• Published 15th Nov 2013
  • 5,143 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 13

“Are you sure?” Octavia asked carefully.

“I know my own work, Tavi.” Vinyl replied and trotted towards the door on the side of the club.

“That’s the exit.” Lyra informed the unicorn, halting her in her movement. “The entrance is around the corner.”

Without giving a reply Vinyl started moving again. Her thoughts were racing as why one of her tracks was being played in Manehatten. There really was only one logical solution, but she wanted to be sure before acting.

Around the corner the entrance presented itself to the unicorn. As was to be expected a bouncer stood at attention and scanned the crowd. Or he would have done so if there had been a crowd to scan. Only two pairs of ponies were waiting in line to be let in. As it was still relatively early the really big crowds had not yet arrived.

A bulletin board behind a glass panel caught Vinyl’s attention. She trotted past the bouncer and the pairs to the other end of the wall to inspect it further. Sure enough it was what she had hoped it would be. Various DJ’s were advertised inside, each with a picture and dates when they would be playing. The one pony she had reckoned with was also displayed, albeit with a relatively small picture.

“Neon….” Vinyl growled his name. Her entourage had followed her silently and just watched her strange behavior.

“Who?” Lyra asked and received no reply.

“Neon? Are you sure it’s the same one?” Octavia asked and watched her friend with worry. Vinyl was seemingly furious and it was the first time that the cellist had ever seen her friend angry before. It didn’t suit the otherwise cheerful DJ one bit.

“No mistake about it.” Vinyl mumbled and turned back towards the entrance. The pairs waiting in line had been let inside in the meantime.

Vinyl forced her anger down for the moment as she approached the bouncer. Being angry would most certainly not help her get in the club. Octavia followed her reluctantly and hoped to stop Vinyl from doing something rash. Lyra and Bon Bon followed them a moment later, still not understanding what was going on.

The bouncer gave each mare a quick look and waved them inside. At another time Vinyl would have been overjoyed to be in a club with her style of music. Right then and there all she had running through her mind was how to get to her former friend and give him a piece of her mind and if possible a facefull of hoof.

Vinyl spotted her target immediately. Neon Lights was sitting behind his DJ deck on stage and nodding his head along with the beat. The whirling lights danced over the dance floor briefly illuminating dancing ponies. The club itself was bigger than it had seemed from the outside and while not really packed full of ponies at the moment still had attracted a large crowd.

Knowing that she would not be able to get her hooves on Neon while he was on stage, Vinyl trotted over to an empty booth out of his sight and sat down while not taking her eyes off the stallion. Octavia sat down beside her nervously shifting her eyes between Vinyl, Neon on stage and the numerous security ponies dotted around the club. Lyra and Bon Bon sat opposite them and were still just confused at what was going on.

Lyra jabbed a hoof at the round crystal embedded in the middle of the table they were sitting at. Instantly the music died down considerably and enabled the ponies to talk to each other at a normal level.

A soundproofing spell. Neat.

Vinyl guessed that that kind of equipment wasn’t standard and this was one of the more high profile clubs. She gritted her teeth when she realized that Neon was playing here with some kind of moderate success thanks to her music.

“Do you mind telling us just what is going on here?” Lyra asked and kept looking back and forth at the cellist and the DJ.

“Do you know that stallion?” Bon Bon asked.

“He stole my song.” Vinyl snarled her reply.

“How?” Lyra asked with a raised eyebrow. Her question was a good one and had been on Vinyl’s mind all this time. She had a theory about how he had acquired her music.

“About two months before graduation I had started making a tape to play during the contest post-graduation.” Vinyl explained in a calmer tone, but didn’t take her eyes off the DJ on stage. “At some point I couldn’t find it anymore. I just thought I had lost it and didn’t think about it any further. All the tracks were still saved on my deck, so I hadn’t really lost anything. He must have stolen my tape when I wasn’t looking.”

“So you know him? Another student? A friend of yours?” Bon Bon asked, trying to understand the situation.

Vinyl chose not to answer if he was a friend. The words on her mind were most certainly of the expletive kind and would possibly scar Bon Bon for life. Instead Octavia answered for her.

“He was another student. Placed fourth in our contest and I didn’t like him them already.” She explained. “My opinion lowered even further after I found out what he tried to do to Vinyl.”

“What did he do?” Lyra was all ears and her tone almost bordering on angry.

“Not only did he steal some of her prize money, but also got her drunk to then try and…you know.” Octavia didn’t want to have to say it, but seeing the reaction on Lyra and Bon Bon’s faces she knew she didn’t have to.

“Hang on.” Lyra raised a hoof. “Got Vinyl drunk. So drunk that she might throw up on your cello?”

“Yeah, that was because of him.” Vinyl answered.

“Hohoho.” Lyra’s laugh was cruel and without any mirth. The sound making Vinyl take her eyes off her target for the first time. “I reaaaaaally would like to talk to him.”

Vinyl’s expression when angry was worrysome, Lyra’s expression now spelled trouble. She was pissed and unlike Vinyl had far less self control. A beige hoof shoved her back into her seat when she tried to get up.

“Don’t even think of doing something stupid.” Bon Bon hissed at her. The warning tone in her voice caused the mint green mare to stay seated.

Vinyl turned to watch Neon Lights perform some more. A more professional side of her thoughts began to take over as the show went on. Reluctantly she had to admit that Neon Lights knew what he was doing.

The transitions between songs was very smooth and he had tried to emulate her style to a certain degree. It was still apparent which were hers and which were his tracks. The crowd knew it as well. With pride Vinyl noticed that the crowd danced more when one of her tracks was playing. During Neons tracks the crowd was less enthralled and didn’t move as much.

And that’s where Neon’s main flaw was. He played the music not for the crowd, but rather just for himself. That was fitting as Neon Lights was most certainly his own biggest fan. Vinyl wondered if he would learn from the crowd’s reaction, but it was a safe bet he didn’t pay them any attention.

The four mares sat in silence patiently watching the show continue. They must have just arrived as his performance was nearing its end, as after only five songs he let the music die down and proceeded to pack up his stuff. The crowd stomped their hooves in appreciation and Vinyl wondered what it would be like to have that directed at her at some point. Neon obviously didn’t care all that much as he paid the ponies no more attention.

Lyra stood up and avoided Bon Bon’s grasp on her.

“Where are you going?” the beige mare asked and began to stand up as well.

“I need to use the little filly’s room.” Lyra explained and gave her marefriend a disarming smile. “Wanna come with?”

“No, I’ll wait. I have no desire to wade through various puddles of unknown origin.” Bon Bon said and sat back down.

“I’ll be back in a bit.” Lyra said and trotted off into the depths of the club and out of her friend’s sight.

“What do we do now?” Octavia asked and nudged Vinyl in the side.

“We wait.” Vinyl said and turned her attention to the cellist. “I really want to have a talk with him and get my tape back.”

“I understand.” Octavia seemed nervous. “But let’s not try and cause too much trouble, ok?”

“I…I’ll try.” Vinyl knew that it wasn’t the best way to start their very first day in Manehatten with a fight, but she wouldn’t just let him get away with it either.


Ten minutes later Neon Light had not reappeared. Bon Bon was getting nervous about Lyra’s whereabouts and frowned at the mint green mare as she finally rejoined them in the booth.

“A lot going on.” Lyra answered Bon Bon’s question before she could even voice it. “So…..shall we go outside?”

“We haven’t seen Neon yet.” Vinyl answered back and kept scanning the crowd for any sign of the stallion.

“Might be wiser to wait for him outside.” Lyra commented. “A lot of security here and they don’t look all that friendly.”

Vinyl had to admit that the lyrist had a point. Picking a fight or confrontation with him here on essentially his own turf, wasn’t going to end well.

“Yeah. Ok, let’s wait for him outside.” Vinyl finally agreed and led the way towards the exit.

Octavia kept looking at her friend with worry. She didn’t like where this entire thing was going at the moment. Getting into a possible physical confrontation with others wasn’t on her list of things to do in a new town. Still, the stallion had harmed her friend in a few ways and if it indeed would come to anything hostile she would stand by Vinyl.

Once outside they took position across the street and kept their eyes trained on the exit. Vinyl went through various spells she knew that might hinder Neon if he tried to run. Nothing really suitable came to her mind. Perhaps she could trip him by grasping a leg with her magic.

As it turned out it wasn’t even needed. Lyra nudged Vinyl in the side and levitated something towards her.

“Here’s your tape.” Lyra said with a smirk.

“I…uh…huh?” Vinyl stared dumbly at the tape floating in front of her face. “How did you get that?”

“Lyraaaa….” Bon Bon stretched out her marefriend’s name in warning. The effect was obvious as Lyra folded her ears down and flinched slightly.

“I just accidentally bumped into him near the restrooms, had a nice chat and after giving him a friendly pat on the back he gave me the tape, that’s all.” Lyra explained quickly and grinned sheepishly.

“Lyra Heartstrings!” The angry glare that the beige mare gave her mate would have sent dragons running away in terror. Lyra flinched back even further and shifted uneasily on her hooves. “What did you do, Lyra?”

“Weeeell…I may not have accidentally bumped into him as much as ambushed him backstage where nopony saw us.” Lyra admitted earning an even angrier glare from Bon Bon. Vinyl was suddenly very happy that the glare wasn’t directed at her. “And the nice chat may have been me calling him a few expletive names.”

“And the rest?” Bon Bon demanded to know.

“I kinda took the tape from him while he was on the ground.” Lyra was now almost touching the ground with her head, but still kept her eyes on Bon Bon’s. Vinyl and Octavia just stood by and watched dumbfounded.

“And why was he on the ground if I may ask?” Bon Bon raised an eyebrow.

“I rather not have you ask.” Lyra said, but quickly continued before the other mare had a chance to respond. “The friendly pat on the back? It may not have been all that friendly. Aaaaand it may not have been his back, but rather a….lower area.”

Lyra was sweating now under the gaze of her mate. Bon Bon threw her head back in frustration and stomped a hoof on the ground.

“Lyra…we’ve talked about this.” Bon Bon groaned.

“Yeah I know, but this isn’t some kind of anger management problem.” Lyra explained hastily. “He did something bad to our friends. What else was I supposed to do? Just stand idly by?”

Bon Bon rolled her eyes and was about to counter that there would have been plenty of options available, but in the end she just sighed.

“I guess I can see your point.” Bon Bon finally said earning a sigh of relief from Lyra. “And he was a total flankhead for doing those things.”

“Flankhead?” Vinyl felt the need to chime in. “I thought you didn’t swear.”

“Oh no. Nothing wrong with swearing, just when it becomes slightly excessive I find it to be rather annoying.” Bon Bon explained.

“Bucking right.” Lyra said with a grin that soon wilted when Bon Bon gave her another smaller glare. “We…uh should maybe leave soon. He should slowly have regained his voice by now and not just squeak in a high pitched tone. Best not to be here when he tells security.”

Seeing that it was the most sensible idea all evening the four mares quickly trotted away, back towards the brightly light area of Times Square.

“Thanks, Lyra.” Vinyl said to the mint green unicorn at her side after they had walked a while in silence.

“Hey, what are friends for?” Lyra answered and smiled at the DJ who gladly returned it in full.


“Well? What do you think of them?” Octavia asked as she filled a cupboard with groceries that they had bought on the way back to their apartment.

The evening had ended with Lyra and Bon Bon in a restaurant. After which they said their goodbyes and promised to meet up together again the next day.

“Lyra and Bon Bon?” Vinyl asked and saw Octavia nod in affirmation. “They are really cool!”

“I am happy you like them.” Octavia smiled, but something was off. Vinyl glanced over to the cellist and saw how she had a small frown on her face. Before Vinyl could ask what was wrong , Octavia spoke up again.

“You are not…. How do I put this.” Octavia paused in her actions for a moment to find the correct phrasing. “You do not disapprove of them? You know…because they like each other.”

Vinyl didn’t answer straight away. Perhaps this was an opening to address her own liking of the cellist. Octavia mistook the silence as Vinyl not understanding what she meant.

“They like like each other. Really like each other.” She said again hoping the DJ would understand what she was hinting at.

“Yeah, I know what you mean Tavi.” Vinyl chuckled at the cellist’s efforts to make her get the meaning of what she was saying. “I am cool with it. I like it….err I mean I don’t have anything against that. Totally down with other mares…I mean I am totally fine with what they do….uh…yeah, its cool.”

Smooth Vinyl, real smooth.

“I am happy you think that way.” Octavia said and turned back to sorting things into the cupboard. “Not all ponies are as open minded. They had a rough time in Canterlot.”

“Well you know me, as open minded as they get. So open minded my brain might even fall out one day. Hehe.” Oh dear Celestia, Scratch. That was painful. “Uhm…yeah, Lyra mentioned her time in Canterlot.”

“She did?” Octavia gave the unicorn a surprised look. “Was that what you were talking about in that clothing store? All of a sudden both of you had vanished.”

“Yeah, we were looking at socks.”

“Socks?” Octavia’s eyebrow rose at the same speed as the corners of her mouth formed into a smirk.

“Uhm…nothing wrong about looking at socks, right?” Vinyl tried a smile of her own, which failed miserably as mental images popped into her head how Octavia would look like right now in aforementioned accessories.

“Absolutely not. Trying to look nice for your special somepony?” Octavia teased and Vinyl froze for an instant unsure on how to react.

“Special somepony? Me? Naaah….I mean maybe, but not yet.” Vinyl hastily replied and waved the topic away with a hoof. Octavia just gave her another smirk and continued her task of filling the cupboard.

That was another chance wasted Scratch.

Will you shut up!

Vinyl tapped a hoof against the side of her head to keep that irritating voice inside down. In order to silence the voice and to keep the conversation going she decided to ask something that had been on her mind ever since Lyra returned her tape.

“Does Lyra really have anger management issues?” she asked and began unloading a bag of groceries herself.

“She has a bit of a temper.” Octavia finally said after a moment. “She didn’t have a very nice time when she was younger. You best ask her for any details.”

Vinyl nodded unseen to the cellist. Perhaps one day she would ask the lyrist about that, sensing that Octavia would not share any information she had out of respect for her friend.

“I thought Canterlot was the place to grow up. Safe, educated and in general kind of a better place to be.” Vinyl noted that most of the food she took out of the bag was of the istallian variety.

“Lyra didn’t grow up in Canterlot.” Octavia cleared away the last tin of peeled tomatoes and unceremoniously dumped the empty paper bag in a corner. “She grew up in Detrot.”

“Ah, carriage-city.” Vinyl plucked the discarded bag in her magic and almost absentmindedly folded it neatly up into a small square. “So she came to Canterlot to study? Like I did?”

“There were other things going on.” Octavia explained and watched the paperbag fold itself up in Vinyl’s magical grasp. “Family things. Again you best ask her if you want to know.”

“I think I understand.” Vinyl said and levitated the contents of the bag in front of her on to the table. She decided to drop the subject. Family things had been a large factor for her own move to Canterlot and it had been a sore spot ever since.

Octavia yawned widely and stretched her neck out. It had been a long and rather eventful first day in Manehatten, it’s effects slowly showing itself as fatigue.

“Can you manage the rest?” Octavia asked and nodded towards the items in front of Vinyl.

“Yeah, don’t worry. I will have these cleared away in not time.”

“I’ll go to bed then if you don’t mind.”

“Of course. Sleep well, Tavi.”

“Goodnight, Vinyl.” Octavia sleepily walked towards the bathroom to prepare for bed. Vinyl watched her leave for a moment and then continued her task of clearing away the supplies.


It really only took Vinyl a few moments to clear everything away. With nothing else to do she decided to also go to bed. After quickly brushing her teeth and using the bathroom facilities, she found herself lying in her bed staring at the ceiling.

It was now that she finally had a moment of peace to try and think about herself and possible future developments with Octavia. Hours passed while she tossed and turned on the bed. In the end she had boiled it down to three possible courses of action.

She could just flat out tell Octavia how she felt about her. Seeing as she was none the wiser if the cellist was interested in mares that way it could possibly easily backfire. She might feel uncomfortable with Vinyl around and over time the friendship would maybe degenerate. Of all things Vinyl did not want to face the future without Octavia in some form at her side. Be it a marefriend or just a friend, so that option was not very favorable.

Seeing that Octavia was ok with Lyra and Bon Bon’s relationship it left Vinyl with a bit of hope that she might not object to being the unicorns marefriend. The downside was that it would effectively ruin any chances the cellist would have being a big shot player in the classical scene. While they might find happiness in a relationship, it would at the same time hang like a sword above their heads that it was the cause for not being able to do what she loved the most, her music. Vinyl doubted she herself would be able to let it go that she was the cause of Octavia not achieving her life time goal. So that course of action was no good either.

That left the final course. To not pursue a relationship of that kind with the grey earthpony and leave it as it is as just friends. While being the most beneficial course for Octavia it was the most painful one for Vinyl. Being around her would eventually turn into more of a torture than it already was, but Octavia would be happy and could reach her goals without fear of social downfall.

What about your own happiness?

Buck it!

Vinyl owed her more than her own happiness was worth. She had taken her in during her time of need. Had done everything to nurse her back to health and help her climb back out of the depths of despair. A tad melodramatic, but accurate nevertheless. She had vowed to help the cellist to achieve her dreams and that was what she was going to do.

Perhaps she will fail.

Vinyl shook her head clear of the darker side that had briefly voiced its opinion. It was a terrible wish for her to fail and Vinyl would do her best as to make sure it would not happen. If…and only after they had both done everything possible…if she should fail, they maybe Vinyl would have a chance. It still left a bad taste in her mouth even thinking like that.

The white unicorn blindly fumbled around with her hoof searching for something to drink on her nightstand. Then she remembered that she had not brought anything to drink for the night. With a small yawn she got out of bed and carefully opened her door to grab a glass of water from the kitchen.

Her efforts to make as little noise as possible were wasted as Octavia’s bedroom door stood open. A quick glance to the bed revealed that the cellist was not fast asleep. Slightly worried Vinyl trotted towards the living room, now more awake than she had been before.

She found the cellist sitting in front of the window in the living room staring out at the large dark park looming below and the still numerous lights shining in the city despite its late hour. Vinyl carefully navigated the dark room trying to see Octavia’s face and guess how her current state was. The earthpony did not move and simply stared out the window seemingly lost in thought.

“Tavi?” Vinyl quietly asked. Seeing that Octavia did not flinch or turn around in surprise, meant that she most likely knew the unicorn was not too far away.

“You can’t sleep?” Octavia asked just as Vinyl was about to call her name once more.

“Wanted to get some water to drink.” Now knowing that the cellist was aware of the other mare, Vinyl walked up to her and sat down beside her. Vinyl carefully studied Octavia’s face, now more visible thank to the light shining in from outside. She seemed sad. “What’s wrong?”

Vinyl’s question went unanswered vocally, but she could plainly see emotions dancing on the mare’s face. The unicorn scooted a bit closer to the cellist, their flanks almost touching.

“Talk to me, Tavi.” Vinyl almost whispered her request. “Perhaps I can help.”

Octavia finally moved a bit, turning her head and briefly locking eyes with Vinyl’s crimson ones. The light from outside reflecting in them and almost making them glow in the dark. The cellist let out a long sigh and peered back outside with worry etched in her face.

“I should not have come here.” She finally said, her voice no more than a whisper.

Vinyl just stared at her friend, not sure why she had come to this conclusion. She waited a few heartbeats for Octavia to continue. Without a nudge it seemed the cellist would remain quiet.

“Why do you think so?”

“This city….” Octavia tried to hide the emotion from her voice and failed miserably. It wavered and Vinyl thought to hear a hint of fear. The unicorn was now wide awake, very carefully monitoring the pony at her side.

“This city is so unlike Canterlot.” Octavia pointed a hoof towards the city looming behind the window. “It’s so big and loud…dirty….unfriendly….so different. I don’t belong here.”

Octavia turned her look back to Vinyl and the unicorn saw tears brimming in the cellist’s eyes.

“I’m scared, Vinyl.” Octavia’s voice nearly broke as she tried to contain her fear and not cry in front of her friend.

Vinyl just stared at the grey mare for a moment in shock. Octavia had always seemed so in control at all times. Now she reminded Vinyl of a foal during a thunderstorm, scared at something beyond her control.

“I know the feeling.” Vinyl said after a moment and looked out the window at the city below. “A strange place full of the unknown and being all alone.”

“When I moved from Las Pegasus to Canterlot I didn’t know what I was getting into. The change from one city to the next was difficult. All the ponies in Canterlot seemed so unfriendly and cold. The city itself was kinda lifeless.”

Vinyl paused for a moment to make sure the cellist was listening. While still looking sad and scared, Octavia was paying full attention.

“All I had with me was my love for music and the drive and ambition to make something of it. So I bullheaded my way through the first few months on that alone.” Vinyl swallowed a sudden lump in her throat as she recalled past memories. “Something happened back in Las Pegasus that sort of took away my possibility of going back there.”

Vinyl was glad that Octavia made no attempt to find out what that exactly was. Instead she leaned her body over so that their shoulders were touching and her head resting on the side of Vinyl’s neck just below her head. The unicorn’s heart skipped a beat at the sudden touch and she briefly had to fight the desire to sniff Octavia’s mane that smelled faintly of sandalwood.

“I was all alone all of a sudden and it scared me. With nowhere to go and nopony to turn to, I just kept going. It was tough.” Vinyl watched Octavia’s reflection in the window close her eyes. Taking a risk Vinyl tilted her head a bit until her cheek was lying on top of Octavia’s head. The cellist didn’t object and Vinyl continued talking.

“So I know what it feels like, Tavi.” Octavia sniffled briefly, during which Vinyl paused. “Now there is one difference. You are not alone here. You have your friends with you. Me, Lyra and Bon Bon. I won’t let anything bad happen to you or let anything keep you from your dreams. I promise.”

Neither mare said anything for a while. Vinyl just kept watching their reflection in the window and felt her heart hammer away in her chest. Octavia just kept pressed up against Vinyl and thankfully seemed to have calmed down. The occasional sniffle indicated that she was still awake.

“Thank you.” Octavia said and smiled a small grateful smile.

“Just you wait, Tavi. Together we will rock this city.” Vinyl said and gave the mare a slight motivational nudge. Octavia returned the gesture, but remained where she was. “Ain’t nothing that can stop us.”

“Thank you for being my friend Vinyl.” She said and her smile grew a little wider.

Yeah…..just friends….