Vinyl is down on her luck, but a date with destiny shows her how insane life really is.
Vinyl Scratch suddenly becomes a magnet for bad luck and odd situations. After a bad reception of her newest music, she decides to take a break from being a DJ and try to fix her music. But what happens when an not so unfortunate accident involving a sandwich makes the answer more insane than a simple shipping story should be. Watch what happens when worlds collide, the 4th wall is broken, the narrator is extremely handsome, and Muffins may be the answer to everything!
Vinyl closed her eyes and let a heavy sigh escape her lips as the soft glow of her horn enveloped her headphones, setting them down on the turntable. She shut off the music and looked down at her ‘audience’ hoping to see at least a few more ponies than usual, but the club was just as sparsely populated as it had been for weeks.
Gathering her things, Vinyl made her way backstage, her mind blank as she went through her post-show ritual of cleaning up. She was tired, but not quite ready to call it a night. She wasn’t even surprised when she suddenly found herself sitting at her favorite seat at the bar in the back of the club. She set her head on her hooves dejectedly and thought about the nights performance. ‘Same as always, I guess.’ She sighed before placing her glasses on the aging bar, revealing her tired crimson eyes to anyone who bothered to look. She glanced in the direction of the tan stallion minding the bar, ready to call him over only to see him already walking over with a bottle of her favorite whiskey. He set the bottle down in front of her, “Whats wrong, Scratch? Still down in the dumps about the other day?" the older pony asked, sounding genuinely concerned about her.
For a time, Vinyl just sat there looking at the bottle, turning it over with her magic, toying with it almost. She set the bottle down and sighed inwardly, it wasn’t just the incident that was bothering her, it was her own attitude. She just hadn't been feeling right lately. She felt sad and alone, like she had lost her only companion. Ever since her poor performance a few weeks ago, her ability to make music was just not there. Everything she produced now seemed to come out sloppy and hashed together, nopony but the most loyal of the bar’s usual patrons even seemed to tolerate her anymore.
The DJ popped the lid off the bottle with her magic and proceeded to chug it. She welcomed the burning feeling of the alcohol as it flowed down the back of her throat. Its fiery sensation was the only thing she felt anymore. Somewhere near the halfway point she was forced to stop as the need for air became too great. "AHH!" She slammed the bottle down on the table harder than expected, earning her few odd looks. Vinyl just ignored them as usual. She was used to getting strange looks.
"You know," the bartender spoke again, walking back over to her after serving another customer, wiping his muzzle on his white apron. "Maybe you should take a break? Last time you did, your music sounded great! Don't let those lunkheads from before get to ya." His rough voice had a kind almost fatherly sound to Vinyl. "I can always hire a temporary to fill in for you while you're gone."
Vinyl looked up at the aging stallion, his stone grey eyes twinkled with concern and a wisdom that only came with age. Sure if he had said that to her a month ago she would gave him a good hoof to the face, but now she was beginning to see some merit to his words.
Minutes passed by until finally she spoke up. "I-I can't do that to ya, old man, I know the place hasn't been doing too hot, you couldn't afford it..."
“Nonsense!" the old stallion cried out, surprising a few guests that had fallen asleep. "The place has been doing fine. I've made it through worse, and I can certainly outlast a little dry spell."
Vinyl laid her head back down on the bar table. She knew she was right, even if he didn't want to admit it. The place just hadn't seen enough business lately to be doing very well. Then again, maybe he was right. Maybe what she needed to do was take a break. Get out and see something new. Refresh her creativity. Start over, almost. Whatever it was, she certainly wasn't doing anything to increase the clubs regular attendance in her current state. A change of pace sounded like just what she needed. She took a quick sip from her bottle before speaking again.
"Ya know what? Maybe you’re right, old timer, maybe I need a little break is all," A familiar smirk returning to her face after so long. She slid off her stool and looked back at the old bartender. "You think you can find someone for tomorrow night?"
The stallion chuckled. "Oh I'm sure I can find someone, now you go and figure out what the hay is wrong with you, it's a shame to see someone so young looking so demure."
Scratch blinked at that last word. "Uhh...come again?" she said in confusion, causing the bartender to chuckle a bit.
"Go fix your music, Scratch." He waved her off and began pouring a drink for another patron.
For a moment, she didn't know what to say. She just stood there staring at the old stallion, he seemed to be enjoying every minute of it. With every second that passed one thing became more resolute in her mind, one thing that had to happen before anything would make sense. She had to fix her music, plain and simple. On that note, she turned and walked out of the bar into the dimly lit street, her signature grin plastered across her face.
The sun was on the horizon when Scratch finally came to.
"Ugh... my head…." She mumbled, while holding her head and attempting to sit up, only to discover how much stronger gravity had gotten whilst she slumbered.
This was not the first time she had woken up in a strange place with no idea how she had gotten there.
“W-wha?” Was all she could muster.
She remembered leaving the club, heading home to finish the bottle of Jura that was so kindly given to her, going out to get more and then...nothing. Vinyl knew she wasn’t going to remember anything more than that, especially with her grade of headache. Not that she minded, some things were just better left forgotten. At the moment, she knew that the best thing to do was to stay where she was and try to sleep it off. She closed her eyes and took in her surroundings. She could tell she was on a roof somewhere since she felt a cool breeze blow over her. The faint smell of fresh laundry being hung out to dry just barely hung in the air. She loved the smell of fresh laundry, it reminded her of her fillyhood, back when things were so much simpler.
A single tear streamed down her cheek as she felt herself become lost in the past. A faint glimmer of a time long gone, a time where she enjoyed life like she was enjoying herself right now. Well, would have enjoyed had her stomach decided not to empty itself right then and there.
After a few minutes of vomiting, recoiling and repeating, Scratch decided it was time for her to go home, or at least get away from the smell. Her first attempt at standing on anything but her knees was met with a jarring crash that only served to worsen her headache. A few more led to the same result. However, slowly but surely, she eventually found herself upright. She ignored the wave of pain that washed over her as the blinding light found its way into her retinas. Surveying her surroundings, she found that she was indeed on a roof, but judging by the neighboring buildings it was nowhere near her apartment. Sighing, she walked over to the rooftop garden and looked around for a watering hose. While she found none, she did spy herself a bucket of rainwater which she happily drank from.
By now it was night, the sun having been setting when Vinyl awoke, the DJ having decided to spend the rest of the day right there on the roof. It wasn't like anypony needed her right now. Finally gaining her coordination back, she made her way over to the edge and looked down. For a major city, Canterlot certainly was different. Unlike most cities where everything continued to happen be it day or night, when the moon rose in Canterlot, everypony slowed down and rested. Construction stallions would go to the local bar and have a drink. Business mares would close up shop for the night and head home. The whole city had a surreal feel to it.
‘Almost like it's part of a dream....’
Any confidence she had found yesterday suddenly vanished as she was hypnotized by the alien city. As much as she wanted everyone to think she was tough, and could handle everything that came with her life style, she was still just a regular pony at heart. A regular pony could only handle so much, and Vinyl was at her breaking point.
She looked up at the summer night, her memories of the past few months in Canterlot rushed back to her like tidal wave. At first, everything had been going great. After living in Manehatten for 3 years, she had finally saved up enough bits to move to Canterlot. A few weeks later she had landed a reoccurring gig at a local club where she had been a smash hit. Her beats were new, her sound was clean, and Scratch herself overflowed with enthusiasm. But as the months slipped by, the numbers in the club began to dwindle, growing tired of the same material each and every night.
"I guess even drunks have some sort of taste." Vinyl chuckled to herself, unconsciously trying to perk herself up, before returning to her thoughts. What came next was much fresher in her memory...
Soon after, she had tried to write up some new material. She spent weeks writing and mixing new songs, day in and day out, until she was finally ready. The club even advertised the night as a special event. Scratch remembered the size of the line outside the establishment. It was huge! The inside was packed, even more so than it had been since she had first started working there. Ponies of all kinds filled the dance floor, some already drunk and happily dancing to the opening DJ. Vinyl couldn't remember being more excited in years when she walked into that booth and popped on her first mix. The crowd roared with excitement. But it did not last, as the night wore on and Scratch continued through her set, the crowd steadily became more and more disgruntled. Fearing that her new stuff wasn't good enough, she switched to some of her most popular work, but that only made things worse. Finally, the crowd started booing and filing out of the club. She was devastated, and when the night was over, Vinyl could only look on in abject horror as the security attempted to subdue the unruly mob. The following weeks leading to the present were a haze, it was like she had lost part of herself, like she had lost her music.
Scratch climbed up to the top of the ledge and looked down.
"One step...." She whispered to herself, not sure what was happening anymore. A gentle breeze blew through her hair as it wrapped itself around her. The warm sensation reminded her of her mothers long forgotten loving embrace.
"One step...." She whispered yet again, this time leaning slightly forward. She gazed up at the sky. It looked so clear. An endless expanse shimmering with the brilliant glow of an equally infinite amount of stars. Vinyl blinked out a tear as she remembered a summer long ago when she told her dad that she could count them all.
"One step...." She whispered again, quieter than before, tears now flowing freely from her closed eyes. The choking silence of the night suddenly became absolute. Vinyl’s mind locked up as the haunting images of her parents graves flickered through her mind. She felt herself caving in as she leaned forward to take that step.
Or would have when she was suddenly snapped from her reverie. Something had caught her ear. Like someone had said something. She turned around and looked at the roof.
”Hello?” she called out, but her voice simply faded back into the pregnant silence from before. She knew something was there, she could feel it. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before stepping down off the ledge.
'Great, now I'm hearing things,' she thought to herself, but she couldn't shake that feeling. It kept growing stronger and stronger....
And then she heard it. There was the faintest of melodies being carried across the breeze. A song that just was out of her grasp.
Vinyl bolted down the staircase to the street below. She closed her eyes and listened, waiting to pick up the melody again. Finally she heard it, and bolted off in the direction of the song. She was determined to find that music even if it killed her!
Statistics say that if one were to approach a random pony on the streets of Canterlot and ask them to help you find the source of a sound that they couldn’t even hear in the middle of one of the largest cities in Equestria, they will do one of three things: Ignore you outright, slap you in the face before giving you whatever they had in their pockets at the moment as an apology, or give you directions to the nearest mental institution with instructions to check yourself in.
In an effort to save time, it just so happens that at that moment a certain white mare was living proof of all three.
“Well, I’m definitely closer than I was earlier…” She said to herself in a slightly melancholic tone as she stared off into the distance. She rubbed her sore cheeks with her fore-hooves while recounting the events of the night thus far.
She had been escorted to a mental health clinic four times, given three free bubble baths, an offer to star in an adult movie, six coupons for a free sandwich at Frank’s Sandwich Emporium, and a rather peculiar looking box containing a bottle of rosy red #5 eyeliner and a few other things linked to a recent string of murders that should not be discussed without the proper authorities around, which she found out the hard way by attempting such an act, promptly being arrested and then set free due to another prisoners hair-brained attempt to escape using only a sponge, a wad of slightly used bubblegum and an ear of corn. Which oddly enough would have succeeded had Scratch not been present that night. How he had acquired said objects while in jail is another story that may make you question your very understanding of the concept of reality and is best saved for another time. On top of all that, she was now locked on top of yet another roof.
Vinyl gave a heavy sigh, it was almost morning and she knew her window of opportunity for locating the source of the music was quickly drawing to a close. Gathering all the resources she could find, she tried to formulate a plan.
“Damn it! Why didn’t I listen to that crazy stallion when I had a chance? I’m sure he could have thought of something! Damn it all! Damn it all to the moon!” She yelled out attempting to bang her head into the concrete wall next to her only to be stopped by her horn.
“Ow, damn it, bucking horn! Always getting in the…” She rubbed her now aching horn. “Wait a minute…” she looked in the direction of her pile of junk, focusing her attention on a slightly chewed mop. “I’m a unicorn! I have magic, and...stuff...!”
Making all kinds of noise, Vinyl dashed off towards the direction of the door, her foalproof plan quickly forming as she ran. She was about halfway to the door when she heard the music suddenly stop, and in a moment of distraction didn’t see the door fly open with a very angry grey earth pony come storming out onto the roof, holding a bow in one hoof, the words ‘Love Stick’ clearly etched onto the side.
“What in blazes is going on up here?” she asked sternly.
Caught off guard by the sudden entrance of another pony, Vinyl tripped on the bucket that had somehow attached itself to her hind-leg and proceeded to roll across the roof until coming to a stop at the hoof of the angry mare.
“Uhmm…hi?” Vinyl said, slightly dazed, trying to lighten the mood somewhat while looking as dignified as possible.
“Hello to you as well.” The mare replied equally as stern as before. “Would you care to explain what exactly you are doing up here that is…causing….all this…noise….” Her voice trailed off as she looked around the rooftop. “You know what? I don’t even want to know.…” She turned to leave.
“Uhh…Hey! Wait! I couldn’t help but notice your cutie mark, Miss... uh…” Scratch quickly said snapping out of her reverie and standing up.
The grey mare turned and looked back at Vinyl before noticing her cutie mark. “Octavia. My name is Octavia.” She spoke in a careful manner. “I see you’re a musical pony of sorts as well. Well it certainly is a delight to meet another of our kind around these parts, you don’t see them too often.” She turned and proceeded down the stairs a few steps before turning. “Well are you coming or not? I haven’t got all day you know.”
“Uh yeah sure, hang on a moment Octy!” Vinyl yelled down the stairwell and ran over to her pile of stuff and picked up the sandwich coupons. ‘Heheh I’m savin’ you for later.’ She chuckled grimly and ran back down the stairs to see Octavia giving her a disgruntled look.
“Please don’t call me that.” Octavia said before opening the door closest to the stairwell.
“What? Octy? Why? It sounds much better than ‘Octavia,’ that sounds so…stuffy.” Vinyl replied happily while walking into the apartment after her newest acquaintance.
“Well I’m sorry that my name does not meet your…standards of casualness.” The earth mare replied, setting her bow down on a music stand by the small patio as she walked over to the kitchen and placed two cups on a tray. “But nonetheless, my name is Octavia and not ‘Octy’. Anyway, do sit down, it has been far too long since I have had someone to discuss music over.”
“Don’t mind if I do!” The unicorn walked into what she assumed was the living room and plonked herself down on the sofa. The room was full of music stands and instruments of all kinds. ‘She can’t really play all of those, can she?’ Vinyl mused to herself when a specific instrument caught her eye.
It was a well-known fact that when it came to anything musical, Vinyl was far from incompetent; her profession and cutie mark are proof of that.
Being a DJ (especially one that mixes her own music) requires not only a considerable amount of skill in picking out rhythms and subtle sounds, but also in knowing what sounds belonged to which instruments, or at least what type of instruments. And there before her, sitting just inside the doorway, was a large cello, not unlike what had been making the melody that had seemed to elude her all night.
“No way…it can’t be….” Scratch mumbled to herself as Octavia walked into the room with a pitcher of lemonade and some muffins.
“What can’t be?” Octavia spoke up, snapping the unicorn out of her reverie.
“Hey Octy, can you play that for me?” Vinyl pointed to the cello.
Vinyl jumped up, holding her sword in-between her and the would-be assassin.
"Not this time, Anime Batman!" she yelled, stomping her hoof on the ground for added emphasis.
The assassin continued his charge, rushing headfirst into Vinyl, their weapons clashing. Another guard ran up and attempted to behead the masked figure, only to find a limp bolt of cloth where the assassin once stood.
Vinyl looked up. "Audible gasp! Octavia how could you?!" The white knight yelled back at her long lost friend with tears in her eyes.
"I did it because the narrator has no idea what he’s doing! So I did something! We have to fix this mess once and for all!" She yelled back, fighting back tears of her own.
The narrator suddenly stepped down from his magical Narration Booth behind the sky. "Ah-HA! Octavia! I knew it was you! You were the one changing the story! I should have known!"
"Of course it was me you blithering moron! Who else could have done it?" Octavia raised her blade and chuckled as she ran forward. "And now you die!"
"Hmm...you may have a point, none the less! 'The narrator, being the narrator, narrated the entire following scene while fighting back.'" The narrator said. "'Vinyl looked at the other guard with a look that screamed ‘What the buck?!’ The nameless guard just simply shrugged.' "
"Hey!" Vinyl screamed suddenly "Stop reading ahead in the dialogue, I haven't even done that bit yet!"
"Oh but you will now! 'And then the narrator jumped behind the nameless guard and borrowed his sword to parry the first of Octavia's many strikes.'" The narrator said.
"Damn it! Get back behind the fourth wall!" Octavia screamed, lunging her blade at her omniscient opponent.
"'The narrator masterfully parried every single one of Octavia's swings despite the fact that he was reading a book at the same time.'" The narrator said whilst reading from a thick, white book that was obviously marked ‘Script.’
"Now you’re just making stuff up!" The nameless guard yelled.
"'Or is he?' the guard thought to himself.'" The narrator retorted while dodging yet another one of Octavia's swings.
"Why. Won’t. You. Die?!" Octavia yelled out in finality, giving her final swipe all she had.
"'...Only to miss, and smack herself in the face with the hilt of her own sword.'" The narrator cheerfully piped in.
"Damn you…" Octavia deadpanned, before smashing herself with the hilt of her own sword and falling to the floor.
"And now you see why…wait what was I doing again?" The narrator looked confused. "Oh yeah, returning the story to normal!"
The narrator cleared his voice and raised both hands into the air whilst wiggling from side to side like a limp noodle. "And now! Super cool awesome narrator powers, activate!" The narrators voice boomed throughout the whole room, somehow blinding everyone in the room.
Octavia blinked. “Will you stop calling me ‘Octy’?” She retorted quickly.
“No…” Vinyl began, but quickly stopped herself upon meeting Octavia’s glare “Err…I mean, yeah. Yeah, I’ll stop calling you Octy.”
Octavia grimaced at the look on Vinyl’s face.
“The look on your face tells me otherwise, Miss…uhm…I do believe I didn’t catch your name.” Octavia frowned having forgotten to ask her guests name before now.
“The names Vinyl Scratch, my lady!” Scratch said proudly before taking a drink of the lemonade that Octavia had brought out. “Holy sunshine! This lemonade is delicious!”
“Ah, well thank you Miss Scratch,” Octavia said before taking a sip of the aforementioned lemonade herself.
“Now, Miss Scratch, I believe you asked about my cello, am I correct?”
“Hmm?” Scratch looked up from the muffin she had been examining carefully. “Oh…Oh right! The cello. Yeah I was wondering if you played it? It seems like a strange instrument for an earth pony to play…but then again…” She looked around the room “How many of these do you actually play?”
Octavia sighed. “Sadly, I can not play most of them. In fact, many of them do not even belong to me.” Octavia paused and took another sip of her lemonade.
“Uh…yeah I don’t follow…” Scratch gave Octavia a puzzled look “Why do you have all these instruments if they don’t even belong to you? You aren’t some kind of instrument thief, are you?” The DJ’s face quickly became one of abject horror.
Octavia suddenly felt the need to take an aspirin. “No, I am not an instrument thief, why you would think that I can’t possible imagine, but…” She had meant to continue before Vinyl chuckled.
“What, may I ask, is so funny?”
Scratch chuckled again. “Lady, with the night I just had, I really wouldn’t be surprised if you were some infamous instrument thief!” She ultimately gave up and started laughing at the ridiculousness of the previous night. Octavia just looked confused.
“I fail to see the humor in this, perhaps you should explain. I am inquisitive as to why you were on my roof at all.” Octavia kept her poise and took another sip of her lemonade, waiting for Vinyl to calm down.
After a few minutes and several glasses of lemonade later, Octavia was close to losing her temper. “Um...Excuse me, Miss Scratch?” She began, before raising her voice. “MISS SCRATCH!” Vinyl stopped laughing immediately.
“Oh…um…yeah sorry ‘bout that.” Vinyl grinned sheepishly. “Its just last night was really weird and stuff.”
Octavia did not look amused. “Yes, I figured as much. Well why don’t you recount your evening to me, Miss Scratch, if it is indeed as ‘weird’ as you claim.”
Scratch could see Octavia was holding back her anger, but was indeed confused as to why. She picked up her glass to take a drink, only to find it empty.
“Oh, it appears we have run out of lemonade. I shall go fetch us some more.” Octavia stood up and quickly walked to the kitchen.
“Could you bring s’more muffins too?” Vinyl yelled to her before eating the last of them in one bite. ‘Man these muffins are just as good as the lemonade, I should come over here more often,’ She happily thought to herself.
“Why, yes of course…” Octavia grumbled, momentarily regretting not leaving the mare locked on the roof.
While Octavia was busy making lemonade, Scratch took the moment to analyze what she had learned of the other musician.
‘Shes definitely a classical one, must be a pretty successful one at that too, to afford such a nice apartment. And this couch! So soft! But then again, she does seem to have a temper issue as well, probably from being raised in a strict home if how she acts is any tip. And what was with her bow? ‘Love stick’? Really? Did she have some weird fetish for instruments or something? Wait a minute…oh…Oh dear Celestia! The Images! Make them stop! MAKE THEM STOP!’
Octavia gave Vinyl a worried glance as she walked back into the room carrying another tray of snacks. The white mare looked like she was having a panic attack.
“Miss Scratch, are you alright?” She asked, slightly concerned for her own safety from the bi-polar pony she had so willingly invited into her home.
“Ahahahah....” Vinyl nervously laughed “Yeah, I’m okay! You wanted to hear about last night, right? Okay, here goes…”
She started trying to move on to the next subject and forget everything she had just thought about. Octavia looked on with a stoic expression on her face.
Vinyl cleared her throat. "You see it all began last night when I left work..."
The next several hours were filled with Vinyl explaining what had happened the previous night, carefully watching Octavia’s expression, quickly changing the subject when events came up that seemed to bother the grey mare. Eventually, she had gotten Octavia to crack a smile before straight up laughing at the sheer absurdity of the story.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Octavia stopped Vinyl while pausing to calm down. “You’re saying he truly expected to escape with a sponge, some chewing gum, and an ear of corn?” She paused again to laugh. “How in Equestria did he think he was going to manage that?” Vinyl laughed too.
“From what he told me, the sponge was to keep the door open, the…”
Vinyl began to explain the crazy stallion’s plan before she was interrupted by a knock on the door. Octavia looked up at the clock.
“Oh dear, is it that time already?” She got off of the sofa. “I’m terribally sorry, Miss Scratch, but I had forgotten that the members of my ensemble were coming over to practice tonight. You’re welcome to stay and watch if you would like, and I would certainly like to hear the rest of your story as well.”
Vinyl looked up at Octavia. “Members of your what, now?” She asked, obviously confused.
Octavia opened her mouth to answer only to be beaten by a soft voice coming from the doorway.
“An ensemble is like a band that plays classical music but is smaller than an orchestra.” Vinyl and Octavia both turned to look as a periwinkle coloured stallion with a light blue mane and green eyes walked into the room, followed by turquoise colored mare with a brown mane, and an equally brown stallion with a snow white mane. After a moment, the brown stallion spoke.
“Well now Octavia, aren’t you going to introduce us to your friend?” He paused for a moment; his voice was that of an amused music teacher. “Although I never saw you as one to like mares, my dear.”
“Ah yes. Wait what?” Octavia’s face proceeded to turn beet-red, whether from embarrassment or anger, Vinyl couldn’t tell.
“Calm down Octavia,” the blue stallion spoke up, his voice clearly identifying him as the one who had answered Vinyl’s question earlier. “Fredric was only joking. You know that.” The redness in Octavia’s face lessened somewhat. Vinyl snickered slightly.
“Ah, yes of course…” Fredric replied with a small grin on his face. “You must forgive us, Miss…” He paused.
“Vinyl Scratch,” the DJ identified herself.
“Thank you. Like I was saying, you must forgive us, Miss Scratch, Octavia’s skill in courting is somewhat of an inside joke amongst us, and your being here provided an opportunity I couldn't pass up.” Fredric finished. The three standing by the door chuckled.
Vinyl grinned. "Anytime."
“Ahem, I do believe that is enough speaking of me as if I am not here.” Octavia, finally having recovered her senses, spoke up before turning to Vinyl.
“Miss Scratch, these are my fellow ensemble acquaintances. Harpo Parish, Beauty Brass and Fredric Horseshoepin.” She pointed at each of them as she named them off. Beauty smiled and waved her hoof.
“A pleasure to meet you, Miss Scratch.” Harpo spoke in his soft voice. Vinyl smiled back.
“I do hope you will be staying with us tonight.” Fredric chuckled. “It is quite rare to see a musical pony here in Canterlot these days, other than ourselves.” Again, Vinyl smiled back.
“What about her?” Scratch wondered aloud, nodding her head at Beauty.
“Well you see…” Fredric began.
“I have a hard time keeping my voice down, so I don’t speak that much!” Beauty bellowed in a tone that rivaled Princess Luna’s ‘Royal Canterlot Voice’. All the ponies present quickly covered their ears. A loud thumping came from the floor, and several ponies outside were staring off into the distance, no doubt searching for the aforementioned Princess.
“I can tell...” said Vinyl, her ears ringing fiercely.
A moment went by with everypony trying to regain their senses before Octavia spoke up. “Well, now that everypony is acquainted, why don’t we grab our instruments and head up to the roof then?” The others agreed, grabbing the necessary instruments and equipment needed for their pieces as they proceeded to carefully head up to the roof.
After a long, strenuous amount of time they had finally carried their materials up the short staircase and collectively decided to take a well-earned break.
“Oh dear, I forgot about that.” Octavia said after spotting the pile of objects Vinyl had so generously left on her roof. Vinyl sheepishly grinned and rubbed the back of her head saying something along the lines of an apology before Octavia stopped her.
“Oh no, it’s quite alright Miss Scratch”
Vinyl gave her a look. “Alright. Look since we’re all musicians here, how about we all just go by our first names. I dunno about you guys, but being called ‘Miss Scratch’ all the time is making me feel uneasy.” The others looked at Octavia. “If its ok with you that is…” Vinyl trailed off. Octavia looked back and forth between her friends and Vinyl before letting out a sigh and agreeing. Vinyl smiled at the others as they smiled back. Somehow, she could tell that they weren’t as stuffy as Octavia.
Octavia grumbled something about proper manners and walked over to where the others had began to set up their instruments. Vinyl sat down near the edge of the roof. She was excited; it had been awhile since she had heard a live band, even if it was classical. Music was music to Vinyl, and she loved it all. If Octavia was indeed the one that was playing that song last night, Vinyl knew it was going to be beautiful.
----------------------Meanwhile, down the mountain and over the stream in Ponyville------------------
Lyra was sitting on the couch in her usual position reading the newspaper. The day had started out pretty average so far. Wake up, a quick bath, breakfast at Bonbon's Cafe. Nothing out of the ordinary, the day was actually more peaceful than usual.
"Hmm, I wonder what I should have for lunch?" Lyra thought aloud, when suddenly a blinding flash of light appeared and a slightly bloodstained Octavia was launched onto the floor. The first thing that went through Lyra's mind was 'A daisy sandwich it is!' After deciding what was for lunch, her next thought was 'Oh horseapples! Who's going to fix the floor?' Followed by a string of pony-themed curses, and a few in goat, before the dust finally settled and she got a clear view of the pony-projectile that had made the hole in the floor. "O-Octavia! Octavia Philharmonica? Is that you?!"
Octavia weakly raised her hoof at Lyra in a feeble attempt to wave at her. Lyra, however, having spent many years studying ‘humans’, immediately assumed Octavia giving her a very different hoof gesture.
"Well then!" Lyra yelled, quite offended, and yet secretly impressed at Octavia for knowing such an advanced human insult. She walked on her hind hooves over to her front door and grabbed the brown trench coat and hat from the rack.
"If that's how you're going to act, then there are bandages in the bathroom cupboard. I am going to Bonbon's for lunch. Good day to you!" She slammed the door shut, leaving the gray mare even more confused than before.
-----------------------------Back where things make sense.. er I mean Canterlot-------------------------
Vinyl watched as the small group set up their music. Fredric plucked a few strings on the violin he was holding, tuning it to the correct key, as was Octavia with her cello. Harpo was staring up at the clouds, his harp had been the most difficult to bring outside, but its golden color shined beautifully in the twilight sun. Vinyl moved her head slightly to the side so she could see Beauty. She had a somewhat large brass instrument in her hooves. A sousaphone? Vinyl couldn’t tell. She was never good with brass. Beauty’s instrument aside, Vinyl noticed that she was idly waiting in a similar manner to Harpo, with the exception of her staring at Fredric. She chuckled. The DJ may not have been good at dealing with her own feelings, but she was definitely an expert at reading others.
Octavia raised her bow and tapped on her stand, apparently signaling that they were about to begin. Vinyl listened in and slowly closed her eyes as the melody began to take shape. Octavia started out with a simple long drag on her cello. The long ‘C’ note filled Vinyl with a strong feeling of anticipation and longing that quickly died away when Fredric began plucking a few strings on his violin, creating a momentary clash of feelings within Vinyl as the sharp staccato notes morphed the song into a light hearted one. It was then that Harpo came in with his harp. The air immediately became calm and soothing as the melody fell into a smooth adagio tempo. Scratch smiled to herself, she felt like she was flying. It made Vinyl think about her fillyhood, back when her father would take her to large music halls and they would sit and listen to the orchestra practice.
The song changed to a slightly faster melody, this time more melancholy. Vinyl didn’t notice as her thoughts floated to the night before, as she stood on the edge of that roof. She frowned. She hadn’t told Octavia about that in their conversation earlier; she felt that it would be weird to tell someone she hardly knew that she had really considered taking that step. Again, the song changed, this time to a quicker jazzy song. Vinyl’s head began moving to the beat; she began to think of her life in Manehatten, more specifically, her last night there. While normally Vinyl would have been out clubbing or DJ-ing at some place, instead she had stayed home and just watched the cars pass by on the roof of her old building. It was one of the few times she had ever felt truly content. She let out a sigh, and just tuned everything out.
Vinyl was brought back to reality with a jolt; Octavia was poking her in the head with her Love Stick.
“You’re not dead are you?” The grey mare asked, slightly annoyed.
Vinyl looked around quickly. The group appeared to have finished practicing for the night. Her cheeks turned a deep crimson, embarrassed for getting so lost in the music.
“Come on. Get up.” Octavia said with a slight chuckle in her voice. “I was going to ask what you thought of our music but it seems that I don’t need to.”
Vinyl looked up at the mare like she was growing an extra limb.
“Huh?” She said, mostly out of confusion at Octavia’s last statement.
“You had the goofiest expression on your face the entire time.” Octavia barely managed to say, in between giggles.
“The others are already back in my apartment. Come on, upsie daisy!” She grabbed Vinyl’s hoof and pulled her up before trotting over to the stairwell. Vinyl stood there looking confused as ever. Normally, she was fine with being confused, however, there were plenty of things that she knew she would never understand no matter how much she tried. This definitely threw her for a loop. She momentarily wondered if the grey mare was broken or something. Her sudden change in mood was baffling, to say the least.
Earlier she had been so calm and emotionless, almost harsh at times, but now she was giggling like a schoolfilly. She hadn’t even acted like that during her story.
‘It’s like she’s a completely different pony or something…’
Inside, the group sat there enjoying themselves, idly chatting about things that had struck them as odd during rehearsal today, or a random timing issue that a certain somepony had. Vinyl felt like an outsider intruding on their private time. She wanted to leave, not to bother such a perfect group of friends. In fact, she almost did, had Fredric not turned his head and waved her over.
“Ahh, well if it isn’t Sleeping Beauty herself!” He cried jokingly. “Did you enjoy your nap?” The others chuckled and Vinyl gave an embarrassed smile as she sat down.
“Yeah, sorry, your music was just so cool, ya know? I must have...gotten lost in thought or something.” She replied hastily, still not quite awake.
“Oh no, It’s quite alright. Please, no need to apologize,” Harpo spoke up; even in mirth, his voice still carried a soothing feel to it. “You seemed to be enjoying yourself greatly.” He gave her a soft smile. Beauty nodded in agreement.
“Ah yes, you looked quite elated my dear,” Fredric laughed again. “You had the most amusing grin on your face the entire time.”
“Uh…yeah…hang on a sec. Where did Octy go?” Vinyl said trying to change the subject, clearly not wanting to deal with the teasing in her drowsy state. However, this only roused yet another round of laughter from the merry group.
“Hey, what’s so funny?” She asked, beginning to panic. She was definitely not used to being the one left out of the loop, especially when it was her being laughed at.
Fredric wiped a tear from his eye. “I’m so sorry, Miss Scratch, but did you really just call Octavia, ‘Octy’?” The brown stallion asked between laughs.
“I mean truly, how are you still in good health? Unless…” He stopped laughing long enough to turn his head and gave a wink over to the others which, in turn, caused them to all burst out laughing again.
“Wait what? What do you mean ‘how am I still in good health’? What the hay is that suppose to mean?” A hint of anger could clearly be heard in her voice. Vinyl was beyond confused by now, she simply couldn’t see why that nickname was so funny.
“Miss Scratch, please, calm down. I’m sure I speak for all of us here when I say we’re just surprised. Octavia does not particularly like that nickname. Nor is she very forgiving of those who call her it, and to see you calling her it so casually and without fear is quite astounding.” Harpo spoke up, not having nearly as much trouble keeping his composure as Fredric or Beauty. Without missing a beat he pointed to Fredric “If you don’t believe me, just watch.”
Vinyl followed the blue stallions hoof over to the couch that Fredric was sitting on. Behind him Octavia was steadily walking up to the unsuspecting musician with an evil look on her face. Fredric, still paralyzed with laughter, opened his eyes just in time to see Octavia stand up on her hind legs and look down on him. Needless to say, any hint of laughter from him vanished along with the colour of his face as Octavia loomed menacingly over him.
“You know Fredric,” Octavia spoke in a cheerful voice, betrayed only by the look on her face. “I think I must be going crazy, because I am positive you didn’t practically yell out a bastardization of my name at the top of your lungs, right?”
Fredric’s only response was a few very slow nods of his head, as if moving any faster would cause his untimely demise. Octavia’s face suddenly lit up as she turned her attention to the rest of her ensemble.
“Good, I’m happy to hear that. Now I think it’s about time you three headed home. It’s getting quite late and I wouldn’t want to hold you up.”
Harpo was the first to get up. “Well Vinyl, it has been a pleasure meeting you. I do hope we can do this again sometime. Perhaps you could display your form of musical talent to us then, or at least let us know what it is you do.” Harpo gave Vinyl a smile. She snapped out of her reverie with a shake of her head.
“Yeah! That sounds cool! I’ll definitely show you my music! It’s the least I can do after falling asleep on you guys.” She grinned nervously, but Harpo just nodded his head and flashed her another smile before walking off.
With Harpo out of the way, the DJ had a clear view of Beauty violently shaking Fredric in a vain attempt to wake him up. It took Vinyl a moment to register what was going on. She hadn’t noticed that he had fainted, and chuckled at the humorous display. Octavia walked over and motioned for Beauty to stop while she squeezed water from a wet rag onto Fredric’s face. When that didn’t work she just shook her head and hefted the unconscious body onto Beauty’s back with instructions to bang him into as many things as she could on the way to the elevator. Beauty nodded her head quickly a few times before trotting out the door that Harpo was so generously holding open. He muttered another “Goodnight” before closing the door.
After the others had left, Octavia walked over to the den and lay down on the couch that Fredric had been sitting on.
“Wow, I really didn’t expect Beauty to be such a work-horse.” Vinyl thought aloud, quite impressed with the mare’s strength.
“Yes well, it comes from years of playing heavy instruments like the sousaphone or the tuba. Those things can be quite tiring to hold, let alone to play.” Octavia answered from inside the couch before turning and sitting up.
“Now then Miss Scratch, don’t you think that you should be heading home sometime, yourself?”
Vinyl thought for a moment. As much as she wanted to deny it, she had to agree she was beginning to miss her own bed. In fact the only things that were keeping her here at the moment were the prospect of more muffins and the fact that she had no idea where she was. Both had been good enough reasons a few hours ago, but now her increasing worry of whether or not she had locked her front door in her drunken state was beginning to overpower the deliciousness of those muffins. Finally her doubt reached its peak and she decided to ask the gray mare for help.
“Well, you see, the thing is… err…. I actually have no clue as to where I am… in relation to my house I mean. I only moved here a few months ago and haven’t been to this part of the city yet.” Vinyl gave Octavia a sheepish grin.
“I see…” Octavia stood up, “Well it looks like I will just have to help you find your way back then.”
Vinyl cocked an eyebrow “You sure? I mean, you said it yourself, it is getting pretty late. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t reach my place before sunset.”
“I’m positive.” Octavia said, before opening the door. “Well come on, then. Let’s not dally now!”
Octavia cautiously walked out of Lyra’s house looking like the Band-Aid mummy. Not seeing any sign of her target, she began walking down the street trying to look as casual as possible. Well, as casual as one can look when a famous gray mare walks through town wearing a badly torn white cloak and having the majority of her visible body covered in bright neon pink bandages. Despite this glaring attention draw, the ninja wannabe continued to trot cheerfully down the street, hopefully buying herself some time whilst she formulated herself a plan.
‘Hmm, well I’m definitely in Ponyville, that much is certain,’ she thought to herself as she walked into the town square. Had she been paying attention, she would have noticed a distinct lack of the town residents in the merry square. ‘Now I need to figure out when I am. Let’s see, Lyra was defiantly still completely a pony so I must be before Ponyville got infected...’
“Well well well, Octavia. Judging by your attire you must have been in a fight recently.” The narrator cooed, looking down at her from his perch atop Princess Celestia’s fountain statue. Octavia quickly drew her daggers and jumped headlong at the omnipotent silhouette of a man.
The narrator calmly opened his book and read, “ 'But tripped on a rock and fell into the fountain.', Now now, Octy. We can’t have you attacking me before we finish our lines. After all, it’s in the script. And the fans need to hear the big reveals from the right ponies.” He gave her a devious grin to which Octavia only sneered at.
“Fine then, but I don’t know what’s scarier. The fact that you can smile and I can see it, or that you ruined everything because you forgot your lunch!” Octavia yelled back at the shadowrific being. “And furthermore...”
" 'Octavia started but bit her tongue in her rage and let out a roar of pain.' " The Narrator read. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. No big spoilers yet, my dearest. That comes in the next scene, until then you'll have to just make do with small hints and unnecessary violence. 'The pain finally began to subside once the narrator and his devilishly good looks finished warning her about spoiling the story.' "
Octavia spat out some blood before shooting the narrator another look. “Anger!” She growled and stabbed the concrete with her dagger, thus breaking it. “Look, I do not need this right now. I just wasted a whole lot of band aids,” She looked at the floating mass of pink currently clogging up the fountain’s filter. “My lover is about to go on stage all alone,” She pointed her her hoof in the general direction of Canterlot. “And worst of all, I just broke my antique dagger!” She threw the broken stub at the featureless idiot.
The Narrator dodged the dagger and closed his book, he knew this scene by heart. “Oh boo hoo! Because of you I didn’t get to eat my lunch!” He pouted, dramatically draping himself down Celestia’s side, waiting for Octavia to continue.
Octavia shook her head and facehoofed. “Then how come you’re chasing me around the story and not eating it?”
The narrator rolled over on the statue, facing away from Octavia. “Oh do you even care?”
“No, not really.” She admitted, finally getting up and out of the water.
The narrator chuckled and laid back on the statue, spinning the script above his finger like a basketball before replying. “Well whatever, I’m staying here whether you like it or not!”
Octavia's face became hidden under her hood as she gave a grim chuckle. “Well if that’s the case,” She held up her second dagger. “Then die!” She screamed, as she lunged at the laughing idiot.
The aforementioned idiot simply laughed harder and grabbed the mare’s arm. “Spin Cycle!”
Vinyl smiled to herself as she skipped into her apartment. She was quite pleased that she had indeed remembered to lock her front door in her heavily intoxicated state a few nights ago. She was definitely going to have to reward herself with something later, probably something chocolaty. Vinyl’s grin grew much larger at that thought. She loved chocolate.
Octavia, on the other hand, was much worse for wear. As the usually prim and proper earth pony staggered into the doorway of the DJ’s abode, one could not help but notice that her appearance was something reminiscent to that of a low grade adult film star, complete with lipstick kisses covering a vast majority of her flank. With a final grunt, she pulled herself past the doorway, kicking off the last of the groupies that had yet to detach themselves from her leg and acquainted her face with Vinyl’s floor for what could only be considered as the beginning of a long lasting, and almost heartfelt relationship.
The floor, who had been minding its own business up until moments ago, was caught completely off guard by the classical musician’s accidental advances and attempted to blush madly, only to realize that it had no face on which to portray its emotions and quickly fell into a deep depression. Had Octavia realized that she had caused any of this emotional duress upon the all-important surface which held her above the ground, she would have immediately apologized before offering to go on a date with it, in hopes of easing its suffering. However, seeing that she was unaware of all this, the floor proceeded to seek companionship from the ceiling, who immediately turned it down in hopes of getting a date with the ceiling fan. Oddly enough, upon further investigation, the ceiling fan turned out to not be sentient at all.
A few moments later, Vinyl walked back into the room across the now silently sobbing floor, absent mindedly humming a strange tune and carrying a bowl and spoon in her magic.
“Hey Octy…uh…you okay?” She asked, lightly nudging crumpled shape with her front hoof. At first Vinyl had assumed that her gray companion had passed out. Having that many groupies attack anypony in the sewer like that was bound to be a traumatic and exhausting experience, but Vinyl was soon corrected as an annoyed grumble was heard coming from Octavia’s form.
“Oh good, you’re alive. I just wanted to know what you want for breakfast and then you can go back to making out with the carpeting, mmkay?”
As soon as Vinyl’s words had sunk in, Octavia’s initial reaction was to shoot up and give her a cold stare. “I was doing no such thing!” She stated matter-of-factly.
The DJ grinned. “Oh yes you were, I saw tongue and everything.” Octavia’s face turned bright red as Vinyl’s drapes suddenly became quite interesting.
After a moment, Octavia spoke up. “H-how would that even work?” She had a confused look on her face. Vinyl simply shrugged.
“Dunno, but you somehow made it work, anywho, what do ya want for breakfast? I got cold cereal, cold cereal, whatever’s leftover from last Tuesday’s Chinese takeout, aaaaaand..." she paused for dramatic effect. "...cold cereal.”
“Ugh…I’ll take some cereal please.” Octavia mumbled defeatedly, wiping the sleep from her eyes.
“Filly Flakes it is!” Vinyl yelled, loud enough to wake the neighbors, while walking into the kitchen. Octavia simply shook her head and sat down on the couch.
The apartment was quaint, small, and much neater than Octavia remembered, although it certainly wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot. The orange carpeting looked to be in need of some serious hoovering, as did the orange and brown plaid couch that she was currently sitting on. The old coffee table, which was completely different from the one she remembered, had hoofmarks and scratches all over it, most likely from Vinyl's habit of placing her hind legs in the table when she ate.
Octavia sighed, a few minutes in here was actually bearable compared to the mess she had found when they moved in together in the future. She smiled to herself when she saw Vinyl's equipment. She had known that Vinyl was a DJ from the mission briefing she had received a few days prior, as well as 'past' experiences, but she hadn’t expected Vinyl to be that high-tech. Octavia chuckled. ‘Just like old times, or future times, or...Ah! This is so confusing!’ she thought, before a loud crash was heard from the kitchen.
Without thinking, Octavia leapt to her hooves and galloped to the kitchen.
“Vinyl dear, are you alright?” She instinctively yelled out, before realizing what she had said.
“Uh…yeah I’m alright…. Wait, what did you just say?” Vinyl stopped digging herself out of the pile of wood and canned food and looked right at the gray mare.
“I asked if you required any assistance, Miss Scratch.” Octavia replied in her usual stiff manner, hoping Vinyl hadn’t caught what she had actually said. When Vinyl gave her a look that read ‘do you think I am deaf?’ Octavia gave a sheepish grin while attempting to keep her perspiration rate under control.
“Uhh, yeah. Whatever. Um, can you come over here and give me a hand in digging myself out?” The white pony asked skeptically. Vinyl might have been a bit laid back, but that definitely didn’t mean she was stupid. She heard every word Octavia had said.
"O-Of course, Miss Scratch." Octavia lept to the DJ's side and began pulling cans out of the way. She had a feeling this was just the beginning of a long day...