Flowers In Her Hair

by Sunchaser

Chapter 1: Hush Now; No Words

Flowers In Her Hair
By Sunchaser

She wore flowers in her hair.

I don't know why I only noticed it then; I don't know why I never saw it before.

It was the evening of my coronation, the fancy official party to let the Canterlot nobles present themselves to the illustrious new Princess Twilight Sparkle, so they could get their first sense of how they were going to try to use me. Apparently my having a crown now has made everyone forget that I'm Celestia's student, and have been surrounded by such politics for most of my life.

That, thankfully, only lasted about an hour; a flurry of names and titles and false smiles hiding gleeful machinations, but that had been expected. It was a necessary evil, and I put up with it, wearing a false smile of my own to thinly veil my contempt of the self-important upper class.

And then it was over, and a real smile replaced it, as I was free to enjoy the festivities and see my friends again.

Rainbow Dash was still obsessing over my new wings, and couldn't stop talking about all the tricks I was going to learn once she started teaching me to fly. Not that I'd ever asked her to teach me to fly, but...well, it was sort of foregone, wasn't it?

Rarity was visibly relieved that I was wearing a different dress. The ceremonial garb from the crowning proper had centuries of tradition to recommend it, but she'd nearly needed to be restrained, twitching and muttering dark oaths about crossing hot pink and banana creme. But now that I was in a more casual evening dress—a simple flowing length of shimmering blue ornamented with touches of silver trim, dotted with amethysts to complement my tiara—she went on about how royal I looked, and how it was all just so lovely: the glamour, the tradition, the pageantry...

Pinkie Pie was, I suppose, the most like her usual self. It was a party, if somewhat more constrained than her usual fare, and she was cavorting and mingling and joking around like she always did. I may have taken particular pleasure with how her up-close, in-your-face bubbly manner still unsettles the stuffy decorum-obsessed nobles.

Applejack had found herself in a group of Canterlot commerce ponies, and was animatedly talking business, commanding the attention of the local office-administrative types with her hooves-on field experience and demonstrated success as owner-operator of one of Equestria's most recognized agrarian names.

Cadence was at the bar, endeavoring to console Shining Armor to her left, as he gripped his mug of cider and muttered numbly, and Spike to her right, who was grimly staring into his glass of fruit punch. She was so gallantly trying to comfort them, because yes, okay, sure, their sister was an alicorn princess now, but wasn't it really a good thing? Isn't it nice that she's come so far from her shut-in bookish roots?

I did understand their dilemma, though, and it brought me some comfort to see somepony else who was really taking the whole thing basically the same way I was.

It hadn't really sunk in then. Hasn't even now, really; it still feels very strange to have wings poking out of my back.

Princess Luna was mingling about the room, and I was happy to see that ponies really seem to have started accepting her alongside Celestia now. She was laughing and smiling, and not all of it was just social ritual; some of it was genuine—some ponies really did want to know her for more than her crown, and that gave me hope, too.

Princess Celestia was, as ever, presiding over the assembly, her beneficent presence lending a quiet warmth to the whole event, and when I caught her eyes she lent me that same honest smile she has since I was a precocious filly.

Some things, thankfully, aren't changing too fast.

But I still could only endure so many pandering nobles, so I escaped to the ballroom patio and the palace gardens beyond, taking in the quiet and stars and the soothing light of the waxing moon.

I wasn't 'the new Princess of Equestria!' there. I didn't have shiny new wings, or a fancy crown, or pretentious titles. I was just...myself again, for a quiet moment. Just regular old Twilight Sparkle, Ponyville Librarian, a little more talented at magic than she perhaps deserved, walking the smooth flagstones of the garden paths.

My mind wandered and my hooves followed, and my meandering about the hedges and flowerbeds eventually lead me to a quiet little fountain plaza, and the one pony I hold close to me that I'd yet to see that evening.

I really shouldn't have been surprised to find her there.

Fluttershy was laying silently on the grass at the fountain edge, dangling a hoof lazily into the cool water, her eyes closed as she listened to the sounds of the animals nearby, the evening breeze rustling the leaves of surrounding trees, the quiet murmur of the flowing water.

She had left aside her more elaborate gala dress in favor of a simpler piece: a plain slip of untrimmed white-silver silk that gleamed beneath the rising moon, well matched to the soft yellow of her coat and mild rose of her mane.

And it was a stark contrast indeed, to the flowers in her hair.

She'd not had them earlier, when the reception had begun. She must have carefully, meekly, plucked them from the gardens, and now her mane was dotted with crimson amaranth and vivid orchids of indigo, striking stars of bold color on a backdrop of soft, muted tones.

She stirred at the sound of my hooves upon the stone path, raising her head and opening her eyes to gaze at me with soothing aquamarine.

I don't know how I hadn't noticed it before; why it was only clear to me then. But I was struck speechless, dazed by the sheer realization of how staggeringly beautiful she was, there in that moment.

I can't really remember everything so clearly after our eyes met; I can't say for sure that the rest wasn't a dream. But she smiled, and my heart sang; she rose from her place, and stepped over to me, and without a whisper we nuzzled gently together, and everything was so warm and wonderful.

After a long moment she drew back, and our eyes met again, and she smiled so bashfully.

And...and then it's all sort of a blur of shock, and surprise, and a giddy, soaring happiness that I imagine flying would strain to achieve, and I'm reasonably sure that it's because Fluttershy kissed me, that night in the gardens.

It was only a few days ago now, but it's all so muddled and blurry and mixed up in feelings of elation and trepidation and hesitation and a dozen other nouns and adjectives that just don't do it justice, and I'm afraid that I'll never feel something like that again, that it was all a fleeting dream. But at the same time I'm buzzing with a barely-restrained wish to just flare my new wings wide and fly off to where Fluttershy is and tell her all this because I know that it'll be alright, and—

You know, I think I'm just going to do that, right now.

Because while I don't know why I only noticed it then, and I don't know why I never saw it before...

I see it now.

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