• 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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Dressed Things

Author's Note:

Ponyville explodes and implodes all at once. The town glitters inside and out with a cornucopia of colors the likes of which I've rarely seen. I suppose it's appropriate. Birth is a fragile thing. Why should rebirth be any different?

A starry night sky paints the road between the Boutique and Twilight's castle. The stagecoach ride is something out of Celestia-damn fairy tales. Part of me thinks that all of this is ridiculous. Melodrama at its finest. Then another part of me realizes that it's the exact sort of thing that Octavia herself would have dreamt up in another life... another life that could be hers. And tonight, that life is mine... and I have no intention of living it alone.

There are very few times in existence that I've felt that I was on a righteous mission. Here, upon the knifing precipice of purpose, I realize there is no turning back. Rarity rests a hoof on my shoulder. It relaxes me, and I'm thankful for that. Then I see all of the faces blurring past the window of the stagecoach, and none of them yet matches the coat color that I'm looking for. A hole forms in my stomach, and a sludge pile of dead butterflies swiftly fills it.

I'm numb by the time the stagecoach ride ends. The door opens, and the first thing I see is Flash Sentry's smiling face. He helps Rarity and myself out as we take to the side entrance of the castle. I feel like I need it more than my fashionista friend; it's been ages since I've ever worn a dress, much less one this insanely glamorous.

This is me.

She must see it.

This has always been me.

It's not a transformation. It's a return.

Nothing was ever suffocated. It was simply hiding... waiting...

Dying to return the favor.

The weariness comes and go like a foggy cloud. Once my senses recollect, they're bouncing against the black foundations of Twilight's palace. Crowds congregrate around the entrance. Suits and dresses... suits and dresses. I smell perfume, cologne, and sugary sweets. A pink shadow flounces by, followed by Pinkie's giggling breaths. She waves at me, but—at Rarity's insistence—keeps her distance. I watch as the party coordinator performs miraculous feats of acrobatics in her gown, checking on one concession stand after another.

Minutes pass. I hear what sounds like rocket engines rolling overhead. I look up to spot Rainbow Dash and several Wonderbolts—dressed in shiny blue jumpsuits—roaring through the clouds and making sure that the starlight adds the final uncontested glint to this sparkly occasion. Their crimson thunder rips through the elegant ambers and yellows of the crowd, eliciting golden praise and dull red applause.

Soon after, ponies are surging towards the front gates. Rarity tugs at me delicately, and we blend in with the elegance of the crowd. Everything now is a blur. I spot Flash Sentry's face every now and then, watching over the procession like a guardian angel. Bird song echoes in my ears like bells. I turn to catch a glimpse of Fluttershy. She smiles, waves at me, and continues conducting the avian chorus. There's a flicker of purple manalight, and I spot Starlight Glimmer standing with Spike at the royal foyer. Every friend of Twilight's is dressed to drop jaws—even her immaculately suited dragon apprentice.

All of this work... all of this pageantry...

And my heart won't stop shuddering.

Dear Goddess...

...where is she?

Voices are exchanged. I feel a slight tug, and I follow Rarity to the side. Suddenly—stripes. Beau stands at a door flanking the main hallway where everypony is marching. He's dressed like a goddess-dang circus ring announcer, complete with fabulous reds and flaring coat tails. It's stupid as Tartarus and matches his even stupider grin. I love it. I love him.

He says something complimentary, then takes my hoof as Rarity "passes me on" to him.

I know that this whole procedure has been carefully planned... rehearsed, even. But I nevertheless turn to stare woefully at Rarity.

She gives me a reassuring smile, winks, and disappears into the crowd. Her muzzle moves at the very last second. "Do not worry, darling," is all I make out, and then the blue and gold is gone.

Beau guides me into the side hallways. We scale steps and staircases until—at last—we pass a roped-off area at the rear of the ballroom. Applejack's there, dressed in something green and flowy. Her freckles shine as she winks our way and gestures into a tiny room where our fellow Deejays are waiting. I spot Simon Neighs dressed in a white shirt, brown slacks, and suspenders—everything befitting the veritable swingstep god that he is. He adjusts his cap and bows at me from afar. So does Harmonicide—dressed in some glitzy jumpsuit thingy. I brush past him to find Capricorn.

She's wrapped up in a shiny burgundy number that complements her voice. Smiling, she kneels beside three little foals gifted with backstage passes. Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom smile, dressed in adorable little gowns of her own. They look like they just waltzed out of a Gala in Canterlot.

Capricorn exchanges a few words with them, then gives each of the fillies a hug. They scamper away—but Sweetie Belle pauses to nuzzle me. It's a tender thing, a warm thing. She winks, smiles, and is gone in a flash.

I hear hoofsteps, followed by a breath of burgundy. Curious, I turn to look.

Capricorn smiles, her eyes shining along with the flower petals in her hair. "I said you look like you descended from the heavens, dear. Rarity really outdid herself."

"Pffft! Well of course she did!" Beau drifts over with a smirk. "A fashionista like that could kill herself trying to upstage natural beauty like Vinyl's!"

"Hah!" Capricorn leans back with a smile. "And that is why nopony can ever hope to beat Roadie Beau at his game."

"Don't you forget it, sister."

I blush, squirming.

"Hey..." Roadie brushes his hoof under my chin. "It's going to be alright, ya hear? We've got this in the bag, girl."

I nod, and yet I battle a lump in my throat. My eyes travel to the door that I know leads to the back of the ballroom's "stage." I hear the discordant strings of the orchestra tuning up. The browns and reds and meandering ambers...

Where is she?

Celestia, please...

The door opens, and suddenly the chaotic volume hits a fever pitch.

"Your Highness..." Capricorn squats low, bowing her head.

"Please..." Twilight Sparkle sighs through a smile, waving her hoof. She wears silver and blue silk, and her tiara is a glittering wonder to behold in person. "We've been through this a million times, Miss Capricorn. There's no need for that."

"Oh, I know." Capricorn stands up with a rosy smile. "It's just that... all my life, I've wanted an excuse to curtsy before royalty like that."

Beau and Harmonicide chuckle.

Simon Neighs rolls his eyes and clears his throat. "Your Highness, how's the orchestra doing?"

"Assembled and ready to perform," Twilight says. "Meanwhile, Flash Sentry is covering the perimeter while Spike and Starlight keep their eyes on the front entrance."

"Then this is it!" Harmonicide smirks wide. "Crud's falling into place like the best hoofball game ever!" He cracks his joints. "What say we just skip the whole Canterlot Symphony Orchestra thing and get to the meat and potatoes?"

"No," Capricorn says. "This goes as planned."

"Heh... true that."

"We're right on time," Twilight says. "Even Ms. Harshwhinny is impressed... and that isn't easy. I just need word from Rainbow Dash that everypony's inside the Castle, and then I'll signal the conductor that the show's ready to begin." She turns to look at me. "Miss Scratch..." A smile. "Looking nice by the way. Are you ready?"

I'm barely listening to her. I have my ear craned to the open doorway... to the sounds of tuning instruments and murmuring crowds. Everything's so thick... cacophonous and yet... and yet...

"Vinyl? Is... is everything okay?"

There it is...

I've found it... ...

Somewhere up high... lofty... aloof... but not entirely.

I found it by finding Rarity's voice first. She must have found her. Of course she did.

"Yo, V..." Beau leans in. He lowers his top hat and blinks sympathetically at me. "What's up?"

I hear it.

I hear the purple.

Blessed Goddess...

I turn towards him. I must be smiling, because he's grinning back. Then everything turns foggy.

"It's okay, y'all," Beau's voice says. A comforting vibration. "Octavia's here. Can I get a 'Tartarus Yeah!'"

"Tartarus yeah!"

"Besides you, Harmonisucker."

"Tartarus yeah!" squeaks a filly.

"Apple Bloom!" Applejack's amber voice ricochets off the walls. "Language!"

"Oh dear..." Capricorn rushes across the room and dabs my face with a handkerchief. "Save the tears for after the performance, Vinyl. I know it's been years since Cyan has used so much makeup, but still..."

I gulp, nodding apologetically. I brush my braided bangs back and gaze at her.

She smiles back. "You've made it this far..." An elegant wink. "Just let the chips fall into place... then be yourself."

I take deep, magenta breaths.

"The you that you've always been... and let her see it."

With a calm nod, I turn to look past the Princess. Once again, I see a flicker of purple wafting through the doorway, and my heartbeat slows to a purr.

That color...

Always a hard act to follow.


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