• Published 26th Jul 2015
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The Things Tavi Says - shortskirtsandexplosions



Let me tell you a few things about my roommate, Octavia. After all, she saved my life.

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Penultimate Things

Author's Note:

I am on stage.

I am in a studio.

I am riding a train across Equestria.

I am anywhere but here.

Magenta breaths...

Golden shivers...

I am awash in Scribbler's orange purrs.

I lean against the wall of my bedroom, bathed in the purple breaths seeping from the other side...

The violet froth of all of her unfulfilled dreams...

The fitful streams of indigo flickering in between.

It tastes of her tears... her sniffling nostrils... the pitch in her voice at the first taste of wine as we sit on the patio watching the sun set.

And all of that shatters as she whimpers again...

Shivering.

Locked up in an indigo voice, secured by this psychopath's claws.

This freak...

This happenstance monster who's sliced his way into our lives like a patchwork splinter.

"Can't you take a hint, snow horse?!" Talonsmith sneers at me in the black, black hallway. His claws remain pressed to Octavia's vulnerable chest. "I said beat it! Take your shades and scram! And if you breathe of word of this to the Princess—"

"Don't you d-dare threaten m-my friend," Octavia suddenly hisses in a splash of purple. Her teary eyes flare as she shudders with a newfound fury. "Haven't you d-done enough already?!"

I grimace.

I shiver.

Tavi, no...

"Shut up..." He snarls. "Some help you've been! I have a good mind to break the door open with your sorry skull, ya damned glue stick—"

"You'll g-get nothing from this." Purple and indigo. Swaying. Dipping. So very close to sobbing. "You have to understand that." Her eyes dart my way. "Vine... love... please... you m-must leave..."

No...

Patchwork growling. "Shut your trap unless I'm telling you to speak..."

Please, Goddess, no...

He's out of his mind. He's got her strung up like a rabbit about to be skinned.

Celestia, please...

"It'll be okay, Vinyl..." Octavia smiles through her tears. It's a fragile thing. Like breathing for the first time through a layer of ice. "You m-must go now." The indigo returns. She's shivering. I feel my knees go weak. Heart pounding like thunder. "Get help. Get help from somepony who—"

"Did you hear a word I said?!" His beak clatters. He's a twitching, spastic organism. Something half-pretending to be civilized, crumbling before us, bringing the full weight of his inside-out world over my best friend. My best friend. "Rrrrgh... damned horses. I don't have time for this." Claws glint in the light.

A bridge beneath snow. The glint of strings.

A teary smile from the riverside.

"Go." Love.

She doesn't say the last word. She can't. Not with four sharp talons knifing through her chest, digging, spilling blood. Her eyes bulge, the purplest they've ever been. And then she's tossed limply to the floor in a puddle of her own juices.

I no longer see her. All I see is Talonsmith's blinking face, for I'm charging into him horn-first.

He's faster than lightning. I'm not. His second punch lands in my gut before my nerves can register the first. My spine ricohets with crimson flashes of pain. I awake from the eternal moment, gasping, and that's when a fifth punch slams across my skull. I fly back, skidding across a warm, wet floor.

Another red splash, and I'm collapsed against the opposite wall of the corridor, curled up in a fetal position. Claws scrape towards me, accompanied by sandpaper hisses.

"...Tartarus... snkkkt... forsaken p-pack mules..." He clutches his neck. A puncture wound lingers there, bleeding—right at horn level. I suddenly realize how wet my forehead feels. "Should never... snkkkt... have signed that treaty with you. The steward's blind." Schiiing! He raises his talons above me. "But not as blind as I'm going to make you—"

Something heavy soars in like a missile, slamming right into him. There's a patchwork squawk. Talonsmith's voice is suddenly a barrel of seagulls shrieking in agony, followed by several punishing thuds that squeeze the oxygen out of his raspy lungs. I look over to see flickers and flashes of gold, followed by a blue mane, tossing. White teeth, snarling.

"Rrrrrghh!" A golden voice, burning like a swift sunrise, and Flash Sentry heaves Talonsmith over his shoulder for one last bodyslam into the black surface of the harmonic domain. Crimson ripples beautifully in all directions. Talonsmith tries getting up, sputtering, cursing. A savage metal horseshoe to the beak splits his resolve down the center, and the mad griffon falls into a dull slump, wheezing.

Flash Sentry stands up, catching his breath. He looks at Talonsmith, at me, then at the quivering spectacle to the left of us... bathed in squeaks of indigo.

Oh Goddess.

Oh Goddess, I can't look.

Celestia help me...

I turn and look anyway. My blood turns to ice. I wish I could say the same about hers.

Octavia quivers, a wet meaty center to a black velvet flower. Her hoof claws at the air. The shivering movement pulls the bile up out of my gut. Her eyes stream with tears. A foaming trickle of white vomit laces her muzzle. Her chest...

Goddess no...

I crawl towards her. Deflated. Numb. My ears tickle with the red clicks of a pair of hoof-cuffs being manacled around Talonsmith's limbs. Then—in a literal flash—the guard squats at Octavia's side. I watch as he takes the deep breath of his life, and then he speaks in breathy golds and yellows.

"Hello, Miss Melody. Pretty exciting stuff, huh?"

"Mmmmfffghh..." She gurgles, eyes darting about. "Mmmmnshglkkt—gonnadieee...?"

I cover my muzzle with my forelimbs.

"Heh. Not on my watch. Besides... brave mares earn themselves several lives." The deepest of gulps. "Sorta like cats. You have any cats, Miss Melody?"

"Mrmmmff... grkglllfg... Sssscribbler..."

"Heh. Silly name for a cat. You should get a second one. Name it. Name it. Uh. Spike." Only now do I notice how swiftly Flash Sentry's hooves are traveling up and down Octavia's figure, checking the puncture wounds under her blouse, the blood collecting along the folds of her dress. "On second thought, cats stink. Get a dog. They'll look after you more."

"Mmmmmm-goddessss..." Sweet, saccharine waves of indigo. Oh Celestia. "Oh goddess... g-gonna die..."

"Hey..."

"Don't want... d-don't want—"

"Hey. Miss Melody. Octavia, look at me." Flash clasps his hooves over hers, glaring. Eyes strong. Like iron. "You're going to be alright. I just need you to stay calm. Even breaths. Keep your eyes open—Octavia. Eyes open, you got it?"

Octavia merely pants... pants... squeaks...

Flash gulps hard. His skin is a cascade of glinting sweat from a mile away. He fumbles. He reaches into his armor and pulls out crystalline shard. He breathes into it... gives the thing a shake... and breathes once again. A warm rosy glow emanates from the object. It casts shadows across the room, including mine. Flash notices it, and he whips his eyes in my direction, panting.

Another gulp, and he murmurs through a panting smile. "Vinyl Scratch. Hey. Come here." Swallowing once more, he waves frantically, voice hissing: "Come come come come..."

I rush. I scamper over towards him. My bruises are a world away.

"Guess what, Octavia?" Flash smiles down at the wounded soul. "Your best friend Vinyl's here! Everything's gonna be okay—" He turns towards me, eyes narrow. "Vinyl." A dull whisper. "Did you take Magic 101 in Grade School?"

I stand there, shivering. Octavia's voice changes in pitch. The indigo dips, mixing with turquoise. I shudder, eyes welling with tears. Oh goddess please—

"Vinyl. Vinyl." He shakes my shoulder. "Look at me."

I do so, trembling.

"Magic 101? Yes? No?"

I nod.

"Magic 102?"

I nod again.

"How about Advanced Magic 201?"

I gulp... then shake my head.

"Well, that's okay. Really." He clears his throat, holding the shard up. "Do you know how to maintain a basic aura spell?"

I nod, shivering.

"Good. Here." He plants the rosy crystal in my hooves. "Feel for the leylines. Then connect with it. Maintain the magic field as long as you can. Do you think you can do that?"

Magenta bursts, and yet I nod.

"Okay. Come here. Come come..." He pulls me over to Octavia's side. My shivering knees nearly slip on the blood. Goddess, the blood... "Look here, Vinyl. See?" He moves my hooves until I'm leaning over, placing the shard gently against Octavia's chest. "I'm going to need you to stay here with your friend, Vinyl. Keep the shard pressed to her chest. Maintain the aura's magic field. Think you can do that?"

I shiver... shiver... and nod.

"This is going to stop the blood from flowing out for a while. Just for a while, okay? I have to go and fetch some medical assitance. I saw Nurse Redheart at the Gala just minutes ago. It should only take a minute to go grab her. Maybe two." Flash Sentry takes a deep breath. "I won't be gone for long. I promise. Can you look after your friend Tavi while I'm gone?"

I struggle not to sob. I'm dizzy by the time I nod again.

"Good." He pats my shoulder. "Good good." He flaps his wings, hovering right above us... above Tavi. "Tavi? Your friend Vinyl is going to take care of you, alright? Don't move. Your chest might start to feel a bit weird... fuzzy, even, but that's the crystal doing its work. And Vinyl's going to make sure the crystal stays charged. I'll be right back with a doctor who can make you all better. Got it?"

"Mmmmfff..." Octavia's eyes roll back as she sputters. "...V-Vine...?"

"That's right. She's right beside you. It's going to be okay." Flash flies two feet, then looks back at me. "Keep the crystal charged." He points. "Make sure she doesn't go unconscious." Then, in a burst of air, he soars down the corridor.

I shake... shudder... then keep my trembling hooves clasped around the shard. It glistens with a pink shine... but then there are more colors than that. A glossy bed of crimson blood lingers beneath her... beneath us. The aura fluctuates, nearly fading. I fight it with a magenta hiss, re-stabilizing the leylines. I concentrate... navigating the strings... deep salvos of a cellist's base... keeping me grounded... keeping her alive... the two of us together.

Seconds limp by.

Eons...

Tavi...

"Vine..."

T-Tavi...

I gaze down at her. My shades are lopsided. I try to smile.

Her voice doesn't help much. "Your... your muzzle..." A hoof lifts up, shivering. She gargles on something, and more vomit trickles out of her mouth. "...so bruised..." A shudder. "Bloody sod..."

I clasp her hoof in mind. Gnashing my teeth. Holding the shard against her wounded chest with the other limb.

Don't move.

Tavi, please...

"You... grkkkt..." Tavi's eyes twitch, dancing on either side of me. "...sh-shouldn't have to see this..."

I swallow a lump, forcing her hoof back down by her side. I place two hooves against the crystal, charging it with extra mana. A final symphony to keep her alive.

Please, stay alive...

"It... it's my fault..."

Please...

"Shouldn't... sh-shouldn't have wandered off..."

Please, Tavi...

"Just... so confused... so angry..." Eyes rolling back. Breath dipping. Indigo to tan to turquoise. "...why, Vinyl...?"

No...

"Why, love...?"

No!

I shake her head, gnashing my teeth.

Her eyes flutter wide open. A gasp. The crystal strobes with pink, and her voice jolts into purple.

Not like this...

I shake and whimper.

Not so soon...

"Mrmmffngh... Vine, why..." A hiss. A wheeze. "Why are you crying?"

I can't stop it.

It's an icy slope and everything's melting.

I slide down it... slide towards her.

A horn that's pulsating. A mare that's weeping into the snow.

Never been alive before.

Never.

Not until...

Magenta and magenta.

Waves of it, washing around me.

Around us.

It brings her closer to the surface than any crystal, and as the numbing waters drown me, it pushes her to the top. She counters with a healthy breath... a confused breath... gazing down at me from above the depths.

"Vine? Vinyl?"

I fall. I fade. The crimson dissipates as I drift down the frozen river.

"Vine, what... what did you just say...?"

And then...

I collapse.

Empty... black...

Unconscious.

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