• Published 11th Jul 2012
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A Tale of Two Mares - CharmingChaos



Octavia and Vinyl Scratch start a life - and a family - together, much to Octavia's mother's disgu

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Being Tourists

Dear Princess Celestia,
Today I learned that you should never include two bottles of wine in a story about Vinyl Scratch, because she will invariably become highly intoxicated and ruin your entire chapter.
Sincerely, your faithful student,
CharmingChaos

Octavia lay awake in her bed next Vinyl, mulling over the day. They'd spent most of the morning at the glass island, Mare-ano, looking at the beautiful glass statuary and such and watching the five glassmaker ponies blow glowing globs of melted sand into tiny pony statues for tourists like themselves.

The afternoon was quieter. Vinyl napped, her earphones blasting painfully loud dubtrot remixes into her sleeping mind, while Octavia lay draped across the sofa, reading a magazine while Tambourine lay sprawled across her stomach, cooing softly every so often as she dreamed.

They'd gone out to dinner at a little, dimly lit outdoor restaurant, sharing an enormous blow of spaghetti and celebrating the fact that Vinyl hadn't gotten them kicked out with a bottle of champagne. Tambourine had slept in her pram through the meal, exhausted from a day of toddling around, holding her two mother's hooves, of course, and exploring a noisy new city.

In short, it had been an uneventful day, Octavia concluded. A perfectly normal, ordinary day for a couple of mares and their filly touring an unfamiliar town. It was almost boring, except that the city of Ponezia was beautiful, and Vinyl had managed to be polite to almost all the servers at almost all the restaurants, and besides, Octavia believed that spending the day with the two ponies she loved more than anypony else couldn't be boring, no matter what.

She rolled over, facing the window, and looked at the bright, silvery moon for a long while.

Oh, Luna, your night is beautiful tonight, she complimented the moon princess, admiring the crystal sky. Thank you for making it so warm out, here in Ponezia.

Octavia pushed herself out of bed, careful not to wake her marefriend, and stepped out onto the balcony, watching how the stars and moon reflected against the blue-green water in the canal. She sighed, wishing she were just the smallest bit more tired, so she could go to sleep.

But she wasn't so Octavia stayed on the balcony, watching the water and listening to the little boats creak in their moorings until the first pink shades of Celestia's sun began to creep over the horizon, and Tambourine's first silvery wails woke Vinyl Scratch.

Octavia watched as the white mare dragged herself out of bed and over to the crib, gently lifting her filly and carrying her to the armchair int he corner, murmuring sweet nothings to sooth Tambourine into silence again.

Vinyl hummed softly, shifting into position to nurse the filly. Tambourine settled down at once, making little contented noises as she drank.

Octavia, still out on the balcony, was rather surprised. Vinyl Scratch was always either gruff or flirtatious when she knew Octavia was watching, except if she thought Octavia was in dire need of cheering up, for one reason or another.

Vinyl could be the sweetest pony in the world, but Octavia had never seen her like this, so... maternal, calm, gentle.

Not wanting to interrupt, Octavia crept to her side of the bed as quietly as possible and slid back in, pretending to just wake up as she settled back down.

She turned to Vinyl with a genuine yawn-- she had been up all night, after all-- and blinked, hoping Vinyl wouldn't notice her glasses, which were sitting on the mattress next to Octavia.

Vinyl looked up from her filly, giving Octavia a slow, lazy smile. "Mornin', Babe. You sleep well?"

"No," Octavia decided to give a half-truth. It was at least a little better than lying outright. "I... kind of stayed up on the balcony until about an hour ago."

"Oh," Vinyl frowned slightly. "Why didn't ya wake me up? We could have, like, had a drink or something. It would have been more fun for you than just sitting there and... doing whatever you were doing."

"True," Octavia agreed, wondering herself. "But you needed your sleep. I know that you'll just sleep all day like when you have night jobs if I wake you up."

"Psh." Vinyl rolled her eyes. "That's a load of bullshit, 'Tav. I don't sleep all day when I have a night job. I never did, even before I had this confounded filly begging me to play with her and feed her and Celestia knows what else all day."

"Not true," Octavia argued. "There have been many days where you sleep the whole time. And I can feed Tamby now-- she eats some normal food. And why in Equestria would you call her 'confounded'?"

"Gee, I don't know." Vinyl ruffled the filly's mane, kissing the top of her head noisily. "Sorry 'bout that, Tambo."

"Tambo?" Octavia raised an eyebrow questioningly.

"Why not? It's part of her name, right?"

"Yeah, but it sounds so... coltish."

"Coltish, shmoltish. It's a good nickname."

Octavia rolled her eyes. "Just be quiet. I'm gonna take a shower. And no following me!"

"Sure, sure, 'Tav. But don't blame me if we run out of water and the whole of Equestria dies of dehydration." Vinyl noticed that Tambourine had fallen back asleep, and she carefully disentangled herself, placing the filly on Octavia's side of the bed and curling back up, reaching a tendril of magic across the hotel room to find her headphones and PonyPod.

"Since when have you been so concerned with the environment, Miss I-can't-tell-compost-from-my-own-horseshoe?"

"Ever since it concerned our shower situation," Vinyl shot back, not missing a beat. "I suspect you would feel the same if you were me."

"Naturally. Anypony as crude and unpolished as you would."

"Just shut up and take your shower, Fancy Flank."


"It's a lot of money, Vinyl. Are you sure you want to do this?" Octavia glanced at the stallion in the gondola, who was tapping his hoof, waiting for them to make up their minds. "I mean, it sounds amazing, but do you really want to spend sixty bits on an hour long ride and another hundred on a dinner and champagne?"

"Trust me, 'Tav, it's worth it." Vinyl leaned in, kissing Octavia with a wink. "Besides, how can you resist that?"

"I can't, usually, but is leaving Tambourine with Twilight the best idea? She's just a baby, you know."


Earlier that day

Octavia and Vinyl Scratch trotted down the sidewalk next to the canal, peeking into all the little tourist shops and laughing as Vinyl put various masks on herself and Tambourine, to the contempt of the shopkeepers. They looked the strangest on Vinyl-- her huge purple glasses made the eyes buggy and changeling-ish.

After a while they each purchased a mask, for the next Event they would have to go to in Canterlot, whatever it might be. Vinyl insisted on wearing hers as they walked, despite the fact that she could hardly see through her glasses and the tiny eye holes.

Which, of course, meant that she walked right into another pony.

A light lavender unicorn with an indigo mane with a pink stripe in it and a tiny dragon hurrying by her side.

"Twilight?" Vinyl lifted of her mask. "What are you doing here in Ponezia?"

"Same thing as you, I would assume. Getting away for the weekend." Twilight smiled, looking at the filly in the pram. "So, I guess the spell worked then?"

"You bet your flank it did, Twi."

"And, I guess this is the beautiful Octavia you were gushing about last time I saw you?" Twilight cocked her head in Octavia's direction.

"Why yes, I am Octavia. Vinyl and I have been terribly happy with the results of your spell." Octavia smiled cordially, extending her hoof politely.

"I'm so glad," Twilight smiled as she shook Octavia's hoof. "It's wonderful to meet you, Vinyl Scratch had a great many nice things to say about you, in her own way."

Octavia facehoofed, wondering just what Vinyl had said. "I'm sure she did. Vinyl certainly isn't afraid to boast when she's scored a 'hot piece of flank', as she herself would say."

"You are," Vinyl said defensively. "I thought that was a very good description."

"Maybe to some, but I would prefer something a bit less... degrading." Octavia retorted playfully.

"Well, enough introductions," Twilight laughed nervously, embarrassed to have witnessed the little argument. "Have you to been on a gondola ride yet?"

"A gondola ride?" Octavia shook her head. "I'm afraid not, we didn't want to, with Tambourine to worry about. We thought we might if we come back when she's older."

"Nonsense!" Twilight exclaimed. "It's your first time here, right? You simply have to go on one. Tell you what. How about I take care of your little Angel, Tambourine, was it? Then you two can have a romantic dinner to yourselves. I bet you haven't done that for a while. New parents never find the time."

"Well, uh, thanks, but--" Octavia started, looking a worried.

"No buts, Octavia. I can't allow you to come to Ponezia and not go on a gondola ride. I'd never forgive myself."

"But we've never--"

"Gone before." Twilight finished, not catching on. "I know. Which is why I will take it upon myself to show you the best place. They have a relatively good price, and for a little extra they'll serve you dinner, too. Sound good?"

"Yes, but--"

"Well, consider it done." Twilight clapped her hooves excitedly. "I'll meet you outside your hotel at eight tonight, alright? You guys are going to have a great evening. Oh, I can't wait to tell the princess about this!"


"Anyways, 'Tav, we're going to have to let her learn to go to sleep without us eventually, and why not now? She's old enough."

"I know but..." Octavia fluttered her forehooves nervously. "What if something happens to her? Oh, I can't do it, Vin'. It's too hard to leave my baby so soon."

"Pony up, 'Tavi. We need a night together, it'll do us both good. I've been dying to do something nice for you for an age now, this will be the perfect opportunity." Vinyl reached into her saddlebag with her magic, rummaging through it until she found her wallet. She levitated the demanded amount of bits out into the gondolier's outstretched hoof, nodding decisively. "Alright, sir. We'll go now."

The two ponies boarded the little boat quickly, first Vinyl, then Octavia, who was helped down on the hoof of her try-hard romantic marefriend.

"Thanks, Sweetheart. But are you sure--"

"Shush. She'll be fine, 'Tav. Chill out. This is our special night, remember?" Vinyl smoothed Octavia's mane affectionately, rubbing her cheek against her marefriend's like a friendly cat.

The gondolier shoved off the dock and into the canal, whistling a quick tune, at which two seaponies emerged from the water, balancing silver trays of food on their muzzles, magically kept dry and hot despite being under water.

They trays floated onto the table between Octavia and Vinyl, setting themselves down in perfect alignment in front of the two mares. The seaponies bowed their heads and shook their flippers before diving back down.

"Ugh," Vinyl scowled at the plates in front of her. "I forgot how discriminated against Seaponies are here. They're just ponies with fish tails-- are they really that different from, say, pegasi, in the way of being 'mutants' from the perfect pony?"

Octavia picked up her fork and patted Vinyl's hoof kindly. "I know, but what can we do? I do have to say, though, I've heard their cooking is delicious."

Vinyl sighed, but turned back to her plates. "Look! They even gave us wine!" She levitated the bottle over their glasses, pouring a generous serving before Octavia pulled the bottle back and set it on the table.

"That's enough, dear. You can always get more later."

"Yes, Mother," Vinyl rolled her eyes, lifting the glass and swirling the contents under her nose, sniffing. "Smooth finish, with a hint of walnut, and-- Pshh, who am I kidding? I can't tell a fine wine from my own hoof unless I've already drank a bottle of it. Of course, then it all tastes good." She laughed easily. "What do you think, 'Tav? You're the fancy one here."

Octavia took a delicate sip, rolling the taste around on her tongue. "You know, Vinyl, I don't know any more about this than you do. But it's good, that much I can tell you."

"Wow. An uppity Canterlot cellist admits she doesn't know anything about something to her longtime marefriend, a lowly nightclub disk jockey. Amazing." Vinyl pretended to look shocked.

"I am not uppity." Octavia said, indignant. "And I don't think of you as a lowly disk jockey, I think of you as the other mother of my foal, and the mare who insisted on taking me on an ultra-expensive gondola ride just because she loves me. Speaking of our foal, do you really think she's still alright?It's been an awfully long time. Maybe we should ask him to take us back?"

"Quit worryin', 'Tavi. We've only been out here ten minutes." Vinyl took a large, unladylike gulp of the wine. "Gosh, you're right. This is some pretty good wine."

Vinyl dug into the still steaming meal with gusto, thoroughly hungry, but Octavia didn't eat much. She was still too nervous about the filly. But she kept her feelings to herself, wanting Vinyl to think she was enjoying the whole evening.

The moon had risen now, and the sights along the canal's edge rose pale and ghostly and beautiful beside them, making both mares stop talking to watch them. A few other ponies walked along the banks, most speaking Fillitalian, but mostly the canals were deserted.

As the seaponies whisked away their plates and provided a new wine with desert, Octavia broke the silence. "I didn't think it would be this quiet out. You'd think there would be more ponies out and about on a nice night like this."

"Yes," The gondolier said suddenly. "I tek you... special route. Everypony else goes different way. This my way."

Vinyl watched him closely for a moment, but he seemed honest. "Thank you. It's beautiful."

Octavia poured them each a glass of the new wine. It was a lighter, pinkish shade this time, milder. But they'd already drank almost the entire the first bottle, so Octavia was determined to limit Vinyl's consumption of this one. She put her hoof over Vinyl's, drawing the white mare's attention as she scooped up a spoonful of the desert. "Open up, Sweetheart."

Vinyl took the morsel surprisingly delicately, chewing thoughtfully. "It's good, 'Tav, but I like the wine more." She downed the half glass Octavia had poured her, then levitated Octavia's glass over to her, with a gentle smile. "Your turn."

As Octavia was forced to drink the entire glass, she was reminded of when she ad first moved in with Vinyl. The memory made her giggle as she thought of how the two of them must have looked by the end, drunk as lords in a classy bar most ponies only went to for a cocktail before dinner.

"Vinyl," she giggled thickly, beginning to feel the first signs of the wine. "Do you remember doing this when we met?"

"Uh-huh. How could I forget?" Vinyl finished her second glass of the desert wine. 'Celestia, you were mad at me for that. I still don't think I know what the barmare gave me to drink."

"I dunno. But it made my throat feel like it was on fire until I'd had about three of them." Octavia took another bite of the desert, which appeared to be some fancy kind of chocolate cake. "Can you imagine if that got out in public? Octavia, world famous cellist, first caught in Pony Pokey scandal, down seen completely drunk at a high class Canterlot bar with renowned DJ Pon3's muzzle in her between her thighs. What a riot! Nopony would have spoken to me ever again!"

Vinyl giggled and poured the rest of the wine into their glasses. She clapped her hooves at the gondolier, still grinning, eyes crossed slightly. "Hey," She slurred up at him. "C'you sing fer ush? Cuz, um, that wud be rilly nishe, y'know?"

"Much sorry, ma'am. Gondoliers not required to sing anymore. If you want music, bring yourself."

Vinyl took that as an invitation. She pulled out her PonyPod and turned on her loudest remix, letting the unharnessed wubs crash and echo through the canal.

"Other ponies inside are prolly tryin' to sleep, Vin'," Octavia crawled around the table to sit on Vinyl's lap and try to turn off the obnoxious sound blasting from Vinyl's PonyPod. "And I don' like that kin'a music, anyways."

"Okay. We have to both like it. But I don' care about the other poniesh. They can just kish my fat flank." Vinyl tapped a button, and another remixed classical song blasted out, making Octavia jump.

At last the gondola bumped back against the dock, and this time the Ponezian stallion had to help both mares out of the little boat. They stood rocking on the pavement for a moment, waving goodbye even though the gondola wasn't moving anymore.

Eventually they turned away and began to make their way back to the hotel. Halfway there, Vinyl stopped and heaved the fancy dinner into the canal, which in turn made Octavia sick from the sight.

Vinyl wiped her mouth on her hoof. "Tha' tashted better the firsht time, dontcha think?"

Octavia nodded remorsefully, wishing they hadn't drank quite so much, but the simple action of moving her head made her feel sick all over again.

"Le's go home, Twi. Vin' is waiting for ush."

They managed, miraculously, to get into the hotel room, despite the puzzling electronic key, which Vinyl Scratch insisted ought to be brought to Celestia because of it's special and unique magic in that it could open one door, theirs, but not the others', and were welcomed by a happy Twilight, who eagerly whispered that Tambourine had been a perfect angel, and gone to sleep immediately.

"Good thing too, she would have been a nu.. noose... ne'er mine, I can' shay it right now. But we had fun, right Vin'?"

"Yesh, was great. Thanks, Twi-hic!-- hey, did you ever notice yer name shounds like toilet? Tha's cool. Toilet Sparkle, souns like soap. Anywaysh, here's the bill, shee you--hic!-- la'er, 'kay?"

Vinyl thrust some bits in the general direction of the purple pony. Twilight, upon realizing how intoxicated they really were, decided that it would be a better idea to take Tambourine with her for the night. So she carefully strapped the filly into her pram and left, dropping a note with her address on the bedside table.

She hurried out, glad she had been able to rescue poor Tambourine for the night. Octavia and Vinyl Scratch wouldn't be able to take care of her at least until morning.

Meanwhile, the two said ponies were collapsed on their bed, engaged in a furious tickling/blowing raspberries on each other's stomachs war, which would no doubt wake everypony in the hotel, because Octavia kept falling off the bed.

She wasn't hurt, but it gave Vinyl the advantage, making Octavia squeal for mercy as the white mare bore down on her, grinning madly as her glasses slipped of her nose, and bouncing slightly on Octavia's stomach before clattering to the floor.

Late, or early, into the morning, they eventually fell asleep in a heap on the slightly damp mattress, neither one having any idea of what was going on.