• Published 4th Feb 2015
  • 4,726 Views, 145 Comments

Keep Calm and Chaos On - Azure129

Discord calls out Celestia on the details of his initial reform. He has some interesting demands, which she gives into (but not without a few challenges of her own.) By the time Discord’s final reform comes, they're as close as two friends can be.

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Flowers, Pillows, and Cake Makes It All Complete!

Princess Celestia entered her room, smiling happily as she magically raised a colorful bouquet of flowers up in front of herself and gave them a gentle sniff. As she lowered the flowers again, her smile became warm. “These deserve a special place in here.” She glanced over to the mantle above the fireplace and then used her magic to summon a vase, fill it with water, set it upon the mantle and place the flowers inside. “Perfect.”

Celestia took in and let out a very deep breath and then walked over to her bedroom window to look out upon the castle grounds and Canterlot and also Ponyville way off in the distance. The sunset she had just finished commencing was beautiful, the air was clear, and though bits of destruction from Tirek dotted the landscape in the form of some blackened areas and a few curls of smoke, overall the scene appeared so hopeful and happy. Equestria had weathered another storm, peace was restored again, and the shining proof of that return to goodness stood out straight ahead in the twinkle of Princess Twilight Sparkle’s Friendship Castle, which Celestia could see glittering off in the distance in all of its crystal wonder.

A deep sigh left Celestia. “Everything’s going to be just fine. Thank goodness.”

“And I found the sixth key to the chest—who would have guessed, huh?”

A familiar voice saying these words behind her made Celestia’s eyes go wide. She instantly turned around.

There sat Discord on the edge of her bed, smiling happily, if also a touch sheepishly, and giving her a little wave with his claw. “Erm…if the flowers didn’t say it well enough—and by the way, I like what you’ve done with them…” he quickly added with a gesture in their direction before clearing his throat and going on, “Congratulations on saving the day, even despite, you know, um…my shortcomings.” He gave a little shrug. “Can’t blame a spirit of chaos for trying, right?” Despite how flippant the comment sounded, the slight cringe in his features and the awkward quirk of his smile clearly suggested he was just trying to lighten the mood in his own strange way.

Celestia’s gaze and smile became as warm and inviting as ever. “Discord…” She approached him. “How nice of you to pop in. Thank you very much for the flowers—I’m happy you like where I’ve put them. I like it too.” She sat down on the floor at the edge of the bed near him. “It was very kind of you to think of me and give them to me.”

“Oh, um…” Discord smiled more, any hesitation in his gaze starting to slip away, “Well, you’re welcome of course.” He rolled his eyes. “Heh, back at Twilight’s castle, everyone was singing and dancing and celebrating friendship…I thought a bouquet might add a nice touch, and I figured you especially deserved one for all you’ve been through with me.” A touch of pride started to come to his features at the idea of her liking his lovely gift so much.

Celestia’s smile grew, and her gaze appeared to be even warmer and more full of emotion than before (though, if one looked at her closely, it almost seemed like her eyes were narrowing). “What a selfless act, Discord. Truly we can all learn a great deal from you about friendship now.” She leaned just a bit closer to him.

“Uh, we can?” Discord blinked and raised an eyebrow (and the eyebrow went a little higher as he noticed Celestia’s new closeness). “I-I mean, um…I’ve been working on it of course—apparently not enough to get a throne in Twilight’s castle, but still…do you really think so?” His smile started to return.

“Oh yes.” Celestia nodded. “In fact, I have to say that I’ve never seen anyone wield a command over the magic of friendship quite like you have.” She leaned in closer still, looking up into his eyes. “It was very captivating to behold, Discord.”

Discord actually had to lean back a bit now, she was leaning in so close to him. “I…um…” He blinked several times, feeling a light blush building in his features. “Well, I-I tried, heh.”

“You tried and you succeeded most wonderfully.” Celestia’s smile grew even more, her eyes seeming to haze further (though, again, the gesture was suspiciously akin to a narrowing). “I’m very…very…impressed.”

Discord blinked just one more time, but then he swallowed and an intrigued smile came to his lips. His own eyes hazed just a bit now. “Really? Well, perhaps I’ll have to help save Equestria more often then. If I’d known mastering friendship was this ‘impressive’ to you, Celestia, I would have put more effort into it from the start. In fact, maybe you and I can go somewhere private sometime and discuss your feelings about me and my friendly ways?” His grin picked up on one side.

Celestia just chuckled lightly but shook her head. “Oh, no, no, we don’t have to go anywhere special. Here is just fine—we have plenty of privacy. In fact, I have something for you—sort of a gift in return for the flowers, and also something to let you know how deeply I feel for all of your actions in this epic chapter of Equestria’s history.” She leaned in closer still. She was practically nose-to-nose with him now.

Discord’s grin widened, and he perked up quite a bit at this news. “A gift? And all to celebrate me? A token of your…affections, dare I say? Ooo, well, then, let’s have it, Tia. I can still call you Tia, right, even after all of that unfortunate peril from today?”

“Hmm, sure….” Something about Celestia’s smile was just a little too plastered on, though Discord was too wrapped up in her attention to notice. “And there are a few things I’d like to call you as well,” she added as ‘sweetly’ as possible.

Discord just chuckled deeply. “Oh in time, Tia, in time. For right now though, I’d really love that gift from my favorite pony princess.”

“Of course.” Celestia nodded, and her voice softened. “Close your eyes…”

“Hmm…” Discord chuckled again and shut them accordingly. “Can do.” Then he pushed himself back just a little more on the bed and actually slightly puckered his lips.

Celestia blinked and decided she would be furious or confused or amused or some mixture of all three of those later in response to this response of his to her ‘advances’. For now, the affectionate look returned to her features—she had him right where she wanted him. “Okay, Discord,” she cooed, her eyes really narrowing and her smile really growing now (and she was using her magic to levitate the largest pillow of all from the head of her bed). “Here you go…!”


And now Celestia was using her magic to whack Discord with the pillow firmly several times, feathers flying out here and there! As Discord held up his arms to defend himself, eyes definitely open once again, Celestia frowned sternly at him and spoke to him in a very firm tone. “That is for betraying all of your friends, betraying me, putting my sister in danger, putting my niece in danger, and for putting my faithful student and her best friends in danger!”

“Celestia!” Discord tried his best to stand and move away but couldn’t escape the wrath of her pillow. He ended up collapsing back onto the edge of her bed, still holding up his arms and just doing his best to keep the worst of her surprise attack at bay. “I thought…. And you said…. But the girls forgave me! Come on, you know I didn’t mean to…Celestia!

“You still lied to me—to me!” Celestia gestured to herself with her hoof, the pillow continuing to go at him. “After I let you out of your stone prison, put up with all of your shenanigans, gave you a place to live, shared cake with you, didn’t reprimand you when you had dark magic vines kidnap Luna and I in the hallways of our own home, and assured all of the citizens that you were a good person! I sent you out alone ahead of Twilight to help us, but instead you betrayed my trust. Somebody could have gotten very hurt!” She gave him a few more firm whacks with the pillow.

“Hey!” Discord tried, doing his best to speak through all the feathers flying out of the pillow. “I’m getting hurt right now! And I apologized! And remember the flowers?! Okay, okay, along with being sorry to all the ponies in general for acting like a selfish jerk, I’m sorry specifically to you for letting you down! Now please just stop this madness!”

And finally, though the stern look was still upon her features, Celestia did cease hitting Discord with the pillow. She floated the item back over to the head of her bed.

It took Discord a moment to brush away the pillow feathers and get himself siting up straight and reoriented again. He looked to Celestia to see her still eyeing him with disapproval. “Sheesh,” Discord rubbed the back of his neck, an eyebrow raised, “Forget the Elements of Harmony or that Rainbow Power—next time a bad guy attacks let’s just send you out there with that pillow. It’s effective.” He dramatically shook off the last of his trauma.

Celestia just sighed and put a hoof to her head. She lowered it and looked at him once more.

Then something of the sternness broke from her gaze, and before Discord knew what was happening now she suddenly reached out and wrapped an arm around him in a firm hug.

Discord’s eyes went wide in utter shock. “Um…I know I’m chaos, so this should never happen, but…I’m really confused.” He raised a finger and an eyebrow.

Celestia just let out a deep sigh and hugged him a little more, trying not to laugh. “This is for doing the right thing in the end, and for helping Twilight find her purpose and her castle, and for actually sincerely caring about others over yourself for once…and this is for the flowers too.”

Discord just blinked several times, still seeming unsure. But then he smiled hesitantly. “Oh, um…all right.” He carefully lowered his paw to her shoulder and patted it lightly. “You’re welcome, Celestia.” He raised an eyebrow. “Just so I know, am I going to have to go through an emotional roller coaster like this with Luna later? I’ll want to brace myself.”

Celestia just smiled, raising her head but still hugging him. “Oh, Luna will probably make it much simpler—one clear, stiff blow aimed right at you followed by one meaningful nod and a hoofshake. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes. But wear a helmet.” She chuckled softly.

Discord chuckled too and winked. “Can do.” He snapped his fingers, making a gaudy medieval knight’s helmet appear on his head, and then cleared his throat, speaking in a dramatic tone. “I’ll brace myself for thine valiant sister’s most deserved attack upon my humble person.”

Celestia sighed, shaking her head. “Yes, Discord, tease her about how she speaks like you usually do. I’m sure that won’t make her go harder on you.”

Discord’s smile warmed. “I can handle myself—besides it’s always worth her wrath to get her to crack a smile about that old-timey tick of hers. I’ll be fine.” He snapped his fingers to make the helmet disappear and then sighed. “I’m just glad the worst seems to be behind us in a lot of ways.”

Celestia nodded. “Yes.” She pulled back and smiled up at him. But then her look grew a touch stern again for a moment and she gave him a firm nudge with her hoof against his shoulder. “But so help me, Discord, if you ever worry me again like how you did with Tirek, I will just…” She sighed and shook her head, at a loss for words.

Discord couldn’t help smiling, and he held up his hands. “Easy there, princess, easy—no need to lose your poise all over little old me.” He grinned. “And I understand. I upset you a great deal. But you have my word I will never betray you or my friends again. Chaos’s honor.” He moved back a little to give her a deep bow and then glanced up, smiling as confidently as ever.

Celestia was smiling back at him but not as completely as he had expected.

Discord straightened up and raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“Discord…” Celestia sighed, a touch of sadness coming back to her features, “It’s not just your betrayal of all of us that I was upset about. It was your betrayal of yourself. That is something I never want you to think of doing ever again.” Her smile started to return. “You’d come so far, doing your best to be chaotic but kind, and then you sold yourself short and hurt yourself by hurting the people you care about. And you deserve better, Discord—you’ve proven that and so much more by befriending the girls and by befriending Luna and I as well.” She sighed and shook her head. “I hated to think of you abandoning everything you’d worked so hard for. It made me very sad.”

Her words made Discord frown a little, his eyes wide. A flash of guilt came over his features, and he looked down.

Celestia smiled and put a hoof on his arm, causing him to glance to her again. Her voice was soft and kind. “Please don’t feel bad about what you did anymore, Discord. Just remember how much we all believe in you and how much you believe in yourself, and do better next time. All right?”

Discord smiled a little and nodded. “All right. But if I do ever seem like I’m slipping up, feel free to sic Luna on me with her Royal Canterlot Voice or you can just attack me with your mighty pillow or something.”

The two beings smiled and shared a warm laugh. Celestia removed her hoof from Discord’s arm.

Then Discord let out a sigh and looked at Celestia curiously, still smiling. “So…what now?”

Celestia raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

“Well,” Discord rolled his eyes to the side, crossing his arms over his chest, “I’ve never been on the good guy side of the fall of a major villain—I’m assuming there’s a ton of clean-up and paperwork and pep rallies for the sake of morale. Whatever it is you all do now that happy days are here again, I’d like to contribute if you’ll just let me know what I might be needed for.” He shrugged. “It’ll be a chaotic contribution, but I think I can tweak it to be helpful as well.” He grinned.

Celestia’s smile brightened. “I think everypony would appreciate your help, Discord. Your magic could assist in repairing the damage caused by Tirek very much. I’ll work up a list of some tasks for you tomorrow and we can go over them. For now though feel free to go around Canterlot or Ponyville and help out as needed.” She yawned. “I’d come up with something more specific for you right now, but frankly Discord I need some rest before I get started on fully restoring the peace of Equestria.” She stretched her head a little to the side. “I haven’t actually fought in a battle in a very long time. And even though Luna, Cadance and I didn’t ‘fight’ in the sense that Twilight did, we still had to give up all of our magic. I’m afraid it’s taken quite a bit out of all of us.” She blinked a few times, smiling at him.

Discord nodded. “I’ll say. I mean, for a while there your hair actually stopped flowing in the non-existent breeze. Not to mention, there was just something missing without that gaudy cutie mark of yours along your side.” He pointed at the bright sun on Celestia’s flank, smiling a little more.

Celestia rolled her eyes and tried not to laugh. “Yes, well, we all had to make sacrifices—though I’m pretty sure the sacrifice of our magic in general was the more significant loss for myself and Luna and Cadance.” Then Celestia considered, putting a hoof to her chin. “But, speaking of what’s next…what are you going to do next now, Discord? I mean, after you help clean up? You’re completely reformed…you could go anywhere you want, explore as much as you want, make as many new friends as you want, and I’m sure people all over Equestria would warmly welcome you.” She smiled.

Discord’s smile brightened at the idea, but then he looked down and shrugged a little, trying to seem as casual as ever. “Oh, I don’t know if I’ll blow this cider stand that quickly. I’d…kind of like to work more on the friendships I already have here as long as I’m doing so well with them already. You know, I’ve never stayed in one place too long, at least not unless I was installing myself as evil overlord over everything. It might be nice just to stick around for a bit as an average person, enjoy the sights, work on fine-tuning and expanding my chaos for the greater good instead of for my own selfish ways.” He held up his chin proudly.

“So I guess this means you’ll be staying with us a little bit longer in the castle then?” Celestia’s smile grew, and she raised an eyebrow.

Discord’s grin picked up on one side, and he looked down at her. “Hey, betraying all of you to Tirek might have been bad, but depriving you of my delightful presence—now that would be just cruel.”

Celestia couldn’t help laughing a little. “Whether you’re staying around here or off travelling and finding new places to spread chaos, I just want you to know that your room will always be here for you, Discord. No matter what.” Suddenly another yawn came over Celestia. “Speaking of rooms though, if you don’t mind, Discord, I’d like to get started on a very long night’s sleep in mine now that I’ve started the sunset for the evening. I’m very exhausted.” Celestia used her magic to remove her shoes and yoke and crown, setting them over on her vanity, and for a moment she let her true fatigue show.

Discord was surprised at the sight of her now that he looked closely—eyes blinking to stay open, hair shimmering and waving just a little less forcefully than usual, and she seemed a little less regal than usual as well even regardless of the loss of her normal regalia. “Yeah, you do look like you could use sleep…or some relaxation.” He raised an eyebrow. “And, possibly a stupid question but, Equestria will be fine if the princess of the day dozes off for a bit before the sun goes down entirely and Luna officially takes the political reigns with the night, right?”

Celestia smiled a little and climbed up to sit beside him on her bed. “Equestria can govern itself better than it realizes, at least for a short time. Besides, the castle staff have all been given instructions, and either way Twilight is on duty as well at the moment. And Luna will awaken and her night will begin very soon. Everything will be fine, Discord, don’t worry. I don’t need you to ‘cover for me’ or anything.” She winked at him, recalling some of the first conversation they had ever had in his room together.

Discord chuckled. “Very funny.” Then he sighed. “I think I could use a good night’s sleep too. Going from good guy to bad guy to super good guy and getting attacked by a princess pillow—this day has been chaotic even for me.”

Celestia nodded. “I think that’s a very wise course of action, Discord.”

“I couldn’t take my nap here with you, could I?”

Celestia raised an eyebrow, but then just sighed and shook her head with an amused smile. “Discord…”

Discord instantly held up his hands though and explained, smiling. “I’m not joking—I’m serious.” He snapped his fingers, and instantly a familiar makeshift bed appeared on the floor by the fireplace (and now with the addition of a little nightstand complete with a Discord lamp and a familiar framed picture of himself and Fluttershy). Discord’s smile fell a bit, and he looked into Celestia’s eyes sincerely. “Can I stay? Please?”

Celestia still looked at him curiously. “Discord, I do enjoy your company, but I really do need some nice, quiet, private rest for now….” And then her gaze caught sight of the master of chaos’s nightstand, which distracted her for a moment to say the least. “Did you bring that from your room?” She tried not to smile too much.

Discord blinked, glanced to the nightstand, and then nodded to Celestia. “Oh yes, I always bring it with me now wherever I go and sleep. I find it comforting—homey, you know? I’ve really made my room here my own with things like this.”

“I can only imagine,” Celestia had to remark, her smile growing.

Discord raised an eyebrow. “Wait, you mean you and Luna have never snuck into my room for a peek?”

Celestia shook her head. “No, I’m afraid not,” she replied simply, glancing at him. “Luna and I respect your privacy, Discord. Though are you sure you still don’t want the maids to visit your room sometimes, especially if you’re going to be staying here for a while now?” She raised an eyebrow.

Discord grinned but shook his head. “It’s better they don’t. I opened up a few pocket dimensions in there, there are three or four trap doors—I can never remember how many exactly, sometimes pies rain up from the floor, and every once in a while the gravity reverses just for fun. If a maid goes in there, you might not get her back. Though I personally find the whole set up very comforting.” He chuckled a little.

Celestia tried not to laugh herself. “Very well, Discord. But if you do find it so comforting, why would you want to stay in my orderly room? You haven’t spent the night in here since you first came to the castle.” She raised an eyebrow again.

“Honestly?” Discord shrugged, smiling a little sheepishly.

Celestia’s smile picked up on one side, and she nodded. “Honesty would be refreshing, yes.”

Another chuckle left Discord, but then he sighed and finally admitted, “I want to make sure you’re okay.”

Celestia blinked, her eyes going wide and staying that way at this unexpected response. “I…but…” she tilted her head to the side, “I’m sorry, Discord, but what exactly do you mean?”

Discord sighed now, putting his hands in his lap and looking forward like he was saying the most causal thing in the world. “Well, Luna’s gearing up to guard the night, so between her duties and her night guards she’s more than looked after…and either way she doesn’t like bedroom visitors as I recall.” He chuckled a little more. “And Twilight’s got her friends staying over at her castle for now, so they can look after her. And Cadance has her hubby to tend to her needs in the Crystal Empire. But you wouldn’t have anyone looking out for you for the whole night. And after all you’ve been through, I mean, what if you go to sleep and slip into a magical coma or something with no one around to notice and do something about it?!” He held out his arms. Then he gestured to himself with his paw. “But at least if I’m here to watch over you, I’ll know you’re okay…okay?” He sighed almost in a touch of annoyance as he tried to play off the big, sappy admission to her. “Also, in my experience, you’re not the worst roommate possible to have—give yourself a little credit, Tia,” he had to tack on, just for good measure.

Celestia just smiled so very warmly at his explanation. Then she nodded to him. “I would love for you to stay for the evening Discord. And thank you for thinking of me.”

Discord beamed, looking to her and clapping his hands together. “Really? How excellent!” Then he blinked, seeing Celestia notice his enthusiasm, her smile only growing. “I mean, erm…” he cleared his throat and shrugged, putting his usual playful smug grin onto his features. “Sure, no problem. Besides, you do have the warmest and most luxurious room in the castle, and I think I deserve a top notch night’s sleep after all I’ve been through.”

“Yes, I’m sure we both do.” Celestia nodded, smiling more up at him…and he smiled more down at her.

For a moment they were just sitting there, gazing warmly at each other. Then Celestia finally raised an eyebrow. “Discord?”

Discord nodded. “Yes?”

“You can go over to your own bed now.” She gave him a little playful nudge.

Discord blinked. “Oh!” He stood up, almost stumbling forward a little but righting himself quickly enough. “Yes, yes, of course.” He cleared his throat, rolling his eyes as he went across the room. “Sorry. All this final reform stuff has me a little giddy.” He lay down on his back in his bed and pulled up a blanket.

Celestia shook her head but smiled. “It’s all right. And I’m glad to have you here. I feel safer already.” She lay down as well and covered herself with a blanket, then used her magic to undo the curtains and cover the last of the daylight still coming into the window.

“You should,” Discord smirked, settling against his pillows. “Just think of me as your own personal chaotic body guard.” He yawned. “Now, if you really want to make me happy, as a ‘bodyguard’ and as master of chaos, once a few days have passed and you’ve gotten things relatively back to normal with yourself and Equestria, you’ll let me take you and Luna and even Twilight if she’s up for it out on the town for an evening, just to really let you all relax and loosen up and have fun. Trust me, they could use it, and you need it.”

Celestia sighed but smiled so much that it was really an effort not to laugh. “Discord, somehow I don’t think our subjects would take a great deal of comfort from seeing three of its princesses dealing with the aftermath of a near defeat by gallivanting to every dance club and cider press in Canterlot and leaving a stream of amusing chaos in their wake.”

“Hey, who says that’s all we’d do together, and who says we’d stay in Canterlot?” Discord grinned. “I meant let me take you girls away for a day—as long as we get back before sunset or sunrise or whatever, no one’ll notice. Fluttershy and the girls and your staff can handle everything.” He eyed her with amusement. “Come on, we’ll go get a bungalow on Horseshoe Bay, and you can sip a fruity drink, go swimming, work on your tan—I never want to say anything, but for the sun princess you are just white as a sheet, Celestia.”

Celestia did have to laugh now. She smiled, shaking her head. “While that sounds fun, Discord, I’m just not sure that’s something we could work out anytime soon. Maybe in a few months or next year after everything’s settled and Twilight feels more comfortable with her role in Equestria, but not right now. Though the offer does sound nice, I’ll admit.”

Discord sighed but then turned in his bed to look up at her with a grin. “So then I guess my suggestions of skiing in the Switzerhorse Alps and going to a resort in Buenos Pegasaires and touring the Riviera in Prance are all out too, huh?”

Celestia shrugged, glancing down at him over the edge of her bed. “I’m afraid so, yes. For now, at least.”

“And no chariot joyride to the Crystal Empire to pick up Cadance and throw the biggest party Equestria has ever seen in her crystal palace, huh?” He chuckled.

Celestia shook her head again. “No, I’m sorry, we couldn’t manage that either.”

Discord raised an eyebrow. “Would you at least agree to letting me take some of you princesses on a walk and picnic in the Everfree forest one evening?”

“That might actually be nice, Discord. Thank you.” Celestia nodded with an appreciative smile. “I’ll mention it to Luna and Twilight.”

Discord nodded in return. “Good. You guys really do need to relax more. None of us are getting any younger.” He grinned. “I mean look at you and me—Luna’s at least dragging herself through preparations for her night watch, and Twilight actually had a major battle but is singing and dancing and she’ll probably stay up giggling with her friends all night long, and Cadance seemed chipper as anything when she boarded her train to go back home. But you and I—all we did was lose our magic for a bit, and now we’re passing out for bedtime before it’s even dark out.” He shook his head, and then snapped up a pink sleep mask for himself. “We used to be able to go at each other for days, maybe catch a few winks on the sidelines, eat an apple or some chocolate milk, and get right back to glorious combat and witty banter with one another. Now we need naps, days, and the promise of a picnic to get back to normal. I’m almost a little embarrassed.” He chuckled. “Oh well, ‘sunrise, sunset’ I suppose, right, Tia?”

“Yes…” Celestia’s eyes closed, and she cuddled into her pillow. “The time’s do change, Discord. Getting to bed as early as possible is just the most sensible plan right now to make sure you and I are perfectly refreshed and ready to face the tasks we have ahead of us in the coming days.”

Discord raised an eyebrow, peeking out from under his sleep mask for a moment. “Oh yes, yes, of course… ‘makes sense’, I suppose.” He rolled his visible eye and tried not to chuckle.

“It’s the most sound and the most comfortable choice.” Celestia turned a little, her face becoming hidden by her hair. She yawned.

“Yes, yes, truly the safest course of action.” Discord snapped away the sleep mask entirely and sat up, smiling fully.

“We’re just being…responsible.” Celestia yawned.

Mmm hmm…”

There was silence for a few moments.

And then with a deep sigh Celestia raised her head from her bed. “I have not gone to bed before dark in…I don’t know how many moons.” She almost laughed at herself. Then she used her magic to reopen her curtains again. “You know what, Discord…perhaps going to bed early can wait. This has been one of the most harrowing days in Equestria’s history, but I can sleep on that anytime. I think something else is called for.” She raised an eyebrow. “And since when do you go along with plans that are ‘sensible’ and ‘responsible’ and that ‘make sense’?” She glanced at Discord and then blinked at the sight of him floating over his bed at this point and just trying not to laugh.

Discord shrugged at her confusion and explained. “Oh, I was just waiting to see how long it would take you to figure out for yourself that the ‘going right to bed like a good little pony’ plan was boring even for you—sheesh, you’re the oldest pony in Equestria but you’re not an old nag, Celestia. Rest can come later—relaxation is what you need first, even if it’s not in the form of one of my brilliant vacation suggestions from before.” He laughed. “Now, what reasonable yet fun thing shall we do together to really tire ourselves out for bed?” He crossed his arms over his chest, raising an eyebrow and giving her a grin.

Celestia rolled her eyes with a smile and then sat up completely, letting her blankets fall away. “Do you want to sneak down to the kitchen for some cake? The kitchen staff’s all gone home early for the evening.” A touch of sheepishness came to her features. “And also I had them prepare half a dozen different kinds this morning. I thought they might come in handy.”

Discord landed on his feet, putting his paw to his chin. “Well, it’s not gallivanting through the streets of Canterlot in an uproarious celebration of victory, but one of our famous ‘midnight’ snacks together is a start.” He nodded and headed toward her door. “Come on, we’ll stay up for hours working our way through that emergency dessert stockpile you planned in your infinite wisdom—we’ll giggle, we’ll gossip, we’ll swap secrets and share stories, I’ll make plenty of good-natured jokes at your expense. And maybe Luna will join us at the end of things if she has a spare moment.” He pushed open the bedroom door.

An amused Celestia climbed out of her bed, gave a small stretch, and then headed over to him. “That sounds like fun, Discord.”

“Oh everything with me is fun, Celestia—you know that.” He chuckled and then gestured forward with a dramatic bow. “Ladies first.”

Celestia nodded in return and headed out into the hall. “Thank you, Discord.”

Discord nodded and followed after her, closing the door behind them. The two headed toward the kitchen, a peaceful silence between them for a moment.

“So…” Discord then started as they continued forward together, “Speaking of giggling and gossiping and swapping secrets…maybe while we’re sharing this cake you can tell me what was up with that ‘come hither’ bit you used to lull me into a false sense of security back there for your pillow attack?” He raised an eyebrow, smiling but mostly eyeing Celestia very curiously. “That did not seem like you, Celestia, not at all.”

Celestia shrugged, smiling a little sheepishly. “Well, as I said I’m very tired, Discord. And I really was very frustrated with you for what you did. That might be affecting my behavior and my patience a little. I’m sure after a few days of rest and routine though that I’ll be feeling just like my old self.” She looked down, smiling but seeming unsure. “I suppose I might have gone too far though with the suggestion that I…I mean, when you closed your eyes, you seemed like you thought I—”

Discord cleared his throat, moving things right along. “Hey, so I misinterpreted a signal— you’re not the only one who’s a little tired, Tia. And either way, I’m not used to you exercising a sense of humor.” He sighed and rolled his eyes, his grin picking up on one side. “You were surprisingly good at delivering that kind of joke. You pick and choose your moments, but you really are secretly funny, Celestia.”

Celestia couldn’t help but smile at the compliment (a big one coming from him considering his pride in his own sense of humor). “Well, you’re not the only one of us who can use extreme flattery to their advantage. I’ve spent the last few months learning from the master, after all.”

Discord’s smile grew, and he had to chuckle a little. “Yes, well, I suppose that’s true.” He looked forward in amusement.

“I’m just surprised you responded to everything so well. I honestly thought I would have to work much harder to get you to go along with it.” Celestia raised an eyebrow, glancing at him hesitantly out of the corner of her eye. “Discord?”

He seemed very casual…too casual. And that fact concerned Celestia a little more as he feigned a yawn and replied, “Yes?”

She looked forward and brushed some of her mane back a little with her hoof. “As long as we’re talking now, I’ve always wondered…why do you use that kind of flattery to joke with me and bother me? All you do to bother Luna is make fun of her old-fashioned way of speaking. And…why did you let me go so far with things back in my room?” She raised an eyebrow again. “You never used to behave like that with me in the old days.”

“Well,” Discord cleared his throat, “In all fairness, during the old days we usually didn’t have time for more than a few angry quips before you and Luna would try to stop me and I would try to stop you, yada, yada, whereas now we’ve actually been living together and being friends. But, really Celestia dear, I’m surprised it isn’t obvious why I tease you so much and why I’d go along with watching you actually take up the mantle yourself.” He glanced at her and grinned very smugly (even more smugly as he noticed her eyes widen a little). “It’s because I know that kind of ‘flattery’ is the thing that personally ruffles your perfect pony feathers absolutely the most.”

Celestia raised an eyebrow at this statement.

Discord chuckled and explained, crossing his arms over his chest. “Look, consider Luna—when she talks in that old-fashioned way she has, yes, in part it’s because she’s not used to modern speech. But she also does it to set herself off from the crowd, because it makes her feel regal and important to address others as ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ and to refer to herself as ‘we’—it’s a point of pride. So when I mock her about it, it undermines the effect she’s going for and takes her down a few pegs.” He rolled his eyes. “I’m actually probably doing her more good than harm when I tease her, but I work with what I’m given.”

Celestia smiled in understanding but of course still continued to pursue her question. “Yes, I understand, but still, the way you bother me still seems so much more…extreme than the way you like to bother Luna.”

“I know, I know…I’m getting to that,” Discord assured. Then his eyes narrowed playfully, and he focused in one Celestia again. “And as for how I like to ‘tease’ you, Tia, what you pride yourself on is your poise, your grace, your professionalism—always being taken seriously and always being on friendly terms with everyone. When I flirt with you—and yes, we’re adults, so let’s just use the term already—it buckles that poise, makes you question your grace, totally shatters your professionalism, actually makes you drop the seriousness and laugh or smirk for a moment, and of course it takes your right out of your ‘friendship’ element and into something a little less cut and dry and simple.” He chuckled in triumph. “I knew from the moment I was first reformed and I suggested bunking with you or Luna and you practically tripped over your own horseshoes in Ponyville that I’d found the perfect way to get on your nerves without doing evil or doing anything you could call me out on, as long as I didn’t push it too far of course. It was like a perfect chaos storm of amusing commentary all for my taking.” He looked forward and grinned proudly to himself.

Celestia was just smiling warmly now. She shook her head in amusement. “Only you would put so much elaborate thought into bothering another person in the friendliest possible way, Discord.”

“Yes, well,” he shrugged, brushing his curled paw against his chest and then holding it out to admire it, “As I said from the start, reforming my chaos required a lot of recalibration on my part. I still had to be the same old obnoxious and insulting Discord you and everyone else has always known and loved, but I had to do it in a way that wasn’t mean or evil. And I succeeded, and brilliantly I might add.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Of course, outside of that, I have always just been a natural at charming the ladies.” The smug look remained on his face, though he blushed just slightly.

Celestia sighed, smiling more to herself. “I don’t doubt it, Discord.” She laughed softly. “And I’m glad you finally explained things to me now.”

Discord chuckled, his grin picking up on one side. “Really, Tia, I’m surprised you just didn’t figure it out for yourself—I mean, what else could my reasoning be for ‘flattering’ you all the time?” He put his arms behind his back and raised an eyebrow at her, almost suggesting that he was looking for an answer to the question.

Celestia blinked. “Oh, well…I don’t know. I just…knew it might be part of your chaos, but I wasn’t really sure why exactly you were choosing to handle things in that particular way.”

“Hmm…” Discord’s eyes drifted forward, “Did you ever consider the possibility that, Celestia forbid, maybe all of this time I haven’t been joking and egging you on? Maybe I just think that you’re cute, but I’m too insecure to ask you out for a milkshake or something, so gags and off color comments and the occasional bouquet all work just as well for now?”

Celestia stopped moving forward.

Her violet eyes were wide, and she was blushing considerably.

Discord stopped and (of course) noticed. And Discord smiled. He leaned down close to her, the end of his tail coming around her other side to brush back a bit of her mane. “Oh Tia, my dear, dear friend Tia…you are just too fun to play with. And now that I know that you’ll blush for the rest of eternity wondering about what I just said whenever you go into your room and look at those flowers I gave you, truly I may die a completely happy and fulfilled being of chaos.” A low chuckle escaped him which then grew into a steady snicker and finally full laughter as he straightened up and walked ahead of her, turning to open the kitchen door which they had just come upon. “There’s nothing quite as chaotic as the sight of a powerful woman in a romantic fluster.” He grinned, getting his mirth under control. “But for now I’d like my cake buddy back, and when bedtime really does come I am not carrying you petrified like this all the way back to your room, so if you could snap out of it and quite flattering yourself so much, I’d appreciate it.” He leaned back against the doorway, arms crossed over his chest. “Come on, Celestia. Sheesh, don’t just stand there—you look like a statue.” His grin rose up as high as possible on one side. “Believe me, I’d know.”

Celestia blinked, and then she just couldn’t help herself. She smiled and laughed. And Discord laughed too.

Celestia let out a breath and headed forward, shaking her head as she entered the kitchen. “Discord, sometimes I have no idea what to make of you.”

“Good,” Discord headed inside after her, “then as master of chaos, even fully reformed, I’m still doing my job right.”

They went to their usual table, and Discord snapped up some plates and chairs side by side and silverware while Celestia magically took a chocolate cake out of the icebox.

“Hey,” Discord smirked, taking his seat, “If Luna joins us later, want to have some fun and tell her that after the whole ‘bouquet and a wink’ thing, you and I got to talking and we just got back from a quick elopement to Las Pegasus, so welcome home new brother-in-law?” He laughed, grinning at her playfully. “I could easily snap up a wedding cake for us to complete the effect.”

Celestia’s gaze went a little dry though her smile remained as she set out their snack upon the table. “She wouldn’t believe that, Discord. She knows me too well. You may be a very nice friend and…very interesting, but there is a limit—I’d certainly need more than flowers and a wink to run off with anypony.” Celestia sat beside Discord at the table and smiled more as she served them slices and added, “But she might believe we were suddenly courting. We could tell her that.” She laughed a little, taking her first bite of cake.

“Ooo, exhausted Celestia has a sense of humor—I like it.” Discord laughed as well, eating a bite of his own piece of cake. “Okay, we’ll tell Luna we’re ‘courting’ then.” He rolled his eyes, and the two shared a warm chuckle at their plan. Then Discord sighed deeply, looking to his nighttime companion as they both happily consumed their snacks side by side. “Celestia, this is off the record, but I really was the biggest idiot for bothering with Tirek…letting him get under my skin about my reform, going along with his idea that somehow I was weak for liking you and Fluttershy and the other ponies and had to prove I could still be a notorious master of chaos. So what if I don’t spend all of my life in strife anymore? I would give a thousand chaos empires that I had to spend all of my time magically fortifying and maintaining by doing evil for the dozens of the good chaotic times I’ve had with the girls and Luna and you over the last few months.”

“Really, Discord?” Celestia smiled at him, magically lowering her fork for a moment.

Discord smiled and nodded. “Yes. Besides, I already gave up a thousand years to reach this point—why not a thousand hypothetical empires too?” He laughed a little and so did she, and then he sighed again and added, “In fact, I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be or any other thing I’d rather be doing than sitting here having cake with you right now.”

Celestia smiled so warmly. “You know, Discord…I feel the exactly same way.” She finished another bite of her cake and then yawned a little. “Let’s not stay up too late though. I really do have a lot of work to start tomorrow.”

Discord sighed dramatically and rolled his eyes. “Boring!” He chuckled and ate more cake.

Celestia’s smile picked up on one side as she looked at him out of the corner of her eye. “And besides, I’m quite looking forward to our sleepover, my old friend. Once we turn in for the night, perhaps I’ll keep the fire bright and we can talk and joke more until we fall asleep. After everything that’s happened, that sounds like the most peaceful night I could imagine.” She savored another bite of her cake.

Discord’s eyes brightened, and something about his smile perked considerably. “Oh, well, um…” he played with his cake on his plate, “all right then. That doesn’t sound like a half bad night at all come to think of it.” He looked down, and for the moment the usual mirth and cheekiness and arrogance all faded from his features. He was looking at the cake but he was clearly deep in thought about something else. “Celestia?”

Celestia glanced at him. “Yes?”

“You really do forgive me about Tirek just like that?” Discord snapped the end of his tail and looked to her. “After only a few hours, some flowers, an apology, and cake?”

Celestia smiled softly, her voice lowering. “Yes, Discord. I do.” She touched her hoof to his arm on the table. “Friends don’t need much more than that to forgive each other. And especially not friends as old as we are.”

Discord’s smile grew. “I see. I’m…glad I’ve gotten a lesson as good as that one out of this whole experience then.” He ate another bite of his cake with satisfaction. “And I’m glad I understand now why it really is better to use my powers for good instead of evil.”

“I’m proud of you.” Celestia let her hoof linger for a moment longer and then removed it from him. “Can you make us some chocolate milk to go with the cake?” She magically served them both another slice each.

Discord nodded. “Of course.” He snapped his fingers and made chocolate milk appear in front of them both in two long stem glasses. “To chaos?” He held up his glass with his tail.

Celestia smiled more and nodded, holding up her own glass with her magic. “To chaos...and to friendship.” Discord nodded too. They clinked their glasses and drank together.

They lowered their glasses, and then Discord sighed, grinning as he dug into his fresh piece of cake with his fork. “Now about my role in future government affairs—”

Celestia’s magic dropped her fork with a clatter right in the middle of bringing a fresh bite to her mouth. “Your what in what?” She looked at him with wide eyes.

“My role in future government affairs.” Discord chuckled and shrugged as she continued to look at him in such confusion. He explained. “What? I’m an immortal, all-powerful being of good living in a castle—I must have the right to some direct say in how this land of ours is run. I’m not asking to be made a prince necessarily—you could just make me a duke or a knight or baron or something. Anyway, whatever you pick, as I said, my credentials—magical, ageless, castle-dwelling—are in order, so I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other at council meetings and dinners of state and grand treaty signings and whatnot.” He smirked, though there was an unusual touch of sincerity in his tone as he added, “Seriously, Celestia, I want to help. Chaos can have something to contribute. And I think, after all we’ve been through together, you know that just as well as I do.”

Celestia eyed him curiously for a moment, but then finally she couldn’t help a smile coming back to her lips. She considered and then nodded to him. “You may attend a few assembly meetings and also be present at my side when I hold court as a guest and an observer. We’ll start with that for now. And if you have any suggestions for anything regarding Equestria’s government, you’ll have to write up an official proposal for your idea, I’ll look it over, and then we’ll see about putting it through the proper channels, all right?” She smiled more.

Discord practically beamed. “You have got yourself a deal, Celestia.” He winked. “So now that that’s settled, when do I get my obnoxious royal title and my gaudy crown and the chance at a castle?” He crossed his arms over his chest, leaning back confidently in his seat.

Celestia just sighed and gave him a light nudge, eating another bite of her cake. “Don’t push it, master of chaos.”

Discord just chuckled, eating some more cake as well. “Now, see, this is what I’m talking about—this is conversation. Tirek was dreadful at this, but you are truly a delightful companion, Celestia.” Discord smiled more to himself and more at Celestia. “Oh I think I’m going to like being fully reformed even better than being ‘kind of sort of’ reformed. It’s truly given me a new appreciation for everything and everyone in my life.” He took her hoof and raised it, gazing into her eyes with a smug (if not somewhat charming) grin.

Celestia blinked and couldn’t help smiling back at him hesitantly at first but then with a touch of familiar playfulness.

“Hello, sister, Discord. Am I interrupting anything?”

Both Celestia and Discord blinked, and their attentions turned to Luna who was now standing in the doorway of the kitchen, an eyebrow raised and a somewhat amused smile on her features.

Celestia blinked a few times and then smiled, taking her hoof from Discord’s paw and returning to her cake. She let out a small sigh. “Hello, Luna. Of course not. Would you like some cake?” She used her magic to make a fresh plate and fork appear.

Luna approached and magically made herself a seat at the table opposite from her sister and Discord. “Actually, yes, I wouldn’t mind a slice. It really was such a long day, and I do have such a long night ahead of me.” She began to magically serve herself.

Discord, meanwhile, just grinned as he finished a bite of his own cake. “Always good to see you, Luna. And of course you weren’t interrupting anything, just two friends sharing a late snack….” He used his tail to dab at his mouth with a napkin. “Now, if you had come around earlier back when we were in Celestia’s room and she threw herself at me and teased me with a kiss, then you would have been interrupting something.”

Celestia almost spit the sip of chocolate milk she had just been enjoying clear across the table. Her purple eyes perfectly dilated.

Luna just sat there wide-eyed, a hoof to her mouth…an almost imperceptible smile of intrigue on her face.

Discord then spent the next several minutes lost in convulsive laughter while Celestia put aside her glass and blushed considerably and looked down. Eventually, she cleared her throat and finally tried to explain. “Luna, that is not…. The context of…. I didn’t really mean….” And all the while she could see Luna sitting there trying very hard to take things very seriously but losing as a smile pulled more and more at the corners of her mouth.

Finally Luna just nodded to her sister’s efforts, taking up a forkful of cake. “Of course, sister, of course. I understand completely.”

Celestia just sighed but couldn’t help starting to smile herself. She looked to Discord (who had barely gotten himself back under control now) and tried to seem stern, but her smile was winning out. “Discord…why?” She rubbed one of her temples, shaking her head.

A few more chuckles left him as he sat up completely again, wiping a tear from his eye. “What? I thought we agreed we were going to pull a gag on Luna and tell her that after the flowers thing, we’re dating now. I was just setting us up for it. That’s how you get people to believe jokes and lies, Celestia. You sprinkle in a little bit of the truth to make them seem more real.” He snapped, magically making some sprinkles fall on all of their cake slices, and then shrugged, a smug grin on his features.

Celestia blinked, her eyes going a little wide in understanding. “Oh. Right, yes, we said we’d…I see.” She smiled softly. “I’m sorry I ruined the joke then, Discord. Though I wish you could have found a less…a more ‘subtle’ way of putting your introduction to our prank.”

“Hmm, and miss the look of shock and shyness on your face? Never.” Discord raised his glass high and took a large swig of chocolate milk.

Luna blinked, lowering her fork after finishing a few more bites of cake. “So then something did happen in Celestia’s room?” She looked to both of them.

“Nothing happened,” a slightly blushing Celestia assured her sister before Discord could add more. “I just said some things to make Discord happy so that I could get him comfortable and close enough to reprimand him for his grave slip-up regarding his friendship studies before I expressed my gratitude that he came to his senses and is now our close friend again. That’s all.”

“Yes, she lulled me into a false sense of security with her feminine wiles and then she struck a mighty blow of disapproval against my ne’er-do-well shenanigans.” Discord chuckled. “What can I say, I have a weakness for ‘flattery’.” He made air quotes around the word, specifically eyeing (a still blushing and now rolling her eyes to the side) Celestia. Then Discord turned his attention across the table again and raised an eyebrow at Luna. “Incidentally, I’m assuming I should expect a little blow-up from you about what I did too and all the stress it caused, etcetera, etcetera. When’s good for you?” He snapped, making an open datebook appear in his claw and a quill in his paw. “I could pencil you in sometime before dinner tomorrow or early Tuesday morning. The weekend’s are just no good for me at all.”

Luna just grinned at him. “No need for that, Discord. I’ll just pop by your dreams some night. There’s less of a risk to your safety if I lose my temper in your dreams. Believe me.” She laughed a little, and Celestia smiled more.

Discord just sighed, snapping away his datebook and quill. “Very well. I’ll await thine wrath—I mean, the firm hoof of thine justice, fierce Luna.” He gave her a dramatic mock bow and chuckled.

“Hmm, laugh while thou can, bold draconequus,” Luna replied, finishing another large bite of her cake, a confident look on her features. “I only just regained dominion over my moon little over a year ago—I was displeased to have to relinquish it to Twilight Sparkle, even for one moonset, and you shall hear all about it. And in my own impressive Royal Canterlot Voice too.”

Celestia and Luna shared a warm laugh at the idea.

Discord just rolled his eyes. “Very well, I suppose I deserve that much.” He smiled. “But, for now, shall I summon another cake from the ice box?” He held up his fingers to snap. “We seem to have polished off this one very thoroughly.” And indeed only crumbs were left on the cake platter now.

Luna nodded, dabbing at her mouth with a napkin, her own piece already fully devoured. “Yes, please do, Discord. I need all of the energy I can get to make it through this night before I can finally rest again. “

Celestia nodded as well, her own plate nearly clean again. “I wouldn’t mind another slice or two as well, Discord, thank you.”

“Of course, my dear friends.” Discord nodded and snapped, and instantly a fresh cake (apple spice with vanilla frosting) was floating itself over to the table, slicing itself up, and serving the three friends. “And a glass of chocolate milk for Luna too.” He snapped once more, making a normal glass of his famous brew appear before the Princess of the Night. Discord smiled, digging into his fresh slice with his fork. “Now, you know, as long as the dust has settled on my reform and it looks like we’re going to be castle-mates for a while longer,” he flashed a grin at Luna, “by the way, I’m staying indefinitely—your sister said it was fine.” He chuckled as Luna rolled her eyes but nodded to him, then went on. “Anyway, as long as we’re going to be stuck together for a bit, I think we should start acting like real castle-mates instead of just like three incredible magical beings who happen to dwell under the same roof. I’m thinking game nights, taking photos together for our own Hearthswarming cards, putting my name on the mailbox finally, engaging in various madcap (and of course chaotic) misadventures that ultimately end up all right and teach us all valuable lessons about togetherness and having fun—what do you say?” He looked to both girls.

“I say after everything that’s happened lately, this castle needs all of the fun and friendship the three of us can manage. And we would certainly welcome you playing a central role in those efforts, Discord.” Celestia smiled warmly, and she noticed Discord’s grin brighten at her response. She looked to Luna. “Do you agree sister?”

Luna nodded, finishing a large sip of her chocolate milk. “Yes, sister. The fun around here could certainly stand to be doubled, and Discord is indeed skilled at creating fun.” She laughed warmly. “I think I understand what must be done.” She straightened up in her chair and looked to Discord with a regal smile. “Discord, I believe it is official—thou shall now be our new court jester! We formally bestow the honor upon thee!” She bowed her head (and used her magic to make a large purple and yellow jester’s hat appear on his head), then looked to him again. “We welcome thee for our amusement.”

Celestia burst into laughter and Luna quickly followed. Discord blinked at first at the joke but then couldn’t help smiling and admiring the hat and then laughing heartily as well.

All three of them continued to enjoy sharing the happy moment together in the kitchen, surrounded by warmth and friendship and cake. And as their brief time together this evening went on, and the jokes and memories and eating continued, they almost forgot about all of the strife they had endured recently and even that they had ever been enemies at all—they felt like a group that had been friends forever just enjoying one of countless nights spent in the natural happiness of each others’ company.

Unfortunately, though, the night could not go on forever, at least not for all three of them. Indeed, eventually Luna found herself finishing her last bite of cake alone (this one a slice of lemon with coconut frosting—the group had gotten through three cakes in total impressively enough) while she tried not to smile at the sight before her. Across from her, near their own empty plates, Celestia and Discord had dozed off with their heads on the table and leaning against each other a little, smiles upon their faces.

Luna’s smile picked up just slightly on one side, and she whispered softly to herself. “They do seem to get on rather well. Though I do believe my sister still hasn’t realized yet that he truly may have developed an odd if somewhat sweet preference for her after all this time. It makes their relationship very interesting to observe.” She closed her eyes, shaking her head in amusement, and then pushed back her chair and stood up from the table. “I am just glad their friendship has survived the events of today. I have grown rather fond of Discord’s presence myself, and I know Celestia would have missed him terribly if his villainy had taken him out of our lives again.” Luna magically placed all of the dishes into the sink and swept up the cake crumbs. Then she used her magic to make a large blue blanket with moons and stars appear, which she laid over her sister and Discord who only sighed in their sleeps and moved a little closer together to share in the warmth of covering.

Luna smiled to herself and was about to depart to see to the rest of her nightly duties when suddenly the sound of a loud yawn made her pause at the kitchen doorway and turn around.

Discord was sitting up a bit underneath the blanket, stretching his arms and blinking his eyes. “Hmm…what’s…” His gaze fell to Celestia at his side, and his eyes went very wide for a moment. Then he swallowed and paused, seeming unsure of what to do.

Luna cleared her throat lightly. “Discord? I’m sorry I woke you.” She nodded her head in apology. “It’s all right—you and Celestia fell asleep while we were all talking, so I covered you. I have to return to my nightly duties now. But as long as you’re up, perhaps we should carry my sister off to bed. She has been through much, and I would rather not wake her to have her walk back to her room or risk waking her with the suddenness of a teleportation spell. However, if we both use our magic to carefully suspend her all the way to her room, I don’t believe she wouldn’t notice being moved at all. Then you could go to your room to sleep as well.” She smiled.

Looking to Luna, Discord blinked a few times at first, but then his normal smile returned to his features. “Oh,” he kept his voice low, “Erm, don’t worry about it, Luna. You go off to your nightly duties, I can take Celestia back to her room on my own. I promise I won’t wake her. Besides, I’m sleeping there tonight myself.” He shrugged.

Luna raised an eyebrow, losing her smile a little.

Discord sighed, explaining. “I set myself up that little bed on the floor that she made me once when I first came here to live. I explained to her my reasons for wanting to stay with her tonight much more sappily than this, but the short version is…I just want to make sure she’s all right. You’re going to be awake while your magic recharges tonight and you’ll have your night guards to look out for you, Twilight’ll have her friends, Cadance will have her husband…. I just don’t want Celestia to be left alone in case there’s some kind of problem. And I can sense magical imbalances, so I’ll be the first to know if there is one and I’ll be right there if she needs any help.” His smile fell a little. “I feel responsible. Spending one night making sure the mess I got us all into doesn’t keep having bad consequences is the least I could do.” He took a deep breath and his smile returned to normal. “Besides, she said it was okay. I promise.”

Luna considered for a moment but then finally gave Discord a nod. “Very well. I will leave my sister in your care.” She smiled softly at him.

Discord’s smile brightened. “Thanks, Luna.”

Luna nodded again. “Have a pleasant night, Discord.” She turned to leave.

“You too, Luna,” Discord called back quietly.

But then Luna stopped in the doorway. “Discord?” She turned her head to face him again.

“Yes?” He still smiled back at her.

“I just wanted to say that I think I approve…” She noticed him raise an eyebrow, so she smiled more and added, “…of the fact that you gave Celestia flowers. I think I approve.”

Discord still looked at her very curiously for a moment. But then his eyes went a little wide, and he blushed slightly. “Oh! Oh, well, it…like I already told your sister, it was really no big deal. I was just trying to show I’m sorry and that I care.” He rolled his eyes off to the side. “Why must you ponies get so dramatic and read so much into everything?” Then he blinked, and suddenly his usual confident smirk was back. He snapped his fingers. “In fact, right now there’s a huge box of dark chocolates waiting for you on your bed in your room courtesy of me.” He snapped again. “And now Cadance has a big pink stuffed dragon doll in her room with a card that says ‘I’m sorry’ taped to it.” He shrugged. “So you see, nothing special to remark upon about me giving flowers to Celestia—I’ve given something to each of you now to make up for what I put you through with losing your magic.” He flexed his fingers, seeming very satisfied with himself.

“Of course, Discord.” Luna tried very hard not to laugh. “In that case, thank you for the chocolates, and I’m certain Cadance will like her gift as well. I’ll see you later, dear friend.” And with that she turned and finally left the kitchen.

Discord’s smug look remained until he was sure she was quite gone, and then he let out a deep breath. “Whew…Okay, Discord, maybe you need to tone down how thickly you’ve been laying on the ‘flirting Celestia into embarrassment’ bit. It’s not only starting to get to you, it’s starting to get a little too much attention from others now.” He rested his head on his paw and smiled again. “Still though, today was a special day, she deserved a bouquet. And who was I to deny her one? Dear annoyingly perfect Celestia….” He glanced to the sun princess who still slumbered soundly next to him under their blanket. His smile picked up on one side and his gaze warmed. “Okay, let’s get you to bed then, my cake-loving lady. You’ve had a very long day. You deserve the comfort of a downy pillow and silk sheets and cozy covers.” He snapped his fingers, and now he was standing and Celestia was floating right near him, supported by a large cotton candy cloud and still covered with Luna’s blanket. She continued to sleep soundly. “Let’s go, Tia.” He went to the kitchen exit, and the cloud following along. The pair left the room and proceeded down the hall together.

Discord began to speak softly partly to himself, partly to Celestia, unable to help doing so as they made their way back to Celestia’s room. “We really did stay up too late.” He yawned deeply. “But it was worth it—talking with you and Luna is always so much fun.” He smiled. “I’m glad you both forgive me. I think I’ll even be able to forgive myself entirely soon enough. And I hope Fluttershy will forgive me completely too eventually.” He wrung his claw and paw together a little. “I know if you were up, you’d assure me she will. And I know she will too…it’s just I also know it might take a while for her to trust me completely again. But it’s okay, I can wait. I know we’ll be best friends again soon just like before.” He smiled a little again. “Actually, if you two princesses can forgive me so easily, it should be a cinch for Fluttershy to forgive me too—I don’t bother her nearly as much as I bother you two, and I’m far less obnoxious to her than I am to the two of you.” He chuckled a little.

For a moment Discord glanced back at Celestia, almost like they really were in conversation, but Celestia just continued to sleep nestled on her fluffy pink cloud and covered in Luna’s blanket. She smiled as she slept—she seemed perfectly peaceful.

Discord smiled softly at the sight but then turned forward again. “Yikes, I really must like talking to you to be doing it even when you’re sleeping.” He chuckled more. “But then again, I’ll admit, these past few months…you have grown on me.” Discord sighed, looking down a little. “Not a ‘ton’ or anything. I mean, I-I could quit this place any time I like, I just don’t want to, is all. But, well…don’t let it get around, Celestia, but despite all the orderliness and how often you reprimand me and the uncanny fact that somehow, no matter how sneaky I am, you almost always know when I’m up to a trick or stretching the truth or trying to distract you…despite how much of a wet blanket you can be on my amusement each day…I like you. I think your sister’s noticed.” He cleared his throat. “Oh, of course I like Luna too. But I think you and I have a special rapport. We’re a challenge for each other. I really like challenges.” He chuckled softly once more.

Discord heard Celestia yawn in her sleep, but then she grew silent again.

Discord smiled to himself and nodded. “Yes, yes, I know you’re sleepy, Celestia. Don’t worry, soon we’ll be in your cozy room and you’ll be in your nice warm safe bed.” He sighed, shaking his head with a grin. “You really do need me on the side of good—who else is going to be around when Luna’s off seeing to the night to make sure that you end up tucked in after too much midnight cake?” His smile picked up a little on one side. “Still, the two of us staying under Luna’s blanket in the kitchen and then waking up together in the morning did have a certain appeal. It certainly would have startled you in the most hilarious way possible.” He stifled a laugh, shaking his head as they came to her bedroom door now. “And there I go getting carried away with flattering you again—when will I ever learn?”

He used his magic to open the door, and still Celestia slept so soundly upon the pink cloud. Discord entered with her and closed the door behind them. Then he used his magic to draw the curtains and light the fire.

“You know, since you like cake so much, I’d really like to whip you up a fantastic birthday cake one of these days.” Discord grinned a little as he pulled back her blankets and then had Celestia’s cloud lower her to the surface of the bed. “Of course, first I’d have to get Luna to tell me when your birthday is. That shouldn’t be too hard, though. She’s quite talkative once you get to know her, and much less often in her old-timey way once she gets comfortable around you.” He pulled up the blankets to cover Celestia and added, “But then, for the sake of the candles, I’d have to get one of you to admit your real age to me. That information’s hard enough to get out of a normal pony mare. But one who’s got at least four digits to her age—even I’m not sure if I can pull off such a stupendous feat.” He grinned more, looking down at her with interest and then giving into a small compulsion and gently tucking her in using his tail. “And then maybe for your birthday, along with the cake, you’ll let me take you and the other princesses on one of those madcap adventures I suggested earlier.” He considered and then waved her off. “Oh please, forget ‘maybe you’ll let me.’ It’s a birthday, birthday’s are for surprises—a trip like that will be your present, and I just won’t take no for an answer.” He chuckled warmly, unable to help himself.

Discord quickly made himself grow quiet though as Celestia yawned and turned in her sleep. He watched, waiting to see if he had accidentally woken her up.

Celestia gave a deep yawn again. “Mmm…Discord?” Her eyes barely opened to look at him.

Discord sighed, smiling as he looked down at her. “My apologies, Celestia. I didn’t mean to wake you. But everything’s all right, you just go back to resting. You’re all nice and safe in your bed now.”

Celestia blinked again and glanced at her surroundings. “Oh. When did we leave the kitchen?” She smiled a little.

Discord grinned. “We didn’t—I did. You fell asleep full of cake, and your charming prince Discord scooped you up and carried you all the way here.”

“Hmm…” Celestia yawned again. “Oh, that’s…” Suddenly she blinked and blushed. But then she just sighed deeply, closing her eyes and trying not to smile too much. “Oh Discord, tell me you didn’t—if any of the guards saw that…if Luna saw that…” She had to laugh a little, nestling against her pillows once more and looking up at him again.

Discord just laughed softly along with her. “Relax. I was just kidding. I mean, I am rather charming and princely of course…but I floated you along on a cloud behind me. Like I could have actually carried you here—that flowing tail of yours is so absurdly long that it would have tripped me up before I got even one a step forward. Carting you back here asleep was Luna’s idea by the way—she even tried to cover us in the kitchen before I woke up and finally just offered to bring you back here myself so that she could get on with her nightly duties.”

Celestia smiled a little more. “That does sound like Luna, yes….” Another yawn escaped her. “Thank you for bringing me here, Discord. And thanks for tonight…staying up and talking with me, and talking with Luna too. I think she and I needed that.”

“Yeah. Me too,” Discord agreed, walking around her bed to go to his own. “It feels good to have things back to normal.” He pulled back his blankets and climbed into his bed, lying down and covering himself. “And it feels good to have my friends back.”

“It feels good to have you back too, Discord,” Celestia said softly, turning and sleepily looking down at him.

Discord yawned too now. “Just try not to actually have anything bad happen to you this evening that you’ll need me for, Celestia. I could use a full night’s sleep myself. And I’m a little concerned about letting Luna take over the sun temporarily if you were out of commission. I think thine sister might accidentally scorch the land with her passionate ways instead of just providing we poor citizens with warm days.” He grinned.

Celestia laughed softly. Her eyes were peacefully closed now. “I’ll do my best to stay well, Discord. Don’t worry, I may not be as young as I used to be, but I’ve been through worse than this. I’ll manage. Though it’s nice to have you here just in case anyway.”

Discord nodded. “Good.... And, yes, I’ve always found my presence a great comfort as well.”

Celestia laughed a little more, sleep starting to overtake her.

There was silence and the sound of the fire crackling in the room.

Then a deep sigh left Discord in the semi-darkness. “Tia? ...Tia?”

“Mmm hmm?” Celestia acknowledged, coming a little back to awareness.

“I…I love you.” Discord was quiet, and then he sighed very deeply. “I mean, I think I’m at the point where I’m starting to understand just how deep the emotional experience of friendship goes. And, don’t let it get around, but I think I’m starting to remember how to…love people. I love Fluttershy…and I love Twilight now…and I love our dear Luna, so…I just wanted to tell you. I love you.”

There was a lot of quiet.

Discord, already sounding pretty uneasy, swallowed and sighed again. “It’s okay if you don’t love me yet exactly or anything. I’d understand. I—”

He heard the sound of Celestia climbing out of her bed.

Discord sat up, his eyes a little wide. He watched as the firelight revealed Celestia suddenly coming close and sitting down right next to him. She was smiling a little, her violet eyes glowing in the golden light of the flames.

Discord wasn’t sure what to say or do.

Then Celestia leaned in and gave him a small kiss on the forehead. She pulled back with a warm smile. “I love you too, Discord. And no matter what happens, I always will.” She gently touched her hoof to his paw on the blankets.

Discord blushed softly, still looking into her eyes. He reached up and lightly touched his forehead with his claw for a moment.

Then he blinked and, though his blush grew, a smug grin came to his features and he opened his mouth.

Celestia instantly lightly put a hoof over that mouth. She smiled more. “Discord, don’t make a joke about what just happened. Just…enjoy the moment. It’s okay to…okay?” She raised an eyebrow as she lowered her hoof.

Discord’s eyes went a little wide again but then he smiled slightly and shrugged. “Well…I suppose, just this once…. Very well, no jokes.”

Celestia smiled in approval.

“…Until breakfast at least.” Discord grinned more. “Yes, no jokes until then about the sun princess approaching my bed in the dead of night…about you finally not being able to resist me anymore and just giving me a kiss…about how stunning you look in firelight.” He chuckled with such playful satisfaction.

Celestia just grinned in return. “No jokes like that at all. Not unless you want Luna and the staff to find out that you blushed as much as a little filly on Hearts and Hooves day from a simple kiss on the forehead.” She raised an eyebrow, her look playful yet serious.

Discord blinked.

There was a silent stand off between the two magical beings for a moment.

Then Discord smiled in interest and nodded. “Well played, Celestia, well played. We’ll just keep this special ‘moment’ to ourselves then.” He gave her a slight bow.

Celestia bowed slightly in return. “I think that would be nice. Just a private moment between friends.” She yawned, holding a hoof over her mouth to cover it. “Oh!” Suddenly Celestia felt herself levitated from the floor and then brought over and placed upon her bed.

Discord’s grin picked up on one side. “Now get back to bed and go to sleep. Nothing will probably happen with your magic tonight, but you still need rest just the same. I’ve kept you up enough for one evening, however fun it’s been.”

Celestia looked at him with pleasant interest, then nodded and laid down, magically pulling her covers over herself. “Goodnight, Discord.”

Discord sighed, resting back in his bed again as well. “Goodnight, Celestia.” He yawned, pulling up his own covers again. “If you need help with anything tomorrow just…” another yawn, “let me know. I’ll do what I can for you before I got out spreading my chaotic assistance among anyone else.”

Celestia just nodded, her head nuzzling into her pillow as she did so. “Mmm hmm…” was all that left her softly in reply. Her eyes were closed.

Discord smiled at the faint response—it meant she really was finally drifting off into a deep and well-deserved night’s sleep. “Sweet dreams, Tia.” The last sight he saw was an image of Celestia’s flowers over the mantel above him. He closed his eyes. “See you at sunrise.” And then Discord started to nod off as well.

High across the sky just barely visible through an opening in the curtains of the room, a pony figure streaked past the moon, guarding the night as two very special slumberers each found their way into the land of good dreams together.

Author's Note:

Thank you all for the reviews, and I hope you enjoy this ending to the story :twilightsmile: I probably won't be able to post/update anything until later next week as I'm gearing up for Ponycon this weekend :pinkiehappy: But I'll do my best! ^_^