The note still sat on Luna’s desk, and every so often she glanced back at it from her book, as though she hoped some hidden clue would reveal itself. Having lead a revolution once Luna was quite acquainted with such things as secret messages only visible at certain times of day, but she could feel no trace of magic on this letter, and the text remained the same every time she looked.
Meet me in the palace tea lounge at midday.
~An Old Friend
An Old Friend. It should have been easy to figure out. The list of beings who may have survived the past millenium was fairly short, and Luna had difficulty thinking of any who weren’t abyssal or infernal horrors that were not particularly her friends. Perhaps they’d heard about the dreadful business with Nightmare Moon and felt they might have more in common than they’d previously thought. But Luna had not heard of any escapes from Tartarus that morning, and so she suspected they were not responsible.
She tried to think of any dragons she might have met. But dragons were no more common in Equestria during her own time than in this future age. And though she knew of some, she knew of none that she had considered friends.
It occured to her finally that if she had received this note in her own era, and it had been signed merely “A Friend,” she would likely have been just as baffled.
There was a time when that was not the case, she reminded herself. But anypony who had been her friend at one time had ceased to be so a long time before her fall. There were followers and advisors and co-conspirators. But they were not friends. They were more enemies of Celestia than allies of hers.
She sighed. Celestia had friends. Celestia had enemies. Everypony had strong opinions of her. Luna was, as ever, merely an observer.
Discarding any hope that she might discern the identity of her forgotten friend, she rose from her seat. She would find the answer to her question in the palace tea longue.
* * * * * *
Two guards stood at the door to the lounge as Princess Luna approached. They seemed to shrink slightly from her as if afraid, but she resolved to ignore this.
“Guards, allow us to enter,” she commanded.
They both nodded and stepped to either side. “You’re expected, Princess.”
She nodded and stepped between them as the door opened in a white glow. She gasped softly as the door closed behind her, and she stared at the smiling face of her sister, sitting at a small round table with two cups, a teapot, and a small red and white cake.
“I’m glad to see you, Luna,” Celestia said.
Luna sighed and hung her head, a blush on her cheeks as she reluctantly approached the table. Her eyes were locked on the teacup in front of her.
“Of course, sister,” Luna replied.
Celestia sighed. “Luna. Look at me. Please.”
The tone of her voice, at once pleading and severe, made Luna shiver. She raised her muzzle but her eyes trailed behind, and as she faced Celestia she looked down at her neck, unable to meet her gaze. Her cheeks burned and she trembled even at imagining the piercing eyes of her sister. But finally she managed enough strength to meet Celestia’s gaze.
“I must confess,” Luna said. “When I saw a letter from an old friend, I never imagined it might be from you.”
“We were friends once,” Celestia replied. “Weren’t we?”
Luna thought back. It was hard to remember the time before their falling out. She could picture events, remember Celestia’s words. But it didn’t quite feel real, as if that were another lifetime all together.
“I suppose we were,” Luna said.
Celestia sighed as the teapot lifted in her magical grasp, and it poured into Luna’s cup. “I had all but forgotten it myself,” she admitted. “But a thousand years apart from you does put one’s priorities in perspective.”
That Celestia might feel something missing during that time was not something Luna had ever imagined. It seemed impossible. The Princess of the Sun, beloved by all, surely wouldn’t mind one less pony to worship her. Luna took a deep breath and tamped down on that anger before it could rise within her. Celestia placed the teapot down and smiled at her.
Luna met her gaze without fear this time, and she saw something in those eyes, a sadness behind Celestia’s smile which she had never seen before.
“A toast?” Celestia asked. She lifted her teacup.
Luna raised an eyebrow, but she lifted her teacup in turn.
“To loneliness,” Celestia said.
Luna couldn’t resist a chuckle and she sighed, smiling back at her sister.
They clinked their cups together and each took a sip before Celestia began slicing the cake.
This is simultaneously really sad and heartwarming. You can feel Luna’s resignation throughout - her acceptance of the fact that she’s alone, even now - and I really like the voice you gave her here. Her musings about the past, and her role in the revolution, are very interesting. I think my favourite thing about it is the hints of bitter snark that crop up - and the ending, with the glimmer of hope it offers, is just wonderful. Well done. :)