Clair de Lune

by SPark

Chapter 6: Truth and Beauty

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Lune's cup was shaking again, almost enough to spill the contents. He quickly set it back down, without taking a sip. It had hot chocolate in it rather than tea, since Twilight knew his tastes very well. They spent time together every single week—a regular "friend date" as Twilight sometimes called it—watching the stars or visiting the spa or simply enjoying each other's company. Lune had almost begged off tonight, but in the end he had decided that delaying would only make things worse.

"Is something wrong, Luna?" Twilight Sparkle set down her own more conventionally filled teacup and looked at him worriedly.

He looked like Luna again. Celestia had helped him to cast a permanent illusion spell that could be removed at will. The spell was centered on a horn ring, which Lune currently wore on a chain around his neck. He could put it on and look like himself whenever he wanted. He hadn't been able to bring himself to simply arrive at Twilight Sparkle's door like that though.

He fiddled with the ring as he tried to decide where to start. His heart was pounding. Maybe he should have just turned up as Lune. It at least would have given him a place to start explaining. "'Tis not that something is wrong. Merely... I know not how to begin. Forgive me."

"Whatever it is, I am here for thee." Twilight reached out and rested a hoof over Lune's.

"Ah Twilight... thou hast been such a friend to me. I... I know not what I should do were I to lose thee."

"Thou wilt not, Luna."

Lune's ears were flat down. He already had decided he didn't like hearing that other name. Hearing it from Twilight was somehow worse. He had to tell her. He had to. But the words just wouldn't come.

"Luna..." Twilight moved around to sit beside him and put her hoof around his shoulders. She was still slightly shorter than he, so it was a little awkward, but the comforting gesture still felt good. "Whatever it is, it'll be okay, I promise."

"Do not make promises when thou dost not know if thou canst keep them," said Lune softly.

"I'm sorry. But I can promise I'll always be here for thee, Luna. So please, tell me whatever it is. I'll do my best to make it okay. Is that a better promise?"

Lune smiled just a little. "Aye, 'tis better. Very well. I... shall try." He took a deep breath, looking down at the ring again. "I... I merely cannot find the words. Perhaps I should show thee."

"If that would be easier for thee," said Twilight, smiling gently. It was a little bit like Celestia's smile, Lune thought. Well, Twilight was her student.

He took the ring from its chain and, his stomach tying itself into a horrible knot as he did so, slipped it over his horn. The illusion, real enough to touch, immediately formed over him. His mane was unchanged this time, there was no need to pretend to be an ordinary pony, and so his wings were unchanged as well. But all else was altered subtly.

Twilight looked up at him. "I don't understand. You look like a colt now? Why?"

"Because I am one," said Lune.

"But... that's just an illusion, I can tell. It's a very good one, you... thou hast obviously worked hard on it, but it's not real."

Lune sighed. "Nay. But 'tis what lies in my heart, Twilight. All my life, somewhere in my heart, I was 'The Mare Ill At Ease With Herself', for I could never fit into mine own life, no matter how I should contort myself. It was not until this past week that I fully comprehended the reason why, when I learned that such a change was now possible. Now I know what shape I must be to be at ease, and 'tis this that I wear now only in illusion. But someday I shall wear it in truth."

"Oh. Oh! So you... you want to be a colt, and not a mare?"

Lune nodded.

"Oh." Twilight's ears flicked uncertainly. She obviously didn't know how to take this at all. Lune felt a little bit of the knot in his stomach loosening all the same. It wasn't a rejection. The worst possibility, that she would instantly hate him, was past. "Uhm. I'm not sure what to... I mean I have this sudden urge to go see if the library has any books about it. I'm not sure we do. I don't know anything about gender changing."

"I am still learning myself," said Lune, venturing a small smile.

"Why were y... Why wert thou so afraid though, Luna? Surely thou doth know I'm not the kind of friend to stop being thy friend because of something like that?"

Lune swallowed. "Canst thou call me Lune, please?"

"Lune. Okay. I'll try to remember. But...?" She trailed off uncertainly, and Lune wandered if she'd arrived at the answer to her own question already.

"I am fairly certain, Twilight, that thou art not the sort of friend who would reject my friendship for such a cause, aye. Though I could not help but fear it somewhat all the same. But..." He swallowed again, blushing, "I cannot help but think on a certain topic. I... I... if I can be a stallion, Twilight, canst thou...? Couldst thou ever come to... to... to love me?" Those last few words came out as a faint, almost despairing whisper.

"I..." Twilight stared up at him. "Luna—uhm, Lune—I don't... I don't know. If you... I mean... do you want to be a colt because of me then?"

Lune shook his head firmly at that. "Nay. If thou couldst love me as a stallion I would be in heaven, Twilight. Thou knowest how fondly I think of thee. But 'tis not that. 'Tis who I am. 'Tis how I can at long last feel at ease. 'Tis how I can be happy." He paused, trying to find more to say, but could think of no further explanations to offer. Finally, he concluded, "I know that this is no doubt strange to thee, Twilight. 'Tis strange to me as well."

"It is, kind of." A familiar expression of determination crossed Twilight's face, and Lune smiled a little more. "But new things aren't something to be afraid of, they're something to be studied!"

More tendrils of the knot in Lune's stomach eased. "Oh? Shall I then be the subject of thy study?"

"Sure, why not? A case study on transgenderism in alicorns. The first ever, I'm sure!"

Lune had to laugh at that. "Oh Twilight. Thou art a delight. Thou must never change."

Twilight gave Lune a look of sudden uncertainty. "Thou art changing though."

Lune shook his head. "Nay. Lune is who I have always been. 'Twas merely that I did not know it. Naught shall change save what thou doth see here, that I shall look a very little different than I have looked."

Twilight stepped back, looking Lune up and down. Lune rose, and turned around, letting Twilight see him from all sides. "It is different. But..." she flushed slightly. "You do make a pretty handsome stallion." Her ears went back in annoyance. "And I keep forgetting my archaic pronouns, argh. I'm probably going to forget to call y—to call thee Lune too."

Lune smiled and dared to step close enough to give Twilight a gentle nuzzle. "That thou hast made the effort to make me feel at ease with them, Twilight, is a gift, even if thou dost at times forget. I think at times that perhaps I should attempt to speak the formal mode with thee as well, for I myself oft times forget when speaking with mine other friends. Yet I have always loved that thou hast made such an effort for my sake. With thee I do feel at home, as I do nowhere else in all Equestria." He reached out and cupped her cheek with one hoof. "I thank thee for't, Twilight."

"Thou art welcome L-Lune." Twilight closed her eyes, just feeling his touch. "And I think... I think maybe I could love thee. Only... please, go slowly. I don't want to break thy heart, or mine either."

"I shall," said Lune gently. He bent to her, but only brushed his lips to her cheek softly. Twilight sighed. It was a happy sort of sigh, and it made Lune smile. "The stars do shine, Twilight. Shall we go watch them for a time?"

"That would be nice," said Twilight.

When they reached the balcony Lune glanced at the telescope. But Twilight went to the railing and sat there, staring up at the sky above. Lune sat beside her and put a wing gently around her, as he had many times before. After a long, comfortable silence Lune said, "I should have brought thee flowers. But as I did not, I would give thee another gift." He lifted his head higher, and a faint aura gathered about his horn. It was different from the magic he used for ordinary spells. Harder in some ways; he was working with immense powers. Easier in others; the magic was natural as breathing, part of who he was.

Twilight looked up at him. "What...?"

"Look. There." Lune pointed and Twilight followed his hoof. A shooting star suddenly streaked towards the horizon. It was followed by another, and then a flurry of half a dozen almost at once. Then one more, and then the night sky was still again.

"Oh," gasped Twilight softly. "How beautiful!"

"No more beautiful than thou."

Lune tried very hard not to fidget as he sat across the table from Twilight. They were at the fanciest restaurant in Ponyville, but already Lune was re-thinking everything. He shouldn't have asked Twilight out to dinner. Dinner was boring. Dinner was the most basic of date ideas. He should have thought of something more fun. Or he should have taken her to Canterlot, where there were more upscale places. She wasn't going to be impressed, she was going to think he didn't really care, that he wasn't willing to put in any effort. This had been so lazy. But he just hadn't been able to think of anything else!

"It's a very pretty night," said Twilight, looking up at the moon with a smile, startling him out of his downward spiraling thoughts.

"Many thanks."

"You're welcome." Twilight paused, frowning faintly. "Wow, that was stupid. I sound like you just bought a packet of quills from me or something. I have to admit that I don't know what I'm doing with this dating thing. I've never dated anybody before. I'm probably going to mess something up tonight. Argh. I'm messing up already, I just said 'you' again. Sorry."

Lune chuckled softly. "I was just thinking much the same. When last I courted, the rules were quite unlike the customs of this day. I was also oft the pursued, not the one giving chase."

"Well, thou hast already caught me, I think. I don't know what the future holds, but for the present, I am thine."

Lune's heart skipped a beat. "I... I am thine also, fair Twilight. My heart lies in thy hooves."

"I shall hold it as gently as a baby bird," said Twilight with a smile.

"I chance to recall that thou spoke to me once of birds that swim, and fish that fly. Dost thou recall?"


"I feel as if I am a fish taken flight. All is strange and new and wonderful, yet also all is strange and new and fearful."

"I can imagine."

The waiter arrived with their appetizers, and both fell silent as he set the plates in front of them.

Suddenly another voice called out, "Princess Luna! Princess Twilight! Sharp Quill from the Daily Canter here. Would either of you care to make a statement about yesterday's breaking story? Is it true that Luna has been a secret stallion all these years?"

Lune's ears went flat and he sank down in his seat. He resolutely avoided looking at the reporter and instead lifted his fork in his magic.

Twilight, however, gave the reporter a glare. "We're not available for comment."

"Is it true that you and Princess Luna are having a lesbian affair?"

Lune sank down further, wincing at the sound of his old name, and started contemplating teleportation spells. He could take Twilight with him, but did he have the reach to get them both all the way to Canterlot? Perhaps merely going to Twilight's Castle of Harmony would suffice.

"It's Prince Lune," said Twilight in a dangerous tone of voice. "And if you don't mind, we're trying to eat." Her horn glowed, and suddenly a magenta bubble popped into existence around their table, enclosing the pair and the rather flummoxed waiter who'd been standing nearby, looking as if he were trying to decide between retreat and shooing the intruder out himself.

Everything went strangely quiet as the bubble cut off sound from the rest of the restaurant. Twilight smiled smugly. "There. Selectively permeable barrier. One of the ones Shining Armor taught me when I was just a filly. It won't let sound pass, and it also won't let any pony not attuned to it in, but those inside can come and go as they like." She gave the waiter a smile and a nod.

"I can go through it?" he said, looking mildly terrified. He was an earth pony, and obviously not that comfortable with magic.

"Yep. Go ahead. And while you're gone, could you get me a lemonade? The menu says you do lavender infused lemonade? It sounds lovely."

"Uhm. Yes, of course, your highness." He gave an awkward little bow and turned. He paused at the barrier, and poked it with a hoof first, but when that went through as if the shield wasn't even there, he went ahead and stepped out of the bubble without further hesitation. Lune and Twilight could see the reporter approaching the waiter as he stepped out. The reporter said something, and the waiter gestured behind him at the bubbled table.

The reporter trotted up to the bubble and promptly planted, muzzle-first, right into the hard surface. Twilight giggled. Lune put a hoof over his smile. The reporter scowled and tapped repeatedly at the bubble with one hoof, then turned, looking for the waiter, but the waiter was gone.

"Let's ignore him and enjoy the evening," said Twilight, pulling Lune's attention back to her. That was quite easy to do; she looked absolutely stunning. She was wearing a dress—Lune suspected Rarity's hoof in that—and it looked amazing on her. Though in truth she was beautiful with no need for further adornment. Lune was wearing only his normal regalia and the horn ring that aided with his illusion.

"I offer my sincere apologies for... that." Lune waved his hoof vaguely. "I should have dealt with that interruption rather than thee."

Twilight shrugged. "It was no big deal."

"'Twas more of a 'big deal' than thou makest it to be, Twilight. I would understand if thou shouldst have no desire to gain such attentions. Our courtship should not be a source of vexation to thee. I shall not object if thou desirest to end it lest-"

"Nonsense." Twilight broke in firmly. "I don't desire to end anything. I desire thee." She flushed suddenly. "Oh dear, I didn't mean it to come out like that." She gave a little cough and added, "Though it's not entirely untrue. You are, ah... you make a very handsome stallion, Lune."

"And thou... I would write poetry to thee, dearest Twilight, but thy beauty is beyond all words. Perhaps soon I shall make the attempt all the same."

Twilight flushed, and Lune smiled. A moment later the waiter returned with Twilight's lemonade, and the news that the reporter had been shown the door. Their meal and conversation remained undisturbed, though Twilight left the shield bubble up until the meal was over, much to the waiter's dismay. Lune made certain to leave a very generous tip when he paid for their food.

Later, they walked together through the streets of Ponyville, enjoying the cool evening air. They spoke of many things, from the life cycle of the flying fish to Lune's long-distant foalhood. Eventually, they halted in front of Twilight's home. Twilight looked up at the grand, tree-like castle and gave a little, wistful sigh. "I suppose I should go to sleep eventually." Then she shot a sly, but blushing look at Lune and added, "Though it's tempting to invite you up to stay the night."

Lune found himself blushing too. "I... ah... thou... thou art tempting indeed."

"We should probably take it slow, though. This is only our first date."

"Aye. And in truth..." Lune sighed, looking away from Twilight. "In truth mine appearance is but an illusion. I cannot love thee as I might wish. In a year's time, when I can be myself in both body and mind, then, should we yet be inclined one towards another I should do more than merely court thee. But for now... For now I shall content myself with this." He leaned in a kissed her once, briefly, softly.

Twilight nodded, still blushing. Then she suddenly flung her forelegs around Lune, hugging him close, and kissed him rather more enthusiastically and at some length. When they broke apart Twilight was panting a little bit and Lune was feeling blissfully dazed. The kiss had been electrifying.

After a long pause while both processed what just happened, Twilight said, "I have no idea where we'll be a year from now. I have no idea how any of this going to go. But right here and right now, my heart tells me that we'll be together, and that it will be worth the wait."

There was a rustling in the bushes beside them, and a unicorn's head popped up out of the greenery. "I just want one brief comment on-"

This time it was Lune's horn that lit, and the reporter vanished with a pop. Twilight blinked. "Where did you send him?"

"As far as I might manage towards Appleloosa. I do not think I quite sent him the full distance, but I did seek to aim along the tracks, so he should at least not wander lost." Lune grinned. "But the train doth not stop along that stretch, so methinks he shall have a memorably long walk home."

Twilight laughed. "Remind me to not make thee angry, my love!"

Lune felt a tingle go through him at hearing Twilight say "my love". "Ah Twilight. I do truly hope that such as he shall not make thee regret our courtship."

"Never. Anyway, I'm sure once word gets out that you're punting them across Equestria, they'll stop bothering us." She smiled cheerfully. Then her smile softened. "But even if nosy reporters follow me around for the next whole year, I said it would be worth the wait, and it will be worth putting up with them too."

"Thou seemest so certain..."

Twilight shook her head ruefully. "I'm certain of very little. But I know that I've enjoyed this evening, and that the kissing was... really nice. And that thou shalt always be dear to me, whatever happens. It's not exactly true love from the ballads, but a lot of those ballads are pretty silly. Whatever it is, it's good."

"It is good, aye." And Lune could not resist stepping in and kissing her again, tenderly this time, but at length, and with a rising passion that would have given the reporter something to write about had he still been there.

Author's Notes:

This concludes the main arc of this story. There is a finale, and something of an epilogue, that will both post next month. Thanks everyone for sticking with me this far, and thanks also for the civility of the comments. I always worry a bit when I post stories with touchy subjects, but people have been pretty good with this one. It's barely even gotten any hate downvotes!

P.S. This story brought to you in part by my patrons at Patreon. If you'd like to support me in writing more like this, and get early access, voting on story subjects, and other perks, please consider becoming a patron.

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