• Published 17th Jun 2012
  • 971 Views, 14 Comments

A Romantic Encore - Spark of Inspiration



I still don't know what happened that night... let's hope I don't ruin stuff from six years ago too.

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Launched Back

"What'll ya have?" the dull orange unicorn bartender asked me, pulling the rag out of the clean mug floating in his magical aura.

I pushed myself up from the bar and groggily answered, "Just get me some Jura."

As he heads off to get my whiskey, and I lay back down on the bar. I can't really focus right now, but I'll try, just like the other times when I'm trying to get drunk.

It's strange, really. For whatever reason, I just have a high tolerance level. I actually found that out the night I met her. It was just a normal night after one of my friends dragged me off to a concert.

It was okay, but classical really wasn't my style. I preferred something along the lines of what was playing just a bit down the street. Even three buildings down I could hear the pounding bass coming out of those massive speakers. But then I remember the 'incident'... and the fact that I'm not allowed back there for another week. I could have sworn that he was a mare, but apparently the bouncers didn't take too kindly to that.

Either way, I was sitting at the bar - back before this place burned down the first time - when she trotted in. Gone was her accent, and her mane had frazzled a bit at the ends. Even better, the bright look in her eyes told me that she was going to enjoy the night with all of her heart.

That had been when Grape Vine had gotten the smart idea to try to hit on her. He had been at the concert too, and he thought he had the exact way to get her attention. Little did he know she didn't think the same way. I still laugh when I think about the massive red spot on his cheek after she slapped him.

Why did I have to admit that I hated classical? I could have just led her on for years without telling her I'd been lying about so much.

A voice with a heavy Trottingham accent pierced my train of thought. "Are you alright?" I tried to ignore the Doctor, but it just wouldn't work. "Also, are you alive?" he added, tapping me on the shoulder.

I glared at him with all my might, staring into his deep, pale blue eyes. He shrunk back away from me and weakly said, "I think your drink might be here."

Sure enough, the glass of caramel colored whiskey sitting in front of me was mine. I took a light sip, flavoring the smoky taste that only Jura had.

It's actually quite funny now that I think about it. Octavia was the one that introduced me to this stuff, and now I can't stop drinking it. I wonder if she still likes-

Oh Celestia, I can't stop thinking about her. Why can't I just forget it? And why did she have to come up tonight?

The Doctor set his hoof on my shoulder and asked me, "Is something wrong?"

"What made you guess that?" I quipped, setting my glass down again.

"I suppose it was probably the fact that you're strangely silent tonight, along with-"

I shoved a hoof in his mouth and went back to drinking my day-to-day life away. There just seemed to be nothing to do lately... nothing of importance anyway. I could always go buy something, but I don't have enough bits for anything good besides food.

"Oh... right," he muttered, turning his attention to the dimly lit stage at the end of the room. I could vaguely remember the night Octavia and I had left during a terrible performance on that very stage. Later that night, we had actually shared our first kiss. I really can't figure out how it happened, but it did. The memory of those sweet lips pressed against mine burned brightly against all my work-related stress. "So what's wrong then?"

"Nothing you'd understand," I replied. I stared off into the mirror behind the bar for a second and saw just how bad I looked. My dark green mane hung uncombed over my face, which was dirt-streaked. In fact, some of that dirt might just be stubble. I really needed to shave. For some reason, a beard just wouldn't look right against my pale yellow coat.

Before I could mentally insult myself even more, the Doctor interrupted. "Is it a mare?" He looked at me with those caring eyes that he could do so well.

I groaned back, hoping he didn't know that I meant 'yes'. Luckily, he didn't pick up on it. Instead, he leaned in close and told me, "You know, I think I have something that will cheer you up."

"Huh?" By now my glass was almost gone, and I had nowhere else to be. "What is it this time?"

I think he could pick up on my annoyance, because he pulled me up from the bar and almost yanked me off the stool. "Come on," he said teasingly, "it'll be fun. I bet you've never seen anything like it."

He dragged me across the empty flagstone street and up to the door to his clock shop. He fumbled with the keys a bit, but he managed to unlock the door, open it, and push me inside.

I threw up my hooves to defend myself from the onslaught of bright light from overhead as the Doctor flicked the switch on the wall.

"Oops, I should probably turn those down..."

"You think?"

He dimmed the lights and pulled me along toward the back room. We burst through the two windowless doors at the back of the store, but I pulled away before he could pull me down a flight of stairs. I didn't want to risk dying tonight, no siree.

He let go of me, and we headed down the stairs together. Thankfully, the room was relatively dark. The only light came from a series of amber lights overhead.

Then I saw it. I prayed to Celestia that it wasn't what he had dragged me down here to see.

He turned to me and smiled widely. "Pizzicato, meet Sally."

"Seriously? This is it?"

The hexagonal pillar of metal plating in the corner looked like exactly that- a pile of scrap metal. From what I could see, there was definitely some sort of control panel halfway up the side with tentacle-like wires sticking out of it, but it looked shattered and unusable. There was even a helmet with a cracked viewscreen trapped between the wall and the base.

The Doctor jokingly punched me and explained, "I know she's not in the best of shape, but she's still pretty interesting."

"I bet you could make fifty bits by selling that thing for scrap..."

"Oh come now, she's not that bad."

I picked up the helmet and put it on. I could actually see the Doctor from one of the larger holes in the viewscreen. I stood up on two legs and clumsily walked toward him groaning. "Aughhhh, I am a cyber zombie-pony. I've come to eat your technology."

"Really...", he explained, his voice full of wonder and excitement, "for it just showing up here one day, I'd say I've taken pretty good care of it."

The control panel sparked, sending a cascade of flickering embers and metal shards flying over the wooden floor. Both of us jumped back in surprise. Then I heard the click.

Electricity arced through my body, singing every nerve. Numbers flashed across the viewscreen faster than I could read them. Finally, the scrolling digits settled on something. A large green '03 17 6' flashed before my eyes. I frantically pulled at the helmet, trying to tear it off.

"What's happening?" I screamed.

Doctor Whooves threw himself at the control panel and tried pressing random buttons. "Hold on, I'm going to-"

Everything fell silent as the world began to spin around me in slow motion. I felt myself drifting away from my own body.

"Please don't let me die," I begged, to nopony in particular. "Please..."

------------

I jumped to my hooves, expecting some sort of monster to attack me out of one of the corners of the room I was in. I relaxed when nothing came.

I tried to stand, but stumbled over into the metal shelf against the wall. An empty 'clang' echoed throughout the empty basement. Finally, I managed to push myself up onto all four hooves.

After a closer inspection, the shelf I had rather rudely run into was bolted to the wall, and was covered in a thick layer of dust. The other two shelves toward the corner were holding stacks of paper-covered vinyl records.

Just seconds after I noticed that, a muscular white unicorn stallion brandishing a three iron threw the door open and charged at me. I screamed and ducked behind one of the cardboard boxes behind the shelf to my right.

The stallion pushed the box aside and eyed me angrily. "How in the hoof did you get down here?"

I fumbled for the right words as he hefted the club again. "I-I..." I stammered, hoping I didn't get a club to the head within the next few seconds. His blow never struck.

A violet pegasus mare trotted in after him and scolded, "Dear, put it down."

He didn't take his eyes off me, but replied, "This is the third pony we've found down here in a week, honey. I'm getting tired of it."

"You could still be a bit more respectful." The mare offered a hoof to help me up. A good choice - especially considering her husband still looked really mad.

"Thank you," I sighed, still nervous about her husband. He watched me closely as I climbed the stairs back up into a store displaying what seemed like an obscene amount of records and disks.

"A music store?" I mumbled, wondering how I had made it into another building overnight.

She smiled and said, "Sorry about my husband; he can be a bit brash sometimes."

"It's fine," I replied, heading toward the door. "Just... where am I?"

"Three-thirtyfourth West Saddle street."

Wait... I remembered this. The store there had been broken into four times in a week. After that, the owner had left. But that would mean-

No, that was impossible. There was no way that could have happened.

"Are you alright?" she asked me, setting her hoof on my shoulder. "I don't need to take you to the hospital, do I?"

That would mean this was six years ago.

"I... I'm fine," I shakily said, still getting over the news. "I'll just get out of your mane now."

I headed out onto the street and saw the last piece of evidence I needed to prove my insanity. A crew of burly construction workers in bright helmets and vests were busy setting up the roof of the bar that I had just been in earlier that night.

Alright, I've got to go over the facts. Apparently I'm in the past, I have no way to get back, and... now somepony's about to run into me!

A green blur crashed into me, knocking all the wind out of my lungs. When I looked up, a bright pair of cheerful yellow eyes stared back at me. "Oh, hi, Pizz! You ready for the big night tonight?"

"Oh sweet Celestia..." It had to have been Grape Vine.