• Published 12th Jul 2012
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Off-Rhythm - KnightMysterio



A different take on the Octavia/Vinyl Scratch pairing

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Mezza Voce

Off-Rhythm
By Jonathan “KnightMysterio” Spires
A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfiction

All characters and concepts not original copyrighted to Hasbro and used without permission for non-profit amusement reasons. All original characters and concepts copyrighted to me, so don’t use without permission, please. Comments, constructive criticism, and especially compliments are not only welcome, but encouraged.

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Club Destiny Night…
Canterlot…
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

“All party ponies in the house get ready!” shouted the DJ, a grinning, boisterous young unicorn with wild, neon-blue hair and violet shades. She twirled a record on one hoof, balancing it without the use of her magic. “Y’all been a great crowd tonight, but the party ain’t over yet! DJ-P0n3, the Diva of Dubstep, has got some rad beats to finish the night off! So let’s make a little noise and see if we can’t shake Canterlot off the mountain!”

It was a tease, everyone knew. No one in their right mind would want to shake Canterlot off the mountain. But the crowd loved the idea of a party so intense that it could do just that. As the DJ set the record and started the music blaring, the crowd cheered and danced along, the heavy bass reverberating throughout their bodies, a heavy pulse that send a thrill through every fiber of their being.

That was Vinyl Scratch’s special talent. She could hold the crowd in the curve of her hoof, command a room with her words and her music. Someone once described her sessions as being ‘almost as good as sex,’ a compliment she relished. What very few ponies knew is that each song she played was her own composition. The only time she didn’t use her own work is when she was providing backup for another singer, like she did for that Twilight Sparkle character at the wedding of Princess Cadence and Unicorn Guard Captain Shining Armor.

What a fiasco that was, she mused inwardly. But it had worked out well in the end. Her career had taken a hit after that disastrous fashion show a year or so ago, but like Rarity, she had recovered from it marvelously. And now, each night, she played to a packed room, making thunder with her bass-laden beats. It was glorious. It paid marvelously, and playing for as long as she had at THE most popular club in Canterlot has sealed her reputation as one of the greatest DJs on the planet.

So why in blazes did she never feel satisfied?

She put it out of her mind. Time enough to reflect after the show.

She worked the tables expertly, shifting music swiftly, altering the tone and tune where needed, the bass-laden dubstep inundating the room. She liked to think that she commanded the thunder from her tables, and that she could almost see the beats permeating the room, flowing over her crowd like water.

She looked over the crowd with a smirk on her face, seeing ponies dancing to the beat, chatting amiably, just enjoying themselves and having a good time. And that made her happy, to see the crowd enjoying themselves because of her.

Heh. Some of the ponies were even standing on their hind legs and dancing on the tables. Some of them garishly clad, with glow bands around their legs…

Vinyl blinked, and lifted her glasses for a moment, thinking she spotted someone familiar. A gray Earth pony with a treble clef Cutie Mark and an impeccably styled mane, dancing away on the table, gyrating wildly to the beat, laughing happily…

It can’t be, Vinyl thought. It did look like her, though…

Vinyl shook her head, and concentrated on the tables. When she looked up again, the gray Earth pony was gone.

Yeah, it couldn’t have been her. Why would anyone that classy be in a club like this, anyway? Vinyl thought. Still, it would have been cool. Someone as famous as Octavia Melodia showing up in her club would be a great boost to attendance.

Yawning, she went to her dressing room, ready to call it a night. After tomorrow's show, she had the weekend off, and planned on just relaxing and maybe doing some composing. She was looking forward to that. Always got to keep the material fresh to stay in vogue. She washed her face off, and grinned at herself in the mirror.

“Not a bad night,” she said to herself, smiling at her magenta-eyed reflection.

“Not a bad night at all,” said a voice from behind her.

Vinyl yelped and whirled, her horn flaring. To her shock, standing right behind her, an amused smirk on her face, was Octavia. The cellist chuckled, idly flicking a lock of wild neon blue mane out of Vinyl’s stunned face. “I just wanted to compliment you on tonight’s show.”

Vinyl stared at her incredulously. “How… how did you get past the bouncers?” she demanded.

“I am a ninja. Fear me!” Octavia teased, looking around the dressing room. “Rather… sparse for such a successful DJ,” she said. “Didn’t you DJ the wedding reception of Princess Cadence and Shining Armor?”

Vinyl frowned. “Yeah, I did. So what? I had bills to pay, I had to replace some stuff after the Changeling attack, and I never went in for any fancy stuff to begin with.”

Octavia nodded, smiling. “So you're frugal, then. Good, good...”

Vinyl shrugged. “Well, you just have to...” she started to say, blinking and realizing what she was saying. “WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE!?”

“I wanted something different,” Octavia said. She then learned forward and kissed Vinyl passionately, stunning the DJ into paralysis. After a long moment, she broke the kiss, smirking. “And it seems that you want something new as well.”

“Bwah...” Vinyl managed after a moment, blushing and staring at the gray Earth pony in shock, unable to do anything else.

Octavia turned, smirking. “I had a wonderful time tonight, Vinyl Scratch,” she said. “You will see me again.”

Vinyl shook her head. She looked out the window of her dressing room at the clear night sky, as if praying to Princess Luna for strength. But when she looked back, Octavia had vanished.

Vinyl shook her head. “Weird...”

Two other talents who performed at the club, a heavyset Earth pony rapper named Beatbox and a heavy metal pegasus named Jam Session, came in to visit her.

“Sweet beats tonight, Vinyl,” Beatbox said, his voice a bass almost as thundering as Vinyl's speakers. He noticed right away when Vinyl didn't respond, just staring at the spot where Octavia was.

“You really had 'em going, girl,” Jam Session said, his mane wild and unkempt. “You shook the house big time! You...” Beatbox smacked Jam Session, who then realized that Vinyl seemed dumbstruck by something.

“Something wrong?” Beatbox said. Vinyl blinked, shaking her head to clear it.

“I'm fine, it's just...” she said. “Well, one of the guests got back into my dressing room.”

Jam Session chuckled. “Someone got past Big Time?” he said, “Pft, I doubt it.”

Vinyl shook her head. “Well, she got past him all right,” she said. “Came right into my room.”

Jam Session blinked. “She?”

Beatbox snorted. “That explains it, then. Big Time could never resist a pretty flank,” he said.

Vinyl rolled her eyes. “Some bouncer we got, eh boys? Makes you feel so safe,” she said.

The two musicians chuckled appreciatively at the joke. Jam Session shook his head in amusement and said, “Anyway, you said she. Do you know who it was? Anyone we know?”

Vinyl hesitated. “Well... It was that cellist, Octavia Melodia. I noticed her in the crowd earlier...”

Beatbox looked surprised. “Someone that classy in our little club? She may be less boring than I thought she was.”

Jam Session frowned. “That still doesn't explain why you were just standin' there, though...”

Vinyl blushed, looking away. She knew how Jam Session would take it, but she also knew that he'd never leave it alone until he found out. “She... She said she wanted something different... and she kissed me.”

Beatbox blinked, a confused look crossing his face. “'Wanted something different?'”

Jam Session grinned widely. “KISSED YOU!? And you were standin' there so long, you must have enjoyed it! Ooooh, is you a 'leslie' now? Is you gonna make out with the ladies on stage? What else did the two of you do?”

Beatbox smacked him. “'Leslie?' Luna's horn, dude. Show SOME class,” he muttered.

Vinyl just smirked. “Nono, he deserves to know,” she said. She smiled teasingly, setting her shades aside. When she spoke again, it was a sultry, breathy voice. “We made mad, passionate love, right over there on my table. Our tongues and bodies entwined, our hooves stroking each other's coats... It was a mad, Sapphic bacchanal...”

Jam Session gulped, silently grateful he was one of the few ponies that wore pants.

Vinyl continued teasing him. “Oh, it was glorious... We brought each other to the moon over and over again. But there was only one thing missing...”

“W-what was that?” Jam Session stammered.

“A big, strong, thick man...” Vinyl cooed. “Such a shame Beatbox wasn't available.”

Jam Session scowled, realizing he'd been had. Both Vinyl and Beatbox laughed at him. “Seriously, though,” Vinyl said. “She kissed me, that's all. It caught me off guard.”

Beatbox frowned. “Weird... I heard some rumors in the classical music community that Octavia had been acting strangely ever since Discord's attack.”

Jam Session chuckled. “I think it's hot. I mean, she may be a stiff, but she's still one of the hottest flanks in Equestria. And here she is taking an interest in another of the hottest flanks in Equestria.”

Vinyl blushed. “You keep saying hot you're gonna get burned one day,” she teased.

“Still don't change the fact that it's hot,” Jam Session said, waggling his eyebrows.

“Boy, you got about as much class as an empty schoolhouse,” Beatbox said.

Vinyl laughed. Jam Session stuck her tongue out at her.

Beatbox chuckled. “Still, you gotta admit, Vinyl. That kiss did leave you kinda flustered. You sure you didn't enjoy it?”

“She's a better kisser than Jam Session, that's for damn sure,” Vinyl teased. But she knew Beatbox was right. She could still taste Octavia on her lips, still felt warm from the kiss.

She was not a lesbian. At least, she didn't think so. Just because the few stallions she had been with had been unable to satisfy her, that didn't mean she was a fillyfooler... did it?

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
Moonlight Lounge…
Later that evening...
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

A lone Earth pony stallion with a blue coat and blonde mane sat at the bar, sipping his drink calmly. He turned and smiled when Octavia came through the door. “Have fun club-hopping, Tavi?”

Octavia grinned widely. “That I did, Frederic. Although I actually went to only one club,” she said. “Destiny Night.”

Frederic Horseshoepin looked thoughtful for a moment, and blinked in realization. “Is that where that famous disc jockey, DJ-P0n3, makes her home?”

Octavia rolled her eyes. “I refuse to call her that. The moment I saw it written out, I knew I'd never use that name for her,” she said.

Frederic chuckled. “Fair enough,” he said as Octavia sat down at the bar with him. “Is she as good as people on the club scene say she is?”

Octavia blushed. “Even better. She's BEAUTIFUL,” she said. “And the way she makes her music... I could feel each beat inside me as if it were my own heartbeat. I definitely want to see her again.”

Frederic grinned. “Well well. Has our lovely cellist found someone at last?”

Octavia smirked. “Maybe... Maybe...” she said, turning to the bartender and ordering.

Frederic sipped his drink. “You obviously desire her,” he said. “But what if she doesn't return the feeling?”

Octavia casually sipped her drink. “Then I will simply seek her friendship,” she said, a determined expression on her face. “I'm not giving up, Frederic. Discord may have been a monster, but he was completely right about me. I've kept myself locked away for too long. I need something more in my life. And the moment I saw her, I knew that something was Vinyl Scratch.”

Frederic raised his glass in a toast, and Octavia reciprocated. “To passion, then,” he said. “And proving to mad gods of chaos that we are more than what we are.”

Octavia grinned, clinking her glass against Frederic's. “Here here,” she agreed.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
The next evening...
Destiny Night...
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Vinyl Scratch found herself uncharacteristically hesitant as she waited for Beatbox to finish his act. The massive Earth pony had the crowd jumping to his hip-hop beats, the rapper seemingly never needing to take a breath as he belted out his powerful rhymes.

It was something every performer had, and practically a requirement to work at Destiny Night. Each one had the power to keep the crowd enthralled, to keep them coming back for more night after night. Vinyl, Beatbox, and Jam Session were the three that were best at it, a trait that had helped them bond. Each one's music comforted the other in their own way.

Vinyl bobbed her head idly to Beatbox's songs, letting the rhythm flow through her, putting her back into her own rhythm as she prepared to give her own performance at the DJ tables once Beatbox was done. A smile slowly returned to her face as she started to feel ready to go out and perform.

And then she saw Octavia again, sitting casually in the audience, throwing her off-rhythm completely. She wasn't dancing like so many others were, but she didn't seem to hate Beatbox's music, either, her hoof idly tapping to the beat. Vinyl gulped, having a sinking feeling that she was here to see her again.

And she could still feel that kiss on her lips, could still taste her...

She shook her head and tried to clear it, tried to focus on the oncoming performance. Beatbox actually finished his set earlier, but upon seeing Vinyl looking flustered backstage, decided to do one more song, a silly, comedic rap he knew that the DJ liked, to try and help her relax.

No one caught Beatbox's glance backstage, save for Octavia. So only she managed to realize why Beatbox decided to respond to the calls for one more song.

He's doing this to try and help Vinyl rally, Octavia thought. It seems I had a greater affect on her than I thought. If it affects her performance tonight, I may have to go about this differently...

Beatbox finished the song and headed offstage to wild cheers and laughter. Vinyl greeted him gratefully. “Thanks, m'man,” she said. “That was a pick-me-up I needed.”

Beatbox nodded. “I saw Octavia in the audience,” he said. “You gonna be okay?”

Vinyl thought for a moment, and nodded. “Yeah, I will. I mean, I've had affectionate fans before, right?”

“Right...” Beatbox said, still clearly worried about her. The crew finished cleaning up the stage and setting up Vinyl Scratch's tables. As the crowd sat down again, they began clapping in rhythm, hooves stomping the floor. Vinyl went out to her tables in total darkness, and put her trademark grin on her face.

“All right fillies and gentlecolts, let's rock the house tonight!” she said, singing the last few words, an autotuner on her headset mike adding effects to her voice. “DJ-P0n3, the Diva of Dubstep is in da house once again, so let's make a little love, and make a lotta noise!”

The crowd cheered wildly, and got up and danced as Vinyl began her set. Thundering bass filled the building like water, even people on the upper floors able to hear the music clearly as if they were right up against the speakers. Vinyl worked the tables expertly, switching songs and playing with the records without even using her magic, never once losing a step, never once losing a beat.

Except once.

She saw Octavia in the audience again, dancing and swaying to the beat just like last time. As Vinyl watched her, she felt a strange warmth filling her. Thrown off-rhythm, she almost didn't notice as a song was about to end, and briefly struggled to catch up. But she managed it, no one in the audience save Octavia, who had a look of concern flash across her face briefly, noticing.

The session ended to wild cheering as always, Vinyl making a grand exit from the stage. She went back to her dressing room and promptly slammed her face on her desk.

Beatbox came in, Jam Session heading out to the stage for the last act of the night. “You okay?” he asked.

Vinyl shook her head. “I almost missed a transition, Beatbox. That's... that's never happened to me before...”

Beatbox frowned. “Still, you managed to recover, so that's something at least...”

Vinyl sighed. “I don't know what's wrong with me,” she said. “I mean, just 'cause somepony kissed me ONCE...”

Beatbox shrugged. “Maybe you liked it,” he said.

Vinyl scowled. “I'm no fillyfooler,” she muttered.

Beatbox looked at her steadily. “Would it be so bad if you were? After Princess Celestia tore that TV preacher, Reverend By-The-Book, several new ones for makin' threats against this couple in Ponyville a couple years back, folks have been a lot more open about gettin' together with whomever they want.”

Vinyl cringed. “I just...” she stammered. “Look. Just because all twelve guys I've gone out with haven't worked out or haven't been attractive to me, doesn't mean that I like mares instead.”

“Then why is Octavia the only one that ever had a kiss that affected you like that?” Beatbox pressed.

Vinyl hesitated. Before she could answer, Octavia appeared behind them again, startling them.

“Vinyl? I wanted to apologize,” she said.

“HOW IN BLAZES DID YOU GET PAST BIG TIME?” Beatbox bellowed, a baffled expression on his face.

Octavia snorted. “Like that slowpoke can catch me,” she said. “And anyway, like I said, I wished to apologize.”

Vinyl blinked. “For what?”

“You seemed to fumble a little during your set. I noticed it when you were looking at me,” Octavia said. She came up to Vinyl and nuzzled her, the DJ freezing and blushing brightly. “If it was my fault, then I wish to apologize. I do seek your affection, but I do not wish to affect your career.”

Vinyl swallowed hard, and managed to smile. “I-It's cool. I recovered, so no big deal,” she stammered.

Octavia smiled warmly, Vinyl feeling herself blush even harder. “Good,” the cellist said, “I'm glad. I want to keep coming, but I think I'll sit farther back than I do. Your music is nothing short of exquisite.”

Vinyl grinned weakly. “N-Never thought someone of the orchestral set would be into dubstep,” she said.

Octavia chuckled. “Surprised me, too,” she said. “Listen, do you have a day off tomorrow?”

Vinyl blinked, the question catching her off-guard. “Yeah, I got the weekend off. Why?”

Octavia grinned. “I want to talk to you for a bit, if that's all right. I'll take you to whatever restaurant you like for dinner tomorrow, around seven-ish, all my treat,” she offered.

Vinyl quirked an eyebrow curiously. It seemed like an innocent enough request. “Well... I do like that buffet place down on Gallopsford Road, the Golden Saddle... They got this new chocolate fondue thing in and cotton candy...”

Octavia nodded. “Superb. It's a date then,” she said. Before Vinyl could protest the terminology, Octavia kissed her, Vinyl meeping softly. Octavia held the kiss for a long moment, Vinyl starting to feel herself relax into it. As she did, Octavia pulled away and trotted out the door, leaving a dazed Vinyl and a stunned Beatbox.

“...DAMN,” Beatbox said after a long moment.

Vinyl's thoughts were muddled. She kisses like a goddess oh sweet Celestia did I just agree to go on a date with a girl she tastes like strawberries is it a perfume she uses what am I doing why am I feeling this way about another mare she is gorgeous I'm not a fillyfooler why do I feel like this...

Beatbox was the first to recover. He nudged Vinyl, who shook her head, managing to clear it for the most part.

“Did what I think just happen... happen?” Beatbox asked.

Vinyl Scratch nodded numbly. “Yep... I'm going on a date. With a mare,” she said.

Beatbox hesitated for a moment, and chuckled. “Well, considering how much of a royal bozo your last boyfriend was, ANYTHING is a step up, right?”

Vinyl blinked... and began to laugh. “Yeah, yeah, I guess so,” she said. “She seems nice enough, at any rate. I'll just go and talk. Doesn't mean anything else has to happen.”

“Right,” Beatbox said.

“No reason a couple of galpals can't go out and have a meal together, even ones that just met,” Vinyl said.

Beatbox nodded. “No reason at all,” he said.

There was a long pause.

“You can still taste the kiss, can't you?” Beatbox asked.

“Yes,” Vinyl said in a small voice. “I... I don't know what's going on, Beatbox. My heart is racing, I feel warm all over... I've never felt this way before.”

Beatbox gently placed a hoof on her shoulder. “Go to the dinner. Talk with her,” he said. “JUST talk with her, see where it goes from there. And remember, you always got me and Jam to talk to.”

Vinyl smiled. But that didn't change the fact that she was scared out of her wits...

And yet strangely, she found herself... surprisingly eager...

TO BE CONTINUED