Eager to show that the AR Virus regressing him to a toddler doesn't mean he needs any help, former teenager Ethan decides to remove some of his old stuff from the attic. Doing so he discovers a nearly forgotten old friend!
Chapter Description: Who would have thought it only needs a regression into a two-year-old to convince a teenager to get rid of old stuff?
and his Bear
“You really don’t need to do it alone,” Cindy noticed.
Ethan inwardly rolled his eyes.
“Sure mom,” he replied. “But cleaning up is something I still am capable of.”
“Remember, some of the crates are heavy and …” Cindy stopped as noticed the look on her son’s face and raised her hands. “Okay. You do it. Just remember: What is too heavy I and your Dad can help you with later.”
“I know,” Ethan replied with a sigh. “Love you mom.”
“You, too,” Cindy replied
Knowing when it was better to stop before her parental instincts would make her say something unwise again, she turned and left the house. Ethan was just standing there a moment, until he heard the sound of the car door closing and the engine starting. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust his mother, but it helped him to truly feel on his own. Free.
A turn to the right instantly made this feeling go sour. In the mirror next to the door he saw a boy. Two years old, rough brown hair, shorts and a blue shirt. Ethan quickly turned his look away. He wasn’t what the age regression virus had turned his body into, but what he made of it. He was 17 and today he would make himself feel useful again!
With a determined expression which would have anyone seen the toddler found strange on a face such young, he climbed up the ladder to the attic. Dust awaited him, along with some spiderwebs and boxes … lots of them. Many of this was his old stuff. After his parents had pestered him for years to throw out his old stuff, he had decided to use the school break to finally go along with it.
Ethan looked around. Some of the boxes were nearly as large as he was. Some pieces of furniture – old closets, small chairs, his old crib now taken apart – looked heavy for him and even the attic itself looked darker than it had when he had known his parents were around, maybe …
No! Ethan told himself. Just do it!
The regressed teen grabbed the first box. It was heavy, even as he just dragged it over the attic’s floor. Yet, he felt confident he could get it down the relatively flat ladder …
He was wrong.
As Ethan tried to let the box slide down the ladder, he felt it evade his grasp. He tried to hold it, tried it with all his strength, but this strength was this of a toddler and the hands he tried to grasp it with was chubby instead of lean. The box tilted forward and a few blocks fell down the ladder, followed by a blue bouncy ball with a star on it. Worse, the regressed man felt his feet lose the connection to the ground.
For a moment Ethan had the mad image of himself flying through the air like Peter Pan. Luckily in an act of pure instinct, his left hand did get hold of one of the steps. He still was in the air, but for the moment static, as he hung between the box and the stairs.
Let go, he nearly could hear Peter’s tempting voice whisper, you can fly!
Ethan resisted and held on. Suddenly he heard a bang, as a set of blocks fell down the stairs, followed by a bouncy ball of all things. The weight in the boxy shifted slightly and he regained his hold on the ground. Ever so slowly he let go of his grip on the stairs and managed let the box slide down in a reasonable speed while holding on to it.
As he had reached the floor and had stopped shaking, he opened the box, only to discover his old, wooded rocking horse giving him a wide grin.
I just wanted to take you on a wild ride like in the old times, it seemed to say.
Ethan closed the box again and silently swore to never tell his parents of this near accident. He knew he could have easily broken a bone and needed to go to the hospital, maybe even the children station …
Shaking his head over this averted humiliation, Ethan continued his work.
Good three hours later, Ethan stood in the living room, surrounded by large boxes. He drank from a water bottle and felt proud of himself. Granted, he was dirty from head to shoes and his bare arms and legs were more black than pink, also he hadn’t even begun with the furniture yet, but this was a good start. Something to be proud of.
After his near accident, he had taken care of checking the weight of the box and made sure that he really could carry it down. If not, he had removed parts of content and carrying it separately. He might not have his old strength anymore, but he had his adult … well teenage brain, so there was no reason not to use it.
Still feeling a bit powered out, Ethan checked the boxes. An old tricycle. Stacking rings. Large toy cars. Pulling caterpillar. A ball ramp. Picture Books. It was the next one he stopped for a moment. Standing on his toes he looked in. There was a fuzzy shape, but little features to be identified due to the angle of his head, so he needed a moment until it clicked. Yes! This was his old teddy bear. One of the first robotic ones with an actual limited artificial intelligence. It had been years since he had thought of it.
What has been its name?, Ethan tried to remember. Brandy, Barry …
“Beary!” Ethan said loudly, proud to remember the name.
The teddy bear raised its head and looked up at him with black button eyes. “Ethan!”
Shocked the regressed boy fell backwards, trying to grab the box only to have it tilt and fall with him as he landed painfully on his butt. He barely noticed it though, as he starred at the plush which had had no problem with the tumble and laughing began crawling to him.
“Boxes are fun,” Beary proclaimed.
Not the slightest comfortable with the black eyes coming nearer, Ethan crawled backwards, until he was stopped at the couch.
“You crawl really quick!” Beary noticed cheerfully. “Shall we play doggies?”
Seeing it in full light, made the shock slowly leave Ethan and he felt stupid from reacting this way in the first place. Furry brown coat, black eyes and the left ear which had a piece missing since he had once tried to make a hole in it for it to wear one of his mother’s earrings like a pirate. From the outside it looked like a normal brown teddy bear, but it was a robot. Only a robot. Its battery should have long since died … but then they made them rather good already back then.
“No,” Ethan replied, standing up with some effort. “How comes you are activated?”
The teddy was on his knees and smiled at him.
“Beary always wakes up when Ethan calls him!”
With this the teddy stood up and Ethan was unnerved to realize it was actually a bit larger than him.
“Well, it was an accident,” he explained. “You can shut down again.”
The teddy leaned his head ab it.
“Where are mommy and daddy?” It asked.
“At work,” Ethan replied, dusting off his short and feeling his butt still hurting a bit. “I clean up old stuff.”
Like you, he wanted to add, but something held him back.
The bear was silent a for a long moment. Ethan already thought it had shut down as ordered or its battery had given up, but then it moved its head back in the normal position.
“Let us play until mommy and daddy are back!”
“I said no,” Ethan replied. “Shut down.”
“Beary can’t go back to sleep, when little Ethan is alone!”
This response made Ethan freeze.
“Beary.” The regressed adult’s voice was calm and as he hoped reasonable. “Check the date. Compare it with my birth date. I’m seventeen.”
Again the bear tilted his head slightly. Ethan guessed it was a sign that it processed large data or got access to the web.
“All these numbers make a poor bears head all swirly,” the teddy noticed after a few seconds, shaking it head in a way Ethan would have found amusing had the situation been different. “Beary sees how big you are. Nearly as big as me! Shall we play tag?”
Ethan felt his frustration rise, but he understood too well. All modern AIs had of course been updated to differentiate between normal children and ARV-victims, but this hadn’t been activated in what? Ten years? Even if it got the actual date, it couldn’t make sense out of seeing him this young and now treated him according to what it saw. A reasonable safety measure once, but now …
“Try to connect to the home server of your company,” Ethan said. “Load down the newest update, until you find the age regression virus.”
Again, the bear tilted his head, but shorter than before.
“Teddy Land has closed it gate for poor old Beary,” it noticed in a sad voice, making its shoulders sag a bit. “I need a hug from a friend.”
They have shut down the support for this AI or gone bankrupt, Ethan realized.
“I’m not your friend!” He replied angrily.
“Ohhhh.” Beary sounded depressed. “Ethan is sad, too, do you miss mommy and daddy? Don’t worry Beary will be with you, until they return.”
“I have another idea.”
With this Ethan touched the bear between it shoulders and neck. He remembered there was an off switch, but as hard as he pressed, there was only the fuzzy feeling of Beary’s soft fur.
“Why don’t you turn off?” He asked, as it brought no result.
“Beary can’t be turned off by little friends,” the teddy explained. “Such we can tumble and rumble!”
It embraced Ethan.
“Fuck you!” The regressed adult pushed him away.
Beary fell on its padded butt and laughed, as it rolled on its back. “Yeah!”
Ethan had enough of this. He rushed past the bear and to the floor. There he put on some sandals and grabbed the keys. If he couldn’t switch off this malfunctioning toy, he could at least leave until his parents came back to do it or until it ran out of power. He laid his hand on the doorhandle only to have the bear suddenly pressing against it.
“Outside is no no for little boys!” It insisted. “It can be dangerous without a grown-up around!”
“I’m an adult you stupid …” Ethan began.
He wrestled and despite what he felt was the robot’s superior strength, he managed to press the door open wide enough for him to try to slip through.
“Ethan no!” Beary pleaded. “I have to call the police.”
Ethan stopped, starring at the bear. “What?”
“Beary must keep Ethan safe until mommy and daddy are back. If I can’t I will ask the police to help,” the bear explained and upon seeing the boy’s face growing white added: “Don’t worry, they might even let you wear a hat and be an junior officer. This would be fun!”
“You can’t …”
Ethan stopped. Of course, the bear could. Build in telephone connection. Straight to the police reporting child in danger … or even child neglect? Naturally Ethan would have no problem to convince anyone that he was an adult in mind, but besides the humiliation he would have to go through, chances were words would go around.
Man held hostage by toy, he thought. Yeah, no!
Slowly he relaxed. “We could visit Mr. and Mrs. Crange.”
Asking the neighbors for help would be humiliating, too, but nothing in comparison to having the police show up and cause a scene. Also, the elder couple was okay, especially since they had themselves turned back to twenty and reentered the local college.
“Beary can’t protect Ethan outside,” the robot replied, softly pressing the door shut. “Here are so many toys and games. Later mommy can go with you outside to the playground.”
Ethan starred at him, trying to find a way out of it which wouldn’t end with his complete humiliation.
“Beary, look at me,” he began. “How old do I look?”
The bear’s black eyes were focused on him and as Ethan knew compared him to older pictures of him and a database helping him to determine the age of children.
“Two!” The bear said. “You have to have gotten so many fun presents at your birthday!”
“How old was I the last time you saw me?”
“Four,” the bear answered. “You had fun with your new bike.”
“So, how can I be two, if I was four?”
The bear looked at him, moving his brows in confusion.
“This old bear is very wobbly in his soft head,” Beary concluded, sounding sad. “But it can see Ethan clearly.”
“Four plus four is eight. Four times four is sixteen,” Ethan tried. “Do two-year-old know this?”
“Ethan is clever!” Beary replied and clasped its little paws. “Your mommy and daddy will be so proud! Mrs. Cubble, too! You can show it to her and your little friends at daycare. Can you sing the ABC-song with me? A, B, C, D, E …”
Ethan had enough. This robot was intelligent enough to prevent him from leaving, but too dumb to learn his true age. It simply assumed the data it had was wrong and went with what it saw. Granted, this might have been a good safety measure in the days before the virus, but … Ethan grabbed the telephone nearby, beginning to go to speed dial for the Crange’s, when Beary snatched it from him.
“Grown-up-phones are not for little boys!” The teddy bear reminded him. “Your mommy and daddy would be angry.”
“Give it back!” Ethan plunged himself at him.
Beary evaded him and ran giggling to the living room. The regressed boy followed, only to see the robot vanish behind one of the many boxes.
“Find me!” It called him.
Ethan was going to, when he realized it was what the bear wanted. Worse, it had probably wanted to get him away from the door, too, and he had just fallen for it. From behind the crates Ethan could hear him giggling.
“Go to heck!”
With this Ethan took the tablet from the table next to the tv and climbed the couch. Quickly he searched for the site of the company Beary was from, but when he reached it, he found mostly advertising for newer models.
Your child’s best friend through the first years, it promised, showing a bear bearing a strong resemblance to his playing with a one-year-old by building with blocks. In the corner was a small note. Identifies AR-victims with simple questions.
Ethan looked up from his tablet to see Beary lurk from behind a box.
You are long since phased out, he thought grimly. Let’s see how I can lay you to rest.
Ethan googled how to best destroy its kind and instantly found a number of interesting sounding sites, along with a few pictures of such bears being burned, hanged or thrown into lakes. He just clicked a site sounding really promising, when the image of Beary’s face appeared on the monitor. It began floating around, only to fill out the screen completely.
Ethan looked up, seeing Beary stand in front of him.
“There are things in there which can make little boys sad,” it explained.
“You make me sick you computer virus!”
“Shall we play doctor?”
Ethan tossed the tablet on the couch next to him. How could such an old robot still block his access? It was useless to ask, as it was hopeless to find a way to switch it off. It made him feel so powerless and weak. Even the house suddenly seemed bigger. What could was he if he couldn’t deal with a toddler’s toy?
“You look sad,” Beary noticed. “Shall I call mommy or daddy?”
His mom or dad would solve the situation quickly, simply by calling the neighbors if not even by an override code, sending Beary back to sleep. But they would know! No way he would suffer this humiliation of being defeated by a teddy bear! Think, he had to think.
“Are you tired?” Beardy asked.
Ethan looked up as it hit him. The bear had to have pretty little energy left, so if he could power it out.
“No,” he said, thinking hard. “But I … I want to play. Yes, I want to play.”
Beary clasped his paws, seemingly happy that his friend was back to normal. “What do you want to play?”
“I want to play with a toy,” Ethan lied. “Can you unpack all the boxes?”
Off the bear went to turn over the first box. The regressed teenager watched him, guessing that if the robot ran out of energy, he would still have enough time to put things back into the boxes, before his mom and dad came back. Yet, while he watched, Beary continued without showing signs of tiredness.
“All done,” the teddy noticed after what seemed to be only a few minutes. “Let us have fun!”
Reluctantly and only to pretend cooperation, Ethan slid of the couch and walked amongst his old stuff. A small slide. A large toy-truck. Building blocks. A wooden activity cube. A red plastic push car with a smiling face and so much more. A toddler’s dream and Ethan hated it all … well not exactly hated, but as he stood there amongst every toy a toddler could wish for, he felt it unsettling to be once again in the perfect size for them. Worse, he felt the slight instinct in him telling him he should play with them.
I know perfectly why I want it out of the house, Ethan thought. Nothing of this has power over me!
He looked at Beary and had to correct himself. One had. But he was about to change this.
“I want you to push me around!” Ethan declared, pointing at the plastic push car.
Beary clasped. “Yeah!”
Ethan winced, but took place on the push car and grabbed the white steering wheel. Instantly he felt the teddy’s soft but strong paws pushing him forward. Slowly at first, but then a bit quicker, as he navigated along the living room. This all was surreal. Driving on a push car and seeing the furniture move past like houses.
“You are a great driver!” Beary praised him.
Again Ethan winced. He only had had his driver’s license for a few months, when the age regression virus struck. He still had it, of course, but his parents didn’t want to see him in one of this special modified ones, so it was baby seat in the back for him now. This was better in comparison. As he held his legs outstretched in front of him, he nearly enjoyed it.
“Brumm. Brumm,” Beary pretended. “We are nearing the park!”
Ethan felt like he was growing cold. He had once liked the park as a place to hang out with his friends after school. The last time he had been there had been shortly after the virus had run its course. He had walked to meet his friends and on the way been stopped by an older lady who had asked him if he was lost and searched his mommy. He had starred her down and she had quickly recognized her mistake and excused herself. The day had been spoiled for him though. The meeting with his friends – the first time they had been together since he had his new age – had been awkward, with no one really knowing what to do or say.
He hadn’t visited it since, deciding the park was too much a place for real toddlers. There was this large playground in the middle, always occupied by flocks of them and he met them on every way, going hand in hand with their parents or sitting in strollers, eyeing him curiously, while they were pushed and …
“Stop!”, Ethan shouted.
Beary let go instantly, allowing the regressed teen to stop the push car with his feet.
“Are we in the park already?” The teddy asked.
“No,” Ethan replied louder as intended. “We are not in the park.”
“Oh … are we in toyland?”
Ethan hesitated a moment. “Yeah … yeah I guess we are. Let us find something to play with.”
This was easier said than done, since most of the toys were simple activity-engaging stuff for one player. Nothing to power a robot out with. In the end the regressed teenager settled for a green ball.
“I sit here and throw it to you,” Ethan told the teddy. “You throw it back.”
“Yeah!” Beary replied enthusiastically.
This enthusiasm seemed to be endless, for no matter how often and far Ethan threw the ball, Beary always went after the ball and brought it back without showing signs of slowing down.
They should have made you a dog, Ethan thought after what had to be the three hundredth time.
This sent his own mind wandering. They had had a dog once. Charlie. The Labrador had been hit by a car and died when Ethan had been in High School. The memory still hurt, but school work had diverted him. Now he was taking his courses online, though his school allowed ARV-victims even as young as him to continue visiting it physically. He was probably good enough to visit college soon, though he had no idea what he could with a body as young as his later in life. Why had everything to be so complicated? If only …
Ethan looked up to see Beary standing over him. For a moment he felt disoriented. Hadn’t he just played with Charly? Felt the dog’s tongue at his hands? Of course not. Slowly he grabbed for the ball to throw it again. This was easy at least. Playing with a teddy which wouldn’t die, because it didn’t live in the first place. He was about to throw it, when he stopped. Did he actually enjoy this?!
“Ethan looks tired,” Beary noticed. “Let us take a nap!”
“No!” Ethan felt shock race through him. If his parents came home and found him sleeping with the teddy …
He threw the ball, but Beary didn’t react.
“Come,” the teddy suggested. “We can cuddle on the couch and I sing for you.“
Beary approached Ethan with open arms, but the boy pushed back.
“Get off!” He shouted.
Laughing, Beary stumbled backwards, only to suddenly launch himself on him. Ethan was too stunned to defend himself at once and so he landed on his back.
“Hey!” Ethan protested. “No! I …”
Not listening, the teddy began tickling the boy.
“Nononono …” Ethan said, though it quickly descended into a squeal.
It was wild, it was humiliating, but it also felt in a strange way good he couldn’t identify. Maybe it was the surprise, maybe it was that he was tickled for the first time in ages, or maybe his younger body was much more sensitive than his proper one … too sensitive!
Ethan felt the warmth spread around his groin and instantly stopped laughing. Beary also stopped tickling him, as he noticed the change. The boy hardly registered it, as he felt starred in shock at the dark spot growing on his short.
“Ethan did a tinkle!” Beary commented. “Don’t be sad. All little boys …”
Ethan didn’t let him finish it. He jumped up and raced into the bathroom, throwing the door shut behind him. As quick as he could he removed his clothes and threw them in the washing machine. Then he nearly jumped in the shower cabin. Using his step stool, he grabbed the shower head and turned on both tapes as far as he could. The hot stream was strong, but it hardly helped to make him feel cleaner, even after minutes had passed.
He had tinkled … no, he had pissed his pants! It had nearly happened shortly after the transformation, when he hadn’t yet gotten used to the smaller bladder yet. Once he had forced his father to stop the car on a street, so he could release himself on a tree. The other time he had woken up just in time to run to the toilet and swear himself to never drink anything before going to sleep ever again. Now this …
Ethan didn’t know how long he stood under the water, but when he finally put it off, he didn’t feel much better. This wasn’t helped by when he discovered Beary standing in the middle of the bathroom, holding a towel.
“I got you the softest towel,” the teddy said in the friendliest of tone. “I know I have been a bad bear.”
Ethan suppressed what he wanted to say and grabbed the towel, quickly drying himself as he walked to his room.
Just a robot, he told himself. Don’t be angry. It is just a stupid, old robot!
As this might have been true, it had still been a busy robot. On his bed he found something to wear the teddy must have grabbed form the boxes. A red Barney shirt. Green He-Man sandals and …
Ethan whispered this, being half aware that over the last hour this had become his favorite word as it was probably for all toddlers.
“But Ethan,” Beary said, walking over to the bed and picking up the item. “Even big boys sometimes need a little protection. Look how wild Tiger is!”
The regressed teen starred at the image of Tiger on the diaper. And it was a diaper, not even a pull-up, but a diaper pants. His toilet training had gone so smooth back then that he had just skipped the phase, something which he nearly regretted now … not that training pants would be better, but …
“No!” This time it came out nearly sounding like from a defiant toddler.
“Wanna have nakey time?” Beary asked.
“NO!” Ethan shouted. “I won’t be naked and I won’t wear a diaper. I will wear my own underwear … and other clothes, too!”
With this he walked over to his closet to pick some proper clothes.
“Ethan is upset,” the teddy noticed in a sad voice. “Beary can call mommy.”
Ethan froze, uttering his favorite word again. “No.”
“But mommy can make everything better,” the teddy insisted. “If she says you can wear big boy undies it is okay.”
The regressed teen looked at Beary. He knew the robot could do it. Remembered it, from back, when it had dialed his parents when one was at work and suddenly made them talk through him. His eyes even took up a video stream, meaning his mother could see him standing here, wearing nothing but a towel and if it told her he had “tinkled” in his big boy undies …
“Don’t call her,” Ethan said as calm as he could. “I will put it on.”
With this he walked over to the bear and snatched the diaper from his paws. Looking at it, he noticed how Tiger seemed to smile a special smile for him. It felt soft in his hands. Tempting. With a moan he unfolded it, stepped in the holes and pulled it up. It fit all too perfectly and while it pressed his legs a bit apart, it didn’t feel bad, as much as he wanted to, but as soft as it had on the outside, if not softer.
“Now the shirt,” Beary told him.
Ethan didn’t resist, but grabbed the shirt the teddy held to him and put it on. As he looked down on himself, he saw Barney smiling up at him. He had loved the show once and always sung with him.
I love you, you love me, we are a happy …
The regressed teen shook his head to get the tune out of his head. It was just too childish. But then again, why not? He looked like a toddler. He was treated like a toddler by the freaking bear who held him hostage. Now he wore a diaper like a toddler. So why not think like one? He knew some victims of the ARV had decided to embrace their new ages fully, even with their minds intact. What was the point of resisting?
With a great big hug, And a kiss from me to you, Won’t you say to love me too?
Ethan looked around and suddenly discovered the photo of himself, his teenage self, on the wall. His father had taken it just after he had gotten his driver’s license. It instantly snapped him out of it. This was him! Not the toddler this robot wanted to make out of him.
“Ethan looks tired,” Beary noticed. “Do you want to take a nap now?”
At first Ethan only glared on him, then an idea flashed his mind.
“Yeah, I do,” he answered. “I’m really tired.”
“This bear, too!” Beary said and let out a yawn. “Let us go to bed and visit dreamland.”
“But I want to sleep in my crib,” Ethan noticed.
The teddy looked around. If he had registered the fact that his friend’s room had changed from a nursery to a teenager’s room he didn’t mention it.
“Where is your crib?”
Ethan smiled and walked out of the room. The diaper made this awkward, nearly a toddle. It also forced him to rise his legs higher than normal, when he climbed the ladder up to the attic.
“We shouldn’t be here,” Beary complained, as he climbed after him.
“There!” Ethan pointed to the corner where the parts of his old crib rested. “You have to put it in my room.”
The robot looked at it.
“This is too large for a small teddy,” he complained.
“Beary, pleeeaaase!” Ethan begged in what he hoped what was a good imitation of a toddler’s whine, using the teddy’s name the first time after reawakening him.
Beary looked from the parts of the crib to the boy and back. Finally, he nodded.
Ethan stood aside, watching the bear pull piece by piece of the crib to the ladder. This confirmed his suspicion, that the robot was stronger than he had guessed at first. Beary even managed to get it all down without letting it fall, only once letting one piece carefully slide down rather than carry it. Ethan was impressed, but even more he was frustrated, as the robot showed no sign that his battery was finally dying. Even has he now climbed the ladder back to the attic to pick up Ethan for the nap, he seemed as full of energy as ever.
Push him, a voice told in Ethan’s mind told him. It is just a stupid robot, so push him down the ladder and it will not bother you again!
The regressed teenager felt the small muscles in his arms tense and yet he hesitated. The black eyes of the teddy looked at him. Unsuspecting. Trusting. Faithful. Just as it had waited for him all these years. He relaxed his muscles.
It probably wouldn’t have been destroyed anyway, Ethan told himself, trying to believe it. Better not risk it calling mommy … mom because of this.
“Is Ethan feeling good?” Beary asked.
“Yes,” he replied. “Well done, Beary. Thank you.”
His teddy smiled on this and before the boy could react, he launched forward and touched his shoulder.
“Tag!” The bear shouted and ran past him.
For a moment Ethan just stood there, looking from his shoulder to the teddy. This was childish. Insane. Yet, when he felt the itch in his legs, he ran after his friend, laughing beyond reason. For a long time, they played catch in the shadows of the attic, which no longer appeared scarry to Ethan in the slightest. Not with his teddy around.
Finally Ethan let out a loud yawn.
“Ethan tired,” Beary noticed.
Seeing no reason to deny it, Ethan nodded.
“Let us have a nap,” the teddy suggested.
Again Ethan nodded, his brain being too tired to have excuses.
They went down the ladder and walked to his room. There he climbed on his bed, finding his diaper little hinderance and even strangely comforting, as it pressed on his butt. Beary had more problems getting up, so Ethan pulled him up with his hand, until the teddy reached the top and rolled besides him. The boy and the bear giggled.
“Yeah,” the bear said. “We are adventurers.”
“Yeah,” Ethan replied smiling. “Guess so.”
He didn’t want to sleep. He even felt a bit uncomfortable, as the diaper between his legs made him spread his legs, but Beary snuggled close to him, spending him comforting warmth. He decided to only close his eyes a bit, but then he heard a soft song coming from his teddy.
Twinkle Twinkle little star …
He drifted off to dreamland.
Ethan awoke with a heartful yawn. He felt good, relaxed, as he always did after having worked. For a moment confused he wondered, if he had managed to get all the boxes down, then he opened his eyes and saw Beary sitting besides him. No, they had.
“Beary, wake up!”
Still a bit confused, Ethan sat up and noticed his legs being spread apart by his diaper. He touched it, seeing Tiger on it, then touched his Barney shirt and awoke completely.
The regressed teenager looked back at Beary. His teddy’s battery had finally given up. He had won, so why was the sight of the lifeless robot so unsettling? Ethan touched its soft fur and the ear with the hole in it, half wishing the bear would give him a hug. Then his eyes wandered to the clock besides the bed and he froze.
It was half an hour before his mother was supposed to come back!
Ethan nearly jumped from the bed, landing on his bare knees before racing to the living room. All toys were still out of their boxes! Frantically he began throwing them back in. He made a good time, but quickly became exhausted, so when he held the last toy, he allowed himself to relax a moment. It was a twisted bead maze and looking at it, Ethan found it to be strangely attractive. He shifted some pieces around – green and yellow, blue and red, round and angular, hollow and firm – and felt the touch and clicking sound touching something deep inside him.
Suddenly Ethan heard the sound of a car driving into the driveway, which broke the spell and made him toss the toy into the nearest box. Breathing out in relief, he flattened his shirt to look better, only to realize he still wore his Barney-shirt … and the diaper underneath. Frozen in shock, Ethan heard the door of the car being opened. He felt so very close to have his bladder release its content, but managed to control himself.
Like a flash, Ethan ran to his room, only to run back into the bathroom and start the washing machine with his wet clothes in it. Back in his room, he got out of his Barney-shirt and diaper, pushing both under his bed. Next, he pulled a shirt, underwear and shorts randomly out of his closet and put them on as quick as he could. He was hardly done, when his mother entered the room.
“Hi Ethan.” She smiled at him. “You really made it.”
“Told you,” Ethan replied with a smile unknown to him any proud toddler would give.
His mother’s eyes wandered to his bed and as he turned around, he felt he grew cold as seeing Beary still lying on it.
“He … ummhh … he reactivated for a short time,” Ethan revealed.
“Oh,” his mother looked curious. “Was he any trouble?”
“No,” Ethan lied without hesitation.
“I can put him into a box, if you want.”
The regressed teenager hesitated and briefly looked into Beary’s dark eyes.
“No,” he said. “He … helped me a bit with the crib and … it is okay. His battery is dead now anyway.”
His mother tilted her head a bit.
“Okay Ethan,” she replied. “Dinner is in a few minutes. I brought Pizza.”
Ethan smiled. “Great.”
When his mother had left the boy turned to Beary.
“Thank you,” he whispered and left the room.
Alone in the room, Ethan’s teddy curled together on the bed.
“Love you Ethan,” Beary whispered and went to sleep.
Ethan’s mother of course didn’t charge Beary a year ago, after her still teenage son had been yet again too lazy to clean up his old stuff. Nor did she get a life feed of his adventure sent to her by the teddy! 😉
vended · Jun 25, 2021Absolutely loved it! I've never been a huge fan of the AR virus universe, but this idea of a character regressed to a toddler having to deal with an overzealous teddy toy made for an excellent read out of it. The futuristic yet realistic AI was handled extremely well, at no point feeling too streched, and it was very neat seeing Ethan trying to ousmart the teddy anyways he could. Then of course there's the humiliation the whole situation led him to. Having to deal with being powerless and treated like the toddler he appear to, being weaker than a teddy bear, fearing the way it would make him look if the situation was discovered. And of course the accident and nappy. Again, completely realistic events and thus compelling to follow to discover how it will end up. All this of course added by the mental AR part, with his urge to play the childish game, ending up acting and being dressed just like the toddler he look like. Exactly what he was hell bent on avoiding. And all while actually not losing his teenager mind. Very neat read. And of course him progressively accepting the Teddy, until downright being sad when seeing him lifelessly out of battery. There's something kind of wholesome about the ending, with Ethan eventually avoiding being discovered and thus any longlasting humiliation, and coming o peace with his childish side. Yeah, a truly wholesome AR story. Thanks a lot for sharing it up, Ambrose. It was an excellent read. :] Keep the amazing work!
Aurora · Jun 25, 2021I really truly adored this story, especially how in the end he just kinda let go and let him self enjoy being a baby with his little bear. And I get the sense he's going to recharge his bear as soon as he thinks mommy isn't watching.... I wonder if that's not a secret plot. To keep him distracted from his big boy persona until he starts thinking of him self as a baby who used to be an adult instead of a regressed adult. Is there an official canon for the ARV universe or is it pretty fair game?.. Usually I kinda think about how child brain chemistry works and feel like in order to maintain an adult mental state you'd need constant cognitive training to keep things from going to mush up there, but that's kinda not much fun so a lot of ARV victims eventually end up just slipping back into childhood little by little unless they're really invested...... Which is kinda an understandable way for me to approach it because I like playing with characters who aren't terribly invested at all... I've been toying with one thought for a story about someone who uses medicine they bought online to deliberately shrink them self and gets caught before they can take the restorative medicine.... Anyway sorry for rambling, Love your story. Wish that ARSA would let you break posts up into paragraphs since it's hard to be coherent with walls of text.