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Celestia tossed and turned once more. Maybe she'd adjust and be able to ease herself into slumber. Then again, the chances of that happening seemed rather slim, what with the thoughts plaguing her at this hour. Oh, little sister, why did it ever have to come to that?

A thousand years, and yet still she remembered it all so clearly...

Celestia gazed at the empty bed. It was hard to imagine only a week ago the filly she loved so much would have been lying peacefully in it. Glimmering moonlight streamed in through the window. She'd have to take care of that herself from now on... Well, no time to dwell. As much as she wished it wasn't, tomorrow was another day.

When she returned to her room, she was quite surprised to see Iris- Luna's maid- attending to her furnishings while humming a jolly little tune. "Well, what brings you here, dear?"

"Oh, Princess! You startled me... I- I hope you don't mind. I just felt so unfulfilled, with your sister gone, so I decided to polish up your quarters a little."

"No, I don't mind at all. But isn't Camilla in charge of this?"

"Yes. She told me a few days ago she caught a rather nasty cold."

"Ah. Why was I not informed?"

"She... told me you were, Your Majesty." Iris looked away uncomfortably.

Celestia observed her body language. No, she wasn't lying... was she? "Very well. Thank you, Iris. You may go." She eased herself into her bed and stared into the night.

"Princess, I hope you don't mind me saying this, but..." Iris sighed. "Well, I've noticed you seem a little distracted lately. And I know- we know what you've been through. Luna is in our hearts as well. Just yesterday I found myself going to make her bed and then... Then I realized she was gone. Lost to us."

The monarch turned to her. "Loss?" She shook her head. "Tell me, dearest Iris, what do you know about loss?" Iris shrank away. "What do you know about loss?" Celestia spat.

The caretaker left hurriedly and Celestia returned to her sister's piece de resistance. (You were always fond of your Prench, weren't you, Luna?) And the raiser of the sun buried her head in her front hooves and wept.

Now she was all too eager to do the same, but she knew she couldn't let herself. It was then that she had faltered, let the stark reality of her sister's fall overtake her. The feelings she accepted- even she was equine, after all, but she was a ruler, and how could she begin to take care of her subjects if all she thought of was how much she missed Luna?

That time had passed, however. Her servants had pulled her through, somehow even wiser than her, and yet she had been so glad when the Nightmare was defeated without her interference. Now her wish had been granted- the princess of the night was back. So why was she still unsatisfied?

Because she never felt as if she had atoned. Atoned for not being there when her sister's resentment was growing, atoned for being so selfish when the darkness that had swallowed her was banished. She had tried, but that required crossing the chasm that had separated them... and this was a chasm her wings could never hope to cross. There was a way, there had to be, but the best she could do was make Luna feel welcomed.

Celestia sighed and eased herself out of her bed- she often suspected it had been designed for two. A little stroll through the halls would at least give her other things to ponder...