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  1. Heyo, readers! I... did not expect this story to suddenly come to mind, but here it is! This will be a mini-series, maybe three chapters total, not sure yet. Anyways, I hope that you all enjoy it! Swimming Ahead (Part 1) by Panther Cub "This is so humiliating!" Ariel looked over to Kelly, seeing the red panda girl pouting with her arms crossed. The teenaged otter girl shared her BFF's sentiment, as did the majority of their grumbling fellow classmates, but they had known that this was coming. All across the southern continent country of Bioux, a new mandate for schools, both public and private alike, had just taken effect. Unlike their neighbors to the north in Callinstrad, or to the east in Vivalia and Shtall, Bioux had decided to begin a process to help screen for late-blooming Miner Syndrome sufferers. What that meant for Ariel and Kelly as well as the rest of the student body at St. Callow's School for Young Ladies exactly, they didn't know. But taking a look around the bright and colorful room that was attached to the MSer daycare section of the school, they knew that it would be embarrassing. "Don't worry, Kells," Ariel said, putting a comforting paw on the other girl's shoulder, both wearing the uniform black blazers and pleated red skirts, "it'll only be, like, an hour of feeling awkward for six months... and then we can move on and maybe laugh about it later." Kelly frowned, but nodded. "Still, I hope that they don't make us wear diapers..." The general din of murmuring from their class was immediately silenced by the sudden opening of the classroom door. In walked, or rather, flowed an elegantly graceful vixen who seemed to be in her late twenties, wearing an ankle-length blue and white floral dress. She set her purse down on her desk before turning to regard her students, her tail wagging happily. "Good morning, class!" Her voice sounded full of boundless energy and excitement, with a slight melodic trill to it that could easily be missed. "I am Miss Callistone, and I'll be your teacher here in Comfort and Care 101! I'm sure that you'll all have a lot of fun before moving on to additional electives in the second semester!" "Except for those who end up in the daycare." Looking over to see who spoke, Ariel wasn't shocked to see none other than Michelle snickering in her little group of friends. The hyena caught Ariel looking back at her and gave a wink. "How about we make this class a little more fun with a betting pool about who'll become total baby brains?" "Miss Evanston, I do not condone gambling in my class," Miss Callistone said, now standing right beside Michelle's desk. Ariel's breath hitched in her throat as she, much like the now visibly nervous hyena girl, was awestruck by the apparent speed and stealth with which the vixen had used to just appear like that. The teacher in question was frowning down at Michelle, slowly shaking her head in disapproval. "Furthermore, just because someone's latent condition might be triggered by the stimuli of my class, that doesn't mean that they will miss out on choosing their elective class to replace this one in the next semester. Her gaze swept around the other girls, letting out a disappointed sigh. "I had hoped that the principal would have gone with my helpful pamphlet idea... well, no matter. Let us take a moment to set the record on the purpose of this class straight." Ariel watched again as Miss Callistone strode gracefully back up to her desk and the large dry erase marker board. Turning back around, her playful smile had returned, with her tail beginning to slowly wag. "Now, class, I know that there have been a lot of wild rumors running amok about what's going to happen here. Basically, all we're going to do is spend the whole class period, gradually getting to know our inner children. The key word there being gradually." She looked around for any questions before continuing. "Typically, Miner's Syndrome manifests at the very beginning of puberty, though some cases of it happening earlier have been found. But it can also manifest in one's mid to late teens, which can be a rather nasty shock for the poor dears it happens to. But with some additional support and care, they can thankfully readjust to their new conditions and all that entails. Unfortunately, some late bloomers make it all the way into adulthood before the symptoms first begin to appear. When this happens, it can be so much more devastating. It is one thing to be on the cusp of adulthood and independence only to find oneself needing much more care and attention and love. It is another thing entirely to have that happen as a grown-up with so much pressure and anxiety to already be contending with." Letting that sink in, Ariel reflected on how she never thought very often about MSerswho manifested as adults. She wondered if any survived long enough to wind up homeless, especially if they had no families to help them. "So by creating a safe and nurturing environment, we hope that if any late-bloomers are in this class, their conditions will manifest and they can begin getting all the support they could ever need! Questions?" The rest of the girls were all silent, and no one was raising their paws, talons, claws, and hooves. Biting her lower lip, Ariel slowly raised her own paw. "Yes, Miss Vellburne?" The vixen asked, her tail starting to wag faster, showing her excitement at getting to engage more with her new students. Ariel felt her cheeks redden a bit as she began to speak, but she pushed right on through. "Does this mean that we'll have to wear d--... diapers?" No one laughed, like she had been expecting, and instead they were all waiting for the answer, many looking nervous or sporting blushes similar to the otter's. "Only a student with Miner's Syndrome will be required to wear a diaper," Miss Callistone said with a yip. Ariel and the others breathed a sigh of relief, with Kelly also looking in slightly better spirits. "But." That one word was enough to cause everyone to freeze in place, dread being palpable in the atmosphere of the room. "Due to the potential for certain... accidents in class, starting next week for the duration of the rest of the semester, training pants will be a required part of the uniform for all students in C&C." "Th-that's not fair!" Kelly sprang up, quickly shrinking back in on herself after she realized she'd just had such an outburst. "S-sorry, Miss Callistone..." The vixen let out a warm chuckle and waved a dismissive paw. "Think nothing of it, Miss Draya. I expect we'll see many more such sudden emotional bursts as the class progresses. But, the rule will be followed, no exceptions. I am aware of how harsh that sounds, but we are all trying our best here to help everyone. So please, I want you all to know that my door is always open to talk. Now, unless there's anymore questions, we can begin today with just some simple yet fun arts and crafts! I'll begin passing around construction paper, safety scissors, crayons, and the gluesticks!" Later... "Well that was pretty... patronizing," Ariel said as she and Kelly walked down the hall past the other shuffling students. "I thought your picture of the surfing squirrel looked really good!" The red panda girl offered Ariel a comforting smile. "It was supposed to be a shooting star..." Kelly winced and grimaced. "W-well, it still looked better than my sunflower did." They continued to walk in silence, the hall becoming distinctly less crowded. "... Are we really gunna have to wear Paw-Ups?" Kelly looked hopefully at her friend. Ariel slowly nodded, dashing the red panda's hopes. "Yeah... it looks like it. Appeals for the mandate's removal have been filed, but it could be years before anything is done about it, and that's not even counting how many people in Parliament were in favor of it." Kelly let out a sigh and crossed her arms again. "... I wonder how many of our classmates have it..." "Huh?" Kelly rolled her eyes before giving the otter girl an exasperated look. "I mean, how many of our classmates do you think are gunna end up in the daycare?" Ariel thought about it for a moment. "Who can say?" Ariel shrugged. "I guess late bloomers happen enough to make this class important enough to actually exist in the first place." "I guess so..." Kelly looked down at her feet, clearly uncomfortable. "It's kinda scary too though, huh?" "... Yeah... anyone in class could end up back in diapers, potentially at any time." The two remained silent the rest of the way to class, not wanting to dwell any further on what the future and its possibilities held in store for them. However, the future creeps and crawls its way along whether one wants it to or not, and soon enough, the two are heading to the awaiting buses parked out in front of the school gates. Ariel and Kelly drifted through the current of fellow students down the front steps and past the ornately carved fountain of a dragon spewing a watery blaze straight up into the sky, the falling droplets sparkling in afternoon light. The two girls talked about classes, barring one, clubs and activities, and anything that could help them get their minds off the growing sense of dread. Getting off at her stop, Ariel was soon walking alone the block and a half back to her house. A gentle and cool breeze swished her skirt a bit, prompting her to imagine what it would be like to walk around with a Paw-Up on underneath. She imagined she'd be a bit more nervous about breezes and the wind in general. Walking up the sidewalk towards her house, a canary yellow two-story building with a well-maintained garden in the front yard. She smiled a bit, seeing her father's tomato plants growing well in their cages, before opening the front door with her key and entering. Ariel came to a sudden halt when she saw her parents both sitting on the couch, with the TV off. Sitting there on the coffee table before them were three large pink and white packages that displayed an excited-looking teenage lioness wearing just a pink t-shirt and... a pair of underwear that definitely looked thicker than regular panties. In fact, they looked to be the kind with tearable sides... "... I see..." Ariel said after a bit, slipping her backpack from her shoulders. "Honey." her mother, Val, a loving, if not a bit overbearing, vixen looked as uncomfortable as Ariel felt. "We know that this is a bit... awkward, sweetie," her father, Terrance, said. The older otter sighted and rubbed the back of his neck. "But, as you know, we really don't have much of a choice when it comes to this." "I know, Dad," Ariel said, trying to give a reassuring smile, making instead a bit of a grimace. "Well, maybe there's a bright side?" Val offered, picking up one of the packages with the words Paw-Ups emblazoned across in pink glittery words. "I mean, maybe this can help you for... OH! For a college essay?" "Val..." Terrance sighed, curling his tail around her waist to pull her in closer for a cuddle. "I think lots of kids are gunna be trying that after this." Ariel pointed out, smiling a little. Despite the oncoming humiliation, she still knew her parents were there for her, like always. "It's... gunna just have to be what it is. I'll be going to school wearing training pants for the next six months." "Oh, honey!" Val scampered off the couch to run up and pull her daughter into a tight hug. "I'm so sorry! I wish that there was a way to make things all better!" "Mom," Ariel said, choking down a sob. Her Mom and Dad were already distressed enough about all of this as it is. The last thing she wanted was to make them feel any worse about it. "It'll be okay. All the other girls have to do it too, plus, it's not like this is just happening at my school." "Yeah, but how do you feel about it, Ariel?" Terrance asked, looking quizzically at his daughter. "I think I'll probably forget that they're even there after a week or so. Plus, I've still got my responsibilities as the Captain of the Gardening Club to keep me and my mind busy." Val released her daughter as she and Terrance shared a look of concern. "Sweetie... if you're sure, then alright... but you do know that you can talk to me and your father about anything and everything, right?" "I know, Mom!" Ariel smiled and kissed her mother on the cheek. "But right now, I think I'd like to go ahead and get this homework done and out of the way." "You get a lot on the first day back?" Terrance asked. "A little. Mr. Hardwith seems like the no-nonsense type." Ariel quickly excused herself to head up into her room, stopping to grab her new Paw-Ups on the way. The moment her bedroom door was shut, she had to wipe away some tears, frowning as she looked down at the packages. Groaning a little, she set them down by her desk, before using a claw to carefully slice one open. She pulled out the lightly crinkling undergarment and unfolded it. It was mostly white with a bright pink trim. The sides were tearable, with little hearts running down the seam. There was a glittery pink butterfly on the front, which would no doubt disappear when wet. Walking over to her dresser, she opened the underwear drawer and set it inside, taking note of the contrast the training pant painted laying amidst the rest of her underwear. "You got this," she said in a quiet voice to no one. "You'll overcome this and not disappoint anyone..." Ariel gave the drawer a hard shove shut and straightened up. She grabbed her backpack and unzipped it, quickly getting to work on her few homework assignments. Everything would be alright. She was fine. Everything was fine. * * * Ariel hugged her sides as she walked to the bus stop, trying to keep her tail from moving and causing a crinkle sound that her Mom and dad had assured was very hard to hear, yet sounded so loud to be almost deafening to her own ears. The first week back to school had seemed to practically pass by in a blur. C&C with Miss Callistone first thing in the morning hadn't been too bad yet. They got to actually have a bit of a recess last Friday, which meant going outside into the fresh air and sunlight, which was pretty nice. However, it was only allowed in the daycare section's fenced off playground and outdoors play area. Thankfully they wouldn't be getting a recess until around lunchtime, so they didn't have to deal with the overgrown toddlers. A breeze came by and began to swish her skirt. Looking around wildly, she quickly grabbed and yanked her skirt down, unfortunately pulling the top of it down as well, revealing the bright pink and white waistband of her Paw-Ups for potentially anyone to see. Ariel was grateful to every deity that had ever existed that no one was around at the school bus stop to have seen. She had just finished readjusting her skirt when the bright yellow bus came around the corner and pulled to a stop in front of her. Steeling herself, she got on board, and took her seat next to Kelly. The lack of her usual chattiness was a sign enough for Ariel to know that the red panda girl was definitely not liking her new underwear either. Arriving at school, Ariel noticed the very subdued atmosphere on the bus as everyone started to depart. Wincing a little as she felt another gust playing with the hemline of her skirt, Ariel much more gingerly tugged it down, and spotted plenty of the other girls doing the same. Walking through the halls, she and Kelly made minimal conversation, both coming to a halt at the door to their homeroom class. Taking a shared deep breath, the two girls stepped through the classroom door, to be immediately greeted by Miss Callistone, who gave them a warm smile that made the otter blush even more. "Good morning, Ariel and Kelly!" The older vixen's tail started to gently wag. "Now I have to ask, are you two wearing your Paw-Ups, sweeties?" Faces turning crimson beneath their fur, both girls simply nodded. Miss Callistone smiled and nodded, reaching over to ruffle both of their headfurs. "I believe you two. I know how embarrassing this can be, but I promise that this isn't the end of the world some of your classmates are making it out to be... Now, you two should go find your seats. Today is a special class." Wondering what she could've meant by that, Ariel and Kelly did as instructed and took their usual desks next to each other, watching as Miss Callistone started questioning every one of her students as they entered about whether or not they were wearing their Paw-Ups. It didn't take long before a problem began to arise. A certain hyena girl entered, casually trying to walk past the older vixen. "Miss Evanstan, are you wearing your Paw-Ups today?" Miss Callistone asked, causing the hyena to stop in her tracks, eyes darting left to right for a bit. "Yup," she said, unable to meet the vixen's eyes. "Well then, let's just take a quick check, just in case?" Michelle growled as the back of her skirt was pulled out a bit, with Miss Callistone frowning. "Miss Evanstan, you know the rules. You are supposed to be wearing training pants as part of your school uniform." Michelle took a deep breath and scowled. "Well... it's a stupid rule! I'm not some mindless giant baby who's gunna drop a load in her pants without knowing it! This entire law is stupid and I'm not gunna do it!" She looked back at Miss Callistone with a defiant smirk. The vixen slowly shook her head. "Oh dear. Well, some resistance to the new change was expected. You can start heading to the principal's office. I'll call ahead to let them know you're coming and why." "Whatever." Michelle rolled her eyes and stomped back out of the classroom. "Something tells me that Michelle's gunna be coming back with the proper uniform attire on and everything." Kelly flashed Ariel a semi-cheeky grin. Ariel wasn't paying attention, however, because of another issue that had decided now was the time to rear its ugly head for her. She had to go to the bathroom... Well, hop[e you all enjoyed the new story! Let me know what you think!
  2. WOOO! Presenting my very first commission, for the wonderful and kind Nihulus (over on FA)! I hope you all enjoy it! Warm and soft. Those were the two thoughts that sprang to Varis' mind as he slowly awoke, curled up in his bed, next to Mira. He lightly yawned and opened his sharp blue eyes, blinking the last of the sleep away. Turning over, he saw his wife still snuggled up against him, her large ears twitching in her sleep. Her sandy-colored fur just looked so soft, he had to resist the urge to nuzzle her, knowing that his beloved fennec vixen needed the rest after how much worrying he'd put her through lately. With that thought coming to mind, Varis raised up the blanket and inspected the sheet, his tail excitedly starting to thump a bit against the mattress as he saw that it was bone dry. I told them it was just a misdiagnosis, he thought with a smirk, extricating himself from the relaxing warmth of his and his wife's bed. It was as he stood there and stretched that he became aware of a clamminess around his waist. Looking down, he saw that the thick purple and blue sleep diaper that was hugging him snugly was now missing the moon and stars wetness indicators on the front, and sagging a big. His tail slowly ceased its wagging and began to tuck itself between his legs as the dark gray wolf reached down and gave his night time padding a squeeze. He had to bite back a whimper at how soaked it was. Looking back at the bed where Mira still slept peacefully, though now with her arms clumsily searching for him, he was reluctantly grateful that she wasn't going to wake up in another puddle he had made again. But the fact that, for over a week now, he hadn't been able to stay dry while he slept brought forth the anxiety he had forgotten about, yet had become much more familiar with lately. It had started off with a few wettings here and there, something he'd chalked up to stress from work, and even just assumed he had awoken to go to the bathroom, but had simply fallen back asleep. And when Mira had finally convinced him to go see a doctor, the wolf hadn't been expecting the diagnosis. Miner's Syndrome. NO! Varis snorted and walked towards the bathroom, quickly ripping off the diaper and stuffing it into the trash bin by the sink. "I'm twenty-seven, too old to suddenly develop... Miner's Syndrome," he said to his reflection, the dark gray wolf with the salt and pepper flecks and the creamy white tummy looked worriedly back at him, betraying his own lack of confidence in his denial. A quick shower was enough to help him wake up further and put his soggy morning out of his mind, at least for a little bit. Getting out and toweling himself off, he reentered the bedroom, to find that Mira was now absent from the still enticingly mussed-up bed. Heading out to the hall and into the kitchen, Varis smiled at the sight of a fennec vixen blearily making up some scrambled eggs. He had to stifle a giggle at the sight of her messy bedfur. Her large ears twitched at the sound of his entrance, and Mira turned to smile warmly at him. "Morning, baby," she said with a bit of a yawn. "How do scrambled eggs sound for breakfast?" Varis walked over and pulled his wife close, she being just as beautiful to him at that moment, with messy bedfur and wearing her favorite white oversized pajama t-shirt, as she was to him on the day of their wedding. As his tail started to wag, he felt her big bushy one beginning to THWAP against his side. He gave her a nuzzle, and she turned, their lips meeting, before she buried her muzzle into his fluffy chest ruff. "I think that sounds wonderful," Varis said, resting his chin on her headfur. They stayed like that for a moment before he let go. Giving her cheek a quick kiss, Varis headed back into the bedroom to get dressed. Opening the closet, he saw the opened package of SleepTights resting almost smugly right under where his suits were hanging, and frowned a little. "... It's just stress." Varis defiantly grabbed his favorite navy blue suit and a white undershirt. A short while later, after getting dressed and eating, Varis headed towards the door with his briefcase in paw. "Don't forget, babe," Mira called, forcing Varis to pause as he was about to step out the front door. "We're going to see Doctor Morley on wednesday!" "I remember, hun," Varis said, his tail wagging. Just gunna get some confirmation that it was all a misdiagnosis, he thought to himself. Varis was surprised to suddenly feel a pair of arms reach around his front, pulling him back into a hug. He turned his head a bit, one of Mira's ears sticking in his face. "I know how worried you are about all of this," she said in a soft voice that was partially muffled due to her muzzle being buried in his back. "But... I want you to know that, no matter what, I will always love you and be there for you." Varis smiled and turned to reciprocate the hug. "Thank you, cuddle-bug." He recalled how much she had blushed and sputtered the first time he had used the pet name, which was not long after they'd first started dating. "I know that you're just as worried as I am. But don't be... this is all just a mistake." He kissed the tip of her nose as they pulled away, bringing forth a fit of giggles from the shorter canid. And with that, Varis was out the door, soon to be standing on the sidewalk in front of their house. The house he and Mira lived in was a cozy three-bedroom ranch-style house, a little bit on the outskirts of Nevia City. The price had been just right for the young couple, and that had been before Varis' promotion. Now they owned it outright, with that being a point of pride for the wolf. Turning to look down the street, he saw a familiar green SUV heading his way, coming to a stop right in front of him. "Warlocks at the Seashore Discount Limo Service, here for a pickup!" Came the deep jovial voice of the crocodile behind the wheel. "It's really amazing how that's still funny for the hundredth time, Josh." Varis rolled his eyes as he got in, quickly buckling his seatbelt. "Well, at least my little princess still finds me funny, right sweetpea?" Josh turned to look behind him, prompting the wolf to do the same. Looking back at the gray-furred bunny girl, who just so happened to be the exact same age as Varis, sent a chill up his spine. She was wearing her yellow sundress with the puffy shoulders, safely secured in her pink car seat, hugging her black stuffed wolf to her chest, and sucking down a bottle of juice like everything was normal. Which, for her and Josh at this point, this pretty much was normal for them. "Honey-bunny," Josh said, cooing at her, "don't you want to say hi to your Uncle Varis?" "H-hello, Eliza," Varis said, trying not to notice the pink and white diaper that was partially visible around the bunny's hips. Eliza removed the bottle and held up her wolf toy to hide her face, not counting the portion she used to peek around it. Varis' nose picked up the faint scent of baby powder, a smell that recently had begun to evoke a sense of foreboding in the wolf. Would I have to ride around in a car seat? The thought just popped into his mind all of a sudden, before he quickly stamped it out. "... Hi Uncle Varis," she said in a whisper. "Sorry, buddy." Josh clapped the now startled wolf on the shoulder before putting the car in drive and heading towards the office. "I know it's been a while, but I guess she's still just a tad shy around you. Y'know, if you and Mira would take me up on my babysitting offer for next Tuesday night, that might go a long way in helping her come out of her shell around you." "Sorry, but we don't offer any free babysitting services," Varis said with a chuckle. That wasn't entirely truthful, as Mira loved looking after Eliza, not even minding changing the diapers of someone a little bit taller than herself. But in addition to his usual... uncomfortableness around Eliza, there was no way he wanted to be associated with any MSers while his... misdiagnosis had yet to be proven as being just that. Let alone one that might go wandering and accidentally find his new... completely temporary nighttime protection. As they drove, the two 'adults' chatted about an upcoming report, while Eliza was content to watch what Varis presumed were shows for preschoolers on her tablet, letting out happy giggles and saying seemingly random numbers of phrases from time to time. Varis simply tried to tune her out, no matter how catchy the songs from the show sounded. "So how's the quarterly report coming?" Joshua asked, every now and again checking to make sure his big baby bunny was still safe and secure in her carseat. "So far, everything seems normal... but I did find an oddity in the shipping expenses." Varis pointedly looked away from a passing billboard that was advertising Pawpers' brand diapers for MSers. He certainly wasn't thinking about how the protection he was wearing to bed now was Snuggies brand. "I'm thinking someone just misfiled an expense report. It was actually pretty easy to gloss over, so I'm gunna have to go over everything again with a fine-tooth comb." "Huh... think someone's dipping their claws in the company cookie jar?" Josh asked, wincing as he realized, the moment the word cookie left his mouth, he suddenly had Eliza's full and undivided attention. "Daddy, may I please have a cookie from the company's cookie jar?" The bunny asked, somehow making her eyes look bigger, at least to Varis who could see her reflection in the rearview mirror. Josh laughed. "Oh, princess," he said with a coo in his voice, "that's just an expression. But Daddy did pack you a little treat if you'd like." Eliza giggled and started to bounce in her seat, at least as much as the soft snug straps around her would allow, making a few faint crinkles. Josh chuckled at the display, despite not taking his eyes off the road. "Hey, buddy, would you mind getting Eliza a cookie out of her diaper bag? It should be in the compartment on the side." Varis cringed internally, but nodded, knowing he could do this small favor for his friend. Turning, he looked to see that said diaper bag was tucked right behind the crocodile's seat. It was a large, loud, pink duffle-like satchel, with several side-pockets and flaps, as well as two bottles of some kind of juice secured in a couple special holders on one end. The central part was unzipped revealing a few pink and white folded rectangles, along with two familiar-looking purple and blue ones. "SleepTights?!" Varis exclaimed, his eyes wide as he felt the color drain from his cheeks, thankfully unnoticeable thanks to the coloration of his fur. "Huh? Oh, yeah. If Eliza needs a diaper change before naptime, I like to put her in one of those, just in case. Also, if ever there's an emergency, them being thicker than her daytime diapers really go a long way to help." Not enjoying being reminded of his new nighttime padding, Varis unzipped a couple of the pockets looking for the baggie of cookies before he finally found them. "Are these homemade?" Varis asked, looking at the large chocolate chunk cookies in the sandwich baggie, really wanting one. He wondered if they were nice and soft. "Yup! Me and my little princess got a hankering for some last night, so I figured it'd make for a fun little project. You should have seen her in her cute little chef's hat." Varis rolled his eyes as Josh started to gush about other instances of Eliza being adorable, as was par for the course of carpooling with the croc. The wolf reluctantly looked at Eliza as he reached back to hand her the cookie. She was hiding behind her wolf plush, peeking from behind its ears at him, her nose twitching nervously. She slowly reached out and took the cookie from him, one of her eyebrows raising a little. She paused and looked him up and down, at least as best she could with most of him being blocked from view by the passenger seat. She then smiled warmly and took the cookie. "Thankies, Vary!" She immediately started to nibble on her cookie. "OOOOH! Looks like someone's coming out of her shell a bit," Josh said, reaching over to give a confused Varis a nudge with his elbow. "I told you that she'd get over her shyness around you eventually!" Varis decided to pretend he was checking something in his briefcase. In no time at all, they were soon pulling into their building's parking garage. Varis walked on ahead to the elevator while Josh was getting Eliza unbuckled. It was as he saw himself in the reflection of the polished silver elevator doors that he realized he had some chocolate and cookie crumbs around his muzzle. He quickly wiped it all off just before the doors opened and Josh, with Eliza riding on his hip, caught up to him. The ride up to their floor was mostly silent, aside from Josh checking Eliza's diaper and stating that she was a little wet but didn't need a change just yet. "Now remember to be a good girl at daycare today, and you'll get a special surprise, honey-bunny!" Deciding to just head straight to his office, Varis started speedwalking the moment the doors opened again on their floor... to only instantly plow right into Angelica with an 'OOF!' Varis fell flat on his rear, while the large, and some would call motherly, grizzly bear in the charcoal gray skirtsuit looked down at him in concern. "Oh, goodness," she said, reaching down and picking Varis up under his armpits. She set him on his feet, looking him over and brushing off whatever dust or carpet fibers she could see. "I'm so sorry, Varis. Are you alright, honeypie?" Her southern accent was laced with concern. There was a reason why everyone referred to her as the office mom, she couldn't help but fuss over everyone. But right now, her examination of him was anything but comforting to the wolf. For some reason she's been giving him much more attention lately. "I-I'm fine, Mrs. Duvar." Varis stammered, looking up at the bear and feeling so small right then and there. It certainly didn't help that she was a foot taller, had some serious muscle under her blazer, or that she was almost ten years his senior. Today, after wearing a... some protection for the first time since he was a little pup, he just felt a bit vulnerable around her. "Well, if you're sure, Varis," she said with a smile, at first starting to reach for him as though she were going to give him a hug, but quickly yanking her arms back down to her sides. Then her gaze turned to something past him, and she let out a happy squeal. "Is that my little unofficial niece I see?" Walking around him, Varis saw that she was making a beeline for an excited Eliza. The croc smiled and allowed Angelica to scoop the bunny up into her arms in a cradled position. Compared to Angelica, Eliza looked like she was the size of an actual toddler! Varis shuddered before heading into his office, pointedly ignoring her giggles and happy squeaks of laughter. He took a deep breath as he shut the door, and thus shut out any intrusive thoughts that have absolutely nothing to do with what is clearly just his misdiagnosis and some stress. He looked around his office, feeling comforted by the rather spartan and bland beige room with a single small window to the outside world. Some would call his office tiny, or maybe even cramped, but it was large enough for a small bookcase and his desk. Most importantly, it wasn't a cubicle. Taking a seat at his desk, he fired up his computer, and got to work. ... Only to be interrupted about five minutes later from a knock at his door. "Come in," he called, quickly saving and closing the document he was working on. In walked Josh, who was carrying a trio of three-ring-binders. "Here ya go, buddy," he said, once the door was closed, setting them on the desk. Varis noticed that the croc seemed a bit annoyed. "Something happen?" Josh turned to make sure the door was closed. "Doc Juniper came through for some kind of meeting and saw Angie booping Eliza's nose and making her giggle. He started in on his talk about 'professionalism' and 'this is a place of work, not a daycare', and actually said right then and there that he does not approve of bringing children, even overgrown ones, to work with us!" Josh snorted, while Varis cringed. Purely out of care for his friend, and not because he found Doc Juniper's opinions on MSers disheartening. "I mean, of course I was going to take her to the company daycare! It's not like I was going to set her up in a playpen in the empty cubicle next to mine!" "W-well, we gotta remember that Doc is from a different era, and they didn't understand... uhm... the condition as well as we do today," Varis mumbled noncommittally while looking away. "Maybe." Josh sighed. "But it's not like I have much of a choice. Daycare is expensive, and there's none near enough that could let me drop her off and get to work on time. Plus... I'm always worried she could end up getting picked on, or maybe a daycare worker will be mean to her. I know Marla and Shelly here at the company daycare, and I know that they would never do, or let anything happen to Eliza." Josh shook his head, seemingly shaking off the negativity, before whipping out his phone and holding it up for Varis to see, a huge excited grin on his face. "I forgot to mention, I got some more pictures of Eliza being adorable!" Varis was then subjected to three pictures of the bunny girl in a high chair, mushed food around her mouth and on her cheeks, two of her in her crib, in a pink footed sleeper, clearly napping, seven of her playing in different outfits, the majority of which were legless onesies, and a picture of her with some more MSers, also dressed in baby clothes, at a park, seemingly chasing each other. She looks happy at least, Varis thought with a pang of guilt in his chest. Even back in high school, she was sporty... does she think back to those days? When she was the captain of the volleyball team? Before her diagnosis? Varis shook himself out of his thoughts. "--of course, it turned out that she just had a bit of a diaper rash. I really needed to check her sooner, my poor princess." Josh was still gushing about his ex fiance. Varis wondered how the big goofy crocodile could actually go through with taking care of her like this? Would Mira start treating me like that? Like I was a... baby? Varis had to force his tail to untuck itself before Josh noticed. He reasoned that there was no point in wondering about that, as things will never come to that situation. Simple as that. With Josh's need to share about 'little' Eliza's latest doings and goings-ons that Varis was pretty much just nodding and agreeing while getting back to work, finished, the croc left him to get to his own project. With Josh gone, Varis started to open up the binders and cross-check different numbers and dates. "Huh," he said under his breath, "that's odd." He continued to scour through the binders and files on his screen right up until lunchtime. Is someone embezzling? Varis pondered, heading towards the door, his sack lunch in paw. He walked into the break room and found most of the tables to be fully occupied. Though Josh did wave him over to a seat at the table he and Angelica were at. Varis made his way over there and sat down, quickly opening up his brown paper bag. "Why are you sucking on your thumb?" Bob from over in R&D asked, the middle-aged capybara wearing a very unconvincing toupe. "Huh?" Varis asked, once it dawned on him that he was who the question was directed at. Realizing that his thumb was indeed planted in his mouth he started to panic. "Uh... I... forgot my lunch and had to go back and get it and accidentally slammed it in the door," Varis said, pulling his thumb out and wiping it on his pants. "Oh." Bob turned back back to his plate of pasta, back to being disinterested. "Aww, want me to go get an ice pack, sweetie?" Angelica asked, scooting her seat closer to his own, looking worried. "N-no, Mrs. Duvar, I'm ok, I swear," Varis insisted. "Okay, but between bumping into me and falling over today and then hurting your thumb like that, you need to be much more careful!" Varis felt his ears splay flat on his head while he hung his head in shame, not really sure why. "Y-yes, Mrs. Duvar," he mumbled. He felt her pull him into a hug and nuzzle the top of his headfur. "That's alright, sweetheart! And please, just call me Angie!" The motherly grizzly released him after he agreed to do just that. He had decided on a simple light lunch that day, just a yogurt and a bottle of apple juice. Grateful that there was some good office gossip to help get his mind off of things, especially since it involved the lunch thief and talk about having a camera installed to watch the employee fridge, Varis started to forget about his little social faux pas. The topic changed to another office mystery, who was it that accidentally dinged Doc Juniper's car door? From there, after a few guesses were made regarding possible culprits, the topic shifted again to some new show about a murder mystery and zombies that Varis had yet to actually start watching. "Oh, sweetie, I swear, you remind me of my nephew," Angelica laughed while grabbing a napkin. The wolf was a bit confused as to what she meant, and why she was looking at him, when she started to use the napkin to wipe his muzzle. "A-Angie!" Varis sputtered, only to see that there was some of his pink yogurt on the napkin. "What?" Angelica giggled at his reaction. "I swear, the way you eat, you could really use a bib!" It was then that Varis remembered that Angelica's nephew, Pete, had Miner's Syndrome. "O-oh, uh, excuse me," he said, grabbing another napkin from the dispenser and getting up to head to the nearest restroom. Looking in the mirror above the sink, he saw that he had some yogurt on his chin, his left cheek, some partially cleaned off his right cheek thanks to Angie, and even a little on the tip of his nose. "This... I was just distracted," he said, a slight whine to his voice. He cleaned off his muzzle at the sink before heading back to the table to grab his unopened juice. "Oh, Varis, I wanted to apologize for--" Angie started before he cut her off. "It's all good, Angie. I was distracted because of this report, that's all. And I really need to get back to it." "O-oh, alright, sweetie." The grizzly looked a little unsure, but Varis just wanted to get back to his office. Once the door was closed behind him, he started to calm down a bit, taking a seat back at his desk. After he cracked open the bottle of juice and took a sip to help further steady his nerves, he got right back to work... or at least, he tried to. However, when he took a sip of the juice, some trickled down the side of his mouth and down his chin. He took another drink, and the same thing happened. Concentrating hard on drinking his juice, Varis managed to gulp the entire thing down, only to feel a few stray drops go down his neck. ... No... this isn't... it's all just stress! That's it! He started to look at the binders again, grabbing some tissues from the tissue box on his desk to clean around his mouth and chin and neck first. But, he soon found himself re-reading the same few lines repeatedly. Shaking his head, Varis began to register the fact that he was squirming in his seat a bit. It was right after that that he understood. He really, REALLY, needed to pee. He got up and almost ran to the nearest restroom, grateful that it was empty. He found himself fumbling with his zipper at the urinal, but soon was relieving himself. Unfortunately, after finishing up, that's when he spotted the, albeit small but still noticeable, wet patch around his zipper. Quickly checking that the door was locked, Varis thought fast, and walked over to the blow dryer. "Just a stressful day, th-that's all!" Varis insisted, trying to sound confident as he looked at his reflection, desperately trying to speed up the process of drying his pants. But the expression on his mirror double's face looked as doubtful of that claim as part of him felt.
  3. Hey there, readers! I'm happy to bring to you this fun little one-off that was written, in part, to participate in a fun little contest (check out the description for more details)! I hope you all enjoy it! Kimi and Kodi's Little Bet by Panther Cub "Mom, please don't make us do this!" Kodi whined from the back seat, his arms crossed as he pouted. Up in the passenger seat, Kimi was glaring out the window. "This is all your fault, baby brother!" The teen tigress hissed to the growling gray wolf in the back of the car. Tess sighed as she made a turn into a residential neighborhood. "You two got yourselves in this together," Tess said, taking a left. "I am sick of all this fighting and bickering." "Kodi starts most of it." Kimi looked down at where her phone usually would be, suddenly reminded that she and Kodi had lost their phone privileges for the duration. "Do not!" Was his clever retort. "I don't care who starts the fights, they are ending right now!" Tess let out a deep growl that shocked the two teens into silence. The lioness let out a sigh as she pulled to a stop in front of a large white two-story house with an idyllic-looking picket fence surrounding a lush green lawn. "Besides, trouble or no trouble, Sheila and I both need to attend this conference, and she couldn't get any babysitters at the last minute; so you'd both still be watching Amy and Cady for the week. Only now, you get to do it without your phones." Grumbling almost in unison, the duo-species twins both got out of the car after Tess killed the engine. Kimi was wearing her red flannel jacket over a simple black tank-top and a pair of stylishly torn jeans and had a black and pink backpack filled with a week's worth of clothes and other supplies. Kodi was wearing a loud yellow, red, and green Cawaiian shirt opened to reveal a white tank-top and a pair of black cargo shorts, the white strap of his blue duffel bag slung over one shoulder. Tess, however, was already wearing a charcoal gray, with orange pinstripe, skirt suit. She briskly walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell, Kimi and Kodi in tow. "Juuuuust a minute!" A feminine sing-song voice could be heard from inside. A few moments later, and the front door was practically flung open as a large, middle-aged, rhinoceros woman beamed down at the three of them, easily towering over the two teens. "Just in time, Tess!" "You know it, Sheila." Tess let out a laugh as she pulled her cubs forward. "Kodi and Kimi here are just so excited to get to spend some more time with your girls! Right, kids?" "Yeah..." "... It'll be a blast." The two teens tried to fake enthusiasm, being only marginally successful, not that Mrs. Ramhorn seemed to notice. "That's wonderful! The twins have just been so excited ever since they learned that you two were going to be calf-sitting them all week long!" Sheila invited them all in, grabbing her purse off a nearby table. It was a deep maroon, to perfectly match her own skirt-suit. "Has Charles already left?" Tess asked, absentmindedly smoothing out Kodi's messy headfur, despite his silent protests. "Yup! He and his college friends will be gone about as long as we will be on their little fishing trip." Sheila led the trio into the kitchen. Even though this wasn't their first time watching the twin rhino girls, Kimi still felt weirded out by how the chairs in the nearby dining room, like all the furniture, was sized for rhinos. It made her feel so... small. Sheila walked over to the fridge and opened it up, revealing a bunch of sealed containers, all with sticky notes on them explaining the contents and any additional instructions. "Now we cooked a number of meals in advance for the week, with a few more out in the freezer in the garage. Some of the ones in here need to thaw a little more, but heating anything in the oven or microwave will be easy as can be. So you two don't have to worry about making the dinners yourselves." Mrs. Ramhorn smiled at the two teens, who both seemed a little relieved at having one less thing to take care of. "Prepared as always, I see," Tess said with a giggle, eliciting a chuckle from the rhino. "What can I say?" Sheila shrugged. "Anyways, the girls' bedtime is the same as before, and thankfully Cady no longer seems to be afraid of the dark. The new instructions for the security system are right here on the fridge, all the smoke detectors have been inspected and given new batteries. There's plenty of movies to choose from in the DVD cabinet and plenty of shows and movies to pick from on our Cluckflix." Sheila counted off on her fingers the different details, reading off her mental checklist. "I'm forgetting something... oh yes! The guest rooms!" She chuckled, leading the group out of the kitchen and into the hall. They headed up the stairs and started to pass doors. She stopped at two doors that were next to each other and opened them both. One had a light blue accent to the wallpaper, while the other was a mild pink. "We recently had them refurbished and changed around some of the rooms for my little project." "You mean Project Renewal?" Tess asked, her tail swishing in curiosity. "Maaaaaaaybe," Sheila said with a wink. "And thank you so much again for donating all that furniture! It was just what I needed!" "Well, it was just taking up room in storage, and I figured that you could find more use for it all than that." Tess smiled, happy to have helped in any way. "You mean that old baby furniture?" Kodi asked, remembering having to give up a Saturday of sleeping in to help his Dad haul cribs and high chairs and plenty of heavy boxen down from the attic and out to an awaiting van. "Correct! I still have it all here for further testing. But the results I've gotten already will absolutely be enough for its next phase. However, anything more detailed than that is strictly confidential." Kodi and Kimi both shared a confused look, wondering what their old furniture could be used for that would be confidential. "Anyways, all of that old furniture is in what was Charles' study, before he decided to make the basement into his study instead. It's all right there down the hall. And while I am comfortable with you both taking a look if you really want to see, I must ask that you be careful and not break anything, understood?" The pair nodded. "Won't be a problem," Kimi said, giving Kodi a side-eyed look. "I'll be sure to keep my baby brother from wandering around in there." Kodi shot her an angry look but said nothing. "Excellent! Well then, you two can drop off your belongings in the guest rooms and then come downstairs while I see the girls off!" Sheila and Tess left the two teens, amicably chatting as they headed back downstairs. Kodi huffed and went into the blue room, dropping his bag onto the bed. Kimi rolled her eyes and did the same in the pink room, already finding herself wishing that the week was already over. "Alright Amy, Cady, you both behave for Kimi and Kodi, understood?" The two teens could hear Mrs. Ramhorn's voice just before they entered the living room to find the two pre-teen rhino girls hugging their mother, who was telling them how much she loved them. Amy and Cady were both wearing matching lavender dresses. Breaking free from the hug, they both turned to face the tigress and the wolf, running up and hugging them. "Yay! I can't wait to play you two at Syndicate again!" Cady said in delight. Kimi and Kodi both recognized it was her from the bright red digital watch she always adamantly wore wherever she went. "Yeah! We're totally gunna beat you this time!" Amy said with confidence, her favorite pink locket hanging around her neck. "Heh, bring it on, squirts," Kodi said, patting their heads while trying to disguise a wheeze. Despite being older than the two, the twins were already their height, and, being rhinos, already pretty strong. "Okay you two," Tess said, approaching her son and daughter. She hugged them both and kissed their foreheads, despite their embarrassment at the treatment. "I love you both. And be good." Just like that, the two older females left, leaving the kids to their own devices. "Did mom show you her special project?" Amy asked, now sounding excited. She had waited for the sound of the car starting up and driving off before asking. "Project Renewal?" Kimi asked, prompting the younger set of twins to nod. "We just know that some old furniture of ours was used in it, that's all," Kodi added. "Wanna see it?" Cady asked, bouncing on her feet in excitement. "Well... your Mom did say that it was ok for us to look at, so long as we didn't break anything." Kodi nodded as he let the girls lead him and his sister back up the stairs and to a door that was just a few down from the guest rooms. "It's right next to our room," Amy said, sounding pretty proud of that fact. She nodded to Cady, whose smile grew wider as she opened the door and flipped on the nearby light switch. "This is Project Renewal?" Kodi asked, grimacing at the sight of what appeared to be a nursery, full of all sorts of loud and bright colors, with some softer pastels also jumping out to the unsuspecting eye. In the center of the room were a pair of cribs, one pink, the other a light blue, both with soft teddy bear mobiles dangling above. Near the door were a pair of highchairs, right next to a little mini-fridge. At the far end of the room was an open closet, revealing all sorts of juvenile and infantile clothing options. Next to it was a strange dresser. It had a much wider top with some kind of purple padding, with some odd slots built into the sides. "Is that a... changing table?" "It's Mom's latest invention! The Automated Changing Table! Or Auto-Changer for short!" Cady explained with pride. "In fact, just about all the furniture in here is one of her inventions." "Wait," Kimi said, something that had been bugging her ever since they'd opened the door to this room. "Is this what she did... with our old baby stuff?" Kodi's ears perked up at that as he took another look around. "Hey, yeah! I remember this stuff!" "Yup!" Amy answered with a giggle. "That's part of what Project Renewal is! Making new inventions out of old recycled parts!" "Why is it all... bigger?" Kodi asked, feeling uncomfortable standing next to the high chairs, both now large enough for him to sit in easily. "Because she's gunna test it on some cousins of ours. They're both elephants, as well as toddlers, so everything here should be a perfect fit," Cady explained. "Huh... so wait... you said that these are all new inventions of hers?" Kimi asked. "Uh-huh!" Cady answered. "Geeze! Look at the size of these cribs!" Kodi said, realizing that the bars were much higher than they had been. "So what do they all do?" Kimi asked. "We overheard Mom talking about her project with her work when she was on the phone," Amy explained. "And she said that basically, the first major project of Project Renewal was to make a mostly automated nursery, to help in the care and developmental growth of the children being cared for. But she didn't go into any more detail after describing the auto-changer." Cady looked over at Kodi, still staring at the cribs. "We won't tell if you two decide you want to take a nap in your old cribs." She offered, trying to look sincere, despite actively fighting back a giggle. Kimi rolled her eyes at that. "Yeah, no, not happening." The twins both began to giggle as the four of them all left the room. "Okay, Kimi and I just ate before coming here, are you two hungry?" The wolf asked. "Depends," Cady said, "are chocolate milkshakes an option?" Kodi couldn't help but snicker at that. "Your folks made up quite a few meals for us all to have, along with instructional notes. And, somehow, I doubt that chocolate milkshakes are on today's menu." "Awww," the calf groaned, sticking her meaty hands in the pockets of her dress. "That's okay." Amy smiled, looking excited. "How about we play Syndicate? It was pretty fun the last time we all played it." Kimi snickered. "I'll say. Especially after Kodi threw his little tantrum." Kodi bit back a growl at that. "I did not throw a tantrum!" He huffed and crossed his arms. "You were being insufferable the entire game, and you only got more annoying when you won." "Oh really, baby brother?" Kimi smirked at seeing his eye twitch from annoyance. "Yeah! So, no thanks, I think I'll sit this one out." "Awwww," the twins chorused. "But it's more fun with more people to play it with." Cady started to pout. "What if we made it more interesting?" Amy offered, after looking thoughtful. "What are you thinking, Amy?" Kimi asked, intrigued. "Well, we could have a bet going. Like, if me and Amy win, can we have chocolate milkshakes?" "Yeah!" Cady cheered. "I don't think so," Kodi said. "Stop being such a baby." Kimi's tail swished in annoyance at her brother's obstinance. "Quit calling me a baby!" "I know!" Amy declared, mischief twinkling in her eyes. "How about, if either of you two loses, you have to go and use one of our Mom's inventions in the guest room that the winner gets to pick?" "Uh... I'm not so sure that that's a good idea," Kimi said, suddenly feeling a bit wary at the prospect of using one of Mrs. Ramhorn's inventions. But Kodi seemed thoughtful. "Actually... I kind of like the sound of that. Okay, Kimi, let's find out who the real baby is. The loser... has to use the autochanger and have it put them in a diaper, which they have to wear until we go home!" Kodi looked smugly at Kimi. Kimi hesitated, knowing she could whoop Kodi at any game. However, she wasn't sure how happy Mrs. Ramhorn would be if she ever found out that one of them had used one of her new inventions without asking. But, the idea of Kodi pouting in a pair of Pawpers was one that made her chuckle internally. And it certainly would be something he would never be able to live down. "Unless," Kodi continued, "wittle Kimicakes is too scared of the big bad Auto-Changer?" The wolf's goading had struck a nerve with the tigress, who blushed at the use of the embarrassing nickname their mother gave her. "Alright then, baby brother. You're on!" Amy and Cady were whispering to each other as the two settled on their terms, the two young pachyderms high-fiving before their babysitters turned to look at them. "Okay, girls," Kimi said, crossing her arms, "let's set up the game. And don't think that your dumb motel trap is gunna work a second time, Kodi." One gameplay later... Kimi couldn't believe that this was happening. She blushed fiercely beneath her fur as she trudged up the stairs. Behind her, Kodi and the twins were giggling to each other. Opening the door, Kimi froze, her focus zooming right in on the purple padded table. In no time at all, she was standing in front of it. "How do I use this?" Kimi asked, hoping that the girls wouldn't know and they could all call this whole thing off. "It's really simple." Cady grinned. "Mom likes to make things user friendly!" Of course she does, Kimi thought. "Just climb on top, and I'll press the buttons." Amy was grinning as she practically ran up to the side of the auto-changer. She gave the hesitant tigress a gentle, yet firm, shove, prompting Kimi to do what she'd said. She climbed onto the padding of the table, blushing wildly as she realized that it was the perfect size for her. Rolling onto her back, she saw Cady and Kodi whispering and giggling, before her brother broke away and whispered something into Amy's ear. "That's a great idea!" Amy cheered, pressing a bright purple button on the side of the table, which brought up a small panel of brightly lit buttons. "What?" Kimi asked, nervous. Her earlier bravado had quickly evaporated at the knowledge of what she was going to be wearing. "Mom made a bunch of videos for the babies on changing tables to watch, as well as some instructional videos for toddlers," Amy explained. "Instructional videos?" Kimi asked, confused while a screen attached to some kind of bendy metallic arm slithered out of one of the slots in the side of the table. It was holding the blank black screen up for Kimi to see, taking up almost her entire field of vision. "Yeah. Real basic stuff," Kodi giggled while Amy tapped some more buttons. "In this case, since you're gunna be spending the week back in diapers, Cady suggested that it might be a good idea for you to watch a video on potty training. Y'know, something to brush up on." "Ha-ha, very funny." Kimi grumbled as the screen began to light up. Seeing some odd amorphous shapes and hearing a strange yet comforting tune, Kimi found herself relaxing, even though now four mechanical arms had come out of the other slots in the wood of the table, each one ending in a white-gloved hand. She was too focused on the stop-motion cartoon playing out before her eyes, a pair of headphones being slipped over her ears. It looked like a bright and sunny version of the guest room, looking to be made from clay. In came toddling two figures, a little tigress cub in a pink shirt and wearing a diaper, and a little wolf pup in a blue shirt and diaper. They sat down on the floor and began to play with some blocks. "Hello again, little one!" The cheery woman's voice speaking in her ears sounded so excited. It was enough to help her further be put at ease, even when she could vaguely feel the mechanical hands undoing the buttons on her jeans. Kimi almost giggled when the little tiger girl excitedly waved to her. "I'm so happy that you've returned for another valuable life lesson! Now, if you're watching this video, then that means that potty training might not be going so well, huh?" The little tiger frowned and shook her head, wiping away at her face. "Well, that's okay!" At this, the clay stop-motion tiger looked back up and confused. "Everyone learns in their own way and at their own pace." The little cub was still frowning. "Ah, are you maybe upset because you got to wear snug-ups for a little while, like a big kid?" Kimi found herself nodding along with the cub as her jeans and panties were removed. "That's understandable, sweetie." The wolf toddled off screen, only to come back, now wearing some blue and white snug-ups. He puffed out his little chest and seemed proud, while the little tigress blushed and looked disappointed. "Sometimes, some little ones aren't ready to make the leap to becoming big kids. That could mean that they just don't really feel when they need to go potty." The little wolf looked confused, before he started to panic and do the potty dance. A nearby door opened, revealing a bathroom, the toilet just past the bathtub. The wolf ran inside and the door shut behind him. Kimi laid there, oblivious to the fact that she was alone now on the changing table, Kodi and the twins having left her some privacy. One of the hands grabbed both of her ankles and lifted her legs up, while another produced a canister of baby powder. "However, sometimes little ones have fears and anxieties about change, or about growing up, or even about all those grown-up responsibilities." The music changed in tune, going from upbeat and happy to now a bit more somber. The door to the bathroom opened, and the little wolf pup came skipping out, kneeling down to pat his little sister on the head, and resume stacking blocks with her. The tigress seemed a bit curious, and got up to head into the bathroom. The somber music quietened, now sounding a bit more suspenseful. Kimi couldn't help the feeling of growing dread at the cub nervously shuffling into the bathroom. The faint smell of talcum powder wafting in the air. "And those fears and anxieties can sometimes manifest in what is often referred to as... the Potty Monster!" The cub froze as she heard a loud gurgling sound. Then a creak... followed by a crack. The tiles split open as the potty jerked left and right. From the tiled floor around it arose eight spindly, boney, and pointed pale-white, needle-like legs. The toilet lid slammed down, only to arise and reveal a mouth filled with rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth. It sloshed slimy green water from its mouth as it moved... and then started to skitter right towards the cub. The little tigress cried and ran out of the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. She was sniffling and crying when she plopped right down next to the wolf, who frowned as he looked at her. He got up and went to the door, opening it before his sister could stop him. Instead of a torn up bathroom with a toilet-spider monster, it was just the way it had been. When the wolf turned his back to the bathroom, and gave the cub a reassuring smile, the cub saw the toilet shift in her direction, causing her to scramble away from the door. Kimi let out a whimper as a hand threaded her tail through something soft and crinkly. She didn't care what anyone said, she saw it move to look at the cub. It wasn't just make-believe! She continued to watch as the wolf walked over to his sister and gave her a hug, helping her to calm down. "This is just a sign that they're not ready for potty training quite yet... and that is perfectly okay. Some little ones become big kids sooner than others. While other little ones just aren't that big." The wolf pup's nose wrinkled and he waved away the air around his muzzle. A large pair of tan paws descended to scoop the little tigress up, setting her down in a new room, on a purple padded changing table. The purring tigress cub received a tummy rub, and Kimi let out a giggle, feeling like she was getting one too. The tan paws made quick work of changing the stinky diaper. Just as this new bright pink diaper with a glittery unicorn on the front was being taped snugly around the cub's waist, Kimi could feel something being gently, but snugly, wrapped around her own, the scent of baby powder now stronger and putting her at ease. "Thank you so much for watching this video, sweetie! I can't wait to see you again!" The screen went blank and Kimi stretched out a bit, freezing when she heard a sudden crinkling noise. Sitting up, she looked down to find she was wearing a bright pink diaper with a smiling glittery unicorn on the front. She thought about the video she had just watched, but was finding it a bit hard to recall any specific details about it. Shaking her head a bit in confusion, she hopped down from the table, blushing at what she was now wearing. Spotting her jeans, Kimi tried to put them back on, but they just couldn't fit around the bulky-padding around her hips. Kimi briefly considered looking in the closet for maybe something she could borrow to cover her new... accessory up, but spotting the juvenile outfits and baby clothes was enough to get her to reject that notion on the spot. Wearing baby clothes would just make her wearing the diaper even more embarrassing. Squaring her shoulders, and checking her tank top and flannel shirt for any excess baby powder, she exited the guest room and headed to the living room, blushing from the slight waddle to her gait. "There she is!" Kodi said with a smug grin. "Say cheese!" Kimi froze when she heard a shutter click. Looking back at her brother, her blood ran cold when she saw he had his phone in his hands. "Mom confiscated our phones!" Kimi blurted out, unable to formulate anything better to say then and there. "I found out where she put them and got it back." "Kodes, delete that pic right now!" Kimi growled. "Sorry, Kimicakes, I just sent it to my personal email." Kodi stuck his tongue out at his growling sister. "So, no. But, don't worry, I won't go showing it to anyone else. This is just for me to throw back in your face every time you call me a baby from here on out!" Kimi started to relax a little, confident that her brother wouldn't cross that line of showing anyone else the pic of her in a diaper. He could be a jerk sometimes, but even he wouldn't be that big of a jerk. "I think you look cute!" Cady chimed in. "Yeah! Pink is really your color. And something about the glittery unicorn makes it all fit." Amy snickered. "I gotta agree with the twins, Kimicakes!" Kimi rolled her eyes and plopped down on her padded posterior in front of the coffee table, trying to play it all off as no big deal. Due to the insistence of the twins, Kimi and Kodi played a game of Surgeon next. While playing it, Kimi felt a little nervous about accidentally touching the little surgeon tweezers to the metal sides of the different-shaped holes in the picture of the capybara on the operating table. Something about the loud buzzing and the lighting of his red nose was unsettling to the tigress. So focused was she on retrieving the broken funny bone, she didn't notice a sudden growing urge. Her body did, however, as she slowly started to squirm. Eventually, she was doing basically a sitting potty dance, waiting for Kodi to finish his turn. "Oooo," Amy cooed, reaching over to pat Kimi on the head, much to the teen's surprise. "I think someone might need to use the potty!" Kimi felt her stomach drop out at the mention of... the bathroom. But she couldn't place why. "I-I don't know what you mean, Amy," Kimi said with a laugh, trying to play it off. "Well, she is wearing diapers for a reason," Kodi said with a smirk on his muzzle, relishing the embarrassment on display from his sister. "It seems like a certain little kitten really loves playtime." Kimi let out a low growl at that while the twins snickered and whispered to each other behind their hands. "It's okay if you can't make it, Kimi," Cady offered in a conciliatory tone. "I don't mind using the auto-changer to help change your diaper when you need it." Kimi was certain that one could roast a marshmallow on her cheeks, due to the heat from her blushing. What made her feel even more humiliated was the fact that she could now, faintly, tell that they were right. She had no idea how long she had been feeling the urge, but it was there. "I just wanted to finish up so that my baby brother won't throw a little hissy fit for ending the game early after he's been losing this whole time." Now it was Kimi's turn to smirk as she watched Kodi's tail bristle out in anger. Just as he opened his mouth to say something, she looked at her card and deftly removed the patient's broken heart. "I win." Kimi stood up and sauntered away to the bathroom, speed walking once she rounded the corner. D-did I just leak a little? Kimi thought as she paused, fearing she'd let out a spurt. Unable to tell if that was the case, she hastened her trip upstairs to the bathroom, feeling relieved when she finally came across it. Kimi closed the door behind her and froze. The Ramhorn's bathroom looked exactly like the one from the potty training video! Taking a shaky step towards the toilet, Kimi started to feel her hackles rising. Her breathing quickened and her eyes were staring laser-focused right on the porcelain seat. She felt the pit of dread in her gut grow larger with each footstep closer to the infernal device she took. "Th-this is stupid!" Kimi said quietly to herself. She choked back a whimper once she found herself standing right in front of it. "I-I've used the potty lots of times! It's n-no big deal." She huffed, unaware of what she had just said, all while doing the potty dance. "Th-there's n-no such th-thing as the p-potty m-m-monster," Kimi stammered, looking down at her diaper, trying to figure out how to take it off. Suddenly, in the dead silence, there was an audible gurgle. Kimi froze before she rapidly backed away, leaning up against the door while watching the toilet, only barely registering a warmth spreading in her diaper. Fumbling with the doorknob, Kimi almost let out a shriek when there was another gurgle. Finally, she was able to open the door and leave, slamming the door closed behind her. It took a little while to calm down her breathing. Looking down at her diaper, she could see that it was already drooping a little. I... peed? In a diaper? She though to herself, already blushing... until her body began to relax and the music from the video started to play in her mind again. "Well..." Kimi's voice was calm and there was a small smile on her face. "It's not that big of a deal. That's what diapers are for anyway. And besides,, everyone potty trains at their own speed." Smiling and feeling a little better about herself, Kimi toddled back to the others, her soaked Snuggies on full display still. As she approached Kodi and the twins, she noticed that Kodi was staring transfixed at Amy's phone, headphones in as he listened to whatever video he was watching. Is Kodi... drooling a little? She wondered, surprised when her paw was lightly grabbed. She looked to see Cady smiling warmly at her, giving a slight tug. "It's okay, Kimicakes," Cady said in a gentle voice. "The potty can be really tricky, but you don't need to worry about it or any big and scary monster for a good while, a few years even." Kimi followed along, whining a little when they approached the door for the room containing all the baby furniture. "It's okay, Kimi," Cady cooed, giving her soaked Snuggies a pat. "You'll feel a lot better after your diaper change. Then maybe a nap would be best." "A nap? C-Cady, in case you've forgotten, Kodi and I are the ones in char--OMPH!" Kimi was surprised by the younger, but stronger, girl picked her up and carried her over to the changing table, happily depositing the confused tigress on its surface. Before Kimi could protest, the screen with all the pretty lights and swirling shapes was in front of her eyes, earphones being slipped over her ears again. "Hello, little one!" The chipper feminine voice said, catching Kimi's attention. "This little video will teach you why it's important to listen to your caregivers. Whether they be your mommy or daddy, a family member, a teacher, a nanny, or even a babysitter. Sometimes, some little ones have a little bit of a hard time accepting that there are rules that they have to follow for their own good, and that those in charge of them know what's best..." Kimi laid there while the hands got to work untaping and balling up her used diaper, getting the wipes, powder, and fresh pink glittery unicorn diaper ready. She didn't realize when Cady got out a large pink and white pacifier and slipped it in between the mesmerized tigress' lips. But after a moment of watching the video, her jaw muscles seemed to move of their own accord, beginning to suckle on it. Cady giggled while walking over to the closet, grabbing one of the pink legless onesies that would fit Kimi perfectly, amazed at how smoothly her and Amy's plan was coming along. One week later... "I have to say again, Sheila," Tess said as they pulled up in front of the Ramhorn residence, "I'm still amazed by Project renewal! This will help advance early childhood learning by leaps and bounds!" "Oh, Tess, stop!" Sheila chuckled as she and the lioness got out of the latter's car, grabbing her briefcase. "It's not like this is much different than using tv shows with puppets and the like to teach little ones to count and spell. It's just a bit more efficient is all." "Still, you earned the grant. I can't wait to see what other applications this new learning tech could be used for." They entered the house, Tess following Sheila. "Kids? We're back!" Tess called out. There were two sets of rapidly approaching footsteps. Sheila smiled and opened her arms wide as she expected her girls to come running around the corner for their usual return home hug. Instead, Kimi and Kodi, both giggling around binky's, ran right past her and practically bowled over a shocked Tess. Looking the two teens over, the two mothers were taken aback by what they saw. Kodi was just wearing a bright blue t-shirt and a diaper, with blue and orange trim around the leg gathers and landing strip, a cartoon fox playing in a sandbox on the front of the garment. Kimi was wearing a bright pink legless onesie with a skirt attachment on it, a thick bulge around her own waist. "MOMMY!" The two chorused as they both snuggled into Tess' chest. "Wha-what's happening?" Tess asked, worried. "I don't--" Sheila began, only to be interrupted. "They made bets with each other and the losers had to mess around with some of the furniture in the Project Renewal room!" Cady said, rounding the corner with Amy. "We tried to get them to stop, but they were acting so competitively that they wouldn't listen! And now... this," Amy said, looking sad. "So we kinda had to be the babysitters for the week." Cady added, Amy nodding right alongside them. "Oh dear... well, I guess that that answers that question." Sheila sighed. "I made poopy!" Kodi proudly announced, giggling as Tess wrinkled her nose. "Oh my," Tess choked out, noticing Kimi playfully batting at her paw like a... kitten. "Yes… you certainly did, sweetie." Sheila let out a long sigh and gave her friend a sympathetic smile. "We'll sort this out. Eventually." When Tess and Sheila started to carry the two back to the changing table, heading upstairs to do so, Amy and Cady high-fived each other. "Think we'll get to babysit those two again?" Cady asked hopefully. "Heh, yeah. I think that we're their go-to babysitters from now on..." Amy said with a smirk. Epilogue "Mommy!" Kimi cried out, exiting her room in just her gray pajama shirt and a diaper, this one with pink trim and a blue and yellow dragonfly on the front. "Kodi keeps bugging me when I'm trying to do my homework!" Kimi had her physics book tucked under one arm. "She started it by kicking me off the sofa earlier to play her dumb game!" Kodi whined, wearing a green shirt under a pair of denim short-alls that bulged around his waist. Tess looked over from the stove where she was finishing making up the bottles of formula for her little ones, Sheila having provided the boxes of instant powder, it being nutritionally healthy for Kodi and Kimi. Unfortunately, weaning them off nursing bottles was proving about as difficult as re-potty training them has. "Alright, you two," Tess said in a stern voice, "I don't care who started what. It's your naptime as of now. Hopefully a little rest and some of your tasty formula in your tummies will help you two to calm down and stop this bickering." Looking up from the two bottles she was screwing the nipples onto, she saw Kimi and Cody already back to wrestling each other. Tess rubbed her temples. "Yeah," Tess muttered to herself, "a nap for you two would do us all some good." Woah... I did NOT intend for this story to be this long! Still though, I feel happy with it, and am glad to have been able to bring it to you all! Let me know what you think with a comment or a review!
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