I've lost my head, I've lost my way
Trying to find what I can't replace.
Three little words I heard you say...
~"New Love (Acoustic)", Ashleigh Ball-Hey Ocean!
Hi everyone! Here it is, the sequel to "The Most Chaotic Night Ever!" Thank you all so much for your patience, and I hope you enjoy ^_^
The Most Chaotic Date Ever!
In her bed on this moonlit night, Princess Celestia tossed and turned. Her sleep was uneasy, as it had been on and off for the last few months. And during the past week, her nocturnal restlessness had been especially troubled. She hadn't even been able to dream.
Suddenly, in a blue burst of magic, Princess Luna appeared in the room and approached her sister's bed. She frowned at the sight of the day princess's troubled rest but then smiled and closed her eyes. They opened to reveal a bright teal glow. Luna bent her head and lightly touched her horn to Celestia's.
The night princess pulled back after a couple of seconds; the glowing of her eyes ceased.
Still asleep, Celestia let out a sigh and finally became peaceful. She even gave a small smile.
Luna's smile grew. "Sleep well, sister…" she whispered softly, "…and listen to your dreams, whatever they bring. I've made it so you can speak to the wisest pony I know. Either way, I'm sure you'll feel better soon: Discord will return from his latest adventure soon. I know you've missed your dear friend these past three months while he's been away for the summer."
Luna stepped back and teleported herself away.
Celestia snuggled against her pillow. And then Celestia began to dream.
In the land of dreams, Celestia found herself resting in one of her favorite places—the small valley near the edge of the statue garden. She smiled as memories of all the picnics and talks and pranks she and Discord had shared here over the years went through her mind.
Then she heard a burst of magic and the sound of someone approaching from behind her.
The sun princess blushed lightly and smiled more. "Discord?" Celestia turned…but blinked.
There before her stood…herself?
Indeed, a second Celestia looked back at her with an all-knowing smile.
Celestia remained still for a moment then let out a breath. "I'm dreaming."
"Either that or I'm afraid Queen Chrysalis has gotten rather bold in terms of who she's willing to impersonate," Dream Celestia replied.
Celestia hesitated for a moment.
Dream Celestia sighed. "I was joking. But if it makes you feel any more certain that I'm not a changeling…sometimes you used to hide on the castle balcony that overlooks the unicorn school courtyard and secretly watch Twilight at recess; and one time you saw the kids all partner-up for a game but she ended up the only one alone. So you quickly sent a message asking her to meet you in your study, and the two of you spent the next hour playing hide and seek." Dream Celestia's smile warmed. "You've never told that to anyone, not even Luna. Chrysalis wouldn't know."
Celestia sighed and smiled warmly too. "So I am dreaming." She approached. "Funny, I've never dreamed of myself before."
"Yes, well, you can thank Luna for this," Dream Celestia explained. "She knows you haven't been sleeping well lately, so she thought some time for introspection might be helpful. Ponies often find it illuminating to confront themselves in dreams; you can't hide the truth from you, after all."
Celestia paused and swallowed. "I don't know what you mean."
Dream Celestia went on with ease. "You thought I was Discord. And you were hoping I had come to laugh and tease you…and then to pounce you to the ground in play…but then, as usual in this dream of yours, your eyes catch as he lingers over you, he playfully asks if you want him to stop, and you just blush and smile. Then he leans in for a kiss, but before your lips part, you wake up. Sound familiar?"
Celestia was blushing now, but she shrugged. "Discord and I have been friends for years. And I've been looking for a romantic companion on and off for years. And I've used Discord in my dreams to stand in for a special somepony for years. It's nothing special."
"He's been gone three months—the entire summer—on adventures, and you've missed him a little more each day." Dream Celestia's smile warmed.
Celestia tried to smile in return. "It's hard for anypony when a friend leaves. We've grown attached, and this is the longest he's been away since his reform. Missing him isn't anything special either."
"You look forward to writing him each week like a filly looking forward to Hearthswarming." Dream Celestia raised an eyebrow.
Celestia nodded. "Of course—who doesn't look forward to keeping in touch with a good friend?"
An all-knowing smile came to Dream Celestia's lips. "But you secretly avoid reading his letters for a little while each time one comes…because you're afraid he's not just going to teasingly mention a few names of cute girls he's made friends with—he's going to tell you he met someone very special. And you don't know what you'll do if he does."
Celestia just stood there, eyes wide, her blush bright.
Dream Celestia came closer. "Just admit it to yourself, Celestia. It's okay. Discord's friendship does mean something special to you." Her horn glowed; a shimmering cloud of magic appeared and began to play scenes from their friendship over the years—Discord and Celestia romping in the hedge maze, grabbing a milkshake at Sugar Cube corner, watching the Cake Twins together, Celestia helping Discord prepare for his first day of teaching at the School for Gifted Unicorns, the two of them visiting the Crystal Empire to see Flurry Heart, Discord teaching Celestia how to ice skate in the summer, the two of them having a cake eating contest for fun and countless picnics in this very spot… "You always help your little ponies confront the truth when they're having trouble. Why not help yourself?"
Celestia used her magic to dissipate the cloud and frowned. "If you're me, you know the answer to that. I still won't pursue Discord just because I like the fact that he fell in love with me."
"And that's what we're here to get past." Dream Celestia's voice softened as her gaze warmed. "Don't you see, Celestia, in each of those memories—Discord's having a wonderful time, but so are you. You always wondered how it would feel to care for someone so deeply…and that ache you feel now for him, you know it means something."
Celestia glanced away. "Part of me wishes you were Chrysalis—villains are easy to deal with compared to this."
Dream Celestia's smile picked up a little on one side. "If you need more proof I'm not her…would Chrysalis know that sometimes when you wake up from a bad dream, you put your foreleg over a pillow and imagine someone beside you…and eventually think about Discord until you fall asleep?"
Celestia's blushing burned.
"You're afraid to fall in love with him."
"Even if…" The sun princess took a breath, her voice quiet. "I told you, I can't just…and our friendship—if we tried and didn't end up… I love Discord so much as my friend. Losing him would hurt me. I can't handle going through that kind of loss again—not after what I went through with Luna." She hung her head.
Dream Celestia frowned and nodded. "I know. You fear being left alone and losing the ones you care for more than anything else. But you also trust that Discord would respect your feelings and your confusion and keep you safe. Don't you think your friendship is strong enough now that it could bear anything, even the weight of love?" Dream Celestia's smile was so tender.
Celestia blinked a few times, looking into her eyes, her own eyes shining. "But…"
"You can say it, it's okay. I know what it is anyway." Dream Celestia didn't stop smiling.
Celestia took a breath. "Even if I didn't feel so flattered by his feelings and even if I didn't worry so much about keeping our friendship safe…Discord hasn't said a word to me about loving me in years. And he dates a lot. And the ladies really do seem to love him. I don't know if he cares for me anymore."
Dream Celestia's eyes hazed in that wise way they could. "Well, if you're not sure about that, then how could you possibly only have feelings for him because he has feelings for you?"
Celestia's eyes widened completely.
"I think my work here is done." Dream Celestia stepped back. "You probably need some time alone. I'll just…entertain myself somehow."
"Well, well, well…two Celestia's," a familiar voice suddenly observed. "I'm not sure whether to be more confused or intrigued."
With light blushes (but with Celestia's eyes still wide while Dream Celestia grinned), both mares turned to see Discord standing before them wearing a smirk.
Dream Celestia approached. "Real Celestia was just leaving to think about real Discord, I'm afraid. But if you'd like some companionship, I'm very available." She passed by him, casting a half lidded gaze over her shoulder.
Discord glanced after her with a blush. "Well, if you ladies really have settled everything…" He glanced to Celestia and gave a nod. "Have a fun time with real Discord." He winked then followed after Dream Celestia. "Where shall we go, my lady?"
"How about the Everfree Forest…under your thinking tree?" she replied with a demure glance down.
Discord gave a low chuckle. "With pleasure." He snapped his tail, and they both disappeared in a shimmer of magic.
Celestia watched them go. And then she let out a breath and closed her eyes.
In reality, Celestia woke up in her bed. The position of the moon and the faint breath of light at the edge of the horizon told her that the time for sunrise would be soon. Her thoughts were instantly too full to consider falling back asleep in the meantime though. Instead, she took one of her pillows and laid her leg over it. She snuggled close to the soft object, sighed, and took some time to think.
By the time she finished raising the sun, she was smiling.
I'm sorry for the delay in writing you back after your last letter. I've had a lot on my mind lately. A lot I'd like to talk to you about actually. I suppose that means I should have written sooner, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to say…and now I'm not quite sure how to say it. But I guess I'm starting to ramble, aren't I?"
Celestia sighed deeply as she sat alone in her throne room on the floor below a stained glass window depicting a certain draconequus. She used her magic to crumple up the scroll she'd been writing on and toss it onto a small pile of likewise crumpled scrolls on the floor.
"Stop avoiding the subject, Celestia," she whispered to herself. "Just write what you feel." She used her magic to make another scroll appear, magically raised her quill, and tried again, quietly saying aloud the words as she wrote.
I hope you're well, and I'm glad you're coming home soon. When you get here, feel free to pick me up on two hooves, dip me back and kiss me. I think I might actually enjoy that experience outside of a dream for once."
Blushing, she sighed and crumpled up this scroll as well.
"Too direct. Okay…" She considered. Another scroll appeared.
How have you been? I hope you haven't forgotten your old friend Celestia. From your letters over the summer, it sounds like you've been having a wonderful time travelling and like you've made many friends. Many nice, kind, young, pretty lady friends…not that I care…but I suppose I do…. Of course, I've dated too over the years, but I've never had as much fun with it as you seem to. Speaking of dating, I…I asked you once how you knew if you were in love. But I was wondering, how do you know when you're falling in love?"
She turned scarlet and instantly crumpled up this scroll too. "I can't talk to him about love yet. It's too much. And starting out admitting I'm jealous probably isn't the best thing either." She made another fresh scroll appear. "I just need to relax, to have fun, to say what's on my mind simply."
She considered, then smiled and wrote again.
"I'm looking forward to your return and the start of another school year with you teaching at the unicorn school. You know, I've been meaning to admit something to myself and to you for a while now: when you teach class dressed in that tweed suit and those round glasses and smoking that bubble pipe while you twirl your beard and lecture passionately on chaos, I find myself attracted to you in a way I've never been attracted to another male creature in my entire life. How do you always manage to look so cute in clothes? And are you trying to make every mare blush or just me?"
She laughed softly and shook her head as she crumpled up the scroll and made yet another appear.
I know I usually write to you about how my week went, but I have something far more important to discuss. And I'm not sure how you'll take it, but here it goes.
Do you remember our time under your thinking tree, just after our first Gala? The private moment we shared? I only wish I had taken more time with you back then to understand both of our feelings completely…because now all I want is one more chance with you under that tree. I never had a kiss that with special another suitor. But I think I'd like to have one again with you, Discord…"
She sighed, her gaze dreamy as she looked up at the stained glass window before her bearing Discord's figure. "I just hope you wouldn't mind another kiss with me too."
"Ah, you two did kiss once. I suspected as much, but it's nice to finally hear you admit the truth. So that's what was so different between you two a little after your first Gala…"
Celestia's eyes widened at the sound of her sister's voice suddenly behind her. "Luna!" She turned with a blush to see the night princess approach her with a warm gaze. The sun princess lowered her voice. "Luna, please don't ever tell anyone that, please—Discord and I promised to keep it to each other. It's been our secret for years."
"Of course, sister. Your secret is safe with me." Luna nodded. "…And so is the fact that you'd like it to happen again." Her smile grew. "Did you have some interesting dreams?"
Celestia blushed. "Yes." She smiled. "And thank you, Luna, for using them to guide me in the right direction about my feelings and Discord."
Luna nodded. "I've seen how you and Discord have grown together since his reform. And I've seen how you've missed him these last three months." The moon princess frowned. "Your sleep's been so troubled. Have you really finally made peace with the truth now?"
Celestia nodded. "Yes. I've been afraid of accepting what my heart wants…but I'm not anymore. Except for one small thing…" She blushed. "That after a trip this long, Discord really might come home with someone special on his arm…or that after all these years, he really might not be able to see me as more than a friend. I just hope I'm not too late, sister." Her eyes shined.
"I see." Luna observed the scroll still floating before her sister. "So you're planning to write him a letter?"
"I was trying, "Celestia explained, "but I can't find the right way to express how I feel. Even this one isn't quite right." She sighed and crumpled up the scroll, then tossed it on top of the others. "And even if I did find the right words to send him, there would be the whole ordeal of working myself up to read whatever response he would send back." She blushed and bit her lip in worry.
"You'll never know how he feels unless you tell him the truth and let him respond though." Luna's gaze warmed. "And I think you'll feel much better when you go through that process, no matter what happens. But if you're having trouble writing your feelings…you could always try saying them to him instead. You are a very eloquent speaker, sister."
"You mean talk to him in person…?" Celestia swallowed.
Luna nodded. "Yes. Just tell the truth right in front of him and let him respond right in front of you. At least then everything will be done quickly. And then you can go on from there."
Celestia's blushing glowed. She hesitated but then glanced around at the few dozen crumpled up scrolls on the floor around her all bearing failed attempts at letters to Discord. "Yes…" she finally replied, "maybe the best thing would be to tell him directly. There's just one problem with that plan."
"What?" Luna raised an eyebrow.
"I'm very nervous." A small sheepish smile came to Celestia's features.
Luna's smile warmed. "Beautiful ladies usually are before they propose feelings to handsome gentleponies."
Celestia smiled warmly now. "Luna, if I tell him but he doesn't feel the same…will you be here to spend a couple of days eating cake with me while I wallow in some self pity before getting back to my life?"
Luna nodded. "That's what sisters are for. But if things do work out, I'll be happy to take over some of your duties here if you and Discord would like to pursue some private time together." She chuckled.
Celestia looked down, her blush rosy. "Trying to date these last couple of years—it's been nice, but part of me always felt silly or like I was trying too hard. But when I think about being with Discord, I feel…like I do when the sun rises. Like I'm looking forward to everything and like I've found what's right for me. He's been such a good friend. He makes me happy." Her gaze wen to the stained glass window again and her brow furrowed. "Luna, how could it have taken me this long to realize? I—"
"Sister, don't worrying yourself about that," Luna interrupted in a gentle tone as she put a hoof on her sister's shoulder. "You came to your feelings in your own time and at your own pace. You're very sensitive, and your relationships matter to you very much. I'm not surprised you needed to feel close to Discord in every way as a friend before your heart finally opened up to the idea of having more together. The important thing now is you're willing to accept your new feelings and share them with the one you care for. Everything will turn out okay, Celestia. Believe in yourself."
Celestia smiled and turned her gaze back to Luna. She put a foreleg over her sister for a tender hug. Luna nuzzled against her mane to return the embrace.
They separated, smiling at each other.
Celestia sighed. "Well, at least now I know what I have to do. Discord said he wouldn't return until just before the new term started, and that isn't for another week. So I'll have a few days to gather my thoughts and think of what I want to say before he—"
Suddenly fanfare sounded from outside of the throne room.
A moment passed, and then a guard popped in his head. "Your highnesses, announcing the return of Discord. He's just arrived in the courtyard of the unicorn school." He smiled, gave the princesses a nod, then popped back out.
Luna smiled brightly and looked back to her sister.
Celestia just stood there with wide eyes. As soon as her gaze met Luna's she shook her head. "No, no, no, no, no…." She backed up a few steps. "I-I can't go to him right now! I was supposed to have another week! He should not be here yet!"
Luna grinned. "Yes, not keeping to a set schedule—who does he think he is, the lord of chaos or something?"
Celestia blinked then pouted. "Luna, I'm serious. I am not talking to him right now."
"Oh yes you are." Luna got right behind her sister and started nudging her forward. "And before you even think of it, don't attempt a teleportation spell on me. I've already got the counterspell in mind."
Celestia took several deep breaths in and out as she slowly found herself moving toward the looming throne room door. "But…But I haven't had any time to process how I feel!"
"You've had years subconsciously!" Luna smiled. "You'll do fine."
Celestia swallowed. "But I can't just spring this on him right when he's back from his summer vacation. What if he's tired?"
Luna shrugged. "Actually, now is the perfect time. He's not busy with unicorn school activities, he's probably dying to see you after so much time apart, and he's practically in our backyard." She grinned a little. "And if he is indeed tired, well, perhaps that's your opening line—you can suggest that the two of your find a nice place to lie down and rest together."
"Luna! That's not funny." Celestia turned scarlet and almost smiled but looked down as she continued to be pushed along. "But speaking of what we'd do after I tell him…well, what if we go on a date but have nothing to talk about?"
"Oh please, tis the weakest excuse of all." Luna rolled her eyes. "You two always have something to talk about. You gab each other's ears off till all hours of the night during some of the shorter school vacations. And even if you can't think of anything to say, Discord does love to make conversation."
Celestia had to look down in defeat at that point and couldn't help a small smile. "True…"
They were at the throne room door now. But Celestia put out a hoof at the door frame to pause Luna's nudging for a moment. "Luna…" her voice was very soft, her eyes down, "What if…what if I go out there and he really does have a girlfriend with him? Someone special he met in his travels, someone he wants to spend a lot of time with? What if I've been replaced forever and it's staring me right in the face when I go out there?"
Luna moved alongside her sister and spoke softly. "Then I meant what I said, sister—I'll be here for you to express your sorrows. And then you'll have a week to feel better before returning to your work with the unicorn school. And one day you'll find the special somepony you're looking for."
Celestia gave a single nod then raised her eyes up and glanced back at her sister. "Luna, I'll go to him. It might be a complete disaster, but…I'll try." She swallowed. "Wish me luck."
Luna's gaze warmed. "Good luck, Celestia. I'll keep order here while you're gone."
Celestia took a deep breath, her head held high, and stood tall. Then she passed out of the throne room to head to the courtyard and find Discord.
Luna watched her go. Then she teleported to her tower, went to her telescope, and looked secretly down into the school courtyard where her sister and the chaos lord would meet.
"I don't think I've been this nervous since my Coronation day. Well, maybe I was this nervous during Luna's return or Twilight's coronation. But 'nervous' might not even be the right word." Celestia released a shallow breath as she strolled along the garden path leading to the unicorn school courtyard. Every step she took felt like there was a spring in her hoof she was trying to keep down to prevent herself from bouncing across the green, the feathers of her wings seemed extra fluffed and pointed, and her hair even felt like it was waving at a faster rate. "Giddy," she suddenly said. "That's the right word. I haven't felt this giddy since my coronation day." She smiled. And though her mind tried to prepare for the worst…her heart longed to imagine the best and what it would bring.
She finally came to the edge of the unicorn school courtyard, full of young students playing in the open fields and enjoying the last week of their summer break together. Her gaze darted around in search of—
There he was, reclining in a colorful levitating hammock (clearly of his own making) and wearing sunglasses while a whole flock of little pony (and some non-pony) students crowded around him, laughing and talking.
"Professor Discord, did you fight any bad guys while you were gone?"
"Professor Discord, did you make any new friends?"
"Professor Discord, did you bring us back anything?"
Discord chuckled. "Now, now, one at a time. I didn't fight any villains, though I did help adjust the attitudes of a few creatures who were acting a little selfish. I made lots of new friends who just might come visit and be guest speakers in our classes. And as for bringing back anything for all of you…Ah, yes, I remember now!" He grinned and snapped: several big piñatas appeared in the air, shaped like a cupcakes and hayburgers and other fun goodies. "Some candy from every new land I visited!" He snapped again—large candy canes appeared before each young student. "Now bust them open and enjoy!"
"HOORAY!" the students cried as they instantly started hitting the piñatas to rain down delicious treats for all of them to share.
"And I'll give extra credit to anyone who manages to make this situation even more chaotic than it already is!" Discord added with a chuckle as he reclined back in his hammock.
So there he was, basking in Celestia's warm sunlight as he made her little students happy: he was home and safe and without another girl at his side. He was a dear friend, he was back home again, and suddenly the sun princess was enjoying the summer more than she had over the entire last three months.
Celestia lost her composure for a moment.
"Discord!" She called out as she bounded forward across the courtyard with a big grin.
The chaos master's eyes went wide to extend over his sunglasses, and just as the sun princess reached him, he snapped to shift his hammock to the side and snap her up one floating right next to him. Celestia collapsed into it, then raised her head and laughed.
Discord beamed at her and snapped away his sunglasses. "Celestia!"
Before he could get in another word, all the little ponies looked up from their candy-eating fun to wave and grin and give various hellos to the princess.
She smiled and waved back. "Hello, everyone! Enjoy your candy. And when you're done, you can head to the castle for some ice cold cider."
More cheers followed.
As the ponies went back to having fun, Celestia looked to Discord. "You came back early."
He nodded. "I decided I wanted to spend at least a little bit of this summer with my dearest friends. Besides, summer's the best time for ice skating in my opinion." He snapped, and suddenly he and Celestia were in skates and colorful outfits standing upon on a frozen area of ice in the middle of the warm courtyard. "I just know you haven't been practicing since I've been away."
Celestia laughed. "Shouldn't you go see Fluttershy first?"
Discord shrugged. "Already taken care of. She was my first stop actually. I got back in the middle of the night, and as usual she was up to feed the owls. We had a fun sleepover, I told her about my vacation minus any scary parts, and I left her tucked into bed with a plate of fresh cotton candy muffins and some chocolate milk for breakfast and a note saying I'd be by for our regular Tuesday tea this week. And then of course I had to come see my charming little students of chaos. I really don't know how they've survived without me for so long. Thankfully I've taught them well." He gestured out to the students. "Look, Sugar Beam is using her magic to make the candy giant-sized so that one gumdrop could last a week, and Feather Swirl is using his griffon beak to fly right into the piñatas and make them explode in one shot, and Curly Cue is using his earth pony strength to dive on three piñatas at a time and explode them all at once. Isn't it delightful!" He clapped his hands together with a big grin.
Celestia smiled more. "It's lovely—Oh!"
The day really was warm, and already Discord's ice had started to melt: Celestia slipped forward.
"Whoa there!" Discord snapped the ice, skates, and outfits away with his tail and caught her in his arms. "Tia, I know you want to entertain the students too, but prate falls are not to be tried by the inexperienced."
Celestia knew that normally she would have nodded, straightened herself up, and maybe said something teasing back to him. Instead she found herself not moving, her wide eyes looking up into his and her face warm as his hands kept holding her just beneath her wings.
Discord raised an eyebrow. "Celestia? Are you okay?" He furrowed his brow and touched the tuft of his tail to her forehead. "You feel warm."
That comment finally snapped the sun princess out of her daze. She let out a deep breath and got herself standing again and out of his grasp. "I'm fine, Discord. Really. It's just been a long morning…and night."
He still eyed at her. "Wait a minute…I know what's going on here."
Celestia's racing heart dropped into her stomach.
Discord snapped: a mug of hot, steaming liquid appeared in the air. "You overworked yourself while I was gone. And now you think you're going to pretend you're all right and just dive into the hard work of the school year next week." He floated the mug closer to her. "This is Green Tea—I made a side trip to Japone. Drink all of it, and then I want you to go straight to bed. I'll take care your duties for the rest of the week. Or I'll make Twilight do it and bug her the whole time. Whichever has the most potential for hilarious results."
Celestia smiled softly. "Discord, I appreciate your concern, but I promise I'm not sick. And either way, I couldn't ask you to do so much for me."
His look remained firm. "It's no trouble, and stop trying to sugar coat how you're feeling for me. If anything you'd think you'd be proud of something as chaotic as having a cold in the summer."
Celestia smiled more as she sipped some of the tea. "I'm really okay, Discord. But I'd like to talk to you about something if you have some time."
His eyes widened, and his voice lowered. "A new villain?"
She shook her head. "Nothing like that, I promise." She glanced at the playing children then back to Discord, her eyes down. "But I'd still like us to have some privacy. Would you come with me?"
He nodded. Then he turned to the children, put on his usual carefree smile, and called out, "All right, kids, I'm afraid I have to leave you for now. But you enjoy your candy and use that sugar rush to get excited for class next week!"
"Aw, do you really have to go, Professor Discord?" a pink pegasus with brown hair (and a face covered in colorful sugar and chocolate) asked. Her friends beside her nodded.
Discord nodded. "Yes, Paisley Skies. But don't worry, you'll all get your fill of me once class starts up again. For now, though, I have to go discuss boring grown-up stuff with our esteemed princess Celestia. You know how lost she would be without me." He winked.
All the little students chuckled and giggled.
"Very funny as usual, Discord." Celestia let out a sigh and did her best to keep her blushing under control. She powered up her horn and spoke to the students once more. "Remember, all of you, just head to the castle when you're done with your candy and tell the guards I said you could all have cider in the dining room."
All the little ponies nodded and thanked them both as Celestia teleported herself and Discord away.
The two friends appeared in the little valley of the statue garden of the castle.
Celestia shook her head, still smiling. "Discord, why do you encourage the students so much when it comes to teasing us about our friendship? There must be rumors all over the school about us…."
Discord shrugged. "Because one of the best things about school, I think, must be gossiping about the teachers. And because those kids get such a kick out of thinking that you and I sneak off for secret rendezvouses like the rest of their teenage friends. If they want to read too much into our friendship, I say let them have their adolescent fun."
Celestia laughed softly as her face warmed slightly again. "I suppose we do spend a lot of time together in front of them and a lot of time together away from them that they hear about."
Discord's smile fell again. "Celestia, you look flushed again. I'm serious, are you okay?" He snapped; the tea reappeared. "And drink your tea."
"I promise you, I'm fine." Celestia rolled her eyes to the side but did sip the tea.
"Sure." He raised an eyebrow skeptically, then snapped them sitting down on it in the grass (and created a blanket to put around Celestia's shoulders). "Whatever you say." He gave her a small smile.
Celestia set down the mug and let the blanket drop down her back, smiling as well. "Anyway, Discord…" she took a deep breath, "h-how was your trip?"
"How was my trip?" He raised an eyebrow and cocked his head to one side. "Good. Very entertaining. Made lots of great memories."
Celestia nodded. "And did you make any special new friends?"
His eyes narrowed. "Just the ones I told you about in my letters. Some might visit sometime like I was telling the students."
"I see." She took another deep breath. "And now you're back to stay around for a while?"
"Yes." He leaned closer to her, twirling his beard. "Especially since I'm curious how long you'll keep up asking me questions that have nothing to do with whatever it is you really want to ask me about?"
Between the sudden accusation and always-enticing twirling of his beard (and the fact that he was close enough now for her to notice that three month of traveling and raucous adventures had left his unique fur rather ruffled and rugged-looking), Celestia's heart pounded. "I…sorry." She tried to put on her normal composed smile again. "Discord, you know how sometimes two friends can have a difference of opinion, but maybe later their opinions change or they even agree on the original subject…"
"Is this about my assignment last term for my students to shove pies in the face of any math or science teacher who mentioned pi?" he asked dryly. "I already promised you I'd only assign that one as extra credit in the future and give the other teachers plenty of warning." He grinned a little.
"No, no." Celestia cleared her throat and tried again. "Discord, you know how feelings can grow and change overtime? And how even a wise pony can overlook certain things? Well…"
"Oh, now, really, Celestia, are you that concerned that the friendships I made around the world over the summer won't last just because I'll be absent from my new buddies for a while? I assure you, I keep pretty regular correspondence with most people I know. And besides, if there's one thing you and the girls have taught me over all these years it's that feelings of friendship never fade." He winked.
Celestia nodded. "Yes, that's true, but it's not quite what I'm trying to say." She considered. "Discord, suppose you and I…"
"Ah, you want to run off on one of our little friendship adventures together before the school year starts. That's it, isn't it! I should have known." He held up his fingers to snap, grinning. "Why didn't you say so? I'm up for doing anything anytime anywhere! But no cold climates—I still don't entirely trust that you're not feeling under the weather." His eyes brightened. "Ooo, why don't we pop over to Japony? We can get you plenty of green tea there, the weather's warm this time of year, and I can show you this great tea house I discovered with these cute geisha hostesses." He chuckled. "There was a very nice one in particular named Lotus Blossom…"
"No!" Celestia blushed and pouted but regained herself in time to touch her hoof to his paw in the air, preventing his snap. "Discord…I'm not saying this right. I…" she sighed, looking down a little, but then she smiled softly and looked up at him again. "Discord…remember what you said before about the students liking to gossip about you and I?"
He lowered his paw and raised an eyebrow again but smiled once more. "Yes, of course. It was said only minutes ago after all."
She nodded, settling her hoof back on the ground. "Well, it reminds me of something that might help me say what I have to say. One of our favorite traditions as friends: the Annual Unicorn School Prom."
The chaos master grinned. "You mean the best social function of the school year now that chaos is involved and now that you attend as a dancing, laughing, punch-and-cake-consuming guest instead of as a stuffy chaperone ever since I convinced you to try it out with me?" He chuckled.
The sun princess laughed softly. "Yes, that School Prom. And as for me attending as a guest now, having you as my escort each year certainly does help me have fun going."
"I wouldn't have things any other way," he assured. "Plus, going together to that prom makes up for the occasional Gala where you and I don't go together because we have real dates line up for that night."
"Yes." Celestia swallowed. "The School Prom is a nice, steady tradition you and I share. And it's probably why all of the students like to giggle and gossip about us being a little more than friends. After all, that night must look like a date for us even if it's not one."
"Just like our first Gala, remember?" His gaze softened as he smiled more. "Only the Prom is a lot less pressure and has hipper music and better junk food. And you're much more prone to cutting a rug at that shindig. All of which makes it that much more hilarious to the students that you and I start and end the night so formally each year."
Celestia moved a little closer to him. "Yes. You come pick me up from the castle, we take my chariot to the school, we enter the dance floor arm in arm with a royal announcement and everything. Then we cut loose and have our fun with the kids. But then you escort me back to my chariot and take me home to the castle, and I kiss you on the cheek goodnight."
Discord shrugged and snapped up a glass of chocolate milk for himself that he held in his tail. "It's not the worst way to spend a Saturday night." He sipped then held up his fingers again. "Want one?"
"Maybe after I'm done with my tea." Celestia took a deep sip followed by another deep breath. "Anyway, about our annual night at the School Prom…while you were away, I've been thinking…and I think there's an improvement that we could make on the tradition.
Discord raised an eyebrow and smiled more. "You mean like maybe this year I let the kids do the palace pokey like usual but don't give them fair warning that it's coming?" He chuckled. "I love how they chant my name each year when that ballroom starts to spin."
"I know you do. And that's I thought." Celestia laughed softly too and blushed. "But I was talking about a change to our personal tradition of attending."
Discord sighed, still grinning at her. "All right, clearly whatever it is you're trying to get at, I'll have to let you get there in your own sweet time. But you still look a little warm, so as long as you're drinking your tea, I'm happy."
Celestia's eyes were down, but her smile and blushing only grew. She shifted a little closer, made her voice a little lighter. "Discord…what I mean is, instead of a kiss on the cheek, the end of our night together could go something like this…" She leaned her head up slightly, saw him still looking both amused and a little puzzled, decided it was probably the most adorable look he could pull off…and then she closed her eyes and lightly pressed her lips to his.
The moment both did and didn't feel like the last time they had kissed so long ago. Celestia couldn't describe the difference to herself exactly. But she also wasn't in much of a state to try since she was trembling inside from nerves. She would pull back now and open her eyes and finally know where the two of them could go from here: if his eyes held that look of adoration from so long ago, then a new chapter in their relationship could begin, but if his eyes held the hesitation and regret hers must have during their first gala when he had confessed, then it would be time for her to move on. But at least she would have some kind of answer one way or another.
Celestia pulled back and opened her eyes.
Discord just sat there frozen, his eyes wide, his mouth a little agape. He didn't make a sound.
Celestia paled slightly and tilted her head. "Discord, are you all right?"
He blinked once or twice but still didn't speak.
She bit her lip. "I…" She stood, her voice strong. "Discord, you and I have become wonderful friends and I've grown very fond of you. I, um…I can't say I ever grew so fond of a male friend actually. And you really did go away for quite a while this trip, and the way I missed you was something I didn't expect." She looked up at him, her head held high, her features absolutely red. "Discord, you've been on my mind very much lately. And now that you're home…yes, I would like to spend some time together, but not just on a friendly adventure. I like you and I think I'd like to go out on a date with you, Discord." She frowned a little. "But if you're not interested in something like that with me anymore, just say the word, and please know I'll always be happy to be your friend."
There was a dead silence. Discord still wasn't doing or saying anything.
Celestia blinked a few times, then frowned more and lowered her head, her eyes closed.
Celestia's eyes opened. Her head slowly rose at the sound of that one word from Discord. "Discord?" She swallowed. "You mean you'll…you'll go out with me?"
He remained absolutely motionless, still with that shocked look on his face. Then… "Yes!" he squawked in a panicked tone. And suddenly he disappeared in a puff of pink magical smoke.
Celestia coughed as she cleared the smoke away with her wing. For a moment she just watched the place where Discord had been, her own shocked and confused look on her face.
Suddenly in another puff of smoke, Discord reappeared exactly where he had been, the shocked look still on his features. "When, um…when should we go out? And where?"
"Oh." Celestia blinked and blushed more. "H-How about tonight? We could have dinner here at the castle, around 7 maybe—"
"Great! Bye!" he quickly squawked again in that panicked tone, then snapped himself away once more.
Celestia watched the spot with wide eyes for a moment. Finally she flushed with an uneasy swallow and teleported away.
The chaos master appeared in the first place that came to his mind—the living room of his chaos cottage. His eyes were still wide, red pupils dilated. Hesitantly his paw rose up and touched his lips.
Instantly he blushed, dropped his paw, then took the glass of chocolate milk still held in the tuft of his tail and splashed it on his face. He glanced around, touched his lips again, then paced around the room—though, for him, 'around the room' meant he started walking forward on the living room floor, then walked up one wall, walked upside down across the ceiling, walked down the opposite wall, and then walked across the floor again.
Suddenly he stopped and snapped his fingers.
Luna and Fluttershy now stood in his living room, eyes darting around in surprise. They quickly saw each other then recognized their surroundings and looked to Discord.
The chaos master stood before them, tapping his fingers together. "This is an emergency. I need to run something by you two." The urgent tension in his tone was clear.
Fluttershy recognized his flustered state and nodded. "Of course, Discord. Is something wrong?"
Luna eyed him then smiled a little. "Indeed, is something on your mind, Discord?" She raised an eyebrow. "And…why are you covered in chocolate milk?"
"There's no time to explain!" he squawked. Then he cleared his throat and snapped himself clean. "I mean, it's not important. I just…" He took a deep breath. "Fluttershy, Luna…am I a reasonably sane person?"
Luna gave him a dry look.
Fluttershy glanced to the side. "Well, um…"
He shook his head. "Okay, okay, bad question. Um…" he tapped his fingers together, "do I have delusions of grandeur?"
Fluttershy at least tried to smile supportively. "Oh, well…you…um…."
Discord shook his head again. "Okay, okay, even worse question. Um…" he took a deep breath and lowered his hands, "have I at least made a general peace with the reality around me?"
Luna smiled. "That I'll grant you, Discord."
Fluttershy nodded, smiling too. "Oh yes, Discord, I think you've done a great job finding your place in the world and accepting reality instead of trying to change it."
"Okay, okay…" He swallowed. "Then, um…then there's a chance it wasn't just my imagination thatCelestia …Celestia she, um…"
"That she what?" Fluttershy tilted her head.
Discord blushed then snapped—a soundproof magic bubble appeared around Luna. The moon princess blinked then pouted and tapped her hoof against the surface.
Discord quickly glanced around then leaned in and whispered something to Fluttershy.
When he pulled back, she was beaming. "Discord, really?"
"Unless I've completely disconnected from reality, then…yes." He managed a sheepish smile, looking down.
"And what did you say to her?" Fluttershy smiled more, her eyes hazed all-knowingly.
Discord gulped. "I…I think I set up a dinner date for us tonight. It was all a little sudden. Anything else I might need to say I thought would be better saved until then." He wrung his paw and claw together. "When I let Luna out, please don't tell her how I'm sure you must know I feel about all of this: after all, you're the only one I've ever talked to completely about Celestia ever since that first gala. I don't want to risk Luna accidentally saying anything to Tia before I can do it myself."
Suddenly, the magical bubble rolled between Fluttershy and Discord. Luna glared up at the chaos master from within.
Discord snapped her free. "Sorry, Luna. I needed a brief top secret best friends moment."
Luna sighed but nodded. "I understand. And just to reassure you, no, you are not imagining things. Celestia and you really did sneak off for a conversation just now: I saw you both from my tower. What exactly you two said to one another, though, I'm not sure. But I have my suspicions at this point." She started to smile again.
Discord swallowed but got his blushing under control and made his tone and gaze neutral. "Celestia strongly expressed a desire to progress our friendship."
Luna beamed. "So she really told you of her new feelings? Huzzah!"
"Yes, she—" Discord blinked. "Wait, you knew?! How long has this been going on? And who else knows?" He blushed more.
Luna chuckled. "Yes, I knew, Discord. Sisters talk. And as for how long it's been going on, you'll have to ask Celestia that. But don't worry, no one else knows at the moment—except probably Cadance for obvious reasons."
Discord sighed and face palmed.
Luna's eyes brightened even more. "Anyway, cease trying to change the subject. She expressed her feelings to you. So what exactly did you express back to her?"
Discord straightened up and crossed his arms, his tone neutral again. "A willingness to have dinner alone with her tonight in your castle."
"…And what exactly are you planning to say to her at this dinner?" Luna's gaze warmed.
Discord glanced away with a pout. "I'd rather not discuss it at the moment. Besides, I'm not the only one who should have a lot to say at this dinner." He eyed Luna. "Luna, how exactly does she feel for me? Is this just a sudden romantic curiosity or…" He blushed more and cleared his throat as he finished, "I want to know the extent of what I'm dealing with here."
"I'm afraid I can't discuss it further at the moment," Luna simply replied. "Just as you wish to express the details of your feelings on this matter to my sister in private, I'm sure she wants to do the same about her feelings to you."
Discord pouted a little but then nodded. "Fine." He took a deep breath and gave Luna a slight bow of his head. "Luna, thank you for letting me drag you here against your will and for what you've told me. But now I need some time alone with Fluttershy. I'll be by for dinner with Celestia in the dining room at seven. Please make sure the staff gives us privacy. Okay?"
Luna gave a slight bow of her head in return. "Absolutely, Discord. And in the meantime, I'll tend to Celestia…as soon as I manage to find her." She brought a hoof to her chin. "Since your talk ended, I haven't seen her around the castle." She shrugged. "I'm sure she just needed a moment to herself. Perhaps I'll try to catch up on my sleep so that I can be prepared for the big talk I'm sure we'll need to have after tonight. Farwell for now, Discord and Fluttershy." She gave them both a wave and powered up her horn, but then paused to give Discord a warm gaze. "And Discord…I can tell you're very tense. But try to enjoy yourself with Celestia tonight."
"Sure, sure." He did his best to put on a smile and gave her a little wave. "Bye, Luna."
"Bye, Princess Luna." Fluttershy waved. "Say hi to Princess Celestia for me."
Luna nodded then teleported away.
Just as Fluttershy went to turn back to Discord, there was a burst of magic and she blinked. "Oh!" Suddenly she and Discord were sitting on either end of his sofa, colorful blankets around each of their shoulders, and pints of ice cream with spoons in their hooves and hands respectively.
"I thought this would be more appropriate for a long talk than our usual hot chocolate considering the warm weather," Discord explained with a sheepish shrug.
She looked up and smiled, then raised up a spoon of the ice cream. "Start from the beginning, Discord."
He nodded then raised his spoon for a bite too. "Okay. But this could take a while." He smiled a little. "Thanks, Fluttershy. I'm sorry to spring something I need help with this big on you so suddenly."
Her gaze warmed. "That's what best friends are for, Discord."
His gaze warmed a little too. Then he took a deep breath and glanced to the side with a slight pout as he started in on his ice cream. "I should have known something was up when we first saw each other and Tia kept turning red around me. I just thought she had a cold from overworking herself while I was gone. How was I supposed to know she was actually…blushing?" He blushed thoroughly but shook his head. "But let me begin from the beginning, like you said. So first I got to the castle…" Discord snapped up toppings for them and took another large bite of his ice cream then went on.
Fluttershy nodded in understanding and continued to listen attentively to the chaos master.
Celestia's first instinct after her confession was similar to Discord's. Just as the chaos master had sought out a familiar place and the advice of a friend, the sun princess sought out the same.
In a burst of magic, Celestia found herself teleported to the court of the Crystal Empire's palace. Usually such a long teleportation was a stretch even for her magic, but her heart was still pounding from her encounter with Discord and the adrenaline gave her all the extra power she needed.
"Celestia!" Cadance, Flurry Heart in hoof, was talking to some guards but smiled brightly and turned to her aunt at Celestia's appearance. "It's so nice to see you!"
The sun princess managed one of her usual composed smiles. "It's nice to see you too, Cadance."
Celestia came over and the two mares shared a quick hug.
Flurry Heart gurgled and smiled as she reached toward Celestia.
Celestia laughed softly. "And it's nice to see you too, Flurry Heart."
"Is everything all right?" Cadance raised an eyebrow. "Do you need my help with something?"
Celestia cleared her throat, glancing down. "Well, um…yes. And I'm afraid it's a matter of some delicacy."
Cadance frowned then used her magic to cover Flurry's ears as she whispered, "A new villain?"
Celestia actually smiled a little and shook her head. "No. Um…it's…" She moved close and whispered into Cadance's ear.
When she pulled back, Cadance's eyes went wide. Then the love princess smiled brightly and gasped. Instantly she turned around. "Guards, you're dismissed for the moment." As they bowed, Cadance teleported herself, Celestia, and Flurry Heart away.
Celestia blinked then realized they were now in another wing of the castle and in front of the young wizard Sunburst.
"Princesses!" He smiled then bowed and rose up. "How are you today? Wow, I didn't know you were due for a visit, Princess Celestia."
Cadance stepped forward. "We have a small situation to attend to. Would you mind watching Flurry Heart for a little while?"
"Of course!" Sunburst grinned as he used his magic to bring the giggling baby onto his back.
Celestia smiled. "Thank you, Sunburst. It was nice to see you again."
"Nice to see you as well, Princess Celestia." He bowed his head as Flurry blew her aunt a raspberry goodbye.
Celestia waved then blinked as Cadance suddenly teleported them away again without warning.
Now they were in the castle courtyard and standing before Shining Armor as he observed the exercises of some troops.
He raised an eyebrow and smiled at the sight of them. "Celestia? Cadance? Is everything okay?"
Cadance nodded. "Very okay, Shining. But Celestia and I need to talk for a little while. Would you mind taking over things inside the castle until we're done? Sunburst is already watching Flurry Heart."
Shining Armor nodded. "Of course. Take all the time you need. And it's nice to see you, Celestia. I hope you can stay for a bit."
Celestia smiled. "Thank you, and I wish I could, but I have dinner plans tonight." She blushed as Cadance looked at her with an all-knowing grin. Then Cadance turned back to her husband. "We'll see you later, Shining Armor."
He nodded and waved. "Have fun, you two!"
Again, just as Celestia was waving goodbye, Cadance suddenly teleported them away.
Now she found herself and Cadance in the love princess's bedroom.
Cadance used her magic to lock the door and turned around with a big grin. "Tell. Me. Everything."
Celestia blushed and glanced to the side. "There really isn't much to tell…"
"Except for the fact that you've finally fallen in love with Discord and waited until you told him before you told me!" The love princess beamed and giggled.
Celestia smiled and rolled her eyes. "I didn't fall in love with him. I just…had some time away from him and finally took a long hard look at our friendship and my feelings, and I realized…I might like to have more with him. And maybe he still feels the same way about me." She took a deep breath. "So I told him and kissed him and now we'll have dinner alone together tonight and…talk more about what's next, I guess."
"You kissed him? Auntie Celestia!" Cadance came closer. "Was it different now than in the past now that you know you have feelings for him?"
Celestia blinked and blushed more, an eyebrow raised.
"I always knew you two must have kissed once," Cadance replied. "I could never be sure of when it happened, but eventually I could feel the change in your relationship." Her gaze warmed. "I'm glad you took that piece of my advice to you, by the way. It was the most important one."
"Yes, well, um…" Celestia cleared her throat, her features warm, "it was good advice, and we took it cautiously, and it did help us. But what's going on now has been a little sudden." She shrugged sheepishly. "I didn't realize he'd be back today, and I just wanted him to know, and I couldn't think of another way to do it. Kissing him left no room for misunderstanding. Kissing him…" She closed her eyes, and brought a hoof to her temple. "I kissed him…I actually…I can't believe I did something so impulsive." She smiled a little and shook her head to herself.
"What did he do after you kissed him?"
Celestia opened her eyes but swallowed. Her smile faded a little. "Well, that's the thing…. I thought he would either be very happy because he felt the same way or very sad because he didn't. But he just kind of sat there in shock." She looked down. "I'm actually not sure if this dinner is about starting a relationship or letting me down gently about ever having one."
"I see." Cadance approached her aunt, her voice tender. "Well, Celestia, on the slim chance he doesn't want to try a relationship, I think you'll know what to do. After all, you handled turning down his confession very delicately in the past. And you've handled turning down other suitors too since then and having some of them turn you down. And I'm here if you need any advice or to talk afterwards. I always am."
Celestia nodded. "Yes. I don't think I would have gotten through the last few years of trying to date so unscathed without you."
Cadance smiled more. "But…on the very good chance Discord does want to pursue a relationship but just feels as nervous and unsure as you do…I say we discuss where you want to go with it." She giggled. "After all, I've never seen you so worked up about a guy before. And I know you don't give kisses lightly. And I know you wouldn't be so bold unless your feelings were very, very strong."
Celestia nodded, her features flushing more. "I think things with Discord could progress very quickly since he and I already have such a strong friendship…and especially if his feelings are still strong and if mine grow as quickly as I think they will."
"Hmm…" Cadance brought a hoof to her chin in thought, "well, as long as you still have that letter after Discord's confession with the basics of my advice about the two of you, that's a good starting place for any questions you have. But if you want some more advanced romantic advice, I'm your mare. We can start with alluring fragrances," she lowered her hoof and used her horn to make a crystal bottle of red perfume appear, "romantic fantasies," she made romantic novel appear with two ponies passionately embracing on the cover, "…fashion advice to attract that special someone…" she used her magic to make a few white and pink sheer lace outfits appear on the bed and winked.
Blushing thoroughly, Celestia gave her a dry look. "Why don't we start with something much more realistic—like helping me process the fact that I confessed a romantic attraction to someone who's practically my best friend." She let out a breath and collapsed on Cadance's bed with a smile. Her eyes fell to the lace outfits and she glanced away and added in a mumble, "And really, Mi Amore Cadenza, one step at a time. I'm not quite as young as I used to be."
"It doesn't matter her age, any mare can have passionate romantic interests." Cadance smiled too and collapsed on the bed alongside her. "But we can start with your confession." She used her horn to make the other things disappear and to create a platter cupcakes set between them. "Cupcake?"
Celestia nodded and took one. "You really are a mare wise beyond your years."
Cadance giggled softly and took one as well. "So, you haven't answered my question yet…how did kissing him feel?"
Celestia was quiet for a moment, her gaze warm. "It…felt special. Like going home." She let out a deep sigh. "Does that sound as ridiculous as I think it does?"
"It sounds beautiful, Auntie Celestia." Cadance wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. "Tell me everything."
Celestia nodded and began, Cadance listening intently.
That evening, seven o'clock chimed at the Canterlot castle.
The dining room was empty. The long table at its center held only two place settings—aligned directly across from each other—which were complete with covered silver trays of food, full cider glasses, and a set of flickering candles.
In a puff of smoke, Discord suddenly appeared, Fluttershy at his side.
The chaos master wore a polka dot bowtie, his mane was brushed back, and in his hand he held a white rose on a long stem. He let out a deep breath. "I think I'm much better now after our little talk. Thank you, Fluttershy. And thank you for traveling here with me."
Fluttershy smiled. "You're very welcome, Discord. But please promise me you'll keep trying to relax. You know things always work out better when you do. And I still think the bowtie's too formal considering how well you and Princess Celestia know each other."
"I-I know. But it's helping me keep myself together a little." Discord tugged at the bowtie, causing his body to nearly collapse into pieces on the floor. But then he came right together again when he let the bowtie snap back into place. "Tonight's going to involve a lot of talking and emotions, and you know how I shy away from all of that complicated mush."
"I know." Fluttershy nodded. "But I also know you'll do whatever you can to help Princess Celestia and yourself feel more comfortable even if things are a little difficult at first. You're a good friend like that, Discord." She touched her hoof to his arm.
Discord finally smiled a little as he looked down at her. "Never as good a friend as you though, my dear Fluttershy."
"Oh Discord." Fluttershy lowered her hoof and blushed with a big smile.
There were hoof steps now outside of the main dining room door on the other side of the room.
Fluttershy took a step back. "I'd better go," she whispered. "Good luck, Discord!" With a wave, she turned and trotted back to the door behind them.
Discord nodded and waved. "Bye…" he whispered back. Just as she left, the main door opened. He turned around.
There stood Celestia, a small smile on her lips; the piece of hair over her eye was set in a braid woven with crystals. She blinked at the sudden sight of him, and her face went blank for a moment. "Oh…hello, Discord. How are you?"
Discord swallowed. "Hello, Celestia. I'm fine. How're you?" He approached the table from his side.
She approached it from her side. "I'm fine too, thank you. But a little hungry. Shall we start dinner?"
Discord snapped—her chair pulled itself out. He gestured for her to sit. "Ladies first." A faint blush entered his cheeks.
Celestia noticed but quickly lowered her eyes and blushed faintly too. "And gentleponies second." She used her magic to pull out his chair now as she took her seat.
For just a moment the familiar amused smile he always shared with her flickered on his features. But then he blinked a few times and sat down stiffly, his eyes wide. "Um, I made this for you." He snapped to make a vase appear around the white rose, then set it on the table between the candles.
"I see." Celestia couldn't help closely examining the flower to try and read his emotions. She sighed, unable to see much in a plain white flower. "Thank you."
He nodded. "You're welcome."
They both used their magic to lift the covers off the trays. There was a small spread of delicacies for both dinner and dessert.
The sun princess and chaos master briefly made eye contact and shared an unsure smile before serving themselves. Each of them absentmindedly built a moderate plate made of a little bit of everything.
But when it came to eating, they just kept magically playing with their food, eyes down. And a dining room could be staggeringly silent when it only held two people and those two people weren't saying a word to each other…the awkwardness of which was not lost on either of the two slightly cringing friends.
Through the crack in the door, Fluttershy had watched Discord make his way to the table and greet Celestia. She knew it wasn't polite to spy on others, but she hadn't been able to help lingering a few extra moments just to make sure her friend really was okay.
"Hm!" A faint squeak escaped Fluttershy before a large blue hoof come over her mouth to silence her. She looked up with wide eyes to see Princess Luna smiling down at her.
"Shh…" Luna said softly as she emerged from the shadows of the vestibule, "we do not want to disturb them." When Fluttershy nodded, Luna released her hold and glanced through the crack in the door as well. "They've both actually showed up. That's a good start. You have my appreciation for taking care of preparing Discord. It took me quite an effort to prepare Celestia this evening—and that was after Cadance had already taken care of most of the work."
"Of course, I'm glad I could help them," Fluttershy whispered in return. "They're our friends. I just want them to be happy and to have whatever they want together." She swallowed and took a step back. "But I think we should give them privacy now."
Luna frowned slightly, still looking through the crack. "I understand, Fluttershy, and you may go. But I wish to linger just a little longer. Celestia has been…unusually stressed the last few weeks. I want to make sure she is truly okay."
"The last few weeks?" Fluttershy stepped forward again, her head tilted. "Wow. Tonight really must mean a lot to her too then."
Luna's smile picked up on one side. "Does that mean this dinner definitely means a lot to Discord as well? I was wondering… After all he wasn't exactly clear with my sister or me about just what is feelings are to her now regarding romance."
Fluttershy blushed slightly. "I'm sorry, Princess Luna. I can't tell you; you and Princess Celestia will just have to hear it from him." Her gaze took on more tenderness. "But maybe you're right and we should both stay for a few minutes, just to really, really make sure they're okay…" She approached and looked through the crack in the door again.
Luna nodded. "Fair enough… And yes, just for now let us watch over our friends who have always so faithfully watched over us."
The two gazed at the still-silent couple for a moment. Then there was a small sound behind them.
The two mares looked at each other.
"Did you hear something?" whispered Fluttershy.
Luna raised an eyebrow. "Yes, I believe so."
They glanced behind them.
Then both mares' eyes went wide.
Meanwhile, back in the dining room, silence continued to reign as the hesitant couple shifted food back and forth over their plates and took light breaths without words forming. Discord cleared his throat, Celestia let out a light sigh.
Then they both took deep breaths and suddenly spoke.
They froze, blushed, and looked down at their plates again. Another moment of silence passed, then they looked up at the same time once more.
"I just wanted to say…" "I thought we should talk about…"
Instantly more blushing and more silence followed.
Just as they both looked up and went to speak again, Discord reached across the table with his paw and placed it over Celestia's mouth. "Ladies first." He cleared his throat and tried to smile. "I insist." He took his hand away.
Celestia blinked then nodded and cleared her own throat. "Thank you. So, um…Discord…you had a nice journey home? I don't think I asked you this afternoon." She blushed slightly.
The chaos master tilted his head then frowned a little. "Oh, um…yes. I, uh…took the scenic route. You know, usual shenanigans. Made pink clouds and chocolate rain…" He shifted in his seat. "You, uh…have a nice summer? Good sunrises and sunsets?" He blushed. "I mean, of course they were good—I saw them all when I was away. Can't really escape the sun. Not that I was staring at them or anything, it's just…you know…the sun…" He gripped the table a little with his claw.
"I-I understand." The sun princess tried to smile as she shrugged. "My summer was nice. Usual activities. I missed you at the Sunset Festival this year." She blushed more. "I mean, we missed you! I mean…you were missed. No one sets off fireworks in the middle of the ceremony quite like you do…" She looked directly down into her plate. "You know, chaotically…but good chaos…but your own."
"Uh, thanks." Discord swallowed. "So…the meal's lovely."
Celestia nodded. "Yes, the cooks prepared some of their best dishes."
Rambling. There was safety in rambling.
"Luna looks well."
"All the children look happy to see you."
"Canterlot's nice this time of year."
"The rest of the world must be nice too."
"Your niece sent me pictures of Flurry Heart—she's so big."
"Yes, she's quite the young princess. I just saw her this afternoon when I went to visit Cadance."
…Except rambling could lead to accidental slip-ups: like admitting to the object of your affections that you'd gone to see the pony high-priestess of love to psych yourself up for your date.
They froze up again, blushing entirely.
Then Discord dropped his elbows to the table and sighed deeply. "Tia, what are we doing?"
Celestia finally sighed deeply too and brought a hoof to her forehead. "I have no idea."
"Hmm, I'll tell you what we're doing. We're acting like silly children—and not in the normal fun way we have." He smiled faintly.
"Yes, that sounds about right." She lowered her hoof, and though she didn't smile yet the tension left her tone. "I'm sorry, Discord. I think I may have done a pretty poor job of accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish today with you."
"I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it is that you want to accomplish with me." Eyes down, he casually played with some food on his plate.
Celestia raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
He shrugged, glancing up again with a dull look. "I mean where exactly did you want this 'date' to go, Celestia?"
She frowned a little, still blushing. "I think I was pretty clear, Discord."
"Clearly not, or we wouldn't be having as many communication problems as we are at the moment." He smirked a little.
She pouted. "You're the one who said yes to a dinner date tonight."
"Well excuse me for agreeing with you that we needed to continue our epic emotional discussion in private and after one of us had more than two minutes to process it." He rolled his eyes. "I was expecting a welcome home cake today when I came back today, not an alteration of our entire relationship on a whim!"
"A whim!" Celestia scowled, her feathers puffing up a little. "A whim? Do you have any idea how long I've…and the advice I've…and the nights I've…" She scoffed, actually smirking a little. "Discord, Master of Chaos, sometimes you are the most…infuriating creature since parasprites!"
"And you, Celestia, Princess of the Sun," he started, leaning close, scowling, "are the most demanding diva ever to grace a royal hall since Princess Platinum! And that includes Prince Blueblood! You beat out PRINCE BLUEBLOOD for demandingness!"
She leaned close too. "Why do you always have to make serious things difficult?"
"I don't make serious things difficult, I just make you have to confront the difficult parts of what's serious!" He leaned forward even more on his paw and claw. "That's what friends do! They make each other get through the hard stuff!"
She leaned forward more as well on her hooves. "And what would you know about the hard stuff?! Off playing all summer, mentioning the name of every girl you so much as glanced at, leaving me here lonely and bored and without anypony special and convinced you were going to show up here again married or something!"
He blinked. Then his eyes narrowed and his voice lowered. "What would I know about the hard stuff when it comes to all of this? Think about that question very carefully, Princess Celestia."
She blinked then her eyes widened and she frowned. "Discord, I'm sorry, of course I know that you…but I…" She blushed again, her eyes going down. "This is very difficult for me…"
"Yes, if only you had a friend who knew you well enough to know that sometimes you need to be egged on a bit before you'll admit the truth to yourself about things that bother you. Otherwise you'll fill every moment with stuffy silence or polite phrases or fretting over other people's problems instead of your own." Discord's look went dry.
"Oh… I… " Celestia looked up again, frowning more. "But…I already told you that my feelings for you are different now…and that I want something different between us—something more than friendship. So why push so hard, Discord? What else do you want me to say?"
His tone became firm again. "I'm pushing so hard because all you did was admit that you finally can't pretend that how good we are as friends doesn't make you think we'd be good as something more. You're barely half way there with what you're 'trying to accomplish'! And all I want you to say is the clear, simple, truth! Be bold, Tia! Show me what you've got! Tell me just how deep this goes for you and then demand to know how deep this goes for me! Get to it already! Say it, Celestia! Don't just ask me on a date—tell me exactly how you feel! Confess!" His eyes glowed with passion.
She took a breath, looking right into those eyes with her own eyes full of passion as well. "I like you, Discord! I care for you! Crazy, confusing, chaotic you! I kept looking for something, but it's you! I kept feeling things I couldn't understand until I realized they were all about you! You mean so much to me. I've never cared about anyone the way I care about you! I missed you. And I need to know, did you miss me too?" His words from his return; she said them without even thinking. And then, her eyes shining now, she finished, "Do you still love me, Discord? Because I think my heart's broken without yours."
They were so close. He looked at her with wide eyes. "Tia…"
Discord's tail snuck up from behind him, grabbed a piece of cake from the table, and smooshed it right into her face.
Celestia blinked in confusion, face covered in vanilla frosting and bits of chocolate crumb.
The chaos master smiled. "I thought you could use some cake. Oh and also this…"
Then Discord closed his eyes and kissed her on her cake-covered mouth.
Celestia felt him about to pull back; she quickly closed her eyes, reached up a hoof and kept him pulled in. He stayed and soon put his paw in her mane to do the same for her.
They separated after a lengthy embrace to catch their breaths. Suddenly Celestia giggled and Discord chuckled and soon they were laughing together. Then Celestia magically threw the second strike: a dish of steamed carrots right onto Discord's head! Discord threw a tray of daisy finger sandwiches at her. Instantly, the two of them began a glorious food fight together, flinging every dish on the table at one another, magically creating extra food to toss around from the ground as well as the air, and even chasing each other around the table a few times, laughing until they could barely breathe.
It took them quite a while to settle down. By then, of course, the dining room was covered in a glorious tapestry of stains. But the pair managed to find a clean area against the wall beneath a window to sit side-by-side and rest for a moment (and to wipe most of the food off of their coats).
With a final breath out, still smiling, Celestia glanced at Discord. "Discord…I take it all this means that you still feel…about me…" She blushed a little.
"Tia…" Discord smiled and blushed a little too; "first of all, if you haven't figured out the answer to that by now, I'm afraid there's no help for you at all romantically." They shared a small laugh. Discord went on. "And second of all…I'm sorry I pushed you so much." He swallowed. "I put my feelings for you behind me a while ago, but it was hard. I did it though because I care about our friendship, and for all I knew maybe I would meet someone else special to me one day. No one never felt right though…not the way you've always felt right to me." He sighed. "So I started a fight because I wanted to be sure the way you say you feel about me now is…very deep. And that the response you wanted from me was that I felt very deeply too." He blushed. "I know there are no guarantees about us working out. But I needed to know we're both trying from the same place."
"Don't apologize." Celestia's smile warmed. "Discord, that's exactly what I want—to be sure we're both looking for the same thing together. I understand why you'd be worried about our feelings for each other being out of balance. She considered then smiled more. "Discord, let me show you something."
He nodded, an eyebrow raised.
Her horn glowed; suddenly a small wooden chest appeared floating in the air. "Every flower you've ever given me, I've kept them." She opened the chest: inside were dozens of blossoms. "They're special memories to me. Each gala, each School Prom, birthday, or sad moment when you gave me one to make me happy: I cherish them all." She sighed and looked to him. "I've known since the start of our friendship that you were very special to me, Discord. It just took all the experiences we've had since then to make me realize what our relationship means to me." She blushed more. "And I've spent quite a few evenings gazing at them, trying to figure our what our experiences have meant to you."
"I see." Discord blushed now too…and smiled a little. "Then in that case, would you like to add your new flower to the chest, Darling Celestia?"
A warm pulse went through Celestia's heart at the gentle question, and especially at that phrase…Darling Celestia. She hadn't thought she'd ever hear it from him again. The sun princess nodded. "Yes, I'd like that very much." She gazed at the white rose as, with a snap of his fingers, Discord made it float over to them. "Discord, it's very beautiful but…why white?" She raised an eyebrow. "Everything you make is usually so colorful."
"Everything I make usually comes with a clear sense of what its purpose will be," he explained, making the flower pause between them. "But I didn't know what was going to happen between us today, so I went with white: a clean slate. Though I had to add at least some flair to it—it glows in the dark." He snapped, the lights went out, and the flower glowed with flashing white lights. As Celestia giggled, he snapped again to bring the lights back. His eyes hazed and his grin picked up on one side as he went on. "And besides, the flower does suit you—your coat's white, after all. You glow with freshness and light and potential, like a prism capable of reflecting all the colors of chaos." He snapped to float the flower into the chest and chuckled. "By the way, if you hording my flowers and me gushing mushy observations like that about you isn't proof that romance has been on both of our minds for a while, then I don't know what is. I just wish you had told me sooner, Tia…" his voice softened as he tilted his head slightly, "All you would have had to do is send me one note, and I would have come back from my vacation early in a literal flash to talk. You're my dear friend after all."
She nodded. "I know, Discord. I just…wasn't ready to say the words until today, to myself or to you. But I'm so happy I got to say them to you in person instead. Sending a letter today and waiting for a reply would have been torture. And besides…I spent the better part of this morning trying to write you letters, but they came out pretty terribly." Her horn glowed and suddenly dozens and dozens of crumpled up scrolls appeared on the floor around them. "Before I knew you were coming back early, I tried for hours this morning to find the right words to tell you the truth." She shrugged sheepishly.
The chaos master looked with wide eyes at the letters. "Can I read one?" he suddenly asked.
Celestia turned scarlet in surprise.
"Please?" He noticed and gave her a little humble shrug and a sheepish smile.
The sun princess sighed. "One." She swallowed. "But please don't ever share it with anyone."
"You have my word, dear lady," the chaos master replied as he snapped up a pair of reading glasses, selected a scroll, uncrumpled it, and read. A few moments later, he glanced up with a grin and a blush. "You really think my teaching outfit is that cute?"
Celestia let out a small giggle as she brought a hoof to her forehead. "Yes. Actually I do." She gazed up into his eyes and shifted closer. "And I'm happy to let you know it, Discord." She made the letters disappear. "And I'm happy you're back, Discord. I feel better now."
"I feel pretty good too, Tia." He smiled softly and touched his paw to her hoof on the floor.
When she responded by gently resting her head against his shoulder, the chaos master felt an explosion of emotion go off inside of him the likes of which he hadn't indulged in for a very long time.
Celestia let out a sigh and laughed softly. "Do you remember the time I got worked up about meeting that charming new Mexicolt ambassador? I spent all day showing him around Canterlot, trying to flirt, preparing to ask him if I could visit him soon…and then he said yes, his wife and children would love to meet me. I felt so stupid. Luckily I don't think he noticed how attracted I was to him, but still it was embarrassing. Then I told Luna and she told you, so you came over to cheer me up."
Discord nodded. "Yes. I made us churros and tried to teach you to ride a unicycle." They laughed; his fingers grazed her hoof gently. "Do you remember when Fluttershy went out on that Hearts and Hooves Day date with Bulk Biceps, and I was a nervous wreck thinking about her being a nervous wreck? So I went to the restaurant to keep an eye on them, and you joined me to keep an eye on me and make sure I didn't do anything ridiculous."
"Oh yes." Celestia nodded. "We were both disguised as other ponies, and after forty-five minutes of amusing panic and feverish despair about her suddenly being all grown up and getting married and having foals and not needing you anymore, you finally calmed down and agreed with me that there was nothing to worry about, for the date or the future or for Fluttershy in general. Then Fluttershy and Bulk Biceps left to walk home, and we stayed behind and had sparkling cider with cake and danced."
Discord laughed. "Then there was the time before I started teaching when you asked me to help you give a lecture at the Unicorn School because you were so nervous about the other teachers and the students and I all getting used to each other. The topic was early Equestrian history: you and I lasted about five minutes with the boring historical rundown, and then we ended up putting on a hilarious full-chaos reenactment of our first battle as a demonstration. As soon as I heard those kids laughing and the other teachers too, I knew I belonged there. "
She laughed too. "And let's not forget the time just last year when you wrote me to come bail you and Spike out of a misunderstanding in the dragon lands and begged me never to tell Twilight."
He snorted. "In our defense, Spike and I had a lot of fun on that trip—it wasn't entirely our fault that we got into a misunderstanding that even Lord Ember couldn't sort out for us without some extra diplomatic help." He grinned as he went on. "And once Spike and I were okay, you stuck around there with us to have some fun yourself and made quite the impression. If you were a few hundred feet taller I think the former dragon lord might actually have been interested in courting you."
"I think you're all the dragon I can handle…" She moved a little closer so that her hip brushed his dragon leg on the floor.
Discord blushed thoroughly, his eyes wide.
"…And I'd like to see more of you," Celestia added, smiling a little sheepishly, her head still nuzzled against his shoulder.
Discord blinked, opened his mouth, then tilted his head and finally found words. "Did you just…ask me out AND make a pass at me at the same time?"
The sun princess blushed but only smiled more. "I've gotten a little bolder over time with how I make advances. And talking to Cadance today only encouraged me more."
The chaos master grinned. "I think I could get used to this. And since you're the one doing the asking out again, where shall we go and when?"
Celestia considered. "Discord, I think you and I need more than just an evening's date to work out our new situation. We've been apart a few months, and this is a big change for both of us…" She shrugged. "Earlier, you suggested we take one of our friendly trips together for fun. Why don't we take one of those but have it be a romantic trip? Sort of an extended date? We do still have a few days before school opens."
"You want to run off with me for days on a date?" He tilted his head.
"I want to give us both enough time to get used to being together in a different way," she replied softly, then swallowed and added, "And I want to…better understand your feelings for me and how they didn't change."
Discord nodded. "Yes, well…now that you mention it, I might like some time to get a better idea of how exactly your feelings have been progressing and what you see for both of us in the future. And to see how this works out—us, actually dating." He swallowed
"To see how we work…" The sun princess nodded. "I understand."
The chaos master nodded too. Then he chuckled low. "And perhaps the kingdom is due for a good romantic scandal."
She rolled her eyes and laughed too.
Discord held up his fingers to snap. "So, an extended date it is then. Where would you like to go? The coast? San Franciscolt is lovely this time of year. Some place exotic? The sandstorm season isn't due in Saddle Arabia for at least another month, and they have the best falafel. Paris Prance? We could look up Cher Rouge. Horseshoe Bay? I could teach you wind surfing…." He was grinning more and more.
There was a little sparkle in Celestia's eye. "Actually I have a different idea. But I want it to be a surprise. Why don't you meet me here tomorrow night after sunset, and I'll take us both there."
"Ooo, a surprise date!" Discord clapped his paw and claw together. "It's a deal, Tia. I'm very intrigued."
She smiled more. "I really think you'll enjoy it, Discord."
He nodded…and then his smile grew. "Well, now that we've settled plans for our next date, how shall we finish this one?" He glanced out at the food-covered dining room. "This has been one of the best dates I've ever had by the way, truly and utterly and spontaneously chaotic."
Celestia laughed softly, looking to the food and then back to him. "It's been the most fun date I can recall." She sighed and shrugged as he glanced back at him. "Well, I suppose finishing dinner's out, all things considered."
"Oh, we were past attempting dinner before this date officially went off the rails." He chuckled, his voice lower as he turned a little more toward her. "Now then, help me remember. What were we doing just before the food fight started?"
She considered. "We…" his tail tuft came up to brush back her crystal braid and let both of her eyes show. "We…" She looked up into his eyes. "Oh." Her blush deepened. "We were…" The two of them shouting until they had half crawled across the table to hold each other and… "Discord…" she whispered, blushing shyly, her purple eyes wide.
"If you're up for it, we could pick up where we left off," he offered with a special grin. "Besides, every date should end with a goodnight kiss in my opinion." Before she could say more, he reached up with his paw to lightly cup her chin. His thumb grazed her lip to move away some icing. "And it might be nice to try it without the cake this time." His eyes narrowed.
"A-And without the table between us..." Celestia felt warm enough to burst. Her chest was just brushing his, and she wondered if he could feel her heart hammering…
He turned rosy, his smile and gaze warming even more. "Nothing should ever be between us, my princess…" left him in a whisper as he leaned in.
With a shallow breath, Celestia closed her eyes and tilted her head as their lips nearly met…
…When suddenly a very distinct bang, squeal, and sounds of hushing met their ears.
Celestia and Discord paused; their eyes opened again.
Discord glanced at the door with an eyebrow raised, then smiled and turned to Celestia again, whispering. "It seems we have company."
She nodded, smiling a little too despite her ruby blushing. "We should have guessed."
"Probably 'the children' checking up on us. Never a dull moment." He chuckled.
A sudden giggle escaped Celestia. "I wouldn't be surprised."
He raised her hoof. "Shall we save this moment for the next time we're alone, Darling Celestia?"
She nodded. "Yes. That would be lovely. But you still deserve a kiss goodnight, Discord." Blushing, she leaned up and kissed his cheek.
He grinned and chuckled. "As do you, my lady." Blushing, he leaned down and kissed her hoof.
They shared a smile.
And then at the sound of more stifled whispering and giggling Discord sighed. "What do you say you and I reset the table and invite them in to dinner with us, hmm?"
"Wonderful idea, Discord. " Celestia nodded as she stood up.
Discord held up his paw and raised his voice in the direction of the door. "Okay, okay—everyone who's spying, get on in here." He snapped; the dining room door disappeared, and instantly over half a dozen ponies and a baby dragon to come tumbling into the room on top of each other.
"Discord!" Luna pouted, trying to stand. "Honestly!"
"Discord, I'm really sorry!" Fluttershy gasped as she stood up. "We didn't mean to spy. Luna and I were just worried about you and Celestia, and then suddenly we turned around, well…" She glanced back at the rest of their friends.
Pinkie Pie bounced up with a grin. "I came here because my Pinkie Sense was going off like crazy—practically a doozy! And my doozies usually mean Princess Celestia, so I decided I needed to check it out a.s.a.p.!"
"Yeah," Rainbow Dash shook out her wings and flew up, "and I saw her bouncing along and asked if she wanted to go pranking, and she said no and told me about the doozy. So I decided to come along."
"Yup." Applejack stood up and put her hat back on her head. "And then I saw them heading past my house toward the train station, And when they told me about Canterlot and the princess, I told them Fluttershy was already there so maybe the doozy had something to do with her too—she asked me this morning to tend to giving her critters lunch while she was gone. So we all got on the train to Canterlot."
Rarity cleared her throat as she straightened her mane. "And then I saw them walking through the streets here—I was visiting the Canterlot Branch of the boutique, you know. And when they said they were going to the castle, of course I followed along."
Twilight stood with an awkward smile. "And then they all ran into me at the castle gate with Spike. I wanted to stop by today to go over my first guest lecture of the year for the School for Gifted Unicorns, Celestia."
Spike cleared his throat. "And I came along because I wanted to say hi to you, Discord, now that you're back." He shrugged, blushing. "Sorry about all of this."
"Yes," Luna smiled cheekily, "our apologies, and we'll all just head out now if you'd like to return to your fraternizing. Of course I don't mind adding a few nightly touches first." Her horn glowed, and suddenly the dining room lights dimmed, the curtains parted to reveal the light of sunset and the silvery moon rising high, and candles lit along the walls of the room. "I'd clean up the food as well, but somehow I think you two actually find the chaos of it a little enticing." She giggled as the girls blushed and looked on with small smiles, and Spike rolled his eyes and smacked his claw to his forehead.
Discord and Celestia blushed and shifted a little apart but smiled too.
"Very funny," the chaos master replied as he snapped the room back to its normal lighting and ambiance. "So yes, as confirmation, Celestia and I finally seem to be over the moon for each other. Tia and I have decided to count this date as sort of a practice one though. We'll be taking the full plunge into exploring a wacky relationship starting tomorrow night with a little vacation together. Don't wait up." He chuckled.
Celestia smiled more and gave him a nudge as she used her magic to clean up the two of them. "Yes, we're going to take a few days off together to discuss some long overdue personal subjects. But for now as long as you're all hear and as long as Discord and I did more fighting with our food than eating it, we thought we all might have dinner together. It would be a very nice way to welcome Discord home properly, don't you think?"
"Thanks, Celestia!" Twilight shrugged sheepishly. "And sorry again about interrupting you two."
"It'd be great to hear about your summer trip, Discord!" Spike smiled. "I want to know everything. And sorry again for letting the girls cramp your style."
"Awesome, I could totally go for some adventure stories!" Rainbow Dash nodded. "And it's about time you two got together," she added with a smirk.
"And I reckon I could go for some dinner. Thank you kindly." Applejack tipped her hat. "And congratulations on your new courtship."
"Who could turn down a formal invitation to dine with friends?" Rarity beamed. "And also, well…" her eyes brightened and she clapped her hooves together, "I'm ecstatic to be here for the blossoming of a new royal romance!"
"I'm just sorry we didn't get to be part of the food fight though, it looked super exciting!" Pinkie Pie bounced again. "And congratulations on dating, I think you two will be a super fun couple!"
As the girls and Spike all took their seats, Luna and Fluttershy approached Discord and Celestia.
Luna smiled. "A little trip together? I'm glad, I think it will do you both well. I shall be happy to attend to your duties around the castle in your absence, sister."
Celestia nodded. "Thank you, Luna." She came forward and laid a leg over her sister for a hug.
Fluttershy approached Discord, looking up at him. "And I can take care of your dust bunnies at your cottage for a few more days just like I did while you were away, Discord."
He smiled down at her. "Thank you, dear Fluttershy."
She nodded then put a foreleg around him in a hug. "Have a wonderful time on your trip, Discord."
Luna smiled as she came forward and put a foreleg over her sister in a hug as well. "And you have a wonderful time too, sister."
The four of them separated, sharing smiles.
Then Discord cleared his throat and turned to Celestia, blushing slightly. "Well, then, Tia, shall I take care of whipping up the dessert and you take care of the main course?" He held up his fingers to snap.
Celestia nodded as her horn started to glow. "I think that'll be perfect, Discord." A burst of magic left her, and suddenly the table was set with ten place settings and trays of daisy pizza with bowls of fresh apples. "I'm afraid I'm not too good at gourmet spells." She shrugged sheepishly.
"And I'm afraid I won't be much better—chaos and all," Discord added. "For dessert we'll be having my Celestia Specialty." He snapped to make a few silver trays appear with some very unusual looking cakes on them. "They're cakes but with the cake on the outside and the frosting on the inside." He leaned down close to Pinkie Pie. "The green and yellow one has jalapeno frosting. That's my Celestia Pinkie Pie Speciality." He pulled back with a chuckle.
The girls and Spike instantly squealed with excitement and gratitude (Pinkie Pie in particular) at the sight of the delicious spread. They quickly took their seats and started serving themselves.
Luna gave another warm smile to her sister and Discord then nodded and took her place at the far head of the table.
Celestia sat at the near head with Discord at the first seat to her right.
"All right then, everypony!" Discord began, snapping up some glasses of chocolate milk for everyone (as Celestia made them all glasses of cider as well). "Not only do I want to share my adventures from my summer abroad but I want to hear all of yours from you're summer around here! Let's get reacquainted ladies, because I think I've actually missed your shenanigans these last three months almost as much as I'm sure you've missed mine."
Talking and laughter filled the room as the girls started to eat and prepared to share stories.
Meanwhile, sitting beside each other, Celestia and Discord watched their friends in amusement and joined in the conversation quickly too, acting just as friendly and casual together as ever.
But, as Luna noticed when she dropped her napkin and ducked down to pick it up, beneath the table their tails were curled together rather intimately. What their extended date would bring them to beyond such actions, she could only imagine.
I've searched all night and all the day
To see if I can recreate
The love we had—
Oh what a waste.
I'm not looking for new love
You were all I needed…
I'm never going back again,
Never going back again.
~"New Love (Acoustic)" by Ashleigh Ball—Hey Ocean!
Thank you all again for reading! This story will be much shorter than MCNE (maybe 6-8 chapters) and most of the chapters will be like half this size-this one just ended up so long because there was so much ground to cover :twilightblush: The pace will be very quick though and it'll almost entirely focus on the few days Celestia and Discord will spend together on their extended date (followed by a glimpse into their future). Rated Teen for excessive kisses, snuggling, flirting, and semi-risque jokes by Cadance, Discord, Celestia, and whoever else feels like getting in a few cheeky comments lol.
I can't say when the next chapter will be up (I'm in the middle of a big project) but I'll do my best :)