• Published 1st Jul 2014
  • 2,806 Views, 359 Comments

Foal Fever - Distaff Pope

With a filly on the way, Vinyl's started dreaming about her glory days as Equestria's premier DJ. A mysterious potion offers her a chance to feel young again, and with Vinyl's youth restored, Octavia's pregnancy is suddenly a lot

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1. Night Terrors (Octavia)

I tossed and turned, unable to rest comfortably as the foal growing inside of me continued to kick and squirm. Not for the first time, I cursed myself for volunteering to carry the thing. I could have just let the doctors cast the spell, merge one of my eggs with Vinyl’s, and enjoyed the next eleven months while Vinyl got increasingly bloated, sick, and generally miserable – but no, I wanted to experience the magic of childbirth firsthoof. More the fool me.

Still, the weight in my stomach wasn’t the only thing keeping me from sleep. Doubt weighed heavily upon my mind, as I tried to imagine just how I could properly raise a child. It wasn’t the first time such doubts had run through my mind, but with delivery day drawing closer and closer, they were becoming both more persistent and more upsetting. Certainly, I had done everything I could to ensure a happy childhood for my future daughter: we purchased a bigger house, set up a nursery, and I went through and read reviews on a multitude of products designed for foals to make sure they were safe to purchase. I had been meticulous and methodical in all my planning, but that didn’t mean I knew how to actually raise a child.

My parents certainly didn’t, and had wound up inflicting a great deal of psychological scarring on me that I had only worked my way past in the last few years. What positive child-raising experiences could I draw on? Perhaps teaching children was a comparable experience; but then, nopony had ever voted me in as teacher of the year. While my students certainly learned more than they did with other teachers, almost all of them thought I was too harsh. My parents were far too harsh, and the thought of making the same mistakes they did terrified me..

A sharp punch in my gut stopped such musings. Apparently, my child had inherited my proclivity for punching things, and was currently using that skill to the fullest. Why in Equestria would mares do this to themselves? There had to be an upper limit on how much a mare would tolerate to continue the species, and having a child continuously pulverizing my internal organs and having to pee every few minutes was mine. Vinyl had mentioned several times that she wanted to have two daughters, and I found myself grateful that she was capable of carrying the next one, because I certainly wasn’t going to do this again.

Vinyl stirred next to me and moved to drape her foreleg over my upper barrel. “You up?” she asked after a remarkably long yawn, ensuring that if I wasn’t up before, I certainly was now.

“Yes,” I said, deciding that rolling over to face her was too much effort. Besides, I was finally in a somewhat comfortable position.

“Care to tell me what’s on your mind?” she asked before giving me a kiss on the back of my neck.

“It’s less what’s on my mind, and more what’s on my bladder, and the answer to that question is your– our child, who has quickly developed a love of punching and kicking my insides.” To punctuate that point, l’enfant terrible jammed a hoof into one of my kidneys. After the pain cleared, I proceeded to rebuke myself for referring to my own child as l’enfant terrible, it was… she probably wouldn’t be that terrible, although I did make a note to ask Vinyl’s parents what she had been like in her foalhood. Certainly, the impudence our daughter was showing must come from her side of the family. I was quite well behaved, growing up… although, my parents might disagree on that.

Again, I argued with myself over whether or not I would make a suitable parent. I was strict and thorough, but all the books I read indicated that those two things were not enough. My parents were nothing but strict, and because of that, they abandoned me when I was barely an adolescent. No, to be a good parent, I needed to be more than just strict. I needed to be perfect. “See,” Vinyl said, pulling me out of my head, “I can tell when something is bothering you because you get all tense, and that can’t be good for Vinyl Jr.”

“We are not naming our daughter Vinyl Jr. or Vinyl Scratch II or, Celestia forbid, Vinyl Scratch Mk. II. It’s bad luck to name a foal after yourself, and more importantly, it’s horribly tacky. We shouldn’t even be talking about this because I haven’t had the name dream yet.” The name dream served a vital role in making sure a pony’s name related in some way to their special talent. For instance, the name dream Vinyl’s mom had involved seeing a vinyl record spinning round and round on a turntable. The name wasn’t just handed to them, but it gave them a general idea of what her talent would involve. Then they decided Vinyl Scratch sounded quite nice, and my wife was named. I briefly wondered what my name dream had been, before shaking the thought off as getting an answer would require talking to my parents, and I hadn’t heard from them in years.

“Yeah, okay,” Vinyl said, as I felt her laughter on the back of my neck. “That’s fine, but seriously, what’s bugging you? You’re still super tense.”

“It’s just...” I sighed and very carefully rolled over to face her, doing everything in my power not to upset the foal growing inside me. I was rewarded for my concern with another kick. “I’m worried I might not be a skilled parent. My parents were less than adequate, and my students all think me to be a rather strict disciplinarian.”

Vinyl laughed again. “Yeah, how long did it take you to get that little nickname for you, ‘Miss Slavedriver’, stomped out?”

“You were the pony who started it,” I said, glaring at her, “so please don’t act like you completely forgot about it.”

“I mentioned your old nickname from the orchestra to one teacher, before the school even opened. It’s not my fault Sweetie Belle overheard it and accidentally called you it during class. But that’s not importantl the important thing is that you’re going to be a great mom. She’ll probably be just like you, and you will get along great. Or, you know, if not, you can be the no-fun discipline lady while I can be the cool, laid-back, fun parent.”

It was my turn to laugh. “Vinyl, I love you, and I won’t dispute the fact that you are ‘cooler’ than me, but do you really think our filly will see you as cool?”

“Uh… of course,” she said, flashing me a confident smile. “Who was voted the hippest DJ in Equestria four years in a row?”

“You were,” I said, nodding my head at her, “but the last time you were nominated was a year before we met. I challenge you to name one musician who started performing in the past three years. I challenge you to name one album you bought in the past three years.”

“Easy,” she said, maintaining her veneer of confidence, although I could see a flash of worry momentarily trouble it. “Sweetie Belle and Sweetie Belle’s debut album. I can go on.”

I sighed as she exploited the rather obvious loophole I had left in the terms of the challenge. “Without naming a pony you taught in the academy,” I added.

Vinyl stared at me for several seconds, her grin wavering before completely collapsing in on itself. “I’m not cool,” she said in the same tone a mare might say her parents had died. “I’m not the hippest DJ in Equestria.” She flopped over onto her back and stared at the ceiling. “When did I get so boring?”

“You’re not boring,” I said, worried that my little barb had actually pierced her ego. “You just… you can’t stay cool forever, and I’m sure our daughter will love playing hooky with you far more than she’ll enjoy my lectures on… Oh Celestia, I’m already planning out all the lectures I will give our daughter. I’m going to raise another me, but somehow with more emotional damage.”

“Who knows,” Vinyl said, still staring at the ceiling, “maybe lectures will be cool then, I don’t know, because I don’t know what’s hip anymore. Maybe DJs stopped being hip and became… what’s that boring Prench word you use to say things are boring?”

“Passé?” I said, as I had my very own crisis over how terrible a parent I would be. Without intending to, I had completely crushed Vinyl’s confidence in only a few sentences. If I could do that to a fully-grown confident mare, then who knows how much damage I would do to a foal that was supposed to be looking up to me for guidance. I wanted to be a good parent, and instead, I was going to make an absolutely terrible mess of them. We might as well name her Octavia Mk. II, I thought.

“I’m old. I’m going to be an old boring parent, just like my parents were, and their parents were, and… I’m going to my DJ room. See you when I see you,” she mumbled as she rolled out of bed and headed for the door. “What’s wrong with me? How did I let myself become so uncool?”

I groaned as she slammed the door shut. “We haven’t even set your workroom up yet!” I yelled. “There are loose cables everywhere, the place is a complete mess, and–” I was cut off as a loud boom shook the building. “You haven’t cast your soundproofing spell yet,” I sighed as I started running through the list of our new neighbors and thinking who I would have to get apology fruit baskets for in the morning. Wrapping the pillow around my head, I rolled back onto my other side, and hoped Vinyl would fall asleep soon as the filly inside me started to punch in time with the beat.

Before I could stop myself, the seven most dangerous words in Equestria popped into my head. At least this can’t get any worse. The second I thought them, I felt as if time stopped for a moment as the wheels of fate realigned themselves. Something in my gut that rested right above my pulverized kidney told me that this wasn’t going to end well.

Author's Note:

First updated in my chapter a day project. Here's hoping I can keep on schedule without going completely insane. I'll see you all at the end of the month.

July 22: Now properly edited for better grammar and such. Thanks again to the wonderful EquesTRON