Finally the sunlit portion of Hearts and Hooves Day had passed away, finally only the moonlit hours of the holiday remained to be gone through, finally there were days and nights to look forward to for a while that would be nice and normal and without decorations or social pressures or confusing gestures of affection.
And finally Princess Luna was at the point in her nightly duties for this particular eve of festivity when she simply needed a break from dealing with Hearts and Hooves Day. Thus, she now found herself tiredly pushing open the door of Donut Joe’s open (but empty) donut shop not long after midnight, dragging her hooves over to sit on a stool at the counter, and then collapsing her whole face onto the countertop, her forelegs stretched out.
The princess of the night spoke, her voice very flat (and it wasn’t helping that she had her face pressed against polished marble counter, of course).
“Yeah and verily, we do loathe Hearts and Hooves Day night as much as we did when we were but a young princess. Nothing hath changed—everything hath worsened. We shall be exhausted by the time dawn finally comes to set us free.”
“Rough night, Princess Luna?”
Princess Luna sat up a little, her eyes coming to rest upon a familiar pale yellow unicorn stallion with a pink donut cutie mark and wearing his familiar white baker’s hat and shirt. She smiled at him and then sighed as she replied, “The roughest night, I am afraid, Donut Joe. I am just so glad that your family has always been willing to keep this shop open day or night, no matter what, as my sister has told me. And it is also nice that she and I may come here and be treated like normal customers instead of as princesses.” She sat up fully, stretching her head to the side. “Normally I enjoy formality much more than my sister, but frankly I want none of it at the moment. This is the most difficult of nights to be princess of the night—I just wish dawn would break so that I could go crawl into my bed and sleep.” She put a hoof to her head, resting her foreleg’s elbow on the counter.
“Hot coffee, strong, two sugars, biggest mug I have, like usual?” Donut Joe’s grin picked up on one side.
The corner of Luna’s mouth picked up in a grin as well. “I have barely stopped in here more than a few nights a month since my return a year ago, yet you do know me so well already. I shall have that and several of your finest donuts please!” She smiled brightly. But then her smile fell, and she added quite seriously, “But nothing flavored of chocolate—I am so tired of hearing about chocolate, chocolate, chocolate this Hearts and Hooves evening.”
Donut Joe nodded with a warm smile. He used his magic to fill and prepare a large mug and set the coffee before her, and then he grabbed a plate for her donuts. “I have plenty of donuts that aren’t chocolate—in fact, I’ll give you a vanilla donut with vanilla icing…but I’m afraid, for the holiday, all the donuts today are heart-shaped with heart-shaped red sprinkles. Sorry about that, Princess.” He smiled sheepishly as he magically set three such donuts upon her plate and brought the plate over to her.
“It is all right, Donut Joe.” Luna smiled as she finished a deep sip of her coffee and then looked down at the donuts eagerly. “I am just grateful to have a few minutes peace to myself to be sitting here and eating delectable sweets. As I said, I have had a very long night already, and I have a very long night ahead of me.” She ate a bite of donut with satisfaction.
Donut Joe nodded. Then he pretended to clean the counter with a rag as he asked, glancing toward Luna out of the corner of his eye, “Some big Hearts and Hooves Day nighttime plans then?”
Luna chuckled, magically dabbing at her mouth with a napkin and shaking her head. “Oh, no, no—I’m afraid I do not find much traditional enjoyment in this holiday. And I would never have time for any plans anyway even if I wanted to do something with somepony.”
Donut Joe frowned, his ears drooping a little. He raised an eyebrow curiously.
Luna shrugged and explained, magically taking another bite of donut. “You see, this is a very delicate evening for me to handle. A large part of my regular nightly duties is seeing to the emotional and subconscious needs of our subjects. But on this night many of them want and require privacy, in their actions as well as their dreams. I have to pick and choose very carefully whom I assist and how, and whom I leave alone. I have been at it for hours now, sifting through ponies’ feelings and concerns, and I shall be at it for hours more until dawn to make sure I do the job right. Such was the way of every Hearts and Hooves Day night when I was a young princess, and such is the way of it now.” She raised her coffee mug and sipped deeply. Then she lowered the mug and smiled happily. “But this small break in the middle of everything certainly helps.” She looked to Donut Joe, her smile growing. “Thank you again for always being here for me and my sister, Joe of the Donuts.”
Donut Joe tried not to chuckle. She called him that sometimes—‘Joe of the Donuts’—and he always found it funny but didn’t want to offend her by seeming like he was teasing her about her way of speaking if he laughed. “Oh, well, sure Princess, no problem.” He shrugged, busying himself for the moment with magically sweeping away some crumbs from the floor. “After all, Princess Celestia has known my family and been coming to our shop for generations—each of us grew up thinking about her sort of as an unofficial Aunt. And then you came back all of a sudden, and you’re her sister and everything. I-I definitely can’t view you like an aunt too considering how old I am now, of course, but in a way I like how I’ve gotten to know you better.” He grinned, setting aside the broom. “Heh, I think I must live in the luckiest nation in the world. We end up getting not just one but two beautiful pony goddesses to look after us.” He blushed and looked down, for the moment finding the counter very interesting.
Luna laughed warmly. “Oh Donut Joe, you do flatter my sister and I so much. I almost forget sometimes that that’s another reason we enjoy coming here so often for random late night and early morning snacks.” Luna ate some more donut and took another sip of her coffee. Then she blinked and raised an eyebrow at him. “Oh, but how rude of me—I should of course let you know that your family’s commitment to keep this shop open twenty-four hours a day does not have to extend to holidays if you really do not want it to, Donut Joe. Perhaps you would like to have some Hearts and Hooves Day plans with somebody? If you want to go out, please feel free to do so. I could even finish my repast here while you go and then lock up after you when I leave.” She smiled.
Donut Joe smiled at her in return but waved her off, heading over to the coffee pot and putting his magical aura around it. “Aw, that’s nice of you, Princess Luna. But, eh, I don’t have any plans…” He came over and freshened up her drink a little. “You don’t meet too many ladies when you spend all of your time trying to run a donut shop. Just customers, but a lot of them are married or coming here on dates or just kids.” His smile picked up a little on one side as he added, “And then of course there’s the Princess branch of my business.”
Luna smiled softly and nodded. “I understand, Joe of the Donuts. You have many duties too, just as my sister and I have. I suppose it is difficult to meet any special somepony under such circumstances.” She sipped some coffee. “Sometimes I think that this holiday is really just for the younger ponies—fillies and colts sending each other cards, and young mares and stallions courting fresh out of school. Of course, if you ask Princess Cadance, she’ll say that romantic feelings are free to all to share equally. But then again, she is the only Princess in Equestria who is not single, and she is barely older than our youngest princess, Twilight. So I am afraid she cannot truly appreciate the situation of those of us who are past the springtime of our life and unable to put our duties on hold to relive those days any time soon.” Luna laughed, swallowing another bite of donut.
“Yeah, having jobs that don’t quit doesn’t exactly help the social life.” Donut Joe nodded in agreement, magically pouring himself a small cup of coffee now and setting it on the counter next to Luna’s mug as he stood opposite her. “You have it roughest of all though.” He frowned a little.
“How so?” Luna raised an eyebrow.
Donut Joe shrugged. “Well…your sister rules the day, so she gets to meet all sorts of fancy stallions and dignitaries, and I’m sure they all like her. Nearest I figure, she’s single entirely out of choice. But you rule the night, and almost all the ponies sleep through it. No wonder you never get to meet anybody—they’re all just dozing away while you’re doing all your hard work. They miss out on all the beauty…er, you know, of your nights.” He swallowed. “Believe me, if more people were up to see you and your work, Cadance wouldn’t be the only princess with a special somepony on Hearts and Hooves Day.” Donut Joe turned his eyes forward and suddenly occupied himself with sipping very deeply from his mug.
Luna just sat there, her eyes sparkling a little and her smile growing. “Oh, Joe…thank thee so much. What a kind thing thou hast said to us.” She blinked a few times, seeming as surprised and pleased as possible.
Donut Joe blushed slightly (and was grateful for the excuse of the hot coffee’s steam to explain it). She had never called him just ‘Joe’ before. And to be honest he found that old-fashioned way she had of talking when she got excited or happy to be just about the cutest thing in the world. And she really was his best and most faithful nighttime customer. “Ah, you’re welcome princess,” was all he could manage to mumble as he lowered his cup, glancing at her with a little smile.
Luna smiled more back at him and gave a soft laugh. “You know, you have a similar problem to me, but yours is much more easily amendable.”
Donut Joe raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
Luna shrugged, finishing another bite of donut. “Well, you own this business, and even though it is a twenty-four hour establishment, you could easily work and have time off during the days and sleep at night, which would allow you to meet more ponies. You make the schedule as the proprietor, after all. Yet, you seem most frequently to choose to work and relax during the nights and then to sleep through most of the days much as I do as part of my role in Equestria, and my sister tells me it has always been that way with you. So, why not change your schedule to better suit your needs as long as you have the power to?” She raised an eyebrow.
Donut Joe grinned and shrugged. “What, and miss out on randomly getting to see one of my best late night customers, not to mention one of my only princess ones?” He sipped some coffee.
“Donut Joe…” Luna grinned, giving him a bit of a look. “Be serious please.”
Donut Joe laughed, resting his hoof by his mug as he set it back on the counter. “Well, I do really get the most interesting customers during the night shift. But other than that, I wouldn’t want to change things because I’ve just always just been a night owl, even ever since I was little. My parents would put me to bed early each day just after sunset, but I’d secretly stay awake for hours playing games and reading books and looking up at the mare in the mo—” Joe stopped talking. His eyes went wide.
Luna blinked. But then, seeing his distress, she reached out and gently touched her hoof to his. “Joe of the Donuts?” She smiled as he hesitantly glanced at her. “It is all right. Please continue with your story.”
Joe swallowed and cleared his throat and nodded (and tried not to let out a deep sigh as the gentle silver of her horseshoe touched the rough yellow of his hoof for a moment longer before slipping away). “I, er…well, I’d always stay up really late, is what I’m trying to say. Used to drive my mother crazy trying to wake me up for school in the morning, though things worked out great when I graduated and my father needed me awake at four in the morning to start the day’s baking—I’d just stay up all night and be bright-eyed and ready as soon as he needed me.” He started to smile again. “I guess my point is, I like the nights. They’re peaceful, mysterious, magical even. I get my best ideas for donuts working at night, and I get some good thinking done too about what I want to do with the shop and how I could expand a little to bake for ponies all over Equestria.” He sipped some more coffee, giving the little shop a quick glance around and smiling in a touch of pride.
“Really?” Luna asked with interest, resting her head on her hoof.
Donut Joe smiled at her and nodded. “I have more fun living like this than I would living like most ponies do. It’s just who I am.” He grinned sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck with his hoof. “Of course, finding a girl to spend time with who’s like that isn’t easy—you’re the only one so far, and I’m not exactly a prince, so I guess that’s out for both of us.” He chuckled a little (but also closely observed Luna’s reaction to his comment, though he was as casual about it as possible.)
Luna blinked and then laughed warmly, sipping some more of her coffee. “Oh Joe of the Donuts! Your sense of humor is without parallel.” She shook her head, seeming so merry.
Donut Joe did his best to keep up his smile, though his ears at least couldn’t help but fall. “Oh, yeah…” he managed, “I thought you might like that.”
Luna laughed more but easily got herself under control and smiled at him. “You are a good friend to me, Donut Joe. But I am personally quite grateful that you are not a prince and therefore are very unlikely to see how I can be as a princess each night and day in the castle walls.” She looked down a touch sheepishly, playing with one of donuts a little with her hoof. “You only see me a few nights a month, and then when I am at my happiest—the moon is usually full and glowing, my tasks are nearly in order for the evening, and of course I am pleasantly full from your warm coffee and delicious confections. But really most of the time outside of here I am proudly marching about my castle, shouting orders to my guards in my Royal Canterlot Voice, making lightning flash when I am cranky because Celestia always tries to wake me up far too early for dinner.” She rolled her eyes. “I am very serious or I am very passionate. But you only catch me during the rare times I have in between, when I can just take the same simple sweet pleasure I have always privately taken in my duties ever since I was a young mare.” She smiled softly at him. “But, for what it is worth, yours is the first thing even close to a Hearts and Hooves Day ‘offer’ of a special somepony that I have received in a very, very, very long time. And I appreciate it.” She looked happily into his eyes. “In fact, even though we are just friends, I cannot think of a nicer pony to spend Hearts and Hooves Day night with than you, Joe of the Donuts.”
Donut Joe was a pretty sturdy pony, but right now he felt like he could have been knocked over with a pegasus feather. She couldn’t think of a nicer pony to spend Hearts and Hooves Day night with than…. And in the name of Equestria itself, what mighty and brilliant force had bestowed upon this dusky mare those burning cerulean eyes that never failed to amaze him? “I, um…” he knew he had to say something, which was all that got him to say anything. “A-Aw, Princess, no matter how you want to be, you’re still my friend, and I’ll always look forward to spending time with you too.” He swallowed, then smiled a little and added, “And on Hearts and Hooves Day most of all.” And now it was Joe’s turn to be brave and actually touch a hoof to Luna’s on the counter—or rather, he reached over and patted her hoof twice before removing his, but it was a start.
Luna looked upon the gesture with interest and then looked to him again. Her gaze and smile warmed. “You are a very accepting pony, Donut Joe. Thank you.”
Donut Joe smiled a little more. “And you are a very good princess, Princess Luna. And thank you too.”
They just sat together like this for a moment…a long moment…a long, quiet moment in the night on Hearts and Hooves Day, looking into each other’s eyes. And in case it wasn’t obvious already, Donut Joe had been smitten with Luna for some time, and Luna could be a little clueless about modern courtship practices but still even she would have to pick up on something with him eventually.
The moment was still going on by the way.
And Donut Joe was weighing his options at this point. ‘Kiss her. The worst thing that’ll happen is she’ll rain down the full force of all the natural elements and alicorn magic on your donut shop. Not the most horrible sacrifice to have to make for what you’d get out of it. The best thing that could happen is that she’ll kiss me back. Definitely possibly worth the risk.’ Something about Luna had just struck him from the first evening Celestia had brought her in to introduce her, and from the first evening Luna had come in on her own—the beautiful night embodied in a mare; the mare in the moon he had always whispered his dreams to in the night (no matter what the fairytales had said about her) descending from on high to buy some donuts from him. And she was just so cute! And just so special! She was one of a kind!
Luna’s eyes were a little wide now. She was somewhat overwhelmed by the sight of Joe’s big, green eyes still gazing at her at this point. ‘I cannot remember the last time I was alone with a stallion on this holiday, come to think of it. I…’ Luna blushed very softly. Come to think of it, she had never really had a stallion as a close friend before. It could certainly be an interesting experience starting now, though. Yet it could also be very complicated. ‘Perhaps I should go now, return to my nightly duties.’ Yet she didn’t get up to leave. And she didn’t want to.
Still the two faced each other, still the two did not look away from each other, still the two remained deep in their moment together.
And then the bell over the donut shop door jingled, and the moment was ruined by none other than the king of ruining moments himself—the one and only Discord!
“Luna!” Discord (dressed, of all things, in a white sash, red fake wings on top of his actual wings, and with a pink quiver of arrows complete with a bow on his back) let out a deep sigh, collapsing at one of the tables in a typically dramatic fashion. “Finally, here you are! Holed up in the one bakery still open in Equestria at this unseemly hour—you and your sister, always with the sweet tooth.” He shook his head and made a ‘tisk’ sound, arms crossed over his chest. “And speaking of your sister…” Now he glanced to the side ‘innocently’ as he went on, twiddling his fingers together. “There’s kind of been a ‘situation’.” He grinned at Luna and added, “But I’ll let you finish flirting with the peasantry before I go into details.” He chuckled.
Luna instantly blushed and cleared her throat, her eyes going wide as she looked at master of chaos. “Discord! That is enough!” She banged her hoof on the countertop, sitting up straight. “And what do you mean there has been a situation with my sister?” Luna’s eyes narrowed, and her horn started to glow. “So help me, if you have done anything that has caused her harm…” Lightning suddenly flashed and thunder cracked outside.
Donut Joe (blushing himself from Discord’s comment) jumped, never having seen Luna’s powers (or temper) in action quite like that before. Yet at the same time he couldn’t deny the experience gave him sort of a thrill. He wondered what else he might see, and just watched the exchange continue.
“Luna, Luna, Luna, is that any way to talk to a friend, hmm?” Discord grinned, then pouted. “I’m hurt. Say you’re sorry, and I’ll go on.”
“Go on, or I shall make you sorry you did not,” Luna countered, her look dark, and the lightning and thunder came again.
Discord’s eyes went a little wide, but then he just sighed and shrugged. “Oh, yes, yes, I get too used to dealing with grim Celestia—I forgot, right now I’m talking to the pony sister who has some wrath in her royalty. Very well, fair enough.” He cleared his throat and glanced past Luna. “But first, barkeep, can you get me an éclair or a fritter or one of whatever fried cake-like treats you sell here? And some hot chocolate with a crazy straw if you have it. I mean, if you’re not still too busy ogling the night princess.”
Donut Joe blinked, blushed a lot, and instantly went about doing what Discord had asked, his head down.
Luna glanced back at her friend and frowned. Then she turned and scowled at Discord again. “Thou shall not speak to our friends in such a rude way, Discord! Now, what hast thou done with our sister?” She got off of her stool.
Discord put a finger in his ear and turned it a few times. “I’m sorry, I don’t translate ‘angry Luna’ well—before I start, can we promise to keep this conversation in modern vernacular only?” Discord chuckled…and then his eyes suddenly went very wide. Luna had approached and she now had her horn aimed at his chest.
Luna glared up at the master of chaos. “You do not want this fight, ‘friend’ Discord.” She almost smirked a little.
Discord considered his situation for about a second and then grinned, holding up his hands. “Oh of course not—I was only teasing you, Luna dear. And besides, it’s Hearts and Harnesses Day—”
“Hearts and Hooves Day!” Luna corrected.
“Whatever.” Discord rolled his eyes. “The point is, it involves hearts, so we should all be lovers, not fighters.” He raised his tail and snapped the end of it (just as Donut Joe was coming out of the back with Discord’s order on a tray). Instantly, Donut Joe, Luna and Discord were now seated around a big red heart-shaped table that had appeared in the center of Joe’s shop. Discord had his donut and hot chocolate in front of him, Luna had the remainder of her donuts and coffee in front of her, and Joe had his small cup of coffee in front of him (and he was also just sitting there awkwardly, really unsure of what to do).
“And speaking of Hearts and Hooves Day…” Discord started, sipping his hot chocolate and rolling his eyes to the side ‘innocently’ once more.
Luna raised an eyebrow at him, eyeing him suspiciously. “I thought we were speaking of my sister.”
“Well,” Discord shrugged, “they’re both related. You see, while you’ve been sleeping all day, I hit on the most chaotic way imaginable to celebrate this sappy, mushy, cliché holiday you ponies all make such a big deal about! A truly genius plan, I assure you!” He grinned smugly, looking at them both with anticipation.
Luna and Joe just sat there looking back at him, waiting.
Discord blinked, and his grin fell dramatically. “Oh come on, aren’t you going to beg me to tell you what my genius idea was?”
Luna sighed deeply. “If it will make this intrusion go any faster, then yes, Discord, please oh please tell us what your genius idea was,” she replied flatly.
Discord grinned brightly again, taking no notice of her tone. “Of course—thought you’d never ask. So, the most chaotic way for Discord, reformed master of chaos, to celebrate Hearts and Hooves Day…would be to ask Celestia to be my special somepony for the day!” Discord flew up into the air, laughing hysterically to himself. “I mean, how priceless! Me sashaying around town in public with Celestia on my arm—the two of us sharing a milkshake with two straws at a café on the corner, calling each other ridiculous pet names for the world to hear, skipping through the streets of Canterlot! Imagine the disturbing terror for everypony of seeing their dear, perfect sun princess court a former villain! It would have scarred the greater Canterlot/Ponyville area for life! Children would have sung songs of the chaotic horror of Hearts and Hooves day for generations!” He convulsed with laughter in the air all the more, writhing in amusement.
Donut Joe just sat there with his eyes wide and an uncomfortable cringe on his features.
Luna just sat there with a dry look and sighed. She closed her eyes, putting a hoof to her forehead and rubbing her temple. She spoke in a low voice. “Donut Joe, be grateful you are a normal pony and not a prince as we discussed before—you do not have to deal with ridiculous royal-targeted shenanigans or inane immortal characters such as this one on a regular basis.” Luna glanced up at Discord, her look and tone firm again. “Of course my sister said no to this absurd plan, yes?”
Discord sighed, wiping a tear of mirth from his eye and coming to take his seat again. “Thirty-seven times in a row, as a matter of fact.” He sipped his hot chocolate. “Tried to get her all day—spent from dawn straight through now dressed up in this ridiculous outfit and asking her over and over to play along with me, but not one bite. Utterly disappointing. I mean, it really would have been a superb joke.” He jerked his thumb in Donut Joe’s direction. “That guy’s only hearing about it, and even he seems disturbed.”
Donut Joe cleared his throat and glanced down, sipping his coffee.
Discord sighed dramatically and leaned back in his chair, going on. “Yes, all day I popped into every meeting and event and private moment she had, each time with a new chaotic token of my ‘affections’ from a box of chocolates shaped like yours truly to a magic mirror that only points out the flaws in your appearance so that you can improve yourself to an enchanted Venus Horseflytrap that may have eaten all of the cake in the castle as soon as she turned her back on it…but she still said no every time! Go figure, right?” He shrugged, taking a bite of éclair. “So, anyway, the day was pretty much shot by that point for enjoying the holiday, but, you know, her rejection still really bothered me. I’ve never found a woman I couldn’t woo before, even as a joke.”
“Clearly you have never made the acquaintance of many females…” Luna mumbled under her breath.
Donut Joe did his best not to laugh.
Discord, caught up in his own dramatics, ignored the comment and held his paw up high. “It was a matter of pride for me at that point to get a yes out of her, grand chaotic holiday joke or not!” he announced with determination.
“And…?” Luna went on with impatience, clearly wanting him to get to the point already.
“And…” Discord rolled his eyes to the side ‘innocently’ once more tonight, sipping some more of his hot chocolate, “…Here’s the part you might not like. Actually you and Cadance both might not like it…and speaking of Cadance…”
Luna let out a deep sigh and threw her front hooves forward on the table. “Discord, just TELL US!” she suddenly announced using her Royal Canterlot voice, leaning over the table and glaring at him (and causing his chair to shift back a few inches from the pure force of her yell).
Donut Joe’s mouth fell open right as his heart skipped a beat in a way it never had before. ‘Wow….’
Discord, meanwhile, proceeded to quickly sum things up as he realized the moon princess’s limited patience had clearly run out. “Cadance’s magic specializes in love, but my magic can work with that subject a little bit too. Not as well as hers, but I digress. So I took a famous love potion recipe—or ‘poison’ as the book dramatically called it—and modified it to last for just fifteen seconds on one pony instead of eternity on two ponies. I figured I’d surprise Celestia, splash the potion on her, she’d absorb it and get smitten, I’d take a snapshot for posterity and possibly future blackmail of her fawning all over me, and then ‘yay, Hearts and Hooves Day is a success’! Uh…needless to say I am here now because my plan did not work out.” He cleared his throat. “Apparently that potion is very sensitive, and replacing the tuft of regular cloud with a tuft of cotton candy cloud, the bright rainbow’s glow with the light bulb from my Discord lamp, and stirring it with a draconequus feather instead of a pegasus feather just to suit the concoction to my own needs backfired despite the careful seconds if not full minutes of thought I put into my intentions. Again, go figure, right?” He shrugged, grinning away.
He was fully prepared for Luna’s full wrath now.
He was not prepared for, and quite shocked by, Donut Joe’s wrath coming first.
Donut Joe frowned and stood up, scowling at Discord. “Hey! Now listen pal, I don’t care if you’re immortal, I don’t care if you’re powerful, and I don’t care if you used to reign over Equestria with terror. Princess Celestia has been real good to me and my family, and her sister Princess Luna here is one of my best friends—how dare you spend all day bothering Celestia and keeping her from having a peaceful Hearts and Hooves Day, and how dare you toss some kind of wacky potion on her just to make yourself feel special!” He was actually approaching Discord now, a hoof held up. “In case you haven’t noticed, bub, these two girls are trying to run an empire together, and it would probably go a lot more smoothly if you didn’t treat them like it was some kind of game all for your amusement just because you’re ‘reformed’ and bored. Now, you tell Princess Luna whatever she needs to know to help Princess Celestia, and while you’re at it put my bakery back to normal!” And with that he poked Discord right in the chest.
There was silence.
Luna’s eyes were very wide in shock. Then she looked to Discord, about to announce to him that if he harmed even one hair of Donut Joe’s mane, she would personally dip the draconequus in a vat of cement and turn him back to stone the old-fashioned way. But then suddenly…
Discord looked down at the unicorn baker before him with an intrigued grin and an eyebrow raised. “Hmm…” A low laugh left him. “Hmm, hmm...” Another low chuckle or two escaped, and then even more laughter. He glanced over to Luna. “Oh Luna, this,” he pointed down at Donut Joe, “this right here? This is just precious. This is possibly the most amusing thing I’ve seen in a millennia—this little background character of our lives standing up to me! A baker against all-powerful chaos!” He laughed heartily and then sighed, shaking his head. “Oh he is so lucky it’s a holiday and that his donuts aren’t half bad, so I’m willing to cut him some slack.” Discord snapped his fingers. The heart shaped table was gone, and now they were all sitting at the counter together on stools, their food and drinks in front of them all again.
“Anyway, Luna dear, really the situation isn’t all that dire,” Discord continued, totally ignoring Donut Joe again and sipping more hot chocolate as he continued with his story. “The actual problem is simple: the potion, apparently, no matter how you make it, should only be used on someone when they’re awake. So, after I brewed the potion, I snapped myself into Celestia’s room, positioned myself very amusingly on her bed, and awaited her arrival so that I would be sure to catch her before she went to sleep for the evening. But then when she finally came in, I suppose it had been a long day, because she was a little drowsy, and I ended up dumping the potion on her when she was much closer to half asleep rather than wide awake. So, um…instead of finding me irresistible for fifteen seconds…she’s now just roaming around the castle sleepwalking and calling out my name every fifteen seconds and giggling.” He cleared his throat, rolling his eyes and trying to grin but mostly just seeming awkward (and even blushing slightly). “And not that it wasn’t charming for the first hour or so, but I’m getting bored now, and of course you know if the morning guards find her like this, guess who’s going to get stuck with all the blame for a simple, little accident.” He jerked his thumb at himself, sighing dully. “So, since your sister is clearly stuck in some odd dream loop about me, I figured it fell under your jurisdiction to clean up that mess so that what I did doesn’t spread around too much and hurt my newly reformed reputation as a faithful friend to the crown.” He grinned expectantly at Luna and then casually picked up another éclair to eat.
Donut Joe almost wanted to reprimand Discord again for causing all of this inconvenience.
But he watched instead as a very serious, very regal and diplomatic look (which he had never seen before) came to Luna’s features. She took in and let out a deep breath, and then looked to Discord and gave a single nod. “Yes, I shall fix this.”
Discord smiled brightly. “Great! Knew you would! Well, I’ll just be on my way then!” He finished his éclair and held up his fingers to snap. “If I go now, I can still make the tail end of a great Hearts and Hooves party in Las Pegasus, and—”
Luna held up a hoof. “You shall remain here. This will not take long. And then I have something to say to you.” And then without waiting for any response from him, she lowered her hoof, took a deep breath, faced forward and closed her eyes.
Discord just yawned, but he did stay put for the moment.
Donut Joe looked to Luna with interest.
When she opened her eyes again, they were full of glowing, cerulean light. Joe blinked and frowned a little in concern at first, but then he raised an eyebrow, intrigued.
Luna just sat there, so peacefully, so mystically. She remained in this strange state for a minute or so, and then she blinked a few times. The light was gone, and her eyes were normal again.
Luna sighed and held her head high. “It is done.” She turned to Discord. “I have dispelled the false dream and set Celestia into a peaceful night’s rest in her own room. She may be a little groggy in the morning, but she will be fine. And as for you….” Her eyes narrowed.
Discord just grinned down at her with interest. “Ooo, here it comes, the big, scary, blow-the-roof-off-of-this-place Royal Canterlot Voice lecture. Donut, I hope you have insurance.” He chuckled in amusement.
However, Luna merely glared at Discord and spoke in a level tone (though there was clearly rage just below the surface). “Discord, I do not care if you wish to pester me or my sister. I do not care if you wish to play practical jokes on me or my sister. I do not care if you have to bother me or my sister to clean up some of your messes. But…” her eyes flashed a little, “if you ever come to me with a story again that at any point involves the information that you ‘snuck into my sister’s room and positioned yourself very amusingly on her bed’, so help me I will make you regret her ludicrous plan of letting you out of your stone prison. Do you understand?”
Discord blinked in surprise but then only grinned all the more. “Aww, is little Luna jealous perhaps? No one came a-courting for her fiery favor on Hearts and Hooves Day? You know, I’ve been working with Fluttershy on helping her be more assertive—I could set up a few choice lessons for you on how to be just as charming and desirable as I am. As your friend, it would be my honor to do you such a favor.” He sighed, rubbing his beard and looking to the ceiling. “Then of course I still have to work on setting up Twilight with lessons in how to be less boring and Celestia with lessons on how to have any sense of humor. Honestly, being friends with you ponies is a full time job. I don’t know how you got on without me before this.”
“That’s it. Out.”
Discord blinked. A bell had just jingled, and now apparently Donut Joe was holding the front door open and looking at him with a scowl.
“Pardon?” asked Discord, raising an eyebrow, his grin picking up on one side.
“Out,” insisted Donut Joe, not really caring that he really had no way to enforce this command if push came to shove. “You’ve insulted me, which I don’t take kindly to, you’ve insulted Princess Celestia behind her back, and she’s been a dear friend of the family for years so there’s strike two, and worst of all you’ve insulted Princess Luna right to her face. Even if you hadn’t done anything else, that’s an automatic out buddy. Now.”
Discord flew over to Joe, arms crossed over his chest. He pouted, raising an eyebrow and observing this brave unicorn carefully. He opened his mouth, about to make a snide remark—probably something along the lines of being able to turn Donut Joe into a donut himself and toss him into the Everfree forest for the manticores to feast upon with a mere snap of his fingers. But then Discord just grinned playfully and flew in an arc over Donut Joe, glancing from him to Luna and from Luna back to him. “Ohhh…I get it!” He gave Donut Joe a big wink and chuckled, landing in the doorway. Then he cleared his throat, projecting his voice a little for Luna to hear as well as possible. “Oh yes, Donut Java—”
“Donut Joe,” Donut Joe corrected.
“Whatever,” Discord continued, putting a hand to his brow in a dramatic fashion. “Truly you have bravely stood up to me in a way that would impress any mare on this ridiculous holiday of mush and affection, even an alicorn princess who might be sitting ten feet to our left.” He stepped outside. “Now, humbled by your prowess, your chivalry, your willingness to defend what is right and your lady’s honor at all costs, yada, yada, I shamefully take my leave and go off to that Hearts and Hooves Party in Las Pegasus where I’m certain guilt over my actions as well as my surprise at your heroic nature will keep me from enjoying the festivities for at least a good five seconds.” He turned and gave them a mock farewell bow. “Au revoir, you two little ‘after hours’ ponies!” Then he raised an eyebrow and added quickly to the two ‘friends’, just for good measure, “And Donut, stop staring at her and just go for it, and Luna, pick up some copies of Modern Mare Magazine and get a clue please. Ta ta!” And with that and a laugh, he snapped his fingers and was gone.
Donut Joe just stood there, mouth agape, blushing, unable to move at first as the bell overhead jingled and the door shut.
And then he just…did the thing he knew how to do best, the only thing he could think of to do to move past this moment—he was Donut Joe, and so he took care of his donut shop. Head forward, gaze averted downward, frowning a little (and blushing the entire time) Joe walked behind the counter and magically picked up Discord’s tray, putting the uneaten food in the trash and the plate and cup in the sink. Then he put his own coffee cup into the sink as well. Then he slowly went and grabbed a dishrag from the back and started to clean the counter. After what he had just experienced, the only comfort he had were these familiar actions.
Luna just watched him this whole time, her eyes a little wide, trying not to blush. Donut Joe was funny and bold in his own way, but she knew he had great pride (much as she did), and that it could be wounded. And after all of Discord’s antics and insults and now what he had implied about the two of them, Joe must be feeling so embarrassed. She was feeling a little embarrassed herself…but mostly because she now realized from Donut Joe’s blushing and his almost ashamed response that in Discord’s kidding…perhaps there had been some truth.
Indeed, perhaps there had been some truth in Discord’s observation…in a lot of ways.
Luna let out a breath. She figured she should say something. Donut Joe had only ended up being embarrassed because of her, because of her presence which had brought Discord and all of the cares of her royal duties to his humble, happy donut shop. Then she realized she had also put her friend through seeing her angry, seeing her passionate, seeing her bend lightning to her will, and seeing her enter the overwhelmingly mystical trance of visiting dreams, and all over the course of a mere few minutes. She felt she owed him something for bringing so much stress to one of his peaceful nights, and especially since he had put so much effort into making her own night a peaceful one. “Erm…Donut Joe?”
Donut Joe stopped pushing his dishrag for a moment, then sighed. But he didn’t look at her. “Yes, Princess Luna?”
She swallowed and then gently nudged forward her mug with her nose. “May I have more coffee please?”
Donut Joe nodded. “Sure.” He magically raised the coffee pot from the burner and came over to fill her mug (still without looking at her). Then he magically set the pot back on the burner.
“Thank you.” Luna took a sip. She sighed. “Donut Joe? I am sorry about Discord. Please ignore him. He is…obnoxious. And I also think he was a little embarrassed about what happened with my sister. That is why he behaved so poorly, I believe.”
“It’s okay.” Donut Joe tried to smile a little and he shrugged. His eyes went over in her general direction, though still he wouldn’t look right at her. “I’ve had worse customers.”
Luna tried to smile a little too. But then she sighed again, unsure of where to go from here. She really had been isolated from people for so long. Certain social situations still remained a challenge for her.
Suddenly, Donut Joe cleared his throat. “Princess Luna?”
“Yes?” She looked right over to him.
He was finally (if barely) making eye contact with her now. “Um…if…if all of that with you just now was sort of a preview of the ways I don’t see you act but that you can act…well, I just wanted you to know that I didn’t mind any of it at all. I mean, I like you best how you usually are when you come in here to see me because you seem happy, and I want you to be happy. But the lightning and the special royal voice and the firm commands and the serious tone and the alicorn magic…I like that too. All of it is part of what makes you so interesting, after all. And I never want you to feel like you can’t be yourself around me, all of yourself, ever, okay?” His eyes finally completely met hers.
Luna smiled…and her smile grew. “Oh. Erm…thank thee.” She swallowed, and her voice softened. “Most ponies are usually quite intimidated and frightened the first time they see us behave that way. We are afraid we are not as patient and easygoing as our sister when pushed. But we are glad this experience has only made our friendship stronger.” Luna looked down to the last bit of donut on her nearly empty plate, full of heart-shaped sprinkles. And she blushed just a little, though she barely knew why. All she knew was that she felt happy, even happier than she usually felt in this shop with this friend. She cleared her throat, her tone and speech returning to normal. “And, erm…I know Discord was just teasing you a little, but you truly were very kind to stand up for me and my sister to him. And I admire how you stood up for yourself as well.” She glanced at Donut Joe again. “Not everypony would challenge the master of chaos like that. Even Celestia and I have trouble competing with him magically.” Her smile picked up a little on one side.
Donut Joe just shrugged and smiled, cleaning the counter a bit again but still looking at her mostly. “Hey, I had to give it a shot. Besides, I may just be a ‘peasant’ unicorn baker without much power outside of this donut shop, but while we’re in this donut shop, I’m the boss and what I say goes! Even if the person I’m saying it to could magic me into a French cruller if he felt like it.” He grinned sheepishly and shrugged.
Luna laughed. “Standing up to Discord is an art form of confidence, Donut Joe. I am very glad to see that you have mastered it and so quickly. I believe Discord was more impressed than he let on.” She leaned a little closer to him and added warmly, “And you are far more than a mere ‘peasant’, Joe of the Donuts.”
A very soft chuckle left Donut Joe that he couldn’t help. He smiled and met her eyes with his. “And you are a very special lady, Luna of the Night.”
Luna’s smile picked up on one side and she laughed softly too. But then she frowned a little. “Donut Joe? I am sorry, but I believe I must return to my duties now. When I visited my sister’s dream, I could sense there were other dreamers who might be ready for my assistance this evening. I must not keep them waiting. And as I said earlier, it will take me much time tonight to determine who to help and how much to help them.”
Donut Joe nodded, a look of absolute understanding in his eyes. “No problem, Princess Luna. You go do what you have to do. I’ll always be here.” He smiled again.
Luna smiled appreciatively in return. “Thank you.” She sighed, glancing out of the windows at the dark night full of slumbering ponies thinking of love and awaiting the delicate touch of her guidance. “I do appreciate the sentiment of the holiday, but frankly I will be happy when Hearts and Hooves Day is over and I can get back to my normal routine.”
Donut Joe nodded. “I agree. This holiday puts a lot of pressure on people.” He shrugged, glancing away. “Maybe you were right, maybe it should just be a thing for kids and young people and married people. It really is such a busy holiday….” He yawned a little, blinking a few times, thinking about everything he had been through with this day (and night) so far.
Luna nodded, almost yawning a little herself at the sight of his slight fatigue. “Still though…” she smiled a little more to herself, “as I said, the sentiment at the heart of this festivity is not so bad. I am glad we have the holiday as a reminder always to seek out and cherish affection wherever we may find it throughout the year.”
Donut Joe smiled at her and nodded again. “I think that’s a nice way to put it, Princess.”
“Call me Luna?” Luna suggested then, giving him a small smile. “You don’t have to all the time, of course,” she quickly assured. “I know mine and my sister’s subjects can have difficulty feeling comfortable dropping our titles sometimes. But if you ever want to, just to let you know, please do feel free to call me Luna.”
Donut Joe smiled a lot. “Okay. Erm…and speaking of that,” he rubbed the back of his neck, “if you ever want to, you can call me just Joe sometimes. Though I’m fine no matter what you call me, really.” He shrugged.
Luna’s smile brightened. “Very well, I shall keep that in mind.” She stood up now. “Well, I should get going. Please just put my food and Discord’s on the royal tab—I’ll have some of the guards come by to take care of things in the morning.”
Donut Joe nodded. “Anything you say, Princess. I mean, Luna.” He magically moved her plate and cup to the sink. Then he came out from behind the counter. “Here, let me get the door for you.” He walked over and held it open, stepping aside for her.
Luna smiled. “Thank you, Donut Joe. Or should I say Joe.” She chuckled.
He chuckled too.
There was quiet. And then Luna sighed softly. “Donut Joe? Please let the door close for a moment.”
Donut Joe’s eyes went a little wide, but he nodded and let the door shut with a light jingle of the bell overhead.
Princess Luna looked down at him with a touch of concern. She bit her lip, then spoke, doing her best to make the words come out right. “Tomorrow…er, tonight—I mean, a little before the coming sunrise…may I return here, and would you like to go for a walk?”
Donut Joe blinked. “A walk?”
Luna nodded. “Yes. Perhaps over the castle grounds or to the Canterlot bridge or we could teleport somewhere else. Just to talk.”
“Oh.” Something in Donut Joe’s whole look fell. “To talk…erm…I see.” He lowered his head.
“Tis not a bad thing,” Luna suddenly assured, stepping closer, smiling a little more. “Please do not look so upset. I just thought a walk might be nice and a talk as well, especially after the interruption of our night earlier. I like you very much, and I like our time together. That is all. And…you told Discord I was one of your best friends, and I consider you very dear myself—perhaps we could talk about that as well.” She looked down, trying to seem poised and regal but feeling quite shy.
“Oh,” Donut Joe said again. And now he looked up at her curiously. But then he finally nodded. “Okay, Princess Luna. If you want to, I wouldn’t mind a walk.”
Luna smiled happily. “Excellent. I shall see you before dawn then.” Then she lowered her eyes for a moment and added, “And if you fall asleep for a little nap before then, maybe I shall see you in your dreams as well.”
‘I already see you in my dreams even without you visiting. I even used to dream about the mare in the moon when I was little. But if you want to visit me tonight or ever, I wouldn’t mind at all.’ That’s what Donut Joe wanted to say, but he just couldn’t of course. So he swallowed and smiled and said instead, “Maybe you will. I am a little tired, and I wouldn’t mind the company. And it’s always nicer getting through Hearts and Hooves Day when you’re not alone.” He blushed just a little again, but somehow didn’t mind too much.
“I agree most completely, Donut Joe.” Luna’s smile brightened. “And there is no better company than the good company of a good, dear friend.” She held out her hoof.
Donut Joe looked down at the hoof unsurely for a moment, but then took it and shook (she almost lifted him off the ground with her hoofshake, a fact he noticed and that fascinated him with her all the more).
Luna released his hoof now and turned, magically opening up the door, causing the bell to jingle once more. She glanced over her shoulder, and Donut Joe could see one cerulean eye, so beautiful, looking directly to his own eyes. “Farewell for now, Joe of the Donuts. I shall see you again shortly.” She lightly blushed and then turned and opened her wings. In a moment, she had departed into the night sky.
“Farewell…” Donut Joe called back quietly, giving a small wave as the door closed behind her with a final jingle of the overhead bell.
Once he was certain she was out of sight, Donut Joe cringed and smacked a hoof to his forehead. “She knows. She knows how I feel about her…. Great.” He let out a deep breath. “Still, she didn’t seem mad. I guess that talk she wants to have will clear things up once and for all though. I’ll just be straight with her. I’ll just….” Then he blinked. “My dreams?” He blushed, recalling her strange little comment. And then he looked around the now empty shop and suddenly felt a small yawn come over him. He headed over to the counter. “You know, maybe Luna’s right—we’re a twenty-four hour place, and especially for her and Celestia’s convenience, but holidays could be the exception. And I really am bushed.” He blushed a little more, adding quietly, “And Luna did say….” He cleared his throat. “Besides, a nap before our walk together couldn’t hurt.” He pulled out a sign from underneath the counter, blew off some dust, and hung it on the glass door of the bakery. It read ‘’Closed for Holiday.’ He stepped back with a smile and then headed to the back of the shop. “A little nap might be just the thing I need actually. And just this once I think I really would like to sleep during the night.”
Donut Joe climbed the stairs at the back of his shop to head up to the little apartment he had overhead—a small space with wood floors and walls, a few sticks of furniture, lots of posters of donuts…and a window that always caught full sight of the moon each evening. Here, Donut Joe removed his apron and hat, set an alarm, and then collapsed into the bed.
Donut Joe, friend of the night, fell asleep quickly and deeply.
Donut Joe found himself in a familiar dream soon enough. He was sitting atop the roof of his bakery just as moonrise had finished. And someone would come along to join him very soon.
Sure enough, he heard the gentle flap of a wing, and then there beside him sat the lovely princess of the night.
Normally at this point in the dream Donut Joe would have smiled and remarked on her night being lovely, then he might have touched her hoof with his, and slowly things would have gone on from there until he awoke. But instead he paused now and sighed, looking to the princess beside him. “Is there any way for me to tell if you’re just part of my dream or the real Luna? Or if the real Luna is watching even if you’re not her?”
The Princess beside him smiled softly. “Would it change anything either way, Joe of the Donuts?”
Donut Joe smiled a little. “I guess not. And it is just a dream after all. And it is a special night.”
She smiled. “Yes, tis. Happy Hearts and Hooves Day.”
“Happy Hearts and Hooves Day, Luna,” Joe returned softly.
The Princess’s gaze warmed. “Joe…I…—”
Donut Joe came forward and gently kissed her on the mouth.
She blinked, hesitated, then closed her eyes and kissed him in return.
Under the moon, the two continued to share and expand upon their moment together for a while.
Somewhere out in the night, upon a moonlit cloud, Princess Luna sat in darkness while her eyes glowed brightly…though whether as an observer in a particular dream or a participant, and whose particular dream she might have been in exactly, who could say but she?
Whatever the case, she allowed herself the pleasure of lingering in that particular subject’s dream for a very long while.
The morning was early, and Princess Celestia sat in her study. She had just finished watching Luna’s Hearts and Hooves Day night experience, projected for her on a cotton candy cloud by none other than Discord, who was seated on a chair at her side.
“So you see,” the master of chaos spoke up now with a confident grin, snapping away the cloud, “Really, almost everything I did to you yesterday ultimately helped your dear, sweet sister have a fun Hearts and Hooves Day of her own. She’s wound too tight, too used to isolation—she needed a push, she needed to have some fun, and I gave that to her. And all it cost was you being inconvenienced for the entire holiday in every possible way.” Discord shrugged, holding out his arms. “But you’ve had like, what, over a thousand years worth of Hearts and Hooves days before now that I’m sure went just fine for you but that Luna didn’t get a crack at because of the Nightmare Moon thing? So, personally, I think that how nicely your sister’s evening turned out was well worth your sacrifice. And, if anything, I think I deserve a thank you for my clever foresight and skillful handling of the whole situation.” He gestured to himself and smirked down at her.
Celestia just sighed very deeply, though she managed to keep her tone calm and comforting as usual. “I see. And do I want to know how you recorded all of this, Discord?”
Discord blinked, scratching his head. “What? Is stalking and voyeurism not the way to go about making sure all of your intricately laid plans to control the lives of your friends have worked and to make sure your friends are having a good holiday as well?” He chuckled smugly. “Oh isn’t it just awful how the subtle delicacies of friendship etiquette always manage to elude me?”
Celestia sighed even more deeply, though she couldn’t help smiling and shaking her head a little as well. “Discord, I want you to report to Twilight for some intensive friendship studies—three nights a week, one hour per night, for the next two weeks. And if I don’t get good reports from her, we can extend the sentence.”
“Hey!” Discord frowned and crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t think friends usually punish one another, Celestia. I really can’t say I find this fair at all, unless of course we’re not friends anymore…” He smirked down at her, his eyes narrowing. “In which case, things are about to get very interesting around here.”
Celestia just smiled calmly as ever up at him though. “Oh no, we’re still friends, Discord. But friends can’t be afraid sometimes to point out when another friend makes a mistake. And I’m also being your friend by just assigning you the special task of studying with Twilight to make up for the mischief you caused. After all, under normal legal code, breaking and entering, prohibited potions concocting, assaulting a princess…not to mention the stalking activities…you would probably be in a dungeon somewhere for a good century.” She held back a chuckle. “Now, doesn’t a few evenings studying with Twilight sound like a much easier punishment?” She smiled more.
Discord sighed and sunk down in his chair, grumbling. “Yes…but barely.” He rolled his eyes.
Celestia laughed warmly and nodded. “Good. I’m glad that’s all settled then.”
Discord rolled his eyes. “Does this mean I can go now? I gave you my explanation for my behavior yesterday, and I did it at this vile ‘just past dawn’ hour that you insisted upon. And I have some people expecting me in Las Pegasus for a late breakfast after our even later night yesterday evening.” He chuckled, sitting up more in his chair. “Now, that is a city that knows how to party on the holidays.”
Celestia smiled and nodded. “Of course Discord, you can go.” She put a hoof on his arm as he was about to float up though, keeping him in place for a moment. She looked to his eyes. “Two things first though.”
Discord scoffed. “Oh come now—between you and your sister, I swear! Okay, fine, what is it, Celestia?” He tapped his hoof on the floor.
“First of all, you will never, ever, ever use a potion on me like that ever again. It’s unacceptable.” Celestia’s look became serious. “Do I make myself clear, Discord?”
“Yes…” Discord slouched again and agreed with an exasperated sigh, clearly bored with the conversation and just itching to ‘learn his lesson’ so that he could ‘go out and play’.
Celestia smiled again. “Thank you. And second…” she sighed, removing her hoof from him as she continued, “If you ever want to do something for Hearts and Hooves Day, you don’t need to go through all of the costumes and gag gifts and badgering and trying to embarrass me and nearly poisoning me. Next year…you could just kindly ask me, Discord. I might say yes. It does sound sort of fun, seeing how humorously the subjects might react to the two of us like that.”
Discord’s eyes went wide. “I…Okay, wait, what?” He sat up and looked at her in utter puzzlement. “Celestia freely offering to be my special somepony for a day after I nearly turned her into a sleepwalking Discord-loving zombie for life, and Celestia expressing a sense of humor?” He snapped his fingers. She now had an ice pack on her head and a thermometer in her mouth. “No, no, that can’t be right—clearly you’re still sick from that third rate potion I tried on you.”
Celestia laughed softly and removed the items, shaking her head. “No, Discord, I’m just telling you the truth. You seem to be an expert on having fun—so it might have been fun for us to spend the holiday together, whether the ponies reacted to it in a funny way or not.” She gave him a bit of a look. “It just didn’t seem like a fun idea yesterday when you were poking me in the side with an arrow for half an hour straight while I was going over decrees and repeating over and over in my ear, ‘Wanna say yes now? How about now? Now? Wanna say yes now?’” Despite her dry tone, she couldn’t help but smile at him a little.
Discord, however, just looked back at her with such complete confusion again. He even blushed slightly. And then he blinked several times and just stood up and shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest. “That’s it—you pony sisters are officially two of the oddest women I have ever known. Luna’s off being weird about donuts, and you just punished me like a child, called me a criminal, and asked me out on a date all in the same conversation. Hmph, you know, I’m going to start getting a bit jealous—I’m supposed to be the chaotic one around here, and I don’t appreciate you two moving in on my territory.” He held his head up high, turning to stand before Celestia.
Celestia tried not to laugh. “We’ll try to make a little more sense in the future. I promise.” She shook her head. “Until then, have fun at your parties. Oh, and I see from what you recorded that Luna already mentioned this, but I’ll say it myself just so there are no future mistakes…” She gave him a firm look, her tone becoming serious for a moment, “If you ever sneak into my bedroom again…”
“I know, I know,” Discord finished, leaning close and grinning, “I’ll be sure to light some candles, chill a bottle of the best sparkling cider and set up some smooth listening on the phonograph. I really was so unprepared this past time.” He chuckled impishly.
Celestia took a breath and did her best not to respond to the joke—she just turned in her chair and looked down at the work on her desk. “I’ve set a few spells around my room for good measure. You’re welcome to try teleporting in or walking through the door…but I warn you, you might not like what happens.”
“Ah, you know you want me!” Discord grinned proudly and waved her off with another laugh. He flew up. “See you, Celestia—try to stay as boring as ever until I’m back from my post-Hearts and Hooves Day celebrations!” He stuck out his tongue at her and then snapped his fingers and was gone.
Celestia just smiled to herself as he left and shook her head. “Well,” she glanced down at her work again, “one nice thing did come from all of this. Luna has made a new, very special friend. I think that’ll be good for her.” She smiled a little more.
Then Celestia couldn’t help letting out a yawn. She put her work aside and went over to lie upon her sofa at the center of the room. She really did feel so tired from Discord’s shenanigans last night. She sighed, closing her eyes and resting her head on her pillow. “Of course I would have agreed to spend time with him for the holiday if he had just asked. I haven’t spent Hearts and Hooves Day with anyone in a while. It might have been nice.” She laughed softly. “And he was sort of cute in the cupid outfit, trying so hard…” She yawned. “Or that could be the last effects of the poison talking…I really don’t know.” Celestia laughed again, and soon fell asleep for a nice nap. And though she didn’t start calling out for Discord and giggling every few seconds, the smile remained on her lips throughout her slumber.
As for Discord, he spent the rest of the day all but turning Las Pegasus into the chaos capital of the world (complete with several decorative Celestia statues that he enjoyed posing with and lounging upon and magically shooting roses at…though what that said about his strange relationship with his former stone-prison warden, even he wasn’t entirely sure.)
And meanwhile, as this year’s Hearts and Hooves Day finally passed, Luna really was discovering a distinct and very, very deep appreciation for donuts…an appreciation which made her smile in a special way at its thought, not unlike how Donut Joe’s appreciation for the glorious night always made him smile in a special, private way as well.
May everypony have such an odd yet lovely Hearts and Hooves Day.
Donut Nights 2: A Heartfelt Hearthswarming
Donut Nights 3: Nightmare Night Canoodling