright pink letter and rather heavy.

“Huh?” Vinyl looked up from her article in confusion. “Nopony knows that I live here.”

“Seems like one pony does.” Octavia turned the letter around to see who sent it. “There isn’t an address, just a name. Do you know a Pinkie Pie?”

Vinyl let out a chuckle and closed the magazine she was reading. She plucked the letter from Octavia’s hoof with her magic and levitated it over.

“Yeah, I know Pinkie.” Vinyl took the letter in her own hooves and inspected it. “You remember you telling me about the senior year students taking the newbies under their wing? Well, Pinkie took me under her wing so to speak. Totally crazy mare….in a good way.”

“How does she know where you live?” Octavia asked as Vinyl levitated a letter opener from the sideboard behind her.

“She doesn’t, but still she knows. Trust me, it’s better if you don’t think about it too much.” Vinyl sliced the letter open and both mares jumped in surprise as the spring loaded confetti burst out accompanied by a “Tweet!” sound.

“What was that!? A bizarre assassination attempt?” Octavia pressed a foreleg to her now rapidly beating heart.

“Just Pinkie.” Vinyl said cryptically and grinned while brushing off some of the confetti from her face.

“Is she a friend of yours?” Octavia asked and calmed down a bit, when it was apparent that no more surprises would occur from the letter.

“Yeah. You could call her a friend. Haven’t seen her in ages though.” Vinyl levitated the card inside out of the envelope.

“Shame there isn’t an address, otherwise you could write back and keep in touch. It’s important to keep in touch with ponies that are close.” Octavia mused and remembered she would have to post a few letters of her own very soon.

“Yeah….” Vinyl seemed strangely sullen for a moment, but her smile returned when she opened the card. The clearly hoofmade card had been made with great care and love. The message spelt out in all colors imaginable.

“What is it?” Octavia asked and stretched her neck to sneak a better view of the bright and colorful card.

“Just a birthday card. Pinkie always sends me one.” Vinyl set the card down on the table and began picking up the pieces of confetti with her magic.

“It’s…..it’s your birthday?!” Octavia stood up with shock. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It’s no big deal. I just got a year older and maybe a year wiser. Nothing special.”

“But…but you need a cake!” Octavia stomped a hoof on the floor and just stared at Vinyl hoping she would understand the gravity of the situation.

“Nah. It’s no big deal as I said. I don’t need a cake.” Vinyl casually shrugged and deposited the bits of confetti on the coffee table.

“You must have a cake on your birthday! It is the law!” Octavia put her front hooves on the table and scattered the pile of confetti inadvertently.

“The law?” Vinyl gave her a flat look. “I seriously doubt that there is a law that states you must have cake on a birthday.”

“Then I just made that law!” Octavia’s eyes went wide for a moment. “I am the law!”

Vinyl watched as the grey mare scrunched up her face and let her lower lip droop at bit to the right while saying the last sentence.

“You ok?”

“I am the lahww!” she said once more and Vinyl just stared at her at a loss for words. “Judge Dreck? Sly Stallione? I am the law? Didn’t we watch that one yet?”

Vinyl carefully shook her head at her friend’s odd behavior, not knowing the movie she was just quoting.

“Oh never mind, we’ll watch it some other time.” Octavia shook her head once and got back on track. “You still need a cake!”

“Relax, Tavi. I haven’t had cake for my birthday in the last ten years or so. It’s not something I am going to miss.” Vinyl waved her friend’s idea away with a hoof.

Octavia backpedaled into the closed door of the music room. She clutched a hoof to her chest in melodramatic fashion.

“What?! Ten years without cake!” Vinyl wasn’t sure if Octavia was just playing her part or was genuinely shocked. “That has to be rectified immediately!”

“No, really. I don’t need anything like that for my birthday. Hay, if Pinkie hadn’t sent a letter I most likely would have forgotten all about it anyway.”

“No, no, no. Not another word. You shall have cake and that is final, Vinyl.” Octavia giggled at her little rhyme. “You wait right here, I’ll be back shortly.”

Before Vinyl could voice any kind of protest the grey mare had already left the apartment.

“I don’t even like cake all that much.” Vinyl said to an empty room.


Vinyl used the time alone to write a letter. The words Octavia had said made her think about one pony in particular she had not been in touch with for some time. She planned of rectifying that mistake while she still had the nerve to do so.

She had just written the last sentence as the front door opened. Octavia’s poked her head through the gap and cast a curious glance at the new object in her living room.

“Vinyl? What’s that?”

“That arrived while you were out.” Vinyl nodded to the large box standing in the middle of the room.

“HA! Perfect timing!” Octavia grinned wide almost splitting her head in two. “Do you mind waiting in your room for a while? I’ll call you when I am finished.”

Vinyl gave an affirmation back and trotted to her room with the letter in tow. Once there she carefully slid the letter into an envelope. She would have to ask Octavia for the bits to send it away later. Vinyl grimaced as she licked the envelope closed and with nothing better to do flopped on her bed. She heard Octavia do something in the kitchen, but held her curiosity in check. It was going to be a surprise and Vinyl didn’t want to ruin it.

After a few minutes Octavia called to her again.

“Would you come into the living room please?”

Vinyl did as was asked and trotted into said room. Apart from the large box and a widely smiling grey earthpony nothing was out of the ordinary.

“Open it!” Octavia said and pointed a hoof at the box.

The unicorn had not lost any thought on the box thus far. It was clearly marked as being sent to Octavia and she didn’t feel the need to look inside. Now however her curiosity was awakened and she carefully pulled of the plastic straps binding the box off with her magic.

One tug of the lid later and the sides fell over revealing its contents. For once Vinyl was speechless as her eyes grew large at the sight now before her.

It was a brand new deck, but it was nothing like her old one. This one was state of the art with the very best that bits could by. It must have cost a small fortune.

“You like it?” Octavia asked with slight worry evident in her voice at her friend’s sudden lack of movement.

“I…I don’t know what to say. This is more than I ever could have imagined.” Vinyl very carefully approached the deck and ran a hoof over the pristine dials and knobs. The speakers alone would have cost ten times more than her entire old deck had. “Thank you, Tavi.”

Octavia beamed at the entranced unicorn.

“Sorry it took so long. I ordered it the very next day after we had started playing together.” Octavia explained while Vinyl inspected her new equipment. “Problem was that no store in Canterlot has these things and it took a while to get here.”

“Y…you shouldn’t have.” Vinyl stammered still not quite believing that this piece of high tech was now hers.

“Nonsense. You said yourself that you can remix anything if you had a good instrument to use. Well now you do and the timing couldn’t have been any better.” Octavia tapped Vinyl on the shoulder with a hoof. “Come on. There is more!”

Vinyl followed the earthpony towards the kitchen. Octavia made her close her eyes and promise not to open them. She complied and wondered what her friend had planned next. Octavia guided her inside the kitchen by wrapping a foreleg around her neck.

“You can open them now.” Octavia said and Vinyl could actually hear her smile.

Vinyl did as instructed and opened one eye carefully. She let out a small gasp of surprise at the sight before her.

“Surprise!” Octavia was beaming with joy at the unicorn’s facial expression. “I got you some cake.”

Some was an understatement. Every available surface had an entire cake on it. Each cake was of a different flavor and decorated differently. Vinyl’s eyes darted from a strawberry cake with pink frosting to a lemon cake with chocolate ornaments on top.

“That’s a lot of cake.” She said while still reeling from the sudden onslaught of any foal’s favorite dream.

Octavia pulled her along to the cake resting on one side of the table. It was the only one that had lit candles on top.

“And now you have to blow them out and make a wish.” She instructed and released the mare from her grip.

“What kind of wish?” Vinyl had not had a lot of luck when it came to wishes in the past.

“Any kind, Vinyl. That’s what wishes are for. Just wish for something that comes from the heart and it may come true.” Octavia nudged her towards the table.

Comes from the heart…

Vinyl shrugged as a wish made its way to the front of her mind. With a deep breath she blew out the candles and Octavia clapped her front hooves together in celebration. The wish had been a foalish one, clichéd at best. Vinyl wished to find happiness everlasting and felt slightly silly for doing so.

“Happy birthday, Vinyl!” Octavia hugged the unicorn for a moment and a glint appeared in the cellist’s eyes. “Now let’s have some cake!”

“You think we can eat all of it before it spoils?” Vinyl asked and was a bit at a loss on where to start eating.

“We can try. There isn’t much else we can do.” Octavia shrugged and trotted over towards a cupboard to retrieve some plates.

A sudden thought hit Vinyl. There was something one could do with cake apart from eating it. It was something she had often thought about during her classes in Culinary Arts, but never had the chance of actually doing it. Now, here….maybe that chance was back and Octavia surely wouldn’t mind, would she? It was Vinyl’s birthday after all and she could do with her cake anyway she pleased.

“Oh, I have an idea.” Vinyl slid over to the cake next to the one with candles in it. It was already pre-sliced which made it easier for Vinyl to put a slice of it on her hoof.

Octavia stopped her search for plates and turned to the unicorn to see what she had planned. The slice of cake hit her right in the face. She staggered backwards a bit and carefully opened a cake-covered eye, only to see a broadly grinning unicorn carefully grabbing another slice.

“Care for a cake fight?” Vinyl asked with a mischievous look on her face.

Octavia licked her lips and tasted some of the cherry-cream cake that covered part of her face. With a mischievous smirk of her own she turned to the nearest cake and readied her own weapon.

“You are on!”


Two mares sat in a cake plastered kitchen quietly eating a slice of the undamaged cakes. Both of them were equally covered in sugary goodness, but neither really seemed to care.

“This is good cake.” Vinyl said matter of factly.

“Yes, it is quite exquisite.” Octavia replied in the same tone of voice.

“Looks good on the wall as well.” Vinyl nodded towards the massive stain on the wall to her right.

“Best not to get too attached.” Octavia cast a look upwards. “It will have to removed, just like the one on the ceiling.”

The cellist looked over to the formerly white unicorn, now a unicorn with many different colors sticking to her coat. She giggled at the sight.

“Did you enjoy your birthday?” she asked and saw her friend grin wildly.

“Best birthday ever! I think I shall always have some cake from now on.” Vinyl giggled at the sight beside her. Octavia’s grey coat was equally streaked and stained by cake. The best part in Vinyl’s opinion was the large dollop of whipped cream on the cellist’s head.

“Seriously, this was one of the best days I ever had. And you…” Vinyl levitated a cherry that was halfway intact on to the mound of cream of Octavia’s head. “You are the cherry on top.”

Octavia giggled and gave the unicorn a big hug, seemingly undisturbed by the state their coats were in.

“Aren’t you sweet.” She kissed Vinyl’s cheek. “Literally sweet…..and sticky. I think I’ll have a quick shower and wash this mess off. Then you can have one while I get started on the debris.

The earthpony released the other mare from her hug and trotted towards the bathroom. Vinyl sat motionless and wasn’t too sure what was happening.

She pressed a hoof to her chest to feel her suddenly rapidly beating heart thump away under her ribs. The unicorn didn’t move for some time, trying to make heads or tails out of that sudden feeling. She heard Octavia hum a tune while showering. Vinyl blinked at a sudden realization.

You’re falling for her….

The voice in her head had a decisively amused tone to it.

Am not…

Yes, you are. You can still feel her lips on your cheek…

Vinyl shook her head to clear away her thoughts. It didn’t help as the voice spoke up again.

Her cute smile, those bright eyes, her sweet personality with traces of crazy. Oh, you are definitely falling for her.

No, no, no. I don’t think of her like that.

Yet you would just love to bury your muzzle in the soft fur behind her ears.

Aaaargh! Stop it!

The absurdity of having an argument with herself in her mind was lost on her at that moment.

I don’t even know if she likes mares!

One way to find out. You could just casually waltz into the bathroom and offer to scrub her back…

Stop it!

Vinyl groaned and planted her face into the rest of the cake in front of her. She stayed like that for a while, happy that the voices had died down. Octavia spoke up beside her after finishing her quick shower.

“You really seem to like cake.”

Vinyl groaned very quietly.


A month had passed after Vinyl’s birthday and things were becoming difficult for her.

The nagging voice had not spoken up again, but she was still forced to admit that maybe her feelings for Octavia weren’t just based on friendship. To her at least, she still had no idea what Octavia thought about it.

Vinyl had thought about it constantly on how to bring it up, but simply found no way of casually asking the cellist on her views about the subject. She most certainly didn’t have the courage to just ask her either.

There was no way of telling how Octavia might react. Would she be overjoyed and embrace Vinyl with passionate kisses or would she recoil in disgust and ask her to leave? One thing was clear to Vinyl and that was not to endanger the friendship she had with her.

What didn’t make that any easier for her was the fact that she began noticing smaller details about the grey mare that she previously hadn’t even registered.

The way Octavia would scrunch up her nose when eating olives. The little snort of contempt when the villain of the movie they were watching would say or do something evil. The way she flicked her ears rapidly when something tickled them.

She found herself more often than not simply staring at the mare while watching movies or just talking about random events. Octavia would sometimes ask why she had that funny look in her eyes and Vinyl just casually remarked that she was thinking about something. It was strange sort of hell she had suddenly found herself in.

The alleviate herself from those thoughts, Vinyl had decided to try and find a job. Now armed with a brand new deck, a good appearance and a more positive attitude she did indeed find a job.

Some of the hotels dotted around Canterlot employed her as the musician for their lounges. Vinyl had lasted an entire hour at the very first hotel before she was fired.

She had simply tried to do what she did best. Make ponies dance. That of course was the last thing on the mind of the hotel owners who just wanted her to play a few of their pre-selected tracks as background music. Vinyl was many things, but a glorified gramophone was not one of them.

So she went from hotel to hotel and not lasting more than a few hours at most before she couldn’t take the boredom any longer and promptly got fired. Currently she was wheeling her equipment back to the apartment after being fired once again.

She was surprised to hear the slow music being played on a cello when she entered through the door. Octavia didn’t have any auditions scheduled for some time, so something else must have soured her mood.

Vinyl checked the music room and found it to be void of any earthpony. That was strange, as Octavia always played in there as long as Vinyl could remember. She wheeled her deck into the corner of the living room and trotted towards the source of the music, Octavia’s bedroom.

She knocked on the closed door and heard the music stop. Vinyl heard Octavia say something very quietly and took it as an invitation to open the door.

Octavia was sitting on her bed with the cello resting against her shoulder. One look into the cellist’s face told Vinyl that something was bothering her in a major way.

“Tavi?” Vinyl was worried and trotted a few steps closer.

“How did it go at your job?” Octavia didn’t look up and just stared at the wall. Her voice was quiet.

“Got fired again, but this time I actually lasted a whole four hours. A new personal record.” Vinyl shifted on her hooves uncomfortably. “Tavi, what’s wrong?”

Octavia took a deep breath and let it out in a drawn out sigh. She shifted the cello from her shoulder on to the edge of the bed. Then she hopped down from the bed on to all fours and looked at Vinyl. There was something about the grey mare’s body language that did not sit well with the unicorn.

“Vinyl, we need to talk.” She said with a hint of uncertainty and sadness. Vinyl backpedaled a few steps.

“Oh no, no, no.” Vinyl gave a small humorless chuckle. “Every time somepony says that to another pony something bad follows.”

“This is important.” Octavia gave Vinyl a look that she interpreted as pleading. After letting out a sigh of her own, she sat on her haunches and waited for what Octavia wanted to say.

“You remember me telling you that I had met my professor that one time after an audition?” Vinyl nodded as she recalled that bit of information. “He said he would get in touch with a former colleague of his and see if there would be a part for me with her musicians. I sent a letter of my own there, after she contacted me. She sent me a letter back this morning, saying I had the part. She wants me to start next month, that’s eight days from now. All I have to do is send a letter telling her that I accept.”

“Tavi that’s great!” Vinyl smiled at her friend, but let it fade as the grey mare wasn’t smiling.

“It’s in Manehatten.” Octavia said quietly and turned her gaze away from the unicorn. “I sent my acceptance away this morning.”

Vinyl tried to speak, but found her voice not working anymore. Not even her mind seemed to work as it was just blank. A thought finally made its way out.

“You’re leaving?” Vinyl just stared blankly at her friend.

“I’m sorry Vinyl. I would have told you sooner about it all, but the way things have gone for me in the past I really didn’t think I would get the part.” Octavia turned to look back at Vinyl, her face a mask of conflicting emotions. “This may be my only chance to actually play and let ponies hear what I do. Perhaps that’s my way into the Royal Canterlot Orchestra.”

“You’re leaving…” Vinyl felt hollow inside. She had never thought that Octavia would ever leave Canterlot. One thing was certain and that was that Vinyl couldn't stay here even if Octavia insisted. It may have felt like home, but that was only because her friend was here, her one and only friend. The prospect of losing her suddenly made her eyes begin to water.

Octavia stepped a bit closer and was now almost within reach of the unicorn. Vinyl briefly toyed with the idea of confessing her feelings for the cellist, hoping that might change her mind and stay after all. Then she remembered that she had vowed to help Octavia achieve her dreams at whatever the cost. She would have to let her go.

“Listen I had….” Octavia began and stopped again to collect her thoughts. “I am not too happy about leaving Canterlot and facing a new city. It even scares me a bit to be honest. I…I would like to know if you would come with me?”

Vinyl blinked and for a moment thought she had not heard correctly. Octavia saw her silence as a cue to keep on talking.

“I heard that Manehatten has a few clubs and such that may be good opportunities for you to find your own career. I know that you are unhappy with those jobs you do at the hotels and you have just been fired again. I know it isn’t easy to just leave for a new city, but..”

Octavia’s desperate rambling was cut off by Vinyl, who put a hoof to the cellist’s mouth. Vinyl grinned at her friend.

“You had me signed on already at the first part.”

Octavia smiled relieved and rubbed her face with her hooves. Then her demeanor changed to one of joy.

“Thank you, Vinyl. I couldn’t do it without you.” Octavia wasted no time and turned her mind towards the things they would need to do. “I’ll get in touch with somepony in Manehatten to find us a place to stay. Then we’ll have to pack whatever we need. This has suddenly turned into something rather exciting hasn’t it?”

Vinyl felt so immensely relieved that she couldn’t even put it into words. She just kept smiling at the knowledge that even though they would be leaving Canterlot, they would still be together. Vinyl slung a foreleg around Octavia’s neck and gave her a quick squeeze.

“Watch out Manehatten! Here we come!”