241: Date Breaking

on June 19, 2008 in Book 9

In Which Baby Fall Down Go Boom

“What?” I asked. “What are you talking about?”

Was Sooni’s crazy catching? Had Amaranth got a copy of the article and just taken Sooni’s word for it?

“When you were laid up last week,” Amaranth said. “We were visiting and Sooni wanted to come in, you told her to pick a night and you’d have dinner just with her.”

“Yeah… but…”


That had actually happened, hadn’t it?

“Oh, baby, you didn’t forget,” Amaranth said, curling her lip. “Did you?”

“A lot of stuff happened to me that weekend,” I said. Dredging up the memory, I caught hold of a little redeeming detail. “And I told her to write it down so there’d be no confusion! She didn’t care enough to do that, so…”

“So, nothing,” Amaranth said. “Mack, all the times she thought you promised her something and then you actually went and did it… did you have any intention of keeping that promise?”

“I… I didn’t have any intention of breaking it, either,” I said.

She looked at me sadly, shaking her head.

“You haven’t broken it yet,” she said.

“But Steff…”

She put a finger to my lips and shushed me.

“The way I see it, you have three options,” she said. “Get Sooni to reschedule… get Steff to reschedule… or break your date with Sooni.” My eyes lit up at the third option. Would she actually allow me to get out of this nightmare? “Yes, that is an option. You’ve asked me not to order you to do things with Sooni, so I won’t. But, baby, if you do that, you’re going to be completely honest, to yourself and to her, about what you’re doing. No standing her up. No beating around the bush. No promising her the sky tomorrow if she lets you off the hook today. I know you hate to think of yourself as a liar, but I want you to think about how making a promise and breaking it is any different.”

Crap. When she put it that way…

She released my lips, but I didn’t have the first clue what to say.

“You know, the easiest thing to do is usually not the right one,” Amaranth said. “But in this case, I think it should work out rather nicely. You promised Sooni first, and Steff will be more understanding than she would be, if you reschedule her for Saturday instead of Friday.”

“Oh, no. I’m not telling Steff that she got bumped for Sooni,” I said. “She’s so excited about this.”

“Then you have to tell Sooni that she’s getting bumped for Steff,” Amaranth said.

“Okay,” I said. I sighed. “I’ll just… think about the best way to do that. I have class with with her tomorrow… maybe she’ll be less likely to throw a fit if we’re in public.”

“Oh, no, baby. You are not putting this off,” Amaranth said. “You march your cute little butt across the hall right now and get this straightened out now, tonight.”

“Can’t it wait?”

“Until when?” Amaranth asked. “Until she shows up all dressed for a night on the town and you’re leaving with Steff?”

“Well, preferably, it would be after we were already gone,” I said, grinning lamely.

Down tilted Amaranth’s head, and out came The Look.

“I don’t think this is the least bit funny,” she said. “Sooni is obviously a very fragile young woman. Look at how sensitive she is to perceived rejection.”

Amaranth ushered me over to the door, and stood there while I went over to Sooni’s room. There was a sound from within, like a cat yowling and hissing. I looked back at Amaranth, but she just gave me a little nod.

I knocked on the door. There was a crash and a bang, and a shrill scream from Sooni, followed by more yowling that was abruptly cut off. Then, I heard Sooni’s heavy sandals clunking on over to the door. It unlocked, and then opened.

Sooni was dressed in a robe tied off with a sloppy knot, with her mountainous hair falling out from under a huge nightcap. There were still ribbons tied in it. She was a little out of breath. All in all, she looked more disheveled than I’d ever seen her, but also with a certain kind of serene happiness that wasn’t faked. My first thought was that she’d been having sex.

“Why, hello, Miss Mackenzie,” she said. It was almost a sigh of contentment.

“Hi, Sooni,” I said. “Um… I wanted to talk to you, but if you’re busy…”

Amaranth, from my doorway, cleared her throat.

“…it’ll only take a minute,” I said.

“Won’t you please come in, then,” Sooni said, giving me a little bow that almost undid her robe. She opened the door all the way and stood back, ushering me inside. I looked back at Amaranth, who gave me an approving nod and a smile, and then I stepped inside. Sooni shut the door behind me and locked it.

I knew that Sooni had got rid of half her furniture, after unofficially banishing her roommate Kai to Maliko and Suzi’s room, but she’d now had the empty half of the room refurnished… as a nursery.

Oversized blocks, rattles, dolls, and other toys littered the floor. There was a huge crib, a giant rocking horse, what I really hoped wasn’t a changing table, and in the back corner, a high chair.

Strapped into it, with her arms restrained on the sides of the tray, was Kai, naked except for a baby bonnet, a bib, and a disposable diaper. She had a pacifier—or pacifier-shaped gag—in her mouth. There was an oversized baby tray, the kind with divided compartments, on the floor, with gross pureed carrots and applesauce and I didn’t know what else, overturned on the floor.

I tried not to stare at the poor girl. It was just too bizarre to be ignored, though. Most of the time when Sooni dressed her as “Baby Kai-Kai”, the general poofiness of the outfit did a lot to hide her womanly attributes. Stripped to the waist, there was no mistaking those furry breasts. The bib, which in an interesting bit of recursion had a picture of a cat on it, did nothing to conceal them.

Kai’s eyes, expressive as always, were practically screaming there will be no witnesses at me. I looked away.

“Where… where did all this stuff come from?” I asked Sooni.

“I found a weavesite that sells baby things in adult sizes! Toys, furniture, everything!” she said, her eyes lighting up in sheer delight at the very concept. “They sold clothes, too, but of course I make Kai-Kai’s outfits myself… though she makes such a mess when I try to feed her that I decided to undress her for it.”

“How much did all this cost?”

“Less than six gold,” she said. “I had to charge it, but I can pay it off once my father sends me more money.”

I stared at her. She could spend that kind of money with confidence that her dad would pay it off for her, and she used this power to find new and interesting ways to molest her indentured servant?

“You are so impressed that you are speechless,” Sooni said.

“I’m trying to fathom why you would spend three hundred silver on adult baby toys,” I said.

“Because I want to be a mother. Is that wrong? I just know I would be a wonderful mother, because my mother has been watching over me so carefully for my entire life,” Sooni said.

Whoo, go ahead and brag about it, I thought sourly. Some of us didn’t have our mothers any more.

Before I could say anything, though, Sooni’s cherubic smile turned into an angry scowl.

“But Kai… Kai is a terrible baby!” she declared. “She won’t use her diapers or the potty, and she won’t eat her baby food or nurse!”

With a disturbingly well-practiced motion, Sooni plucked off one of her sandals and hurled it at Kai’s head. Restrained as she was, Kai had no chance to avoid it. The weighted highchair rocked a little bit, but didn’t tip over. The neko’s head lolled to the side, and her eyes went out of focus.

“What the hell, Sooni?” I said.

“What?” she asked, her black eyes blinking in confusion. Her rage had been expiated completely by a single lashing out. It was like she hadn’t even thought about it.

“I don’t think wonderful mothers throw shoes at their babies,” I said.

Her face scrunched up in rage again, and for a moment, I thought she was going to throw her other sandal at me, but I was disappointed. She calmed down, and smiled.

“It’s okay,” she said. “We’re only pretending. She isn’t really my baby.”

Not my problem. Not my problem. Not my problem.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“Sooni… you’re going to kill her one of these days if you keep treating her like that.”

“What…? No!” she said, in a tone of amused disbelief. “I love my itty bitty pretty kitty Kai-Kai! I would never do anything to hurt her!”

“You just did,” I said. “You threw a sandal at her head. I watched you.”

“Only because she is a terrible baby!” Sooni shrieked, and the other sandal went flying. This time, the highchair did topple over backwards.

I decided to stop helping.

“Look, Sooni, the thing is…”

“Oh! I got some things for you, too,” she said. Barefoot, she ran over to a shipping box on the foot of her bed. “For when we play dress-up together.”

“Sooni, I told you,” I said, as she rummaged in the box. “It’s grown-up time now. We aren’t going to play pretend, or…”

I trailed off as she found what she was looking for and held it up, beaming proudly. There was a good chance I wouldn’t have recognized the item before coming to M.U., but my first trip to Enwich had included a visit to a specialty leather store. They hadn’t sold anything that looked like the bright orange tail with cheetah spots that Sooni was holding up, but I recognized the handle-like device on the end.

“Sooni… that’s a butt plug,” I said.

“Don’t be so vulgar!” she said. “It’s a neko tail! There are ears and a mask, too, and I can draw spots on your skin to match. They were cheap, so I also got a peacock fan and a horse tail, with matching accessories for both.” She giggled. “They also had kitsu tails, but that seemed a bit above your station. Take off your pants! We can make you into a neko and then you can be the baby for a while, and show Kai-Kai how it’s done.”

“Sooni… these aren’t ‘dress-up’ things,” I said. “They’re sex toys.”

“Stop being gross,” she said. “Now take off your clothes and let me put this tail on you.”

“Sooni, I’m not taking off my clothes,” I said. “And that doesn’t go on, it goes in.”

“Or, you can be my pretty-pretty pony,” she said. “Well, my pony, anyway, and I can ride you around campus. Your stupid demon strength will be good for something, then. Did you know I always wanted a pony? When I was smaller I used to ride Suzi but now I am too big for her. There aren’t any real horses in Yokan, except for the Emperor’s, which he imported centuries ago. His samurai are the only ones allowed to ride them. I tried to go on a trail ride the first week we were here but they told me I needed lessons.” She stuck out her tongue at this obviously ridiculous idea. “As if I do not know how to ride a pony. Can you imagine?”

“Sooni, I… I don’t have time to play right now,” I said. Or ever. “I came to talk to you about our date.”

“Oh, yes!” she said. She clasped her hands together. “I am so excited! I hope you do not think I am turning lesbian. It’s only because it’s you that it is okay.”

I had no idea what the hell she meant, but I let it pass.

“Sooni, do you remember how I told you to write everything down and give it to me so there would be no confusion?” I asked, thinking I could use this oversight on her part as a bargaining chip.

“Yes!” she said. “I came right back to my room and I wrote it all down and put it in a lucky red envelope and addressed it to…”

“Red… envelope?” I echoed.

“Yes!” she said. “For luck!”

It was just my luck that Two had been destroying the mail that came for me in red envelopes. Would she have vanished one that was so clearly different from the ones I’d asked her to? Possibly, if it had been addressed from Sooni.

“What do you think of Saturday, as a date night?” I asked. “Or Sunday, during the day. We could watch our shows, then go to Enwich and… I don’t know… have a nice brunch?”

“Oh, that could be fun!” she said. “Do you really want to do that?”

“Well, sure,” I said. “Yeah.”

“I’ll extend our inn reservation, then!” she said. “Friday and Saturday night, and Sunday morning!” Inn reservation? “What a wonderful idea. I’m sure Maliko and Suzi won’t mind watching the baby for the weekend.”

I was really, really glad that I couldn’t see Kai’s face. When she inevitably snapped, I had very little doubt who her second victim would be.

“Sooni… the thing is, I actually meant one of those times, instead of Friday night,” I said.

“But… I made reservations,” Sooni said. “The restaurant. The hotel. The carriage ride. I spent the rest of my money on the carriage. The deposit’s not refundable.” She was building in speed, pitch, and volume as she went. “What kind of awful, evil, disgusting person would tell somebody that Friday night is fine and let her spend her last piece of silver on a carriage ride when she has no intention of…”

“No!” I said. “It was just an idea I had!”

“Oh,” she said. “So, you do not want to back out of our date on Friday?”

“No,” I said. “That’s not what I’m doing at all. It was just a suggestion.”

“Then you don’t mind if I extend the hotel reservation so we can spend all day Saturday together and have brunch on Sunday?”

“That’s going a bit…”

“You do mind,” she said, her eyes narrowing.

“Sooni, I promised one night,” I said. “I only mentioned those other times as an offer to switch, because I have other things to do this weekend, and I just thought, that since you’re my friend, that, um… I’d give you first pick of when I’m available.”

“Well, I already picked Friday,” Sooni said. “So, that’s settled.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I guess it really is.”

“Was there anything else?” Sooni asked. The look of contentment began to crawl over her face. “I have a baby to feed. She gets so cranky when she’s hungry, you know!”

“Don’t you think maybe your ‘baby’ needs the healing center?” I asked.

“Oh, the healing center takes too long now,” she said. “And they ask too many questions. I don’t know why they need to know how every little bump and bruise and broken bone happens! It isn’t as though it is any of their business, and I don’t believe them when they say it is all confidential. I have some herbs that will prevent head swelling. She will be fine.”

I had the thought that if the herbs could prevent head swelling, Sooni had obviously never taken them, but I kept it to myself.

“Goodnight, Sooni,” I said.

“Goodnight, Miss Mackenzie,” Sooni said. She walked me to the door, then closed and locked it behind me.

“Well?” Amaranth asked me.

“You were right,” I said. “It’ll be easier to reschedule Steff.”

She shook her head.

“I don’t know if I should be proud of you for keeping to your promise or not,” she said. “You didn’t make any more promises, did you?”

“No,” I said.

“That’s good, at least,” she said. “I’m going to take a shower. You should get started on your new textbook.”

“Actually, I thought I’d save that for…”

Down came the glasses again.

“…right about now,” I said.

“That’s better,” Amaranth said. “Finish two chapters, and I’ll sleep here tonight. Okay, baby?”


“And start thinking about how you’re going to break it to Steff.”

Yeah. Telling Steff that she’d have to wait another day for the date she couldn’t wait for would be hard enough. Telling her why? Oh, that would be fun.

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9 Responses to “241: Date Breaking”

  1. BMeph says:

    Two words…



    Current score: 2
    • Adam Barnes says:

      The above comment is the result of Tv Tropes addiction. If you know someone suffering from this malady, join the fun, it’s an awesome site

      Current score: 2
  2. Fyrm says:

    Well, if we are going to bring up TVtropes, I think it would be a misjustice to not point out the almost word for word quotin of a trope. “It’s only because it’s you that it is okay.” Clearly that is the only thing that is allowing Sooni to keep her delusion running, or perhaps it really is true. She seems to be trying to live her life entirely through tropes anyways. Only time will tell.

    Current score: 1
    • Duke says:

      Ha, Yokano as Troperville, this works for me.

      Current score: 0
  3. C says:

    I have seen/heard/read a lot of really disturbing shit. But Sooni’s room have just made it to top three.

    Current score: 4
    • nobody says:

      Only comparing with my own thoughts, her room isn’t even in the top 100.

      Current score: 3
  4. Jechtael says:

    It’s like someone handed Sooni an archive dump of every remotely anime-related page on TV Tropes (before the Second Google Incident) with all of the “TV Tropes” and “characters who do this are usually dysfunctional” labels replaced with “How To Be A Good Person: Main Character Edition”. I wonder if there’s a TV Tropes tapestry in Tales Of MUniverse.

    Current score: 0
  5. Anon says:

    Y’know, I kind of want to see “Baby Kai-Kai Murders Everything” now.

    Current score: 1