I forced myself to unclench my hands and smooth out my apron, then I tilted my head up to meet her eyes. Setting aside the little spike of anxiety I’d carried for hours in the build-up to this conversation was comparatively easy to setting down the fluttery lightheaded feeling I found in the simple reminder of how small and cute and different I was now that I had to look up to meet her eyes. But this conversation was important. I’d warned her we had to have a serious talk, asked her to drop the intoxicating play that characterized our brief relationship and have a serious discussion. I owed it to her.
“It’s just, I think that, you really can’t just go turning every guy you meet into a maid or a cheerleader or a nurse or…” I took a breath and got right to it. I didn’t want to be blunt, but if I didn’t force myself to get to the point, I don’t think I’d have made it there at all, and it could only be worse to let things fester than to say it badly.
She smirked that wicked, ever-so-slightly anxious and overeager, smirk that I was quickly coming to love and reached out to ruffle my hair. I squeaked, blushed, did my best to slip out of reach, stumbling awkwardly instead. No, I categorically refused to get any kind of euphoria, gender or otherwise, from the fact that my attempts to be taken seriously were being dismissed. Even via headpats.
“I’ve never made anyone a cheerleader or a nurse actually. Of course, if you’re asking…” the teasing lilt in her voice put me in serious danger of spontaneous combustion, “it could definitely be nice to take those off the bucket list.”
She waved a hand and I felt my dress begin to unravel around me. Fuck it was hot how she could just change me on a whim. No, not now, not until we had the actual important talk. I wouldn’t be able to stop her if I let this go on, but… thoughts of whimpering surrender danced through my mind. I bit my lip in an attempt to avoid making any incomprehensibly subby sounds. Success was mixed at best.
“Please,” I managed barely aware that I’d actually managed to say the word. From there it was simply pushing through the weight of her compulsions, ever delicious instinct she’d used to cage my heart, “Cera this is serious,” I wasn’t to use her name without ‘Mistress’ attached. Sure, the compulsion had weakened a bit, to the point that I only felt a little uneasy about violating the rules. But we needed to clear the air. Giving in would be so easy, but for once it wouldn’t be in my best interests to surrender.
That seemed to get through to her. She let her hand drop to her side, suddenly nervous. For a second I thought my uniform might simply collapse into nothing as she stopped, leaving me naked and on full display for daring to confront her. Fortunately for my ability to remain focused on the task at hand, it simply popped back into the nice safe maid’s uniform that fit in a way I’d I’d never imagined clothing could actually fit, a gesture of submission that I was a muchly desired treat, with a Mistress who wanted me to… No, there’d be time for that kind of game later and I had to actually focus on this. I owed it to her.
“Look, what I mean is, you can’t just… pick random drunk dudes in a bar and turn them into maids to teach them a lesson! It’s not right.”
The illusion of teasing authority slowly fled from her face, its place taken by something far more timid and unsure than I was growing accustomed to seeing on Mistress’ face.
“Like, okay, so you’re a witch and you have these powers, but that doesn’t mean you can just go changing people on a whim. Some people might, like, completely hate it if you turned them into girls and made them obey your every whim for days on end! I get that that’s not intuitive, that seems weird, but I hear that a lot of guys are like that!”
The rapidly combusting embers of horror in her eyes should have told me I wasn’t quite making the point I was actually trying to make, but I’d always been better at simply fumbling out all the words until I stumbled into a coherent argument than actually composing an argument that matched what I really wanted to say. My mouth was always a bit faster than my brain, particularly when it actually meant enough to me to get through the emotionless haze I’d always called life.
“And, like, you make it hard to disobey you; you’re so powerful and intimidating and authoritative and also literally make it magically hard to disobey you and, while I know you’re super nice and amazing and wonderful deep down, I’m worried that you might, like, trap someone or hurt them if you did this to someone else and they were too scared to object, or you just… kept playing the game or…”
I realized how that might sound halfway through a sentence. I couldn’t imagine that she’d ever actually keep going if someone reacted that badly to her magic. But, it was always so hard to find words to say things that were awkward, to express the fear of what she might do in the small ways I thought she might actually do it. I’d always just buried everything and shut up until I inevitably erupted far more aggressively than intended. And now here I was ruining the one good thing I’d finally lucked into, basically calling her a monster to her face instead of asking for that little reassurance I’d needed to banish those last few doubts that I could be a better person and be with her.
Unfortunately, a panicked spiral into yet another fit of self-loathing, midway through implying she might have done something to someone who wouldn’t want it and they might be scared to mention it, wasn’t the best way to reassure Cera that this was actually a small fear in the big scheme of things.
“Oh god, oh god Bree, or umm, shit I didn’t even learn your name. I was so stupid and sure you wouldn’t want to hear it again, that at least the girl stuff was all stuff you’d... I’m… I thought you wanted this, that… I didn’t mean to keep you like this if you wanted to go back, and I thought the other stuff was something you wanted and, oh god, I’m so sorry. I’ll turn you back, we can fix this. I’m unforgivable... I’d never have intentionally...”
That wasn’t what I’d meant at all. Knowing I’d hurt her was awful, but the sudden terror that she’d just turn me back into that thing I was before, scrape her influence from my mind with a scalpel, and vanish from my life in a cloud of mistaken guilt was too horrifying a possibility to contemplate. This is why I’d always hated confrontation, hated how easy it was to be too aggressive, to step up and hurt people or dominate a space without really meaning too just because I was big and masculine and people tended to listen when big guys talked loudly and aggressively. Why couldn’t I just stay in my fucking place. Great job Bree, way to… No, this wasn’t the time to spiral.
“No!” I found I was shouting, why was I shouting, “that’s not it” I managed much more quietly, and awkwardly tried to move in for a hug. She recoiled, afraid she might burn me if we touched.
“I mean, like, okay, for me this has obviously been the best thing that ever happened. I lo… like you a lot and getting turned into a cute girl by a toppy witch is, well, literally an extremely persistent exceedingly specific dream come true. Extremely enthusiastic consent to the entire process and all the little compulsions, umm, especially the big ones. I love having you in my head, I love it when you twist my mind and body around your fingers like an instrument, and, believe me, nothing you did pressured me into any of the things that I…” I blushed. “You’re not a monster Cera; you’re… I don’t think you could do anything to hurt me really.” I paused to inhale, then kept marching on.
“I meant, purely in the abstract, as I’m obviously a massive exception to this rule, you can’t keep turning boy-shaped people—me excluded—into adorably demure little maids compelled to clean up after you, dress up their bodies to please you, cater to your every desire and show them heights of pleasure of which we’d never dreamed until they can’t help but break just because they made shitty guys!”
She blinked back the tears, and looked at me suspiciously, “Y-you’re not, just saying that because you’re scared or because…” she trailed off, uncertain.
In the few days we’d known each other, I’d grown to love how she wore her heart on her sleeve. She just leapt into things—mostly involving punishing me for my various antics—and said what she meant immediately instead of scrutinizing all of her own emotions. I’d seen her angry, mischievous, happy. I’d seen the nervous excitement on her face the first time we kissed, the raw delight she’d had reacting to me—incoherent with embarrassment—trying and failing to beg her properly to put that collar on me for a minute straight on our second night.
But the insecurity and raw vulnerability that it seemed she had to have been pushing back this whole time were things I hadn’t seen before. I shouldn’t have been surprised. She jumped into the relationship with the dumb asshole she’d enmaided as quickly as I had jumped into one with an apparently vindictive witch, and that probably said as much about her issues as it did about mine.
We’d done some talking in the time since the change. I’d thanked her for helping fix my body, she’d admitted that she was no stranger to that kind of need. We’d agreed, cuddling in bed that we should try making this something real, something enduring, but words had mostly been few and far between the… hijinks. In my defense, I’d gotten the body of my dreams and was only then starting to come down from a cloud of euphoria…. And Cera had had a maid, who we both agreed was at least a little bit incredibly adorable, begging her to play.
“No, I’m not, I… look, we’re not doing this whole plotline where we let a dumb misunderstanding last and break up for a week then have a dramatic reconciliation once something else happens and one of us has an epiphany. You took me at, honestly, one of the worst nights of my life and have given me a happier, better weekend than I could imagine, and the only times you’ve ever scared me were when I wanted you to and when I hurt you just now. I’m yours in every sense of that word, as long as you’ll have me, I just..”
I took a deep breath in, “I’m sorry, I’ve always been an idiot like this, shoving my foot in my mouth especially when it’s at all personal. I’ve loved this, like I said, all consent has been extremely enthusiastic for the,” I struggled to find an example I might possibly manage to get through describing without turning into even more of a tomato and failed, “everything.”
She sagged, hugging me back, enveloping me in a warm embrace that sent tingles down my spine at how much bigger and stronger she was than me now. I lost my balance, falling forward into her chest with an eep, and shoving us both tumbling onto her plush carpet.
“No,” she managed to wipe away a tear, after we’d both stopped giggling, “I’m, sorry, I have a lot of… like, okay, I’ve to do the whole strong experienced witch thing where I’m the confident cool one for you, but, I have baggage too I guess?” She paused, looking at me for reassurance. I obliged by purring softly into her chest.
“I go fast with things and then they blow up on me.” she said after a few quiet moments, “Life, Relationships, all of it I mean. I just… no one ever actually likes me at the end of things, so I’m just always waiting on the other shoe to fall even when I know how good things have been, it’s hard to ignore that little voice that tells you you’re obviously just deluding yourself again.”
My instinct—both as a natural brat and as someone who’d spent the better part of my life using sarcasm as a spear to keep the world at a distance—was to ask how many of her other relationships started with enmaiding strangers in bars. But I’d promised myself I wasn’t going to be him any more, and that meant not poking others’ scabs to avoid having feelings. And a few days under Mistress’ compulsions had proved incredibly effective at changing some of my speaking habits.
Instead, I squeezed her as tightly as I could and did my best to whisper quiet affirmations.
“I think you’re stuck with me, Mistress, baggage and everything.”
She didn’t respond verbally, but her fingers entwined with mine and we held each other in silence. I desperately wanted to leave things there, to simply soak in the joy of being hers and a girl and her girl, to listen to her gradually slowing heartbeat during the recovery from yet another classic disaster custom designed by Bree. Well, this one had lasted minutes, not years, which was probably some kind of progress.
A week before this talk, I’d never have imagined I could get so swept up in other people, could really do relationships the way normal people seemed to manage to do relationships all the time, without withdrawing into myself a few weeks in and cutting things off. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised that when I finally didn’t end up imagining the old me as a necessary part of a prospective relationship, a thousand walls had come tumbling down. Okay, and maybe the magic compulsions that stopped me from running away from my desires helped, a little.
Body aside, I wasn’t completely better. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be, and I knew I’d always have moments where I went back to that cold lonely space. But, the sheer joy of the physical changes, of searching for traces of the old me in a mirror and finding myself unrecognizable no matter how hard I tried to hate my reflection, helped a lot. Getting to see myself reflected in her eyes, as someone soft and more than a bit subby and quintessentially feminine—as someone loveable and human—had gone even further. And that’s why I owed it to us to have this talk.
I steeled my resolve, and squirmed around in her arms to look her more properly in the face.
“Are you doing okay now? I… don’t want to, but I think we need to do it if there’s going to be a we that’s, like, umm…” Words Bree, “more than just, like, a fun thing, that is if you want to be more than just a… I know you’re not a monster, you don’t need forgiveness for anything. But I need to hear you say it, to make absolutely sure because I’m scared and I want to be better and I need you to tell me right out that you can be a part of that, so that I can give myself to you as much as we both want that and I can’t use these little doubts to…” to guilt myself about being with her whenever I next decided to get all self-loathing. Changed as I’d committed to being, I didn’t quite have it in me to admit that possibility out loud.
“Then let’s talk,” the acceptance-verging on eagerness-to do this for real warmed me in ways even cuddling could never manage, “I’ll try to listen this time and not jump to conclusions until you’re done, but, sorry if I don’t manage as well as I try.”
I probably should have stood up and faced her with a bit of distance, like I intended from the start. Unfortunately, her arms around me were just too comfortable, so I couldn’t just leave. No jury could have held me accountable for that little weakness.
“Right, like, okay, as I was saying. Getting turned into your maid is possibly the best thing that ever happened to me, and this whole weekend has been more than I think I really ever dared to dream of, much less actually try for. But, like, okay, we’re not like most people. I know it sounds pretty weird and unbelievable, but, like, I have it on good authority a lot of guys, maybe even most of them, would actually dislike it a lot if they got turned into girls. It would be, like, if we were changed…” I didn’t finish the sentence, as if voicing out that either of us could just get stuck back would make it that much more real. Besides, the queasy look across her face told me she’d definitely understood.
“So, like, you can turn me into whatever you want, and if someone wants to be a maid or a cute girl or whatever then, like, obviously I support you doing whatever you decide all the way, but, like, I think the whole punishment…” I didn’t have it in me to be direct after my earlier faux pas.
“I get the allure of it, I really do. Turning people into maids obviously sounds almost as fun as getting turned into one, but it’s probably a nightmare for some people and I can’t be with you, if you’re actually evil evil and not just, like ‘evil’ evil, which is nice and I like and please stay ‘evil’ but just not, sorry, losing the point, you get the idea.”
She stopped hugging me just long enough to bap me on the head, “Bree, do you think I just… spend all my time hanging around in bars waiting to enact karmic retribution on annoying people for funsies?”
“Yes?” Really, who wouldn’t do that if they could? I couldn’t imagine that there were many people who’d discover magic was real and not struggle with the temptation of doing exactly that, which is why Cera clearly needed someone like me to help be a moral compass if this was going to work.
She let out a performatively exasperated sigh, and her voice dropped in pitch, “I will be punishing you for that later,” I’d naturally be looking forward to that, even if I wasn’t quite sure why I deserved it, “but I… no, it’s just,” she took a deep breath, visibly working up the confidence honesty required.
“I’d overheard you talking loudly, at length, before the… incident happened, and you were just so obviously a total egg and so obviously miserable and, no that doesn’t excuse what you did, but it was more like… well, I was a bit upset but I also realized that if I did it right you were totally going to crack and then you’d be a less annoying person and, I’d get to have some fun with it a bit in the meantime and, then, like, I’d leave you in your new body and let the rest of it all wear off as soon as things shook out and I was sure you wouldn’t do anything crazy and then we’d end up friends or something.”
“Cera,” I said softly, “That sounds very sweet, but you’ve definitely implied you do this kind of thing all the time.”
I could practically feel her blush; I definitely felt the sudden nervous tension throughout her body, “Well, you were just so into the whole wicked witch thing and it was really cute and I wanted to be big and imposing and confident and not, like, a massive nerd who just happens to have found a weird book in her grandmother’s attic and barely understands any of this, so I may have played things up a bit when I saw how cute you’d turned out and how you just jumped into everything way more than I even hoped it could go, and you were just so bullyable...”
Oh. Whatever tension was left mostly drained away. I wasn’t dealing with an extremely powerful but ethically dubious witch, I was dealing with an absolute dork of a domme with confidence issues as bad as my own, who also happened to be a witch. I had been too caught up in our shared fantasy to see any of its seams. She’d been too caught up in performing for me to come clean. I probably should have been a bit angry or concerned or something about how we’d both fallen into that, but I remained far too caught up in liking her to bother.
“I, uh, guess that handles the important talk thing,” I managed eventually, a bit too embarrassed to meet her gaze after this absolute fizzle of an ethical intervention, “But, while we’re on the topic of correcting you should know that I cracked years ago. Like, why do you think I went straight to…” I searched vainly for a means of describing my behavior those first few hours, “radical acceptance as soon as I started to think this might be real. I think an actual egg would have gone into denial mode or identity crisis or trying to escape or,” or anything a slightly better adjusted human being might have tried in my situation, not that I regretted any of the results.
“Totally an egg thing, it cracks and then you’re going on about how you never really could have been that dumb, you weren’t that bad and you always knew deep down. Like, back when I did myself for Halloween, I didn’t even get out the door before I decided I was 100% staying in girl mode for good. I’m sure, like, three days ago you were having long conversations to yourself about how you always play girls in video games because you’d rather stare at someone cute, and really all guys want to try being a girl for fun and thinking about how you didn’t really want to be a girl, you just hated being all…” I tensed, anticipating she’d stumble into a more painful than endearingly dumb part of that experience, but she caught herself and paused.
Which left me fighting the urge to comment how she ‘did herself for Halloween.’ While irking her enough to retaliate might be extremely enjoyable in the short term, sincere honesty didn’t come easily to either of us and I owed it to her to finish before breaking the mood.
“First off, it took me, like, a year from the time my egg cracked to really accept that I wasn’t just like a cis dude tricking himself into thinking he was trans for clout or because it was a fetish or something dumb like that, and, like… another to actually accept that transitioning was something I could do and might actually make me happy even if people in my life were shitty about that and I couldn’t just get the magical kind. So no, it isn’t always that you crack and you change your name to Luna the next day, stand dramatically on the mountaintop and demand the world acknowledge your pronouns. I was getting drunk and miserable because I’d lost my health insurance the fucking week before I was supposed to go actually finally start… everything, and it was just one more obstacle, one more step and it felt like I’d never actually change and then you happened and…” I realized I was hyperventilating, thinking about worse times, all the worse in retrospect, for how different things were now, “and you gave me what might never have happened and would have taken years at best.”
Cera pouted, “So, you’re telling me this whole time, that this whole cool plan I had that worked so perfectly to trick the helpless damsel into self-actualization was just… you already knew?”
“You still, like, changed my entire life for the better, rescued me from an absolute emotional nadir, and made my craziest dreams come true while being actually just amazingly beautiful and cool?” Especially now that we’d clarified she wasn’t actually in the habit of doing this to complete strangers when they weren’t totally obviously eggs, which seemed like that made it okayish... probably.
“Yeah, but I thought I was doing this whole scheme like a real clever witch would!” Cera was, perhaps, the type to focus on unimportant things. Though it definitely clarified how I’d gone days thinking she might just turn anyone into a girl randomly without their consent, instead of just turning people who probably wanted it deep down into girls without… we’d probably have to have another conversation at some point.
“Cera,” I wanted to say that I maybe thought I was falling in love with this side of hers as much as I’d already fallen for her more domineering moods, but the words caught in my throat. Too soon, too much, “You are such a massive dork.” I pushed myself up a bit and placed a quick kiss on the tip of her nose.
Cera fumbled for a response, but only managed an indignant squawk. Well, that definitely sounded like serious conversations were done… it couldn’t hurt to give her a little prompting.
“If you think I’m wrong and my mistress isn’t actually just a massssiiiiiveee dork deep down, then, maybe you should make me take it back?”
I saw embarrassment give way to excitement, which she immediately tried to shove behind a stern mask. She gathered herself, boxing up the awkwardness and anxieties we’d brought forth today and placing them back on the shelf. They’d be there waiting in the future, but we’d both done enough for one conversation and I clearly had earned a punishment.
When she spoke, it was as Mistress Cera, and her voice was full of an almost predatory aggression that sent tingles down my spine. Perhaps, she was still a bit too eager, desperately excited to play with her favorite doll, and not the collected, controlled witch queen she wanted so very desperately to play, but I couldn’t imagine having any complaints.
“Well, I guess someone’s eager to be put back in her proper place. In fact, I have been making this cute little toy that’ll help me take all those nasty little thoughts from your adorable head, but first, you did call me by name today. I want to see just how long you can keep breaking your programming little maid, letting it build and build until you finally slip and it takes you and you’re nothing more than a puppet dancing to my strings.”
And that, of course, is exactly what we did next.