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What Might Have Been 
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Post What Might Have Been
I'm back, and so here's Chapter 1 of a new Cake Sisters story! Enjoy!







What Might Have Been







Mr. Cake was silent.

That was his usual state, but this was a distinct silence from his usual state.

He was displeased.

“Do I need to say anything?”

Vanilla sighed, hanging her head, and then shaking it “no”.

Mr. Cake nodded, then went to the TV.

Vanilla turned to her room. Her chest felt so hollow that even her breathing had to be conscious.

* * * * *

A soft knock at the door.

“Go away, Honey,” muttered Vanilla, but she only half-meant it.

Honey did not go away—she came into the room. “Do you wanna talk about it?”

“NO.”

“You sure?”

“What’s there to talk about? I blew it, okay? There’s nothing to decipher, Sherlock.”

She regretted her sarcasm but was too upset to even apologize.

“I’m sure you had a good reason….”

“I DIDN’T, okay?! That’s the whole point!” snapped Vanilla, turning away and pulling her hood over her face.

Honey said nothing, but put a paw on Vanilla’s shoulder.

Vanilla shuddered. “Serve me right for trying to make friends on my own—again….”

“You didn’t know,” said Honey.

“I knew there was a possibility of something going wrong. I gambled, and I lost. It’s not the first time.”

“You won with us, didn’t you?”

Vanilla whined. “I didn’t CHOOSE you—you chose me. If it had been the other way around….”

“—it would have been exactly the same, and you know it,” said Honey. “We’re the same now as we would have been had things been different.”

Vanilla shook her head. “I’m not so sure.”

Honey frowned. After a long period of silence, she said, “Okay, I’ll give you some time alone to think it over. Whenever you’re ready, I’m right here.”

Vanilla didn’t acknowledge Honey until after the door closed behind her.

Sighing, Vanilla started wondering how things might have gone differently, and the more she thought, the more it seemed to be a reality—was she falling asleep and having a dream?—in her mind.

* * * * *

Vanilla came out of her room and was about to knock on Honey’s door when she noticed that it was ajar. She poked her head in.

“May I come in?”

Honey was on the phone and didn’t seem to hear her. “Oh, I know, right? It was the best book of the series so far, but there’s no way they could adapt it into a movie without changing it completely, and then how are they going to be faithful to the source material?”

Vanilla knocked on the door but Honey still didn’t acknowledge her. Vanilla was about to leave when she noticed the elephant in the room.

Honey was talking on a cell phone.

A CELL PHONE.

“WAIT a minute!” snapped Vanilla. “Since when do we have a cell phone?”

Vanilla winced, as she hadn’t meant to talk so loudly, but Honey still didn’t acknowledge her. At length Honey turned around, but even when she was looking almost straight at Vanilla, she didn’t acknowledge her presence.

“Well, they’d BETTER not—he was my favorite character, I don’t care if he did only get two cameos in the book! Besides, I read online that he comes into the next book that’s coming out in a few months!” said Honey.

Only now did Vanilla think to wonder who Honey was talking to. Vanilla walked right up to Honey and waved her paw in front of Honey’s eyes. Honey’s eyes would not have registered Vanilla’s paw any less if Honey had been blind.

“Okay, okay, I get it,” said Vanilla, rolling her eyes. “This is a ‘shadow of what might have been’, right? Honey can’t see or hear me because she doesn’t know me, right?”

Vanilla started for the door again, only stopping by a laugh right out loud from Honey, something which Vanilla knew she would never get the details on because she couldn’t ask Honey and she didn’t hear what was said. She didn’t even know who was talking.

“You don’t have to sound so HAPPY, Honey,” remarked Vanilla bitterly. “I guess I’ll go see what Dad is like. I hope I still recognize him….”

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Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:16 am
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
A what if..? :D :D
Ohh, I can't wait to see what surprise you got in store for us, since you never failed us with these two adorable girls! 8-)

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Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:39 am
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Yes, indeed! :D Well, I hope I keep up my record, then! Anyway, here's Chapter 2!







“Hey, Dad,” Vanilla started before she remembered that Mr. Cake would not be able to see or hear her. He might not have heard her anyway over the headphones.

HEADPHONES?

Vanilla rubbed her eyes and looked again. Sure enough, Mr. Cake was listening to headphones, and moving his head to the beat, periodically blurting out “It’s hip to be square!”

As if this wasn’t odd enough, he seemed to be in the process of making some kind of fancy foreign dish: ratatouille from the looks of it.

“Who the heck are you, and what did you do with my dad?” said Vanilla in a voice suitable for the scenario in which Mr. Cake was doing this on purpose as a joke, just to tease her.

“Dad! Dad! Dad!”

Vanilla reflexively ducked out of the way so that the husky would not knock her down, before wondering if that was even possible. If she couldn’t be seen or heard in this alternate reality, was it possible for someone to knock her down, or would she have been like a ghost?

The husky had a glossy coat, a deep red in the back and white in the front. Honestly, the first thing Vanilla thought of was “Honey”. If Honey were a husky.

Once Mr. Cake realized that the husky was in the room, he removed his earphones. “What is it, Pumpkin?”

Pumpkin? thought Vanilla. Really? ‘Pumpkin Cake’?

“Dad, I know you’ve done so much for us already, and I really appreciate it—and I wouldn’t even have asked you, but-but-but…they’re selling advance tickets to the new Iditarod movie! They’re gonna be really hard to get later, and they’ll be more expensive then, and that’s the only reason I’m even bringing it up. So PLEASE can we get the advance tickets?”

Mr. Cake chuckled and petted the husky’s head, prompting Pumpkin to wag her tail.

“How can I say no to that?”

“How can I say no to THAT?” said Vanilla in a bitterly mocking voice. “Seriously? THAT’s who you passed me over for? You already had one Honey, why did you need two?”

Vanilla cringed as she realized what she had said. As if trying to clarify to someone, she said, “Honey’s not BAD, but...a little contrast is a good thing, right? Especially if it doesn’t get this mushy….”

“Pumpkin!” said Honey as though she hadn’t seen the husky in years—she threw her arms out.

“Honey!” said Pumpkin, doing likewise.

They did a secret handshake, then embraced, and then tumbled over as their embrace turned into a wrestle.

She never did that with me…. thought Vanilla. Not that I ever WANTED her too—that isn’t ME.

As if all this wasn’t surprising enough, then a second human entered the room from the dining room: a woman.

A woman? Was she—

“How’s it going, Mr. Cake?” she said in a somewhat flirty voice.

“Going well, Mrs. Cake,” he said back.

Oh, you have got to be KIDDING me! thought Vanilla. Dad’s MARRIED? AND they’re in love?!

She looked up and shouted, “Okay, what’s the point of this? Is it to show how much better off the Cakes would have been if I hadn’t been one of them?”

She looked at Mr. Cake and his dogs, Honey and—it still made her fur stand on end and her lips curl back from her sharp teeth—PUMPKIN Cake.

“And where am I in this reality? I suppose I’m still at the pet shop because no one wants me. That’s if I’m not rotting in a gutter somewhere….”

As if on command, the scene faded. “No, wait!” cried Vanilla. “I was just kidding—I REALLY don’t wanna see—”

* * * * *

“—how…horrible…my life is?” said Vanilla in confusion.

Surely this wasn’t her home in this alternate reality!

It was LARGE, for one thing—and beautiful. Ornate interior design of the Baroque period. (Vanilla remarked that she was probably the only dog she knew who knew what that was, and who even had heard the word without it being made a lame joke of, like “if it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it”.) There were candelabras all along the halls, and the ceilings were twice as high as in the Cake house, and arched. It looked like the kind of house that would echo. Certainly the rooms couldn’t have been much smaller than the whole Cake house!

“There must be some mistake, this can’t be where I live….”

A door opened. Vanilla whipped around, and half thought of hiding, as she felt like a trespasser—before she remembered that once again, she probably wouldn’t be seen or heard in this shadow of what might have been.

Out came a footman—she couldn’t help being reminded of the frog-footman from [i]Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
, one of the characters that adaptations kept missing—at least the more modern ones.

“Supper is served, sir—ma’am—miss.”

Vanilla looked at the figures that came out. First was a rich, aristocratic but kind-faced lady. The lady was dressed in a blue gown that, combined with her expression, said “Oh, this old thing? This is my regular house wear!” She was also wearing sparkly necklaces and what appeared to be a brown fur stole around her neck, as well as a very large and ornate hat. Behind her was a handsome gentleman with a top hat, monocle, mustache, and tuxedo, plus a wide striped ascot with a diamond in the center. His face was as kindly as the lady’s.

Suddenly Vanilla realized that the lady was not wearing a fur stole at all.

“Oh, you have GOT to be KIDDING me!” said Vanilla, wincing at how loud her voice was—but again, no one could see or hear her.

It was true—the “fur stole” was none other than Vanilla Cake. Or rather, not Vanilla CAKE, as she would have had a different last name in this alternate reality (she wondered what it was). But it was her. She was riding piggy-back style on her new mom’s shoulders. Mr. Cake NEVER gave her piggy-back rides.

Vanilla looked at herself.

“That cannot be me….”

The Sheltie she was looking at was—SMILING. She actually seemed to be enjoying herself. What’s more, Vanilla was apparently wearing a short green cape (no hood), in addition to a necklace of her own—cheaper than those her new mom was wearing, but still beautiful for all that. She was dressed the way Vanilla sometimes dressed for role-playing, but never for regular wear.

The family—whatever their name was—traveled a long corridor to a dining hall, and Vanilla Cake followed them.

“What kind of alternate reality IS this?” she wondered aloud.

* * * * *

“No. Not possible,” said Vanilla as she looked at the dining hall. She could not believe what she was seeing.

Not only was there a long dining table, but every single seat was filled, no exception. What’s more, every seat was filled—with PETS.

“Happy Birthday, Miss Pudding!” said the pets as Vanilla and her new parents came in, the male pets standing up.

“Please, call me Vanilla!” said the elegantly dressed Vanilla as she was seated at the head of the table.

“These cannot be my friends,” thought Vanilla Cake to herself. “Probably just gold-diggers.”

“Open my present first, Vanilla,” said a handsome corgi.

“Aren’t you sweet, Jeffrey,” said Vanilla Pudding as she carefully opened the present. When she saw what it was, her pupils dilated. “Aww…you remembered!” She gave Jeffrey a hug.

“That is SO not me—” said Vanilla Cake, trying to avert her eyes…but then she noticed what the present was. It was the one thing she had always wanted: a first edition of Through the Looking-glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll.

Vanilla gritted her teeth, her eyes starting to well up.

She looked at the roof and said, “Okay, the joke’s over! Who’s doing this and why? Are you trying to make me wish I had never been a Cake?”

No answer.

Vanilla Cake didn’t want to watch as her counterpart opened the rest of her presents.

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Last edited by ChewyChewy on Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:03 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
awesome.
Simply, awesome! :D

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Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:55 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Intriguing. I can't wait for more. Luckily for me, I usually don't have to.

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Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:53 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
The Cake sisters return! Seems Vanilla is going to have some serious issues with this reality.

And we see a new Cake. Pumpkin sounds interesting indeed! :roll:

So this is a Christmas Carol type of rules... gotcha.

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Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:03 am
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Thanks for the compliments! :D Here's Chapter 3!







Vanilla went off to be by herself. She was grumbling to herself, occasionally muttering “Kibble” even though she didn’t have to keep her voice down.

Once again, her emotions were troubling her, and once again, she hated that. At first glance it was looking as though Vanilla should have never agreed to be adopted by Mr. Cake. Honey was happier—now she had a little sister who was just like her, and liked all the same things she did, and probably NEVER argued with; Mr. Cake was so much happier he was scarcely recognizable as Mr. Cake anymore—and from what Honey had told her, he hadn’t changed much since Vanilla entered their lives; and Vanilla herself seemed to be happier being a Pudding than a Cake, as she now seemed able to do whatever she wanted, and to have lots of friends and everything she wanted—she was scarcely recognizable as herself as well.

“Have I ruined my life and the Cakes’ lives by choosing to let them adopt me?” she thought out loud.

“That can’t be all there is to it,” she told herself. “No life is THAT perfect. There’s got to be a deal-breaking flaw. Time to go super-sleuth and find it.”

She looked up into the sky. “Let me see the Cake home again—and I don’t care to be dressed as Sherlock Holmes!”

Dreamlike, a fading sensation ensued, and Vanilla found herself back in the Cake household. She looked at herself—same green hoodie. She was glad of that.

She found herself in Honey’s room, which appeared to actually be a shared bedroom in this universe. She saw two beds therein, one for Honey and one for…Pumpkin. She wondered what had been done with her room. She didn’t know if she felt bitter against Pumpkin or guilty—she was happy with the arrangement she had, with separate rooms, but now she began to wonder if perhaps Honey would have preferred to bunk with her little sister.

“Sisters forever!” said Honey, crossing swords with Pumpkin.

“Sisters forever!” said Pumpkin, crossing swords with Honey.

Vanilla felt sick.

Honey and Pumpkin were wearing capes and helmets, playing knights in armor. This surprised Vanilla, as usually Honey liked to mix and match genres. She usually thought straight genres were boring.

Could I have had something to do with that? thought Vanilla to herself.

“Dame Pumpkin, the dragon doth threaten the city! We must stop him!”

“In sooth we must, methinks, Dame Honey!”

They ran around, bouncing on the beds. It all looked juvenile. There was something missing from the performance, certainly. But what was it? When Vanilla played with Honey there seemed almost to be a certain reality to the games.

Hold it, Vanilla, before you start congratulating yourself too much—that could be attributable to the fact that you were experiencing them firsthand, not observing them as an outsider.

Vanilla decided to try an experiment. She would attempt, to the best of her ability, to participate in the game herself.

“Behold, ladies, the dragon doth sport the magic jewel of Hrothgar!”

The next thing that happened made it very difficult for Vanilla to finish her experiment—Pumpkin literally charged right through Vanilla. It didn’t hurt—Vanilla didn’t even feel it at all—but the view was just so bizarre that it overwhelmed any desire on her part to play anymore. They couldn’t see or hear her anyway.

Well, it’s a possibility, I suppose. But why should that be? I know I have a higher I. Q. than Honey, but Honey’s not stupid—she has plenty of imagination on her own.

Vanilla continued to observe. Something was off, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Honey seemed to be as happy as ever, but…something was wrong. What was it? Vanilla racked her brain but she couldn’t quite think of it. She hated that.

On the surface, Honey’s smile was no different from before, but Vanilla thought she read a cry for help on it. Or maybe not—maybe that was just wishful thinking. Maybe she was just frightened at the idea of changing her entire life.

Sighing, Vanilla looked up. “Show me my life again.”

* * * * *

Vanilla found herself in the courtyard—she actually had a courtyard. It was several times larger than the house—perhaps it was even larger than the house if the house were unfolded.

At length Vanilla saw herself. She was riding piggyback on the back of that corgi again. What was his name, the one who had given her the one treasure she had always wanted? Gerald? Jerome? Jeffrey, that was it.

Vanilla Cake thought she would be sick.

“Wheeeeeeeeeeee, one more time around the house for good measure!” cried Vanilla Pudding in a voice Vanilla Cake NEVER used.

“Whew! Oh, Vanilla, I’m starting to get out of breath!” laughed Jeffrey.

“Oh, come on, just once more!” said Vanilla. “The day’s not over yet!”

“Just let me catch my breath, okay?”

“Come on, I’m not getting any younger!”

Jeffrey chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Okay, turnip, if that’s what you want.”

“That’s what I want!” said Vanilla Pudding, looking excited and gently goading Jeffrey with her feet. Jeffrey let out a sound that could either have been an attempt at imitating a horse or else an exasperated exhale. He was smiling, but it was hard to tell.

Doesn’t look like any problems here, except for that ‘turnip’ comment, thought Vanilla Cake to herself, recoiling at the pet term. She refused to consider the possibility that she and Jeffrey could have been--*shudder*--in LOVE in this alternate reality.

That was what Vanilla thought until she heard some audible breathing coming from Jeffrey. Shortly thereafter she heard her other self and Jeffrey laughing, sounding like they were enjoying themselves.

Vanilla Cake didn’t want to admit it, but it seemed perfect. Jeffrey was…perfect. Too perfect to be real. She couldn’t even picture what had happened to him in the alternate reality.

Still…something wasn’t right. Again she wasn’t sure she knew what it was. It was PERFECT. Vanilla’s life here was PERFECT. Jeffrey was PERFECT. If she had gotten to meet Jeffrey—

—no, she wasn’t going to think about that.

Again, was it only wishful thinking? Was it that she was resisting a perfect life because she wasn’t used to it? Or was there something to it?

Vanilla Cake sat down on Vanilla Pudding’s lawn to think, trying to ignore the screams of laughter. “I wish I could avoid hearing THEM,” she muttered to herself.

She puzzled and puzzled, and the background seemed to get fuzzy as she did.

“Some super sleuth,” she muttered.

* * * * *

Vanilla had been puzzling for an hour, and still was no closer to the answer. It wouldn’t come to her.

“KIBBLE!” she snapped. “THINK, Vanilla, THINK!”

She slapped herself in the face a few times.

“Okay. Honey’s and Dad’s life is PERFECT. My life is PERFECT. NO LIFE is that perfect!”

“But…AM I reading too much into it? AM I just TRYING to find flaws that don’t exist?”

“No, that’s ridiculous. I need to think this over. Maybe…maybe I need to see what the lives of Pumpkin and Jeffrey are like in the real world—in my world—whatever.”

Again, the background began to fade. Was she going to see the life of one of those two?

If so, this might help her a lot.

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Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:03 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
RandomGeekNamedBrent wrote:
Intriguing. I can't wait for more. Luckily for me, I usually don't have to.

I had to wait. T.T

Still looking forward to more. It's awesome so far.

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Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:17 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Another great update! Vanilla is indeed having quite the crisis, isn't she?

I wonder how Jeffrey is doing in the real world...

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Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:15 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Thanks for the kind words! :D Here's Chapter 4!







“Thanks a lot, Jeffrey Shortbread!”

“What did I do? I can’t help it if I’m shorter than you!”

“You’re shorter than me but you’re also older—you’re supposed to be the older brother! Why don’t you ever act like it?”

“Me act like it? You don’t exactly make it easy, you know?”

“Oh, real mature—you’re going to blame ME for what YOU did!”

“I still don’t see what I did that was so wrong, Pumpkin!”

Vanilla covered her ears. Why was she not surprised? Jeffrey and Pumpkin were miserable in the real world. Not only were they adopted brother and sister in the real world—if this was indeed the real world, this was a “vision”, after all—but they were arguing with each other. Jeffrey sure didn’t seem as nice as he did in the other reality where he was going around with Vanilla Pudding, and even Pumpkin seemed as though she didn’t get happy as often as she seemed to be when she was Honey’s little sister.

Were the powers that be trying to make Vanilla wish she had never been a Cake?

“Look…I’m sorry, Pumpkin. You’re right, I did act a little immature—more so than I could have been.”

“Well…I shouldn’t have overreacted. You shouldn’t have been so sarcastic, but…I didn’t have to react the way I did, either. Friends?”

“Friends.”

Jeffrey and Pumpkin hugged.

“C’mon, let’s go see if Dad has barbecue!” said Jeffrey.

“Yeah!” said Pumpkin.

This was ridiculous. What was Vanilla supposed to do?

“All right—fun’s fun. But enough’s enough. Whoever you are, show yourself!”

No answer.

“Come on, you’re not fooling anyone. I see the man behind the curtain. You might as well come out.”

No answer.

“I’ll go above your head,” said Vanilla.

Careful, it’s slippery up there.

Vanilla started, putting up fists. She wasn’t quite sure she was expecting that.

“Aha—I knew someone was pulling my tail. Show yourself!”

A puff of smoke, and a strange figure appeared, having three heads: one a lion, one a goat, and one a snake.

“Oh, pooh, I was having such fun.”

Vanilla looked at the figure. “A chimera. Can I assume that’s a deliberate choice, not your actual form?”

“You may assume anything you wish,” said the chimera, blowing on his nails. His? Hers? Vanilla couldn’t even tell.

“All right, enough clowning around,” said Vanilla. “It isn’t funny—and I know funny. I was the comic in that act I used to do with Honey.”

“Glad you told me—no one could have figured that out.”

“STOP it! Just answer me the question: are you deliberately trying to get me to wish I had never been a Cake?”

“Not allowed.”

Vanilla’s ears perked up. “Not allowed? By whom?”

“I answered you the question—you didn’t say I had to answer it honestly.”

“KIBBLE!”

The chimera laughed. “I do love hearing you say that.”

“Look, chimera, if you won’t give me a straight answer, I’ll—I’ll—”

“You’ll what? You’ll WHAT?”

“I’ll….” What COULD Vanilla do? “I’ll UN-imagine you and you’ll cease to exist!”

“Oh, no, no, don’t do that!!” cried the chimera, cringing and—SHRINKING?—before Vanilla’s eyes, ending up the size of one of her toes. “You’ve found my only weakness—no imagination!” squeaked the tiny chimera.

Vanilla turned away. There was no way of talking to this thing.

“All right, all right, I’ll be straight with you,” said the chimera. “The choice has to be yours, of your own free will. Everything you’ve seen so far has been legitimate—given the choices you made in each reality.”

Vanilla didn’t speak.

“You might as well talk—I can hear what you’re thinking.”

Vanilla said nothing.

“Now you’re trying not to think about anything.”

Vanilla groaned. “Why am I being given this vision?”

“You know why.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Are you arguing with me?”

“Yes,” said Vanilla curtly.

“You said, and I quote: ‘I didn’t CHOOSE you—you chose me. If it had been the other way around….’”

Vanilla’s eyes widened. She tried not to let her lip quiver. “If you tell me that my choosing Honey meant that she and her dad didn’t WANT me….”

The chimera giggled. “Wouldn’t THAT fit perfectly into your little complex?”

“You’re not going to tell me, are you?”

“Look, you now have enough information to make your decision, yes? Once you’ve made your decision, I’m bound to leave you alone—on one condition.”

Vanilla looked at all three heads of the chimera in succession. “What’s the condition?”

“The decision must be yours, of your own free will—and it must be sincere, what you REALLY want.”

Vanilla frowned.

“We’re outside of time, so there’s no rush,” said the chimera, and with that he—she?—it?—was gone.

Vanilla was alone, in a completely white background. She felt as though she were in a futuristic dystopian prison. Plenty of space, but no way to judge where anything was.

“You just HAD to open your big mouth, didn’t you?”

Vanilla sat a long time in thought. She had no idea how long it took.

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:41 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Heh. Can't imagine which colored text they are using, but it's all up to us to decide which heads are talking. Keep it up.

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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Or they are that creepy kind of multiheaded being who has to talk in unison. :roll:

Interesting... so Vanilla may become an avatar. This should be good.

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:44 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Yes, and yes, to both of your speculations.

Well, here's Chapter 5!







“Okay, let’s look at this thing logically. Axiom #1: There is no such thing as a perfect life. However much better the alternate reality was than your own, it isn’t perfect. There are flaws that do not exist in your own reality.”

Vanilla gave it another thought.

“Observation #1: The alternate reality appears on the face of it to be, overall, better than your current reality. Honey has a sister who’s a lot more like her than you are, Mr. Cake is much more open and happy, and he is in love and married. And you are a lot more extroverted yourself, with a large mansion and many friends—and a first edition copy of Through the Looking-glass and What Alice Found There.”

She frowned.

“Observation #2: You know that this whole thing is being done by an imaginary chimera that appears to thrive on bullying you. Speculation #1: It is possible that the chimera is deliberately trying to make you decide you do not want to be a Cake, for personal reasons. For all you know to the contrary, the visions are fake and both you and the Cakes would have been a lot more miserable if you hadn’t been with them.”

She put her paws to her head.

“Axiom #2: You don’t know that. Even if the chimera has personal reasons, they aren’t necessarily malicious, and even if the chimera is a jerk, the visions may well be legitimate. For that matter, the chimera may even have your best interests at heart, jerk though it may be.”

She scratched her head.

“Question #1: Then why is the chimera acting like a jerk at all?”

Vanilla shook her head violently.

“That’s off the point. The point is to make the right choice. And right now the right choice is looking like the alternate reality—where I’m…Vanilla Pudding.

Vanilla groaned, and rocked back and forth.

“Observation #3: A lot of what I saw in the alternate reality disgusts me, especially me and…Jeffrey. Speculation #2: It might be that this is only resistance to a reality that, better though it may be, is different from what I’m used to. Speculation #3: It also might be that those feelings are legitimate, and I need to listen to them and choose the reality I know.”

Vanilla rolled her eyes and hit herself in the head.

“Conclusion #1: You can’t trust your feelings on this matter. You must look at it objectively—which means you’re back to square one.”

Vanilla sighed.

“Kibble…THINK, Vanilla, THINK!”

An undetermined amount of time passed.

“Question #2: What are the objective flaws with the alternate reality? Are there any that, irrespective of my personal opinions and feelings, are objectively worse, and worse enough to be deal-breakers?”

Another undetermined amount of time passed.

* * * * *

“AHA! Of course! Why didn’t I think of it before?” said Vanilla.

She looked around. She didn’t see anyone.

“Observation #4: In the alternate reality, Honey has less of an imagination than she does in the reality in which I’m a Cake. A strong imagination is definitely a plus.”

Vanilla’s smile turned into a frown.

“Observation…#5: In the alternate reality…Vanilla Pudding…is…I…am…a spoiled brat.” She sighed. “There’s no getting around that. I’m a spoiled brat in the alternate reality. I didn’t…I didn’t show any concern for Jeffrey. He was out of breath, and…and I…I didn’t show ANY concern—I just wanted to continue with the…stupid PIGGYBACK rides!”

Vanilla hung her head, as though she—Vanilla Cake—had been the one who had done it.

“I wouldn’t do that with Honey—at least not be so oblivious to it….”

Vanilla’s ears perked up.

“…Is that it? Is that the dealbreaker? It’s on the tip of my tongue….”

“Time’s up,” said the chimera.

“Hey, you said we were outside of time!” said Vanilla, who was SO close to the right answer.

“No, I said you’re out of time,” said the chimera. “Make your decision.”

“I…I can’t, I—you said it had to be what I really want, and I haven’t worked that out yet!”

“Not my problem. Make the decision now or you have no chance to.”

“ENOUGH!” snapped Vanilla.

The chimera backed off, holding up its—paws?—claws?—feet?

“You, chimera, are a figment of my imagination, and you have no power over me unless I say you do.”

“Ooh, I’m shaking,” said the obviously amused chimera.

Vanilla folded her arms and turned her back on the chimera.

“Oh yes, THAT’s gonna get rid of me,” said the chimera.

Vanilla did not respond, stoic as ever.

“Seriously, keep doing that. I can use the laughs.”

Vanilla did not respond.

“You know, you ought to be a guard at Buckingham Palace.”

No response.

The chimera got in front of her.

“BOOGEDY-BOOGEDY-BOOGEDY!”

Vanilla closed her eyes.

“This is so much fun—you don’t even resist! I can do whatever I want to you and you don’t even do anything!” laughed the chimera.

Vanilla sighed. This wasn’t working.

But she knew what would.

“Hey—hey, wait, don’t do that, that’s not fair!” cried the chimera.

Too late. Vanilla took hold of a flab of flesh in her forearm and pinched—hard.

Suddenly she felt as though she were in the spot between dreaming and waking. The chimera was starting to fade, and seemed desperate to intrude. Vanilla reached out her arms and grabbed the chimera by the shoulders.

“And YOU—I’ll shake you into a KITTEN, that I will!” snapped Vanilla.

Sure enough, the more Vanilla shook, the more the chimera began to resemble a kitten—it shrank, two of its heads disappeared, and its eyes got wider and wider.

…And in the end it turned out to be only a stuffed toy kitten after all.

The dream was over.

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:05 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Ooo, a dream sequence. Those pesky spirits and dreams... :roll:

Let us hope Vanilla finds her truth...

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:47 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
so what will her "or was it?" item be?

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:09 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
RandomGeekNamedBrent wrote:
so what will her "or was it?" item be?


You already saw it--the stuffed kitten. :P

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:03 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
that's not an "or was it item" that's an "this is what I was actually strangling" item. If you dream you're eating a talking marshmallow and wake up chewing your pillow, do even once consider that the marshmallow was actually talking to you?

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:05 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
RandomGeekNamedBrent wrote:
that's not an "or was it item" that's an "this is what I was actually strangling" item. If you dream you're eating a talking marshmallow and wake up chewing your pillow, do even once consider that the marshmallow was actually talking to you?


Have you ever heard of a stuffed kitten in the Cake household before? ;)

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:06 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
no, but you could have been avoiding Chekov's gun. When would you have had reason to mention a stuffed kitten other than now?
maybe It would have been more obvious if Vanilla had taken notice a stuffed kitten in the alternate Cake household.

oh well, still a fun story.

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:13 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
RandomGeekNamedBrent wrote:
no, but you could have been avoiding Chekov's gun. When would you have had reason to mention a stuffed kitten other than now?
maybe It would have been more obvious if Vanilla had taken notice a stuffed kitten in the alternate Cake household.

oh well, still a fun story.


Who said it was over? ;)

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:13 am
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
no one, not even me. I meant so far, it's still a fun story.
also, another note: the "or was it?" moment must come after the initial "it was all a dream" moment. If she goes right from the "dream" to holding the "or was it?" item, then it's more of a "it wasn't a dream" item.
come on, get your celestial policy right :P

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:14 am
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
Well, thanks! :D

Oh, hush now. :P What makes you think this chimera plays by those rules?

Anyway, last chapter! :D







Vanilla looked puzzled at the stuffed toy kitten. She didn’t remember it. Probably something of Honey’s that she rarely got to see. She placed it aside and was relieved that the dream was over. She was annoyed at not having gotten to make her choice before it ended, but it didn’t really matter. She knew what her choice was, even if she hadn’t been able to articulate it in the dream, and she was living in it.

She left her room and started down the hallway—by now Mr. Cake (her dad, she had to remind herself) seemed to have forgotten about the whole mess before, and was watching TV as though he lived alone, just as usual. Vanilla couldn’t help feeling a little guilty for taking away the possibility of a happier Mr. Cake, but she tried to remind herself that no life is perfect—Mr. and Mrs. Cake probably would have gotten into fights, not things that Vanilla had ever heard from Mr. Cake in this reality. He got angry, yes, but not like that. Even the most “in love” couples there were had fights.

Vanilla knew her dad wouldn’t want to be disturbed, so she went to see Honey instead and tell her about the dream—it was a quirk of Vanilla’s, she HAD to tell SOMEONE what she had concluded.

* * * * *

“Wow, that must have been some dream!” said Honey. “Did I really have a little sister who was a husky? Named Pumpkin?” She giggled a little at the name, but it was a good-natured giggle.

“You don’t have to sound so happy about it,” muttered Vanilla.

“I’m sorry. I wonder if this ‘Pumpkin’ really exists, though?”

“Quite possibly.”

“And did you really live in a MANSION?” said Honey with wide eyes that Vanilla had to turn away from.

Vanilla sighed. “Yes.”

“And you had a—”

“DON’T—say it.”

“Sorry, sorry,” said Honey. “But STILL!”

“The point is,” said Vanilla, “I couldn’t have chosen that life anyway.”

Honey scratched her head. “I’m still not quite sure I’m clear on that.”

Vanilla rolled her eyes.

“If I had chosen that life over this one,” she said slowly, but not in a patronizing way, “I would have had no memory of this life. I would have had no memory of you, or Dad, or this house, at all. And you two would have had no memory of me either.”

“That is a sad thought,” said Honey, her smile disappearing.

“No, no, no, that’s not it at all!” said Vanilla, facepalming herself.

“I’m sorry—continue?”

Vanilla took a deep breath. “It WOULDN’T be sad at all, because we wouldn’t KNOW what we were missing out on. And therefore we wouldn’t be able to miss it.”

“I guess that makes sense…so then why did you choose this life?”

Vanilla put her paws up as if to give a visual aid.

“Because there was no alternative. I am Vanilla Cake—the Vanilla that exists in this world. Who I am, good or bad, is shaped by the life I’ve led, and that includes you and Dad adopting me. Without that, I wouldn’t BE who I am today—for good and for ill, I’d be someone completely different.”

“Like Vanilla Pudding,” said Honey.

“Who had no awareness of you or Dad,” added Vanilla. “That’s why I can’t choose that life—it’s physically impossible. For all I know to the contrary, if ‘Vanilla Pudding’ saw what her life would be like had things gone differently, she might have made a different choice than I would have. We’re not the same individual.”

“You kind of are.”

“But not entirely. Vanilla Pudding was shaped by her experiences, which include those that I’ve never had and never will. To that extent, then, she’s a completely different individual than me. Do you understand now why I couldn’t choose that?”

“I think so,” said Honey. “You couldn’t choose that because then ‘you’, as you are now, would cease to exist entirely. That’s a frightening thought.”

“Close,” said Vanilla. “Again, it wouldn’t be frightening because I wouldn’t have any memory of what I’d lost. It’s just impossible. I can’t choose that life because then I, the chooser, the one who made the choice in the first place, wouldn’t exist to make that choice—it’s the grandfather paradox.”

Honey’s eyebrows went into the frown position. She put her muzzle in her paws and thought for a moment. Then it was as if a light bulb went on over her head.

“Oh, NOW I see! You couldn’t choose that life because that act would create a paradox—and that would unravel the fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe!”

Vanilla groaned and facepalmed again. “It would have created a paradox, yes. But that means it was inevitable—I was preordained to choose this life.”

“No you weren’t,” said Honey. “Maybe after the fact, but that’s not ‘preordained’ by definition. Everything you choose has consequences, good and bad, and you have to live with them.”

A faint smile graced Vanilla’s mouth. “Yes, that’s truly spoken.”

Vanilla shifted her weight from one foot to another, and pulled her hood over her face.

“What’s wrong?” said Honey.

“This is so humiliating….” muttered Vanilla under her breath.

“What is?”

“Honey…purely for the sake of a scientific experiment….”

“Yes?”

“Would you….”

“Would I what?”

Vanilla groaned and rolled her eyes. “Do you have any aversion to giving me a piggyback ride?”

“WHAT?!?”

“Look, don’t make more out of this than it is, I just want to see what it would be like.”

Honey’s grin grew in direct proportion to Vanilla’s frown.

“You have NEVER asked me for a piggyback before! If you want one, of course I’ll give you one! Hop on, little sister!” She squatted down so that Vanilla could climb on.

Vanilla hung her head, turning red. “I just said not to make more out of this than it is.” She climbed onto Honey’s shoulders.

“OOF! You’re a little heavy for me,” said Honey in a strained but still cheerful voice.

“I know—I apologize. Do you want me to get off?”

“No, no, you’re not THAT heavy!” laughed Honey, and with that she started to skip around the room.

Vanilla refused to let her mouth smile at the sensation of receiving a piggyback ride.

Her mouth equally refused to obey her.

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:21 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
this was truly enjoyable a piece.
It would've been more interesting if Vanilla had had an experience of an actual what if..?, nut playing it as a dream was fun to read nonetheless.
Thanks for your contribution, CC!

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Post Re: What Might Have Been
cute ending. I enjoyed reading.

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:52 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
valerio wrote:
this was truly enjoyable a piece.
It would've been more interesting if Vanilla had had an experience of an actual what if..?, nut playing it as a dream was fun to read nonetheless.
Thanks for your contribution, CC!


Thanks for your kind words, both of you!

valerio, what do you mean, "if Vanilla had had an experience of an actual what if"? If that means what I think it means, that would have been impossible, and Vanilla explained why.

But you're welcome! :D Thanks for reading!

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:58 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
I believe he means if she had woken up and was actually Vanilla Pudding instead of going the "Christmas Carol" route where she's on the outside looking in.

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:02 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
RandomGeekNamedBrent wrote:
I believe he means if she had woken up and was actually Vanilla Pudding instead of going the "Christmas Carol" route where she's on the outside looking in.


That's what I thought, and that would have been impossible, for reasons Vanilla gave.

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:04 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
I think he meant one of those situations where she wakes up in a new life, but remembers the old life instead of the new one.

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:06 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
So in other words, a Back To The Future scenario, where the outcome was their income and he could only remember the life of poverty

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Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:04 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
That is a very fatalistic explanation. The choice always existed, it was not a foregone conclusion that the paradox would occur, since the choice itself ends that particular timeline. If we follow the idea that every decision causes an alternate reality, then this reality just loops into itself and spawns a new branch with the other decision.... if she chose the other life. The view she takes is one that since she exists, she must have picked the life she now leads, and must therefore choose that life once again. Vanilla Cake would not exist outside of this branch, but like I said, she could still conceivably make that choice and have both exist. This is an immortal Cosmic being that is omniscient. I think it knows how to properly alter realities....


Eh, probably over thinking things. Good story! I enjoyed the reasoning portion most of all, of course. :)

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Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:21 pm
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Post Re: What Might Have Been
@Helmetzid: :lol: *high fives* Excellent wordplay there!

@copper: Glad you liked the reasoning part! :D And it's never wrong to think--although you might be overthinking things just a bit in this case, I don't know....

Vanilla can make choices that affect the FUTURE, but not the PAST. To make choices that alter her past would undermine her present identity which was shaped by that past.

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Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:42 pm
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