• Published 10th Apr 2020
  • 2,695 Views, 298 Comments

Hearts Beat - mushroompone



A chance encounter at a rave leads to Twilight making an unlikely friend

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Energy

I am usually much more responsible with coffee.

I've had bad reactions, after all. Many a late night fueled by caffeine and test anxiety have shown me just how fast a pony's heart can beat.

But today, between the excitement of ordering drinks in a speakeasy and the already rapid pounding in my chest, I had overstepped my bounds. I had entirely lost count of the number of mugs the barista had slid to me.

"Now, don't forget: you owe me one copy of Resurrecting Beechloven," Vinyl said. "A deal's a--."

"Deal's a deal!" I responded, loudly and quickly.

Vinyl seemed taken aback. "You okay? You look a little--"

"Caffeinated?" I suggested. I couldn't seem to slow down my mouth. "Oh, pft, no need to worry. I can handle my coffee. I can totally handle my coffee. I am the queen of handling coffee."

It felt like my bones were vibrating.

Vinyl chuckled. "Wow, Princess of Friendship and Queen of Coffee? That's quite the domain."

My stomach acid was boiling. It was taking most of my concentration to continue walking at Vinyl's ambling pace. My joints felt like coiled springs, ready to launch me into the stratosphere at the flick of a tail.

Despite it all, I couldn't stop smiling.

"Well, this is me!" Vinyl at the end of a cobblestone walkway.

I looked down the path. At the opposite end was a moderately impressive thatched-roof cottage. The whole house seemed to be divided down the middle, each half being decorated in competing styles. Although, I suppose "half" was a poor assessment; the left side seemed to include an entire additional room. By the looks of it, this extra room housed a pipe organ.

The house was also pretty blurry, though I'd have to credit that to me dilated pupils.

"Wow," I said. Suddenly, even the caffeine coursing through my veins wasn't enough to keep me from being palpably… something. "So you live here with…?"

"With Octavia, my marefriend." Vinyl made a face that could have been a smile. It occured to me that, when talking about life partners, perhaps a smile should be easily recognized.

"Right."

"It's her house," Vinyl explained. "I… I don't do any decorating or anything."

She glanced at a large topiary in the shape of a music note and rolled her eyes.

I giggled.

Vinyl sighed. "Alright. So long, Twi. Drop by when you find me that documentary, okay?" She began trotting up the walk.

I blinked. "D-drop by?"

"Yeah!" Vinyl spun around and continued trotting backwards. "Just make sure you knock on my half of the door!"

I watched, motionless, as Vinyl walked up her marefriend's front steps and disappeared behind the door. It was so hard, nearly impossible, to stay so still. I felt as if my every tendon was a twisted rope.

The moment the door latched, I shot up into the air with a speed rivaling Rainbow Dash. I think I may have shouted or whooped something, though I doubt it was any recognizable word or thought.

My stomach hurt.

She wanted to see me again!

Gosh, my stomach hurt.

She wanted me to come over! To her house!

It was like a cramp, a really weird cramp.

Well. Her marefriend's house.

Geez, did coffee normally make me feel like this? I couldn't remember.

I wheeled backwards in the air and messily transitioned from power strokes to gliding. Everything was shaking, my stomach was churning like it was filled with a swarm of angry bees, and I was still dressed like an old-timey androgynous reporter.

The shivering of my highly-caffeinated wings made the flight bumpier than usually. I began to guide myself slowly down to the ground.

"Twilight?" A familiar voice echoed up into the sky. "Darling, is that you?"

I squinted in the direction of the Carousel Boutique, barely making out Rarity's smudged form on the ground below.

Excitement gripped me once again. I got to tell Rarity all about my-- we, well, my morning!

The closer I got to the ground, the shakier my gliding became. I tried to disguise this by greeting my friend with far too much enthusiasm. "Rarity, hi!"

She took two steps back from me as I skidded to a halt in the dirt before her. "Goodness, Twilight, are you alright? You seem--"

"Caffeinated? I am." I was panting, I realized. I tried to stop, but it only made my chest burn.

Rarity gently lifted the lop-sided hat off the top of my head. "Trying something new?" She asked, obviously not pleased with my choice.

I chuckled. "Something like that! Say, do you have some protein? Eggsalad? Peanuts? Chili?"

Rarity stared at me for a moment, then blinked. "I believe I have some falafel patties in the fridge, will that do?"

I nodded, still panting.

"Alright, let's, er…" Rarity trailed off. "Well, come with me, I suppose."

Rarity turned and began to walk back towards the Boutique. I followed close behind. My breathing was still erratic and loud, but my stomach was relaxing. The bees were fewer in number now.

The bell above Rarity's door tinkled as she opened it. "I feel like there's a story here but, frankly, I hesitate to ask. I expect a full report once you've eaten."

Rarity ushered me along, as if shooing a dog through her studio and into the kitchen. I was still far too high-energy to be herded about like an animal. My hooves were frantically tapping on the wood floor at least thrice for every one of Rarity's steps.

"There, now." Rarity practically shoved me into a chair by her kitchen table. "You're certain you're feeling alright? I've never seen you like this."

I nodded again. My hooves were talking out an asynchronous beat on the table top. "Too much coffee, didn't have breakfast."

Rarity looked at the ceiling, considering these bizarre facts. "And… why, exactly?" She asked. She opened the fridge with her magic and began rooting around for the promised food.

"Went out. Did you know there's a speakeasy in town? I had no idea!" The feeling was terrible. I knew I was talking too fast and too much, and yet it all just fell out of my mouth anyway. "Vinyl Scratch took me. She thought I would like it. She was right! They make great coffee there."

Rarity raised her eyebrows. "Clearly…" she muttered. She produced three falafel patties from the fridge. "Would you like me to heat--"

"I'll just take them!" I held out my hooves.

Rarity's eyes narrowed. She dropped the shrink wrapped patties into my open hooves.

I blushed. "Thanks."

She sighed. "Of course, darling. Don't eat too quickly."

"No promises!" I tore I to the package and popped a patty into my mouth whole.

Rarity pulled out the chair across from me and sat down, eyeing me carefully. "This Vinyl Scratch… she's the one you've been talking about all week, correct?"

I swallowed hard. The falafel was a strange combination of dry and sticky, and it caught funny in my throat on the way down
"I dunno about 'all week'," I managed to get out under some light coughing.

Rarity gave me a look that said 'I told you so' in such an exact and forceful way that I thought, for a moment, I was looking at my mother. "You met her a week ago, didn't you?"

I took a small bite of the next patty. "Well… sure. But talking 'all week' implies that she's all I've talked about all week, which isn't exactly accurate." I swallowed. "Right? It's not accurate, is it?"

Rarity arched one eyebrow. A knowing smirk teased at the corner of her mouth.

I actually felt my wings droop and my cheeks flush. "That bad, huh?"

"Oh, darling, it's not a bad thing!" Rarity reached across the table and put her hoof on mine. "It's just-- well, clearly this mare is occupying a significant portion of your thoughts. We've all noticed."

My wings dropped lower. "You have?"

"Of course! We're your friends, we always notice those sorts of things." She patted my hoof reassuringly. "I just have to wonder, Twilight; Why is it that you feel so attached to her?"

I shrugged. "I dunno. I think I'm kinda… well, feeling the princess pressure, y'know? Trying to figure out what my job is, exactly. Vinyl and I really hit it off, and I feel like I have to build something there."

I took another small bite of the falafel. The burning, shaking energy was dying down, but the swarm of bees was still there.

Rarity sighed. "I can see where that would be a convenient explanation."

I squinted at Rarity. "What's that supposed to mean?"

Rarity looked at me, her expression almost sympathetic. "Darling, I've seen this a thousand times, and I've lived it a thousand times."

I chewed thoughtfully on my falafel. "And what's that?"

"The jitters--"

"That's from the coffee, Rarity."

"--the talking about her--"

"Well, the map hasn't called us anywhere, I haven't had anything interesting to say."

"--the need to see her--"

"Now, I really, really think that's because--"

"Twilight, you have a crush."

My mouth did everything at once: swallowed, choked, breathed in, laughed. It was like the bathwater all over again.

Rarity jumped up and ran to my side with a little "oh!" Without missing a beat, she clutched me around the barrell in a magical grip and squeezed.

A wet lump of falafel flew across the room and landed on the wall.

"Darling, are you--"

"No!" I shook my head. "No, no, no. No, I don't!"

"Twilight, it's--"

I ran a hoof over my mane. "It's not-- we just like hanging out together, that's all. A-and I'm nervous because I'm a new princess. And because of the coffee, I always get coffee-anxious!"

Rarity did not try to interject.

"Plus, you know, Vinyl has a marefriend! Who she lives with!" I shot up from the chair and instantly began pacing. It was practically a reflex at this point. "She's set! It's not like she needs the company, she's got legions of fans! At least, I think she does. Gosh, my stomach hurts…"

I put a hoof over my stomach and leaned against Rarity's sink.

"Twilight?" Rarity murmured.

"Uh-huh…"

"Darling, I didn't mean to upset you." She trotted over to my side. "I just think you should consider the possibility that this is… something more than just friendship. I'm sure you, of all ponies, can see the difference."

I whipped my head up to look at her. "I don't think I can!"

"Oh! Well… well, that's okay, too," she said. She put her hoof on my shoulder. "I know how hard it can be to like somepony who's out of reach. Celestia, do I know…" She sighed wistfully and shook her head.

I smiled weakly.

"I'm here for you, alright?" She wrapped her foreleg around my shoulders and squeezed me in a gentle and comforting hug. "Love hurts, darling, especially when it's not yours to have."

"Aw." I hugged my friend back. "That's so sweet of you, Rarity."

"Oh, it's nothing. Now, what do you say we sit down and talk about this, hm?" Rarity released me and held me at length.

I smiled. "Nope. 'Cause there's nothing to talk about."

Rarity sighed and hung her head. "Twilight, honestly, I--"

"I'm just in a weird mood today," I said, nodding along to my own analysis. "I'm tired, I'm stressed, I'm very confused… and I had too much caffeine!"

Rarity looked up, practically glaring at me.

"I should stop drinking coffee. Yeah." I smiled to myself. "I'll switch to tea."

"Do what you must, darling," Rarity muttered. She turned to leave, walking out of her own kitchen and leaving me with my thoughts. "I'll be here to talk when you change your mind."

I stood there for a moment or two. Finally, I had put all the pieces together. I would be fine! Just had to stop drinking so much coffee.

What I didn't tell Rarity was that the energy was always there, at least a little bit. Just buzzing under the surface, and burrowing into the walls of my stomach. I couldn't even admit it to myself, really. Because, if I did, I'd have to face the fact that I was desperately trying to bury:

I was head-over-hooves for Vinyl Scratch.