Disclaimer- I don't own MLP:FiM. Wish I did, but, no, Hasbro does. No infringement is intended.
Dawn was never easy. No matter how many times in all her centuries of life Celestia had coaxed the sun forth, it had never become a routine task. Her abilities certainly stretched beyond what almost any other pony could even conceive of -save her sister and a very few others- but even so reaching out to manipulate forces on such a cosmic scale was a working so immense she could have scarcely explained it if asked.
Instinctively she closed her eyes against the glow. For those moments when Celestia stretched forth her will to raise it, she and the sun were almost one, both burning bright with the energies of light and life itself. Calling it magic scarcely seemed to do it justice; to do such a thing one had to become a part of nature on the most primal, universal level itself. As old as she was, Celestia still found it exhilarating, but also taxing beyond belief.
No, it had never been never easy for the Princess, even after countless mornings. Until this morning.
The forces around her settled, and Celestia opened her eyes. On her balcony before her the form of her most favored student hovered in the air- still, silent, and wreathed in the familiar corona of pale energy as she worked the flows that would bring forth a new day to Equestria. Opening the preturnatural senses that allowed her to see the forces at work, the Solar Princess examined Twilight Sparkle's work critically. It was not how she would have done it, not the way she had done it for so long. This was magic at its most elemental, and Celestia could not have taught it through book or scroll or formulae, so it was perhaps to be expected that Twilight's method differed somewhat from her own.
What was not expected was that Twilight's spellcraft was perfect. Elegant, efficient, and beautiful, the flows of magic danced and eddied and flowed around her in a complex but perfectly symmetrical knotwork of living energy. Spells were a reflection of the mind, heart and soul of the pony working them, and Celestia could see no trace of fear or doubt or hesitation within the working.
In that moment, Celestia was certain that Twilight Sparkle… Princess Twilight, she mentally corrected herself… was no longer her student, but her Heir.
Twilight would make mistakes, that was inevitable. Celestia had made more than a few of her own in her time, as had her sister. It was a comfort to the Princess that Luna would be there to guide Twilight as her powers and responsibilities grew, but not too closely. Mistakes would be made, but the burned hoof taught best, sometimes.
It was something that Celestia had long hoped for. She was not the first Alicorn, despite what some of her subjects seemed to believe, nor was she immortal. Their kind had never been many. She supposed the world would only tolerate power such as theirs to a very few at any time, perhaps to keep such powers in check. Others had come before her and her sister, and had passed on. She remembered them still, as she remembered so many other stallions and mares throughout her long span. Countless cherished friends, a special few that had been lovers. They had all passed on when their time had come, and Celestia knew her own time to join them would come soon.
Perhaps not 'soon' by most ponies reckoning. Maybe a decade or more remained within her, time enough to share some last lessons with Twilight. The last few secrets. Not much in the way of magic, as Twilight was already on the cusp of surpassing any pony that had come before her in that realm. Some statecraft, some more personal lessons she'd learned in a long life, filled with sorrows and joys beyond counting. But mostly, Celestia wished to spend as much time as they could sharing in the friendship with Twilight that she'd come to love so much.
The energy around the little violet Alicorn flared once more, and finally the welcoming rays of the dawn emerged over the horizon. A new day had begun.
"I did it?" Twilight gasped as she floated gently back down, settling her hooves on the balcony and slumping over wearily.
"You made that look easy," Celestia said.
"I felt like I was going to fly apart at the seams, or maybe burst into flames," she gasped. "There wasn't a thing easy about it. But I guess it gets easier with time?"
Celestia smiled down at her, as she wrapped one wing around Twilight affectionately. Perhaps it would, for her. "I'm guessing you're probably hungry? That was always how I felt after."
Twilight grinned up at her. "I think I know why you were always sneaking bites of cake when you thought no one would notice."
The Sun Princess couldn't stifle a laugh. "I deserve it, and raising the sun every morning is guaranteed to help a mare keep her figure."
"That reminds me, Princess-"
"Just 'Celestia,' Twilight," she corrected gently as they looked out over the new dawn together. "We really are equals now."
"-Yes, well, I mean, why did you decide to have me do this today?"
Celestia knew she couldn't tell Twilight everything, not just then. "Because you were ready, my dear. And you needed to know that you could do it."
"I'm not sure I understand," Twilight admitted.
"You will when it's time to. Just know I couldn't be more proud of you. Besides, now I can finally take that vacation I've been putting off for a millennium or so," Celestia said, giving her a little poke with her hoof. "Now let's get to the kitchen before they run out of muffins."
They left then to pass the new morning together not as Princess and Subject, or Teacher and Student, or even Regent and Heir, but simply as friends.
This was not something in my usual style, at all. It was just an idea that wouldn't leave me alone after binge-reading short one-shots from the two authors mentioned in the summary, whom I admire very much.
Title courtesy George Harrison (It's the best album by a former Beatle, period, a true classic.)