• Published 26th Oct 2015
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Symphonic Fusion - Duelist925



Octavia will do almost anything for an old friend. Even go on a blind date with a wildly garish mare.

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Chapter 9: Olives

Octavia looked from the framed sheet of music to her marefriend and back again before cracking a smile. “Really, Vinyl? Oh, come on. You can’t expect me to fall for something like that.” She giggled, replacing the piece on the wall. “I’ll hardly judge if you have some guilty pleasure for classical music. Celestia knows that I’ve managed to enjoy one or two of the frenetic maelstroms of noise you’re partial to.”

The smile faltered when she turned from adjusting the frame and took in her marefriend’s face. She still had her hoof at the bridge of her nose, glasses pushed up, looking intensely annoyed.

“…Vinyl? It…you weren’t joking, were you?” Octavia said quietly, prompting a quick, terse head shake from the mare.

Octavia opened her mouth, wanting to say something, but…nothing would come out. She didn’t know what to say.

Ivory Keys was her marefriends mother. Ivory Keys. One of the most respected classical pianists alive, and rumored to be a mere stones throw from being declared a living national treasure for her talents. A unicorn who was just at home playing with her hooves as her horn, and who had absolutely shut down critics of her abilities by playing through a Pegasus opera with a horn inhibitor on for the full four hours.

One of the mares who had inspired Octavia to take up music as a child, one of her few solaces in life for a long time. One of the people Octavia viewed as a hero, as someone to aspire towards, and someone she could try to model herself after. A mare who it could easily be said had changed Octavia’s life.

And she was dating her daughter.

Who, evidently, had some serious familial problems.

“…This is going to be an awkward conversation.” Octavia said quietly, promptly another silent head bob from Vinyl.

There was a long moments uncomfortable silence before Octavia squared her stance and nudged Vinyl’s shoulder. “Well, it’s one that can wait for another day. We agreed on a moratorium, and I’ll hardly press against that after last night.” She said, trying to push her voice towards ‘Cheerful’ and managing to land in the near vicinity.

Vinyl gave her a surprised look before grinning. “Thanks.” She said, the normally exuberant mare’s voice just a touch subdued.

Octavia smiled and trotted over, bumping her hip against her marefriends. “Darling, we just finished with my own personal drama. We have to take a break before we dive into yours.” She said with a chuckle. She felt warmer inside when Vinyl grinned in response to her attempts at humor. She grinned at a sudden wicked urge.

“We’ll table this, say, until after dinner with my parents?” She said casually, and enjoyed watching Vinyl’s train of thought come to a screeching halt. “You did say Sunday would be best, yes? I’ll make sure of it. Sunday at seven. Don’t worry too much about it darling, I’ll make the reservations.”

She hummed, moving about and sweeping a few of the other belongings they’d knocked over up here and there, ignoring Vinyl mouthing her own last word.

“Woah, hey, Tavi, this won’t be, like, some hyper fancy thing, will it? Cuz, uh, I know I was cool about it but meeting your parents is gonna be weird and stressful enough, and I don’t want to worry about which fork is for which kinda salad, ya dig?” Vinyl babbled.

“Oh, of course not darling.” Octavia said serenely. She waited for Vinyl to relax, counting to three in her head. “I’m sure something low key will work. You won’t need a formally tailored suit—semi formal will be just fine. I’m sure you can pull together a suitable outfit for, say, Chez Manger Vraiment Cher, yes?”

She allowed herself to enjoy Vinyls horrified expression at the name of the third most expensive and second most snobbishly Prench restaurant within the city of Canterlot for a few seconds before she burst into giggles. Vinyl looked shocked for a moment before she started to pout.

“So not funny.” Grumbled the DJ as Octavia gently nuzzled her cheek.

“Oh, it was hilarious.” Responded her lover with a chuckle. “You’re just mad you didn’t think of it first. You’d have piped up about taking us out to your favorite pizza joint, or that one diner that always smells like grease.”

“Hey, you leave P. D.’s House of Butter out of this!” Vinyl paused before snickering. “But yeah, that woulda been funny.”

Tavi chuckled and kissed her cheek. “We’ll go to a decent local place. No worries, you won’t have to wear anything uncool or even, shock and horror, formal.”

-|-

Octavia suppressed a sigh. “Did you have to wear the goggles?” She asked, a touch of exasperation in her tone. Neither pony was dressed up beyond what they normally wore, for the most part. Tavi had brought out one of her favorite bowties, while Vinyl had done…something with her mane. It was mildly less spiky than usual? Tavi couldn’t really tell exactly what was different, just that it was. And, of course, her ever-present purple sunglasses.

Vinyl shrugged. “Hey, this place has those funky lights that mess with my eyes. It’s either wear these or spend the whole night squinting.” She said mildly.

They’d arrived just a touch early to their destination for the night, Jardin d’Oliviers. It was hardly the height of refinement, but it was a rather decent little place, one of several that had been popping up throughout Equestria. At least partly because of the sheer number of breadsticks they threw at customers.

(That last is not an embellishment. Before the Terrible Incident of Crusty Tuesday, it was quite literal.)

“I miss when the bread was fired at us.” She said with a sigh, ripping a breadstick apart and starting to scoop the fluffy interior into her maw. The two sat at a table set aside in a semi private little nook. It struck a nice balance between being open enough to hopefully curb any shouting or emotional outbursts, but not so open as to curtail potentially sensitive conversation.

Octavia rolled her eyes. “Just because you think flying food tastes better doesn’t mean—“

“Hey, that’s not me, that science!” Vinyl interrupted. “It’s totally, like, a fact that food that’s flown through the air tastes better!”

Octavia snorted. “That is not scientifically sound at all, and you know it.”

Vinyl snickered and ripped another breadstick in half. “Hey, just sayin’. If someone could figure out a way to magic some pie to mach two before it hits my tongue, I think it’d taste better is all.”

The cellist rolled her eyes. Halfway through the action she froze as she spied a very familiar pair of ponies.

Her parents had arrived.

Vinyl cued into the body language and looked around. Her heart was thudding surprisingly loudly. Celestia’s teats, she wouldn’t even be able to hear them over this racket…

A white coated unicorn with a vibrant sky blue mane leaned in and kissed Octavia’s cheek as she pulled her into a tight hug. “Darling! It’s so good to see you. It’s been simply ages.” She smiled at Tavi, and Vinyl felt a little piece of herself ache with jealousy.

“Mother, Father. It’s so good to see you both too.” Octavia said with a smile, half standing to return the hug and peck her father on the cheek. He was a dark purple pegasus with jet black mane who shot Vinyl the most intensely curious look she’d ever received.

The two settled into their seats and gave their drink orders, leaving the four in silence for a moment. Octavia saved everyone from the awkwardness of a quiet dinner by clearing her throat. “I’d like to introduce you two to my marefriend. Mother, Father, this is Vinyl Scratch. Vinyl, these are my parents.”

Vinyl managed a smile. She honestly could not remember the last pony she’d been with that had gotten to this stage. Maybe that zebra from college? She did not remember being this terrified back then, but she had been moderately drunk. OH crap she was supposed to say something!

“Hi! A pleasure to meet you two. Tavi’s told me a…uh. She’s said some very good thing about you!” Holy fuck, Celestia’ teats, seriously Vinyl?! You know precisely two things about them! You don’t even know their names! Oh, hey. Segue! “Though I don’t think I caught your names?” Yes! Go me! Distract them from the stupid I said.

The stallion was still fixing her with that studying look when he spoke. “Summer Breeze. A pleasure, I’m sure.” His voice was just a touch scratchy to her ears.

“Star Sapphire. So, how did you meet our daughter, Miss Scratch?” She asked, sipping her ice water.

Octavia froze for a moment. Visions of Vinyl regaling her parents with their initial night of debauchery filled her with horror for a split moment as the DJ opened her mouth, just in time for the waiter to interrupt and take their orders.Stuffed mushrooms for Tavi, alfredo pasta for Vinyl, ratatouille for dad and spiced curry for mom.

“A mutual friend set us up on a blind date.” Vinyl said once the waiter had left. Yes! Good. No embarrassing Octy. Just the bare bones. Maybe bend the truth a bit—OH! “Your daughter was kind enough to ensure I got home safely after drinking a bit too much during the dinner.” She said with a self-deprecating chuckle. Hah! Nice—wait, shit, you just said you got drunk on your first date with their daughter! Ahhhg. Oh shit her dad made a face. Did pursing your lips make a face? Whatever, he didn’t look happy!

Octavia slid in then. “Honestly, I think we both over indulged that night. It was actually a rather dreadful affair, but for some reason we clicked afterwards. Fortunately, it seems to have been a single outlier. Otherwise, we’ve had the best of times together.”

Her mother was giving them both a small smile and glanced over at her husband. “Remind you of any of our earlier date’s darling?” He returned her smile with a tight one of his own before returning his attention to Vinyl. Who was rapidly starting to feel like one of those mounted butterflies.

“So, what do you do for a living, Miss Scratch?” he asked. She froze, trying to think of anything else to say besides ‘drop the beat’. It was all that was running through her head. Thank Celestia their orders arrives, and she had a minute or two to think while chewing on a bite of pasta.

“Where were we? Oh um, right.” She gave him her most winning smile! “I’m a musician, though of a different specialty than Tavi.” No need to hide it, they’d just ask anyway, don’t draw it out Vinyl! “I’m a DJ, and I compose some of my own music as well.” She took a bite of her grown up macaroni and cheese. It was a very neat bite, which did not drip cheese down her chin.

Octavia fiddled with her napkin a bit as her parents drank in that information. They were very minor aristocracy, and she knew they’d never set foot in a club like the ones Vinyl played at.

“How…exotic?” Her mother said, just a touch questioningly, but Octavia shot her a look of gratitude nonetheless. She was trying not to be judgmental, and the earth pony appreciated it.

“That doesn’t seem like the most stable career.” Her father, on the other hoof… “How do you know you’ll be successful?” he took a bite of his stew before continuing. “I’m an artist, and I know full well the dangers inherent to such a position. All it takes is one bad run of luck.” Another bite. “I almost went under. Had to sell some very old furniture. If I hadn’t run into Octavia’s mother at the right time, her connections couldn’t have kept me afloat until I got to my hooves again. A few clubs not hiring you could start a downward spiral.” A third bite. “Unless you intend to simply mooch off my daughter.”

Vinyls mouth was half open. It had been for some time, as she readied herself to answer his fears. Sadly, she had been a bit too shocked to get a word in edgewise, something shared by most everyone at the table. Until the last sentence at least.

“Father.” Octavia’s voice was low and tightly controlled. “I would speak with you. In private.” She stood up then. “Now.” And glared at him until he moved. Leaving Vinyl alone with Octavia’s mother.

Silence reigned at the table, with Sapphire occasionally taking bites from her curry.

Vinyl was not used to feeling like this. Nervous. She'd never had these feelings before, never been so hyper aware of where her hooves were, her horn etiquette, the way she spoke, or what she was looking at.

Hence why she was now staring at the mildly gooifying cheese soaking into her vegetable pasta. She kinda wanted to try making it herself when she and Tavi got home. If they got home.

She’d give almost anything for this silence to break. When Octavia’s mother stopped mid bite though, she didn’t know what was coming.

"...I miss my daughter, you know." Said the mare who had her in such a state. Vinyl looked up, a bit startled--thankfully, the glasses hid it. The white coated mare had a strangely sad smile as she poked idly at her own dish, pushing the sliced and sauced vegetables around. Vinyl opened her mouth, but could think of nothing to say.

"This is the first meal we've shared together in..." Star sighed softly. "Almost a year, I think. And the last was a Hearth’s Warming Feast. Not exactly a family meal."

The mare looked up from her plate and Vinyl was shocked to see tears gathering in the corners of her eyes. "I trust you know of the, ah...the issues she had?" The mare asked in delicate tone.

It took Vinyl a minute to catch on. "...Oh! oh. The um. The eating...and hospital thing." She said.

Star nodded, and looked down at her plate. "You must think me a monster, then." She shook her head. "I..." her voice hitched. "Miss Scratch, may I speak plainly for a moment?" she asked, her voice fragile. Vinyl could only nod.

"I knew something was wrong." she said, barely louder than a whisper. "I saw the way she just...shrank. Her plate was full at the end of nearly every meal. And she pushed herself so hard, but I told myself I was overthinking it. Reading too much into innocent actions. That everything would...work out." She sniffed.

"My daughter almost died because of our mistakes. And I failed to see what she was going through, the entire time." She'd given up on the pretense of a meal, and was staring down at her crossed forelegs now. She shuddered, giving another sniff, and looking back up with that same sad smile.

"We haven't had anything approaching a family moment since she got out of the hospital. And I wonder if, perhaps, I deserve this as punishment, but.." She shook her head. "I'm rambling. I’m dreadfully sorry, I shouldn’t be dumping this all on your, I just—I-"

Vinyl shifted over and put a hoof atop the mares, eliciting a surprised look. "I...I'm not very good at this, but really..." She tried for a comforting smile. "I can't say it's no big deal, because it really is, but, like, you should really say all of that to Octy. I know she cares about you all a ton. Like...uh." She searched for a moment and grinned as something occurred to her. "Like, really, if she didn't want to have you guys in her life, would she really go through all of this to introduce me to you two?"

The smile grew just a little less sad. "I...yes. I suppose you're right. You know, I've never heard her take that tone with anyone before. Especially not her father or myself. Seen her defend anything other than her love for music like that. Ms. Scratch, it's obvious that my daughter cares a great deal for you."

"You are...not at all the kind of pony I expected Octavia to choose, but..." Vinyl blinked behind her glasses as a hoof slid around her shoulder, hugging her close. "You make my daughter happy, and for that I can never thank you enough." Star let her go and the DJ rocked back in her seat, cheeks burning.
“I um. Uh.” Vinyl stammered, trying to flash her trademark grin, but her cheeks burned too much to move properly! “Thanks. I…I just love her, you know?”

The minute they were tucked away where nopony could see them, Tavi whirled on her father. “How dare you! You do not get to sit there and speak to the mare I love like that! How do you question her skills, or insinuate that she’ll fail in such a fashion? Especially considering your own history, that you as much as admitted to! That entire little speech of yours was beyond rude father, and that last sentence crossed the line. We are going back to the table, and you are going to apologize to Vinyl the instant we do! I’ll have you know she is wildly successful in her circles as well, and—“

Octavia wasn't quite sure what she'd expected when she'd laid into him like that. She'd never spoken to her father in such a manner before, but she angrier with him than she’d ever been before in her life.She had not expected him to interrupt her diatribe with a tight hug. Or for him to shake when he did so.

"...Father?" She said, her voice having dropped the harsh whisper for a gentler approach.

"I'm sorry." He murmured. "I'm sorry. I know you care about her, and I'm sure she's a wonderful mare, but I--I." he sniffed, and she had the horrible gut-wrenching feeling that she might see her own father start crying in the middle of a restaurant.

"Dad--"

He cut her off before she could continue. "I hadn't seen you in months. I keep up where I can, and we love your letters, but it's just not the same." He pulled back and fixed her with a gentle look. “I worry about you, out on your own, and…” he trailed off, sighing. “And I might have gone overboard. A touch over zealous. I just wanted to make sure she was a pony worth my daughters love.” He ran a hoof through his mane and sighed. “I was out of line. I’ll apologize.”
He glanced up and gave her a little half smile. “Forgive an old stallion his mistakes?”

She blinked at him, thrown a bit for a loop. That was…huh. Ok. “You always said you’re not old until you’re a grandad.” She said, somewhat thoughtlessly. The look he gave her then made her own eyes widen. “Not that that’s a thing! Yet. At all! We’re not—I’m not, she—“
He held up a hoof and his smile grew wider. “Let’s stop before we both have to unwedge a hoof from our mouths.”


A few minutes later, back at the table, he sat and offered Vinyl a much more sincere smile than before. No comment was made of any potentially puffy eyes, though that may have been due to masterful use of concealer.

“Miss Scratch, I believe I—“

She cut him off with a raised hoof. “I make anywhere from a one to five hundred bits a show, and average about three thousand a month. I’m probably in the top ten most requested DJ’s at the moment, if not the top five, and my reputation has been increasing steadily for several years thanks to a lot of effort I put into it. I have two songs out in the radio circuit right now, though I admit they’re on the niche stations, and I’m in negotiations with two record companies regarding a possible album deal. None of this is taking into account the rising trend of my style of music, and how demand for it is rising.” She grinned at him. “I make enough for Tavi to mooch off of me and do nothing but play her cello for the next ten years if she wanted. I would never take advantage of your daughter.” Don’t say ‘unless she tied herself up again’. Don’t say it.

He stared at her for a long moment before nodding slowly. “I…had intended to apologize in any case, but thank you for correcting me. I apologize twice over then—once for doubting you, and the second for my rudeness. I hope we can move on from this amiably?”

She smiled and nudged Tavi’s shoulder. “Yeah. I just figured awkward first meetings were a family tradition.

-|-

Octavia and Vinyl looked up at the stars as they peeked out, settled next to one another on a park bench.

“So…” The cellist started, a touch unsure of herself. “That went…surprisingly well.” She gave her marefriend an appraising look. “You make that much? And what’s this about a record deal?”

Vinyl nodded and nuzzled the side of her neck with a smile. “Mm. I like’em. And yeah. It’s just preliminary talks.” She nibbles Octavia’s ear, enjoying the little squeak she got. “I meant what I said. You could spend the next ten years playing your cello. I’d be happy to support you.” She flopped her neck down over a blushing Tavi’s. “What were you and your mom talkin’ about?” She asked, settling her chin on Tavi’s neck.

“You.” The cellist smirked as Vinyl twitched, somewhat glad to change the subject. “They want to have you over for dinner sometime, at home. And she wants me to come by more often.”

“Mm?” Vinyl considered it for a moment, thought of her own mother sliding into the back of her head. “Sounds like a good idea, I suppose. But I’m cooking.” She pecked Tavi’s cheek. “In a few weeks, anyway. Once the heart attacks stop.” She teased.

Octavia nudged her with a snort of laughter. “Please.” She sighed. “Still…that went well. I think they like you.”

“Yeah?”


The two cuddled together on the bench, soft smiles on both their faces. “Yeah.”

Author's Note:

Thanks again to Maskinos for helping me with this and a big thanks to Boulder for prereading and helping me with all the crap my eyes skip over for some reason!

Comments ( 7 )

Yah it lives now we can get to vinyls parents

7615259

I completely understand, the next chapter will be great, I hope

7624136

With any luck! After this one came out, I did the math, and it should only take 3.2 years for the next chapter to come out, and 9.746 years for the one after that!

7624793
I will wait for the chapters to finish and read them as soon as I can!

Awesome chapter, great work.
But since meeting Octavia's parents went so well now I'm kinda dreading how meeting Vinyl's mom will go... :rainbowhuh:

7637599

Perfectly!

Swimmingly!

Nothing will go wrong!

No horrible revelations!

There is no war in ba sing se!

It will end with hugs and family photo's!

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