Johnathon and Cheerilee were sitting on the counter in the kitchen at Sugar Cube Corner as the the party got started out in the main part of the sweet shop. Or rather, Johnathon was leaning against the counter, almost sitting on it, next to Cheerilee who was perched on the counter with her legs dangling off the edge and her feet not quite touching the floor.
"So... are human woman usually shorter than men, or are you just unusually tall?" Cheerilee said with a smile, glancing down at her feet, then up to Johnathon's face, which was still above her eye level, although closer than she was used to.
"A little of both." Johnathon observed. "I'm taller than average, and human females do tend to be smaller than males." he nodded at her. "You seem like you're just a little bit over five feet tall now. Maybe five three or so? That's roughly average for an adult, I believe."
"I'll take your word on it." she reached up and took a hunk of hair in her hand and pulled it in front of her face. "Hmm... my hair is a bit lighter in color than yours, isn't it?" she frowned. "Why brown though? What's wrong with purple?"
Johnathon glanced over with interest. "Well... humans don't have purple hair. Twilight's ended up being black... yours is brown... there are a few more colors, but honestly, humans don't have halfway as many shades as ponies do. Blond, brown, black... red... well, not really red, but more of a chestnut color..." he shrugged. "Variations in between, but not much else. My hair is dark brown... except where I'm going grey."
Cheerilee blinked. "Grey? Where?"
He pointed at his temples. "It's coming in grey bit by bit. It's not really that noticeable yet."
Cheerilee looked thoughtful. "Do I look strange? I know you said I looked good, but, I want you to be honest with me."
Johnathon smiled. "I was being honest. Actually, you kind of look like... well, you. I mean... your hair has the same cut as your mane did... pretty much, and your face... well, it's subtle, but you do look like... er... you... if that makes any sense?"
Cheerilee thought about it. "I suppose. Twilight did... sort of look a little bit like herself as well when she was human."
Johnathon smiled at her. "Your eyes are... well, not the same, but pretty similar as well."
Cheerilee sighed. "This is so weird."
"Yup." he agreed quietly, looking thoughtful. "I'm amazed how quickly you seem to be figuring out how to walk... and use your hands. Do you think that's part of the spell?"
Cheerilee hesitated. "Well... I'm not sure if I'd say I'm really proficient with walking on two legs yet... but yes, I expect you're right. I didn't even think about how to use my hands the first time, and I'm not having any trouble at all..." she chuckled. "Except when I think about it too much."
Johnathon nodded slowly. "I suppose the spell rewires your brain a bit, like the translation spell did on me...."
The school teacher grimaced. "Does that mean I don't remember how to walk on four legs, or pick things up with my hooves?"
Johnathon shrugged. "Possibly, but I'd expect you'd get everything back when you change back anyway, so I wouldn't worry about it so much." he looked curious. "Do you think you could walk without any trouble if you didn't think about it?"
Cheerilee hesitated. "Well, that makes sense, I suppose, but I feel like I'm so... high up, almost like I'm barely connected to the ground. It's a bit nerve-wracking."
Johnathon nodded. "I think I can understand that. Well, a little bit more practice, and you'll get over your nervousness. I'm sure you'll be walking fine in no time."
"I hope so."
Pinkie Pie burst into the kitchen and smiled brightly at them. "Just about everypony is here who's coming. Are you ready to come out yet?"
Cheerilee sighed, then nodded. "Might as well get this over with. It's better than having to explain everything to everypony I meet on the street, I suppose."
"That's the spirit!" Pinkie said cheerfully. "Twilight will do most of the talking anyway, so all you have to do is answer a few questions."
Cheerilee nodded. "That won't be so bad, I guess."
Johnathon stood, and moved over to her, holding out his hands for her to grasp. "Just take my hands, and hop down off the counter. I'll make sure you don't fall." he promised.
"Alright..." Cheerilee answered nervously, taking his hands as instructed, and gripping them hard before sliding gingerly off the counter. She wobbled for a moment before he pulled her in closer, putting an arm around her waist.
"Try closing your eyes for a second." the human advised. "Just... I don't know... try to see how it feels without worrying about how high up you are."
Cheerilee frowned, but tried it, closing her eyes and just trying to focus on how standing felt. She could feel his arm around the small of her back, supporting her. She had one hand on his chest, an the other holding his free hand. Her body felt... odd, and normal at the same time. She shifted her balance slightly, then adjusted back before she got too off center, and smiled slightly as she realized she somehow already knew how to adjust her balance. It actually seemed natural to her to stand up straight, now that she wasn't focusing on how high she was. It wasn't really all that high, actually. She was less than twice her old height, but it still seemed like being a whole lot taller.
Cheerilee opened her eyes, and nodded. "OK... let's go." Johnathon stepped around her, releasing her hand and simply supporting her along her back, and she let his free hand go, moving her other hand up to rest on his shoulder, so that they were side by side. Hesitantly, but with growing confidence, Cheerilee walked out of the kitchen and into Sugar Cube Corner. She wilted a little as several dozen ponies all turned their attention to her as she entered, but took a deep breath and proceeded forward anyway.
"Hi everypony." Cheerilee said, waving slowly with her free hand.
There was a chorus of mixed greetings, but mostly confused or curious expressions on the faces of the Ponyville ponies gathered, and Twilight cleared her throat, stepping out in front of Johnathon and Cheerilee to get everypony's attention.
"To make a long story short." Twilight began. "Big Macintosh and Miss Cheerilee were both affected by a love potion today... which is why Big Mac was running around town and er...."
"Acting like a love sick idiot?" Mister Cake supplied helpfully.
"Right..." Twilight agreed uncomfortably. "And... anyway, we figured out about the love potion... or rather, those responsible explained, but not before certain... bad decisions were made." she put a hoof on the back of her head. "One of them by me." she nodded to Cheerilee. "You see, the first pony... or rather, the first individual that Miss Cheerilee saw after drinking the love potion, was Mister Dwire... and she fell in love with him. She came to me, asking me to change her into a human... and at the time, I had no idea anypony had created a love potion. She was very persuasive, so I finally agreed."
"Wait!" Bon Bon exclaimed in surprise. "Do you mean that human next to Johnathon is Miss Cheerilee?"
Twilight nodded, and Cheerilee smiled sheepishly, and waved. "Er... yes. I'm me... I mean, I'm Cheerilee." she sighed. "I kind of went a bit... crazy, apparently."
Twilight sighed. "Anyway... by the time we found out that Cheerilee and Big Mac were under the effects of love potion, the damage was done. I'd already cast the spell."
"Is there any more love potion?" Asked an earth pony Johnathon didn't know.
"Are you going to be able to change Cheerilee back?" A unicorn named Amethyst Star asked curiously.
"Can you transform any pony into a human?" Lyra asked excitedly.
"No, there isn't any more love potion." Twilight answered quickly. "And I can transform any pony into a human... although it takes a great deal of effort... but, I'm afraid I'm not sure if I can turn her back." she sighed. "It's possible, and I'll do my best, but I've been studying this magic for awhile, and it's very difficult."
There was a concerted gasp of horror at the last statement. "You mean... Cheerilee is going to be stuck as a human?" Miss Cake asked, looking shocked.
"For now, yes." Twilight said sadly. "I should never have agreed to do the spell...."
Cheerilee reached forward to put a hand on the purple unicorn's shoulder. "I don't blame you, Twilight." she said sincerely. "I don't remember, of course, but from what everypony tells me, the love potion made me desperate. You only did what I asked."
There were several moments of silence before Amethest Star spoke up again. "Um... so... how did Cheerilee and Big Mac end up drinking a love potion anyway? Who gave it to them?"
Cheerilee hesitated. "I told some of my students that I didn't happen to have anypony special for Hearts and Hooves day, so they decided to... help." she sighed.
Amethest looked incredulous. "Where did they even get a love potion?"
Twilight Sparkle cleared her throat. "As for that, since I really don't want to see the events of today repeating, nopony is going to tell any pony else how to find or make a love potion. I hope everypony here is adult enough to realize how dangerous something like that can be!" Several ponies looked disappointed, but there was a general muttering of agreement, and Twilight smiled. "Alright then. Are there any other questions?"
"Yeah!" Bon Bon asked curiously. "So... are you and Johnathon a couple now, Cheerilee?"
Cheerilee hesitated. "Johnathon is my dear friend." she said finally. "Nothing more." she glanced up and over at Johnathon, who blinked, shrugged, and then inclined his head towards her in acknowledgement.
After an uncomfortable pause, Pinkie Pie spoke up. "Well, that's the story, everypony. Now who wants some cupcakes!"
The party had, after a few more tense moments, turned out rather well, at least as far as Johnathon was concerned. He and Cheerilee had fielded a few more questions, but most of the inhabitants of Ponyville seemed content with their explanations. Cheerilee herself had relaxed, and by the end of the party, was moving about in her new body rather well. She still staggered a lot while trying to walk, but she was getting better quickly.
The two humans walked home together. Cheerilee was holding on to Johnathon's arm for support, but mostly managing on her own.
"It must be the spell." Johnathon decided. "You're picking this up way too quickly for it to be natural."
Cheerilee pouted slightly, pretending to look hurt. "What, you don't think I could manage to completely adapt to a strange body in a few hours without magic?"
Johnathon laughed lightly. "Perhaps I'm mistaken, Cheerilee. Maybe you're a genius when it comes to adapting to strange transformations. We should tell Twilight! You can be her test subject for all sorts of things!"
Cheerilee shivered slightly at the thought. "Has anyone ever told you that you have a mean sense of humor?"
Johnathon snickered. "Once or twice." almost immediately afterwards he looked apologetic. "Sorry, I shouldn't tease. You are adapting remarkably well, magic or no. You're handing being transformed much better than I would, I think."
Cheerilee sighed. "I think I'm just in shock right now. It's hard to believe this is actually happening, you know? It's like a dream."
Johnathon nodded. "I get that. It's a bit surreal to me as well, to be honest." They had turned the last corner before Cheerilee's house, and could see their place in the distance.
Cheerilee frowned slightly. "Did I do anything else strange while I was... er... under the influence?"
Johnathon shrugged. "I suppose it depends on your definition of strange. You confessed your love to me, of course...."
Cheerilee rolled her eyes. "Of course. Anything else?"
He wrinkled his nose. "Well, when Big Mac figured out that you loved me... he got a bit... jealous, and you kind of ended up bucking him in the side pretty hard."
Cheerilee winced. "Oh... I wondered how he got hurt. I'll have to apologize..."
Johnathon shook his head. "You weren't in your right mind... don't worry about that." he shrugged. "Anyway... after that, you were trying to tell me how much you loved me... and then you seemed to realize something, and ran off... I suppose that's when you went to see Twilight."
Cheerilee looked thoughtful. "I guess I realized you'd never really...." she blushed, and stopped talking abruptly. "Um... we're back." she pulled loose of his arm and walked carefully to the door to the house, and opened it.
Johnathon followed her in, frowning. "Yeah...."
Cheerilee went to the table and sat down. "It's not like you ever were unclear about how you feel. You're only attracted to your own species. There isn't anything strange about that."
Johnathon nodded slowly, shutting the door, then sitting down at the table across from her. "No... but I imagine it must have been pretty painful for you to remember, while you were under the effect of the love potion, anyway."
"That's why I went to Twilight, of course." Cheerilee said calmly. "I figured that out pretty quickly once I heard about the love potion."
Johnathon hesitated for a moment before speaking. "Had you... considered something like this before now?"
Cheerilee blinked, then frowned. "I suppose. Not seriously, really, but... after Twilight turned herself human, the thought did cross my mind a couple times. I wondered what it would be like... and...."
Johnathon raised an eyebrow. "And?"
Cheerilee shook her head. "and... and I wondered what it would be like... if you would stay here. If Twilight couldn't figure out how to get you home... or if you..."
"If I decided to stay?" Johnathon said softly.
"Yes." Cheerilee nodded slowly. "I wondered if... well, I thought about what it would be like if you were a pony... and I wondered if you had to stay, if you'd ask Twilight to figure out how to make you one. But then I thought... what would I do if I were you? Would I agree to give up my... my species? Who and what I am, to be with someone I cared about?" she shook her head. "I couldn't really decide." Johnathon sat back in his chair, but didn't speak. Cheerilee looked away, looking embarrassed, then sighed. "I'm sorry. I feel like I'm putting you on the spot here."
Johnathon shook his head. "You really don't have to apologize." he paused for several seconds, then spoke again. "I do care about you. You know that, right?"
Cheerilee nodded. "I know that." she smiled wanly at him. "But you're going to go home when you get the chance... and... and I don't want to make it harder for you."
Johnathon took a deep breath. "It was already going to be hard. It... IS going to be hard." he gestured to her. "This... this change... it... I don't know how... what I feel about it."
Cheerilee quirked her head to one side, looking at him curiously. "I know I asked you this before... but be honest with me. Does it bother you? I mean... me being human now?"
Johnathon shrugged. "Well... like I said earlier, a little, but I'll deal with it."
"What exactly bothers you though?" Cheerilee asked. "I think I understand, but... I want to be sure."
Johnathon frowned. "Well... I suppose it's a combination of things." he said softly. "Part of it is simply that you make quite an attractive woman... and that can be just a little difficult." he grinned. "But like I said, not really in a bad way."
Cheerilee grinned slightly. "That's the part I understood." her grin faded quickly as she sobered. "But... there's more to it, isn't there?"
Johnathon hesitated, then sighed. "What we're dancing around and around here is if, now that you're human, if our friendship might not become something more, right?"
Cheerilee blushed slightly, then nodded. "I think so, yes." she looked at him. "I know you care about me. I care about you. Could it be anything more than that?" she looked at the table. "Would you... would you stay here to be with me?"
Johnathon sighed. "Damn it... damn it...." his fist hit the table and Cheerilee startled backwards, nearly falling out of her chair. He flinched and reached out for her. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."
"You're angry." she said softly.
He sighed. "Yes... a little." he looked up at her and caught her eyes. "Not with you. Just... with the situation."
Cheerilee nodded. "I understand that."
Johnathon sighed again. "You deserve an answer, Cheerilee. It just... the answer is... difficult." he paused, but even as Cheerilee seemed to want to say something, he spoke up. "Damn it... the thing is... I can't help myself. I want to be happy!"
Cheerilee nodded encouragingly. "Everypony wants to be happy, Johnathon."
"And I'm happy here." he said. "But... but there are people I've left behind. People who almost certainly think I'm dead. I... it's not right for me to let them... think that when it's not true." he sighed. "But that's only part of it. I do... I do like it here, but... being here, I've grown to realize that I want what I had before. I want to find a woman to spend the rest of my life with...."
"A human woman." Cheerilee said with a soft sigh. "And now that I am one?"
Johnathon looked at her. "It's not fair. I cannot ask you to stay like this. It's not right. But... if you... if you are trapped like this... I'd... I'd stay." he stood abruptly and turned, his fists clenching. "Damn it!" he swore again. "This is just... so..."
Cheerilee sighed. "I wouldn't ask you to change yourself into a pony either, Johnathon... but that doesn't mean I would be unhappy if you did." she sighed. "I'd feel guilty, especially if I was the reason you sacrificed being human... but I wouldn't be unhappy." she reached out and put a hand on his back. "I appreciate the fact that you wouldn't want to leave me alone like this if I can't get changed back... but you don't have to feel guilty for me."
Johnathon turned toward her, taking her hand roughly in his. "No... it's not that." he frowned, and corrected himself. "It's not just that. Yes... I would feel guilty if you were stuck like this, and I left. In fact, I would find it... dishonorable to do so... but..." he shook his head. "It wouldn't be a burden. On the contrary... I...." he looked away. "I think I could be... quite happy... if... if...." he shook his head. "But we can't... we can't think like this. You need to go back to being a pony, and I need to go home."
Cheerilee closed her eyes, trying not to get angry. "What if I don't want to change back? What if... I want you to stay, and I agree to stay like this?"
Johnathon looked conflicted, then he sighed. "Then I'd stay, I suppose." he smiled slightly, looking a little sad. "Are you just saying that, Cheerilee? Is this just a... a hypothetical situation, or do you mean that you really want me to stay strongly enough to give up being a pony?"
Cheerilee hesitated. "I... I don't know." she finally admitted. "I don't know if I won't wake up in the morning and freak out or not... once the reality of what's happened to me fully sets in... but...." she hesitated. "If... if you want me to stay like this... if you asked me to stay like this, I'd probably say yes."
Johnathan slowly sat back down. "You'd really do that for me?" he shook his head. "I could never ask you to do that for me. It's too much to ask of anypony."
Cheerilee smiled softly. "And if I asked you to stay, and change into a pony for me?"
Johnathon sighed. "Damn it...." he hung his head. "I'd probably say no." he admitted. "I don't think I could give up being human."
Cheerilee nodded, looking a bit sad. "Which is why you'd never ask me to give up being a pony. It wouldn't be fair."
Johnathon shrugged helplessly. "Well... yes."
She sighed. "But you'd give up your world? Your home?"
Johnathon hesitated. "Probably... if... if...."
"If we end up together... romantically, you'd stay." Cheerilee finished his sentence for him.
"Of course I'd stay!" Johnathon said gruffly, then sighed. "I already want to stay, because I'd miss my friends here... especially you. If... if... we became more than just friends... I couldn't leave."
Cheerilee nodded, smiling softly. "Well... I guess we know where we stand then."
Johnathon wrinkled his nose. "I suppose so. What do we do now?"
Cheerilee hesitated. "How about we see how things go? I like you Johnathon, and being human right now, I'm... a bit tempted to see if that can't become something more, but..." she sighed. "But if it doesn't... I don't want to hurt you."
Johnathon smiled at her suddenly. "Well... let me worry about that part. I'll risk getting hurt... if you're willing to do the same."
Cheerilee nodded slowly. "I think I can take a chance on being hurt... for a friend."
"So... you want to see if the two of us can be more than just friends?" Johnathon said slowly. "And... if things work out, then...? What? I stay here, you remain human, and we get married?"
Cheerilee chuckled. "Jumping ahead a few steps, are we?" she nodded. "But yes... I guess that's what I'm suggesting."
Johnathon hesitated. "I don't want to make you feel like you have to stay human for me. I couldn't live with myself if I did that."
Cheerilee grinned at him. "Well, if I convince you to stay here, and not leave... I'm not going to feel all that guilty about it." she admitted, smiling. "So maybe you shouldn't feel quite so guilty about wanting me to stay human."
He raised an eyebrow at that. "Oh, so that's how it's going to be, huh?"
Cheerilee shrugged, looking unrepentant. "You want to go back because you feel guilty about how your friends and family feel.... and because you want a chance to have a romantic relationship, which you couldn't have here." she gestured at herself. "If... if we end up in a romantic relationship, that just leaves you feeling bad about your friends and family. I understand that, but... I'm afraid I'm selfish. I'd let them be unhappy if it means I don't lose my friend." she smiled weakly. "Does that mean I'm a bad pony?"
Johnathon smiled softly at her. "An honest one. I suppose I can't blame you for wanting your own happiness first."
Cheerilee sighed. "I am selfish... but if you couldn't be happy staying with me... I'd let you go, regardless. I wouldn't want you to be unhappy just to please me."
"I know." Johnathon said. "If that's selfish, I'm just as selfish. Heck, I'm more selfish. You're offering to give up being a pony for me, even though you know I wouldn't do the same."
Cheerilee frowned. "We'd both be giving something up if we want to be together. It wouldn't be fair to make you give up your world and your species at the same time."
Johnathon smiled sadly. "But if I really cared, shouldn't I be willing to do both?"
Cheerilee shook her head. "Life isn't that simple. Love isn't that simple. You're my friend, my good friend, but before today, the option for us to be together... well, I don't think either of us really even considered it seriously."
"Not... seriously." Johnathon said. "I wouldn't say I haven't considered it at all."
Cheerilee smiled. "So I wasn't the only one."
Johnathon chuckled. "I'd say quite a few of the ponies here in Ponyville have considered the possibility. I mean, wondered if you and I were together, anyway."
Cheerilee sighed. "Despite what we said at the party, that's just going to increase now, you know."
Johnathon shrugged. "Well, they'd have a point. We've been sitting here for... what, half an hour now, seriously discussing the possibility of us... being a couple."
Cheerilee grinned. "A couple of fools, anyway." she shook her head. "Are we being crazy? I mean... we're friends... but... I don't know the first thing about being a human girl. I don't have a clue about what humans do on a first date..." she raised an eyebrow. "Humans do date, don't they? I'm sure you mentioned something about that...."
Johnathon grinned. "We do date. I'm not much of an expert on the subject either, frankly."
Cheerilee hesitated. "If we do... consider this, how do you want to go about it?"
"Why don't we just... see how we feel in the morning." Johnathon said finally. "And take things slow, regardless."
"Alright." Cheerilee agreed. "You'll have to teach me about human romance, though. Even if nothing comes of it... I'd like to know how humans interact romantically."
Johnathon nodded slowly. "Alright. I think I can handle that. After school tomorrow?"
Cheerilee groaned. "School! Like this! I'm going to be fielding questions from my students all day."
Johnathon chuckled lightly, then turned serious. "Want me to come to school with you? It'll probably bring even more questions, but at least I could answer a few for you. After all, I do know quite a bit more about being human than you do, and they'll probably want to know something about it."
Cheerilee smiled. "Thank you for the offer, but I think I'll go it alone tomorrow... although if you walk me to school, and pick me up when I'm done, I won't complain. I'm still not confident with my walking."
Johnathon nodded. "Certainly." he yawned. "Speaking of walking, do you need help getting to your room?"
Cheerilee hesitated, then nodded. "I wouldn't mind." she glanced down at herself. "I might need some help getting undressed as well. I know you don't wear clothing to sleep in."
Johnathon's face grew hot. "I wear shorts to bed...." he corrected. "But yes, since I'm guessing you don't have any other clothes, you probably should take those off to sleep. We'll have to get you some more outfits...." he looked thoughtful. "I could loan you one of the tee shirts Rarity made me to sleep in, if you like?"
Cheerilee blinked. "You don't usually wear a tee shirt to bed, do you?"
Johnathon hesitated. "Well... er... female humans often do... or at least, my wife did."
Cheerilee looked confused, then shrugged. "If you say so. You're the expert." she started to stand. "So... take me to bed?"
Johnathon chuckled. "I'm going to be a gentleman, but you've got to stop teasing me like that."
Cheerilee blinked, confused. "Like what?"
Johnathon sighed. "I'll explain later... anyway...." he held out a hand, and helped her to her feet. "Let's get you to bed." Johnathon walked Cheerilee to her bedroom and helped her sit on the edge of her bed. "Wait right there, I'll be right back." Going to his own room, he went and got his Wonderbolt's tee shirt, and brought it back. Still holding it, he looked at her, considering the problem at hand.
"As tempting as it is to abuse your complete lack of knowledge of human customs..." Johnathon said slowly, "I'm going to do my best to be a gentleman. That means, not taking opportunities to see you naked, unfortunately."
Cheerilee blinked. "Unfortunately?"
He grinned. "Unfortunately for me." He knelt down in front of her, and lifted the front of her tunic style tube top so that he could see the front of her pants. "Do you know how to undo the buttons here?" he asked her, nodding down at her waist.
Cheerilee held up her hands, and looked down at the buttons, frowning. "Er... maybe?"
Johnathon sighed and undid the top button to her pants. "Like this. Why don't you try?"
Cheerilee nodded and started fumbling with her buttons. "OK... I think I've got it...." she said after a minute of fumbling. "Yes!" she crowed as she undid the next button in line. "I think I'm figuring out how to use hands...." One by one, she undid the buttons to her pants, then hesitated. "OK, now what?"
Johnathon wrinkled his nose. "Er... why don't you raise your hands above your head?"
Cheerilee nodded and did so, looking curious. "OK... now what?"
He held out the tee shirt. "Put your hands through the arm holes...." he helped her do so, moving one hand when it went though the neck hole by accident, then pulled the tee shirt down over her head. "There... now.. lay back on the bed." he instructed.
Cheerilee blinked, then blushed. "Er... OK." she laid back, looking a bit nervous. He stood over her, then picked up her legs, and gently swung them over the bed till she was laying completely on top of it. He paused long enough to pull off her new slippers, and put them on the floor.
Johnathon reached over and took hold of the sides of her pants near the hips, and blushed slightly. "Er... can you raise your rear end off the bed a bit?" Cheerilee thought about that, and arched her back slightly, lifting her bottom off the bed a couple inches. Johnathon quickly pulled her pants down around her ankles, and then eased them off her legs. He reached up again, to where he could see the bottom of her tube top. "Just... stay like that for another couple seconds..." he instructed, and took hold of her top, pulling gently but firmly down on both sides of it, till it came loose and slid down to her waist. He kept pulling, stopping momentarily to tug her tee shirt down a bit in front as well, then finished pulling it off over her knees, then feet. He nodded to her. "Go ahead and lay back down." he instructed, his face slightly flushed.
Cheerilee obediently lay flat. The tee shirt covered her from neck to half way down her hips, and he had orchestrated things so that he hadn't really seen anything but her bare hips, but he couldn't help but blushing anyway.
Cheerilee looked at him curiously, blushing slightly in response to the heated look on his face, but not quite sure why. "Is this alright? What I'm wearing?"
Johnathon nodded quickly. "You look fine. That's fine for bed... or walking around the house in the morning, I suppose." his face reddened a bit more as he said it, and she looked suspicious.
"What aren't you telling me?" Cheerilee asked him with a raised eyebrow. "I can tell you're embarrassed about something."
Johnathon looked away from her. "Well... wearing just a shirt... it's a bit... intimate." he said, trying to explain. "It's not inappropriate, but it is a little... provocative."
"Would you be more comfortable if I slept in pants?" Cheerilee asked him curiously.
"You only have the one pair right now, and they'll get all wrinkled and sweaty." Johnathon said with a shrug. "Maybe we can get Rarity to make you some pajamas... that's a pair of pants and a shirt for sleeping in."
Cheerilee sighed. "Right. Clothes for sleeping in. Humans are complicated."
Johnathon chuckled. "Well you don't have to wear anything to sleep in, if you aren't comfortable." he said with a shrug. "Although it might make ME a little uncomfortable, I'll survive."
Cheerilee thought about that. "Well, I'll follow your advice for the moment." she said. "Are you sure you won't mind if I want to sleep without clothes on?"
Johnathon chuckled. "Mind? No. But I did say I wasn't going to abuse your lack of knowledge about human customs. You can ignore them if you like, I'm not going to insist, but I will tell you what our... or rather, my customs are first."
Cheerilee nodded. "I appreciate that." She started squirming upwards toward the head of her bed. "Could you help tuck me in?" she blushed. "I'll get better at this..." Cheerilee promised. "You won't have to undress me and tuck me in every night...."
Johnathon grinned. "I could think of worse things to do each night." he helped pull down her covers, and when she was in place, pulled the covers up over her. When she was settled into her bed, Johnathon walked across the room and laid her clothes out on her desk. "It's up to you... but according to my culture, it's appropriate for you to dress yourself in the morning... although if you have trouble, let me know."
Cheerilee nodded slowly. "So I should put those clothes back on when I wake up?"
"If you can manage it on your own." Johnathon said, nodding. "But if you want, you can just wear that tee shirt in the morning, and change into your other clothes before going to school. Or you could put on the pants, and leave the top Rarity made you off... and wear my tee shirt and the pants instead."
Cheerilee nodded. "Right... shirt AND pants. Got it."
Johnathon grinned at her. "For going out in public. Again, these are my customs, not yours. You don't have to follow them if you don't want. I doubt you'll bother any of the ponies here if you do without clothes."
"But I'll bother you." Cheerilee stated firmly. "I don't want to do that."
Johnathon chuckled. "Again, bother is probably the wrong word. It doesn't bother me to look at a naked woman. It's just... a bit uncomfortable for me."
Cheerilee looked slightly confused. "I'm not sure I understand. It doesn't bother you, but it makes you uncomfortable? What's the difference?"
Johnathon blushed slightly. "Well... er... it's kind of complicated."
Cheerilee raised an eyebrow. "Humor me."
He sighed. "Well... simply put, as I explained to Twilight when she turned herself human, in my culture, we don't wear clothes when we bathe, or sleep, or... er... have sex."
Cheerilee blushed. "Oh... right. So seeing me naked would make you think of sex?"
Johnathon chuckled. "Yes it would."
Cheerilee blushed some more. "I think I understand. So seeing me naked wouldn't bother you, because you... don't mind thinking of... er...."
Johnathon nodded. "Right... but it would make me uncomfortable... because I can't actually... do anything about it."
Cheerilee blinked. "Oh." she suddenly blushed deeper. "OH!"
Johnathon shrugged. "It's part of being a male human, I think. It's kind of like seeing something you really want to eat... your favorite food in the whole world, and it's on the table in front of you, and you walk away without touching it because it would bother someone else if you ate it...."
Cheerilee chuckled slightly at the metaphor. "So... I'm a tasty treat you'd like to eat?"
It was Johnathon's turn to blush deeper. "Er... something like that. It's just easier for me if you leave the food in the cupboard... metaphorically speaking, and not put it steaming hot and fresh out of the oven right in front of my face...."
Cheerilee started to giggle. "Got it...." she choked out, obviously highly amused, but trying not to laugh. He lost it, laughing out loud, and she joined in, till both of them were roaring. Johnathon leaned against the wall to her bedroom, shaking his head when he finally managed to stop laughing.
"Goodnight Cheerilee." he said with a fond smile. "Sleep well."
"Goodnight Johnathon." she answered, smiling back softly. He walked out of her room and closed the door behind him, leaving the school teacher alone with her thoughts. She fingered the tee shirt she was wearing under the blankets, and sighed. It had gotten bunched up as she had gotten settled into bed, and she wasn't used to being constricted when she wanted to sleep... and her mind was still racing. It was so strange, not having a fur coat, or hooves. She was so much taller... and at the same time, she was pretty sure she was lighter than she had been before at the same time. Her bare skin felt strange... she had felt the wind on her shoulders like icy fingers as she and Johnathon had walked home, and yet she knew that it wasn't that cold out. She felt the cold much more easily as a human.
Food tasted differently as well, at least the food at the party had. It wasn't a huge difference. She still liked sweets, although many of the other dishes at the party had tasted quite bland, or even acrid to her. Johnathon never ate hay, or grass... and she supposed she'd have to start eating like he did. That wasn't an unpleasant thought, however. She almost looked forward to exploring how things tasted as a human, to enjoying the dishes Johnathon liked that she hadn't as a pony... although she wasn't actually sure if all of those differences were just because of their difference in species. Different ponies liked different things as well, didn't they? Still, there were many changes she'd have to explore. She wondered what the next surprise would be.
Cheerilee was proud of herself. She hadn't gotten much sleep, but she had managed to figure out basics... like getting dressed and using the bathroom, eat breakfast, and still managed to get ready for school on time the next morning... although she was sure she'd be wanting a nap well before school was over.
Johnathon walked her to school, although Cheerilee insisted on walking without help most of the way, wanting to learn to rely on her on balance again. It was a relatively brisk morning, and Cheerilee had borrowed a sweatshirt from Johnathon to wear over the clothing she had gotten from Rarity. It was big on her, so that she had to roll up the sleeves to be able to see her hands, but Johnathon had showed her how to do just that.
"Why don't we stop by the Carousel Boutique after school today." Johnathon suggested. "Even if you get transformed back in a week... you'll want more than a single outfit to wear. Not that I mind you borrowing my clothes, but you'll be more comfortable with things that fit you properly."
"I suppose I could always just do without clothes entirely." Cheerilee said, watching the look on his face as she said it, and grinned slightly at his blush. "Just kidding. Honestly, it's too chilly for that this time of year. I didn't realize how easy it is for you to get cold." she commented thoughtfully. "It must be quite difficult during the winter!"
Johnathon shrugged. "When it gets colder, we just wear more layers. It's really not that difficult."
"If you say so." Cheerilee said with a frown. "Wearing clothes every single day is going to take some getting used to."
"Part of being human." Johnathon said with a shrug. "Even if you ignore my customs, you're going to need to dress for the weather."
"I don't mind being so tall...." Cheerilee said. "And I like hands... but having to wear clothes every day... getting cold so easily? Those are definite down sides."
"I won't disagree." Johnathon said. "I wouldn't mind having a fur coat, I suppose. At least in theory. Although you might change your mind in the summer."
Cheerilee looked thoughtful. "You don't get as hot?" she guessed.
"From what I've seen, I can handle high temperatures a little better than your average pony." Johnathon said with a shrug. "And we don't overheat as quickly when we're working hard... although Earth ponies do seem to have remarkable stamina."
Cheerilee sighed. "Well, some of us do. I never was all that strong or tough."
Johnathon shrugged. "You did pretty well during the Running of the Leaves."
She nodded slowly. "I suppose. I wonder if I kept any of my... Earth pony stamina? Twilight said that the transformation spell wouldn't change our innate magics... but her magic changed quite a bit when she turned into an Alicorn..."
Johnathon looked curious. "I wonder. We could probably find out... or at least, get a good idea, with a few tests."
Cheerilee raised an eyebrow. "What sort of tests?"
Johnathon shrugged. "Well, if you can outrun me... or beat me in an arm wrestling match in that form... I'd say that would prove you've kept your Earth Pony magic."
Cheerilee blinked. "Arm Wrestling? Is that like Hoof wrestling?"
Johnathon nodded. "I think so. We can try later, if you're interested."
Cheerilee grinned. "I can't imagine being stronger than you are right now... but it can't hurt to test it."
Johnathon shook his head, then grinned. "Nothing but my ego, anyway."
Johnathon came by the schoolhouse as the little fillies and colts escaped into the bright sunshine of the spring afternoon. Cheerilee was inside with the Crusaders, cleaning up after a long day.
"Hello Johnathon!" Applebloom greeted him. "Are you here to see Miss Cheerilee?"
Johnathon nodded. "We're going to go to Rarity's shop." he explained. "She's going to need some new clothes."
"What's wrong with the ones she's got on?" Applebloom asked, looking confused.
"She can't wear the same thing every day!" Sweetie Bell exclaimed.
"I'm not sure." Sweetie Bell said with a frown. "It's something my big sis says. But apparently, when you wear clothes, you're not supposed to wear the same thing every single day."
Applebloom frowned. "My big sis wears the same hat every day."
Sweetie Bell looked thoughtful. "I'm not sure if it's the same thing with hats. Maybe hats are an exception?"
Johnathon chuckled. "They can be." he said agreeably. "Although I don't usually wear one."
Cheerilee spoke up. "Thank you for helping clean up girls. We're done here for the day. You should head over to Sweet Apple Acres now, and do Big Mac's chores, alright?"
"Yes Miss Cheerilee." the Crusaders said glumly, then hurried off together.
"Well then." Johnathon said with a smile, crooking his arm for her to take. "Shall we?"
They were greeted at the entrance to Carousel Boutique by Rarity, who escorted them in, then flipped the sign outside from open to closed as she shut the door behind them. "Welcome, welcome, darlings!" the white unicorn said with a pleased smile. "I've set aside the rest of my day for you, seeing as you'll need an entirely new wardrobe."
Cheerilee blushed. "Thanks, Rarity. I appreciate it." she frowned. "Honestly, I'm not sure exactly what I'll need. I suppose a few different outfits to start with." she turned to Johnathon. "You're going to have to tell me what's appropriate."
Johnathon hesitated. "Well, I'm not sure my opinion is all that important...."
Rarity smiled. "Nonsense. You're the only one of us with any knowledge of human fashion, beside what you've already told me. We could certainly use your advice."
Cheerilee nodded in agreement. "Besides, I'm trying to follow your customs, Johnathon. If you weren't around, I'd probably just have Rarity make me something comfortable, so I'm not cold in the evenings. I need you to tell me what I should be wearing."
The archeologist hesitated. "So... you want me to describe what a human female normally wears, so Rarity can make it for you, right?"
Cheerilee smiled. "That's right. Pick fashions that you like... since I'm dressing up for your sake, you might as well like the results."
Johnathon coughed. "You want me to describe clothing for Rarity to make that I'll enjoy seeing you wear?"
Cheerilee nodded, and Rarity smiled. "Why of course, darling!" the unicorn agreed. "What other reason is there for fashion, but to please the eye of the beholder!"
Johnathon raised an eyebrow at that. "I suppose, but let's focus on comfort as well, alright?" Rarity and Cheerilee glanced at each other, then back to him, and nodded together. Johnathon sighed. "Well... I suppose you have Cheerilee's sizes?"
Rarity nodded immediately. "But of course!"
He scratched his chin. "OK then. Well... for starters, I suppose a few articles of comfortable clothing would be alright?"
Cheerilee nodded. "What did you have in mind, Johnathon?"
Johnathon hesitated. "Well, to be honest, a few tee shirts wouldn't be a bad start. They're for casual wear, but you don't need to be dressed to impress every day." he shrugged. "Another couple pairs of pants would be a good idea... and for colder weather, a long sleeve shirt with buttons or two... like mine."
Rarity raised an eyebrow. "Those are all clothing you wear, darling. Are there not any fashions for women in particular?"
Johnathon chuckled. "Well... that... tunic you made that leaves her shoulders bare? That's something a guy wouldn't wear. Other than that... well, women wear dresses... and skirts, and men don't... generally."
Rarity beamed. "Oh good! I'm sure I could make a lovely dress for you!"
Johnathon smiled. "Well, dresses are really for more formal occasions... just like they are here. They're not really for everyday wear." he looked thoughtful. "Skirts are a bit less formal... but they're not very good for moving around quickly. They're mostly for more sedentary activities."
Rarity was nodding. "Yes, I believe I understand... but what do YOU like, darling? Is there any particular fashion that you enjoy seeing women in?"
Johnathon looked at the ceiling, stalling for time. His first impulse was to describe bikinis, and mini skirts and belly shirts... dozens of articles of clothing he'd love to see Cheerilee in flashed through his mind before he shook his head and sighed. Rarity looked at him curiously, although Cheerilee herself was smirking slightly, as if guessing his train of thought.
"Skirts are nice." he said finally. "Long ones are good... stopping around the ankle... buttons from top to bottom." he hesitated, then continued. "A shirt... or blouse to match... maybe a vest over the top?" Johnathon looked thoughtful. "The vest and the skirt should match... but a second shirt with a contrasting color would be nice for a change."
Rarity was taking notes. "Hmm... yes. You'll have to show me what colors you like, darling, but I believe I can work with that."
Johnathon glanced at Cheerilee, trying not to blush. "Er... that sound alright to you, Cheerilee?"
The ex-earth pony nodded easily, smiling, but watching his face with interest. "Sounds fine to me. What would I be wearing something like that for?"
Johnathon blinked. "Well... something like that is good for... oh, a job where you're not expected to do a lot of physical labor..." he grinned. "Like teaching... or just for looking good. I'd call something like that semi formal, I suppose."
Rarity nodded. "And a dress would be formal... and..." she shuddered slightly. "Tee shirts... and pants would be casual?" She said the last part as if finding the concept of tee shirts slightly disdainful.
Johnathon chuckled. "Well, tee shirts can be casual, but they can be pretty attractive looking if they fit well... assuming the person wearing it has a good figure." he blushed again slightly, not quite sure why he was getting embarrassed.
Rarity glanced at Cheerilee appraisingly. "Hmm. And Miss Cheerilee does, I take it?"
Ah yes... that was why he was blushing, Johnathon realized. "Yes." he agreed. "She's got a good figure."
Rarity made another note. "So... tight enough to emphasize her form then?"
Johnathon opened his mouth, then closed it, changing his mind. "Sure... a couple like that... and a couple that are looser, for relaxing, I think." he looked thoughtful. "Perhaps a set of pajamas? Button up shirt, loose fitting pants with a drawstring to tighten them at the waist. Made of something soft... like silk, if you have any. They're for sleeping, not for outside, so they don't have to be terribly durable."
Rarity smiled. "I know just the thing. Anything else?"
Johnathon hesitated, turning to Cheerilee. "Were you planning on jogging with me like this?" he asked her, gesturing at her vaguely.
Cheerilee nodded. "Of course, as soon as I get good enough on my new legs to manage, anyway."
He nodded. "Well... she'll need running attire then... either sweat pants, like the ones you made for me, or shorts...." he hesitated. "Er... and she'll need some support for her... er... chest."
Cheerilee glanced down at her chest, then cupped her breasts. "Oh, for these?"
Johnathon nodded. "Er... yeah. Those tend to bounce around a bit, I'm told... if you try to run without some support." he turned to Rarity. "Do you have a pen and some paper I could use? Maybe I could explain better with a picture?" Johnathon spent some time explaining the concept of a sports bra, and finally came around to the concept of women's underwear.
"So human females wear clothing under their clothing... all the time?" Cheerilee said incredulously. "Why?"
Rarity was puzzled as well. "Wouldn't something like that ruin the lines of the clothing over it?" she asked, sounding a bit confused.
Johnathon hesitated. "Well... yes." he admitted. "To some extent, although it's much less noticeable with tougher fabrics... but they're kind of useful for... er... certain biological issues women have." he shrugged. "But I'm not a woman... I'm probably going to get part of this wrong."
Cheerilee raised an eyebrow. "Biological issues?"
Johnathon grimaced, and started to try and explain the concept of a monthly period them.
Rarity was mildly disturbed and Cheerilee even more so. "So... if I stay human, I'm going to... bleed for a few days each month? And there isn't anything I can do about it?" the school teacher was grimacing.. "That sounds... horrible!"
Johnathon shrugged. "It's part of a woman's biological cycle. It's part of how human females reproduce." he hesitated. "You're going to want me to explain that, huh?"
Cheerilee stared at him flatly. "Do you think?"
He sighed. "Well, it's been a while since my last biology class, but I suppose I still remember the basics of human reproduction. It took nearly an hour, but when he was done, Cheerilee and Rarity were both looking more comfortable with the idea.
"It's really not all that different from pony reproduction." Cheerilee commented. "Although apparently human women are capable of becoming pregnant a bit more often." she looked thoughtful. "So... I'd need to wear... er... underwear to... hold in a pad of some sort to keep from getting blood on myself during... menstruation?"
Johnathon sighed. "Yeah... pretty much. Again, I'm not an expert... so I apologize if I'm not explaining this very well."
Cheerilee looked relieved. "Oh, then I wouldn't need to wear them on other days?"
Johnathon blinked. "Er... no, if you didn't want too... but I believe that they're comfortable, at least, compared to regular clothing, stuff meant for wearing out of doors, and they... er... cover the most sensitive areas on the body."
Cheerilee blinked. "Oh. I suppose that makes sense."
Rarity nodded. "So... soft, comfortable materials for the undergarments as well. Yes. I see." she looked up from her notes. "Now, what about coverings for the feet and hands?"
Johnathon frowned thoughtfully. "Well, those slippers are fine, but if Cheerilee wants to come running with me, she'll probably want something a bit more supportive. Like the tennis shoes I'm wearing." he shrugged. "She could go barefoot, of course, but she'd need to build up some calluses first, and that takes a lot of time. Personally, I almost always wear shoes out of doors. My feet don't have much at all in the way of calluses. As for gloves? Well, unless she wants to help out on a farm, or do other tasks that risk injuring the hands, she shouldn't need any... but that's really her call."
Cheerilee shrugged. "I don't think I'll need gloves right away. I'll let you know if I change my mind on that though."
Rarity smiled and started going through her notes. "Well now, I seem to have quite a list. This should take me a few days to finish. I hope you don't mind the wait?"
Cheerilee beamed at her. "Not at all, Rarity. I really appreciate you going to all this trouble for me!"
Rarity waved a hoof dismissively. "Not at all, it's my pleasure."
Johnathon spoke up. "I'll pay for the clothes." he told Rarity firmly. "Just tell me what ever you feel is fair for your work once you're done."
Cheerilee frowned. "Johnathon, I can buy my own clothes!"
He shrugged. "If I wasn't here, you wouldn't have had any reason to! And you did ask me to pick out clothing I'd like to see you in, so it's not exactly selfless on my part now, is it?"
Cheerilee looked thoughtful. "Hmm. Perhaps, but at least let me pay half." she raised an eyebrow at him. "I got the impression that you had a few ideas about what you'd like me to wear that you didn't share."
Johnathon fought down his blush. "A few, perhaps, but Rarity has plenty to work with already."
Cheerilee grinned at him. "Would you like to tell us about them?"
Rarity beamed at him. "Oh yes! We don't have to limit things to just a few outfits, after all. Did you have anything particularly interesting in mind?"
Johnathon chuckled. "Interesting might be a good word for some of the outfits that went through my head... but no, not right now. Perhaps later, alright?"
They both looked disappointed. "Oh very well." Rarity agreed. "But I really would like to hear more of what you know about female human fashions, Johnathon. Whenever you feel like explaining, of course."
Rarity got to work right away on some of the easier designs, and Johnathon excused himself, promising to come back in a couple hours. Cheerilee stayed behind, Rarity needing her to be a living dressing dummy, seeing that she didn't have one that matched a human female in her shop.
Johnathon spent the time at Twilight's library, reading up on modern Equestrian archeology. When he returned, Cheerilee had changed clothes, and was wearing one of the outfits he had described, a long, buttoned skirt made of a dark purple fabric, with a pink blouse, and a dark purple vest over it. Rarity had fashioned the school teacher a simple pair of dark purple boots as well.
Johnathon frowned, then blinked. "Oh, I knew I forgot something! Socks! She'll need a few pairs of those as well."
Rarity smiled and nodded. "I thought as much." she nodded at Cheerilee. "Come back tomorrow for another fitting, alright? Same time?"
Cheerilee nodded. "Same time tomorrow. I'll be here."
As they walked, arm in arm, back toward Cheerilee's house, she looked up at his face curiously. "I can tell when you're hiding something, Johnathon. You thought of something you didn't want to explain, didn't you." it was a statement, not a question, and Johnathon nodded slowly.
"You do know me pretty well." he admitted. "When you two were asking me to pick out outfits I'd like to see you in, I kind of thought about a few outfits that would be... pleasant, but... er... a bit inappropriate."
Cheerilee looked curious. "Inappropriate how?"
The man blushed slightly. "Er... well, provocative. Not the sort of thing a woman could walk down a street wearing... at least not without undue attention, and perhaps a bit of scandal."
Cheerilee chuckled. "Ah. I thought it might be something like that." she looked curious again. "Why didn't you ask Rarity to make me something like that? It's not like anypony here would be scandalized by whatever I wear." she blinked. "Well, probably not, anyway." she shrugged again. "And it wouldn't bother me."
Johnathon raised an eyebrow. "You wouldn't mind me looking at you in a... sexual manner?"
Cheerilee blushed slightly. "Well... when you put it that way...." she hesitated. "You've been a gentlecolt as long as I've known you, Johnathon. I don't believe you'd do anything inappropriate, would you?"
Johnathon grinned. "Not unless you ask me to... no. You can wear whatever you like... or, as you suggested, nothing at all, if you want, and while I'd probably stare a bit... I would respect your wishes, regardless."
Cheerilee shrugged. "So... why don't you have Rarity make me some of those outfits? You'd enjoy them, wouldn't you?"
Johnathon smiled. "Sure. Still, you want to follow my culture in regards to how you dress, right?"
Cheerilee thought about that, then nodded. "Yes. All else being equal, so long as I'm not too cold or warm, yes."
He smiled. "Then that sort of thing should wait for now, OK? If you want to wear something... well, sexy, you should do so because you're making your intentions known."
Cheerilee blinked. "Oh. You mean, wearing a provocative outfit is a signal that I'd like to... er... have sex?"
Johnathon shrugged. "Something like that... although there's a lot of room for interpretation, and it's not even that simple. You could dress like that just because you like to tease the boys. Again, I suppose it's up to you what you want to do. I know what I'd prefer, but in the end, you're in charge of how you dress, alright?"
Cheerilee thought about that. "Well, I'll keep dressing how you'd prefer for the moment, Johnathon." she decided. "I don't think I'm going to want to tease you unless I mean it." she chuckled, then blushed lightly. "Still, I do want you to tell me about some of the... sexier things you'd like to see me in, so that if I do want to... let you know my intentions, I can surprise you."
Johnathon chuckled. "Very thoughtful."
Cheerilee grinned. "Aren't I?"