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September 15, 2012
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What was I thinking?

A star-adorned tiara plopped onto Twilight Sparkle's bed.

It all looked to so good in my head! The actual outfit even looked good! At least to me... but I'm no designer, am I?

Two oversized, star-plastered sets of earrings and bows followed.

And the whole time, I pushed her to make it. Constantly correcting her over the most minor of details, forcing her to abandon her design sensibilities, and being ungrateful about a dress that she had offered to make me for free!

That dress, cluttered with animal and constellation designs, joined her jewelry on the bed with a soft ploomf. Twilight looked at the ensemble, only now finally able to see it for the trainwreck it was.

Whew. Back to some semblance of sanity. But the damage is already done. It's my fault. I asked for this, and I got exactly what I wanted... at the expense of a good friend's image. Maybe even her career. I'm the absolute worst.

She walked out of her bedroom and downstairs, head bowed in a forlorn gaze. At the same time, Spike ran up to her. "Twilight! There you are. I wasn't sure if you were coming back out after, well..." He trailed off.

Twilight caught his meaning. "I'm fine, Spike. It's Rarity who's beside herself. And I wish I could help, but I'm not sure I'm the best pony she should be seeing right now, if you get my drift."

Spike nodded. "Yeah. It, uh, was your outfits that brought the house down. Or should I say, the fashion show." He perked up. "But hey! I wasn't one of her dress models! Maybe she'll talk to me. No harm in trying, right?"

Twilight sighed and rolled her eyes. "You've got me. I can't think of any better ideas at the moment."

Spike's smile doubled in size. "Great! See you later!" Almost instantly, he was out the door. Twilight chuckled to herself. While his crush on Rarity was still all too obvious, she had to admire his dedication in the name of friendship. Or at least she would if she were able to tell which he was acting on at any given moment.

Now alone in her house, she trotted towards her shelves. Perhaps curling up in bed with a nice book would help her forget about-

"Hey. I heard this was this town's library. Am I warm?"

Twilight turned around, and nodded towards a white unicorn mare who had just walked through the door. "Boiling, actually. Welcome to Golden Oaks. What can I do for you?"

"Oh, perfect! Got a few titles." The unicorn materialized, then floated, a sheet of paper to Twilight. "Hopefully that makes it easy."

"Hmmm." Twilight read the books' titles out loud as she levitated them off of the shelves. "'Sounds of Equestrian Cultures', 'The Marezart Effect', 'The Science of Scales'... hey, this is pretty high-level stuff! I mean, music-wise. From what I've heard." She looked at the titles again, noticed the unicorn's cutie mark, and stopped as she came to a realization. "Hang on a second! Weren't you the one playing at the fashion show tonight?"

"Uh-huh," the unicorn said, as Twilight wished to the heavens that she could remember her name. The fetched books, meanwhile, were flipped open as they hovered in the air, the mystery mare "hmmm"ing several times as she scanned them with a speed and precision that impressed even Twilight... then stopped.

"Wait a minute... wait a minute!"

The sunglasses resting atop the white unicorn's muzzle began a slow rise as she stepped closer to one of the books, reading a passage multiple times. A pad and pencil appeared beside her, and began furiously scribbling numbers and musical notes across it in a linear fashion... until, finally, her entire face lit up in triumph. "Yeah... yeah, this is it! Eureka!" With a squeal, the books went flying across the room. "I knew it, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!"

"Whoa, watch it there," said Twilight, catching the books in mid-flight with her own magic. "You'll put an eye out!"

"Huh?" The white mare came to her senses, sheepishly placing a hoof to her head. "Oh, wow. Heh heh. Sorry, totally seriously sorry. I'd never normally do that. It's just..." Her gaze became faraway. "...you ever have one of those moments when you solve a prob that's been messin' with you for ages? I just knew I'd get the answer from those!" She gestured to the floating books. "But finding them was the hard part."

"Actually?" Twilight gave off her own embarrassed grin. "I have had those moments. My books go flying too. So I forgive you. As for finding these particular books, there are only a few copies left in Equestria. Most of the rarities here were brought from my personal collection, from back when I lived in Canterlot Castle."

"Canterlot Cas-" And up the shades were pushed again, yielding crimson eyes in a curious and emphatic stare. "Waaaait a second. Are you... Twilight Sparkle? You're Twilight Sparkle, aren't you?"

Twilight's cheeks reddened. "Y-yeah. Sorry I didn't introduce myself earlier. I've been a little distracted."

"Nah, I'm sorry I didn't recognize you earlier. But in my defense: sweet Celestia, what were you doing in that outfit?"

Twilight's blush became more intense. "I'm... not sure I want to talk about it just yet. As for you, though, it's so weird. I know your look, your face, your twin-note cutie mark, but I-"

"-never got a name?"

"Just the opposite! Over the years, I've heard too many to count!"

"Heh. Good. Was worried for a sec." The white unicorn chuckled. "That's totally on purpose. I've gone by lots of names. Part of the business. Try to think of a new one every year if I can." Her shades went back over her eyes as she flashed Twilight a cool grin and a toss of her wild blue mane. "That way, nopony forgets the look. 'Cause that stays constant."

Twilight's blush persisted. "Right. I guess I can see that."

"Hey, totally marketable, if nothing else." The shades were poofed out of existence. "The last name I picked didn't work out so well, though. Turns out nopony can agree on how to pronounce letters, numbers and hyphens at the same time." She sighed. "Gonna need a change, and soon, but until I can think of one..."

She looked straight at Twilight.

"...how about we just go with 'Vinyl Scratch?'"

---
"Unison: Spectacles and Shades"
A My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fanfiction
Part 2: "Making A Splash"
by Bookish Delight, 2012-2013
All characters and referred properties belong to Hasbro.
---

Twilight nodded with a smile. "I like it. Makes rational sense, given what you do, right?"

Vinyl nodded. "Beginning to realize that more and more. But yeah. I'm real glad to hear you recognize me. Makes things a lot less awkward. I've heard you go by another name too, though! 'The Princess's Pet?'" She pointed to Twilight and winked.

Twilight groaned as her hoof loudly met her forehead. "Oh, no. How far has that spread?"

"Ummm... Manehatten, Los Pegasus, Fillydelphia... that's just the last three places I know of." Vinyl chuckled. "Yeah, sorry. You're never gettin' rid of it."

"Awwww!" Twilight slumped to the ground. "But it's such an embarrassing name! It makes it sound like she's got me wrapped around her-"

Vinyl leaned in. "Well, does she?"

Twilight really wished her blushing would stop. At least before she fainted.

Vinyl simply laughed. "Hey, don't sweat it. Most ponies mean it in the nicest way." She looked at Twilight inquisitively. "But hang on. You know me, too? I mean, I don't jockey books."

Twilight snickered. "Well, I know of you, at least. You've handled parties all over Equestria, and Ponyville's got its very own, uh... what you might call a 'party specialist.' What she doesn't set up, she takes notes on. Also, she was able to pronounce the last name you came up with."

Vinyl recoiled, and blinked. "Wait. Even the '3'?"

Twilight giggled. "It doesn't sound possible until you hear her do it."

"I'll have to meet her later. But right now... oh wow, the Twilight Sparkle," Vinyl said, oblivious to Twilight's ever-growing light-headedness. "I've wanted to meet you for ages." She looked around the library. "No wonder this place has everything! Sorry again for almost laying waste to it."

"Huh? N-no, uh, no, i-it's quite all right. It's just... well, I didn't really see that 'eureka' moment coming. From you." She paused, realized what she'd just inferred, and began babbling in embarrassment. "A-ahhh, I-I mean, I mean I didn't mean it like that, I just... awwww."
Vinyl flushed. "Hey, it surprises a lotta ponies. Seriously, don't sweat that either."

"Well, no, I mean..." Twilight finally stopped to take a deep breath. "I mean it was a happy surprise. Sure, it goes against your advertised image." Twilight's voice softened. "But I liked it."

"You li-..." Vinyl's body as a whole visibly relaxed, as did her eyes, and the smile on her face grew larger as she exhaled happily. "Thanks, Twilight. That's great to hear. Especially coming from you."

"Really?"

"Yeah." Vinyl began a slow pace around the library. "Keep this under your mane, but my alma mater? School for Gifted Unicorns, same as you. While you were rollin' though Celestia's magic program, though, I was rockin' the math department. Bigger surprise? I was having the time of my life. Remind me to show you my yearbooks sometime." Her smile went wide. "And by 'sometime,' I mean 'never.'" Reaching a corner of the treehouse, she spied several unused records in a corner, and sauntered over to them. "Hey, I didn't know you had an audio wing."

"Technically? I was toying with the idea of a music history section. I haven't cleared the shelf space for it yet, though, so the records don't see much use."

Vinyl turned her head back to Twilight, and fed her a wink. "Mind if I change that?"

Twilight walked over. "Huh? O-oh, not at all! Be my guest."

"Sweet." Vinyl's horn took on a light-blue magic sheen, causing several albums to levitate from the pile and spin in single file around both unicorns' heads. Twilight managed to catch a couple of titles as they flew past--Coltown Blues: A Collection and Equine Nature, to be precise--before deciding to stop for fear of dizziness.

The speed of the flying records didn't appear to be a problem for Vinyl, however. Her eyes darted back and forth as she scanned and mumbled the name of every single record to herself, her voice taking on an analytic tone until all the albums stopped abruptly and were neatly re-piled.

"Aha!" she said, pulling out The Three Seasons and hooflessly releasing the record from its sleeve. "Always up for revisiting old friends."

The record glowed with the hue of Vinyl's magic. It spun in midair, and it wasn't long before Vinyl herself took on a trance-like state of expression--her eyes closed, and her head slowly nodding up and down. "Mmmmmm... uh-huh. Yeah. Whoa, still as divine as I remember. We may have to make a deal here, Twi."

A confused Twilight simply stared, until it finally hit her. "Wait... you can hear it? Without a player?"

"It's not that hard. You just tune yourself to the grooves in the record. Be the needle." She opened her eyes and beckoned with one hoof. "Here, I'll show ya."

Twilight trotted over, and, once she was in front of Vinyl, gasped as the white unicorn touched a single hoof to her cheek. At the touch, Twilight's heart jumped near to her throat, and stayed there for a full second.

"Nothin' to be afraid of, Twilight," Vinyl said in a soft voice. "And hey, this might come in handy someday. Now, I want you to try to mix your magic with mine. Try to feel the same vibrations I do. If we manage to get in sync..."

She smiled, meeting Twilight's eyes, causing the latter to freeze in wonderment.

"...well, you'll know it when it happens."

"O-okay." Twilight concentrated, her horn glowing violet and touching the record. Her light bounced and clashed against Vinyl's to start, but gradually blended. Behind her ears, she heard several crackles, which slowly morphed into a cacophony of random tones, and then into the ordered harmony of an orchestra.

Twilight gasped. "Vinyl, I hear it! There's so many instruments! I hear the-"

"-great!" said Vinyl breathlessly, shutting her eyes tighter than before. "Don't lose it, though! Best's yet to come!"

"Really? Okay! Gosh, I... wow." Twilight closed her eyes, concentrating harder...

---

...and when she reopened them, she was no longer in the library.

She looked around, and found herself on the balcony of a large concert hall. The orchestra she'd heard seconds earlier could now be seen in front of her, several feet away, playing their hearts out.

"Well," said a voice beside her, "You do catch on fast. Knew you could do it, though. Not a doubt in my mind."

"Vinyl?" Looking around the hall again, Twilight did a double-take when she saw Vinyl wearing her mane in a bun. She felt at her own mane, and was both relieved and disappointed that hers hadn't changed. "Where are-"

"Hang on." A white hoof placed itself gently to Twilight's lips. "I love this part." The music from the orchestra swelled as it began a new movement, during which Vinyl could be seen becoming increasingly pumped. "Yeah... yeah, yeah! You go, girl! Rock those strings!"

Twilight rolled her eyes and snickered. "And you were telling me to be quiet?"

"Eheheheheheh." Vinyl fidgeted. "Hey, I enjoy this stuff in my own way. So sue me. Not that anypony would. My mind, my rules."

Twilight scanned the orchestra. "Who are you cheering on, anyway?"

"Oh, just somepony I sometimes talk to." She gestured, then waved, down to a gray earth pony mare on the cello who noticed, and nodded back. "Know her from back up north."

Twilight followed Vinyl's gaze, then gasped in recognition. "I've seen her at Canterlot's social events!"

"Yeah, that's where she usually shows up." Vinyl blushed. "If you ever meet her--I mean, the real her--in Canterlot, don't tell her about this, okay? She thinks I hate the classics." Her grin reached from ear to ear. "Total opposite. I just love messing with her."

Twilight giggled. "My lips are sealed."

"Awesome." She sidled up to Twilight, warm coats brushing against each other. "So, how're you enjoying your first magically-induced concert?"

"It's..." Twilight looked around once more in awe. The audience in attendance was massive, numbering in the hundreds. She wondered if they were all based on real ponies as well. "...it's still a bit of a shock. But in a good way. I didn't know this was possible."

Vinyl shrugged. "I didn't know beating centuries-long-sealed supervillains was possible. But hey. We've all got stuff we can do, right?

The final notes of the orchestra sounded, then made way for applause once the symphony concluded. The two ponies applauded with the rest, and once that applause died down, the scene itself underwent a slow, gradual dissolution, with audience members fading left and right.

"Hey," Vinyl said, diverting Twilight's attention away from the phenomenon. "Just as a note, I don't usually get to share this balcony with anypony. I... I'm glad you could be the first."

A flattered happiness swelled within Twilight as she examined Vinyl's face, and saw eyes wide and content--along with a smile which had undergone a marked switch from cool and humorous to heartfelt and genuine.

She returned the expressions.

"The honor is mine."

---

The world of the concert swirled away, and soon, the two had officially returned to the library.
"And that's all there is to it," said Vinyl. "On a basic level, anyway. Saves a ton on equipment, let me tell ya'--huh?"

Twilight rushed close, unable to contain her giddiness. Consequently, Vinyl had no time to prepare for her right hoof being taken in both of the violet uinicorn's.

"That was absolutely amazing! I didn't know unicorn magic could be used for... well, that! Is this what happens when you combine music and magic? And, and..." She looked back at the books Vinyl had originally requested, still open on the floor. "...and mathematics, too? Please! I have to know!"

"Pretty much?" Vinyl shrugged. "The way school was going, I figured I was on the fast track to being an accountant or something." She nodded towards her cutie mark. "Funny how things change. Here's the weird thing about destinies, though: sometimes you still need other skills to make 'em shine. Hearin' me?"

Twilight smiled, letting go of her new friend's hoof. "Loud and clear, Miss Scratch."

"Good. Heh." Vinyl blushed and chuckled, then hesitated before adding, "Listen, uh, if... if you're really that interested in this stuff, well, I'm in town for another week or so! I don't mind giving lessons." Her front hooves started a slow fidgeting shuffle as her head angled low and to the side. "I-I mean, that is, only if you wanna."

Twilight's excitement came across almost too loudly. "Would I? This is a refreshing new perspective on magic studies! I'd be crazy to pass up the chance!"

Vinyl perked back up. "All right, then--it's a date!" She headed towards the door. "Let's both get a good couple of nights' sleep and meet up... I don't know. Noonish or so on Tuesday? I wanna study these books so I can totally wow you," she said, levitating them to her side.

Twilight giggled. "Sounds good to me. I can't wait!" she said with a goodbye wave, which Vinyl returned before leaving. As they parted, Spike walked back in. "How's Rarity?" she asked.

Spike shrugged and shook his head. "Wish I knew. She let me in, and I think she tried to talk, but it all came out in blubbering nonsense. I think she realized that too, 'cause before too long she just gave up and locked herself in her room." He paused before looking up to his comrade. "I dunno if she's coming back from this one, Twilight."

Twilight "hmm"ed in thought before finally responding with, "Let's give her some space. This isn't the first time she's gone dramatic. It'll take some time, but I'm sure she'll be up for talking things out soon."

"I hope you're right. I mean, I can work around the always-on tear ducts, but it's not the preferred option, you know?" He looked back at the exiting unicorn. "Who was that?"

The warm feeling in Twilight's chest momentarily resurfaced as she flashed back to her impromptu concert. "Somepony I would never have expected. In more ways than one."
PREV: [link]
NEXT: Coming Soon!

[SPECIAL NOTE: The even- and odd-numbered chapters contain two storylines running in tandem. Depending on the Group you've come from, there's a small chance you haven't seen the previous chapter. If not, go for it. ^_^]


Original Synopsis:
Years ago, two unicorn prodigies attended the same school without knowing it. One became changed by friendship at an early age--the other far later in life.
At a fashion show gone wrong, the two prodigies at last meet. Being who they are, it's impossible for them to resist comparing notes...


What Is This?:
Part 2 of Unison: Spectacles and Shades, wherein Twlilight Sparkle and Vinyl Scratch find out they have quite a bit in common, and enjoy each others' company for it.
However, reasons are very much behind this chance connection. Reasons which lie in the past...
(Title pic is here. Used with permission and much gratitude!)

Text by Bookish Delight, 2012-2013. My Little Pony belongs to Hasbro, not to me. This is done completely bereft of profit.
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:iconearthphantomts:
This is quite good. Of course, Vinyl's a...bit different from most people's interpretation of her, but I actually like it. And I think it makes sense, since music theory actually has a lot of overlap with math theory.

Anyway, this was fun to read, and I'll definitely continue if you do :iconrollinvinylplz:!
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:iconbookishdelight:
Thanks!

Indeed, the music/math theory overlap was a big reason why I thought about doing this. And dunno why, but I just like seeing Vinyl have a thoughtful side. :D

I'm in this story for the long haul, so watch this spa-(HYPNOTIZED)
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:icongojira007:
And so we go from strength to strength as "Unison" moves into its second chapter, and makes explicit what was implied in the previous chapter: Twilight and Vinyl Scratch have something in common, and it is something beautiful.

All the good that was in Chapter One continues on here. Your characterization of Scratch here in particular is fantastic once again, building off what we saw of her in Chapter One and adding to our understanding of who she is, where she's been, and where she is. I especially loved the little detail that Scratch tries to keep changing names to keep anypony from pigeonholing her too much, showing how she continues to adapt her methods to the wider world even as we see there's still a part of her that's trying to keep herself at something of a distance from the rest of the world; indeed, ALL the little bits you drop to show that worldview work wonderfully. I'm especially fond of the :iconoctaviaplz: shout-out, which is at once a respectful nod to the most-popular Scratch pairing, a good bit of fun within the story itself, AND contributes to that overall sense that Scratch is a bit arm's-length about relationships (I just love messing with her" indeed).

Likewise, as is pretty much always the case, you write a magnificent Twilight. Again and again and again, I'm amazed you just keep finding new ways and angles to explore her character at, and this one is a very exhiliarting one indeed. Most of your Twilight stories have been about the inequality of her relationship to the rest of the world, the ways in which her extremely-potent Magic isolates her on some level from just about everypony else. This story, however, is about how Twilight finds somepony who, at last, she can engage at on a level she feels entirely comfortable with, in a manner that she is altogether unused to but which is also very much in keeping with how she herself sees the world; her excitement at the new breed of magic Vinyl shows her is palpable, and so perfectly endearing. That shared love of exploration, of learning, that she discovers in common between her and Scratch solidifies in a heartbeat that there is something worthwhile for both parties at the heart of this relationship, and it's just fantastic to read as it unfolds.

I even like how you choose to frame this meeting as being sandwiched within the events of "Sutited For Success". The way you bookend the chapter with Spike acting as Twilight's proxy to "the Rarity Problem", so to speak, manages to smooth the chance meeting with Scratch and Twilight into that episode's greater narrative, while likewise grounding this story itself in a very specific time and place within the show, in a way that enhances the narrative and raises potentially-intriguing questions that may yet be answered later on. Even if they aren't, though, it's an effective way to reinforce a lot of the elements at the core of the story; you use references to "Suited"'s fashion show sparingly, but what you do use serves to organically enhance Twilight and Scratch's meeting by adding an additional sense of the show's own canon to support it.

There's really not a lot more I can say about this chapter, honestly, other than that I loved it, and I love "Unison" as a whole very much so far.

:+fav:
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:iconbookishdelight:
Thanks a lot!

I'll say straight off that Vinyl is an unexpected treat to write. And yes, I'll admit that it's because she's largely undefined. I used to work with characters like that a lot and I'm rediscovering why it was so fun in the first place, especially when deciding to do so in depth. It's fun to build from scr--um, very little. :D I'll say more in the usual postmortem, but "change" is a big part of Vinyl's character in this story--and that's where Twilight comes in.

Speaking of :icontwilightsmileplz:, you know, I've got to say, it's such a breath of fresh air to be writing a happy Twilight again. My Twi's been sad and moody and full of secret pains for a year now! Just the other day one of my prereaders wondered why I torture her so much despite my being one of her biggest fans. ^^; I hope to make up for that here, because while scared/hurt!Twilight is endearing in a fashion, there are several other aspects to her character that I find just as alluring, if not more so. *_*

Setting this during SFS was done more out of necessity than anything, and even now, if I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't. The issue with Rarity is the C-plot, but I've given so much less thought to it so far compared to the two overarching plots. Oh, well, I'll think of something before this is over. ^^;
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:icongojira007:
Welcome a lot!

Having recently gotten a chance to test-write the Flim Flam Brothers, I can attest very much to the unique pleasures of a character who proves effortlessly, energetically fun to write. I can only imagine how much more so it is when you get to play a more fundamental role in defining just who that character is. :)

And yes, I agree, it's nice to read happy Twilight again, and likewise happy to know you're happy writing her again. Still, I AM familiar with the extent to which we writers tend to torture those characters we love most. XD;

Honestly, I don't see it as being a problem. This story's meant to take place across a wide stretch of time if I understand it correctly, and this is only Twilight and Vinyl's first meeting; after this chapter, I dunno that I see the need to keep the "Suited For Success" element involved, personally. :hug:
Reply
:iconihrtasab:
ihrtasab Sep 16, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Cute character
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:icongammaeradon:
I like it! This is really clever, Vinyl using magic like that and the teasing of Twi was just adorable. Awww! X3

Can't wait to see where this goes!
Reply
:iconbookishdelight:
10-Q!

And don't worry! It will go places. ^_^
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