• Published 16th Aug 2012
  • 7,138 Views, 530 Comments

In an Instant - Ruirik



It only takes an instant to throw your world into chaos.

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Letters

After having a simple dinner of their own and packing a couple bags of Bon Bon’s homemade sweets and sandwiches, the two took a cab back to the hospital. The whole ride, Lyra kept one foreleg around Bon Bon’s waist, lightly holding the other mare close. Bon Bon didn’t seem to mind the attention, even using Lyra’s shoulder as a pillow to lean on for the better part of the trip. Lyra stole a chaste kiss on the earth pony’s cheek before she broached the question on her mind.

“So,” she started uncomfortably “How are we gonna break this to Vinyl?”

“I…I don’t know” Bon Bon admitted dejectedly. “Perhaps we should talk to Octavia first. If she knows where the bits are then maybe we can just take care of this without telling Vinyl at all until she’s back home.”

“It must be nice to be an optimist.” Lyra snickered, earning a light elbow to the ribs.

Once they arrived at the Hospital, Lyra followed close behind Bon Bon, her mind conjuring flashes of the nightmares that had been plaguing her since Vinyl’s accident. She suppressed a shiver and inched closer to her marefriend. She couldn’t deny a slight sense of paranoia when Bon Bon wasn’t in sight that was making her somewhat clingy. Lyra couldn’t remember a time when she thought of Bon Bon and the predominant emotion was abject fear; the fear that if Lyra let her love out of sight for an instant she could be injured or worse. It was irrational, it was stupid, but Lyra couldn’t keep it out of her head.

A short trek up a flight of stairs and down a hall brought them to Vinyl’s room. Bon Bon knocked gently at the door before pushing it open. Inside, Octavia—looking markedly more disheveled then either mare recalled from their previous visit—was sitting beside Vinyl’s bed, a wad of tissues in her hoof that she was using to carefully dab tears away from Vinyl’s eyes. She looked slightly surprised to see Lyra and Bon Bon, though it was quickly replaced by a weary smile.

“Who’s here, Tavi?” Vinyl asked, the question coming out more as a slurred moan.

“Lyra and Bon Bon came to visit you Vinyl. Isn’t that nice?” Octavia said.

“That’s right, Scratch!” Lyra chirped as happily as she could manage even as her heart fluttered uncomfortably in her chest. Neither Vinyl nor Octavia looked better than the last time she had visited. Octavia’s grey fur was beginning to matte together after days without a proper washing or brushing. Her long mane wasn’t in much better shape with strands sticking haphazardly in all directions. It didn’t take a spa pony to conclude that she had been neglecting herself in more ways than one. Vinyl, on the other hoof, was far more concerning to Lyra. The normally exuberant mare was simply dull. Her eyes didn’t sparkle, her coat didn’t shine, and her mane was matted and dirty. Lyra forced herself to smile “How are you feeling?”

“Like I’ve been rolling in hot shards of salt-covered glass.” Vinyl groaned. Bon Bon gasped softly.

“Oh my goodness! What’s happened?” she asked even as she made her way to Octavia, pulling the grey mare into a tight hug.

“The doctors say its nerve pain. They’re not sure how long it will last.” Octavia lamented. Bon Bon rubbed her back reassuringly. “They’ve been experimenting with the medications, the one they’ve got her on now seems to be helping a bit more. I can at least touch her again if I’m light enough.” Octavia allowed herself a weary smile.

“I’m sure you’ll feel better before you know it Vinyl,” Bon Bon said, earning a scoff from the agonized mare “And when you do, I brought you some of my special taffy to enjoy.”

Vinyl’s eyes snapped open at the mention of the sweets, her mouth watering at the simple thought of a whole bag all to herself.

“Bon Bon, if I could move…and if Lyra wouldn’t kill me for it; I’d kiss you.”

“I think I’m not the mare you need to worry about, Scratch.” Lyra snickered. Octavia smiled as well, glad to see Vinyl looking genuinely happy even for a moment.

“I think I’ll let you get away with it just this once dear.” Octavia said.

“Oh Octavia,” Lyra grinned “Allegro’s on his way over to talk to you about your performing schedule. The whole symphony is chipping in to a benefit fund for the medical bills. Everyone hopes you get better soon Scratch!” Octavia gasped, tears of joy forming in her eyes at the news. “Should we go downstairs and meet him?” Lyra asked. Octavia’s smile faded slightly, her gaze shifting back to Vinyl.

“I…I don’t know, I mean-“

“Tavi,” Vinyl cut in “Go. Bon Bon and I can hang for a bit. She’ll keep me from causing trouble.” She tried her best to smile at the grey shape she assumed was her love. The cellist bit her lip and glanced around the room uncomfortably, what ifs cropping up in the back of her mind. She was about to say no until she noticed the look on Lyra’s face. The pale green unicorn was taking advantage of Vinyl’s poor vision and silently mouthing the words ‘we need to talk’. Octavia furrowed her brow in concern and took a look at Bon Bon who simply nodded.

“Alright…Alright.” She relented “I won’t be long Vinyl, I promise.”

“I’d say I’ll see you soon, but you all look the same to me right now.” Vinyl chuckled.

Octavia followed Lyra out of the room; regularly glancing nervously over her shoulder the further they got from Vinyl’s room. Lyra waited till they reached the stairwell before she spoke.

“I’m serious about Allegro being on his way and the benefit. The symphony really is pulling together for you.”

“What is it you needed to talk about out here then?” Octavia asked matching her pace to the unicorns. Lyra sighed uncomfortably.

“We didn’t wanna throw this at Vinyl without giving you a heads up first. Bon Bon went to talk to Dawn Chaser today, the owner of that club she had been scheduled to play in. It didn’t go well.” Lyra admitted. Octavia froze in her tracks, grabbing Lyra’s shoulders and pulling her face-to-face.

“What happened? What happened!” she demanded, her lavender eyes full of fear and protective rage that made Lyra wither under her glare.

“D-Dawn w-wants her deposit back in t-thirty day or she’s gonna keep Vinyl’s gear!” Lyra mewled. Octavia’s eyes went wide as she processed the information.

“No…no that can’t…she wouldn’t.”

“I…we were hoping you might know where Vinyl kept those bits so we could get her gear back before…” The sight of fresh tears rolling down Octavia’s cheeks brought Lyra’s words to a halt. “Tavi?” Lyra reached out to her friend nervously.

“There are no bits anymore.” The cellist whispered.

“What? What happened?” Lyra gasped. Octavia smiled and scoffed bitterly, her tears forming tiny rivers down her cheeks.

“Vinyl got that money months ago when she scheduled the show. Her show dates and my concert dates didn’t mesh well so she used those bits to rent the townhouse we were staying in so that we could spend more time together between our performances.” Octavia leaned heavily against the wall for balance, a feeling of vertigo nearly overwhelming her. Lyra was at her side immediately, anxiously placing a hoof on the earth pony’s shoulder.

“Octavia? Octavia, are you okay? Come on girl talk to me!” Lyra asked nervously.

“I’m sorry.” Octavia gasped “I just…I just need to sit for a moment.” She said as she sat on the edge of a step, one hoof covering her eyes. She focused only on deep controlled breaths through her mouth. She became deaf to the outside world, barely aware of Lyra’s trembling hoof on her shoulder. Only after she was sure the feeling had passed did she dare open her eyes. Lyra was staring at her nervously.

“What happened? Are you okay? Do you need a doctor?” the unicorn asked, her voice trembling.

“Yes, yes I’m fine. Sorry.” Octavia forced a small smile for her friend. Lyra scoffed.

“You nearly scared the green out of my fur! What happened?” she demanded.

“I-” she stuttered, biting her lower-lip hesitantly “I haven’t slept much the last few days.”

Lyra’s expression shifted from apprehension to sympathy.

“Nightmares?” she asked softly. Octavia’s gaze fell to the floor, unwilling to look Lyra in the eye.

“Oh honey,” the unicorn whispered, pulling the grey mare into a tight hug “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to; just know that Bonnie and I are here if you need us. Okay?” Lyra waited for Octavia to nod before she released her hug. Octavia’s lavender gaze remained fixated on the floor.

“Are you and Bon Bon sleeping well?” She asked quietly. Lyra hesitated in her answer. Part of her wanted to simply pretend her nightmares never happened, but the part that knew Octavia as both a friend and a frightened lover overruled her pride.

“Bonnie sleeps well enough I think. I…have trouble.” She reluctantly admitted. Octavia looked Lyra in the eye. Lyra could see her mind running with unspoken questions just as Octavia could see the hidden details in Lyra’s golden orbs. With a slight nod Octavia got back to her hooves and resumed the walk downstairs with Lyra right beside her.

“What should we tell Vinyl?” Lyra eventually asked. Octavia remained silent for a moment. “We can’t just keep her in the dark on this.”

“I know…I just…I just need to think for a while.” Octavia held her head high as she walked, trying to carry herself with what dignity she could. “Lyra?”

“Yea?”

“Thanks.”

“For what?” she asked, slightly confused.

“For doing all of this. If it wasn’t your you and Bon Bon…” she let the sentiment hang in the air her words caught in her throat. Lyra smiled and gave her a sidelong hug.

“You and Vinyl would do the same for us.” Lyra replied simply. The remainder of the walk to the lobby was done in silence, both mares lost in thought.

The lobby of the hospital was a wide-open rotunda. The entrance of the building was a glass and metal construction that allowed plenty of light in during the day. Tan tiles affixed in a light grey grout made up the floor. Two walls were painted a warm burgundy red with the other two walls being a tan paint to counter the red. A large wooden desk sat towards the center of the space. The desk itself was constructed in a large torus configuration. Visitors could stand on the outside while a secretary and two guide ponies sat on the inside. Visitors who needed help finding a family member’s room or a specific department could be shown directly by one of the guides.

Towards the doors leading in and out of the building was a small sitting area. A small garden of various plants sat in simple pots and planters lining the glass wall. The space was purposely built to have a meditative quality to it. Octavia wondered if any pony every truly felt soothed there. Sitting patiently on one of the plush chairs was Allegro. The stallion seemed lost in thought as the mares approached him. Only when they got very close did his eyes widen and his mind return to the living world.

“Octavia!” he smiled as he hopped off the chair, pulling the cellist into a comforting hug that she returned. “I’m so sorry to hear about Vinyl. My daughter is a huge fan and was simply heartbroken when I told her at dinner.”

“Thank you Allegro. I’m so sorry about all thi-” Octavia’s apology was cut of by the stallion’s hoof sticking in her mouth.

“I will hear none of that. Accidents happen my friend, it’s not your fault and I won’t have you apologize for being a victim of circumstance. Are we clear?” he smiled and released his hoof from her muzzle when she nodded. “If your intent on apologizing for anything then I’ll maybe consider allowing an apology for not telling me you were getting engaged.” The stallion grinned. Octavia bashfully pressed her front hooves together.

“I didn’t want to make any fuss. Our audience doesn’t tend to be the most…erm…progressive.” She confessed. Allegro laughed.

“Yes well, they don’t need to know the specifics.” He noted. Octavia and Lyra exchanged a look of confusion prompting the stallion to elaborate “After you left, Lyra, I had a meeting with our chief sponsor for this tour; Mr. Fancy Pants.”

“Fancy Pants is our sponsor? I’ve done quartets and small shows for him in Canterlot before.” Octavia interrupted, the surprise evident on her face. “He almost never leaves Canterlot, why would he be here?”

“I believe it has something to do with the mare he’s courting. Miss Fleur de Lis I believe her name is. She works as a fashion model here in Manehatten. Well, at least that’s what Fancy Pants told me!” Allegro chuckled “Anyway, he asked me how preparations for the tour were proceeding and well, one thing led to another and I told him about your situation, Octavia. Well, he remembered your work quite fondly from the soirées he hosted in Canterlot. He was quiet for a while and then sat up in his chair and informed me that he would see to it that all the symphony’s profits would go toward a charity drive to help you with Vinyl’s medical bills.”

Octavia gasped, her right hoof covering her mouth. Her heart fluttered in her chest and joyous tears gathered in her lavender eyes.

“There is one small catch however.” Allegro continued, “He wants you to be present for the performances.”

“W-what? Why?” Octavia blurted loudly, “No, no I couldn’t! I can’t leave Vinyl alone!” Allegro held up his front hooves in a calming gesture.

“Octavia, orchestras are not high profit ventures. Most of the revenues go to paying the musicians, advertising, and venue expenses. If we make 20,000 bits in revanue that only translates to about 1500 to 3500 bits in profit depending on the show. Given that this is Manehatten not Canterlot the revenues are likely to be lower. There are ways we can increase the charity funds, like making some sort of statement before the show starts or during intermission. Manehatten ponies tend to be more charitable then Canterlot ponies, but the purses are lighter here as well. I think between the musician’s benefit and the proceeds from the revenues you can count on five to six thousand bits. Will that be enough to cover the hospital expenses?” He asked.

Octavia’s head sank “No…no it wouldn’t” Allegro gave the mare a sympathetic smile.

“Octavia, I would love to be able to simply give you your payment as an act of charity, but I can’t. Nor do I have the time to find another principle cellist half as talented as you are. The students I can shuffle around with relative ease, the quartets are harder but we can still find someone to cover for you, but I need you to play in the symphony. Not just because the difficulty of your solos and duets, but also because seeing you there in person will appeal to the hearts and minds of the audience which is your best bet to get a few extra bits in donations.”

Octavia rubbed her foreleg uncomfortably “I don’t know, Allegro…Vinyl,”

“Would Vinyl want you to spend your every waking moment in here sitting on your hooves?” Lyra interrupted earning a glare from the cellist.

“That’s not fair.” She retorted.

“We can go upstairs and ask her.” Lyra returned. Octavia felt her posture sink. Lyra’s tone had been friendly and her words rang true, but that didn’t stop them from hurting less. Allegro conspicuously cleared his throat to draw her attention.

“Not to impose myself, but I should very much like to meet your fiancé, Octavia. After all, anypony able to get into your heart is a pony worth meeting. Also,” he used his magic to retrieve a white envelope from his saddlebag “My daughter wouldn’t let me leave the house until I swore on Celestia’s name that I would deliver this ‘get well soon’ card.” He smiled warmly. Octavia stared at him for a moment before she smiled and chuckled, wiping the moisture from her eyes.

“Your daughter sounds like a wonderful mare, Allegro.” she said, Allegro allowed himself a proud smile.

“Toccata has grown to be a wonderful girl. Though I’ll never figure out where she learned to love Vinyl’s style of music, no offense.” He admitted. Octavia couldn’t contain a burst of laughter. Lyra giggled as well, though more at Allegro’s confusion then anything.

“Vinyl would be thrilled to hear she turned another pony to her side.” Lyra explained, Allegro chuckled lightly. Octavia let out a relaxed sigh before rising to her hooves.

“Alright, Allegro, you can meet Vinyl. And I will talk with her.” Octavia conceded leading the way back upstairs. Allegro and Lyra followed closely.

The three kept to a peaceable silence during the fairly brief walk, Octavia lost in her thoughts. A lifetime of habit gave her pause long enough to knock on Vinyl’s door before she entered. Bon Bon was sitting comfortably beside the bed, chatting with Vinyl. Octavia’s heart still skipped a beat every time she saw her love confined in the sterile white bed, collar holding her neck stable, and face tense. Bon Bon smiled warmly as they entered the room.

“Welcome back girls, how was Allegro?” Bon Bon asked.

“Well I should hope I was well enough.” The stallion in question answered as he walked through the door surprising the earth pony. Octavia ignored her friends for a moment, taking her place beside Vinyl’s bed.

“How are you feeling, Vinyl? Is the pain still alright?” she asked worriedly.

Vinyl did her best to nod. A gesture that, given the nature of the cervical collar, was limited to a very subtle motion. “I’ll live, Tavi.”

“Vinyl Scratch I presume?” Allegro stepped forward.

“Allegedly.” Vinyl replied. Octavia facehoofed.

“A pleasure to meet you finally, I’m Allegro, the conductor for the Manehatten Symphony.”

“Tavi’s boss? Cool! I, uh, I’d get up and shake your hoof but…well…” Vinyl tried her best to smile, though the result looked more like a grimace. Her eyes shifted uncertainly between Octavia and Allegro. “I’m sorry to ask, but could I get my glasses please? It’d be nice to tell who’s who.”

Octavia bit back a chuckle. “Of course. Bon Bon, her glasses are on the night stand next to you.” Octavia pointed with a hoof. The confectioner quickly retrieved the item in question and carefully put them on Vinyl’s face. Vinyl cringed at the contact; while the new cocktail of medication she was on made it slightly more bearable, the pain was still sharp. She managed a slight smile as the world was brought back into focus.

“Thanks Bonnie.” Vinyl said.

“It’s no trouble Vinyl.” Bon Bon replied, moving around the bed to sit beside Lyra.

“So, what can I do ya for?” Vinyl asked in the most chipper tone she could manage. Octavia found herself in the unique position of feeling thrilled to see Vinyl acting more like her normal self, and simultaneously regretting letting Allegro bear witness to it.

“Well I had come by to discuss some assistance for you from the orchestra. Octavia’s been a good friend to us as well as a phenomenal principle cellist, so we’ve got a nice charity fund that should help with your medical expenses. I wish I could say we could cover them all, but orchestra’s don’t pay as well as your work does.” He smiled apologetically.

“Remind me to hug you when I can move again.” Vinyl replied with a genuine smile.

Allegro chuckled “Deal. Tell me Vinyl, does your magic work?”

Vinyl’s brow furrowed slightly in confusion “Um, yea. Long as I can see what I’m trying to grab.” She admitted.

Allegro nodded, his horn flaring to life and reaching into his bag. After a moment he levitated a simple white envelope into Vinyl’s line of sight. Small concentration lines formed across Vinyl’s face as she focused her magic for the first time in days. Pale blue energy slowly collected around her horn, her eyes fixated on the envelope in front of her. Deliberately slowly Vinyl reached out with her magic. The blue aura of her magic steadily overtook Allegro’s magic until he felt confident enough to fully release his grasp. Vinyl released the breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding. With a bit more effort she reached into the envelope and pulled out a pale blue card, the picture on the front showing an earth pony with a big lump on its head and another earth pony with a nurses hat bandaging it up. Opening the card, Vinyl read the note inside.

Dear Vinyl,’ she read in silence ‘My name is Toccata and if you’re reading this that means Dad actually remembered to give this card to you. I’ve been a huge fan of your albums for years now and even got to see you play last year when your tour went through Manehatten. My brother Fugue and I had tickets to see your shows a couple days ago and everyone was really worried when you didn’t show up. We all know you never leave your fans hanging.

Dad told me what happened to you, and while I can’t imagine what it must be like, I just want you to know that all our thoughts are with you and your fans will be there for you the whole way. Please get well soon.

Your loyal fan,
Toccata

Vinyl smiled, carefully putting the card back in its envelope and gently placing it on the nightstand beside her.

“Thank you.” She said quietly at a loss for more words, Allegro smiled and nodded.

“Before I go,” He started “There is one thing I believe you, Octavia, and I need to discuss.”

Octavia shot him a glare that went ignored. “What’s up?” Vinyl asked.

“I need Octavia to play at least for the symphony dates and possibly a few of the small quartets we had scheduled. I can shift around the students and some of the private shows, but that’s about it.” He explained, Octavia sighed and opened her mouth to speak when Vinyl interrupted.

“Of course you should play, Tavi.” She said causing Octavia to have a moment of incoherence.

“But, no-Vinyl, I can’t just leave you here alone!” She pleaded. Vinyl was quiet for a moment.

“Could you guys give us a minute alone please?” she asked.

“Sure thing Scratch.” Lyra answered. Allegro simply nodded before following Lyra and Bon Bon out of the room, the door clicking closed behind them. Vinyl waited for a minute, her eyes focused on Octavia who was staring at the floor sadly.

“Octavia,” Vinyl started, her tone loving but firm “Don’t you want to play for other ponies anymore?”

“No, well, yes. But you’re more important than them to me, Vinyl.” She admitted. Vinyl watched her closely, her eyes boring into Octavia’s very soul. It made the earth pony shiver. Many ponies made the mistake of assuming that Vinyl was a simple-minded pony based on her bravado and coltish mannerisms. Octavia had made the same mistake when they had first met. Likewise Vinyl had taken one look at Octavia and assumed she was a stuck-up narcissist. Both had learned the hard way just how wrong those assumptions had been.

“Tavi, are you blaming yourself for this?” Vinyl asked, when Octavia didn’t respond Vinyl sighed. “Tavi, it’s not your fault, if any pony is to blame it’s me.”

“What?!” Octavia blurted loudly “No Vinyl, it is my fault! I should’ve had you wait with us until the bill was paid, or-” Octavia’s words were silenced by the gentle grip of Vinyl’s magic, the blue aura enveloping her muzzle. Vinyl’s sympathetic gaze caught Octavia’s attention, with a nod she was released from the magic muzzle.

“Tavi, I can’t remember what happened after I left the restaurant, I can only remember bits and pieces of being in the ER later. I don’t know if it was my fault, but I do know it wasn’t yours, and seeing you beat yourself up like this,” Vinyl paused, her eyes starting to tear up again “It breaks my heart Tavi.”

Octavia’s ears folded back as she looked away, unable to look Vinyl in the eye. She felt the slight pressure of Vinyl’s magic pushing at the back of her neck, beckoning her closer to the crippled mare. She allowed the magical grasp to guide her to the edge of the bed where she leaned down to delicately nuzzle Vinyl’s cheek.

“I miss being able to hold you.” She admitted earning a choked laugh from Vinyl.

“I love you Tavi, every crazy bit of you.”

“Hello pot, I’m kettle.” Octavia rolled her eyes, Vinyl giggled.

“Never accused myself of being normal.” The unicorn admitted before sighing lightly. “Tavi, I want you to do me a favor.”

“What is it Vinyl?” Octavia leaned back so she was able to see Vinyl’s face.

“I…I want you to go home tonight.”

“Wh-what? Why?” Octavia recoiled, her heart clenching in her chest “No Vinyl, I can’t just leave you alone!”

“I talked to Bonnie about it, she and Lyra would stay here if it would make you feel better.” Vinyl winced uncomfortably. With reluctant effort she focused her magic to remove her glasses “Tavi, I don’t want you to be locked up in here with me. I don’t want to be in here anymore. Please, go home tonight. Sleep in our bed, have a real meal, and in the morning do something fun. And then…and then someone is gonna need to go tell Dawn Chaser why I missed my shows for her.” Vinyl groaned. Octavia found herself glad Vinyl wasn’t wearing her glasses again. She had no desire to tell Vinyl what Bon Bon’s encounter with Dawn had been like. Maybe she would have more luck if she tried talking to the mare herself.

“Alright Vinyl. Alright.” She relented sadly. “But don’t expect me to make a habit of this, I know for a fact you wouldn’t leave if I were in your position.”

“Of course I wouldn’t, they’d have to drag me out kicking, screaming, and biting. But that’s why you’ve always been the better half, Tavi.” Vinyl smiled. Octavia smirked incredulously.

“Is it the drugs making you this cheesy, or am I engaged to a closet romantic?” she giggled. Vinyl blushed even as she smiled up to her lover.

“You’ll just have to keep me and find out I suppose. Now go get everyone back in here so I can say goodnight and you can get home in time to eat something at a semi-decent hour.”

Octavia nodded, doing her best to keep her chin up. She gave Vinyl a delicate kiss on the cheek, mindful of how Vinyl’s medicine seemed to be wearing off based on her uncomfortable wince. She walked over to the door and motioned the others to come back in.

“Bon Bon, Lyra, would you mind staying with Vinyl tonight please?” she asked reluctantly

“I already talked it over with Lyra,” Bon Bon said with a smile “We’d be more then happy to dear, go home and get yourself a good night’s rest.”

“We’ll take good care of Scratch!” Lyra chirped “Don’t you worry about a thing.”

“Hey, Allegro.” Vinyl started “Tell your kids I really appreciate the card. I owe them some backstage passes.”

Allegro smiled “They’d like that a lot. It’s been a pleasure to meet you today Vinyl, I just wish it had been under better circumstances.” Vinyl’s smile saddened ever so slightly.

“That’s life isn’t it.” She said.

“Goodnight Vinyl, I’ll be back tomorrow as soon as I can. I love you.” Octavia gave the unicorn another soft smile that Vinyl returned.

“Love you too, Tavi.” Vinyl replied with a smile. Octavia reluctantly left with Allegro before she had a chance to change her mind, leaving her cello behind as she planned to be back as fast as possible. She and Allegro walked side by side out of the building in silence. Octavia shivered, the crisp April air coursing like water through her fur. Allegro bid her goodnight as they each took a separate cab home.

After a thirty-minute ride Octavia paid her faire and hopped out of the cab, walking numbly into the townhouse the couple had rented. Flicking the lights on, she paused in the foyer. The house had been largely untouched since the morning they had left to meet Lyra and Bon Bon for lunch, sans the items Octavia had asked the other mares to bring to the hospital for her. Vinyl’s electric blue coffee cup was still placed beside the sink, Octavia’s sheet music notes were still on the table along with her pencil, and dozens of other little items were in their place each with a distinct memory that screamed for Octavia’s attention.

With a sigh she dropped her saddlebag to the floor, no longer caring about her penchant for order or cleanliness. It all seemed pointless now. She passed by the fridge, not in the mood to eat and instead made her way directly to the bathroom for a hot shower. As the water heated she removed her bowtie and waited until she could see the evanescent tendrils of steam rising from the tile floor before she positioned herself under the hot stream. Warm humidity filled her sinuses as she breathed deeply, allowing the warmth to seep into her fur and soothe the tension from her muscles. Days of sitting largely stationary had left her feeling stiff and sore. Lackadaisically she washed her hair and coat, taking none of the joy she usually did in such trivialities.

She paused as a familiar scent reached her nose; she turned around, half expecting to see Vinyl having snuck into her shower. Disappointment filled her as she realized she had used Vinyl’s hair conditioner instead of her own. The smell was far more utilitarian then the floral aromas Octavia preferred. Octavia sighed and quickly rinsed the offending chemical from her mane. Exiting the shower she grabbed the nearest towel and dried herself off. Again Vinyl’s scent filled her nose, Octavia pressed her face into the towel and inhaled deeply. She felt a familiar knot building in her throat. Finishing her drying as efficiently as possible she took only a cursory amount of time to brush out her hair before she made for the bedroom.

Clicking the lamp sitting on her nightstand on she found herself stunned by the sight on the bed she had shared with Vinyl. The sheets were made, nearly pristine in the way that Octavia liked, and upon her pillow was a medium brown cardboard box with a simple note taped to it. Picking it up curiously she began to read.

Heya Tavi,

I wasn’t kidding when I said I was gonna make the bed, betcha didn’t see that coming huh? But I also wanted to set this little surprise up, I found it yesterday on my way home from sound checking my gear at the club. I saw him and thought of you, so I hope you like it!

Love,
Vinyl

Octavia’s brow furrowed in confusion, she remembered Vinyl excusing herself back to the bedroom not long before they had left the house that morning, but she hadn’t really paid attention to what the unicorn had said. She had been far more interested in the morning crossword than what Vinyl had said. The lump in her throat tightened. After placing the note delicately on the nightstand her trembling hooves gingerly lifted the cover of the box. Grasping something soft she lifted the item out. Taking view of the item she gasped, held in her hooves was a small stuffed pony wearing the attire of the Canterlot Philharmonic Orchestra. Little glasses were propped on his snout and a curly grey mane adorned his head. The tag attached to his ear read ‘The Great Beethooven’. Another sticky note hastily stuck to his chest bore Vinyl’s crude writing.

For my favorite cellist

Octavia didn’t notice the tears streaming down her face until tiny droplets splashed upon the paper. She set the note beside the other one on her nightstand and squeezed the stuffed toy to her chest. Calming herself somewhat with deep breaths she wiped the tears from her eyes and pulled the sheets back enough to crawl under them, the toy clutched tightly in her foreleg. Curling up in under the sheets her eyes drifted to Vinyl’s empty pillow, stray strands of blue decorating the white pillowcase. Octavia pulled the pillow to her chest and turned off the light. It wasn’t right without Vinyl’s warm back pressed against Octavia’s chest, without the soft sound of her snore in Octavia’s ears. Without Vinyl, her bed was cold and empty. She clutched Vinyl’s pillow and her new stuffed Beethooven closer. That night, she cried herself to sleep.