"Octy? Is that… no way!"
Pinkie Pie stood from her prone position upon the bed that occupied the majority of the far wall. With all of the speed of a soaring pegasus, she leapt off the bed and galloped straight into Octavia's embrace, smiling happily and close to tears.
"Octyyyyyyyyyyyy! I thought you were never coming back!"
Octavia herself also began to tear up, but held back her emotions as best she could while she stroked her little sister's mane.
"I know. I'm so sorry I didn't come to see you sooner, Pinkie, but I just couldn't bear to go back to the farm. I had no idea that you had left until you sent me that letter, otherwise I would have been here ages ago!"
Pinkie nuzzled closer into the side of Octavia's neck, taking in the scent of pine that hung around her sister's mane. The smell seemed so familiar, just like the shampoo that Octavia had used as a child. The sudden flood of memories and sensation of her sister's touch was enough to make Pinkie squeal in glee. Pinkie pulled back and began bouncing on the spot excitedly, grinning wide as she did so.
"It's so great to have you back! Are you staying? For how long? Where? Tell me!"
Octavia's smile mirrored her sister's own, and maintaining her sophisticated and classy air was becoming harder and harder the longer that she watched her favorite sibling jump for joy. The nostalgia and sheer elation that Octavia felt caused her to shake in excitement, and she soon found herself galloping at Pinkie and tackling her to the ground with a peal of laughter.
"You're just as I remember! Oh, this is incredible, I could ask for nothing more! Yes, I'll be staying at the local hotel. I might only be around for a few days, but… I plan to make the most of my time h-"
Octavia was silenced immediately by a hoof being forced into her mouth by Pinkie. The younger mare sputtered in disbelief at the words, and immediately scooted out from under the elder before rising to stand with a look of confusion.
"A few days? At a hotel? Silly filly! You're staying with me! For at least two weeks!"
Octavia blinked in surprise as she drew herself back up to her full height. "Two weeks? Pinkie, I can't just… disappear from Canterlot for that long! And what about the Cakes?" she asked with a gesture of her hoof out to the side. "I don't want to intrude, and a sudden houseguest for that long in this already crowded establishment would only serve to str-"
"Oh, Octy. You haven't changed either," Pinkie interrupted. She giggled with mirth as she brought a hoof up to her mouth and closed her eyes. Suddenly, she looked back at Octavia with a warm, reassuring smile, and began to speak somewhat quietly. "You worry so much about things that don't matter. What matters is being happy, and right now, for both of us, that means being here."
The pink mare bounced over to rejoin Octavia, and stopped to stand directly in front of her puzzled sister. With a quick motion, she pulled on the bowtie around Octavia's neck before snapping it back, earning a surprised gasp as it returned to its starting point.
"Very dapper," Pinkie giggled. "Now, listen up Sis, because I know more than you think I do. I saw you at the Gala, and I was going to say something, but things got a little crazy there at the end." Pinkie emphasized the statement by circling her hoof around an ear with a smile. "After Fluttershy went loco and everypony started running, we never got a chance to talk. Did you even know it was me?"
Octavia shook her head, completely out of practice at keeping up with the incredibly quick and meandering speech of the pony before her. As realization hit her, she drew in a sharp gasp and stomped her hooves to the carpet while smiling wide.
"So that was you! I wasn't sure, I mean… your coat is so much brighter now, and your mane! You look adorable, by the way."
More giggling resounded throughout the room as Pinkie trotted over to her bed and hopped up on top of the covers. She sank down into the mattress and patted the spot next to her with a hoof, watching with glee as Octavia followed and moved to jump onto the bed beside her.
"Come lie down with me! We have so much to talk about!"
As the two ponies settled in and Pinkie put her head under Octavia's neck, the older pony couldn't help but sigh. "You know your little distractions don't work on me, Pinkie. Even if you changed the subject, that doesn't change the fact that I can't stay for two weeks."
Octavia balked and pulled her head back, away from Pinkie's playful laughter below. "A month? Pinkie, just… please. As much as I would love to stay for so long and catch up on things, I just… can't."
Pinkie flopped over onto her side, leaning her back into her sister as she looked up from beneath Octavia's neck. "You totally can! The Cakes won't mind, you know you want to, and I know that you can so live here for a while! I got your address from Princess Celestia after the Gala, you know."
Octavia raised a brow, completely unimpressed. "…so? That doesn't change the f-"
"Yes it does!" Pinkie nodded vigorously and finished by leaning up to bite at Octavia's tie. The charcoal pony swatted at Pinkie's mane to get the crazed mare to release her grip, only to be met with even more laughter.
"That really does look cute on you. It's like you're some high-society mare and not the filly of some boring ol' rock farmers."
Octavia blinked and looked down, her mouth hanging open as she considered the words.
Is that… why I wear it? Why I style my mane this way? Why I carry myself as though I'm a Canterlot native? Why can Pinkie see things so clearly when most would say that she has no id-
"Hellooooooooooo? Equestria! To! Octy!"
Twin wild blurs of pink snapped Octavia out of her momentary introspection, and she looked up to find Pinkie standing on her hind legs, flailing her hooves animatedly.
"Did you freeze? Are you a robot?" Pinkie tilted her head to the side while narrowing her eyes, giving the impression of intense scrutiny. "Is that why you stayed gray? MY SISTER'S A ROBOT! SOMEPONY HELP!"
Octavia barely managed to grab Pinkie by the tail and reel her back onto the bed before the mare began galloping to the stairs.
"I am not a robot. I was just thinking. Now start making s-" Octavia shook her head and snickered as Pinkie crashed into her side once again. "Start… trying to explain yourself. Just because you know the Princess doesn't make it so that I can stay."
"Of course it doesn't! If you'd let me talk instead of being all hurr I'm Octavia and I'm all thinky and scaring me into believing you're a ROBOT," Pinkie paused while leaning directly into her sister's face before continuing, "then maybe you would understand what I'm saying," she finished with a smile.
Octavia brought a hoof to her head and closed her eyes with a smile. She let out a sigh before shaking her head from side to side and propping her chin up with a hoof. "Never change, Pinkie. Go ahead, explain. I won't interrupt or… think. Since apparently thinking scares you."
Octavia just nodded and laughed, opening her eyes and nuzzling closer as she did so. "Go ahead. What crazy, irresponsible plan do you have?"
Pinkie batted her sister's mane with a hoof. "Oh, you know me so well, even after all these years! Weeeeeeeeeeeell… the Princess said that you became an independent musician, and you went from show to show, playing wherever you could, whenever you could, right? That's how she found you for the Gala? Princess Celestia and Princess Luna saw you perform at The Golden Oat Theatre and contracted you to play for them that one night?"
Octavia blinked, completely surprised that Pinkie was aware of such things. "Yes, and?"
"Sooooooooo that means that you just do shows when and where they're available, and you're not obligated to keep to a schedule other than your own?"
Octavia frowned, already not liking where this was going. "…yes… but I still need to pay the re-"
"So play here!" Pinkie finished, standing once again with her front hooves spread wide.
"Pinkie! It isn't that simple! Classical music may be big in Canterlot, but that doesn't mean that everypony likes it. Most don't, in fact. Not only that, but audiences would be smaller, performances would be rarer, tickets would have to be cheape-"
"Then work for the Cakes with me part-time, and play music when you're not! Duh! Besides, I totally have connections in the music world, and I can hook you up with somepony to perform with!"
There's a catch. With Pinkie, there is always a catch. Either the water balloons are filled with shaving cream, the bottle of itching powder has a leak, or she's pranking you while you're busy pranking somepony else for her.
"…what are you not telling me?" Octavia deadpanned. "This would work way too well, in theory. I mean, it sounds absolutely lovely, but I'm not sure… something feels off. Either the Cakes wouldn't be too keen on this idea, or your 'musical partner' isn't exactly what I would need in somepony as a performing partner, or… just something. I can't just stop in to Ponyville one day, and live there for a month the next. Things just don't work like that."
Pinkie frowned and began to pout. "And why not?"
Octavia snorted. "Because they just… don't!"
Pinkie flopped down onto her back and crossed her forelegs, brows furrowed and pout still in full effect. "Because you won't let them, is what you really mean. C'mon, Octavia. Don't you remember what you said to me the night that you left? Right before I created the distraction by sending all of those huge boulders down the hill at the other side of the farm?"
Octavia? Pinkie never uses my full n-
"Stop thinking so much!"
Pinkie once again caught Octavia off guard as she flew up from the mattress and put her hooves on her sister's shoulders.
"You told me 'if you want something with all of your heart, go for it, and forget the limits!' You don't even have limits now, Octy! You're an adult, you make the decisions, and your job lets you be as free as you want! So what's the problem? We've missed almost ten years of each others' lives, and now we have an opportunity to fix that! We're both finally free! Take advantage of that!"
Octavia scoffed and rose to stand on the mattress, slightly annoyed by Pinkie's simplification of things.
"Yes, we are adults now, which means we have responsibilities!"
Pinkie followed her sister's example, and also stood tall, depressing the mattress a bit as she pushed into it with all of her weight. "Your responsibilities boil down to paying rent, right? If you're making bits, what does it matter that you're here? Octy, I missed you so much! Be a filly again, with me! Just because we're older doesn't mean we have to grow up! What about the other thing you told me? Literally the last words you said, right before you galloped off? 'If the opportunity is there, take it!' IT'S HERE!"
Octavia scrunched up her face and looked down at the ruffled blankets below, fully prepared to be lost in thought once again. Pinkie, however, didn't allow it to happen.
"I tried to cheer them up, and for a little while… it worked. We had parties, we sang, we danced, and they loved it. But then…" Pinkie looked down, refusing to meet her sister's searching eyes. "…they just… went back to their old ways. You were right, Octy. When I finally saw that… when I finally realized that the rock farm wasn't where I belonged, and I had my chance to escape… I took your advice. Now, it's time you took your advice. Live a little."
Octavia sniffled, still looking down and considering the offer before her.
Is she right again? Can I really just… throw caution to the wind, sideline everything, and hope for the best?
…like she did?
Octavia blinked in realization, and finally raised her rose-colored eyes to capture Pinkie's icy blue ones.
…like I did?
"…give me one day. I'm going back to Canterlot to pack more things, and then for a month… we can be fillies again." Octavia smiled wide as her sister did the same and let out a happy gasp. "It's going to be just like old times, I promise. Staying up late, talking about colts… or… stallions, now, getting into trouble, the whole b-OOF!"
Everything became a blur momentarily as a pink missile impacted the speaker's stomach. With the wind officially knocked out of her, Octavia found herself both unable and unwilling to try to speak over Pinkie's happy squealing.
"Octyyyy! I knew you would come around! We're going to bake, and talk, and party, and eat, and explore, and you can meet all of my friends, and we can have so much fun!"
Though Pinkie's full body weight was being pressed into her, Octavia found that she didn't mind in the slightest. Seeing Pinkie's previous frown and annoyed expression traded for the smile that she had remembered so clearly was all the excuse she needed to just let go, and Octavia found herself laughing right along with her, feeling like a filly again.
"This really is going to be great, Sister. I could use a vacation, and some time away from Canterlot." Octavia stopped to look up at the wall clock, and suddenly her expression fell into a slight frown. "Though… if I'm really going to go back home to pack my things for an extended stay… I would need to leave momentarily to catch the last carriage…"
"Say no more!"
Pinkie hopped up off of the bed and onto the carpeted floor, grinning madly all the while. "Take all of the time you need to pack, and I'll let the Cakes know that you'll be staying."
Octavia followed her sister's descent to the floor and shook her head in reply. "No, I will ask if I may stay. Truthfully, I don't believe there will be any problems, since I've known Mr. Cake for quite a while now. However, I don't wish to be rude."
Pinkie sighed and nodded her consent before trotting over and giving Octavia a final nuzzle. After doing so, the bubbly mare walked over to her dresser and stared into the mirror, looking unusually pensive and almost depressed.
"…Pinkie? What happened? Just a second ago, you were…"
"I know." Pinkie looked back over her shoulder, and gave her sister a sad smile. "Octy… sometime while you're here this month… can we go back?" She swallowed hard, hoping that Octavia would catch her meaning. When it became clear that she did not, Pinkie sighed before clarifying. "…to the farm…"
Octavia blinked, unsure that she had heard correctly. "To the farm? Pinkie, why would you ever want to go back there? Isn't it just like you said? We're free mares now!"
As Pinkie turned fully, Octavia saw the faintest hint of tears brimming at the edge of her eyes. "I know, but… I feel bad about just… leaving them there. They're so angry and sad, and that… goes against everything I stand for. My talent is making ponies happy, Octy, and… I want them to be happy, too. But I can't face them alone. I mean… I could, but I don't want to. I did try, once, and not even the Cakes know that I did. What happened afterward…" Pinkie shook her head, and decided not to say any more on the subject. Even if she loved her sister and truly did have her back, Octavia didn't need to know everything just yet.
"…I… part of me does feel bad as well, Pinkie." After some hesitation, Octavia let out a long, drawn-out sigh before coming to her decision. "If it really means that much to you, I'll go back with you. Just once. To try to… fix things."
The edge of Pinkie's lips twitched in hope, but her deep blue eyes still held a partial sadness in their depths.
"…swear. Pinkie Pie Swear to me that you'll go with me. It doesn't have to be soon, it can even be on the day that you leave, but… I want to hear it."
Despite the snickering that followed, and despite it turning into a full-on laugh, nothing else that her sister had said that night made Octavia feel quite so at home as the mentioning of their old tradition. A tradition that she was more than happy to follow.
"Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." Octavia finished going through the appropriate motions, and received a warm smile for her efforts.
"Thanks, Octy. You're the best. Now GO!"
Octavia jumped at the sudden command, completely confused by the louder tone.
"GET PACKING! IT NEEDS TO BE TOMORROW ALREADY!"
Finally understanding, Octavia nodded and returned the goofy smile. With a heartfelt wave and a tip of the head, she trotted over to kiss her sister upon the forehead before galloping out of the room and down the stairs to go and speak with the Cakes about what she hoped would be a nice little getaway, and an opportunity to reconnect with the mare she missed so much.
That night under the stars so long ago… she gave me freedom, and the courage to just run and take my life in a new direction. Even if they were my words originally, even if I wanted so badly to take that leap of faith on my own, without Pinkie, I would never have done it. And now, finally, after all of these years… I'm going to return the favor. I got my wish. It's time that Pinkie got hers.
Author's Note: Good news and bad news concerning this story.
The bad news: it's over. Yeah, chapter 2 is now the end. Sorry.
The good news: it finally updated.
…alright that isn't really the good news. I wouldn't be that much of an ass to you all. This story is ending so another can begin. I've rearranged things a bit, and decided that Polyrhythm is going to become the prelude to another, larger story about Octavia's one-month stay in Ponyville.
Other surprises will be in there too, but I won't get into that right now. It may not begin for a little while given how much other stuff I need to update/finish, but sometime within maybe a month or so, hopefully, look for the sequel. That story will be called Awktavia, and while it will be slightly more humorous than this one and deal with Octavia in… awkward situations, it will still be balanced with the seriousness and sibling interaction in these two chapters.
As a final note, chapter 1 of this story has undergone an overhaul. See what I did there? None of the actual events have changed, but when rereading it in preparation to write this chapter, I felt that it wasn't as strong and well-worded as it could have been. A few things have been rewritten and a lot of sentences were tweaked for better phrasing, so hopefully chapter 1 is a little bit better now.
Scented Venom chapter 7 is next, though I have no idea of a possible target date. Let's go with 'kinda soonishly I hope.' I would LOVE for it to be done sometime this coming week or the following one, but with finals coming, I can't make any promises.