It's Not Like I'm Deaf

by Arreis Of Avalon

Chapter 1: Music To My Ears

Vinyl smiled softly as she tidied up her turntables, being sure to store the discs in their proper places. It wasn’t that she was a clean freak or anything - far from it - but it did help when sorting out the party mixes. She nodded absentmindedly to the music coming through her headphones, her smile growing as she lost herself to the beat.

Music was just so great. Every song was just a series of notes, and each note was just a perceived sound, and each sound was just a vibration! By that logic, any vibration can be heard and given a ‘title’, and that title is the name of a note. It was incredible to her.

She looked up as Octavia tapped her on the back. She pulled down her headphones, tilting her head curiously. “I’m going to head home, Vinyl. I trust you can find your way back before sunrise?”

Vinyl grinned and nodded. Tavi was so understanding sometimes; even though Vinyl sometimes dragged herself back inside with a cider addled swagger around 5 am, Octavia always put up with her. Ever since they had first met in Canterlot, Tavi had always been close to her. They might have had a bit of a rough start, but don’t friends sometimes start off on the wrong hoof?

Octavia smiled. “Alright. I’ll see you later. Just text if you need me to drag you home. Again.

Vinyl rolled her eyes with a good natured smile and flipped up her headphones as Tavi trotted off with her cello. She rolled her eyes often and was glad her roommate had bought her those signature goggles. Nopony seemed to know her eye-rolling habits. That, or no one commented on them. Ponies usually didn’t talk to her often. She smirked, chuckling silently to herself; she had never been much of a conversationalist, now, had she?

She bobbed her head, grooving in place to the beat. It was one she had composed herself. She was rather fond of her own work; though, she tried to listen to other stuff too, like Neon’s mixes, or even Octy’s classical pieces. Still, nothing felt so great to her as the wubs of her own music. It was something she made that she enjoyed, and others thought she did it well. That kept her going, some days.

She felt another tap on her back, stronger this time, though still rather weak. She glanced behind her to see that weird brown pony she had met earlier - what was his name? Doc? She couldn’t remember. She flipped off her headphones once again. He wore a rather large smile - and an overly large scarf - and looked almost giddy with happiness. “Why, hello again! I just wanted to thank you for leading me to that bowling place earlier today, although I had been hoping to find Rarity. Why, if you had never led me there, I never would have lost my suit, which meant I never would have worn my scarf, which seems to have attracted that lovely looking mare over there enough for her to ask me on a date tonight!” He laughed, a little whinny of a giggle to be perfectly honest, his own hooves tripping lightly over his scarf.

Vinyl gulped lightly and looked past the Doc. Rose, the flower girl, was smiling as well, obviously waiting for the Doc. She shook her head and looked back at the Doc. Hopefully Rose had a thing for dudes who talked too much too fast.

“In any case, I simply wanted to thank you for that wonderful misadventure!” He laughed again, offering up his hoof. She grabbed it and was suddenly being shaken vigorously. “Ah, love is in the air today,” he cried joyfully.

Vinyl smiled as best she could, unsure about how to respond. The Doc was a bit eccentric. He eventually dropped her hoof, still with a bright smile. “Why, how rude of me! I never asked your name!”

Vinyl flinched lightly. Ah. Yes. She rubbed her neck with one hoof, levitating over a disk. Displayed on it was the name “DJPON-3” with her signature underneath. Hopefully that would get the point across.

The Doc, however, was clueless. “Hmm? What is this? A record of some sort?”

Vinyl facehoofed and shook her head. She pointed to her signature and then back at herself.

“Aaah… YOU’RE DJPON-3. Quite clever! Why didn’t you just say so,” he said just as brightly as ever.

She sighed inwardly. Thankfully, Rose came to the rescue quickly. “Doctor?” She smiled, tugging on his scarf with a sympathetic smile toward Vinyl. “Sorry if he’s bothering you, Scratch.”

Vinyl shrugged, smiling back. Despite the annoyance, it certainly wasn’t the first time someone had blundered into saying something wrong, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Rose giggled. “Now, come on, Doctor. Tell me, what are you a doctor of?”

He laughed as they turned toward the door. “Ah, I’m not really a doctor of much - though, did you know, I have a doctorate in cheese making? Yes, the story behind that one is surely a doozy. You see, it was when I was just a young lad…”

Vinyl watched them go fondly, though the happy mood from earlier had faded just a bit. Ah well. She pushed back on her headphones, shutting her eyes and just listening to the music. This one had been a collab with Neon - she had done the music, he had supplied the vocals. He really wasn’t that bad a singer - or a looker. She smirked as she imagined their friendship going a little bit further than they had told the media. Maybe the next time they met up at a concert, she would mention something to him.

In due time, Vinyl was on her way home, trotting with her bass wagon rolling beside her. She had felt like stretching the hooves for once. Maybe a scenic route around Ponyville. She trotted through the park and stopped on the bridge. She looked out over the water, looking into her reflection. She took off her headphones again as well as her goggles. She smiled at herself. She’d always loved how she looked.

Her ears twitched this way and that as she listened to the music of the world around her. Birds chirped evening songs in their nests, ruffling their feathers against themselves. Fish leaped out of the water every so often, splashing gently in the serene river. She heard a bee buzz past her ear lazily on his way to some flowers. Crickets stringed up their bows and serenaded everypony who bothered to trot around tonight.

She kept her eyes on the water as she heard ponies past. One was a little foal; the gait was short and a bit bouncy, and the clopping against the cobblestones was a sharp counterpoint to the older pony’s smoother, calmer trot. She heard a giggle; it was low, yet still high enough to be young. It was a colt, then.

The little boy ran over. She turned before he got to her, smiling. She thought she had seen him at the wedding in the back, but it was hard to be sure. He looked at her curiously, his eyes sparkling with innocence (as well as a little childish mischief). “You’re that party pony missus Pinkie talks about all the time, ain’cha?”

Vinyl smiled and nodded, mostly out of pride. So Pinkie talked about her, eh? She was a bit smug about that fact. The boy giggled again. “I really like your mane!”

“That’s enough, Tracks!” The older mare ran up quickly, that same sympathetic smile on her face. “I-I’m sorry, Vinyl, I should’ve told him not to run up like that…”

“Aww, Ma! She’s not bothered by me, are you, missus Vinyl?”

Vinyl shook her head quickly, but the mare would have none of that. “I-I’m really quite sorry, he just never listens.” She leaned down and shook her head at her son. “Now, come along, Tracks, we need to go home - now.”

Tracks sighed, looking at Vinyl. “Sorry missus. I didn’t mean to bother you.”

Vinyl quickly shook her head, trying to get her point across, but the damage had been done. The mother was quickly trotting away, almost a gallop, but Vinyl could still hear the words she was saying to her son. Few ponies realized just how much the seemingly oblivious DJ heard. “Rude,” she heard, and the word “mute”. She huffed, turning back to the water. It wasn’t like she was deaf.

Sure, Vinyl might not hear everything sometimes; that wasn’t because she couldn’t hear well. She just chose to ignore a lot of things around her. There was so much to listen to in a day - so much, in fact, that nopony ever hears everything. You’ll tune out a jackhammer on the street so you can hear a friend speak. What Vinyl did was ignore those things she didn’t think were important. Birdsong and crickets were so much better than ponies casually reminding her of her ‘condition’.

She sighed silently. Maybe she should just go home. She looked around; a few ponies were trotting around, but they mostly ignored her. She had a few glances and friendly smiles, but not one pony went to her and spoke. They acted like she wouldn’t hear them.

Now, that was mostly her fault, she thought. Of course they didn’t talk to her, seeing as she blocked half of them out with her headphones most of the time. Still, she did like listening. She listened all the time - if only somepony would say something worthwhile, instead of filling up the silence with small talk and sympathetic glances.

Vinyl grabbed her wagon, a bit discouraged despite all the happiness from today, and began her way back home. The walk was shorter than she imagined, especially since, as always, nopony stopped her on the way home. She still felt their pitying eyes on her, but she shrugged them off. She would never be away from them, so she might as well just live with them.

She opened the door and trotted in. Octavia glanced up from the living room sofa, putting down her mug of tea. “Vinyl? Is that you? Why, you’re home early.”

Vinyl sighed again, though this time with a bit more sound. Her ears twitched at the breath. One of the few things that didn’t involve her useless vocal chords, she guessed.

Octavia trotted out to the main area where Vinyl was putting away her wagon. She frowned. “Now, now, I won’t allow my roommate to go to bed whenever they are moping this much. Tell me what’s wrong. Did something happen on the way home?”

Vinyl shrugged, looking down.

“So, yes, but nothing too significant. Which, of course, means that you’re trying to hide it from me.” Octavia sighed, shaking her head. “Oh, just go sit on the couch. I’ll be right over.”

Vinyl trotted over to the couch, plopping down unceremoniously. Sometimes she got in these funks. There was no help for it though - other than Tavi. Vinyl smiled softly as her roommate walked back in with a pint of rocky road with a spoon already lodged inside. She handed it to Vinyl and sat down next to her (with far more grace). “Now. How about a game of 20 questions?”

Vinyl rolled her eyes.

“Oh, stop that. It’s practically the only way to get a straight answer out of you these days.”

Vinyl shrugged, grabbing a spoonful of ice cream. She smiled, grunting very softly.

“Do you like it?”

Vinyl nodded, and with a smirk, held up her hoof straight.

“That was one of my questions?!”

Vinyl nodded and pushed forward her hoof harder.

“Curses! That’s 2 wasted!” Vinyl’s smile only grew as her roommate huffed. “Very well. Now, let’s see… The point is to find out why you’re in a funk…” Octavia tapped her chin. “Has anypony said something unpleasant to you today?”

Vinyl shifted the spoon around in her mouth a bit, frowning. She nodded.

“Hmm… Was that something unpleasant about your music?”

She shook her head.

“Drat, thought I had it… Did that something unpleasant contribute to your current mood?”

Vinyl sunk deeper into the couch, spearing more ice cream on her spoon, making sure to get more cookie dough. She nodded, savouring the chill on her tongue.

“Ah, so I am getting somewhere. Let’s see… Is your current mood one you feel often?” Vinyl stared at Octavia, an eyebrow raised. “Oh, alright, no psychoanalytical nonsense tonight, then. Chalk that up to a wasted question. Let’s see here…”

Vinyl slowly ate more as Octavia thought up more ideas. At least her roommate was talking to her. She had always loved that about Tavi. She was considerate. Despite the fact that Vinyl couldn’t speak, Tavi had taken the time to learn about her and learn how to communicate. That was true friendship.

“Ahha! Is your current mood dictated by something unpleasant said about you?”

Vinyl nodded, perhaps too quickly. Was being mute really that unpleasant, she thought to herself.

… Er, yeah. It kinda sucked.

“Hmm…” Suddenly Tavi understood. “Ah. Is it because of your condition?”

Vinyl suddenly felt tears in her eyes. She nodded softly, looking down into her ice cream. Pathetic. She shouldn’t be crying over something as dumb as this.

“Oh, Vinyl…” Octavia sighed, placing a comforting hoof on her shoulder. “You know it’s okay to cry, correct?”

She nodded softly, not meeting Tavi’s eyes.

“Come now, you must mean it if you expect me to believe you.”

Vinyl looked up at her friend’s eyes. She saw sympathy there, but further, understanding. Tavi did feel sorry for Vinyl, but she also didn’t let that cloud her judgement of the pony. She wasn’t about to coddle her because she was different. She was a pony, still, and deserved to be listened to.

Vinyl shut her eyes and leaned into her friend, letting Tavi hold her. “There there, dear… Just let it out…”

Vinyl sniffed, nuzzling into Tavi’s chest. She smiled softly, laughing silently against her friend’s fur; somehow, still being cared about helped. Here she was, wanting to be treated like a normal mare who wasn’t to be coddled, while simultaneously needing to be held like a newborn foal.

“I can feel you laughing, Vinyl. What on earth is so funny?” Vinyl sat up, motioning between the two of them. Octavia laughed as well. “Yes, we are quite the pair, aren’t we? Don’t worry, Vinyl - no matter how confused you’re feeling, I’ll be here to listen to you, alright? After all, we all need somepony to listen to sometimes.”

Vinyl smiled, wiping her tears off on her hoof.

“Oh for goodness sake, find a tissue, Vinyl!”

Vinyl threw back her head and laughed, smiling cheerfully. Her ears twitched; she could almost imagine peals of laughter coming from her own mouth. She smiled, enjoying the little day dream.

Maybe, one day.

Until then, she wouldn’t be silent, she realized. Octavia would listen to her anytime. Plus, there was her music. Vinyl could always speak through her music. And by Celestia, ponies would always listen to her. She would make them listen - just like she did.

“Now, why don’t we watch a movie, Vinyl?”

She nodded, cuddling up to Tavi with her ice cream. Maybe tonight would be a good one after all.

Author's Notes:

I didn't really feel the need to finalize this one much. It's a concept I had when I realized that Vinyl still had no speaking role. I had to wonder - is she just mute? People always assume in canon that she's practically deaf and just can't respond cause she didn't hear - I think it's because she can't respond, and listens all too well.

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