• Published 28th Dec 2012
  • 1,851 Views, 64 Comments

Duet of Strings - Prosopeio



What are the true origins of the cellist Octavia? And why does a letter from her Mother bring so much grief with it?

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The Letter

Dearest Octavia,

I pray this letter finds you well. I apologize I cannot be there personally to make this request of you, but you know how the Circuit goes. Every gig could be your last, and I had to do this one for personal reasons. So let me say this bluntly before I start waxing poetic on you. Your sister, Greensleeves, is sick. Not deathly, but the poor dear can barely lift her head without going into dry heaves. Your grandparents are looking after her, but still the poor dear won't be able to make it to this year's Reunion. I had made arrangements before hoof with this gig, since your sister told me she would perform, but I cannot cancel since I'm already central to the performance...

So it falls on you, my dearest Octavia. Will you please honor the Promise and go to the reunion this year? I know it's hardly the Grand Galloping Gala, but family is family. Whether you can or cannot go, for I know this is sudden, please let your Uncle and Auntie Orange know. They'll be expecting you one way or the other and they can send the notice to your cousin Braeburn.

I miss you greatly, and I know Greensleeves does too.

Your mother,

Jazz 'Jazz Band' Apple

Staring at the letter, Octavia's normally stoic face threatened to crack. She knew the event her mother spoke of, it was a charity concert for... research. She knew because the organizer approached her with the same intent, only she had turned it down. She wanted to ignore the letter, pretend it never existed, save for one glaring detail.

The Oranges.

She got along well with them, to be sure. It was through their kindness that she was able to stay in Manehattan and pursue her career. It was just that they could be so very... insistent... Through them she had many lucky breaks, of course, but it was that self-same insistence, that stubborn streak born of all who were related to the Apple family, that made it oh so difficult to get a word in edgewise, let alone turn down any requests of them.

And they knew she had received this letter.

"Well played, Mother. Well played."

"Who played what now, Octy?"

Jumping slightly, Octavia Brina Apple did her best to school her features, taking a deep breath before turning to face the one mare in all of ponydom who could ever get away with giving her a nickname. Vinyl Scratch, the unicorn with the electric blue mane and ridiculous sunglasses who was also known as DJ-PON3, was arching a brow at her as she waited for an answer.

"Nothing, simply a letter from family, nothing of great import." She said, trying her best to sound nonchalant as she folded up the letter as casually as possible.

"Oh! Jazzy finally told ya bout the Apple Party, huh?"

Octavia's hooves stilled as she held the letter carefully, looking down at the offending paper as if her very glance could set it alight. It was times like this she honestly wished SHE was a unicorn instead of the dubstep loving DJ. Glancing back up at her friend's face, which bore a grin so wide it threatened to stretch her face, Octavia did her level best to make sure the next few words were in an even tone. "You... know about the reunion?"

Vinyl chuckled and wrapped a foreleg around her friend, pulling her into a one-sided hug. "Oh yeah, your mom is like, an inspiration for me, ya know? Heck, I didn't even know she was your Mom till one night me and her went out drinkin after a gig! And lemme tell ya Octy, your mom can really hit the shots! Hay, if I had known you were an Apple, I woulda begged you to take me to one of those reunions, the Apple family always has the BEST grub and... uh... Octy? Why're ya shakin?"

"... you... spoke with... Mother?" Twitch. That was definitely a twitch beneath her right eye. Vinyl Scratch took a few steps away from Octavia, afraid her friend was about to explode.

Considering this was the most emotion outside of a facehoof she ever got from Octavia, she wouldn't have been surprised if she exploded twice. And while Vinyl Scratch was a fan of explosions, she drew the line when it came to her friends. Unless they were into that kind of thing, but that was treading territory better left unexplored. Before Vinyl could open her mouth to ask anything, Octavia simply slammed the letter in her hoof on the table and marched off to her room in the shared apartment. The following tremor that came from Octavia forcefully closing her door caused what picture frames they had on the walls to fall askew. The scream that came after would have likely risen the dead, but thanks in part to both normal sound proofing and magical means provided by Vinyl Scratch, it only bothered the surrounding neighborhood.

"Huh... always figured Octy was a screamer. Never thought I'd find out when I wasn't in the same room." Shrugging, Scratch picked up the discarded letter with her magic and looked through it as she made her way to the kitchenette to get dinner started.


Vinyl Scratch was many things. A sought after DJ, somepony who appreciated music enough to alter one genre to bring to a whole other generation, a self-proclaimed pervert, and a pony who knew how to have a good time. But very few knew that she was also a great cook. It was originally the only reason Octavia put up with Vinyl in the first place as both friend and room mate, since the cellist had a hard time making anything that wasn't coffee or instant soup.

At least, that's what Octavia SAID. Vinyl was also a good judge of character, she had to be to recognize how far she could push a pony before they started pushing back. It was also how she knew the best way to pull Octavia out of her little fit.

Pasta. Specifically, bow tie pasta in alfredo sauce with spinach and cherry tomatoes. Bobbing her head to a beat only she could hear, Vinyl finished grating the last of the cheese on the dish, before bringing two heaping plates to the table.

While Octavia was the supposed 'adult' of the pair, there were times when the stress got too much for the classical cellist. As such, Vinyl found there to be times when Octavia would basically pull out her inner child and let it sulk in her room all day. It was adorable really, completely out of character for those who only knew the bow tie wearing mare in passing. Still, Vinyl knew the best way to get a child to come out of a funk... and that was appealing to two things. The Stomach, and the Taste Buds.

Making her way to Octavia's room, pasta floating beside her, Vinyl gave her friend's door a gentle tap. "Oh Octyyyy..." she called in a sing-song voice.

"Go away...."

"Awww.. I can HEAR you pouting from here! C'mooon.... why doncha come on out and join me for some dinner! I made your faaaavoriiiite"

Vinyl had to stifle a giggle when the mare within tried to state as simply as possible that she 'was not pouting.' That didn't stop her from wearing the smuggest grin she could muster when the door cracked open slightly, revealing a single violet eye glancing down at the plate of pasta floating before the door. "... extra cheese...?" she asked in a small voice.

"Just the way you like it Octy, but ya hafta join me at the table. Bad manners to eat in your room... or at least, that's what my roommate would tell me." Lifting her glasses, Vinyl gave Octavia a wink before heading to the dining table, letting the pasta float behind her as she did. 'Hook, Line and Sinker.' Vinyl had barely set the plate back on the table before she noticed Octavia take a seat and proceed to scarf the pasta like she hadn't eaten in days. "... you skipped breakfast and lunch again, didn't you?"

Stopping mid-bite, Octavia took a moment to glance down at her plate, then back up at Vinyl. Grabbing a nearby hoofkerchief, she wiped her muzzle clean of sauce and had the decency to blush. "... maybe..."

Letting out a long sigh, Vinyl simply glanced at the pot of pasta on the stove, her horn glowing as she cast a small spell on it, before she looked back at Octavia. "Hay, don't stop cause I called it! Eat til ya can't, Octy, plenty more where that came from!" Grinning, Vinyl then dug right in herself. She could only take being the responsible one for so long, after all.

And so, the day was saved, thanks to Vinyl's pasta. Every time a plate was empty, the pot would float to the table and a ladle would dish out another serving, much to the delight of Octavia.


Sometime after dinner, with the two simply lounging around in the living room on theikr respective couches, Vinyl let out a soft sigh and glanced at Octavia. "So, wanna tell me what's up?"

Octavia glanced up from her magazine, her features once again schooled into that stoic mask of hers as she regarded Scratch curiously. "Whatever do you mean Vinyl? If you are speaking about earlier, I simply had a bad morning is all. It's the usual thing, Frederic made an insulting comment in passing, I could not abide by it, Harpo tried to get us to calm down, business as usual."

"The magazine's upside down."

Without missing a beat, Octavia flipped the magazine before her right side up. "I was attempting to read the articles upside-down is all, it's a good mental exercise you know. The more you have to concentrate, the less you're likely to miss!" Octavia allowed herself a slight, congratulatory grin. Perfectly reasonable explanation, after all.

"That's my Playcolt's Monthly you're reading."

The grin fell, only to be replaced by dawning horror as she glanced back down and allowed herself to actually LOOK at the magazine... only to see an advertisement for a Ponyville Confectionery, Sugarcube Corner. Blinking, she lifted the magazine to see the cover, only to find the cover held a rather delectable looking cheesecake on the front instead of some raunchy looking mare with bedroom eyes. 'Daily Sweets' greeted her as the title as opposed to anything raunchy. Looking up, she glared at the snickering Vinyl. "Not. Funny."

Letting out a satisfied sigh, Vinyl shook her head. "Yeah it is. And if you fell for it, it means you didn't even know what the hay you were reading. So pony up, Octy, what gives? This ain't the result of a catfight with Freddy, that usually only needs ice cream and a few hours playing your cello. A pasta level problem means something's eating away at ya." Taking her glasses off, she gave Octavia a pleading look. "Ain't we friends Octy?"

Sighing, Octavia pushed the magazine away with her muzzle before laying her head in her hooves, allowing herself to simply lay on the couch. "... you judge my moods by food?" she asked weakly.

"Octy, you're a glutton. If we both didn't make so much you could eat us out of house and home. You only miss meals when you're focused on work, which makes ya cranky and eat more. You have the Coffee and Waffles level emergency when you had a bad dream and need to wake up, Mac and Cheese level when you've run out of supplies to upkeep your Cello, Apple-Fries level whenever you go off to meet family, and now that I know who your family IS that makes SO much sense, and seven or eight more. Heck, the only time it's NOT an emergency is when you're in a good mood and decide to take me out to dinner, after which its a frozen yogurt level emergency cause the service always STINKS at the fancy places you drag me to!" Panting for breath, Vinyl felt herself shaking. By Celestia she hated those snooty high-end restaurants. "Oh, but don't think you're getting away with this Octy, now spill! What is up with you?"

Wincing, Octavia tried her best to pull away from Vinyl's magenta eyes... before letting out a defeated sigh. "Well.. I suppose there's no getting out of this... You better relax, cause the story is... a bit of a long one."

Author's Note:

Right. I blame Wanderer D. He made me do this! He asked the damn question and IT WOULDN'T LEAVE MY HEAD! Any who know where this idea stemmed from, grats to you. Anyone else? Have fun, this one will be a ride.