• Published 1st Jul 2014
  • 2,472 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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23. Name Dreams and Darker Things (Octavia)

I groaned, unable to focus on my cello playing. This was supposed to be a relaxing evening without Vinyl’s constant pestering, but… after our last talk, I found myself worried. She looked like I did whenever I was about to have one of my mental breaks, and I had just let her wander off onto the streets of Manehattan without checking to make sure she was okay. I put the cello to the side and sighed. I should probably go to the infernal club and check on her. She had supported me when I was having one of my mental breaks, and I would be remiss if I left her in her moment of need.

Walking towards the mirror and checking to make sure my bowtie was level, I berated myself for not stopping Vinyl when she was here. It would have been trivial for me to do so, but I was so thrown off by her… erratic behavior, I didn’t think to stop her before she walked off. I headed out to the house, only to bump into my mother, who was trying to smile at me. The effect was rather unsettling. “And where are you going, dear?” she asked. “I don’t think you should be going and moving around in your condition.”

“I’m going out to talk to Vinyl and see her show,” I said, continuing my walk towards the door while she moved to follow me. “She didn’t look that well when I saw her last, so I want to make sure she’s okay.”

“Oh,” my mother asked, raising an eyebrow. “Did she happen to mention our conversation earlier?”

“She did,” I said, finally reaching the house’s main hall. “Actually, she said that you came off as… pleasant during your talk.” Technically, Vinyl said she “wasn’t that bad,” but if my mother was actually trying to put her best hoof forward, I could be a bit more charitable towards her.

My mother nodded approvingly. “I’m glad to hear that. You know, now that I’ve spent more time with her, she isn’t nearly as bad as I initially thought. I dare say she’s beginning to grow on me.”

That was… unexpected. Maybe she was actually trying to turn over a new leaf and be better than she was after my family’s humbling – but something in my stomach told me otherwise. Over the last few years, I’d decided that that feeling was generally worth listening to. Still, I wasn’t about to call my mother a liar without having evidence. Maybe I could talk with Vinyl once whatever was bothering her was resolved. I took a deep breath, and headed out onto the streets of Manehattan.

***

The club was filled with strobing lights, throbbing bass, and sweating writhing ponies. If I had to imagine what the deepest pits of Tartarus might look like, this would be rather close to the mark. One thing the club did not contain was my wife. I headed off towards the back office in the hopes that she was taking a break and wanted someplace quiet to think. It was incredibly unlikely, but it was better than the alternative. Better than the idea that she didn’t come to the first show I had prepared for her. For that to happen, something would have to be very wrong, and I struggled to think of something that could keep her from going to one of her shows. Hopefully she was just taking a break and my worries were completely unfounded.

Those hopes were dashed when the only pony I could find in the back of the club was a pink female unicorn pacing around an office desk. “Un-bucking-believable, I take a chance on some washedup DJ and–” She swirled around to face me. “Sorry, this is employees only.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, nodding my head at her. “I’m Octavia Melody, I was the pony who–”

“Who convinced me to hire DJ-P0N3, believe me, I’ve been thinking about you a lot the last hour or so, ever since your wife decided not to show up and left me with a hundred pissed-off ponies and no entertainment. I managed to calm ‘em down, but she better have a damn good reason for not showing,” she said, taking a step towards me.

“That’s what I’m trying to understand. When she left the house a few hours ago, she told me she was heading towards her show, and considering her love of DJing, I doubt she just decided not to show up.” I looked at the couch and suddenly became aware of just how sore my hooves were. “Do you mind if I take a seat?” I gestured a hoof towards my bloated abdomen in way of explanation. She nodded and I headed towards the couch.

“So, DJ-P0N3 ran off and you don’t know why?” she said as I slowly lowered myself onto the couch. “How did you know she wasn’t here?”

“I didn’t,” I said. “She was behaving erratically and I wanted to talk to her and see if she was alright. Her absence is as shocking to me as it is to you.” What could have possibly prompted Vinyl not to show up? Last night she couldn’t stop talking about her “gig” tonight, and then she just decided not to show up? No, something must’ve happened, she was very clearly troubled when she left this afternoon and I had… I’d just ignored it so I could enjoy an evening to myself. How selfish could I be? Now she was Celestia knows where, and at least a part of it was my fault.

Coming here was pointless then, I thought, deciding to stay on the couch a few minutes longer before heading back home. If Vinyl wanted to head back home, my absence wouldn’t change anything, and the idea of walking back home on swollen throbbing hooves was currently something I’d prefer to avoid. No, my walk home could wait a few more minutes.

***

That night, I tried to convince myself not to worry. Vinyl was… probably fine and was just having another one of her episodes. Yes, that was grossly implausible considering that she usually ran off to DJ somewhere, and in this instance, she was doing the exact opposite, but what could I do? I had to wait two days to file a missing-person’s report, so until then, the only thing I could do was wait at home and try to figure out which possibility was the least worrisome: that something had prevented her from reaching her show, or that she had simply decided not to attend and come back home. If it was the latter – and I suspected it was, based off of her earlier appearance – what in Equestria would prompt her to run off? Everything was going so well, and she just decided to vanish.

Something must have gotten to her, and the only thing I could think of involved her conversation with my mother. I sighed and rolled over in my bed, trying to make myself comfortable. Either way, there is nothing I can do tonight, I tried to remind myself, although such thoughts did nothing to calm me down. Most of the night was spent combating my fears and hoping desperately for sleep, until some time before dawn, I finally managed to rest.

That night, I was standing in front of a massive waterfall, large enough to put Neighagara Falls to shame as millions of balls and other athletic paraphernalia cascaded over the edge, making the most unbearable sound imaginable. The whole ground actually seemed to shake as the tide of sports balls advanced towards me, the noise growing louder with every second. There was, I believe, a joke somewhere about me drowning in an actual sea of balls, but I refuse to spend much time thinking on it. Instead, I stared dumbly as the tide advanced, desperately trying to block out the surrounding racket. Racket. The word stuck in my head as the tide from the falls washed over me and the dream ended.

I gasped and suddenly came back to reality. It was – I looked at the clock – far too late in the morning. Almost ten, actually. I checked the room, no sign of Vinyl. Was she doing something regrettable now? Perhaps sleeping off a night of bad decisions? Or was she in danger? The doubt was eating at me, and the best way to figure out what happened was to talk with one of the last ponies to see her before she left.

“Good morning, Octavia,” my mother said as I entered the greenhouse she had spent most of her free time in the last few days. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Vinyl’s missing,” I said, walking up to her. “When I last saw her, she was behaving rather erratically, and I was hoping you might know why. She’s felt off the last few days, and I suppose I just dismissed it as nerves, but last night she looked like she was about to have an episode.”

“She has a history of mental illness then?” my mother asked, a small cold smile forming on her lips.

“No, actually. I’m the one who tends towards mental instability. It’s partially related to having parents who abandoned me before I was a teenager, I suppose. Vinyl is usually the pony who puts me back together, and now that she’s the pony in need, I’m going to do the same thing she did for me.”

I think she actually tried to smile at that, and it was somehow even more unnerving than her regular un-smiles. “That’s rather admirable dear, especially after what she did to you. I actually applaud you for being so forgiving.”

“Wh- what did she do?” I asked, suddenly finding my heart in my throat.

“You… she assured me you knew about the monkey’s paw when I spoke with her last night.”

“I do,” I said, feeling my fear subside somewhat. It was entirely possible that my mother had misinterpreted the story somehow and assumed Vinyl was the pony who made the wish. “But she wasn’t responsible for that, Lyra wished Vinyl signed the contract.”

“No, not that, dear, she told me you knew she wished you drank the potion.” She gave another smile before her face went completely blank.

What?

“What?”

My mother frowned. “I’m sorry, dear, do I know you?”

“Of course you know me, I’m your daughter. You weren’t a particularly good mother, but you–”

“I’m sorry,” she said, her voice devoid of its usual malice. “I’m actually having a hard time remembering anything at all right now. It’s… do you know where we are?” Things suddenly clicked together in my head. Vinyl was behaving erratically after my mother heard what she’d done. She’d wished for me to drink the potion. My mother knew. Vinyl was missing. My mother suddenly lost all memory. Last night’s worry suddenly transformed into a burning anger as the world around me went red.

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