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."
"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."