Octavia groaned, her more than comfortable slumber cut off by a trio of light prods to the stomach. She rolled away from her assailant, pinning her pillow tightly to her ears, and groaning further, just to drive home the point that she really did not want to be woken up at that moment.
Sadly, the perpetrator of the poking failed to notice this less than subtle body language indicator, and replied with a more fervent series of prods to more tender areas of Octavia's torso. She rolled back over to face her, now fully awake and even more irritated at how awake she was. Octavia found a pair of exuberant, ruby eyes glimmering from the twilit room. Apparently, Vinyl had no issue with an early rise, for once.
Octavia heaved one, last groan that deferred to a sigh as it dissipated into the air, seeing no relent in Vinyl's fillyish excitement.
"I suppose you want me to get up, then?"
Vinyl nodded in a manner Octavia felt would likely resulting in her head detaching from the neck if it continued any longer.
"Well, duh! Don't you remember what day it is?!"
Octavia dragged herself out of bed, perusing the calendar with an unfocused and still weary pair of eyes. She traced the days with a hoof, alighting on the latest one still left unmarked with a cross, until she noticed a pen hover towards her, bathed in a slate-grey aura. It seemed to shiver in the air with excitement, before drawing a cross so sharply it almost shredded the paper to ribbons as it did so. Octavia soon found herself as the focal subject of a crushing hug as Vinyl closed in on her location.
"Octy, I know you know what day it is!"
"Well, December the twenty-fifth, yes. Which obviously means that-."
Octavia clamped her hooves to her ears a second too late, a slight migraine forming as Vinyl's exuberant yell of glee turned to tinnitus. She had always disliked Trotty Holden.
"Couldn't you have stayed in bed a little longer? It's...for Celestia's sake, Vinyl. It's four AM!"
Vinyl shrugged, her posture leaning towards the bedroom doorway, though still tethered back by Octavia's will. For a moment, Octavia found the situation amusing in a cruel way, like chaining a dog before dangling a treat just outside of its reach.
"Come on, Octy. I just...I'm excited for our first Christmas together, y'know?"
Octavia crossed her forelegs, the metaphorical equivalent of yanking the dog's chain, and it yielded the same results. A pouted lip and light whimper from Vinyl.
"Well, it's so early...oh, whatever you want, then. I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep, anyway."
Once more, Octavia was the subject of a breathtaking embrace, and a breath quickening kiss. She smiled, cuffing Vinyl lightly around the head as they headed off to the living room.
"For Celestia's sake. It's like living with a newborn filly, you know."
"Aww, you just love my youthful enthusiasm for life, Octy. You know it's true, you told me."
Octavia couldn't think of a retort at that moment, so she simply opened the living room door, revealing the decorations that were somewhat lacking in modesty. One of many decisions Octavia had regretted in this life was to allow Vinyl the opportunity to decorate the living room herself. Every surface was plastered with tinsel, Christmas cards, and other festive paraphernalia. The tree itself had been the piece de resistance of Octavia's frustrations. One night Vinyl had left to collect some milk from the local shop. After a considerable amount of time had passed, Octavia found herself wandering the streets to track her down, coming across her as she was in the process of dragging a rather sizable pine tree some three times the height of their actual home.
Sadly, Octavia hadn't managed to convince Vinyl to discard of said tree, and the result was that said tree was now sat in the corner of the room, where it arched over the ceiling in a position Vinyl had assured her it would 'totally fit right in.' Octavia had pointed out the fact the tree was leaning rather than standing to Vinyl, and requested that she trim it down further. Irritatingly, Vinyl treated her Christmas trees as she treated her subwoofers, and refused the possibility of the idea that bigger did not perfectly correspond to better. Even more irritatingly, she had forgotten the milk as well.
Vinyl leapt into the centre of the room, eying the collection of boxes under the trees pensively, while glancing back at Octavia, as though for reassurance. Octavia carefully set herself down on the floor, picking up the first present with a light smile. A small box that rattled in the most alluring way. She hoofed it over to Vinyl, who rattled it with a gleeful chuckle. Finally, when the urge could not be held back any longer, she tore it apart, revealing a box decorated with a collection of colourful liveries, arranged around a pair of quite sizable headphones.
Vinyl's grin spread wide as she squealed like a filly with a foal doll. Her hooves caressed the packaging, before tearing it apart in a shark-like frenzy.
"The Wubbinator X-Fifties?! Oh my...Octy, how did you know?!"
Octavia smiled, looking as Vinyl practically vibrated with unrestrained joy. She supposed it made the pricetag and days of searching worthwhile.
"Oh, it was nothing. I just remembered you liked that sort of thing, and of course, the slogan was incredibly interesting."
"'Bass drivers bigger than your brain - guaranteed!' Yeah, those have got to be awesome!"
"Indeed, I wasn't aware they could make them so small."
Vinyl laughed for a moment, before realisation hit her like a frying pan to the muzzle.
"Aw. If I wasn't so happy at you for getting me these, I'd have thrown the packet at you."
"So they're my get out of jail free card for a little while, then?"
"You betcha, I just hope you like what I got you as much."
A similarly sized package floated over to Octavia, the grey of the magic deferred to her own grey hooves as it released the present and vanished into the ether. Octavia glanced at the box, attempting to decipher its contents without resorting to childish rattling as Vinyl had done. It seemed light, almost deceptively so. It was most intriguing! Octavia couldn't resist, and despite herself, she tore into it like a starving pony given a bowl of soup.
Within the wrappings was a box containing a small bow-tie, the type that was affixed around the back of the neck, the bow itself already pre-tied. The centre of said bow had a small piece of jewellery set into the vibrant, pink fabric, a treble clef made of what Octavia could only assume was pure gold.
She speechlessly stared at the piece, before finding her normal bow-tie absent due to her rude awakening. She carefully tied the bow-tie around her neck, finding a mirror already levitated down to a flattering angle for her. The mirror was lifted away, and she found Vinyl looking at her with an expectant expression on her face.
"Vinyl...you shouldn't have. It's...it's beautiful."
Vinyl waved it away with a carefree hoof, smiling benignly with her new headphones perched on her ears at a jaunty angle. Octavia wasn't entirely sure they were supposed to be worn on one ear, but then they had come with numerous health and safety warnings against high volumes, as the intense pressure down the ear cavities would 'make the bass drivers even bigger than your brain...by comparison.'
"Nah, it was nothing, really. I thought it would look good on you, though. Are you gunna wear it when you perform?"
Octavia smiled, lightly tracing the tiny clef that mirrored her own cutie mark.
"Every time, Vinyl. Every time. Oh...and it's time for my next present for you!"
Octavia burrowed once more into the tree, emerging with a thin, but wide, package. It was shaped almost like a plain sheet of paper, but had a stubborn rigidity to it. Vinyl took it in her hooves, waving it around to little effect. She tore away the wrapping, revealing the contents; a vinyl record. The packaging had the words 'Fifty dubstep songs declared illegal for recreational use by the Equestrian Health Board' emblazoned across its cover. As Octavia expected, Vinyl saw it more as a challenge from the stallion, than actual sane advice.
"I will warn you though, Vinyl. I'm pretty sure that record plus those headphones will turn you deaf in several seconds."
Vinyl cackled, slipping out the record and stroking its surface with a tentative hoof. Octavia wasn't sure if she was trying to use her hooftip as a needle, or just enjoyed the sensation.
"I'll warn you, Octavia. Songs like these go on my speaker setup, you might wanna move over a few states when I set this filly spinning."
"Hah! Good luck getting rid of me that easily."
Octavia chuckled, while Vinyl hid the record away, promising Octavia's eardrums at least a moment of respite.
"Maybe I can bribe you with this, Octy?"
Another package came Octavia's way, much more haphazardly wrapped than the previous one. Octavia could tell that whatever the object had been, it had given Vinyl some issues getting the wrapping paper to fit, and she had barely won the battle. It intrigued her that Vinyl had opted not to use the provided box, and she set about the paper without a moment's hesitation.
Inside was a small record deck, quite compact even by the standards of modern ones Octavia had seen while browsing presents. Everything about the construction seemed extraordinarily delicate, down to the hairline edge on the needle. Octavia scanned all over the surface for a brand label. Finding none, she turned to Vinyl with a curious expression on her face.
"Oh, yeah. You remember when you lost your Mozcart record?"
Vinyl sheepishly pulled the very same record from out of the tree, shaking the pine needles onto the floor.
"I kinda...borrowed it. I needed it to set this one up right. Took some parts here, other parts there, tried it out when you were out shopping. Took ages to get it all together without you knowing, but I think you'll like the sound it puts out. Real soft and mellow, goes well with what you listen to."
Octavia set down the record player, reaching over to give Vinyl a soft, delicate hug.
"Thank you. It's nice to have somepony hoof-build a gift like this, just for me."
"Yeah, woulda saved me a tonne of time and effort if I just got it made in China."
Octavia giggled, reaching in the tree for her last gift to give. It was large, a lot longer than it was wide, yet still fairly flat in one dimension. It carried a substantial and reassuring weight to it. Octavia dropped it into Vinyl's hooves as carefully as she could, which - given the weight of the present - was not very. Vinyl stared at the object in awe, raising and lowering it in her hooves to get a feel for the weight. She carefully found the edge of the wrapping paper, and peeled it apart like an orange.
Inside was a magical guitar, skinned in the most pearlescent white imaginable. The fretboard, however, glimmered with a lustrous red, almost like a ruby pillar lying on the body of the guitar. Octavia smiled as Vinyl stood in position with the instrument, strap slung over her shoulder as she practised a few cursive notes with the tip of a hoof.
"I remembered you saying you played one in high school, but had to sell it to go to university. You seemed quite sad when you told me about it, so I thought it would be something you'd like as a gift."
Vinyl scanned the guitar closer, noting tiny notches in the paint that had been well refurbished, but not perfectly. The design overall had been familiar, a Fender Stablecaster, though she hadn't remembered it being as bright and vibrant as this. Still, at the very top of the fretboard, running perpendicular to the tuning pegs was a small scrape of a label, 'Lil Scratch.'
"The same one? Yes. I'll admit, this definitely took an effort to find, these kind of things don't even have a provenance to them. I wasn't sure if I'd found it, but it had luckily not changed hooves since you'd sold it. Apparently, despite the salespony's repeated attempts, somepony had permanently etched their name on the fretboard. That, made it easier to identify. Though harder to sell, it would seem."
Vinyl choked back on nostalgic tears of joy, hooves stroking the body of a prized possession she had thought long lost. Before she had DJed around Equestria, she had dreamt of being a rock star, even saved up all her money for months on end to buy the one guitar in the shop that matched her unique style. Of course, one dream had to give way to another, and the rock star dream had faded away after she'd surrendered her instrument. She carefully set down the guitar with a reverence only reserved for the most sentimentally valuable of objects. Vinyl gave it one, last loving stroke, before she tackled Octavia, gripping her close in a tight embrace.
"Thanks, Octy. Thanks a million."
Octavia smiled, finally getting her own legs free to reciprocate the hug. She smiled, patting Vinyl on the back as they shared their festive embrace.
"I could hardly not go the extra mile for somepony like you, Vinyl. Especially on Christmas of all days."
Vinyl chuckled, though she didn't loosen her hold on Octavia's ribcage.
"Merry Christmas, Octy."
"Merry Christmas to you too, Vinyl."