His anger at my insolence—rather unintentional it may be, but insolence nonetheless—evaporated quickly, and surprisingly so, because I'd come to realize that when it came to Vlad, any antipathy cultivated became embedded deeply into his way of thinking and remained there until something which conjured up greater rage presented itself. I decided, however, that this also proved true with other emotions, because that indulgence returned—I guessed because he saw my look of terror, and could probably recognize as well that I would have clung to the teddy bear complete with a Packers jersey (66, Ray Nitschke) and plush football if I'd been in the presence of anyone else—and this alone was enough to distract him so as to change his whole demeanor. The smile, so unpleasant and unfitting in its softness, surfaced in the pool that was his face once again, and his eyes lightened. I could not wrap my feuding brain around such a thing, because I had rarely, save in the presence of my mother, seen a change in his favorite emotion—that being of anger, of course—and I thought it impossible that he could not only display happiness, but display it after he'd appeared to be so infuriated. That, however, did not change the sense of relief that flooded me, because no matter how puzzling, I was instilled with the knowledge that he would not blast me while I was in such a helpless state.

And helpless it was, because not only was I dressed so degradingly—wearing what I decided must be a diaper, and the thought, coupled with the sensation, I suppose, made me blush—but I could not move; try as I might, my limbs felt as though they were frozen, and aside from my fingers and my toes and facial expressions, I probably looked very similarly to a statue…perhaps the oddest you'd ever lay your eyes on. Of course, I didn't have the vaguest idea as to why this might be, because I was not entirely concerned with the movement of my limbs and was rather focused on the new expression that had shaped his face and how such a thing could be. Later, I would speculate that if I had been more concerned with this aspect of our strange encounter, it would perhaps not have made a difference, because there would be no escape in my future and it was probably wiser to focus on developing a sense of understanding rather than to uselessly concern myself with something that would not matter in the end. And it was probably a good thing that I was focusing all my energies now on the prospect of gaining awareness, because I certainly had a long way to go when it came to achieving the magnitude of understanding to which I would have preferred.

But there was something else pulling my attention away from comprehension—the same thing that was making me blush warmly; it was the thing between my legs that had stepped in for my underwear in its unexplained but not totally mysterious absence, something soft and thick and uncomfortably tight. Pressed against my crotch, I could feel the cottony texture it held, one that was unfamiliar to me, because although Spectra had made me don a diaper, it had a been a cloth one, I think, and I guessed that this one—if it was a diaper, that is—was disposable, although I wouldn't know and was frankly glad that I could not look down and confirm for myself—I would be too scared to face what I might see and all the questions it would force down my throat. But while I might try to think positively and assume this thing was simply a very soft pair of underwear, I knew, deeply, that I was kidding myself, because there was no way this thing was anything other than a diaper, because—and, look, here comes more questions—it was wet, and I'd gotten enough wedgies by Dash and his gang of fools to know what wet underwear felt like.

The knowledge of this sensation would not quite sink in—it would not have the chance—because Vlad was already throwing new warriors into the battle that had consumed my mind as he began undoing these ungodly pajamas he'd dressed me in; that is, lord knew how easy it was to focus on something less related while one's arch enemy undresses you with the intent of doing…what? This question had made itself known and very prominent on the battlefield of my feuding brain, but it was already reassured and quickly fading, for I knew the answer with a dreadful clarity as this and the knowledge of the diaper's wetness collided and created one undeniably unfortunate piece of news.

He's going to change it, Danny Boy, something inside me whispered easily, and touched my belly with weightless fingers, making it lurch. He's going to change your diaper, Danny.

A darkness seemed to fall upon the landscape of this battle; it was not an unconsciousness, but it was a period of nothingness in which all the thoughts that warred ceased immediately and there was nothing but the sound of Vlad's lightened voice and his soft fingers, gently tugging at the tapes of the diaper. Simply, it was as if my brain had been so stuffed with these contradicting emotions and questions that it had just overloaded—seemingly prompted by this soft voice, which I had recognized to be Rational's before darkness fell—and now I was incapable of all thought and anything such would control. Eerily, this period resembled stepping into someplace where the echoes are well and talking ceaselessly to hear one's voice, because I could hear outside noises, which seemed to bounce off the walls of my head, but could not make sense of them, and I was briefly reminded of the time when I'd been young and I'd had a near death experience in the gloomy waters of Lake Eerie and could hear the sounds of my parents arguing as I floated in a before-death period of emptiness in which my soul began the process of severing itself from my body. I came to believe that the time in which nothingness occurs is as the soul begins to exit the body but has not fully exited yet. This, of course, was my feeling now, and later, upon reflection, not only would I feel conversably disturbed, but I would begin to associate these diaper changes with drowning.

"Don't worry, my kit," I heard him purr distantly. "We'll get you cleaned up and in a nice new diaper."

I would float in this place of between worlds until the diaper came off and I felt his fingers brush my front. This was one of those things that could not be ignored; it sent an electric current shooting through my mind, lighting the neon signs and drawing the thoughts back, away from the lounge.

Did I just make a Midnight City reference?


Forgive me for the long while and my failed promise, but I'll be updating regs.

Thanks for understanding (and if you don't, eat a bag of black licorice and throw it up =()