• 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 19

Slowly but surely sleep released its grip on Octavia.

Normally the cellist would get up as soon as she was somewhat awake. Now her fuzzy mind for some reason did not want to get up immediately. Her mind was not the only fuzzy thing she noticed. Her pillow was exceptionally fuzzy this morning as well. Perhaps that was why she was so reluctant to get up. With a sigh and the decision of just five more minutes she buried her face in her pillow.

Her pillow seemed warmer than usual. It also was a lot firmer, yet at the same time softer as she was accustomed to. Perhaps Vinyl had used a new brand of detergent. Octavia gripped it a bit tighter.

For a moment Octavia thought her pillow had moved. Most likely her sleepy mind was playing tricks on her. She hugged the pillow as tight as possible to whisk away those annoying mind games and get a few more minutes sleep.

The cellist knew that not all was as it seemed as her pillow began emitting strangled noises.

Startled she opened her eyes as her head shot upwards. Any notion of going back to sleep were effectively ruined by the sight of a slightly blue in the face pony being clutched by her. Vinyl ineffectively pawed at the forelegs strangling her.

“Vinyl?!” Octavia released her grip around the unicorn’s neck and watched as she rolled over the edge of the bed, away from the earthpony’s vice like grip. The DJ coughed between large gulping breaths and just remained on the floor for a moment.

When she had regained her normal white color and had stopped gasping for air she sat up.

“’Morning.” Vinyl croaked out and rubbed her neck with a hoof.

“What are you doing here?” Octavia’s tone was frosty.

Vinyl glanced over to the earthpony in bed. The cellist stared with wide eyes at the unicorn on the ground. Her right foreleg raised in front of her chest, a defensive posture.

“I…uh.. you sort of fell asleep on top of me while I was telling you about Las Pegasus.” Vinyl coughed a couple of times. “I tried waking you, but you just kept on sleeping and wouldn’t let go of me. So I figured I would just lay down and you would let go of me. I must have fallen asleep as well.”

Vinyl gave her friend a disarming sheepish smile. Octavia didn’t move or change her expression and Vinyl’s smile slowly faded.

“I didn’t mean to stay here.” Vinyl added as the situation became uncomfortable.

“I see…” The response of the cellist still was slightly frosty and Vinyl felt the situation most certainly not going in her favor. Hoping to defuse the current predicament she found herself in, she glanced about the room to find some kind of diversion.

“Oh, look at the time.” She said after seeing that it was already 6 AM. “You best get ready for your first day in the orchestra.”

Octavia didn’t move or say anything and just kept her eyes on the other mare.

“I… I’ll make you something to eat for lunch.” Vinyl got up on her hooves and walked out of the bedroom towards the kitchen. She could feel Octavia’s look follow her out of the room.

Crap, crap, crap, crap…..

Vinyl began gathering supplies for some sandwiches and tried to figure out what had just happened. As a teenager she had read a couple of cheesy romance novels and very similar situations had been described in them. The major difference being that the waking up pony was overjoyed to find the other one in bed with them, which would then lead to some kind of steamy romantic scene. Reality sort of worked differently as she had now found out.

She heard Octavia enter the bathroom and let some water run into the bathtub. Vinyl continued to prepare the food, all the while pondering if she should say something.

Only when she heard a cello case close with a sharp click did Vinyl snap out of her musings. She quickly put the finished sandwiches into a paper bag for Octavia and met the cellist in the living room.

“I have to get going. Don’t want to be late on my first day.” The cellist said in her normal tone, but avoided looking directly at Vinyl.

“Yeah, that wouldn’t be good. I’ll walk you there.” Vinyl replied and hoped that her friend wouldn’t object. Octavia said nothing and just stepped out the front door.

The relatively short trip towards Octavia’s new job location went in complete silence. It gnawed at the DJ that the other mare just kept looking straight ahead and did not make any attempt at small talk.

I bucked it up.

Vinyl felt the impulse to say something, anything. The silent treatment that Octavia was giving her was torture.

“Do you know when you will finish?” she asked when they were only a few steps away from the entrance.

“I am not sure. Maybe five, maybe six.” Octavia answered. “I have a key, so you don’t have to pick me up.”

“I’ll be here, no problem at all.” It stung Vinyl that Octavia had said she wouldn’t need to be picked up.

“See you this evening then.” Octavia said and entered the building.

Vinyl just stood outside as her mind went into overdrive at what was going on. No matter how much she began to even try to understand the events of the morning, one thing was clear to her. She needed some advice and there was only one pony she felt comfortable talking to right now.


It took Vinyl a good portion of the morning to walk to her destination. She had been walking rather slowly and it was now approaching lunchtime. It had been intentional as she hoped the pony she was looking for would be able to take a lunch break with her.

She spotted Lyra sitting behind the counter of a rather small newspaper stand. The mint green unicorn looked positively bored as she flicked through a magazine on the counter. Every once in a while she would glance over to a stallion standing by the stand reading a magazine of his own. As Vinyl approached the stand, Lyra’s expression shifted to joy as she saw her.

“Hey, Vinyl!” Lyra waved at the unicorn. “How’s it going?”

“Do you have a minute?” Vinyl said and glanced at the stallion. “I kinda need to talk to you about something.”

“Sure, what’s on your mind?”

“Could we maybe go somewhere more private?” Vinyl didn’t want to discuss anything in front of the unknown stallion.

“I have my lunch break in about an hour, if that is ok?” Lyra gave the DJ a curious glance.

“It’s kind of important.”

“What kind of important are we talking about?” Lyra would get in trouble if she closed the stall so close to lunchtime for the surrounding businesses.

“I woke up kind of breathless this morning.” Vinyl simply stated.

“Bad dreams?” Lyra asked with concern.

“I woke up next to Octavia in her bed.” Vinyl said flatly.

For a moment Lyra didn’t move or blink. Then she exploded in a flurry of activity. She snatched the magazine the stallion was reading away with her magic and while shunting him roughly away from the stall, closed its shutters and locked up. The stallion just got up on his hooves as Lyra hung her “out to lunch” sign up.

“Hey! I was reading that!” He complained and drew himself up, ready to start arguing. “That was a highly interesting article about financial investments in agricultural stock.”

“I’m sorry, sir!” Lyra spoke loud enough for every pony on the street would be able to hear her clearly. “Your reserved high gloss, laminated, easily washable copy of stallions in stockings won’t arrive until tomorrow!”

Every single pony that had heard Lyra turned to look at the stallion. He suddenly felt the need to evacuate the area as fast as his legs would carry him.

“Wasn’t that a little bit excessive?” Vinyl asked a now smugly grinning Lyra.

“That little…expletive pony always comes by once a week, reads all the articles he wants to and then leaves. Never buys anything, so as far as I am concerned I didn’t lose a customer.” Lyra explained.

Then she spun on her hindlegs and faced Vinyl. With more speed than the DJ had reckoned with the other mare grabbed her by the shoulders and gave Vinyl a look she could only describe as hungry.

“Tell me everything. Don’t spare any details!”

Vinyl briefly wondered if it had not been better to talk to Bon Bon instead.


About forty minutes later Vinyl had finished her report of yesterday’s events while Lyra ate her lunch in a little café. The same café that they had consumed milkshakes at a while back. Perhaps this would turn into one of those regular meeting spots for the two unicorns.

Lyra just stared at Vinyl for a moment. The white unicorn patiently waited for some kind of reaction.

“That’s it?” she asked after a moment of quiet contemplation.

“What do you mean? “ Vinyl frowned at the unicorn opposite her. “I just poured my heart out to you and all you can say is that’s it?”

“Let’s just say I was thinking something else when you said you woke up breathless next to Octavia this morning.” Lyra ignored the look Vinyl was giving her. “Asphyxiation was not what I was thinking about. Then again, perhaps she is into that kind of stuff. The collar and bowtie might just have something to do with that.”

“Could you please be serious for a moment?” Vinyl briefly gave Lyra an angry look without her sunglasses on to emphasize her request.

“Just give me a moment.” Lyra toyed with the remnants of her lunch. She rolled an olive around her plate with a hoof for a good five minutes. Vinyl watched the ponies in the café to make sure nopony was within earshot.

“First of I want to say I’m sorry you had such a crappy meeting with your dad. Second I want to say thank you for trusting me with the things you told me. But….I hate to be the one to say this, Vinyl.” Lyra sighed. “But your dad might have a point.”

“How so?” Vinyl had not thought about what her dad had said all morning. She had been too preoccupied with Octavia.

“He is sort of right about ponies from Canterlot being interested in fame and fortune.” Lyra plopped the olive in her mouth and chewed it.

“But not all of them are like that, right?” Vinyl folded her ears down. “I mean Tavi isn’t like that.”

“All of the ponies I have dealt with outside of university were like that. And Octavia….she sort of is too.” Lyra swallowed her food. “I mean she already has fortune and as you very well know she is currently trying to be famous. That’s the entire point you’re here in Manehatten actually.”

“But I…but Tavi…” Vinyl suddenly did not feel too well and it wasn’t the fault of anything she had eaten.

“I know Octavia wouldn’t consciously try to hurt you.” Lyra held up a hoof to stop Vinyl’s stammering. “But we both know she is kind of blind to things going on that don’t have anything to do with the Canterlot Orchestra.”

Vinyl let her head hang low, almost resting on the table. Lyra leaned forward to make sure that the other mare could hear her.

“As long as you don’t tell her how you feel about her things won’t go well.” Lyra felt uneasy seeing her friend so sad. “I told you that a while back already and your dad said the same thing. You will be miserable if you don’t do something. Just tell her how you feel.”

“I can’t do that.” Vinyl looked out the window. “You didn’t see the look she gave me this morning.”

“Eh, Bon Bon gives me plenty of looks in the morning that would qualify as scary. Especially if I try any funny business and she hasn’t had a cup of coffee yet.” Lyra tried cheering up the other unicorn. “Not a morning pony that one.”

Vinyl didn’t react and kept looking at the pony passing by outside. Lyra wished she could do something to cheer her up or come up with a cunning plan to bring them together without any negative consequences. An idea popped into her head.

“You know…” she began and waited until Vinyl showed some kind of reaction that she was listening. A flick of her ear was likely the only thing Lyra would get. “I might have an idea. You sort of have an opening to test if Octavia is interested in you.”

That caught Vinyl’s attention fully and she turned to face Lyra.

“How so?” she asked.

“When she goes to bed this evening, just casually ask her if she needs an extra comfy pillow again.” Lyra grinned.

“That’s ridiculous.”

“It’s charming and funny.” Lyra ignored Vinyl’s dismissal.

Lyra sighed again. It was frustrating to see those two ponies not together. She felt that those two would for together perfectly.

“You want me to talk to her?” Lyra offered.

“No, no, no.” Vinyl quickly shook her head. “I said it once I will say it again, I won’t try anything like that with her. I promised I would help her with her goals and that’s it.”

“Yet you asked her out to a romantic location in the middle of the desert.” Lyra raised an eyebrow.

“I was not thinking straight. Holding a sobbing mare and having a fight with my dad sort of messed up my perception of things.” Vinyl defended her actions. “Besides, after the look she gave me this morning it is pretty obvious she wouldn’t be too keen on me asking her things like that.”

“Oh, Vinyl….” Lyra leaned back and folded her forelegs across her chest. “I really hope you are doing the right thing.”

“So do I.”


About three hours earlier.

Octavia stepped through the large doors leading into Manehatten’s music hall. The large building was of modern design, unlike the old design back in Canterlot. Here sharp edges and black glass made up most of the building, back in Canterlot it would have been curves and stain glass windows.

She took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. The entire weekend and especially this morning had held plenty of surprises in store for her. She could do without any more and rather focus on music again. One thing she was good at was focusing on immediate tasks and ignoring anything else. So Octavia crammed all the ups and downs she had experienced in the last 48 hours into a dark corner of her mind. She would deal with it back home, for now all that mattered was her music.

The porter had already been informed about her arrival and immediately told here where she had to go. The layout of the building was fairly simple and she soon found herself standing in front of the door leading to the area reserved for the musicians.

Today was the day. Today she would show the musical world that she had not vanished into obscurity. Today she would take another important step towards the Royal Canterlot Orchestra. With vigor she opened the door and nearly hit the pony on the other side.

Maestro Ictus looked at her with shock. Then his features relaxed somewhat and he very briefly gave her a smile.

“Excellent.” He ushered Octavia through the door with a beckoning motion of his hoof. “You are early.”

“Good morning, Sir.” Octavia held out her hoof for him to shake.

“Yes, yes.” He gave her hoof one quick shake and turned around. “Follow me. I will show you around quickly.”

Octavia remembered the warning that Sinfionetta had given her about Maestro Ictus. It would possibly be a tough time ahead for the cellist if the stallion really was that difficult to work with. She ignored him being short with her and followed him down the spacious hallway.

“These are the rooms for our members. Three so called musicians to one room.” He very briefly paused. “I will show you your room later. First you can see our stage and place your cello where it belongs.”

The main difference that Octavia noticed about her surroundings was that everything seemed new and spotless. Unlike homely feeling of the theatre she had worked at before, this place seemed almost like some kind of hospital.

She followed the stallion along the brightly lit hallway for a moment. Then he turned into another corridor, the sign on the ceiling indicating that it led to the stage.

A few paces later and Octavia emerged out on stage from the right. It certainly was an impressive sight. The main hall must have been able to hold a few hundred ponies at the very least. She let her eyes wander across the places the musicians would be sitting at and felt a slight shiver of anticipation run along her back.

Ictus led the way to the center of the stage. With a hoof he pointed to a place in the front row of musicians.

“That will be your place.” He turned towards her. “You can put your cello there and then we can continue the tour.”

Octavia did as instructed and wished she could have a minute alone to take in the importance of the moment. This was it. This would be her seat in front of hundreds of ponies where she could show them her talent and love for music. The urge to hop excitedly up and down became almost unbearable.

“If your predecessor has damaged the chair in any way tell one of the maintenance ponies to bring you a new one.” Ictus said and cast an eye over some of the equipment lying about.

“Did he retire?” Octavia asked in hopes that a bit of small talk wouldn’t hurt.

“It was a she.” Ictus corrected her. “She had the audacity to become pregnant, without giving proper notice in advance.”

“The nerve.” Octavia commented dryly, not sure what the appropriate response would be.

“Indeed.” Ictus nodded in agreement. “When I found out I immediately fired her from our esteemed symphony. She wasn’t too happy, but she should have thought about it a bit better. Although seeing that she is my wife, I guess I am partly to blame.”

“Uh, congratulations?” Octavia briefly wondered what his family life was like and if his wife was some kind of saint or simply insane to stay with him.

“Yes, yes. Thank you.” He gave her an inquisitive look. “You are hopefully not thinking about becoming pregnant anytime soon are you?”

“Er..no.” Octavia looked a bit confused and tried a friendly smile. “I most certainly will not have any plans like that in the foreseeable future.”

“Very good.” He briefly gave her a quick look once over. “It is difficult to come by musicians with your talent and I would hate to lose you to such a triviality.”

“Erm, yes quite.”

“Finally we can have some talent grace this hall.” Ictus pointed towards the ceiling. “See the shape of the ceiling? It was made that way to carry sounds all the way into the back row. No matter where you sit, you will have the best possible quality. That is if the musicians can actually play anything that the audience would want to hear.”

Octavia cast her eyes over the oddly shaped ceiling. She dared not to say to she had seen such architecture before. An instinctive feeling told her to keep as quiet as possible around Ictus, unless she wanted to have a hard time here.

“I’ll show you your room next. Follow me.” Without waiting for an answer he turned back the way they came. Octavia hurried after him and cast an almost greedy glance back at the place she would be playing at very soon.

He led her back the way they came for a minute and finally stopped in front of a simple door marked with the number three. It was open and he strode inside, Octavia mentally prepared herself to meet others of her ensemble. The room reminded her of a hotel room. A small refrigerator, a table with two seats, a small two seater couch, a vanity unit, a small wardrobe and a free corner with a stand for her cello. A door led to another room and Octavia guessed it was the bathroom.

“Didn’t you say there were three musicians to each room?” Octavia asked as the room was just big enough for one pony.

“Oh, I wouldn’t dare coop you up with them.” Ictus shook his head. “They might possibly infect you with their talentless so called playing of their instruments.”

“Thanks?” Octavia began to have doubts about her fellow musicians. Were they really that bad or was Ictus overly harsh with them. She decided not to make up her mind on that topic until she had heard them play.

“I’ll leave you alone now.” Ictus spun around and walked towards the door. “In half an hour we begin on stage.”

With those words he left her alone. Octavia briefly inspected the bathroom and saw that it even had a shower next to the toilet and washbasin. Everything was spotlessly clean and tidy, perhaps a tad too tidy for her.

There still was half an hour to kill somehow. Her cello had been left on stage and she didn’t want to think about any events from the day before or this morning. So she checked her appearance in the mirror. A few stray hairs were brushed back into position with a hoof and she gave her bowtie a little tug.

With one minute over she began to inspect the rest of the room, opening the wardrobe, refrigerator and drawers. Everything was empty apart from a few coat hangers in the wardrobe. The lone packet of instant pot noodles in the refrigerator had an expiration date that was now only four years in the past. Wisely she dared not touch it and closed the fridge after depositing her sandwiches inside.

Octavia trotted towards the stage after the time was nearly up. She had taken the time to compile a list of the things she would need for here in her mind. She barely held her enthusiasm in check as she nearly jumped towards the stage. Now it was time for music!

The feeling of anticipation grew stronger as she heard musical instruments being tuned. She turned around the corner and nearly bumped into a mare carrying a trombone. Octavia apologized and hurried past the mare, she desperately wanted to be on stage now.

Maestro Ictus was nowhere to be seen, but plenty of other musicians were on stage taking their positions and tuning their instruments. Octavia smiled at them as she walked over to her place with her cello waiting for her. Some ponies smiled back, others just gave her a curious look.

Octavia quickly unpacked her cello and shoved the case partly under her seat. A quick check if everything was in order later and she was ready to go.

Ictus appeared from the left of the stage. A conductor’s stand and a box in his magical grasp. With a thud he let the stand drop on stage, its effect being that all of the musicians instantly stopped what they were doing and looked at the conductor.

“Now then.” He cleared his throat. “Allow me to introduce our new member.” He pointed a hoof at Octavia, who felt all eyes looking at her. “That is Octavia Philharmonica. A classically trained cellist from Canterlot no less. Hopefully some of her talent will seep into you.”

Octavia smiled sheepishly. The praise she received from Ictus had caused a few ponies to talk quietly amongst themselves. Ictus levitated a conductor’s baton from the box next to his stand. With a few rapid taps against the rather worn stand he silenced the mumbled discussions going on.

“Let’s start with something easy from Beethooven. Page thirty, let’s get going.”


“STOP! STOP RIGHT NOW!” Ictus hammered his baton against the stand.

“STACCATO DAMN IT!” he yelled. “When I want staccato you should damn well PLAY IT!”

With a loud snap the baton broke in two. Ictus didn’t even bat an eye and simply threw the broken pieces over his shoulder to the floor and levitated a new baton out of the box. Accusingly he pointed it at the ensemble’s violinists.

“I am giving you very clear instructions up here, so PLEASE try and follow them.”

Octavia was still in a bit of shock at the outburst of Maestro Ictus. She scanned the other musicians quickly. The ones not being accused seemed bored, as if this was a regular occurrence. The group of violinists wore a frown, but otherwise did not react.

“I am terribly sorry, Octavia.” Ictus said and Octavia found herself in the middle of everyponies attention again. “I hope that those caveponies have not offended your ears with their efforts to play music, which sounds a lot like trying to create fire by rubbing two sticks together.”

Octavia wanted attention, but most certainly not this kind. She shrunk back in her seat a bit further. She also didn’t quite understand why Ictus had reacted the way he did. She didn’t even notice anything wrong with what the violinists had played.

Ictus banged his baton on the stand once more, causing Octavia to jump a bit.

“And you!” he pointed to a stallion with an oboe. “I want to hear full notes! You play your instrument like you are trying to please your coltfriend. So please stop SUCKING!”

“I am married.” The stallion replied. Ictus puffed his cheeks out and Octavia had the feeling he could explode any minute.

“DON’T TALK BACK TO ME!” he yelled and threw his baton towards the stallion with the oboe, who managed to dodge it just in the nick of time. “PLAY YOUR DAMNED INSTRUMENT OR I WILL STICK THAT OBOE WHERE CELESTIA’S SUN DOES NOT SHINE!”

Ictus glared at the stallion for a few moments longer. Then he retrieved another baton from the box and lightly tapped it against the stand.

“Ok.” He sighed. “From the top once more.”


Vinyl patiently waited outside of the big building for Octavia to finish her first day of work here. She had been waiting for nearly half an hour already, but she didn’t mind.

Her own work had managed to raise her spirits somewhat and she had decided to see how Octavia would behave around her. Perhaps everything would be as always and the little misunderstanding of that morning would be quietly forgotten.

She perked her ears up as she heard the doors open. A flood of very grumpy looking ponies left the building and Vinyl stepped to the side to let them pass. Once the small herd had left Octavia emerged from the building with the large cello case on her back. She seemed a bit confused as she trotted over to Vinyl.

“Hey, Tavi.” Vinyl greeted her friend, but noticed that the cellist did not look her in the eye. “How’d it go?”

“I’ll tell you at home.” Her reply was short and she didn’t stop on her way past the unicorn.

Vinyl winced as she followed the earthpony back home. It seemed as if not everything had gone well.

The trip was made in silence and once back home Octavia announced she would take a bath first. Vinyl said she would have dinner ready when she got out of the tub. During the preparations for dinner Vinyl was trying to wrap her head around her friend’s behavior.

Had she done something during her job that had soured her mood or was it still because of waking up while strangling Vinyl. The DJ didn’t know, but would hopefully find out during the evening.

As they sat down later for dinner Octavia began to tell Vinyl about her day at work. Vinyl just listened with her jaw open in astonishment.

“He broke fourteen batons, I counted, and once bit into his stand.” Octavia finished her report.

“Wow.” Vinyl snorted once. “He sounds.... interesting....”

“What’s really uncomfortable is the way he keeps praising me.” Octavia sighed. “You should see the looks the others gave me at the end of the day. I am sort of glad that I have a room for myself now.”

“Yeah, looks can hurt.” Vinyl commented, very well remembering the look she had received from Octavia this morning. Which still was more than she was giving her this evening. Octavia’s eyes were glued to her meal and didn’t look up once. “Still, it’s just a step towards Canterlot, right?”

“Yes, you’re right.” Octavia laid her head back and closed her eyes. “It’s just another stage for me to go through.”

Vinyl felt the burning desire to talk about the mornings events, but Octavia didn’t give her a chance.

“I best practice a bit and replace the strings. Don’t want to be in the focus of his anger.” Octavia said and trotted into the music room.

With nothing else to do Vinyl cleared up the table and washed the dishes. Music wafted through their home as Octavia played a few melodies on her cello.

This can’t go on like this. I have to try and say something.

Vinyl trotted into the music room when she didn’t hear any more music being played. She saw that Octavia was in the process of replacing the strings on her instrument. The DJ knew that her friend would fully concentrate on her task and not hear or see anything else during that time. It had served her well in the past for setting up pranks while Octavia was in her own world.

Vinyl thought it best not to try any kind of pranking right now and trotted over to her deck. She put her headphones on and began playing a track at random. Very little effort was put in trying to actually work on her music, she just was biding her time for a good time to talk to the other mare.

Her thoughts had wondered all over the place for a few minutes. She was so absorbed in them that she hadn’t even notice that her own music had stopped and that Octavia had restrung her instrument and was playing again.

The tension in the room had become uncomfortable for both mares. There was a huge elephant in the room that needed addressing and both knew it. Octavia abruptly stopped her playing and looked over to Vinyl, who very briefly locked eyes with her but then looked down at her deck again.

“Vinyl?” Octavia said loudly, thinking that the DJ had music blearing full blast.

She waited for the DJ to take off her headphones. It almost seemed that Vinyl was scared of what Octavia might say as she very slowly looked at the cellist.

“I’m sorry about this morning Vinyl.” Octavia said and gave her a small smile.

“No, no.” Vinyl held a hoof to her chest. “It was my fault. I should have stayed awake or try and wake you up somehow.”

“It’s ok, Vinyl. I’m not angry with you.” Octavia halted the unicorn’s ramblings. “I was just shocked. You see… I never have been in that kind of position. Waking up with another pony sort of surprised me a bit more than I had thought.”

“Yeah, seeing my bedhair in the morning would most likely surprise anypony.” Vinyl tried a small joke.

“I should have reacted differently.” Octavia admitted. “I hurt you by not saying anything.” Octavia blushed. “And erm…sorry about the strangling. I know that you didn’t have any bad intentions.”

“No harm done, right?” Vinyl gave Octavia a small grin.

“Friends again?” Octavia asked and trotted up to her friend behind the deck. She held out her hoof for a hoofbump.

“Always, Tavi.” Vinyl bumped the offered hoof.

Always only friends….