by Aiyonbeam

Chapter 1: Drink to Remember


The alicorn turned over in her bed, the small smile on her face fading slowly.


A small groan escaped her lips as she took a pillow in her hooves, and, with all the grace and dignity befitting her title, shoved the thing over her ears.


Growling, Twilight Sparkle shot from her bed, covers flying away in a veritable hurricane of interrupted sleep.

"It is five in the morning." she grumbled to herself as she trotted briskly through the halls of the castle, cursing the Rainbow Box with every hoofstep for not putting some windows on the second floor, for Celestia's sake. "If this is one of Pinkie's late-night 'adventures', I swear..."

Ripping the balcony door open, Twilight walked to the railing and leaned over, surveying the darkened landscape below her with a scowl.

"Pinkie Pie!" she called, scanning the nearby houses for any sign of her friend. Seeing nothing, Twilight's scowl grew.

"Pinkie, if you don't get out here right now I will open a portal to a previously unknown plane of existence!" she cried, shaking a hoof. "Don't think I won't! You know how long it took to send those horrorterrors back to their native dimension!"


"Pinkie?" Twilight trailed off as the call came again. That voice...
Twilight shook her head, as if shaking the sleep from her mind, put a hoof to an ear, and listened.

"Twilight, is that you?"

The words were slurred, and there was an odd breathiness to the tone, but that voice was unmistakable.

"Princess Celestia?" Twilight called into the darkness, scanning the ground below. Sure enough, the alicorn stood there, gazing up at Twilight with a strange smile on her face. A bottle of something hovered in a flickering field of golden magic, and the princess swayed in place, as if buffeted by a strong breeze.

"Twiliiiight!" she called again, a hoof raised to her mouth. "Over heeeeere!"

"Are..." Twilight blinked, still staring. "Are you drunk?"

At that, Celestia looked at the bottle.

"I may be a lil' inebro-..."

Celestia looked at the bottle, then at Twilight.


She looked at the ground, then the bottle, then Twilight, then the bottle again.

"I'm drunk." she said. "Can I come in?"

Slowly, silently, Twilight nodded.

Celestia nodded, and, with a flash of her horn, appeared above Twilight.

The purple alicorn barely had time to register the move before she was buried in alabaster fur. Grunting with effort - Celestia was surprisingly heavy - Twilight struggled to escape from her pale prison.

Celestia shook her head rapidly, took another swig from the bottle, and sighed.

"Lan- *hic* Landed on you?"

Twilight grunted in confirmation, and Celestia stood, staggering off to one side before collapsing into a heap some ways away.

"'M sorry, Twi." the pile of alicorn said. "I... I'm not so good at my magic when I'm like this."

"It's..." Twilight brushed herself off, straightening some feathers that had gone awry. "It's all right; you didn't hurt me."


There was a long silence.

"Do you want to come inside?" Twilight finally asked, placing a hoof on the downed alicorn. "It's cold out."

"No thanks..." Celestia said, her voice- well, that couldn't be right. Twilight chuckled softly to herself. Imagine that; the Princess's voice wavering. "I... I like it out here. Cold... Cold keeps me awake."

"Would you mind if I got us some chairs?"

"Go get yourself a chair. I'll stay here."

A few seconds, a flash of magenta light, and Twilight sat in a cozy armchair. Celestia remained on the balcony floor, her gaze not meeting Twilight's.

"Have..." Celestia stopped, cleared her throat, restarted. "Have you been drunk before, Twi?"

Slowly, Twilight nodded. Celestia raised an eyebrow, finally looking at her student.

"It was a while ago." Twilight replied, gazing at the stars.

"Tell me... Tell me everything." Celestia said, voice no longer slurred. "Every detail."

Another nod, a deep breath, and Twilight began.

"It was just after we beat Tirek." she said quietly. "We were happy, we were celebrating, gawking at the castle, when I... I found the library. It was burnt so bad... It took hours to put out the fire. When we did, all I could smell was burning books, all I could see was fire, and the branches going up, and the lab equipment breaking, a-and Spike's bed, and the letters, and-"

Choking back a sob, Twilight slowly, methodically extended a hoof, breathing in deeply.
A white hoof caught hers, holding it tight.

"No." Celestia said, a strange hardness in her voice. "Feel it, Twilight. No breathing exercises; let your emotions get the best of you."

Another nod, and the tears began to flow, dripping down Twilight's face.

"I sat there, s-sobbing, a-and Applejack came up to me-"

"She saw you there, and of course she came to help."

Twilight gave a shaky nod before continuing.

"She took m-me to Sweet Apple Acres, a-and we shared some cider, a-and then she told me-"

"Please, try to remember, Twilight. What exactly did she say?"

Twilight looked at Celestia, then, and a small gasp split the air as she saw the princess of the Sun. She was crying; tears ran down her face, her expression somehow at once hard and wistful.

"Please." Celestia whispered.

"She told me that maybe... Maybe I'd just like to forget about the library for a little while." Twilight said quietly. "I told her I wished I could, and then she let me know what 'hard cider' was, and how alcohol could make a pony forget everything, if only for one night, and..."

"...And you drank with her." Celestia finished, gazing off into the night. "And the two of you sat, trading stories, laughing as you grew more and more-more drunk, a-and..."

With a choked sob, Celestia took a swig from the bottle, and the glassy look returned to her eyes.

"And in the morning, she helped you get over your first hangover, and the world didn't seem as bad a place as it did yesterday."

Twilight nodded, a hoof extending, reaching to comfort the other princess. Celestia waved it away.

"I can almost see it." she murmured, taking yet another swig. "The two of you... so happy..."

"Princess..." Twilight said, looking Celestia in the eyes. "Why are you here?"

With a chuckle, Celestia leaned back.

"Well, when a mommy galaxy and a daddy galaxy love each other very much..." she said, her voice taking on the tone of one talking to a foal. "They get together and-"

"I mean tonight." Twilight pressed on. "Drunk, at my doorstep, asking me about my friends. Why?"

There was a long silence.

"Because Luna's away." Celestia finally said. "Usually, during June, she's there and I can get drunk to her and sleep a lot like I normally do."

"You don't normally do that." Twilight said, raising an eyebrow. "I've been your student for years, and you've always-"

"Sent you to the School for Gifted Unicorns for direct one-on-one study under your professors, because 'I may have been a teacher for longer, but you need fresh perspectives'." Celestia cut in. "And while you studied your adorable little heart out, I drank. Like I do every June."

Another long silence.

"Why?" Twilight asked, still gazing into her teacher's eyes. "Why only June? Why do you drink at all?"

Celestia stood, then, leaning out over the balcony.

"Because today's his birthday." she said, her voice a mere whisper; Twilight had to strain her ears to hear the words.

"Whose birthday?" Twilight asked.

"Alabaster." Celestia answered. "And Comet Hoof. And Aria."

"I've... I've never-"

"You wouldn't have heard of them." Celestia said softly. "Not all of my students went on to accomplish as much as you did. Even those who did... They've faded, their stories told in bedrooms to little foals, or around campfires at reunions..."

A pale, slender hoof gestured to the sun.

"And when I raise the Sun tomorrow, it'll be Swift Wind's birthday, and Mossy Trails', and Sunset-"

Celestia choked back another sob.

"I'm afraid I don't understand." Twilight said, cocking her head to the side.

Celestia snorted.

"Of course you don't. Luna barely does, and sometimes I think she only pretends to, just to humor me. Nobody sees how strange it is."

Celestia continued, her eyes faraway as she lost herself in memory.

"I've had many students, Twilight. So many. And they've all been Junes. June 23rd; Platinum Star, and Day Brander, and Joyful Morning - Oh, I remember how mad she always got when I called her 'Jojo'; of course, I made sure to do it often. June 13th; Glimmering Moon, Silver Surface, and you, of course..."

The wind rushed through the trees, sweeping past the pair of princesses as they stood in silence.

"Every single student I've ever had has been born in June." Celestia said. "Without fail, without deviation. Every one. It's like the universe is taunting me; it's not a coincidence that the birthday the most of my students share is mine."

Twilight sat there, eyes locked on the princess as she continued, her voice growing hard.

"Oh, how I've prayed for an April, or a November, or even a July. I could work with a July! But no. Every single student has to have been born in June. Every one..."

Celestia's gaze suddenly shot to Twilight's, and the smaller mare instinctively stood, taking a small step back.

"D'you wanna know the first time I ever got drunk?" she said, her voice loud, too loud. "I remember it like it was yesterday."

"Princess..." Twilight said, taking another step back.

"June 7th, one thousand years ago!" Celestia cried, sweeping her hoof across empty space in a grand gesture. "A marvelous day for all of Equestria! The evil Nightmare Moon, banished! Celestia, the popular socialite, coronated as sole Princess of Equestria! They threw- oh, they threw the grandest party you ever did see, Sparky. Lights, music, dancing; it was a real show-stopper!"

"Princess." Twilight said, her back hooves meeting the ledge of the balcony as Celestia advanced, her eyes never leaving Twilight's.

"Of course, I was a no-show, but ponies didn't care! There was dancing to be done! Drinking! Cake! Fun fun fun fun fun fun so much fun!"

"Princess, please!" Twilight cried. Celestia was in her face now, mouth foaming, eyes blazing, but she didn't stop.

"And where was I, you ask? 'Where was the princess of the hour?' I was up in my bedroom, and nopony knew why. Nightmare Moon was gone; time to celebrate! Dance through the beautiful, wonderful night she made - we made - for them, drink until the lights blur and the dancers are wobbly and the cake is flowing like wine through the streets and-"

Suddenly, Celestia turned, slowly walking towards the edge of the balcony.

"A maid - oh, bless her timid little heart - came up to my chambers, offered me a bottle of champagne. I'd never touched the stuff before, but something - okay, you know what it was - made me accept it. I took a sip... And then I downed the bottle. And another. And five more, until the world swam and my head was pounding but I still couldn't stop crying, it's supposed to make you forget but it never did, it never does, and..."

Celestia was standing on the edge of the balcony now, her mane whipping in the wind, a mad look in her eyes as she gazed at a still-stunned Twilight.

"And I was right here, that night!" she cried, gesturing toward the railing under her hooves. "Oh, how they gasped, oh, how they screamed! If I could, I'd frame their faces; every last one of them filled with horror as I jumped-"

And with that, Celestia leapt from the balcony.

A choked cry tore up through Twilight's throat as she rushed to the edge, dove over it, wings spread, hooves outstretched-
It was too late.
Celestia hit the ground with a sickening 'thud'; Twilight pulled up before she met the same fate, slowly circling down to where her teacher lay.

"It didn't work." Celestia murmured, when Twilight landed. "It never did, it never does, it never will. Sure, they made a big fuss, called off the party, rushed to treat me, but I was fine, I was perfectly okay, no harm done, just a prank, see?"

A hoof outstretched, and Twilight gazed at the alicorn as she rose, completely unharmed.

"It happened for a decade or two after she left. Every June, I'd drink, and I'd jump, and every morning I'd wake up perfectly fine. Not even a hangover - did you know I can't get hangovers? It's true; I can't. Leaves more time to drink."

Twilight said nothing as she sat, gazing up at Celestia with a measured expression.

"And then I got over it, for a while." Celestia said. "Because I'd found Shooting Star. Oh, she was simply magnificent. Solved magical problems faster than you could say... Well, anything. Her mane always sparkled at night; I never figured out why before-"

The latest in a growing list of long silences stretched on before Celestia spoke again.

"The ship was the talk of Equestria. how could it just disappear like that? Just up and... Go away? With Shooting Star on board, too? And then it was her birthday - June 7th. That must've been why, because I was on the railing and I was drunk and I just couldn't stop hearing her voice in my head, giggling or laughing or puzzling over one theory or another...

"When I hit the ground, ponies barely stopped to ask me if I was okay. They all passed it off as 'our Princess displaying her holy power' and left me alone. And so I got over it, how could I not? I have a country to run, after all. And then came little Jojo, and Alabaster, and Star, and all the others, and Sunset - oh, I don't think I was sober all June, after she left - and then you came, and..."

Without a word, Twilight stood and walked to the sobbing Celestia.

"I thought it wouldn't be so bad..." Celestia sobbed. "You'd understand, and maybe we-we could share a drink, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that you wouldn't understand. Nopony does..."

The sobbing slowed as Twilight's hoof settled on Celestia's shoulder, and soon she was hugging Celestia close, rocking the larger alicorn gently as she cried.

Twilight couldn't tell how much time passed. It could have been a couple of minutes; it could have been hours. But, eventually, silence replaced sobs, and they sat, the cool night air flowing past them.

"You hate me." Celestia mumbled.

"I don't hate you." Twilight replied, giving the princess a smile.

"Yes you do." Celestia replied. "You were sleeping, probably having a nice dream about books or libraries or something adorably smart like that, and then I barged in and..."

"You didn't 'barge in', Celestia." Twilight replied. "I let you in, remember?"

"That doesn't give me the right to do what I did. I unloaded on you, and you weren't prepared, and..."

"Celestia, stop." Twilight said, voice stern. "Please, just listen."

Nodding, the alabaster princess fell silent, looking up at Twilight with reddened eyes.

"How many of your students have you told about all this?"

Celestia looked down at her hooves.

"You and Shooting Star."

Twilight sighed, gazing up at the moon for a brief moment before returning her gaze to the alicorn beside her.

"Thanks to you," the said quietly. "I've met five - heck, more than five; a whole town of wonderful ponies, each of whom I trust completely. I've surrounded myself with friends."

"I know how far you've come, Twilight." Celestia said, smiling. "We kinda did a huge thing about it. I sang a song. It was pretty; remember?"

"That's the point." Twilight continued. "All this time, I've had so many ponies to rely on, but all you've had is Luna, and she can't help you with everything."

"I'm the ruler of Equestria, Twilight. That's how it has to-"

"No, it isn't." Twilight said, poking Celestia's nose with a hoof. "It isn't how it has to be. You're a pony, not some sort of country-ruling machine. You're allowed to feel sad, and you're allowed to have friends."

Twilight stood, then, and fixed Celestia with a determined grin.

"Starting tonight," she said. "I want you to promise me that whenever you feel sad, or you need help, or you just want to talk, you'll visit me."

"Twilight, there's no need-"

"Promise me!" Twilight said. "If there's anything I can do to help you, I will. I'll buy all the best alcohol and make a huge stockpile; heck, I'll even start a winery if I have to! Just promise me."

Slowly, tentatively, Celestia nodded.

"I'm sorry; I couldn't hear you."

"Are we-"

"Yes, we are really doing this."

Chuckling, Celestia stood, shaking Twilight's hoof firmly.

"I promise." she said. "I'll come to you."

"I'll be talking to Luna," Twilight replied. "And if I find out that you've been bottling things up like this, I'll come to you."

"I'm sure you will." Celestia said, giving Twilight a smile.

Then, swaying, Princess Celestia passed out.

Twilight let out a chuckle, then a guffaw, and soon peals of laughter echoed through the night. Eventually, the laughing stopped, and Twilight regarded Celestia with a mock-resigned sigh.

"Oh, what am I going to do with you?"

With a lingering chuckle, Twilight picked Celestia up, a magenta glow surrounding the white mare as Twilight carried her gently back into the castle, up the stairs, and into a bedroom, thanking the Rainbow Box with every step for including so many guest quarters.

"You've got a lot to learn about friendship, Princess." she murmured as she laid her down on the bed, levitating the covers over the sleeping alicorn. "You're lucky, though; I've been told I'm a pretty good teacher."

The door to the room closed slowly as Twilight trotted silently away, giving the room one last look.

Slowly, she made her way to the balcony, sat in her chair, and gazed out at the sky. A bottle, half-empty and long-forgotten, made its way over to Twilight's lips, tilting as the alcohol spread bitter fire through the lavender mare.

Soon the bottle was drained, and Twilight sat, gazing at the stars.

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