• Published 24th Mar 2012
  • 15,831 Views, 583 Comments

No Longer Lost - KiroTalon



Scootaloo finds a new lease on a life she's struggling to survive.

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Urchin

The rest of the walk back to the townhouse was largely uneventful. The biting early Spring breeze pushed Scootaloo to walk as close to Vinyl as she could, leaching what heat she could from the larger mare’s body. Vinyl made a conscious effort to stand between Scootaloo and the wind. The winter wrap-up had been a few days ago, but the pegasus ponies were still keeping the ambient temperature just a few degrees above freezing, to allow early spring plants the chance to sprout before the heat brought out the bugs that would eat their tender young leaves. The chill in the air prompted Vinyl to repeat a question she hadn’t yet really gotten an answer to. “So, if you’re an orphan, where do you live, exactly?”

“Well,” Scootaloo said, “usually I live in a clubhouse me and my friends fixed up in the Sweet Apple orchard.”

“Oh, so you actually do spend most nights indoors?”

“Yeah...it’s still pretty cold, and there’s no bathroom or anything, but it’s better than sleeping in the woods.”

“I bet,” Vinyl said. “So you usually live in the clubhouse? Where do you live the rest of the time?”

“Sometimes I get to spend the night with my friends. I...I really like sleepovers,” she said, her cheeks turning pink. “When I sleep over, I get dinner, breakfast, and I get to sleep in a bed...it’s almost like having a home.” She looked away, the blush on her cheeks darkening further.

Vinyl’s heart ached for the little filly. “Well, you can sleep over at my place tonight, if you want.”

Scootaloo looked back at her with wide, hopeful eyes. “You mean it?”

Vinyl smiled. “Sure.” She reflected on the wisdom of making promises she wasn’t sure her significant other would let her keep, but decided it was worth the risk. She would deal with Octavia when the time came.

The little pegasus beamed. “Oh, thank you, thank you!” Her buzzing wings lifted her a few inches off the ground in her excitement. “Wow...it’s been a while. Applebloom’s been busy helping her sister with the planting season, and Sweetie Belle’s on vacation with her family, so I’ve just been sleeping in the clubhouse.” She grimaced. “It’s been kind of...rough.” Scootaloo glanced over her shoulder at a particularly visible patch of stained, matted fur. “Could I...um...that is, if you don’t mind...do you think I could...” she lowered her voice to just above a whisper, “take a bath?”

Vinyl struggled to contain the sympathetic interjection the little filly’s request invoked. “Of course you can, Scoot. My house is your house tonight. Whatever you need, you just let me know, and I’ll do what I can, alright?”

Scootaloo blushed deeply. “Oh...I don’t want to be any trouble.”

“It’s no trouble, kid. I promise. I just want to make sure you get a good meal and a good night’s sleep, alright?” She smiled warmly. “Nopony should have to live out of a clubhouse and trash cans.”

Scootaloo smiled back. “Okay. Thanks, Vinyl.”

Vinyl grinned as she stopped in front of the house she and Octavia shared. “No problem. Now come on, this is my place. Time for you to meet my better half.”

~~~

As soon as she pushed the door open, Vinyl knew there would be complications. The front hallway was dark, lit only by the flickering of a dozen candles situated at romantically strategic locations, illuminating a distinctly intentional path directly toward the bedroom. Soft strains of cello music--J. S. Buck’s ‘Air’, arranged by the pony currently playing it--wafted down the hall towards the ponies standing in the doorway. Vinyl winced at the realization of what she was about to ruin, but leaned down to Scootaloo just the same and said, “Um, why don’t you stay here for a minute. I...I might need to explain this to my, er...my marefriend.”

Scootaloo looked confused, but nodded just the same. Vinyl walked down the hall, simultaneously eagerly anticipating and dreading the moment she laid eyes on her beloved. As soon as she peeked around the corner into the bedroom, she knew it would be harder than she had expected to keep her promise to the filly in the foyer. There were several dozen more candles spread throughout the bedroom, casting a warm, shimmering light across the bed centered in the room upon which sat two trays of magnificent-looking food, two glasses of wine, and two small vases holding tender white rosebuds. Between the trays sat the most amazing sight Vinyl had ever laid eyes on. A beautiful grey earth pony with a jet black mane and tail was sitting on the bed, her hooves curled around a cello leaning against her shoulder. She was drawing the bow smoothly and expertly across the strings, evoking a haunting melody that sent shivers down Vinyl’s spine and made her knees weak. The unicorn stood in the doorway for several seconds, transfixed by the vision before her. When she finally managed to find her voice, she could only say one word. “O-Octavia...”

The silver-coated earth pony opened her eyes and glanced at Vinyl from beneath her silken mane. The unicorn’s heart froze as her gaze met the smoldering violet pools, half-lidded and sultry. Octavia smirked as Vinyl found herself struck utterly dumb. “Well, for once it seems you have nothing to say.”

Vinyl’s mouth opened and closed fruitlessly a couple times before she managed to swallow hard and nod. Octavia’s smirk widened into a grin as she continued playing, using her ebony tail to beckon Vinyl into the room. The unicorn did as she was bade, stumbling over her own hooves as she approached the bed. Her previous purpose was forgotten, lost in the swirling torrent of affection and desire flooding her mind. As the last tremulous note slowly faded, Octavia set the cello aside and reached out to drape her hooves around Vinyl’s shoulders. “I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to this evening, Vinyl.” She pushed the shades up off of Vinyl’s eyes, revealing the wide, crimson irises behind them.

Vinyl chuckled nervously, blushing. “Y-yeah, me too, Tavi.”

“It’s been ages since we’ve had an evening just to ourselves. No interruptions, no obligations, no commitments...just you...” she leaned forward and kissed Vinyl’s cheek, “and me,” she shifted over and kissed the opposite cheek, “and the whole night to do whatever we want,” she hissed, pressing her nose against Vinyl’s and drawing the stunned unicorn into a sultry embrace.

Several moments of rushing animalistic instinct silenced Vinyl’s rational mind while Octavia held her close, flicking a restless tongue across her unconsciously parted lips. When the kiss finally ended and Octavia sat back to survey the effects and grin, it was all Vinyl could do to shove aside the rising tide of desire and remind herself that there was in fact an obligation standing in the entryway behind her. “Octavia, I...uh...I...” she struggled to decide where to start.

Octavia giggled and flicked the unicorn’s nose with a playful hoof. “You don’t need to say anything, silly pony.” She leaned back on the bed, crossing her back legs coyly. “Come on, it’s dinner ti--” Suddenly, the earth pony froze, her eyes tripling in size in an instant as she looked past Vinyl into the hallway.

Vinyl’s blood ran cold as she slowly looked over her shoulder, hoping to see a burglar or a murderer or anything except what she knew she was about to. Instead, she saw Scootaloo’s little purple-maned head poking anxiously around the edge of the doorway. The filly looked up at Vinyl. “I...uh...I thought you might have...forgotten me...” she said, her voice trailing off into silence.

Vinyl shook her head, struggling to put a smile on her face. “Nope! Nope, haven’t forgotten you. Just, ah...about to tell Octavia here what we talked about earlier.”

“Oh,” Scootaloo said, blushing faintly. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt...”

Vinyl managed a genuine smile. “Don’t worry, kid. It’ll be fine. Just go into the living room...third door on the left...and I’ll be out in a little while, ‘kay?”

Scootaloo nodded, cast a fearful look at the earth pony behind Vinyl, and then disappeared. Vinyl listened to her quiet hoofsteps go down the hallway and then change timbre as she stepped onto the denser wood of the living room floor. She went to the door, looked into the hall to make sure Scootaloo was really out of earshot, then carefully closed the door, turning around and falling against it with a shallow sigh.

Then she shrieked in terror as she looked up to see Octavia standing mere millimeters away with an expression of the purest rage on her face. “Don’t kill me!” the ivory unicorn pleaded, cowering behind her hooves.

“What--is--she--doing--here?” Octavia said, punctuating every word with a fierce poke in Vinyl’s chest.

“Ow!” Vinyl said, recoiling and covering her ribs with her hooves. “Wait a second, just let me explain!”

“Explain?!” Octavia’s eyes flashed dangerously. “How do you explain kidnapping someone’s foal?”

“I didn’t kidnap her, I found her in the alley behind...the...club...” Vinyl’s explanation faltered and died on her lips as the earth pony stared at her, incredulous.

“You found her? Are you insane?” Octavia suddenly stepped back, putting her hooves on her head and pacing anxiously a few steps back and forth in front of her. “For Celestia’s sake, Vinyl, I can’t even imagine--”

“Octavia...” Vinyl said, trying to interrupt.

“--of all the most unbelievable--”

“Octavia...”

“--irresponsible--”

“Tavi!”

“--asinine--”

Tavi!” the unicorn shouted, startling her fillyfriend into silence. Vinyl spoke quickly, “Tavi, she’s an orphan.”

“An orphan?” Octavia repeated, the fury on her face swiftly fading.

Vinyl nodded. “She’s homeless. She’s been living in some clubhouse and eating scraps out of the trash.”

Octavia deflated slightly. “Homeless...Vinyl...”

Vinyl held up her hooves defensively. “I know, I know, it was stupid of me to get involved, but I just...I saw her digging in the trash behind the club, and I couldn’t leave her there, Tavi.”

“No,” Octavia agreed cautiously, rubbing the back of her neck with an anxious hoof, “but why didn’t you...I don’t know, tell someone?”

“Well, I, uh...promised her I wouldn’t.”

“You promised,” Octavia deadpanned. Vinyl nodded, wincing. The earth pony heaved an exasperated sigh. “Of course you did.”

“I’m sorry, Tavi. I didn’t think, I just saw her there, and I...my heart broke for her, you know?” Octavia didn’t say anything, so Vinyl pushed on, yearning to make her beloved understand. “I couldn’t stand the idea of some poor filly spending the night on the street, living on scraps or worse, and she just seemed so scared of the orphanage, I couldn’t send her back to someplace she hated so much, and I just figured...I don’t know, I just thought we could give her something to eat, maybe let her take a bath and spend the night...just, you know, give her someplace to live...just for one day...right?” she pleaded, silently begging Octavia to agree with her.

The earth pony didn’t say anything. Instead, she gestured for Vinyl to move aside, away from the door. Vinyl did so, and Octavia slowly pulled the door open, walking out into the hallway. Vinyl followed her, nerves buzzing anxiously. The earth pony clopped into the living room where Scootaloo was sitting in the middle of the floor, her expression utterly terrified. Vinyl was about to say something reassuring, but Octavia went straight up to the little filly and sat down next to her, smiling broadly. “Hi, there,” she said.

“H-hi,” Scootaloo said, visibly shaking.

Octavia kept smiling. “I’m Octavia. What’s your name, sweetie?”

“S-scootaloo.” The filly’s voice was barely audible.

“That’s a neat name,” Octavia said. “Are you hungry, Scootaloo?”

The little orange pegasus looked up at Octavia, her eyes wide. “Um...yes, ma’am.”

Octavia chuckled. “Oh, please call me Octavia. ‘Ma’am’ makes me feel so stuffy and old.”

“Okay...Octavia.” Scootaloo smiled. The shaking had stopped, and Vinyl could see her slowly relaxing.

“Tell you what,” the grey mare said, “why don’t you go take a nice hot bath, and when you get out, I’ll have a big dinner ready for you. How does that sound?”

“Pretty good,” Scootaloo said, smiling more.

“Good. Vinyl,” she said, looking at the unicorn, “be a dear and show our guest where the bathroom is. Make sure you give her a towel too, please.”

Vinyl nodded. “Sure thing, Tavi.” She led the little filly back down the hallway, grabbing a fluffy blue towel from the linen closet on the way. “Here you go, Scoots,” she said, pushing open the bathroom door. “Soap’s in the corner over there, hot ‘n’ cold are where they’re supposed to be. If you need anything, just give us a yell, alright?”

The little pegasus smiled up at her. “Okay. Thanks, Vinyl.”

Vinyl chuckled, ruffling Scootaloo’s mane. “No problem, kid.” She shut the door behind the filly and went back to the kitchen, where she could hear Octavia already digging through the icebox. “Hey, Tavi, I just wanted to say--”

She was suddenly interrupted as Octavia snatched her by the neck and planted a fierce, passionate kiss on her muzzle. Pleasantly stunned, the unicorn melted into the embrace until Octavia released her to collapse onto the kitchen floor. “Uh...huh...what?” she panted.

“Vinyl,” Octavia said, staring into her eyes, “you are the dumbest, most impulsive, most foolhardy...” she sighed, smiling, “...sweetest, most generous, most caring mare I have ever met.” She reached out and hugged the unicorn tightly. “Thank you. You did the right thing.”

Vinyl was thoroughly bemused. “I...I did good?”

Octavia giggled and kissed her cheek. “Yes, Vinyl. You did good.” Vinyl beamed as Octavia returned to the icebox. “Now come on, help me get something fixed up for that poor little thing. She’s awfully skinny.”

Vinyl nodded, opening cabinets and collecting plates and glasses. Historically, her greatest contribution in the kitchen was staying out of the way. Setting the kitchen on fire making hay smoothies had been the last straw, and Octavia had forbidden her from actually turning anything on anymore. Instead, she carefully used her magic to grab a pitcher of milk from the icebox and pour a glass. As she poured, her stomach rumbled fiercely, reminding her that Scootaloo wasn’t the only one who was hungry. “Um, hey Tavi, what about the food in the bedroom?”

“Oh yeah,” Octavia said, suddenly reappearing from behind the icebox door. “You want to go grab those? We can all eat together.”

“Sure thing.” The unicorn carefully leaned closer to the bathroom door as she passed it, listening to make sure Scootaloo was alright. Quiet splashes and humming confirmed that she was, and Vinyl quickly returned with the trays, placing them on the dining room table before rejoining Octavia in the kitchen.

The grey mare was already half done with a tall, delicious-looking buttercup and daffodil sandwich, garnished with a pile of grated carrots and mustard greens. Vinyl’s stomach growled furiously at the sight. Octavia glanced over at her and smirked. “Oh, no you don’t. You’re going to eat the portabella steak I made for you when this was still a date night.”

Vinyl blushed, embarrassed. “Uh, yeah...sorry about that. I mean...I really was looking forward to it, I promise! It’s just...”

Octavia giggled. “Relax, Vy. I’m sorry, too, but I think this is a little more important.” Vinyl smiled. “Speaking of, you haven’t really told me exactly how you ended up bringing home a stray filly.”

“Uh, heh, yeah,” Vinyl said, rubbing the back of her neck with a hoof. “Well, you see, I finished the set early, like I promised you I would...”

Octavia smiled. “I know you keep your promises, Vinyl; you don’t have to convince me.”

“And I went out the back door to get away from the crowds, and, well...there she was. Just...digging in the trash.”

“Aw...the poor thing...”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. She tried to get away, but I, er...well, at first, I caught her with my magic, but--”

“Vinyl!” Octavia cried, cuffing the unicorn around the ear. “How could you?”

“I didn’t have a choice!” Vinyl whimpered. “She would’ve gotten away, and who knows what would have happened to her.” Octavia sighed, but didn’t say anything else. Vinyl continued, “Anyway, I told her she could leave if she really wanted to, but that I just wanted to talk to her. She almost did, too, when I put her down.” Vinyl chuckled. “I was worried what you’d think if I told you I let an orphan get away without making sure she was okay.” Octavia rolled her eyes and smiled. “But it didn’t matter, because she came back. We talked, and I told her to come home with me so she could get a decent meal, a bath, and have someplace to sleep for the night.”

“I see...” Octavia raised an eyebrow at her. “So you had already promised her all these things before you even brought her home to see if I would be okay with it?”

“Um...maybe?”

Octavia sighed. “I wish I could say I was surprised. Well, luckily for you, you did just exactly what I would expect you to. Including,” she added, “giving her the option to leave. That’s probably the most important part.”

Vinyl smiled, blushing faintly. “Oh, well, I just figured she wouldn’t trust me if I forced her to come home with me. At least this way she knows I’m not trying to control her or anything.”

“Exactly,” Octavia said, smiling. “And it made all the difference in the world, I’m sure.” Both mares’ ears flicked in the direction of the bathroom as they heard the water suddenly start rushing into the drain. “Sounds like Scootaloo’s done. You wanna check on her while I get everything finished up in here?” Vinyl nodded and started towards the door. “Oh, and while you’re in the area, could you blow out all the candles?” Octavia smiled wryly. “I don’t think we’ll get to enjoy them properly tonight.”

Vinyl giggled as she left. “No...probably not.”