No Nose Knows

by Irrespective

12. - Celestial Musings

Celestia drew in a long breath as she finished removing her regalia. The day had turned into quite the emotional trip, and after everything that had happened, she was ready for it to end. The flight back to the train had been straight and short, but exhausted as he had been, Bean carefully thanked Celestia for the flight before entering the train car.

It was just one more desirable trait that needed added to Bean’s how to woo his wife list, along with the way he tried to hide his obvious depression in order not to disturb her. Unfortunately, the signs of the war between his troubled heart and his wounded soul were far too easy for Celestia to pick out with her vast experience, no matter how he attempted to put on a stoic front.

Still, she found it difficult to contain her own sorrow as she watched her husband first sit down on a cushion with a thud, then slowly collapse like a bridge that had lost its structural supports. Even then, his green eyes remained open, darting back and forth for a few moments until the physical and emotional toil he had struggled through took its toll, and they finally sagged closed.

Her musing was disrupted by the lurch of the train as it began the long trip home. And it was going to be a long trip, particularly for her Bean, who had been through so much in the last week that it was hard to believe he had not been crushed to a pulp yet. No mortal should be forced to bear her burdens, but he had put his shoulders to the load and lifted far more off her own back than she had ever expected.

Then he had continued to lift. Dealing with Luna and Discord. Deciding to stay with her despite the opportunity to escape matrimony. And that didn’t include his dalliance with another young mare that had almost undone her before he had even realized what he was doing.

And to top it all off, he had confronted his parents, a task that had almost broken him.

Yet somehow he’d come through all of it with a fairly good attitude and with a desire to do what was right. He had been fantastic about asking for directions, and actually following them afterward, while eager to do more. It was like he thrived on being helpful and he wanted to contribute, no matter how or where.

Her heart broke all over again when his muzzle scrunched up in agony, and she nearly let out a soft gasp of compassion when he began to twitch and whimper. She had no doubt that he was being tormented by the events of the day, and this would not do.

Celestia tiptoed gently over to his uneasy resting place, then slowly lowered herself next to him until their sides were touching. She then spread one wing over him with a touch as soft as the first rays of morning light, and she smiled deeply when the tense muscles she could feel pressed against her belly began to relax, and he began to slip into peaceful slumber.

Is this what it had been like for Lulu and Star? Was this what they had felt when they first met? Celestia thought back and smiled fondly as the memories of how giddy and alive Luna had been during their courtship flooded her mind. The images were dull now sadly, yellowing and peeling in some places and the sounds were scratchy at best and incomprehensible at worst. Yet, out of all the remaining memories she held from that time, the ones with Star and Lulu were the best preserved.

After a few moments of fond reminiscing, Celestia’s thoughts wandered to her own situation and how she had gotten to this point. It was a bit astonishing, now that she really put some thought into it, that she had gone over a thousand years without a mate. Of course, a great many things had changed over the years: societal customs, trends and patterns always did. But really, as she thought about it, there were two things that had kept her single: procrastination and preoccupation. It was easy to say marriage and a husband could wait in the early years; she had grossly underestimated how long it takes to both form and stabilize a country. There was always something else to do, some crisis that took longer than expected to clear up, some foreign power that pushed on Equestria’s boundaries. After having to push away Iron Hoof, she had simply continued to push every time the opportunity came up due to the next crisis being more important. Losing Luna to the Nightmare had also been a moon-sized wrench in the works, and it had been only since her return that Celestia could find a free moment here and there.

Always another diplomat to host, always another treaty to forge, always another request to consider.

Perhaps it was destiny that had denied her over the years. Those mystic chords that bound all of ponykind to one another and from past to present shaped and directed events in strange and mysterious ways, and maybe she hadn’t found her mate on the simple fact that his introduction on the stage of life was scripted for a thousand years after her own debut.

She glanced down at Bean again. If that was the case, the wait had been worth it so far. Perhaps it was even sweeter because she had waited.

Even if this had all been just one large fluke, she really had been favored to have Bean as the one to fulfil the terms of her law. Out of the millions of stallions who lived in Equestria, she had somehow found the one who was kind, who was thoughtful, and who was…

…well, who was innocent.

She had first thought he was naïve, but his actions had shown he was trying to be observant and engaged. He was naïve in a very small way perhaps, simply because the life of a royal was a complete unknown to him, but he approached everything with amazement and a yearning to understand, and he was inclined to make the best of whatever situation he was in.

The fact he wanted to have a relationship with her proved that.

But even there, he was being respectful. He hadn’t tried to force anything in their relationship; in fact, he actually seemed to be holding back to ensure he didn’t cross a line. It was obvious from his mannerisms that he wanted her to be comfortable with how things were between them, and to not go too far and upset her. In reality, though, she was probably more comfortable with how things were than he was.

She smiled a bit to herself as she moved in and began nipping in his mane with her teeth. Star Struck had always enjoyed it when Lulu did this to him, to the point where he would freeze, his eyes would roll back in his head and his tongue would loll out. He had claimed at the time that all earth ponies enjoyed such grooming, and now she could see for herself.

The happy groan of pleasure escaping out of Bean after a minute or two settled the matter.

She smiled more and levitated his notebook out of his saddlebags. She quickly flipped to the How to Court page, and then pulled his pencil out of the bags.

Celestia stared at the writing utensil. Bean chewed on his pencils.

She allowed herself the smallest of frowns. Nopony was perfect, and that was something she’d just have to work on with him. She ignored the tooth marks and moved to write down a thought, but then she saw he had added another item for wooing her: frequent nose boops. She chuckled in agreement, then simply wrote nipping/grooming on his side.

There were so many other little things she could have written, from the way she loved to see that little wrinkle just above his nose when he made a face, to the look in his eyes when he saw something new that needed new words to describe it, but they would wait. So she returned the gnawed pencil and precious list to their places and regarded the pony responsible for them. She was content to let him progress the relationship at his pace, especially if that made him feel at ease around her. Above all else, that was what she really wanted. It was what any wife would want from her husband, she suspected.

Just as any good husband would want their wife to be at ease and happy with them.

She then let the word pass through again: wife. Wife. She liked being a wife, despite how strangely it had happened.

“I am your wife,” she whispered to Bean. “And you are my husband.”

And there was that little thrill of joy up her spine again. It was extremely pleasing to say it.

She had to admit, she had been a bit jealous when Luna had found love so easily and she had to dodge Iron Hoof. She had warned herself, both then and since, that true, meaningful love doesn’t happen in an instant. Just like the building of Equestria, it took time, effort, and patience. There had to be foundations, supports. There had to be understanding.

But a cornerstone had to be laid eventually, or else all one had was dreams. And once the cornerstone was laid, the structure needed to be built.

It would come. Bean was more in love with her than he thought, and he’d realize it sooner or later. Honestly, Celestia was confident it would be sooner. He just needed a few little nudges here and there. Celestia smiled a bit more with that thought and then she laid her head and neck down so her nose was as close as it could be to his. She hummed a few bars of her sister’s lullaby, then began singing.

“Hush now, quiet now, it’s time to lay your sleepy head.
Hush now, quiet now, it’s time to go to bed.

Hush now, quiet now, close your sleepy eyes.
Hush now, quiet now, my how time sure flies.

Drifting slowly off to sleep, the day’s excitement behind you.
Drifting slowly off to sleep, let the joy of dreamland find you.

Hush now, quiet now, lay your sleepy head.
Hush now, quiet now, it’s time to go to bed.”

A surge of delight flowed out of her chest and through her whole body as Bean smiled and snuggled into her side. Pressing her own body up against her husband in return, Celestia wrapped a wing around his shoulders, held him close, and ever-so-gently booped up against his delightful nose.

The joy of his presence was something she was learning to love more than anything she had experienced before in her long life, and to quote the Bean, she was pretty extra certain the feeling was mutual.