• Published 25th Apr 2020
  • 1,718 Views, 48 Comments

All of Which Makes Me Anxious | At Times Unbearably So - shortskirtsandexplosions

Vinyl's best friend is a little bit too "friendly".

  • ...


It is early morning.

Before first period.

Vinyl Scratch shuffles through the hallways of Canterlot High School.

Her head hangs low. Her expression has no substance—no mirth. Her shades obscures any leftover semblance of a soul.

None of the students talk to her.

None of the students look at her.

One zig in a zag of zombies, and it eventually limps her to her locker.

She opens it and props her backpack up to get to its contents. The thing is covered all over with patches—all of which had been sewn on by Vinyl herself over the semester. Mostly pop culture-ish things: band logos, album covers, video game character sprites. There's a big empty spot of canvas on the top center of the backpack—the most visible part of the bag. Even as Vinyl fetches one textbook and replaces it with another, her gaze remains locked on the unmarked spot of canvas. It's blank to everyone else—but not to her mind.

With a loathsome breath, Vinyl starts shuddering. She hates it whenever it comes to this, but she surrenders to the meditative urge nonetheless. She zips open a pocket in her backpack. She reaches in... reaches in deep. Somewhere in the furthest resources of the canvas compartment—buried beneath colored pencils, erasers, and crumpled-up music sheets—there's a rectangular-shaped patch. She knows it when her fingers touch it. Vinyl takes the thing out and scrunches her teenage body against the locker so only she can see it. As she does so, she slides her shades up, momentarily exposing her sad, rosy eyes.

Four bands.

Four colors.

Four reasons to be proud of.

And yet four reasons to hate herself.

It would fit so easily against the empty space of her backpack. It would take less than half-an-hour to sew on. And yet...

“Vinyl...?” The voice comes from a corridor away. Musical. Echoing.

She clenches her eyes shut.

“Vinyl...?” Closer. Playful. Warm and endearing beyond an impenetrable veil. “Where are you, love?”

She clenches her teeth. She wants to scream—mostly at herself—but she can't even do that.

Who else will talk to her?

Who else will smile at her?

Everything is just so awkward as it is. Even the best of her ends up crumpled, thrown into a pocket, unread.

It would fit so easily...

“There you are!” Octavia's voice rattles through the moment. A solitary anchor to the flood. She can feel the smile without looking; swim to it blindfolded. “Running a bit late, are we?”

Vinyl sucks her breath in. She shoves the patch back into the backpack, seals it tight, and drops the shades over her tears.

When she turns to Octavia, she is smiling. A calm, neutral, friendly smile. All she has ever given anybody.

Octavia takes it and returns with a tender hug. “Well, no fret. I'll just tell Miss Cheerilee you and I ran into a rival gang of bass fiddlers along the way to class.”

Her hand enfolds with Vinyl's without asking.

Vinyl walks along. Silent. Tethered.

Hugs are the hardest thing to come out of.

“I heard the most awful thing on the radio this morning!” Octavia smiles aside at her double reflection. “Tell me—have you ever listened to that Rebecca Black song straight through?”

A head shook.

“Well, evidently I was trapped into giving it a listen. The DJ was attempting to make a point about post-modern musical aesthetics and did you know what he said...?”

Comments ( 36 )

Skirts, is that a Gorillaz reference I see?


Oh skirts, must the skittle people be so sad too?

I adored this, but also ouch, my heart.

I'm not sure I fully understand this.

10199609 I was gonna say that Vinyl is in denial, but the pride flag has more than four colours, so I'm not so sure now...

The thing is, it depends on what flag she has. Based on the chapter titles having relevant colors, it's most likely the asexual pride flag that Vinyl has. So, reading this again through that lens means that Vinyl is asexual, but not aromantic (as far as we know here) and is uncomfortable with how fast she feels Octavia is when it comes to matters of intimacy. She loves her girlfriend, and they're clearly in an 'already together' stage, but they have the conflict of Vinyl's anxiety and comfort zone, as the latter is tied to her sexual orientation here.

That's my guess.

10199602. I see someone beat me too it

10199627 Oh, that makes sense now that I know that.

But also: Black, grey, white and purple are also the colours of Octavia in the cover.

10199679 And does this make you anxious? At times unbearably so?

That’s because Octavia also happens to be those colors.

SO weird to see OCTAVIA be the forward one for once, HOWEVER...it WAS rather well written!

Yes. And i give that comment a 5/4.

Double Bass, you magnificent bastard XD

I know you generally prefer to not write too many of these, as thinking about how to write sad things will put sad things in your head (whoda thunk.) That said, I felt it worth saying that you write it well, and that I for one find these things soothing and refreshing. So here I go voting with my voice, as well as expressing gratitude for your work. It takes me out of the lethargy for a moment, back to the wonderful highs and lows of childhood drama. Thanks for that.

Oh, wow, I finally remembered her name. Chelsea. How conveniently theatrical.

Suitably enough for Vinyl, a quiet tragedy. Still, this is definitely one of those things where she'll need to speak up eventually or Octavia's going to feel like she's just stringing her along. Well, maybe. That's the worst case scenario. Still, definitely something they'll need to discuss at some point or it could all come crashing down. But knowing that doesn't make the discussion any easier.

Also, nice to see Flash get a win in one of your fics. Not my preferred ship for either character, but they do make a cute couple.

All told, thank you for this.

Author Interviewer

Missing "Me" in the title, if that's the case.


The "Makes Make" is bugging me a lot more than it should be... .

10200106 There is a "me" in there, though. Pretty sure there was earlier, too. :rainbowhuh:

I also wonder if Vinyl believes that Octavia will stop spending time with her if she reveals that personal secret; she's afraid to be alone.

Unfortunately, it's probably true Vinyl feels that way. She could see Octavia's forwardness as having sexual undertones and she clearly knows Octavia isn't ace, like she is. However, because Vinyl isn't taking the steps to communicate, we're left not knowing if a relationship between them could work out. It's not like they would be the first allosexual-asexual couple in the history of the universe.

Ah, the colors!
Didn't even think of that.
What an interesting way to tie in asexuality.

Oof. Poor Vinyl. As FanOfMostEverything said, the quietness of the thing is what makes it really tragic. But very effective too, for us readers. And for that I congratulate you!

I must admit, I didn't quite get the significance of first of the patch and its colors, but I've since been clued in. And brilliant job with leaving the clues to be figured out by the audience!


Ooof, as an ace that's been in this kind of awkward situation, it's never fun
Very well written

Put it on your bag, Vinyl. You won't lose a friend, and I promise you will feel better.

It works as a shield when you're feeling insecure. Trust me on this. I wear the flag every day, and it's remarkable what a difference it makes. Wear it with pride when you can, and it will defend you when you can't. It will make you feel like you. And you'll never lose anybody who matters in the least by being true to yourself like that.

Plus, it's much less revealing than you think it is. Do you know how often people react to the flag I wear? Only a few times a year, in general. And do you know how people react? One of only two ways: they tell me that they have a friend who's ace/are ace (but usually the first one), or they ask me what it means because they can tell it's got to be a symbol of something but they have no idea what. I have many complaints about ace erasure, but I can't deny it's handy when you want to be out of the closet but are also kind of hesitant about telling anybody.

So seriously, put it on your bag, Vinyl. I need to feel like I've helped a compatriot.

Oh, and also: this story makes me feel many things, some good and some bad, but it also makes me anxious, at times unbearably so.

It's easier to recognize, of course, when the description reminds you of your past and of other things that remind you of your past, before you've even seen any of the chapter titles.

I fear I may have discovered too late that I'm apparently not in a headspace tonight where I should be reading a story like this.

Ooh... I get it now. Theres a flag for that? Huh... learn somthin new every day.

Once again Vinyl has a lot of conflicted feelings about The Things Tavi Says.

Also I can't believe this has not been posted here yet:

It’s not overly well known. If I had to guess probably because their is a lot of debate as to wether it’s a legit sexual identity or a disorder.

Fantastic story, it all comes together in the end really nicely. Vinyl's anxiety over everything felt very real.

Featured on episode 291 of my podcast, Pony 411.

This is really good. I’m was too dense to get what the flag was without reading the comments but props to you.

It's a legit sexual orientation. A disorder would mean it would be characterized by harmful symptoms and diminish the quality of life a person experiences in some way. There isn't anything malignant about asexuality, just the way people are treated for it.

If you want the super data-heavy reasons as to why there have been studies and research you could hunt down.

Didn’t say it was a disorder, I just said last I checked people were still debating it. Not sure why but at least a few years back some members of the lgbt community objected to asexuals being included. I haven’t looked into it since as I’ve not had a reason to and I dislike hypocrisy.

Comment posted by Gundam2018B deleted Oct 25th, 2020
Comment posted by Gundam2018B deleted Feb 4th, 2021

Nice, subtle ace representation.
Well done.
I'm an ace myself, actually.

I figured from the titles of the chapters that this was a story about an ace Vinyl. Such tight character-building in such tiny chapters. My heart aches for both Vinyl and Octy. Vinyl, for the burden of her secret and her fear of being open about herself, and Octy, for being left in the dark and therefore thinking she's doing something wrong. I'd like to hope Octy either figures it out herself, or, maybe, Vinyl goes to a friend (Sunset?) and gets the courage to come out to Octy. I'd like to think they could still stay together from there.

Vinyl is alone because she is non-verbal. There is only one person in the school who really cares for her, spends time with her, is friends with her. And that person has fallen in love with Vinyl, and Vinyl doesn't want to lose her only friend. Sunset is friends with Octavia not Vinyl, after all who wants to be friends with someone who never talks to you?(not my opinion but what I'm sure everyone is feeling.) And so Vinyl cannot go to someone else, except her family, she only has Octavia,

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