Chapter Fourteen
Octavia's Penthouse, Tilican Tower, Citadel

Octavia awoke to a scream that echoed through the apartment. Startled, she sat up, her heart racing as she looked furiously around for the source. Looking over at her alarm clock she blanched at the time that it read, 1:00am.

With a sigh, Octavia rolled out of her bed, tiredly falling onto all four of her hooves. Stepping up to her door, she closed her eyes for a moment to compose herself, getting ready to confront whatever might be waiting for her beyond.

Stepping out into the hallway, Octavia paused and listened carefully, her ears swiveling as they searched for any repeat of the noise. The scream had ended nearly at the same moment that she got out of bed, and now the house was eerily quiet.

Octavia slowly walked down the hall, careful not to a make a noise. Stopping at Vinyl's door, she pressed an ear up against the door. Silence was all that met her, and Octavia frowned. She rolled her eyes a moment later when she remembered that she had long ago soundproofed the room.

Opening the door a crack, Octavia's eyes went wide at the sound of Vinyl's frightened and feral whimpering.

Pushing the door open the rest of the way, Octavia had to restrain her urge to rush into Vinyl's room, instead deciding to just stand in the doorway.

"Vinyl? Are you awake?" She asked softly, the room dark beyond the light spilling in from the doorway. Nearly pitch black, Octavia had to squint, struggling to see anything in the darkness. "Vinyl?"

She stepped into the room, wincing at the creak of her hooves against the floor. It sounded like a marching band to her ears, even though in her head she knew she was being as quiet as she possibly could. Vinyl's whimpers continued, showing no sign that she had heard Octavia.

Her eyes gradually grew used to the darkness, and as Octavia peered around the room, she gasped in shock when she saw Vinyl curled up in the corner, shaking violently. The white-coated mare was still asleep and from the looks of it, deep in the middle of a nightmare, murmuring and crying under her breath.

Octavia shuffled on her hooves, unsure of what she should do. She watched her wife, who looked smaller than she ever had seen before. She chewed on her lip, her heart aching. "Oh, Vinyl. Wake up. It is just a nightmare."

Moving slowly to Vinyl's side, Octavia lowered herself until she was sitting down on her belly. She put a hoof on Vinyl's shaking side, trying her best to comfort the dreaming mare.

"It's alright Vinyl. You're safe." Octavia spoke softly and warmly, trying to reach through the veil of dreams to her wife. Octavia began to hum a simple tune, starting in the back of her throat. As she hummed an old lullaby that her own mother sang to her when she was just a foal, Vinyl's pained expression began to slip away, her tortured expression easing.

"Sleep, darling. I am watching over you." Octavia nuzzled Vinyl before curling up around her.


Vinyl woke to the sound of soft music wafting through the open door to her room. She was still curled up in the corner, and she could feel a deep ache in her bones. She moved to stand but stopped when she remembered her leg.

With a sigh, Vinyl reached over and pulled her prosthetic leg towards her. Awkwardly, she used her mouth to fit it into its slot where her leg used to be. It attached with a quiet click, and she spent a moment glaring down at it.

Standing awkwardly, Vinyl looked around her room. Her gaze fell upon a stylish pair of sunglasses with magenta tinted lenses. She stared at them for a moment longer before turning and hobbling out of the room.

Stepping out into the main part of the penthouse, Vinyl found Octavia swaying softly to music playing from an array of hidden speakers hidden in her penthouse as she went about making breakfast. From what Vinyl could see, automated machines made it easier for the Earth Pony, who had no access to magic.

Octavia didn't notice Vinyl as she limped into the room.

Setting the table, Octavia placed juice, toast, and a simple looking breakfast quiche. Vinyl watched her do so from living room.

As she turned, Octavia startled when she noticed Vinyl standing still watching her. "Oh! Vinyl. I didn't see you."

"Heh... Yeah, I noticed." Vinyl gave a fake laugh, looking away. Deep dark bags sat under eyes and she looked tired beyond belief.

"Come on, sit. I made breakfast." Octavia gestured to the table.

"I can see that..." She looked over the spread on the table, realizing how little she felt like eating. "It looks... good."

Vinyl and Octavia sat at the table, Octavia waiting patiently as Vinyl struggled into her seat. An awkward moment passed between them before Octavia started to eat, Vinyl following her lead.

Octavia stared at Vinyl whenever she was sure that the white mare wasn't looking at her.

"So... How did you sleep," she asked, giving an awkward smile.

"Fine!" Vinyl nodded, choking a bit on her food as she tried to lie. "I slept fine. No dreams at all."

"That's good, Vinyl." Octavia stared at Vinyl, trying to decide if she wanted to call her out on the lie. Finally, she nodded, glancing down at her food. She would choose her battles. "You know that you can come to me with anything, don't you Vinyl?"

"Yeah..." Vinyl stared down at her food, unbelieving.

The two lapsed into silence, picking at their meals. Neither of them knew what to say and the atmosphere turned cold incredibly fast.

Vinyl finished first, pushing away from the table. Most of her food still sat on her plate, barely touched and for the most part having just been pushed around. Octavia couldn't help but worry that she cooked something that Vinyl hates.

"Do you not like it? I could make something else if you would like." Octavia cocked her head, watching Vinyl closely.

"No." Vinyl just shook her head. "It's fine. I'm just not hungry."

Staring at Vinyl for a moment, Octavia nodded before getting up and starting to clear the table, setting everything into the sink. Thanks to the miracle of technology, the sink started to clean the dishes on their own.

"Is there anything you would like to do today?" Octavia asked, watching Vinyl carefully. She had no clue of how the mare was going to act and it was really something that she guessed would be a moment to moment judgement on her part.

Quiet, Vinyl stared out the window at the Citadel beyond. She didn't answer, and Octavia shifted uncomfortably, unsure of whether or not Vinyl heard her.

"I am here if you need me, Vinyl." Octavia finally offered, chewing on her lip.

Vinyl just looked down at the floor. The two were still for a moment before Octavia began walking towards her practice room. "I'll be in my practice room if you need me."

Octavia left the kitchen. Vinyl didn't move to acknowledge that she had left until she heard the door to the practice room close.

Several moments passed before Vinyl turned, hobbling out of the kitchen.

Hobbling into the living room, Vinyl looked out the window of the Penthouse and her eyes widen when she caught sight of the Destiny Ascension as it passed slowly by outside. She watched it for a moment before turning and moving over to the couch.

With a grunt, she clambered on. Putting her prosthetic leg out awkwardly to the side, she looked up at the screen that took up the majority of the wall.

Glancing over, she saw the remote a couple of cushions over. Stretching out, she grabbed it, dropping it between her forelegs. She turned the screen on and instantly, a news program began to play. The logo for the Citadel News Network spun in the lower left hand third of the screen. An Asari and Salarian sat proudly behind a desk, the news-casters. A flashing banner played across the lower part of the screen: Human/Turian Military Alliance.

"It's impressive how far Humanity has come since the Relay 314 incident," the Salarian reporter said condescendingly. "To be able to put aside their differences and work with the Turian Hegemony on a naval project of unparalleled intricacy is impressive."

"The fact that this announcement is appearing so close to the capture and rescue of the MSV Charybdis certainly bears-" The Asari continued speaking but Vinyl was already tuning it all out. She switched the channel, bored, ending up on some animated children's show. From the practice room, she could hear Octavia beginning to practice, the soft sounds of her Cello drifting from the room.

Vinyl couldn't help but begin to drift off, her tiredness overtaking her.


Gilda paced back and forth in the guest room that the Princesses had granted her the usage of the night before. She stopped, staring down at the floor and let out a frustrated groan. Shaking her head, she started pacing again.

A knock at the ground broke her concentration and Gilda fell to the floor with a cry of surprised squawk.

"Are you alright, Gilda?" The door opened and Twilight Sparkle rushed in, having heard Gilda's surprise. Seeing Gilda hyperventilating on the floor, Twilight winced, moving to help her stand up.

"I'm fine." Taking a deep breath, Gilda discreetly smells Twilight Sparkle's scent. "I'm fine, Twilight."

A cough from the door grabbed their attention. Both Twilight and Gilda turned to find Tyra standing in the door, looking at the two of them with amusement.

"Hope I'm not interrupting something," she drawled out.

"Mom!" Gilda scrambled up, blushing. She edged away from Twilight a little subconsciously as Tyra stepped into the room.

"Are you going to introduce us, Gilda?" Tyra asked, giving Twilight a guarded smile.

Gilda looked confused for a moment before coming to the realization of what her mother wanted. She coughed awkwardly before gesturing at Twilight. "Mom, this is Twilight Sparkle. Twilight, this is my mom, Tyra Blackwing."

"Hi!" Twilight gave a little bow to Tyra, smiling warmly. "It's great to meet you. Your daughter is absolutely wonderful!"

"You're Twilight Sparkle?" Tyra's eyes widened as she made the connection of just who Twilight was. "The Princesses personal student?"

"Yep." Twilight blushed. "That's me."

Looking back up at Gilda, Tyra gave her a soft punch to the shoulder, not noticing as Gilda recoiled away, screwing her eyes shut tight. Twilight winced as she was sure that Gilda was falling back into her memories.

"You're moving up in the world, little lion." Tyra grinned, puffing her chest out proudly.

Noticing Gilda's discomfort, Twilight discreetly placing herself between Gilda and her mother. With a small nod, Gilda gratefully accepted Twilight's intrusion.

"How did the two of you meet?" Tyra asked, eying Twilight up and down with a strange look in her eyes.

"I was with Princess Celestia when she travelled to the Citadel to bring all of... them home," Twilight answered with a curt nod. Her quick statement put an end to that line of questioning.

"Right." Gilda stared down at the floor, scuffing at it with her talons.

"So you know about what she went through?" Tyra perked up at Twilight's statement. "My little lion here won't tell me anything."

Gilda looked even more uncomfortable than before. She withdrew even more in on herself. Twilight noticed, glancing between Gilda and Tyra. It was quickly becoming an uncomfortable situation.

"That's not really my place to say." Twilight shuffled nervously on her hooves. "I don't really feel comfortable-"

"Nonsense!" Tyra stepped forward, her wings flaring slightly. "I'm her mother. I should know these things."

"Mom..." Gilda whimpered out, her eyes darting around the room.

"Not now, dear." Tyra made a shushing noise at Gilda, who flinched away nervously. "This is important."

"I'm not going to say anything that Gilda doesn't want me to." Twilight gave a meaningful look to Tyra, narrowing her eyes.

"I'm her mother." Tyra insisted, narrowing her eyes. She glared threateningly at Twilight.

"And you're acting like a moron." Twilight stomped her hoof onto the ground to emphasize her point. "Please, leave and don't come back until you can act maturely."

Tyra glowered, opening her mouth to say something that Twilight was more than sure she would regret. Tyra stopped, thinking better of her words as Twilight took a step forward, her horn glowing with magic.

"Go" Twilight pointed at the door with her hoof, her eyes narrowed and her resolve firm.

Tyra stared at Twilight with her mouth open for a long moment before turning, flicking her tail back and forth in agitation. She left the room in a huff.

As soon as she was gone, Twilight turned to face Gilda, finding her cowering on the ground, frozen in fear. The griffin had her paws tight over her eyes. Slowly and careful not to make any sudden movements to startle her, Twilight edged closer to Gilda, getting down to her level.

"Gilda," Twilight whispered.

Gilda didn't respond, keeping her eyes tightly shut.

"You're safe, Gilda." Twilight reassured her. "Nopony is going to make you do anything you don't want to."

Gulping, Gilda turned her head away from Twilight, fear coursing through her body. She wanted nothing else but to crawl under a bed and ignore reality.

Gently, Twilight placed a hoof on Gilda's shoulder. The griffin flinched away at the contact with a quiet whimper.

"I'm sorry!" Twilight said softly, quickly taking her hoof away. She winced at having caused Gilda pain. "I'm sorry. You're safe, Gilda."

A moment passed, and slowly, Gilda cracked an eye open, looking up at Twilight. "Twilight..."

Twilight smiled warmly at Gilda, nuzzling close. She felt warmth coursing through her chest.

The moment was swiftly broken when Gilda's stomach gurgled. The two of them laughed, even though Gilda's was more than a bit anxious.

"Do you want to get something to eat?" Twilight asked, standing.

"Yeah," Gilda said, nodding. "Yeah. That sounds good."

Holding out a hoof, Twilight helped Gilda stand, and together, the two left the room and began making their way to the royal kitchens, both trying their best to forget how Gilda's mother had acted.