Hi everyone! A brief one shot I wrote based on John de Lancie's comment at Bronycon that Discord and Celestia have had some 'interesting nights' together : ) I hope you all enjoy it!
Beautiful cover art done by Silvy-Fret! (Check out her deviant art page!)
Additional Art done by Nekoi-Echizen! (Check out her deviant art page too!)
Night had fallen, the moon was full, the air was cool, and in a high tower of the Canterlot castle, Princess Celestia rested in her bedroom…and she was not alone.
In fact, her visitor was a familiar one—a certain master of chaos (reformed now, of course). The princess and the draconequus seemed to find a certain interest in seeing each other during such starry evenings when quiet reigned over the land and they could finally have some quality time between two former sworn enemies who were now the closest of friends…
"Oh Celestia, did you know you're quite good at this?"
"Discord, don't tease me…"
"Oh…yes! Ah ha! I did it!"
"One more time then, Discord?"
"Well, who am I to deny the request of a lady, hmm?"
A listening ear outside of Celestia's bedroom or her window could easily have heard this exchange…but only a closer look would reveal the true nature of the conversation.
Simply put, Celestia and Discord were…playing board games.
Celestia lay upright on her rug on the floor while Discord reclined opposite her on his stomach, allowing most of his body to curl over the floor on either side of him. And in between the two nearly immortal beings sat a square game board full of colorful shapes and cards (and two large brightly colored game pieces).
Celestia used her magic to shuffle the cards and looked to her friend with a smile. "Discord, are you sure you're okay with playing another round of Confectionary Land with me? We can play anything else if you'd like, really."
Discord just shrugged and smirked. "Oh, but I like Confectionary Land, Tia. It's full of twists and turns…" He wound up his body and knotted it into a bow. "And not to mention random setbacks. Plus all the different places on the board look like fictional lands made of desserts, and that sounds like my kind of place. I'm even willing to go along with the orderly rules for the sake of the chaos that can be found in the random chance and random design of the game."
Celestia's smile grew, and she placed the card pile back down on the board. "Isn't that why we ended up deciding that board games were the best way for us to spend our friendship time together, Discord—because they give us both something to relate to: orderly rules mixed with random chance?"
"Exactly my point, Celestia." Discord unwound himself until he was completely uncoiled on the floor again, and then he smirked once more. "Perhaps next we could play Troughs and Ladders?" He snapped and made the game box appear floating in the air. "Mareopoly?" He snapped, and another game box appeared floating in the air now as well. "Parasprite Trap?" He snapped again, and of course yet another game box appeared hovering above him.
Celestia laughed softly. "You really enjoy all of these games, Discord? Most of them are made for fillies and colts, after all."
Discord just shrugged and snapped away the game boxes. "Fun's fun—what do I care what orderly age designation the games have? Besides, I like how often I manage to win them." He raised an eyebrow, leaning closer and eyeing Celestia with interest. "It really is strange, Celestia—in epic major battle, you always beat me. But I seem to have some sort of advantage going up against you in a simple child's game."
Celestia blinked and blushed a little. "Oh, yes, well…I suppose it's just ironic." She shrugged, her smile a little sheepish.
Discord eyed her more but then shifted back and sighed. "You're a horrible liar, Celestia. You've been letting me win these games, and you know it."
Celestia's eyes went wide. "I…well…" But then seeing the dry look on Discord's features, she finally sighed, lowered her head, and gave him a single nod. "Yes, Discord. I have been letting you win. But not all of the time, I promise." She looked up. "I'm sorry, I was just concerned that it might be a sore point between us if I beat you too often, at least so early in our relationship considering the ways we used to 'compete' against each other. And after seeing how much difficulty you had at first about not getting your way about Fluttershy and her new friend during the Gala, I didn't want you to get frustrated and give up on our new game nights together. And that incident with the Gala is part of why it's especially important to me that we've started meeting regularly now—so that we can communicate better and spend more time cultivating our friendship so that you don't ever think I'm neglecting you or not inviting you somewhere as a snub ever again." She smiled. "But the only reason I'm so good at these games is because I used to play them with Twilight when she was little all of the time. It's an advantage I can't help."
Discord's look remained dry. He raised an eyebrow. "And did you used to let her win too?"
Celestia shrugged, but then nodded. "Often, but only when she was very little, to give her confidence. And maybe so she wouldn't grow up thinking I was perfect at everything. Please don't tell her though, Discord." She smiled a little sheepishly. "I'm sure she's already figured it out, but I'd rather not bring it up."
Discord still gave Celestia that dry look but did nod. Then he kinked his head to the side to stretch. "Celestia, do me a favor? Don't let me win anymore." He yawned and put himself back to normal. "It was amusing watching you do it the first dozen nights, and I'm sure your intentions were good, but really it's just getting silly now. I'm a big, reformed boy, I can handle losing a little game to the woman who bested me at all out war a thousand years ago." He smiled a little. "Promise." He winked.
Celestia smiled a little too. She nodded. "Okay, Discord. No more holding back. You have my word."
The master of chaos nodded in return, then rested his head on his hand. "Celestia, does our attempt at friendship really fluster you that much?" He raised an eyebrow. "I suppose, if you wanted, we could go back to trying to relate in other ways like we did during our first few evening meetings—friendship lectures, chaos demonstrations, formal debates. None of that seemed to work too well each night, but I'd thought we'd hit a happy medium with these games. We end up spending a lot of quality time together while we play them, and plus we end up talking, and…" he rolled his eyes with a small grin, "for better or worse, I've come to like talking to my friends, sharing my thoughts and feelings and whatnot…even with you. And maybe I don't entirely mind hearing about your thoughts and feelings too." Discord shrugged.
Celestia's smile warmed. "I see." She took a breath and lowered her eyes a little. "Discord, it's not that our friendship flusters me. It's just that our friendship is very important to me, and so I worry about it working out. I want us to be close and to bring something good to each other's lives." She brought her eyes back up. "I've enjoyed our nights like this, Discord. They've been very interesting."
"Yes, well, I'll have to give you that one, Celestia." Discord nodded and smiled. "They've been very interesting indeed." He snapped, and a new colorful game board appeared between them to replace Confectionary Land. "Quick round of checkers then?"
Celestia smiled and nodded. "Of course, Discord." She raised an eyebrow and tried not to smirk too much. "And are you sure you wouldn't want to try chess one night?"
"You know my feelings about chess!" Discord replied with his head held high and a dry tone as he snapped his tail to make all of the checker pieces bounce themselves into position on the board. "It's too orderly, there are too many rigid rules, and I don't trust it."
"I just thought if you wanted a game you could definitely lose…" A small giggle escaped the princess.
Discord rolled his eyes and smiled a little again. "Hey, I said I have a personal grudge against the game, not that I couldn't play and wouldn't wipe the floor with you. Now enough distractions, Celestia, and ladies first."
Celestia gave a nod (and tried not to shake her head with a smile). "Thank you, Discord." She moved a piece with her magic, and thus the back and forth of the game commenced as the conversation continued. "So," she smiled, "How is setting up Chaosville going? I've heard from Fluttershy that the dimension you've created is astounding and that your cottage is very charming."
Discord grimed proudly. "Yes, I have made the whole dimension and the whole house into rather impressive works of chaos. It's been quite fun actually." His eyes brightened, and his smile took on a warm quality. "I've got flying fruit pies and swirls of neon color and living dust bunnies and bottomless pits and half the time there's no gravity." He sighed. "Don't get me wrong, I like being around my friends here, but it's just nice to have a place to go to where I can express myself and be the chaos master I was born to be. And…maybe it's also nice having a way to express my chaos that doesn't cause any pony harm." He chuckled. "Although I will have to put a mailbox in this dimension—I'm afraid the mailponies run into serious delays trying to get anything to me directly."
Celestia laughed softly. "Yes, that delay did cause some problems with the Gala this year and certain people thinking they weren't invited." Her eyes hazed a little.
"Hey," Discord shrugged, grinning sheepishly, "How was I supposed to know you actually would invite me to the most formal event of the year? You should have explained to me in advance that you like shenanigans at your fancy social parties, then I would have known for sure that my invite was just lost in the mail."
Celestia laughed more. "By the way, how's Smooze?"
Discord smiled. "Oh, he's great. I set him up with a little place of his own in Chaosville. It's nice having a friend on location, plus the little guy's grown attached to me somehow." He rolled his eyes. "Go figure, right?"
"I'm not surprised," Celestia replied. "He seems very friendly, and you've gotten so good at the magic of friendship after all, Discord."
"Don't rub it in." Despite the reply, Discord just smiled more. "But yeah, well…that's a theory, I suppose…"
At this point quite a few moves had been made, and Discord and Celestia were left with a few stray pieces and several kings each on the board. They played in quiet for a few more easy, thought-out moves.
Then Discord, his eyes down at the board and his voice low, asked a question. "So…how's Tirek?"
Celestia's eyes went a little wide, but then her gaze softened again to something all-knowing as she looked to Discord's downturned face. "He's weak but safe and comfortable in Tartarus. He's fed well like all of the other prisoners, he has access to any books on good magic and friendship that he could want, and his cell's big enough for exercise." Her smile fell a little. "I'm afraid he never says much though. He just sort of sits and stares, and there's a great deal of anger about him. But perhaps one day he'll feel better."
"I see." Discord still kept his gaze low.
Celestia waited. Then she went on. "Maybe it could do him some good if you went to see him sometime. He might like a visitor."
Discord looked even more downward at the checkerboard. He still hadn't made his next move—he just played with a checker piece. "Prisons make me uncomfortable."
Celestia's gaze softened. She frowned and nodded.
Discord went on. "But, if you think it would do some good, I'll try…but later. I'm still a little…confused about what happened. I wouldn't know what to say yet."
The sun princess smiled a little again. "Take whatever time as you need, Discord. It'll be better for both of you if you do." She sighed. "It took me a while to talk to Luna about everything after she returned. I understand how you feel."
Discord sighed deeply and nodded. He cleared his throat and then added in a mumble, "Thanks."
Celestia nodded in return. "You're welcome, Discord."
The chaos master smiled a little, finally making his next checker move. "See, we may play silly games at night, but we get some friendliness and bonding and 'grim' serious stuff done too, Celestia. It just happens naturally. By the way, king me again." His grin grew.
Celestia raised an eyebrow and looked down at the board, her own smile growing as she finally noticed something. "Discord, have you been adding pieces—and squares—to the board when I haven't been looking?" And indeed the board was just a bit larger now and definitely had more pieces than there should have been considering the number of moves that had been made.
Discord just shrugged. "What, it's not really cheating. I gave us both extra pieces, after all. I just didn't want the game to be over in ten seconds. It's you and me, Celestia, we're the two wisest, trickiest beings in Equestria—we need a challenge." He grinned at her.
Celestia just laughed softly and kinged Discord's piece as she moved one of her own. "I suppose you're right, Discord."
"Aren't I always?" Discord's grin grew a little smugger as he made a couple of jumps and Celestia made a few back. He considered for a moment. "Say Celestia, speaking of visits…since my cottage and Chaosville are practically all done, would you like to come to my house one night for games?"
"Your house?" Celestia blinked and then smiled in interest.
Discord shrugged. "Hey, look, I'm just trying to reciprocate a gesture here. I've been slowly getting the vibe over the last few months ever since you dragged me out of my garden and told Fluttershy to fix me that being friends doesn't just mean getting special treatment and favors from the person you're friends with—it also means giving that friend equal good treatment in return. So, you invite me into your castle a lot, and now I figure it'd be friendly of me to invite you to my cottage." His eyes moved down to another piece for a moment as he shifted it. "Only if you want to though of course."
Celestia's smile practically beamed (though she tried to keep it under control). She nodded. "I'd like that, Discord. Thank you for the friendly offer."
"You're quite welcome." Discord smiled and chuckled, his eyes returning to hers. "Besides, an official visit from one of Equestria's leaders will help me when I apply to the Equine United Nations to have Chaosville recognized as its own nation state."
Celestia raised an eyebrow. "I didn't know you wanted that kind of sovereignty, Discord."
Discord smirked. "Well, mostly I'd just like diplomatic immunity. And the chance to bother everyone with the idea that I might actually show up at regular meetings is a bonus too."
Celestia's smile grew, and she just shook her head. "Well, whatever you decide, I'd be happy to come by some evening, Discord. I'd love to see Chaosville, I'm sure it's the most creative place in the world. As long as the night really is the best time for you, of course—I'm assuming day and night don't work the same way in your dimension as they do here. But either way you've been kind enough to work around my schedule and only come here at night, so I wouldn't mind working around your schedule a little for once to make things easier for you."
Discord waved her off. "Oh, it's not like I actually have a 'schedule' to keep or anything, Celestia. I've been happy to spend my nights here, and daytime is almost always booked between my random misadventures and tea with Fluttershy and bothering Twilight in her castle or playing harmless pranks on my other little pony friends. And besides, I haven't really gotten back into the swing of having a steady nightlife yet." He raised an eyebrow at Celestia. "If anything I'm surprised that you're free almost any evening for games with me. You're the most popular pony in Equestria, Celestia, and Luna's back to controlling the nights for you—you'd think you'd have plans once moonrise comes each evening and you're off duty. After all, this is Canterlot—there are nightclubs, dance clubs, cider mills, and even roller rinks open half the night. I can't believe your dance card isn't full."
"Oh, I'm afraid I'm not much of a nightlife person, Discord, the same way Luna doesn't socialize much during the day." Celestia shrugged. "For me, nights are best spent in relaxing now that my duties for the day are done, and contemplating all of the strides I've made toward being the best princess and pony I can be." She closed her eyes and smiled brightly.
Discord raised an eyebrow and grinned. "So we're all each other's got after sunset then, hmm?"
Celestia opened her eyes and smiled and nodded. "I suppose you could say that Discord."
"Well, there's only one thing to do about that then, I suppose." He snapped up a few more pieces to keep the game going.
"What, Discord?" Celestia raised an eyebrow, still smiling as their back and forth of moves continued.
"I think we need to start dating." Discord chuckled.
Celestia's eyes went wide, and her magic faltered badly enough to cause the piece she was in the middle of moving to clatter to the board and nearly upset the whole game. She quickly used her magic to right things, and then cleared her throat, blushing quite warmly now. "Discord! I-I like you very much as a friend of course, but I don't think that we…that you and I should…ever…."
At this point, Discord realized her mistake and quickly spoke up, his own eyes wide as well. "Yikes, Celestia, hold your horses—I just meant we should date in general, not that we should date each other." He blushed a little and burst into laughter. "Though can you imagine the chaos? But still though, Tia, really…" He smirked at her and shook his head. "I think someone had one too many slices of cake at dessert—the sugar rush is clearly affecting your judgment."
Celestia continued to blush distinctly but finally took a breath and managed to resume some of her normal poise. "Oh, of course, Discord. I'm sorry—I think I'm just a little tired, and I heard you in the wrong way." She smiled and shook her head. "Dating—Discord, I'm part of enough stress and social pressure each day. I can't imagine wanting to dedicate my nights to an extension of that. And besides…" she cleared her throat lightly, "…stallions rarely approach me with romantic favors. I think I might be too intimidating unfortunately." She shrugged and smiled normally again. "But at least I've got my friends, and that's all I really need."
"Hmph," Discord rolled his eyes to the side and held his nose high in the air, "Well, if those stallions are going to let a few little orderly things like reputation and social rank stand in the way of asking you to spend some personal time with them, then frankly you're too good for them, Celestia. You'd deserve someone who could move past all of that pomp to just be close to you."
Celestia's smile warmed considerably (and her blush persisted). "Hmm…well then, maybe I should take the situation by the reigns and just ask one of them over myself for a simple activity. Like playing a board game or something. What do you think?"
"Hey!" Discord pouted, pausing in mid checker jump. "But that's our special friendship thing. That would be like Fluttershy going off and having Tuesday tea with somepony else besides me."
Celestia laughed softly. "All right, Discord—board games are just for us then." She winked.
Discord smirked. "Well, why don't we say game nights in general are just for us? I mean, we don't necessarily have to play board games…"
"What else did you have in mind?" Celestia raised an eyebrow.
The master of chaos's grin picked up on one side. "You're the one who's got dating on the brain—how about spin the bottle?" He snapped, making a glass bottle appear spinning in the air between them.
Celestia blinked and then rolled her eyes and used her magic to shove the mouth of the bottle over his mouth. "Discord…"
A muffled chuckle escaped Discord and he snapped away the bottle. "Truth or dare then? I can either find out who you might have a crush on or dare you to go do something fun in the guards' barracks." He laughed more.
Celestia just sighed and brought a hoof to her temple, shaking her head with a smile. "Discord why don't we stick with a game that's either at a simple maturity level or an adult maturity level? I think a teenage maturity level isn't going to do much to improve our friendship."
Discord wound his beard around his fingers in thought and then shrugged. "Fair enough. Then let's go with the adult maturity level." He flew in the air until he was arching down toward her, and looked down at her with a smirk and an eyebrow raised. "Did you ever play poker, Celestia?"
"Poker?" Celestia blinked and grinned. "Discord, really…"
"Come on." He grinned back at her and shrugged. "It's such a fun adult game of chance, there's no end until we decide to end so we could be at it til dawn if we felt like it, and besides I think you owe me a little for letting me win the kiddie games." He flew around her and landed back on the floor in his former position on the other side of the checkerboard. "What do you say, Celestia? Unless of course you don't know how to play…or you're just afraid suffering a humiliating loss at hands, princess." He smirked, and his eyes narrowed playfully.
Celestia couldn't help smirking a little back at him…then she shrugged casually. "Poker…. That's the one with the pairs and the flushes and the straights or something, right?" She used her magic to make the checkerboard disappear and a card deck appear floating between them in its place. "Oh I think I can remember how it goes, Discord. Why don't you deal, and I'll just feel my way through the situation…?"
Discord eyed her curiously but then finally nodded. "Fair enough." He used his magic to make the cards deal themselves. "Deuces wild all right by you, Celestia?" He snapped, and a two card shot out from the bottom of the deck with Discord's likeness on it that winked.
Celestia smiled. "That means they can be anything, right, Discord?"
Discord nodded and snapped the deuce away as the deck finished dealing to them. "The chaos of total possibility. You've got it, Celestia." He winked, then began to rearrange the cards in his hand.
Celestia looked her hand over as well.
Discord discarded two and took fresh cards. He glanced to Celestia. "Do you need any help going over what beats what?"
Celestia smiled and shook her head as she adjusted her hand, discarded one, and took up a fresh card. "No, I'm fine about that, I think. And I'm ready, Discord."
"Very well." Discord held out his hand. "A straight." He grinned proudly.
"Oh dear…" Celestia looked at her cards (the smile never leaving her face). "…And all I have is four of a kind." She turned her hand around. "It's all your fault for making deuces wild, Discord, otherwise I just would have had two pairs." Indeed, part of Celestia's hand was two deuces and two queens." She smirked just a little. "And incidentally Discord, you have a slight tell when your hand is passable but not great—sort of a carryover I can notice from when we would battle in the past and you'd have a pretty good plan for beating me but not a one hundred percent foolproof one. I can't say what the tell is of course since that would ruin things, but just know it's there." She winked.
Discord blinked. Then he raised and eyebrow and smirked. "Princess Celestia, are you trying to hustle me?"
"Oh, Discord." The sun princess scoffed and rolled her eyes to the side 'innocently'. "This is just a little game between friends. But if the stakes were higher, then…yes, I guess that would be the word—hustle." She smirked at him a little. "Princesses can be good at poker too, Discord. Especially when they go through supervising over a thousand years worth of stallion troops who have all played the game in the castle as a pastime."
Discord just chuckled and shook his head at her. "Ah, so the kid gloves really are off now? Very well, then, Tia, as long as we're taking our fun a little more seriously tonight, why don't we make this a truly serious game?"
"How so?" Celestia raised an eyebrow again.
Discord smirked. "Betting."
Celestia smiled and chuckled softly. "And what would we wager, Discord? You can snap up anything and any amount of money you want, and I have access to an almost unlimited stipend of bits from the treasury."
"Oh, money—money's boring." He waved her off. "I was thinking of something a lot more interesting. We'll sort of combine this game with truth or dare, and wager challenges. For example, if you lose you have to, oh, I don't know…go out and pick up a stallion at a cider mill." His laughter grew.
Celestia blushed a little but kept her poise. "Discord, let's keep the requests reasonable if we're seriously intending to go through with them. Unless you just want to make them for fun, in which case we can make them outrageous if you'd like."
"How is you going out and meeting a guy an outrageous request?" Discord raised an eyebrow. "Sheesh, Celestia, you've had millennia of potential experience, and you're pretty enough that ponies must flock to you when you give them a chance."
Celestia's blush persisted but she cleared her throat and answered him calmly and confidently as usual. "It's outrageous because it's asking me to do something that it's really not in my nature to do. I'd never be comfortable enough to have a casual encounter like that."
Discord grinned. "But if you're such a poker expert, then certainly you'll win the next hand so it won't matter anyway what the bet is, hmm?"
Celestia had to consider this reply deeply. But then finally she sighed and nodded. "Okay, Discord…if I win, I'll try going to a cider mill one of these nights to make some friends…some stallion friends." She blushed a little again. "But I'd like Luna to come with me if she's free."
"I can agree to that." Discord nodded. "And since you're being such a good sport about this, I'll let you pick what'll happen to me if I lose, and whatever it is, I'll go along with it."
Celestia's eyes lit up. "Hmm…" she reflected on their evening so far, and her smile grew. "Very well. If you lose…" she paused, and then an idea came to her that almost made her giggle in its absurdity, "If you lose, then if neither one of us has found a permanent special somepony in another thousand years, we'll get married."
"Married?!" Discord practically sounded panicked. Half of his cards flew up in the air, though he quickly caught them. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no!" He flew backward. "You keep that word away from me—no woman ties down the master of chaos, not in a thousand years, not ever!"
Celestia just smiled brightly as usual. "But if you're so confident in your poker abilities, Discord, then certainly you'll win the next hand so it won't matter anyway what the bet is, right?"
Discord blinked, then his look went dry. He raised an eyebrow. "You're being cheeky with me, aren't you?"
"Just proposing the terms of a friendly wager, Discord." Celestia's smile grew and her eyes narrowed.
There was a small silent stalemate.
Then Discord grinned, shrugged, and resumed his place on the floor before her. "Very well, Celestia." He snapped his fingers, gathering all the cards together again and raising the deck in the air. "But first tell me, why marriage and why with you?" He raised an eyebrow, his smile faltering just slightly.
Celestia shrugged. "Well, I couldn't promise someone else to you, Discord—I'd have no right to do that, so that's why I chose myself. And as for why 'marriage' in particular, well, if you're going to bet me to do something very out of character, I figure I have a right to bet you to do the same." She smiled more. "Discord married and settled down—sounds about as opposite to your chaotic nature as possible, don't you think?"
Discord eyed her in wonder for a moment and then his merry grin returned. "Sometimes you're too clever for your own good, Celestia. Fine, then," he nodded, "It's a bet. Let's play." He used his magic to separate the deck for shuffling the cards. "But no more wild cards—just some down and dirty poker."
Celestia nodded. "But why don't we each shuffle half the deck, Discord—to be fair?"
Discord scoffed. "Celestia, don't you trust me?" He brought his paw to his chest and grinned 'innocently.'
Celestia just smiled more as she used her magic to take half of the deck and start shuffling it in the air. "I trust that you might want to get back at me for letting you win the board games sometimes. And I trust that you'd love to see me actually awkwardly stumble my way through a cider mill some night trying to make small talk with a stallion."
Discord chuckled and started shuffling his half of the deck (using the tuft of his tail). "Meanwhile, your other alternative is a thousand years of freedom followed by chaos kicking back in your castle for eternity. Oh this is going to be fun, Celestia—we should have thought of using card games and gambling to settle our differences ages ago."
Celestia just shook her head with a smile. "Ready to combine the decks, Discord?"
Discord nodded and brought his half of the deck forward with his tail. "Absolutely."
Discord and Celestia slid the decks into each other, and then Celestia started dealing.
"You know," Discord grinned more as he collected the cards for his hand and eyed them closely, "if you really do win, I have half a mind to actually hold you to a wedding in a thousand years just to watch you squirm…and as a final foolproof means of getting Chaosville on everyone's map. Even if I don't win a vote for full independence for my little dimension, uniting it with Equestria through matrimony would pretty much have the same effect. We can even make it the nation's new capital."
Celestia lowered the deck and her smile warmed. "You really see us being friends and close for that long, Discord? A thousand years and more?"
Discord blinked and shrugged. "Well…well, yes…I suppose I do, come to think of it." He smiled at her and chuckled. "And like you could ever get rid of me now that you've got me so used to you and my friends and this perfect little castle. Besides, someone has to make sure you do something at night besides just go to bed early like a good little princess pony." He rolled his eyes.
Celestia laughed softly and then turned her attention downward to eye her own hand of cards with a slight smirk. "If you actually win, maybe I should sum up my courage and get a steady special somepony just for the sake of showing him off to you and proving that I can get a companion for nights besides you, Discord."
"Oh, but you know no one would ever beat out my winning personality, Celestia." Discord chuckled, rearranging some cards.
"You just keep telling yourself that, Discord." Celestia rearranged a card or two of her own as she tried not to laugh.
Discord smirked. "You're very interesting to talk to when you get tired enough and comfortable enough with someone. Nighttime Celestia seems to be the fun Celestia. Maybe you should have been put in charge of the moon, and Luna could have taken the sun. Or at least maybe I should have just staged chaos attacks at night in the past instead of during the day so that I could have avoided 'grim Celestia.'" He put on a serious, stony face with a perturbed scowl to mock Celestia's look of anger that he knew so well, and then grinned to himself and chuckled some more.
Celestia shook her head with a smile and finally chose a card to discard…and also noticed out of the corner of her eye the end of Discord's tail slinking around the length of his body with what looked like a secret, extra playing card in its tuft…. She made note of the situation as he discarded two cards and went to take more from the deck. "I'm never grim with friends, Discord, whether it's during the day or the night."
"A fact it's taking me a surprisingly short amount of time to get used to, Princess." Discord smiled, his eyes narrowed playfully at her over the top of his card hand.
Celestia narrowed her eyes over her hand as well. "I like our banter much more when it's friendly, Discord, don't you?" She noticed his tail, so quickly, so stealthily, move a single card into his hand and slip another one out. She kept her eyes on his so that his eyes would stay on hers.
Discord nodded. "Oh it's much more amusing and much less overly dramatic, yes. Besides, this is good practice for me. After all, if I actually do lose this hand, then the only way out of being bound to you and your orderly ways for eternity is if I find some female as a full time companion before the next thousand years passes. Talking with you gets me used to talking to girls again, and going out and striking up a conversation with one is my best bet to avoid becoming known throughout history as 'Discord, Celestia's Husband' instead of 'Discord, Master of Chaos'…provided, again, that I do indeed lose this hand."
Their eyes still locked, Celestia used her magic to make the extra card Discord had given himself silently exchange places with the card still hidden in the tuft of Discord's tail. "Well, I'm glad to help you with your socializing, Discord. And I'm sure talking with a nice gentleman friend like you will be helpful for my own late night socializing…provided of course that I'm the one who loses this hand."
Discord chuckled, his eyes narrowing all the more. "Well, I guess we'll see. And incidentally, I think it's time to 'pony up', Celestia. Let's lay all the cards on the table…"
"Agreed Discord." Celestia nodded.
And then both immortal beings showed their hands.
"A royal flush!" Discord announced proudly, his grin large and his eyes closed as he held his head high.
"Hmm…why don't you look again, Discord?" Celestia supplied, trying not to laugh.
Discord blinked and looked down at his hand. And then his eyes went wide and his jaw fell. "Jack, Ten, Queen, King…Three? But where's the…"
"The ace you had up your tail?" Celestia smirked. "Gone. Really, Discord, if you're going to cheat, please be a little less obvious about it." She laughed. "And by the way," she raised her cards to show him her hand, "I have a straight. I win." She smiled brightly. "Want to play again?"
Discord just lie there blinking several times. "I…but…that's not…oh, you…I…uh…"
Celestia laughed softly and took up the deck with her magic to shuffle it. "I'll take that as a yes, Discord. If it'll make you feel any better though, we can just bet cupcakes or something for the rest of the night." She started to deal.
Discord just blinked again and then raised an eyebrow, and his grin picked up on one side. "You really are a hustler, Celestia. And I refuse to count that last hand as valid in that case." He blushed a little and looked at his new hand of cards.
Celestia just smiled to herself as she took up her own hand as well. "I'm afraid you don't have that option, Discord. I didn't cheat, I just stopped you from cheating—the game was still quite valid. I'm just a little better at it than you are, it seems."
Discord pouted (and blushed a little more). "Fine, then we're playing best two out of three. No cheating or cheekiness, just skill."
"No, thank you, Discord." Celestia laughed softly again, rearranging some of her cards. "I think that's enough betting dares for one night. You lost and I won. I don't have to go courting for a stallion friend, and you do have to marry me in a thousand years."
"You are not seriously in any way going to hold me to that bet, Celestia." The chaos master gave her a dry look and raised an eyebrow.
Celestia just smiled more to herself as she discarded a couple cards and took up a couple more. "That's 'Mrs. Discord' to you, master of chaos."
Discord let out a dramatic sigh and rolled his eyes with a smile. "You are not nearly as funny as you think you are, just so you know." He discarded one card and took a new one, glanced at his hand and over at Celestia, then snapped to make a couple cupcakes appear. "By the way, I bet two cupcakes."
Celestia glanced at her hand and then over to him, raised an eyebrow in interest, and then used her magic to make four cupcakes appear. "I'll see your two and raise you two more." She grinned again. "I'm thinking we'll live here but use your chaos cottage as a weekend house. Of course I'll have to head over there and do some redecorating." She tapped a hoof to her chin and her smile grew. "I think some nice matching sets of curtains, a few perfectly square throw pillows, and an orderly little garden out front would be just lovely. What do you think?"
"I think Chaosville will consider such interference as an act of war, 'Mrs. Discord.'" Discord grinned right back at her and snapped again. "I'll see your four cupcakes and raise you another one." He added five more cupcakes to the slowly growing pile between them.
Celestia giggled. "Then of course if you're going to be part of Equestria, we'll have to discuss your new taxes. The forms should only take you two, three days tops to fill out. We have a lovely bureaucratic system here."
"Well, now you're just fighting dirty. Tyrant." Discord smirked and shook his head.
"And then of course," Celestia went on, trying very hard not to laugh, "There'll be the wedding. It'll be such a well-organized affair—flawless down to the last detail. The most orderly celebration Equestria will ever know. Oh!" Celestia gasped as a cupcake was moved within a hair's breadth of her mouth.
Discord grinned. "Oh how droll, Celestia. Now enough witty jokes and just eat a cupcake and let's get on with this game, huh?" He shrugged. "Since you're such a hustler, even if I lose my shirt maybe I'll at least learn a few things."
Celestia took a bite of the cupcake and nodded as she used her magic to lower the remainder to the floor. "That's the spirit, Discord. Losing with grace is never really a loss you know." She winked.
"Well, at least you're finally loosening up about the whole 'me losing to you in contests and games being awkward' thing." Discord chuckled. "And besides, there's still stuff I'm better at than you. I've got talents, you've got talents, the girls have talents—everyone's got talents. About time we all stopped trying to see who's the best and just enjoyed being different and special, or something warm and fuzzy like that." He shrugged.
Celestia smiled very warmly at him.
Discord raised an eyebrow. "Celestia?"
Celestia's eyes hazed a little, and her smile spread more. "You are becoming an excellent friend, Discord."
Discord blinked but then rolled his eyes. "And you are getting marginally better at accepting chaos, Celestia." He was about to look over his cards once more, but then paused and considered. He glanced to Celestia again. "Celestia? Can I ask you something? It's just…something that I've been wondering about for a while."
Celestia looked up from observing her cards. She raised an eyebrow and nodded. "Of course, Discord. Whatever it is, I'll help if I can."
Discord sighed and his eyebrow rose even higher. "How did you know I could be reformed in the first place? And how did you know that no matter what happened with me trying to stop Tirek, Twilight would save the day?"
Celestia's smile fell. She was quiet for a moment. Then she looked into his eyes. "I didn't know you could be reformed Discord. And I didn't know Twilight would save the day no matter how you handled Tirek."
Discord's eyes went wide. "But then how in the world could you—"
Celestia sighed and cleared her throat, politely interrupting him. "I hoped we could be friends, Discord. That's why I let you out to see if you could be reformed—not because I knew for a fact it would work." She frowned. "And I trusted you would be powerful enough to handle Tirek…but I knew there was a risk…and I did my best even if I didn't know how things would turn out." She took a breath. "I can't control everything, Discord. Sometimes I just have to trust in my friends."
Discord continued to look into her eyes, still seeming so confused and overwhelmed. "That almost sounds chaotic…but not in the fun way." He was pensive for a moment. Then he let out a breath. "Thanks for, uh…you know…risking so much…on me. I mean, you didn't have to do that, but you did it, so…thanks. You're a good friend, Celestia." His eyes went down toward his cards and stayed there.
Celestia smiled softly. "You're a good friend too, Discord. Oh, and I'll see your one cupcake and raise you two more." She made the extra three cupcakes appear.
Discord managed a smirk again and looked to her once more. "I'll see your two more and raise you five!" He snapped and made the cupcakes appear, his enthusiasm for the betting growing. "Oh, and on a side note, considering the wonderful progress these nights have let us make in our friendship at this point, I officially promise no wrath no matter what personal crisis I might be going through the next time I'm invited to your Gala—just fun comedy. It's the least I could do as your new good friend who you trust in so much."
Celestia grinned. "Thank you, Discord. Oh, and I'll see your five cupcakes and raise you ten." She smiled brightly and made the extra cupcakes all appear, seeming a little caught up as well.
The amount of cupcakes on the floor between them was starting to become ridiculous.
Discord grinned. "Okay, I'm calling it. Moment of truth, Celestia…"
Celestia nodded. "Yes…the moment of truth I suppose."
They both hesitated…then cringed a little…and then looked at each other with wide eyes and eyebrows raised.
"You've got nothing, do you, Celestia?" Discord almost had to smile.
Celestia's smile grew uncontrollably. "I was just going to ask you the same thing, Discord."
The two of them eyed each other and then finally showed their hands. And indeed, neither of them had anything to speak of—they had clearly both been bluffing and just enjoying the betting and each other's conversation so much that they had forgotten to focus on winning and had instead just bet a ridiculous supply of cupcakes all while caught up in the heat of the moment and assuming the other person would finally fold.
The two of them lowered their hands and shook their heads.
"Lying, Celestia, really?" Discord smirked. "Applejack would be so disappointed."
"Just bluffing, Discord—all part of the game." Celestia laughed softly as they both magically took up half the deck to shuffle again. "If anything I think Pinkie Pie would be disappointed in us for putting so many cupcakes on the line without being sure of winning them."
Discord nodded as he took the cards Celestia dealt him. "But on the bright side, since no one won, we get to split this cupcake hoard together while we just snap up and bet even more cupcakes." He snapped and made the cupcakes between them divide and settle on a platter by himself and a platter by Celestia.
Celestia nodded. "Sounds like an excellent way to spend the rest of our night, Discord."
"And as long as we're really making a little party out of this, and to make up for you not having to parade yourself through a cider mill, how about I snap us up a couple of drinks?" Discord's grin picked up on one side as he snapped and made a glass bottle containing a brownish, bubbly liquid appear in front of each of them.
Celestia blinked at the sight of the bottle and hesitated. "Discord, I appreciate the gesture, but I don't usually…"
Discord waved her off, taking a bite of a cupcake. "Oh, calm down, Princess, it's just root beer. Anything stronger, and I think you and I might accidentally tear a hole in the cosmos or something with our friendship shenanigans." His smile grew.
Celestia smiled more as well. "I see. Thank you then, Discord." She magically ate a hearty bite of cupcake and took a deep sip of her root beer.
Discord looked at his poker hand, finishing a swig from his own bottle, and then suddenly a distinct chuckle couldn't help escaping him.
"What is it now, Discord?" Celestia smiled and raised an eyebrow in the middle of magically raising her root beer bottle again after another sip.
"Oh, I just had a thought about our little exchange before—you know, the matrimonial one." He smirked at her. "Technically you won me in a poker game, Celestia—what a colorful story to tell the foals someday about how mommy and daddy got together, don't you think?"
The bottle dropped from Celestia's mouth and she nearly spit her soda out. Her eyes were wide and her features scarlet with blushing!
Discord noticed and broke into hearty laughter.
And finally Celestia couldn't help but smile and break into warm full laughter as well.
The two friends shared the happy moment together before letting out deep breaths and wiping tears from their eyes.
Celestia shook her head, still smiling away. "Just play the hand, Discord."
"Just getting back at you a little for all your teasing, Celestia." Discord shook his head and adjusted his cards as he munched on a cupcake and snapped a few more to bet with.
Celestia adjusted her cards and created a few more cupcakes as well to prepare for the continuation of the game.
And so the two friends played on into the night.
An hour or so later, the moon was risen high, the night was well progressed, and warm light still glowed in the windows of Celestia's chamber.
Within the room there was quite a sight—playing cards were scattered on the floor in a few loose piles, many empty cupcake wrappers lay about, several empty soda bottles rested upon the rug at the center of the floor…and amongst it all, Celestia lay on her rug peacefully asleep while across from her Discord lay sprawled out on his back amongst the mess, snoring a little as he slumbered too.
Celestia shifted slightly in her sleep, causing her ethereal hair to move just close enough to the master of chaos to tickle one of his ears a little.
Discord twitched slightly, his shut eyes cringing. "Mmm…Angel Bunny…stop trying to hog the sofa. It's mine for tonight. Go sleep with your 'momma.'" He yawned. "And if it's breakfast time, have dear Fluttershy make us pancakes, hmm?" He turned, causing his head to move closer to the end of Celestia's mane (and causing the slightly ticklish sensation that flowing mane could create to increase.) There was another cringe, another snore, and then a larger snore, and suddenly Discord sat up with a slight gasp, blinking his eyes in sleepiness. "Huh…what?" He glanced around, blinked in confusion at first, but then let out a sigh and yawned. "Oh, still at Celestia's." He glanced over his shoulder. "Celestia, how long have I been—" Discord paused as he finally caught sight of the sun princess slumbering so peacefully on the floor, her lips stained with frosting and a small smile on her face.
Discord couldn't help smiling a little. "Celestia, you're a party animal, I swear." He, chuckled lightly to himself and shook his head, then glanced around at all the cupcake remains and bottles and playing cards. "My, my, we certainly did a number on this place tonight. I think the chaos is rather charming, but you are my friend, and this is your room, and we did have fun. So just this once I'll clean up after us." He snapped—the soda bottles and cupcake wrappers disappeared, the playing cards stacked themselves, and the cupcake crumbs went into the waste bin. He turned back to Celestia. "One night so that no one has to clean anything up, maybe I'll trick you into going out on the town with me to a club or something. I'll tell you it's because I want a friend with me if I'm going to try socializing more, but really it'll be to watch you awkwardly talk to boys—I mean to supportively help you make friends with a few nice potentially male ponies, 'Mrs. Discord.'" He chuckled to himself.
Discord stood up now and stretched a little. He glanced to the window (his usual exit) and back to Celestia. He then snapped once more and made a large blanket appear over her (colored in pink and green neon plaid, of course). "Don't take the blanket personally," he whispered with a grin, leaning close as she smiled more in her sleep and cuddled against the soft cloth. "It's just that if you caught cold or something, who else would I have to make my nights so interesting, hmm?" Discord chuckled lightly and then straightened up and gave her a little wave. "Goodnight, Celestia. I suppose I could think of worse mares to be 'engaged to for a thousand years'." His laughter grew. "Until our next night, Princess." And then with a snap of his fingers the master of chaos was gone.
Somewhere in Celestia's subconscious right now she was dreaming of having a truly epic magical food fight (emphasis on the sweets) with Discord in Chaosville while the two of them laughed and teased each other and tried to keep some kind of score as they moved among the abyss of odd colors and shapes.
Soon enough, Luna appeared.
Celestia, hidden behind a bunker made of giant cupcakes, caught sight of her sister and waved her over with a smile. "Luna! Is that really you, sister, or are you part of my dream?"
Luna smiled (and raised an eyebrow at the sight of desserts hurled everywhere) as she approached. "It is really I, sister. You are aware that you're dreaming then?"
Celestia nodded. "Oh of course, Luna. I'd never be able to find time for something like this during the day. And besides, I haven't visited Chaosville yet so I'm not really sure if it looks exactly like this. I'm just going off of Discord's and Fluttershy's descriptions."
Luna couldn't help smiling a little. "I see. You're enjoying dreaming about Discord then?" She glanced into the distance where Discord could be seen lounging atop a pile of cheesecakes and clearly preparing some sort of sweets-based attack.
Celestia nodded. "I always like dreaming of my friends, Luna. And I think Discord and I made great progress in our friendship tonight." Then a few distinct memories came to Celestia's mind, and she blushed just slightly.
Luna picked up on the reaction of course. She raised an eyebrow. "Yes, you seem to enjoy your nights together very much. So how exactly did this one end that made it special enough to you to dream of Discord on this scale?"
Celestia rolled her eyes to the side, smiling more. "Luna, it was really nothing. We just…I…at the end of the night…" Celestia raised an eyebrow. "Funny—I can't recall how the night ended at all actually."
"Allow me to shed some light on the subject then, sister," Luna offered. "You fell asleep together in your room a little past midnight."
Celestia raised an eyebrow at her. "Really?"
Luna nodded. "Of course. Why do you think I'm here? Between the chaos of this dream and the chaos of the dreams Discord was having himself, the nightly disturbance I felt in the area of your tower was so great that I couldn't help but be drawn to it." She glanced to the 'dream Discord' again. "He woke up and left a few minutes ago by the way…but not before cleaning up whatever mess you two had made and then covering you with a blanket." She glanced back to Celestia. "Sister, I don't know what friendship magic you've worked on him lately, but he seems infinitely more comfortable being close as friends."
"I agree, Luna." Celestia nodded. "And tonight was a turning point. I can feel it."
Luna smiled. "Really sister, what did you do tonight that was so special?"
Celestia shrugged and glanced away. "We just…finally found a way to be comfortable together. And we teased each other a little, and talked seriously too. We finally took a few risks. It was good for us."
"And there were no negative consequences to these risks?" Luna's smile grew. "Then Discord really must be growing to care for friendship as sincerely as possible."
"Yes, uh…no serious problems." Celestia smiled a little and cleared her throat. "Though, in a thousand years he may stop by the castle and mention something about marrying me. But don't worry, I'll handle the situation if it actually arises." She laughed to herself and then trotted past her sister with a bright grin. "Now if you'll excuse me, Luna, I have to reload my cake catapult before Discord sends another troop of flying pigs over here with chocolate milk bombs."
Luna looked after her with a smile and a shake of her head. "Very well, Celestia, enjoy your—wait, what?!" Luna dashed over to Celestia's side. "Discord?! Marriage?! Sister?!"
Celestia just chuckled merrily. "Just a private joke between Discord and I, Luna. Don't worry, everything's all right—you don't need to start chaperoning us or anything during our evenings together." She gave Luna a little nudge, smiling more.
Luna let out a sigh and smiled again and rolled her eyes. "Very funny, Celestia. Well, I'll be on my way then to see to other dreams. Have fun with Discord and your cake catapult." She made a door appear and waved to Celestia over her shoulder.
Celestia waved back to her. "Have a good night dreamwalking, Luna."
The princess of the night nodded and then went through the door and departed.
Celestia watched her go with a smile and then looked back to the colorful, dessert-themed chaos around her, and to Discord who was now flying nearby overhead laughing and tossing chocolate milk bombs at his leisure. He grinned down at Celestia and winked at her.
Celestia couldn't help a slight blush at the gesture, and she glanced away. "Well," she mumbled to herself, "you're not the real Discord—there's much more to him than chaos, interestingly enough. But you'll do for now until he and I can have a night together again."
And then with a smile she used her magic to make her cake catapult appear, load, fire, and land a three tier cake right onto Discord's face.
The chaotic dream continued with this kind of happy play.
Back in her room, Celestia still slept so soundly under the moon and starlight and beneath the protection of the friendly gesture of Discord's blanket. She felt truly at peace for the first time about Discord's place in their world and about her relationship with him. And she was happiest of all to think of the many interesting nights of friendship and fun that they would certainly share together from now on.
Thanks for reading! I may do a small sequel to this, but I'm not sure yet. And please review if you can ^_^
~Azure129 aka Jenna