Fifteen Steps Down: An AR Anthology

by: nico | Complete Story | Last updated May 19, 2018

Chapter 3

Chapter Description: Content Warnings: Diapers, Nudity

“Michael! Oh, how darling of you to drop by. Please, have a seat – I’ll be with you in just a moment. Help yourself to the refreshments I prepared.”

Michael managed a tired smile as Mattie greeted him with a vigorous, two-handed handshake – and then turned on her heel and whisked herself back into her lab. He sighed and seated himself heavily at the little waiting area she had specifically set up for his visits, which was really just a stool and a scuffed-up steel table set in the furthest corner of the facility. Not that Michael minded being relegated to the cheap seats. He knew that he’d only embarrass himself if he tried to engage Mattie while she tinkered and experimented, as even a layman like him knew that the work she did in this top-of-the-line lab was far beyond his level of comprehension.

No, he was content to sit back and watch her succeed – as he had been for as long as he could remember.

Michael made a face as he tried the strange beverage that accompanied the stale crackers and plasticky cheese. Though he knew without question that his sister loved him deeply and appreciated everything he’d sacrificed for her, the scientist’s scatterbrained and insular nature often made her attempts at showing that appreciation feel a little half-hearted. It wasn’t that Michael expected a reward or anything like that, it was just…he was just so tired.

He’d been tired ever since that bleak December morning twenty years ago. Brilliant as she was, at four Mattie was too young to understand what had happened. Michael was all too aware. The eight-year-old boy stood in numb silence as the policeman’s words washed soundlessly over him, as he distantly realized that the responsibility has parents had given him – of watching over his baby sister while they ran to the store – had become permanent. Looking back on the moment now, all Michael could remember was Mattie’s questioning eyes as she peered up curiously at her trembling big brother…all he could remember was how small she felt when he held her in the tightest hug his skinny little arms could muster.

With no family to call their own, the pair bounced from foster home to foster home throughout the reminder of their childhoods. Mattie dealt with their loss by absorbing herself in science, her ingrained fascination with the subject served well by her precocious genius. And Michael, well…Michael looked after Mattie. With no evident skills of his own to boast of, the boy resolved that his life would instead be about making his sister as happy and successful as possible. Years of fending off bullies, helping with experiments, and driving Mattie to every science fair in the tri-state area had paid off when his sister – beaming with pride and radiant with gratitude – graduated early and with honors from a top-flight research university.

Not that their joint accomplishment made things any easier for Michael. Having eschewed college in order to earn money for his sister’s care and schooling, a now-independent Michael found himself relegated to none but the most grinding and degrading of jobs. Sure, Mattie would almost certainly be awash in cash once she made the breakthrough that everyone expected of her, but Michael typically managed to keep such thoughts at bay. Her happiness was reward enough.

“Hey Mattie?” Michael called out as his stomach gurgled. “I think that drink you gave me might be a little off.”

His sister immediately turned from her work and hurried right up to him, her face alight with excitement. This was startling enough on its own, as it often took Michael literally shouting in her ear to pull Mattie away from an experiment.

“How would you say you’re feeling?” Her wide, searching eyes were locked on his as she scribbled furiously at a clipboard. “Any cramping? Nausea? Would you say your discomfort is general or more localized?”

“Mattie, what…?” Michael groaned as he stood, both hands pressed against his stomach. “I’ve gotta get to the bathroom.”

“Don’t you dare.” Mattie giggled as she grabbed her brother’s arm. “I’m not missing a second of this.”

“A second of what – ”

Michael doubled over as the pain suddenly intensified, jamming his eyes shut and digging his teeth into his lip as he shivered and sweat through what felt like history’s worst case of indigestion. Dimly he realized that Mattie had done this to him, the scratching of her pencil against her clipboard – each dash of the point like a streak of suffering through his agonized mind – telling Michael that she was recording every detail of his misery.

“I genuinely apologize for your discomfort, Michael.” Mattie’s voice was excited as ever even when expressing regret. “I could’ve worked on the solution until it was perfected, but I suspect that you’d prefer a bit of temporary suffering over waiting even longer for what you deserve.”

“What I…deserve?” Michael could not get the words out until the cramping and twisting of his stomach started to ebb – and when they came out, they were in a voice he did not recognize as his own. Confused, he opened his eyes…and looked up at his little sister.

“Guh…wha…” Michael stuttered stupidly as he was overcome with vertigo, knees buckling beneath him as he tried and failed to comprehend how his sister – who he usually had half a foot on – now stood an inch or two above him. He straightened up but immediately bent back over again when his pants slipped from his waist, releasing a distressingly high squeak as he clutched at a waistband that could no longer claim any purchase on his hips. Every part of his clothing felt loose on him, in fact – the cuffs of his shirtsleeves had crept all the way down to his fingertips and his feet swam in shoes that now seemed clownishly oversized.

“Reaction within expected ranges. Excellent.” Though Mattie seemed as excited as he was confused, there was a restraint to that excitement that was wholly atypical for the impulsive scientist. Michael had once watched her run five laps around her lab – in the rain, no less – when she managed to synthesize a tricky chemical compound in just the right way. But this…transformation she has induced in him had inspired a more gentle and reserved delight.

“Still need to use the bathroom?” Mattie asked with a wry smile, apparently still Michael’s sister if the joy she took from teasing him was any indication. Though he opened his mouth to declare that that could wait until she explained what she had done to him, the sudden cramp that hit his stomach quickly disabused him of that notion. Michael’s cheeks burned as he scurried off, clutching his sagging clothing to his body and kicking off his shoes for fear that their floppiness might make him trip. Though he managed to get himself on the seat just in time, he nearly jumped right back off again at seeing the slim, stubby member that had replaced his manly endowment, an unimpressively pubescent organ protected by naught but the barest swirl of short, fine hair.

“Everything okay in here?”

“Mattie!” Michael yelped as his sister’s voice resonated throughout the restroom. “This is the men’s room!”

“It’s unisex, doofus, we only have the one bathroom.” He swore he could hear her rolling her eyes. “You almost done? You’ve gotta see this for yourself.”

Michael frowned as he finished up, hesitating on his side of the stall. He might not have been a genius, but he was more than cognizant enough to piece together what had happened to him – the delay was merely the moment he needed to brace himself for what he was going to see.

It didn’t help much. He was confronted by the bathroom’s mirror the instant he stepped out of the stall, smacked in the face by the vision of a pale, wide-eyed teenage boy whose quivering chin – smooth save for the barest traces of adolescent stubble – and oversized clothes made him look even younger than his fourteen years. Michael gaped at that boy as shock threatened to overtake him, the very real threat of fainting fended off when Mattie stepped to his side and put her hands on his shoulders.

“Relax, Michael, just relax…” She cooed with uncharacteristic tenderness. “This is the biggest drop, at least in terms of years. If you can get over this, the rest’ll be a piece of cake.”

“The rest of what?” Michael demanded as tears stung at the corners of his eyes. “What did you do to me?”

Mattie sighed as she idly played with Michael’s hair, the way he used to do for her when she was very small.

“I know that I’m not good at expressing it,” she started, speaking softly and with great measure, “but I’ve always been so thankful for everything you’ve done for me. You sacrificed your childhood so I could enjoy mine. This…this is me returning the favor, Michael.”

Michael groaned as he instinctively rested his head against his sister’s shoulder. She may have been the one responsible for this, but he was so badly in need of comfort that he couldn’t be picky about its source.

“I…I appreciate that you’re trying to help me relax…or whatever this is meant to accomplish…” He murmured, squirming a bit as she continued stroking his hair. “But I’m really uncomfortable and I’ve got to be at work soon anyway, so – ”

Michael suddenly stopped. He pulled away and stared dumbly at his sister.

“Wait…what did you mean by the biggest drop?”

“Well, the solution you drank works by reducing your age in stages, which helps limit the shock to both the body and the psyche.” Mattie breezily explained. “If my estimates are correct, you’ll bottom out at just under two years old within a few hours.”


“Give or take a few months. Oh, and there’s no antidote, so need to worry about work – at least not for the next fifteen years or so.” She grinned and tweaked the stunned boy’s nose. “Sooooo…lunch?”


“I mean, I could develop it for broader use, but I don’t know if the world is ready for an honest-to-God youth potion, you know? Can society progress once it’s defeated death? And, practically speaking, can the elite be trusted not to use this tool to further monopolize the world’s resources? The way I see it…”

Mattie continued chattering as she drove, continued chattering despite receiving not the barest response from her sullen passenger. Michael – who in fact had not said a word since his sister notified him of his impending toddlerhood – simply picked at the graphic tee and jeans in which he’d been dressed, wondering what he’d have to do to wake up from this nightmare. If Mattie was to be believed (and she never lied to him, not since she was seven and broke down bawling while finally admitting that she ate his last piece of birthday cake), then there wasn’t much point in shouting or striking. He didn’t know if he could bring himself to cause any harm to his sister, anyway – even if she was harming Michael in ways she couldn’t comprehend by doing this to him.

“Here we are!” Mattie exclaimed as she pulled into a parking spot. Michael forlornly dragged his feet as he followed his sister into the mall, just like any other moody teen dragged along on a shopping trip. It didn’t help that he had reason to sulk – being out in public like this was bad enough, but he was also expected to help Mattie pick out the baby clothes that he (ostensibly, astonishingly) would fit into within a matter of hours. And all that was to say nothing of what would happen if he was hit by another “shrink spurt” while others were watching. Mattie tried to assuage those fears by declaring that those spurts were unpredictable and couldn’t be planned around. There was then, she reasoned, no point in staying cooped up in the lab.

“Mattie,” Michael whispered, staying close to his sister’s side as they carved a path through the teeming crowds of lounging teens and lollygagging families. Though he hated the sound of his cracking tenor, anything was preferable to the thought of having to face such a mob scene as an awkward, blushing teenager “Can’t we just go home and – ”

The boy suddenly stopped and groaned, insides twisting themselves into a knot as he stood hunched over and all but paralyzed by this new bout of intestinal discomfort. In the periphery of his blurred vision Matthew could see a handful of passersby slow and frown in his direction, his mounting panic at his oncoming spurt skyrocketing to all-consuming levels at the thought that he’d have an audience for his latest tumble.

“Matthew!” Mattie declared loudly and with a very fake laugh. “Didn’t I say not to have that third burrito? Come, come, let’s get you to the bathroom.”

As embarrassing as he was by her parental (and oddly Victorian) tone, Matthew could at least be grateful for his sister’s quick thinking. The whimpering teen could already feel his clothes bunching and shifting on his shrinking form, the two of them making it to cover – provided by the isolated hallway that led to the bathrooms – right before anything really noticeable could happen out in the open. Though Mattie bustled her brother into a corner and shielded him with her body to ensure his privacy, her closeness only drew into sharper relief just how small he was becoming. He’d had a head and shoulders over Mattie his entire life – now his sister not only loomed over him but was pulling further away with every rapid beat of his pounding heart.

“Mattie…” He turned a shade deeper at the distinctly boyish timbre of his whine. If his rapid decrease in size wasn’t enough to indicate that he’d passed backwards through puberty, the chirpiness of his trembling little voice certainly was – to say nothing of the bizarre inward tug of certain parts pulling themselves back into his body. If there was one mercy he’d been granted, it’s that he didn’t have to witness that particular transition with his own eyes. “This…this is really scary…”

“Oh my gosh, Mikey, there’s nothing to be scared about!” Michael fumed at the condescension, at the way she used his childish nickname while dismissing his fears. “Your body is merely reverting to a previous state at a rapid pace. It’s a very controlled process, really no risk involved at all. The only side effect is the one you’re already familiar with.”

Indeed, it was not two seconds after he’d settled into his new age that Michael felt himself struck by that same instinct once more, felt a pressure in his gut that was mounting more heavily and urgently within him with each passing second. He squeaked in panic as he dug his teeth into his lower lip, as he performed a clumsy balancing act of pressing one hand against his rumbling tummy while the other tried to singlehandedly clutch his now-drapelike clothing to his skinny and shrunken form.

“Mm, yeah, nothing to be done about that.” Mattie frowned. “You’re losing a lot of mass, after all, and this is the most efficient way to get rid of it.”

“I gotta go,” he whimpered as he started urgently shuffling his way towards the bathroom, stopping when he saw that Mattie wasn’t following. “Uh…aren’t you…?”

“I can’t go in the men’s room, silly!” She chuckled as though he were making a joke befitting his new age. “Besides, I think you’re big enough to take care of it on your own.”

“I’m twenty-eight!” He hissed as he turned away in a huff, ears burning at the way Mattie’s good-natured laughter followed him down the hall. Powered by righteous indignation, he even managed to confidently push open a bathroom door that now felt impossibly heavy beneath his now-tiny hand.

Then, he froze.

It was not until now – now that he was alone, now that Mattie wasn’t there to protect him – that he could appreciate the new terror of his gigantic surroundings. It wasn’t just the massive drop in height that made everything seem so much bigger and more intimidating…there was also the fact that the skinny limbs swamped by his baggy jeans and tent of a shirt were now bereft of even the barest trace of muscle or strength.

He was helpless.

For a moment, Michael could only stand stunned beneath the weight of this revelation, could only gape at the now-unreachable faucets and at the stall doors that loomed above him as imposing and impenetrable as castle walls. It was only when he felt inquisitive eyes upon him – the smattering of boys and men within glancing at and then staring openly at the terrified child in the oversized clothes – that he managed to snap himself out of his trance, forcing himself not to linger on the passing image in the mirror of the wide-eyed, tow-headed kid whose head bobbed just high enough above the sinks to be seen.

The sight stayed with him, though. That bright-eyed, blushing, adorably immature countenance filled his thoughts as he sat on the toilet, as he stared at his dangling feet and sniffled back the tears burning at the corners of his eyes. Though they would not be denied, Michael stubbornly refused to let his sister hear him cry – he would not give those within the bathroom reason to think him the pitiful child he’d become.

He buried his eyes in his sleeve and sobbed softly. The whole of his boy’s body trembled from the effort of keeping it in.


It didn’t matter to Michael that his meal had come with a toy, nor that his chicken nuggets were lousy with the smell of the overused oil in which they’d been fried. At this point, he was so emotionally and physically exhausted – not to mention hungry – that even his fast food kid’s meal came as a welcome respite from what had been a very trying day. Mattie was even considerate enough to – for once – not make cloying comments while he ate about how cute he was, as she’d done during the interminably long time it took for them to pick out the colorful cartoon t-shirt and playful cargo shorts he now found himself dressed in. Though his big sister smiled as she watched him attack his unhealthy lunch with gusto, that in itself didn’t really bother the boy.

In fact, it was kinda nice having her there as he ate.

“I guess you’re feeling better.” Mattie said. “I forgot how much food kids can pack away when they’re really hungry.”

“Notta kid,” Michael mumbled through a mouthful of French fries.

“Tell that your table manners.” Mattie chuckled as Michael scowled. “Oh, relax. One of the best parts about being little is not having to worry about that sort of thing. I wish I could talk with my mouth full and burp whenever I wanted – you ought to embrace those new freedoms.”

“Yeah?” Michael challenged. “Alright, here goes.”

The boy took in a great gulp of air – and then let loose with a reverberating burp that drew the attention of nearby disapproving adults and their giggling kids. Though triumphant at showing up his sister, Michael couldn’t help but cower beneath those grown-up glares – stopping only when he realized that Mattie was laughing uproariously at his antics.

“Oh my gosh…” She snickered as she wiped a tear from her eye. “It is gonna be so much fun having you around, kiddo.”

Michael – in spite of the situation – couldn’t help but smile at how happy he’d made her. That smile disappeared, however, when he started to unpack what she’d just said.

“Wait…what do you mean by having me around?”

“What, are you serious?” Mattie searched Michael’s uncertain frown for any sign of jest, sobering somewhat when she found none. “Well, I mean…I’m gonna raise you, Michael. Did you think I’d just turn you into a baby and then abandon you on someone’s doorstep?”

Michael had spent every unoccupied moment worrying about what would happen to his shrunken self, yet he had somehow never considered that Mattie would be the one to assume the responsibility of parenthood. Though undeniably brilliant and capable, there was a carelessness to Mattie’s personality that made her seem a less-than-perfect fit for that particular position. He’d never pictured her as a mother, much less his – and he’d opened his mouth to say just that, only to find the words swallowed by a fresh round of twisting and cramping.

“Mattiiiiiieeee…” Michael whined, pouting up at his sister as he squirmed in his seat. She winced and looked around – ensuring that nobody was watching – and then got up from her side of the table and joined the disconsolate boy in his booth seat.

“It’s okay, Mikey, it’s okay…” She wrapped an arm around the boy’s slender, shrinking shoulders as her free palm gently rubbed his tumultuous tummy. Surprised by Mattie’s gentleness, Michael found himself snuggling as deep into his sister’s embrace as he could. Anything to shield himself from the scary rumbling in his tummy, from the sensation of retreating into his big boy clothes, from the sight of his surroundings scaling higher and higher above him like the stretching branches of encircling trees. Though not a big person by any means, Michael was now small enough that to curl up against Mattie was to by her warmth, by her affection, by the nostril-tickling sweetness of a perfume he was just now noticing. He was enveloped by her.

It was an undeniably lovely moment – that Mattie of course ruined by opening her mouth.

“Oh my gooooooooosh,” she gushed, pulling away to get a better look at her pouting tyke of a brother. Being fussed over like this would’ve been bad enough in itself were it not for Mattie’s deliriously delighted expression, an over-the-moon adoration she reserved solely for puppies, kittens, and…babies. Though Michael wasn’t quite there yet, he knew he wasn’t far off – and a rhorrified examination of his stubby fingers, tiny wiggling toes, and overall chubbiness indeed revealed his demotion from grade to preschool. “You are seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Do you feel okay? Do you need to go potty?”

No.” Michael snapped and crossed his arms despite genuinely needing a restroom. It didn’t register with him why Mattie was laughing until he realized that he was doing a dead-on impersonation of a grumpy four-year-old. “It’s not funny!”

“That’s a matter of opinion.” Mattie chuckled and furthered her brother’s fuming by ruffling his soft, curly hair. “Are you still hungry? Let me cut up the rest of your nuggets for you.”

“Don’t.” Michael reached a pudgy fist towards one of the fried formed lumps. He cursed inwardly as it slipped through his uncoordinated crayon-grabbers. “I can do it. Just leave me alone.”

“Now now, there’s no point in being a grouch.” Mattie brushed his tiny hands away from his meal, her tone sickly sweet and brimming with condescension. “Just let me help and – ”

“I said DON’T!” He screamed, the surprising strength of his high-pitched howl drawing startled eyes from all over the food court. “I HATE YOU!

Mattie recoiled as though she’d been slapped. Michael felt the color drain from his eminently pinchable cheeks. Of everything he’d experienced today, nothing – nothing – was as devastating as the look on his sister’s face. The boy tried to stammer out an apology, the task made all the more difficult by the accusatory glares of both parent and child – condemnations of his unbelievable ingratitude – being cast his way. Somehow, though, he still managed to find the words that he thought would make things right. It was with an adorably earnest expression that he held her hand with both of his own and met the hurt in her eyes.

Then, he straightened up and gasped.

The pain melted from Mattie’s features as she studied her suddenly shocked brother with concern, not sure what could have happened to make him go so completely still and blush with such incredible intensity.

Then, the smell.

“Oh, Mikey…” In an instant his outburst was forgotten. Mattie’s expression was all tenderness and sympathy, which made it even harder for the stunned boy to be mad at her for what had happened.

Not that that stopped him from trying. Within him roared the indignant rage of a wronged child, the pent-up frustration of a small boy who doesn’t understand why he isn’t getting his way. Screaming was no longer enough. He wanted to unleash whatever destruction his tiny toddler self could inflict, wanted to kick and throw and strike until his all-consuming anger had been satisfied.

But that look in his sister’s eyes. That look that she’d seen during the countless times he’d been patient with her. The forgiveness. The understanding.

The love.

“M-Mattie…” Hellfire did not bellow from within when Michael finally opened his mouth. All that came out was the tiny whimper of a scared, embarrassed child. “I…I hadda…”

Tears overcame him. The newly-minted toddler broke down bawling like any other big boy ashamed of his accident, all thoughts of revenge and devastation falling away in the face of his plaintive, childish cry for help.

Mattie answered. Immediately he felt himself wrapped up in his sister’s arms, sobbing into her stomach as she cooed tiny condolences and gently rubbed his heaving back. Dimly he realized that he was being lifted, lifted out of everything but the shirt that swaddled him as Mattie carried him away from the table. Michael didn’t look up – he didn’t care where he was being taken. All he cared about was that Mattie had him.

Michael did not open his eyes until Mattie gently pulled away, until she laid him with the utmost tenderness on the cool plastic of a changing table. He squirmed and whined as he immediately realized that he’d been taken to the women’s restroom, his embarrassment at this latest indignity tempered only by the sight of Mattie ensuring their privacy by locking the door behind them.

“You have every right to hate me, Michael.” Mattie’s tone was cool and even, not wavering even as she wiped her brother clean with maternal efficiency. “After everything I’ve taken from you…all the opportunities you gave up…all the years spent working and striving for my benefit…”

Mattie finished and raised the sniffing boy’s dimpled chin with one finger. It quivered as she stroked his soft, blushing cheek – as she shone down Michael with the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen.

“But you don’t hate me,” she whispered, voice quavering. “You love me. And that’s why I love you, Mikey.”

Close as they were, admissions this frank were rare between the siblings, so much so that Michael likely would’ve been stunned even if he’d heard it full grown. As a half-naked toddler, however – one who wanted nothing more than for things to be okay between him and his loving big sister – it was downright devastating.

“I…I love you too, Mattie.” He couldn’t help but giggle a bit when Mattie’s eyes lit up. It had always pleased him to make his sister happy – and he’d hardly had to do anything at all to make Mattie the happiest he’d ever seen her.

Those giggles came to an abrupt end when his tummy churned with one last rumble. Though Michael’s initial instinct was to despair at this last tug into proper babyhood, he somehow couldn’t muster up the fear and indignation that had accompanied every other step down. When Mattie noticed him staring at his shrinking, plumping limbs in abject fascination, she tenderly relieved him of his oversized t-shirt so that neither of them would miss out on a single detail. Both knew that this was a moment to be remembered.

“What a good boy my Mikey is.” She favored Michael’s chubby tummy with a tiny tickle and laughed right along with her brother when he squealed in delight. “Getting all cute and little for his big sis. What a beautiful baby.”

For whatever reason, Michael no longer minded the condescension. He merely blushed and grinned around the thumb that had found its way into his mouth. It was only now that he realized that the strength and independence he had lost were in fact being traded in for something far more satisfying and far more wonderful, something he hadn’t felt since that terrible December morning. He curled within its glow as Mattie slipped a diaper beneath him, cooing and squirming with delight at how gently she powdered down his most private and sensitive areas. It didn’t really register with him that he was actually being diapered until he was taped in. His cheeks burned with a fresh blush at the way the thick, crinkly padding pushed his pudgy thighs apart – he sighed softly at the way the fluffy insides cuddled and tickled his baby-soft skin.

“Well, at least I won’t have to ask anymore whether you have to go potty.” She chuckled at Michael’s embarrassed squirming as she scooped him up into her arms, as she held him close and regarded him as though he were her most treasured object. “Feeling okay, kiddo?”

Michael’s thumb bobbed between his lips as he pondered the question. Truth be told, there was still a lot he was uncertain about – whether Mattie could be responsible enough to be a mother, whether anyone would come looking for him, whether he could really allow himself to be taken care of this completely. All he knew in that moment, however, was how he felt.


In lieu of words, Michael simply snuggled up close to his big sister, snuggled as deeply as he could within her tender embrace and radiating warmth. He nuzzled her with the love and affection that could not be contained by his tiny form. She grinned and nuzzled back.

“Good to know,” she smiled. “Let’s go home.”



End Chapter 3

Fifteen Steps Down: An AR Anthology

by: nico | Complete Story | Last updated May 19, 2018


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