Cameron froze, grabbing at his pants. "No, please!" She would see his ugly scars, his diaper. He felt exposed enough in just his onesie. In his panic, and wanting to be a big boy, his usual toddler lisp was gone. In its place, he spoke like a big boy.
"Cameron." Lili softened her voice, seeing the absolute terror in his eyes as he gazed pleadingly at her. She felt him shake as he gripped her wrists tightly. She could yank free, tear his pants off, but that would destroy their relationship. He would never trust her again.
"Baby." She let go of his pants, and he released her wrists as she scooted back up on him, sitting on his stomach and the upper part of his diaper. She reached up past his head, where his sweater lay in a jumbled ball. She tugged his binky free from its ribbon and clip, then slipped it between his lips.
Cameron instinctively sucked on the rubber nipple as Lili rolled to her side, laying next to him on the nursery carpet. He grabbed one of her hands, entwining his slim fingers with hers and squeezing gently, trying to tell her he was sorry, it was too much too fast for him. She lay on her side, head propped up on one arm, staring down at him. She waited until he had calmed down, then lowered her head next to his ear. "Baby. I've already seen you get your diapee changed, remember? At school?"
He nodded. Oh, he remembered. He had never forgotten. "Dis- diffwent." He explained, lisping once again. Her lips twitched, but not in a smile. She was much closer to him this time, would be up close and personal. Very hands on. Intimate. Intimidating.
"Oh? How so?" She asked, like she already knew the answer but just wanted to hear it from his mouth.
He whined softly behind his binky. "Cuz. It is." He shrugged, unable to find the words to tell her the jumbled mess of emotions he was feeling. "Lili touch. Change mah diapee."
She nodded. "Yes, sweetie. I'm going to change your diapee. You can't stay in that diapee all day, and I promised I'd take you for ice cream."
His eyes grew big as saucers. Diaper changes, he didn't mind. But for Lilith to touch him there, to see those horrid, ugly scars, the disfiguration covering most of his body...yes, Lili had a scar, but it was small compared to his. Just a little blight on her beauty, whereas his...his only stroke of luck, aside from surviving, had been his fingers and face had been spared.
"Is this about your boo-boos? Your scars?" Lili slipped into the speech Ms. Sweeney and Mrs. Vesper had used, but corrected herself.
Cameron nodded but managed to look up at Lili; she saw the pain reflected in his eyes. If she saw how extensive his scars were, saw how ugly they were up close, he feared she would turn away in disgust, would leave him. He could not blame her if she did. He was a freak. A misshapen monster. "Dey ugwy." He lisped softly, tears brimming in his eyes.
"Hey. Shh. Don't cry, yeah?" Lili sat up, pulling her pearl pink shirt up over her head, revealing a white lace bra with with tiny rhinestones on each nipple. His face flushed, but it was not her pert, generously endowed breasts that drew his attention. It was the scarred half of her torso, where the huge animal had torn into her.
"See? Here's my scar." She captured one of his trembling hands and guided it to her stomach. The normal part of her stomach was smooth and flat. She guided him over to the scarred side of her torso. He felt each bump, each deep groove of her missing flesh. She shivered though he kept his touch light as a bird's wing.
Was this what someone felt when they touched his scars? Cameron's flesh had been burned, melted, blistered and popped, but none of it was missing. In some ways, Liliana's mutilation, though not as widespread over her body, was worse than his own. The red, pink, and white colors of the scar were similar to his own, but the deep grooves in her flesh both fascinated and repulsed him as he rubbed a finger in it.
"Ah." She gasped when he hit a particular deep and sensitive spot. She panted lightly and took his hand in her own again. "Pretty gross, huh?"
His eyes flew up to her. Did she really think her scar made her ugly? "N-no!" He shook his head in denial.
"Does my scar make me ugly?" She asked, amusement in her voice.
Again, he shook his head, and let his binky fall out of his mouth. "Lili pretty." He said it vehemently, as if willing her to believe it.
She grinned in triumph. "Cameron's pretty, too. My pretty baby."
Cameron stilled in surprise. Pretty. No one called him pretty once they saw his scars. No one except Liliana. Warmth stirred in his heart, faintly, along with the brief thought, that maybe, just maybe, his scars really weren't that bad?' He shook his head. His scars had brought him nothing but cruelty, rejection, teasing from his normal peers.
"Ugwy. Fweddy Kweugar." He whispered softly, a tear trickling down his cheek as he turned his head away from her. Just saying that name made him cringe.
Lili lowered her head, tongue darting out, licking his cheek and catching his tear. The metal tips of her snake bite spikes brushed over his soft skin. He drew in a sharp breath at the contact.
"It's not true." For once, Lili's voice was fierce, dead serious. "Pissy's the one who gave you that nick name."
Cameron curled in on himself, cringing at the anger in Lili's voice. He nodded in confirmation, even though she did not ask. Pretty, popular Priscilla. How Cameron had tried to give her a wide berth, and how she had zoned in on him like a shark scenting blood in the water. How could Priscilla and Liliana be from the same family tree? He could see it, vaguely- they were both terrifying when they were angry. "S-sowwy." He whispered, apologizing automatically.
Lili's arms wrapped around his waist, pulling him against her. Her breasts squashed into his back. "You've nothing to be sorry for. But Pissy's plenty sorry. She'll be even sorrier." Liliana grumbled to herself. Her mind slipped back to the fear in Prissy’s eyes as she loomed over her and diapered her. She remembered Prissy’s garbled screams as she helplessly, noisily shit herself in front of Max. The old anger and hatred burned hot in her veins, but the memory of her conversation with Asha doused the fire. Just what had Asha meant?
Silence fell between them as they both calmed down, reigning their emotions in.
Cameron quietly sucked his paci. The hard floor was starting to hurt his back and make him uncomfortable. He shifted, diaper crinkling. He felt the front grow warm as he peed, and finally became aware of the mess he was sitting in. He stilled. Lili would *have* to change his diaper now; there was no getting around it. He needed a clean diaper before he leaked and flared up his diaper rash. He started at the sudden poke in his side, the finger pushing in on the top of the back of his diaper.
"Hey, baby?" Lili called softly, testing his emotional state.
"Yeah?" He answered just as quietly.
"Who do you think's smarter- me or Pissy Prissy?" Her tone was full of her old arrogance and joviality.
His lips turned in a little smile. "Yew."
"Damn straight I am. So, if I say you're pretty and Pissy's an idiot, then you're pretty. Yeah?"
Cameron hesitated, his old fears holding him back. He wanted to believe her; she was the first one to call him pretty. Cute. Even with his scars. A warm candle glow flickered in his heart.
She poked him; his diaper crinkled as her finger pushed into the soggy padding. "Y-yeah." He stuttered.
"I don't believe you. ."
"Y-yeah!" He forced out shakily.
"Yes, and what else? What did Lili say?" The finger did not move from his back, ready to jab him again.
"Yes, you are." Lili cooed and stole a quick kiss on his cheek. 'Now, you got to see my scar, so it’s only fair I get to see yours. I need to check your diaper, anyway."