• Published 11th Jul 2012
  • 9,330 Views, 730 Comments

A Tale of Two Mares - CharmingChaos

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

  • ...

The Trial Begins

Octavia and Vinyl Scratch stepped into the City Hall silently, with varied degrees of confidence. While Octavia strode forward, her smart, little, black, Carousel Boutique skirt and suit-coat rustling softly with each swaying step, Vinyl followed more cautiously, watching her partner's bobbing hips and tail with a nervous look on her face. She tugged on the little pink bow tie Octavia had made her wear with a worried sigh, and hurried to fall into step next to her grey counterpart.

"Why do I have to wear this silly thing?" She asked quietly. "It feels like I'm being strangled by a weak filly."

Octavia nuzzled her cheek reassuringly. "It's because you have to look at least somewhat presentable. We have to make a good impression to help Twilight protect Tamby."

Said filly was currently playing in the middle of the floor with their go-to Canterlot babysitter, a highschool filly by the name of Rustle. Nopony knew her last name, but Tambourine loved her.

"I still don't get how wearing this silly piece of pink and white string helps Tambourine in any way. By the way, where is Twilight Sparkle?"

"I don't kn--Oh! There, by the restrooms. She must have been in there when we got her." Octavia pointed, and Vinyl followed the delicate grey hoof to see that their pretty purple lawyer was indeed scanning the large... lobby, was it? Vinyl didn't know what to think of the huge room.

Octavia tugged her along, grabbing one hoof in a foalish show of impatience. "Come on, Vin', let's go meet her."

Twilight smiled at them, her violet eyes strikingly like Octavia's, as Vinyl noticed, not for the first time. "Good morning, Ladies. I'm glad I found you. We have about ten minutes before we have to go in."

"Good." Octavia said firmly, suddenly losing some of her calm. "Do you think you could answer a few last-minute questions we have?"

"Of cour--" Twilight started, but Vinyl interrupted.

"Why do we have to wear these silly professionallish things? It seems kind of ridiculous. I mean, we're naked all day long, most of the time, and now we suddenly have to wear these... these suit-thingies?"

"It's etiquette, Vinyl. There are things like this that ponies have been doing for eons, and for some reason, I guess in order to keep it very formal and traditional, nopony wants to change any of it by stopping. The jury is permitted to dress or not dress however they like, but if any of us came in without formal attire, we would be considered ragamuffins, or just below the rest of the court, and nopony would take us seriously, and we'd most likely lose the trial, no matter how good our presentation was."

"Gesundheit." Vinyl turned to Octavia. "Can you explain that to me in plain Equestrian? My vocabulary is limited to profanity and two-syllable words at most."

"You just called yourself an idiot, Vinyl," Octavia pointed out. Vinyl opened her mouth to complain, but a hoof to her muzzle shushed her. "What she means is the judge and the other ponies in the court won't take us seriously unless we're dressed nicely, because that's how it's always been done."

"Okay, so if we show up without suits and bow ties and shit, we'll lose the case? That seems pretty bucked up to me. I mean, what if we can't afford all that stuff? Then we just automatically lose?"

"Not quite, but it's better safe then sorry." Twilight glanced at her watch. "Oh! We only have five minutes left. We'd better get going."


"Do you think they'll ever get to the us part, 'Tavi?" Vinyl whispered loudly, making the charcoal mare jump slightly.

Vinyl had dozed through the better part of the first half-hour, when Celestia's guard recited all the rules and laws and whatnot that could and couldn't be done in the courtroom, and she didn't much understand what was going on, everypony was using long, Octavia-ish words that didn't even belong in the dictionary. That was mostly Twilight, but she was the one speaking at the moment, questioning Sonata on her reasons why she should keep the filly, and Crescendo, on, well, basically so he could repeat his wife's words and back her up.

Octavia replied in a tired whisper-- she'd been answering Vinyl's questions all morning-- and gave her a reassuring pat on the back. "They have to get through all this first. And it's almost noon, we might break for lunch before we go on to the 'us part', as you call it."

"Oh," Vinyl brightened. "I like lunch."

"You're ridiculous, Vinyl," Octavia chided softly. "We're in the middle of a trial fighting for custody of our daughter, and all you care about is when we get to eat?"

"I like to eat. And I like to take my fair Lady Octy to lunch once in a while," Vinyl stated playfully.

"We should be quiet and listen. I think they're getting to Lyra's part."

The two mares sat back to listen as Lyra began speaking. As an old rival of Octavia's, she'd had no problem working against her, especially in such a sensitive matter. Her soft, smooth voice sneered through the courtroom in a tone that showed disgust for everypony present.

"Well, Twilight, that was touching. And I'm sure everypony here can see what sweet, honest, kind, and overall wonderful ponies these two pathetic parents are, am I right?"

As Lyra paused, there was a murmur of agreement through the ponies watching and the jury. Lyra smiled at them benevolently.

"Yes, I thought so. I suppose my client, Ms. Philharmonica, and I ought to just go home, yes? We haven't got a chance, your Twilight Sparkle has done to great a job showing you all these lies in such a brilliantly sweet manner, we ought to just give up.

"But I'm not a quitter, and she's not a quitter, and I'm going to show you that none of what Ms. Sparkle said was the least bit true," Lyra continued, a sympathetic look on her face, as if she were telling the court about the sweetest news ever brought to pony ears. The jury and the other ponies watching nodded, seemingly in a daze.

Octavia leaned in to whisper in Vinyl's ear, looking worried. "She's brainwashing them! She's using her voice and her looks to get them to listen to her, even though she doesn't know a thing about what she's talking about."

Ms, Scratch, was it?" The unicorn lawyer's face contorted slightly as she said the word. "Please take a seat up here where everypony can see you. I'll try to keep my questions within your simple vocabulary."

Lyra gestured at the witness's little barred in stand, and Octavia patted Vinyl's hoof reassuringly. "Try to keep your cool, Sweetheart. We have to show them we're sane, and you exploding at Heartstrings won't help us in the least."

Vinyl nodded. "Got it, Babe."

Vinyl was escorted up into the stand and Lyra approached with a look of pity on her face. "So, Ms. Scratch, you're a DJ, correct?"

Vinyl nodded her head, her blue mane bouncing slightly. "Yes'm."

"And where do you work, Ms. Scratch? Clubs? Bars? Canterlot Events?"

"All three, Ma'am. I work at lots of different places, depending on where they'll pay me to play."

"I see. Now, do you often participate in the partying around you when you play?"

"Of cour-- wait just one second, Heartstrings. What the hay do these questions have to do with Tambourine?! I don't think it's fair to just ask random shit that has nothi--"

Princess Celestia banged her little judge's hammer down hard, several times, to get Vinyl to quiet down. "The witness in question must answer the questions asked, not protest that they are irrelevant. Go on, Miss Heartstrings."

"You do join the partying?" Lyra raised her eyebrows in a scolding manner. "Is that really necessary?"

"Sometimes Octy or the barpony will bring me a drink to keep me refreshed, I'm pretty sure that's normal for a DJ."

"Perhaps that is true. Now, tell me, Ms. Scratch, how late do you get home usually?"

"It depends on where I go. Sometimes I finish as early as ten-thirty, and there are Pinkamina Pie's parties, which are usually in the daytime, but other then that I often end up working until the bar or club in question closes, which is usually close to two AM."

Octavia could see that Vinyl was trying hard not to burst out again, and that her expression held pure hate for the mare in front of her. After all the years together, Octavia considered herself an expert on reading her marefriend's expressions, despite the enormous purple shades she wore whenever she was out of the house, and sometimes inside, too.

"I see." Lyra looked satisfied. "Now, Ms. Scratch, do you drink?"

"Woah, personal question there, Lyra," Vinyl said, holding her hooves up defensively. Seeing the green unicorn flinch at being called by her first name was somewhat satisfying, but she was still fed up.

"Just answer the question, Vinyl Scratch. It's required, but I didn't expect you to know that. Go on."

"Objection!" Twilight stood up suddenly. "That is too personal a question, and it has nothing to do with the case!"

Princess Celestia thought for a moment. "Overruled, continue."

Vinyl and Twilight sighed simultaneously. "Not often. Once in a while, me and Octavia will go out to get a cocktail or something, but mostly, we stay sober, for the sake of our filly and our health. Does that answer your question?" Vinyl snarled. Octavia flinched. This didn't bode well.

"I suppose it does. That will do, Ms. Scratch. Ms. Philharmonica the Second?"

Octavia passed Vinyl on her way to the stand, and the white mare gave her a reassuring grin, but it did nothing for her nerves.

"Hello, again, Ms. Philharmonica. How lovely to see you. Now, I know you're a cellist in the Canterlot Symphony, I've seen you play before. Pity I couldn't join you. But you also play at Canterlot social events and Galas, correct?"

"I do." Octavia stated simply, determined to say as little as possible that might hurt their foal.

"Yes. Now, how often do you have to go to practices?"

"Three times a week, Ma'am."

"I see. Who takes care of your foal, Tambourine, correct?-- while you are at practice? Your... partner, Ms, Scratch, or a foalsitter?"

"Most of the time, my marefriend" (Octavia was careful to put emphasis on the word) "Takes care of her while I play, and I take care of her while she plays, but occasionally we hire a foalsitter, like today."

"And, who is this foalsitter?"

"Rustle, Ma'am. she's at home with tambourine at the moment."

"No last name?"

"We don't know it, Ma'am. She's relatively new, and we haven't had the chance to ask."

"Ah." Lyra crossed the room to look at Vinyl and the jury, then moved back to where she could stare down Octavia. "And how old is this mysterious Rustle?"

"She's fourteen, Ma'am. She goes to the Canterlot Public Highschool, downtown."

"I see. That seems a bit young to take care of a filly all on her own, don't you think?"

"I started foalsitting when I was twelve. And she's done an excellent job so far. Besides, Tambourine is very responsible for a four-year-old."

"From taking care of herself more then necessary? Maybe. Now, Octavia, how about you? Do you drink during, or after, your performances?"

"It's as Vinyl Scratch said, Ma'am. Occasionally the two of us go out for a cocktail, but mostly neither of us drink much alcohol."

"I see. That is all I need to know from you two. You may go."

As Octavia trotted back to her seat, Princess Celestia banged the gavel once again. "Break for one hour. We, I and the jury, will have come up with the guardians by the time you come back. Court adjourned."

Octavia met Vinyl Scratch and Twilight outside the doors, and Octavia gave Vinyl a quick nuzzle before they turned towards the double doors to the street. Vinyl ripped of her bow-tie with a relieved sigh, just before a light blue hoof in front of Octavia's chest stopped them from leaving.

"It's positively revolting how you two display so much of your unnatural affection in public. Any daughter of mine ought to know better than that." Sonata spoke coldly, her voice razor-sharp.

"Any daughter of yours isn't here right now," Octavia retorted. "And you, Lyra. I though you'd given up on ruining my life in college. What gives?"

"I gave up on trying to ruin your career in college, Philharmonica. But when I realized that my lyre performances were going nowhere, I took up law. This way I still have the option of ruining your home-life, even if I can't ruin your career. I suppose that's better, for me anyways." She sneered, her golden eyes digging into Octavia's soul.

"Good luck, Heartstrings. You'll need it, working with a crazy bitch like Sunny here," Vinyl said cheerfully. It was odd how she could manage to make even the rudest things sound happy, despite the fact that she was throwing insults left and right.

"I'm sure we'll do just fine, Pon3. But thank you for your concern." Lyra and Sonata brushed past them out the door, their almost identical charcoal half-suits swishing.

"Well, that was awkward," Twilight stated, breaking the silence. "I suppose we ought to follow them, don't you think? Law is only my side job, but I've heard enough lawyer jokes to know that we have to be as cunning and untruthful as possible in order to win."

Octavia and Vinyl nodded, and the three mares followed their enemies out the double doors in front of the building.