Author: Jasmydae
Rating: G
Feedback: Please leave feedback on the Bedtime Stories thread on the Kitten Board.
Disclaimer: Joss / ME / etc. owns these characters. This story is just for fun and not for profit.
Mel and I were discussing stuffed animals, and this sprang out of the conversation. Like all in the bedtime story thread, this is not planned ahead of time, not proofread, and not edited. I hope you enjoy our silliness, despite this!

Me: So once upon a time, there was a little boy named Simon.
Mel: Oh?
Me: He too had a lot of stuffed animals. Dozens of them. He kept most of them on a set of display shelves that were decorated with fancy drapes and cushions.
Me: Every night, Simon made a big show of selecting which of his stuffed animals he'd take to bed. Although he always felt sorry for the ones who were not chosen, he often ended up selecting the same five or six, night after night.
Me: He loved each and every animal he owned, even the scary ones, like William the Black Widow.
Me: When he chose his nightly animals, he would often stay up late, long after his mother and father had said good night, given him a kiss on the head, turned off the light, and padded down the hall to their own room.
Me: During this time, Simon would spin all manner of make-believe stories with his animals.
Me: Sometimes he would pretend that he was lost in the woods, and that he had to befriend the woodland animals to help survive.
Me: Sometimes he would be out at sea, or climbing mountains. Always, his stories involved his befriending and working with the animals.
Me: During the day, when Simon had to be in school, the animals who had been chosen the previous night would return to the others on the shelves, and pass the time by recounting the night's adventures to the rest of the animals.
Me: partly, this was to prevent those who were not chosen often from feeling too left out. Also, it was boring to sit on a shelf all day, waiting for the boy to return.
Me: One day, Simon got invited to sleep over his friend Ben's house. This was a big thing for Simon; he'd never spent a night away from home, before.
Me: At least, not that he could remember, and *certainly* not without his parents around.
Me: He was so excited because Ben had a nifty video game system--Simon's parents would never allow such a thing into their own house.
Me: Simon ran through his room, stuffing things into a satchel--a change of clothes to sleep in, his toothbrush, a candy bar he had hidden in a desk drawer--and the animals let out a collective gasp when he headed out the door, leaving them all behind.
Me: They chattered amongst themselves--what did it mean? had he really left them all alone? was nobody to be chosen, this night? Would there be no stories?
Me: "But it was going to be my turn!" cried Cordelia the peacock. "I'm sure of it!"
Me: "Oh, you say that every night," commented Xander the hippo. "You just can't accept that he's grown tired of you."
Me: "Oh, stuff it, chubby."
Me: "Hey, hey," interrupted Buffy, a bright white unicorn. "It won't do us any good to bicker about who might have been chosen. We're all left on the shelf tonight. We'll all feel the loss of stories tomorrow. We're in this together."
Me: "Together, hm?" muttered William. "Oh, sure. You throw in with us, now that the boy's not around to remind us all of how you're his favorite. Are we supposed to forget all the haughty prancing this last week?"
Me: a low murmur rumbled through the crowd, as animals took one side or the other.
Mel: Oh jeez, an animal riot
Me: "What's going on down there?" yawned Tara, a faded blue teddy bear. She was one of the boy's first animals, and her edges showed the wear of years, however caring they might have been.
Mel: Tara is just a big teddy bear :-D
Me: "Hm?" A shape moved, beside her. Wriggling out from under one of Tara's arms, a fluffy stuffed cat appeared. "Are they bickering, again?" asked Willow.
Me: Tara peered down at the arguing animals, one shelf below. "I don't understand why they bicker like this. Can't they tell he loves them equally?"
Me: "Well, you know how the newer one get," Willow sighed. "When you've got a price tag stuck on your butt with a number that kind of makes you feel like you're worth more than the others."
Me: Tara squirmed to check her own backside, but like every other time she'd looked, all it sported was a threadbare seam.
Me: Willow nuzzled up to her. "You don't need a tag. Trust me, you're priceless."
Me: "Oh, Willow, you're the sweetest." Tara wrapped her baby blue arms around the cat's head and gave her a gentle, stuffing-filled squeeze. Willow wiggled her ears and purred delightfully.
Me: "At least Dawnie's got her head on straight," Tara pointed out, nodding toward a baby kangaroo, who was sighing dramatically and rolling her eyes at the pointless prattling that continued amongst the other animals.
Me: "Well, I guess it's up to us to put things right, hm?" Willow grumbled. All she really wanted to do was nestle closer to her Tara Bear and sleep the night away.
Me: Tara nodded absentmindedly, for her attention was focused almost entirely on the rumbling thrum that was coming from Willow's throat. She had noticed that while most of the animals could get a hearty purr from the cat by rubbing her tummy or scratching behind her ears, Tara herself could set her off merely by proximity.
Me: And it was the most heartwarming sound Tara knew.
Me: "Say, I think I've got an idea," Willow piped up after a moment.
Me: "Huh? Sorry, what?" Tara snapped out of it.
Me: "I think I know what we can do to make the night easier for the other animals."
Me: "What's that?"
Me: "Well, we could tell a story!"
Me: "You and me? Tell a story?"
Me: Willow nodded, her whiskers bobbing in front of her face. "Yep! It would be the bestest. And since we wouldn't have to select one or two of the animals, it could be a story for all of them."
Me: "Oh, Willow. You're so brilliant!" Tara drew the cat into a second hug, unless you've been paying close attention, and realized that she had never let go of the first one, in which case Tara merely redoubled her hugging efforts.
Me: (and here is where i zzzz)
Me: next time: * willow and tara spin a tale of epic proportions!
Me: next time: * "DAWWWWNIE!"
Mel: O-o
Me: next time: *gnashing teeth and pale yellow eyes*
Mel: O-o
Me: next time: *stuffing goes flying into the air*

Continue to Stuffed Part Two

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