• Published 26th Aug 2013
  • 1,898 Views, 59 Comments

Cheer for Me, Cheerilee - Written Out

Five years after quitting teaching, Cheerilee finds herself pulled back to Ponyville to teach once again.

  • ...

Even If I Stumble, I'll Still Try To Teach (2/2)

Cheerilee's hooves squelched in one of the many muddy dirt roads that lined Ponyville as Derpy finally put her down. The normally ground-bound schoolteacher managed to restrain from throwing herself in a nearby puddle and hugging the unmoving earth as tightly as she could -- barely -- but that didn't stop her from digging her hooves into the soft muck. Oh, my sweet, sweet earth, she mentally cooed as the cold mud swept over her lower legs. I swear, I am never ever leaving you again.

Cheerilee's happy smile turned into an unimpressed frown as she heard something splat in the muck behind her, and she turned around to see her unwanted pilot, already covered head to toe in mud from her own impact with the ground, smiling brightly at her. "That was fun!" Derpy crowed in happy excitement before quickly shaking the mud off her body, unintentionally spattering the bedraggled teacher with the gunk.

Deep breathes, Cheerilee thought, doing just that. She didn't mean it, getting mad at her won't help anything. "Yes," she said instead, the smile she wore feeling as fragile and brittle as glass. "Yes, it... was." I need to hurl.

As Cheerilee cast about for an appropriate bush, Derpy looked at the buildings around them with a blank smile on her face. "So, what are we here for, again?"

"We're... Urp!" Cheerilee blocked her mouth with a hoof, keeping the contents of her stomach down with sheer force of will. "We're going to get some coffee, remember?"

The sides of Derpy's mouth shifted slightly downwards in a confused frown. "Coffee? But I don't drink coffee."

Cheerilee blinked at the mailmare. "Huh? But you..." were acting oddly before we left. And there was that thing Dinky wanted to say before Derpy interrupted her. Cheerilee sighed, realizing that Derpy had read her like a book and had gone along with it, simply because Cheerilee had asked her to. How can she possibly trust me so easily? Cheerilee couldn't understand it. Deciding to think on it later, she gave the mailmare a smile that was far more sincere than before. "Well, we can spend some time in town until it's time to go back. Is there anywhere you'd like to go?"

Derpy's face lit up like a flicked-on lightbulb, her smile almost bright enough to outshine the sun. "Yeah! It's just this way! Follow me!" she shouted as she took off.

Her stomach still not quite settled, Cheerilee followed after the energetic pegasus at a more sedate pace as she was led on a cheerful romp through Ponyville's streets. For the most part, Cheerilee was content to simply remain slightly behind Derpy's lead, enjoying the feeling of following somepony else for once, though she quickly interceded when the clumsy mare nearly walked into a lightpost.

"Here we are!" Derpy said brightly, stopping in front of one of the buildings that lined the street. For her part, Cheerilee stopped next to the mailmare with a surprised expression, her jaw hanging wide open.

The building was unlike any she had ever seen. From the cylindrical shape to the way the carefully shaped chimney jutted out to the side, all the way down to the way the wide curved wooden beams had been paint, was all clearly meticulously designed to invoke a certain image.

In short, the building looked like a giant beer mug.

"Well," Cheerilee said, shaking off her shock. "I suppose that's certainly one way to advertise."

Derpy nodded, her happy smile never changing. "Come on, let's go inside!" Merrily ignoring the bright red CLOSED sign hanging on the door, Derpy pushed the door open and went inside.

"Derpy, it says...! Ah, never mind." Following after the other mare, Cheerilee was treated to a surprising sight. A soft yellow light illuminated the hardwood floor of the building, and there were several round tables that showed signs of wear and tear sporadically scatted throughout the area. A well-stocked bar lay to one side of the room, though Cheerilee couldn't see anypony behind it at the moment.

"Aw, for crying out loud," a grumpy, female voice emanated from behind the bar, giving lie to Cheerilee's assumption that there was nopony there. "That sign says 'CLOSED' for a reason. Can't you stupid mooks read?"

While Cheerilee had the grace to look and feel abashed, Derpy only giggled. "Don't be such a grouch, Berry. We came all this way to see you."

As Cheerilee watched, a dark purple earth pony mare the colour of grapes climbed out from behind the bar and gave the pegasus a wry smile. "Derpy," she said with a friendly shake of her head. "Should have figured it was you. You never did pay attention to open hours."

"Nope. And look who I brought with me!"

"Well, well," the purple mare said, spotting Cheerilee. "So the teacher that's got the whole town talking has finally shown up on my doorstep. Well, welcome to Berry's Punch! If you find yourself needing to drop some of your worries, or are just looking for a good drink, you've come to the right place." She leaned against the bar, her forelegs resting on the hardwood surface. "Do you remember me?"

"Yeah," Cheerilee said slowly. "You're Berry Punch. Berry Pinch's mother, right?" She looked around the large, immaculately-cleaned pub all around them. "You've certainly done well for yourself."

"I always did have a passion for the best drinks a mare could find," Berry Punch admitted. "Eventually, I tried selling the drinks I made, and well, here I am." She waved at the room with a hoof. "Proprietor of Ponyville's largest watering hole."

"It's also the only watering hole in Ponyville," Derpy happily pointed out as she hopped up on a nearby stool, the seat swivelling a full rotation before coming to a stop.

Berry Punch gave a very put-upon sigh. "Yes, thank you, Derpy. How could I have forgotten to mention that?" Reaching under the bar, she pulled out a tall glass and grinned at Cheerilee. "So? What's your poison? Normally, if anypony came in before opening hours I'd throw them out on their ear, but I'll make an exception since you're with Derpy."

"Anything's fine" Cheerilee replied. "I'm in the mood for something light and fruity."

"Got it." Berry Punch pulled a couple of bottles off the shelf as Cheerilee took a seat next to Derpy. Within seconds, by means of an impressive display of dexterity for an earth pony, there were full glasses filled with different coloured liquids on the counter. "A Maretini for the erstwhile schoolteacher, and a Cloudy Pegasus for our resident mailmare. Drink up."

"Mmm, my favourite." Derpy easily scooped up the cup in front of her and took a deep swig.

Feeling slightly unsure how she felt about the 'erstwhile' comment, Cheerilee carefully sipped from her own drink. The cool liquid smoothly slid down her throat and into her belly, leaving behind a pleasant aftertaste. "You certainly know how to make your drinks, Berry," Cheerilee complimented, putting the almost half-empty cup down on the counter. Considering the appearance of the building outside, she felt the need to ask about it. "Is that why you made the place look like it does?"

"What, you mean the beer mug look?" Berry Punch laughed. "Hey, after seeing how successful the Cakes were with making Sugarcube Corner look like a cake, I thought to myself; ' Berry, why don't you do something like that for your store?' It was an investment, but did it ever pay off. I swear, you can find half the town in here some nights."

"It's great!" Derpy suddenly exclaimed, loudly slamming her drink on the counter. "Everypony comes, and it'll be a whole big par- part- get-together." She hiccupped, her face showing a distinct tinge of red.

Cheerilee slowly shifted her gaze from the slightly tipsy pegasus, to the completely empty glass in front of her, before turning a flat look on the pony behind the bar. Berry Punch easily spotted the look, and returned a reassuring one of her own. "Don't worry. The Cloudy Pegasus is one of my specialities. It hits pegasi like a runaway wagon, but it'll be out of her system by the time she gets home."

Cheerilee still felt doubtful, but saw no reason to argue. "Very well." A lull in the conversation followed, and Cheerilee quickly took the opportunity to fill it. "By the way, Berry, what does your daughter feel about you running a bar?"

"What, you mean if it bothers her?" Berry Punch gave a raucous laugh. "Are you trying to psychoanalyze me, Cheerilee? Sorry to disappoint, but we're a happy family. No issues here."

Cheerilee blushed, burying her muzzle in her mug to hide it. "I see," she mumbled quietly.

"Aw, don't worry about it," Berry Punch said with a grin. "I heard what you did with Sweetie Belle. Heck, by now, I think the whole town's heard the news. We really can't thank you enough for getting her to stop her thieving ways." She leaned in with a smile. "In fact, I think you should consider setting up some parent-teacher sessions soon. Everypony's eager to meet you once again."

"It was nothing," Cheerilee said, her blush growing in size. "But speaking of Sweetie Belle, I was wondering, how come she was allowed to keep stealing for so long? Back in Neigh York, the police force would have grabbed her in an instant. Is it so different here?"

Berry Punch snorted rudely. "Oh, it's no different here. The Police Chief wanted to nail her, and nail her hard. It was no secret. However, he couldn't do anything because absolutely nopony pressed charges."

Cheerilee blinked in surprise, her blush fading away. "Really?" she asked. "Nopony at all? I would have thought at least one pony would have wanted to press charges."

"Oh, we all wanted to press charges, there's no doubt of that." Berry Punch shook her head ruefully. "But there was a reason we couldn't."

"And what reason was that?" Cheerilee prodded quietly.

Berry glanced from side to side to make sure nopony was listening in before leaning forward, gesturing for Cheerilee to do the same. "Princess Twilight Sparkle," the barmare whispered. "Whenever Sweetie Belle stole from somewhere, the Princess would always be there within a day, returning whatever was stolen and tearfully begging us not to press charges. There's no way we could act against a Princess's wishes, so there was nothing we could do."

Cheerilee's gaze hardened. "She would abuse her position like that?" she hissed roughly, her voice filled with anger.

Berry Punch quickly shook her head. "I don't think she even realized what she was doing. She still thinks of herself as Celestia's student, and even then she's not aware of how much power she holds."

"I like Twilight," Derpy happily added. "She's nice."

A twisted half-smirk spread on Berry Punch's lips. "There is that. As far as she knew, she was a mare asking us to do something on behalf of her friend, not a Princess giving orders to her subjects."

"But that's how she came across anyway," Cheerilee pointed out.

"Aye," Berry Punch agreed with a solemn nod. "It is."

Several hours later saw Cheerilee lying back the couch in Twilight's living room. Night had already fallen, yet sleep was persistently eluding her. After several drinks at Berry's, Derpy had passed right out, leaving Cheerilee to carry her home. With an understanding smile, Berry had seen them out the door after giving Cheerilee a bottle of Sweet Apple Acres' finest alcoholic cider to take home, which currently rested on the floor next to the couch, awaiting the schoolmare's pleasure.

Just as Berry had promised, Derpy had woken up shortly before they reached her house. The pegasus was completely sober without so much as a hangover -- much to Cheerilee's unspoken irritation -- and happily bounced into her house with the earth pony in tow. Spike and Dinky had made supper while they were gone and, after everyone gathered around the table to enjoy it, Spike and Cheerilee had returned to the library. Dinky had even offered to hang out with Spike some time, which Cheerilee had taken as a positive sign.

None of this was doing anything in helping her get to sleep, however.

Rolling on her side with an unhappy grumble, Cheerilee buried her face in the back of the couch and tried to will herself asleep. To her displeasure, if not her surprise, it didn't work. After several minutes of fruitlessly seeking sleep's embrace, she quickly sat upright and climbed off the couch. Her blankets fell limply on the floor as she walked over them and silently headed towards the kitchen. Maybe getting something to drink will help.

Moving carefully, trying not to awaken either of the other occupants of the house, she dug through the various cupboards until she found what she wanted. Pouring herself a glass of milk and warming in on the stove, she allowed a small smile to spread on her face as she took a small sip of the warm liquid before returning back to the living room.

That smile fell off her face with impressive speed the instant she passed through the doorway and saw somepony who hadn't been there when she had left. Instead of saying anything at first, she placed her glass of warm milk down on a nearby countertop. The new arrival's eyes silently followed the angry earth pony as she strode to the couch, pulled out her bottle of cider, and took a swig of the fortifying liquid directly from the bottle. "What do you want?" Cheerilee asked roughly without looking at the individual she spoke to.

A bright yellow magical aura wrapped around Cheerilee's abandoned milk glass and lifted it up into the air. It floated across the room before being pressed up against a pair of perfectly white lips. There was the sound of a dainty sip, and the glass was carefully placed down on a nearby table before the lips opened up again. "Would you believe me if I told you I wanted to see how you were doing?"

"No," Cheerilee said bluntly, taking another swig from her bottle. Her hooves stomping loudly with every step she took, as she was angry enough to no longer care if the others in the house woke up, she strode over to the table and slammed her bottle against it as loudly as she could. "You never do anything without a second meaning to it. What do you want, Celestia?"

Princess Celestia, immortal ruler of Equestria and raiser of the sun, sighed at the look of anger being directed her way. Her sun-marked posterior sat in one of the chairs surrounding the dinner table, and her flowing rainbow-like mane constantly moved and shifted as if in an ethereal wind. She was as naked as Cheerilee was, completely devoid of the symbols of her rank that she normally wore. "I just wanted to talk, Cheerilee."

"Too bad," Cheerilee growled, her voice filled with anger. "Because I'm not interested in talking."

"Then I'll talk, and you can simply listen," Celestia offered. Cheerilee's look of anger remained unchanged, but she sat down on a nearby chair. Celestia inclined her head in gratitude before continuing on. "I can tell that you don't want me here, so I'll skip the pleasantries. Twilight told me that you wanted to accept Spike into your class. Is that correct?"

Cheerilee inclined her head, similar to how Celestia had moments ago, though her scowl remained firm.

"I see." Celestia's gentle smile would have been enough to cause even the most hardened of criminals to fall to their knees and confess each and every one of their sins, all while tearfully praising the divine visage before them. If Cheerilee was affected by it in the slightest, she most certainly didn't show it. "I confess," Celestia added, "I had hoped you would take Spike into your fold from the moment I had heard you would be returning to teaching. Does this mean you are finally starting to forgive yourself?" she added hopefully.

A tightening around the eyes was Cheerilee's only response.

If it were anyone other than the immortal ruler of the sun, who had lived for centuries and had long since learned how to keep her emotions from showing, one would have said she flinched. As it was, her expression turned sad as she considered the glass of milk before her before taking another sip -- which she most certainly did not do because she needed something to calm her nerves. "Cheerilee," she said with uncharacteristic somberness after returning the milk to the table. "Do you remember that time we met, four years ago?"

Cheerilee didn't say anything, but she did grab her bottle of cider and took another deep swig from it.

"I suppose you wouldn't have forgotten," Celestia said sorrowfully. She stared deep into her glass as she spoke, her gaze blank and empty, as if she was seeing something far away. "I had read about you in my student's friendship reports, back from when she was still sending them to me. Whenever you came up, she always stressed how great a teacher you were for the foals in town. She admired you. I think most of the town did."

No response.

"...You know," Celestia added after several minutes passed in complete silence. Her flowing mane covered half of her face, hiding most of her expression from view, but there was no mistaking the regret in her voice. "I think I admired you a little as well. The way you always did everything you could for your students, the way you were willing to do anything for them, anything to protect them and help them grow. I admit, I saw a lot of myself in you."

Celestia limply saw against her seat back, her wings hanging limply at her side. Even her mane seemed to flow with less energy than before. "And then, five years ago... that incident happened. You quit teaching and walked away from everything you had ever done. If I hadn't happened upon you a year later, living on the streets of Neigh York, we might never have known what became of you."

Cheerilee lifted the bottle of cider to her lips and upended it, swallowing for several seconds before returning it atop the table.

Celestia silently watched the schoolteacher with sorrowful eyes as she attempted to drink herself into a stupor. "You know it wasn't your fault. There was nothing you could have done."

Cheerilee's now-empty bottle flew through the air, it's sudden flight halted as it smashed against the far wall. "There must have been something I could have done," she protested with more than a hint of a drunken slur, saying something for the first time since she had sat down. "I was his teacher. What good is a teacher than can't even save a single student? I failed him, Celestia. I failed him as surely as if I had killed him with my own hooves."

"The teacher's pain," Celestia agreed quietly. "I've had more than my share of students over the years and, one by one, I've lost each and every one of them. It never gets any easier."

"Don't speak so freely of pain, Celestia," Cheerilee scolded, turning her back on the Princess. "You manipulate and use your students just as easily as you do everypony else. How many of them ever recognize what you are doing? How many see you for what you are?"

Celestia sighed. "I do what I must for my students, my subjects, and my country. You'd do the same if you were in my position!" She hesitated, as if something had just occurred to her. She spoke slowly, almost tasting the sound of each syllable before it left her mouth. "You would do exactly the same if you were in my position, wouldn't you? I see a lot of myself in you; I wonder, do you feel the same? I'm not the one you hate so fiercely. I'm just a convenient-"

A sudden ear-splitting crack cut her off, and she looked down to see that the table they had both been sitting at had split right down the middle. Cheerilee, her forehoof held directly above the split in the table, glared at Celestia with no attention paid to the broken furniture. "This conversation is over." she growled, low and threatening. "You will leave. Now."

Celestia shifted her attention from Cheerilee's rage-filled eyes to the teacher's raised forehoof. "You're bleeding," she pointed out, keeping her tone mild.

"I'll wrap it later," Cheerilee said without so much as a glance at the wound. "Leave."

"What is-? Princess Celestia!"

The Princess and the teacher looked up the stairs, in the direction the voice had come from. Spike and Twilight, unquestionably awoken by the noise, stared down at the scene in their living room with no small amount of surprise.

Spike was the first to speak. "Um, what's going on?"

"Nothing," Cheerilee said with enough venom in her tone to make Spike recoil. "The Princess was just leaving. Weren't you?" This last was added with a glare in the direction of the Princess in question.

Celestia slid her chair back and stood up. "Yes, I suppose I was. It is a pleasure to see you again, Twilight. I apologize for the state of your table; sometimes I don't know my own strength."

"You did this? But-?" Twilight's eyes shifted uncertainly from her mentor to Cheerilee's bleeding hoof and back again, confusion clearly visible on her face.

Celestia's horn flashed brightly, and the table was quickly replaced, looking as pristine as ever and newly-made. Unnoticed by either of the individuals standing at the top of the stair, the shards of glass from Cheerilee's thrown bottle had also disappeared in the sudden light. Her work complete, Celestia headed for the door, making a detour so that he would pass past Cheerilee.

"You know," she said as she walked by the teacher, speaking quietly enough that not even Spike's draconic hearing could hear her. "Despite what you may think of me, I really am pleased to see that you are putting your life back on track."

"Don't feel the need to watch over me," Cheerilee said bitterly.

"Oh, there's no need for that," Celestia said with a playful wink before she raised her voice. "Oh, Twilight. I believe you are going off to Neigh York to meet with some gryphon dignitaries next week, correct?"

"Well, yes," Twilight said, not noticing the way Cheerilee suddenly stiffened. "Why?"

Celestia's wing swept out and wrapped around Cheerilee, easily pulling the suddenly off-balance teacher in close to her. "I believe you should take Cheerilee and her class with you. Cheerilee knows the city well, and it would make for a wonderful field trip for the whole class."

Twilight's eyes shot wide open, all trace of sleep forgotten."That- Yes! You're right! They'll learn so much, and- Plans! I must plan! Need a list! Spike, come!" With an excited giggle, she vanished into her room.

Spike, seeing any hope of a good night's sleep vanish into the winds, sighed. "Yes, mistress," he grumbled as he followed after her. "Igor is here to serve."

As Spike's whipping tail disappeared from sight, Celestia looked down at Cheerilee with a wide smile. "You see? There's no need for me to watch over you. Not when Twilight is going to be doing that on her own."

Cheerilee pushed Celestia's feathers off of her back with a frown. "You know," she complained. "I really do hate you." Despite her words, there was absolutely no heat in her voice, almost as if she was simply stating it to reaffirm it to herself.

The lack of anger didn't go unnoticed by Celestia, but the Day Princess refrained from commenting as she quietly stepped outside, leaving the schoolteacher behind. Unnoticed by any, a wide, happy smile quickly spread across her face as she took off into the night. "Good luck to you both," she whispered. Her voice faded to nothing in the nighttime breeze, but she liked to imagine that the ponies in question would be able to hear her words.

"The rest, I leave in your capable hooves."

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Comments ( 10 )

Oh my.

This is getting even more interesting.

I'm really glad I found this story.

Hmm. A student suicide? I could see it... and especially if it was because of some certain bullies she hadn't stopped....

"The Police Chief wanted to nail her, and nail her hard." perv.

A student died? Who? The plot thickens.

can't have been Pip, we've had him mentioned. Ditto for Snips and Snails .

There is one problem I have. It's a great story, really, but...
Would Cheerilee really act in such a manner to the princess?

Interesting story. Cheerilee's problem solving happens far too quickly for my taste, but otherwise I'm enjoying it.

Okay, good. Now I'm all caught up. :twilightsmile:
(Also, how is one of my stories in the "also liked" list? :unsuresweetie:)

Ah. I've found one of those super-amazing-awesome-wellwritten-mysterious-onlyupdateonceayear stories, to quite a Pinkie Pie. :pinkiesmile:

Really caught me off guard with Sweetie Belle, loved her role through the entire story.

Slightly disappointed we haven't heard more from Scootaloo, but I'm glad you're keeping things focused. Apple Bloom, Spike, and Dinky. Didn't see it at first, but they're all sweet, timid, and needing a friend. Good job Cheerilee, and good job you. (OPPP takes care of her Berry, I approve)

I really can't place the lost student, boy, parent, or whoever else died. You've done a magnificent job hiding him, as you did with Sweetie's pain. I'm hoping to see a good one out of left field that I should've seen all along in a few years when the story updates. :twilightsmile:

Dinky is still best filly, and she knows her mom isn't in a good spot. My readers instinct tells me Der-... DITZY may not last the whole story. It really could go either way. Hope Social Services don't try to take her away.

Wish I could say more, but my talents as a writer are miniscule at best, and I haven't put in as much practice as I should. Maybe I will change that. Just remember, we'd all love to see more from you! These fanfictions don't get as much praise or monetary reward as books or essays, but I love them anyways. It's always good to have something that's yours, and you can show to others and be proud of.

Don't forget to write!

I know all your stuff is on a hiatus but I hope you come back to this at some point its grate really and leaves you wanting more.

Prolly Button Mash. On a side note, Celestia is not so different from Discord here.

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