Regression, to the Mean

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Regression, to the Mean

Postby LilJennie » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:44 pm

Regression, to the Mean

By LilJennie and Miki Yamuri

Missy could barely sleep.

Tomorrow would be a first for her. She was 23, and she'd known since age 6 that she wanted to be a baby again, and she'd even met others who felt the same way. It was fun.

But tomorrow ... tomorrow she would be going to a major event, a convention, where there would be hundreds of others like herself. The interior of a hotel would, for one weekend, be transformed into a magical place where she could be herself, her true self, without having to hide from a world that saw her as an adult and expected her to act like one. People would call her by her real name, not by the one given her by her parents that seemed increasingly fake year after year. She would be free to play with baby toys and cast her worries to the wind.

All she had to do was get there. And to do that, she needed sleep. But she couldn't. She was too excited, but also ... it was as if every worry she had in life had decided to hold a convention inside her head. Her fears of rejection came out to play with her worries of losing her job, which she'd only had for a year and a half, her worries about her vanilla friends or her family finding out about the baby girl side of her, her fears of her picture getting out all over the internet, and many others.

But so many other people were going to this convention, and they didn't worry about any of that. Or maybe they did, but they were going to go anyway, and so was she.

She had a secret weapon against insomnia. She turned on her music player and set it to repeat her favorite sleepytime track. Over a background of soothing music, a soft voice chanted messages like, "Think back to the time before you had worries ... yes, you were very, very small back then ... so small you didn't even know what it meant to worry ... your entire body could relax when you slept ... relax completely, every single muscle ... as you took deep breath after slow, deep breath ..." She knew that after a while of this, the voice went on to talk about things like sucking her thumb or pacifier, cuddling her stuffed animal or baby blanket, and even wetting her diaper. She usually woke up in wet diapers after listening to this track all night, but that was fine, because she wore diapers every night. She didn't have a crib like some people she'd talked to did, but her mattress did have a plastic protector on it, under her Disney Princess sheets.

Missy's mind gradually began to regress, thinking simpler thoughts until it couldn't understand the worries plaguing her anymore, and she fell asleep, a very happy and very little girl. The worries went away as if they'd been banished by magic. Missy's dreams were all about playing as a toddler or baby. She'd be very well rested in the morning ... and probably very wet.


Vickie sat in her new playpen she had just put together from the local builder supply fencing department. All the segments including the floor pieced together and locked. She was super excited, because soon she would be at the AB convention and would finally get to meet her online friends at long last. Vickie was positive baby Missy would be just as adorable as she.

Vickie used the side rail of her new playpen to stand. Ooo it felt so nice to do it that way. She was dressed in a cute Snuggle Bug Romper that tied behind her neck. There were lace around the legs, bib, along with 3 rows of large ruffles across her hinney. It was also more than obvious she had on a thick diaper by the bulk. She climbed out of the playpen only long enough to toddle into the kitchen and retrieve her nightly bottle. Vickie smiled to herself. That new drug she had gotten from the regression clinic promised this would cause her to start having potty accidents. She couldn't wait for that either as she mixed the crushed pills into her bottle, then toddled back and got into the playpen. She snuggled up with her large Teddy Bear and began to suckle the Berry Red Hi C. It wasn't long before Vickie fell into a contented sleep. She also wet her diaper while she slept for the very first time.


Missy drove for hours to get to the convention. She had wondered what to pack in her small car. She had packed every scrap of babyish clothes she had, which wasn't much, compared to what some others she'd talked to online had. She had packed a few baby toys, but she understood that there would be a lot more to play with at the convention, so she hadn't packed many of those. She had packed a lot of diapers. And she had packed her favorite plushie and blankie and pacifier. She was going to really be Baby Missy at this convention.

She almost hadn't gotten to go. Weeks earlier when she'd requested the time off from work, it seemed at first that her boss wouldn't let her go -- it seemed as if he thought there was an upcoming rush of work that would require everyone to come in for the whole weekend. She'd been crushed -- she even complained about it online, among her AB friends. Vickie had been very sympathetic, of course, but so had many others. They'd said they'd be hoping for her. And amazingly, the next day her boss had relented and said she could go. Missy didn't think he knew what kind of convention it was -- she'd told him it was a sci-fi con -- but she couldn't help wondering whether he'd changed his mind because he knew something. If that wasn't it, why had he let her go?

She'd been too scared to dress up at all before she got there. But when she walked into the hotel lobby to check into her room, she saw lots of people who absolutely had to be going to the convention too -- boys dressed in overalls and light-up sneakers, and girls with their hair in braided pigtails and their faces painted with hearts, wearing adorable short dresses or brightly-colored shortalls. She couldn't see any diapers on anyone, and no one had a visible pacifier, nor was anyone sucking their thumb, but she just knew. And after she got her room taken care of and got in line to register, all it took was one person looking at her badge to get everyone talking to her.

"Oh you're Missy? Not MissyGrowsDown?" said one girl, one with flashing LED hair decorations. "I'm Ginny -- GinnyToddles."

"Oh my g- Ginny!" said Missy, who had talked to Ginny a lot online. They hugged enthusiastically. "I so wanted to meet you!" And there were others, like JimmyIs3 and KaiBaby. All of them knew who she was, and she knew who they were, which made Missy feel right at home. But only a few had arrived so far, they told her. They offered to help her get everything out of her car and into her room, so it didn't take long at all for Missy to get everything into her room. Then she joined the others in the lobby waiting for more to arrive.


Vickie finally arrived at the hotel. It had been a very long drive and her tummy had felt like it had butterflies fighting in it for a while. She slung the leather bag she had been using as a diaper bag across her shoulder and entered the lobby. Vickie smiled, many others were already there and dressed. Vickie felt more comfortable with how she was dressed as she walked up to the counter. She was in ponytails and had on an adorable little pixie dress and matching bottoms. The bottoms were very lacy and had ruffles across the butt. The dress was just long enough that the lace around the legs and a row or two of her panties ruffles showed beneath the hem.

She signed the register and put her nametag on the front of her dress. When she turned around, a group of other "infants" noticed her and began to wave and shriek happy greetings as they approached.

Vickie felt it as the butterflies turned to waves. She could feel it as each wave pushed. She couldn't help it, she was going to go poopy and nothing she could do would prevent it. She had wanted to have pee pee accidents, she wasn't exactly prepared for this this kind of accident as she helplessly had it happen.

One of the girls in a cute pink romper pointed and said loudly, "Look! She has a cute poopy face. Bet she goin potty in her panties now."

The others began to snicker and giggle as they gathered around Vickie. Vickie was helpless as it oozed out into her diaper. She could feel it as the heavy squishy mass filled her diaper in back.

An older woman dressed in a black dress with white lace collar and cuffs came up to Vickie and checked her in front of all the others just like the toddler she was dressed as. The woman said as she took Vickie by the hand, "Call me Nana. I'll get baby all clean and fresh in a jiffy." she turned and pointed to one of the porters, "I need you to help this little girl with her luggage."

The porter came up and relieved Vickie of her diaper bag as he asked softly, "Does baby have more bags out front?"

Vickie was making cute little grunting noises by this time as she told the porter where her car was parked and gave him the key so he could retrieve the rest of her baggage.

There was of course quite a commotion around Vickie by now. She was feeling a bit better because, if there were any non-convention guests in the lobby, they couldn't see her. Surrounded by other "babies," Nana led Vickie to a hallway and up a flight of stairs to a special room, where convention staff, not hotel staff, checked Nana's ID and Vickie's, then let them both through. Nana led Vickie to what was obviously a changing room. The others stayed respectfully outside.

"Tsk tsk, such a messy baby," said Nana, but not in a disapproving way. "My goodness, let's get you up on the table and get you cleaned up. But only if you're OK with this -- we haven't met before, after all. I'm NanaGuide321, or if you want, you can just call me Nana Gwen."

"Wait -- NanaGuide321?" asked Vickie, momentarily stunned. "I'm VickiePixieBaby! We've talked a lot!"

"Oh my goodness!" Nana said. "You're here! Well, you still need a change. Let's get your dress unzipped ... there ... and hop up on the table ... good girl!"

"Now, the convention doesn't normally allow messy diapers," Nana said as she cleaned Vickie up expertly and carefully, "but they'll make an exception in the case of honest accidents. It didn't look to me as if you did that on purpose, but people will talk, and I don't want to see you thrown out. Are you actually incontinent?"

"I - I - umm ..." said Vickie uncertainly. "I ... kind of? I took some ... pills before I came here."

"Vickie!" said Nana disapprovingly. "We're going to have to raise you better than that ..."

"No, not that kind of pills!" Vickie said. "They're atavi --"

"Atavipressin?" asked Nana. "Oh. Not the kind of pills that will get you put in jail. But you took a risk if you took those before driving. They can cause distraction. Not in everyone, though. Lift up now, Honey."

Vickie lifted up, and Nana slid a fresh, powdered diaper from the supply in the changing room under Vickie's behind. Vickie couldn't believe how wonderful it felt to have Nana change her diaper. She had read many stories about it, but actually experiencing it was another thing.

Nana smiled as she pulled Vickie's bottoms up and made sure they were on properly. Before she helped Vickie off the changing table, she removed Vickie's shoes and put on her a cute pair of slippers that looked exactly like a pair of booties with 2 googly eyes.

Nana said, "I'll have these taken to your room. I'm taking you back to the lobby so you can play with your friends. Don't worry about being in diapers, sweetheart. For a very long time I think you will need them."

She takes Vickie by the hand and leads her back out into the lobby. It had become very crowded by this time. As Nana lead Vickie over to the rest of the group that had first met her, Vickie noticed others looking at her and them. Some had adoring eyes, some had ... strange eyes ... and others had expressions of disapproval.

A girl dressed in a cute velvet Ladybug romper waved and shouted, "Nana, Nana ... over here." and started bouncing up and down like the little girl she was dressed like.

Nana said softly to Vickie, "Here we are sugar bug. Remember, you and all of them are babies and toddlers. The rules say you will listen and do what designated adults tell you to do. You are now too young to make any kinds of decisions on your own until this convention is over."

Nana led Vickie up to the crowd of other infants, "Ok, babies, You all know the rules." Nana looked at her watch, "As of now all of you are infants. It's time for babies to be in the playroom."

As if by magic, several young men materialized seemingly out of thin air. They helped Nana usher in all the babies to the room that had been prepared for the Infant Convention. Vickie now knew what a designated adult would look like. Nana's, of course, would be dressed like Nana Gwen in black with white lace at the collar and cuffs, and there were men and women who would be dressed in slacks for the men and floral cotton dresses for the women.

"I'll see you later, Vickie dear," said Nana Gwen as she went with the other babies to the playroom. "I'm going to have to keep a careful eye on you and make sure you're changed regularly." Vickie blushed, because others had heard that and were snickering, but she had to think that some of them were jealous.

Among those who had overheard that was Missy, as she was also being led toward the playroom with the others. "Vickie?" she asked herself. Then, more loudly, she called out, "Vickie? As in ... VickiePixieBaby?" She tried to move toward the girl she thought she'd seen momentarily, but the crowd was getting pretty thick.

Eventually they made it to the playroom, where there was more space and everyone spread out. There were many different play areas in this huge room, for babies with many different interests, from sitting at a table and coloring with crayons to building with blocks or large plastic bricks on mats on the floor. There were cuddly areas that just had large blankets and plushies to hug, and there were areas where the babies could lie on their backs and bat at the toys that dangled from an arched frame that hung over a soft mat. But for right now, Missy was just calling out "Vickie? Viiiickieeeee!"

"Wait -- is somebody --" said Vickie and looked at the girl yelling her name. "I'm Vickieeeeee!" she called back.

"I'm MissyGrowsDown!" said Missy loudly. There was a lot of noise in this room.

"NO WAY!" squeaked Vickie and ran over. The two girls hugged.

"I'm --" both of them began, then they broke off and giggled.

"It's so great to finally get to meet you!" said Missy. "You're ... well you're one of the first people online who really got me."

"Because you got me too, silly!" said Vickie. "You look great!" Missy was wearing a white onesie with a pink sailor collar and a pink bow in the front, with a very short pink skirt that didn't do much to hide the thickness of her diaper, though it was covered by the onesie. She had a pacifier clipped to the collar, she had a large pink bow in her hair, and she wore matching pink and white booties on her feet.

"So do you!" said Missy. "I'm glad I'm not the only one in diapers here. I was actually worried about that!"

"I think the only people who aren't in diapers are the 'adults,'" said Vickie, "and I'm not so sure about some of them." She giggled. "This is so awesome! Let's go cuddle some big plushies!"



After cuddling with a giant dinosaur for a while, Missy felt a lot better. The stress of the adult world felt very far away. Her mind returned to the audio tracks she liked to listen to at bedtime. They usually played while she slept, too. "Mmmm," she said. "Me just little girl. Smaller an' smaller."

"What's that stuff you're sayin'?" asked Vickie.

"Oh, just stuff me likes to listen to at bedtime," Missy answered. "Is nice."

"Tell me more of it," Vickie said. "Like it."

"OK," Missy said. "You used to have big problems ... but now they are all gone, far away. Imagine 'em goin farther away an' never comin' back. You justa little girl now. Little baby girls no worry 'bout stuffs like that. Little baby girls like you not ever worry 'bout the potty. You just play an' let that take care of itselfs. Is all safe here an' your thick safe diapers protect you. You can feel 'em keepin' you safe ... an' if you find out that they got wet, that's what they're for ..."

"Ooooo, that is soooo nice ..." Vickie said.

"Yeah it is really nice!" said KaiBaby. "Sowwy, I couldn't help hearin'. You ... makin' me feel all little too." Kai giggled.

"Issa good feelin'," said Missy, giggling too.

"Is perfect," Kai said. "Can be soooo magical. Enough to protect against alllllll the bad." Kai nodded. Kai had skin the color of milk chocolate and medium-curly hair, and Missy couldn't tell if Kai was a boy or a girl, but she didn't care. Kai was another baby just like her and Vickie, and that was all that mattered.

"Ooo somebody is makin' good magics," said Ginny, toddling over, just like her online name, GinnyToddles. "I could even feel that. You are good at protectin' the con ... conv ... umm, the fun place! Missy we gots to teach you more. You could be real good."

"Um, OK!" said Missy, not really understanding, but she wanted to protect the fun place too, and the words just came naturally to her. Half of them she wasn't even remembering from the recordings she listened to -- she just made them up as she went.

"OK, we can show you later," Ginny said, and Kai nodded.

"Me feel sooo much happier now," said Vickie. "Cept ... think my diaper is soaked."

The nearby Nana heard what Vickie had said and came over. Without preamble, she asserted her adult privilege and checked Vickie in front of all the other infants. Most of them barely noticed, because this was just expected to happen, although Missy was surprised, since it was her first time at this convention.

Nana said in a soft coo as the very large woman picked Vickie up like the toddler she was dressed as, "Baby is soo wet. Nana will take care of that fast."

One of the "babies" dressed in a cute yellow jumper outfit said, "Oooo, that looks like fun. Vickie getsa get carried."

The other babies started snickering and giggling as another spoke up, "I hearded they puttin' stuffies in alla food and drinks so's we go potty in our diapers likes we supposed'a."

Another, dressed in orange overalls that snapped up the insides of the legs, said, "Nuhh unnhhh," then shook his head, "Messy diapees no supposed'a be alloweded here."

Another asked, "Why comes? Babies use their diapees and it jus' ... happens."

Several others heard and sort of gathered together in a group. There were 4 of them that began to make a melodious kind of chant. It was so strange as some kind of sparkly something seemed to filter down from the roof all around the large playroom and fall on just those who were designated as infants.

"Hushhhhh," said a voice, in a whisper that somehow everyone could hear. It was Ginny. "You remember being a baby. You remember what it felt like to think like a baby. You're thinking very close to that right now, closer and closer."

Kai and another were whispering to each other. The fourth, a male whose nametag read "Paulie," smiled and whispered, "And the closer you get to thinking just like a baby, the easier it is to just let go. Thinking like a baby is normal for you. It's so hard to think complicated thoughts. Much easier to relax, let go, and let your mind be just like a baby's mind, just like it really is deep inside."

Missy's mind was indeed feeling very simple and relaxed, and she smiled blissfully and just took it all in. She reached out toward the tiny glimmers of light that seemed to be falling through the air from above, like snowflakes. When she touched one, it felt like a tingle of happy feelings ran through her body. She giggled.

Kai whispered in Missy's ear, "Missy, this is magic. It's what we can do. If you get too little to think, you can't do it, but the littler you are, the stronger it is. Be close to that line. I think you can do it."

"Umm?" Missy asked, then summoned up her words and said, "You can feel the wonderful tingling all through you ... that's because of how little you're feeling right now. It feels so good. And the younger you feel, the better it feels. All you have to do is let go ... sliding further and further toward being a baby is the easiest thing in the world, and it's getting even easier all the time." Somehow everyone in the entire huge playroom could hear her words, and somehow the tiny motes of light falling through the air became thicker and brighter.

One of the "adults" came over to Ginny, Kai, Paulie, Missy, and the other girl, there in the center of this strange, enthralling light show. She whispered, "A discord has breached the barrier ... you may wish to cleanse it." Ginny nodded.

"The playroom is safe," Ginny whispered to everyone. "You can feel how safe it is. The whole hotel is safe. We make it safe, together, so we can all play. No one has put anything in the food and drinks. That is just a rumor. Messy diapers aren't allowed because they can get us in trouble, unless someone has a medical need. We want to stay out of trouble so we can all stay safe. We all want to be safe and happy babies."

Meanwhile, Kai had been doing something else. He was standing with his eyes closed and his arms wide apart. "I'm ... not sensing any drugs, Miss Polly" he whispered to the caregiver. "Not even atavipressin. Other than what's in Vickie's system already. There's some alcohol in some of the guest rooms, but that's it. But we'll have to be careful. There are lots of people here who love to mess their diapers and are setting that aside to be here. There might be jealousy issues if they notice Vickie messing her diaper. That could cause discord. I have to wonder ... who sold the drug to her? Who suggested it to her? Are we under attack?"

"I'll have someone look into it," Miss Polly whispered back. "Thank you for checking, Kai."

"Easy to do when there's this much power raised," Kai whispered. "You can thank Missy for that."

Missy had barely heard any of the exchange between Kai and Miss Polly. She had picked up for Ginny. "Can you feel it?" she was whispering, again, in some way that everyone could hear. "Can you feel how young and little and small you feel? And how that makes you feel so happy and tingly and safe to let the baby thoughts just flow naturally?"

The other girl, whose name was Kristen, whispered more, but as she did, Ginny whispered in Missy's ear. "You're amazing! Where did you learn?"

"I just ... listen to a lot of audio files, I guess?" Missy whispered her reply.

"... and so now it's time for you to play, to have fun, to enjoy your baby thoughts in this safe place," Kristen continued. "You can enjoy the play space for as long as it's open. If it becomes necessary, you can think like a grownup, but only if you have to. You'd much rather stay little and happy, wouldn't you?" Every head in the room nodded, except for the caregivers'. "So now it's time to open your eyes, breathe a little bit less slowly, look around you, and see everything with baby eyes. Ready ... set ... go."

There was a collective gasp of amazement, and all of the "babies" in the huge playroom were staring wide-eyed at everything -- the toys, the outfits, each other. Everything was suddenly wonderful. They all started playing again, but with a lot less sophistication and a lot more joy.

Nana Gwen carried Vickie back into the playroom and set her down. "Dunno what happened!" Vickie said. "All dry now! Felt like sleepin' but now all awake again! An' ... wanna play on dis slide here!"

"Me too!" said Missy to her friend. "Let's take turns! I was gonna read onena these books here but ... now they look like chicken scratches. Maybe ask a grownup to read it to me later." She joined Vickie in playing on the slide.

The two adorably dressed girls tumbled, screeched, slid, tussled, and just forgot what being an adult even ment as they fulfilled that special thing that defined their true essence and inner spirit. It wasn't until Nana Gwen had come to them and checked both of them that Missy's mind almost returned to adulthood.

Vickie clapped her hands together and giggled, "Am ... amma baby. Baby gots sos pills atta regression clinic back home." she nods until her cute ponytails flew.

Nana Gwen smiled as she held in the huge laugh that was trying to escape about how cute these two really were. She said in a soft cooing voice, "Well, both of you seem to need attention. I see little Miss Vickie here came by her diapers fairly enough. I also know you always go in your diaper when words like you were speaking a bit ago caress your ears at night." She bent over, and this time she picked up Missy as if she were the toddler she appeared to be. "Now, Nana will sort you out first," she said, and left carrying Missy towards the padded changing area.

Vickie sat for a minute all wide-eyed with wonder, then a small flicker of her right mind came to her. She looked around as she sucked her thumb. It was far easier and made her feel a whole lot better when she sucked it. She realized she was going potty in her diaper and hadn't even noticed when it had started. She also knew that was what was supposed to happen, because babies aren't potty trained ... and suddenly an image of the cute little potty monster in her bedroom came to mind.

The long red felt tongue that was also the floor mat ... the long brown ears ... not to mention the large googly eyes ... OMG!! Vickie let out a screech as she trembled in fear.

Another Nana rushed up and bent to a knee as she cooed softly, "Aww, Sweetheart, it's ok, Nana promises. Tell Nana what's wrong." Her name tag said, "Nana LaShawn."

Vickie looked up at Nana LaShawn with tears in her eyes and said in a sniffy voice, "It ... isa potty monser. Is ... is he gonna gets baby?"

Nana LaShawn hugged Vickie softly as she lifted her to her feet and patted her wet hinney. She cooed reassuringly, "No, baby. You are way too young to worry over a potty monster. Come." She took Vickie gently by the hand and said, "Nana will change you and make you all comfy again." She began leading Vickie off towards the other changing area.


"My goodness," said Nana Gwen as she changed Missy's diaper, "they really like you!" At Missy's quizzical look, she explained, "Ginny and Kai and the rest. They're kind of a clique -- sort of. They're the most powerful."

"P-powerful?" Missy asked. She had noticed things happening that were out of the ordinary. The light show, the way they could somehow whisper and yet be heard by everyone, the way Kai had said they'd swept the hotel for drugs while just standing there in place. This was confusing.

"They'll explain it to you," Nana Gwen said. "There's more going on in this world than meets the eye -- both the world of ageplay, regression, and AB/DL, and the outside world in general. There are bad people who want to cause stress and sadness, and there are good people trying to stop them. That's basically it, in a nutshell."

"If ... if it fits inna nutshell then it can't be too scary," said Missy with a brave smile.

Nana Gwen laughed at her joke. "That's the spirit," she said, patting Missy on the freshly-diapered bottom. "Good girl. Now let's get your skirt back on." She dressed Missy again, then picked her up and carried her back out to the playroom, where Nana LaShawn had similarly gotten Vickie changed and was just returning with her.

"Oh yay! You're back!" said Ginny. "Umm, we gotta talk to you about somethin' ..."

"There's bad people an' they try to make people sad, and we're good people an' try to stop the bad people?" asked Missy.

"Oh good, you got the first lesson already," Ginny said. "But yeah. There's lots of ABs and littles and ageplayers. Some of us ... well, we regress mentally when we play. Like, for real, our minds turn back into the way they were when we were kids or even babies."

"Yeah!" said Missy. "I love that!"

"Me too!" said Vickie.

"Well, not everyone is into that, but a lot are," said Ginny. "And it turns out ... it's powerful. The younger your mind gets, the closer you are to your place of power. It's ... basically magic."

"Like Harry Potter?" Missy asked.

"Kiiiind of?" Ginny replied. "I mean, there's no school or anything."

"But ... there are dark wizards like Voldemort?"

"Um, actually, there kinda are." Ginny looked sad. "There is kind of an opposite to us. The people who are against fun, against other people being happy, against anything different. Life wasn't nice to them. They had to give up on what made them happy. Now they can't stand other people being happy. They find ways to ruin other people's fun."

"They want us to grow up?" asked Vickie.

"Yes, because being little makes us so happy," said Ginny. "If something makes someone happy, these people want to take it away from them. Especially when it gives us power."

"It's like some kind of ... Adult Conspiracy," said Missy.

"That's actually what some of us call it," Ginny said. "Now, some of us are good at summoning up the power -- getting lots of people to feel little all at once. And you ... well, you're one of the best I've ever seen, and you're not even doing it on purpose."

Missy blushed. "Thank oo."

"Some are good at using the power once it's been gathered up," Ginny went on. "Kai is really good at that, but others are too. And then there are some who are really good at being sources of power -- at being little. Vickie, there's something about you -- you're like a battery. You get very little very easily and quickly. And, more importantly, you don't go right over the edge."

"Over tha edge?" Vickie asked, sucking her thumb.

"Yes, we call it the edge -- because if your mind goes all the way into baby mode, you can't focus anymore, and the power is chaotic and undirected. It goes every which way. You can't do anything with it anymore. Not until you grow back up some. That usually happens if you just wait a while, or take a nap. Then you can talk again, and do the magic. It's right there on the edge where the strongest power is."

"So ... we can fight the bad people?" Missy asked.

"Yeah!" said Ginny. "And there are some of them who know that we're here and having fun and are powerful. And they don't like that. So ... we can protect this place. And we have."


In a lonely stark room with a single light hanging from the middle of the roof. A group of men and women gathered around a large table. The light was filtered through a haze of cigar, pipe, and cigarette smoke and spread its cone across the table.

One of the gentleman sitting nearest the door said in a deep voice, "I had one of my powers overruled the other day. I did my very best to stop one of those who have the delusion they are infants or children from going to the convention. Thought I had all the areas runed. Out of nowhere, this huge wave of infant power undid it all. She's with them now."

A murmur of concerned voices rounded the room for a few minutes. All there knew if the proper introductions happened, there was going to be problems.

One of the ladies asked, "This is troubling news, Robert. Are the others gathered there too?"

Robert nodded his head. "Indeed they are, Elizabeth." All the faces showed their concern. Several of the men leaned back and lit their pipes. Sweet aromatic smoke drifted lazily through the light, diffusing it more.

"We are together," said one of the men with the pipes. "And that's something. When we work together, we can do more of our good work. Whatever those adult infants are doing in there is surely a sin. We know it because of how happy it makes them. But they know it's wrong too, because they have to hide away from the world to do it, but they're doing it anyway, which means they can't help themselves anymore; they're too far gone. And that's why we have to stop them. To save them from themselves."

"Well said, Samuel," said Elizabeth. "We don't want to hurt them -- we just want to bring them back to the light. But sometimes ... tough love is the only way."


Vickie sat on her thickly diapered bottom and sucked her thumb as she looked around. A nana was always near and kept a close watch on her at all times. Vickie was aware how quickly she regressed and how much like a toddler she not only resembled, but was beginning to act like. She had gotten really upset when one of the other babies had started to play with the plushy kitty she had been playing with before a nana had taken her and given her an afternoon snack.

Vickie had actually had a Adult pop her on her thickly padded bottom. It didn't hurt, but she couldn't help crying as she was placed in the timeout playpen. She wasn't there long before Nana Williams had come by and picked her up and carried her over to the rest of the infants.

Vickie had a few things to think over too. She was kind of having trouble keeping her thoughts on magic as it kept drifting off to a pleasant infantile now and she gleefully began to play. Of course the play didn't last long as her mind came back to baby magic.

Vickie now knew, she had to discover where the line between adult and baby exactly was ... so she could come right up to that line and not cross. She just had to try and recreate that wonderful sparkly stuff. It was so pretty and made everyone it touched feel so nice.


"But ... whatif I wanna play an' be little?" asked Missy. "Seems kinda not fair if people like us can't enjoy the fun times because we gotta protect the fun place."

Ginny nodded. "Yeah, I know. It is sometimes kinda not fun. But that's why it's good that there's more of us. We can take turns. Also when we get a bunch of power and make a protection spell, it lasts for a while, so we can play until we gotta refresh it. With this many of us all in once place ... well, we do have a whole hotel to protect, but it still lasts hours."

"Oh, well that's not so bad then!" Missy smiled. "So what kinds of things do the bad people do to try to ruin our ... uh ... is she OK?" Ginny and Missy were sitting in some chairs near one of the hotel's entrances when they saw a woman stumbling toward the door. She looked as if she were having trouble breathing; she seemed on the verge of collapse.

"That's Miss Polly!" said Ginny, getting up quickly and rushing to help. Missy went too. They went outside via the hotel's large revolving door.

As soon as she was outside, Missy felt it too. It was like there was a heavy weight on her chest, making it difficult to breathe. A humid summer day didn't help, but this was something more. It was like a huge fist was squeezing her entire body. Every breath was like fighting a battle. But she joined Ginny in holding Miss Polly up and getting her back inside.

The moment they were all inside, Missy felt better. Gasping for air, she asked, "What ... was that?"

"You asked ... what the ... bad guys ... could do," Ginny said. "That's them ... they did this."

"Miss Polly, are you OK?" asked Missy. They'd gotten Miss Polly onto a sofa.

"I'll just get her some water," said Ginny. "Be right back."

After a pause, Miss Polly told Missy, "I just had to go out -- smoke break, you know. Keep telling myself I need to quit. But after the first drag, THAT happened." She waved at the outside. Nothing looked amiss, but Missy had felt it. It was as if the air had become hostile out there.

"I wonder ... maybe that's how they got you?" Missy asked. "Can they do that?"

Ginny returned with a glass of water for Miss Polly. "You think maybe they used smoke?" she asked. "I don't know how they do what they do, but if it seems to make sense, it probably does. Magic is a game of ideas. Ideas that go together can bring magic with them."

"Well, I don't know how it all works," said Miss Polly, "but it works. Thank you for bringing me back inside. However that shield you make works, keep doing it. I'll warn the others." She got out her phone.

"Yeah, we weren't sure if they were going to come after us," said Ginny as she and Missy walked back toward the play area, "but now we know. It's good we took precautions, but now ..."

"Now it's for real," said Missy. "We've got a fight on our hands." Missy wasn't happy. She'd wanted this to be a happy weekend, but it was on the middle of the day on Friday, and this had already happened.


Doc Pritchert stood suddenly and cried out in pain. A very large blue spot began to show on the middle of his forehead before he collapsed in a heap. The rest of those present dashed towards him as Samuel aided Doc back to his seat.

Samuel asked with worry obvious in his voice, "Are you alright there, Doc?" He pointed to the now large purple contusion, "What happened? How did you get such a nasty bruise out of the blue?"

Doc opened his eyes and said weakly, "I had her. I knew I had her. Something interfered and snatched her from the spell I was trying to weave. It ... was so powerful it hurt."

The group began to murmur among themselves.

Jennie Lunde said worriedly, "It seems that those confused individuals have discovered a way to block us." She opened a large map that had been drawn in some kind of glowing ink. "Apparently that whole place is under some kind of protection spell. We have to make sure that we get both of them removed from there as fast as possible. If either of them discover their true potentials, we may never be able to make them see the light."

A very worried discussion over what they should do began. If anyone other than they had been listening, it would have sent chills of fear down their spines. It was more than obvious to all present the ability to block them was growing stronger the longer the two of them were together and at that cursed convention for Adult Infants. It was totally unheard of and unprecedented.

"We cannot allow them to break free of us," Doc said fervently. "You younger ones have no idea of the danger. Free thinking almost won back in the 1960s. The joy, the creativity ... it nearly put an actual pinhole in the walls of conformity. We cannot allow the general public to see what lies beyond. They cannot handle it."


Missy and Ginny quickly found Vickie, Kai, Paulie, and Kristen. "Did you feel it?" whispered Ginny to Kai.

Kai nodded. "The bad guys ... they got close."

"Oh no!" said Kristen. "I was hopin' ..."

"Me too," said Paulie, "but I guess we're not that lucky."

"What we gonna do?" asked Missy, the play area making her feel younger again.

"Keep the shield up," said Ginny. "It probably saved Miss Polly's life this time."

"And ... I gotsa idea we can twy," said Kai, a mischievous grin playing about their lips. "They not gonna know what ta do if they twy somefin' again."

"They're gonna try again?" asked Missy.

"'Course they are," said Kristen. "They always do."

"Can I help?" asked Vickie.

"Sure can," Kai told her.


"Your turn," said Ginny to Missy.

"We hope you are having the bestest and funnest time ever," said Missy quietly. "I'm just here to bring you my happy wishes. For the ones who like to regress and feel like real babies -- don't be afraid to just let go. You know that thinking younger and younger thoughts is something you want to happen -- so young that you might forget a lot of adult things. But it's OK, because it's safe here. You're in your nice safe diapers, so it doesn't matter if you use them. You're in a room full of safe toys, so it doesn't matter if you chew on one."

"Oooo whatcha doin' wif the mirror, Kai?" asked Vickie. Kai had brought a full-length mirror and was propping it up against the wall with some chairs. "Look at me!" Vickie giggled at her reflection. "I'm gonna make silly faces!"

Kai giggled too. "Ooo, that's a goo idea," they said. "I'm gonna join you in a minute. There's a thing I gotta do firstest." Missy glimpsed what Kai was doing but didn't understand at first. It seemed like Kai was gathering the tiny glittering lights up and sending them into the mirror -- or that was Missy's first impression. Then she realized that Kai was actually rebuilding the shield, after somehow showing the magic to the mirror. She'd have to ask him later what he was doing.

Kai was finished. They got down on the floor next to Vickie and made silly faces in the mirror with her. Each one was trying to make the other one laugh harder. Soon they were both giggling so hard that they had both soaked their diapers and the Nanas had to come take them away for changes.


In a very plushly decorated library filled with many volumes of ancient and forgotten tomes, several men and an equal number of women were huddled around a tabled stacked with many other old as time books.

One of the women looked up over her half framed spectacles and said worriedly, "From what Delteire's Book of Incantations and Spells said, that baby magic they seem to wield has proven to be far stronger than it told us."

Another of the women spoke up and said, "The big issue is ... we now have two of them that are very powerful all in the same location at the same time. Somehow we must separate them and somehow stop them from doing what they do."

Dr. Pritchert looked up and said, "See this nasty bruise between my eyes?" a twitter of sniggles and suppressed laughs went round the table. Pritchert continued angrily, "They are powerful enough to snatch someone already captured by the Wind Wave."

A very old woman with long white scraggly hair banged her fist on the table and said in a loud cracked voice, "No! It cannot be. They must have one who can toe the exact line and not cross over to store that much power."

Dr. Pritchert laughed, "Oh, really? And just who and what do you think we have been telling you all this time? Those two must be separated and removed from that location."

A very worried murmur rounded the room as they began to rummage through more of the large volumes of forgotten lore. "Clearly one of us is not enough," said Elizabeth. "We must gather our strength and strike together against their shield."

"Well, obviously," said Dr. Pritchert, "but what will the nature of our attack be?"


The playroom was dark, but not silent. A large projection screen hung down near one wall, and on it was showing one of the past year's most popular animated films. The babies, littles, and even Nanas and other caregivers were enjoying it immensely. Missy and Vickie sat with Ginny, Paulie, Kai, and Kristen in a big playpen full of plushies, gasping and giggling along with everyone else at moments in the movie.

That was until the attack came. Kai suddenly began to look around, worried.

"What's wrong, Kai?" asked Missy.

"I feel it too," said Kristen, "though Kai's the one who renewed the shield last."

"An attack?" asked Ginny. "Where are these guys? They've gotta be nearby."

"W-walls ... closing in ..." muttered Kai. "Surrounded ..." They got up and bolted for the door.

"Follow Kai!" shouted Paulie. They all jumped up, stepped over the low walls of the playpen, and ran after Kai.

As they ran, Ginny said, "Kristen -- there's a lot of power from everyone watching the movie. See if you can counter whatever it is."

"But I --" Kristen began, sounding uncertain, as they ran.

"You're the best at directing the power, second to Kai!" Ginny shouted. "You can do it!"

Kristen frowned with concentration, running with purpose. "I'll try." As she ran, her hands began to sparkle.

"Gotta -- get -- outside!" Kai was saying, but they moved unsurely, as if they were fighting whatever was being done to them.

Vickie called out, "Kai! What was the mirror for? Wasn't that something special?"

"M-mirror ..." said Kai, slowing. "Reflect ..." They pushed their way outside through one of the hotel's side doors.

Just then Kristen caught up to him and grabbed first one of his wrists, then the other, with her glowing hands. "C'mon, Kai," she said. "Here's an infusion of energy. Break free!"

"Free ..." Kai muttered, stopping, on the sidewalk outside the hotel. The others had caught up with Kai as well, clustering together. "Reflect!" The passing traffic might have seen a burst of light around a figure on the sidewalk, but they probably just thought it had been the headlights of a turning car. "May it return to you fourfold!" Kai said, their voice suddenly boomingly loud. They stood there for a moment, then said, "I ... I'm sorry. I'm better now."

"I suspect the bad guys are about to have a bad night," said Ginny. "Let's get back inside."

"What just happened?" asked Missy as they went back in.

"Well, Kai was using a mirror earlier, so I think they imbued the shield with some spell-reflective qualities," Ginny explained. "The bad guys used a whole lot of power this time, though, and they were breaking through. Kai was hit because the shield was Kai's doing. They made him feel ... claustrophobic, to the point of panic. But with Kristen's extra burst of power, he threw it off and reflected it back. And ... you know what they say about payback. Evil magic bounces back to its origin three times as powerful. Same with good magic."

"So ... bad things are happening wherever the bad guys are," said Vickie.

"Hey, wait," said Missy. "Where's my pacifier?"

"Did you drop it? We did a lot of running," said Paulie. "Kai, go relax. We'll help Missy look for it. Missy, what's it look like?"

"It's got a pink heart-shaped shield and a red heart on the button ..." Missy explained. The others retraced their steps, looking for it.


In a large room many men and women huddled around strange arcane drawings on the highly polished floor. Red and black candles encircled each group as a deep toned chant rhythmically echoed roundabout.

Suddenly, the larger and centrally located group that were standing on one of those arcane drawings that glowed with an eerie green/yellow light all flew backwards as a tremendous flash of sparkling light blossomed from the center of the group.

The pillar of sparkling light grew larger as it showered all through the large room. The other men and women broke their circles and attempted to run. It was far too late. Like a living thing, the sparkly light sent out tentacles of light and engulfed all who were in the room. Loud screams and yells of pain echoed all around as the threefold retribution of the attack they had launched returned to them.

When the light died down, several of the men and women were obviously seriously hurt as their very garments had been shredded by the explosion of sparkly light. The bookshelves along the walls were in disarray, torn pages fluttering to the ground, and one wall had been staved in, admitting cool night air and the sounds of the city, not to mention moths.

Dr. Pritchert gingerly stood from the heap he had been tossed into. He looked around at the sheer devastation the backlash had caused. He looked at the very old woman and said, "Well, Agatha, now do you believe what we have been telling you? They have access to a power far greater than we have thought. None of the magical tomes tell of any ever having this kind of power."

The old woman stood. Her eye starting to swell and turn colors where she had been hit in one place, and the tatters of her shredded clothings falling in rags around her. She said with fear and awe obvious in her tone, "This ... isn't possible. Those type just don't have the mental proclivities while under to accomplish this."

Dr. Pritchert replied angrily, "Right, and just what in the Sam Hill did this?"

Agatha looked around the completely destroyed room as she shook her head and bit the long nails on her fingers. "We did," she said. "We supplied the power -- they just sent it back. Now we're going to have to find another ritual space. Congratulations on wrecking my house. I suppose I should be glad that it's not on fire?"

"Yes, because that would have brought firefighters and possibly police," said Dr. Pritchert. "Not that there are any laws against what we've been doing, but the questions could get in the way. And we'll take up a collection to pay for repairs."

"But where will we meet now?" asked Jennie Lunde.

"How about my garage?" asked Elizabeth. "It only needs a little cleaning, and it's not far from here." They agreed to try it -- but they would have to wait until tomorrow. Tonight's activities were at an end.

"But ... not a total failure," said Robert, holding up a pacifier he had found -- heart-shaped, with a red heart on the central button.


"And before you go to bed tonight," Missy was saying to all the "babies" in the play area, "remember to get your favorite plushies to cuddle, or your favorite blankies, or your favorite pacifiers ... or all of these. You're all very little and need all your special nighttime comfort items to help you sleep. I hope you all have happy baby dreams of playing and cuddling and drinking from your baby bottles. Nighty night, and don't forget that Nana Williams is reading bedtime stories in room 3 next."

The attendees all went their own ways, some of them to room 3 next door for bedtime stories, others to different parts of the playroom before it closed for the night, and others to their own rooms, some for parties, some for sleep. Missy and Vickie went over to check on Kai, who was resting in one of the playpens. "How are you doing?" Vickie asked.

"Am OK," Kai said, "just tired. Gonna sleep well tonight! I hope I have nice baby dreams like you said, Missy."

"I hope you do too!" said Missy with a smile. "I just wish I had my favorite pacifier. Luckily I've got other ones."

"Kristen is refreshing the shield before bedtime," said Ginny, toddling over. "Thanks for taking over some of the regression work. It really helps."

"Do I help too?" Vickie asked in a very childlike voice.

"Of course you do!" said Missy. "You get very little when you regress. I can even feel it, and I'm no good at this."

"I just hope the bad guys are done for the night," said Kai. "They punched right through the shield this time. But I don't see how they did that unless it was a concerted effort -- at least a dozen of them, with all kinds of special gear."

"Gear that's probably wrecked now, if I guess right," said Ginny. "You threw it back at them, and it gets amplified when that happens."

"Yeah, bad or good, it gets stronger when it gets sent back," Kristen said, having finished her ritual. "What puzzles me is why they do it -- I know they ruin things like peace marches and candlelight vigils too. What's the point?"

"Beats me," said Kai. "They seem to want the world to be a worse place."

"Or maybe they get some kind of power out of it," said Ginny. "But if they do, it seems like they can't be getting that much, or they'd be worse than they are."


Most of the magic-wielding "babies" were too tired to do anything but sleep. Miss Polly and the other people in charge of the convention promised to wake them up if there was any sign of something strange happening. But nothing magical happened that night -- the shield seemed to keep supernatural attack away.

It didn't, however, stop a stealthy figure from sneaking in, evading the hotel desk staff and security guards, and showing up only on security cameras that no one happened to be watching at the moment.


Dr. Pritchert sat at his desk and read over a thick book titled : A Master Craft Spellbinder's Guide. He was positive those deluded individuals had stumbled onto something that others had long forgotten. All through the volume thus far, it clearly stated that power of reflection could not be achieved without a very special type of casting mirror. The only issue with the mirror, is the crystal the glass had to be made from and the special type of silver oxide compound the backing was made of, could no longer be made by mankind. The technique had been lost when Babylon fell and the only remaining copy of the mirror was lost when the Knights Templar and the Catholics burned Egypt and the library at Athens.

He sat back and lit his ornate hand carved bone pipe. The aromatic smoke curled around his head as he sat and thought. That had to be the answer. Somehow, by some unknown means, those deluded individuals had managed to find the last casting mirror. It was inconceivable to him that they had actually rediscovered how to make one. It was just about as hard to believe they had one. The evidence was all too clear when he thought of Agatha's Spell Casting room.

Dr. Pritchert turned to the next page. His eyes grew large as a smile crossed his face. There was a simple way to avoid a reflective bounce by using a Quincunx. The manuscript referred to on how to build such a thing, however, was one of the lost Tomes of the Archmage Ahalcathorn.

Dr. Pritchert knew Agatha would know where to locate a copy of that Tome if anyone did. He picked up his cell and punched a button. He was positive they would have such a device built before the next full moon. Then he hung up the phone again. By that time the convention would be over and all their targets returned home, scattered across the world and some protected by anonymous online identities. To strike at them all at once, they had only two remaining days.

Well, perhaps something could still be done. The principles behind the Quincunx seemed to be fairly straightforward. He would see what he could do. Perhaps he could be ready before they all left on Sunday.


Missy yawned. They still weren't allowed to wear their baby clothes to the hotel restaurant, which was still open to the public, but there was a breakfast buffet set up in one of the convention areas, which meant she could sit in her footie jammies at a table eating pancakes. She'd put on a bib, of course -- she didn't want to get any syrup on her jammies, which had cost a lot and were irreplaceable.

Vickie saw her and joined her. "Mawnins," she said. "Ooo, pantakes. Gonna gets me somma those." She wandered off toward the buffet.

Kai and Kristen came over and sat at a nearby table. "... still can't figure out how you did the reflective spell with the mirror," Kristen was saying. "Did you use some special magic mirror or something?"

"No, just a plain old mirror I 'borrowed' from my room," said Kai. "Don't tell anyone. But it didn't even break. I put it back."

"Wish I could do cool stuff like that," said Kristen. "Maybe I need to 'borrow' stuff from my room."

Kai laughed. "Just do what you can with what you have."

Miss Polly was in a beautiful pale-green nightie with white lace and embroidered flowers. "Good morning, little ones," she said, setting down her plate of pancakes and mini-sausages, along with a cup of hot water that was in the process of becoming tea.

"I loooove that nightie!" said Missy. "Where did you get it?"

"Oh, one has one's ways," Miss Polly said.

"She made it herself, I'll bet," said Ginny, sitting down next to Missy.

"One doesn't like to brag."

"Hey, nobody taked my chair, did they?" asked Vickie, returning with pancakes and orange juice. She sat across from Missy, as no one had taken it.

Ginny leaned in and whispered to Missy, Vickie, Kai, and Kristen. "Nobody so much as touched the shield last night," she said. "Nothing, you know, magic happened at all. It was completely quiet. I think maybe their backlash earlier hurt them."

"I hope nobody was really hurt," said Missy unhappily. "I don't want to hurt anybody, even mean people."

"They weren't using deadly force," said Kai, "so the backlash couldn't have been directly deadly -- it's hard to say what exactly it would've done though. Very chaotic."

Missy suddenly started feeling queasy. "What's ... in these ..." Missy started to ask. "I don't feel so good."

"Oh no!" said Miss Polly. "I hope you haven't ... caught ... oh dear. I don't feel well either."

"They wouldn't ..." said Ginny, then looked at Kai and Kristen. "Would they?"

Vickie's fork froze in the middle of lifting her first bite of pancakes off her plate. "Would they ... what?"

"Poisoning our food wouldn't be magical," said Kai. "The shield wouldn't protect against that -- although hotel security is supposed to."

"Ugh," Missy said. "I think I'm gonna ... I gotta ..." Her cheeks were turning a bit green.

"What?" said Kristen, who was having cereal. "That's not even fair!" Around them, several other attendees were feeling ill as well, and it was progressing. "What did they poison? And what did they poison us with?"

"No time ta wonner 'bouts that -- whadda we do?" asked Vickie.

"Wait, I think ..." Kristen looked around. "I know what to do. Miss Polly ... you got the wrong kind of tea." She picked up Miss Polly's teacup and looked at the tag on the teabag's string, still dangling from it. "It's chamomile."

Vickie said, "Not too goo if ya wanna wakes up ... but goo if you wanna go ta sleep ..."

"Or if you want to cure poison," said Kristen, "at least, that's what they thought in the Middle Ages. Except it doesn't really work like that ... not chemically. Magically, though ... but we'd need a lot of it. Or ... a lot of power."

There was moaning all around. A few of the guests hadn't eaten the pancakes, but most had. Most of the attendees were still in their rooms asleep, though. The poison had only gotten the early risers.

"Hmm, yeah, we're not gonna raise a lot of power right now," Kristen said. "Think, Kristen! Wait ... I know ..."

Kristen set Miss Polly's teacup down on the table in front of her and stood there, reaching out her arms. "I put this all out there last night ... and nothing's touched it since. We'll have to raise more, but for now ..." She made a gesture as if she were pulling something in from the air, and suddenly her hands were sparkling again, brighter and brighter, as motes of brilliance converged on her from all directions. She guided them ... into Miss Polly's teacup.

Soon there was a teacup on the table that was as full of sparkling light as it was of tea. "Here, now," she said, picking it up gently. "Missy, you noticed first. Have a sip. Just a sip."

"Ohhhhh," said Missy, "I don't know if I can ... but I'll try ..." She tried to sip the tea. "Oh dear ... I'm so sleepy ..." She slumped down in her chair, fast asleep.

"Well, it is chamomile," said Kristen. "Here, Miss Polly ... sip some ... here, Kai ... here, Ginny ..." She gave sips to everyone nearby who had been feeling the effects of whatever had been slipped into the food.

"I didn't have any pantakes," said Vickie, "but thanks though!" Everyone Kristen had given a sip of the tea to had immediately fallen asleep, but seemed to be sleeping peacefully.

Kristen moved on to other tables, offering the tea to anyone who was feeling ill. "It'll make you sleep, but you'll feel better when you wake up," she said. "Here you go ... just a sip ... here ..."

In time she'd gotten to everyone who'd fallen victim to the poison. It turned out that there was more evidence that it had been the pancakes; everyone who had had them was ill. And those who hadn't had the pancakes were all right.

The hotel staff had been wondering what was the matter, and finally, Kristen said to one of them, "I think the pancakes are tainted somehow. You definitely don't want to serve them to anyone else. Also, can you call security?"

By the time the last victim had had a sip of the tea and fallen asleep, one of the hotel security guards had come. "Yes, I think we have a case of poisoning," said Kristen. "The pancakes there ... I'm not sure what kind of poison it was, but you might want to check your security tapes and see if anyone got in last night."

"What? Poisoning?" The security guard looked panicked. "We could be closed down! Health code violations!"

"That's why you should check your cameras and tapes," Kristen said. "I don't think it was your kitchen's fault. I think a very sick individual broke in."

"I'll check right away," said the guard, and departed.

"Why's everyone asleep?" asked Nana LaShawn, who had just woken up and come down. There was a reason why, even at a convention for littles and adult babies, the attendees weren't all fed their meals in high chairs. The Nanas and other caregivers also needed their sleep, and their breakfasts.

"Bad guys poisoned the pancakes," said Vickie, who had been making sure the people who fell asleep were in comfortable positions.

"What? That's terrible!"

"I know," said Kristen. "What is wrong with them? I'm just doing the best I can."

"So ... the poison put them to sleep?" asked Nana LaShawn.

"No ..." Kristen tried to explain.

"Kwistie magicked tha tea an' gived everyone a sip who eated any pantakes," said Vickie. "I no eated any pantakes. No fair but I didn't get tha poison that way."

"We're going to need to put the shield back up," Kristen said. "I just took it down and used the energy in it to power my cure spell. But right now we don't have a shield. And Ginny, Missy and Kai are all asleep."

"I'm kinda little," said Vickie.

"That's right ... you are," said Kristen. "Can you help, Nana LaShawn?"

"I'll help any way I can," she said.

"We just need Vickie to feel really little," Kristen said. "She puts out a lot of energy when she's on the borderline."

"Making babies feel little?" said Nana LaShawn. "My specialty." She smiled at Vickie. "So I hear there's a little baby who needs a hug, and maybe some ... tickles!"

Vickie's giggles pealed like bells among the snores of some of the guests. Nana LaShawn played games with Vickie, sang songs, told stories, gave and received hugs, and soon Vickie didn't have the foggiest idea that she wasn't older than 3.

"There! Right there!" said Kristen. "I can feel it ... she's only one person, but she shines so brightly! Let me just shape the energy, and we'll have a shield again! Not as powerful as with the whole group ... but it'll last for now ..." She muttered to herself as she gestured and concentrated.

Some of the other guests, the ones who hadn't been poisoned, had been muttering amongst themselves. When Kristen was done with her ritual, some of them came up to her and said, "Is it true that there are people out there who hate us so much that they'd try to poison us? Are they going to try again?"

"What? Um, I don't know what they'll do ..." said Kristen.

"Shhhh, you'll wake her up," said Nana LaShawn, who was sitting down with Vickie on her lap, draped over her shoulder, exhausted after lots of playing.

"Sorry," said the guests, speaking softly. "But it's worrying."

"Hotel security is supposed to be better than that," Kristen said. "They're going to beef it up, I'm sure. But you have a choice."

"We do?"

"I mean ... you can go home, and decide it's not worth the risk to stay here and defy the haters," said Kristen, quietly but intensely, "or you can stay here, because we're stronger together, and see this through. I know one hater who just showed that he, or she, is nowhere near as strong as we are. I mean, I don't know who they are specifically, but I mean whoever did this."

"Are they ... going to be all right?"

"They're just sleeping," said Kristen. "I don't know how long they'll sleep for, but they should be fine when they wake up."

"This is not news I wanted to wake up to this morning," grumbled Ryan, one of the convention's organizers. "Security's been telling me there's been a poisoning? Why's Polly asleep?"

"Mmmnnn ..." mumbled Vickie on Nana LaShawn's shoulder, "tha antee-dote workeded but putted 'em all asleeps."

"Oh," Ryan said. "Well, Security found camera footage of an intruder who snuck in last night just as the con spaces were closing, and just as Security was changing shifts. They're still working on this."

"When did they leave?" Kristen asked.

"Good question," said Ryan. "But they're still looking at the tapes."


In the security room, The Night Captain and his boss the Major, stood and reviewed the 18 hours of video with the local Police and FBI agents. Law enforcement was treating this as a terrorist event and were going all out to discover who poisoned the batter.

The men watched as the shadowy person moved about the kitchen, very deftly avoiding the night shift personnel. No real clear look at the individuals face could be seen, but the fluid grace the person moved with amazed them all.

"Didja see that Sam? I didn't know humans could make jumps and tumbles like that."

The Officer with Sam on his nametag replied, "If that isn't a human, what might you suggest it is? A bloody monkey?"

The men all laughed as the one who had first spoken screwed up his face with embarrassment.

The FBI agent with the white hair leaned closer to the screen. He watched each graceful move of whomever it had been in the videos. He said softly in a surprised gasp, "Agatha. OMG! You must be almost 200 if that's really you."


"Good morning, everyone," said Miss Polly to the assembled convention attendees in the play area. "We hope you have a great Saturday here, starting with some retro Saturday morning cartoons, but first, Ginny's going to set the mood."

"Hiiiii!" said Ginny bouncily. "Who likes cartoons?" There was a lot of clapping and cheering. "Yayyy! Me too! I don't know about you, but I used to climb down the stairs on Saturday morning with my blanket from my bed and my favorite plushies, get the box of cereal from the cabinet in the kitchen, and camp out in front of the TV all morning. I bet I'm not alone!" There were smiles and giggles and applause. "That's what we're all here to do right now! Well, you have to bring your own cereal, but I see some of you brought your own blankies and plushies -- and pacifiers and jammies and wow, we're all gonna get comfy and watch! Ready? Let's go!" The lights were dimmed a bit, and Paulie hit play on the computer. Soon there was an episode of the Smurfs playing on the screen.

"Ohhh I remember this," said Jimmy. "Look, it's Gargamel!"

"La la la la la la, la la la la la," sang Vickie along with the music, giggling.

"I wish I had my favorite pacifier," said Missy, popping one of her backup ones into her mouth. "DIs won awmost as good though."

"I have no idea where you get the idea that you're not as good as me," Kai was saying quietly to Kristen. "You totally saved the day this morning." They had all slept for about half an hour, but when they woke up, they'd all been fine, just as Kristen had predicted.

"I had no idea what to do," Kristen said. "I just, well, I thought about the stuff I've learned from our teachers. And also ... I thought about what you would do."

"I'm glad I picked up the wrong kind of tea," Miss Polly whispered.

"That had to be some kinda super good luck," said Kristen, as Kai gathered the regression magic from the hundreds of attendees to strengthen the shield.

"Oh nooooo it's the Howlibird!" Ginny shrieked, watching the show.

"I wonder if I left my pacifier out in my car?" Missy said aloud.

"Oh no, run little Smurfs, no lets him gets you!" said Vickie, the dose of regression drugs she had taken before leaving home still affecting her in more than one way. It wasn't likely to wear off completely for at least a week. The community as a whole had split opinions about such drugs, and like most other controlled substances the convention didn't condone their use.

Vickie suddenly began to feel those strange butterflies in her tummy. Slowly they turned into small waves that rapidly built to an irresistible pushing. Vickie was helpless as her face held the cutest poopy face as she felt the gooey mass ooze out into her diaper. Several of those sitting next to her realized and began to giggle. They all knew Vickie was diaper dependant and most envied this and had high hopes of being the same shortly.

Missy looked over and said softly, "Ooo, what do it feel like? I mean goin poopies an no wannas?"

Vickie looked at Missy helplessly for a few seconds as she grunted adorbly. Finally Vickie replied in a very shy way amid all the hubbub of those around her, " Is so ... strange an an an nice." Vickie began to suck her thumb. Nana Gwen, though, came right over and picked her up for a trip to the changing room.


Doc Pritchert was surprised to hear the knock on the door. Since the servants were all in the conjuring room repairing the damage, he went and opened it. His eyes grew large in surprise as he said, "Jerry! OMG! Last time I saw you ..."

Jerry replied, "I know. It was almost 100 years ago during the calling of the corners on solstice eve. I ... need to talk with you and Agatha if I could."

Doc Pritchert stepped back and waved Jerry in, "Do come in. It's this way to the library. I'll see if Agatha is around."

Doc knew something was up if Jerry had driven all this way, this time of night, to talk to Agatha. Doc led Jerry into the library. While Jerry looked over the many volumes of lost and forgotten lore, Doc went to find Agatha.

Agatha lay in a hot pool of sweet smelling water. Her body had many contusions and ever darkening bruises. It was quite obvious she had been up to something very strenuous that one would think was beyond her years.

Doc said through the open door without entering, "Agatha? An old friend is here to see you. Jerry. Get dressed and meet us in the library."

A short while later, Agatha entered, a few butterfly bandages on her wrinkled face, but wearing a dark blue dress with a white collar and cuffs, with matching shoes. "Jerry Featherstone, as I live and breathe! How are the arts treating you?"

"Well enough, well enough, and it's so good to see you again, dear Agatha," Jerry said. "I see that you're still trying to defend the walls of conformity and normality. I fear you're fighting a losing battle."

"We're not done fighting yet," said Pritchert.

"Oh, no, I can tell. Why are you still here? I thought the others of your group were preparing a new ritual site. You're busy trying to ruin the fun of ... what was it? A bunch of adults who like to act like infants? You won't be getting Agatha's ritual room fixed before the weekend's over."

"Just doing what I can before joining the others, Jerry," said Agatha. "And Doc's just helping out, for old times' sake."

Jerry smiled. "I see. Well, your endeavors have managed to blow up Agatha's sanctum and will likely destroy wherever your new work area will be. The younger ones, they've got new ideas. Don't tell me you're still on about that established order thing."

"The power of chaos is frighteningly real," said Doc. "You've seen it! Already it threatens to burst the dam and wash across the globe. You know what happened the last time chaos broke free and ran unchecked."

"Yes, yes, the fall of Rome," Jerry said. "Now, many of us have managed to cheat death for a while, but none of us are quite that old. None of us were there. None of us know what really happened. All we know is a few fragments by Calid and some other snippets from Bishop Synesius."

"Saying that the morals of the people were disintegrating!" Agatha said. "Their regard for the way things were done was in horrible disarray. And this opened the gates to disaster!"

"All right, all right," Jerry said. "I'm not here to argue philosophy with you."

"You say the younger ones have discovered a new way," said Doc.

"Oh -- I merely meant that the teachings of Doradus have been spreading far and wide since his death," Jerry said.

"Doradus!" Agatha nearly spat. "Free-form. No respect for tradition. No precision. No control."

"Yet he had several followers, and they've been teaching followers of their own," said Jerry. "Don't sell him short -- he got results."

"You think these young ones were actually trained by disciples of Doradus?" asked Doc.

"It's possible," Jerry said. "I'm not interfering in your battle, on either side -- it's not my fight -- but the energies I'm sensing are very much like Doradus theorized."

"Massive energy-raising and efficient division of labor were his hallmarks," said Agatha reluctantly.

"If this is true," said Doc Pritchert, "then we know how to fight them."


Nana Gwen had cleaned and rediapered Vickie as she carried her back cradled in her arms. Nana wiggled her nose under Vickie's sundress and gave her a wonderfully loud and snuggly raspberry as she entered the playroom of the other children. Vickie's eyes grew large as she screeched and kicked her feet like the toddler she appeared to be. Vickie helplessly regressed right up to the exact point where her mind lost all connection to adulthood, but was still totally toddler. Nana Gwen place her in the middle of Missy and the rest.

Missy looked at Vickie and said, "Ooo Vickies. Is you ok?"

Vickie looked at Missy with large eyes and an adorable expression as she answered, "I ... gommbbthhhh ... is hard ta keeps .. ththheeee." Vickie stopped and sucked her thumb thoughtfully for a minute then started again, "Nana done made me baby. Is hard ta thinks n talks tha sames."

The other infants giggled as Kai asked, "Can ... can ya sees? Isa nuff power there?"

Vickie almost asked what it was she was to see, when a full blown in full color real time image appeared in sparkling light. She saw an old woman and and older man. She saw a much younger man there as well. Vickie could tell the room was filled with many very dark and extremely powerful tomes of arcanery.

Vickie replied, "Baby sees ... others. They ... dults inna room. Can almos hear em. They ... makin plans ta attack. Baby no can hears what it is they gonna does ... but they gonna uses a Burundi conjure ta calls it down."

Kai and Kristen suddenly weren't glowing with infantile joy, but instead took on a very serious adult like manner.

Kristen said softly, "I think the power circle of darkness gathers."

Vickie asked in an adorable voice, "Wassat?? No makes no nuffins ta baby."

Kristen hugged Vickie adorably as she cooed softly, "Is because is partta tha Adult Conspiracy, an they tha oldest ones ofa group."

The crowd of babies all went " Ooooooo" at the same time.

Kai stood up. His thick diaper sagging just a bit as he took Vickie by the hand, "Come, we gotsa prepare for what's comins. No sure what it gonna be, but we need you, Miss Vickie, ta be as adorable and baby as you cans wifout crossins over."

Nana Gwen knelt down and said, "I can help too. There are other ways to make littles feel littler. Who wants hugs?" She moved through the crowd hugging and cooing soothingly at everyone she touched, and, all the babies felt a most wonderful wave of infantile contentedness rush through them as she and the other three walked from the playroom toward another room only Kai and Kristen had been seen entering thus far. Nana Gwen looked all around before she entered the door last. A sparkling glow could be see growing brighter around the edges of the door as the 4 of them obviously did something in preparation.

"Vickie gonna be OK?" asked Missy, seeing her friend go with the others.

"She'll be fine," said Ginny. "As for us ... we've got our work cut out for us. Let me tell you something I learned from my teacher ..."


Elizabeth turned off her garage-door opener, so its electric light wouldn't drown out the light of the ritual candles and so no one could accidentally open the door and disrupt their proceedings. "Everyone's here," she said. "Do we have everything?"

"All the supplies are in readiness," said Doc. "It is time to begin." He and four others took their places on symbols painted on the floor, each of them holding bowls of some sort of powder. The flaming brazier on a pedestal at the center smelled of sandalwood.

Each of them stood at a point of a very ornate diagram. Doc started by saying, "Within each find and hold to. For here in we call upon Burundi Power to battle a Doradus conjure." the five began a deep chant ... calling some archane thing. The tone reverberated throughout the room.

Within the very center of the pentagram, the smouldering pot of sandalwood flared like a rocket engine had ignited. This expanded into a sphere, then settled to a sparking yellow-green flaming ball.

The very old woman threw back her hood and said softly, although all heard her plainly, "Welcome to the conjure old friend. We have found where your enemy Doradus has sprang up once again."

Another of the men waved his ornate serpent looking staff, a shimmering place appeared with the goings on outside the place Vickie was with Kai, Nana Gwen,and Kristen, but close enough all could clearly see Missy, and hear what Ginny told of who her teacher was, and what he told her.

It could not be, but this woman dressed as an infant clearly stated she had learned this spell from Doradus' own lips ... this was not going to end well.

The fireball flared brightly and made a loud hissing noises like many many snakes. A very creepy and ethereal voice said in a tone that shook the entire room, "No! It cannot be. I will crush you once and for all. Never shall the ability be transferred if I can stop it." The room became dark to the 5 within as the fireball vanished. Each mage rubbed their eyes as they adjusted to the semi darkness lit only by the flickering light of candles.


"Your teacher was ... what?" asked Missy. "A ghost?"

"A spirit," Ginny said. "I mean, he taught students when he was alive, and they taught students, and so on. But ... his spirit hangs around, between this world and the next, because he wants to make sure the new ones learn things right. He can't make things happen in our world anymore, but he can teach. And here's the most important thing you've gotta learn ..."

Suddenly the room seemed dark to Missy, even though the lights were still on when she looked at the ceiling. "Wh-what's that?" she interrupted.

"Oh," Ginny said. "That's the bad guys, doing something again. Don't worry. We've got a humongous shield, and they're just targeting you and me. Probably don't want me telling you anything. Here, do what I do."

Ginny just looked up into the air, made a circle with her thumb and forefinger, and flicked her finger as one might at an annoying insect. Missy could feel that just before she'd done that, Ginny had tapped into the flux of energy coming from the convention attendees watching cartoons from their childhoods. Missy could feel that flow too. She reached for it, made the same gesture, and just before she flicked her finger, she felt a pulse of annoyance from within herself that these people thought they had the right to intrude on something so private and joyous. It was unfair of them. They were intruding, and they were in the wrong.


In the darkened garage, a gust of wind blew, extinguishing the five candles. The chanting stopped as all but the central five looked at each other in apprehension in the near-total darkness. There was a pause.

Then there was a tremendous low cracking sound, and the ground shook. Shouts came from the assembled group. Someone had a flashlight. "Is everyone all right?"

"Think I ... twisted my ankle ..." said Elizabeth, panting in pain, "but other than that ... I'm OK. Anyone else?"

"Get the lights on," said Agatha, but as she spoke someone turned them on. Everyone gasped when they saw the garage's concrete floor, which had been cracked wide open. The symbols they had elaborately painted on it were splintered into bits.

"Well, it's going to take a while before we can do it again," said Pritchert, "but I'm not giving up."

In the background, Jennie Lunde asked quietly, "What kind of forces are we playing with here?" and Samuel shook his head, wide-eyed.

"I'm not giving up either," said Robert, "but I don't think the answer lies in digging up old rivalries and enmities ..."

What they didn't see was the ball of yellow-green fire that was hovering over the house, as if deciding what to do next. It flew in a circle above the building and then, its decision made, streaked through the air toward its target.


"Ouch," said Ginny, "I felt that."

"Sorry," Missy apologized. "Did I hurt you?"

"No, you didn't hurt me," Ginny said, "but I hope you didn't hurt anyone on the other end of that spell."

"Why? Aren't they bad guys?"

"Well, yes, but we get a big advantage because we're defending. If we attack unprovoked, we risk backlash, and they get the advantage instead. Luckily you weren't exactly unprovoked. I got a flash of some righteous wrath there."

"Well, yeah," said Missy, "it's just not fair that they think they can pick on us. We're not doing anything to them."

"Exactly. I think you just did something pretty advanced, and you never stop surprising me. I think you invoked an element of justice, magnifying what we were doing by a lot."

"And exactly what were we doing?" asked Missy.

Ginny said, "OK, I'd better tell you the big secret before we get interrupted again. It's like this. Some of those magic types do all kinds of spooky rituals with fancy outfits and funny words and crazy scribbles. Candles and incense and darkened rooms and all kinds of junk. They swear oaths and form secret circles and pretend like it's all so impressive. Well, it isn't."

"It isn't impressive?" Missy asked.

"Well, I mean, it can be," said Ginny, "but all those pretentious trappings ... not a single one of them is even remotely necessary. You need an energy source, and the energy has to be guided. That's all."

"That's it?"

"Yup. That's it." Ginny smiled. "The teacher I told you about, Doradus, he sticks around because he doesn't want anyone overcomplicating what he teaches with mumbo jumbo and useless junk. He hates that stuff."

"Gets right down to brass tacks, then," Missy said.

"Exactly. Anyway, so you know how it feels like pure magic when you're feeling all little and your thoughts get all simple and you imagine what it's like to forget how to read and write words and how to walk and how to not just go potty in your diapers an' it get hard ta talk an' abb eegaa -- um sowwy ..."

"Uh huh," Missy said, unable to keep her feet. She sat on the floor. It was possible that she had just wet her diapers, but they were very absorbent and turned wetness into gel anyway. Tingles were going through her. They certainly felt powerful.

"Yeah so I guess I kinda did it to both of us just then," Ginny said. "Umm anyway there is power in it, energy that can be made to do stuff. Kai's good at making it into super useful shapes. So's Kristen. I'm OK at it but mostly I'm good at helping people make the energy. You're super good at that too."

"Hard ta do if you are a baby though," Missy said.

"'Zactly," said Ginny, still recovering. "That's why somebody's gotta be the source and somebody's gotta be the shaper. With lotsa people as the source you get lotsa energy to work with so you can do stronger things, like a shield over a whole building."

Suddenly Kai shouted, "Look out! Something's --"

With that scant warning, there was a flash, and a ball of yellow-green fire appeared in the very middle of the play area. But it was instantly surrounded by a massive sphere of sparkling energy. "ARRRGGHHH!!!" came a loud agonized screech from the orb of fiery lightning.

Beside the orb appeared a faintly glowing white apparition, looking like the form of an old man. In a soft voice he said, "Well, Burundi, my old friend. You do seem to have made a mistake. It does appear to me that it's time to release the inner girl child that you really are."

The orb's voice cried out in seeming pain, "Noooo! Not that! How can your undisciplined followers have this kind of power? How can you, a spirit, direct it? It ... it cannot be!"

The glowing apparition replied, "This is how the flow of power is supposed to be. Unfettered and free. And it is not I who is directing it. I do merely teach."

Standing behind him were both Kai and Kristen, who both gestured in ways that made sense to them. The glowing ball screamed. The changing of Burundi's voice could be plainly heard as, somewhere, he transformed.

"What is happening?" Missy asked Ginny in a whisper. "And why is nobody freaking out?"

"Most of them can't see this," Ginny replied quietly. "It's taking place in a plane above the material. We can see it, hear it, and so on, because we've become attuned to it -- it just happens naturally once you start coming into contact with the energy."

"Still wondering about what's happening."

"Oh -- well apparently the bad guys called upon their master, who's far away, I guess, so he made a sort of remote drone kind of thing that lets him see and hear and communicate. But that goes both ways. He came here and got ensnared in the shield. And you know how Kai made the last shield kind of a mirror thing? Well, this time, Kai and Kristen cooperated to put a different surprise into it -- a bit of a trap, or so I gather."

The howling from the orb had grown high pitched and turned into a child's crying and then a baby's wailing. The orb had shrunk from a ball of fire to a tiny spark. "Yes, I do think that wherever she is, a baby girl will be needing a nursemaid," said the spirit. "He did manage to stay alive all these years, and now ... well, she will live yet another lifetime. But maybe she will grow up wiser. She can't really be any worse."

"Doradus?" Missy asked.

"Ah, you've heard of me," the spirit said, turning toward Missy as the spark dwindled within its containing shell. "I am pleased to meet you."

"I -- likewise," Missy said, curtseying awkwardly, not knowing how to properly do honors to the spirit of a ... dead wizard, she guessed?

"You have a great deal of potential, my child," he said. "My teachings have made their way into some odd corners of the world, it seems, but quite charming ones. In this one my followers do recapture their childhood. It is indeed a delight! And in fact a testament that there is no one true way to mastery. Keep those diapers wet, my child, and do be proud of who you are." He turned to Kai and Kristen. "You have done well, and I do not think you will soon face a mightier opponent, though you may face a craftier one. Farewell, for now ..." The spirit of Doradus faded from view, as had Burundi's vanishing spark.

"You guys are amazing!" shouted Ginny, hugging Kristen and Kai.

"What just happened?" Vickie asked Missy. Missy tried to explain, but it was clear that the magical battle had only been visible to a few.

"So big magic master guy just got turned into a baby girl somewhere in the world and has to grow up again?" Vickie asked. "How are the bad guys gonna do anything to us now? Sounds like we'll have a quiet weekend after this."

"Maybe," Missy said. "I'm not so sure."


"You have ... a pacifier," said Doc Pritchert to Robert. "Why am I meant to be impressed?"

"One, because it is hers, and two, because I did not steal it -- she dropped it," said Robert. "If I had stolen it, using it would be weak magic at best and provoke a backlash at worst. As it is, it has a strong connection to her and can be used to get to her."

"It's all we've got left," said Agatha. "We'll have to do this carefully. We don't want to waste what may be our last chance."

"Indeed," Robert said. "She's still not fully protected. This is our way around that shield of theirs -- a direct connection straight to Missy, who is inside it. We have to strike if we want to stop these people from taking their good feelings from this gathering back to their ordinary lives. Who knows what effect all that positive energy could have out in the world?"

"The human race is far more productive when angry and afraid," Pritchert agreed. "So how will we use this windfall to our best advantage?"


An hour later, Robert sat in his chair and looked at the cute pacifier sitting on the table in front of him. He knew that this belonged to one of the two individuals they had to remove from that horrible gathering. He felt the tingle of apprehension run along his spine as he thought about the strength of the power that had already been wielded and the damage that had already been inflicted.

He reached under the table and retrieved a large box that had iron bands wrapped around it and looked a lot like a small treasure chest with a skull for a locking hasp. He took a golden key with a skull head and red ruby eyes and unlocked it. From there he removed all the necessary items he would need for the calling.

Robert was positive he would be able to remove the owner of the pacifier from the group without their power being able to block the psychic connection between this object and the woman he was going to bring here. With an evil smile, he began to lay out the mystic symbols on the table as he mixed many powders into a small iron kettle that hug over a large candle that was so black it seemed to absorb the light.

Once the crucible had begin to boil, and a nasty red glow had begun to show within, Robert stood and started the chanting of the call. This time, he was going to accomplish his goal, and nothing their magic would do could stop it.


Outside, the others were nervous. Some paced, like Doc Pritchert. "He's going to do this alone?" he said. "What can he do by himself that we couldn't accomplish working as a unit?"

Some affected a facade of calm. Agatha sipped her tea and said, "I think his idea has a good chance of working. Besides, I'm more concerned that we haven't heard from Burundi since the summoning. I can't help worrying that something happened."

Elizabeth was the only one of them who was smoking. "I just hope he doesn't destroy my study," she said. "This has already done a lot of expensive damage to my garage."

Some of the others had gone home, both because of their apprehension at what they had already seen and because of the fact that there wasn't really anything they could do to contribute at this stage. But many had stayed, to assist if needed and to see what would happen.


Inside the study, Robert stirred the crucible. "Nearly ready," he said to himself. Picking up Missy's pacifier with a pair of metal tongs, he waited. Soon tendrils of red vapor began to rise from the vessel. Robert nodded with a smile. "Quod est unum semper simul erunt," he intoned. "You want to be a baby, Missy?" Passing the pacifier through the crimson vapor rising from the crucible three times, he said, "Babies are so helpless in so many ways. Soon you will be helpless before me."


At the convention, Missy was still talking to Ginny about this new world she'd learned about. "But ... don't get me wrong, but sometimes I just want to be little," she said. "Sure, we've all got to work together if we're going to have spaces like this where everyone can have fun, but I should have some fun too, right?"

"Of course you should," Ginny replied, "and that's why it's good that there are more than one of us who can ... are you all right?"

Missy suddenly felt a sudden weakness and unease. The color must have drained from her face. "I ... don't know ..." Suddenly she gasped and croaked, clutching at her stomach. She fell off her chair and writhed on the floor.

"Missy! What's wrong?"

"Don't ... know ... so much ... pain ..." It felt as if there were a knife in her stomach, and at the same time it felt as if it was more than she could do to get off the floor. Her diaper was soaked again, and she'd just been changed.

The rest of the convention guests, including Vickie, had split up to go to various different class sessions, learning about things like making your own nursery furniture, how to improve your relationships, how to exhibit your creations online, and many other topics. So Ginny had no choice but to leave Missy, saying, "I have to get my phone ... or find somebody to help ... I'll be right back, OK?"

"Aaaaaagh ..." Missy sobbed, crying in pain.

And that was when two people dressed as emergency medical technicians entered with a stretcher. By the time Ginny returned with Nana Gwen, Missy was gone.

"Where is she?" Nana Gwen asked. "911 couldn't have gotten someone here that fast!"

"The shield's up," Ginny muttered. "They couldn't have gotten an attack through it ... could they?"


Missy wasn't sure exactly what was happening. The two men that had arrived were dressed in the proper clothing to be EMT's. Missy felt a pinch in her neck and immediately started feeling even more woozy. Her head began to buzz as she lost her remaining body strength and a fog arose within her mind. The last thing Missy remembered before darkness enveloped her was being placed on some kind of hard stretcher.


Vickie had returned to the main play area and started looking for her friend Missy. She saw Nana Gwen and toddled over to her, "Has you seen Missy?"

Nana Gwen turned to Missy and replied, "Something happened to her. She had a severe pain, from what I was told, and RMT arrived to take her to the hospital. Odd thing though ... they got here much too fast."

Vickie gasped. "Ya no thinks it was somun comeded ta nappied Missy?"

Nana Gwen's face showed a major expression of serious concern as she replied, "I'm not sure." She took Vickie by the hand and said as she led her towards the front door, saying, "I think it would behoove us to make sure that isn't the case."

As soon as they stepped outside, Vickie pointed and said, "Lookit!" Nana Gwen followed her finger to a black van where two people in what looked like EMT uniforms had just closed the rear door.

"Quick, my car's right over here!" said Nana Gwen. She led Vickie by the hand to her dark blue minivan, opened the door and as much as stuffed Vickie into a large child seat in back, then jumped into the driver's seat herself. Vickie found that she was completely buckled in, despite the speed with which it had all happened, and soon they were following the black van.

"Call Ginny," Nana Gwen said as she drove, and the car's speakers made telephone ringing noises.

"Gwen? Did you find her?" said Ginny's voice.

"Two people dressed as fake EMTs kidnapped her," said Nana Gwen. "Vickie and I are in my car. We're following them. We're on Glenwood, and we just passed 45th."

"Can you turn on your tracking?"

"Not while I'm driving ... can you follow Vickie? You know ... your way?"

"Maybe ... Vickie, how little are you feeling?"

"Uh ..." said Vickie, "I taked the pills, so, um, can't feel real big for a while ..."

"Oh right," said Ginny, "those have that effect. I hope Gwen has extra diapers."

"What kind of Nana would I be if I didn't?" said Nana Gwen. "Look out, we're turning left onto Brentford."

"Vickie, I'm going to have to ask you to try to stay very calm and focus on feeling little. You're probably in Gwen's car seat, so that helps. Do you have your pacifier?" asked Ginny.

"N-no ..." Vickie replied.

Ginny suggested, "Can you suck your thumb for me? It might help us find Missy. Just suck your thumb and take a deep breath and try to think little thoughts."

"O-okay," said Vickie. She tried to focus on things that made her feel small.

"I'm ... starting to get a feeling for where you are ... oh here's Kristen. She said she can feel your energy like a beacon. Oh, but that means the bad guys probably can too. Well, that can't be helped. When you get near Missy, maybe that will help her. Kai's gonna stay here to watch things with Miss Polly. Kristen and I are gonna come after you, OK?"


Missy mumbled incoherently as the vehicle she was in came to a stop. She could tell they'd gone inside. Some kind of door was closing off the sunlight.

"Get her out, we don't have much time," said a man's voice as the rear doors of the van opened again. She was dragged out on her stretcher, then lifted and carried through a door into a house.

"So you're the one who's caused so much trouble," said a woman's voice. She sounded elderly. "Look, we haven't been properly introduced, but it's not a good time now either. Suffice it to say that we're really trying to help you, and we think you should really consider that the people you were with aren't good people."

Without really thinking about it, Missy said, only half-coherently, "They are very good boys and girls, and you can be good little girls and boys too, all you have to do is let go of all those mean adult thoughts and be happy ..."

"Now now, none of that," said another man's voice. "You're very good at that, and maybe we can teach you how to put that talent to good use, but for now we have to make sure that they can't find you. We can hardly have a nice quiet chat when your friends are out in force, can we? Close the circle."

The people carrying her set Missy down. Her stretcher was on the ground now. She didn't feel like getting up. She reached out with her mind and for just a moment almost thought she could feel Vickie nearby, but then the feeling was cut off like scissors cutting a string. She turned her head and saw some people drawing lines with chalk on the floor near her knees.


"We lost them," Gwen was saying. "But they turned into a neighborhood called Jordan Court. They must be in one of the houses around here."

"If they get her into a warded circle, we won't be able to find her either," said Ginny's voice on the phone, "but once we get there, we might be able to track her to the right house, at least. Hang on, we're almost there."

"Oh!" said Vickie. "Missy there -- no. She gone."

"What did she say?" Ginny asked, and Gwen repeated, driving slowly up and down the streets of a residential neighborhood.

"They might have gotten her warded, then," said Ginny.

"How come we no call the cops?" Vickie asked.

Gwen answered, "They would have no idea how to handle what's going on here, Sweetie."

"Need tha baby cops then," said Vickie, giggling.

"I think that's us," said Ginny on the phone.


"Now, Missy dear," said the man, "my name is Robert, and I'd like to be your friend."

Missy still felt horrible, and dizzy on top of that. "Friends don't drug friends with needles ... or whatever you did before that," she said, still lying on the floor.

"I do apologize for that," Robert said, "but I promise not to do it again if you just listen to us for a little while."

"What'd you do, anyway?"

"Nothing permanent," said Robert. "I just disrupted the threads of your fate -- not much, only a touch. The results are highly disconcerting, of course, but I had to make sure you'd be alone for my friends to find you. Proper circumstances had to be arranged."

Missy could feel herself feeling less ill, but as that feeling went away, a feeling of fear began to replace it. She didn't know where she was, and it looked like there were at least a dozen people in the room with her, to say nothing of who else was in other rooms of the house. But if they planned to kill her, they could easily have done that already. However, and this wasn't a comforting thought, there were other things they could do to her besides kill her.

"What's so important about me anyway?" she asked, trying to put a brave face on it. "I'm just some girl."

"Don't sell yourself short, Missy," said Robert. "You're quite a special girl. You have an ability that is uncommon, with a strength that is quite rare indeed. That's why we went to all this trouble. We don't want to see it wasted."

"What kind of ability could I possibly have?" she asked. "I'm just an overeducated headset jockey."

"The details aren't really important," Robert said. "We just want you to hear our side of the story."

"Oh, here it comes, how you're not really evil, just misunderstood," Missy said. She tried to sit up and found that she could, but the room still felt like it was spinning.

"Evil?" Robert chuckled. "Isn't that kind of extreme? You think maybe we're going to summon the devil or some demons? Sacrifice you to Satan?"

Missy didn't actually know that they weren't going to do any such things. From her point of view it didn't sound implausible at all. She'd just found out that there were such things as magic spells and spirits; demons and devils didn't seem like that much of a stretch. "OK, what do you want with me, then? Or am I free to go?"

"You probably don't want to stand up just yet," said Robert, and he was right. "You've been with a number of people who share an unusual predilection, but we're not here to judge you or them. Not about that, anyway. There's nothing wrong with wanting to recapture youth. People have been trying to do that since the dawn of the human race. Chasing after that goal can be very motivating -- assuming that you don't actually reach it."

"What's wrong with reaching a goal?" Missy asked.

As if he hadn't heard, Robert continued, "People strive for happiness in many ways -- some through religion, some through art, some through sex, some through drugs, food, or consumer goods. But if anyone ever finds it, they stop. They stop striving, they stop pushing the envelope, they stop innovating. Don't you see? The true pleasure is in the journey, not the destination."

"You're saying that if everyone were happy, it would be the end of the world," Missy said.

"More or less," Robert said. "Discipline is the key. What would happen if there were a country where everyone was happy? That country would cease to strive, to learn, to innovate, to improve. Their neighbors would conquer them easily in war."

"And you think ... that by ruining the weekend of a bunch of adult babies you can save America."

"Not just that," Robert said. "We are actually quite successful at what we do, and we and our ancestors have been for millennia. When people try and fail and think, 'Life's just like that,' that's our doing. We know when others are approaching success in their struggle for happiness -- especially in large numbers -- and we must act, or they might reach it."

"You're crazy." Missy tried to get up, but the room reeled around her, and she sat back down. Her diaper was damp. She would have to get out of here soon.

"No, we're quite sane. The great mass of humanity must lead lives of quiet desperation, you see, and go to their graves with their songs still within them. For if everyone were free to sing their songs, as it were, the desperate spark would go out. Decadence and self-indulgence would rule, and the long struggle of humanity toward greater things would come to an end."

Missy still thought this was insane. She noticed that most of the people in the room were looking at Robert, though, not at her. Perhaps she couldn't stand up, but ... she reached out toward the nearest part of the complicated chalk tracery on the floor around her and rubbed part of it away.

One of the women in the room said to Robert, "That's not how the Thoreau quote goes."

"It ... what?" Robert asked.

"He didn't write the part about going to the grave with your song still inside you," she said. "It's a common misquotation."

"Well ... thank you, Ms. Lunde, but the point is that we are upholding the order of civilization," said Robert.

"And you can't just let a bunch of adult babies have a fun weekend," Missy said.

"It's not about your group specifically," Robert said. "There was a celebration of sensuality in San Francisco last weekend that had to end with many hangovers and more than one new infection. Religious groups everywhere must be convinced that people who don't share their beliefs are a direct threat to them. The wealthy must be convinced that their money isn't enough and they need more. The poor must be prevented from being able to survive on what they have. Those in between must believe that they are in competition with others. There are people everywhere on the verge of attaining their life's ambitions who must be frustrated, or they'll grow complacent and stop striving."

"Yeah, and I heard that there's an island in the Pacific where the men keep the women under control by raping them, and they control the government, so there's no stopping them," said Missy. "I suppose that's your doing too?"

"Well, err ..."

"Seriously? How many of you are there?" Missy was scared, but also outraged. "How come you get to decide these things for other people? You're taking people's choices away from them! What is wrong with you? Have you no shame?"

Suddenly Missy could feel that there was in fact a spark of shame in a few of them. She didn't like the feeling, but she thought that perhaps she could work with it the way she could work with regression. If she could fan that spark into a bonfire ...

"Do you actually even know that you're right?" she went on. "You and your predecessors have been ruining people's lives for centuries, you claim, and why? Because some philosopher, I suppose, came up with some kind of theory? What if everyone whose lives you've ruined knew what you've been doing and why? Do you suppose they'd be pleased with your destroying their dreams of happiness, just because somebody had an idea that suffering was better? You have no right. And you know it, don't you?" She looked around and saw dumbstruck looks on all their faces. "You know that you have no right to do any of this, and yet you go ahead and do it anyway. Some of you are younger and think the older ones know better. How do you know that? Some of you have just been doing this for so long that you know that whatever punishment awaits you beyond the grave can't get any worse, so you just keep on going. But none of you really believe you're doing the right thing, do you, not down at the core. You think you're using your talents and abilities to do some good in the world, don't you? You've learned how to do amazing things, but you can't so much as light up the face of a child at her birthday party. I see it now -- you don't have to pay attention to every misfortune you cause. You just sort of adjust the aura of the world, turn the dial a few notches toward bad, and the misery just takes care of itself. I'm right, aren't I? You and your whole order -- you've somehow convinced yourselves that you're ..."

She suddenly stopped. An old man with a piece of chalk in his hand had reached down and with one quick stroke redrawn the segment of the pattern that she'd erased, and suddenly her grip on them was gone. "Well done, my dear," he said, "but not good enough. If you'd worked more quickly, you might have had us all slitting our wrists, or at least running away screaming in despair. We can teach you to hone your skill, if you'll let us -- but I can tell that you have no intention of letting us. That merely means that it will take longer to convince you. But it will be worth it. An invoker like you only comes along once in a generation."

Missy gulped. That may have been her last chance to save herself. But there was at least one thing this old man didn't know: she probably could have had them, but she hadn't been trying to work quickly. Quite the opposite, she'd been trying to buy time, because for a moment she'd felt Vickie, and nearby too. The others were looking for her. And what was more ... she caught a few glimpses of sympathy in the faces of some of the people in the room. Some of them were feeling worse about what they were doing than they had just a few minutes ago.


Gwen and Vickie met up with Ginny when she had arrived with Kristen and Kai. As they all gathered around Vickie, Kai's face took on a strange expression as they faced one house in particular. "What is it, Kai?" asked Kristen.

"Well ... if this isn't the place, I'm a mundane," said Kai. "It's like they're somehow trying to hide it, but ... all you have to do is look, and all around it are some sort of strange emanations." Ginny and Kristen looked too, and agreed that he was right. None of them had ever encountered this type of spell before. Gwen walked to the gate and touched it with her hand. She jerked her hand back with a small yelp of surprise.

Kai gasped, "Nana ... are ... you all right?"

Gwen replied as she rubbed her hand, "I'm okay. I hadn't counted on them having some kind of spell on their perimeter. Should have guessed, since you guys basically did the same thing with our shield."

Ginny turned and looked over the large two-story home. It was now obvious something was going on around the perimeter; they all could sense the glow when they looked at it in that certain way. Ginny slowly made several graceful motions with her hands while chanting some sort of regression mantra over and over. Vickie felt it as the power being generated gathered within her.

Kai made a humming sound and gestured too, staring at the house's front door. All of a sudden, something that looked like an electrical arc appeared and expanded into a tunnel leading through some sort of force up to the door.

Gwen said softly as she took the lead, "Follow slowly after."

Kristen said, "Are you sure? I'm not sure exactly what kind of force this is. I have not ever encountered anything like it."

"Me either," said Gwen, "but I do know that my baby Missy is in there, and I'm going to get her out."

In the air, hovering about 10 feet off the ground and surrounded by a massive field of energy, four individuals appeared. They spread out enough so that they covered the entrance well with the balls of electrical fire they started to toss at the small group.

Kai and Kristen raised their hands. They were about to do something with their energy that none of them had attempted before. A huge sizzling arc leapt from Kai and Kristen and impacted on one of the flying individuals. The resulting pyrotechnics destroyed the energy surrounding all four of them, and he dropped to the ground like a stone. He groaned a bit, then stood shakily for an instant before the force once again surrounded him.

Unfortunately for him, Ginny had noticed what had happened and redirected more of the same energy back towards him. Vickie had reached the exact line between infant, and yet still adult. The arcane energies being tossed didn't really matter; Vickie's ability gathered it like a battery on maximum recharge, mixed it well, then made it available to the others for use. The one on the ground got hit again, and this time Gwen was ready, kicking him hard in the face in a display of some gymnastic martial art. Knocked back into the others, a massive explosion that looked like lightning and fire left him lying in a smoldering heap as he groaned in pain.

Kai said excitedly as they deflected one of the energy balls, "Nana, teach us how to do that."

Nana Gwen flowed back to a ready position and replied, "Like this, Sweetheart -- just wait for the opportunity, and when it comes, don't hold back."

Another huge fiery ball lashed out and impacted in a spectacular showing of pyrotechnics. This time, the opponent took a massive magical hit. The energy surrounding him dimmed considerably. He managed to dodge the next assault, but he got hit by splash damage, and his aura failed. Gwen again took the opportunity, punching him physically. He too dropped to the ground for an instant before partially recovering. The other two began targeting Gwen and Ginny. The resultant impacts knocked them back and off their feet as the exchange continued.

Gwen rolled with the fall and saw Vickie. "Are you OK, Sweetheart?" she said, getting up and putting her arms around the girl. "These guys can't stop us. We're just gonna go in and get Missy and then we'll all go back to having a party with all the other babies, OK? I've got you. You're safe."

Vickie had closed her eyes and was smiling and sucking her thumb. "Ooo that is working!" said Kristen. "I can feel it! The energy!"

Kai said quietly, "Kristen ... I think there's enough to break their shield. Just wait for their next attack, then hit it real good."

The opponents looked at each other apprehensively but threw more of their crackling fireballs. Unlike before, these didn't even make it across the space between them and Kristen, who had taken a step forward. They faded as the aura around Vickie grew still brighter. And then Kristen and Kai raised their hands in unison, palms forward, and beams of searing purple-white light leapt forth, smashing through the dark aura and sending the two defenders into unconsciousness.

"No ..." said the one remaining conscious opponent, unable to get up.

"We invoke righteous retribution," said Ginny, walking past him. "You kidnapped one of ours. You can't stop us getting her back." Gwen kicked him in the face, and he crumpled to the ground.

"That wasn't nice," Kristen said.

"What? We can't have them attacking us from behind."

"It's a little different because it's not magic," said Kai.

"Ding dong," said Ginny, ringing the doorbell.

"Really?" asked Gwen, leading Vickie by the hand. "You think they're just going to let us in?"

"We have to give them the chance," Ginny said. "Not only is it the right thing to do, it makes us even stronger if they refuse."


"Now, it is time to take you somewhere your friends will never find you," said Robert to Missy. "Are we ready?" The faces around the magic circle that cut Missy off from her friends ran the range from resolute to deeply troubled.

"I'm not going anywhere," Missy said.

"My dear, it's simply not up to you," said the old man. "Now. Begin the chant. Open the portal."

A few of them started chanting, but others said, "No. I can't. We're in the wrong here."

And another one asked, "Was that the doorbell?" just before there was a huge crash from the front of the house.

Missy didn't bother to look; she knew who it was. She took the opportunity to wipe out more of the chalk lines, and before anyone could stop her or push her back, she felt the energy flowing into her.

Missy realized what she was now. She was an invoker: a beginner of rituals, an opener of the way. She had a talent at raising power that others could use, in her case emotional power. But she realized that there was more to it. She could also use power to raise even more. But this time, rather than having to scavenge what she could from what was around, she played to her strength. In that instant, she grabbed hold of every mage's adult mind and swiftly put it to sleep.

"You're all just so tired, aren't you?" she asked rhetorically. "Always so worried about your mission, never getting a chance to just relax and let go, not even for just a little while. You don't need to do that. All you need is to step back, take a deep breath, and rest." All around her, the mages were struggling, but some were already falling to their knees, their eyes fluttering shut, crumpling to the floor. "Just take another step back. And another. Back, and back. A year back. Two years back. Ten. Twenty. More. All the way back. Yes. Back to a time when you had no worries. Your mom or dad took care of all of that. Back farther. Back to the infancy you had, or the infancy you wanted, whichever you prefer. It can be yours. Just let go. You're safe. You're OK. You're getting younger and younger with each breath, and you don't want to be an adult ever again, do you? No, here you can just let go and not worry about anything. You don't even have to worry about the bathroom. There's no shame in wetting yourself. All babies do it, and you're a baby, aren't you? You're so little now, you can't begin to remember how to keep from wetting, or how to walk, or how to speak in words, or what you're even doing here ..." No one was standing, and some of the acolytes had puddles around them on the floor where they lay sucking their thumbs.

"Missy!" said Gwen, charging down the hallway. "Are you all right? Are you ... ooh ... I feels funny ..."

"Oops!" said Missy, excluding Gwen from the spell before her legs got too wobbly and she collapsed. "You guys! You found me! You rock!"

"What happened?" asked Ginny, and Missy explained as quickly as she could. Ginny recounted their fight at the front door, which no longer seemed to exist.

"Suddenly there was a huge crash, so I wiped out part of the circle again, and then there was this huge flow of energy, so I used it ..."

"Yeah, that's Vickie," said Gwen. "She's a very very little girl right now, aren't you, Sweetheart? But it's OK. You're safe with Nana. And Missy's OK now, see?" Vickie wordlessly hugged Missy, who hugged back happily.

"What about them?" asked Kristen.

"They made their own bed," said Ginny. "They can lie in it."

"But ..." said Vickie, "They just babies ..."

Staring at her for a moment, Missy said, "Welllll ... there is one thing we can do ..." Turning to the mumbling, crawling cultists on the floor, she asked, "Do you wanna go play with the other babies? Do you? Hmm?" Some of them smiled and nodded, babbling happily, while others just started to cry.

"Guess it's time for me to change some diapers," said Gwen. Soon, nearly exhausting her diaper supply, she had all the mages who wanted to go with them well diapered up and ready to go -- about half a dozen new babies for the party. The ones who were unhappy about being babies wouldn't have enjoyed the convention anyway, so they were left there for Missy's spell to wear off in a few hours.

"Their recollection of the past few days will probably be a bit fuzzy," said Ginny as they drove back. "You took them way beyond the point of rational thought. Far into the realm where instinct takes over and even memory is formed differently. They might eventually piece together what happened, but they'll never remember it completely. The ones who went with us are no exception, but they'll probably have more positive feelings about it."

"Me Vickee," said Vickie to one of the regressed mages. "Wha's yo name?"

"Me Dzennie," said Jennie Lunde. "Izza mawa ta pway wee ba-ba yoo."

"Me Lizzie," Elizabeth said.

"Me ... Wicky," said another one. They were babbling, mostly, with a few occasional real words. Kai had shown Kristen how to conjure them temporary clothes so they wouldn't attract as much attention. Once they were back at the convention, they could conjure them real clothes with the huge amount of energy available, especially now that the strange dark circle of mages seemed to be disrupted beyond easy repair.


Nana thought the new additions would make such an adorable display. She insured all the newest babies were secure in the seats and strapped in before she drove them all back to the Hotel and the convention. Once they got there, Nana Gwen made sure to keep them all thickly diapered, Ginny and Missy made sure to keep them all well regressed, and Kai and Kristen made sure they were dressed in the cutest lacy outfits any baby girl could ever want. Vickie took many pictures of the mages who were now babies and posted them to the popular website Headleaf ... and for some strange reason they all went viral. The many mages that had been defeated were now the stars of Headleaf's Adult Baby section.

Nana also made sure that enlarged copies of the adorable little girls were hung in very conspicuous places all around the convention center. All who knew the mages now realized the power they were fighting against far exceeded theirs. Those were the most powerful among them, so if they couldn't do it ... which of the rest even imagined they might?

As one of the older adult babies, one of the people who had helped start all of this by encouraging others to be themselves, began reading a beloved storybook to the group, Vickie whispered to Missy, "I thoughted I was never gonna see you again!"

"I thoughted I was never gonna see you again neither!" Missy whispered back. "And after only just meeting you for real!" They hugged and sniffled.

"Do you think the bad guys are gonna be back?" Vickie whispered.

"Nope," said Missy. "They say there is more of them out there ... but after we whomped 'em bad, they gonna find somebody else to mess with."

"Good," whispered Vickie. "Now maybe you can finally relax and be a baby like me!"

"I hope so!" Missy whispered. They settled back to enjoy the story.
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