by RushingAutumnLeaves

Chapter 1: Autograph

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Vinyl rummaged through her desk drawer, trying to find the disk with her playlist for next weekend. The drawer was cluttered beyond belief. Receipts for purchases made eight years ago were mixed with sticky notes with grocery lists scrawled across them. Broken writing utensils lay atop shattered sunglasses. Disks with various playlists were scattered here and there, a sloppy date written across each one to differentiate the playlists.

Vinyl sighed and began using her magic to lift the mess from the drawer. Papers, surrounded by an electric blue aura, fell to the floor. Before long, there was a pile of garbage threatening to match Vinyl in height. Vinyl stopped her search and sighed, levitating the pile of trash to the nearest bin.

Octy was right, the unicorn thought sadly. I should learn to be more organized. She released her magic and let the paper fall with a woosh into the bin. One of the smaller sheets fluttered out of the bin and onto the floor. Vinyl was about to levitate it back into the bin when she noticed the dark coloring. There was something on the paper other than scribbled notes or half-flanked song attempts. Curious, Vinyl got up and took the paper in her hooves.

The paper, as it turns out, was not a paper. It was a photograph from years ago, with a grey Earth pony holding a cello bow. The dashes of pink that were the cellist's bow and cutie mark were dull; faded from all the years of being stuck in a drawer. Neat script across the bottom corner reading 'Octavia' brought back memories from years ago. Vinyl ran a hoof across the photo's surface, the old paper soft beneath her hoof.

Six Years Ago, Manehatten Grand Concert Hall

Vinyl looked around nervously, afraid that somepony she knew would see her here. Her mane, usually electric blue and streaked, was temporarily dyed solid brown. She had ditched her sunglasses, letting everypony see her eyes for once. Her red contacts had been left at home, her eyes their natural magenta. She was even wearing a dress. She looked like a different pony.

Why she had decided to listen to her mother and go to the Orchestra of all places still confused her. Sure, this was the Canterlot Orchestra, but just because they played for the Princess didn't mean Vinyl should have to waste her time to listen to boring music that would just put her to sleep.

I'll listen to their opening number and then leave. Vinyl promised herself. There was no way she was going to sit through the entire two hour concert. Vinyl didn't have the patience for that. The opening number would only take about three minutes, and then Vinyl could go home. The unicorn blew a strand of fake-brown hair out of her face and walked into the concert room, taking a paper from the nicely dressed mare at the door.

"We've got a real treat tonight! The youngest ever member to join the Orchestra!" The door-mare trilled. Vinyl ignored her and continued inside.

The room was crowded and Vinyl pulled her ticket out and found her seat: 6A. She was right up front. Vinyl walked to the front and squeezed past other ponies to her seat. She sat down with a sigh and stared up front, waiting for the classical-nuts to get their show started so she could leave.

The curtain ruffled and Vinyl saw a grey face poke out from behind it. The face shocked Vinyl.The unicorn had been expecting a group of old stallions. The face she saw belonged to a young mare. Looking down at the paper from the door, Vinyl saw the same face, only with a body attached. The paper had a picture of a grey mare with a black mane. A pink bow tie was tied neatly to the mare's neck. Her cutie mark showed a pink treble cleft, and in her hooves was a bow. Vinyl assumed the mare played the violin or something.

The lights dimmed and Vinyl held back a groan. Now came the longest three minutes of her life. A brown stallion took his place at the piano. A purple stallion stood by a giant harp. A dark brown stallion took his place, holding a violin. The grey mare stood center stage, a giant strings instrument in her hooves.

Oh, Vinyl thought as she watched the grey mare tune the instrument. Cello, not violin. She shook her head. Vinyl Scratch had more important things to do than differentiate strings instruments. She slouched in her chair as the spotlights illuminated the four ponies on stage. Somepony next to her opened up a program and leaned over.

"Octavia Philharmonica is on cello tonight!" the pony whispered excitedly. "She's supposed to be the best cello player in all of Equestria! She's even preformed at the Grand Galloping Gala!" Vinyl shot the pony a smile, but didn't respond. She turned her attention to the stage as the four Orchestra ponies began to play. Vinyl watched the grey mare, Octavia, carefully. Her eyes were closed as she played, allowing herself to flow with the music.

She's kinda hot... Vinyl thought, her eyes dropping to Octavia's flank. A shake of her head made the unicorn turn her attention back to the cellist's face. There was no way Vinyl Scratch would be with a mare who played the cello. She was more likely to hook up with Neon Lights, and she didn't do stallions.

The song came to an end and Vinyl made to leave, but the activity on the stage held her in her seat. While the audiance applauded politely, the violin and harp players left, leaving only the piano pony and Octavia. There was silence for a moment, and the two began to play.

Again, Vinyl was mesmerized by the grey mare's playing. Even though the songs sounded the same to Vinyl's non-classical ears, she could tell that Octavia was different. Before, the mare had flowed with the music. Now, she was playing with careful movements, controlling every move.

To her surprise, Vinyl found herself sitting through the whole concert. She applauded with the rest of the audience at the end, and she even joined a group of unicorns in producing flowers to throw onto the stage. When ponies started clearing out of the auditorium, Vinyl made her way to the door leading backstage.

"Pass?" A large black stallion asked, holding his hoof out.

"I'm DJ Pon-3," Vinyl said, trying to push past.

"You don't look like Pon-3," the stallion retorted. Vinyl's horn lit up and her hair returned to it's electric blue state. The stallion's eyes raked her flank, checking for her cutie mark. Another flash of the horn and Vinyl's eyes were covered with her contacts.

"Go on in," the stallion said, lowering his hoof. "But I'll be watching you," Vinyl rolled her eyes and walked backstage, glancing at the doors.

"Frederic Horse...whatever," Vinyl read as she passed the doors. "Harpo...Concerto...oh, Octavia Philharmonica." Vinyl raised a hoof and knocked on the door lightly. She didn't know what she was going to say if the mare opened the door, but she stood, waiting.

"Come in," a lightly accented voice called. Vinyl pushed open the door and entered, looking around the room. Octavia was there, adjusting her mane in a large vanity mirror. She turned around when she heard somepony enter.

"Uh...hi...my name is..." Vinyl began, but Octavia cut her off.

"You're the disk jockey, correct? The Manehatten residents have told me about you. I believe they called you DJ Pon-3?" Vinyl nodded slowly.

"Yeah, but when I'm off duty, I'm just Vinyl Scratch,"

"Pleasure to meet you. I'm Octavia Philharmonica. Did you enjoy the concert?" The mare's light purple eyes lit up hopefully.

"It was awesome," Vinyl replied. Octavia looked confused. "I mean...I really liked it...for a classical concert that is,"

"Do you not enjoy classical music?" Octavia asked, sounding slightly hurt. Vinyl mentally facehoofed.

"The concert was great. You were great too..." Vinyl bit her tongue and held out the paper she had received at the door. The printed Octavia looked dull in comparison to the real thing, but Vinyl still wanted something to remember this night. "Could you sign this?" She asked. Octavia smiled and took the paper, placing it on the desktop of her vanity. She grabbed a purple pen in her mouth and signed her name at the bottom.

Present Day, Vinyl's Apartment Room

Vinyl put the autographed picture on her desk, leaving her work room and retreating to her living room. She sighed as she collapsed on her couch, trying to push the memories out of her mind. Octavia had been the best thing that ever happened to her, and she had gone and bucked it all up.

"Why am I so stupid?" Vinyl asked aloud, as though she was expecting the empty room to answer her. When the room failed to supply the reasoning behind her stupidity, Vinyl groaned, allowing another wave of memories to flood her brain.

Five Years Ago, Vinyl's Apartment Room

"Vinyl, darling, I have to go to work," Octavia giggled as the unicorn planted kisses along her neck. The grey mare tried to get off of the couch the two of them were sharing, but Vinyl wouldn't have it.

"You're always at work," she whined, wrapping her hooves around her marefriend. "Take the day off and stay here with me!"

"Vinyl, I already moved my entire career for you. I was the cellist in the Canterlot Orchestra, and now I'm just an occasional gig-cellist at a simple Manehatten pub. I think you can live with me going to work."

"I don't like it," Vinyl said seriously. "You leave at like, noon and don't come back until after midnight. Sometimes I wonder if you're really just working." Vinyl regretted it the second she said it, but now it was out there. The truth.

"And what is that supposed to mean?" Octavia asked, her tone stern. She pushed Vinyl off of her and got off the couch, followed by Vinyl. Vinyl looked at her hooves.

"I just can't help but wonder what you're doing when you go out. I mean, you're the sexiest mare in Equestria. Odds are, there's more than just me that wants to be with you, and you spend so much time with those other Orchestra ponies..."

"Vinyl, if you want to say something, then say it. Don't go beating around the bush," Octavia ordered.

"I'm afraid you might be seeing other mares," Vinyl said. She locked eyes with Octavia; Magenta meeting Lavender. Octavia blinked, her eyes going cold.

"I would think that my marefriend would have more faith in me," she said, her voice giving nothing away. "But if that is how you feel, Vinyl..."

"Octy, come on, it's perfectly safe to assume...I mean, you're gone for more than twelve hours a day, you're hot, and Manehatten is known for housing the most fillyfoolers and coltcuddlers in Equestria."

"I'm going to work, Vinyl. We can discuss this when I get back."

"No," Vinyl snapped. "You're not going."

"It's my job, Vinyl," Octavia hissed.

"You can stay here, with me, or you can go to work right now. Whichever one is more important to you." Octavia's stony lavender eyes locked with Vinyl's watering magenta.

"Good-bye, Vinyl," the grey mare said softly. She turned and left the apartment, letting the door shut with a soft click behind her.

Present Day, Streets of Manehatten

The end-of-winter air was chilly. The Manehatten weather crew was at work in the skies, clearing out clouds and adjusting them to allow sun to thaw the frozen streets. The sound of hooves hurrying along the streets comforted Vinyl. Life was going on for other ponies, so it would go on for her. She wasn't the first mare to experience heart break, and she wouldn't be the last.

"Extra, extra!" A newspony on the street corner called out. "Hey, filly!" The pony grabbed Vinyl's attention. "Buy a paper, big news story on the front page!" Vinyl sighed and pulled a few bits out of her saddle bag. She tossed them in the cup by the newspony and took a paper.

The front page showed a picture of Octavia in a beautiful white dress, standing next to a mare that Vinyl had never seen before in her life. The mare in the picture also wore a white dress. Both mares had wide smiles on their faces, and the headline read:

Octavia Philharmonica, Equestria's Best Cello Player, Married At Last

The headline was followed with a story including details of the grey mare's wedding. The mare she was married too was some plain looking pony; A white Pegasus with a curly blonde mane. The mare's flank was stamped with three purple balloons. Vinyl forced herself to read the picture caption.

Octavia Philharmonica (left) with her new bride Surprise (right). The union of the best cello player in Equestria and a relative of one of the Elements of Harmony- The biggest wedding since Princess Cadence and Shining Armor!

"Hey, filly, you okay?" The newspony asked. Vinyl nodded slowly, ignoring the tears filling her eyes. Her tears smudged the news ink, turning the story about Octavia's wedding to nothing more than smeared letters. The look in Octavia's eyes was genuine, her smile not forced or fake. She was happy with her new wife, and Vinyl knew that it meant she didn't have a chance anymore.

There would be no reunion in the future. There would be no apologies. There would be no forgiving. There would be no making up and returning to the way things were. They would never be 'Octavia and Vinyl, Manehatten's cutest couple.' They would never even be 'Octavia and Vinyl'. From now on, they were strangers to each other, never to meet again.

"I love you, Octy," Vinyl whispered, releasing the paper. The wind picked it up and carried it away, but the story stuck in Vinyl's memory, along with the paper that sat in a desk in her apartment. A paper, with a picture. A picture, with an autograph.

Next Chapter: Autograph: Alternate Ending Estimated time remaining: 5 Minutes
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