• Published 30th Oct 2011
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Two's Company, Three's a Crowd - Lithe Kamitatsy

One night of fun for a certain musical pair will leave their lives upside down.

  • ...

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Chapter Sixty Five

Rolando couldn't believe his eyes. The pony standing before him may as well have been an apparition, as he would have more likely believed that than believe his brother of all ponies had made his abrupt return to the world as Rolando knew it.

"You... you can't be real... We thought you were dead..." Rolando murmured, breathless. Marianna was stunned into silence- she had heard the stories from Rolando's mother and brief mentions of a pony named 'Allegretto' from her husband, but she never truly expected to meet her supposedly long-lost brother-in-law.

"Oh, I am very much real, brother," Allegretto said, his sharp golden eyes boring into his brother. Kester, now carefully watching the situation, looked over at Rolando, who was shaking.

"Roly... ye alrigh'?" Kester asked, tentatively stepping up to Rolando. It was then that Kester was forced to whip a massive foreleg around Rolando's chest, using a good portion of his strength to restrain the now unhealthily irate Rolando.

"How dare you show yourself in front of me after all you have done?! You should have STAYED DEAD!" Rolando roared, his face contorted with rage. Allegretto, seemingly unphased, merely blinked.

"Woah!" Vinyl said, jumping back at her father's outburst.

"Vincenza, come over here, now," Marianna ordered. Vinyl did as she was told. She knew that when her mother used that tone, it was better not to question it.

"I'm going to go check on Octavia..." Madeline said, hurriedly excusing herself.

"Let me go, Kester!" Rolando ordered.

"No' happenin', Roly. A'm not bailin' ma' baby's soon-ta'-be father-in-law outta jail the night a'fore her weddin'," Kester retorted. "If the two o' ye are goin' ta' have an argument, then let's take it outside!" Kester said. Allegretto acknowledged him, and the three stallions made their way outdoors. Vinyl simply stared at them, unsure of what to say or do.

"Mom... what the heck was that?" Vinyl asked, turning to her mother, who sighed heavily.

"Vincenza... your father and I have always tried as parents to be as open and honest with you in all matters, but... in this matter, there is much you do not know," Marianna said. "We hoped we would never have to tell you, but now it seems there is no choice. Before I tell you anything, you have to swear to me not to repeat what I tell you to Octavia. The last thing she needs right now is undue stress."

"Yeah, I promise," Vinyl said.

"Good, now get comfortable. This is going to be a long one," Marianna said.

The three stallions stood apart from each other, Rolando and Allegretto staring each other down as Kester stood between them in the case of an altercation.

"Alrigh', A' want this done as clean as possible- A' promise the both o' ye' that neither o' ye want me ta' get involved," Kester warned.

"Kester... I can only hope you forgive me for the things you may hear me say," Rolando snarled, his vision almost blurring at the edges as he retrained his focus on his brother.

"You cannot possibly say anything more hurtful than Ostinato did all those years ago," Allegretto mused. Kester was then forced to step in, holding Rolando back once more.

"Don't you dare speak my father's name!" Rolando roared.

"Your father? I daresay we both came from the same loins, dear brother," Allegretto retorted.

"Shut your foul mouth! As far as I am concerned you are no brother of mine!"

"My, my, how delightful," Allegretto said sardonically. "How pleasing it truly is to hear that from the favorite child."

"Come off it! You were always the apple of Father's eye, you know that better than anypony!"

"Is that what you believe? Is that what they lead you to believe?" Allegretto sighed. "Oh Rolando, how misguided you are..."

"What do you mean? Father would never lie!" Rolando exclaimed.

"It is precisely that line of thought that tells me you know nothing," Allegretto spat.

"What nonsense could you possibly tell me to believe otherwise?" Rolando questioned. Allegretto then sat on the ground, clearing his throat.

"Did you ever once consider why I just 'up and left'? Did Ostinato ever tell you why, aside from what I almost assuredly was that 'I had decided to forsake my family on a fool's errand and all he ever wanted was to support me'? Oh, I am almost certain that he sold that better than Celestia's finest actors on Bridleway- or perhaps he never gave a reason, just saying that I was no longer a part of the family. Did you even once wonder why?" Allegretto questioned.

"I questioned it every day, but Father never gave me an answer. Mother was never the same after you left," Rolando said. Seeing that Rolando had sufficiently calmed down, Kester cautiously released Rolando from his grip, returning to his spot between them, though remaining at the ready in case he needed to jump in again.

"I did not leave of my own volition, Rolando," Allegretto said. He then stood up, revealing his flank and cutie mark- bright, brass colored organ pipes standing in a neat row. "I was forced out."

"Lies! Father would never do that!" Rolando barked.

"Oh? Is that so? Then surely the last thirty-five years of my life never happened then," Allegretto said sarcastically. "Do not be an idiot, Rolando. I know you are far more intelligent than that."

"How... why? What would give Father cause to disown you?" Rolando questioned.

"Think about it. You know very well how much Ostinato valued his craft- it was all he ever spoke about when we were children. He wanted to pass down the craft to me, much like his father before him, and his father's father before him. The violin has been in our family for generations, and 'as certainly as the sun rises a Staccato colt will play the violin!'" Allegretto quoted bitterly, Rolando wincing slightly at what he was hearing. Rolando opened his mouth to speak, but could not find a retort. Allegretto was one hundred percent correct.

"While I have yet to believe a word of what you are saying, I still fail to see the reason why he would simply remove you from our family," Rolando said.

"Then allow me to educate you. When I was 'blessed' with this cutie mark and that my true passion for the pipe organ came to light, it was as if I had crushed his very soul, extinguishing any hope of furthering the family craft... but I assure you, he would not let that be the end of it. Oh, he did not! The simple fact that his first son would choose to be an organist as opposed to a violinist was simply sacrilege in his eyes!" Allegretto then paused. "It was then that I knew any fatherly love he had for me had died. It seemed as though Ostinato simply gave up on me. He didn't care about my endeavours, my dreams, my future..." He then looked Rolando squarely in the eyes. "Then you came along. With another colt in the family, he instead focused all his energy into molding a successor worthy of the Staccato last name," Allegretto said. "You had become the heir to the family talent, and I the stain on the family tapestry. This went on for years, but Mother always down-played it, always going out of her way to make it seem smaller than it truly was, until one day I had enough. He and I got into yet another argument, as was the norm, and I spoke ill of his craft- I told him that I hoped he would rot away like the wood of his violin, and he cursed the day I was born, calling it a blight upon the family and that I was no longer his son," he said. "I simply replied that I had known that for years, and turned my back on him."

"Enough! I have heard enough!" Rolando exclaimed.

"A' agree, Rolando," Kester said, stepping in. "A' think he's heard enough fer one night, though, A' gotta ask, did ye only come ta' dig up old wounds?"

Allegretto sighed. "The truth of it... is that I have grown older. In the time I have been gone, I have done much soul-searching and a lot of growing. I am not the hot-headed, brash colt that I was all those years ago... that, and..."

"'And?'" Rolando repeated.

"I am ill, Rolando."

"Ill? With what?"

"The doctors do not know what ails me, and have only been able to treat the symptoms, not the actual ailment. While I still have a great deal of animosity towards Ostinato for what happened between us, I am prepared to bury the hatchet. I had been looking for you for sometime as Ostinato's old home no longer exists, so needless to say I was shocked to bump into you as I arrived at the hospital to receive treatment."

"Well, I daresay you will find that impossible," Rolando said bitterly.

"Impossible? How so, Rolando?" Allegretto asked, raising his head slightly.

"You will find it impossible, unless you intend to make amends with a gravestone," Rolando said with an air of finality. Silence settled between all three stallions, Allegretto sitting in stunned silence.

"They... they died?" Allegretto asked incredulously.

"Yes. Father died fifteen years ago, and Mother shortly thereafter," Rolando said bitterly. "Father went to his grave refusing to acknowledge his firstborn son, and Mother went to hers with a broken heart," he said. "After everything that I have endured, after all the pain and suffering that was brought down on myself and my family, if you think for a moment that I believe even a single word you have said to me, then you are truly worthy of being committed!"

"Rolando, surely you will at least give your brother a chance-"

"Shut up! I have heard enough out of you, and I am only going to warn you once- you stay away from my daughter, you stay away from my family, and you stay away from me, or so help me Luna I will make sure you stay gone this time! " he yelled. Rolando then turned to Kester. "I have had enough excitement for one evening."

"Aye," Kester said, turning away from Allegretto.

Vinyl was shocked. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Is... is all that true?"

"Yes, Vincenza, it is," Marianna said sadly. "I heard it from your grandmother. I was the only one she ever confided that to. Please, promise me you will never repeat what I have told you."

"I won't... honestly, I don't know if I believe it myself," Vinyl said.

"I understand... your grandfather meant the world to you, and believe me when I tell you, you meant more than anything to him," Marianna assured.

"I know, I know... it's just... it's crazy," Vinyl said.

"I know it is hard to understand, and I myself do not quite understand it... but it is the truth," Marianna said. "Your grandfather poured so much of himself into you because he regretted what he did, but it was too late to go back on it. He was fully prepared to go to his grave never speaking to your uncle again... until you were born. You came into the world, and he was all eyes for you, and the day you got your cutie mark was one of the two times I ever saw him cry- the first being the day you were born. I know for a fact that not only did he cry out of excitement for you... but out of sadness and regret for how he abandoned his first son, all because his son's passion did not align with his own," she explained. A moment, later Rolando and Kester entered the room, Marianna immediately going to her husband.

"Be gentle, Mari, he's been put through the ringer," Kester advised.

"I... need to rest," Rolando said wearily.

"Vincenza, I will be taking your father back to the apartment for the evening, we will see you bright and early for Octavia's discharge," Marianna said. She gave her daughter a kiss on the cheek and then focused on her husband.

"Vincenza, you stay away from that stallion. I do not want you around him," Rolando warned. Vinyl remained silent, watching them leave. Once they were out of earshot, Vinyl then turned to Kester.

"Is Allegretto still nearby?"

"Aye... what are ye' plannin', lil' filly?" Kester asked, puffing out his chest.

"I'm gonna go talk to him," Vinyl said.

"No' on ma' watch, A' just made nice with yer dad, A' don't wanna screw that up, " Kester said forcefully, looking away from her.

"Please?" Vinyl asked cutely.

"Th' answer is no," Kester said with a snort.

"Pleeeeeease?" Vinyl asked as cutely as she could muster, curling her lower lip as her bright ruby irises expanded to the size of saucers. Kester made the mistake of peering at her out of the corner of his eye and his gigantic, stallion heart melted into a puddle.

"Augh, no' tha' face!" Kester sighed. "Go," he said, shaking his head. He watched Vinyl trot off, sighing. "A' swear, both o' them know how ta' tug on me ol' heartstrings."

Vinyl made her way out into the cool, spring evening, making sure her parents were gone before beginning her search for her uncle. Thankfully, she did not have to look far to find him, the stallion seated on a nearby park bench by himself. She cautiously trotted up to the bench, taking the furthest spot from him.

"Hey..." Vinyl said.

Allegretto did not respond, merely staring off into space.


"Hm? Oh... hello," Allegretto said. "Are you sure you should be near me? Celestia knows your father would have a stroke..."

"Yeah, probably..." Vinyl said. After a moment of silence, she spoke up again. "I didn't know I had an uncle."

"Well... I didn't know I had a niece," Allegretto said. Vinyl then sighed, unable to handle the awkwardness anymore.

"Look, I'll be honest, I don't know how to feel about you. I mean, I'm happy to meet an uncle I've never met, but... when my mom told the story about what happened between you and Grandpa, I almost didn't want to believe it," Vinyl explained.

"Understandable. Ostinato was very kind to those he actually showed the affection to," Allegretto said.

"What I do believe, is that both of you made a really bad mistake," Vinyl said. "You both screwed up, big time, and what sucks is that with Grandpa gone, there's no way to really fix it, at least, not with him anyway."

"I would go as far as saying there is no fixing it with your father, either," Allegretto added.

"You might be right... but if there's one thing I've learned from being with my fiance, it's that everypony deserves a second chance... and that family sticks out for family, no matter how bad the screw up," Vinyl said, Kester's voice ringing in the back of her mind.

"Ah yes, if I heard correctly, you are getting married tomorrow?" Allegretto asked.

"Yeah, I am. I'm nervous as all heck, but I'm excited too," Vinyl said.



"In regards to what you said, it is a comforting thought, but I am willing to venture that you would be wasting your time on somepony like me."

"Well, let me put things in perspective- I'm gonna go ahead and guess you didn't come all this way just to give my dad grief for stuff that happened, right?"

"You are correct," Allegretto said.

"Right, so that means you wanna put all this anger and pain to bed. At least you're trying, and that takes guts," Vinyl said. "I admire guts," she said, gently nudging the older stallion's shoulder.

"How can you speak to me so easily? I was certain your father would have spoken horrible things about me," Allegretto said.

"Up until today, I didn't even know you existed," Vinyl admitted.

"So then I am certain that what you have heard has not exactly painted me in a good light..."

"No, it hasn't, but hey, nopony's perfect. That doesn't mean I forgive you right away though, I do still think you and Grandpa really messed up, but at least you're willing to give it a shot and try to fix things," Vinyl reasoned.

"I have no idea where to begin," Allegretto said. Vinyl thought about it for a moment, then smiled.

"Why not come to the wedding?"

"What? You must me joking! Your father would have me carted out in an instant!" Allegretto protested.

"You let me handle him," Vinyl said. "You can come if you want. If you don't, then I understand. I just wanted to extend the offer. Either way, it's not like it's a private wedding, anypony's allowed to attend," she said.

"Hm... I will give it some thought," Allegretto said.

"Good, now I gotta take off, Octy's probably waiting for me," Vinyl said, getting up from the bench.

"'Octy'?" Allegretto said, raising an eyebrow.

"It's short for Octavia," Vinyl said with a smirk.

"It's cute."

"Isn't it? Anyway, I'll see you tomorrow. If not, then I guess I'll see you around," Vinyl said as she left, leaving Allegretto to the sounds of crickets chirping through the quiet night as well as his thoughts.

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