• Published 1st Jul 2014
  • 2,454 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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18. Family Reunion, Take 2 (Vinyl)

“How is it… how is it still hungry?” Tavi asked, pointing a hoof at Brutus who was tearing through the kibble Fluttershy had given us. “I swear, the thing has consumed its own body weight in food, and it shows no signs of stopping.”

“Brutus has a name,” I said, glaring at her, “and I don’t know how it’s still hungry. Probably has something to do with the fact that he’s still a growing boy. Yes, you are. Yes, you are.” I scratched the top of his head as best I could, causing his tail to wag with the force of a small filly.

“I swear he’s going to eat us out of our house.” Tavi took a seat at the kitchen table as Portia hopped up to join her. “He’s the size of a pony and eats four times as much.”

“Good thing his food is so cheap then, right?” I said, smiling at Tavi while she absent-mindedly stroked Portia.

“Yes, I suppose that is a positive,” Tavi said, sighing into her coffee. She had been a bit out of it the last few days, but I guess that’s kind of understandable considering her parents were coming to visit in – I looked at the clock – four hours. Actually, it was kind of amazing she was holding it together this much.

“Still worried about your parents visiting?” I asked.

She nodded at me. “Of course I am, there’s a giant timer in my head counting down the minutes until they knock on the door, and I don’t know what I’m going to say to them. ‘Hello Mother and Father. How have you been since I last tried to cut you out of my life, stole your butler, and how could I forget, had the Apple clan declare financial war on you? Good? I’m glad to hear that. Why yes, I have regressed to a teenager, I’m surprised you noticed since you kicked me out of the house and disowned me before I hit puberty.’” She used her best high class voice for her imaginary conversation. In all honesty, it wasn’t that different from her regular voice. Maybe a touch nasalier, I guess.

“Well, you know, maybe they were visited by the ghosts of parenting past and learned their lesson,” I said, moving to sit next to her while Brutus continued to attack his food bowl with the efficiency of a military machine.

Tavi pinched the bridge of her nose. “If that was a reference to ‘A Hearth’s Warming Carol’, I think it was the ghost of Hearth’s Warming Future that caused Scrooge to change his ways. An argument could be made that it was their combined efforts, but in either case, I highly doubt the scenario you’ve concocted is that likely. Of course, stranger things have happened.”

“Alright,” I said, narrowing my eyes at her while Portia moved to rub against one of my legs. That cat must be touchier than I am, and when it comes to Tavi, I am pretty touchy. “So, you got my reference, was there any reason you had to be so… exact?”

“Beyond my general desire to be precise? I suppose I might be distracting myself with pedantry to avoid the looming fact that my parents are visiting in four hours.” I took a closer look at her. Her back was completely stiff, and her pupils were beginning to shrink. If she didn’t de-stress soon, her meeting with her parents might go bad… well, even worse than it was already going to. I walked over and kissed her cheek while caressing her back.

“Come on, Tavi,” I said before kissing her neck. When I pulled away, her cheeks had gone red and she was suddenly having a hard time making eye contact. I don’t know what it was about the last few days, but she had gotten way more bashful when it came to sex. Like, it was kind of funny how uptight it made her and how much she enjoyed it. It was like a contradiction or something. “You’ve still got a few hours left and I think you need to relax a bit. Lucky for you, Doctor Scratch knows just the trick.”

She nodded her head as I pulled her back towards the stairs, a familiar hunger entering her eyes. Turning Tavi into a teenager was totally one of the best ideas I’d ever had. In fact, as she turned and pushed me back into our room, I was having a hard time thinking of a better one.

***

A few hours later, we were sitting in the study watching the clock tick. Woodhoof was waiting at the door to greet them, as Tavi insisted that protocol had to be observed for this meeting. At exactly 4:00, the doorbells chimed and we heard the sound of hoofsteps in the living room and a brief conversation outside our door before Woodhoof entered, Tavi’s parents behind him. Her mother looked basically unchanged, her coat still a few shades darker than Tavi’s, although her mane was much simpler this meeting. Her father was apparently a light-red earth pony with his mane a shade of yellow, and he wore a black hat.

“I would like to announce the arrival of Mr. Record Profit and Lady Landed Estate,” Woodhoof said as they entered our room. I took a closer look at Record Profit. His cutie mark was a golden record that matched his mane.

“Good afternoon, Mother, Father,” Tavi said, giving her parents a brief nod. “What brings you all the way out to Ponyville?”

Her mother laughed. “Octavia darling, must you assume we have our reasons? Perhaps we just wanted to see our daughter and… are you pregnant?”

Tavi nodded at her again. “I don’t know which surprises me more, that you noticed or that you didn’t know before you came here.”

Record Profit took the hat off his head and brought it over his chest before bowing his head at her. “Listen, Octavia, I know we’ve had our differences in the past, and we can understand your hostility towards us to a degree, although I would argue that our parenting made you the strong independent mare you are today.” Octavia scoffed at that. “Whatever the case may be, we came here to try to end the hostilities between us. You see–”

“We’re in danger of losing the familial estate,” Estate said, cutting him off. “After you had the Apple family declare war on us, all our sources of profit have been cut off. Your father lost his job and all of our investments either underperformed or went completely bankrupt. We’ve been living off of our savings for the past few years, but we’ve been taking out more than interest is earning us and we can’t keep it up forever.”

“That’s why we came to you,” Record said as his wife finished speaking. “You… well, you’re the only pony we can turn to for support. We know you loved Monticello as a filly, and so… we were hoping you could help us keep it. At the very least, it shouldn’t pass out of our family’s hooves.”

Tavi sat there, staring for several minutes as she processed the news. “That’s why you came here,” she finally said. “After all these years, you didn’t come here to apologize or beg forgiveness, you came here because you needed my help.” She frowned and I could see the doubt in her eyes.

“Yes,” Record said, nodding his head. “I still believe that our… treatment of you made you strong, that everything we did worked for your betterment, but I can also understand why there might be some hostilities between us.”

“You should count yourself lucky though,” Estate said, earning a glare from both Tavi and Record. “Most ponies fail to achieve the heights you’ve reached, and if not for our prompting, you might very well have turned into one of those ponies who leeches off the greatness of others, like your–” She turned to look at me just as Record drove a foreleg into his wife’s side.

“What your mother means is that there are so many weak ponies in Equestria today. Ponies who were coddled as a foal and because of that never amounted to anything, who never achieved anything near the heights you reached,” Record said, making a point not to look at me as he did so. “We wanted you to avoid that fate, and so yes, we were harsh, we were demanding, but we only wanted to make you strong.”

“I see,” Tavi said, slowly nodding her head. “Are you familiar with Princess Twilight Sparkle?” They both nodded at that. “I would say I talk with her once a month as we discuss various literary topics; she is quite an enthusiast when it comes to books.” Tavi half-smiled at whatever memory was running through her head. “So it’s only natural I learned a bit about her, and what I found most interesting were the stories she told me about her parents. You see, like you, they were rather wealthy ponies distantly connected to the nobility – but unlike you, they actually supported their daughter. They allowed her to pursue her own interests without reprisal, and she wound up saving Equestria multiple times and ascending to the highest office in the land.”

Nopony talked for a moment as Tavi stared at her parents. When she spoke again there was a barely restrained fury in her voice. “Do you see the moral of this little story? If not, I will be happy to spell it out for you. You were wrong. You were completely and utterly wrong. You didn’t make me ‘strong’, you didn’t drive me to succeed, my own ambition did that. All your parenting ‘style’ accomplished was to make me miserable.”

“I admit you have a point,” Record said. “In business, you need to know when you’ve lost, and I will admit now that we did. You win, we’ve lost everything, and I come to you today to humble myself before you. Whatever fee you wish to extract from us is yours, and all we ask is that you let the house stay in the family.”

“Yes, I couldn’t stand it if the house our ancient lineage built was lost to us because of our pride,” Estate said, adding her agreement before looking at me. “Even if it means allowing a pony of common birth to call our house home.”

“Father was of common birth,” Octavia said, glaring at her mother.

“Well, yes, but he actually made something of himself, he didn’t leech off of our good na–”

Tavi raised a hoof and silenced her. “As of now, I am considering helping you and am currently thinking of my terms. If you make one more remark disparaging my wife’s breeding, any such considerations will cease and I won’t raise a hoof as the house I grew up in is utterly demolished.”

Tavi’s parent’s faces drained of blood and Record looked at his wife. “I know how strongly you feel about the issue of breeding, but Octavia has done well for herself, and if a commoner makes her happy, she should do what she likes. Besides, we really aren’t in any position to make demands.”

“Indeed you aren’t,” Tavi said, looking at her parents, “and if you’re ready to listen, I have my terms.” They both nodded and she smiled. “Good, now I think my conditions are reasonable, but if you disagree, you are free to walk away. You will transfer Monticello to my name and declare me the head of the family. Obviously, that will mean recanting your previous disowning of me, but I’m sure you planned on doing at least that much.”

Record nodded. “We brought all the papers for that, as well as your papers of inheritance. It will take a few days to draw up the paper to declare you head of the Estate family and transfer the house to your name, but both of those items are agreeable to us.”

“Good,” Octavia said. “In exchange, you will be permitted to stay at Monticello for the rest of your lives. I will see about ending the Apples’ attacks on you. As owner of Monticello, I will take care of all expenses it incurs and ensure that we have no cause to sell it. I will also be able to stay at the house any time I wish and make whatever alterations to it I deem necessary. Those are my conditions related to the house. However, I have one condition that is more personal.”

“Of course,” Record said, “so far you’ve been far more generous than we were expecting.” So… that was generous for them? I mean, I already knew that Tavi’s childhood was pretty harsh. But if that’s what their version of generous was, then… geeze, what did they consider harsh?

“It’s a small thing,” Tavi said, “and I highly doubt you will care as it doesn’t involve finances or restitution, but I will be giving birth to a daughter soon, and I wanted to dictate your involvement in her life as you are still her grandparents. If you wish to have nothing to do with her, that is fine, but if you wish to play a role in her development, it will be with either Vinyl or myself supervising your interactions. I will not let you do to her what you did to me, but I believe you should at least be given a chance to redeem yourselves.”

“Alright,” they both said, trading glances with each other.

“Is that all?” Record asked.

Tavi nodded. “It is. I will go find our lawyer and ask him to draw up the papers. I don’t imagine it should take more than two days, and after that we can head to Manehattan.”

“You are going back with us?” Estate asked. “I had assumed that you had so much to do in Ponyville it would be at least a few weeks before you could get your affairs sorted out.”

“I’m on maternity leave, Vinyl wants to do a few shows in Manehattan, and I want to assess the house. Right now, there’s nothing keeping me in Ponyville and three very good reasons why I should visit Manehattan. Of course, I will have to speak with the Apples first, but I’ve managed to maintain a good relationship with my distant family.” She smiled at them. “Now, Woodhoof is waiting in the living room to show you to our guest room. Dinner will be served around 6:00, and we can speak more then. For now, I need to confer with my wife.” They nodded at her and headed towards the door where Woodhoof was waiting for them. As soon as the door closed, Tavi let out a giant sigh and thunked her head against the table.

“Did I just allow my parents to stay at our house for the rest of their visit?” she asked.

“Yep,” I said, scooting closer to her. “Also, that was way cool how you were totally willing to give up your old home just because your mom insulted me.”

“It was nothing,” she said, tilting her head to look up at me. “I’ve lived for years without the house, but living without you is something I’d go to great lengths to avoid, even when you’re being an utter pain.” For a second, her words made me feel guilty about lying to her and turning her into a teenager. Then I reminded myself it was all for her own good… the exact same words Tavi’s parents used to justify their actions. The guilt returned stronger than ever.

“So… I hate to be a giant buzzkill, but how in Equestria are we going to afford paying taxes on that huge-ass house of yours? I mean, I’m all for living in a giant mansion, but we aren’t exactly rolling in bits.”

Tavi smiled at me. “I’m going to write Luna a note suggesting she turn the east wing of my house into a local music school and request she exempt it from taxes. That wing hasn’t been used in a century and it would be nice to actually do something with it.”

“Won’t your parents be pissed at you for allowing filthy commoners like me access to their precious house?” I asked, laughing and leaning against her, enjoying the heat coming from her body.

“Quite possibly, but our terms stated that I can make whatever changes to the house I see fit. As long as the house stays in my name, I’m fulfilling the terms of our agreement. Just… not in the way they imagined.”

“Wow,” I said nodding my head, “So basically, you get a giant mansion upkeep free in exchange for turning over… how big is the east wing?”

“The house has four wings, the grand foyer, and a rather large garden.,” Tavi said, “so that would make the east wing less than a quarter of the house total. We’d still have the master wing, the servant’s wing, and the west wing to ourselves. I’ll have to speak to some contractors to make the necessary changes to the east wing, but I see no reason why our house can’t host a small music academy while allowing us to live comfortably.”

“If you set that school up, that will mean we have to spend a lot of time there though, right?”

She nodded. “I’m afraid so. I hope being away from Ponyville that long won’t be a problem for you.”

I shook my head. “Nah, should be fine. I mean, I want to do some more shows anyways, and Manehattan is a great place to do just that. It’s not like we will be selling our Ponyville house, right?”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Tavi said. “Even if we might have to spend more time in Manehattan, Ponyville will always hold a special place in my heart.” She smiled and leaned in to kiss me. “After all, it’s where I first met you.”

It was such a soppy romantic thing to say, but it still made my heart pound in my chest. I could hardly help myself as I returned the kiss, slipping my tongue into her mouth as she did the same. I don’t know who pulled who down to the ground, but I do know that an hour later, both of us were staring at the ceiling, panting and out of breath, neither of us feeling the need to say anything, while I tried to think of what I’d need to get done before we headed back to Manehattan.

Author's Note:

A Note on the Equestrian Postal System:

In the absence of modern human technology such as the phone or the plane and the great abundance of magic we do not possess, Equestria developed one of the most efficient postal systems in any universe. Using the principles of dragon fire for instantaneous letter transport, each branch of the Equestrian postal service has an ever-burning fire in it that is used to transport letters to a fixed location. Smaller towns like Ponyville are linked to a central hub, for instance, Ponyville is linked to Canterlot. Canterlot has multiple fires connecting it to each town in its region and the other hub cities, so in the scenario of a letter addresed to Manehattan, the letter would go from Ponyville to Canterlot to Manehattan to a smaller postal branch for a faster delivery. (As the city grew, it became unfeasible for one post office to meet the metropolis's needs.) This makes it entirely possible for a letter to be sent from Ponyville in the morning and be delivered on the other side of Equestria that afternoon.

On an unrelated note, I struggled with some capitalization issues this chapter as I didn't know whether it should be written "Apple Family" or "Apple family." I made a convincing argument that it should be Apple family as the word Apple is used to specify one particular family, but I could see arguments going either way.

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