• Published 1st Jul 2014
  • 2,863 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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26. Acting Your Age (Vinyl)

I stared at the door Tavi had walked through, unable to think. I’d screwed everything up, and now Tavi was gone. Numbly, I turned to head out of the house, feeling tears run down my cheeks. It had been so long since I cried last, but this was something to cry over. This… I’d never wanted this, I just wanted Tavi to be happy, right? No, a voice in my head whispered, you wanted Tavi to meet your definition of happiness. I walked out onto the streets of Manehattan, wishing there was some way I could take it all back.

“Vinyl, wait!” Bon-Bon yelled, calling after me. “Wherever you’re going, I’m going with you.”

“Really?” I asked, turning to look at the pony sprinting towards me. “I kind of figured you would stay with Tavi since you two are… you know, closer than we are. Like, why isn’t Lyra coming after me?”

“She’s working to disenchant the paw. We thought that should be our first priority, but we didn’t want to leave either of you alone,” Bon-Bon said, catching up with me.

“So… you keep an eye on me, Lyra does the paw thing, and Woodhoof makes sure Tavi is alright?” I asked, turning to continue down the sidewalk as ponies walked around us.

“That’s basically it, yes,” Bon-Bon said, nodding her head as she kept pace with me. I didn’t really want to talk with anypony after what just happened, but at the same time, it was nice to know my friends still cared about me after I’d been such a monumental ass. At least somepony did. “Lyra obviously would have preferred to go with you, but since she’s the only pony who can disenchant the monkey’s paw, we both agreed that should take priority. That means that I’ll be watching you until you fix things with Octavia.”

“You really think I can?” I asked. “I mean, I’d do anything to get her back, but I’m not sure what to do. I know I screwed up, but I want to get her back right now.”

Bon-Bon frowned and shook her head. “That’s the problem, Vinyl, you keep thinking about what you want. Even now, you’re still focusing on what you want and not what Octavia needs. The only way you have a chance at fixing things with Tavi is to start thinking about her, do you understand?”

“But I was thinking about Tavi when I made the first wish–”

“Were you really?” Bon-Bon asked, cutting me off. “Or were you just thinking about yourself and then trying to justify it by saying it helped her? Because as far as I can tell, the only pony who wanted Tavi to drink the potion was you.”

“Okay, so maybe I made the wish for me, but… I just want to get her back, you know? I mean, I love her, and… obviously, upsetting her was the last thing on my mind,” I said as we continued to wander the streets, with no particular destination in mind.

She groaned. “You’re using that phrase again. ‘You want.’ If you want to fix things, you can’t think in those terms for a while, so what do you think Octavia needs?”

“Well, if I was her, I’d probably like some time to calm down, and then after that… maybe a sincere apology?”

Bon-Bon patted me on the back. “That sounds like a wonderful first step. Now let’s get a hotel somewhere, and visit Octavia first thing in the morning.”

I sniffled back my tears and smiled at her. “That sounds like a plan.”

***

The next morning, I fidgeted with my freshly-bandaged forehoof while Woodhoof led us through the house to whatever room Tavi was in. “Thank you for coming back, Miss Scratch. I fear that without your stabilizing influences, Miss Octavia’s actions will trend towards severity. I can already see it in the way she composes herself.”

“What do you mean?” I asked as Bon-Bon followed behind me.

He sighed as we went up the stairs from the main foyer to our wing of the mansion. “From what I’ve gathered, her mind and emotions are in conflict about what to do with you, and while she misses you, she also thinks parting ways with you is the better choice. To resolve this conflict, she’s decided to–”

“She’s acting like she was before she came to Ponyville,” I said, realizing what he was getting at. Heartbreak and hormones were causing Tavi to fall back on old habits that I thought she had completely forgotten. This… I had to fix this, not for me, but for her.

“I can’t comment on how valid that statement is, as I hadn’t seen her for almost ten years before she came to Ponyville, but I certainly don’t want to see her acting like her mother. It’s… Miss Octavia is far too good a pony to go down that path.”

“Whoa,” I said as we stopped outside a door. “Is she really beginning to act like her mother?”

He frowned at me and nodded. “There are signs, if you know what to look for. She gave me a smile reminiscent of her mother’s after you left, and since then I’ve been thinking about what I can do to help. Almost all solutions involve you.” As he spoke, Portia came running down the hallway, Brutus chasing happily in pursuit. When he saw me, he stopped his chase and moved to lick my cheek, while Bon-Bon recoiled at the sight of such a massive dog.

“Nice to see you too, Brutus,” I said, patting the dog on the head. “I promise we will play after I talk with your mom… or your other mom, I guess. Now don’t mess with your sister too much, alright?” He nodded his head in understanding before running off. “Alright Woodhoof, announce me or whatever it is you want to do.”

He nodded and opened the door, while I followed him in. “Miss Octavia, Miss Scratch has arrived to off–” He stopped as all three of us saw Princess Celestia, co-ruler of Equestria, standing on our breakfast table.

“Huh,” I said, looking between Celestia and Tavi. “Things got weird without me, huh?”

Tavi closed her eyes for a moment, while everypony but the princess looked completely confused. For her part, the princess just stood there smiling while Tavi thought. “Alright,” Tavi said, opening her eyes. “Woodhoof, take Princess Celestia to my mother and father’s room. Bon-Bon, go with Lyra and… I don’t know, do whatever you want. Vinyl, why are you back here?”

“I… I came to apologize,” I said, having a hard time looking her in the eyes while the other ponies left the room, leaving me alone with her. They were so severe, they weren’t the eyes of the mare I knew. Of the mare I married. The worst part was that I was the pony who had made them so harsh.

“Ah, trying to win me back, I suppose you expect some honeyed words will make me forget about everything you’ve done.” Her eyes narrowed as I spoke, and I fought down my own anger. This wasn’t about me, this couldn’t be about me. It was about helping her heal.

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “Yes, I want you to take me back eventually, but this isn’t about that. This is about admitting my mistakes and sincerely apologizing for hurting the mare I love most in the world.”

She pursed her lips and nodded, allowing me to continue. “Look, I made a lot of mistakes, and I know you could argue that I was influenced by the paw, and maybe I was, but I still made them, and I still hurt you, so… I’m sorry. And I know I hurt you, and I know it’s tempting to just bottle up all your emotions to stop hurting, but… I think doing that is just as bad as me doing whatever I wanted. It’s like what I told you way back on the Valiant: you have to have a happy balance between control and over-indulgence, and… I just don’t want to see you cut off a part of yourself because I hurt you. That’s all. If you still don’t want to talk to me or whatever, that’s fine, I just wanted to let you know how sorry I was before things ended.” That was it, I’d said what I had to say, and now all I could do was see how she took it.”

“I’m impressed,” she said slowly, nodding her head in thought. “It sounded like you were being sincere, and a part of me wants to believe you, but… I can’t. Not after you lied to me and broke my trust. Still, if you are sincerely trying to be better than you were, I can give you the same deal I gave my parents: a chance. You may stay in the guest hall with them and go about your life as you see fit. If I think you have made substantial progress, we may revisit the issue of our relationship. As for your concerns about my emotional state, that is no business of yours.”

I swallowed a lump in my throat as she looked at me, trying to decide if her eyes had gotten any softer. I couldn’t tell. “Alright,” I said, “I guess I’ll go move my things to my new room.”

“Thank you,” she said, “I have to see my parents about a ritual, and I would appreciate it if your items were gone by the time I returned.”

“Of course,” I mumbled as I headed to our old room, feeling my eyes grow heavier with every step. By the time I stumbled into our old room, it took every last bit of willpower I had to get to our bed before passing out.

***

“Vinyl, wake up,” a familiar voice said, pulling me back to the real world. “What did you do?”

I groaned and rolled over onto my back. Tavi’s pink eyes stared down at me, a look of surprise and confusion on her face. “What do you mean ‘what did I do?’ I took a nap, I thought that would be kind of obvious.” I said, yawning. My whole body felt slower for some reason, and I groaned. The last few weeks… what had I been thinking? I had a life, I had a wife who loved me, I had a great job, and I still got to DJ whenever I wanted. Why had I been so obsessed with whatever bit of my youth I thought was so cool? The whole experience just made me want to throttle my old (younger) self.

Tavi shook her head. “That’s not what I’m… Vinyl, you’re old again.”

“Really?” I asked, rolling out of bed and heading to the mirror. I was definitely a bit taller than Tavi, and a glance at the mirror revealed that my body was back to its old proportions, stomach pudge and all. “Huh.”

“‘Huh.’ That’s all you have to say about apparently reversing the potion’s effect,” she said, bewilderment replacing her harsh expression from earlier today. “Again, what did you do?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know, Lyra said something about there being a natural way to undo the potion. I guess me trying to be mature and apologizing for…” I frowned recalling what I’d done to her. “I’m sorry again, it’s–”

“Not important right now,” Tavi said, cutting me off as her eyes hardened. “What is important is figuring out why you displaying one iota of maturity undoes the potion’s effects, while I’ve been nothing but mature since you forced me to drink the potion and still haven’t returned to normal.”

She scowled and stormed off towards the door, muttering. “I swear, if the fact that I am the only pony in Equestria who can properly control herself leads to me being stuck like this, I’ll…”

“I wasn’t trying to act mature,” I said, shouting after her as the door slammed shut, leaving me alone in the room to finish the thought in a whisper. “I just wanted to help you.”

Author's Note:

Bonus chapter! And a day early. Well, if it's a day early then it's not technically a day early. My point is that I am going to be flying most of the day tomorrow and don't want to fiddle with this then so I thought I would take care of it now. No chapter tomorrow as I fly across the continental United States. Have fun.