The Princess In The Fireplace

by Iateacrayon

First published

Luna is haunted by mysterious monsters while she grows up. Can the Doctor help her before it is too late?

Luna is haunted by mysterious monsters while she grows up. Can the Doctor help her before it is too late?

The Doctor in the Chimney

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Tonight was a night like any other for the young Princess Luna. Her older sister Celestia had sent her to bed just after she had called the moon, and everypony had already gone to sleep. She lay underneath her heavy covers, impatiently listening to the unusual quiet that had permeated through her chambers. Only the repetitive sound of the clock above her fireplace could be heard. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Luna pushed her pillow over her ears in an effort to block out the maddening noise.




The normally quiet instrument seemed to boom with the crash of a thousand drums in the evening silence. Luna opened her eyes to glare at the instrument of her undoing. She would never get to sleep like this. Sighing unhappily, she slowly built up the courage to leave the nice warm comfort of her blankets.

Throwing the covers away with a small pout, she plodded her way over to the offending timepiece. She took it into her hooves, scanning the casing for any sign of an off switch. Her perusal was interrupted by the small stones that began falling down the chimney. As she looked on, the pieces quickly grew in size until, all at once, a pony fell down onto the unlit logs laying in the fireplace.

The intruder choked and coughed on the ashes his fall had kicked up by chance, before crawling out towards Luna. She watched in fascination as he dusted himself off, revealing a small hourglass for a cutie mark. His motions stopped once he realized his intrusion had not gone unnoticed. His mouth slowly grew into an apologetic, heartwarming smile, briefly flashing a row of perfect teeth.

"Hello! I'm the Doctor," he said, resuming his careful cleaning, wiping away the ashes that had alighted on his shoulders last. He paused to collect his thoughts, looking around the room he had ended up in.

"What's your name?"

"My name is Luna. What were you doing in my chimney? Tell me!" Luna's voice bounced off the walls, the only sound being made in the room apart from the Doctor brushing himself off. And that infernal ticking noise.

"Well, please never hurt anypony," he replied, before Luna glared angrily at him. No pony had ever refused to answer her questions. He only responded to her stares in kind, gazing deep into her eyes. She could see hundreds of years of wisdom behind that smiling face. He reminded her of what her sister did to her sometimes, with that unwavering stare. Celestia's look was always daring her to object, but his was much softer and kinder.

"...Please?" she slowly asked. He clapped his front hooves together, creating a small puff of ash and dust as he grinned happily.

"I have a good friend who once told me, if you can think outside the box, then that means you can also think inside a chimney! Never heard that one before, so I just had to try it," he sagely explained, finally turning to the other room's occupant.

"A little too hyper for my tastes, but she makes a good point! I don't suppose that's the culprit then?" He motioned towards the clock held lightly in Luna's hooves.

"May I?"

She offered the clock, watching in fascination as he turned it upside down and shook it carefully in his hooves. He stared at it for quite some time, until finally exclaiming,


"What is it, Doctor?" Luna asked, fascinated by this bizarre pony. She had never seen a pony quite like this one in all her time at the castle. Her sister was always busy with affairs of the land, and only the guards were around all the time. This pony felt different, somehow. As if he could move more freely than she could ever imagine.

"It's broken!" he told her as he looked back towards her with a smile.

His grin suddenly froze. A regretful look passed over him as he looked towards her. She waited for him to continue, but he only stood there in silence.

"It's... broken?" Luna asked carefully, wondering if the guards were still awake. He was looking strangely at her, turning the broken instrument over in his hooves as he focused on something unseen. His eyes were shifting back and forth across the room, looking for something.

"And if it's broken... and this is the only clock in the room..." he continued, motioning her closer. As she leaned in, waiting for this mad pony's explanation, he whispered five simple words that sent a shiver down her spine.

"...Then what's making that noise?"

The ticking noise filled the room, washing over her as she felt two eyes uncomfortably boring into the back of her mane. Adrenaline coursed through her veins as she felt a dangerous... thing, behind her. The Doctor was looking over her shoulder towards the source of the noise now. It was getting closer to her. She could hear it. His hoof slowly moved forward and patted her on the head reassuringly.

"Don't turn around, Luna. I can handle this." He moved around her, lightly pushing her closer to the fireplace. She waited with bated breath as a buzzing noise suddenly went off behind her.

Whirling around, she saw something she could not comprehend happening behind her. The Doctor was holding a buzzing artifact. It was pointed at a pony. On closer inspection, she saw little pieces of metal clicking slowly beneath its clothes. The Doctor noticed her curious looks, and quickly shielded it from her view.

"You don't need to see this, Luna," he said. "Just think of myself as the Grinch, taking away this fabulous present on Christmas." Luna stared at him, unfamiliar with what he meant. He pulled it towards the chimney, pointing the thing in his hoof below his body as he went.

"Not to worry, Luna," he said with a wink. "Even monsters are afraid of something. Something that keeps them up at night and haunts their dreams." He positioned the patchwork pony beside him, inside the fireplace.

"And what's that?" she asked, curious of the answer. The Doctor beamed back at her, before jumping up the chimney, his voice booming down towards her.


Return of a Stranger

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Time passed quickly for Luna. Every day Celestia asked her to raise the moon, and every night Celestia made her send the moon away. Nothing had been so eventful and exciting as that night when she was only a young foal.

As the years went by, Luna slowly forgot the terror she had felt on that fateful night, only remembering the strange pony who had fallen down the chimney. Celestia eventually grew tired of her story about her mysterious pony, calmly telling her that she was only imagining it for attention.

After an incident where Luna was found stuck inside the chimney of her room, Celestia had been extremely exasperated. Celestia forbade her from leaving the castle for an entire month after that, and made her promise to forget about her imaginary friend. Luna crossed her hooves as she swore, secretly hoping she would meet him again.

It had been more than ten years since it had happened, and Luna still had not met her Doctor. She remembered every detail of her encounter, and checked each clock she saw in her own little ritual.

If only one of them were broken, she thought. The Doctor would appear and save me again.

Ten more years went by, and Luna became lax in her daily rituals. Maybe it was all a fantasy, she sadly thought. The excitement of that night was long forgotten, and Celestia had been giving her more and more duties as she aged. One day she would rule beside her sister, but Luna only saw the responsibilities of power closing in on her. She had not had an adventure by herself in years, and she was always being waited upon by the castle servants.

One day after her studies, she walked towards her bedroom, happy to be away from her strict older sister for a short time. She was supposed to fetch her royal crown, but she would find it as slowly as she could, so as to have as much time alone before she had to go.

Celestia had been adamant that she accompany her to the Grand Galloping Gala as Princess Luna. Luna dreaded meeting the endless number of aristocrats, faking smiles with each other as they exchanged pleasantries. Celestia had explained that it would be one of her duties as a future princess to welcome each and every one of the wealthy ponies that would be attending high-class events like this.

Celestia grimaced as she told Luna that she would have to do this nearly every day as a princess, and Luna knew then that even her perfect sister disliked the events. Maybe she thought they could bond over the hardship they would experience together.

As she wearily pushed open her door, imagining the horrors she would soon endure, she found a pony standing in her room. He was turned away from her towards the fireplace, his face hidden from her immediate sight, but his cutie mark was strangely familiar. She cleared her throat loudly as he strummed the harp placed beside him experimentally. It let out a complex chord that she had taken weeks to master. The pony peeked over his shoulder when he realized he was not alone.

"Oh," the Doctor said, as he took in her royal appearance. "Hello."

As he turned towards her, her eyes took in his unchanged features. He looked exactly the same as twenty years ago, when she had first met him.

"I was just looking, for... Luna." He glanced once more around the the room, taking in the sight of the many books that were piled high, almost to the ceiling in some places.

"Ah, this is still her room, isn't it?" He was carefully staring at her, as if looking for somepony else. "I've been away. Not sure how long," he helplessly shrugged in want of an explanation.

"Luna? Have you found it?" Celestia's voice echoed down the hall to her room. Luna watched the recognition flash across her visitor's face, before she answered, watching his expression turn to shock.

"Go to the carriage, sister. I will join you there," Luna softly replied, not daring to take her eyes off the apparition before her. She listened to Celestia stomping her way down the corridor, before she dared speak again.

"It is customary, I think, to have an imaginary friend only during one's foalhood," Luna said, smiling as she felt the memories come rushing back. "You are to be congratulated on your persistence."

"Luna?" He quietly uttered her name. It sent a shiver down her spine. "Well..." His eyes took in her appearance for the celebration.

"Goodness how you've grown." The words made her blush harder than the time Celestia had caught her outside in the middle of the night, playing under the starry skies.

"And you do not appear to have aged a single day. That is tremendously impolite of you." She stepped closer to him as he smiled, fumbling for an answer.

"Right, yes... sorry." His mouth opened and closed, searching for an explanation. "Um, ahh, um..." She was directly in front of him as he finally put together an eloquent sentence.

"Listen. Lovely to catch up, but I should be going. Wouldn't want your sister worrying about you running off with a strange pony, do we?" She considered his words, finding something amusing about what he had said.

"How can you be a stranger to me? I've known you since I was only a foal." He smiled when he realized she was right.

"Yeah, I suppose you have." He looked over to the fireplace briefly as her hoof reached towards him. "I came the quick route." He froze as her hoof alighted on his cheek. She prodded him, staring deeply into his eyes as his breathed lightly. He looked and felt perfectly normal even at this distance. The long wait had been worth it. He was real.

He shifted uncomfortably on the spot as her stare continued. Her hoof finally dropped away, and he let out a long sigh of relief.

"You seem to be flesh and blood at any rate, but this is absurd. My sister tells me you cannot be real."

"Ohh..." He thoughtfully regarded her as she leaned closer to him. "You don't always have to listen to your sister." Her eyes slowly slid shut in preparation.

"Luna, we will be late!" Celestia's voice boomed towards them. Luna's eyes flashed open and the Doctor moved towards the fireplace, the moment ruined.

"I am coming!" She shouted, finding her dark tiara, and placing it atop her head. She turned to the Doctor after she was confident it was securely fastened to her mane. He was standing there nonchalantly, examining the fireplace as if it were the most interesting thing in the room.

"So many questions, so little time," she muttered breathlessly. He looked at her and opened his mouth to speak, but she quickly silenced him before he could utter a word. Her lips were sealed around his as she pushed him lightly against the fireplace.

Her forelegs reached around his neck as she deepened their kiss, and Luna forgot how long they stood there. Finally, she pulled away as she heard her sister yelling.

"Princess Luna!"

She broke the kiss with a gasp, her legs settling down on the floor as the Doctor stared at her in slack-jawed amazement. She ran off before he could get a word in. Her hooves clacked on the marble floor as she dashed towards the carriage. As it came into view, she saw Celestia waiting for her impatiently. She hopped in, taking in loud mouthfuls of air as her blood rushed through her veins.

"Are you alright, dear sister?" Celestia asked, her stern frown disappearing as she took in her tired appearance.

"I have never been better," Luna answered, beaming towards her older sister.

No matter what happens, Luna thought happily. Today will have been perfect.

Evening Ambush

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The party had been worse than she could have possibly imagined.

Luna's excitement at meeting new ponies dwindled after the first few minutes of meeting the party guests. Being introduced to the abundance of snobby elitist ponies by her sister was not how she had pictured her night to go. The uptight ponies treated her as if she were only their future princess. Some tried to ingratiate themselves with her, offering praise for her beautiful mane and attire, but they quickly lost interest in her once she rebuked their advances.

Luna watched as they all eventually turned towards her sister, mouthing the same praises they had given her. They molded their features to express their fake interest at whatever Celestia had to say, agreeing with each and every thing that came out of her mouth.

"Thank you for coming. I shall see you inside." These words escaped from Luna's lips in endless repetition as each pony introduced themselves to her, expecting polite appreciation for their attire and carefully chosen words. The phrase had been perfected after listening to an egotistical pony go on and on about how well he knew Celestia.

Hours of standing by her sister's side slowly eroded Luna's hopes for anything fun to happen tonight. Her patience had disappeared as the last of the stragglers had been introduced to her, and Celestia finally decided it was time that they go inside.

Ponies were scattered across the floor of the hall in mismatched groups of the inner circles of politics. Celestia left her to fend for herself when she spied a pony waving a hoof from the other side grand ballroom.

"Remember. These are our subjects. You will treat them equally and with respect. Listen to them, and try to enjoy yourself," Celestia added quietly before walking away from Luna.

The sea of ponies parted before Celestia, leaving Luna alone to follow their presently reigning monarch. Luna immediately began pushing her way through any pony in her way as soon as her sister had turned away. She slowly made her way towards the enormous windows placed along the rear of the ballroom, where a set of open doors sat invitingly. They overlooked an enormous garden that she had made note of when they had arrived.

Stepping outside into the fresh night air, Luna let out a sigh of relief as she escaped the chaotic party. The noise behind her slowly quieted as she made her down the perfectly crafted white marble steps towards the utopia below. Her hoof slid along the exquisite railing as she walked, enjoying the feel of the cool rock as she put tonight's event out of her mind.

Luna basked in the silence of the green garden as her hooves stepped onto the grass somepony had given a great amount of care for. This was much better than being surrounded by haughty ponies vying for her attention. She strolled through the maze of vegetation, the only source of light to show her the way being her moon high above her.


The simple sound of a twig breaking into pieces was enough to startle Luna out of her reverie. She looked down, pulling back her hoof to reveal the culprit. She let out a breath she hadn't realized was being held back.

Only I would be able to scare myself so foolishly, she thought as she raised her head. She froze as she looked up.

A pony was standing in front of her. She jumped back in alarm as she realized it was the same... thing from when she was a foal. The pony was ignoring her, though. Its head was turned towards the hedge beside them, staring at something Luna couldn't see.

Luna managed to force out a question as she slowly edged towards the unmoving pony, noticing the soft deep dark glow of magic running along its frame.

"Answer me. Why are you here?"

The pony turned toward her silently. It pointed a hoof towards her, and an eerie voice whispered from beneath the cloth covering its head. Its voice was monotonous and eerie at the same time.

"For you, Princess."

"What do you want with me?" Luna demanded.

"I have been waiting a long time for this." The voice had changed, and was strangely happy. Luna could almost feel another set of eyes looking at her through the thing in front of her.

It stepped towards her menacingly, before shrinking back as a loud whirring noise came from the hedge beside them.

"Back away from it, Luna. Slowly," a familiar voice said as a section of the hedge pivoted, swinging open to reveal the Doctor. It moved swiftly behind him once he had moved away from it, closing with a dull clunk.

"No. I need to know what it wants with me," Luna said. She moved closer, unafraid now that somepony else was there to help. If only she could see what was beneath the mask...

As her hoof brushed the dark lace covering the stranger's head, it emitted a low hum. The dark thin aura around the strange pony intensified and began expanding as it jumped away from her. The light grew and grew, finally stopping when it was large enough for a pony to easily step through.

Before Luna could react, the mysterious pony disappeared through the magical creation. Once it had gone through the portal, it began to slowly shrink before her eyes. She wanted to jump through it while it was still large enough, but felt a hoof lightly pushing her back.

"I think it's time you went back to the party, Luna," the Doctor said. He had moved closer while she had been so entranced by the magical portal.

He was holding in his hoof the same makeshift device she had seen before, and he pointed it towards the opening. it beeped even louder than before, and the doorway stopped getting smaller, momentarily stabilized. He pulled the contraption towards himself, looking at it sideways as his head twisted to read something along it.

"Of course. Same as the fireplace," he mumbled. Luna was confused by his words. They looked nothing alike. And how had he appeared from behind the hedge?

"What is the same, Doctor?"

"I know you want answers," he continued as he stepped between her and the portal. He walked closer to it before turning back to her, a deadly serious expression on his face.

"But something on that side wants to meet you. Don't let it." He thrust a hoof into the opening experimentally, and the black aura began collapsing even faster than before.

"Wait! Tell me what you know," Luna shouted as the Doctor deftly dived into the doorway to someplace else.

His voice arced out from the other side before it shut, disappearing as the top and bottom edge touched each other.

"Try to stay with your sister at all times. I will tell you what I know if I see you again."

Luna stamped her hooves angrily as she shouted into the night sky, hoping he could still hear.

"I'll be waiting! But I want to know everything, Doctor! You hear me? Everything!"

A Ruler Emerges

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The following day, Luna returned to the very spot where the Doctor had jumped out from behind the unassuming hedge. Her careful inspection revealed nothing that alluded to any secret opening in the vegetation growing up from the ground.

Luna almost dismissed the entire event as some sort of elaborate trick, until she remembered the bizarre magic portal. It had swallowed up the pony hunting her, and subsequently the Doctor. She searched the area, hoping to find some shred of evidence that she had not imagined the entire story.

A small patch of earth was devastated around where the portal had appeared. Further examination revealed that a perfectly circular cut had been made into the grass, the short blades singed wherever the magic had been touching them. Luna could not stop herself from asking over and over again in her head a question that she had no possible way to answer.

How had it appeared?

Luna tried to investigate, but even the Canterlot archives had no specific mention of such a spell. She soon gave up out of frustration, focusing instead on the growing responsibilities Celestia had begun to pile on her. Heeding the Doctor's grim advice, she stayed closely by Celestia's side for years.

She didn't hear from the Doctor for a long time after that night at the Gala.

Finally, the night had arrived. The night of her coronation.

Luna was pacing impatiently back and forth across the floor, in a small alcove behind the throne. She was waiting to be presented by her sister to the ponies who had traveled to meet their new ruler. This night had been decades in the making, and Luna wondered how the populace would receive her.

In only a matter of minutes, she would join her sister as fellow ruler of Equestria. The years of standing beside her sister, learning all manner of magics and laws of her people had finally paid off. Everything would culminate in the ceremony declaring her power as Princess Luna.

She could hear the ponies gathered beyond, waiting for her appearance. She could hardly wait. She inspected her appearance in the wall formed by a reflective mirror in anticipation of what would happen next.




Her musings were interrupted as she heard the soft whir of gears snapping together. Her eyes quickly darted the clock on the wall. It was broken.

She whirled around to see another pony in the room, its back turned on her.

"How long have you been standing there," she asked angrily. "Show yourself!"

A familiar monotone voice responded, "As you command, princess."

She gasped as the pony turned towards her. It was the same pony the Doctor had followed into the portal. It stormed towards her as she heard more movement behind her. She saw the grand mirror slide to one side as the Doctor jumped out, holding his unusual device.

"Not so fast," the Doctor warned the pony aggressor. His screwdriver buzzed, and the pony stopped before Luna. Its body leaned forward as if to resist whatever the Doctor was doing, before freezing completely.

"What is your master planning," the Doctor yelled. "Tell me!"

Silence was the only answer that the Doctor received. He wearily turned his head to Luna, but kept his hoof up, keeping the pony motionless.

"Order it to answer me?"

"What?" Luna asked, confused. "Why would it listen to what I say?"

The Doctor slowly worked his jaw, unable to come up with an explanation for her. Luna looked to him, hoping he would finally shed some light on the matter, but he did not. He slowly shook his head as if throwing away a thought, and dismissed her question.

"That's not really important right now. All I know is that it will listen to you."

Luna looked at the pony again. It had stopped its quiet struggles, and was staring uncomfortably at her.

"Answer his question." The pony didn't respond. "Answer all questions put to you!"

The pony finally turned to the Doctor. In its low robotic voice, it finally replied.

"She is waiting."

"For what? Luna to be alone?"


"Why do this at all? She lost! She knows Celestia can beat her. Why try again?"

"Why is she trying to change the- Ohhh."

"She's trying to get back, isn't she?" The Doctor grabbed the pony by the shoulders and yelled into its face, as if he were communicating with some other pony behind the mask. Luna saw the dark aura surrounding the pony shift away from the Doctor's hooves. "Listen you! You can't just change the past like this. It will only makes things worse!"

"She cannot be stopped," the pony replied, unfazed by his actions. Luna pondered the message's true meaning. She had never seen such magic before.

"Doctor? Who is this 'she'?" Luna asked. The Doctor dared not look at her as he answered.

"One of... your sister's enemies. She's trying to eliminate you."

"She requires a body," the pony answered, and Luna swelled with rage. She would not be intimidated by such a weak threat!

"How dare you say such things!" She shouted. "Leave us at once!" Luna ordered.

"No, wait!" The Doctor yelled, as he watched the pony follow her orders. The portal formed around the robotic pony, and quickly consumed it, leaving the Doctor and Luna alone.

After checking the room for any more surprises, the Doctor turned to Luna. "Oh well, maybe next time. Speaking of which, I need some answers from you. Where else have you seen that pony?"

"I... don't know." The Doctor walked towards her, and placed his hoofs on either side of her face before closing his eyes. "What are you doing?" Luna teased, only slightly flustered by his advance. "It is not proper for a commoner to take the initiative."

She saw memories of long ago pass before her eyes. She was playing on Celestia's grand chair in the throne room. Celestia was standing there, smiling at her. She could see a broken clock on the wall, but no sign of another pony.

"I remember this! I was only a foal! I told my sister, but she thought I had smashed it myself!"

"Shh, let me focus," the Doctor quietly admonished her. "I'm checking your memories for that pony."

"If you don't want me to see something, just imagine a door, and close it." She watched the time she had dressed up one of the servants as the Doctor, and pretended she was on an adventure.

"Like that one. Oh. Maybe that too... um." Ah. The pony who had reminded her of the Doctor was visible in her mind. He had been so easily flustered...

"They seem to be waiting for you in specific places of the castle," he said in an effort to steer the memories back on course. Luna recoiled as the visions began changing, her horn glowing brightly as it begun.

"Sorry, you might find old memories reawakening. Side effect."

Suddenly, she saw a memory that was not her own. A small pony was playing by himself in a large workshop. She could see only him, surrounded by thousands of small mechanical devices in a dimly lit room. It was quiet as he tinkered with something called a... screwdriver?

"Oh, such a lonely existence," Luna whispered as more memories surfaced. A war raged all around him, and his friends were all slowly killed, or worse, went mad with the power they wielded in an effort to survive.

"I'm almost done, just a few more..." The Doctor reassured her.

More memories flashed across her eyes in succession. Each time he was alone, or working in some sort of giant machine. Even when he seemed to meet new ponies and travel to beautiful places, the pictures always returned to the giant, empty room.

"Oh, Doctor. So much pain, and sadness."

Every pony he traveled with disappeared, and slowly faded from his memory to ward off their loss. A new one always quickly arrived to fill the empty void in his life.

"What do you mean? You had a happy foalhood-"

He froze. "How long have you been in my memories?"

"Such a lonely long life. Lonely then, and lonelier now." She forced her eyes open. His eyes were locked on her, startled by the turn of events. The glow of Luna's horn faded as he gazed at her.

"How can you do that?" He slowly backed away from her, hooves clacking on the tile floor below. Luna followed, not giving him the opportunity to escape.

"You believe that you alone know how to see a pony's memories? Do not forget who taught me the basics of magic." Luna could see he was troubled, even worried about how much she had glimpsed.

"Oh, Doctor. My lonely Doctor." She pressed forward, grabbing his hoof to pull him closer, hoping he would say something, anything.

He didn't dare utter a single word.

"Dance with me," Luna finally said, breaking the short silence. He awkwardly looked away, his eyes going to the curtain separating them from the ponies waiting for her beyond.

"I can't, Luna." His response only made her laugh. Who would dare refuse her, tonight of all nights?

"As princess, I could command you to," Luna teased, hoping to receive more than his simple responses.

"You are not princess yet," he reminded her. She stared sadly at him, remembering the pain and loss he had experienced over the countless years.

"Doctor," Luna whispered quietly, remembering the question that plagued him even more than it did her.

"Doctor Who?"

He finally looked back to her, surprised she had asked the one question he had never found the answer to.

"What did you see?" He asked. Luna smiled.

"That there comes a time, Time Lord, that every pony must learn how to dance."

"Wha-? I can't. I need to-" Luna pressed her hoof against his lips as as pony's voice entered the chamber.

"Princess Luna. Princess Celestia is ready for your coronation." Drat! Time was always against her! She reluctantly answered the summons.

"Of course. I am on my way." She turned to the Doctor, who was stealthily making his way to the mirror he had emerged from.

"Don't you dare leave now, Doctor," Luna whispered. "I will be expecting you after the ceremony."

She walked over to the curtain, and looked back hoping to see he had not left already. The Doctor had disappeared once again. Sighing, she pushed the covering aside to see what must have been all of Canterlot brought together for her coronation.

Her sister was standing beside the throne, waiting. As Luna walked towards Celestia, she scanned the crowd for a familiar face. The Doctor was nowhere to be seen. Once Luna had moved to beside Celestia she stopped, waiting for the ceremony to begin. Celestia smiled at her warmly and turned to the enormous audience watching them.

"Ladies and gentlecolts, I present to you Luna, your new princess!" She yelled, her voice drowning out only briefly the shouts of adoration and cheering. It quickly died down as Celestia turned back to her. The practiced words tumbled out from both their mouths as they relived the many rehearsals for today.

"Do you accept this great responsibility?"

"I do."

"Will you use your power wisely and without bias?"

"I shall."

"Do you swear to summon the moon as the sun sets, and banish it as the sun rises?"

"I swear it."

"Then may you rule for all eternity beside me, and reign over the moon and stars."

"Let it be known that I, Princess Celestia, name you, Princess Luna, as my sister and fellow ruler of Equestria!" Celestia announced as she lowered her horn over Luna's right shoulder, then raised it. As she lowered her horn over her left shoulder, Luna could make out the Doctor's face among the crowd as they cheered. They shouted and clopped their hooves on the floor into a barely controlled frenzy. She smiled at him, everything else forgotten as he watched the ceremony come to an end.

The Doctor stood there somberly, the slightest shadow of guilt over his features as he pondered what was to come. The sad look disappeared when he saw Luna look his way, and his smile grew in tandem with the ponies cheering around him.

The Celebration

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"Ladies and gentlecolts, I present to you Princess Luna, your new ruler!"

Luna listened to the roar of ponies cheering at her sister's announcement. It felt like hours had gone by as the noise level finally dropped, instead of a scant few minutes.

She made her way through the throng of ponies, shaking a hoof here and there while following Celestia. Slowly but surely, they made their way over to the hall designated for the reception where she would finally have a chance to mingle with her new subjects.

The party was in full swing when Luna and her sister arrived. A soft melody was playing in the background. Many ponies vied for her attention, but she only had eyes for one pony. She made a beeline for him but took longer than she would have preferred, accepting several pony's congratulations. He was sipping experimentally on a drink several ponies were handing out. She saw him make a face at the taste as she approached. Eventually, she came to a stop in front of him.

"Doctor, it's time for that dance," Luna said victoriously, a smile quickly escaping her neutral royal expression.

"Uh, about that," the Doctor muttered. She saw him glance over her shoulder, and felt a familiar presence just behind her.

"Hello, Princess."

"I distinctly remember my saying that you were banished from Canterlot for all of time, Doctor," Celestia spoke.

"Whelp, I didn't exactly intend to stick around either," he replied. Luna broke into the conversation as her sister opened her mouth again, hoping to assuage her sister.

"I invited him, sister. He shall enjoy tonight's party in Canterlot at the very least." Celestia was in full Princess mode when she turned to her. The last time she had turned this face on her was when Luna broke her favorite stained glass window, when she thought that it hid a secret passageway. Unfortunately for her, it hadn't.

"A word, Princess Luna?" Her sister calmly asked her, suggesting no possibility that she could deny her request.

Demurely, she followed Celestia as she walked over to a nearby vacant corner. When Celestia was sure they were far enough away from everypony to be overheard, she rounded on Luna angrily.

"Luna, how do you know that pony?"

"He is the only pony, save you, that I have ever trusted completely." Celestia looked at her worriedly.

"Now that's more like it!" The Doctor's voice broke out through the audience, and the two quickly turned towards the commotion. The Doctor had corralled several pony waiters together, and a large audience was gathered around him. He held a long, skinny yellow fruit above his head and he quickly cut it up, throwing the tiny pieces into the drinks around him.

Luna turned away from his antics and saw Celestia staring questioningly at her.

"Oh, don't give me that look, sister. He is the most unique pony I have ever met. I know that I can trust him." Celestia sadly shook her head, as if she were remembering a long distant memory.

"You do not know the Doctor, Luna," she slowly said. "Do not presume to think he has your best interests at heart. He will lie to you if it he must."

"He is trying to help me, sister." Celestia laid a hoof on her shoulder reassuringly.

"I am sure he is. But wherever the Doctor travels, death always follows in his hoofsteps. Do not think you are safe, if the Doctor is around." Luna looked away sadly. Celestia did not understand. Her sister sighed helplessly at her stubbornness. Celestia begrudgingly pulled her hoof away from Luna's shoulder and stepped back towards the celebration.

"He may stay, for now. it is your party after all. Let's go enjoy your celebration, Luna." Luna's smile grew in wonderment. She had seen her sister give in so easily. Maybe the future would be more enjoyable than she had dared predict.

The festivities had continued without them. The audience had grown larger around the Doctor from the last time she had looked. She pushed her way through the ponies who congratulated her when they realized who the rude pony was. She broke free of the excited crowd to find the Doctor.

He was dancing unlike any other pony she had ever seen. He stood on his back legs and danced about, waving his forelegs above his head. Several ponies had begun to imitate his crazy antics, and many more would have joined them if Luna hadn't grabbed the Doctor.

"To be honest, I only came here for the dancing," the Doctor said as the group around them slowly dissipated. She pulled him towards the dance floor, and went over her favorite dance. Luna and the doctor slowly waltzed around in a small circle, ignoring the other ponies that joined in on the more traditional dance. It was very intimate, but Celestia's warning weighed heavily on her mind.

"Doctor," Luna asked. "Who is after me?" They danced for several more beats before she heard his response.

"You can't know that, Luna," the Doctor sadly told her. "Her name wouldn't mean anything to you anyway. But I can tell you that I'm here to fix it. She's been messing with time. History says none of this was ever supposed to happen."

"Well, history is wrong for once, and I would not have it any other way. One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel." she added, blushing slightly. Their dancing came to a halt as the music moved on to a new tune. Many ponies moved away from the dance floor, letting others take their place.

"May I have this dance?" Celestia had appeared by their side just as the song ended.

"Of course, sister. Go ahead." Celestia pulled the Doctor away, leaving Luna alone. She had to know what they were talking about. Luna followed them discretely as the two danced, hoping to learn where her sister had met him.

"You shall stay away from her, Doctor. If it weren't for the coronation, I'd have already-"

"It's not my fault. I've been swept up by events." Luna saw her sister glare at the Doctor. 'But I will depart as soon as I am able."

"Why are you really here, Doctor? What is so important that you would think to ignore my warning?"

"It's about Luna. About her future. She-" They moved away, and Luna lost sight of them as more ponies joined the dance. She pushed closer, hoping to hear their conversation.

"-And it will happen. But some pony's trying to change what can never, ever be changed. It's a fixed point in time. It has to happen."

"What has to happen?" Luna demanded. The Doctor and Celestia turned slowly towards her.

"The Doctor was just telling me," Celestia glanced at him quickly. "That he had urgent business elsewhere."

"...Yes! I figured something out about your pursuer. I have to go investigate!" He flashed a grin to Luna before turning back to Celestia. "Thank you for the dance, princess."

"Goodbye, Doctor," Celestia calmly answered.

As the festivities continued around them, Luna watched the Doctor make his way to the exit. He glanced around before slipping through the door into the hall. She quickly followed him out the door. Her hooves clopped along the empty corridors until she found him standing by the recess beside the throne room. He stood there waiting for her.

"Doctor. You're not telling me something. What is it? What's on the other side?" Luna finally asked the question that had been on her mind for a long time.

"You're right," he apologized, turning away from her. She knew it! What horrible truth had he been hiding all this time?

"I'm not telling you something..." Luna waited for the Doctor to explain what he had been hiding all this time. He ran a hoof along the edge of the mirror distractedly.

"It's a spacial-temporal hyperlink spell," he admitted.

Finally! "And what is that, Doctor?" Luna hazarded a second question, hoping this more open nature of the Doctor would not close shut after his first honest answer.

"No idea," he continued unashamedly. "Just made it up. Didn't want to say 'magic door'."

"So it IS magic? And what is on the other side of this 'magic door'? May I go through?" Luna asked excitedly.

"No! It's not very interesting where I come from anyway." Luna ignored his warning, rushing into the opening while his back was turned. She heard his voice as she stepped over the threshold. "Luna, wait!"

Luna emerged from the castle into an empty desolate wasteland. She saw several makeshift structures laying around the entrance she had passed through. She shielded her eyes from the bright glow that shone upon the land, and looked for the source of such a powerful light.. She was awestruck by what she saw above her.

The sun was much brighter here, and it revealed a world above Luna. It was closer and larger than the moon she raised every night in the sky, and she could see green patches amidst a sea of blue.

"This is your world, Doctor?" Luna asked, her breath taken away by the beautiful sight.

"Trust me. You don't want to know." Luna felt the short burst of illumination begin to fade. She had to know more. She reluctantly took her eyes off the beautiful world above her, and looked at the Doctor as he held his hoof out.

"Tell me anyway, Doctor." He motioned through the doorway, back towards her world, as he searched the surrounding area carefully. She stepped onto the familiar floor as he finally spoke.

"...It's the moon. Celestia used it as a prison for a pony who tried to overthrow her." Luna laughed. Surely he must be joking. Celestia banishing a pony to the moon?

"My sister has never done something so unjust to anypony!" The Doctor failed to see the humor in her joke. Luna's laughter slowly died as she saw his sad stare.

"No she hasn't. But in the future, a pony will betray every thing she stands for. She'll bring chaos and destruction to Equestria before Celestia stops her. And your sister will banish her for a thousand years."

"No pony should deserve that," Luna solemnly declared. "I won't let my sister do such a horrible thing." But Luna had her doubts. Celestia would never do something so cruel. Could she?

"I know when she'll make her move," the Doctor spoke as Luna walked towards him.

"When, Doctor?" Luna demanded, his warning quickly forgotten.

"Some time when princess Celestia is far away from you. That pony who's been following you has been watching you for most of your life, but couldn't do anything with your sister so close. So now that you're princess, Celestia might travel somewhere and leave you vulnerable."

"Why can't I just stay by my sister? I would be safe then."

"Even if you try, there will come a time when Celestia has an emergency to deal with and leave you here. It will happen eventually. But it could be years before she shows up. I'll take the shortcut and meet you then." The doctor pushed on the mirror, and it swung open.

"Remember, she'll make their move when Celestia isn't by your side. She won't do anything right away if you keep her occupied. That will give me plenty of time to find you." She nodded sadly. Luna had hoped he would wait here, but Celestia had been more cross than she had ever been when she saw him.

"Then I shall take the slow path." The Doctor walked to the other side of the mirror, onto the moon itself. His parting words squeaked through the closing door.

"Good luck, princess Luna. And... thank you for the dance."

And so the Doctor her left once more. Even though the future looked dangerous and uncertain, she would live for the day that she could meet him again.

Mare In The Moon

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The sky was overcast tonight of all nights, and Luna could barely make out the dim moon hiding behind the clouds above her. Her eyes went to the clock resting above the fireplace. It was broken, but that did not stop her ears from detecting a ticking noise that slowly grew in volume.

It was finally happening. Celestia had been forced to leave Canterlot when tensions with the dragons had caused a small crisis in Manehattan. She had left without warning, leaving Luna's side for the first time in her life.

Luna's guards had put up a valiant effort, but it was all for naught. All their prowess in battle was rendered useless against their lone attacker. Small cuts and gashes from their weapons had revealed bits and pieces hiding under its clothes. It hinted at a machine that was more complex than Luna had ever seen.

The Doctor had warned her that nothing would stop her relentless pursuer. The unconscious bodies of her guards lying unmoving on the floor was the first time that the realization truly struck Luna. You were right, it cannot be stopped. I need you, Doctor!

The mysterious pony had been careful to avoid injuring her. After its business with her guards was complete, it slowly turned to her, its menacing robotic voice echoing out from underneath the patchwork mask.

"It is time, princess. You will come with me." It forcefully pulled her along, forcing Luna to walk quickly with the machine lest she fall. They made their way through the quiet halls, stepping over many of the castle's unmoving protectors. Luna found herself at the throne room, and was ushered inside.

The pony pushed her towards the throne, where a dark round portal had formed beside it. As Luna neared the makeshift opening, an alicorn slightly larger than herself stepped through. Her body was black as night, and covered in light blue armor. She looked around the empty room, before her eyes settled on Luna. She smiled triumphantly.

"I have returned! And Celestia will pay for what she has done to me!"

"W-Who are you?" The alicorn turned to Luna after hearing her question.

"I am your destiny. Your past and your future," she declared.

"I... am Nightmare Moon."

"How appropriate. If my foalhood nightmares can return, rest assured," Luna sneered, unafraid. She knew she had to delay this nemesis who had haunted her entire life, for both her savior and herself. "So can yours."

"Don't worry, Luna," Nightmare Moon chuckled evilly as she hoof along the underside of Luna's chin. Luna felt the hoof push her head up until she was staring directly at Nightmare Moon. "I look forward to the Doctor watching my victory, and his failure. He will soon learn what happens to ponies who try to manipulate my life! You-"

The sound of the secret passageway opening again interrupted her mid-rant. The black alicorn nodded to her silent servant. Luna and her captor watched as the Doctor pushed through a door hidden behind the throne. He was stopped by the emotionless pony, holding a magical weapon that pointed straight towards his neck.

"Welcome, 'Doctor'," the pony gloated. "I was wondering when you would arrive."

"Nightmare Moon," the Doctor announced. "You can't do this."

"Whatever do you mean, Doctor?" Nightmare Moon asked. Nightmare Moon's horn glowed and a dark light surrounded Luna, holding her in place. She struggled to break free, but accomplished nothing. "I have already won!"

"It doesn't work like that, Nightmare," the Doctor warned. "You can't just overlap your own time-stream and think nothing will happen."

"I have spent years to accomplish this! Perfecting a spell that would lead me to her when she was unguarded, and helpless. Celestia is too far away to stop my return this time!" The maniacal alicorn laughed mightily, enjoying the moment. "Soon I shall be queen of Equestria!" she announced. "Who are you to try and keep me from my birthright?"

"I'm the lord of time." The Doctor's words cut her victory short. Luna was confused as well. What could he possibly do by himself? Canterlot would be defenseless against such a powerful pony.

"How shall you try to stop me? You knew this would happen! ALL THIS TIME!" Nightmare Moon roared. She huffed angrily, before noticeably calming down. "But so did I," she continued.

"You left me to my fate, knowing Celestia would defeat me." Her words slowly gained momentum as her voice grew. "But I reject my destiny!! If you could stop me, you would have done it already!"

"Look at her, Moon." As the Doctor gestured slowly at Luna, she saw him carefully step towards the two of them. Luna's eyes were losing focus as the dark pony towering above lowered her head. Their eyes met, and Luna saw a beautiful pair of dark blue eyes staring solemnly towards her. The reflection in them looked so... familiar. She winced from the pain that suddenly sprouted in the back of her head. "What do you see?"

"I see my chance in her! Celestia will never suspect what her own sister plans. I will have to hide my actions more discreetly this time. But when I finally usher an endless night upon all of Equestria, it will be too late for Celestia to stop me!"

She could sense the deep well of magic slowly being focused around her captor's horn. It cast a small protective bubble around them as the headache grew. She began to see visions of war, jealousy, hate, and destruction as the horn neared her face. She heard the Doctor's screwdriver sound off. She saw him slowly move towards them out of the corner of her eye.

"You do this, and you'll cease to exist, Moon," he warned. "Think about it. If you change her, then your very past will be destroyed."

"No! I do not believe you, Doctor!" She spat out as he stepped closer. He shrugged off the powerful magic surrounding the two of them. "S-Stay away from me! "

"Moon," he spoke soothingly, ignoring her warning. "If you try to replace her, then you'll lose most of who you are. Just doing this much is enough to drive anypony mad." Luna felt the stream of information pause as Nightmare Moon stood there, fighting to control herself.

As the Doctor lightly separated the unresisting pony from Luna, the unbearable headache drumming a beat into her skull slowly faded. The glowing horn slowly lost its brilliance, and the pony turned away from her prisoner to plea with the Doctor.

"Doctor, save me one last time. Save me from myself." The Doctor laid a hoof along her shoulder, pulling her close.

"I can do many things. But even I can't fix this." He hugged the dark alicorn closely as he spoke. His hoof patted the back of her neck reassuringly. "You have to go back. I am so, so sorry."

"I could never blame you, Doctor," the black and blue pony sobbed into his inviting shoulder. He stood somberly as the tears streamed from her eyes.

"Hurry, Moon. The longer you stay here, the more damage you will cause. I'll be right behind you."

"Thank you, Doctor." Nightmare Moon placed a hoof along the Doctor's cheek. Luna tried to remember unsuccessfully where she had seen that motion before. After a short pause, the alicorn walked back through the portal she had appeared from without another word. Her pony servant jumped through soon after, and the portal closed behind it, leaving only the Doctor and Luna alone in the throne room.

"Doctor?" He turned to Luna as her eyes began drooping, her energy spent from the stress her head felt.

"You'll be fine, Luna. This was all just a crazy dream," the Doctor spoke soothingly. "You'll wake up soon, and you'll never see me again."

"Really?" His face became melancholc for a brief instant, then he smiled. Luna fought to stay awake as she saw him nod his head slowly.

"Trust me. I'm the Doctor."

She felt her head move by itself, mirroring his actions. If there was one thing in life she knew, it was that the Doctor was never wrong. But why did she feel deep down in the back of her mind, in some small corner of her thoughts where a mad voice whispered to her, that he was wrong? Did he truly mean what he said?

She shook her head angrily. NO! He would never betray her like that!

Her eyes fluttered as she felt weariness wash over her. She felt her body slowly fall to the floor as the Doctor closed the door behind him, never looking back. Perhaps this was all just a dream.

Luna woke up to see her sister standing by her bedside. She looked more worried than Luna could ever remember. Luna watched her sister clasped her hooves around her in a tight hug.

"I warned you, Luna," Celestia quietly cried into her shoulder. "The Doctor is not what you think he is." Luna returned the hug.

"I know what he did, sister," she said reassuringly. "He saved me." But a quiet voice reminded Luna of who had attacked her. Was it truly over?

Luna quickly recovered from the attack, but as the years passed she slowly realized that her mind was... different somehow. Her dreams themselves had gained a new direction, one of madness and destruction. She confided the new revelation in her sister, but she was hopeful that it would pass.

As time passed, the sight of Celestia soon brought ugly thoughts to her mind about war and destruction. She began to take note that the ponies worshiping her sister's yellow sun more than the beautiful night she brought to Equestria. She turned away, pushing away her anger at their ignorance. It should not trouble me so much, but deep down, it does.

Her thoughts returned to the Doctor one night after a particularly brutal idea came to her. What if I decided not to lower the moon? Only for a few days, of course... The thought scared her more than anything else that came before it. She quickly remembered why it was wrong, but felt her reasoning fall apart as the voice in her head argued even louder, drowning out her pathetic excuses.

Luna quickly pulled out a quill and sat at her desk. She tried to focus on writing the letter in her mind before she forgot it as well. I am running out time, Doctor.

My dear Doctor,

The path has never seemed more slow, and yet I fear I am nearing its end. Celestia tells that me you and I are unlikely to meet again, but I think I shall not listen to my sister. I have seen the world inside your head, and know that all things are possible. Hurry though, my love, a voice grows louder and louder in my head, and I have grown so tired of fighting it. Godspeed, my lonely angel.

After the letter was finished, Luna ran to Celestia.

"Sister. If the Doctor should arrive... I want you to give him this." Luna revealed her letter, and offered it to Celestia on her hoof.

"Of course, Luna," her sister quietly said, shocked by her morbid expression. She grabbed the parchment with her magic, and sadly embraced her sister. "Do not lose hope. I am sure you will recover."

But she never did.

All those years, wasted! She angrily kicked at her makeshift servant, sending it tumbling to the ground. Its head was caved in by the force she had applied to her hooves. Nothing a couple years couldn't fix. The sound of a door opening reminded her again of what had gone wrong in her moment of triumph. She didn't even bother to face him as she spat out her words.

"Oh. It's you, Doctor. Here to enjoy your victory?" He quietly walked towards her. As she whirled around to face him, her eyes locked onto a big blue box she had never seen before. Her eyes pulled away from as the Doctor stood in front of her.

"I wasted centuries planning and creating that spell to take me back!" Luna shouted into his face. "I could have returned without Celestia's knowledge, but you stopped me. Well done! And now I must live here for another six hundred years, until I gain the strength to return!" The Doctor calmly withstood her tirade, and as she caught her breath he finally spoke.

"I found your letter." She froze. How long had it been since she wrote that? She shook her head, knowing the answer didn't matter. She slowly sat on her haunches, staring down at the moon. Her moon. The anger quickly escaped her, leaving nothing but the sadness that had gradually accumulated over the years of her prison sentence.

"How cruel are you to have made me take the slow path these four hundred years? Enduring such a bleak existence here by myself, with a simple magical construct as my only companion?" She sadly looked up towards the Doctor, her savior, her destroyer.

"Why didn't you stop me?" He lowered himself onto the ground next to her.

"I had to let you suffer. I am truly sorry for that. But you had to visit yourself, and bring around your own banishment. Time can't always be tampered with so easily." Celestia's words came back to her full force.

"And ponies can? I trusted you. And you LIED to me, Doctor! Am I that large a fool?" The Doctor sadly smiled at her before looking up towards the sky.

"If I had told you the truth, I wouldn't have needed you to trust me." Her eyes followed his, wondering what he could see up there that she had not.

She sat beside him as they both silently stared at Equestria. It looks so beautiful and serene from where we are. I have never really thought about it before, have I?

Her musings were interrupted by the Doctor. He slid a hoof around her shoulder as they continued gazing at the world that continued on because of the pain and loneliness she had received.

"Look... I don't normally offer this to a pony who carries so much darkness within her," he quietly said. "but... I owe it to you." He got up excitedly, and offered a hoof for her to grab. Her attention was diverted from the view she had never enjoyed before as he spoke.

"Come with me." Luna blinked, confused. Did she hear him truly say that? She scoffed at his offer, knocking his hoof away.

"Don't tempt me so, Doctor." She couldn't bear to look at him any longer. She had been the source of so much pain and misery. How dare he suggest that she did not deserve her punishment. "I know what evils I have done."

"So do I," He replied with a growing smile as the idea grew inside him. "You have six hundred years left to waste on this rock. I'll make you a deal: if you come with me, we can stop at any time. I'll even drop you off a day before your return." She wrestled with the offer. Why should she deserve such a generous offer?

"We both want to make a difference. To atone for our past mistakes." He slowly shook his head. "You can't do that here." She stared at his inviting hoof, her mind focused on the possibility. Could she really do some good for once? End this nightmare that had clouded her mind?

"You're right," Luna said. She reached towards him and took hold of his hoof, and her Doctor pulled her up. "Take me with you, Doctor."

"Then come with me," he said with a happy smile. She walked beside him, and they walked to the mysterious big old blue box.

He pushed open the door, and Luna caught her first glimpse of what lay waiting for her to discover. To start, the room was bigger on the inside. It was enormous. It was beautiful. And It was wonderful.

The Doctor laid a hoof around her shoulder and pulled her closer as she stared inside, imagining the possibilities. His words marked the very start of her endless adventures with the Doctor. She would not dare to forget a single moment of them.

"All of time and space, everything that happened or ever will. Where do you want to start?"