The Panda's Ashes (Finally, Chapter 40 up 1/13)

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 30 up 3/13)

That was a typo, not a continuity error, but thanks for pointing it out…

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 30 up 3/13)

Sorry this one took so long. It feels good to be over this annoying little hump.


It was strange, almost surreal, pulling up that long driveway. The house, settled on a high hill, was a perfect representation of a Louisiana plantation home like I’d seen in history books, though this one was a single story and very spread out. It was shaded by several large trees in the front yard, which stood in stark contrast to the perfect green slopes of the lawn which spread out all the way to the neat rows of tall shrubs at what I assumed were the edges of the property. There was ample evidence that children lived here; a rope swing hung from one of the trees, under which sat a sandbox with a few toys littered about, and a tricycle lay on its side a few yards away.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” Elise said as she shifted the truck into park. “Marianne really made herself a home away from home here. Hey, you need a change before we go in?”

“No, I’m good,” I replied.

She crawled into the back and gathered my bag while I unbuckled my seatbelt. “Hey, I know you think Marianne is a complete lunatic, but she really does have a good heart. There’s no doubt she loves those kids in there. She just doesn’t realize that what she’s doing to try and fix a lot of the problems is just creating more of them.”

“Yeah, but it’s like she has no discretion whatsoever! I mean, whether I have a leaking problem or not, did she really need to announce it to everyone in the building the other day?”

“She was raised in the sticks, sweetie. From the stories she’s told me, her mother was just as boisterous and tactless as she is. But it’s not mean-spirited. She literally doesn’t know any better.”

“Ugh,” I grunted.

“Besides, she’s going to be occupied giving me the walking tour, remember? You know, the one where she shows me all the stuff she bought from me as if I’d never seen it before?” She laughed as she picked me up and stepped back out of the truck. “Now don’t forget,” she admonished, “you wanted to do this, you need to play the role. Think ‘preschooler’, not ‘college graduate’.”

“Yeah, I know. Play dumb. Act silly. I got it.”

We walked up to the front door, and Elise rang the bell. I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised at all to hear it ring out “Dixie”, but instead I heard a relatively modest “ding-dong”.

The door opened and a slightly chubby girl who looked to be in her early teens answered. “Hi Elise! Come on in!” I noticed a slight twang to her voice, but nothing anywhere near as pronounced as Marianne’s huge drawl.

“Hi Mae! I gotta go back and get her chair,” Elise replied.

“Oh hey, this must be Naomi!” the teen chirped with a huge smile. “I’ve heard so much about you, cutie! Where is it, Elise? I’ll grab it for her.”

I blushed a bit, but said nothing. Elise turned and hit a button on her keyfob, and the back hatch opened. It’s right there in the hatch, Mae. Thanks a bunch!"

“No problem! Go ahead to the playroom, Mom and Belle are already in there!”

We went through a huge, very formal looking foyer where several pairs of shoes lay next to a large mat just inside the door. Elise kicked hers off and removed my sandals and pushed them into the row with her feet as best as she could, then turned and pushed through a swinging door on the left. Marianne was lounging on a large overstuffed faux leather couch, while Annabelle was sitting in the middle of the floor scribbling away in a coloring book. Toys were strewn haphazardly around the room, and an entertainment center in the corner housed a TV upon which a badly drawn cartoon girl was yapping something about her “backpack” as though life itself depended on it.

We exchanged greetings, which featured Annabelle bouncing up and down directly in front of Elise excitedly asking me to color with her. Under her flopping little skirt, I noticed that she was wearing panties again, and apparently so did Elise.

“So we’re having a good day, I see!” she laughed.

Marianne got up and snagged the tyke up into her arms. “Yes we are!” she gushed, pinching Annabelle’s cheek. “She was so good for Louisa Mae this mornin’, and if she keeps it up, we’re headin’ to the Waterbar for dinner and see the fishies, right?”

Annabelle nodded furiously. “Are you gonna come see the fishies with us?” she asked.

Elise and I stared at each other, fumbling for a moment, when Louisa Mae burst through the door with my wheelchair. “Okay,” she huffed, clearly laboring, “This thing is heavier than it looks! Where do you want it, Elise?”

“Oh goodness, just put it against the wall out of the way! Thank you again!” Elise replied with a chuckle. “You know, you can just roll it, Mae!”

“Sure, up the front stairs and everything!” Mae replied, rolling her eyes as she parked it next to the entertainment center. “Okay, Mom, I’m heading over to Vanessa’s now!” she added, making a move toward the door.

“Be home before dark, you hear?” Marianne replied.

“I will,” Mae said, a hint of annoyance in her voice. “Bye!”

I took a more detailed look around the room as the front door opened and closed, and my eyes locked on a glass-front cabinet just off to the side of the sofa, containing a single item. I gasped as I looked it over; it was a very large, ornate looking dollhouse. It was every bit of three full stories plus a couple of turrets at the top.

“Oh my, someone spotted something,” Elise teased.

“Indeed she did!” Marianne agreed, laughing. “Annabelle, would you like to show your friend your special dollhouse?”

“Oh, Mama, can I?” she cried.

“Yes, but we need to be very, very careful with it, remember?” Marianne turned to us. “Is she okay to sit on the floor for a while?”

“I don’t see why not,” Elise replied.

“Alright, then. Annabelle, why don’t you pick your toys up so we’ll have room, okay? Elise, go ahead and get her situated while I get this monster out of the cabinet.”

Elise gently set me on the floor with an audible rustle, but I was far too fixated on what I was seeing to care about being embarrassed. Annabelle scrambled to gather her crayons and coloring book and put them in a drawer next to the toy chest, while Marianne managed the dollhouse out of its cabinet with some effort. The thing stood from her waist nearly to her chin, and it was clearly quite heavy. Elise rushed over and took one side of the monstrosity while Annabelle tossed the last of her toys into the chest and plunked down next to me excitedly. The women sat it gently in front of us, and Marianne flipped an ancient-looking brass latch on the side and opened it up.

“Annabelle, tell Naomi where this came from,” Marianne prodded, standing up.

Annabelle took a huge, exaggerated breath. “My great-Paw-Paw made it for my Mee-Maw when she was little like me!”

“That’s right!” Marianne cooed. “But he had some help, too, right?”

“Uh-huh! Great-Paw-Paw made the house, but Mee-Maw and Paw-Paw made the chairs and tables and stuff for Mama when she was little!”

“Very good! And what did Mama do before she gave it to you?”

“Mama painted all the little plates and cups and stuff, and sewed the curtains and blankets and everything, and she got the dolls for us to play with too!”

I heard the exchange, but I was entirely too enchanted to pay it much mind. The details in this huge house were amazing, from the delicately scalloped individual shingles on the roof to the scroll work on the handrails that abutted the staircases. I almost didn’t dare touch it, it looked so very fragile.

I was vaguely aware of footfalls and laughter leaving the room as I leaned in closer, finally shifting my legs and flopping over on my stomach to investigate all the intricacies. Annabelle of course gave her preschooler version of a guided tour, pointing out things like the “piano that really played”, which in fact was a little music box that started when the keyboard was pressed, and the dumbwaiter that moved up and down between the kitchen and the rooms above it. It seemed as though no detail had been missed; from tiny portraits on the walls to functional drawers on the dressers and armoires in the various bedrooms.

Somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind I felt a twinge of jealousy, that this toddler should have such a glorious plaything. My mother wouldn’t even let me have one of the chintzy plastic dollhouses they sold at the big box toy stores; she insisted that every diversion I laid hands upon have some sort of tangible educational value, whether it be robots that asked trivia questions or games fraught with math and reading drills. I suppose my genetic problems precluded her from what would no doubt have been compulsory dance and music lessons; all those surgeries kept me from being particularly mobile, and my stubby little fingers couldn’t possibly manage a piano keyboard or the rings on a clarinet. I doubted Marianne had any plans for such things with Annabelle; she seemed far too determined to baby the kid as much as possible.

My bladder shook me out of that train of thought, and for some reason I decided this was a moment when I had to at least try to get to a bathroom. I formulated a crude plan to get myself back into the wheelchair which Louisa Mae had thankfully expanded when she brought it in, the seat back abutting the wall where I’d have a fighting chance at climbing into it without it rolling away on me. Remembering the last time we’d been successful at getting me to the toilet, I was as gentle and deliberate with my movements as possible, rolling myself back to a sitting position and primarily using my arms to inch myself back toward the chair. Annabelle looked at me quizzically and said, “Whatcha doin’, Nawmi?”

“I have to go to the bathroom, Annabelle. I need to get back to my chair.” At my current pace, the back wall seemed an impossible distance away, but I was determined.

“When Mama puts me in diapers, she says I don’t get to go potty like a big girl cause I peed my pants,” she announced.

Wow, no wonder the kid has so many accidents, I thought. “Well, my mama knows this isn’t my fault, so she lets me at least try.”

That seemed to completely baffle her, and she returned her attention to the dollhouse while I continued my arduous journey sliding backwards on my bottom toward the chair. At long last I finally bumped into the front wheels. This was the moment of truth; could I manage on one leg to drag myself up into the chair? I reached up and grabbed hold of the arms, then made my move, bending my right leg and pushing myself up. The good news was, I managed to land in the seat. The bad news was, the effort broke my concentration enough to lose control of my bladder. I groaned in frustration; I should have just stayed put on the floor and not even bothered! Well, I was already in the chair, I figured I might as well go find Elise and get a change. I wheeled myself through the door the two women exited earlier and headed toward the sounds of their voices somewhere deeper in the house.


Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 31 up 4/3)


I sat and stewed over this for a while, and I’ve come back with a revised version of this chapter that I find much more satisfying, even if it still leaves a lot of things dangling…

It didn’t take long to follow Marianne’s boisterous tone through the small maze of hallways, but just as I came upon the mostly closed door of the bedroom from which she was chattering, I heard Elise say something that gave me pause.

“It’s only a temporary situation, Marianne. Don’t get too excited about it.”

“What, you mean you’re not going to try and adopt her?” Marianne asked.

“Don’t you think a week is a little early for that? I mean, she really has a lot of issues.”

I cringed. Wow, she really does think I’m a nut case…

“Oh, stop it! What’d you think, you were gonna find some perfectly well-adjusted child to adopt? If they’re goin’ into foster care, it means someone screwed them up pretty good before they got there! Besides, ain’t you the one with the fancy psychology degree?”

“It’s not just that, Marianne. I mean, you’ve seen the problems I’ve had with her conflicting with my work schedule. Maybe I’m not as ready to be a mom as I thought I was.”

I’m an inconvenience. A burden. A hassle.

“For heaven’s sake, Elise! You need to get her into daycare! You’ll drive both y’all crazy keepin’ her at work all the time!”

“I don’t know that she’d do very well in that environment. She’s so emotionally volatile, I’m not sure she could handle being around that many other kids.”

I shuddered. Volatile? As I considered the sequence of events that led me into this situation with Elise, I had to concede that one too. Either way, I’d heard enough, or at least I was afraid to hear more. I rolled closer to the door and knocked, doing my best to act like I hadn’t just heard any of that conversation.

“That’s gotta be Naomi. Annabelle would have just busted in,” Marianne chuckled. “Come in, sugar!”

I pushed the door open. The two were sitting on an enormous four-poster bed in a room that nearly looked like a life-sized replica of one of the bedrooms in Annabelle’s dollhouse, with ornately carved furniture, elaborate artwork, and delicate lace curtains all around.

“What do you need, sweetie?” Elise asked. “And how did you manage to get back in your chair by yourself?”

“Um…” I replied sheepishly, suddenly very self-conscious of the request I had to make. “I had to go to the bathroom but… uh…”

“Aw, you poor thing. Well at least you tried!” Marianne chirped. “Take her on into Annabelle’s room. I’ll go get her bag. Oh never mind, you brought it with you! What a smart one you are!” I hadn’t even realized the knapsack was dangling from the back of the chair when I got into it.

Elise wheeled me out and down another hallway, while Marianne excused herself to go “check on Annabelle”. I was silent, dumbstruck even, as I struggled to process the previous conversation. I wanted to be angry, to rage at Elise, whether it looked like a tantrum or not, but everything she said was the truth, and it weighed on me like an anchor.

“Were you having fun with Belle?” she asked as she opened a door at the end of the hall.

“Yeah,” I said, devoid of conviction.

We entered a room painted in a very soft pastel pink, with a small canopy bed in the center of the opposite wall adorned with a bevy of stuffed animals of various shapes and sizes. There was a tall white dresser with very ornately carved legs and scrollwork which coordinated perfectly with the French doors next to it, also white, appearing to lead to the clothing closet. Elise hoisted me out of the wheelchair and laid me upon a matching changing table, complete with wooden safety rails on either side. She changed me as usual, but I found no comfort in the process.

“Something wrong?” she asked, a concerned look on her face.

“No. Just tired. I think I’d like to go home.”

“Well, okay. Guessing dinner on the wharf is out, then?” she prodded.

“Yeah. I don’t feel much like eating.”

“Alright, then. We can go now, I guess.” She didn’t seem all that convinced. “Are you sure there’s nothing wrong?”

“Please, Elise,” I said quietly, “not here.”

“Oh… okay then,” she replied, clearly looking even more worried than before. She settled me back into the chair and we wound our way back around to the playroom, where Annabelle had found her way back into her coloring book and Marianne was putting the dollhouse away.

Elise announced “Hey, everyone, I hate to break up the party, but she’s not feeling well, so I’m going to get her home and into bed, okay?”

“Aw, what’s wrong, sugar?” Marianne cooed. “You got a tummy ache?”

“Her leg is bothering her again is all.” Elise was getting pretty good at inventing cover stories. “I’m gonna get some pain medicine in her and let her rest for a while.” I did my best to muster a pained expression.

Annabelle was crestfallen. “Can Nawmi come back after she takes her medicine?” she asked hopefully.

“No, sweetie, the medicine she has to take will make her very sleepy,” Elise replied gently.

“Awwww,” she whined. “Can she come back tomorrow?”

I was ready to give up the ruse, I felt so bad for the kid, but Marianne stepped in. “Now Annabelle, don’t pester. Naomi’ll be back to play with you some other time, when she’s feelin’ better.”

Annabelle turned her attention to me. “Promise?” she asked, a pained little pout on her face.

“Yeah, I promise,” I offered weakly. “I hope I’m not still stuck in this dumb old wheelchair with my leg hurting all the time.” I didn’t have to work at making THAT sound pouty.

She smiled broadly and wrapped her little arms around me as best as she could. “You’re my bee-eff-eff!” she shouted. I couldn’t help but chuckle, as did Elise and Marianne.

“Really?” Elise asked.

“Yeah, you can guess where she picked that up,” Marianne laughed, rolling her eyes. “The copycattin’s adorable, 'til she starts with the tweenie 'tude.”

“I can imagine,” Elise agreed. “Well, let me get this one home and sorted out. Bye Annabelle!”

“Bye 'Lise! Bye Nawmi!” Annabelle said, waving as we moved toward the playroom door.

“Bye Annabelle.” I waved back, smiling in spite of myself. The kid was friggin’ adorable, seriously.

Marianne walked us out to the foyer and opened the front door. “Think about what I said, Elise. It’d be a lot easier on both y’all, y’know?”

“I will. See you at the shop, I’m sure.”

“Prob’ly not 'til Wednesday, sweetie. I’m drowning in appointments Monday and Tuesday!”

“Well, Wednesday then. Bye!”

“Bye Elise. And bye cutie! Hope you feel better!” She reached down and gently patted my shoulder as Elise rolled me past her and out into the driveway.

Once we were loaded up into the truck and on the road, Elise spoke up. “So what really happened?”

“Nothing.” I said flatly. “I just needed to get out of there.”

“Playing with Annabelle get boring?”

“No, the kid’s sweet, and that dollhouse was amazing. I just needed to get out of there, that’s all.” I was doing my best to keep my tone even.

“So what did you not want to talk about in there?” She obviously wasn’t letting me off that easily.

“It’s no big deal, really. I just need to sort some things out in my head.” That was the truth, really.

“And you couldn’t tell me that in there?” Her tone indicated she still wasn’t buying it.

“Right, I tell you that right when Marianne walks into the room. And you get to explain why a six-year-old is even aware of the need to ‘sort things out in my head’. How’s that work?”

“Okay, I get it. Want to talk about what needs sorting?” she asked.

“No, not really.”

That seemed to be enough, because she was silent the rest of the way home. I decided at that moment that I had to get back on my feet as soon as possible, no matter what it took. Playing house with Elise was all well and good, but I was getting too attached and too comfortable, and that wasn’t going to get me a job or my school loans paid or a whole lot of other things that I’d been willing out of my mind since the wreck. I had to start dealing with my own problems, instead of pawning them off on everyone else around me, whether they’d volunteered to help or not.


Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 32 revised 4/14)


Elise made a few more attempts at prying into my head when we got home, but I managed to fend them off through dinner, then spent the evening in my bedroom with my laptop, mostly searching job sites to see what, if anything, was out there. It was encouraging to see a few postings scattered around, some with pretty decent wages, and I would have concocted a resume right then, were it not for the dismal realization that showing up to an interview in a leg brace and wearing diapers probably wouldn’t make a great first impression at an interview for a high-profile advertising firm. Or a low-profile one, for that matter. She cornered me one more time late that night as she was changing me before bed.

“Listen,” she said as she gently pulled my skirt down, “I know you said there’s nothing to talk about, but something’s bothering you, and I’m concerned is all.”

“There’s nothing to be concerned about, Elise!” I huffed. “I told you, I just have to sort some things out. I’m not mad at you or anyone else, although bugging me about it every time you come up here is starting to piss me off!”

She took on a hurt expression. “I’m sorry. I won’t ask again.”

“Look, I appreciate you trying to look out for me,” I said, trying to smooth her back out. “You’ve already done so much for me, and even if I still don’t really get why, I’m grateful.” I stopped short, unwilling to let the conversation steer back toward what had been consuming my mind the entire evening.

“It’s okay, really,” she said softly, taping up the dry diaper, then helping me pull my nightie on. “Sometimes I forget that you’re an adult, and you have the right to keep things to yourself if you so choose. I won’t push anymore. Just know that I’m here if you want to talk.”

“I know, Elise. Thank you.”

We hugged, and she covered me up before replacing my laptop on its perch across my legs. “Sure, Naomi. Good night.” She departed with a flip of the overhead light, and I was left to ruminate under the dim glow of the Disney lamp beside me. It dawned on me, as I sat there in silence, that it almost seemed as though the “little” side of me had disappeared completely ever since I overheard Elise’s comments to Marianne. I felt empty, not having that background emotional feedback going on for the first time in nearly a week, and that void pervaded my thoughts as I searched for increasingly elusive sleep.

Morning came abruptly, that lamp still lit but overwhelmed by the sunlight pouring into the window. My laptop screen was dark, my thighs clammy from its heat permeating the blanket beneath. Above my thighs was another sort of clammy feeling, one that generated a great deal more frustration. It was that feeling, coupled with the intense desire to be rid of it, that overrode my desire to go back to sleep after such a restless night. The doc had given me clearance to start on crutches today, and I was fiercely determined to get started as soon as humanly possible. Unfortunately, that also meant waiting for Elise to swap the splint for the hinged knee brace which, considering it was barely six in the morning, probably wasn’t going to happen any time in the near future. So, in frustration, I waited, distracting myself with online games.

What seemed an eternity later, the door finally opened, and Elise’s cheery face popped in. “Good morning! You’re up early, I see!” She walked into the room and headed immediately toward the dresser to retrieve my changing supplies.

“Thank god!” I replied with a huff. “I think the only thing more gross than peeing on myself uncontrollably is having to sit in it for an hour and a half waiting for someone else to do something about it.”

“Okay, okay, I’m here, we can get you changed!” she replied with a chuckle. “No need to be a grouch first thing in the morning!”

“I’m not,” I sighed. “I didn’t sleep very well, and I woke up early, and I’m so ready to get that brace on and be up on my feet again, even if it is on crutches. At least then I won’t be completely helpless.” I set the laptop aside as she sat down and pulled back my coverlet.

“That’s right, the doc did say Sunday, didn’t he?” she replied. “As soon as I finish, I’ll go downstairs and get your brace for you.”

I wanted to relax while she performed the ritual, but I was far too focused on getting mobile to enjoy any of it. She finished, then departed the room, returning a few minutes later with the brace, the crutches, and a stack of paper. “Says here we need to start it off with a very tight range on this hinge until you get reacquainted with bearing weight on that leg.” She fiddled with the dial on one side of the brace while I hummed and hawed. Finally, she had it locked in, and I tried bending my leg for the first time in what seemed like forever. It was stiff as hell, even moving the tiny little bit that the hinge allowed.

“Damn!” I declared.

“Stiff?” she asked, chuckling.

“That’s not the word!”

“Yeah, I know. Took me several days after I got my cast off to start feeling normal again when I broke my leg. It’s gonna be a little different for you, because you’re still partially locked up, though you weren’t immobile as long as I was.”

“Screw it. Gimme the crutches and let’s do this.” I was so sick of being carried and/or wheeled around like an invalid. Elise helped me to the edge of the bed and I gingerly pushed myself up to my feet. First thing I ran into was my off-leg was stiff too, probably from just plain disuse. Second thing was, the crutch bit hard into my left armpit when I leaned on it, and I winced against the twinge in my shoulder.

“Hey, are you okay?” she asked.

“Fine. Need more padding on these crutches, for sure.” I gingerly took a couple steps toward the door as Elise opened it for me. I worked my way, one small move at a time, out onto the landing. It hurt like hell, and my legs were unsteady, nearly wobbly, but I was up, and it felt damned good!


Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/5)

This is my favorite AB/DL story with an adult character. You’ve managed to make it very believable, which is quite a feat for the genre. Of course, part of me wishes there was more diaper/regression content in the last chapter, but showing her conflict about that and not having her dive right into the regression thing is part of why it’s a good story.

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/5)

Well, the goal here is to make something that the general population (read: not ABDL) could at least handle. To give them a different look at AB than what they’ve seen on the gross-out shows like Taboo. So I’ve used a great deal of restraint in my narrative and really highlighted the conflicts that any vanilla person would imagine experiencing if they were beset by such a monumental shift in their personalities as “discovering their little”…

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/5)

I doubt that the general population could handle this, tbh, it’s still very much an edge fetish story…

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/5)

Hate to reference it, because it is a piece of trash, but 50 shades sold 3 million copies. And it was more edgy than this, even though this is about a less-understood fetish.

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/5)

Crossdressing is my favorite comparison to ABDL for lots of reasons. Are there any semi-mainstream crossdressing stories?

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/5)

Good question. Although I’m not necessarily expecting mainstream, more like “average person reads this and is not creeped out immediately” result…

Truthfully, I could imagine this being done as a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. I mean, it is all about the strong female personalities, isn’t it? LOL…

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/5)

Hehe. I just watched a lifetime network movie this morning, so definitely could agree.

Yesterday I was thinking how this novel is getting so long and drawn out, but really I’m speaking from a strong bias, having read the predecessor before, which was mostly a story, and it’s not that long at all, compared to the stuff I’ve been reading of recent.

Speaking more objectively, you’ve pretty much achieved exactly what you were looking to achieve so far. This reads like something you’d pick up at a bookstore, and not at all like your average ABDL story (even referring to the higher quality ones). It’s also difficult to read it in pieces like this, considering how long it’s going to take for you to finish it, so I think I’d have a better opinion on it, having reread it as a whole.

So my only complaint is, you’ve made this story too normal :stuck_out_tongue: It’s still very enjoyable, and as always, I love your writing.

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/5)

Well, we are closing in on some more intense AB portions of the book, but my idea was to lead people in very patiently and very naturally, so that by the time they were neck-deep in it, they’d hardly notice…

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/5)


After a good twenty or so minutes of hobbling around and getting comfortable with using the crutches, my shoulder was screaming, but I was on an adrenaline rush so strong I didn’t care. My good leg was loosening back up, and that made it easier to move opposite the bad one. Elise finally looked at me and said, “Hey, why don’t we take a little break so we can get you dressed and have some breakfast?”

Truthfully, I had no desire to stop at that point, but I was wet already, my bladder having let loose almost immediately after I started bearing weight on my legs. “Yeah, I guess. I need another change anyway.” I hobbled back to the bed and sat down.

“You’re hurting too,” she chided, setting my crutches aside. “Leg bothering you?”

“No, it’s my shoulder. That crutch really digs in under there!” My knee was sore too, but I wasn’t about to let on to that, for fear she’d make me stop.

“Then you need to relax for a little bit. After breakfast you can get back at it, okay?” She helped me back into a prone position and started changing me.

“Yeah. I bet you’re looking forward to not having to carry me up and down those stairs!” I said, smiling.

She looked at me with a raised eyebrow. “What makes you think that?”

“Come on, Elise. Just because you want to help me out, doesn’t mean it doesn’t get tiring.”

She got up and went to the closet to pick out an outfit for me. When she sat back down onto the bed, she chuckled a bit. “I have to bite my tongue here, Naomi,” she started, “because I know how you feel about the whole kid thing, but I honestly never minded that part.”

Oh, that stung. She tried her best to be gentle about it, but it still stung. As she helped me into the blouse and skirt, I stewed quietly. If anything, though, it strengthened my resolve to find some independence and prove to her that I really was just a very small adult, not some weird foul-mouthed preschool kid.

We went downstairs and had breakfast, and I spent the rest of the morning getting acclimated to my new mode of self transport. My focus was so singular that I even ignored the condition of my diaper, into which I had leaked several times over the morning. Nothing I could do about that, certainly something I could do about the mobility thing. It was only when I was completely exhausted and the pain in my shoulder was such that my arm would no longer support me that I finally relented and allowed her to give me a pain pill at lunch, change me, and put me down to rest. Tired, sore, but triumphant, I let myself drift after she left the room, my eyes locked on the crutches leaning up against my bedpost, the first step toward regaining my freedom.

It wasn’t very long afterward that it happened; I felt a rumble in my gut. My first instinct was to call for Elise to help me to the bathroom, but I stopped myself short. Why couldn’t I get there myself? It wasn’t that far! I’d just spent the morning hobbling my way around the entire downstairs floor plan! Yes, I could do this! I slowly worked my way toward the edge of the bed, easing my legs down onto the floor, and reached for the crutches. Still fuzzy from the pain medication, I kept my movements deliberate and gentle. It took some doing, but I managed to hop my way into place quietly and begin moving toward the bathroom door. Step, swing, step, swing, step, swing, step, and I met the door! I fumbled a bit with the knob, but managed to get it open and swung myself through. The toilet was on the opposite side of the bathtub, across the room. Step, swing, step, swing, step, swing. There it was, standing before me like a trophy I’d just won.

I celebrated the victory for a moment, but then it occurred to me; how the hell was I going to do this?! The lid was down, I had a diaper on, and I wasn’t even sure how I was going to get turned around in this tight space! Panic welled up inside me, and I gave brief audience to the idea of calling for Elise, but something stopped me. “I’m not helpless, dammit! I’m a grown woman! I can figure this out!” I muttered to myself.

Wobbling, nervous, but still determined, I shifted my weight over toward my good side and leaned the crutch up against the wall. I took a small hop toward the toilet and flipped the lid up with my free hand. “Now to get this thing off me,” I whispered. I grabbed the waistband of my skirt and pulled it down. It dropped down around my ankles and hung there. I examined the tapes on the diaper. One by one, I jerked them loose, the two on the right side being the most awkward. The diaper fell between my feet. “Now we just gotta turn around,” I said, confidence surging through me.

That’s when it started to go wrong. I reached for the crutch I’d leaned against the wall, but my leg inadvertently kicked it out from its perch, and it dropped to the floor with a clatter. “Fuck!” I grumbled. Undaunted, I began to try and hop in place, careful not to put any weight on my braced leg. First hop got me a quarter turn, and I breathed a sigh of relief. “Almost there,” I said. “One more.”

One more was one too many. The second hop, my leg landed on the diaper and slid right out from under me. Reflexively I tried to plant with my braced leg, and I yelped as my knee screamed its protest and buckled. The brace held it from moving too far, but it didn’t matter, as sheer momentum pulled me the rest of the way off balance, and down I went with a dull thud.

As I lay on the floor, white-hot stabs of pain pulsing from my knee, listening to the hurried thumping of Elise’s footsteps up the stairs while she shouted my name, a single thought rose up through the agony:

“Should’ve turned around before you dropped your skirt, you idiot…”


Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/14)

:slight_smile: Another fantastic chapter. Thank you for sharing with us, I hope Naomi’s knee isn’t messed up worse :-[

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/14)

Suffice to say, her rehabilitation has suffered a setback as a result of her own stubbornness…

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 33 up 5/14)


I was close to tears when Elise appeared at the bathroom door and then rushed in with a gasp. “Naomi?! What happened?! Are you hurt?!”

“I’m… I’m okay…” I lied. “Just help me onto the toilet before I poop on the floor!” The fact that I was now lying in a puddle of my own urine did nothing to help my emotional state.

“I can’t move you just yet, Naomi!” she argued. “Did you hit your head?! Did you hurt your back?!”

“No, nothing like that. I just slipped when I was trying to turn around. My knee is killing me, that’s all.” I didn’t really want to admit that fact, but the prospect of shitting myself while being strapped to a backboard was enough to force it out of me.

“Are you sure? What happened?” She could be so relentless sometimes…

“Really, I’m okay. Please, just get me to the toilet.”

She finally accepted my insistence and helped me up onto the toilet, sliding the footstool under my leg, which made me wince. She stood there expectantly, as if we were going to have a conversation while I did my business.

“Um… can we not stare?” I asked quietly.

“Sorry, yeah, right,” she said, blushing a bit. She busied herself gathering up my crutches, skirt, and the diaper off the floor and disappeared into the bedroom.

It didn’t take long, thankfully, and I called out, “I’m done!” We’d been through this ritual before, but it seemed especially demeaning today, having to call for help after I “went potty” like a three-year-old.

“Now are you going to tell me what happened?!” she pressed as she reappeared and carried me back to the bedroom, taking special care to support my knee as best as she could.

“I woke up and had to go, and I figured I could make it, since I’d been up and around this morning and feeling pretty good.” I groaned. “Getting there was the easy part. It was the logistics when I got there that tripped me up.”

“Naomi, why didn’t you call for help, for heaven’s sake?” she scolded.

“Because…” I trailed off. Between the pain and the emotions I’d been suppressing since the previous afternoon’s accidental eavesdrop, I started to choke up. “Because I’m sick of being helpless!” Tears started to flow, despite my best efforts to stop them. “I’m sick of being a burden! I’m…”

“Naomi!” she cut in, sitting down on the bed, still cradling me in her lap. “What do you mean, burden?! You’re not a burden!”

“Don’t give me that!” I snapped back. “You said it yourself! I have too many issues! I conflict with your work schedule! I’m too volatile!”

She gasped. “Oh my god, Naomi. You…”

“Yeah, I was sitting right outside the door when you said it. I finally knocked because I couldn’t stand to hear any more of it!”

“So that’s what set you off yesterday.” She pulled me into a tight embrace which, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t fight off. “I’m so sorry you had to hear that.”

“But it’s fucking true!” I blubbered.

She grasped my chin gently and turned my face toward hers. “Naomi, I need you to believe me right now. Marianne had been worrying me to death about long-term arrangements for you. I had to tell her something to make her understand that there probably wasn’t going to be any long-term with you. So I exaggerated. I tried to make it sound like I thought you were cramping my style, like I wasn’t really mature enough to handle a commitment like this. I figured that was the easiest way out.”

It was a good line, but I wasn’t buying it. “Don’t bullshit me, Elise! You’re changing my goddamned diapers, wheeling me around with you everywhere you go, never getting a moment’s peace to yourself, and on top of that dealing with all my emotional baggage! There wasn’t any exaggeration!”

“Naomi,” she said very quietly, “When I was a teenager, I did all the usual girl stuff to make money, including babysitting, and even being a nanny for a summer. I worked my butt off to put myself through four years of college. I built my own business from the ground up. Do you really think I didn’t have an inkling of what I was getting into when I agreed to take care of you instead of leaving you in that hospital?”

“No, but…” I started.

“Naomi, you know what it’s like dealing with Marianne. You lied to her yourself to escape an awkward situation, remember? I had to tell her something. I wasn’t going to just leave that on you. I mean, it’s not like you’re intending to move in here and pretend to be my daughter for the next twelve years…”

She had me there. That crazy lady was nothing if not a probing busybody…

“Listen,” she continued, “I get that you haven’t had a whole lot of real friends in your life. But this is what being a real friend is about. It’s about sticking with someone even when they need a ton of help, even when it’s not convenient or fun or easy, even when they really can’t do anything to repay you. I told you I wanted a real friend, and I can’t very well expect to have one if I can’t be one. You know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I guess,” I offered. The last part sounded more like a really sugar-coated way of saying, “Yes, you are a giant pain in my ass, but I’m putting up with you anyway.” Still, there wasn’t any point in arguing it further. I was in a lot of pain, and wanted nothing more than to lie down and try and forget it ever happened.

“I suppose if that’s the best I can get,” she chuckled.

“Yeah, well, I’m kinda hurting here. I really just want to lie back down.”

“Oh, your knee? Damn. I can’t give you another pill, it’s only been like an hour.” Always the pragmatist, this one.

“That’s fine. Let me just rest. I should be okay.”

Elise put a fresh diaper and a clean set of clothes on me, and left me to my own devices. I wanted so badly to fall asleep, but the throbbing in my leg kept me awake, and I was left to stew over yet another foolish mistake causing me more grief.

An hour later, and the knee had just about driven me up the wall. I finally called for Elise. She came into the room looking concerned.

“Please, I gotta have another pill. This thing is killing me!” I groaned.

“Sweetie, I can’t, you’re not supposed to get another one for four more hours!”

“Come on, Elise! I gotta have something!” God, why did she have to be so rigid?!

“Look, I’ll get you some ibuprofen, and we’ll call the doctor’s office and see if I can give you a little more pain medicine, okay?”

I really didn’t want the doctor involved, but at that point I’d call the devil himself to get a little relief. “Okay, fine.”

She went and got me the ibuprofen, then called the clinic. After handing the phone to me to verify who I was and give permission to talk to her, I listened to her one-sided conversation, primarily consisting of “Okay”, “Yes”, “I will”, and other very short responses.

When she got off the phone, her face took on a “I got bad news” look as she sat down.

“What?” I said nervously.

“They said I can give you another half of a pill, but because of what you did in there and where your pain level is right now, I’m to keep you off your feet as much as possible until you see the doctor on Friday, or at least until the pain subsides and we can see there’s no swelling.”

My heart sank in my chest. Another week in the wheelchair?! I wanted to cry again.

“I…” I couldn’t find anything to say.

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” she said, putting a hand on my good leg. “I wish I had better news.”

“What now? I get to sit in the shop until Friday?” I huffed.

“Well, I could try and call another homecare agency? I doubt that other one is going to want to send anyone else out now that my lawyer is up their keisters.”

The idea of going through another nightmare like that made me shiver. “Jesus, no, not that again.”

“Well, there are adult daycare centers we could look into tomorrow after work.”

“What the hell is an adult daycare center?” I asked suspiciously.

“It’s for people who have disabilities, or dementia, or otherwise need help while their usual caretakers are working.”

“So I’d be in a room full of retards and old people? Ugh, count me out!”

“That’s a hell of a way to put it!” she scolded. “I’m surprised at you, Naomi!”

“Sorry, okay! I’m just…” staring in the face of some ugly options, I thought to myself.

“So what do we do, then?” she asked.

I brooded for a minute. Sitting around with a bunch of drooling old people and nurses? Visions of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest ran through my head. Five days with some nasty inattentive bitch like Shayna? I shuddered. Sitting in the antique shop, bored to tears, having to be a big hassle for Elise? That was precisely what I was trying to avoid in the first place! Hell, that’s what got me into this mess! Then a thought occurred to me. It wasn’t a pleasant one, but it was certainly a better choice than what was in front of me, or so it seemed. At least I’d have a friend there.

“Call Marianne. I’ll go to the kid’s daycare,” I said flatly.


Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 35 up 5/19)


The look on Elise’s face would have been priceless, had it not been for the gravity of what I’d just volunteered. “Naomi… why would you… I mean… what about your…” she stammered.

“Look, everyone already thinks I’m six years old, Elise. I may as well go someplace where I blend in.”

She furrowed her eyebrows for a minute, then spoke. “Come off it, Naomi. It’s four days. You can survive in an adult daycare for four days!”

“But they’ll be all smelly, and shitting their pants, and drooling and stuff!” I protested.

“And kids in a daycare won’t be?” she argued.

“Elise, I’m just sick of being made a spectacle of everywhere I fucking go!”

“What, you think they won’t dote on you? Scurry you around with all the other kids? Especially if you’re still on wheels!”

I flashed back to the experience coming out of the hospital, and that little daydream about the kids’ show. “Ughhhhhh,” I groaned, my head in my hands. “Fine. We’ll do it your way.”

She shook her head as she reached for her phone. “Alright, let me find some places and make some calls.” She began pecking while I stewed. Yeah, she had a point about the similarities between the two situations, but I still felt like being treated the same as everyone else was a lot better than being singled out. Hell, an adult daycare worker would probably laugh at my ID like the bouncers at the clubs I used to go to.

Once more I listened to one-sided conversations, all of them short, all of them ending in Elise’s increasing exasperation. Snippets like “48 hours?!”, “complete medical file?!” and “No openings for how long?” intermingled with “Oh for god’s sake!” and “but it’s an emergency!” She was getting nowhere. If it weren’t for the choice I knew I was making, I’d have grinned a little at her steadily losing this battle.

Finally, four or five calls later, she hung up the phone with a huff. “This is so stupid! Like none of them want to take someone on without a waiting period or a ream of documents or whatever! Jeez!” Then she looked at me, while I tried to put on a poker face. Obviously it failed. “Naomi, come on. Is that really how you want to play this?”

“It’s four or five days, right? It keeps me out of your hair, and I at least get to hang out with someone I know, instead of some weird old people who barely know anyone, or worse yet dealing with some psycho like Shayna…”

Her expression grew even more thoughtful. “I don’t know if you’re aware of the ramifications here, Naomi…”

“Like what?” I huffed. “I have to pretend to be a kid. How hard is that?”

“Well, first of all, swearing in context will give you right away. Six-year-olds aren’t even supposed to know those kinds of words, never mind how to use them. That goes for a lot of other words that aren’t ‘bad’, too.”

“So I have to talk like a ‘See Dick and Jane’ book. I get it.”

“That’s not all. What about hair in places you shouldn’t have it? We’d have to depill you every day to make sure no peach fuzz showed up.”

“Ugh… can’t I just get a wax?”

“You really want to do a Brazilian? Seriously? Besides, what about the brace? What about your boobs?”

That was a stumper, and it made me hesitate. Then a thought occurred to me. “Wait a minute. I remember seeing something on the news, something about girls in the US going into puberty early… What was that called?”

She raised an eyebrow. “Um… I have no idea.”

“Gimme my laptop!” I exclaimed. She grabbed it off the dresser and handed it to me. “I’ll find it!” A quick search later, I had what I was after. “Here it is, ‘precocious puberty’! Girls getting their periods and hair and stuff prior before they’re eight years old!” I turned it around to show her.

“Holy crap! I didn’t even know that could happen!” she gasped. “But it certainly would work as an explanation!”

“This is so bizarre,” I chuckled. “I’m 22, I look like a toddler on the surface, I’m about to pretend to BE a damned toddler, and I have to invent a reason why I look 22 in all the wrong places! Holy crap…”

“There is something else, Naomi,” she said.

“What?” I asked, a bit nervous at her tone.

“I can’t be Elise anymore to you in public. I have to be Mommy, or Mama, or whatever you want to call me. And that means more than just a name, it means the way you behave around me, how you respond to me, how we interact.”

I had to let that one sink in a little. “It’s probably going to be a lot harder for us to put on that face in public if the rest of the time we’re just behaving like two friends, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it probably will be.” she agreed.

“Probably the same for the six-year-old act too, huh?”

“Yep. And if either one of us slips up, we could both wind up in jail. Impersonating a kid to get into a daycare is like one step removed from identity theft in California.”

“Oh shit… I didn’t know that.”

“Sure you still want to do this?”

Something strange happened inside of me at that moment. I was almost sure it was the little one; it’d been silent all this time, and now I could suddenly feel it again, almost like a tickle in the back of my brain. I thought about how easy it had been to just slip into that mood, that place in my head where I felt completely like a little girl. How easy it had been to just enjoy doing silly kid stuff. The warmth of Elise’s arms as she carried me up the stairs. The simple comfort of a warm bath and a clean, dry diaper. As wrong as the whole idea sounded, it just… felt right.

“Yeah, I think I do,” I said softly. “I really think I do.”

It was Elise’s turn to drop her head onto a hand. “Alright. We’ll do it.”

1 Like

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 36 up 5/22)

I really love the subtlety of this last chapter. It expresses a more meaningful dynamic between Elise and Naomi, something you’ve set up so well through both of their character developments up until this point, making the motive behind this very idea is easily accepted. It’s like the weaving of a very intricate quilt and when you look at it as a whole, everything fits together smoothly. It’s not even about incorporating this very strange predicament into the story, as much as it is pushing their relationship to a new level.

The puberty thing is very odd though, even if it allows Naomi’s age to change. It’s like adding a deformity on top of another deformity. I’d find myself a bit skeptical of that sort of explanation and it brings onto itself a whole new level of bizarre. On the other hand, I can’t really figure out a different way to solve the problem. At the very least it’s not that “she was always pretty flat-chested scenario.” Too bad Naomi isn’t really chubby :smiley:

Nonetheless, would love to see how this develops. Really intriguing read as always. And I love the ending of this chapter. You really show how much Naomi’s trust has developed towards Elise.

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 36 up 5/22)

Well, even the most flat-chested woman well past the age of puberty will have some sort of mammary gland formation - she has tits, even if they aren’t obvious under a shirt that isn’t made of spandex. And nothing short of a Brazilian will rid you of ALL your pubies - not only that, but a woman’s flower looks a LOT different than that of a kindergartner. All those things together mean that I had to go somewhere different.

Re: The Panda’s Ashes (Chapter 36 up 5/22)

Naomi’s decision at the end of Chapter 35 seems a little abrupt, especially since she’s spent a lot of time trying to be independent (walking as soon as she could, etc). I think it works, but the idea is a little sudden like it comes out of nowhere. I realize some of that might be on purpose so there’s a cliffhanger ending at the end of the chapter, but a little more struggle/doubt on Naomi’s part might help.

The setup in Chapter 36 for the caretaker relationship (i.e. 24/7 power transfer) is very well done, and probably one of the more believable (or at least internally-consistent) setups in a story I can think of. Having read the original I have a rough idea of where this is going, and am looking forward to it.