• Published 15th Nov 2013
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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 31

The mass of fireflies swirled around the crystal on top of a staff in the center of the park. Slowly the crystal began to glow in a soft light blue light. Once the light had reached the same intensity of the fireflies around it a single thin beam shot up into the clouds high above.

For second or two nothing happened. Then slowly a small gap appeared, a thin beam of moonlight shining through. The gap widened gradually letting more and more moonlight bathe the park in its light. The fireflies shied away from the light and returned to where they had come from. Ponies sat mesmerized at the silent spectacle.

Two ponies didn’t even notice anything around them.

A white hoof gently laid down on a grey one. The touch was so familiar, yet so new for Octavia. New were also her thoughts about what was happening.

She now understood what the importance of a kiss meant.

A simple action, two sets of lips pressing against each other, yet so powerful that entire wars had been fought because of one kiss.

She understood why so many books had been written on that subject, why so many poems had been created. Why painters had dedicated their lives to try and capture that feeling in their work. Why musicians had tried to convey that feeling into music, regardless from which era they were. It was timeless, modern artists like Sapphire Shores had tried their hoof at creating music that reflected that feeling. Old classical composers had spent decades trying to find just the right blend of instruments to replicate the feeling, they all failed.

Classical….

Through the swirling emotions in Octavia that one word echoed in her mind.

She felt Vinyl press closer to her, their chests now touching, a foreleg beginning to wrap itself around her in a hug. It should have been blissful, yet that damn words kept nagging in the back of her mind.

With a hard yank the reigns controlling Octavia were pulled away from her heart and back into the grasp of her mind. It connected dots for her, even though she didn’t ask for it to do so. It now began unraveling the cozy woolly feeling in her body and replacing it with the cold stark reality of what was going on.

Octavia pulled away from the embrace with Vinyl and opened her eyes. Vinyl still had her eyes shut, lips searching for the cellist. A grey hoof planted itself on Vinyl’s chest and gently pushed her away. Confused Vinyl opened her eyes.

Those eyes….

Even in the pale moonlight they shone bright. Confusion was replaced with worry as crimson eyes locked with lavender ones.

“Tavi?” A whispered question escaped her lips. A weight of worry attached to it.

“I…I shouldn’t have done that.” Octavia looked away from the unicorn, quickly scanning the area to see if anypony had noticed them.

“Hey, it’s ok.” Vinyl smiled gently. “It was dark and their attention elsewhere.”

It wasn’t just the immediate ponies around that Octavia feared of having seen them. It was all the other consequences that lay down the road she had taken. She shied away from Vinyl’s hoof on hers.

“Tavi?” Vinyl sensed that something was wrong. She didn’t even have to see the anguish in Octavia’s face.

“I’m sorry.” Octavia barely choked out those words. With one quick move she grabbed her saddlebags placed on the root beside her and took off.

“Tavi?!” Vinyl jumped to her hooves. “Tavi, wait!”

The DJ had not been paying any attention to her surroundings and didn’t notice the roots that her hooves now tripped over. She faceplanted into the somewhat soft ground with enough force to make her see stars. She turned her head and glared at the reason for her involuntary acrobatic number.

“Roots! Bloody roots!” Quickly she untangled her hooves from the tree and sprang back up to see where Octavia was.

Despite moonlight now flooding the park, there were still plenty of shadows around and a grey earthpony was almost impossible to spot. Vinyl quickly put on her own saddlebags and roughly shoved the blanket into them. She tried to think about what had just happened, but came up with no real satisfactory answer. Maybe Octavia had been spooked by being out in public and had simply overreacted.

The fireflies had vanished and thus the show was over. Ponies started to head towards the exits as there was nothing else worth seeing here tonight. Vinyl barged her way through a few lines of ponies casually walking about. In Manehatten she would have earned a glare and that was all. Here ponies started complaining loudly at the uncivilized behavior of the unicorn. Vinyl didn’t even hear any of it. All she cared about was finding Octavia.




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Vinyl had searched the park for fifteen minutes and had not found the cellist.

With no other choice she rushed back to the apartment, hoping to find some clue as to the whereabouts of Octavia. Vinyl let out a sigh of relief as she heard a cello being played once she opened the front door.

Her relief turned into tension as she took note of the cello being played. It wasn’t a melody, it couldn’t even be classified as proper notes being played. It sounded like a bow being dragged over the strings in an effort to just produce noise and not just sitting in silence.

Vinyl followed the sound to Octavia’s bedroom. She switched the light in the hallway on and carefully opened the door. The cellist was sitting on her bed, facing away from the door, out the window and stopped her assault on the cello’s strings. The light was off and Vinyl couldn’t even see Octavia’s reflection in the window properly. She dared not enter and quietly spoke up from her position in the doorframe.

“Tavi? What happened?”

“I’m sorry, Vinyl.” Octavia’s voice was firm and calm. Too calm for it to be anything other than an act. “I shouldn’t have done what I did.”

“No, it’s ok, Tavi.” Vinyl tried to keep her own voice calm. “Nopony saw us.”

“It is not them I was thinking of.” Octavia didn’t turn around or move in any way. “I made a terrible mistake.”

“No!” Vinyl fought the urge to rush up to the mare. “It wasn’t a mistake!”

“Yes, it was.” Octavia’s voice took on a slight sad note. “It was nothing but a silly little action that has no importance whatsoever.”

“You are lying….” Vinyl thought she saw the cellist briefly flinch. The situation was not something Vinyl felt comfortable with, but within that discomfort she found strength. “It was important to you. It is important to me! Ever since we met I have been dying to tell you something.”

“I don’t want to know.” Octavia this time visibly cringed, her ears flattening against her head in an effort to block out any incoming sounds.

“But I need you to know.” Vinyl only briefly paused at Octavia’s request. “There is only one thing I want you to hear, to know. Tavi I lo…”

“DON’T SAY IT!” Any pretence of being calm vanished instantly as Octavia shrieked in panic. As if the words could harm her in some way. Quieter but voice thick with emotion she continued. “Please, Vinyl. I can’t….please understand, that I can’t! Please….”

Octavia watched Vinyl’s reflection fighting to come up with the right things to say, to do. Vinyl looked from Octavia to the floor and back again, her mouth opening to say something, but no word made it out. After agonizing moments that seemed to last a lifetime, Vinyl just nodded.

“I’m sorry Vinyl…..” Octavia said as Vinyl turned to leave.

The unicorn briefly paused and looked back at the cellist. Octavia could see the tears building up in the eyes of Vinyl’s reflection in the window. Then the unicorn turned around and left through the door. Octavia sat rigid on the edge of her bed. The cello clutched in a vice grip between her hooves. Only when she heard the front door closing did she release the instrument from her grip. With a dull thud it fell on the carpet.

“I’m sorry…..” Octavia whispered into the silence of her apartment.

Then she began to cry.




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Vinyl stared at the streetlight visible from the window of the hotel room she was in.

It was an upscale hotel and she didn’t even remember how she had arrived here. She had plenty of bits in her saddlebag and could easily afford to stay a night here. And that’s all it would be, a night.

She had cried bitter tears for hours after arriving in the hotel. Her initial thought had been to go to Lyra and hope the lyrist had some kind of idea on how to salvage the mess she was in. But Vinyl didn’t even know where to find her friend. Was she already here somewhere in Canterlot or was she still in Ponyville? In her pain Vinyl also had considered going to Octavia’s parents, just to talk and help her through it all. As they were out of town she had been left alone with her thoughts.

Anger had reared its ugly head, but had just like the sadness and misery left her a while ago. Now she just felt numb.

Vinyl had played the blame game, but she simply couldn’t blame Octavia for doing what she had done. The only pony to blame in the entire business was herself.

She had been warned, by both Lyra and her father, that her course would lead to pain and suffering. Vinyl had ignored the warnings and chose to sit in silence beside the mare she loved. Then Octavia had made the first move. She had ventured into forbidden territory for an aspiring classical musician. Lyra being a good example of what would happen.

Then Octavia had chosen.

That was all it was. A choice she had to make, either her career or Vinyl. She had chosen her career and Vinyl could understand and even accept that. After all, she had spent months seeing how important it was to her and had done everything possible to help Octavia achieve her goal.

All that was left now was the future. Vinyl had reached a decision after thinking about it for hours on end. There wasn’t a future here in Canterlot for her. And as painful as it was, there wasn’t a future with Octavia either. Vinyl had decided to leave it all behind, go back to Las Pegasus and start over. A fresh start without anything even closely resembling a cello.

Vinyl would have taken the next train to Las Pegasus as soon as she had reached her decision, but there still was one last thing left to do. She would go to the concert, she would see Octavia rise to fame and glory, see her achieve her goal that they had worked on so hard. Then she would leave, knowing that Octavia was there where she belonged.




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Octavia awoke late in the afternoon.

She had cried for hours on end until her body had given up and forced her to fall asleep in the early morning hours. A headache was her only companion this morning. The apartment was eerily silent and she found the silence to be a bit scary.

With heavy hooves she got out of bed and left her bedroom. The light in the hallway was still on and she switched it off with a quick flick of her hoof. A hopeful part of her made her stop on her way to the bathroom and turn towards Vinyl’s bedroom. One look inside just revealed that it was vacant. A snarky side reminding her that it was the guest room and not Vinyl’s room anymore.

Octavia growled the thought away and stepped into the bathroom. She went through her routine, but avoided looking in the mirror. She couldn’t face her reflection yet. The amount of guilt and regret coursing through her system made her whimper. With considerable effort she shoved those emotions away and locked them in a box deep within. She had something to do today and she couldn’t afford any distraction.

The cellist didn’t bother making something to eat. She just grabbed a few items that could be eaten straightaway and would fill her up. A couple of carrots, some dry bread and an apple was all she could eat.

She cringed as she sat in the kitchen all alone. Memories surfacing about a white unicorn assaulting her with cake. Octavia left the kitchen quickly, she couldn’t deal with those memories right now. Yet it seemed as if the entire apartment tried to force her to see old memories. The living room held the memory of them sitting together watching movies, the music room where she had first seen Vinyl’s eyes, the dining room where they had truly become friends.

The walls were closing in and Octavia was close to hyperventilating. She barely managed to keep it together and not break down in loud sobs again.

I have to get out of here.

Octavia trotted into the music room and grabbed her cello case. Quickly she packed up her cello and shouldered it. She snatched a bowtie from the drawer in her bedroom. She frowned as she held it against her neck and nothing happened. Normally they were enchanted to wrap themselves around her neck when she held them there. The realization that Vinyl had been the one to tie her bowtie every morning made her lip quiver.

Out! Now!

Octavia left the bowtie where it was and quickly strode to the front door. She had to talk to somepony. She needed help to get through everything, especially since she was supposed to be on stage in only a few hours. There was only one pony she could think of that might be able to help her. As she raced towards Canterlot’s main music hall she feverishly hoped that Lyra was already there.




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The first pony Octavia bumped into just had to be Ictus.

Her plan had been to stow away her instrument someplace and then search for Lyra. The conductor was the last pony she wanted to see at that time and moment. Not only because of his general attitude, but also what his actions might be if he ever found out what Octavia had done.

“Ah, Octavia.” Ictus managed something that might have resembled a smile. “Good to see you are here. You can put your cello on stage.” He nodded towards a set of closed doors behind him.

Octavia wanted to get away from as fast as possible and just nodded. As she tried to walk past him in the backstage area they were in, he stopped her with a hoof on her shoulder.

“You are required to wear this.” Ictus levitated a white collar and black bowtie towards her. Octavia took it in her hoof with a short thank you. “There still is some time to go until the concert. You might want to use the time to freshen up a bit.”

Octavia ignored his critical tone and just walked past him with quick steps. A couple of musicians were on stage tuning and setting up their instruments. They noticed she was there, but didn’t bother to greet her. That was fine in Octavia’s book.

Hastily she unpacked her cello and placed it at her spot on stage. The curtains were wide open and she paused for a moment to take in the view. This was what she had dreamt of ever since she had played her very first note on her cello. It should have been a moment of exquisite joy, but her mind and especially her heart where elsewhere.

At the moment only a few staff ponies were carefully checking if everything was in order with the seats. The cleaning crews most likely had been through here earlier as everything seemed spotless. The stage was huge in comparison with the stage back in Manehatten. Here each musician would have enough space and not play in fear of having an elbow accidentally rammed into their side. She felt a tiny moment of anticipation as she viewed her spot in the ensemble, right in the middle front row.

Octavia felt the greater need to find a friend overwhelm her and she quickly left the stage. She had seen Lyra’s instrument already waiting for her on her place, so she was definitely somewhere in the building.

Knowing that Lyra would not be around any of her fellow musicians, Octavia searched the more desolate areas backstage. She had been here once before, a tour organized by her university class, so navigating the building was not too difficult for her.

She finally found Lyra leaning against a stack of boxes in a passage full of old props for some of the few shows that were performed here. The unicorn briefly glanced up at the new arrival and after registering that it was Octavia, she turned her attention back to the black bowtie around her neck.

“How do you wear these things without going nuts?” Lyra complained and adjusted the bowtie with her magic. “It’s like a very weak foal keeps trying to strangle me.”

“I need to talk to you.” Octavia whispered to her friend.

Lyra looked up from her efforts to make the bowtie more comfortable. Her eyes went wide as she saw the state the cellist was in.

“Uh…you ok?” Lyra asked and looked around to see if anypony was around.

“Something happened.” Octavia let her head hang in sadness.

“What did Vinyl do?” Lyra’s thoughts raced a mile a minute at any possible scenarios that might cause her friend to be in such a state.

“She didn’t do anything.” Octavia didn’t quite manage to look Lyra in the eye. “I did.”

“Like what?” Lyra was now just simply confused.

“I kissed her.” Octavia’s answer was barely audible, but Lyra heard it nevertheless.

For a moment neither mare moved or said anything. Then Octavia found herself being pulled along by a hoof towards some unknown destination. Lyra quickly rounded a corner at the end of the passage they had been in and dove towards a door marked as a bathroom. Octavia had no choice and tried her best not to fall flat on her face as she was being pulled along.

Lyra almost hurled the cellist into the bathroom and locked the door after entering the room. A quick glance revealed that they were alone. With a smile Lyra quickly closed the distance to where Octavia was sitting.

“Tell me everything!” Lyra’s big wide smile faded away after Octavia kept staring at the floor unable to quite put everything into words. “What happened? Why do you look like you have been sucking on a lemon all morning?”

“We were in the park watching the Dance of the Fireflies.” Octavia began after taking a deep breath. “And halfway through I felt….something. I just don’t know what happened, but I kissed her.”

“And then?” Lyra asked after waiting a few heartbeats.

“I pushed her away.” Octavia let her head hang even lower, her voice no more than a whisper. “I ran home and Vinyl arrived shortly afterwards. I said I was sorry and that it had been a mistake. Then she wanted to tell me….tell me…”

Octavia felt the tears building up and had to take a deep breath before continuing.

“I told her not to say anything. Then she left without another word.” Octavia finally looked Lyra in the eye with tear filled eyes of her own. “What should I do?”

Octavia could see the gears turning in Lyra’s head. The unicorn blinked and shook her head, desperately trying to understand what had happened. Then she groaned and threw her hooves up in the air.

“Oh, for crying out loud!” Lyra stomped her front hooves on the floor. ”You two have seriously got the worst timing imaginable!”

Lyra chuckled briefly at the incredibly bad timing and began pacing back and forth in front of the miserable earthpony.

“Of all the time you two had, you have to go and do that now! I don’t believe it!” Lyra was in her own world for the moment. “One is too scared to say anything out of fear to cost you everything you want and the other one is too blind to see what is going on right in front of her nose!”

“Urrrgh!” Lyra sat back down and held her head in her hooves. “I think I am going to have some kind of stroke because of you two.”

“What do you mean with all the time we had?” Octavia meekly asked. “I never even thought of that until yesterday.”

“Oh, no.” Lyra shook her head. “Everypony that knows you from before meeting Vinyl saw it pretty clearly. Hay! Even Bon Bon figured it out and that only through your letters.”

“What?” Octavia didn’t understand.

“You kept writing about her.” Lyra dropped her hooves from her head. “It started off all harmless, but you kept writing about how funny and nice and all that stuff Vinyl is. Your problem is that you were just too blind to realize it before.”

“But Vinyl never…”

“Oh, don’t get me started on Vinyl.” Lyra rolled her eyes as she cut off Octavia’s response. “That damn mare has been head over hooves for you for a long time. She pretty much told me so the first time we met.”

“She never said anything.” Octavia finished her response on the second try.

“Yeah, I know. She said she didn’t want to come between you and your goal. Silly filly…I told her it would end badly for her.”

Octavia sat on the floor and just stared at the tiles of the bathroom floor. Lyra chewed her bottom lip in thought at what to do with this situation.

“What should I do?” Octavia asked quietly once more.

“Do you love her?” Lyra’s question was blunt, but the time of being subtle had long passed.

“I can’t” The conflict in the cellist’s voice was noticeable.

“Oookay…that’s not really the answer I was expecting.”

“You of all ponies should know why I can’t.” Octavia briefly looked up at the unicorn.

Lyra nodded once as a sign that she knew what Octavia meant. It was a messy ugly situation that the saddened earthpony was in and Lyra was unsure what to do, especially on such a short notice.

“Do you know where Vinyl is?” Lyra received her answer in form of Octavia just shaking her head. “Ok….ok.”

Lyra rubbed her face with her front hooves and took a deep breath. Something needed to be done, but without all parties present there wasn’t much that could be done at the present time. It would have to wait for later.

“You still have the concert ahead of you.” Lyra stepped closer to the other mare.

“I know.” Octavia let her head hang even lower and she was almost touching the floor. “I have to perform soon.”

“Damn right.” Lyra put a hoof under Octavia’s chin and forced her to look her in the eye. “Can you go through with it?”

“I…I guess so.” Octavia tried to avoid the look Lyra was giving her.

“No guesses!” Lyra snapped and the tone made Octavia flinch slightly. “Vinyl has given up more that you know for this chance. For you to be on stage and to your best. You owe her that you give it your all! Do you understand?”

Lyra saw the hurt in Octavia’s eyes as they filled with water. Fearing that the earthpony might break down completely Lyra tried to think of a way to help her.

“If you are not up to it I’ll think of something to delay the concert. Pull the fire alarm or something like that.”

“No….no, I can do it.” Octavia visibly fought the rising tears back down and blinked them away.

“You sure?”

“Yes.” Octavia nodded a few times while drawing herself up. “I can do it.”

“Ok.” Lyra gave the cellist a friendly smile and patted her on the shoulder. “Let’s get you ready.”

Lyra ushered Octavia towards the washbasin. She shook her head as she soaked a few paper towels under the running tap.

“I swear…. if I didn’t have a white streak in my mane already, I would have it now for certain.” Lyra began wiping the cellist’s face with a wet paper towel in a hoof.

At the same time she used her magic to comb through Octavia’s jet black mane and try and bring some order to the tangled mess. Octavia just let the unicorn work in silence and closed her eyes. She didn’t want to face her reflection in the mirror and used the silence to rearrange her thoughts.

Octavia was good at focusing on one thing and one thing alone, it had caused problems for her right now, but in the next few hours it would be her best ability. She crammed anything revolving around Vinyl into a box and buried it deeper than she had before. It would have to be dealt with, but for now there was only music to think about.

Lyra sensed Octavia’s inner turmoil and chose to push her in the right direction. As she wiped the last residue of sleep from the cellist’s eyes she cleared her throat.

“When you are on stage don’t look out into the audience.” Lyra disposed of the used paper towel and grabbed a fresh one to dry her friend’s face. “There are lights on stage pointing towards the musicians. If you look at them too long they will blind you and you’ll have a difficult time seeing the notes. Trust me, I have some unwanted experience with that problem.”

Octavia nodded once as a sign of taking the advice to heart. Lyra finished her work on Octavia and grabbed the loose bowtie from Octavia’s shoulder with her magic. With quick moves she put the accessory around the earthpony’s slender neck and tied it in place. Only now did Octavia finally open her eyes again and looked at her reflection.

There was nothing out of the ordinary about her reflection, apart from the black bowtie in place of the usual pink one. Lyra had done a good job with her mane and she looked as elegant as ever, no sign to be seen from the events of last night.

“When the string section takes over from the brass in the first half come in a note sooner.” Lyra had decided to avoid anything Vinyl related for the time being and chosen to appeal to Octavia’s professional side. “The violins are usually late, despite Ictus ranting and raving about it, and it sounds better if there is not such a long pause.”

“Should I match their note?” Octavia asked in her usual tone of voice and only managed to tear her gaze into the mirror away when Lyra physically nudged her towards the door.

“Maybe one higher.” Lyra opened the door and waited for Octavia to go through first. “Since you are the lead cellist you have some freedom with random placement of notes. Otherwise I would try to cover the pause, but a lyre doesn’t sound right in that transition.”

“I’ll cover the transition.” Octavia held her head high as she began moving towards the stage again. Lyra followed her in silence for a moment. Only when they were nearly on stage did she speak up one last time.

“If something goes wrong….just give me a sign and I’ll do something. Ok?”

“I will.” Octavia gave her friend a smile, the first one in ages it seemed to her. “Thank you, Lyra.”

“Don’t mention it.” Lyra smiled back and gave Octavia one final pat on the shoulder. “Now go out there and show them what being the earthpony prodigy is all about!”



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Bon Bon tried to be as invisible as possible as she walked towards the front row seats.

She couldn’t have felt more out of place if she had cartwheeled down the isle while singing a song about drunken goblins. She also noticed plenty of looks directed at her, some of them curious and some of them silently outraged at the unknown mare heading towards some of the most expensive seats in the entire building.

Bon Bon ignored them, but wished she had dressed for the occasion. Instead she had come as she always was, including her pair of saddlebags that had seen better days long ago. Thankfully she didn’t have to ask for her seat as it was obvious that the only vacant seats belonged to her and Vinyl.

Vinyl…

They hadn’t made any kind of arrangement to meet up before the concert, but she found it strange that the unicorn wasn’t already there and seemed to be running late. She hoped nothing bad had happened and sat down in her seat, only briefly nodding politely to the mare in the seat next to hers.

The feeling of having seen the mare before seeped into her mind. Bon Bon risked another look, camouflaging it as a curious look all around the large room. The unicorn mare was tall and frightfully thin. The light pink coat and expertly done mane was so familiar it was almost painful to not know who she was.

Bon Bon felt the name on the tip of her tongue, but simply could not spit it out. Was she somepony she had already met once before? Or was she somepony she had bumped into in Manehatten?

“Is this your first concert?” The tall mare asked with a surprisingly deep voice and a friendly smile.

“No.” Bon Bon cleared her throat. “I have been to a few concerts before, just never in this particular place.”

“Good to meet another enthusiast of the classical genre.” A stallion next to the mare spoke up.

As she cast a glance at the stallion wearing a monocle it dawned on Bon Bon who the ponies beside her were. Fleur De Lis and Fancy Pants, two of the most well known and important ponies in all of Canterlot, maybe even all of Equestria. The sweetmaker suddenly felt rather small and insignificant and just politely smiled without saying another word.

Instead she craned her neck around to see if Vinyl was anywhere to be seen. She really could have done with some kind of backup to keep her from possibly embarrassing herself. Alas the unicorn was nowhere to be seen and Bon Bon accidentally let out a small groan of disappointment.

“Your date is running late?” Fleur casually asked with a hint of concern. Why the high class model chose to even bother talking to a nopony like Bon Bon puzzled the beige mare.

“Just a friend of mine running late.” Bon Bon replied with a small chuckle.

“Something serious?” Fleur seemed keen on keeping the small talk flowing. “He hasn’t stood you up I hope?”

“No, no.” Bon Bon shook her head. “Really only a friend. My partner will be up on stage.”

Bon Bon would have loved to facehoof right then and there. She had brought something up that would no doubt lead to more questions and possibly a rather awkward scene later on.

“Oh?” Fleur’s eyes lit up. “Your partner is a musician? Which instrument if I may ask?”

Bon Bon would rather have her not ask, but chose to answer truthfully. “The lyre.”

“Lyra Heartstrings?” Fancy Pants asked with some surprise. “I saw her name on the flyer.”

“Yes, she is my marefriend.” Bon Bon braced herself for the backlash.

“Good to hear she is back on stage!” Fancy Pants smiled a warm honest smile with a hint of excitement maybe. “I saw her perform here a while back.”

“I remember that.” Fleur nodded once. “She has a most delightful style with the lyre. Too bad what happened to her.”

“Uh…” Bon Bon wasn’t too sure on how to react. Their reactions were most certainly not the ones she had been expecting. “I happened to her.”

“And despite what happened, both of you are still together.” Fleur was almost beaming now. “Just shows that it was the right choice to make.” Fleur winked at a very perplexed Bon Bon.

“It…it was.” Bon Bon beamed back. “It wasn’t easy, but we are happy. Even if Lyra had to give up her music on stage for me.”

“Sounds like she is a keeper.” Fleur nodded wisely.

“Oh, she most certainly is.” Bon Bon replied still grinning like it was Hearth’s Warming Eve.

“Life isn’t always easy, but when the right ponies find each other it is worth a certain amount of discomfort.” Fancy Pants spoke in a tone implying that he had been through some tough moments as well. Fleur leaned her head briefly against his neck with a smile implying she felt the same way.

Bon Bon just nodded. She was very surprised at their acceptance of her choice in a partner. Previous encounters with the Canterlot elite had been anything but pleasant or accepting. She would have to tell Lyra all about it later. She doubted the unicorn would believe her.

Fleur sat back up straight in her seat and turned to Bon Bon. “So tell me…” It seemed as if the smalltalk wasn’t over yet and Bon Bon didn’t have a problem with that anymore. “Where are you from?”





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The show was about to begin.

Octavia had spent the time on stage to fine tune her cello one last time. Lyra was right. It was time that Canterlot finally met the earthpony cellist on stage. She would wow them and give them a show they would remember for decades. Of that she was sure and by the time Ictus had appeared on stage any thoughts about white unicorns had effectively been purged from her mind. The only thing that mattered now was her music and she felt the anticipation building up inside her to finally be here and show them her stuff.

Ictus had tried some kind of pep-talk, but Octavia didn’t hear one word of it. She used the time to go over her piece of music a few more times that she had written by herself. Every note was instantly recalled and she played the piece without using her bow.

The curtain rose up slowly.

This is it!

Lyra wasn’t kidding about the lights she mentioned. Beyond the edge of the stage everything was just a black blob. She quickly averted her eyes and looked at the notes on the little stand in front of her. Her heart jumped in excitement as the first notes were played.




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Fifteen minutes later Octavia felt something she had not expected.

She was utterly bored.

For the majority of the last ninety days she had played this piece of music over and over again. She knew it by heart and could play it blindfolded. Her hooves moved on their own accord playing each note perfectly.

It may have been different if she could actually see the audience. She thought back to the competition she had played in. Performing and seeing the audience react was a huge factor for her. Here she couldn’t see or hear the audience and for all she knew the entire building might have been empty.

It was most certainly a desired effect. There was the possibility that some musicians might get overexcited at seeing the large crowd. Plus the fact that the Princess was in attendance might have caused a few missed notes. Like this all that mattered was the music.

For Octavia it was a bit of a letdown. If she could see the audience her mind would not have had the chance to wonder. And wonder around it did. She caught herself a few times opening that particular box buried deep within. Any white unicorn related thoughts were not allowed at this time. With some effort she forced her mind to go blank and just read the notes on the little stand in front of her.

It came as a bit of a shock as she flipped over a page and saw that her own solo was fast approaching. Time had flown by very fast in her state of not thinking. Octavia took a few deep breaths and allowed her mind to summon the piece of music she had written.

Her breaths came faster when her mind remained blank.

In less than a minute she would have to play her solo and she was beginning to panic. She felt sweat building on her brow as the transition began to play. A quick glance over to Lyra for support was not returned. The unicorn was concentrating on her own notes for the time being. Another glance over to Ictus who just kept his own look glued to the notes.

What should I do?

The transition was ending and now it was time for Octavia to wow the audience with her spectacular rendition of the bridge scene. She silently cursed that she had never bothered to write the music down and had just relied on her memory.

Help….

Octavia slowly stood up as the last notes played out. Now she would have to take over after the last long stroke of the violins.

Please…somepony help me…what should I do?

Carefully resting against her cello, now more for support than to actually play it, Octavia swallowed hard. Her guard was down and her mind decided to bombard the earthpony with everything she had carefully spent the entire day burying.

“You play the soundtrack of life, Tavi!” The image of Vinyl in her head said with a grin.

Octavia tried to block it out, but the memories were too stubborn to simply shake away this time. They forced themselves into her mind and Octavia saw them clearly against the black blob of the audience.

Vinyl walking alone on the snow covered sidewalk in Canterlot.

Octavia was about to shake her head to banish the vision, but she stopped herself. She understood, she knew what she had to do. Octavia embraced the memories surfacing up, she would take Vinyl’s statement by heart and play a soundtrack of life. The soundtrack of their lives.

A slow deep tone was the first note played on her cello. She held it for a moment, slowly adding more notes to match the vision of the frightfully thin Vinyl on the sidewalk. The music kept its haunting tune as Octavia played through memories past that were anything but pleasant.

Seeing the unicorn in her fragile state, finding her unconscious on the bathroom floor, the sight of her being levitated out of the bathroom by the EMT’s, the discovery of what Vinyl had been through before she had met Octavia again.

A picture of a young Vinyl and the wave of sadness washing through Octavia as she had thought of what might have happened to Vinyl if she had not seen her.

Octavia didn’t hear her music, she just played. For all she knew it might have been nothing but a jumbled mess of notes as she drew her bow back and forth. She didn’t care, she just knew she had to face it all and be at peace with it somehow.

Memories flooded in front of her eyes. The memory of her deciding to go to Canterlot and the dread she felt if Vinyl chose not to come with her surfaced again. Octavia’s unhappiness without getting closer to her goals, the revelation that she would need to play a piece of music of her own, seeing Vinyl hurt and learning that she had caused it. Those and many more played out in front of her.

The haunting image of Vinyl’s reflection turning away and leaving her alone in a room with her cello. It was the last time she had seen her friend. She turned all of the emotions into music and finally after a long time let the music die down.

The next scene was to be something upbeat, the Prince finding his long lost brother and reuniting with him. Octavia felt the effects of all those painful memories hit her at once when she took the bow off the strings.

The entire hall was eerily silent. More acute ears might have heard a sniffle or two from the audience, but Octavia still heard nothing. She felt tears building in her eyes and all she wanted to do was to bawl her little eyes out right here on stage.

A professional side snuffed out the impulse to curl up into a ball and kept her standing.

How do I bounce back from this? How am I supposed to play something happy now?

The answer came in form of a vision once more.

“Just one hop. Come on, I know you want to.”

Vinyl grinning broadly at Octavia who was standing in a puddle. Simple pure mischief plainly visible on the unicorns face. Octavia could not help but smile at the memory.

“This is good cake.” A flat statement by Vinyl after they had a cake fight.

Octavia used the memories with another slower melody that gradually became fast and lighter as it was fed with happy memories.

A compilation of pranks, Vinyl joking along with Octavia during the movies they watched, Vinyl redubbing the Tale of Two Princes, Vinyl grinning proudly as she helped Octavia unlock her hidden potential.

Octavia felt the grin spread on her face as she played her melody. Ponies in attendance would talk about the music she played that evening for quite some time. Octavia herself would not be able to remember one single not of it however, no matter how hard she tried remembering.

She remembered the feeling of waking up next to Vinyl, the soothing feeling she had anytime Vinyl was close to her, a feeling of comfort and happiness. Octavia musical performance neared its end with the memory of the first kiss she had. The one tiny moment of joy that had trumped anything before.

Octavia flinched slightly as the rest of the orchestra joined in and she forced her hooves to play along. She sat down still grinning widely. Ictus nodded ever so slightly to her, a sign that she had done her job well. Octavia cast a quick glance over to Lyra who winked in response.

Octavia’s grin would not vanish till the very end.




_______________________________________________________________________



The rest of the performance went by in a blur.

As the last note echoed through the large hall the curtain fell. Thunderous applause rang out from behind the thick red fabric. The musicians carefully put their instruments down and assembled in a rough half circle, anxiously awaiting the curtains to rise once more and bathe them in praise.

Octavia remained in the middle of the half circle. She held an eye open for Lyra and found her standing at the very end of the formation. As far away from the other musicians as possible. The thought occurred that it was not by Lyra’s choice to be in that position, but the mint green unicorn didn’t seem to be phased by it one bit.

“I dare say that the Royal Canterlot Orchestra has found its newest star here tonight.” Ictus had to speak up to be heard over the applause. He wore a smug proud grin on his face as he leaned over to Octavia. “Just remember who the pony was to bring you here.”

“I do.” Octavia’s grin did not leave her face. She let Ictus have his little delusion of thinking he was responsible for Octavia’s performance. She knew exactly who the pony was that had brought her here.

Vinyl Scratch.

Octavia’s heart beat faster at the prospect of seeing Vinyl in the audience. She had to talk to Vinyl. Tell her she was sorry and work through the things that had happened together.

As the curtain rose up Octavia felt like jumping up and down out of joy. The lights in front of the stage had been shut off and they could see the audience for the first time.

This is where I belong!

A pleasant shiver ran up and down her spine. See the assembled mass of ponies applauding her and the other musicians was a rush unlike anything else. Octavia had achieved her goal and felt a huge weight fall from her shoulders. See held her head high, ears slightly twitching and the deafening sound of applause and she forced her mad grin into a more dignified happy smile.

Unlike the rest of the musicians Octavia did not immediately look up to the balcony where Princess Celestia would be sitting. She briefly registered the ever flowing mane in the corner of her eye, but there was another pony she wanted to see first. A part of her hoped to see a sign being held up with the words “Go, Tavi, go!” painted on them.

There she is!

It only had taken her three seconds to locate Vinyl sitting beside Bon Bon in the first row. She looked up to the cellist on stage a small smile on her lips. Surprisingly the DJ was not wearing her sunglasses.

Those eyes….

Despite the smile on Vinyl’s lips her eyes told a different story. Octavia’s own smile fell as she saw the endless sadness in her friend’s eyes. A sadness as if she had lost the dearest thing in her life just moments ago.

And Octavia finally understood.

It was as if a veil covering her eyes had been yanked away and thus she could see the entire picture for once. It took a few moments for her to wrap her head around it all and with every passing second she felt more and more numb all over.

There wasn’t anything here anymore. Just her on stage and Vinyl with those ruby red eyes in the front row. No sound, no other ponies apart from her and Vinyl. She was alone with her thoughts now, her eyes feverishly searching Vinyl’s face for answers.

Vinyl broke the look and cast her eyes down. Octavia saw her grimace with something that could be called pain. The cellist felt a sharp pain in her heart at the sight and her eyes began to tear up. Other ponies might have thought it was because she was so overwhelmed by the ovation she was receiving. Little did they know that it was the last thing on her mind right then.

She saw Vinyl try and get up, a beige hoof stopping her from going anywhere. A confused Bon Bon asked her something and Octavia saw Vinyl’s lips move with an answer.

"I have to go."

Octavia knew what Vinyl meant with those words. The price for her being on stage and part of the Royal Canterlot Orchestra was obvious to her now and it had to be paid.

A terribly high price…..

Author's Note:

The End
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Is in the next chapter.

Whoa! Please refrain from using your pitchforks just yet.
Next Chapter will be up very soon. Either tomorrow or the day after.