• Published 12th Jul 2012
  • 22,958 Views, 437 Comments

Off-Rhythm - KnightMysterio



A different take on the Octavia/Vinyl Scratch pairing

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Poco a Poco

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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Golden Saddle...
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Vinyl Scratch gulped, standing across the street from the restaurant. She had no idea why she was doing this. No matter how much she tried to think otherwise, no matter how many other ways she tried to put it, she was going on a date. With a mare she just met.

With a mare who's kisses were far more satisfying than any stallion's, even those of her foalhood friends, Beatbox and Jam Session.

Oh STOP IT, she told herself. It's not like being gay is a sin. And even if you aren't, you need to get out more anyway. Get out of your rut, break your carefully cultivated rhythm for once in your life!

Vinyl shook her head, and sighed. “Okay. Onward to glory, then.”

She stepped into the restaurant. It was as it had always been, a bustling place filled with families and people who just came to get a good meal. She looked around for Octavia, spotting her chatting amiably with two other Earth ponies, a blue male with a blonde mane, and a golden female with a reddish mane, both with music Cutie Marks.

So it's not going to be the two of us alone this time. She felt... oddly relieved. She smiled and hesitantly walked up to them.

Octavia was the first to notice her. “Ah, there you are. I'd like you to meet two of my bandmates, Frederic Horsehoepin, our pianist, and Beauty Brass, our brass instrument specialist,” she said.

“A pleasure to meet you,” Frederic said.

“So you're the one that Tavi's so taken with,” Beauty Brass said, grinning.

Vinyl noted the wedding bands on the tails of Beauty Brass and Frederic, smiling and nodding. “Pleased ta meetcha,” she said, sitting down with them.

Frederic smiled. “And you as well. And before you say anything, no, you may not call me Fred. I don't even let my best friend and my wife get away with that.”

Vinyl snickered. “Hey, fair enough. Freddy,” she teased. Octavia and Beauty Brass snickered.

Frederic facehoofed. “Aaand I just walked right into that one,” he muttered.

“Leave the door hanging loose and someone will slam it in your face,” Vinyl said.

“An interesting philosophy,” Octavia said.

“Survival tactic,” Vinyl said. “Business at that club is rather cutthroat. Me and my boys earned our spots, but we have to be on the look out for wanna-bes trying to take them.”

“Interesting,” Octavia said, looking honestly fascinated.

Vinyl shrugged. “Facts of life sometimes,” she said. “Sometimes you gotta work to keep what you have. Redshoe, the guy who runs the club, he's not exactly the best boss to work for, but so long as you keep bringing the crowds in, he treats you well enough.”

Octavia frowned. “Now that's something I could never abide by, having an employer who cares for cash rather than the music,” she said.

Vinyl chuckled. “Eh, it's a living. I'm sure you three have had to deal with jerkass managers in your time,” she said.

Frederic smirked. “True, true,” he said. “Remember when Prince Blueblood was our orchestra's sponsor for a year?”

Octavia groaned. “That idiot,” she muttered. “What an overblown hassle he was.”

Beauty Brass rolled her eyes. “He was so inept at managing us, I'm surprised he actually knew the difference between a clarinet and a Clair de Lune,” he said.

The four musicians laughed. “Oh geez...” Vinyl said. “Yeah, I actually have experience with Blueblood m'self. The idiot kept coming to me for about a month. Was he as racist then as he was now?”

Octavia nodded. “Probably worse to us then he was around you,” she said, smirking. “He couldn't even begin to fathom how anything other than unicorns could bring such music.”

Vinyl snickered. “Yep, sounds like Blueblood all right,” she said. “I'm SO glad I never accepted his invitations back to his estate. It would have taken forever to get the stink of idiot out of me.”

Octavia grinned. “Well, that just goes to show you that you have taste,” she said. And you taste pretty good, she mentally added, blushing despite herself.

Vinyl blushed. “Just doin' what I can with what I got,” the unicorn said.

“Doing rather well, considering that you make your own music,” Octavia commented.

Vinyl blushed. “You... You can tell?” she stammered.

Octavia nodded, smiling warmly. “When I first became interested in you,” she said, “I decided to do some research to fill myself in on what dubstep was all about. And I've noticed that a lot of what you play doesn't match anything on the market today.” She blushed a little, and added, “And to tell you the truth, and I'm not just saying this because I'm fond of you, your music is better than a lot of what's on the market today.”

Vinyl's eyes widened, her blush intensifying. “You really like it?” she said, smiling widely without realizing it. “I-I mean, I've always loved composing, but with the way my talents took me, I figured I'd go without gettin' known for it.”

Octavia grinned, nuzzling her. “Oh, yes indeed. Quality music deserves to be appreciated,” she said.

Beauty Brass nodded. “I actually followed Octavia into the club one night,” she said. “While I personally am not into your brand of music, Ms. Scratch, I do remember some of the songs you played during your set being of a higher quality than most. There is some real talent there.”

Vinyl blushed brightly. The artist in her was delighted beyond measure that her work was being recognized, and by members of a well-known high society group of musicians. Something else inside of her was still trying to adjust to the fact that her body was enjoying the cellist's touch, and how warm it made her feel...

Octavia smiled when she noticed Vinyl's reaction to the nuzzle, and nodded inwardly. Progress, she thought. But take it slow, Tavi. She has to want you as much as you want her. No need to scare her off.

Vinyl gulped hard, and managed to speak. “I really appreciate it, folks,” she said. “Sometimes it gets frustrating, not knowing whether the crowds are cheering because they enjoyed your music or because their all so drunk they'd cheer someone reading the phone book.”

Octavia sighed. “We have the opposite problem,” she said. “We sometimes can't tell if the crowds are applauding because our performance was good and they honestly appreciate it or they're just glad its over.”

Vinyl quirked an eyebrow, removing her glasses. “...Really? I figured it was just because jumpin' up and cheerin' was rude during an orchestra concert,” she said.

Beauty Brass chuckled softly. “It is. But there are times when we've noticed ponies asleep in the audience,” she said.

Frederic sighed. “Classical and orchestral music doesn't have the same pull it used to,” he said. “It's depressing to think about, but there are days when I wonder if the people coming to our concerts do so because it's the society thing to do.”

“Wow,” Vinyl said softly. “Frustration all around, I guess...”

Octavia nodded. “Indeed,” she said. “But for the love of music, we soldier on. Even if I could not perform, I would still play for my own enjoyment.”

Vinyl grinned. “That's a sentiment I can get behind,” she said, nodding.

Octavia smiled, and kissed her lightly on the cheek. “Excellent,” she said. “Then let's eat before our stomachs start a concerto of their own.”

Vinyl blushed brightly, nodding. Frederic shook his head as he got up with the others. “A little forward there, aren't you Tavi?” he asked her quietly.

Octavia grinned. “I can't help it,” she said, blushing. “She's one of the most gorgeous mares I've ever met, and in more ways than one, too. And she's just so adorable when she gets all shy like that...”

Vinyl sat there for a moment, gently rubbing her cheek where she was kissed. She had overheard what Octavia had said, the words running through her mind over and over.

Beauty Brass nudged her gently. “You okay, dear?”

Vinyl eeped, startled. “YEAH! Yeah, I'm fine!” she said, laughing nervously. “I just... Y'hear words like that before, and they don't seem to mean as much, but then y'hear them from someone else and...”

Beauty Brass just smiled.

Vinyl coughed, and got up to go to the buffet. After a moment, she asked Beauty Brass, “Hey... um... If you don't mind my asking... How did you and Freddy get together?”

Beauty Brass blushed, smiling warmly. “We actually met when we first joined the Canterlot Philharmonic. Frederic was just as stuffy as you could imagine, but oh so very handsome. But as time went on, we started warming up to each other. We began to notice we had the same interests, and that the interests we didn't share were actually... well, interesting.”

Vinyl chuckled.

Beauty Brass sighed wistfully. “We began dating. We began to realize how much we enjoyed each other's company...” She blushed. “And then we began to 'enjoy each other's company.' Nightly.”

“Aheh,” Vinyl laughed, blushing. “Makin' that sweet music of the night?”

“And praising Luna to the high heavens,” she said, grinning. “Shortly after we started getting serious, Frederic proposed. And to my endless delight, I found myself wanting to spend my life with him as well. We've been married ever since.”

“Giving away all my trade secrets to make the mares jealous, love?” Frederic said, kissing his wife and smirking, a plate full of food held in one hoof. “Remember, there's only one of me to go around.”

“And you're all mine,” Beauty Brass said, grinning.

Tavi's friends are cool, Vinyl thought, much to her surprise. She smiled, and got some food for herself as well, joining the others back at the table. She teased them lightly about having to carry their food in their hooves while she levitated hers along.

Octavia just grinned. “We may not have telekinesis, true. But that just means that Earth ponies tend to more skilled with their hooves,” she said. Leaning in, she whispered in Vinyl's ear. “MUCH more skilled.”

Vinyl blushed brightly, realizing the implications of what that meant. But to her amazement, she found herself grinning at the suggestion.

Octavia smirked. “So tell me about your friends,” she said. “I met one of them the last time I was there... Large fellow, Earth pony...”

Vinyl shook her head, regaining her senses. “Um... Yeah! Him. That was Beatbox. Me, him, and this pegasus named Jam Session, we grew up together, can tell each other anything. Beatbox is a rapper down at the club, although he's working on getting his big recording contract. After that, he just has to deal his way out of his contract at the club, and he'll be all set.”

Octavia nodded. “He seemed charming enough,” she said.

Vinyl grinned. “Yeah, he's a sweetheart,” she said. “He'll always stand by you when you're in trouble.”

Beauty Brass and Frederic traded amused smiles. “And this Jam Session fellow?” Frederic asked.

Vinyl snickered, resting her forelegs on the table. “Dumber than a sack of hammers and a total pervert. Seemed thrilled by the idea of Tavi here coming onto me.”

Octavia grinned wickedly. “Well then! Perhaps we should give him a show the next time we see him.”

Vinyl blushed brightly, her horn sparking. “Bwable...” she managed, taken completely off-guard.

Beauty Brass shook her head. “Really, Tavi,” she said.

Octavia raised her forehooves, nodding. “My apologies,” she said, smiling. “The opportunity for a tease was just too good.”

“Fleeble bwam...” Vinyl stammered, still blushing, her mind unable to get the image of herself and Octavia locked in a passionate embrace out of her head. Her horn sparked again.

Frederic smirked. “Another advantage Earth ponies have over unicorns: it's less obvious to tell when we're aroused.”

Vinyl blinked, and chuckled nervously. “Heheh... Sorry... I haven't been out on a date in a while...”

Octavia nodded. “Anyway, you were speaking of Jam Session?”

Vinyl nodded, coughing and taking a moment to recover herself. “Yeah. He's a doofus and a perv, but he's a good pony.” She sipped her drink, and added, “He and Beatbox are the only guys I've ever let mount me.”

Octavia quirked an eyebrow, interested. “Really now,”she said.

“Well,” Beauty Brass said, unfazed by Vinyl's forwardness, “If you had to pick and choose your first, I suppose your foalhood friends would be good choices.”

Vinyl nodded. “Yeah. They enjoyed it, but honestly...” she shrugged. “I don't know. We're still pals, even if we aren't sharing a bed anymore.”

Octavia tried to hide her relief. So she's tried men and found them unsatisfying. A point in my favor. She calmly sipped her wine as her only response. Calm down, calm down, Tavi. Let things come as they may.

Vinyl smiled wistfully. “But they were good times, and I wouldn't trade them for anything,” she said.

Frederic nodded. “Here here,” he said, raising his glass. “An excellent way of thinking.”

Vinyl grinned.

The rest of the date proceeded calmly, Vinyl, Octavia, Frederic, and Beauty Brass making idle conversation as they ate their food, laughing and chatting. The four musicians shared their experiences in the music world, both good and bad, Vinyl enjoying herself greatly with the three concert musicians.

Once they were done, they parted ways, Frederic and Beauty Brass taking a separate taxi home than the others.

“That went rather well, I think,” Frederic said.

Beauty Brass nodded. “No awkward silences, at least,” she said.

Frederic frowned, nodding. “Yes... I'm glad Octavia's doing things like this. With her condition...”

Beauty Brass patted his leg reassuringly. “There were no flareups tonight. Plus, the place she has planned for as all next time is good and noisy as well.”

Frederic shook his head. “Still... Should she have told Vinyl about her 'issue?' I mean, this is kind of a big thing...”

Beauty Brass sighed. “This is Tavi's project, dear,” she said. “She has to take care of that little detail on her own and when she's ready...”

Back with Octavia and Vinyl, as the two were watching them go, Octavia smiled and said, “Well, that went all right, I think.”

Vinyl grinned widely. “Yeah... Yeah, it did! I had fun,” she said.

Octavia smiled. “Would you be up for a second go-around sometime?”

Vinyl thought about it, and blushed, realizing she wanted to see her again. “Yeah... Yeah, I would!”

Octavia smiled. “I know this great karaoke bar on the outskirts of town. It does good business, but is never too crowded.”

Vinyl nodded. “I think I know where you mean,” she said.

Octavia nodded. “Good. Bring your two friends next time. If Beauty and Frederic are up to it, they can come too.”

Vinyl snickered. “Sounds almost like a triple date, then,” she said.

Octavia smirked, stroking Vinyl's chin with a hoof. “Only if they swing the same way I do, my dear DJ,” she said.

Vinyl blushed brightly, her horn sparking. She started to stammer something, but Octavia silenced her with a deep, passionate kiss. Vinyl felt a surge go through her, a delighted coming from her throat unbidden. Octavia grinned, leaving the DJ to recover. She hailed a taxi and drove off.

“Such a wonderful evening, don't you think?” she told the cab driver as he guided the coach along at a steady trot.

“Where too, ma'am?” the driver said, the white-furred stallion not turning around to look at her.

Octavia told him the street number. “I think it's a beautiful evening,” she said. “Things are going quite well for me. How about yourself?”

The cab driver sighed. “Ma'am, I saw you kissing that mare. I don't really approve of it, so I'd rather just do my job and get you home...”

Octavia frowned. “I'm just making friendly conversa...”

The cab driver shook his head. “Ma'am, no. I don't want to talk to you.”

Octavia pouted. “Fine, fine, be that way.”

The cab driver nodded, and drove on. As they went away from the downtown area, the sounds slowly faded, leaving just the sound of the cab driver's hooves on the pavement, surprisingly quiet.

Octavia fidgeted uncomfortably. Too quiet...

“So what do you think of dubstep?” she asked, wanting to do anything to break the silence.

“I don't like it, nor do I like two ponies of the same gender being romantic with one another,” the cab driver said. “Now please, be quiet.”

Octavia scowled at him, adjusting herself in the cab's seat. She waited silently as the driver moved through the quiet towns, the sound of his hoofsteps surprisingly soft.

Too quiet, she thought. She tried to calm down, tried to remember what the therapist had told her. But the cab driver was taking too long, moving too quietly. Too quiet... she thought. As the quiet went on, her heart began to pound harder and harder, her breathing coming faster and faster. Too quiet too quiet too QUIET TOO QUIET!!!

Octavia began humming tunelessly, the sound slowly calming her down. The cab driver glared back at her, but she ignored him, concentrating on the sound.

So long as there is sound, Octavia thought, then everything will be all right.

Vinyl, for her part, was left dizzied by the kiss. She giggled, almost skipping home as she thought about how well the night went.

I think I may actually have a thing for her! Vinyl thought. She didn't know if it was love, but it was certainly attraction. Am I gay? she thought. Well, maybe. If nothing else, I definitely like her. Her kisses are amazing.

Still feeling buzzed, she breezed through her second day off, heading back into the club with a big smile on her face. She met up with Jam Session and Beatbox in the locker room area.

“I take it everything went well?” Beatbox said, noticing how chipper Vinyl looked.

Vinyl blushed. “We had a good time,” she said.

Jam Session grinned widely. “A 'good time,' eh?”

Vinyl shoved him. “We just had dinner, is all!” she said. “She brought two of her bandmates from the orchestra with her.”

Beatbox went wide-eyed. “Really now,” he said, looking thoughtful.

Jam pouted. “Aww, so no kissy kissy on your own yet?”

Vinyl stuck out her tongue at him. “Sorry. No fantasies for you to clop to tonight,” she said, giggling. “But it was fun. She invited you two schmucks along the next time we both get some time off. I think she wants us to go to the Shoe Inn Bar.”

Beatbox chuckled. “She's smarter than I thought,” he said.

Jam and Vinyl looked at him with confusion. Beatbox grinned. “Well, think about it,” the Earth pony said. “You've only been out with stallions before, right? Never a mare? She knew you'd probably be nervous. So she brought her buds along, made it more casual. And now she's inviting us along, so you'll still be at ease.”

Vinyl blushed brightly. “That... makes a lot of sense actually...”

Beatbox chuckled. “I think she's really into you, Scratch. Especially if she's goin' to all this trouble to make you comfortable.”

Vinyl gasped softly, putting a hoof to her chest. She's doing this... for me?

Jam grinned. “Sweeeet! Maybe I will get to see two hotties kiss after all!”

“Keep it sheathed, Jam Session,” said a foreboding voice. “We do want to keep this place SOMETHING of a family establishment.”

A towering pegasus stomped into the room, pale white with a black mane, his cutie mark bearing an image of an X-ray of a broken bone. He sneered down at Vinyl Scratch, who just put her shades on and glared right back.

“Is your ritzy girlfriend gonna show up tonight?” he demanded.

Vinyl shrugged. “Dunno, Big Time,” she said.

Big Time scowled. “Well, make sure she actually checks with me this time. I'll let her in if you want her to come in, but she needs to obey the damn rules,” he snapped, storming off.

Jam Session laughed at him. “Not our fault you got the reaction time of a drunk tortoise!” he jeered.

“Jerk,” Beatbox muttered.

Vinyl sneered at him. “Hard to believe that his little brother Roid Rage is so much of a sweetheart,” she said.

Beatbox gave her a confused look. Jam Session chuckled. “I know him. Roid Rage is this big ol' dude that lives in Ponyville. He doesn't do the drugs, but he's built like he eats steroids as a breakfast cereal and has got puny wings. He's also one of the nicest dudes you ever met. Especially compared to his utter ass of a brother.”

Vinyl nodded. “Yeah, really.”

Beatbox rolled his eyes. “Still, next time you see Tavi you should tell her to actually check with him. Big Time's Redshoe's second, and he could cause some trouble. You know how possessive he is of the talent that works here.”

Jam Session nodded. “Yeah. Remember how much he griped at you for DJing the Shining Armor/Cadance wedding?”

Vinyl shook her head, scoffing. “I'll deal with Redshoe if the time comes. Right now, I just want to focus on the fact that I think I may be in love and oh dear Celestia did I say that last part out loud?” she stammered.

Jam Session laughed.

Beatbox shook his head, chuckling. “Well, let's just give it time. Octavia's got you feelin' good, so you're on a buzz. But I do got high hopes for you two. This is the happiest I've seen you in a while.”

Vinyl grinned, blushing when she realized that Beatbox was right. She WAS happy!

And it felt great.

TO BE CONTINUED...