The Thin Baby Blue Line

by: nico | Complete Story | Last updated Jul 19, 2010

Chapter 2
Chapter Two

When they went back out to the lobby it was just as one of the precinct’s female officers was coming through the front doors, a package of diapers under each arm. The wailing had mostly stopped but when the boys caught sight of what was in store for them it returned with more ear-piercing intensity than ever before. Shawn turned to Liana and raised an eyebrow.

“Is that really necessary?” He asked. “I thought you said they still knew who they were.”

She winced and motioned to a wet spot on the carpet.

“We’ve already had a couple accidents.”

“Jeez...” Shawn moaned. “Alright, let’s get this over with.”

The sight of the diapers made the babies even more difficult to control than before long Shawn and the women managed to corral them all together. Shawn had taken charge of keeping the boys in one place while they waited their turn, a task that made him feel like a farmer sending his cows to slaughter. Some of the former men - mostly the ones that had taken to sucking their thumbs - had become resigned to their fate and put up little fuss. Others were not as easy. Shawn could only imagine the limitless humiliation they felt as they were laid squirming and screaming on top of their diapers, feeling the soft crinkly fabric beneath their little bottoms, forced to confront the fact that the garments were not only appropriate but necessary. It was surreal to think that his superiors were among their number, that men who seemingly made it their personal responsibility to bust his balls day in and day out now couldn’t so much as be trusted to not pee on the carpet. Secretly he wished he knew which babies those men had become - a tweak of the nose or a pinch on the rear seemed a small return on all the humiliation he had suffered at their hands over the years.

Once the worst was over the women tried their best to console their former colleagues, no small task considering how instrumental a part they had played in the shattering of their privacy. As Shawn watched the scene play out before him he caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of his eye, looking up just in time to see something dash and disappear behind a desk in the office.

With a sigh he walked over to the desk, kneeled next to it, and peered underneath. In any other situation he would have found the sight adorable. Huddled in the corner with his knees to his chest and his thumb in his mouth was a chubby little blonde boy, staring at Shawn with the biggest brightest eyes he had ever seen. Shawn edged closer and offered him a sympathetic smile. The boy shrank away and looked down.

“I know this sucks.” He said in as soft a voice as he could manage. “But if we go and get it over with quickly, maybe it won’t be that bad. Whattaya say?”

The boy just curled himself even tighter and turned away from Shawn’s gaze. Certainly Shawn could understand why the boy wouldn’t want to come out, but there was something else about him that he just couldn’t put his finger on. He dimly remembered something about a baby book, chuckling at the embarrassing pictures within, playfully jabbing an elbow at his partner -

He straightened up. No, he thought. No way.

“David?” Shawn whispered. “Is that you?”

The child looked up, stared at Shawn for a second, and nodded sadly. Shawn put a hand over his mouth and shook his head in disbelief - the frightened little boy huddled before him was none other than his partner of four years. His best friend on the force - hell, his best friend, period - David had been the only one to stand by him when the charge of evidence tampering was thrown his way. And all of a sudden Shawn knew exactly where he had seen this boy before. It was the evening where David had invited him to his mother’s house for dinner, where she insisted on breaking out the baby book so she could embarrass David over coffee and cake. Now the carefree toddler Shawn had seen splashing in the tub and wearing his spaghetti dinner was in the flesh before him. A long time passed before Shawn said anything.

“So, ah, I guess this’ll make Carol happy.” Shawn joked. “Now she’ll finally stop bugging you about having a kid.”

David seemed to appreciate the attempt at humor, glancing at Shawn and offering him a weak smile before turning away again. Shawn chuckled and scratched the back of his head. Silence hung heavy between them. Man, he thought, what do you say to someone who’s two years older and thirty years younger than you? Curiosity got the better of him - he had to ask.

“...what’s it like?”

David’s face scrunched into an almost comical mask of concentration. A moment passed before he looked at Shawn and plucked the thumb from his mouth.

“When you were widdle, did you tink dere was a monstuh under da bed?” He asked, remarkably eloquent despite the lisp.

Shawn nodded. His monster’s name was Clarence - he couldn’t remember why - and one of the most distinct memories he had from his childhood was that of laying awake at nights with his hands clutching at the covers, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that the instant he closed his eyes Clarence would spring out and eat him whole.

“’S wike dat. ?S dat feewing of powahwessness...” his mouth struggled with the word. “The whole world ?s suddenwy so huge and scawy and aw you can do is hope that someone big and stwong wiw come awong and make it aw bettah.”

“I’m big and strong.” Shawn offered.

The toddler scoffed. “Pwease. Youwa shwimp.”

Shawn couldn’t help but burst out laughing - he had never had a baby call him a shrimp before. David even laughed a little at his own joke, though he blushed and looked away when he heard the high-pitched giggle that came out. Silence hung heavy between them and a moment passed before Shawn spoke again.

“I...can’t even imagine how difficult this is for you, pal.” He finally said, looking into David’s eyes. “And I know that you feel like you can control yourself, but I’m sure the other guys felt that way too before they started peeing all over everything, you know what I mean? It’s not like I want you to be diapered...”

David cringed at the word as Shawn stopped face softened in sympathy. The boy seemed to ponder things for a moment, looking down at himself with eyes sadder than should be possible for a toddler. When he spoke it was with a voice so small Shawn could barely hear it.

“...wiw you do it?”

Shawn flinched. That wasn’t at all the response he expected - and the concept of diapering his best friend didn’t exactly appeal to him. But when David looked at him, looked at him with those wide shimmering eyes, Shawn just couldn’t find it in his heart to say no. With a small smile on his face he nodded at the boy. A moment passed before David made a move, casting his eyes to the ground as he held his arms out as though wanting to be held. Shawn gently took the boy under the armpits, hoisting him into the air and balancing him on his hip. He was more than a little surprised when David stuck his thumb back in his mouth and snuggled into his chest - and tried to ignore how warm and soft his best friend’s bottom felt in his hand.

As Shawn held him with one hand he used the other to pluck a diaper from the package and place it on the ground, taking a deep breath before he laid David onto it. It wasn’t until Shawn saw his bare wee form laid out before him that he was truly struck by the sheer absurdity of the situation. He and David worked out together regularly, and if there was one thing David took pride in, it was his body - and for good reason. He had been the very picture of masculinity - toned body, thick hair, and, frankly, a dick that was the envy of the locker room. But now? The only thing anyone could honestly say about David’s body was how adorable it was. Few other words paid sufficient tribute to his soft round bottom, the chubby pot belly that begged to be tickled, and the teeny-tiny wee-wee that had once been his pride and joy. The mere thought of being in his position sent deep rolling shivers through Shawn’s body.

“Okay.” Shawn said as he pulled the tapes closed. “All done.”

David slowly creaked his eyes open, sat up, and looked down at himself. For a second Shawn feared that he might break down crying. A moment passed before David plucked the thumb from his mouth, pushed himself onto his wobbly little legs, and looked up at his friend. Without a word he stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Shawn’s neck. Taken aback, a moment passed before Shawn found himself returning the hug, pulling the little boy close and squeezing him tight. Shawn had never even thought of having kids - but he would have liked to think that, if he ever did have one, a hug like that would be enough to chase away any problem they might have. Silently David pulled away, gave Shawn a little smile, and then toddled off to where the rest of the boys were being kept. Shawn felt his lips curl into a grin as he watched him go. Cute kid, he thought.

“Shawn.” Liana called out, her voice flat. Shawn looked over to see her standing by the desk, phone in hand, expression cold and somber. “You need to hear this.”

“What is it?” Shawn frowned as he walked over. “Have you gotten a hold of any of their families yet?”

Liana shook her head. “I was about to start calling when the phone rang - but when I picked it up, all I heard were babies crying. I looked at the caller ID’s the fourth precinct, Shawn.”

The detective felt his mouth go dry as a dull pounding developed in the back of his head. The fourth precinct was the closest station to theirs - at a brisk pace you could walk there in twenty minutes. With a slow hand he took the receiver from Liana and pulled it to his ear, and in an instant he knew exactly what it was they were up against. Shawn closed his eyes as the cries of frightened children wafted over the line, the sound low and distant like that of wailing ghosts.

“Hello?” He snapped to attention as a frantic whisper cried out for attention. “Is there anybody there?”

“Yes!” Shawn whispered back. “This is detective Shawn Mariotti of the seventh precinct. Are you all right? Is the attacker still there?”

The voice sobbed. “I...I don’t know. I hid beneath a desk when I saw what was happening...oh God...this is impossible...”

“Listen to me.” Shawn commanded, his voice firm. “You need to get out of there right now. Do you see any way to escape?”

“I...I think so. There’s a back door...” The voice paused before elevating to a shout. “No! Please don’t! Please!”

Shawn’s eyes widened as he heard a dim hum, followed by the sound of the victim’s voice grow higher and more distant as it broke down into near-senseless babbling.

“ Oh my God.” He cried. “Oh God...I don’t want to be little...I don’t want to be little...don’t wanna be...don’ wanna...dun’ wan’...”

The line went dead. Shawn looked up to see Liana staring at him with wide, frightened eyes and a trembling hand over her mouth. He put the receiver down and met her eyes.

“It’s not just us.” He said. “This guy’s not gonna stop ?til he’s turned every station in the city into a daycare.”

“Good lord almighty.” Liana whispered.

“Second precinct’s just a short walk from there - they’ve gotta be next.” Shawn stated as he reset the receiver. “While I warn them I want you to get a patrol car ready.”

Liana nodded and rushed off. Shawn tapped his foot impatiently as the phone rang. His eyes drifted over to what had become of his precinct, knowing that, as things stood right now, he was the only thing preventing the scene from repeating itself all over town. Maybe I’ll get a promotion out of this. Shawn rolled his eyes. Right after the captain takes a nap and has his diaper changed.

“Second precinct.” The bored voice on other end of the line declared.

“This is detective Shawn Mariotti of the seventh precinct. I need to speak to your captain right now.”

“Captain Halsted is in a meeting, may I take a message - ”

“No!” Shawn shouted. “I don’t care if he’s having the tea with the commissioner himself, you put him on the line right now!

“Hold please.”

Shawn cursed and ran his fingers through his hair.

“C’mon...” he muttered. “C’moncmoncmoncmon...”

“Lieutenant Harris speaking.”

Shawn closed his eyes and suppressed a groan. For the love of God...

“Lieutenant, this is detective Mariotti. Listen to me very carefully, I need you and your men - ”

“Save your breath, Mariotti.” The lieutenant grunted. “I don’t have time for dirty cops and their stories.”

“Just listen for a second you stubborn son of a bitch!” Shawn yelled. “Two precincts have already been attacked and yours is the next on the list. You need to lock your station down, and you need to do it right now!

“Attacked?” The lieutenant asked. “Attacked how?”

Shawn took a deep breath. “The assailant has some sort of device that can make people younger. He’s already turned two stations’ worth of men into toddlers and yours is next.”

A beat passed. The lieutenant snickered.

“That’s cute, Mariotti.” He said. “Real cute. Don’t call back, all right?”

The line went dead. Shawn slammed the receiver down and pounded on the desk.

“Damn it!” He looked up to see Liana watching him.

“They didn’t believe you.” She murmured. Shawn put his hands on his hips and let out a little laugh.

“Yeah, well, I guess I wouldn’t believe me either.” He started moving towards the parking lot. “Guess I’ll just have to take care of things myself.”

Liana took Shawn by the arm. He stopped and met her eyes.

“I’m going with you.” She said.

“Liana - ”

“Save it, Shawn.” The woman snapped. “I’m not gonna let you do this by yourself. If you were to go out and end up like that...”

She motioned towards the toddling cherubs that had been their colleagues.

“...I’d never be able to forgive myself.”

Shawn bit his lip.

“All right.” He said. “Let’s go.”

She nodded and the two of them rushed to the squad car. Though Shawn tried his best to focus on the situation he couldn’t keep his thoughts off of Liana. You wanted to get closer to her? He thought. Here’s your chance. Just pray that things don’t go wrong or else she’ll be the one changing your diaper.


Though Shawn drove with frightening speed and ferocity the morning traffic was not on their side. It seemed as though whenever the car got up a little momentum Shawn would turn a corner and run smack dab into a jam, and even with the siren blaring the vehicles that made up the gridlock took their good sweet time in getting out of the way. Upon reaching the precinct Shawn brought the car to a skidding halt, leaving it on the street as he and Liana piled out. Swiftly but quietly they approached the front door, drawing their weapons as nearby civilians, sensing that something big was about to go down, scurried away yet remained just close enough to gawk. Shawn moved close to the entrance and put his ear against the thick wooden door, cursing under his breath when he heard the now-familiar sound of high-pitched bawling pierce through. He looked over at Liana and saw that she had heard the same thing, her face going pale as she looked to Shawn for instruction.

“He might still be in there.” He whispered. “So be careful, all right?”

She nodded and swallowed. Shawn took a deep breath.

“On three.” He said. “One...two...”

At the aforementioned signal he and Liana kicked open the front doors, weapons drawn - only to be greeted by a scene of even greater panic than the one they had left. Whereas, at their precinct, they had managed a small degree of order, no such structure existed here. Though some of the officers had simply plopped their bottoms on the ground and started crying, others wandered unsupervised through the station, tottering unsteadily on their pudgy legs, pink chubby bottoms and rubbery little pee-pees bouncing with every step. In the corner a little dark-haired boy unknowingly tinkled all over his former uniform before losing his balance and falling bottom-first on top of it. He blinked for a moment before screwing his face up and throwing himself into a full-fledged tantrum, fat tears streaming down his rosy cheeks as he flailed his arms and drummed the heels of his teeny-tiny feet. And as this went on the only female officer that had seemingly been on duty stood against the front desk, eyes darting over the chaos, backing away from her former colleagues as though they had been changed into venomous snakes as opposed to the adorable little tots she had watched them become. The whole scene looked like an Anne Geddes photo shoot gone horribly wrong.

“Hey!” Shawn called out to her, holding up his badge. The woman snapped her head up and instantly looked relieved to see someone near her age. “Is he gone?”

They put away their weapons as she nodded vigorously. Shawn took Liana by the shoulders.

“Alright, here’s what I need you to do.” He said, looking deep into her eyes. “I’m sure enough people saw us draw our weapons that there’s now a crowd at the front steps. Get ?em to go home, but first try and find out if anybody saw which way the perpetrator headed. There’s three precincts within walking distance of here and God knows which one he’s headed to next.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll try and get things under control here. Our station can spare a couple officers to help out here...and hopefully they’ve managed to calm things down enough over at the fourth to do the same.”

Liana nodded and rushed back out the front door while Shawn headed over to the last woman standing, taking a squirming wailing little flatfoot under each arm on his way.

“What’s your name?” He asked her.

“E-Elizabeth.” She stuttered. “Liz.”

“Alright, Liz.” Shawn offered her as reassuring a smile as he could manage. “Is there anyplace we can put these little guys so they’re all in one place?”

She thought for a moment. “Over in the waiting room there’s a little enclosed play area for the kids.”

“Perfect.” He said. “Let’s scoop them up and get them in there. Oh, and Liz...”

She looked up

“...they’re still, y’ be as considerate as you can, alright?”

Liz frowned for a moment before her eyes widened in understanding. She nodded slowly and the two of them set about the unsavory task of tracking down a litter of uncooperative toddlers - a job that would have been difficult enough even if they were as old as they appeared to be. But these weren’t actual children they were dealing with - just a few moments ago they had been true men, bastions of masculinity that found themselves turned back into the diaper wearing, thumb sucking, silly little babies that their mothers and aunts told such embarrassing stories about. It was one thing for a man to have to listen to how his toddler says were spent scampering around naked and carefree in the front yard - it was another to actually be that toddler again. Shawn constantly reminded himself of that fact in order to tamp down the frustration he felt at having the little monsters scream in his ear and kick wherever their feet could reach.

Once the boys were all gathered in the play area - seemingly upset even further by their newly childish surroundings - Shawn instructed Liz to try her best to keep them under control as he called for help. He got a hold of a woman at his precinct who said that they could spare a couple officers - that the boys had calmed down considerably and, she noted with a trace of amusement in her voice, some were even in the middle of a little nap. To his relief he found out that the situation at the fourth was much the same, as the female sergeant who answered the phone informed him that she had taken control of the station and that things were well in hand. It was then that he saw Liana re-enter the station.

“Any luck?” He asked as he hung up the phone.

“I’m not sure.” She said. “Three different people told me they saw someone matching the perp’s description head south, but...”

“But there aren’t any precincts in that direction.” Shawn finished her thought with a frown. What the hell is he up to? The only office in that direction is -

“Christ almighty...” he muttered.

“Shawn?” Liana put a hand on his shoulder. “What is it?”

“He’s getting greedy.” Shawn said. “He got away from three precincts unscathed and now he feels he’s ready for the big time.”

A moment passed before Liana gasped in understanding.

“Headquarters.” She whispered. “He’s going to headquarters.”

Shawn nodded. “Let’s get moving.”



End Chapter 2

The Thin Baby Blue Line

by: nico | Complete Story | Last updated Jul 19, 2010


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