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"Burninating the countryside... burninating the peasants... burninating all the peoples... and their thatched-roof COTTAGES! THATCHED-ROOF COTTAGES!! And the Trogdor comes in the NIIIIGHT!!!"


Star Swirl the Bearded has lost his memory. He's arrived in modern-day Manehattan on a mission of dire importance, but he can't remember any details—including his name.

Vinyl Scratch has lost the pony she loved most. She moved away from Ponyville to bury her heartbreak under big beats and big-city bravado, but the memories remain.

Time and memory collide as Vinyl and Star Swirl explore the mystery behind his mission, and discover how to make each other whole again.

Written prior to the S7 Finale and its revelations about Star Swirl. (Sorry.)

This story won a silver medal in the October 2016 Writeoff, "The Darkest Hour". It's also a tribute to horizon's excellent Time Enough For Love. Editing by Pascoite! Custom cover art by VanillaGhosties! Description tweaks by Posh and Moosetasm! Featured on Equestria Daily 29May.2017! :pinkiegasp: Also with a Russian translation and Russian narration by Freshman! :twistnerd:

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 36 )

That was...unexpected. What a strange ship. I did like it though.

8086532 Thanks for checking it out!

What can I say, it's fun to take two really unlikely characters and see if there's a way to make 'em work together. :coolphoto:

8086554 Yeah, I wish I could write like that. This was fun to read.

This ship is 100% Cloverlestia approved.

Luna, however, might be feeling some residual disgruntlement. <_<

Vinyl's choice to bring home a mysterious stranger who she's convinced is strung out on drugs strikes me as unmotivated, and it conflicts with her reaction to having him under her roof. Namely, she takes precautions to keep him from entering her room and doing pernicious things to her.

But I am charmed and amused by her completely casual and nonchalant reaction to what she thinks is an invitation to gauge the attractivenss of said stranger's butt.

Vinyl is a curious creature.

8086580 Glad you enjoyed it. You're much too kind!

8086895 Perhaps a Luna X Puddinghead fic would be in order. Room Enough For Pudding? :rainbowlaugh: ...Unless that jumps the track and lands in really awful innuendo... :twilightoops:

8087442 Well, bear in mind that if Vinyl stopped to fully think things through, none of this plot would've turned out as it did. :trollestia:

In all seriousness, it was interesting and challenging to write such an impulsive character and to try to showcase their best aspects while giving them some moments of depth and character growth along the way.


If that was in the original, I don't remember it, and I knocked something over with the force of my lulz.

8088061 It wasn't! At least I don't think so. You can thank FOME for the idea; I picked that up when I did my reading of his story Rerouted last year. :coolphoto:

8087442 To be fair, I have been asked on the street to rate someones looks. Usually their partners, oddly enough. Probably a confidence thing.

Perhaps the most out-of-nowhere ship I have ever seen.
I love it. Instant favorite.

Well this was unexpected. Good, but unexpected.

One of my favorite crack pairings to ever come out of the Writeoff, now expanded and improved. The wine bottle's involvement is clarified, the Octavia angle has a more satisfying conclusion, and the couple gets a bit more time to develop. Well done all around. (And the use of a few terms was either flattering or delightfully coincidental.)

Thanks for brining Starscratch to Fimfic.

Luna x Commander Hurricane? If no one's done a story involving Hurricane titled Whirlwind Romance, that clearly needs to be rectified.

This... actually looks really interesting.

I'm pretty much going to be in a coma for the next 12-15 hours or so, but I'll try to remember to read it once I wake up.

Enjoyed the story, still sorry Starlight Glimmer wasn't reduced to her component molecules...

8088577 Thank you for the love! :twilightsmile: This one was a lot of fun to work on.

8088740 At risk of being a horrible shill, my back-catalogue is rife with unusual stuff. Straw X bag-o'-flour, anyone? :derpytongue2:

8089261 A pleasure! :heart: I like your idea, too.

8089378 Aww, I couldn't do that to her. I know she isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I'm fond of her.

8089266 I hope you enjoy it when you get that far! :moustache:

Heh, yes, I've seen your library, even read some of it, I think I'm scared ;)

Oh, I did forget to mention one sorta over sight in the story, the matter of him going back. Dunno if its fanon or canon, but Starswirl technically never died, or at least history has no record of it. Maybe the princesses are keeping it a secret for nation security reasons, but that's unlikely, so you could've had him tell Vinyl that actually the last day he shows up in the history books was two days (or whatever number you choose) before he left, so actually he shouldn't/can't go back.

8090346 I think you're right, I think fanon and what little canon there is agree that he vanished rather than died. So I would submit that this provides as good of an explanation as any: he went to the future, fell in love, and eventually settled down. :derpytongue2:

I'd hesitate to say that he couldn't go back, though. Part of me wants to write a sequel where he takes Vinyl back and she terrorizes the past through the power of dubstep. But then part of me just wants to write a sequel period, because now I ship 'em and they barely get to do much here.

Ah well, glad you've seen the back-catalogue at any rate. What can I say, I write about offbeat stuff!

Keep in mind when I say he can't, I mean that in the subjective way. He now knows that history says he disappeared, so if he goes back, he'll alter history. Of course that assumes he goes back as himself, perhaps a bit of manscaping, manescaping, other body mods that are hip (dock piercing? Recently saw that in a pic), avoiding Canterlot, and going by the name Nova? Maybe asking Starlight for cutie mark help, I wonder if her spell could be altered to switch his left and right cutie marks (I'm assuming he's like Dash and his cutie mark is directional)?

Definitely a sequel would be fun and I for one would enjoy seeing it.

OK, but keep your eyes on her, and make sure you still have your wallet.

“I’m sorry,” he said, looking away from her. “Whatever I’m mixed up in, it doesn’t have to be your problem. I can just go.”

“No way, bro. You opened the bottle. This is bigger than both of us now.”

"We are in the shit now, together for the long haul!

"I... What?"

"We're motherbucking entrenched in this bitch! You and me! Welcome to Nam! Now grab my hand and shimmy your soggy flank off that muddy bank before Charlie gets the bucking drop!"

"Who... Who's Charlie?"

"Hes the guy who's gonna read our vows! I'm feeling pretty frigging matrimonial all a sudden! Take a look down by your hoof, see that little bottle? Stomp on that shit like its on fire! Noisy ethnic dudes are flipping the buck out and waving us around on chairs until somepony gets hurt!"

"Oh my God."

"Bro, look in my eyes! That twinkle? That be devotion, sparkling like a visit from your fairy bucking godmother! Shit be pure and true! This is how we do this! This shit's more real than Kraft mayo!"

8092248 This is like the best thing ever. :rainbowlaugh:

Okay, so, this wasn't bad, but it was less satisfying than what I was hoping for.

Your technical skills are excellent. The weakness of this story lies in the structure and focus. Simply put, there isn't enough interaction between Vinyl and Star Swirl to justify such a deep emotional connection, even though that is the core of the story. The "love" part of this love story is just very rushed and kinda jarring - they seem to go from strangers who are at most mildly flirty to suddenly being quite serious about each other. It sorta felt like there were several chapters missing between the second and third that would have accounted for that.

You focused more on Star Swirl's mission, which is nowhere near as important because that's not really what this story is actually about. The result is that Vinyl and Star Swirl's feelings didn't come across very well for me and the story just doesn't have the impact it should have.

It was a good attempt, but I think you need to work on your storytelling, particularly when it comes to this kind of character-driven stuff.

8092354 I appreciate your comment and I'm sorry the story ended up disappointing you. I might argue that there are elements of the connection in there, but I have no real desire to stand here and disagree with feedback.

This story was unusual both from structural and character perspectives, given the adventure-as-MacGuffin thing and the fact that Vinyl doesn't seem to have a lot of depth and Star Swirl doesn't know who he is for a lot of it. Ultimately I don't regret experimenting with those things, but I get that it might not be everyone's cup of tea. If it helps, the way I see the relationship working hinges on this line at the end:

“Heh. I guess going off half-cocked is kind of our thing,” Vinyl said.

Both of these characters are very much leap-before-you-look types. Both of them make questionable decisions in pursuit of what they think is good, and both are prone to making a mess as a result. But each also recognizes that each other is trying, and they see the genuinely good qualities in each other, and they're generally willing to let those qualities help them overlook the other's boneheadedness. But maybe part of the problem here is that there isn't enough contrast between these two boneheads despite their vastly different backgrounds. Or, as you suggest, maybe it just needed enough room to breathe.

For what it's worth this did end up helping me learn quite a bit about writing romance, which ended up helping a lot with Heavy Rock, the chronologically-next story that I wrote.


Wish I could take credit, but I pretty much stole all of that from Homestuck. :twilightblush:


I appreciate your comment and I'm sorry the story ended up disappointing you.

Disappointment is a strong word. I do think you seem pretty talented.

I might argue that there are elements of the connection in there,

Oh, there are. And, I dunno, maybe some people do hit off that well that fast. More like, I couldn't quite see the process, so the story didn't really make me relate to their feelings.

Ultimately I don't regret experimenting with those things, but I get that it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Experimenting is good, you learn a lot that way. Wouldn't say it "wasn't my cup of tea", though - this was pretty darn close to my cup of tea. That's what made me interested in the first place.

I've been planning something fairly similar, as a matter of fact, and the issue of selling a believable romance in a fairly short time frame has been my main concern. So, like, I know what you tried to do here is pretty tricky.

Author Interviewer

Fantastic idea, but this needs to be about twice as long as it is. It's way too compressed for anything to have a solid effect by the end.

8119972 Thank you for the comment and review! This one was fun to write and educational about how to do a romance that takes two characters on a journey of getting to know each other, falling for each other, etc. Previously I'd written more one-sided romances where I didn't need as much time & complexity to set things up. But yeah, it was probably too short to let things breathe fully. It also had the deck stacked against it with the amnesia and uncertain mission; it hurts that these two can't be themselves in the beginning, because one of them doesn't know who they are.

But hey, didn't suck. :derpytongue2: And the lessons I learned from writing this came in super-handy when I did my next romance (written after this but released before it :derpyderp1: ), which does a serious take on almost as cracky a pairing, and which certainly benefits from having about 3x the length.

Dude! You and your totally unexpected ships! Keep it up, please, love stories or not.

I agree with Fervidor about the story being too fast and just "happening". And PresentPerfect correctly identified why, it was too short to let the plot develop properly. Not that it had to be long, just a bit longer than it actually was.

Please, if you feel inspired, then do write the sequel you talked about, it sounds interesting, and now that you've experimented with this and "Heavy Rock" I am pretty sure it will be a much more satisfying story for you (as well as your readers :twilightsmile:).

Question. Given Twilight's involvement with all things Star Swirl, will Vinyl end up with a rival for the bearded flank? Also, I'm fairly certain Celestia and Luna know Star Swirl personally, especially if you take the comics as at least some sort of pseudo canon, what happens if they meet ? :trollestia:

Anyway, even though you are learning on the ponies here, you show some promise as an author. If you ever think you have a more serious story floating about inside somewhere don't dismiss the idea out of hand, okay?

8199448 He's older, no question. Though I believe at one point he says he's not that old. :derpytongue2:

8197141 Thanks! :pinkiehappy:

what an odd ship... Anyways, nicely done. like, 6.5 out of 10 well done. though you did kind of loose me at some parts.

It's also a tribute to horizon's excellent Time Enough For Love, which is still being adapted for FimFiction.

I apologize for invalidating your story description.

... :rainbowkiss:

Ohh, of course! It’s finally time enough to update that! :raritystarry:

That was super sweet! Kinda ruined the suprise for myself by reading the descriptions, but still lovely. Thanks for the story.

I almost feel as if I was born to read this.

God bless you.

“How can I not?” She hung her head again. “It’s Octy’s bottle. Now it’s open, and I have to drink it, before it’s all just… gone.”

What do you mean gone what happened to Octavia

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