Octavia felt a rush of cold air nip at her fur, and immediately didn’t want to be outside. It wasn’t that she regretted her decision to have this talk, it’s just that she wasn’t much of a cold-weather pony. Octavia much preferred the heat of the summer; the warm breeze caressing her frame. A wistful sigh escaped her lips as she locked eyes with Lyra, who looked much the same of a child who had just gotten caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She wondered what she walked in on.
“Hi.” Lyra muttered, trying to act as pathetic as possible.
“Hello Lyra. I understand you wish to speak with me.”
“I… yeah. I guess there’s some things we need to talk about.”
“Oh? Are there now?” Octavia could near the sniffles in Lyra’s words and she wasn’t buying any of it.
“I… well, yes.” Lyra stuttered.
“Well, then, let us hear it. I would not want to take too much of your time.”
Lyra kept her head down and sniffled more. Her incessant sobbing filled the night air, as well as filling the grey pony with rage. They sounded much the same as a filly’s sobs would if her mother wouldn’t get her that cupcake she wanted. Their eyes met for just a brief moment, and in that moment Octavia confirmed everything she had already assumed. Lyra was obviously frazzled, not expecting the buffer of Rainbow Dash between Vinyl and herself. It left her vulnerable and open; She wore her intentions on her hoof. Somehow, she was even more pathetic that Octavia could ever have given her credit for. Octavia could feel her rage burn behind her eyes. She was sick of this game already.
“Alright, well, I guess I just want to know why you hate me,” Lyra said though a sniffle, her voice cracking progressively more with each word. “I just… I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I did. I’ve been nothing but nice and kind. I always ask Vinyl to bring you along. I always ask how you guys are doing. To be shut out for no reason really hurts.”
Lyra sounded pathetic, Octavia noted. Her voice wavered with every syllable; her gasps of breath to maintain control of her emotions were thickening the crisp air. Octavia could have sworn she saw Lyra steal a glance at her and quickly look back down. Her meekness would have been somewhat believable, had Lyra not immediately sniffled deeply in a fake attempt to maintain her composure. Octavia’s eyes narrowed, though Lyra never saw it. She was too busy staring at the ground; unable to meet the earth pony’s state. It was hard for Octavia to not snarl, but anger wasn’t an emotion that she was quick to showcase. She drew a deep breath but was quickly caught off by a second act.
“I don’t know what to do, Octavia. I don’t know why you don’t want Vinyl and I to hang out. She needs me. She needs the stability. She needs someone who’s been there through it all with her. And I… I need her. What am I supposed to do without her around?”
Lyra broke into sobs, unable to control herself anymore. Her shoulders pushed up and she slumped into the ground, making a spectacle of it all. She wrapped her hooves around her face and pinned her ears tightly to her head. Octavia cocked an eyebrow.
Rather good at that whole crying thing, I must admit.
Octavia sighed, more so in frustration than anything else. Lyra’s words had a token of truth behind them; Octavia believed that she believed what she was saying. Somewhere in Lyra’s sick little brain, she wasn’t lying. She was telling the total and undeniable truth. Though, her truth was far from reality. And, true to her nature, Lyra’s truth seemed to be a direct objection to Octavia’s presence in Vinyl’s life. A rather insulting objection at that.
Baring the anger that shook her inner core, Octavia remained emotionless and watched as the unicorn heaved heavy sighs in an attempt to calm her pseudo-rattled nerves. Though Lyra may have bought into her fake reality, she still knew, on some level, that she needed to really sell it. Octavia knew that, much like everything Lyra has done, this was all for show. These weren’t the tears of a pony who was afraid to lose her ‘best friend’. These were the tears of somepony who was used to a certain white unicorn abandoning everything at the drop of a hat. These were the tears of somepony why expected aforementioned unicorn to run to her side when the slightest bit of unhappiness reared its head. These were tears that were meant to sway Octavia to Lyra’s side and leave Vinyl alone. Lyra was handing out a contract; if Octavia bought in, she’d have to leave the DJ. And that wasn’t on the agenda for the evening.
Lyra raised her head once more, making eye contact again with Octy. Octavia couldn’t help the snort that escaped her lips. The pathetic look that stretched itself across Lyra’s face almost threw her into a violent rage. Octavia drew a deep breath to hold her composure. Regardless of everything, Vinyl wouldn’t be too happy if Lyra had a hoof-shaped-dent in her head. Though, the image kept a smirk on the corner of Octavia’s mouth.
“I am not here to comfort you, nor will I. I am not taking Vinyl away from you. She is perfectly capable of her own decisions and she is making them herself. Do not try to blame your failing friendship on me. I do not hate you and I would not tell Vinyl who she can and cannot speak with. And, for the record, I am always there for Vinyl. And Vinyl and I are perfectly stable, thank you. For someone that ‘needs’ Vinyl as much as you say you do, you have a peculiar way of showing it. Should you choose to truly be there for Vinyl and attempt to retain your friendship, I would suggest that perhaps attacking someone she cares about is not a good way to show your affection.”
“I’m not attacking you!” Lyra’s voice was nearly hitting hysterical volumes. “I’m not attacking anypony! I just don’t get why you hate me! I haven’t done anything to you to deserve this. I just don’t understand.”
Once again, Lyra broke down into sobs. Octavia could feel her rage bubbling over. She tried her hardest to remain apathetic and not fly across the yard with a blunt object in possession, but the urge was growing larger by the second. This unicorn really knew how to push buttons. It was amazing that Vinyl put up with it for so long. Vinyl deserved a patience and good honor award from Celestia herself. Or ice cream. Actually, Vinyl would be happier with the ice cream.
“Look. I don’t hate you. But I definitely don’t like you and you might as well stop crying now because I am not going to drop everything I am doing to make everything right in your tiny little world. Have you ever once stopped to think about how you actually treat your so-called best friend? Your treatment of Vinyl is utterly horrific. All you do is keep your grubby little hooves on her and string her along to the point where she is confused as to what is going on. Now I realize that I have not been around for the majority of your friendship, and I realize that, in your twisted brain, I seem as if I am taking something from you. Something that belongs to you, right? That is your problem, Lyra. You are a possessive and psychotic. Vinyl belongs to nopony. Perhaps instead of treating her as if she owes you something, you could try treating her as a friend. My advice to you is to, first and foremost, quit being ashamed of Vinyl and simultaneously trying to control her life. Seco-“
“What on Earth makes you think I’m ashamed of her!? She makes me proud all the time!”
Octavia sighed. “There you go again, acting as if you care about Vinyl for the sake of her being a living creature. You treat her as a trophy. She does not need your approval to function as a pony. And do NOT get me started on you being ashamed of Vinyl. Don’t you sit there and tell me that you’ve even one shred of backbone. Do not look me in the eyes and tell me that you are not who I think you are. I have seen your type; I know who you are. And I also know that you have not told Bon Bon of anything between you and Vinyl, and I have been informed that on numerous times you have outright denied you were with her. To me-“
“Bon Bon doesn’t need to know anything. Bonnie and I are happy together and that’s all we need. I only ever deny Vinyl because, well, sometimes she’s looked down upon. You have to understand that if my father knew that I was with someone like Vinyl, he would have tried to shoot both of us. I wish I were exaggerating!”
Octavia’s drew a deep breath in the vain hopes that she wouldn’t grind her teeth together. She thought she was being moderately civil to this point, but Lyra was doing her best to get her to snap. Either that or the unicorn was as naive as a day-old filly. Octavia felt her nostrils flair and her right ear twitch. Regardless of her self-control, her anger was rebelliously shoving under her surface; there was no way she could keep this up much longer.
“If you interrupt me one more time, we will have more problems than your treatment of Vinyl.”
Octavia wasn’t entirely sure what area of her anger was comprised entirely of demon spawn, or how it overtook her vocal chords in such a way that allowed her to growl words, but she wasn’t upset about it. The statement hung in the air, casting an aura of complete understanding under the bright stars. Lyra’s eyes sunk back into her head as she physically flinched. Octavia’s anger gently flowed over the edge; she felt totally comfortable and in control.
“Furthermore, don’t you dare sit there and degrade Vinyl’s character. She may not be as… well off… as SOME of us are, but she is one of the most kind-hearted and caring ponies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. To hell with your dad and to hell with you. To hell with your lies and your fake reality. I’ve never met someone so desensitized and sociopathic until I had the distinct displeasure to deal with the likes of you. Don’t you get it? It’s over. You’ve buried yourself so outside of reality that nopony even knows what you’re doing anymore. No one believes your lies and your crocodile tears. You can’t have it all, but that won’t stop you. I know. But just remember this. Before you try to make excuses about who Vinyl is or what she is, maybe you should look inside yourself and wonder how you have gotten to the point in your life where you’re crashing a party and trying to convince your favorite toy, sorry, best friend, to remain on speaking terms with you. Maybe next time before judging someone else and hiding and being embarrassed about WHO is in your life, you should be embarrassed of the fact that you’re pretending to cry on the front lawn of a place you were never invited to, to an individual who couldn’t care less.”
Anger seeped out of Octavia’s system like air getting let out of a balloon. The grey pony heaved a few breaths as she didn’t entirely remember to breathe during her onslaught. Lyra bowed her head. She was completely silent now. No sniffles. No sobbing. No tears. Octavia sighed and lowered her eyebrows. She knew that she should perhaps feel some sort of remorse, but she could find none. The last of her anger dissipated, Octavia raised her head up. She stared into the dark canopy for a long moment before closing her eyes. She could feel her insides scrambling to get back to a normal level. Without opening her eyes, Octavia lowered her head and turned towards the barn door.
“Good night Lyra. I hope you get the help you need. And I hope you get what you deserve.”
Before Lyra could so much as sniffle, Octavia was back inside.
Vinyl sat in the corner of the mostly-empty barn. Almost everyone had grown tired; some due to the time, some of the drama. Vinyl wanted to pace; she was a nervous wreck. Octavia had been out there for a long time now. Yet, Vinyl couldn’t find the energy within her to get to her hooves. She was emotionally drained. Rainbow Dash sat silently next to her. It was weird to not see the pegasus hanging in the air. The heaviness of the night had completely drained the two, as well as most everyone else. Twilight and Rarity helped AJ pick up the scattered garbage within the barn. Pinkie, somehow, was hanging off a bale of hay that was easily three times her size. No one questioned The Pink One, and certainly no one bothered to wake her up.
As if on cue, Dash and Vinyl took a long swig of cider simultaneously. Neither mare noticed; both lost deep within their own minds. Vinyl glanced up at a clock. Her body seemed to ache more when she realized it was almost five in the morning.
Finally, almost painfully, the barn door creaked open. Using energy she didn’t even have, Vinyl was immediately on her hooves and at Octavia’s side. The Earth pony smiled gingerly. There was a dying fire behind her lavender eyes that was still smoldering within its ashes. Vinyl instinctively looked at Octavia’s hooves for any sign of green fur.
“I… uh… how did it go?”
Octavia locked eyes with her marefriend for a long moment. She didn’t know what to say. How DID it go?
“It… went. I’m not sure there will be any more shopping trips any time soon.”
“Did you hit her?”
The corner of Octavia’s mouth pulled up into a comfortable smirk. She stepped forward and ran her muzzle across Vinyl’s neck. Octy could feel a hot blush rise to the unicorn’s face. Octavia giggled; she always enjoyed that reaction.
“I didn’t. I wanted to. So badly. But I didn’t. Because I love you.”
The blush on Vinyl’s face grew larger. Octavia couldn’t help but smile. Vinyl was so adorable when flustered.
“I guess I should go clean up?”
Octavia opened her mouth to agree, but quickly shut it when the barn door squeaked open again. A quick glance passed itself between everyone in the barn. The silence intensified as the speculation and confusion gave way to the sight of Lyra ashamedly shuffling into the barn, followed closely by Bon Bon. Vinyl heard Rainbow Dash grumble under her breath as she pushed herself to her feet. Applejack quickly took her place in front of the angry pegasus. Vinyl could hear the awkward movement behind her, followed by the sound of hooves bouncing off the dirt. Somehow, the tense atmosphere had awoken Pinkie and she took her spot next to the rest of her friends, behind the white unicorn and her marefriend. Vinyl felt as if she was walking to the frontlines of a war, her troops behind her. They were all bloodied and tired, but the crushing, final blow was hanging over them like a storm cloud hovers in the sky. The war was almost over. She had won.
Lyra refused to raise her head to look at Vinyl; or anypony for that matter. Octavia pressed herself against Vinyl’s side. Vinyl exhaled slowly, ready for everything to finally end.
“I… I just came to say goodbye.”
Vinyl cocked her head to the side. The freedom that flowed through her veins made it nearly impossible to keep the smugness out of her voice.
Lyra nodded sadly as Bon Bon watched from a distance. There was a mixture of pain and confusion on her face. Their eyes met for a moment. It was impossible to tell if Bon Bon was angry at Vinyl or having to run all over Equestria, presumably, to find Lyra. Vinyl’s face contorted into a grimace. How HAD Bon Bon known to find her here? Maybe she sprung for a tracking device and implanted it on the green unicorn when she was sleeping. Or maybe the whole thing was planned…
“Well, er, have a good night.”
Vinyl wanted to thank Lyra for coming over, but no one was thankful for the party crasher. As awkward as it was, the unicorn knew that she had to speak to Lyra privately just for a moment before she left. She needed the last word, she needed her closure. And now was the only time she was going to get it. Bon Bon wasn’t going to like it, but, then again, keeping Lyra in the barn for any longer was a hazard to her health; Rainbow Dash growled loudly from behind.
“Lyra, can I speak with you outside?”
Lyra slowly nodded her head and the two made their way silently towards the door. Vinyl could feel the stiffness in Octavia’s body as she walked way; Octy didn’t want any more problems. Bon Bon followed, as she always did. Vinyl rolled her eyes but wasn’t about to censor herself. She needed to get this off her chest. Vinyl steadied herself with a deep breath and whipped around.
“I think it’s best if we take some time off, Lyra.”
Lyra stopped in her tracks and slumped onto her flank. Bon Bon glared at Vinyl. She was sure, this time, the anger in her eyes was directed at herself and not Lyra. Actually, what Vinyl was sure of was that Bon Bon was setting her on fire with her mind.
“Look, I’m not saying that I never want to see you again. I want to work this out. I don’t want to lose a friend. But you hurt me in a serious way. Tonight, you made an ass of yourself AND me. I just think that maybe you’re not over it as much as I wasn’t. Our relationship, and our friendship, is toxic at best. You need help, Lyra. And I can’t give you that help. I’m not giving up on our friendship. But you need to make yourself happy. I went out and found someone that can make me happy, and you did your best to ruin it. I’m sorry, but… I can’t. I don’t have the energy to do this anymore.”
Vinyl found the little energy she had was completely drained. Bon Bon was no longer glaring at Vinyl; rather, she looked completely lost. Lyra looked into Bon Bon’s eyes and then flicked her attention back to Vinyl, who’s eyebrow was raised. It was now or never.
Well, Lyra, your move. Lie or truth.
“We’re going to have a talk on the walk home.”
“What if you just told her now and got it over with?”
A dark look crossed Lyra’s face before she returned her attention to her marefriend. Vinyl coughed, hiding a chuckle. She had never made a better choice than to move on. Bon Bon’s eyebrows furrowed. She seriously had no idea what was going on. Vinyl was sure that Lyra had no intentions of ever mentioning it on the walk home. The DJ set out to win the war, and she wasn’t going in until she did.
“I, uh, dated Vinyl.”
Vinyl couldn’t help but chuckle. Lyra had finally, literally, muttered the sentence that she didn’t want to ever say. Bon Bon’s face remained apathetic, but a newfound spark entered her eyes. It was full of clarity and… jealousy? Vinyl couldn’t exactly read it. And she honestly didn’t care to. She just wanted to go to bed.
“We’ll talk about this later.”
Lyra pushed herself to her hooves and looked up at Vinyl once more. She wanted to say that there was heaviness in her heart, that there was a part of her that thought she was making a mistake. That there was a part of her that knew she would regret this night, and her actions, for the rest of her life. That she would be incomplete and unhappy for the rest of her days.
She wanted to, until she thought of the most perfect lavender eyes that were waiting for her in the barn. She knew that after all that Lyra had put her through, she would never feel guilty or sad. It was finally over. For good.
Defeated, Lyra hung her head and stalked into the darkness with a presumably angry Bon Bon. Their hushed and hurried argument seemed to heat up, the farther they got away from the barn. Vinyl couldn’t make out the words, even as they grew louder, but she really didn’t want to either. Lyra’s half-hearted goodbye resonated through Vinyl’s ears. She watched in silence for a long moment as they faded into the horizon, trying to place the feeling in her chest. It wasn’t sadness, nor was it happiness. Vinyl heaved a sigh.
She hadn’t heard the door open. The unicorn whipped around and found Octavia’s eyes staring directly into her own. She felt any apprehension leave her chest. Vinyl trotted up to Octavia and nuzzled her, breathing in her scent. Though tainted with the scent of cider and sweat, it was still familiar and comforting. The DJ felt her eyes grow heavier in her comfort. She desperately wanted to sleep.
“Me too. Applejack offered to let us stay here for the night.”
“That’d be great. I’m exhausted.”
Applejack appeared around the side of the barn and smiled sleepily. She trotted towards the house with more energy than anyone had a right to have, and ushered Vinyl and Octavia into their room. Vinyl wrapped herself around Octavia as they settled in under the covers of their bed. She shut her eyes and waited for sleep to come. But come it wouldn’t. Vinyl’s head throbbed like she had bashed her head on a marble countertop. She snorted a laugh, remembering the first time she saw Octavia. Underneath her, the earth pony stirred. Clearly Octavia had no problems falling asleep.
Vinyl smiled at Octavia’s sleepy voice. “I just remembered the first time I saw you.”
“Yeah. My head hurts really bad right now. And the first time I saw you, I smacked my head on that stupid countertop by all the instruments. Then I ran away.”
“I know. I saw.”
“How could I miss your mane running away? It’s only bright, neon blue, Vinyl. Anyway, it was adorable. I giggled for the rest of the day.”
Vinyl pouted as Octavia rolled over to face her. The DJ’s face was painted bright red with her past-embarrassment. Octavia knew what it would take to fix it, though she did so enjoy how silly Vinyl looked when she pouted. With a giggle, Octy moved her head up, nuzzled Vinyl’s neck and whispered.
“I’m sorry you have a headache. Will this make up for it?”
Octavia brought her lips to Vinyl’s. Vinyl felt the grey pony’s grip tighten as the kiss lasted minutes, hours, days. Vinyl wasn’t sure anymore. All that existed was her and Octavia. Nothing else mattered at all. Too soon, she pulled away and they stared into each other’s eyes. The sun was rising on the horizon and the birds were chirping in the background. The soft glow of yellow light touched Octavia’s mane and made Vinyl’s heart jump. Her headache seemed to fade away with each second. Octavia was some sort of miracle.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
The birds grew louder in the distance. Vinyl could almost feel the air warm up, the frost in the air seemingly dissipating in a moment’s notice. Perhaps, though, it was the warmth in her heart that fought the cold so perfectly.
“Now that the dramatic part is over, maybe we can just worry about being together. Forever.”
“I’d like that. I’d like that a lot.”
Vinyl tightened her grip around Octavia, a gesture which Octavia reciprocated. The unicorn positioned her own head over Octavia’s and felt her mane tickle her nose. Vinyl was finally, for the first time all day, content and sleepy. It felt too perfect; it felt like a storybook ending. She never would have guessed that listening bad music would be the best mistake of her life.