View Full Version : Xander - by Undine (~BHM, Intrigue, ~~WG)

01-05-2012, 07:04 PM
~BHM, Intrigue, ~~WG - a story about a boy, his belly, and his nose.

by Undine

“Gimme a minute,” Xander called, pulling his ear buds out and minimizing his English Lit paper. He hefted himself out of his computer chair and lumbered over to the door as the knocking continued.

“I’m coming!” He sighed, and muttered, “Adrian’s not here, anyway, and I know that whoever you are, you’re not here for me.”

He peered through the peephole and felt a familiar jump in his chest. It was August, staring at the ceiling as she waited for him to answer. He turned the knob.

“Hey, August, Adrian’s out right now…” Xander said, trailing off as e noticed the streaks of mascara and tears running down her cheeks. “Um, is everything okay?”

“Oh, Xander!” she cried, throwing her arms around him.

He awkwardly returned her embrace, gently patting her blonde hair.

“What…” he began as she started sobbing, grabbing fistfuls of the back of his shirt. “Um…why don’t you come in for a while.”

He guided her inside, where she grabbed the tissue box and flopped down on his bed. “He…he…” she hiccupped and then blew her nose.

“What happened? Are you okay?” Xander stood a few feet in front of her, fidgeting. It was strange, her being in here without Adrian.

She looked up at him, her blue eyes watery.

“No!” she flung out angrily. “I’m not okay! He…that bastard…he’s cheating on me, I know he is!”

Tears overcame her again.

Xander opened his mouth, but stayed silent, unsure of what to say.

“You don’t have to say anything,” she continued a few minutes later, wiping her eyes furiously. “I know he’s your friend and you don’t want to backstab him, but I know he’s cheating. I heard Chelsea More telling her little Alpha Sigma’s what a great screw he is in the food court today,” she finished miserably.

“August, I…I’m sorry…”

“Oh, Xander, why? Why did I ever think he wouldn’t do it to me? I knew what he was like, but I thought it would be different…I thought I could make him be a one-girl-guy… How could I have been so stupid?” Fresh tears came to her eyes, and she threw herself back on the bed, pulling his pillow over her face.

“Hey.” He gingerly sat next to her and placed his hand on her arm. “He’s an asshole, August. You deserve better than someone who’d do that to you.”

“I know.” Her voice was muffled by the pillow. “But I feel like such an idiot.”

“You’re not an idiot. You just gave him something he didn’t deserve.”

She peered out at him. “Huh?”

He nervously ran his hand through his hair. “You trusted him…I mean, it’s good to trust people… I guess…I guess some people just don’t deserve it, and the only way you can tell is to put yourself out there, you know?”

Silence. Then, “I guess so.”

She sighed and swatted the pillow away. “Ugh. I’m sorry, Xander. I didn’t mean to come in here and dump this all out on you. I came hoping Adrian would be here so I could kick him in the balls.”

Xander smiled at her. “Many have done just that, and it still hasn’t sunk in.”

She scowled. “Figures.”

“Just…don’t even give him the satisfaction of seeing you upset. Ignore him, don’t even call him out on it.”

Her face brightened a bit. “Yeah…leave him wondering. That’ll drive him nuts, won’t it?”

“Oh, yeah. He won’t be able to handle that you just don’t want him anymore.”

Finally, a real smile.

“His ego will be crushed. You’ll have to keep me updated on his moping.” She sat up and took his large hand in her delicate one. “Thanks, Xander. You’re a good guy.”

He swallowed nervously. “Uh, thanks. I try.”

“Seriously, like, how does he keep getting away with it? He’s been here two years…you’d think that his reputation would have gotten the better of him by now and all the girls would know what a player he is.”

She was staring across the room at Adrian’s bed. Xander knew she was thinking of the nights she’d spent there. He was thinking of them, too, and wishing the noises coming from that bed hadn’t woken him up on several occasions. He said nothing.

“Well, I guess I knew better, but I went after him anyway,” she admitted, making a face. “I must really be a masochist.”

Xander picked at a thread on his comforter, not knowing what to say.

“Gosh,” August said, smacking her forehead, “I’m so sorry, Xander. I just keep going. Please, tell me to shut up.”

“Nah, it’s okay.”

“You’re so sweet for sitting here with me and listening,” she said quietly. “So…who are you seeing these days?”

He let out an involuntary snort.


“Well, I’m seeing the insides of my books,” he joked. “My computer screen, the inside of the refrigerator…but the food court and I really have something special going. I think it might be the real thing.”

August was staring at him, sweeping her blue eyes over his round figure and returning to his face, searchingly. She lifted her hand and brushed his hair off his forehead. “Xander…”

Ice crept through his muscles, paralyzing him. “What?”

Still she stared. Her fingers began a slow trace down the side of his face, trailing over his temple, his pudgy cheek, and brushing his jaw. She tilted her head, and whispered, “Kiss me, Xander.”

“I…what?” he choked out.

“Kiss me.”

“Are…are you sure?” he asked. This was what he’d wanted, what he’d dreamed of, for the past two years, and here she was, telling him to do it. To kiss her. To enfold her with his mass and feel himself engulf her, so tiny and fragile, like a sparrow in a storm cloud.

Her hand was on the back of his neck now, guiding his head down towards her. “Yes,” she breathed. “Kiss me.”

“But –“


Her lips met his, and heat surged through his limbs like a tidal wave, washing away all traces of the icy hesitation he’d felt before. He eagerly returned her kiss, his arms embracing her and gently rubbing her back while she tugged lightly on his hair.

It seemed like seconds or hours later when August lay back on the bed and he earnestly followed, not wanting to break their contact.

“Ouch,” she complained, her voice muffled by Xander’s lips. “You’re squashing me.”

He winced lightly. “Sorry…”

“Just…here, lay next to me.”

He shifted his weight to her side and stroked her hair, devouring her neck. She moaned slightly and squeezed his arm. Her skin tasted like strawberries, he thought. Strawberries and sunlight, just like she smelled. He couldn’t believe he was awake, and that this was actually happening.

Gradually, the passion dwindled until they were simply laying there, Xander with his arms around her, gazing in wonder at the profile of her perfect face, and August still, her eyes closed.



She yawned.

“I’m getting tired,” she confessed. “I’d better get back to my room.”

“Oh, sure,” he said, moving away from her so she could rise from the bed.

She sat up and stretched, then got to her feet. Xander sat up, but stayed on the bed a moment longer, trying to regain his equilibrium.

“Well,” she said, making her way over to the door. “I guess I’ll see you, Xander.”

He quickly rose and opened the door for her. “Uh, sure, August…” he said awkwardly.

She smiled at him and touched his cheek. “Have a good night, Xander.”

“You, too, August. Sweet dreams.”

Her smile lit up the dim hallway as she glanced back at him over her shoulder. He waited until he saw her curvy little form disappear around the corner, and then closed the door and leaned back against it, blinking in shock. He’d just made out with August Dawes, the girl he’d been in love with for two long years. Two years of being casual acquaintances, of overhearing her complain that there were no decent men left in the world. Two years of watching her move from athletic frat boy jerk to athletic frat boy jerk, and then, worst of all, to his vile roommate. And he’d just spent the last half hour kissing her, feeling the heat of her body in his hands, the slow rhythm of her breath as he held her in his arms.

He stared dumbly at his hands, then at his reflection in the mirror that hung on the closet door to his left. He, Xander Rockwood, fat, English-geek loser, had just made out with one of the sweetest, most beautiful girls on campus. And she’d asked him to do it.

He grinned stupidly at himself and began singing under his breath as he returned to his paper.

01-05-2012, 07:08 PM
“Dude,” Adrian commented as Xander flung another shirt back into his closet. “You got a hot date or something?”

“Um, not exactly,” he muttered as he considered a green button-down. “Are…are you going to the ODE house tonight?”

His roommate shrugged at him from across the room, where he was lounging on his bed with his laptop.

“I might later. Me and the guys are going down to the Brew Haus for Jager night first.” He sat up straighter, flipping his blonde locks out of his eyes. “You’re going to a frat party?”

“I, uh…maybe. Rhys is pledging, he invited me. He’s bugging me to pledge, too.” Xander tossed the garment back when he realized that he’d tried it on a few weeks ago and had popped a button off it when he’d tried to sit down.

“Whoa, talk about out of character, buddy. Well, if you weren’t, like, eight times bigger than me I’d let you borrow a shirt, but, y’know…I doubt it would work.”

“Yeah, thanks,” he replied wryly.

It was Friday, three nights after he and August had kissed, and he hadn’t seen her around since then. But he knew from her away message that tonight she’d be at the frat party, so when his friend Rhys had pestered him once again to make an appearance, he’d surprised him by agreeing to show.

Now he was having second thoughts, as he couldn’t find anything in his closet that fit him. He knew he’d gained weight again since he’d started school a little over a month ago, but he hadn’t thought it was much – his t-shirts had become a bit tighter, sure, but they still fit him. But the fact that his nicer clothing was having difficulty even being fastened was making it very clear that the weight he’d added to his already large frame was more than he’d imagined.

He sighed, shutting the closet door. “I guess I’m going to the mall. You need anything?” he asked his roommate.

“Nah, I’m good. I’m going over to Liza’s room soon, anyway.” Adrian grinned. “It’s good to be me.”

“Right.” Xander shook his head, but Adrian was already typing something on his computer, probably a message to one of his girls. At least now that August had seen him for what he was, there would be one less girl in that group. “Well, I’m going. Maybe I’ll see you later.”

“Sure, bro,” Adrian said distractedly.

After grabbing his keys and his wallet, Xander shut the door behind him and descended the stairs to the parking lot. It was mostly deserted at this time on a Friday, everyone from the dorm either having gone home for the weekend or gone out. He mused upon the fact that, for once, he would be going out on a Friday night, to a frat party, no less. If he could find something to wear, that is.

- - - - -

He arrived at the mall in a reasonable amount of time and quickly made his way inside, smelling that peculiar combination of cinnamon, paper money, and cleaning supplies that was the “mall smell.” He’d chosen the entrance that was closest to the escalators to make for what he hoped would be a speedy trip in and out. Xander didn’t like to hang around the mall – or any public place, really – any longer than he had to, especially on Fridays. Fridays, he’d found, were when everyone and their second cousin came out with what seemed to be the sole purpose of gawking at him.

As he stepped off the escalator on the third floor and came to stand in front of the glowing mall map, trying to remember which side the “big and tall” store was on, he caught sight of a girl who was doing just that: gawking at him. He glanced at her and quickly looked back at the sign, for he didn’t want to break that unspoken fat guy rule and be caught staring at someone who was obviously in a much higher social class than he. Especially when her expression gave the distinct impression that something about him greatly amused her. Her long red hair spilled over her shoulder in a wavy cascade, shimmering in the sunlight streaming in from the skylights above her. She was leaning nonchalantly against the railing off to his left, clad in black leather pants and a tight black top, displaying every curve as she smirked at him.

He felt his face grow hot under her gaze, and began to walk away from her, hoping that she wouldn’t say anything. He was certainly used to being made fun of, but that didn’t mean he sought it out. The glow of Think Big beckoned to him, and he gratefully accepted its refuge, stepping inside the dimly lit clothing store.

“Good afternoon, sir, may I help you find something?” one of the salesmen asked him pleasantly after he’d wandered around a bit.

Xander gave him a look. The man was average height, but also average weight. He didn’t quite understand why a skinny guy would work in a store like this.

“Uh, sure, I need a nice shirt,” he said wearily.

“Our dress shirts are located at the front of the store, if you’ll follow me,” the man told him, leading him back to the entrance. “We have quite a selection…what occasion do you need it for?”

“Just…not a wedding, or anything…” Xander stammered. “It’s…well, it’s for a party. So nothing fancy. Just, like, a plain button down, or something.”

“Alright,” the man nodded as they stopped in front of the display of solid colored button down shirts. “Here we are. What size were you looking for?”

He sighed, his gaze flitting around, trying to delay the inevitable admission that he’d gone up a size. And then he froze. She was outside the store, lounging on a bench, staring at him. She’d followed him, and she was watching him.

Ignore it, he told himself, gritting his teeth. You know some girls get off on getting under your skin. Ignore her.

“A, uh…a four X,” he told the clerk in a small voice, still watching the girl out of the side of his vision.

She laughed. Somehow, she’d heard him, and she was laughing at him.
He clenched his fists.

The clerk, Xander was grateful to see, seemed unphased. “Well, in this style, the four X comes in white, black, navy, and grey. And we’re having a special: buy one, get one half-off.”

“I’ll, uh…I’ll take a black and a navy.”

“Would you like to try one on? Just to make sure it fits well?”

Xander grimaced. “I can just put one on over my shirt; I don’t need to go in the dressing room. I mean, if that’s okay.”


He handed Xander the black one, and he shyly turned and moved behind one of the racks as he pulled the garment on, not wanting the girl to see if it didn’t fit. Luckily, it did – it even buttoned with a bit of room to spare. He sighed with relief, and told the clerk he’d take them.

He was quickly rung out and given a pile of coupons, and then left to face the red-haired girl again. He tried to steel himself as he walked away from the counter, but when he got back out into the mall, she was nowhere in sight. Xander let out the breath he’d been holding and hurried out of the building, wanting to be sure he wouldn’t run into her again. By the time he’d gotten back out onto the highway, all thoughts of the red-haired girl were gone, replaced by anxious musings of what he would say to August later that night.

01-05-2012, 07:13 PM
“Xander, I can’t believe you actually came out of your cave!” Rhys exclaimed as they approached the frat house, which was brightly lit and pumping with music.

“Yeah, well…neither can I, really,” Xander replied, tugging anxiously at his new shirt.

“So do you think you’re going to pledge?” his friend pestered.

“I don’t know, Rhys. Probably not. I’m too antisocial to do this kind of thing on a regular basis.”

“Aw, come on, man, it’d be good for you. Y’know,” Rhys reasoned, adjusting his glasses, “get to meet some girls.”

Xander raised his eyebrows, looking down at Rhys. He was rail thin and a good six inches shorter than Xander, who was 6’3”. While his tendencies towards nerdiness weren’t extreme, they were definitely there. That was how the two of them had come to be friends: freshman year, they’d both practically lived in the library, and had struck up a conversation when Rhys had seen Xander reading an obscure science fiction novel that he was a big fan of.

Rhys frowned at him. “Don’t tell me you’re still hung up on August.”

He shrugged.

“Come on, big guy, I thought she was with your roommate?”

“Past tense.”

“She finally caught on, eh?”


His friend’s frown deepened. “Look, Xander, do you really want to do that to yourself?”

Xander chose not to answer, as by that time, they were ascending the steps to the huge old building that had been the Omicron Delta Epsilon house for the entirety of the college’s history.

He didn’t share much of the inner workings of his brain with anyone, even Rhys, whom he considered to be a good friend. But Rhys was very observant, and had watched Xander watching August for two years now. It hadn’t taken him long to ask him why he didn’t pursue her. Xander had given an evasive answer about different social circles, but Rhys had inquired about August’s past paramours enough to know that the main reason was his size. August had never been involved with anyone who was anything less than GQ cover material. He’d never brought it up to him, but Xander knew that he knew. His line of “why don’t you go after her?” had changed to “she’s a frat girl, big guy, don’t waste your time.”

A nice way of saying she’d never be interested in a fatty like him.

But now she was…or, at least, he thought she was. She wouldn’t have made out with him if she wasn’t interested, right? He shook his head as they stepped into the house. She had to be into him. He’d just have to find her tonight and figure out if she just wanted something casual, or if, as he hoped, she was looking for something more.

He received a few greetings as they mingled through the crowd, but more often than not Rhys was introducing him to this group of people or that. Despite his eccentricities, Rhys was a far more social creature than Xander was, and actually had a fairly good chance of making it into any fraternity on campus. Xander half-heartedly greeted these people who, under any other circumstances, wouldn’t have even looked at him, let alone spoken to him. Rhys had a way of making friends with anyone. Xander thought he’d be a great politician someday.

But after an hour of being introduced to everyone from the guy who wore the school’s mascot suit to the president of the fraternity (the quarterback of the football team, who gave Xander a disgusted look), he still hadn’t seen August. He was beginning to worry that she’d changed her plans as he poured himself another beer from the keg, his eyes scanning the main living space, which was crowded with people. But then he caught sight of a flash of blonde hair, and, sure enough, there she was, over in the corner talking to a group of her sorority sisters.

A steel trap of nerves immediately snapped over his stomach as he debated going over and talking to her. On one hand, he thought he would explode if he couldn’t be near her soon. On the other, the girls she was standing with were not exactly his biggest fans. The one to her left, Krissy, had made a hog joke one day in the cafeteria when he’d gone up for a second tray, and the one next to her, the brunette whose name he thought was Kyla, had had the misfortune of being directly in his path when he’d turned a corner in the Neuman building a few weeks ago. He’d knocked her to the ground and spilled her coffee, and she’d shrieked about him needing to watch where he put his fat ass. He’d apologized, of course, and had offered to buy her another coffee, but she’d huffed off, muttering about how gross fat people were.

He didn’t really want to lay his soul bare to August in that kind of company.

So he tried to watch them without being too creepy, and waited, sipping his beer. Finally, after about twenty minutes, some guys from the soccer team came over to talk to them, and August excused herself, holding up her cup to indicate that she was getting more to drink. Xander nonchalantly positioned himself at the keg again, refilling his red plastic cup, and turned around when he could smell her sweet scent right behind him.

“Oh, hey, Xander!”

“Hey, August.”

She smiled at him. “Wow, I never thought I’d run into you at one of these things.”

“Yeah, I’m not exactly a regular. Rhys dragged me along.”

“Ah, Rhys. I hear ODE really wants him,” she said. “He’s a fun guy.”

“Yeah, he is.”

She looked him up and down somewhat oddly. “You look nice. Is that a new shirt?”

He blushed, suddenly feeling huge. “Um, yeah,” he replied simply.

“It’s nice,” she said politely.

And “nice” is code for “it makes you look like a whale,” he thought dismally.

They made small talk for a few minutes about classes, and then August said, “Hey, can I ask you something?”

Xander tensed up, hopeful that the conversation was turning to their relationship. “Sure,” he said.

“Um… Do you know if Adrian’s going to be here tonight?” She glanced around, looking somewhat anxious.

Maybe she just doesn’t want to have to see him, he reasoned with himself before he could panic. “Uh, he said he might stop by later. He and his friends were going to the Brew Haus tonight. But they’ll probably be there until at least one, so if you don’t want to run into him…”

“Oh,” she said, looking somewhat disappointed. “Well, actually, I wanted to talk to him. I don’t know, I think I might have been overreacting before. I mean, Chelsea’s a notorious liar…and even if he was screwing around, I never exactly made it clear to him that I wanted us to be exclusive.”

Xander found himself incapable of a response as his stomach churned and his internal temperature controls went haywire.

August continued, “I mean, I really, really like him…and I know that he really likes me, too. I think we just have to get things straight and work it out.” She looked at him. “Are you okay?”

“I-I… Uh, y-yeah,” he stuttered out, trying to mask his distress.

“Are you sure?” She furrowed her brow. “Xander, you didn’t…you didn’t think that…that you and I…” Her eyes widened with realization. “Oh, Xander…”

“No, no, not at all.”

“I mean, I was upset, and…and you were there… It didn’t mean anything, you know? We’re just friends.”

“Oh, yeah, I know that.”

“I’m so sorry…”

“No, it’s okay, I’m okay. Don’t worry about it.” He took a deep breath and tried to stop the room from spinning. “Well, good luck. I, uh…I have to go find Rhys. Have fun.” He turned and walked away without waiting for her reply.

The room swam before his eyes as he stumbled through the crowd towards the door, thinking of nothing but being outside in the fresh air. The smell of the place began to overcome his senses, and he was finding it difficult to breathe.

“Xander? Hey, Xander! What’s wrong? You look like crap, man.” Rhys was suddenly at his side, following him as he shoved his way through the horde of buzzed co-eds. “I saw you over there talking to August; what happened?”

Xander felt his stomach lurch at the mention of her name. “Nothing. Not feeling well. Don’t worry about me, just stay and have fun. I’ll talk to you later,” he told him, the finality in his voice leaving no room for negotiation.

“Okay, well…let me know later if you’re alright!” Rhys called after him as he exited the building.

The cool October air wrapped around him, the scent of the dying leaves trying valiantly to clear the stench out of his lungs as he began to walk. He didn’t know where he was going, but he couldn’t stay still, and he couldn’t go back to his room. Adrian might be there, and even if he wasn’t, he couldn’t be inside right now. His thoughts always had a way of increasing in intensity when he was confined, and he couldn’t afford to let that happen.

01-05-2012, 07:24 PM
He walked for some time, uncaring of his direction, until he found himself in front of a diner. His stomach growled hungrily, demanding sustenance. Well, who cares, he told himself angrily. I’m never going to be anything but a big fat tub of lard that nobody wants, so why not?

He went inside and got a table, trying desperately to distract himself from the fact that he couldn’t comfortably fit in a booth and had to get a table with loose chairs on one side. After barely glancing at the menu, he told the waitress that he wanted a large soda, a stack of pancakes, a plate of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fried apples, and three slices of cheesecake. He could feel the strange look she gave him, but chose to ignore it, looking at the ads on the paper placemat she’d laid in front of him instead.

Soon his food was in front of him, and he began to wolf it down mindlessly, taking comfort in the familiar and delicious tastes and smells. A voice in the back of his mind told him he shouldn’t be doing this, but he firmly told it to shut the hell up.

He was on his second-to-last slice of cheesecake when a voice spoke from across the table. “Y’know, most people would just go and get drunk.”

Xander flinched, dropping his fork as he looked up from his plate. Greenish-gold eyes stared back at him, framed by long, wavy red hair. The girl from the mall. He instantly returned his gaze to the plate, his face burning. “What do you want?”

She ignored his question, and continued. “Seriously, this is kind of pathetic. Your little crush turns you down, and your way of dealing is to go and stuff yourself silly?”

He felt panic and mortification beginning to course through his veins, increasing the redness in his face. “How…”

“Also,” she continued, “this little coping strategy of yours is probably the reason you had to go up a size today.”

Anger joined the other emotions bubbling inside him. “Go away. Leave me alone.”

“Sorry, Pudge, we’ve got business to attend to.”

“That’s not my name.” He itched to continue eating his cheesecake, but stopped himself. He didn’t need any more embarrassment. And he could finish it after he got rid of her.

“I know it’s not your name. Your name is Xander Lucas Rockwood. But I’m going to call you Pudge, because it’s more suited to your physical attributes.” She gave him a grin. “I need you to come with me.”


“It’s a little difficult to explain here, especially when your attention is more focused on your dessert than on what I have to tell you. So why don’t you finish cramming that down, and we’ll get out of here and discuss things?”

He glared at her. She was gorgeous, so there had to be some kind of catch.

“I don’t know who you are or anything about you, and I don’t really want to. Go away,” he repeated.

She smirked at him. “Wow, is that how you talk to all the girls?” She batted her eyelashes. “Seriously, Pudge, this is important.”

“Look,” he told her, “I’ve had a rotten day, and I don’t need it made worse. Go make fun of someone else, just leave me alone.” He picked up his fork and dug into his cheesecake again, trying to make it clear that he wasn’t going to speak to her anymore.

He could feel her exasperation with him. “I’m not making fun of you, gosh. I really need you to come with me. I’m serious.”

“Yeah, well so am I,” he growled through clenched teeth, glowering at her. “Get the hell away from me. I’m not falling for the way-too-good-for-me-beautiful-girl-magically-appearing-with-promises-to-make-my-life-better shtick. Go get your jollies tormenting some other fat loser, because this one has reached his crap limit for the day. So screw off.”

Xander threw a few bills for a tip onto the table, grabbed his plate of cheesecake and the bill and stood, shoving the chair under and not bothering to look for a reaction from the girl. He stopped and grabbed a takeout container at the waitress’ station and dumped his dessert into it, then took his bill to the counter and paid.

Please don’t follow me, please don’t follow me, he thought over and over as he lumbered down the concrete steps into the damp, neon-lit night air. Something about the girl had genuinely unsettled him, but he couldn’t figure out what. Just don’t think about it, he told himself. He tried to find a different place for his mind to focus on, but it immediately illuminated August’s face and the brief expression of disgust that he’d sworn he’d seen pass across it when she’d realized that he’d thought they could be together.

“Stupid,” he muttered aloud as he stalked along the sidewalk, barely watching where he was going. “Stupid, fat idiot. What the hell were you thinking?”

“Hey…hey, Xan!” a slurred voice called from up ahead. “Xander…’zat you?”

He felt as if he sank four inches into the concrete as Adrian and his buddies, who looked as if they’d just left the bar up the block, approached him. “Hey, Adrian...”

“Dude…” his roommate began loudly, trying to be heard over his friends, who were jeering at Xander. “What’s up, dude?”

“Nothing. Headed back to the room.”

“Dude…you’re-“ he hiccupped, “you’re really…really fat, d’you know that? You’re like…seriously…like huge, man.”

“Yeah, he’s a real porker!” a tall, muscular guy spit out, laughing.

Xander felt like vomiting. “I gotta go, Adrian.”

But his roommate kept going, gazing glassy-eyed at Xander’s midsection. “Like…I seriously wonder…how you fit through the door. And dude!” He swiped at the bag in Xander’s hand. “You totally got…got food, didn’t you?”
He sunk a finger into Xander’s belly. “Geeeeeeez,” he drawled. “D’you really think you shoulda…should eat that crap?”

Humiliated, Xander took a few steps back, clenching his fists as hard as he could. He turned around and took off in the other direction at as fast a pace as he could manage without getting too out of breath, wishing desperately that he could just drop out of his current plane of existence and into nothingness.

He hadn’t always hated the way he looked. Up until eighth grade, he’d actually liked being fat; had loved the fact that he was taller and bigger than everyone else in his school. He’d liked the way his body felt, all soft and squishy but strong underneath. Also, his dad was a bigger guy, and Xander had liked knowing that he’d grow up to look like the man he idolized. But then puberty hit, and with the onslaught of hormones had come interest in girls and, somehow, an extra forty-five pounds on his already-chubby frame. The two were not compatible, and it didn’t take him long to figure it out. It only took one girl, his ninth grade crush, Jayna, telling him he was too fat to date for him to get the picture. After that horrible night at the dance, he’d come home and stared in the mirror at his shirtless body, cursing the belly he’d previously enjoyed.

Xander stood before the mirror on Adrian’s closet door later that night, doing the very same thing. Five years and more than one hundred additional pounds later, he was back to those horrible feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness. He knew perfectly well that his weight was the main factor in August’s refusal to see him as a worthy relationship prospect. She was popular, smart, and pretty; a sorority girl with an image to maintain. She could never be seen with an oaf like him, and he knew it. He’d known it all along, but he’d still allowed himself to hope…

He shook his head, taking a handful of his abundant middle and jiggling it a bit, sighing. He didn’t hate his appearance all the time. Xander knew that he was a decent-looking guy, and even occasionally considered himself attractive, fat and all. He could see the appeal of being “comfortable.” He even had moments in which he still enjoyed being fat, but then he’d feel like a weirdo for liking such a thing, and would try to put it out of his head.

Tonight, though, there was no enjoying his soft physique. After grimacing at his reflection one more time, he pulled on his standard sleeping attire, baggy gym shorts and a t-shirt, and flicked off the overhead light.

The door opened a few hours later, spilling light from the hallway fluorescents across Xander’s face, causing him to stir. He threw an arm across his eyes and rolled away from the light, groggily wishing that Adrian could find somewhere else to stay on weekends instead of always waking him up. The door slammed shut, returning the room to darkness.



“Because Xander’s here, isn’t he?” a female voice whispered loudly.

His awareness brightened, but he stayed still.

“Aw, who cares? He sleeps like a rock, anyway,” Adrian said.

“Yeah, a big, fat rock,” she giggled.

“I know, right? He’s friggin’ huge.”

“’Huge’ is an understatement. Y’know, he has a crush on me,” she said.

Adrian laughed loudly. “Oh, man, are you serious? That’s golden.”

“Shh! You’re gonna wake the big lug! I don’t want him to know I’m here.”

“Why not?”

Their voices moved across the room, until Xander could tell they were standing by Adrian’s bed, directly across from where he was laying, frozen.

“I don’t know, I mean…he’s a sweet guy…I don’t really want to hurt him. Especially after…”

“After what?”

Xander could hear a zipper being pulled down, and a brief rustle of cloth.
“Well, earlier this week, I came here to freak out at you because I was all upset, and you weren’t here, but he was…and he talked to me and made me feel better, and I kissed him. You know, it didn’t actually mean anything. And it totally gave him the wrong idea. He came to the ODE house tonight, all dressed up in a brand new shirt, looking for me.”

His roommate giggled. “That’s why he was in here flinging crap all over the place, looking for something to wear. He wanted to impress his sweet little August…”

A few long seconds ticked by. They were kissing. Then he heard the bedsprings creak, and wished that he could go deaf. No such luck.

“Yeah, well, you should have seen the look on his face when I told him it didn’t mean anything and I only kissed him because I was a complete emotional wreck and didn’t know any better. You’d have thought someone had just slaughtered a puppy in front of him. It was awful. I mean, I feel bad about it…but it was pretty stupid of him to think I’d ever be attracted to a blob like him.”

“Yes, very stupid…especially when you’ve got a hot piece of ass like me,” Adrian said.

The conversation cut off, and all Xander, now wide awake, could hear for the next hour was the squeaking of the bed and occasional moans and sighs coming from across the room. He stared at the wall, unable to move and incapable of slipping back into the blissful oblivion of unconsciousness, paralyzed by the way that her strawberry sunlight scent wrapped itself around his roommate’s musky one, changing slightly as her excitement rose. He lay awake long after the noises had stopped until his prayers were finally answered and, as the first rays of sunrise were pulling at the curtains, he fell asleep.

(Continued in post 13 of this thread)

Qit el-Remel
01-06-2012, 01:03 AM
Bringing this one over here now, then? Awesome! :D

(I've so figured something out re: one of the later chapters, by the way...)

01-06-2012, 01:14 AM
Hooray - now this lovely story gets the 'much easier to find' place it deserves!

Do we also get some nice new chapters soon, pretty please :batting: ???

01-06-2012, 03:53 AM
Me like, me like!

01-06-2012, 07:29 AM
I don't know what secret spot the people above were referencing--but I'm glad this is here now! I'm intrigued :D

01-08-2012, 02:32 AM
oh man! i looked up more of the story cause i couldn't wait!
why didn't you ever finish it? its incredible!

Britt Reid
01-08-2012, 11:22 AM
Taco, since you obviously know the answer to Tad's question look at the date of the latest installment. Chapter 13 was only posted in December, 2011! This is still very much a work in progress. I counsel patience! :)

01-08-2012, 01:37 PM
Taco, since you obviously know the answer to Tad's question look at the date of the latest installment. Chapter 13 was only posted in December, 2011! This is still very much a work in progress. I counsel patience! :)
oh shoot your right! i thought it stopped in september..
eater way its awesome.

01-09-2012, 01:19 PM
Oh, I'm really enjoying this! It's well written and I really feel for the main character; I'm impatient to read what happens next. Excellent work.

01-09-2012, 05:02 PM
The next few months passed Xander by like leaves in the wind. He went about his days in a fog, going to classes, doing homework, reading, eating, and sleeping without any real knowledge or care for what he was doing. If Adrian was there in the room, he blasted music through his ear buds, and if August was there, he simply left and went to the library or the food court. He found it increasingly difficult to concentrate, and though he was still doing well in all his classes, Rhys noticed that his large friend wasn’t all there.



They’d been sitting in the food court after the one class they had together, trying to get ideas for a head start on their philosophy final. Xander was staring out the windows at the freezing rain that was driving itself into the ground, coating the world with a slick grey membrane.

“Where are you, man? That’s the third time I’ve said your name.”

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, I guess I’m kind of out of it,” Xander explained.

Rhys gave him a concerned look. “You haven’t been sleeping a lot at all lately. You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I was just at the library pretty late.”

“Ah. I was worried that Adrian and August might be keeping you up.”

Xander’s head twitched so he was facing Rhys, and he blushed. “No.”

Rhys nodded, looking unconvinced. “So what were you working on?”


“At the library. What were you working on at the library?”

“Oh, uh…”

“Oh, that’s right,” Rhys said, nodding, “you were working on being a miserable sonofabitch, pining away for a girl who’d rather be treated like dirt than give you the time of day.”

Xander gritted his teeth.

“Look, Xander, you’ve got to let it go. She made her choice, and it was a dumb one, but it’s over and done with. Forget her. Get some sleep.”

“I’m fine. She’s forgotten. I just don’t want to be there when they’re screwing so loud the people below us call to complain,” he retorted.

Rhys sighed. “It sucks, man. Maybe you can put in for a room transfer for next semester. I think the deadline isn’t until next week.”

“I’ve already tried,” Xander answered, glaring out the windows again. “There are no openings, and no one will switch with me.”

“Will Adrian switch out? I’d have thought he’d want to live in the Delt house.”

“They barely have room for the seniors. He’s been trying all semester, but they don’t have anywhere to put him. It’s not exactly like he chose to room with me in the first place.”

“Well, y’know, if worse comes to worse, you can come sleep on my floor if you need to. Jay will be okay with it.”

“Thanks, but I’m fine. The semester’s almost over, anyway. I’m staying for winter term, but he’s going home, so I’ll have the place to myself for a while. I’ll sleep then.”

“Why don’t you go home for a weekend or something? Decompress a bit, chill with people there.”

Xander shook his head. “I can’t go home like this,” he muttered.

Rhys gave him a confused look. “What are you talking about?”

“Nothing. I’ve got to get going; I need to work on my journalism homework. Let me know if you think of anything for this.” The chair creaked in relief as he stood, the sound making him cringe. Nevertheless, he stopped at the cash register on his way out and swiped his ID to pay for five brownies, which he shoved in his bag as he lumbered out of the crowded area, stopping only to toss the wrapper of the brownie he was currently inhaling into a trash can.

He concentrated on remaining upright as he walked gingerly across the icy sidewalks that shone in the streetlamps, which had switched on in anticipation of the encroaching darkness. It was only four-thirty, but Xander was exhausted. He really hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, unless one could count the twenty minutes he’d fallen asleep in the library for. When he’d finally gone back to his room around three am, he’d walked in on Adrian and August making out in bed…sans clothing. Red-faced and shaking, overwhelmed by the scent of their passion, he’d closed the door and retreated to the lounge, where he’d tried to sleep, and had failed. It was light out before he’d been sure that they were asleep, and he was able to slip back into his room and collapse into bed. Not desiring a repeat of that scenario, he tried to fish his roommate’s schedule out of the soupy mess of his thoughts to figure out if he would be able to grab a quick nap while Adrian was still in class.

It’s…what is it, Thursday? I think it’s Thursday…yeah. So Adrian should be…he should be in physics, until seven forty-five…it starts at four forty-five, I think…and it’s with…with her.

At that moment, he glanced towards the science building, and there they were. August, shrieking and laughing as a grinning Adrian tried to pull the hood of her winter parka off her head. She swatted at him, and he caught her arm and pulled her into an embrace.

Xander forced his eyes back to the pavement. “A nap sounds really good right now,” he mumbled to himself.

Fifteen minutes later, out of breath from the stairs, he turned the key in the lock and entered his and Adrian’s room. A sulfury scent spilled out into the hallway and invaded his airways as he stepped over the threshold. His lungs spasmed, sending him into a coughing fit as he crossed the room and shoved the windows open.

“What the hell,” he said. He peered around the room, trying to locate the source of the foul odor, but saw nothing amiss. He chalked it up to his building’s ancient heating system, and, frowning, he dumped his bag out on his desk and sifted through his books, folders, and tablets for his brownies. He unwrapped one and shoved the whole thing in his mouth with a sigh as he sat, causing his desk chair to groan in protest.

“Screw you,” he told it irritably from around the brownie. Xander glanced down at himself and momentarily stopped chewing, a slight panic grasping his heart. His shirt was tight. So were his pants. They dug hard into his waist when he sat, making his gut look that much larger. And it was larger, he knew. Larger than it had been two months ago. He swallowed the brownie and reached for another, resigned to his fate.
What does it even matter? he asked himself.

Just then, a movement over on Adrian’s side of the room caught his attention. He looked over towards his roommate’s desk and saw a blurry dark shape about the size of a basketball perched on the desk, twitching. Xander shot out of his chair and advanced on the unidentified object, but, with a faint cracking sound, it disappeared.

He got down on his hands and knees and examined the space under the desk and the mess under Adrian’s bed, looking for the…whatever it was that had been there a moment ago. He opened the closets and even pulled the desks and the dressers away from the wall to see if the thing could be hiding behind them, but he found nothing. The smell finally seemed to be dissipating, too.

Xander sat on his bed, rubbing his eyes hard with clenched fists. “I’m so exhausted I’m seeing things,” he muttered. “I’m going crazy. Just two more weeks,” he told himself. “Two more weeks until he leaves and I can sleep. Well, at least I can take a bit of a nap now while they’re at class.”

He rose from the bed and grabbed a pair of gym shorts and a t-shirt to change into from his dresser. Just as he pulled his shirt over his head, he heard a key turn in the lock, and the door opened.

“Oh!” August shrieked, seeing Xander standing there, shirtless, gaping at her.

He saw her eyes fix on his belly, and she cringed. His face flaming, he turned away from her and yanked his t-shirt on.

“I-I’m sorry, Xander, Adrian said you’d be in class, I didn’t think anyone would be here…”

Xander just nodded, still facing the other direction.

“I just had to come back, I was here earlier and I forgot my physics homework, since Adrian and I were working on it together, and if I don’t hand it in it’s ten points off for the class…” she rambled.


He heard her sifting through the papers on his roommate’s desk for a few moments, then silence.



“I…I’m sorry. Y’know…you…you’re a sweet guy, Xander,” she told him, “but…you know I could never date you. If…if things were different…I mean, you know…if you…if you weren’t…so…so big…I would. But…I just…I could never be with a guy who didn’t take care of himself, no matter how sweet he was. So…I guess I just wanted to tell you that. You’re a great guy, on the inside.”

Xander barked a short, cynical laugh. “Yeah. I know. On the inside.”

“Okay, well…see you, Xander.”

He heard her open and then close the door, but still he stared out the window at the sleet pouring out of the sky, smelling the crisp, cold scent of the approaching winter coating the world. He willed the ice to coat his heart, to lock it up it so that its wretched, pained pounding would slow. He changed into his shorts, draped his other clothing over his desk chair, and climbed into bed. He was asleep in seconds, and dreaming the things his mind wouldn’t allow to surface in his waking hours.

01-09-2012, 05:08 PM
“Hello?” he said groggily.

“Hello, dear, did I wake you? It’s seven o’clock; what are you doing asleep?”

“Just…just taking a nap, Mom. I’ve…I’ve been up late doing my…Brit Lit final,” he fibbed, sitting up and gazing around his room, disoriented by the darkness. He flipped on the floor lamp behind his bed.

“Alright, you just make sure you’re getting enough rest. You know you tend to eat more when you’re tired.”

Xander sighed. “What did you want, Mom?”

“I wanted to call to remind you that your father’s marathon is next Friday.”

“Marathon? They do those in December?”

He heard his mother make a clucking noise. “I knew you’d forget. Yes, they do those in December. The Fording 5k, remember? It’s sponsored by the clinic where he had his bypass done? This week is your father’s five year anniversary, so it’s a very special race for him. You’re coming home to see him, right?”

“I…” Xander faltered, swallowing hard as he searched for a response. “I can’t, Mom, I have a final that day…”

“Oh, Xander,” she sighed, her voice full of disappointment. “Can’t you take it another day?”

“No, Mom, they won’t let you do that. I have another final on Saturday, too,” he finished, hoping he wasn’t pushing it.

“Alright, alright. School comes first. But you will be coming home for Christmas, right?”

“I…I’m not sure. The winter term course work is pretty intense. I don’t know if I’ll be able to.” He stood up and stretched, then rifled through the pile of stuff on his desk for a brownie.

“What class are you taking again?”

“Geology,” he said, fiddling with the wrapper.

“But you’re an English major, why do you need to take geology?”

“I need two science classes for my gen. ed. requirements, Mom.” He put the package to his mouth and tore the plastic open with his teeth.

“What on earth was that?”

He blushed, even though he knew she didn’t know what he was doing. “I was holding the phone with my shoulder; the speaker must have brushed up against my face.”

“Oh. Well, please try to get home? We haven’t seen you since August.”

“I know, I know. I’ll try. Look, I’ve got to go; I’m supposed to meet Rhys at seven thirty. Tell Dad and Alexis I said hi.”

“I will. Good luck with your finals, dear. I love you.”

“Thanks. I love you, too, Mom.”

“And come home soon!”

“Yeah, okay. Bye.”

He hung up and chucked his cell phone onto his bed with one hand, lifting his brownie to his mouth with the other and taking a bite as he sat at his desk. He marveled at how easy it had become to lie to his mother. Not that she made it difficult: her slightly spacey demeanor made coming up with stories to cover his ass quite simple. What struck him now, however, was that when it came to certain situations, he no longer felt the slightest bit of remorse doing it. He knew that his father, on the other hand, would most likely see through his attempts to skip out on family time. After cramming the rest of his brownie in his mouth, he rose, grabbed his cell phone, and switched it off to prevent anyone else from disturbing his precious few hours of peace.

“’Cause heaven forbid I miss his stupid skinny race,” Xander muttered bitterly, acknowledging the longing behind his statement like an old wound, healed on the surface but festering under the skin. He knew that if he really wanted to go through with it, he would probably qualify for the gastric bypass surgery as well, and his parents’ insurance would cover it. He could be thin within six months. Could graduate from college in a normal gown, not one they’d have to make especially for him. He could even ask a girl out on a date without expecting to be laughed at. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He knew that some small, strange part of him was terrified of it…that part of him that also liked being fat.

The part of me that’s going to go to the food court before it closes and get more food to feed my fat ass, he thought wryly to himself as he threw the wrapper of his last brownie in the garbage can. He dressed quickly and headed out the door.

The weather had not improved by the time he made it to the food court on the other side of campus. He sighed with relief as he ducked inside the bustling building, shaking ice from his hair and stomping his feet on the carpet to banish the moisture from his shoes. Hmm, what do I want, he asked himself as he glanced around at the fast food restaurant-style menus lining the walls, the intensely delicious smells igniting his appetite. Pizza…maybe some pasta, too…yeah, it’s Wednesday, they have that great tortellini alfredo tonight…and I think I could go for some cheeseburgers and fries. He stepped up to the counter, his stomach grumbling in anticipation.

“Well, hello, there, darlin’, how you doin’ tonight?”

“Hey, Sheriece, I’m okay, how are you?” he answered the large black woman with a smile. He was always glad when Sheriece was working. She was the only food service worker who didn’t give him disgusted looks when he ordered his usual truckload of food. She always made conversation with him, and made sure to sneak him a little extra food and not charge him for it. It wasn’t great for his physique, but it comforted him to have a friend in a place that could potentially be very dangerous for him.

“I’m just peachy keen now that you’re here, honey, but I do not look forward to goin’ home in that mess out there!” she exclaimed, slipping on a pair of plastic gloves.

“The roads actually aren’t too bad, the salt trucks are keeping up with it pretty well, I think. Just be careful on the sidewalks, they’re really slippery.”

She shook her head, sending her masses of curly braids dancing. “Those damn maintenance men! You know what they’re doin’ right now? They’re loungin’ on their lazy asses drinkin’ coffee in the break room, lettin’ that ice build up out there. Just wait ‘til somebody slips and breaks somethin’ and sues the college, then they’ll be gettin’ what’s due.”

They both shared a chuckle, knowing that Sheriece was right. “Is Jerry coming to get you? You don’t have to drive yourself home, do you? How’s he doing?”

“Oh, he’s comin’ to get me. He knows I’m a mess drivin’ in this winter weather. And he’s doin’ quite well, sweetheart, thank you so much for askin’. As much as we hate this ice and snow, it’s a good payday, what with all the plowing contracts he’s gettin’. Doin’ very well. So what can I get for you tonight, sugar? I just cooked up some of that dee-licious alfredo I know you like so much.”

He told her he’d like the large order of the tortellini alfredo, four pieces of garlic bread, two individual supreme pizzas with ranch sauce, and three cheeseburgers with fries, trying to keep his voice down so that the other people milling around wouldn’t hear how much he was getting. But a burst of laughter sounded to his left, causing him to cringe and try to shrink in on himself. He glanced over and saw August’s friends, Kyla and Krissy, standing at the salad bar, giggling as they watched him. Ever since he’d made a fool of himself with August at the frat party, all her friends had found him even more hilarious. He could only assume that August had relayed his pathetic awkwardness to them. Just what I needed. And just wait ‘til they hear what happened this afternoon. Blood rushed to his cheeks, and he quickly turned back to Sheriece.

Sheriece glared at the girls and shook her head, then turned back to Xander. “You wait right here, honey, I’ll have it right up for you.” She reached across the counter and patted his arm before she turned and disappeared into the kitchen. She returned a few minutes later, telling him, “I just got five more minutes on a nice fresh batch of tortellini for you, Xander. So when are you leavin’ me for the holidays?”

“I’m…I’m actually not going home this year.”

Her face fell into a shocked expression. “Why on earth not?”

“Well, I’m taking a winter term class…and it’s just so far to drive for only a few days…” He trailed off, not wanting to tell her the real reason he was avoiding his family.

But Sheriece was a perceptive woman, and they’d been talking to each other since his freshman year, so he knew that she had a feeling for some of his familial woes. She’d also watched him grow from a hefty 280 pounds as a freshman to his current 387. It wasn’t hard to figure out, since every year when he returned to school he’d barely eat anything for the first week, and then resume his normal eating habits until the last few weeks of the semester, when he’d try to stop eating again.

She nodded her head. “The holidays are a rough time for a lot of us, sugar. I’ll be workin’ every day but the Lord’s birthday, so you make sure you come see me and keep me company, you hear? I’ll bring you some of my famous Snickerdoodles.”

He nodded.

“Oh! And there’s the dinger on your pasta.” She again disappeared into the kitchen, and soon emerged with a large brown paper grocery bag, filled with his food. Xander pulled out his ID to pay, and she leaned in, whispering conspiratorially, “I slipped a few extra cheeseburgers in there for you, darlin’. I don’t want ‘em goin’ to waste if nobody orders ‘em by the end of the evenin’.”

He smiled sheepishly at her, simultaneously ashamed and grateful. He knew he’d devour them all. “Thanks, Sheriece. I hope you have a good night. Be careful out there.”

“You, too, sweetheart. Hey – “

He turned back to her, curious. “Yeah?”

She grinned at him. “I just wanted to see that handsome face of yours one more time,” she told him. “Go on, now.”

Xander laughed, thanking her again. But his cheer faded when he saw that Krissy and Kyla were lounging at a table by the door, again watching him and giggling. He gritted his teeth, determined to block them out, and started past them.

“Be careful you don’t slip and fall out there, Lardass,” Kyla sneered at him. “We don’t want an earthquake.”

He swallowed hard, hurrying a little more to get out the door and away from them and almost doing just what they’d warned against as he stepped out of the building and onto the icy sidewalk. At least August wasn’t with them, he reminded himself, trying to see the bright side of things. But thinking of her only served to again remind him of their encounter that afternoon. He cringed again as the moment where her eyes had locked onto his massive belly replayed itself in his mind. That look on her face…am I really that revolting to look at? A sigh escaped his lips as he shuffled along. It doesn’t matter what she thinks. You have no chance with her. That’s it. Forget it.

He turned his focus to getting back to his dorm without falling on his ass. As miserable as it was to have to try to navigate the slick ice with his less-than-agile form, he loved what the freezing rain did to the world around him. The trees looked like they were made of silver glass glimmering in the streetlights, and the world took on a hushed and intoxicating aura of peace and mystery. He was the only one walking the streets, as far as he could see. He took a deep breath, luxuriating in the clean scent of the ice and silence. His eyes closed, he stopped for a moment, feeling the precipitation hit his skin as the quiet swirled around him. What would it be like if I could feel like this all the time?

Xander felt something brush against his leg. He looked down, and immediately the stench of sulfur shot into his lungs as he saw that same strange, blurry, dark shape he had seen earlier in his room throwing itself against him.

“Hey!” he gasped, coughing, trying to shake the thing off. But it had latched hold of the fabric of his jeans, and was trying to scurry up his leg. He shook it harder, and the thing made a distressed ripping noise before it scratched him. He tried to kick at it with his other leg, and felt it loosening its grasp, but then he felt himself losing his balance. Cursing, he saw the ground rising up to meet him, and then nothing.

01-09-2012, 10:05 PM
*gasp* It's a new kind of Munchie! Or maybe not...Hope you have the next part up soon!

01-11-2012, 05:43 PM

Someone was shaking him.

“Hey, are you alright?”

Xander groaned as pain bolted into his shoulder, and then his ass. “Ow.”

“Good, you’re awake.”

He blinked a few times, allowing his vision to come into focus. He was lying on the sidewalk, and someone was standing over him. He quickly tried to sit up.

“Hey, hey, take it easy, man. Did you hit your head?”

Xander could see that the person was a heavily muscled guy about his own age, with bronzed skin and a shaved head. “No, my head’s okay,” he replied. Resuming his efforts to sit, he looked around and saw that his bag of food was miraculously still intact, save for one pizza, which had escaped the bag and its box and was sitting on the ground, already collecting a coating of ice. Satisfied that, though he would miss that pizza, he wouldn’t have to return to the food court, he turned his attention back to the guy standing next to him. He was wearing all black clothing with a somewhat military feeling to it, and something slightly familiar about him made Xander a bit uneasy. He gingerly climbed to his feet, trying not to grab his throbbing behind.

The guy was staring at him with a furrowed brow, looking him up and down. Xander blushed under his scrutiny, hoping he hadn’t seen him fall on his ass like an idiot. But how had he fallen? He remembered the stench of sulfur, and then…

“You’d better come with me,” the guy told him.

“What? Why?”

“Do you remember what happened?”

“I…I just slipped and fell…on the ice,” he fibbed. He did remember that bizarre little thing trying to climb up his leg and scratch him, but he wasn’t going to tell this random guy that he was hallucinating creatures trying to attack him.

“We both know that’s not what happened. And you’d definitely better come with me. You’ve been bitten. I can see it.”

“What?” Xander repeated, bewildered.

“Come on, I’ll explain on the way back.” The guy strode towards the street, making it look as easy as if the sidewalks were bone dry. Xander gathered up his food and hobbled after him, trying to ignore the bruise he was sure was spreading across his butt.

“You’re Xander, I take it.” The guy had opened the passenger door of a huge black Jeep and was gesturing for him to get in.

But Xander stopped dead. Now he knew why the guy seemed familiar. He was wearing the same type of clothing that that redheaded girl who had made fun of him a while ago had been, and he shared a hint of her fire-like scent. “I’m fine, man. Thanks for checking on me, but I’m fine,” he said decisively, turning away.

“Damn,” the guy breathed. “Hey!” He jogged over to Xander. “Look, dude, you’ve got to get this checked out. The poison won’t kill you, but you might wish that it had, in your condition.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Xander insisted. “Nothing bit me.”

“Pull up your left pants leg and look at the inside of your ankle.”

Xander just gaped at him.

“Fine.” He reached down and yanked at Xander’s jeans, and Xander saw an ugly yellow-ringed bump on his skin. He felt strangely dizzy.

“What the…”

The guy grabbed Xander’s arm and began leading him back to the Jeep. “My name is Darshan, and I apologize that we are being introduced under these less than favorable circumstances. I will take you back to our house and see if Ling can help you. Callisto should not be there, she is also out on patrol. I hope.”

Xander hefted himself into the Jeep, growing increasingly panicky as his head swam and his stomach growled.

“You’d better eat that,” Darshan told him as he buckled himself into the driver’s seat. “You’ll want to have something in your stomach when Ling gives you the remedy.”

He blushed, realizing that he was still clutching his bag of food with a protective ferocity that probably wasn’t necessary under the circumstances. “That’s okay…”

“No, truly, Xander,” Darshan maintained, “you will thank me later for insisting. Please, eat.”

The vehicle came to life with a roar, and they peeled out, somehow not sliding on the ice. Darshan continued explaining things to him as he drove while Xander pretended to eat. He knew that the act of tasting, chewing, and swallowing would have calmed him a bit, as it always did, but he couldn’t let Darshan see just how much food he considered “dinner.” He had never been very comfortable eating in front of others, and found his distress increased by the simple fact that this person was an acquaintance of the red-haired girl, who had so discomfited him.

“Ling is our resident healer: I promise you, she will have you good as new in no time,” Darshan was saying. “Callisto, as I said, will be out on patrol, and Kenryk will be there, as well. He is our, ah, information specialist, I suppose. Have you ever seen that sort of thing before?” he suddenly changed the subject.

Xander tore his gaze away from the grease that was leaking through the papers his cheeseburgers were wrapped in. Sheriece had given him six of them. “What sort of thing?”

“The thing that attacked you.”

“Well…I think…maybe…there might have been something kind of like that in my room this afternoon…”

Darshan looked at him closely, causing Xander to blush yet again. “And what did you notice about it?”

“Um…well…it was small, about as big as a basketball…moved really fast…and it was kind of fuzzy, or blurry. Hard to focus on, I guess. And it reeked like sulfur.”

His expression lit up, somewhat shocked. “So you did smell it, then? And you saw it, too? Do you smell everything, truly?”

“I…don’t know what you’re talking about,” Xander replied, shaking his head and shifting his bulk uncomfortably. “Of course I smell things.”

“Not everyone catches scents the way you do, Xander. You perceive the very essence of things through your nose!” He gave an astonished laugh, and continued, “And I’m quite impressed that you see it, as well, with no aid whatsoever. You’re quite talented, you know.”

But Xander had lost his ability to concentrate on anything but the way his waistband was digging into his soft flesh. What if I’m too big for the Jeep, he wondered irrationally. What if I’m too heavy, and I pop the tire? What if he’s taking me somewhere to put me on display so everyone can laugh at the big fat whale? What if…

His worries were interrupted as Darshan turned into a driveway in front of an ancient-looking Victorian house and killed the engine. He hopped out and came around to the passenger side and opened Xander’s door. Xander just stared at him in horror. He could see Darshan laughing at him. He knew that any second, he was going to start hollering for everyone to come look at the fat kid, to poke and prod him and giggle at the huge sack of food he was holding, to burst into hysterical guffaws over the ill-fitting state of his clothing. “No…please, don’t…” he whispered, trying to shrink himself back into the seat.

“Damnit,” Darshan muttered, “it’s begun. Ling! Kenryk! I need help!” he called.

Xander’s vision had lost focus, and all he could see were swirls of light and color as two others emerged from the house and helped Darshan drag Xander into the house. By the time they had him seated on a couch, he was whimpering in terror, certain that at any second they were going to strip him naked and film him for the whole college to see. He clutched his food tighter, for surely they would take it away from him and never let him eat again, because he didn’t deserve to eat at all, did he?

“Drink this,” a soothing voice interrupted his panicked thoughts. A porcelain mug was pressed into his hands, the liquid inside emitting an acrid stench. He looked up at the small, pretty face in front of him. “Drink this,” she repeated. “It’s alright. It will make you feel better.”

He downed the liquid in one gulp and immediately began coughing.

“Ling, he’s probably going to throw it up. Why can’t you make your remedies taste better?”

“Adding things to improve the taste usually decreases the effectiveness, Ken. We’ve been over this. And I don’t see you complaining when I give you a hangover cure.”

Xander’s vision slowly came back into focus, and he saw that he was sitting in a vast, dimly-lit living room, surrounded by Darshan and two other people. A short, thin guy with close-cropped brown hair was standing next to Darshan, his arms crossed and a curious expression on his face. The girl who had given him the mug was kneeling in front of him, watching his face closely. She had a slim, willowy form, and silky dark hair tied back from her face. She smiled at him.

“Good, it’s starting to work already. You’ll still feel upset for a little while, but it will go away. Just try to relax while I take a look at this bite.” She reached for his ankle, but Xander flinched away.

Please, don’t touch me, he thought, please. I can’t…not a doctor…she’ll make me get on the…

“It’s alright, Xander. I’m not a doctor. I promise I won’t make you get on a scale,” she soothed. Darshan and Kenryk exchanged a look at that. “I just want to take a look at your ankle, okay? Just your ankle,” Ling continued.

After a few moments, he gingerly held out his leg so that Ling could look at it. His mind was clearing, but he still felt incredibly paranoid. Ling’s fingers on his skin were causing him to shiver, even though his rational mind knew that she was only trying to help. He tried to concentrate on his breathing to calm himself, and listening to the girl’s gentle voice.

“You’re lucky, Xander,” she told him. “It looks like it only scratched you with its teeth. If it would have sunken its teeth in, we would have a much harder time getting the venom out. But I think that the tea I gave you should take care of it. I’ll put a poultice on this bite just in case, to draw out any additional venom that might still be there. You should be fine in about an hour.” She smiled at him as she rose, and then left the room.

The shivering had stopped, and he could feel his panic ebbing. He glanced around the room, taking in the elaborate décor. Thick velvet curtains swathed the windows from floor to ceiling, blocking out the lights from the street, and sumptuous fabrics and throws covered the furniture, which was incredibly comfortable. He made a conscious effort to relax his strained muscles and closed his eyes, still trying to slow his labored breathing with the scents of amber and sandalwood wafting through the air of the house.

“Is he asleep?” he heard Kenryk whisper a few moments later.

“I’m not sure…I think so,” Darshan replied quietly.

“What the hell was that all about?”

“The venom, Ken. You know how it works.”

“One of his worst fears is getting on a scale?”

Darshan sighed as Xander tensed a bit. “Well, it appears so. Being as…large…as he is, he’s probably had a very difficult time with doctors scolding him for his weight. And it seems that he thought Ling was a doctor.”

“Well, I guess that makes sense. But I mean…he’s…hasn’t he ever…you know, tried anything?”

Xander had had enough of this line of conversation. He opened his eyes and moved to rise from the couch. “Thank you for everything, but I really have to get going now,” he said.

Kenryk jumped a bit as he and Darshan turned to Xander. “Oh, please, do stay,” Darshan pleaded. “I would very much like to discuss your, ah, talent. I think that we could be quite a bit of help to one another.”

“Look, I really don’t know what you’re talking abou-“

Ling interrupted him as she entered with a steaming porcelain bowl in her hands. “Here we go, Xander,” she said with a smile. “This should draw out any remaining venom and help the wound to heal. Please, sit down.”

He reluctantly lowered his mass back onto the couch, sighing as he inhaled the herbal-scented vapors rising from the bowl. “I usually hate fennel, but that smells pretty good,” he remarked as Ling placed the warm poultice on his ankle. “It smells almost…happy,” he said as an afterthought.

The girl looked up at him, a peculiar expression on her face. “I charged it with healing energy,” she told him. “So it’s true, you can smell energies. Amazing.”

Xander frowned.

“That’s precisely what I’m talking about, Xan-“

“Crap,” Kenryk muttered. “Cee’s in the driveway.”

“What?” Darshan exclaimed in dismay. “How did you miss her?”

The guy turned a disgusted expression to the ceiling. “She shielded. She knew that he was here, and she didn’t want us to know she was coming so she could see him.”

“I’d really like to leave now,” Xander insisted as he removed the poultice, rose, and headed for the door.

“Unfortunately, I think that may be a good idea,” Darshan admitted. “I’ll take you to the front door; Cee always comes in the back way.”

“Too late…” Ken said as they heard a door slam.

Xander froze as he heard footsteps behind him.

“Aww, leaving so soon, Pudge? I just got here.”

With a slight cringe, he turned to face her. Cee, or Callisto, or whatever her name was, was standing in the kitchen doorway. She looked gorgeous. Clad in her usual black leather, her bright hair fell around her face like a flame, and her skin was glowing from the night air. Her fiery scent reached his nostrils, and Xander gulped.

“He was actually just leaving, Callisto,” Darshan explained. “He’s all patched up now.”

“Sad that it took a bite from a Fuom to get him here,” she said with a pout. “He wouldn’t come when I invited him. Why don’t you stay a while, Pudge? I see that you brought food for everyone. Oh, sorry, my bad – that’s just your dinner, isn’t it?”

Xander slipped the sack of food he was holding behind his back as he felt blood rush to his face. Why is she doing this to me? he wondered angrily.

“Cee – “ Ling began, “why don’t you help Ken redo the perimeter? It’s Wednesday, it’s probably weakening.”

“But I’d really like to sit down with Pudge here and have a little chat,” she said, grinning wickedly.

“He’s leaving.” Darshan folded his arms and glared at the girl. “Please go help Ken before you cause any more trouble.”

“What? What did I do?” she said innocently. Ken grabbed her by the arm and dragged her back into the kitchen. “Bye, Pudge! See you soon!” she called behind her.

It was still sleeting as Darshan led Xander out of the house and back to the Jeep. They rode in silence for a short while before Darshan began to apologize. “I am truly sorry for Callisto. She just doesn’t understand –“

“What the hell is her problem?” Xander blurted out, clutching his food to his round belly as he stared out the window.

“I…I’m very sorry, Xander. She just…she doesn’t really have a brain-to-mouth filter. She doesn’t think before she says things. I truly apologize if she made you uncomfortable.”

Xander sighed, but said nothing.

They pulled up to Xander’s dorm, and he didn’t ask Darshan how he knew which one he lived in. “If you would be agreeable to it, I’d love to talk with you about your abilities. The four of us also have similar skills, and I think that we could learn quite a lot from each other. We can meet on neutral ground, just you and I. No Callisto. What do you say?”

After a few moments, Xander agreed, thanked Darshan for his help, and got out of the Jeep into the freezing rain.

01-11-2012, 05:47 PM
“So you’re really going to stay here all by yourself? You’re not even going home on the 25th?” Rhys asked again as Xander hefted his friend’s bag, which was almost as big as Rhys himself, into the trunk of his tiny Jetta. “Thanks, by the way. Don’t know what I was thinking putting all that junk in one bag…”

“Yes, for the millionth time, I’m staying. My parents think I have a winter term class. I just want some peace and quiet for a while.”

“Alright, man. Well, give me a call if you get lonely. I’ll be glad for any escape from my Aunt Tilda and her little rat dog,” Rhys said, shivering from the cold. The sky was a pale, foreboding grey, and the wind was whipping around them as they stood by Rhys’ car in the K parking lot.

“Good luck with that, man,” Xander told him. “See you when you get back.”
Rhys said his goodbyes as he hopped into his car, then drove away. Xander breathed in the cold air deeply, feeling a pressure lift from his shoulders as he turned and walked back to his dorm. August and Adrian had both left two days ago, and by today, the last of the students were heading home. He would be the only one in his whole building until the middle of January. He was finally alone.

I can’t wait to go back to sleep, he thought as he ascended the steps to his room. He noticed that his breathing was labored even a bit more than usual, but chose to blame it on the bitter cold air outside. He sighed with relief as he closed the door to his room behind him. He always felt so much better when he was alone here; he didn’t even feel as big when Adrian wasn’t around. He supposed it was because the room was so tiny, and Adrian’s scent and personality dominated when he was there, and now Xander had room to stretch out, metaphorically and literally.

“Time for a nap,” he said to himself. He stretched his arms over his head, noticing the way his belly peeked out the bottom of his small shirt as he did so but choosing to ignore it. He’d spent the morning helping Rhys pack and load his car, and he was eager to get back into his warm bed. Rhys was sort of a packrat, and had insisted on taking nearly everything he owned home with him for the winter break, even though he was too tiny to lift most of it. Xander, having gone through this the past two years, wanted to save him the embarrassment of having to ask him for help, so he’d offered the night before to come over to Rhys’ dorm at eight and give him a hand. It was one now, and Xander was beat. He munched on a sandwich as he changed back into his undershirt and gym shorts, which were starting to become uncomfortably tight, and then climbed back into bed.

Just as he was drifting off to sleep, he heard a knock on his door. Damnit, I forgot to put the paper on the outside of the door, he thought irritably as he threw back the covers and lumbered over to the door.

“Hi, honey!” his mother and father exclaimed in unison as he opened the door.

Xander blinked a few times in shock. “What…what are you doing here?”

“Well, that’s not a very nice way to greet your parents after they just drove three hours to see you!” his mother chided him. Then she looked down at Xander’s sleeping attire, which his round body was quite obviously bulging out of. “Oh, honey…”

“Xander…” his father said, shaking his head.

Xander felt the blood rush to his face. “Let me get dressed,” he mumbled as he shut the door in their faces. Panic was steadily flooding his veins as he realized the implications of their visit. They know I don’t have a class, he thought. They know there was a reason I didn’t want to come home, and now that they’ve seen me, they know exactly what that reason is. He sighed miserably as he pulled his jeans back on and rummaged through his drawers, trying to find the one shirt that he knew still looked a little big on him. Crap, it’s in the laundry basket. He has to settle for one that just barely fit him, but at least it was black. He rushed around his room, trying to find places to hide all his food, before he opened the door again.

“How are you, son?” his father asked, pulling him into a bear hug. Xander’s dad was about as tall as he was, with the same dark, wavy hair and full lips, but that was where the similarities ended. Xander was easily almost three times the size of his father now, though they used to be much closer in weight. Although he was never this huge, Xander thought to himself.

“I’m alright. Why are you guys here?”

“Well,” his mother said as she gave him a quick hug, “we called the school to get the schedule for your class so we could figure out a time to come and take you out for lunch or dinner and surprise you, but the registrar said there was no geology class scheduled for this term. Why did you tell us you had a class, Xander?” she asked as she pushed her highlighted hair out of her eyes.

“I – well, it was…it was cancelled…not enough people signed up…and I only just found out…”

Xander’s father gave him a look, but his mother nodded. “That’s too bad, honey. I hope you can take it next semester so you can get it out of the way. Well, now you can come home and spend the holidays with us!”

“Yeah…” he muttered.

“But we did come all this way to see you and take you out, so let’s go get some lunch before we pack up your things. Are you hungry?”

Starving, Xander thought but didn’t say. “Not really…”

“Oh, but we did want to try that new restaurant over on Broad Street. Maybe you can just get something small,” his father said pointedly.

Xander felt his face redden again as he swallowed. “Okay.”

He was very quiet on the drive over, answering his parents’ inquiries about school and Rhys in short sentences, trying to distract himself from the tone in their voices and the strange edges to their scents. He knew there was another reason for their visit than just idle chitchat, and he knew that whatever it was, he would not like it.

He found out when they had been seated at the restaurant.

“So, Xander,” his father told him from behind his menu, “there was another reason that we wanted to see you.”

Here it comes…

“Yes, there was. We made you an appointment with Dr. Fording for the twenty-ninth of the month,” his mother said as she smoothed her napkin in her lap.

“What? Why…”

“Just to go in and talk,” his father said. “I’ve been telling him about you for a while now, whenever I go in for a checkup. He always asks about you. He’s genuinely concerned for you, Xander, and so are we. Especially after seeing you today.”

Rage and fear burst roaring into his ears. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t pry his fingers loose from the edge of the table, where they were gripping so tight his knuckles had turned white.

“We just want you to be happy and healthy, Xander. And I don’t think that you’re either of those things right now. Look at how much better your father has been since he had his surgery.”

“You didn’t…you didn’t even ask me. I didn’t ask you.”

His parents exchanged a look. “Well, honey, we knew that you’d be too embarrassed to ask us yourself – “

The waitress interrupted them. “Good afternoon, my name is Sara, what can I get for you today?”

His parents each ordered a salad, and Xander said, “I’d like the macaroni and cheese with a side of garlic mashed potatoes, please, and a Coke to drink.”

His mother cleared her throat.

“Oh, sorry,” he said, “I’ll get whatever you have that won’t embarrass my parents too much to see their big, fat whale of a son eating it.”

“Xander Lucas!” his mother practically shrieked.

“Sorry,” he muttered to the waitress, who looked bewildered.

“He’ll have the garden salad with grilled chicken and a water, please,” his mother told the waitress.

Sara quickly wrote down their order and hightailed it away from their table.

“This is the kind of thing we’re talking about son. You just can’t keep eating stuff like that. How much do you weigh now?”

“That’s none of your business,” he mumbled.

“Yes, Xander, it is,” his father told him. “You’re our child, and our utmost concern is for your well-being. Look at yourself. What are you doing, son?”

“Look, I don’t really need this right now, alright?” he protested.

“If not now, Xander, when? When you’re so big that you have a heart attack? When you’re so big you can’t fit through a door? You’re not that far off,” his mother insisted.

He sat there in shocked silence. He expected things like this from everyone, but not from his parents. He knew they were concerned about his size, but he never thought they’d lower themselves to outright mocking him.

“That was a little harsh, Susie…” his father began.

“I’m sorry, Xander, I didn’t mean it to be nasty. I’m just so worried about you. We can’t just stand by and watch you do this to yourself, watch you blow up like a blimp with complete disregard for your health.”

Xander finally recovered his voice. “Well, then, don’t watch. I’m not going to the doctor, and I’m not coming home with you.” He stood up and walked out of the restaurant, leaving his parents staring after him in shock.

01-11-2012, 05:54 PM
Just as he hadn’t always hated being fat, his parents hadn’t always been obsessed with his weight. The obsession had started around the same time he’d gained those forty-five pounds in just a few months when he was in ninth grade. Before that, he’d just been “chubby” or “a little hefty.” But then his father had been diagnosed with high blood pressure that the doctor told him was caused by his weight, and the floodgates opened. He was now “obese,” at just under six feet tall and 220 pounds, and his parents wouldn’t stand for it. They started hounding him to eat less and exercise more as his father started an aggressive weight loss plan, and decided to have gastric bypass surgery. He’d weighed a bit over 320 when he had it done, and had rapidly shrunk down to a toned 170 pounds, and expected Xander to keep up with his athletic pursuits. But Xander, having always been physically awkward, balked at the prospect of spending his free time jogging and running around after a tennis ball, and quickly found an after school job to keep him away from his father’s demands. So it was that as his father got thinner, Xander got fatter. He had his own money to buy snacks with, and he got as much free food as he wanted at the local fast food place where he worked. With a steady diet of cheeseburgers and French fries, he’d made it to 268 pounds by the end of his senior year. That was when his parents had started hinting that he should have the surgery, too, or at the very least, go on a serious diet. But despite the crap he received from them, and from virtually everyone else, he couldn’t agree to it. And now here he was, 120 pounds later, and they were basically insisting that he get half of his stomach sewn shut.

They’re right, he thought sullenly as he walked down the street, I should get my stomach sewn shut. Or they could go with the less invasive option and just sew my mouth shut so I can never eat ever again. His stomach growled angrily as if in response, and he shook his head as he turned a corner. I weight almost four hundred pounds. What if I really can’t stop getting bigger? he fretted. But what am I supposed to do? I can’t even go an hour without being hungry. And I need to eat so much just to feel full… I don’t think I could handle eating as much as I’m ‘supposed’ to. But if I don’t do something… He couldn’t stop his mind from flying back to August. A perfectly sweet, intelligent, reasonable girl couldn’t look past his size – how could he ever expect anyone else to?

And then there she was, walking towards him in the hard, cold, afternoon light. Not August, but Callisto – Cee, they’d called her – the girl with the red hair. Xander stopped dead and turned around, wishing desperately that he was capable of running without all his fat bouncing and jiggling up and down and basically nullifying his efforts to get away.

She was beside him in a few seconds. “Hi, Pudge,” she said gleefully. “Nice day for a walk, isn’t it?”

He clenched his teeth as he walked as quickly as he could, trying to lose her. He already felt his breath quickening.

“You know, you probably shouldn’t try to go too fast. Wouldn’t want you to get out of breath,” she said, and he could see her grin out of the side of his vision.

“Please…go…away,” he puffed.

“Uh-oh, too late,” she sang. She reached out and grabbed his hand, and he pulled it away as if she were a flame. “Hey…what’s wrong?”

“I don’t…want…to talk…to you.”

“No, seriously, what’s wrong? Did something happen?” She sounded genuinely concerned.


“Xander –“

That was the first time she’d called him by his name. He stopped and turned to look at her. “What…do you…want?” he gasped.

“First, I want you to catch your breath so you don’t die on me. Then I want you to tell me what happened.”


“Then why are you out here when it’s like ten degrees, running around like something’s chasing you?”

He squeezed his eyes shut and sighed, wishing he could catch his breath. He hadn’t even been trying to go fast for that long. “Just…my…my parents…”

She bit her lip. “Oh.” She went over to a bench that sat facing away from the road and brushed the snow off with her hand. “Here, sit. It’ll hold you.”

His face turned even more red than it already was, but he obliged. It felt good to get the weight off his feet.

Callisto plopped down on the little bit of space that was left on the bench beside him. “So…have you ever thought about it?” she asked.

“Thought…about what?” he breathed.

“Weight loss surgery.”

He felt as if he’d been punched in the gut. She just wanted to make fun of him again, didn’t she? He moved to rise from the bench, but she put her hand on his arm.

“No, no, I’m not making fun of you. I…well, you know how you can smell things that no one else can? Like how August smells like strawberries and sunlight?”

“How did you –“

“I can hear things, like that. I just listen hard, and I can hear how your parents got on your case at lunch, for example. That was pretty crummy of them.”

Xander sagged back onto the bench. “You know all about that?” he asked, feeling sick.

“Yeah. I know a lot about you.”

“Great,” he muttered.

“But I can only hear the things your mind puts into words…like, I can’t just go dig around in your head and find out anything, usually. I only know that that’s the way August smells because you repeat it almost every time you think of her. And I knew about how you had to go up a size because you were thinking it pretty loud. But usually it’s something I have to actively do; I don’t just hear everything all the time.”

He was mortified. “Great,” he repeated.

“So…do you ever think you’d do it? The surgery, I mean.”

“I…” he sighed. “I wish I could. But I can’t.”

She just nodded. After a few moments of silence, she spoke up again, “So have you always been this big?”

Xander just looked at her. She gazed back at him, her face innocent. He shook his head. “What do you really want?”

“I want to get to know you. You’re going to be joining our little group, and I think that we should be friends.”


“We need you, Xander. Someone with your talents will be invaluable to us. We need your help.”

“What on earth could I possibly help you with? Do you need a lit tutor? Because I’m not very good at, y’know, people, but I know a guy at the learning center…”

“No, no, no. Xander, we hunt demons.”

“Um, excuse me?”

“Demons,” she said. “Y’know, those nasty, scary things? Come from Hell? Hell’s actually a different dimension, y’know, it’s not underground.”


Callisto shook her head. “Look, I know how it sounds, believe me. But you’ve already seen one. The Fuom? The thing that scratched your leg? That’s a type of demon. One of the lesser ones, but a mean little thing nonetheless. And you don’t really have a choice but to join us, because it’s been following you. That’s how we found you: we were tracking activity at the school, and we detected that little bitch.”

“So what if it’s following me? What does it want?”

“What every demon wants…your soul.”

“My soul? I don’t even know if I believe in that.”

“Well, believe what you want, but that demon wants it. Remember how you felt when you got scratched?”

Xander’s face turned red again. “You know about that, too?”

“Well, some of it, but you were pretty incoherent. I know you were terrified of getting on a scale and having everyone see how much you weigh.”

He reached up and rubbed his eyes with his fingers, trying to stop the pounding headache he was developing.

“Anyway, that’s how the Fuom takes your soul. Well, a part of it, because it’s only a lesser demon, blah blah blah, but it pumps you full of as much venom as it can until you’re so scared you can’t even breathe, and then it climbs inside you and takes a piece of your soul.”

“And this one wants a piece of my soul. It must be the runt of the pack.”

“No, this is a pretty strong one, as far as Fuoms go. It’s a malicious little sucker. Left a big scar on my arm.”

“It scratched you?”

“Nah, bit me. I was doing recon and it surprised me in the bushes. I can’t see them as well as you and Darshan can, unless I do the enhancement ritual, and, frankly, that’s boring as hell.”

“What do you mean, you can’t see them as well as Darshan and me?”

“You guys have the natural ability to see,” she explained. “That’s Darshan’s main talent, and it’s your secondary one. Your main talent’s your nose,” she told him, playfully tweaking his nose. “And your taste buds, I’d imagine,” she added thoughtfully.

He ignored her last comment. “I still don’t understand. You mean that other people can’t see these things?”

“Well, some people can sort of see them out of the corner of their eye, y’know? That’s probably how you’ve seen them most of your life. Weird little black things moving just out of your field of vision. But now that you know about them, you’ll see them better and better. Darshan’s better at explaining it,” she told him.

“So…you hunt them. Why?”

“Because they’re demons. Duh. They want to steal people’s souls and stuff,” she said, as if it should have been obvious. “I’ve seen what they do to people. It’s not pretty, watching someone get his soul stolen.”

“What happens after their soul is stolen?”

Callisto rubbed her hands together a bit. For the first time, Xander noticed that she wasn’t wearing gloves, and only had a light jacket on. “Geez, you must be freezing,” he said, unzipping his coat. “Here, take my coat.”

“Thanks, Pudge, but I’m like a super-heater. It feels positively balmy out here. You should probably take it off anyway, though. You’re sweating.”

Xander sighed. She notices everything, he thought, irritated.

“Pretty much,” she replied to his unspoken comment with a grin. “It’s kinda cute that you’re all sweaty and red just from walking fast for, like, not even two minutes.”

His face flushed further as he stared down at the snowy sidewalk, avoiding her stare and gritting his teeth. “Y’know,” he started, “I already know what I look like…”

“Well, duh,” she interrupted.

“…and I don’t need you reminding me of it.”

“Why not?” she asked.

He looked at her. The expression on her face contained no pretense; she was genuinely confused as to why he wouldn’t want her pointing out what a big fat blimp he was. “It’s not polite to point out someone’s faults,” was all he said.

“Uh, okay,” she replied. “So, anyway, you’re going to be a demon hunter now, too. You’ll be our bloodhound. With your super-nose, we’ll be able to track them better. So what do you say – are you in?”

Xander shook his head. “What’s in it for me?”

“You’ll get to spend more time with me,” she told him, batting her eyes mischievously.


“Seriously, though, you need a hobby. You need to get out of your dorm and away from your roommate and his girlfriend going at it like rabbits.”

Xander cringed, grimacing slightly as he looked around the crowded street. People were bustling by with shopping bags, caught up in the Christmas rush. He knew that Callisto was right: he might have the room to himself for a few weeks, but come mid-January Adrian and August would be having frequent naked time in his room again.

“You can sleep at the house sometimes, if you need to,” she interrupted his thoughts.

He sighed again. “I must be nuts. Alright, I’m in.”

"Sweet!" she exclaimed. "Now let's go get something to eat; you're starving."

01-12-2012, 01:34 AM
Awwww, great add and awesome story! I love the plot!

01-14-2012, 07:37 PM
Although she practically begged him, he refused to get something to eat with her. He’d had enough of people commenting on his eating that day, and, even if she claimed she wasn’t making fun of him, it sure seemed like she was. As soon as she’d suggested it, his mind had flashed back to that night in the diner when she’d caught him drowning his sorrows in cheesecake. His face had colored even at the thought of her seeing him shovel huge quantities of food into his mouth and what she must think of him. Cee, however, had just taken that image from his mind as proof that he was hungry.

“But you’re hun-“ she was cut off as the front door to Xander’s dorm closed. He sighed as he ascended the stairs, not looking forward to the exertion. He was hungry, sure. It had been a few hours since he’d bailed on his parents, and he hadn’t had anything to eat since that sandwich before they’d surprised him. He thought about heading to the food court to see Sheriece, but then he felt his phone buzz in his pocket. Gasping for breath at the top of the stairs, he pulled it out, only to see eleven missed calls and five voicemails. “Crap,” he muttered as he opened his door. Each one was from either his mother’s or his father’s phone.

“Xander Lucas, you get back here right now –“ Delete.

“Xander, your mother and I aren’t joking –“ Delete.

“Xander, please, I didn’t mean to upset you –“ Delete.

“Xander, this is your father. We’re coming to pick you up. We insist that you see Dr. Fording, for your own good. So please pack up your bags and be ready for us. We’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” Delete.

“Xander, please come out. We’ll wait out here as long as it takes. This is for your own good. You can’t go on like this. We just want to help you.” Delete.

The last one was from an hour ago. As he deleted it and hung up, his phone buzzed again and showed yet another new voicemail. He double locked his door behind him as he punched in his voicemail code.

“Xander, this is your father again. You win, son. We’re on our way home. I don’t know what else we can do to make you realize that you’re heading to a very bad place. You really can’t keep getting bigger like this; you have to stop it. It broke my heart to see you today. We’re really disappointed in you. Please call us when you decide to talk about this rationally. We love –“ Delete.

A tear rolled down his plump cheek, and he brushed it away, feeling sick. He plopped down on his bed, unable to ignore the way the springs screamed at the sudden addition of his weight. More tears sprang to his eyes and escaped, trailing down his cheeks and dripping onto his protruding gut. He just sat there like that for a few minutes, trying to allow his sorrow to empty from his body. But when the tears wouldn’t come anymore, he still felt as if someone had reached inside his chest and ripped out everything there, leaving a gaping cavity where any trace of happiness he may have ever felt had once been.

He looked down at himself, humiliated by how fat he’d become. He knew his parents were right. He couldn’t keep getting bigger, he just couldn’t. The number “400” loomed sickeningly in his mind. What if he really did get that big? He knew that he wasn’t that far off, maybe fifteen pounds at most, but actually being four hundred pounds seemed like a huge deal, something that once he reached, would only mean that there was no turning back. But that small part of him that was excited by his vast softness thrilled at the thought of his reaching four hundred pounds, thrilled at the thought of even more squishy blubber enveloping his already massive body.

“What the hell is wrong with you,” he murmured miserably, shaking his head. He rose to his feet and faced the mirror on the back of Adrian’s closet door. Even this far away from it, his frame was too big to fit inside the reflection. He peeled his tight shirt off and gazed at his body, wondering at his soft, rounded chest, his thick arms and neck, and most of all, at his enormous gut. It stuck out ponderously in front of him, squishy and globe-like, hanging down and out over the waistband of his tight jeans so far that he could barely see his crotch. He couldn’t stop the strange barrage of feelings coursing through him. One second, he literally felt sick with mortification at how big he was. The next, he wanted to grab his belly and feel how it jiggled. I like it, a small voice inside him said. I like being so big and soft.

He swallowed hard, knowing it was true. What does that even mean? he asked himself. What does it mean that I actually want to be a four hundred pound fatass? Does it mean I have a death wish or something? Does it mean that I really hate myself that much that I want to be forever laughed at for being so huge? Or does it just mean that I like being big? And how can I like being this big?

But I do like being this big, that small voice affirmed. He tentatively squeezed a handful of his belly between his fingers, instantly aware of the way his flesh yielded under his touch. He experimentally shook his flab, sending his belly into a wave of jiggles. It felt…good, he realized. Really good. He kept shaking it, gazing in wonderment at his reflection as his massive body quivered under his touch. It was amazing how every bit of him jiggled – even his cheeks – as he shook his belly. He felt a heat begin to burn in his nether regions, and abruptly stopped shaking his fat.

“Geez,” he breathed, rubbing his hands over his face. What was wrong with him? Here he was getting turned on by jiggling his own fat body when said fat body had caused him nothing but grief.

He grimaced at his reflection before grabbing his shirt and squeezing into it again. I need new clothes again already, he thought as he fought with the constricting fabric. The only shirts that actually fit him were the four exes he’d gotten back in October before his disastrous meeting with August at the frat party. As for pants, none of them fit. He knew his ass looked ridiculously huge in the tight fabric, and he was almost grateful for the way his belly hung over the waistband because then no one could see that he couldn’t button a single pair. And his boxers rode up uncomfortably, the fabric pulled taught over his thighs and ass.

He decided that it would do him no good to sit in his room today after what had happened with his parents, and he wasn’t even close to being tired anymore, so he made up his mind to head to the mall and get himself some new clothes. If he couldn’t figure out what was going on in his head, he could at least be comfortable.

01-14-2012, 07:42 PM
“Watch where you’re going, fatso!” a woman spit at him as she bounced off his chunky hip.

“Sorry,” he apologized, only to bang into someone else.

“Freakin’ lardass,” the guy called after him.

He apologized again as he slowly made his way through the mall. He was sincerely regretting his decision to come here today, not having realized that it was a few days before Christmas and the place would be insanely crowded with irritable shoppers.

Finally, he reached Think Big and stepped inside the quiet store gratefully. He quickly scanned the place and saw that there were only two other shoppers, both at least fifty pounds smaller than he was, looking around the store. He let out the breath he’d been holding and began to sift through the racks of clothing, trying to find his size. Most of his shirts now were three exes, and were pretty tight, so he grabbed some four exes in an assortment of colors and styles before moving onto the wall where the jeans were stacked on big shelves.

“Can I help you find anything?” a salesman interrupted him.

Xander looked at him warily. He was a bigger guy, maybe somewhere around 250-275 pounds, and just a few inches shorter than Xander. “I’m, uh, just trying to find some pants…”

“Okay. We have jeans on sale this month, buy two get one free, and ten percent off all khakis, cargos included. What size can I help you find?”

Xander’s face colored. “Um…I guess…I guess fifty-fours…

“Alright.” The man reached for one of the lower shelves and produced three pairs of jeans. “These are our slim cut, boot cut, and relaxed cut styles. Would you like to try them all?”

“Uh, no, just the relaxed ones…I think that’s what I have now.”

“Okay,” he said. “How about some cargo pants, too?”

“Yeah, sure.”

The salesman piled a few more items in Xander’s arms before leading him to the fitting rooms. “Now, if you need anything, just give a holler. My name’s Ron. I’ll be happy to get you another size or color.”

“Okay, thanks.” Xander stood in the dressing room for a few moments, feeling overwhelmed. This brought back memories of having to go clothes shopping with his mother in high school. Every time they went, he’d be a size or two bigger, and every time, she’d tell him how disappointed in him she was. He was just grateful that by the time he was too big for anything but specialty stores, he was in college and could shop for himself. He still hated the ritual of retreating to the dressing room, praying that the next size up would fit and that he wouldn’t have to go up two sizes, feeling like everyone would know if he did, though.

He unzipped his jeans, which were cutting painfully into his waist despite being not being buttoned, and slipped them off, then fought with his t-shirt to get it over his head, deliberately avoiding the mirror. He picked up a pair of jeans and stepped into them, lifting up his gut with his forearms in order to try to find the zipper and button. They zipped up a little snugly, but, no matter how hard he sucked in, they wouldn’t button. He checked the tag, but sure enough, they were fifty-fours, one size bigger than what he was currently wearing.

“Damnit,” he muttered. He slid the jeans off and tried the cargo pants, but he could barely get those over his ass. He took them off and threw them on the bench in frustration. He grabbed a shirt and slipped it on only to find that, although it was wide enough for him, it was nowhere near long enough – the bottom of his soft, thick belly roll peeked out below the hem. Almost frantic now, he pulled it off and tried on the other shirts he’d brought in with him. Thankfully, about half of them fit without showing any unwanted flesh, but that didn’t stop him from feeling like crap. “Two sizes,” he muttered disgustedly.

He put his own pitifully tight jeans and shirt back on, gathered up the offending garments, and opened the door to the fitting room. “How’d you make out?” Ron asked him from his spot by the doorway.

“Um, I need different sizes,” Xander said, his face flaming.

“Okay, what can I get for you?” he said, taking the pile of clothing from him.

“Uh, one size…up…in all these.”

Ron gave him an understanding look. “No problem, I’ll be right back.”

Xander was grateful that he was being so nice about this. That didn’t mean he should be nice to himself, however. You stupid, fat idiot, he raged silently. You’re in a five ex now. Size fifty-six pants. How could you have let this happen? He swallowed hard, trying to suppress the panic that was rising in his throat. He truly hadn’t expected to have to go up two sizes, but he knew now that he should have seen it coming.

A knock sounded on the outside of the door. Xander opened it to find Ron with an armful of clothing. “Here you go,” he said as he handed the garments over to Xander. “I hope you have better luck with these.”

“Me, too,” Xander muttered. He closed the door and slowly got undressed, staring blankly at the wall the whole time. He pulled on a pair of jeans and let out a sigh of relief as the button closed smoothly beneath his gut, leaving a bit of room to spare. He tried on the rest of the shirts and pants and found that they all fit. Though that should have served to ease his tension, it only caused the tight feeling in his chest to increase. Five ex, was all he could think. Fifty-six. They fit.

He emerged from the dressing room and trudged to the counter. “Did those work out for you?” Ron asked him.

“Um, yeah. I’ll take them all.”

“Great,” Ron said, seemingly oblivious to his despair. He scanned and folded each article of clothing and placed them into a massive paper shopping bag.

A huge bag for huge clothes, Xander thought wryly.

Ron gave him his total, and Xander swiped his card to pay. “Thanks for shopping at Think Big,” Ron told him, “we hope to see you again soon.”

“Oh, you probably will before too long,” he muttered under his breath as he walked away. Since I just keep outgrowing my clothes.

He reluctantly left the refuge of the store and stepped out into the mall. Almost immediately, someone slammed into him.

“Oh my gosh, watch where you’re going, fatty.”

Xander just swallowed hard and made his way over to the escalator, where he stood in line behind three college-age girls. The one to his left was talking animatedly to the other two, laughing and gesturing. With her blonde hair and sweet smile, she reminded him of August. He closed his eyes, replaying their kiss in his mind, trying to pretend that that was the last thing that had happened between them and that none of the other stuff had even taken place.

“Jee-zus, would you lookit that tub a’ lard there,” someone called from behind him. “What a whale!”

Xander felt his face go red as the girls in front of him turned around, craning their necks to see who was yelling, and then seeing him standing right behind him. The one who looked like August made a disgusted face at him and said, “Ew.”

“That ass needs its own zip code!” The voice was closer now, right behind him. His nostrils filled with the scent of roadkill, almost making him gag. “And holy crap, lookit that gut! I bet you can see this guy from space!” A tall, young, well-muscled guy with dark hair came into view on Xander’s right. “Headed to the food court, fat ass?” he mocked him. “Gonna go down a couple pizzas?”

Xander just stared straight ahead, trying to keep his face impassive though he was barely able to breathe through the stench and his embarrassment.

“Oh, man!” the guy laughed. “Ladies and gentlemen, he just came out of Think Big! The obesity capital of the mall! Let’s see what we got here,” he said as he swiped Xander’s bag.

“No –“ Xander yelped, “please –“

“I’ll bet you could use one of this guy’s shirts as a boat sail,” the guy said as he reached into the large paper bag. “You could probably fit four people in a pair of his pants.” By this time, other shoppers had noticed the spectacle and were slowing down or stopping completely, staring at them. Quite a few were jeering at Xander, hurling insults and fat names. Xander grabbed desperately at his bag, but the guy danced out of reach. He pulled out a pair of Xander’s new jeans.

“Holy crap!” His black eyes twinkled merrily. “His pants are a size fifty-six!”

Xander froze.

“And his shirts…holy crap, his shirts are a five ex! I didn’t even know they made clothes that big!” He removed a shirt from the bag and began waving it around like an oversized flag.

Xander’s stomach lurched dangerously as he seized his bag from the guy, who was distracted by the size of the piece of clothing he was holding. “Give it back,” he growled.

“Aww, fatty wants his five ex shirt back, does he? What’ll fatty do for it?” he called, holding the shirt over his head triumphantly. “Will he tell us how much he weighs?”

What the- Xander thought in alarm. “Just give it back. Now.”

“Aww, how cute, he’s embarrassed,” he drawled. “Why don’t we guess how much you weigh, fatty?”

“Three fifty!” someone called.

“Three thirty!”

“Three seventy-five!”

“No,” the guy said, grinning wickedly. “It’s more than that. I’ll bet it’s even more than he thinks it is.”

Xander grabbed helplessly at his shirt, but the guy was so fast he didn’t have a chance.

“What’s going on here?”

Xander turned to his left and saw a security guard approaching them, then looked back at the guy, who was still smiling evilly. He threw the shirt at Xander, and was immediately in his face.

“Three ninety-two,” he whispered. “Go check, fat boy.” He began laughing as he walked away, quickly becoming lost in the crowd.

“Well?” the security guard asked Xander, who was staring, wide-eyed, at the place where the guy had disappeared.


“Move along, then,” the guard told him, nodding.

01-15-2012, 03:11 AM
Oh, poor Xander :...( I want to give him a hug :blush: Thing is, are people that mean in real life? Barring the magical powers and demons this story has so far been pretty realistic, except I find the overwhelming meanness directed towards Xander hard to believe - for example, would every person he bumped into really call him out as a lardass, etc.? I don't know, maybe I'm just really naive...

01-15-2012, 04:50 AM
Oh, poor Xander :...( I want to give him a hug :blush: Thing is, are people that mean in real life? Barring the magical powers and demons this story has so far been pretty realistic, except I find the overwhelming meanness directed towards Xander hard to believe - for example, would every person he bumped into really call him out as a lardass, etc.? I don't know, maybe I'm just really naive...

I hope people are not that rude...cuz it was quite hard...

anyway great add, you're one of my favourite writers! :wubu:

01-18-2012, 03:48 PM
:smitten: ... just discovered and read the entire story so far in the blog! So wonderful - can't wait for new chapters! ASAP please!

02-01-2012, 03:36 PM
The name calling is pretty unrealistic, but I must admit the story has me captivated.

Super powers? A real plot? A BHM protagonist?

I'll put up with the mean stuff to read this! Please write more!

02-01-2012, 04:40 PM
I love your works!! Keep it up the suspense kills!

02-01-2012, 06:05 PM
Oh, poor Xander :...( I want to give him a hug :blush: Thing is, are people that mean in real life? Barring the magical powers and demons this story has so far been pretty realistic, except I find the overwhelming meanness directed towards Xander hard to believe - for example, would every person he bumped into really call him out as a lardass, etc.? I don't know, maybe I'm just really naive...

I could be wrong but I thought the name-calling meanies had something to do with the supernatural.

02-05-2012, 05:01 PM
Sorry for the delay in posting. I'll have more up shortly!

02-05-2012, 05:02 PM

Xander just stood on the scale, immobile with shock, staring at the sliding weights that pointed out the dreaded number. “H-how…” he stuttered. Eight pounds away, he thought, eight pounds. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be there within a week or two. I have to stop this. He shook his head, bewildered and terrified by what seemed to be the inevitable. He’d just gained five pounds in a week; how could he ever hope to stop now?

He stepped off the scale, feeling his stomach rumble angrily, demanding sustenance. It had been almost seven hours since he’d eaten, and he was starving. No, he told himself. You can’t eat…you can’t.

Yes, you can, that small voice told him, and you should. You’re almost there.

“No!” he said out loud, practically crying. He moved away from the scale, shaking, his gaze flying frantically around the cluttered basement of his dorm, trying desperately to avoid looking down at himself. How had the guy at the mall known? He knew that some people were good at guessing weights, but this was ridiculous. He’d been so sure, so smug about it. And he’d been right.

Xander climbed the stairs, trying to block out the cacophony of thoughts screaming through his mind. It didn’t matter how the guy had known: it was bizarre, yes, but what mattered was that he was now only eight pounds away from four hundred, and he had to stop before he surpassed it. But I’m so hungry, he thought, listening to his stomach growl again. Maybe…if I just eat a salad…and if I only eat salads from now on…

He made up his mind. He turned away from the stairs to his floor and, huffing and puffing, exited his dorm, going back to the parking lot. He squeezed back into his car, trying to forget what a tight fit it was for him, and turned his key in the ignition.

Just then his phone rang. He looked at the caller i.d., and, with a little sigh of relief, answered.

“Hey,” he said as he turned out of the parking lot.

“Hi, big brother,” Alexis chirped. “What on earth did you do to our mother?”

“What are you talking about?”

“She’s been crying ever since she got home. And why aren’t you with them? She texted me a while ago and said that you would be coming home for Christmas after all, but then they show up without you and won’t tell me what happened.”

Xander felt his stomach churn. “They…” he paused, sighing, “they didn’t really want me to come home.”

The other end was silent for a minute before he heard his sister sigh, too. “What did they do?”

“They made an appointment for me with dad’s doctor.”

“Doctor Thrace?”

“No…Doctor Fording.”

“Those bastards,” she muttered. “What did they say?”

“They said that I had to see him, that it was for my own good…you know. They…we…we went to a restaurant, and I made the mistake of ordering actual food,” he told her, his face blushing in the darkness.

“And they freaked out?”


“They’ve been doing that with me a lot lately, too,” she said, a note of sadness in her voice.

“But you’re…you’re not even…” he sputtered.

“Oh, trust me, brother, I’m fat enough to distress them.”

“Lexi…you’re not fat.”

“Xander, I can’t even fit into sixteens anymore,” she told him, her voice wobbling slightly.

He didn’t know what that meant, but he denied it again.

“No, really. I’ve...gotten bigger…again…since you’ve been gone.”

He was silent for a moment. “I’m sorry, Lexi.”

“It’s okay,” she said. “I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t for them. Jared doesn’t mind. Nobody else minds, except for them.”

Xander felt anger bubbling in his chest. “What the hell is wrong with them? You’re beautiful, Lexi. You’re perfect just the way you are.”

“Oh, brother. You’re so sweet. Honestly, I don’t mind it much…they just really enjoy making me feel like crap. So…mom was crying because you...?”

He swallowed hard before answering. “Yeah,” he said simply.

“A lot?”

“Yeah,” he replied, his voice cracking slightly.

“I’m sorry,” she said quietly. His sister knew how much his size anguished him. She’d been witness to the torment his parents put him through all these years, the same torment she was now subject to herself. “Whatever,” she said defiantly then. “Don’t listen to them. You’re fine, Xander.”


“No,” she said. “You’re fine just the way you are, too. They’re assholes. Screw them. Don’t listen to them.”

He was quiet.

He could hear tears in her voice as she replied. “I’m sorry, Xander. I’m so sorry for you. You don’t deserve this. You’re so much better than they let you think you are.”

“It’s my fault, Lexi. Nobody else shoves the food down my throat,” he admitted, swallowing hard.

She sighed. “So I take it you’re not coming home at all, then?”

“I…I can’t, Lexi. They'll just make me go to see Dr. Fording, and I just can't. I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s okay. I don’t want you to have to put up with that.”

“Maybe I should come home…at least then they’d lay off you for a while. I’m a much bigger target,” he told her bitterly.

“No. Stay at school, enjoy it. I’ll be fine. I at least have Jared.”

“You guys are still good?”

“Very good,” she told him, the smile back in her voice. “He’s the best. He got me a promise ring for Christmas; we went and picked it out last night.”

Xander smiled as he turned into the parking lot of the union building. “That’s great. I’m really happy for you, Lexi. He’s a good guy.”

"He is. Hey, I'd better go, mom's coming. I hope you have a good Christmas, Xander. I miss you."

"I miss you, too, Lexi. Have a good break. Maybe I'll come home for a day when they'll be out of town or something," he told her as he pulled into a parking space next to the food court entrance to the union building.

"Okay. Love you, brother."

"I love you, too, Lexi."

He hefted himself out of the car and hurried inside, where he was instantly overwhelmed by the delicious smell of temptation. No, he told himself again. Just a salad. He made his way over to the salad bar, gazing over the depressingly low-fat array.

"Now, don't tell me you gon' ignore me for all that lettuce over there, are you?"

He lifted his head and gave Sheriece a little smile and walked over to her counter. "Hey, Sheriece, how are you?"

"I'm doin' just fine, just fine," she told him. "But you don't look so good yourself, Xander. Tell Sheriece now, what's the matter?"

"Ah, it's nothing."

She gave him a look.

"I just...my parents came to see me today," he started.

Her eyes turned sad as she reached across the counter and laid a hand on his fingers. "Didn't go so well, did it, now."

"You could say that."

"Let me fix you up somethin' real good, sugar, make you feel better."

He shook his head, a lump in his throat. "Just...just salad tonight, Sheriece."

The woman gazed at him, sadness evident on her expressive face. "They don't take too kindly to you bein' a big boy now, do they?"

"You could say that," he muttered, blushing.

"You just remember, Xander, ain't nothin' wrong with you just the way you are," she told him, echoing his sister's words. "No matter what nobody says."

He gave her a tight smile. "Thanks. But it's salad for me tonight. Probably for a while."

"At least let me grill up some chicken to toss on there?" she asked. "You ain't gon' get no protein from leaves."

He conceded, and she disappeared into the back while he piled lettuce and baby spinach into the plastic salad container he'd grabbed at the end of the salad bar. He stared longingly at the cheese, croutons, and dressings as he waited for Sheriece, almost caving in and drenching his salad in all the things he really wanted. But he stopped himself, his hand slipping off the ladle of ranch dressing and falling to his side.

"No dressing, even?" she said as she emerged from the kitchen carrying a sliced, grilled chicken breast.

"I...I shouldn't," he choked out, scooping just a few pieces of chicken on top of his salad.

"Xander, you gon' drive me crazy, seein' you punish yourself this way," Sheriece burst out. She dumped the rest of the chicken into his container before he could protest. "You can't be starvin' yourself."

He hung his head, silent.

"Now, look here. It won't hurt my feelin's if you don't eat my cookin' no more. But you gon' starve on nothin' but leaves, and starvin' is only gon' make things worse on you, and that's the last thing you need. You put some hard boiled eggs on there and some croutons and just a lil' bit o' cheese, and drizzle on some oil and vinegar or some o' that low-fat dressing. You need some protein and a couple carb-o-hydrates, and there ain't no reason it shouldn't taste half decent."

He just stared at the ground, so Sheriece came out from behind the counter and grabbed his container and put the other ingredients on his salad herself.

"There," she told him, thrusting the container at him. He could see tears in her eyes. "Now you give your card here so I can swipe you out."

He obediently handed her his i.d., not saying a word.

"Xander," she pleaded, "you remember what I said, now, you hear? Ain't nothin' wrong with you just the way you are."

He didn't respond.

"Now, you eat every last bit o' that salad. Don't you dare let it go to waste. Alright?"

"Alright," he mumbled, finally breaking his silence. "Thanks, Sheriece."

02-05-2012, 05:11 PM
Two days later, he sat in his room, staring at the figures moving around on his computer screen. He was trying to play a shooter, but he kept dying; he couldn't concentrate. Sharp, insistent pains shot through his stomach, demanding that, after two days of eating two salads a day and nothing else, he give in and stuff himself to the brim with real food. "Shut up," he told himself angrily, smashing the mouse against his desk as he died again. "This is how it has to be from now on." His weight seemed to have stabilized at 393, and he wasn't going to take any chances, even though he was starving. Besides, in a fit of rage, he'd thrown away his entire stash of food that he normally kept in his room, so he didn't have anything there to eat anyway.

But he was so hungry.

A knock sounded from his dorm room door, interrupting his self pity. "What?" he bellowed.

"Xander?" a voice called uncertainly. Darshan.

He sighed as he paused his game and got up. "What?" he repeated as he opened the door.

Darshan blinked, obviously taken aback by his blunt manner. "I...I came to check on you, to see if you were alright," he said hesitantly. "We've been looking into reports of a Roene demon in this area. Are you alright, Xander? You look..." he trailed off.

"What?" he spat bitterly.

"You don't look well, Xander."

Xander took in his lean, well-muscled figure and practically snarled. Of course I don't look "well" to someone who looks like you, he thought. I'm three times your freaking size. But all he said was, "I'm fine."

"Alright," Darshan said, holding out his hands in a calming gesture. "I'd like to invite you over to the house. I thought we could get started on giving you some information."

He paused before he outright refused. "Will...will Callisto be there?"

"Not currently," Darshan told him. "She's visiting with her family today for the holiday."

"It's Christmas today...right." He sighed again, wondering if he was making a mistake getting involved in this whole mad thing. But what else was he going to do with his time, sit around and starve? "Alright, I'll come. Give me a minute."

Five minutes later he was hefting himself into Darshan's Jeep, cringing at the way the large vehicle creaked under his weight. Darshan, at least, had the decency to not look shocked at the noises his car was making at being subjected to Xander's mass. "So, how have you been?" Darshan asked politely.


"That's, ah, good. Your finals went well?"


"Cee mentioned that your parents came to visit you; that was nice of them."

"Not really."

"You don't get on well with them?"

"No," he responded, staring out the window at the grey sky, beginning to wish that he'd stayed in his dorm.

"Ah, that's too bad. Well, have you had any other encounters?"


"Yes, with any demons...anything strange?"

"Oh. No, nothing strange. I haven't really been out much."

"Ah, well, that's good. This Roene demon was causing quite a ruckus, apparently."

"What's a Roene demon?" Xander asked, curious now, as they turned onto the same street the house was on.

"It's a middle-class demon...one of the stronger ones...one that we don't normally see very often; they're quite rare. Their natural form is similar to that of the Fuom: dark and somewhat blurry, except they're larger and thinner. But they're shapeshifters. They need but a speck of hair or skin or a nail clipping, even just a bit of fuzz from a well-worn sweater, and they can take on the appearance of that human."

"How do you know it's a demon and not just a person?" Xander asked as they pulled into the driveway.

"Well, there are a few ways. The first and most obvious is that they're terrified of water; won't go near the stuff."


"Yes, it burns them like fire. Even the scent of it begins to incinerate their nasal passages. You'll never find a Roene out in weather like this," Darshan gestured out the window as he put the Jeep in park. "Secondly, they can only hold their shape for about four hours before needing another piece of the person they're impersonating. Thirdly, their eyes will always be black, no matter what color the original person's are."

They exited the Jeep and made their way up onto the porch of the house as Darshan spoke. Xander's attention drifted to the last time he'd been here, and his empty stomach clenched. They all had to know what a huge, pathetic oaf he was after his breakdown from the Fuom's venom. How would they react to him now, even bigger than he was the last time?

But they didn't seem to react at all. Ling opened the door at their approach and smiled at them. "Welcome back, Xander," she said to him in her soft, bell-like voice. "It's so good to have you. Would you like some tea? No fennel, I remember."

He felt his cheeks flush. "Um, yes, tea would be nice, thank you." She remembered that, he thought worriedly.

She smiled at him again and pushed her long, silken hair over her shoulder as they entered, Xander nearly having to duck under the doorframe. He stood awkwardly in the foyer as Darshan hung his coat and Ling glided away to make his tea, peering around at the dark, opulent decor. He wondered how a couple of college-age kids were able to afford this place.

"Come, sit," Darshan beckoned from a doorway to his left. He led him into the same dimly lit sitting room they'd occupied the last time he'd been there. "Sit wherever you'd like," he told him, gesturing to the delicate-looking Victorian furniture and then heading for the kitchen.

Xander swallowed hard as he surveyed the seating, trying to remember which couch he'd been on when they'd dragged him in, figuring that that would be the one most likely to handle his weight. He chose a large, dark green velvet one, praying as he lowered his mass that he was right. Thankfully, the joints remained silent as he sat, even though he took up more than half of the thing. He inhaled amber and sandalwood, the soothing scents calming his nerves.

Just then, Kenryk entered the room. "Hey," he said, nodding at Xander as he flopped sideways into an armchair. "What's up?"

"Uh, not much."

The thin guy nodded again and yawned. He pulled an iPad out of nowhere and began furiously tapping away at it. Darshan and Ling returned from the kitchen and, after Ling handed Xander a steaming mug of peppermint lavender tea, took places on a couch across from Xander, so that the four of them were sitting in a rough semicircle.

"Should we wait for Cee?" Ken asked, not looking up from his iPad.

"I thought..." Xander trailed off.

"Ah, no, Ken, she won't be back until late. I thought it best that we do this without her, at least for now," Darshan said.


Xander shifted his bulk uncomfortably.

"You know she doesn't have the best attention span," Ling replied, giving Ken a look.

"So?" he stated, finally looking up from his device. Seeing Ling's and Darshan's faces, he just said, "oh," and went back to tapping away.

Xander felt his face flame, knowing that they were all tiptoeing around the elephant in the room. Literally, the elephant, he thought.

But Darshan began to speak. "Well, Xander, thank you for coming. We've been talking about adding to our little group for a long time, and we're very glad to have you. As you know, we hunt demons, and each of us has a particular talent that aids us in our task. I am what you might call a seer - I can see into the other realms, and sometimes experience visions of possible futures. Ling is a healer and energy worker, and Kenryk is a knower, for lack of a better term. He absorbs and stores information in astonishing ways. And Callisto can hear thoughts, as you've already experienced," he said sheepishly. "We have all learned to work with energy as Ling naturally does in order to have a weapon against these demons that we pursue. We fight these denizens of the Dark Realm because, to put it simply, they want our souls - especially ours; individuals with odd talents."

"And you have these talents, too," Ling said, seemingly reading Xander's thoughts. "You can smell energies, and, to a certain extent, see in the way that Darshan sees. That is why you saw the demon that attacked you. If you hadn't been able to see, you just would have felt a sharp pain in your ankle, and felt the effects of the venom afterwards with no incident to connect it to."

"Ling is quite right," Darshan said. "We've never come across an individual before who was capable of smelling energy. Your talent is quite rare, and very useful. You see, some demons are able to cloak themselves from my
sight, to put blinders on me, you might say. Your nose would help us tremendously in locating them."

"So...all these things that I smell...it's energy? You don't have incense burning right now, that's just the energy in this house?"

"No, no incense. What does it smell like?" Ling asked, her head tilted to one side in curiosity.

"Sandalwood...and amber," he replied. "It smells really good."

She smiled with satisfaction. "Does each person have their own scent?"

"Yeah," he said. "It can change, though, with a person's mood...like, get stronger or fainter, or change altogether."

"Fascinating," she murmured.

"Quite," Darshan agreed. "What did the Fuom smell like?"

"Like rotten eggs; sulfur. It was pretty gross."

"Hm." Darshan tapped his fingers together thoughtfully. "We'll have to figure out some exercises to further explore the limits of your talent, Xander, before we take you out into the field. And, of course, you'll have to learn some energy work."

"Energy work?" he said doubtfully. "What exactly do you mean by 'energy work?'"

"Yes," Darshan said. "It's not difficult, for someone with our abilities. And with your having the sight as well as your sensitive nose, I'd say you should pick it up quite fast. It's a way of manipulating life force to do your will. The scientific name would be telekinesis, moving things with one's mind, but it's more complex than that: you can do more than just move objects."

"And you think that I can learn this?" Xander was highly skeptical.

"If Cee could learn, so can you," Ken piped up. "She's all over the place. And now she's probably the best at it, other than Ling."

"It's true," Ling admitted. "It was difficult for her to learn to focus, but once she did, she really excelled."

Xander's stomach decided then that it would be a good time to let out a vicious, earsplitting growl. He felt his face begin to burn with shame.

"Oh, goodness, I'm sorry, Xander, would you care for something to eat?" Ling asked, concerned.

"No thanks," he muttered, catching Ken raising his eyebrows in disbelief.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." He sipped his tea to distract himself from the looks on their faces.

"Alright..." she responded, looking doubtful.

"Anyway," Darshan continued, "once you learn to work with energy, you, too, will be able to fight these demons."

"Where do they come from?"

"Well, they come from Hell. But Hell is not under the ground, as most of us have been taught our whole lives. No, Hell is another reality. There are an infinite number of realities out there, each with its own rules. Some are as far-fetched as Hell, with demons and fire and whatnot, while others are no different from ours save the fact that the sky may be red, or some other small detail. There are an infinite number of possibilities out there, therefore there is a reality in which each possibility is real."

"So you're talking quantum mechanics, here." He shifted uncomfortably as his stomach groaned again.

"Precisely," Darshan said, looking awkwardly away from him. "Unfortunately, it is also possible to travel between these realities, which the demons have figured out how to do. In some of their worlds, their supply of sustenance - soul energy - is scarce, so they've come to our reality looking for it."

"And they found the mother lode," Ken interjected, still tapping away at his iPad.

"Yes. There are several different types of demon that we've identified, and each has its own method for feeding on a soul. The Fuom, for example, is a lesser demon, meaning that it only has the capacity to consume a partial amount of an average person's soul energy. You know how this works now - they harvest your energy using the power of fear. Most of the demons we've identified use fear as a tactic for harvesting soul energy, but some use arrogance, or despair, or shame. These are all things that we as humans experience naturally, therefore the demons are attracted to those who are experiencing these emotions. They use their abilities to enhance these emotions in order to feed on the resulting energy. That is why it is very important for us to learn to control our emotions and not descend into the darker sorts."

So does that mean that they're more attracted to me since I'm such a miserable s.o.b.? Xander wondered.

"We think," Ling said delicately, answering his thoughts, "that the Fuom was attracted to you since you're not in a very good place right now, Xander. Cee told us about your situation..."

"My situation?"

"With your roommate and his girlfriend screwing all the time, and you having a gigantic crush on her," Ken said absently, as if it should have been obvious. "And, y'know, your weight."

Xander felt his face turn hot.

"Ken!" Ling said sharply.


"Please, Xander, forgive Ken's, ah, bluntness. We simply know that you haven't had a very easy past few months, and this probably resulted in the Fuom's interest in you. We want you to know that you are always welcome here, to stay as long as you need. We will also do our best to teach you how to deal with your emotions and fight the demons. You are a part of our group now."

"Um, thanks," he mumbled. "But I should probably be going."

"Oh, um, alright. Before you go, let me teach you the technique for awakening your energy; you can practice for a few days and then we'll see how you're progressing."

But the whole time Darshan was speaking, Xander's stomach was making hideously demanding noises so loud he could barely concentrate. He was so ashamed that by the time Darshan was finished, he practically ran out the door, refusing his offer of a ride back to his dorm.

"But you don't even have a coat!" he called after him.

"I'm fine," he replied, then said to himself, "I'm pretty well-insulated already."

"I'll be in touch!"

02-05-2012, 09:20 PM
Xander sighed as he shoved his hands deep in his pockets and started walking through the parking lot of the grocery store a few hours later. His stomach let out another nasty growl, and he gritted his teeth. "I should be running," he mumbled, "not that it would do any good. I'd have to run for a year to lose any of this."

His thoughts descended into despair as he entered the store, remembering back to his first visits here at the beginning of college, when he was 120 pounds lighter. He'd thought he was huge then, with his round belly and chunky ass. Now look at me, he thought. I can't even go for an hour without my stomach freaking out because it hasn't been fed. He was still mortified from the way his insides had been protesting their emptiness in the presence of Darshan, Ling, and Ken. At least Callisto wasn't there, he reminded himself as he pulled a cart out of the long row lined up inside the sliding doors. The beautiful girl unnerved him in a way that no one else ever had, and, apart from her obvious blunt comments and seeming non-understanding of the basics of human emotion, he couldn't figure out why.

Just forget about her and try to get out of here without buying the whole damn store, he told himself. Since it was Christmas, the food court was closed, and he hadn't eaten all day. So he'd finally broken down around dinner time and had driven himself to the 24-hour grocery store for some food. He was hoping to try to only get healthy stuff, like apples and frozen low-fat dinners, but he felt his resolve crumbling as he saw the display of Christmas cookies and cakes. The incredible smell - cinnamon and sugar and chocolate and peanuts and everything else - assaulted his senses from every angle. He stood there for a few moments, just staring at all the delicious treats, trying to talk himself out of buying one of everything. But a moment later he made his way over to the display and started piling packages into his cart. He did a circuit of the empty store and within twenty minutes had a full cart, his well-thought-out protests not even registering anymore.

"Having a holiday party?" the elderly cashier asked him conversationally as he scanned a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Xander's face colored. "Uh, yeah."

"That's nice," she told him, smiling sweetly. "Lucky for you we're open today. I don't mind working; Hanukkah is already over."

He just nodded mutely as she continued to scan and bag all the junk he was buying. Cookies, ice cream, chips, frozen pizzas and the like piled back up in his cart. She gave him his total and he swiped his bank card to pay.

"Have a lovely holiday!" she called after him as he wheeled his cart out of the store.

"You, too," he responded distractedly.

Fifteen minutes later, he was back in his room, a frozen pizza turning around and around in the microwave as he annihilated a bag of chips. The crunchy, salty morsels dissolved in his mouth at an incredible rate, and, before he knew it, he was crumbling up the empty bag and tossing it in the garbage. The timer on his pizza dinged, and he grabbed it out of the microwave and shoved it in his mouth, moaning as the melted cheese exploded on his taste buds. But that was gone too soon, so he popped another pizza in the microwave and ripped open a box of soft, heavily iced Christmas cookies and began to inhale them.

"Mmm," he groaned, licking the icing from his lips.

But then they, too, were gone. At least his pizza was ready. He sat down heavily in his desk chair to check his e-mail as he chewed.

"Junk, junk, junk," he said from around mouthfuls, deleting spam from his college about the holiday choral concert and snow removal procedures. He popped the last bit of his pizza into his mouth and got up to rummage around in his bags for something else to munch on.

"Ooh," he said, pulling out a frozen container of spinach artichoke cheese dip. He slid it into the microwave and opened another bag of chips to eat while he waited for it to heat up, and started up his game again. He paused it a few minutes later when the microwave timer was up, and began dipping the few remaining chips into the creamy mixture and shoveling it into his mouth. He ended up having to open his last bag of chips to finish off the tray of dip, which had been far too small. He should have bought a few more of those.

Next it was a box of gummy fruit snacks, which he ate by ripping open each package and dumping them into his mouth all at once, to chew them up in a ball of sugary goo. He'd bought a few boxes of those, so when he was finished with his first he decided to have another before moving on to the little prepackaged chocolate peanut butter cakes he loved so much.

Two rich, decadent boxes later, he sat back in his chair and belched, rubbing his protruding gut with one hand as the other ran through his hair. God, he felt good - warm and full and...fat.

He looked down at himself, panic coursing through his veins. What had he just done? He sighed, grabbing a handful of his belly and shaking it. I'm screwed, aren't I? he thought, resigned. There was no denying that he felt better than he had in days, even though he had just eaten enough food for at least five people. He cradled his massive belly in his hands, softly squeezing and pulling the blubber. It felt amazing.

A strange mixture of emotions rushed through him as he continued to jiggle his fat. On one hand, he was ashamed of himself for stuffing his face like that, and for loving the feelings that were coursing through his body at his hands' acknowledgement of his fatness. On the other, he longed to feel what it would be like to eat more, to stuff himself even more fully, and to feel what constant stuffing would do to his already enormous body.

How can I hate this so much but love it at the same time? he asked himself, in a daze as he stared at the ripples coursing through his belly. How can I want to be this fat...and even fatter?

His phone rang, jolting him out of his reverie. He blushed, embarrassed even though no one was there to see him shaking his gut. He reddened even further as he saw who was calling him.


"Merry Christmas, darling!" his mother's voice rang in his ear.

"Merry Christmas, mom."

"How are you doing?"

"Um, I'm fine...how are you?" he asked as he tore open a package of cookies.

"I'm not so good, sweetie," she admitted, and he could hear the tears in her voice. "I miss you so much."

He chewed silently, waiting for her to continue.

"I'm so sorry for the way things went the other day," she said. "And I want to let you know that we love you no matter what, Xander. We really want you to come home."

"Did you cancel my appointment with Dr. Fording?"

"What? Oh! Um, well..."

"You didn't."

"Well, honey, it's very difficult to get in to see him, you know..."

"Mom, I'm not going."

He heard her sigh. "Xander..."


"Talk to your father, okay? Here he is."

After some shuffling, his father's voice boomed from the speaker. "Merry Christmas, son!"

"Merry Christmas, dad."

His father launched right into it. "Now, Xander, we're willing to come up there again and get you tomorrow. We miss you and we want you to come home."

"No, you don't," Xander said, suddenly belligerent. "You just want me to go to the doctor and get my stomach sewn shut."


"No, dad. I'm not doing it, alright? You're just going to have to deal with having a son who's as big as a house because I'm not doing it. So goodbye." He pressed the "call end" button with a sticky finger and threw his phone across the room and onto his bed.

It immediately rang again, so he hefted himself out of his desk chair and grunted as he leaned over to pick it up, trying to hitch his stuffed belly out of the way and failing, and turned the power off. He took a bite of cookie and flopped down on his bed, cringing when the whole thing shuddered and groaned. He was afraid that soon he'd have to ask his RA for a new bed.

He lounged on his bed, absentmindedly rubbing his overfed gut with one hand while he shoveled cookies into his mouth with the other. He knew that there was no good reason for him to still be eating, but the delicious flavors as well as the steady chewing and swallowing calmed him. Calmed him so much in fact, that his eyelids began to droop. Sighing, he heaved himself off the bed and changed into his skintight pajamas, regretting the fact that he hadn't picked up some more shorts while he was at Think Big the other day. As he was changing, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror, and, with an embarrassed little smile, gave his gigantic belly a bit of a shake and watched as it jiggled. He shook his head and climbed into bed, wondering as he fell asleep how the sight of his enormous, fat body could inspire such warm, tingly feelings somewhere deep inside him.

02-05-2012, 09:30 PM
He awoke the next day to a stomach growling with hunger, as he usually did. But today, he decided, he was going to feed it. Gone from his mind were any hopes of dieting down to a reasonable weight or even depriving himself enough to keep his weight steady. His little binge the day before had shown him that, unfortunately, the only way he would be able to keep his sanity was to keep eating. So he pulled on some of his new, roomier clothes and made his way to the food court.

Luckily, Sheriece was working the early shift that day. "Hey, there, sugar, how you doin'?" she asked him sweetly as he walked up to her counter.

"I'm doing okay, Sheriece, how about you? How was your Christmas?"

"It was jus' lovely, dear, and how was yours?"

"Ah, nothing special. I just went grocery shopping."

"Grocery shoppin'? I hope you got more than that rabbit food you been eatin'," she gently chided him.

"Don't worry, I gave up on the rabbit food," he told her sheepishly.

"Good boy!" she exclaimed, patting him on the arm. "You need some real food to keep you strong an' happy. Now what can I get for you, sugar?"

He told her he wanted a double order of chocolate chip pancakes, six scrambled eggs with cheese, three orders of bacon, one order of sausage, and two orders of home fries.

"I'll have it right up, darlin'."

He looked around the food court as Sheriece busied herself at the grill. There were only two other people in the room, and both were helping themselves to cereal from the plastic containers stored at the island in the center of the food court, and neither of them - a guy and a girl - seemed to have noticed that he was there, ordering his usual truckload of food. He wondered if he should have ordered so much, but he quashed those feelings as the scrumptious smells started to reach his nostrils. Who was he kidding? He'd eat it all, and then some.

A few minutes later, his order was up. "Here you go, Xander," Sheriece said as she piled the last of his containers in a brown paper sack. "And here - I brought you some o' my famous Snickerdoodles, just like I promised," she told him, pushing a large Christmas tin across the counter to him.

"Aww, thanks, Sheriece, you didn't have to do that."

"Oh, I know, but you know you're my favorite customer, and I knew you wasn't goin' home, so I couldn't let you have a Christmas with no cookies," she told him matter-of-factly.

He blushed a bit, and thanked her again, then made his way over to the seating area with his food. He normally wouldn't have dared eat in the food court, after several encounters with classmates had shown him that he could only hope to be humiliated by doing so, but it was Christmas break and there was hardly anyone here. He only saw one other person sitting over in the far right corner, engrossed in a text book as he slowly ate some cereal. So he made his way over to a booth, since he didn't think the standalone chairs would hold him, and, after some adjusting of the - thankfully - moveable table, sat himself down and began to unpack his breakfast.

He started with the eggs. Sheriece must have given him about ten, and he happily wolfed them down, stopping only for an occasional bite of sausage, bacon, or home fries, or a sip of his orange juice. When those were all gone, he opened up the container of pancakes and smothered them in butter. He almost orgasmed as he took his first rich, creamy, chocolatey bite. His hand slipped under the table and began to rub small, soothing circles into the side of his belly as he ate, stopping only to pick up his orange juice and put it to his mouth. But they were gone all too soon, and he decided to dig into the cookies.

He was so engrossed in popping cookie after cookie into his maw that he didn't notice the girl staring at him from a few tables away. He only became aware of her when she got up and sauntered over to him, stopping a few feet from his booth.

"So," she said, her hands on her hips, "this is how Xander diets?"

He dropped the cookie he was holding and blushed. She was tall, about 5'9", and pretty with a short brown bob and dark, black eyes. "What?"

"This is how the piggy diets? By stuffing his obese face with rich foods that are only going to make him blow up even more?" she sneered at him.

Suddenly the stench of rotten meat filled the air, making Xander gag.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk," she clicked, shaking her head as she leaned down closer to him. "At this rate, you'll be 400 by this afternoon, you know that?"

All the blood drained from his face. How did she... His thoughts immediately flashed back to the guy at the mall. Did they know each other? Had he sent her to make fun of him, too?

"Leave me alone," he mumbled, looking down at his cookies.

She laughed. "What, so you can gobble down more? So you can pack yourself full of junk that's only going to make you fatter? So you can pretend that eating 'til you burst is the only way you'll 'stay sane?'" she asked in a mocking tone.

Suddenly Sheriece was there. "Can I help you?" she asked testily.

The girl turned to the woman and actually hissed at her. Sheriece's eyes widened as the girl dashed back over to the table that she'd been sitting at, gathered up her things, and left the food court in a rush. Both Sheriece and Xander stared after her.

"What on earth was that about now?" she asked him a moment later.

"I...I don't know," Xander stuttered, feeling the blood creep back into his cheeks.

"Was she givin' you a hard time?"

"I...uh...a little...but it's no big deal..."

"Oh, honey," she said, moving to sit down across from him. She stopped when she saw that he had the table pushed over all the way into the other seats so there was no room for her. He felt himself blush madly as she looked down and realized just how big he was.

"It's okay, Sheriece. Your cookies are delicious, by the way," he said, trying to distract her.

"Aww, thank you, darlin'. I'm glad you're enjoyin' them. Now I'd better get back to my grill. You come back and visit me for dinner, you hear? I'm workin' til six."

"Okay, Sheriece, I will." He watched her head back over to her counter as his brain went wild. How had that girl known, just like the guy at the mall? How had she found him? Or maybe they weren't connected? And what was with that hiss?

His phone rang, a call from an unknown number. But somehow he knew who it would be.

"Hey, Pudge!" a familiar voice said gleefully.

"Um, hi, Callisto..." he trailed off.

"Whatcha up to?"


"Breakfast? Ooh, sounds good, I'll be right there." She hung up.

He stared at the phone in his hand, swallowing hard. He quickly hefted himself up and threw away the remnants of his breakfast so she wouldn't see just how much he'd eaten.

"I hope you weren't throwing any food away there, Pudge," she said from behind him as he sat back down. "You shouldn't waste."

He jumped a little, causing the booth to squeak in protest. "Geez," he muttered, "where did you come from?"

"Oh, I was outside. Hmm, looks like there's no room for me to sit," she commented, flipping her flame-colored hair over her shoulder and eyeing his seating arrangements. "Oh, well. It's really pretty on campus today, so I thought I'd come find you and we could take a walk together. What do you say?"

"You're not going to leave me alone, are you?"

She just grinned and grabbed his hand.

02-06-2012, 05:27 AM
I could be wrong but I thought the name-calling meanies had something to do with the supernatural.

I see what you mean now, having read the update. The plot thickens...as does our delicious protagonist ^.^

02-06-2012, 09:39 AM
Does this mean we get to find out how the story continues very soon?? :wubu:

Pleeease - the suspense is killing me!

02-06-2012, 02:44 PM
:blush: I was naughty .... I was too impatient, couldn't wait, so I went and read the new chapters in your blog!!!

You're doing an exzellent job balancing fantasy and reality - and I particularly like how you use the level of the subconscious as the playground for the fantasy characters.

Now I'm being greedy - so even more please, the sooner the better!

Qit el-Remel
02-07-2012, 03:19 AM
...okay, there was a rather obvious clue that I should have caught. :doh:

02-07-2012, 04:44 PM
:blush: I was naughty .... I was too impatient, couldn't wait, so I went and read the new chapters in your blog!!!

You're doing an exzellent job balancing fantasy and reality - and I particularly like how you use the level of the subconscious as the playground for the fantasy characters.

Now I'm being greedy - so even more please, the sooner the better!


02-08-2012, 09:05 PM
"So have you tried the exercise yet?" she asked him as they walked out of the food court.

"Exercise?" he asked, blushing.

"Not that kind of exercise, silly. The exercise to awaken your energy."

"Oh," he said, "no..."

"Then that's what we're going to do today," she told him happily. "We'll walk back to your dorm and go up to your room and I'll help you with it. It's easier the first time when you have someone there who knows what she's doing."

"But...my car is here," he said dumbly.

"You can walk back for it later. Oh, wait, that's uphill? Wouldn't want you getting all out of breath. Never mind, you can drive us. Unlock it, would you?" she asked as she skipped over to his silver sedan and waited impatiently by the passenger door.

Xander swallowed hard, tightly clutching his tin of Sheriece's Christmas cookies to his belly and wondering how he could get out of this.

"I'm not going to bite, Pudge, geez."

He sighed and pressed the button on his remote to unlock the car doors, and Cee hopped into his car. He followed more sedately, sucking in his belly as he ducked in so that it wouldn't smush into the steering wheel like it usually did. He wasn't sure why, but he kept it sucked in as he buckled his seatbelt and started the engine.

"Stop doing that," she scolded him.


"Sucking in." She gazed out the window at the sun shining onto the icy trees as she said it.

Xander felt his face burn with embarrassment, and continued to hold his stomach in anyway as he drove away from the food court.

"So how've you been, Xander? Anything interesting going on?"

"Um, not really..."

"Your parents still bugging you about going to that doctor? I checked him out, you know. He's very good at what he does."

"So you think I should do it?" Xander spat bitterly.

"That's not what I meant," she said, looking at him. "He's very good at convincing people to let him cut them up."


"So it's probably best that you stay away from him, if you don't want to lose that belly of yours. Which you should really stop sucking in; you're uncomfortable."

He felt his stomach lurch with humiliation. He gripped the steering wheel tight and said, "Could you stay out of my head?"

She laughed. "I don't have to read your mind to tell that you're uncomfortable, silly. It's pretty obvious. Besides, you looked a lot bigger when you were sitting in the food court, and I don't think you could have possibly lost thirty pounds between there and here."

Mortified, he slowly let his stomach expand to its full size.

"There, isn't that better?"

He pulled into a parking space in his dorm's lot and exited his car, followed closely by Callisto. He looked forlornly up the hill at his dorm, not looking forward to the effort of climbing the hill and the steps to reach his room.

"Come on, Pudge, let's kick that hill's ass!"

Much less with her there.

Five minutes later, he stood in front of his door, panting and sweating. Callisto patted him on the back enthusiastically. "See, you made it!"

"Yeah," he muttered through clenched teeth as he fitted his key into the lock and opened the door. He instantly regretted it. His room was strewn with the remains of last night's shopping trip and binge, with empty and full packages of food covering every available surface. He turned to look at her and caught a strange expression on her face. She looked almost...excited? But it was gone so fast that he was sure he'd imagined it. Besides, if she was excited at all, it was probably just excitement at the possibility of more ammunition with which to make fun of him.

"A little short on storage space, I see," she said as she stepped inside and picked up an empty bag of chips off his dresser.

"Um, yeah," he mumbled, wishing desperately that he would have cleaned up before he'd gone out this morning. He swiped the bag out of her hand and stuffed it into the garbage can, hoping that she wasn't reading his mind right now.

"Your room is bigger than I thought it was," she said conversationally, plopping down on his bed and looking around. He grabbed his pajamas off the bed and shoved them in a drawer, praying that she hadn't seen the size tags.

"So, um," he said, standing awkwardly in the middle of the room, "what do I have to do again?"

"First of all," she said, "you have to relax. Come on and sit down." She patted the little space on the bed next to her.

"Um, you're going to...have to...move...over..." he trailed off.

"Oh, sorry, Pudge." She stood up and gestured for him to sit on the bed. "I guess I forgot that you need a little more room."

He gritted his teeth, but sat.

"Now, close your eyes."

He complied.

"Relax. I want you to imagine a silver mist swirling up from the floor and around your feet. As it touches your feet, I want you to release all the tension you hold there. The silver mist absorbs it and dissipates it. Once all the stress is gone, the mist moves up around your calves, releasing all pressure and stress there. Feel your muscles relaxing." She continued to slowly guide the mist up around his body, and, to his surprise, he actually did start to relax. He could actually smell the mist: it smelled like a warm spring rain. By the time she reached the top of his head, he felt cool and clean, his lungs and thoughts clear.

"Now," she said quietly, "I want you to feel the energy around you. It might feel like a slight warmth or coolness in the air, or maybe like a faint buzzing all around you. Take a few moments to become aware of it."

Gradually, he could feel his sense of smell strengthen. Callisto's fiery scent intensified, and he could smell the remnants of Adrian's musky one as clearly as if his roommate were in the room. He smelled Sheriece's scent, like fresh bread, mingling with the cinnamon and sugar of the cookies she'd given him, and the faint traces of both August's strawberry-sunlight scent and, faintly, his parents' nutmeg and asphalt ones. Rhys' papery smell was there, too. And underneath it all, he smelled the clean, clear air scent of pure energy, which felt almost thick and suddenly sent a strange buzzing through him. He imagined that if he reached out in front of him, he could grab a handful of it.

"Reach out your dominant hand," she told him, "and call the energy into your palm to collect there in a ball."

He put out his right hand, palm up, and concentrated on the thick feeling of the clear air energy. The air thickened above his hand until it felt as if he were actually holding something. In a flash a feeling of silliness came over him. What the hell was he doing? He opened his eyes and saw a tiny sphere of white light floating above his hand.

"Wha..." he trailed off as it slowly disappeared.

"Aww, Pudge, what happened? You totally had it!"

"I...that was real?"

"Yes, of course it was real," Cee said, exasperated. "You were doing it! Why'd you stop?"

"I...I felt stupid," he admitted.

"Ugh!" she sighed, flopping down on the bed next to him. "You're going to have to get over that, y'know."

He shifted his mass uncomfortably at her closeness.

"You're going to have to get over that, too."


She rolled her eyes at him. "Freaking out every time I'm close to you. Now, come on, let's try it again."

02-08-2012, 09:22 PM
They worked on the exercise until Xander could summon the white ball of light at will. "So what do I do with it?" he finally asked, tossing it from one hand to another. He could feel the weight of it in his palm, along with a faint buzzing feeling.

"Pretty much anything you want," she replied, twirling her own ball of light upon her finger. "You imagine what you want it to do, and stay focused on it as you throw it. Say I want to blow a hole in that wall over there -"

"Please don't do that."

"No, I won't," she reassured him. "But just say that I did. Here, how about I demonstrate with that half-empty bag of chips?"

"Um...how about the one over there that's already empty?"

She rolled her eyes. "Alright, fine, I won't destroy your precious chips."

Xander blushed.

"Anyway, I would just picture it puncturing a hole right through the bag, and know that it's going to do that, and then throw it." She tossed her ball of light at the bag, and, with a sizzle, it passed right through the bag, leaving a gaping hole in the material, and disappeared.

"Wow," Xander said, "I thought it would have hurt the dresser or something, too."

"The key is focus," Cee told him. "You have to keep your intentions clear. If you don't, it'll just keep blazing through whatever is behind it, on and on until the energy runs out. Now, of course, it takes a lot more energy to do that to demons than it does to do it to a bag of chips. You really have to dig deep, and you have to keep your cool. You'll only get one or two good shots like that during a fight."

"So what do you do if you miss, or if it doesn't work?"

"Well, we try to wear them down with regular weapons first."


"Like swords and arrows and bullets and stuff."

He stared at her, nonchalantly leaning against the wall. "You're not serious. I have to learn how to wield a sword?"

She grinned at him. "That would be pretty -" She cut herself off, biting her lip. "It would be helpful."

He rubbed his hand over his eyes. "This just keeps getting better and better," he said wryly.

"I have faith in you, Pudge," she told him.

"You've got to be kidding. I can barely walk from here to the door without knocking something over, and you expect me to take up fencing?"

"Not fencing," she said, her face serious. "Those swords will break right off in a demon's chest."

"Okay, whatever. You think I can actually do that?"

"You didn't think you could do that, did you?" she said, pointing at the ball of energy that was still floating above his outstretched palm.

"Yeah, well, that didn't require any...physical activity," he retorted bitterly, squeezing the energy in his hand. It felt strangely squishy when he did that, almost like one of those stress balls filled with sand.

"I think you'll surprise yourself, Pudge. You may not be the quickest fighter, but I'll bet you're damn strong and can take a lot of damage. You can be our tank."

He snorted at her usage of the gaming term. "Right."

"Seriously, Pudge, you can do this. Whether you know it or not, you were born for this."

He gave her a look. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? I don't think many demon fighters were born with this kind of physique," he said cynically.

She looked him over, her eyes lingering just a bit too long at his midsection, causing him to squirm uncomfortably. "You're special, Pudge. We've been looking for you for a long time. And so have they."

"What's that supposed to mean?" he repeated.

"As far as we know, you're the first person to be able to smell them. They can cloak themselves from sight, and even from Ken's knowing. But your nose? They have no defense for that. It was foretold -"

"Wait, wait, wait. 'Foretold?'" he scoffed. "Now you're going to tell me that there's some kind of prophecy?"


"You are. Geez."

"I'm not going to tell you. I'll let Ling explain it; she's the expert."

"Geez," he repeated, shaking his head. He mentally ran over all the weird stuff that had happened to him these past few weeks, from the Fuom appearing in his room to the guy at the mall guessing his weight to being told he was a psychic bloodhound and everything else. His life was going to hell.

"Hey," Callisto interrupted his thoughts, "what was that?"

"What was what?"

"That...what happened at the mall?"

"Oh, uh, nothing," he sputtered. Of course, trying to put it out of his mind only caused an instant replay of the scenario, the black-eyed guy's leering face causing him to shiver.

But he could tell from her face that she had seen the whole thing as he'd thought about it. "And the food court this morning?"

The same thing happened.

She cursed loudly. "Come on, we have to go to the house and tell the others."

"What? Why? I'd really prefer if nobody else knew about all that," he pleaded with her, his face flaming.

"Oh, Xander, it's almost cute how naive you are."

"What are you talking about?"

"Those weren't people giving you a hard time. The Roene demon has been following you."

02-08-2012, 09:51 PM
I am always a sucker for a god fantasy novel, and you balance the realism so well!! I cant wait for more

02-09-2012, 12:22 AM
Very interesting writing--please continue! :bow:

02-09-2012, 07:11 AM
I have so far managed to be patient and wait for updates to show up here....but it is hard! The story just keeps getting stronger :)

02-10-2012, 03:49 PM
"Darshan!" Callisto yelled as she burst through the door, Xander following more sedately.

"In the kitchen," came his reply.

Cee grabbed Xander's hand and dragged him through the house and into the kitchen. Darshan was seated at the large, oblong kitchen table, sipping a cup of tea and poring over an ancient-looking book. "Darshan, the Roene demon has been following Xander."

He almost spit out his tea. "What?"

"It's been following him. He's had two encounters with it."

"Tell me," Darshan said, his face grave as he pushed the book to the center of the table.

Callisto related the incidents at the mall and in the food court to Darshan, Xander growing more and more humiliated with each word that she spoke.

"Is this accurate, Xander?" Darshan asked him.

"Um, y-yeah."

"We'll have to put you under surveillance, then," Darshan said. "One of us will be with you at all times. We can't risk something happening to you."

"Is that really necessary? I mean, it didn't do anything to me..."

"Don't you understand, Xander? It's been preparing you; making you so ashamed of yourself that your soul is positively ripe for harvesting. Unless, of course, none of what it said bothered you?"

Xander blanched.

"I thought so. Ling and Ken are out right now, looking for signs of the Roene demon. I'll have to contact them and tell them that it was sighted at the University's food court late this morning. I hope they'll be able to pick up its trail. In the meantime, you are welcome to stay here, Xander."

"Can I just go back to my dorm?" Xander asked, rubbing his temples.

"Well, I suppose I could go with you. Scratch that, I want to be here when they get back so we can discuss a plan of action. Cee, would you...?"

"Of course!" she replied happily.

Xander grimaced. He'd wanted to go to the food court and get something to eat. It was nearly 5:30, and he hadn't eaten anything since that morning - he was starving. But he couldn't do that with Callisto in tow.

"Of course you can, silly," she interrupted his thoughts. "It's no trouble at all. Let's go."

Darshan and Cee exchanged a few more words, and then she and Xander exited the house and got back into Xander's car. "So," Cee asked, "what are you going to get for dinner?"

"I-I don't know..."

"Do they have good food at the food court?"

Mental images of Sheriece's cooking flashed through his mind as he turned a corner.

"Mmm, I'll take that as a yes. Who's Sheriece?"

"She's a lady who works at the food court."

"You like her."

"Yeah, she's nice," he said lamely as he pulled into a parking space. Cee hopped out of the car and waited as Xander slid his mass out of the driver's seat. Xander was pleased to see that there were no other cars parked in the food court's lot, and the place looked mostly empty.

"None of your friends are staying here over break?" she asked him as they walked into the building.

"Um, no," he responded distractedly. The delicious smells of the place had overcome his senses. He eagerly made his way up to Sheriece's counter.

"There's my favorite customer!" she exclaimed as she emerged from the back room. "How you doin', honey? And who is this?"

"Oh, um, this...this is Callisto..."

"Call me Cee," she said pleasantly as she extended her hand for Sheriece to shake.

"Pleasure to meet you, Cee," Sheriece said, beaming. "Now, Xander, you didn't tell Sheriece you had a lady friend! And ooh-ee, is she ever pretty!"

"I - she's not -" Xander sputtered.

But Sheriece was talking to Callisto again. "I've never seen you here before, darlin', are you a student?"

"Yes, but only part-time. I have a full-time job, so I don't have the time to come to the food court too often."

"Well I am glad you made the time to come down here with your honey and meet me. You two are so cute! Now, sugar, what can I get for you?"

"I'd like a cheeseburger and fries, please."

"Alright, sounds good. And what can I get for you, Xander?"

"I..." Xander hesitated. He was so hungry, but he didn't want to order his usual ton of food in front of Callisto. Why not? he wondered. She already knows what a pig you are. Ah, screw it. "I'd like four pieces of the spinach and cheese lasagna, three supreme pizzas, two cheeseburgers, and three orders of fries. Oh, and some onion rings, too."

"Okey dokey, I'll have it right up for you."

Xander stared down at the counter, avoiding Callisto's eyes.

"Hungry?" she asked him innocently.

He ignored her.

A few minutes later, Sheriece was packing up their dinners in a large brown paper bag. "There you go, sweethearts. You have a nice, romantic evenin'!" she called after them after she swiped Xander's card.

"She is really nice," Cee commented as Xander drove away.

"If somewhat misguided," he replied testily.

"Aww, come on, Pudge, that was pretty cute that she thought we were together."

Xander felt himself blush in the darkness as he pulled into his dorm's parking lot. "Sure," he said, "cute. You didn't do anything to dissuade her."

"She was so happy, though!"

"Right." He slammed the car door and sighed.

A few minutes later, he was collapsing onto his bed, breathless and hot from the climb up to his room.

"Hey," Cee, who was standing at his desk, rummaging around in the bag from the food court, said, "there's a lot of food in here."

"No, really?" he breathed sarcastically.

"No, I mean there's more than you ordered in here. There are like seven burgers."

"Oh. Um, well...Sheriece...she gives me extra...sometimes..." he responded sheepishly.

"Extra? Like, she doesn't charge you for it?"

"Yeah." He felt his cheeks burn.

"Oh, well, that's nice of her," Cee said nonchalantly as she unwrapped one of the burgers and then bit into it.

Xander couldn't respond. He snatched the bag of food off into his desk and dug out his lasagna. "So, um," he said between bites, "what else do I need to know about these Roene demons?"

"Well, they're middle class demons, capable of consuming a moderate amount of soul energy at one time. In their natural form, they're about four feet tall, thin, kind of spindly. And you already know that they're shapeshifters. They can only stay in their shifted form for about four to five hours before they turn back, and they need a piece of the person they're turning into in order to shift. Their eyes are always black, no matter what form they're in. They can exude something like a pheromone that makes the people around them turn against their target. They're terrified of water, even though all it does to them is burn their nasal passages. Which, I guess, isn't all that pleasant, so their terror is kind of warranted," she said, examining a french fry. "They're pretty rare; in the time I've been doing this, this is only the second one I've come across."

"How long have you been doing this?"

"Since I was eleven."

"Eleven? Seriously?"

"Yeah. My parents are demon hunters, too, so I've been learning my whole life."

"Oh. Wow."

"Yeah, we're not exactly the Cleavers," she said conversationally. "That's how I met Ling. Her parents and mine are good friends."

"Are they...demon hunters...too?"

She nodded. "It's a small community, everybody knows everybody. Darshan and Ken are first generation, though. I guess you could say that we recruited them the same way we recruited you. Demons were following them, and we took them in."

"So where are your parents?"

"Back in the city. There's less activity here, so we're allowed to run stuff on our own."

"So...all demon hunters have special talents?"

"Yup. Telekinesis and the sight are the most common, but there are a few who read minds, like I do. No one else who can smell energies like you can, though. Our parents would love to get their hands on you."

Xander shifted uncomfortably, chewing his pizza. "Why?" he mumbled around a mouthful.

"Because of the prophecy, of course."

"What exactly is this prophecy?"

"I can never remember it exactly," she said breezily. "Ling can tell you."

"How come Darshan's the one in charge if you and Ling are the ones with the family history of, uh, demon-hunting?"

"Well," she said, wrinkling her nose, "his sight makes him the best choice for leader, since he can sometimes see the consequences of our actions. Plus, our parents love him."


"Don't get me wrong, Darshan's a great guy, but he's a little bossy," she explained as she seated herself close to Xander on the bed. Xander shoved another bite of his last pizza into his mouth and tried to move over a bit. "I don't have cooties, y'know," she told him.

He felt his round cheeks redden as he swallowed. He reached into the bag only to discover that all his food was gone. He looked dejectedly at the mountain of containers and wrappers that lay on the other side of him.

"Why don't we go get some ice cream?" she suggested.


"C'mon, you're still hungry," she reasoned.

"Would you get out of my head? You know how close I am; you know that I shouldn't," he burst out. "You know that I shouldn't have eaten any of that." He stared at the floor, ashamed.

Cee was silent for a few moments before responding. "It really bothers you, doesn't it?"

"I'm the size of a freaking house, what do you think?" he spat sullenly.

Cee sighed, and Xander saw her shrug out of the side of his vision. "It suits you," she said.

"Excuse me?"

"I said, it suits you. You'd look weird if you were skinny."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"You'd look weird if you were skinny," she repeated insistently.

He snorted.

"I'm serious. Some people were meant to be skinny, and some weren't. You weren't. You look good bigger."

"What is wrong with you?"

"Wow, you really know how to talk to the ladies," she said sarcastically. "I'm here trying to compliment you and you ask me what's wrong with me?"

He shook his head. "You can't tell a 400 pound guy he looks good in any way and expect to be taken seriously," he muttered.

She sighed again. "Come on," she said. "I want ice cream. Let's go."

02-10-2012, 03:53 PM
A few minutes later, they were walking up the slushy street in the cold darkness.

"Do you think...you could...slow down...a bit?" he breathed irritably. His full belly was bouncing up and down heavily with the pace Cee had set, making it hard for him to keep up.

"Oh, sorry, Pudge," she said, looking over her shoulder at him. She stopped and waited for him to catch his breath for a few seconds. "I'm not used to having someone with me when I'm out walking."

"It's...okay," he coughed.

"Geez, are you alright?"

"Fine," he said grimly. "You know, I would have driven..."

"It's only six more blocks, no use wasting the gas," she told him airily. "Besides, I'm used to walking everywhere."

"Six more blocks?"

"Yeah." She looked at him. "Oh. I guess you're not used to walking that far." She bit her lip as she eyed his gut.

He clenched his teeth. "I'm fine," he repeated. "Just because I'm fat doesn't mean I can't walk."

"But -"

"At a reasonable speed," he amended. "So just...go slower. Please."

"Sorry. So what kind of ice cream are you going to get?"

She chattered at him the rest of the way, but she did walk more slowly. Soon, Xander saw the ice cream shop glowing ahead and sighed with relief. It was embarrassing, having to ask her to slow down for him and his huge body. Yeah, and now you're going to feed that huge body even more, he thought ruefully. Good job.

The bell on the handle of the old-fashioned door jangled as Cee opened it and walked inside, alerting the person behind the counter to the fact that she had new customers. The place was empty except for them, for which Xander was thankful. He surreptitiously eyed the seating and, to his dismay, realized that there was no way the tiny chairs would hold his weight and there was even less of a chance he'd fit into the small booths lining the walls. He hoped he could easily persuade Cee to get their ice cream to go.

"Hi," Cee said cheerfully. "How are you tonight?"

"I'm great, thanks," the girl behind the counter said. "How are you?"

"I'm good!"

"What can I get for you?"

"Hmm, I think I'd like a scoop of strawberry in a waffle cone."

The girl busied herself with getting Cee's ice cream as Xander looked over the flavors, his mouth watering. Never mind that he'd just eaten enough for four people; he felt his stomach grumbling in anticipation of the creamy deliciousness.

The girl handed Cee her cone and turned to Xander, her smile slightly forced. "And what can I get for you?"

"Um, I'd like two scoops of peppermint and two scoops of fudge brownie in a dish, please."

"Okay, I'll have it ready for you in a sec."

"Mmm, peppermint and chocolate, that sounds good, Pudge," Cee told him between licks of her cone. "Let's sit down and eat for a while."

"I'd rather if we didn't..." he trailed off, looking at the chairs again.

"Why n-" she stopped herself, obviously reading his mind. "Ohhhh. Okay, we can walk."

Xander felt himself blush, and swallowed hard. As much as he hated the fact that she could tell what he was thinking, at least he didn't have to say such embarrassing things as "I won't fit in the seats" out loud.

The bell on the door handle jingled again just as the girl behind the counter handed Xander his ice cream, and Xander was hit by the stink of rotten meat. He nearly gagged as he handed the girl his money, and did when she held out his change and said, "Here you go, fatass."

He froze, his hand held out underneath hers to accept the coins. They plopped into his palm one by one.

"Excuse me?" Cee said indignantly.

Without a word, Xander turned to the door and saw a young, blonde, black-eyed man standing behind him, grinning wickedly. "Well, if it isn't the whale," he said conversationally. "Gonna stuff your face some more, you obese piece of crap?"

Cee caught on immediately. She reached down and pulled a long knife from her boot and handed Xander her ice cream cone. "You take that back, you piece of scum," she spat.

He growled at her, and Xander heard the girl behind the counter run for the back room. Cee advanced on the man, her knife glimmering in her hand. He charged at her in a blur, moving faster than Xander thought possible. They met in the middle of the shop, Cee punching with her left hand and stabbing at him with her right while the demon ducked and punched back at her. She kicked him in the head, and he went down, crashing into a table and chairs, but immediately popped back up and countered with a jab to Cee's midsection. She grabbed his arm and yanked, and the next thing Xander knew, the knife was sticking out of the demon's chest. He let out an unearthly howl and scrambled for the door, but Cee was fast. She pulled another knife out of nowhere and hurled it at his back, then took a flying leap and tackled him to the ground.

"Who sent you?" she hissed at him, grabbing a handful of his blonde hair and pulling his head back.

He laughed at her. "You think it matters, pretty? More will come. Many more. We know what you've found!"

She wrenched his head back. "Which one sent you?" she yelled. With her free hand, she swirled a ball of energy into existence, which turned a glowing emerald as she spoke.

"You think I'm afraid of you? She'll just raise me again if you kill me."

"So it's Megaera."

The demon laughed, his black eyes crinkling jovially.

"Enough." Cee slammed the ball of energy into his face, and before Xander's eyes, the demon shriveled up with a "pop!" and turned to a pile of dust on the floor. She stood up and wiped her hands on her pants and picked up her knives from amidst the filth, then walked casually back over to Xander and took her ice cream cone from his grasp and gave it a lick.

He gaped at her. "You just...you..."


"You just annihilated that demon. That was...that was awesome!"

She grinned at him. "Thanks, Pudge. All in a day's work, y'know. Come on, we'd better get out of here before the cops show up. She probably called them when I whipped out my dagger. Hurry up and eat that, it's melting."

02-10-2012, 06:29 PM
great add, thanks :D

02-11-2012, 02:54 PM
Hmm, I sense a budding romance :wubu:

Fat Nat
02-13-2012, 03:05 PM
This is fantastic writing - I'm really enjoying it! Can't wait for the rest.

02-14-2012, 07:40 PM
As soon as they stepped out of the ice cream shop, Callisto called Darshan and told him that she'd dispatched the Roene demon.

"Yes, Darshan. Mmhmm...yeah. No, nobody saw us except the girl who works at the ice cream shop, and she was in the back when I killed it. Yes. Yes! Stop worrying. Okay? Yes. Okay. Goodbye, Darshan." She hung up her phone and slid it back into her pocket and took a lick of her ice cream. "Geez, he's worse than my mother."

"Is everything okay?" Xander asked from around a mouthful of ice cream.

"Yeah, everything's fine. He was worried that someone saw me kill it, but you're the only one who was there. Oh, and he still wants me to stay with you tonight, just in case."

"He...wait, what? You're...staying?" Xander nearly dropped his dish.

"Yup, we're gonna have a sleepover!" she exclaimed happily, patting him on his well-padded back.

He felt his face redden. "Is that really necessary?"

"Probably not, but would you rather Darshan stay over? He's not going to leave you by yourself now."

Yes, Xander thought immediately.

"Hey! That's not very nice," she said, shoving him playfully, her hand sinking into his soft side.

"Do you really have to?" Xander's face blushed further at the feeling of her fingers pressing into his fat.


"I...I guess you can sleep in my bed," he told her reluctantly.

"That's okay, I'll sleep in Adrian's."

"Um, I don't think you want to do that."

"I was going to ask you for fresh sheets first."

"Okay, good. As annoying as you are, I wouldn't subject you to that."

She stopped walking, a look of distress upon her face. "You really think I'm annoying? Don't lie."

"I'm sorry...you're not annoying. You just...you just don't seem to get...people."

"And by people, you mean 'you.'"

"Well, yeah."

"I think I get you more than you realize, Pudge."

"Then why do you call me that?"

She looked surprised. "That really bothers you?"

"Yes," he said. No, he thought, that part of him that liked being fat rearing its difficult head.

Cee grinned at him. "See?"

Xander sighed, knowing that he couldn't hide much from her.

"Look, I know things are complicated for you right now. I get that, I really do. And I'm sorry about it. It sucks. But you've got to learn to accept yourself sooner or later, and why can't it be sooner?"

"You think you're going to help me accept myself?"

"Who knows?" she shrugged and licked at her ice cream. "You were comfortable enough to have eaten all your ice cream, at least."

He looked down at his bowl and saw that the delicious treat was gone. He scowled and tossed the bowl and spoon in a trash can as they passed. "And you know that I shouldn't have."

"Why not? Who cares what the scale says?"

"I care. My parents care. Everyone cares."

"I don't care."

"Come on, that's a lie. Just look at me." He held out his arms so she could take all of him in. "You're telling me you don't think I'm disgusting?"

She looked him up and down, her eyes lingering on his big belly. "No," she said softly. "No, Xander, I don't think you're disgusting at all."

He stared at her, blushing. She gazed right back, calmly slurping up her ice cream. "Well, then," he finally said, "there's definitely something wrong with you."

She rolled her eyes at him. "There are many things wrong with me," she said flippantly. "So. Let's watch a movie tonight. What do you have that's good?"

"Um, what kind of stuff do you like? I'm afraid I don't really have any girl movies."

"Well, that's good, because I hate girl movies. The more violence, the better."

He rattled off a brief summary of his dvd collection.

"Ooh, I haven't seen the second Alcyor movie yet; let's watch that."

"You like Alcyor?"

"Yeah, it's one of my favorite movies!"

"But it's so..."



She grinned at him. "Exactly. Lots of violence, blood, and a good story with an awesome plot twist. Totally my thing."

"I didn't think girls liked that kind of stuff."

"Well, Pudge, I'm not your typical girl."

They had finally reached Xander's dorm, so he let them in and they began the climb to his room on the third floor. A few minutes later, huffing and puffing, he let them into his room, which was still covered in packages of food from his binge the previous day.

"So do you have some good movie snacks among all this stuff?" she asked, peeking in one of the unpacked bags from the grocery store. "Oh, you have gummi watermelons, my favorite! May I have some?"

"Yeah...sure...help...yourself," he breathed.

"You should have some water," she told him as she ripped open the bag of gummies.

"In a...minute." He seated himself heavily in his desk chair and cringed when the whole thing buckled beneath him with a loud snap and sank a few inches. "Shit," he muttered, standing up again. He bent down to examine the chair and saw that he'd broken the hydraulics.

"Everything okay, Pudge?"

He swallowed hard. He'd known that he'd break it sooner or later, after all, the chair's capacity was only 300 pounds, and he'd had it since the beginning of the school year. But breaking it with her there seemed to be worse somehow. "Fine," he said, his voice cracking.

"What's wrong?"


She came over to him and laid her hand on his shoulder. "It's just a chair. You can get a new one."

"I'll just break that one, too," he muttered angrily.

"Come on," she told him, gently guiding him away from his desk. "Why don't you put the movie in? I'll make some popcorn."

A few minutes later, Cee removed the bag of popcorn from the microwave and plopped down next to Xander on his bed. He had to stop himself from moving away from her uncomfortably, not wanting her to call him out on it. But then she leaned back into him, and he couldn't help it - he shivered and tried to scoot away so that she wasn't sinking into his soft side.

"Aww, come on, Pudge, it's cold. Share some body heat," she told him.

"I thought you were never cold?"

"Not when I'm walking around outside. But when I'm sitting here doing nothing, I get a little chilly."

He sighed and stopped moving, swallowing hard as she snuggled up to him and threw the blanket over their legs.

"There, see? Much better."

He hoped that during the movie, she'd realize just how gross he felt and would move away from him. But he had to admit, having her smushing into all his fat felt pretty good. He quickly shoved the thought out of his head before she caught it.

She just yawned and snuggled closer.

Halfway through the movie, Xander reached for a bag from the grocery store and commenced eating everything in it: those little peanut butter and chocolate cakes, gummies, a bag of chips, and a bag of pretzels. He cursed himself the whole time, but he couldn't help it - having her so close to him made him so nervous, and he was definitely a nervous eater.

The movie ended with Cee laying her head on Xander's shoulder. "That was really good," she told him with a sigh.

"Um, yeah..."

"The final fight was awesome," she said. "That honor stuff gets me all choked up every time."

He turned his head and looked down at her. "Really?"

"Yeah, it's so much more emotional than that stupid relationship crap girls are supposed to like," she explained, her head still resting on his soft shoulder. She yawned again. "I don't know about you, Pudge, but I'm beat. Do you have a shirt I can borrow to sleep in?"

"Um...I...I guess so..." he said, reddening. He panicked, not wanting her to see what size his shirts were, but then he remembered that she knew what size his clothes were anyway. If she hadn't read it from his mind, she certainly found out when he relived the scene at the mall with the Roene demon.

"Oh, don't worry about that. Of course your clothes are going to be bigger," she told him, "you're a big guy." She patted him on the arm, sending his flesh jiggling.

Xander just sighed as he hefted himself to his feet. He dug around in his drawers until he found one of his old three exes, a dark green one, and pulled it out. He clutched it to his chest for a moment, feeling as if he were giving a piece of himself away in that old shirt. He reluctantly handed it to Cee, who was holding out her hand expectantly.

"Thanks, Pudge. I'll be right back," she told him as she skipped over to the door and let herself out.

He let out another sigh as he pulled his pajamas out and started to take his shirt off. Just then, the door opened. He ripped his shirt back down over his protruding belly with a gasp as Cee said, "I forgot to ask, left or right for the girls' bathroom?"

"L-l-left," he managed to stutter out, his hands clenching his shirt with incredible force.

"Thanks!" She left again.

Xander let out his breath explosively. He trod over to the door and locked it before he lifted his shirt over his head and fought his way into his tight pajamas. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and shook his head. What was he doing? He couldn't let her see him like this, with his ass and his gut hanging out so much. He began to remove his shirt again in order to put his regular clothes back on, but a knock came from the door.


He gritted his teeth and opened the door.

He stared at her. His shirt came down to her knees. It looked absolutely ridiculous on her, hanging off her as if she had shrunk down to a fifth of her normal size. Her coppery hair was tousled about her shoulders, and she had a sleepy expression on her face. She looked incredible.

She stared back at him, her eyes dancing up and down his huge form.

"What?" he said, uncomfortable after a few seconds.

"Nothing," she told him as she broke her gaze and walked into the room. "Are you going to help me change the sheets?"

"Um, yeah." He rooted around in his closet for his spare blanket and set of sheets and handed them to her, then gingerly removed Adrian's bedding and laid it over his roommate's desk chair. He helped her put the sheets on the bed and smooth out the blanket. When they were done, they both stood there awkwardly, not looking at each other.

"Okay, well, I guess it's bedtime," she finally said. She nimbly climbed into Adrian's bed and pulled the covers up around her shoulders, yawning again. "All that demon-killing wore me out."

"Okay, um, well, goodnight," Xander said. He locked the door and switched off the light, and then climbed into his own bed amidst the creaking of the springs at the addition of his weight.

A few seconds of silence went by, and then, in a small voice, Cee said, "Goodnight, Xander."

02-15-2012, 05:01 PM
This is pure torture!! Please don't leave us hanging!!

02-16-2012, 03:27 PM
I cannot express how beautiful this is. Are you a writer professionally???

02-18-2012, 08:36 AM
I want to smush Xander's fat *sigh* So, Cee isn't going to decide halfway through the night that she'd like to try and join Xander in his bed? ;)

02-18-2012, 07:43 PM
Can't wait to see what happens next. Great work!!

03-10-2012, 09:38 AM
I've been driven out of lurkdom to beg for an update

03-10-2012, 05:15 PM
I've been driven out of lurkdom to beg for an update

^^ this...

03-13-2012, 05:07 PM
Needs mooooore!

03-28-2012, 10:12 PM
"Are you ever going to get up?"

Xander mumbled wordlessly, rolling onto his side.

"Come on, it's really late."

He ignored her.

Suddenly his pillow was unceremoniously yanked out from beneath his head, causing his skull to bounce off the mattress. "Ow."

"If you don't get up, next thing that's getting pulled off is your blanket," Cee warned him.

"Don't you dare," he replied, reaching for the edges of his comforter in terror. He could feel that his entire belly was bare, his shirt having crept up over it as he'd tossed and turned last night.

"Then get up!"

He opened his eyes. Cee was standing in front of his bed, hands on her hips, already clad in her leathery black attire, he noted with some disappointment. "What time is it?"

"It's late."

"Okay, what time is 'late?'"

"It's already after ten."

"After ten? Why are you awake?"

"I've been up since eight. You should be up, too," she admonished him.

"It's still too early..." He closed his eyes again.

"I will rip that blanket right off of you."

"Fine." He reached down beneath the comforter and adjusted his shirt as best as he could before tossing the covers back and sitting up. "Why do I have to get up again?"

"Because we have a lot to do today," she sang. "We have to get you some breakfast - well, brunch, I guess - and we have to go to the house so we can get you started on training."

"Training?" he asked timidly. He yawned widely and stretched, his arms reaching high above his head, before he realized that that only pulled his shirt up and exposed his gut to Cee's view. He quickly put his arms down, stifling the rest of his yawn behind his palm.

She grinned devilishly. "Yup. Weapons," she told him.

"You're not serious."

"I'm completely serious," she said. "Darshan will want to start you right away, probably on swords or staff, so that you can defend yourself if one of us can't be there with you. Although I'm more than happy to be on Xander detail."

"Great," he replied weakly. He could just imagine himself stumbling about with a sword in hand. Someone would probably be injured, and it would most likely be him.

"So come on, let's go!"

He ran his fingers through his hair nervously. "Could you, uh, leave for a few minutes so I can get dressed?"

"You ain't got nothin' I haven't seen before, Pudge. I have three older brothers."

Xander blushed. "Well, despite what you have or haven't seen, I'm not moving until you go out into the hall."

She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, obviously exasperated at his refusal to allow her to witness his stripping down to his skivvies, but walked over to the door and let herself out. Not wanting a repeat of the night before, Xander followed her over and locked the door behind her.

"Seriously? You're locking it?" her muffled voice came through the door.

He ignored her and began to pull clothes from his dresser, trying to find the newest, biggest sizes. He chose a pair of roomy cargo pants and a short-sleeved blue button-down that had a bit of stretch to it. He quickly slipped out of his tight pajamas and, with a look of disgust, tossed them into his laundry basket. "I need to buy new pajamas," he muttered to himself as he stepped out of his boxers and threw them in the laundry basket, as well. "And new boxers." He caught a glimpse of the deep red line in his soft hip that the elastic of his undergarments had created. They shouldn't be that tight, he told himself, they're four exes. Yeah, but your new pants are fifty sixes, lardass. He sighed as he pulled a fresh pair of boxers on, feeling the waistband settle underneath the overhang of his huge belly and the fabric tighten over his ass. He wriggled into his pants and shirt without too much difficulty, and surveyed the results in the mirror. "Yup, you still look like a whale," he told himself.

Just then, Cee banged on the door. "Stop that!"

He jumped guiltily, then tore his gaze away from the mirror to grab his sneakers from their resting place by the door. He gingerly sat in his desk chair, not wanting to cause the whole thing to collapse, and pulled his shoes on. He then got to his feet and unlocked and opened the door.

Cee stood in the hallway, arms still crossed, glaring at him. "You need to stop that."

"Stop what?"

"Calling yourself names."


"No excuses," she told him. "It's terrible for your self esteem."

"What self esteem?" he muttered.

Cee let out an irritated noise. "Come on, let's go get you some brunch."

Xander let them out of his room and locked the door behind them. Cee bounded down the steps, all the while chattering away. "You really shouldn't put yourself down like that, Pudge," she told him. "There is absolutely nothing wrong with you just the way you are."

They made their way down the hill to Xander's car and got in. To avoid having Cee lecture him about self esteem any more, Xander turned the CD player on and dialed up the volume. His favorite band, Velvet Sky, pounded out of the speakers.

"This is pretty good, Pudge," Cee yelled over the thumping bass. "I like it."

"It's Velvet Sky," he replied.

"Ooh, cool name. I like it," she reaffirmed.

He pulled into the parking lot of the union building and just sat there for a few moments, trying to psych himself up to go inside. He knew that Sheriece was working the late shift today, so she wouldn't be there now to serve him breakfast. He wondered who would be there: Jason, the young pothead who'd never left his alma mater, or Sue, the miserable old woman who took great pleasure in yelling at her customers.

"What's wrong, Pudge?"


"Sheriece isn't here yet? That's no big deal. Do you want to wait?"

He sighed. "No, we can go in."

Xander hefted himself out of the car and made his way up to the front doors, Cee close at his heels. It looked like the counter was empty, and he experienced a moment of relief - it was probably Jason who was there this morning, in the back, trying to sleep off whatever partying he'd done the night before. Jason was rarely aware enough to give him a hard time about what he ordered.

Cee patted him on the arm and told him that she was going to go get some cereal and get them a seat. He just nodded as he stepped up to the counter, his stomach already grumbling in anticipation. But his excitement was dashed as a tall, thin woman with greying hair and a sour expression stepped into view.

She gave him a long, thorough look that he shrank under. "What'll it be?" she barked at him, practically daring him with her eyes to order his usual size breakfast.

"Um...four w-waffles...with cream cheese...and...three scrambled eggs..." he told her shyly.

She grimaced at him. "Digging his grave with a fork and knife," she muttered as she turned to begin preparing his food.

He blinked, shocked. He'd only ordered about a third of what he normally ate for breakfast, and she still thought that was too much?

It is too much, you freaking pig, he told himself. You shouldn't be having anything more than a bowl of cereal, if that.

He stood there awkwardly, his face burning red as he waited for his food. Finally, Sue emerged from the kitchen with two foam containers and dropped them on the counter in front of him. She wordlessly held out her hand for his card, and, fumbling a bit, he handed it to her. She swiped it, all the while muttering under her breath. "Disgusting, fat pig," he caught her mumble as she handed his card back to him. He swallowed hard and quickly gathered up his breakfast and left the food court.

Cee waved him over from a booth in the back corner of the seating area. She'd thoughtfully pushed the table all the way over to one side so he could fit at the booth, and was sitting on a chair that she'd pulled up to the end of the table. "Is this okay?"

He sighed a little. "Yeah. Thank you," he told her gratefully. He sat down and opened his containers, gazing at the food forlornly.

"That's all you're having?" she asked him, sounding concerned.

He didn't reply.

"What happened?"


"Why didn't you get more? Who cares about that old bat?"

"I didn't want more."

"You're a terrible liar, Pudge, y'know that?"

"Would you stay out of my head?"

"You make it too easy."

"How's that?"

"You just do," she told him, as if it should have been obvious.

He sighed heavily and dug into his eggs. He polished off his food in a matter of minutes and sat there, sipping his orange juice glumly.

"Why don't you go get some more?" Cee asked him as she slurped up the last of the milk in her bowl.

Xander just gave her a look.

"Seriously," she said. "You're still hungry. Do you want me to get it for you?"

"Knock it off," he told her. "That was more than enough for a normal person. I'm fine."

She gave him an exasperated look. "I thought you were done with this crap. Just eat what you're hungry for and stop trying to starve yourself, because you know that it doesn't work. All it does is make you miserable."

Xander blushed furiously. "Just...stop it, alright? I'm not going up there again to order what I really want and have her tell me what a pig I am."

"You're not a pig, and you know it. You're a human being."

He rolled his eyes in disgust. "I am a pig," he muttered viciously. "A huge, corpulent, repulsive pig."

Cee was silent for a moment. "Please don't talk about yourself like that," she said quietly a few seconds later.

"Why not?" he sighed. "It's true."

Cee exploded. "No, it's not," she insisted, pounding her fist into the table. "You are none of those things. Sure, you're bigger than the average guy, but that doesn't mean you're a horrible person. All it means is that you're big. And in addition to being big, you're also intelligent, sweet, caring, and handsome. Those are the things that matter. And what the hell is 'average,' anyway? Nobody's average. We're all messed up in one way or another. So stop putting yourself down, right now."

He just stared at her. Handsome? What the hell? he thought, genuinely confused. He'd never thought he was ugly, exactly, but handsome?

She stared back at him, a look of pure determination on her face as she willed him to believe her.

Somehow he couldn't brush off her seriousness. "Sorry," he said meekly.

"Don't apologize to me," she told him, "apologize to yourself. Now are you going to go get some more to eat?"

He gulped, but shook his head.

Cee sighed. "Fine. Let's get going; Darshan will be wondering where we are."

03-28-2012, 10:17 PM
"Time out," Xander gasped, his chest and belly heaving with his need for air.

Darshan lowered his sword, which had been hurtling through the air towards Xander. "Again?"

"Yes...again." He swallowed hard to try to bring some moisture back into his throat, and failed. Wheezing and shaking with exertion, he lowered his sword and plopped down on the ground.

"You've got to learn to push through this, Xander," Darshan said. There wasn't a bead of sweat marring his visage, and he was breathing normally. Xander's shirt was soaked through, and he was so out of breath he could barely speak.

"I...don't...think...I'm...cut out...for this," he puffed, wiping the sweat off his face with the back of his hand.

"You're doing fine, Pudge," Cee said encouragingly from her perch on the low wall that surrounded the yard.

"Truly, you're doing better than I thought you would, if only you wouldn't take so many breaks," Darshan told him.

"I'm not...exactly...used to...regular...exercise," he quipped.

"I suppose that's true," Darshan said thoughtfully.

"Can I...have...something...to drink?"

"I'll get you some water," Cee said, popping up. She disappeared into the house.

Xander watched his breath puff into the air in a cloud of steam. They were in the spacious backyard of the house, and though the sky was grey overhead, no precipitation was falling. He sat on the cold ground, mentally begging the cool air to dry his skin. He was drenched in sweat and still quaking from the work of hauling his huge body around as Darshan came at him again and again. Though, as Darshan had said, he was doing better than he had expected. Though Darshan was fast and strong, Xander was stronger. He was able to swat away Darshan's blows with ease, though he wasn't always fast enough to catch them.

"Here you go," Cee said as she emerged from the house with a large glass of water.

"Thanks," he panted, and downed half the glass in one gulp. "Can we...be done?" he asked hopefully. They'd been at this for over two hours, and he was getting really hungry.

Darshan frowned. "One more time, as soon as you catch your breath. Then we'll take a break."

Xander just sat there for a few minutes, sipping the rest of his water and staring down at the ground. He wished that Cee hadn't insisted upon watching them. The way she stared at him as he jiggled about made him really nervous and embarrassed. It was bad enough to show Darshan how out of shape he was, but having Cee just sitting there, staring, for once silently, was unnerving and humiliating.

"Alright, that's long enough," Darshan piped up. "Up you get."

Xander reluctantly lugged himself to his feet and set the glass of water down on the picnic table, and picked up his sword. It was a heavy thing, the sword, silvery and sharp with a scrolling design etched in its handle. Xander had thought that they would practice with fake wooden swords first, but Darshan had insisted upon using the real thing so that Xander could get the feel of the weight of it. At first, Xander had been terrified that Darshan was going to slice him open, but the level of control he displayed was remarkable, stopping inches from Xander's body.

Darshan came at him again with no warning, and Xander raised his sword in front of him to fend off a blow. Xander whipped Darshan's blade away. Darshan countered with a stab, which Xander missed. The point of Darshan's sword came at his round belly and Xander instinctively sucked in. Xander parried the move with a sweeping motion, stepping backwards out of the range of the blade. He stumbled over his own feet and flew back, landing with a heavy thump on his backside.

"Crap," he muttered. That was the fourth time he'd fallen on his ass.

Darshan sighed, obviously disappointed. "Alright, we can take a break."

Cee ran over to him. "Good thing you've got all that padding," she told him cheerfully as she held out a hand to help him up.

He ignored her proffered hand and lumbered to his feet, still gasping.

Cee immediately started chattering as they made their way into the house. "You're doing really well, you know, Pudge. None of us can just whack Darshan's blows out of the way like that. You're really strong."

Xander just stayed silent, wishing firstly that his breathing would calm down, and secondly that he had something to eat.

"Oh, you're hungry?" she asked him innocently.

"No," he growled quietly, not wanting Darshan to hear that the big fatty was already hungry.

"Yes, you are," Cee insisted. "We don't really have much here, but maybe we can run out and get you something."

"You're hungry?" Darshan asked, making a bit of a face. "Didn't you just eat breakfast?"

"He couldn't get as much as he wanted because the lady who was working was a bitch," Cee explained.

Xander mentally buried his face in his hands.

"Oh, uh, well, I suppose you can go get something," Darshan conceded. "Just don't be gone too long."

"I'll be right back," Xander promised. He made his way to the front door and stepped back outside. He then realized that Cee was following him. "What are you doing?"

"I'm coming with you. You're not supposed to be alone, remember?"

He looked at her with distress. "You don't really have to come, do you?" He'd been looking forward to going to a drive-thru and ordering as much as he wanted and stuffing his face in the car with no one there to make him feel guilty.

"I want to come," she said simply.

Xander sighed, but unlocked his car and let her get in.

Five minutes later they were sitting in the drive-thru of his favorite fast food place, a locally-owned joint that had the most amazing fried cheese, burgers, and chicken sandwiches. "I'd like five cheeseburgers with everything, four chicken sandwiches with ranch, three large fries, a large coke, and six orders of fried cheese. Do you want anything?" he asked, turning to Cee.

"Nah, not hungry, I just ate, remember?"

Blushing, he turned back to the speaker and told the server that that would be all. He gave him his total and told him to pull around to the window. This was Xander's least favorite part. He came here so often that many of the servers knew him, and knew that everything he was ordering was all for him. Most of them let him go with just an odd look, but some of them made comments about the size of his order. He prayed that today he'd get by with just a disgusted look.

"Thirty-one fifty is your total," the guy at the window told him. Xander handed over his bank card, trying to not look at the guy, who looked familiar. He handed his card back to him, followed by a large bag of food. "You enjoy that!" the guy told him, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Uh, thanks," Xander said as he took the food and his drink. He handed the bag to Cee to hold and quickly pulled into a parking space.

"Why are we stopping?"

"So I can eat."

"Why don't you eat back at the house?"

"Because I'd rather not show Darshan what a garbage disposal I am."

"Stop it right now," she said sternly.

"Look, I just don't want to stuff my face in front of them, okay? You, unfortunately, have already seen me eat, so it's not going to be a big surprise when I devour everything in this bag. I just don't want them to say anything."

"Why would they say anything?" she asked him, her brow furrowed.

"Because...it's not normal," he explained, "to eat this much."

"It's normal for you."

"Yeah, and that's why I weigh as much as three people put together," he told her in an exasperated tone as he unwrapped his first burger. "That is not normal."

Cee just sighed. "You know, you can't go through life just being afraid of things people might do or say."

"But I can try my best to avoid getting humiliated," he muttered, then shoved half his burger into his mouth.

03-28-2012, 10:22 PM
They ended up going through the drive-thru again so that Xander could get another three orders of fried cheese for the drive back to the house. When they finally pulled into the driveway and Xander popped the last morsel of cheese into his mouth, he sighed contentedly, almost forgetting that Cee was there with him.

"Feeling better?" she asked him as she unbuckled her seatbelt.

"Um, yeah." He felt stuffed to the brim, and he loved it. He gave the side of his belly a little rub, feeling the resistance beneath the softness that meant he was packed full of delicious food. The way you've been eating, that little voice said, you've got to be close to four hundred. But you just keep stuffing yourself. He felt himself blush guiltily as he undid his own seatbelt and hefted himself out of the car. His full gut sloshed pleasantly as he moved, and he found himself wishing he had some more fried cheese. Come on, you just had nine orders of it, he told himself as they ascended the steps to the house. Isn't that a little excessive?

Cee let them in, and they found Darshan waiting for them in the kitchen, finishing a small salad. "Ah, you're back. Good." He bit into his last forkful of lettuce and took his bowl to the sink. "We'll continue with swords, and then, depending on how well that goes, work on archery for a bit."

Xander's mood sank. He'd been hoping that they would be done with his training for the day, but it sounded like Darshan was just getting started. He and Cee followed Darshan back out into the yard, where the swords were waiting for them on the picnic table.

"Alright," Darshan said. "Let's go." He picked up his sword and rushed at Xander, barely giving him time to grab his own weapon. Xander blocked his attack at the last possible second, and tried one of his own, which Darshan dodged easily. They went back and forth, Darshan increasing the intensity of his attacks as Xander got worn out. His entire body was jiggling madly, the sensation amplified by his fullness. At first, it felt incredible: his body felt gigantic, and softer than it ever had in his frantic movements. But as he had to work harder and harder to fend off Darshan's blows, a queasiness began to invade his stomach.

"Stop!" he finally called.

"What is it now?" Darshan asked.

"I don't...feel...so good," he told him, clutching his belly.

"What's wrong, Pudge?" Cee asked.

"I just...don't..." He staggered over to the corner of the yard and vomited once, his stomach heaving.

"Oh, Pudge." Cee was suddenly at his side, rubbing his back. He swatted her away. He was mortified. How had he not expected this? What did he think would happen when he stuffed himself silly and then tried to do the equivalent of running a marathon?

He heard Darshan sigh, and say darkly, "In the future, you might want to watch how much you eat before a training session."

"Sorry," he muttered.

"Come on, let's go get Ling to fix you something to settle your stomach," Cee cooed at him, taking his hand and leading him inside.

Xander saw Darshan shoot them a look as they passed, and he repeated his apology. Darshan just shook his head.

Inside, Cee called up the stairs for Ling, who emerged from a room at the top of the stairs almost immediately. "What's wrong?"

"Pudge has got an upset tummy," Cee explained. "He just threw up."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, Xander. I can make a tea that will settle your stomach, if you'd like?" she asked as she floated down the stairs.

"Yes, please."

"Come sit in the kitchen while I brew it up for you. What caused your nausea?"

"I...um..." he sputtered.

Darshan spoke from the doorway. "He ate too much and then tried to do swordplay."

"Ah. An easy enough fix."

They followed her into the kitchen, where she busied herself by putting the kettle on and pulling several jars of herbs out of a cabinet. Xander stood awkwardly by the counter, having already determined that he was too heavy for the kitchen chairs. She carefully measured each herb into a mortar and began crushing them together with a pestle. She poured the mixture into a little mesh tea ball and placed it in a big blue mug and, when the kettle began to whistle, poured the boiling water into it.
"Now this needs to steep for a few minutes. Have a seat, Xander."

"I..." he trailed off, not wanting to admit that he'd break their chairs.

"Let's go into the living room," Cee suggested with a knowing look at Xander. "The couch will be more comfortable."

He followed her into the living room and gingerly lowered himself onto the dark green velvet couch, as much to assure himself he wouldn't break it as to keep his stomach from churning.

Cee hovered over him anxiously. "Can I get you anything? Do you want to put your feet up?"

He gave her a strange look. "No, I'm okay," he lied. In truth, his insides were heaving with every breath he took. He lightly clutched his belly, and heard a sharp intake of breath from Cee. He looked at her. She was staring at his gut, her eyes slightly widened. Xander swallowed hard and grabbed a throw pillow and covered himself with it as best as he could. Great, that's all I need, he thought bitterly, her staring at my disgusting gut.

"Here you go, Xander," Ling said as she walked into the living room, holding the steaming blue mug. She handed it to him - it smelled incredible - and he took a tentative sip. Thankfully, it tasted amazing, as well. He caught hints of spearmint and ginger, and other herbs that he couldn't identify, and he could literally feel it calming his upset stomach. He happily sipped away at it as Ling sat down across from him.

"Is that alright?" Ling asked him.

"Yes, it's really good, thank you. I can feel it working already," Xander told her.

She smiled at him. "Good. I do apologize, someone should have warned you about Darshan's training sessions. They're pretty intense."

"Yeah, intense is a word for it..."

"I thought he'd go easy on him," Cee confessed quietly, so Darshan, who was still in the kitchen, wouldn't hear. She was still standing next to Xander, her arms crossed and a moody expression on her face. "I would have. He's never even held a sword before."

Ling crossed her legs and leaned back into the rose-colored armchair. "Darshan doesn't believe in going easy on anyone, when it comes to training. It sounded like things were going well before your unfortunate sickness, though."

Cee brightened. "He's a natural," she said eagerly. "And he's really strong."

"That's good to hear," Ling replied. "It will be helpful when you're capable of defending yourself, especially in the times to come."

"Oh!" Cee exclaimed. "The prophecy - you should tell him."

"Yes, he certainly does have the right to know," Ling said. "You must understand, Xander, that we had no idea what this meant until we heard about your unusual talent.

The gateway soon overrun
With scores of risen demonkin
Crowding, blinding, black'ning the sun
Shall join to let the Old Ones in
Led by the leader who is not
The Damned will walk by light of day
But one whose senses rightly ought
To seek them out in air's fair way
Shall be the drop on moth's pale wing
The source of Light's bright vict'ry
A man, a son, of thee we sing
The first, the one, in hist'ry."

Ling stopped reciting and folded her hands in her lap.

Xander just stared at her, a puzzled expression on his face. "Okay, so I get the whole 'demons are going to overrun the earth' part..."

"Yes, the first part is fairly transparent. Demons shall overrun the gateway between their world and ours, and will join together to let in the Old Ones, the three Old Gods. 'The leader who is not' is Megaera, the Mother of the Damned. She will be the driving force behind the invasion. It's the next part that had us stumped," she admitted. "'But one whose senses rightly ought to seek them out in air's fair way' just didn't make any sense, until we met you. 'Air's fair way' is scent, the sense of smell. You are the first one that we know of with your particular talent. You are the one who will tip things in our favor," she told him. "The 'drop on moth's pale wing' that stops it from flying."

Cee gazed at him, a triumphant expression on her face. "See, Pudge? I told you you were important."

"This..." Xander began. "This is kind of ridiculous. I'm just...I'm just me. Who made this prophecy, anyway?"

"No one knows. The prophecies have been passed down since there have been demon hunters," Ling said, shrugging.

"There are more?"

"One of them even says that your child will save the world," Cee told him smugly.

"Bullshit." he shifted uncomfortably on the couch and set his empty mug down on the coffee table. "Look, don't you think this is just a little...implausible?"

"You've been followed and attacked by demons, Xander. How is a prophecy any less plausible?"

He was speechless, at that.

"We don't have it bad here, yet, but in the city, the number of attacks and sightings have been steadily increasing over the past few years. More and more demons are coming through. Other things in the prophecies match up. The time is now," Cee said insistently. "And now we have you. I don't know how or why, but you are going to help us win, maybe even close up the gateway for good and stop more demons from ever coming through to our world."

They were all silent for a few moments. Xander rubbed his eyes with his fingers, trying to preemptively strike at the headache he was afraid would develop at the influx of stressful information.

"Well," Darshan said from the kitchen doorway. "Now that you know how much we need you, are you ready to devote a little more effort to your training?"

03-29-2012, 03:10 AM
I don't really have much to say, except I'm very happy to finally see an update, and I'm hoping Xander and Cee get it on at some point (because my mind is dirty like that...)

03-29-2012, 07:46 PM
This is just fifteen different kinds of great. :)

03-31-2012, 12:04 PM
This is sooo good! I think it would make an awesome tv show. I was supposed to be studying for my math exam but instead I couldnt stop reading. Can't wait to see what happens next!!

04-01-2012, 04:24 PM
Oh thanks even though there was no real gain induced by a nice woman this was a very interesting story to read.
Found this girl Cee very interesting^^ and all characters were very well outlined.

And a very interesting plot Dear!.

Thnaks for sharing and i hope for more of Cee giving the boy some selfesteem^^.

05-05-2012, 02:16 AM
This is the best BHM story I've read so far! When does the next update come out? The anticipation is killing me...

05-05-2012, 03:02 AM
When does the next update come out? The anticipation is killing me...

Can only second this!

07-07-2012, 07:35 PM
Hello, all. I just wanted to let my dear readers know that my computer has met with an untimely and unfortunate death, but I haven't forgotten about this story! More to come soon. Thanks for your patience!

07-14-2012, 12:50 PM
In the name of probably many readers - heart-felt condolences!

Has some good fairy popped-up in the meantime to help out with a nice new computer to continue Xander's travails?

07-14-2012, 02:33 PM
In the name of probably many readers - heart-felt condolences!

Has some good fairy popped-up in the meantime to help out with a nice new computer to continue Xander's travails?


No new computer, but I'm hoping the fiance will have the old one fixed within a few weeks' time. It needs a new motherboard or somethingorother.

07-15-2012, 02:58 PM
“He just puked his guts out, Darshan!” Cee was exclaiming as Xander entered the kitchen.

“That happens sometimes, Cee. He’s got to push through it,” Darshan responded, leaning against the refrigerator.

“Come on, he’s in no shape to continue. Besides, this is only his first session. He’s never fought before. You could go easier on him. And besides, I’ll be with him, it’s not like he needs to be a master swordsman right this very second.” Cee practically stamped her foot in her fervor.

Xander quietly placed his mug in the sink and swiftly exited the room, going back into the living room where Ling still sat, listening to Darshan’s and Cee’s exchange as she languidly flipped the pages of a magazine.

“Sounds like you’ll be getting a reprieve, Xander. At least for today,” she remarked.

“I don’t know, it sounds like Darshan’s pretty set on continuing,” he replied glumly.

She laughed lightly. “Don’t be too sure. Cee is nothing if not persistent.”

“Fine!” Darshan exploded. Xander heard the back door slam a few seconds later, and Cee came back into the living room, smiling.

“So, Pudge, what do you want to do for the rest of the day?”

“Um, I thought…I thought I had to…to keep…training…?”

“Not when you’re sick, silly. I got you out of it. What do you say we go to the movies?”

Xander’s cheeks colored. “No,” he responded.

“Well, you just think about it. I’m going to get a shower,” she sang as she pranced up the stairs.

Xander just shook his head. He looked over at Ling, who was trying to suppress a smile. “What?” he asked her.

“Oh, nothing. Are you feeling better now?”

“Yeah, I feel great,” he replied. “Thank you so much for the tea, Ling.” He hesitated before continuing. “I…I was wondering…”

“Yes?” she said, looking up from the magazine at him.

Xander stammered, “Can…can you m-make those teas…for…for anything?”

“Well, I can’t make you a flying tea,” she laughed. “But there’s a wide variety of things that herbs can help with. What were you interested in?”

“Could…you make…an…an…a-appetite suppressant?

Ling tapped her chin thoughtfully. “Well, yes.”

“Could you…make one…for m-me?”

He couldn’t meet her eyes, but he saw the sad look she gave him. “Why, yes, I could do that for you, Xander. I have to warn you, though, sometimes those herbs have some unpleasant side effects.”

He shrugged. “That’s okay.”

“Hmm,” she murmured. “I’m almost out of dandelion…and there are a few other things I’ll need to pick up. I can have it ready for you in a few days, is that alright?”

He let out a sigh of relief. “Yeah, that’s fine. And…if you could…not tell anyone about it…”

She gave him a gentle smile. “Of course not.”

“Thanks, Ling.”

They sat there in a comfortable silence for a few more minutes before Cee came bounding down the stairs, her wet hair streaming out behind her. “Ready to go, Pudge?”

Xander sighed again, but said, “Can we please go back to my dorm?”

“Anything you want, Pudge,” she chirped.

A short while later, they were walking into Xander’s room. He almost collapsed into his desk chair before he remembered that it was broken, and sat down heavily on his bed instead.

“How are you feeling?” she asked him as she fingered the tag of a t-shirt that was draped over the back of his chair.

“Just…great,” he panted. “I can’t…even…walk up…a flight…of stairs…without…dying.”

“I meant your tummy,” she scolded sternly.


“Good. Ling’s teas are awesome.”

Unbidden, his request to Ling popped into his mind. He tried to think of something else, but it was too late.

“Pudge!” she exclaimed in dismay. “Please don’t do that…you don’t need it!”

He scowled. His breath finally returning, he said, “Yes, I do…just…look at me.”

“We’ve already had this conversation. You are fine just the way you are.”

“No, I’m not. My parents –“

“Screw your parents! Screw everyone else! You like the way you look, don’t you?”

Xander’s face turned scarlet and his mouth snapped shut.

“I’m sorry for saying it and making you uncomfortable, but it’s true. You like being so big and –“

“Stop!” he bellowed. “Just stop.” He rose from his bed and began grabbing clothing out of his dresser. “I’m going to get a shower.”

For once, Cee kept her mouth shut as he gathered up his things and left the room. He made his way to the bathroom and into the last shower stall on the left, the one that had the least light. He ripped the curtain closed and began to undress, all the while cursing the narrow width of the stall and the way his gigantic belly, hips, and ass constantly brushed into the cold tile. You’re even too big for the showers, fatass, he told himself, feeling the contempt sizzle through his veins at the same time as a pleased flush coursed through his chest.

“What is wrong with you?” he muttered to himself, feeling the warring emotions of hatred and desire clashing within himself. “How can you like this?” He grabbed a handful of his belly and shook it hard, once again feeling that heat stir inside of him.

A tear dripped down his cheek as he turned the water on and stood under the weak stream. More tears followed as he silently berated himself. You stupid, fat idiot, he raged. You’re not supposed to like being so huge. You’re not supposed to like not being able to fit in the showers. You’re not supposed to like the feeling of all your fat in your hands… He instantly dropped his slick, soft, soapy belly, which he’d been holding up with one hand while the other soaped underneath it. He pounded his fist into the wall and closed his eyes. Why am I such a freak?

After a few moments of pondering, he sighed and continued his shower, trying to ignore the way his fat flesh jiggled with every move he made. He rinsed off and shut off the water, and grabbed his towel, which was beach-sized so that it would fit around him. Well, it was supposed to fit around him, but it didn’t quite make it lately. He rubbed himself dry and quickly slipped into an old pair of boxers that were like a second skin, and a new pair of jeans and a new t-shirt that both fit more loosely. He pulled back the curtain and stepped out of the shower stall to sit on the long bench that ran the length of this part of the bathroom and dried off his feet. Sighing, he exited the bathroom and made his way back to his room.

He found Cee sitting at his desk, spinning around in his chair. “Have a nice shower?”

“Yeah,” he muttered, closing the door behind him.

She hopped up and stood before him. “Don’t be upset, Pudge,” she said, and then wrapped her arms around him in a hug.

His muscles instantly went rock hard as he felt her sink into his pillowy gut. But thankfully, she pulled away almost instantly, her cheeks slightly pink.

“Let’s go to the movies,” she said again. “I really want to see that Bradley Reign flick, and I know you’ll like it.”


“Why not?”

“Because I…I don’t…fit,” he said through gritted teeth as he threw his dirty clothes into the laundry basket in his closet.


“I don’t fit in the damn seats, alright?” he growled. “I haven’t for a long time.”

She came close to him again, and reached up and pushed his wet hair out of his eyes. “They just remodeled the theater in September,” she told him gently. “The armrests can be pushed up now.”

He stared at her, not comprehending.

“The armrests won’t be in the way. All you have to do is push them up.”

“You mean…”

She grinned brilliantly at him. “You can fit.”

07-15-2012, 07:34 PM
A half hour later, they stood in front of the box office, surrounded by people waiting to see this movie or that. Xander twitched nervously, feeling multiple pairs of eyes on him in the huge lobby. He was grateful that the line was moving quickly, and that soon they’d be in the dark of the theater where no one could see him.

Finally, they were in front of the young girl at the ticket counter. He looked up at her and involuntarily smiled with relief. The girl was about nineteen, with long brown hair and huge brown eyes, with a round face and chubby body. She reminded him of his sister.

“Hello,” she said cheerfully, not even glancing down at his size. “How are you this afternoon?”

“Hi,” he replied. “I’m okay, how are you?”

“Pretty good,” she said. “I like when it’s busy,” she laughed. “What can I get for you?”

“Two for the 4:45 of Fire Storm, please.”

“Alright.” She punched the information into the computer, took Xander’s money, and grabbed the tickets as the machine spit them out. “There you go. Enjoy the show! I just saw it last night; it’s really good.”

“Thanks,” he told her, a bit surprised. “You have a good day.”

“She was cute,” Cee said as they walked away. There was a strange edge to her voice.

“I guess so,” he replied. “She actually reminded me of my sister.”

“Oh.” Cee smiled and grabbed his hand. Xander glanced down at their entwined fingers, a bit puzzled. “What are you going to get to eat?”

“I…I shouldn’t,” he murmured as his stomach growled.

“Oh, come on. Let’s at least share some popcorn and get drinks. I’m starting to get hungry.”

So am I, he thought, but he’d just stuffed himself a few hours ago, whereas she hadn’t had anything since that morning. After standing in line for about five minutes, he decided on a drink, a large bucket of popcorn, and four stuffed soft pizza pretzels with cheese dip.

They were soon on their way to theater number four, Cee carrying the huge bucket of popcorn and her drink, and Xander carrying the large box full of delicious-smelling pretzels and his own drink. They were about twenty minutes early, so the lights were still on as they made their way into the half-full theater. They chose a seat near the bottom of the stadium-like seating, in the center of an empty aisle. Cee scurried in ahead of him and, to his amazement and utter joy, flipped up the armrests on three of the seats.

“See,” she said happily, “I told you.”

Xander was speechless. It had been almost a year since he’d been to the movies, ever since he’d come to see something by himself and hadn’t been able to sit through the whole thing since he could barely fit into the seat. After that, he’d assumed that his movie-going days were over and just waited for things he wanted to see to be uploaded to the internet. But now, with this amazing upgrade, he could see movies in a theater again. The brand new seats were still narrow, but with the armrests up he could take up two of them and be comfortable.

“Wow,” was all he could say. “Thanks.” He placed his bulk down and wriggled around a bit. He did take up most of the two seats, he saw with some chagrin, but at least he was comfy. He began contentedly munching on popcorn and pretzels, alternating between the two as the theater filled up.

It wasn’t long before a group of girls that he recognized from school came into their aisle, giggling and talking. They stopped next to Xander and sat down. He tried to ignore them, but he soon heard it:

“Oh my god!” the one sitting next to him burst out.


She made an effort to whisper to the girl sitting next to her, but Xander could still hear her clearly, even over the rest of the people in the theater.

“This guy sitting next to me is taking up two seats!”

He saw the other girl lean forward and look over at him. “Holy crap!” she snickered. “He’s huge!”

Xander felt his cheeks flame, and abruptly dropped the handful of popcorn that had been on its way to his mouth back into the bucket. He looked over at it and saw that a third of the bucket was gone, and the previews hadn’t even started yet. He felt shame bloom in the pit of his stomach and took a long gulp of his drink to try and quash it.

By now, the four girls were all laughing, he knew, at him. He debated getting up and leaving, but with a glance he saw that the aisle on the other side of Cee had filled up, so he’d have to squeeze past these girls in order to get out, and that wasn’t going to happen.

“What’s wrong?” Cee asked, tapping him on his meaty arm.

“Nothing…please don’t,” he muttered.

“Hey,” she said loudly, looking over at the group of laughing girls. “Shut up. We can hear you.” Then, to Xander, “Don’t worry about them. You’re comfortable. That’s what matters.” She rubbed his arm soothingly.

The girls tried to stifle their laughter as the lights dimmed and the previews started, but then one of them snorted, “oink, oink,” and they all burst into giggles again.

“Alright, do you want me to go get the manager? Seriously, shut the hell up,” Cee snarled.

Someone behind them said, “yeah, shut up,” and finally, the girls stopped laughing.

But that didn’t stop Xander from stressing about his size for the entire first half of the movie. What if I have to go to the bathroom? he thought bleakly. They’d have to all get up and go out onto the stairs; there’s no way I’ll fit past them. What if I break the seats? What if…

Then Cee set the now-empty bucket of popcorn down on the floor and turned and snuggled into him, resting her hand on his bloated belly.

“What are you doing?” he hissed quietly.

“I’m snuggling,” she told him matter-of-factly. “Deal with it.”


“Shh,” she said. “You’re soft and comfy.”

As if that explained her bizarre actions. He shifted around uncomfortably, feeling her hand pressing into his gut like a knife.

“Stop moving!” she whispered.

“But you’re…you’re touching…me…”

“Yes, snuggling generally entails touching.”

“But why?”

“I told you, you’re soft and comfy.”

So for the second half of the movie, all he could focus on was the way it felt having half her body squishing into him. Finally, it was over, and she slowly unwrapped herself from him and stretched, yawning.

“That was pretty good,” she said, looking at him pleasantly. “How did you like it?”

Xander stared at her for a moment, then admitted, “I couldn’t really concentrate on it.”

“Oh, you shouldn’t worry about those dumb bitches,” she told him airily.

“You weren’t helping.”

“What, because I was snuggling you?” she teased, laughing.

“Yeah, what the hell was that?” he demanded, as he rose to his feet.

She shrugged. “I wanted to snuggle with you. You’re warm and cuddly.”

“I’m disgusting.” He started walking out of the aisle and down the stairs.

Cee grabbed him by the arm and spun him around to face her. “What did I tell you about that? You’re not disgusting. You’re a sweet, handsome, s-“ she clammed up. “You’re sweet and handsome,” she repeated.

“Yeah,” he muttered as they exited the theater, “that’s why I take up two seats.”

07-15-2012, 11:42 PM
:) Lovely way to start a new week with a new Xander chapter! And I also take it as good news regarding the health of your computer and your own well-being.

07-16-2012, 12:07 PM
:) :wubu: :)

And yah, she got to snuggle with him....I love the gradual changes that come with each chapter to this story, very nice pacing :)

07-17-2012, 04:57 PM

Xander shook his head. “I’d really rather go to a drive-thru.”

“Oh, come on, wouldn’t it be nice to have a sit-down meal where somebody else takes care of you?” Cee pleaded as they walked to Xander’s car in the packed parking lot.

“I don’t like going to restaurants,” he admitted as he unlocked his car. “I don’t like people watching me eat.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” she told him. “We could go to Rookie’s and get wings and salads and stuff. You can’t get wings at a drive-thru.”

“That does sound really good…” he said wistfully. “But…”

“Then it’s settled,” she interrupted happily as she scooted into the passenger seat. “And Rookie’s is only like five minutes away.”

Xander sighed heavily as he wriggled into his car, trying to keep his big belly from bumping the horn as he got situated. “Do we really have to?”

“Yes,” Cee said firmly. “You’ll be glad we did.”

He wordlessly started up the car and pulled out of the parking space, and headed for the restaurant. They were soon pulling into Rookie’s parking lot, having to circle a few times because it was so crowded. Xander parked, and just sat there for a few minutes.

“What’s wrong?” Cee finally piped up.

“I don’t know about this, Cee.”

“You’ll be fine,” she reassured him. “Now let’s go. I’m starving.”

So was Xander, but he figured that that went without saying. He heaved himself out of the car, and they went inside. The delicious smells assaulted his senses as soon as the door opened, and Xander was too dazed to do anything but look around hungrily.

“Two for Rockwood,” he heard Cee tell the pretty blonde hostess. “A table, please, not a booth.”

“We actually have one open right now,” she responded. “Follow me.”

They wove through the maze of tables, chairs, and wait staff, Xander trying his best to keep from bumping into the patrons with his paunch and mostly failing. Finally, they were seated at a minuscule table for two in the back corner of the restaurant. Xander stared at the table in dismay. He was wider than it was. At least it wasn’t a booth, though.

“Boy, this table sure is tiny, isn’t it?” Cee remarked.

“Um, yeah.”

“So what are you going to get, Pudge?” she asked as she opened her menu.

“I…I don’t know,” he replied as he perused his own. “Everything looks good.” He cringed, wishing he wouldn’t have said that.

But Cee just smiled at him. “Yeah, it does. I love this place. Even with the cheesy décor.”

Xander looked around at the walls, which were covered in random kitschy objects and vintage posters. “Yeah, I guess it is a little cheesy.”

“Do you want to share the wings sampler as an appetizer?” she asked him.

“Uh, sure.”

“Good.” She smiled at him again.

After going back and forth between three or four items, Xander decided upon an entrée – under the “hearty appetites” heading – and his sides. Then, the waiter was there, an athletic-looking guy in his early 30’s.

“Good evening, folks, my name’s Finn. How are you tonight?”

“We’re great,” Cee replied, “how are you?”

He responded that he was just fine, and went over the drink specials. “And for the dieters among us, we’ve partnered with QuickThin to create a special low-cal menu that you’ll find on your menu insert. Lots of tasty stuff on there. Can I get you guys some drinks? Appetizers?” He turned to Xander expectantly, his face a neutral mask.

“I’d like an orange cream soda, please,” Xander said quietly.

“Alright. And for you?” He turned to Cee.

“Just a water with lemon, please, and we’d like the wings sampler as an appetizer. With blue cheese and ranch. We’re also ready with our entrée orders, I think, aren’t we, Xander?”

“Um, yeah,” he said, somewhat flustered. “I’d like the double cheeseburger entrée, medium rare, with garlic cheddar mashed potatoes and the mozzarella salad on the side, please. With a side Caesar salad.”

The waiter’s face didn’t move as he wrote down Xander’s order. “And for you, dear?”

“I’d like the chicken Caesar wrap with curly fries.”

“Okay, I’ll put that right in for you and be back in a sec with your drinks.”

Xander let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding as the waiter walked away.

“You need to stop worrying,” Cee told him.

“I shouldn’t have ordered that,” he muttered.

“Why not? You’re hungry. You should eat what you want.”

He didn’t tell her that he was currently so hungry, he could have eaten double what he just ordered and still have room for dessert.

“So,” Cee was saying, “you have a sister?”

“Yeah, she’s four years younger than me. Her name is Alexis. She’s a senior in high school.”

“What’s she like? Do you guys get along?”

“Yeah, we get along. She’s a really sweet girl, very smart. She doesn’t give me crap about…” he trailed off, looking down at himself.

Cee just nodded. “I have three older brothers,” she told him. “The two oldest are pains in the ass, but I get along with the youngest one the best. We’re really close in age, so we’re kind of like twins. His name is Kai.”

“So where are your brothers? And your parents, you said they were in the city?”

“They’re all in the city. My brothers all wanted to go to college right there where we grew up. I’m the only one who wanted to go somewhere else. Kai is in college for psychology, like me, though.”

“Psychology? So you actually are a part-time student?”

“Yeah,” she told him. “I wanted to be able to better understand the things that I hear from people’s heads. I figured psych was the way to go.”

“What…talents…do your brothers have?”

“They’re all mainly energy workers, like Ling. Kai specializes in healing, like she does.”

“But don’t all demon hunters work with energy?”

Just then Finn came back with their drinks, the wing platter, and Xander’s salad. He set them down on the table and said, “Enjoy, you guys,” and was gone as quickly as he came.

Cee took a long sip of her water as Xander happily gulped his soda. “Yes, technically we all work with energy, but it’s like being in college. Everybody has to take gen eds, but only some people specialize in some of the gen ed topics. Energy work is just a gen ed for me, and for you, whereas my major is telepathy or clairaudience and yours is…well, smelling and seeing. I don’t know what the special word for smelling is.”

“Makes sense,” Xander said in between bites of the wings and his salad, which were both delicious. They chatted some more about Cee’s family as he mowed through the food and drained his soda. Finn came back a while later with their entrées, and Xander was saddened but not surprised to see that the plate of wings and bowl of salad were empty. But his sadness dissipated when he saw the burgers that Finn set in front of him. They were huge and delicious-looking, piled high with condiments and cheese. The garlic cheddar mashed potatoes were even sprinkled with shredded cheese and garlic.

“You like cheese, don’t you?” Cee remarked. Her wrap looked like a kid’s meal in comparison to his dinner.

“Uh, y-yeah…” Xander felt himself blushing as he looked down at his plate.

“Oh, calm down,” she told him. “I wasn’t making fun of you. I just noticed that you liked cheese, is all.”

“Can I get you a refill on your soda?” Finn asked.

“Um, yes, please.”

Finn snatched the cup and went off to get him a refill. Xander immediately began chowing down on his burgers, relishing the way he felt his stomach begin to fill up. Bite after bite disappeared into his maw before he realized he was making a complete pig of himself. He glanced over at Cee’s plate and saw that she was barely halfway finished by the time he was almost done. He immediately dropped his last forkful of mashed potatoes and looked around. It didn’t seem like anyone was staring at him, but he still felt like the whole room was glaring.

“How’s your food?” Cee asked him.

“Um, it’s really good,” he replied, hushed.

“Nobody’s watching you, y’know. Except me.”

He stared at her, his brow furrowed.

She grinned at him. “You’re cute when you eat. You can tell that you’re really enjoying it.”

Still he stared. “Thanks…I think.”

“So, are you still hungry? Wanna get dessert?” she asked him simply.

He gave her a strange look. “I just inhaled enough food for two people. And besides, you’re not done yet.”

“But you’re still hungry. And I don’t think I’m going to finish; I’ll take this back to the dorm and have it tomorrow. C’mon, let’s get something to share. Do you like key lime pie?”

Xander more than liked it, so with that, they ordered two slices of key lime pie, at Cee’s command. But, of course, after three bites, Cee insisted that Xander finish hers, for she “couldn’t eat another bite.”

“Then why did we get two slices?” he asked her as she pushed her plate across the table towards him.

“So you could have a whole piece to yourself, silly.”

Xander just sighed and shoved a hunk of pie into his mouth.

It wasn’t long before that, too, was gone, and Finn brought their bill, and Xander pulled out his wallet to pay.

“You don’t have to pay for me, y’know. You paid for the movie.”

Xander blushed. “It’s alright. I feel bad.”

“Why do you feel bad?”

“For…for making you be seen in public with me when I devoured all that food.”

She let out a little gasp, staring at him with wide eyes. “Xander Lucas. I would never, ever be ashamed to be seen with you, no matter what you were doing. You’re being downright silly.” She continued, her eyes shining wetly, “I don’t know how else to make you understand – you’re sweet, and good-looking, and you’re a good person.”

“I’m also the size of a house.”

“And I told you that that doesn’t bother me.”

“It should.” He took out his bank card and hefted himself up from the seat to go pay. Cee followed close behind, and soon they were getting into his car in the darkness.


“What?” he looked over at her as he fiddled with his seatbelt, sucking his gut in. I think I’m going to have to get extenders soon, he thought in dismay as he fought to get the nylon belt under his overhanging belly.

She was silent for a moment. “Have you…ever had a girlfriend?”

“Why do you want to know that?”

“I was just curious.”

“I…” He paused, ashamed. “No, I’ve never had a girlfriend. What girl would want all this?” he said bitterly.

Cee was silent.

After a few minutes of driving, he asked, “How many boyfriends have you had?”

“None.” She stared out the window as they pulled up at a red light.

He looked over at her, shocked. “What?”

“None,” she said calmly as she returned his gaze.

“Why not?”

She sighed. “The kinds of guys I like usually don’t know I exist.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. A hot girl like you?”

“I’m not making it up,” she insisted. Then, “You think I’m…hot?”

Xander blushed in the light from the streetlamps. “Well, yeah. You’re gorgeous.” He glanced at her.

She was smiling warmly. “Thank you, Xander.”

“Uh, no problem. I was just stating the obvious.”

07-17-2012, 09:12 PM
love this story! so much!

07-19-2012, 05:58 AM
Always a treat!

07-19-2012, 12:02 PM
Always a treat!


Loving this story and can't wait to read some more!:)

07-19-2012, 03:35 PM
They drove the rest of the way to his dorm in silence, and ascended the hill and stairs to his room. “Ugh,” Xander breathed as he laid down on his bed.

“Can’t you park out front so you don’t have to walk up the hill?” Cee asked him as she perched on his desk chair.

Xander waited a few minutes to catch his breath before answering. “I always forget to move my car in the morning and end up getting a ticket. As much as it sucks, I’d rather haul my fat ass up that hill than keep giving my money to the parking authority.”

“Oh. That sucks. Well, what do you want to do now?”

Xander’s stomach growled in answer, and he felt his cheeks flame with embarrassment.

“Want me to pop something in the microwave for you?” she asked.

“No, I’ll do it,” he said, resigned. “Doesn’t it disgust you?” He rose from his bed and pulled open his refrigerator.

“What are you talking about?”

“The fact that I literally just ate enough for two or three people, and I’m still hungry. It has to disgust you.” He looked over at her, sitting at his desk, twirling her flame-colored locks between her fingertips. Her cheeks were still rosy from the cold, and her eyes were shining.

“It doesn’t,” she insisted. “You’re a big guy, you need to eat more to keep you going,” she said, shrugging.

He shook his head as he pulled a frozen pizza out of his fridge. “Your logic is flawed. I’m a ‘big guy’ because I eat more than I need to keep going.” He peeled the plastic off the pizza and arranged it in his microwave, and started the cooking timer.

“So what?”

“So what? So, logically, I’m only going to stay big, and probably get bigger, because I eat more than I need to. I should be trying to get smaller, not allowing myself to get bigger,” he said somewhat desperately. What was wrong with him? He felt like he was on the edge of a breakdown. Why couldn’t she just agree with him?

Cee stood up and came over to where Xander was standing before the fridge and grabbed his hand. “Pudge, you’re fine just the way you are. You’re sweet, you’re intelligent, and you’re attractive.”

He snorted. “You think I’m attractive.”

She wrapped her arms around his waist – or, at least, tried to. They didn’t make it anywhere near around him. She hugged him, her whole body squishing into his fat.

Xander instantly tensed up. “What are you doing?”

“I’m giving you a hug,” she said, her voice muffled by his moobs.


She looked up at him, her eyes sad. “Because you need one.” She reached up and brushed a tear off his cheek.

He stared down at her, baffled by both of their actions. Here he was, crying in front of a beautiful girl, and here was said beautiful girl, hugging his morbidly obese body. She gave him another squeeze, still looking up at him.

The microwave beeped.

He pulled away from her and opened the microwave and removed his pizza. He sat back down on his bed and immediately began stuffing his face. In the space of minutes, his pizza was gone, and he was gazing forlornly at the floor.

“You okay?” she asked him gently.

“I’m just…I’m just tired.”

She walked over and sat down next to him and started rubbing soothing circles into his back. “Do you want to go to bed?”

“No, I mean…I’m just tired…of this.”

“Of hating yourself.”

He didn’t answer.

“You don’t have to, you know,” she told him. “Everyone tries to make you think otherwise, but it’s not a requirement for existing. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to do – it’s a decision that you have to make every single day. But you can do it. If I could do it, so can you.”

“What could you possibly have to hate yourself about? You’re…you’re perfect.”

She laughed. “You’re sweet. I told you, there are many things wrong with me. But I choose to embrace them as just a part of who I am. Your being big…it’s just a part of who you are. You’d be different if you weren’t.”

“I’d be accepted if I weren’t. My life would be easier if I weren’t.”

“I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that that’s not true. But you have friends, y’know. Rhys is your friend. Your sister is your friend. I’m your friend. Instead of having a bunch of fake friends who don’t really care about you, you have a few friends who really care. That’s pretty damn awesome.”

“But my parents…my parents think I’m revolting,” he said, his voice cracking a bit.

Cee grasped his hand. “We don’t get to choose our families,” she said, with some regret. “But for some reason, you got put with yours. Maybe to teach you that you can’t listen to what everybody else says. You have to decide about yourself, yourself.”

“You’re awfully sure of yourself about all this.”

She shrugged. “I’ve done a lot of soul-searching in my short time on this planet. I know I come off flighty and kind of obnoxious, but I’ve really thought about all this stuff. Killing evil creatures from another dimension your whole life will do that to a girl.”

Xander looked at her. “You’re definitely not what I thought you were.”

She grinned at him. “And what did you think I was?”

“I thought you were just a bitch, at first, to be honest. The way you talked about my eating…but you were never really mean. Just very, uh, frank.”

“I know I’m blunt sometimes. I’m sorry. I guess I just assumed that if you were doing it, you were okay with it. Which you should be.”

He hung his head. “How do you…how do you stop feeling embarrassed, though?”

“That’s a tough one,” she said. “I still get embarrassed.”

“About what?” he asked curiously. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you embarrassed.”

“A lot of things. It’s not important,” she said. “What’s important is that you just keep making that choice to be okay with yourself. And just remember, most people are as concerned with how others see them as you are…meaning everybody’s too busy thinking about themselves to really worry about what you’re doing.”

“I never thought about it like that,” Xander considered. “But still…those girls at the movies today…”

“Those kinds of people are so busy worrying about what other people think of them, they try to distract everyone by throwing someone else under the bus.”

“But I’m always going to be that person who gets thrown under the bus. I mean, I fall pretty far outside the definition of ‘average,’ no matter how you look at it.”

“That’s what you have me for,” she told him with a grin, “to kick anyone’s ass who bothers you.”

He laughed a bit. “I think if anyone should be assuming the role of bodyguard, it’s me. You don’t exactly look the part, whereas I…”

“You wanna be my bodyguard?” she asked playfully, reaching over and tickling his belly.

Xander immediately pulled away, his hands going protectively to his bulging abdomen, all thoughts of her reassurances evaporating from his mind while, at the same time, he felt a warm little tingle.

“I’m sorry - I…I shouldn’t have…” Cee immediately apologized. “Wait.”

Xander’s face was flaming.

“You…you like that!”

“Cee –“

She was looking at him with a sly grin on her face. “You were just thinking –“

“Please, don’t say it.”

“Oh, Xander…”

He stood up and walked over to the other side of the room, not looking at her. She followed him.

“Xander, it’s okay,” she said comfortingly. “It’s normal to like being touched by another human being.”

“Not there,” he muttered. “Not for me.”

“What, just because you’re big?”

“Stop it!” he blew up. “I’m not just ‘big!’ I’m hugely, repulsively, morbidly obese! I weigh almost four hundred pounds! That’s more than double what I should weigh! I’m sickening! None of what you said applies to me, because I don’t deserve it!”

She was quiet for a moment. “Why don’t you think you deserve it?”

He didn’t answer.

“Because you like being big, and you feel like that makes you a freak.”

“It does make me a freak,” he mumbled bitterly. “You’re not supposed to like being fat.”

“’Not supposed to?’ Who cares what you’re ‘not supposed to’ do? I usually take someone telling me I’m not supposed to do something as a challenge to do it,” she told him defiantly.

“This is just too…too weird,” he said, shaking his head.

“It’s just a part of who you are, Xander.”

“Yeah, well, what if I don’t want it to be?”

“You do realize that you’re basically hating yourself because you like yourself, right? That’s pretty damn silly.”

“You don’t understand.”

She turned him around and gazed into his eyes. “I do understand. I…I understand.” She reached up and grazed her fingers across his cheek, then pulled his head down and kissed him.

chicken legs
07-19-2012, 10:19 PM
Luuuuuuuuv it:bow::eat2:

07-20-2012, 04:48 AM
These two are just so cute! :smitten: I'm very happy we're receiving more and more about them currently ...

07-20-2012, 06:32 AM
*grinning ear to ear*

07-21-2012, 10:57 PM
nom nom nom

07-25-2012, 07:39 PM
Wonderful...as always.

07-26-2012, 10:22 PM
You, madam, are a goddess. Definitely one of the most engrossing, thoroughly enjoyable pieces of BHM/FFA literature I've ever had to privilege to enjoy.

08-31-2012, 09:16 AM
BUMP, because I want more of this excellent story

...and the irony of my demands are not lost on me ;)

09-08-2012, 12:59 PM
You are an amazing writer, I think I'm in love with Cee. Can't wait for more!

09-09-2012, 10:42 AM
Oh god, I wish I had a boyfriend that big... he sounds so so so freaking sexy. And he's so sweetly oblivious to Cee. Please please write more. xxxxx

10-02-2012, 11:35 AM
Could we please have some more Please!


I have to find out what happens now.

10-03-2012, 04:10 PM
Aye. More please!

10-19-2012, 01:07 PM
Where are you Undine? :( I miss you!! I hope you're ok... xxxxxxxxxxx

10-20-2012, 12:29 AM
Where are you Undine? :( I miss you!! I hope you're ok... xxxxxxxxxxx

I'm worried too! Hope everything is okay Undine and to hear from you again soon!

01-08-2014, 11:38 AM
Ahhh I was so excited to keep reading then found out there was no more :(
You are an excellent writer, Undine. I've read a couple of your stories already and I'm hooked.
I hope all is well and I look forward to seeing more of your work :)

06-03-2014, 11:05 PM
I'm really sorry, everybody. I haven't forgotten about you, or about Xander and Cee. Peace offering? :rolleyes:

A phone rang.

Cee cursed, pulling away from him. She reached into her back pocket and yanked out her cell, stabbed the screen with her finger, and snapped, “What?” into the speaker.

Xander exhaled hugely and took a step back.

“Okay, we’ll be right there,” Cee said. She slipped her phone back into her pocket and grabbed Xander’s keys off his desk and tossed them at him. “We have to go to the house,” she told him. “They’ve caught a Kirid.”

He caught the keys with a fumble and gave her a dumb look. “What?”

“They’ve caught a Kirid,” she told him patiently. “It’s a high-middle class demon that sometimes carries messages. They’re interrogating it.”


“Come on!” She raced out the door and down the stairs, with Xander following more slowly.

He abruptly stopped on the landing between the second and first floors, his feet unable to move as his brain collided with reality. Had she just...kissed him?

Hearing his footsteps come to a halt, Cee came bounding back up the stairs. “Come on, Pudge,” she said, grabbing his arm and guiding him down the rest of the steps and the paved pathway down the hill. She shoved him at his car, but he just looked at it. "Okay, I'll drive. Keys?" He made no move to respond, so she took them from his grasp. "Go around to the other side, okay?"

He circled the car, opened the passenger side door, and fought his way into the unfamiliar seat as Cee slid into the driver's seat.

"Mmrph," she grunted as she tried to slide the seat closer to the steering wheel. Xander saw that she could barely even reach the wheel with how far back he kept the seat to accommodate his gut and immediately became hyper-aware of the way his flab was spilling out onto the center console on his left and smushing into the door on his right. Shame grabbed his throat so hard he couldn't even swallow, and he stared at the latch on his glove compartment.

"You okay?" She sounded worried.

He nodded as the car rumbled to life.

"You sure?"

“Why do we...why are we going?” he finally spoke up as she pulled out of the dark, deserted parking lot.

“Because this is important,” she said. He heard the click of her seatbelt buckling. He knew better than to try to bother with his. “It’s very rare that we intercept any of their communications. And they'll need me to make sure that what it's saying matches whatever I can manage to pick up from its thoughts. It's much harder for me with non-humans, especially a Kirid, but I can do it. Ken can sort of speak the demonic language, so he'll be doing the questioning. Darshan and Ling will be restraining it. You-" she stopped, and he could tell that she turned to look at him.

He exhaled shakily and kept his gaze on the latch as she made a right.

"Maybe you shouldn't have come."

Xander heard the uncertainty in her voice. Or do you mean maybe you shouldn't have kissed me? he thought before he could stop himself.

She turned into the driveway, giving no indication that she had heard him. "Well, too late now," she said. "Just...don't make eye contact with it, alright? Come on." Cee hopped out of the car and dashed up the stairs of the porch to let herself in.

Xander struggled to heft himself from his car and lumbered up the stairs. Cee had left the door slightly ajar, so he pushed it in and stepped inside. The stench of skunk spray filled his nostrils as he crossed the threshold and he gagged. He fished a handkerchief out of his pocket and held it over his nose and mouth as he made his way through the dimly lit foyer and into the cavernous living room. The lights were on in the kitchen and he could hear a cacophony of banging, grunting, and an occasional strange, high-pitched shrieking that reminded him of a tornado siren he had heard once while visiting his grandparents in the Midwest, overlaid with the faint sound of voices. As he got closer to the kitchen door, he felt a vibrating sensation increase on his skin. "Hey, should I -"

"Xander!" Darshan called sharply from inside the kitchen. "Do not come inside!"

He stopped. "Do you need help?"

"No," Darshan replied, "we've -" He was interrupted by a particularly loud thud. "Cee, you've got to grab it! No, Xander, we've got it under control. Do not come in, no matter what you hear, do you understand me?"

"Um, okay. What should I do?"

"Just...stay out there. And don't look in."

Xander frowned, but turned away and, once again, cautiously settled himself on the large green couch.

"Alright, Ken, ask it again."

A series of guttural rumbles came from the kitchen, their unearthly cadence sending Xander's skin puckering up with goose bumps. An answering rumble, impossibly deep and raw, actually caused his teeth to vibrate.

"Summer," Ken said.

"It's lying," he heard Cee say. From the sound of her voice, her jaw was clenched, hard. "I saw snow."

"Hit it again."

Even from his seat on the couch, which had to have been twenty five feet away from where he estimated the others to be, he felt Cee's energy rise, the warmth smoothing and soothing his skin and the fiery, spicy scent alleviating the skunk-like stench in the air. The answering wail immediately caused him to clap his hands over his ears.

The first rumbles came again, and Xander realized that that must have been Ken, somehow speaking the demon's own language. This time, the roar that answered him sent picture frames flying off the walls and clattering to the floor throughout the house. Again, he felt Cee's energy blast the creature, and again, it shrieked.

"The same...in the city," Ken gasped.

"It looked like..." Cee paused, and he could hear her panting. "It looked like the mountains."

"Alright. Ken, ask about him."

This time, Ken's question went on longer, and the demon was eerily silent for a few moments. Then, it laughed, and the sound filled Xander with such terror that he involuntarily stood.

"No!" A series of deafening crashes came from the kitchen, and he saw a shadow block the light pouring from the kitchen door. He heard Cee scream. He bolted to the door and made it into the kitchen just as a black shape engulfed in veins of emerald light crumbled into dust in front of Cee, who was slumped against the lower cabinets on the other side of the room, clutching her left arm.

Without knowing how he got there, he was kneeling next to her. "Cee? Can you hear me?"


Hands shaking, he brushed her hair out of her face, searching for signs of awareness. Her eyes were closed and her skin was ashen. He sucked in a ragged breath.

Ling was beside him. "Here, Xander, let me." She reached across him and felt Cee's forehead. "She's alive, just unconscious. Her arm..."

Xander looked down and saw blood pouring from a wide gash that ran the entire length of her forearm.

"Darshan, my kit," Ling said. He ran from the room as Ling began to rub her hands together furiously. She slowly pulled them apart as if a large, tight rubber band was wrapped around her palms and the resistance was fighting her efforts. Between her fingers grew a pale blue ball of energy, and Xander smelled lilies. Ling plucked the energy out of the air with her index finger and thumb and gently laid it in Cee's wound. They both watched as the light dissolved into Cee's arm and the tissues began to knit themselves back together, raw, torn flesh softening and paling as it mended. The wound tightened and shrunk until it appeared to be a few weeks old, still red and angry, but ultimately closed.

Ling sighed and slumped back slightly. "She'll be alright."

"Are you okay?" he asked her.

She gave him a tired smile. "Yes, I'll be alright, too. Fixing things takes a lot of energy, too. I'll sleep for about fourteen hours, eat a huge breakfast, and be right as rain."

Darshan returned and handed Ling a navy nylon bag. She unzipped it and extracted a roll of bandages and a jar of what looked and smelled like herbal ointment. She ripped off a length of bandage and dipped a section of it into the ointment, taking care not to touch it, and gently wrapped it around Cee's arm. Just as Ling affixed a piece of cloth tape to the bandage, Cee began to stir.

"What...Xander...why..." she muttered, her eyes fluttering open and seeing him.

"It's alright, Cee," Ling said in a soothing voice. "He wasn't here. Just rest."

Her eyes closed again.

Ken spoke up from behind them, "How did this happen? We had it, I don't understand..."

Xander turned to see Darshan shaking his head, both hands gripping two of the legs of the kitchen table, which had been upended. "We thought we had it, but we didn't. At least we got some information, and at least we're all still alive."

"Let's talk about this tomorrow," Ling interrupted. "We need to get Cee to bed, and I will need to do the same very soon."

"Alright, Ken and I will carry her -"

"I can get her," Xander said.

They all looked at him.

"I mean, it's not a big deal...she's not exactly heavy...just...just tell me where to put her..." He trailed off, looking down at the droplets of Cee's blood shining like gruesome rubies on the white tile floor.

Ling answered him. "Her room is the second door on the left upstairs. I'll go up before you."

He stood and then bent down to pick her up as the others watched silently. He slid his arms beneath her knees and around her shoulders and lifted, shocked at how light she was and how tiny she seemed in his huge arms. He stood straight and looked down as she nuzzled into his soft chest, causing him to blush. He caught a tiny smile on Ling's face as he raised his eyes.

"Follow me," she said. He followed her out of the kitchen, trying to ignore Darshan and Ken staring after him, and through the living room, taking care to go slowly and not bump her injured arm into anything. He felt his belly bouncing into her slim form as they ascended the stairs and the part of his mind that usually would have made a disgusted comment about it was strangely silent.

He reached the top of the steps and turned left, seeing that Ling had already made it into Cee's bedroom and had flipped on a dim lamp perched on a nightstand. The room was a good size, with walls the color of dark sand, and framed, brilliantly-colored photographs of nature scenes arranged in clusters all around. Her furniture was dark, almost black-stained wood, and the sheets and comforter that Ling was folding back on the large bed were a crisp white.

She turned as he entered the room. "Not quite what you were expecting, hmm?" she asked.

"Not quite," he agreed.

She smiled. "She likes to sleep on the left," she told him, so he circled around to the other side and gently deposited her into the bed. Ling unlaced Cee's complicated-looking boots as Xander just stood there, anxiously searching her face. Some of the warmth had returned to her skin, and she seemed to be breathing regularly. Her flame-colored hair curled around her face, a strand touching her lips. He grazed his fingertips across her cheek to brush it away.

"She...she will be okay, right?"

Ling bent to place the boots beneath the bed and answered him as she straightened wearily. "Yes, she will. The combination of all the energy she expended trying to keep the Kirid from escaping and trying to read its mind coupled with the wound and the energy she had to expend to destroy it like she did just drained her. She'll most likely sleep through the night and the day tomorrow, and I wouldn't advise her to get out of bed for another day after that. She usually doesn't listen, though." Ling pulled the comforter up and tucked it around Cee's sleeping form. "I'm afraid I don't have the guest bed made up for you, and I am quite incapable of such a feat right now, as I'm fairly certain I will fall over in about five minutes. There are sheets in the linen closet in the bath-"

"Is someone going to stay in here with her?"

Ling stopped. "She'll probably sleep for quite a while..."

"But what if she wakes up?"

The dark-haired girl tilted her head thoughtfully. "Would you like to stay with her, Xander?"

He instantly began to sputter, "I mean, not in the - I would sleep on the floor, of course, I just - if she wakes up alone...in the dark..."

She smiled again. "The bathroom is at the end of the hallway. There are sheets, blankets, and pillows in the linen closet. Use whatever you need. Now I need to sleep. Goodnight, Xander." She trudged out of the room and pulled the door closed behind her.

Xander stared at the closed door for a moment, and then back at Callisto's pale face. He was struck by how tiny and helpless she appeared, the blankets pulled up to her chin in the large bed that she barely occupied a fraction of. He gave a little sigh and decided to go find a pillow.

06-05-2014, 06:15 AM
So-so-so-so-so glad that you are continuing this!

*does the Snoopy happy dance*


06-05-2014, 02:09 PM
Me too! I am a like a greedy-story goblin in that I usually just read all the stories and never comment but I thought I would break a habit and tell you how much I like your stories and writing style. :happy:

06-06-2014, 02:14 AM
Oh my god yes yes yes, thank you thank you thank you

06-06-2014, 09:26 AM
I moved this thread back to recent additions, so that more people can find it now that it is being updated again :)

06-08-2014, 07:06 AM
:happy::happy::happy::happy::happy: ... to see this story continued!

06-08-2014, 12:07 PM
I do want to find out a little more about Cee's backstory and the things she hints are "wrong with her." I suspect her bluntness, OTOH, is just a side-effect of her telepathy -- after all, if you grow up able to hear everyone's thoughts, you may just assume everyone can hear yours, so why pretend otherwise?

06-09-2014, 05:37 PM
I. Cannot. Wait. For. More.

06-13-2014, 07:17 PM
He awoke the next morning to soft sunlight dancing across his face. He gingerly rolled onto his back, suppressing a groan. Exhaling slowly, he pushed himself into a sitting position and rolled his head around his shoulders, then looked over at the clock on Cee's nightstand. Eleven oh-two. He turned his gaze to the bed.

Cee had rolled over in the night and was facing him, her curls again obscuring half her face. She was tightly snuggling a pillow. He clumsily lurched to his feet, and, panting slightly from the exertion of lifting his huge body off the floor, stepped closer to the bed to check her bandage. Satisfied that her wound had not broken open during the night and bled everywhere, he stretched, rubbed his eyes, and decided to go downstairs to see if anyone else was awake.

He opened the door and the delicious scent of frying eggs raced into his nostrils and down to his stomach, which then growled painfully. Of course I'm starving, he thought with weary bitterness. He plodded down the stairs, cringing whenever the wood made a particularly loud creak under his weight and hoping desperately that the noises wouldn't wake Cee.

The kitchen had been cleaned up since the night before. The table had been righted and the chairs replaced around it, and the broken dishes, splotches of blood, and pile of dust where the demon had been destroyed had been swept up, though Xander could see a faint dark stain on the tile where Cee's energy had disintegrated the thing. Ling sat at the table, a half-eaten plate of eggs and toast, a tall glass of orange juice, and a steaming mug of tea before her.

"Good morning, Xander," she said with a weary smile. There were faint dark shadows beneath her eyes, but the color had returned to her skin.

"Wow, I feel like a bum," he said sheepishly. "I thought you'd still be sleeping."

"I'm too used to getting up early. Ten hours of sleep and I was done. I'll still probably go to bed early tonight, though. How's our patient?"

"Still sleeping," he replied. "She rolled over and she's holding onto a pillow, but I checked her bandage, and I guess it looks okay. I couldn't see any blood or anything, anyway." A faint growl from his empty stomach alerted him to the fact that he was looking hungrily at Ling's plate. He brought his eyes back up to her face.

"Good. With any luck, it'll be after dinner time before she wakes up and we have to convince her to stay in bed." She stood and walked over to the counter, picked up a small ceramic jar, and handed it to Xander. "I had to have Ken run out this morning to restock my herbs, so I had him pick up what I needed to make your tea, as well."

"Oh, you didn't have to...worry about that," he choked out, feeling blood creep into his cheeks.

"No worries," she told him simply, tucking a lock of her silky hair back into her bun. "Have you ever had loose tea before?"

He shook his head.

"Alright. It's pretty simple. I put a tea ball in there -" She lifted the lid and showed him a spherical metal contraption resting atop a mound of dried plant material. "You open it up like this...and scoop about a teaspoon of the herbs into it...then lock it like this...and just put it your mug. Then you'll pour boiling water over it and let it steep for about four minutes, then just lift it out carefully - it'll be hot. You can add a little bit of lemon juice and honey to the tea, if you like, but not too much. No more than a teaspoon of each. Drink a cup before each meal. And make sure that you eat at least a little bit after you drink it - if you have some and then don't eat, it will upset your stomach."

"Um, can I...can I just microwave the water?"

"That's right, of course you don't have a stove in the dorm. Yes, microwaving the water to boil it is fine."

"Thank you," he said.

"Now, Xander..." She placed her left hand over top of his right hand, which was clutching the jar tightly. "I wasn't able to charge this batch because I'm running low on energy, but this is still some powerful stuff. There is a very real possibility that it will cause unpleasant side effects. If you feel dizzy, nauseated, upset, paranoid, if you get a bad headache, anything, please stop drinking it immediately and let me know. I can try to modify the recipe, but it's not something that everyone can handle, alright?"

Xander fought to quash the shame rising in his chest. He nodded and thanked her again.

"You're welcome. And if all goes well, just let me know when you need more and I'll be happy to make another batch. Would you like to try a cup now?"

"Um, sure."

"I'll help you get it ready." She put the kettle on to boil, got a mug out of a cupboard for him, and watched him prepare the tea ball, nodding as he scooped a small amount of the tea into it and latched it. By then the water had boiled and he poured it into the mug, the liquid awakening the earthy, cinnamon-y scent of the herbs. Ling handed him a bottle of honey and a thin slice of lemon from the refrigerator. "You'll put those in after it steeps. Have a seat."

Xander glanced anxiously at the kitchen chairs. "That's okay, I'll stand." He leaned back against the counter, very aware of the feeling of his ass squishing into the edge of the granite. "How...um, how soon will it...work?"

Ling had sat back down at the table and was chewing a mouthful of eggs. She swallowed and replied, "It'll start to work immediately, but its effects will intensify the longer you drink it. You should generally only use it for about three weeks at a time, and then take a week off. If taken too long, it can make you not want to eat at all. But usually after three weeks are up and you take a break, your appetite has significantly decreased, so you won't be nearly as hungry during your off week."

Yeah, but with my appetite...he thought.

"Like I said," Ling continued, as if in answer to his thoughts, "it's powerful. Three weeks at a time, max, okay?"

He nodded. "So...what happened last night?"

Ling swallowed another bite before answering. "Ken and Darshan were out patrolling and came across the Kirid's trail. They tracked it for a few miles before they were able to get close enough, and then they somehow managed to catch it. I'm not clear on how they accomplished that, as Kirids are notoriously...difficult...to trap. It's why they sometimes carry messages. They brought it back here, we tried to restrain and question it, and it ended badly. We did get a bit of information from it, though."

"What did you find out?"

"Well, the word in our circles has been that they're planning a major attack, that they're organizing. Megaera, one of the most ancient of their kind, is most likely behind it, and we've suspected that she's been getting the message out to everything she can reach. Other groups of hunters have been saying that the information they've been receiving from captives indicates that the attack will happen in the city during the summer, but their information was strictly verbal.

"That's where Cee comes in. Cee's talent is more rare than she'd care to admit, and she's one of the only ones who can read demons' minds. The way clairaudience generally works for us is that the individual can hear the thoughts of others, and Cee is certainly skilled with that. However, all but the highest order of demons cannot speak or think any human language unless they are, like the Roene demon you encountered, in human form, so what she would hear from them would be gibberish. What makes her unique is that her clairaudience is paired with some measure of clairvoyance, but a different sort than what Darshan possesses. Rather than seeing the future, or seeing the true nature of things, she can actually see thoughts as well as hear them."

Xander's face blanched.

"So she is one of the only ones who can truly tell when a demon is lying, when she is paired with someone who is able to speak their language. And she's only just recently realized what she can do and begun working on developing it, so we don't even know what she'll be capable of as she continues to work with this power.

"Last night, the Kirid was telling Ken the same thing we've been told: that the attack will occur during the summer in the city. But when it was speaking, Cee was able to see that its thoughts didn't match its words. It was thinking of snow in the mountains. So we think that the attack is going to happen this winter, and that they're going to come through in the mountains to the west. It's a huge breakthrough, but we still don't know where they're going to go from there." She took a swig of her tea and made a face, then rose and placed her mug into the microwave. "Yours should be good now."

Xander turned back to his mug, removed the tea ball by its long, delicate chain, and carefully squeezed a teaspoon of honey into the steaming water, which had turned a deep, greenish-brown. He squeezed the lemon slice and dropped it in and cautiously took a sip. It wasn't bad - a little bitter, but the honey and lemon helped.

"Think you'll be able to manage?" Ling asked as the microwave beeped.

"Uh, yeah," he said. "I've certainly tasted worse things." He took another gulp as he inadvertently thought back to the brief time he'd spent at a fat camp one summer during high school, and the nauseating slop they'd served the campers there. He'd been so obviously depressed the director had called his parents and demanded that they come and get him after only a week. They'd brought him home to an elaborate system of locks they'd set up on the refrigerator and cabinet doors. "So, um..." he began, trying to push the memory away, "who was Ken asking it about last night, another demon? One of their leaders?"


"The last thing he asked it...when it...laughed..."

"Oh. Yes...he was asking about one of the...eldest demons. To see if he was involved in any way."

"And it just laughed?"

Ling shifted uncomfortably. "Yes. Quite ominous."

Xander swallowed another mouthful of the tea. "And why...why wouldn't Darshan let me come in?"

"Kirids are..." Ling stopped and crinkled her nose. "They are a higher class demon, much more powerful than a Fuom or even a Roene. They don't look like much - they actually look sort of like large, mutant skunks - until you make eye contact with one. Kirids feed on despair. When you make eye contact with a Kirid, it transforms in your mind into something incredibly disturbing to you, sort of a combination of your deepest fears and shames - something that you may not even be aware of yourself - and it makes you believe that what it shows you is reality. It's a difficult thing to endure even with training. Kirids are one of the only demons that can truly drive a person mad."


"So, you see, with your having no knowledge of what would happen if you looked into its eyes...we couldn't risk that."

Xander silently stared into his mug, swirling the scant inch of remaining tea around and around. He could think of a whole list of things that he might see, but what had Cee seen? He glanced up at the ceiling, wondering if she was still sleeping and, if she was, what horrors her dreams might contain.

Ling followed his gaze. "I don't know what she sees," she said softly, "but the energy I gave her last night will keep her dreams peaceful for now. The rest of us will take dreamless sleep tincture for quite a while."

He downed the last of his tea. "Are you sure you don't have telepathy, too?"

Ling chuckled. "Quite sure. I'm just good at seeing what's right in front of me. Now, let's get you some breakfast."

Just then, the back door opened and Ken and Darshan walked in carrying handfuls of grocery bags.

"Ah, perfect timing," Ling said. "I'm just about to use the last of the eggs."

"Oh, are you making that bread again? Please tell me you're making that bread," Ken said somewhat desperately as he plunked his bags down on the table between Ling and Xander. "I need your bread."

Ling rolled her eyes. "I'm sorry, but I don't have the energy for that today, Ken. I was just going to make Xander some breakfast."

"Oh, you don't have to..." Xander trailed off.

"Breakfast?" Darshan said with an air of disapproval as he opened the refrigerator and began placing items from his bags inside. "It's almost lunch time. Besides, we should get him back to training, and he shouldn't eat before that. Remember what happened yesterday?"

"He needs to eat breakfast," Ling said calmly. She deftly removed the carton of eggs from his hand before they could make it to the shelf and retrieved the almost-empty carton from the refrigerator. "How many, Xander?" she asked over her shoulder as she bent to get a bowl from a bottom cabinet.

"You really don't..."

She turned her stern gaze on him. "How many?"

"Um, two's fine."

She turned back to the bowl and promptly cracked five eggs into it, and Xander found himself wishing she would put in a few more. I don't feel any different, he realized, dismayed. I'm still starving. What if it doesn't work at all? He tore his sight from his future breakfast and saw Ken looking at him with a raised eyebrow as he lifted items out of the bags and set them on the kitchen table. Xander crossed his arms over his chest uncomfortably and stared at the floor.

"Oh, and no one is doing any training today," Ling added.

"Excuse me?"

"Or tomorrow, for that matter."

"And why not?" Darshan practically spat. The refrigerator door closed with a thud.

Ling turned to him. "Because we are all exhausted, Darshan. And not only is it cruel to expect any of us to expend the little energy we have left on pretend-fighting each other, it's irresponsible. Aside from a whole host of other reasons, it is very likely that, in our compromised states, someone will end up getting injured, and my reserves are very low. I will not be able to heal anything more serious than a paper cut. No training until we are all at full strength again."

"But he needs to -"


Xander raised his eyes from the floor just high enough to see muscles in Darshan's jaw clenching repeatedly and Ken chewing on his lip, his chest hiccuping with suppressed laughter, as Ling poured the egg mixture she'd prepared into a pan that had been heating on the stove. Darshan made a slight, strangled noise deep in his throat and stalked out of the kitchen.

"Wow, somebody's got her bossy pants on today," Ken remarked after they heard Darshan's footsteps fade as he ascended the stairs.

"I'm sick of him taking out his-" Ling stopped and sighed as she swished the eggs around in the pan. "We all know that we should be resting right now. Cee is still unconscious, for goodness' sake. We re-charged all the trips and the perimeter two days ago. We will know if anything happens. We are as prepared as we can be. And Xander is not going to learn to be a bloody ninja in one afternoon, so he needs to stop acting like he will."

"Whoa, tell us how you really feel."

"You know I'm right."

Ken slid into a chair, raking his hands wearily through his already-messy brown hair. "I'm not disagreeing with you. Plus it's hot when you shut him down like that."

"Kenryk Evan Waite, I may be drained, but I will send you flying across this kitchen. I am in no mood."

"Chill out, you know I'm teasing. What's wrong?"

Xander saw her eyes flick towards him and then back to the eggs, which were fluffing up nicely. "Xander, if you'd like toast, now would be a good time to get it started. The bread is in the top corner cabinet. I just..."

Xander complied, finding half a loaf of wheat bread and placing four slices into the toaster. Ling's lily scent was becoming increasingly tinged with rain.

She continued, "I'm tired of his superior attitude. That's all. He may be the one who reports to our parents, but that doesn't mean that he gets to make all the decisions when he is obviously lacking perspective."

"'Obviously lacking perspective?' Uh, in case you hadn't noticed, Darshan's clairvoyant, Ling."

"Ken," she said sharply. "Xander, your eggs are ready. Would you grab a plate from this cabinet to my left?"

He started over towards her, but had to stop, helplessly staring at the gap between Ling's back and the kitchen table that he knew he simply would not fit through without the removal of one obstacle or the other. He knew he wouldn't fit between Ken and the counter to go around the other way, either. "I...um...could you..."

She looked up at him. "Oh. That's alright, I'll get it." She took the pan off the burner and opened the cabinet.

"Sorry," he mumbled, feeling worse by the second.

"It's no bother," Ling told him with a gentle smile. She scooped the steaming mound of eggs onto the plate and handed it to him. "The butter is over there on the counter. Would you like orange juice?"

"Yeah, but I can -"

"Just have a seat, I'll get it for you."

"That's okay..." He turned to the counter behind him, sheltering his reddening cheeks in the shadow of the cabinets. He could feel Ken's eyes burning holes in his back.

"Are you sure?" Ling asked from the other side of the kitchen.

Xander nodded mutely.

"Alright, suit yourself. Here you go." She slid a glass of juice in front of him and sat back down at the table.

Xander eyed the full stick of butter and decided that they would probably notice if he used his usual half-stick, and just scraped a little bit across the warm, crisped slices of bread. He took a small forkful of eggs, feeling his stomach gurgle demandingly as he chewed and Ken began to speak.

"So...what are we going to do now?"

"We wait. Darshan already alerted our parents last night, and it's really up to them to decide how to react. We carry on as usual until they let us know otherwise. Well, not entirely as usual. As I said, we need to recover. So we take it easy."

The chair legs squeaked against the floor as Ken shifted in his seat. "I am all about taking a break. But, uh, what about him? His babysitter's unconscious. And I don't think we can really afford to spare another one of us to go have sleepovers in the dorms. "

Ling said his name. Xander, who hadn't been listening, swallowed, realizing that all but one triangle of toast and a few mouthfuls of eggs were gone. He set down his fork and took the last gulp of his juice, deciding that he wouldn't finish, that he wouldn't let Ling see that her tea seemed to be having no effect on him. He turned to face her.

"Ken is right. With Cee out of commission, and the rest of us so low on energy, none of us can afford to come stay with you. But we can't leave you alone, untrained, and risk something getting to you again. Would you be alright with staying here at the house for the time being?"

She was so...nice, he thought. Why is she being so nice to me? They could just make me stay here and there would be nothing I could do about it. I'm sure Darshan would do exactly that. So why is she even asking me? "I guess...I guess I don't really have a choice, huh?"

"You always have a choice," she told him. "I just wouldn't recommend choosing something else in these particular circumstances."

He sighed. "Yeah, I'll stay. Can I go back and get clothes and stuff?"

"Of course," she said. "Ken will go with you."

06-13-2014, 09:53 PM
O.M.G. Thank you so much. :wubu:

06-14-2014, 02:05 AM
This is awesome that it was updated but I feel a real pain in my chest that Xander decided to have that tea still! I would have thought Cee's words would have gotten through to him at least a little... :(

06-15-2014, 03:39 PM
Two new updates? Oh my stars! I wondered if you were ever coming back again, I'm glad you have :)

I like where you're going with this. Your characters are nice and complex. Thanks for adding to it.

06-16-2014, 06:21 AM
Prety much what they said. Great to see that you obviously have twists and turns in the plans :-)

06-17-2014, 07:35 PM
Dear God in Heaven!

Xander's back!

Thank you so much Undine!

06-20-2014, 10:38 AM
De-lurking to say I love the story so far, and just re-read a few of your older ones too. Can't wait for the next part! :happy:

06-29-2014, 04:09 PM
I have popped out of lurk-mode to say thank you and well done!
This is an engaging story with lots of excitement, character development and sexy-ness.
I think I sense a "Buffy" fan?

Wonderful story! Keep it up?

07-02-2014, 08:09 AM
Thanks so much for the lovely comments, everyone. :wubu: It's good to be back. And yes, I'm definitely a Buffy fan!

Xander pulled up to the curb directly in front of his building and flicked his four-ways on. Campus safety could give him seventeen tickets, for all he cared - there was no way he was making the trek up the hill and then up the stairs just then. "I'll just be a few minutes," he said.

"Nah, I have explicit instructions to come up with you," Ken said boredly as he unbuckled his seatbelt. "You said that you saw that Fuom in your room once, so they obviously know where you live."

Xander felt his stomach clench, but said nothing. He emerged from his car into the mild, damp air and fumbled with his keys until he found the one for the front door. The bolt slid back with a loud "click" and they stepped inside the cozy parlor.

"This is a dorm?" Ken asked, glancing from the polished hardwood floors to the elaborate bronze sconces that lined the entryway. He ran his fingers over the velvet damask-patterned wallpaper and gave Xander a questioning look.

"Yeah, it's a historic building the college owns. It used to be a hotel. They turned the rooms into dorms, but restored the bottom floor so they can have small events here," Xander said as he glared at the steep old staircase.

"What floor are you on?"

"Third," he grunted. "You might as well go first."

Ken raised his eyebrow a bit but turned and bounded up the first flight of stairs. Xander let out a disgusted huff at the ease with which the small man conquered that which was so difficult for him, and, resigned to humiliating himself once again, began to plod up the steps.

Ken was waiting for him on the landing at the top of the second staircase. Xander could feel his heart thudding in his throat and his lungs begging him for air. He fought to suppress his breathing to a normal rate, even though he knew it was obvious that he was struggling to not gasp. Just from walking up the freakin' stairs, he thought as he pushed past an alarmed-looking Ken into the hallway. His room was the first one on the left. With shaking fingers he found his key and unlocked his door, and they stepped inside.

Ken looked around, and Xander knew he was silently appraising the numerous packages of food still scattered about his side of the room. "Um...sorry...for the...mess..."

"Nah, you should see my room. So this is where the infamous Adrian lives?"

"Yeah..." Xander started towards his bed to sit down and rest for a moment, but thought better of it and instead opened his closet door.

"Guess I'll stay far away from the bed," Ken chuckled.

Xander shoved a pile of outgrown clothes to one side of the top shelf and groped around for a bit before his fingers closed over rough canvas. "No, it's...safe...we changed the...sheets and...blankets...the other night...so Cee could...sleep there." He pulled the bag down and stood hidden behind the door for a few moments in an attempt to calm his breathing.

"Wait, Cee slept in Adrian's bed? Where'd you sleep?"

Xander stepped out of his closet with the duffel bag and gave Ken a quizzical look. "In my bed?"

Ken returned his expression with an equally confused one of his own as he flopped down on Adrian's bed. "Really? Wow. I didn't think you were gay, what with your crush on Adrian's girlfriend. Or was it actually a crush on Adrian?"

"What? No, I'm not...what are you even talking about?" Xander unzipped the bag and looked inside. His father had given it to him at the beginning of the previous semester, along with a few sets of too-small workout clothes, as a not-so-subtle hint to go to the gym. Apparently Xander had been using the bag to store his snow boots. He dumped them out onto his closet floor.

"Oh. Ace, then? Well, either way, you're depriving some chubby chasers out there."

Xander felt his cheeks heat up. "What?" He turned away from Ken to his dresser and started rifling through his clothes and stuffing the newest items into the bag.

"Dude, are you telling me you don't know what a chubby chaser is?" Ken laughed, but stopped when he noticed Xander's shoulders rise a few inches and tighten with tension at his repetition of the word "chubby." "Oh, shit, you really don't know. Have you ever, y'know, been on the internet? Well, I guess if you're not into guys, you wouldn't really have an opportunity to come across those particular kinds of sites, but I thought that was one of our terms that had gone mainstream."

Xander ignored him and silently cursed at himself as he opened his top drawer and realized that he'd never gone back to the store to get bigger boxers.

"I mean...it's pretty much what it sounds like."

"It sounds like an jerk who likes to chase fat people to make them exercise or something stupid like that," he muttered. "Look, can we not..."

He heard Ken sigh behind him. "Geez, she wasn't kidding. You are clueless."

Xander turned to look at him. "Who wasn't kidding?"

"I'm gonna stop talking now."

"No, for once would someone tell me what's actually going on? I know I'm not really part of your little club or whatever, but I'm getting tired of feeling like everyone's tiptoeing around me with all these big secrets that I'm not allowed to know about. I don't know why else you'd be putting up with me if you didn't believe it, but that prophecy thing has to be bullshit. All Darshan cares about is that I swing a fucking sword until I fall on my ass or puke, never mind if I have a clue why I'm doing it. Ling tells me stuff, but she's just...too nice to me and it doesn't make any sense. You treat me like I'm an idiot, which is warranted, because I am. And Cee..." Xander choked on her name, the sudden recollection of the feeling of her lips on his and her hands squeezing into his soft sides destroying all rational thought in his head. He let out a quick, shuddering breath and turned back to his dresser, away from Ken's sharp stare.

"Dude, are you okay?"

Xander closed his eyes and said nothing.

"Ling made you a diet tea, didn't she?"

He shook his head wearily, resigned to the fact that there would be no secrets he could keep from these people.

"Just sayin', 'cause you seem unreasonably paranoid right now, and that's one of the things Ling always says to look out for with certain herbs, so..."

"I'm not paranoid."

"Look, I'm sorry I said anything about anything, alright? Are you ready to go?"

Xander sighed. "No. I need to get my bathroom stuff. I'll be right back." He grabbed one of the plastic grocery bags that was shoved in the space between his dresser and his bed and left the room.

The lights were off in the bathroom. He'd thought he'd left them on yesterday, but supposed that maybe the cleaning people had been in that morning. He flicked the switch and heard a "pop!" as the bulb in the overhead fixture burst. Great, he thought, now I'll have to bring a flashlight. If I even get to come back here before the start of next semester. Geez, what if I don't? It was still early afternoon, though, so the small bathroom was partially illuminated by the weak sunlight streaming in through the frosted glass windows and reflecting off the dull green ceramic tiles of the floor and walls.

Xander walked over to the shelves set into one of the walls and squatted down to access the little cubby where he kept his things. He glanced at Adrian's cubby with a bitter sneer, noticing that his roommate had left his scale there over the break. He would bring it into their room every Tuesday evening, set it in the middle of the floor, and step on. And every Tuesday evening, Xander would hunch lower over his keyboard as the robotic voice intoned Adrian's stats. The last Tuesday before break, Adrian had brought the scale in right after he and August showed up to "watch a movie." He had told her that he needed to perform his weekly ritual to make sure that he was on track before they could begin.

"One. Hundred. Eighty. Seven. Eleven. Percent."

Xander had actually stumbled bending over for his laptop bag as he heard the numbers and realized that, at exactly two hundred pounds over that number, the only thing he'd get if he tried to step on that scale would be an error message. He'd fled the room quickly that night.

And now...

The bathroom door swung open. Xander caught an inexplicable whiff of what might have been sewage. Was the drain backed up again?

"I'm coming, okay?" He tossed his shampoo, body wash, toothbrush, and toothpaste into the bag and stood up to tell Ken that he was seriously impatient.

But it wasn't Ken. A small blonde woman stood at the doorway, her hands on her hips, her head tilted slightly to one side as she stared at him.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know you were still..." But she didn't look like one of the college's cleaning staff. Her faded jeans hung low on her hips, allowing a few inches of toned abdomen to show between her waistband and the hem of her tight black top. Her pale hair tumbled down over her shoulder, and, though it was hard to tell in the shadows that collected near the door, she appeared to be wearing deep red lipstick.

Xander's heart thudded. "Wh-who are you?" The stench intensified, and he absently wondered if he had somehow missed people working on the sewers outside his building. Or...

The woman slowly strutted over to him, her hips swaying seductively from side to side. "You know who I am, Xander," she cooed in a familiar voice. August stepped into the light and smiled sweetly at him. "I missed you," she said, reaching out a warm hand to caress his cheek. "I realized how silly I was to reject you, so I came back to tell you how sorry I am and beg for your forgiveness." She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed herself into his body.

Xander froze at the feeling of her tiny form squishing into his softness. He stared helplessly into her eyes - August's beautiful eyes, not the black eyes of an imposter - and whispered, "But...but you..."

"I made a mistake," she admitted softly, and he caught a cloying, fruity scent emanating from her hair. "You're the sweetest guy I've ever known, Xander, and you're so sexy..."

He grimaced.

Her eyes narrowed. "I see." And suddenly it was Cee standing there, all flame-colored hair and green-gold eyes, her lithe body pressing into his fat one. All his breath left him. "I'm what you really want, aren't I, Xander? It's okay, you don't have to say anything...you know I already know." She tapped her temple with a finger and grinned, and then her hand drifted down his torso, tracing delicate patterns until she reached the bottom of his belly where it hung over his pants. Xander shuddered as her fingers ran slowly back and forth over the soft blubber, teasing and tickling, and then sunk into his flesh, grabbing a huge handful of his fat. "This is what you want, isn't it? It's what I want, too. I want you...all of you...more of you..." She leaned in closer, her lips barely an inch from his own, and...

The door slammed open and he heard an inhuman shriek as Cee was ripped away from him. He blinked and saw that she was gone and Ken was on the floor straddling a grey and withered humanoid shape. A rusty orange ball of energy flamed in Ken's left hand, and he spoke a few words in that deep, rumbling tongue that vibrated Xander's teeth in their sockets, and slammed the energy into the thing's chest. A wave of heat that smelled of a grassy field baking in the sun blasted through the bathroom, and the thing was gone - no ashes, no dust, no nothing to show that it had ever been there.

Ken got to his feet. "Get your stuff. We gotta go. Now."

07-02-2014, 09:21 AM
Oh, you tease us. Wonderfully so!

07-02-2014, 01:37 PM
Love it, thanks 😁

07-03-2014, 06:29 AM
Thanks so much for this story, it's wonderful!! Xander is so adorably thick-headed when it some to Cee >.< Ahhhh I really hope Ken managed to kill that demon, so chilling

07-03-2014, 05:28 PM
This is so good, please carry on. It's the sexiest thing ever. More luscious descriptions of Xander's body please!!!!

07-06-2014, 03:28 AM
I can't begin to say how happy I am to read a story that contains a reference to asexuals, especially by our little nickname! I think this is the first time I have read a story mentioning it and as a grey-a myself it really made me smile and feel accepted!

The story is also awesome, though I feel so bad for Xander... I hope Cee wakes up soon to look after him!

07-06-2014, 05:02 PM
Serendipity, in the best possible way, that when I finally get my updates posted, I find you are here updating another one of your great tomes. I feel so rewarded for my efforts to get back here ;)

07-23-2014, 05:33 PM
So I had fun with a text generator. Many apologies for the varying sizes of those images, as no matter what I do, they refuse to cooperate and I've spent way too much time on just sizing the dumb files already so I give up. >_<

"Darshan!" Ken yelled as he burst into the house.

"In the kitchen," Xander heard him reply as he crossed the threshold, puffing and shaking. He dropped his bags on the green couch in the living room and hesitated a moment before following Ken into the kitchen.

Darshan and Ling were seated at the table wearing concerned expressions as the short, wiry man paced back and forth in front of them, gesturing wildly as he spoke. "...might have been her. I don't know! I don't know what the fuck it was, but it was too strong for me to kill - I had to banish it. So it's gonna come b- Xander! Tell them!"

His eyes darted back and forth between the three hunters, and his mouth opened but his brain refused to supply words.

"What did you see?" Darshan asked sternly.

Xander choked out a few faint noises, but he couldn't speak. He tried to suck in a breath but his chest felt like there'd been a hole punched through it, and he wheezed.

"Are you alright, Xander?" Ling rose and came around the table to stand in front of him, looking at his face intently.

"We haven't got time for this," Darshan snapped. "Tell us what you saw."

"Darshan!" Ling exploded. "What did we just talk about?" She turned back to Xander. "Gods, you're shivering. Are you hurt? Did it injure you?"

He shook his head.

"It spoke to you? Did it touch you?" Her face twisted as he nodded. "Where?"

Xander wheezed again and just shook his head. He realized that he was on the verge of hyperventilating.

"It's alright. It's going to be okay. Just...give me your hand. I need to check that it didn't do anything to you." She grasped his right hand in her warm, callused fingers and closed her eyes for a few seconds. "No poison or venom...no influences." She opened her eyes and searched his face. "It mustn't have had time. But your pulse is racing, Xander. He's in shock; he needs to lay down. Darshan, go make up the guest bed. Make sure you get at least five pillows and a heavy blanket. Ken, take his bags upstairs," she said, looking over her shoulder at Ken and Darshan. "Xander, you're in shock and you need to lay down for a while. We're going to go upstairs to the guest room, okay? Come on."

He nodded and let her guide him out of the kitchen and through the living room to the stairs. Everything around him was too bright, too loud, and he stumbled. Ling told him to take it slow going up, and the hole in his chest seemed to rip open anew. But he inched up the steps, tightly grasping the banister, and was finally at the top. They passed Cee's closed door, and his lungs gave up on trying to maintain a sense of dignity and began sucking in air at a rapid pace.

Ling looked back at him - she was now walking ahead of him, as he was too wide to allow her to walk by his side - and called ahead to Ken and Darshan, who were waiting in the guest room down the corridor. "I need one of you to get me the dark brown bottle marked 'kava blend' in my top drawer. Now."

Xander and Ling stepped into the guest room, where Darshan was waiting. Ken suddenly appeared in the doorway behind them and handed Ling a tiny brown glass bottle.

"Thank you. Now, both of you, out." Darshan began to protest, but Ling cut him off and shooed them both out, shutting the door in their faces. "Sit down on the bed, Xander."

His lungs locked up completely as he heard the bed frame groan under his considerable weight. The feelings surging through him were so vile his brain couldn't even find words to transform them into thoughts. His vision began to blur and darken, and Ling began to sound like she was shouting into one of the pillows he felt around him.

"Focus on my voice, Xander," her words became clear and cut through his confusion. "Open your mouth and lift up your tongue. This will help."

He did as she asked and felt the burn of alcohol sweetened with vanilla and something he wasn't familiar with spread through his mouth. The warmth passed down his throat and began to heat him up inside. "Wh-what..."

"It's alright," she told him, her concerned face slowly coming into focus. "You're going to be okay, Xander. You're having a panic attack. That's all. It will pass."

He took a gulping breath and felt the muscles in his chest relax a bit, and the pounding in his ears began to quiet. "I'm not...in shock?"

Ling gave a rueful smile, her lips pursed like a tulip bud. "No, you're not in shock. I told them that so they would shut up and leave you alone for a while."

He crinkled his brow in confusion but just looked at her.

"You need to rest, alright? Is the kava helping?"

Xander nodded, noticing a sweet heaviness gradually calm the shaking in his limbs. "I've never..."

She nodded. "They can be pretty terrifying, especially if you don't know what's happening. I've been getting them for a few years now. They do get easier, once you figure out how to deal with them. But it's certainly an understandable reaction, given..."

He clenched his eyes shut.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up."

"It's alright...it's not something I'm going to be able to forget."

"Do you...want to tell me?"

Xander's mouth opened, the words poised to tumble from his lips, but he shut it before they fell. If I start, I may not be able to stop, he thought. His eyes drifted to the floor and began tracing the swirls in the dark-stained wood.

Ling's hand rested gently on his shoulder for a moment. "You don't have to tell any of us anything. We know enough to have an idea of what precautions to take. Now, I want you to lay down and rest. Take a nap. Do you have your inhaler with you or is it in one of your bags? The kava should help with that for now, but just in case."

"My what?"

"Your inhaler."

He looked at her, confused. "I don't have an inhaler...?"

Ling tilted her head to the left, an escaped tendril of dark hair brushing her shoulder. "You don't know, do you? Xander, you have asthma."

"What? No, I don't. I just...I get out of breath because..." He clammed up, his eyes returning to the floor boards.

"That is likely part of it," she said delicately, "but you most definitely have some breathing issues that are unrelated to your...level of fitness. Goodness, I thought you knew."

He just shook his head and heard her sigh.

"Well, it feels as if your issues are mostly related to air quality and stress, sometimes brought on by physical activity. There's not much we can do about the air quality, but I can show you some things to help with the stress once you're feeling a bit better, okay?"

He let out a short, bitter chuckle. "So what, you're saying going up the stairs stresses me out?"

"Actually, yes. You probably anticipate that you're going to have trouble breathing going up stairs and that makes you upset, so you do have trouble breathing. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Also, you were fine when you carried Cee up last night. You weren't thinking about your breathing."

Xander didn't know what to say to that.

"Get some rest, alright? I'll be around if you need anything."

He thanked her, and she left, gently closing the door behind her. Xander sat quietly for a few moments, enjoying the increasing calm that Ling's tincture or whatever it was had brought to his mind. The pale afternoon sunlight spilled into the room through the gauzy curtains and played across his fingers, and he shook his head, realizing that less than forty minutes ago he'd been in the bathroom of his dorm, confronted with a terrifying perversion of what he now realized he wanted. I like her, he thought simply, and I want her to like me...ALL of me, just like that thing said. What does that mean?

A sigh escaped from his lips as he shifted his weight and lay down on his side, his hands, for once gentle, arranging his big, soft middle comfortably out in front of him. You know what that means. You like this. You want her to like this. Is that even possible?

He thought back to his interactions with Cee during the short time he'd known her. She had never been mean about his size, and had even tried to reassure him about it on more than one occasion. Hell, she'd even called him handsome. The way she'd snuggled with him on his bed and in the movie theater...and the way she'd grabbed his sides when she'd kissed him... Could she...not mind? Could she even... Relaxed as he was, he was afraid to finish the thought. Nevertheless, that breath of hope combined with the heavy feeling of his enormous belly gushing out onto the mattress in front of him was enough to stir that heat inside him.

And she had kissed him. He knew that that in and of itself didn't mean anything; after all, August had kissed him even though she was repulsed by him. But the way Cee had kissed him...it had felt different. Not that he had a wealth of experience in the kissing department, but the way he had felt...the energy radiating from her body...the way her fiery scent had intensified and developed hints of rosemary when her lips had met his and her fingers had squeezed into his rolls... He lightly skimmed a hand over his side and shuddered with pleasure at the way his flesh yielded beneath his touch. Before he knew it his hands were sinking into his belly, shaking and pinching his fat, imagining that it was Cee squishing and playing with his softness.

Geez, he though. This is really what I want, isn't it? He yawned and closed his eyes, the soft undulations of his flesh beneath his fingers soothing the last frayed edges of his nerves.

Suddenly he felt another pair of hands gently sink into his belly. Warmth bloomed inside him as he opened his eyes to the intense green-gold of Cee's gaze. A small smile played across her lips as she massaged his middle, her flame-colored hair streaming over her shoulder and onto the pillow next to him. He smiled back at her.

"See?" she said. "Isn't this nice?"

A faint melody began to play somewhere as Cee's right hand caressed his soft jaw. She brushed her fingers across his lips and the music got louder. He recognized it as one of his favorite Velvet Sky songs, and he looked into her eyes, confused. She gave him a sad look, and opened her mouth as if to tell him something...

He felt his hip vibrate. His heart dropped as he opened his eyes and realized that he was alone. With a heavy sigh, he dug his phone out of his pocket. His father's slim, angular face stared back at him from the screen's glow in the darkness of the guest room, and every ounce of calm that he'd gained from Ling's remedy and his nap evaporated. Swallowing hard, he switched the sound off, but the device immediately buzzed and showed a new voicemail.

"Xander," his father's voice boomed at him as he placed the device to his ear after punching in his password. "We absolutely do not want to have to cancel your appointment with Dr. Fording tomorrow, but we are not going to waste the gas to drive out there tonight if you're not going to cooperate. So you will either come home with us tonight or drive home yourself and be at the doctor's office tomorrow at 8:45am, sharp. Either way, you need to call me and let me know what you've decided. And if you choose to do neither, then you will be responsible for paying the late cancellation fee as well as for rescheduling an appointment for yourself. You're not getting out of this. Your mother and I will not continue to watch you do this to yourself. You need help, Xander, and we just want to help you. I expect to hear back from you no later than 6pm if you want us to come get you, and no later than 9pm if you'll be coming yourself."

The clock read 5:42. He couldn't believe he'd slept that long, after sleeping in that morning, but he supposed that whatever Ling had given him to calm his panic had made him drift off. Nice of them to give me notice, he thought. Sighing, he placed his finger over the power button to turn his phone off, but it buzzed again and showed a new text.


He stared at his phone screen for several minutes, feeling ice fill his guts as he tried to comprehend the meaning of the letters that were becoming more and more blurred with each passing second.


He texted back that he loved her and dropped the device into the pillowy comforter. A soft knock sounded from the door. "Come in."

Ling stuck her head in. "Did you have a good nap, Xander? How are you feeling?

"Um, good. I'm okay."

Ling frowned and fully entered the room, her long blue skirt swishing faintly against the wood floor. "May I?" She held out her hand.

He nodded, and she pressed her cool palm to his forehead. "Your breathing is much better, but you feel upset again."

He held up his phone and simply replied, "Family."

"Ah." She produced the tiny brown bottle from an invisible pocket in her skirt. "Let me give you a little more kava. I gave you a big dose earlier, that's why you slept. This much won't make you sleep, you'll just feel calmer."

He obediently opened his mouth and felt a few drops of the sweet liquid burn his mouth. "Maybe I should just have you make me some of that to keep. I seem to be freaking out more often than not these days," he muttered.

She smiled at him as she screwed the lid back on. "Already thought of that. This one's yours. Two drops for regular anxiety, and up to six for a full-blown panic attack like earlier today. Just remember that the more you take, the more tired it will make you." She placed the bottle in his hand.

He thanked her. "How much do I owe you? For this and...the tea..."

Ling laughed. "You don't owe me anything, Xander. You're part of our messed-up little family now. Free herbal remedies and an overdose of stubbornness for all."

"But how do you guys afford all this? The house, the herbs, the weapons, food, school... It's got to cost a fortune. Do any of you have regular jobs?"

"This is our 'regular job,' believe it or not," she explained. "We have quite a few sources of income. Some of our families have legitimate businesses on the side, and Darshan happens to be filthy rich. And Cee's family actually owns this house. Not to mention our network of likeminded individuals is very close-knit and devoted to taking care of each other. And a lot of people owe us and our kind favors. I get all my herbs for free from a friend of my family's. We helped her with a problem a long time ago, and from then on she wouldn't take our money. We have similar friends in all walks of life, so we are by no means hurting for cash or resources." She smiled again. "Now, Xander, are you hungry? We're going to be eating dinner soon."

07-23-2014, 06:50 PM

Ugh, here's the fourth text image:

I guess that's what I get for trying to do something different. -_-

07-24-2014, 11:38 AM
I luuuuuuuvvvvv this new installment. I'm so fickle, each new chapter seems to be my new favorite :p

Xyantha Reborn
07-24-2014, 05:52 PM
This story has had me dying for every update since it was first posted. The sweet torment!!!

AMAZING story!!!

07-25-2014, 04:59 AM
Great update!

What I especially like are the included images of the text conversations, since it's a medium that plays such a role in our lives these days.

I've actually been playing around with writing an entire novella consisting of only text messages for a while - don't know if it will really work out.

Now I can't wait for more!

07-25-2014, 06:24 AM
I have to admit, I have this story saved on my phone in my notepad.... And I've had "by Undine, who is probably dead." next to the title for the last two years. I think I'll take that off now :D

07-25-2014, 07:23 AM
I absolutely love this story. I should comment more but I've rarely ever signed in. Now I've been forced to so I'm trying to make up for my yrs of lurking.

07-25-2014, 11:42 AM
I absolutely love this story. I should comment more but I've rarely ever signed in. Now I've been forced to so I'm trying to make up for my yrs of lurking.

I have the same problem. Half the forum are marked as 'private' when I open the site.

Does anybody have an idea what's going on???

07-25-2014, 11:56 AM
I figured they were trying to lock the doors and keep out lurkers like me :P

07-25-2014, 02:37 PM
I don't have confirmation, but I think it was to make it harder for under-aged readers to get to large collections of some of the racier stories.

07-25-2014, 07:18 PM

Ugh, here's the fourth text image:

I guess that's what I get for trying to do something different. -_-

I like that you did the text messages.

07-25-2014, 07:21 PM
Great update!

What I especially like are the included images of the text conversations, since it's a medium that plays such a role in our lives these days.

I've actually been playing around with writing an entire novella consisting of only text messages for a while - don't know if it will really work out.

Now I can't wait for more!

Have you ever read Train Man/Densha Otoku? It's a novel in the form of a series of chat room transcripts (including ASCII art). It may be based on actual conversations, or not. They also did several tv/manga/movie adaptations.

08-01-2014, 08:35 AM
All-time favorite story out there. Can't wait for another update! :smitten::smitten:

08-02-2014, 06:30 AM
So glad you're back Undine!

08-04-2014, 08:17 PM
Further proof for Goreki that I'm not dead... :p

"Good! You're doing really well, Xander," Ling said, beaming at him.

A brief frown crossed his face. "Really? I mean, I'm just throwing it around. It doesn't feel like I'm doing much." He tossed the glowing white ball from his left hand to his right and back again.

"That's exactly what tells me how well you're doing - this is coming really easily to you. You can already do everything that most people working with energy can only manage after quite a while."

"Oh." He wrinkled his brow as he squeezed the energy between his fingers. "Why is mine white, but yours is light blue? Ken's is burnt orange...Cee's is emerald..."
She nodded thoughtfully, spinning her own pale blue sphere up in the air and catching it again. "So far, you're just pulling energy from the environment around you, and you're doing an awesome job of it. But that isn't always enough, and it doesn't contain as much of your own intention. The color comes when you're able to put your own energy into it; a piece of yourself. It's much more powerful."

He attempted once again to discreetly shift around in the rose damask chair as he listened to Ling, hoping to somehow afford his ass a bit more space. They were sitting in the living room downstairs, taking advantage of the way the rare late-December sunshine coming in through the huge windows lit up every corner of the normally sepulchral room. While he was somewhat cheered by the sunshine and blue sky, he had been dismayed to see Ling settle herself on the green couch before he could claim it, leaving him the choice of one of the delicate-looking wooden side chairs scattered about that side of the room or the two pale pink armchairs situated across from the couch. One glance had told him that the wooden chairs wouldn't stand a chance beneath his considerable weight, so he'd had to opt for one of the rose ones. While it seemed to be doing a commendable job of supporting his bulk so far, he had been lucky he'd been able to stuff said bulk into the chair at all. He had been alarmed when he'd looked back at the chair to discover that the resistance he was feeling upon trying to sit down happened to be the arms of the chair, which were too close together to allow his wide rear end to fit between them. Blushing with that familiar mix of shame and desire, he'd had to sort of angle his hips a few different ways before he had been able to sit. Even just then, he felt how tightly he was crammed in, the way the rolls of blubber on his sides were spilling out onto the armrests, trying to escape their confines, and the heaviness of his belly resting on his thighs, and felt that heat intensify deep inside. This feels really good, being stuffed in here like this... Soon I won't be able to fit at all... He shook his head imperceptibly. No! Shut up, brain, he thought. It's all going to go away soon. The tea is working.

Last night when Ling had come to check on him and summon him for dinner, he'd realized that he wasn't hungry at all. He had been momentarily filled with panic - he was always hungry! - but then he remembered the tea. Some lightning fast reasoning had told him that it probably wasn't supposed to work this well this quickly, and that if he told Ling he wasn't even the slightest bit peckish after over six hours since his last meal, she'd probably make him stop drinking it. So he'd told her that yes, he was hungry, and had allowed her to make another cup of the tea for him. He'd gulped it before choking down a single slice of the pizza they'd ordered. One slice! he thought excitedly. Just a few days ago he'd have been able to finish that whole pizza and half of another one, maybe even two full pies, and now one piece made him feel uncomfortably stuffed. He had practically wept when he'd gone back up to the guest bedroom after dinner and considered the implications of finally being able to lose weight, all thoughts of his previous realizations about his desires relegated to the dark, hidden closet in his mind where he banished everything he didn't want to think about.

If I get smaller, maybe she could actually... He shook himself again. No time to think about that now. "So, um," he started, pulling himself back to the conversation, "how do you do that?"

"It can take a while to figure out," she told him, "as it's different for everyone. The gist of it is usually that you have to find confidence in yourself and your abilities. Sometimes it comes gradually, sometimes it comes all at once. But I wouldn't worry, if I were you, considering how quickly your abilities have developed. I'm sure you'll get your color soon." She smiled at him.

Xander frowned a little, but nodded in understanding. Confidence isn't exactly my forte, but maybe...if I lose weight...

"Alright," Ling said. "Now, I want you to disperse the energy, one more time. Perfect. Let's take a break, I need to go check on Cee. I thought she'd have been up by now. Why don't you go have a cup of tea and get a snack?"

"I, uh... I'm actually good. Brunch was really...satisfying. I think the tea is helping."

"That's good to hear. I'm glad," she said as she rose from the couch. "I'll be back in a little bit."

Xander waited until he heard her reach the top of the stairs before he tried to extract himself from the chair. Grunting with effort, he finally yanked his mass out of the tiny piece of furniture, and, panting a bit, stood and stretched.

"She's being quite generous with you, you know."

He jumped guiltily and turned to the kitchen entrance, where Darshan was leaning up against the door frame. He took a bite of the apple he was holding and glared at Xander, eyebrows raised.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that, for as much as you are capable of with energy work so far, and considering your other talents," Darshan explained, his tone of voice sharpening his prim accent, "your color should have been a non-issue."

Xander looked down guiltily. "But...I thought...Ling said that it could...take a while..."

Darshan scoffed. "Yes, perhaps for a child, or for someone with very limited abilities." He shook his head, and Xander could smell the disgust coloring his natural cedar-like scent with a metallic edge. "You have so much potential, and what do you do with it? You bury it under layer upon layer of gluttony."

His words hit Xander like a two by four to the gut, his breath leaving him in a short, inaudible gasp. He stared at the young man, but Darshan just examined his apple. Xander began, "What - "

Ling flew down the stairs in a rush of soft footsteps. "She's awake," she said, hurrying past them and into the kitchen. Darshan dashed into the kitchen after her, and Xander moved to do the same, but by the time he made it over to the door Ling was exiting, a large glass of ice water in her hand, with Darshan following her. Xander followed Darshan across the living room. "You really don't need to come," she said over her shoulder as they started up the steps in a line.

"I just want to make sure she's okay," Xander said quietly before he realized it.

Thankfully Darshan drowned out his words. "I need to question her immediately."

"No one is going to be doing any questioning, Darshan. She just woke up after almost having her arm ripped off by a demon, in case you happened to forget. And what would you question her about, anyway? We were all there when it happened. Please, keep your mouth shut."

Will she remember? he wondered silently. Will she...what if she... He almost crashed into Darshan as he stumbled. Crap. Crap, crap, crap. She's going to take one look at me and hear my stupid messed-up thoughts and there's nothing I can do about it. You are such a freaking idiot, how could you ever think there was even the slightest possibility -


"What?" he wheezed. Oh. He placed his foot on the top step, hefted himself up, and dug around in his pocket for the bottle she had given him. With shaking fingers, he unscrewed the lid and managed to hold his breath for a moment as he placed two drops of the liquid under his tongue.

Darshan glared at him, arms folded as he waited outside Cee's door, but Ling's expression was softer. "Are you sure you're alright to come in? You don't have to."

"I'm fine," he said, only wheezing a little.

Ling tilted her head, but turned and opened the door, Darshan practically pushing past her in his impatience. Xander tried to take a deep breath but ended up just coughing for the next twenty seconds. When he was finally able to suck in air without choking, he followed.

Ken was lounging in the rocking chair beneath the window, and Darshan was glowering at the foot of the bed. Ling was seated on the edge of the bed, and, sitting straight with the covers pulled to her waist, her face still a bit pale amidst her shock of red hair, was Cee. He almost lost his breath again seeing her awake, seeing those hands that had squeezed into him wrapped around the clear glass and those salmon-pink lips that had touched his own - how long ago had that even been? - sipping the water. Her eyes flicked up as he entered...and then returned to the other hunters.

"How are you feeling?" Ling was asking.

"Fine, really. A bit tired, but I'm probably over-rested. How long was I out?"

"Since Tuesday night. It's Thursday afternoon. About forty hours, give or take. Let me take a look at your arm." Ling took the glass from her and handed it to Darshan with a sharp look. He looked like he was fighting to keep a swarm of bees contained in his mouth.

Cee held out her arm and Ling gently undid her bandage while she watched. Xander smelled a strange hint to her scent...was it smoke? That makes sense, he reasoned. She usually smells like fire, so some of her fire has gone out from being injured, I guess. The strength of her scent the night she had kissed him burst into his thoughts uninvited, the rosemary as strong as if someone had been waving a bunch of the pungent, green herb directly beneath his nose. His lungs immediately seized up and his face began to burn. He tried to inhale, but his breath caught in his throat and he started hacking again. Turning towards the door, he buried the lower half of his face in his elbow, as much to hide his blush as to stifle his coughing.

"What's wrong with him?" Cee asked. He glanced at her involuntarily, and wheezed harder at the detached expression on her face.

"He's just been having some trouble breathing lately," Ling said as she unwrapped the last loop around Cee's arm. "Xander, it's too soon for more kava, unless you don't mind a nap. Maybe you should sit," she said, nodding at the other side of the bed.

He shook his head and managed, "I'm okay," and coughed a few more times before his lungs decided to cooperate. He leaned against the door jamb to let the wood support some of his weight as he watched the hunters. Ken was very pointedly not looking at him, his face thoughtful, and Darshan's stern profile remained resolutely still. Ling examined Cee's arm, probing her fingers a few inches above the surface of the red but no longer broken skin as Cee looked on, seemingly without much interest.

"It looks much, much better, Cee," she told her, the relief evident in her voice. "Here, let me feel." She held her hand up to Cee's forehead and, after a moment, removed it. "You're still fairly low, but doing better than I expected." She looked into her friend's face and smiled. "I'm so happy you're alright."

Cee grinned back. "Of course I'm alright. I always am. So it's gone, right? I killed it?"

"Yes, you did. Just how did you manage to do that?" Darshan burst out.

"Well, you see, Darshan, there's this thing we do called 'energy work,'" Cee began. "It's pretty nifty. It's when you -"

"Stop with the snark, Callisto. You know what I mean. How did you manage to conjure that much energy so quickly?"

Cee sighed and leaned back against the pillows. "Honestly, I don't even know. I really don't remember much about what happened. It was there, it was lying, and then I was on the floor, and now I'm in bed in a room full of demon hunters. And him," she finished, nodding her head towards Xander without looking at him.

Xander closed his eyes and slumped into the door frame a little more heavily.

"Yes, but how did you -"

"Darshan. Enough." Ling glared at him.

Cee shrugged. "So, what are we going to do now? What's the plan?"

"Your parents are coming. They should be here in two or three days."

She looked at him, her eyebrows raised expectantly. "And?"

"And it will be decided when they arrive and we talk about it," he snapped back.

"You're just going to let them call all the shots? You seriously haven't made any decisions? Why exactly are you the leader of this merry little band of hunters, anyway? You mean to tell me that you have literally come up with nothing?"

Darshan's face reddened and twisted. "What?"

"I said -"

"Oh, I heard what you said, but I can't believe your gall in saying it. How dare you? How dare -"

Ling stood and pointed at the door in one swift, graceful motion. "Enough! Darshan, Ken, Xander - time to go downstairs."

With one last look at Cee, who was glancing boredly about the room, Xander turned and descended the steps, not waiting to see if the others followed him. He trudged through the living room, glaring angrily at the rose chairs as he passed, and settled his mass heavily on the green couch. His lips thinned with an uncontrollable grimace as he felt his ass spread out and condense the soft cushions and saw that, with his gigantic self occupying the seat, there wasn't even enough room for anyone else to sit there with him. You are such a damn moron, his mind spat. To even have an inkling of hope that she could want anything to do with an enormous fat freak like you... She was just being nice because she thinks that they need you for their prophecy or whatever. She doesn't 'like' you. She doesn't think you're 'attractive.' No one does, and no one ever will, because even if you lost a hundred pounds, you'd still need to lose over a hundred more, and the only way you'll be able to do that is if you go ahead with -

Darshan stomped down the stairs, his face tight with rage, followed by a more sedate Ken. "...and she just wakes up after forty hours, and the first thing she does is disrespect me," Darshan said, turning away from one of the rose chairs before sitting down and instead beginning to pace back and forth across the length of the room.

Ken flopped into the other chair, and Xander saw him roll his eyes. "It's Cee, what do you expect?"

"I expect a little bloody respect!" he snarled back. "Her and Ling's parents appointed me leader for a reason, you would think that that would afford me some respect in her eyes."

"Well, let's face it, you can be pretty douchey sometimes."

The pacing stopped. "Excuse me?"

Ken sighed. "She just woke up and you started grilling her, you didn't even ask how she was. That was kind of a jerk move. You do stuff like that all the time. You act like you're so wonderful because you're the 'leader,' but -"

But Darshan was already turning away, and a moment later they heard the front door close with a deafening slam that sent vibrations through the entire house.

"Finally," Ken moaned dramatically as he dropped his head back against the arm of the pink chair. "I couldn't take him anymore. He's been such a dick lately."

"What did you say to him, Ken?" Ling asked in a resigned tone as she came down the last few steps and walked over to stand beside the chair he was sitting in.

"What we've all been thinking for months now. That he's been really douchey."

It was her turn to sigh as she sat. "He has been a douche. He's incapable of not taking things personally, and then he takes that out on everyone else." She shook her head. "Did he say something to you before, Xander?"

"Huh?" Darshan's comment about his gluttony replayed in his mind, and he felt his cheeks redden.

"Before I came downstairs to get Cee's water. You seemed upset. Did he say something to upset you?"

"Um... It doesn't matter," he told her before he could find the sense not to.

She shook her head. "I'm sorry for him."

"You don't have to apologize. It was nothing, really." He avoided her sympathetic gaze and tried to resettle his bulk more comfortably to distract himself from his thoughts, but the sudden sound of a spring complaining deep in the couch as he shifted only served to refresh his self-loathing.

Thankfully, the others seemed oblivious. "I feel like I do. Darshan's life experience is so far removed from what most of us are familiar with that I feel like he needs people lessons sometimes."

Ken snorted. "You mean 'normal people without indoor swimming pools and literal car fleet' lessons."

Xander gave him a questioning look, but it was Ling who responded. "As I mentioned last night, Darshan's family is disgustingly wealthy. Old money. So Darshan grew up being treated like royalty, but I don't think his parents ever actually wanted much to do with him. As anything other than their token heir, anyway. He had some sort of falling out with them when his gifts began to develop a few years ago, and we found him. He's fairly talented, but...well, you've witnessed his attitude."
"He still expects to be treated like a frickin' emperor," Ken interjected. "He still thinks he's automatically owed your respect, regardless of how he treats you."

"He does try sometimes, and he occasionally has some breakthrough moments of common sense and decency on his own, but lately they've been few and far between." Ling uncrossed and recrossed her legs, her long fingers snaking through the loose strands of her dark hair. "I don't know what's wrong with him. He doesn't talk to us about his personal life very much. Cee probably knows, but they've clashed since the moment they met, so she likely doesn't care."

Xander felt himself blush at the mention of her name again. Just stop, he told himself fiercely. Forget.

"Well," Ling continued, "enough about that. Should we continue, Xander?"

08-04-2014, 11:04 PM
Lol I love how they all confirmed what a douche Darshan is being.

And what's up w/ Cee and her scent?? Argh the little crumbs you plant leave me desperate for more. Clever, clever writer :P

08-05-2014, 01:05 AM
Yay! More story! =D Darshan is being a jerk, Cee should Falcon Punch him.

08-05-2014, 05:37 AM
Nooooooo I forgot to italicize all of the thoughts... :sad: My obsessive, type-A brain is going to dwell on this for all eternity.

*forever wishing for the ability to edit posts for longer than it takes for my weird cycle of remembering to run itself through*

Xyantha Reborn
08-05-2014, 06:43 AM
Ahhh!!! Hiding in the bathroom to read this at work is so worth it!!!!

08-05-2014, 04:08 PM
Oh God I hope Cee hasn't had some of her personality knocked out of her or something and now she doesn't like Xander! That would be awful!

Xyantha Reborn
08-05-2014, 05:48 PM
[/QUOTE] *forever wishing for the ability to edit posts for longer than it takes for my weird cycle of remembering to run itself through*[/QUOTE]

LOL - I feel you!!...but if it is any consolation I read it so fast in my desperation I didn't notice a single thing wrong :)

More please! :)

09-04-2014, 06:02 AM
Hi, friends. Just wanted to drop a quick note in here to say not to worry - I haven't abandoned Xander and Cee again. Things have been hectic, but I'm hoping to be able to post the next chapter sometime very soon. I'm shooting for this weekend, but we'll see. Thank you all again for reading!

09-04-2014, 09:03 AM
Hi, friends. Just wanted to drop a quick note in here to say not to worry - I haven't abandoned Xander and Cee again. Things have been hectic, but I'm hoping to be able to post the next chapter sometime very soon. I'm shooting for this weekend, but we'll see. Thank you all again for reading!

I'm relieved to hear that you are okay and still planning on continuing this story! Hope things get less hectic for you soon!

09-06-2014, 03:19 AM
Just stumbled across this and read the whole thing in one go. Don't read BHM stuff or long-form works that often, but this is so beautifully written I can't stop. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story!

09-07-2014, 12:40 PM
"How many do you want, Xander?" Ken asked as his hands expertly formed rounds from the raw meat mixture and squashed them into uniformly sized patties.

"Uh, none, thanks," he responded, shifting his weight from one foot to the other and leaning against the refrigerator.

Ling looked up from her sudoku. "Are you sure?" she asked, her eyebrows raised knowingly. "Ken makes fantastic turkey burgers."

"Yeah, these burgers are fricking awesome, if I do say so myself," Ken said. "I usually eat two, they're so good."

"Yeah...I ate earlier," Xander lied readily. "When I went for a walk."

"Couldn't wait, could you," Darshan muttered as he turned the page of the newspaper he was reading. He jumped suddenly, and Xander suspected from the way his jaw clenched that Ling had kicked him under the table.

Cee just picked at her nails.

Xander really had gone for a walk earlier, with the hunters' permission and a check of his shields, of course. He'd badly needed to get out of the house, for it seemed that Cee's smoky scent now filled every corner of the old Victorian, an inescapable reminder of the way things had changed. He'd simply left out the fact that he had walked right past his favorite diner instead of going in and stuffing himself silly, as he'd normally have done in a situation like this. He'd managed to not eat a single bite since lunch on Thursday before Cee had woken up, and it was now Saturday evening. The tea was working incredibly well. While his stomach felt empty and was starting to make some strange noises, he had no desire to consume food. In fact, the smell of it was even starting to nauseate him, he realized as Ken placed several patties onto the hot griddle and the scent of cooking meat drifted over to him. He took a gulp of his water to distract himself, and found his eyes falling upon Cee as he drank.

She was looking better. Her coloring was normal again, and she was moving about with her usual exuberance, which somehow made his heart hurt even more. If the way things were now could have been explained by her injuries and exhaustion... He stared into his glass, his round cheeks and double chin mocking him in his reflection on the water.

"Excuse me."

He started, seeing her there standing in front of him, her eyes focused not on his face but on the refrigerator behind him. Blushing, he mumbled an apology and moved away to allow her access. She opened the door and poured herself another glass of cranberry juice, and turned and sat back down at the table.

Xander saw Ling glance at him, then Cee, then back to him, her eyes narrowing slightly before she returned her attention to her puzzle. He felt the beginnings of constriction in his airways and, before his panic could betray him, said, "I'm pretty beat, I'm just going to go up and read for a while."

Ling frowned. "Are you sure? We were going to take a break from all the doom and gloom around here and watch a movie after dinner. Something funny. Do you want to come back down then? We'll probably start it around ten thirty."

"No, I'm...I'm pretty tired. So, uh...goodnight, everybody." He exited the kitchen before she could reply and made his way up the stairs, having to stop halfway to administer a few drops of Ling's kava blend.

Xander shut the guest room door behind him and leaned back against it gratefully, his chest heaving. Finally. He kicked off his shoes and, with a slight cringe at the noise he knew the bed frame would make, placed his bulk upon the mattress. Even though he was alone, everywhere he looked in the dim room, all he could see was her peridot gaze, avoiding him. Please go away, he thought, clenching his eyes shut tight. He lay back on the bed and grabbed a pillow to put over his face, vaguely wondering if it would be possible to suffocate himself with it or if he'd pass out too soon to finish the job. His stomach churned and grumbled strangely, but he was getting used to it. It just meant that he was empty, and that was all he had to go on: the hope that not having eaten anything for the past two days was causing his body to begin to devour the stores of fat it already had and shrink itself down to a more normal size. I wonder if I could convince them to let me go back to the dorm to get Adrian's scale, he thought. No, not with that demon there. Maybe they'd let me go buy one? No, not to the mall by yourself, you obese dunce. It was hard enough to convince them to let you take a walk. Maybe Ling would go with me? No, you can't ask her to do that, she'd know why you wanted it and then she'd find out what you've been doing and she'd make you stop drinking the tea and you'd lose the only option you have besides... His thoughts trailed off as he looked at his powered-off cell phone sitting on the night stand. He knew that there had to be countless messages on there from his parents, preaching the benefits of being normal. He was so tired of being abnormal. And unhappy.

Cee hadn't made eye contact with him once since waking up, and that "excuse me" in the kitchen had been the first words she'd spoken to him since before she'd been attacked. He supposed that a near-death experience was enough to make her realize that she'd be better off the farther away she could get from him.

Ling had noticed, he knew. She'd taken care to praise him thoroughly every time they sat down for energy lessons, and he saw her calm, calculating gaze move from him to Cee and back again whenever they were in the same room together. Xander put a stop to that as often as he could. Once it had become clear to him Thursday afternoon that Cee seemed to be attempting to erase his existence from her experience, he'd decided to help her out and just go hide in the guest bedroom whenever possible. It was easier that way anyway, not having to have her physically present when the memory of her kiss decided to assault him every other moment.

It was becoming more and more obvious to him that she'd only kissed him for reasons similar to August's. He was simply there, and she had wanted to be kissed. Or maybe she had thought that it would make him more likely to want to help them out with whatever special skills they thought he had. He almost laughed. Special skills? The only special skills he possessed were gaining weight and being a spectacular failure at life. Sure, he could conjure energy like they'd shown him, but the glowing orbs that manifested in his hands were still puny and white. He knew that, if it was confidence required to infuse the energy with his own essence, it would never happen. After all, both of the women who'd kissed him, seemingly out of nothing more than boredom, had found him so despicable that they'd immediately regretted it and had gone to such extreme lengths to negate the experiences. How could he gain confidence in himself when he had nothing but experiences like that to base it on?

You are such a fat, worthless piece of crap, he told himself. There is no point to your pathetic existence. You're never going to do a damn thing. Even if you do get the surgery, you'll probably find a way to screw it all up and gain everything back plus more. You're just going to be a useless, super-obese slob for the rest of your miserable life. Here it is, ten forty-two on New Year's Eve, and you're staring down another year of this. This is what it's going to be, forever. Your parents don't even want you. No one will ever want you. He felt a tear tickle the side of his face as it rolled out of his eye and into his hair. And all you can do is lie here feeling sorry for yourself. You can't even do anything about it. You should just -

An urgent knock sounded on the outside of his door. He lurched upright, rubbing his eyes, and said, "Come in."

Ling stuck her head in. "Xander, we have an emergency, we need you to come downstairs, please," she said, and was gone again.

After a few moments, he had prepared himself as well as he was able, so he plodded down to the living room, where the electric scent of tension was so palpable it tickled his nostrils. The four hunters were standing in a circle, and the volume of their conversation was rapidly increasing to shouting levels. He stopped awkwardly a few feet away from them, shoving his hands in his tight pockets and trying to wish himself invisible as he listened.

"Absolutely not, Cee - you aren't strong enough yet," Ling stated.

"I'm completely fine! Look, I can -" Xander felt her energy begin to stir before Ling swatted her hand down.

"Cee. No."

"We can't be worrying about you," Darshan said. "Even if you are fully recovered, we all feel that it's too soon for you to be back out there, and that will distract us. We cannot afford to be distracted right now."

"But you need me! Two of the trips went off! Two! There are only three of you!" she insisted.

Darshan shook his head. "We've already accounted for that. We're going together to check each one."

Cee gave a disgusted sigh and threw herself onto the couch, arms crossed.

"Um...what's going on?" Xander spoke up.

Ken answered him. "Two of our trips went off in town - they're like demon motion detectors - and we need to check them out. Cee isn't well enough to come with us, and you're not experienced enough."

Xander's gut clenched with alarm. "So, what are...we have to...stay here? Together? Alone?"

"You'll be fine," Ling reassured him. "While Cee isn't at full strength yet, she is still very strong. And you are getting stronger every day. You remember the things we've been working on? How to expel them from the area, and then the house shields and your own shields?"

"Yeah, but..."

"Then you will be fine, I promise. We will know immediately if something breaches the perimeter here - not that anything should even have a chance, our defenses are very strong - and will be rushing back. So you two just...hang out and relax, okay?"

"Yeah," Cee piped up. "It'll be like old times. We'll watch a movie, right, Xander?" And then she looked at him, and he felt his heart slam against his ribcage, sending a shiver through his whole skeleton. Her newly-smoky scent filled his head. What had changed?

"We need to go," Darshan said, interrupting his shock. Xander watched, bewildered, as the three hunters quickly finished lacing boots and zipping jackets and gathering assorted weapons from the coat closet next to the kitchen. Before he knew it, they were filing out the front door, and he and Cee were left alone.

He dropped his gaze to the floor, afraid to see her looking at him again and have his heart's pounding crack his sternum. Or worse, to see her not looking at him. A few moments of tense silence passed, and then he heard her stand up and say, "Let's go down the basement and watch something."

Cautiously, he glanced up at her. She was standing in front of the couch on the other side of the room, clad in baggy black sweatpants and a fitted grey tee, nonchalantly examining her fingernails. She looked at him. "Okay?"

Once again his head filled with smoke - charcoal, tinged with...red. He'd thought it would have been green. Wait, so you're seeing smells in your head now? Yeah, that's normal. Freak. He shook his head slightly, and replied, "Um, okay."

"All the movies are already downstairs," she told him as she walked past him and into the kitchen. He followed her cautiously down the steep, narrow staircase next to the back door, feeling his breath quicken as he became very aware of the way all his soft bulges brushed against the walls. This is a bad idea, he thought suddenly, his hip slamming into the last bit of wall before the wooden steps ended in brown carpet. She doesn't want to talk to you...or maybe she does, but not the way you want her to. She probably just wants to tell you to stop running such pathetic drivel through your mind and forget about her already...

"So what are you in the mood for?" she said. She was already across the dimly lit room, standing before a glass and wood cabinet that spanned the entire wall and held a huge TV, all sorts of electronics, and an impressive collection of DVDs and blu-rays. "I think I feel like something scary. What do you think?"

He stared at her fingers trailing languidly across the spines of the movie cases. Her nails looked...sharp. I thought she kept them short? Maybe I was wrong. But they really look kinda wicked. What if she were to...


"What?" Why are you being so paranoid?

"How about 'The Room Under the Stairs'?" Looking at him expectantly, she waved the movie case back and forth. "Have you seen it yet?"

"Uh, no. That's fine."

"Okay. Have a seat."

The espresso leather couch appeared to be sturdier than any of the furniture in the living room upstairs, but also looked smaller than the green couch. Which you take up most of by yourself, lardass. But the matching recliners placed on either side of it were completely out of the question. They were newer designs that looked like a cross between leather executive chairs and eighties-style kitchen chairs with ring bases, not to mention made for human beings about a third of his size. If he somehow managed to cram his huge ass into one of them, it would either fall apart or fall over immediately. He swallowed hard and stuttered, "I guess I...I'd b-b-better sit on the c-couch. S-sorry. I m-mean if you...w-wanted to. Sorry."

Cee slid the disc into the player, and shrugged as she closed the glass door. "That's where I figured you'd need to sit. I didn't expect those chairs to be able to hold you. I mean, you're probably over four hundred now. Go ahead." She turned around, her face devoid of expression.

Blood rushed to his cheeks and he tore his eyes away before they could meet hers, feeling the hole in his chest gape open just a bit wider. He slowly lowered his mass into the couch, cringing as the leather creaked and the soft cushions sank beneath his weight. But as low as he sank into the piece of furniture, the seat itself was simply not deep enough for him, and he felt the bottom softness of his belly hanging over the edge of the cushion between his widely spread legs. Panicked, he grasped at the bottom of his t-shirt to cover his exposed blubber and tried to bring his legs closer together, but only succeeded in squeezing his gut between his thick thighs.

"Need to adjust?"

His eyes burning, feeling her gaze raking over every fleshy inch of him, he slid his hands beneath his belly and lifted it. He brought his legs together and released his fat so it plopped down heavily in his lap. Even empty, his stomach released an irritated grumble in protest of being so compressed, and he leaned back a bit farther in an attempt to give it some more space.

"Better?" she asked.

"Fine," he muttered, wriggling uncomfortably. You've gotten so massive that you didn't even realize you literally need to adjust your gut in order to sit like a normal person, you freaking slob, his inner voice spat. Wait, what is she doing?

Cee was walking towards him. She picked up the remote control from the coffee table and eyed the scant few inches of space between Xander's right hip and the arm of the couch, her head tilted thoughtfully. With a few graceful steps, she circled the table and moved to sit down next to him.

"Wait, what -" Xander squeaked, instinct forcing him to try to shove himself farther into the corner of the couch, even though his brain knew there was nowhere else for all of him to go. "What are you - why..."

"I'm sitting down," she stated, her slim hips somehow sliding into the space next to him. He could feel the sharp edge of her pelvis pressing into the thick love handle flesh that popped over the waistband of his pants and rested heavily on the couch, and his stomach groaned loudly, half in embarrassment and half in emptiness. "You sound hungry," she said as she pressed buttons on the remote to navigate the DVD menu, and then turned her face to his. "You're not going to do anything about it, though, are you."

Her words held no hint of challenge or reproach. He just stared at her, not knowing how to respond, or even if she expected him to.

"How is that tea working, by the way? I mean, you sound hungry, but you're obviously not eating."

The muscles in his throat worked involuntarily, but still he looked at her.

"Well, Xander?"

He felt a little twinge somewhere deep in his belly. You're seriously missing her calling you Pudge? Seriously? "I don't...know what you want me to say."

She shrugged, turning back to the television and pressing play. "Just making conversation. You know that you don't have to do that for me."

"I...what?" The mournful strains of a violin began to shimmer through the air around them as the opening credits started on the screen.

"You don't have to starve yourself. I think you're hot as hell, Xander."

His eyes widened as he sucked in a sharp breath.

Cee turned back to him, her green-gold eyes almost iridescent in the dim light as she whispered. "Those pretty, pretty blue eyes of yours...that deep, dark, wavy hair..." She reached up and started weaving her fingers through his locks, then brushed his cheek. "Your perfect pale skin...that little blush you get..." He swallowed hard as her hand kept traveling down his front. "Your enormously round, fat body..."

He grabbed her wrist to stop her fingers from squeezing his belly. "Please," he choked, "please...stop." Her smoky scent was so strong it clouded his vision almost as much as the tears in his eyes. "I know...I know it was stupid to ever...ever think that...maybe....you... I know. So please, just...don't. I'm sorry. Please, don't make it worse." He tried to stand up, but his belly resting on top of his thighs instead of dipping between them threw him off and he ended up just scooting forward with a frustrated grunt. He tried again, to no avail.

"Where are you going?" she asked, her voice still quiet. "Let me show you just what I think of you, Xander. Let me show you just what I think...of all of you."

Xander stopped struggling to lift himself off the couch as a sudden smoky blast of fireworks burst in his head. He turned his head and looked directly in her eyes. "Where is she?" he breathed.

"What are you talking about?" she said coyly as she leaned towards him, her fingers tracing familiar patterns on his middle.

"Where is she?"

"Why, Xander, I don't have the faintest idea what you're talking about. She's right here, sitting next to you. And let me tell you, she'd love for me to continue with where things are going. Quite the dirty, messed-up mind this little hunter's got." Cee's grin widened unnaturally as both her hands grabbed the flesh of Xander's belly and shook it. "Oh, she is going crazy in here! What a freak, thinking a fat slug like you-"

The back of his right fist connected with her face almost before he realized he'd clenched it. He somehow managed to heft himself off the couch and back away across the room, his eyes searching for some sort of weapon. But the only things in the room were the chairs, the couch, the coffee table, and the electronics. There weren't even any lamps. There was no sword-stocked closet in this part of the basement, and the thing that looked like Cee was now on its feet, half-crouched over like an animal and blocking the only exit.

"What did you do with her?"

"I told you," the Cee-thing said, still almost whispering, "she's right here." It lunged at him, slicing him with sharp nails as he raised his arm defensively. It tried to latch onto his neck, but he got a good grip on its hair and yanked it off. He threw it back across the room, but it rolled to its feet and attacked again.

"Where is she?" Xander demanded, frantic tears straining his words.

The demon cackled, contorting Cee's pretty features into something nightmarish. "Ooh, look at the big tough Chosen One, so scary! Ha! They really thought an obese idiot like you was going to bring down all of Hell? All these hunters have given us is a pig, fattened for slaughter. And we will relish feasting upon your abundant flesh and that pathetic soul of yours, absolutely dripping with so much misery, so much guilt, so much shame..." It bared its teeth and flew at him again.

Xander grabbed for the coffee table and batted the demon into the wall with it, where the creature hit with a thud and fell to the ground. He stood over it, the coffee table held above his head, ready to strike, when he realized it was laughing again.

"Oh, yes. Yes! Do it!" it urged him, Cee's voice no longer even recognizable in the guttural snarls. "Do it! Crush her skull, smash her brains, tear out her wretched little heart and squash it into the carpet with your shoe! Kill her!"

"You're not her!"

The demon was laughing so hard he could see tears streaming down the sides of its face as it lay beneath him. "I may not be her," it told him, "but this is not my body. My companion ripped her open so that I could crawl inside her, and she is still in here with me. You kill this body, you kill her."

His grip on the coffee table loosened involuntarily, and he heard it drop behind him with a thud.

The Cee-thing crawled to its feet as Xander backed slowly away from it. "So what will you do now, Chosen One? Will you bludgeon your love to death to save your pathetic life for a short time, until we make way for our Mother to ascend so she can feast upon your liver as you watch? I think not. You don't have it in you. You're weak. I think you would rather allow me to take you, to deliver you to Mother in Hell as she has asked, so she can send bits and pieces of you to all the hunters of this world to show what the Mother of All Demons thinks of your ridiculous prophecies and your piteous power!"

The demon was on him again, its hands closing around his neck, fingernails slicing ribbons into his soft flesh, but he couldn't fight it. She's still in there. I can't...I can't kill her. He stared into its eyes - into Cee's eyes - but instead of seeing the seething, wild-haired monster gnashing its teeth in front of him, he saw her as she'd been the night they'd gone for ice cream.

Cee, skipping ahead of him on the street, cheerfully chattering at him and laughing as they walked.

Cee, eyes flashing as she sank her boot knife into the demon from across the ice cream shop, scarlet hair flying as she slammed her energy into the thing's face to destroy it.

Cee, her faintly freckle-dusted face crumpling when she'd asked him if he really thought she was annoying.

Cee, the sweet light of her tiny smile dawning across the entire street when she'd reassured him that she didn't think he was disgusting.

And Cee, her eyes shyly meeting his when she'd returned to his room that night, clad in his gigantic t-shirt.

Splotches of indigo light were beginning to dance across his field of vision, mingling with the green of Cee's gaze and patches of blackness as his air ran out. He closed his eyes but the patterns remained, now illuminating the scenes of her in his mind. He had never known someone so fierce and so gentle at the same time, someone so perfectly, unapologetically...herself. What would happen to her after the demon finished with her? Would she be left alive, physically unharmed but mentally shattered? Would she be broken, crippled, unable to hunt down the things that had left her that way? Would it kill her? Worse yet, would it never leave her, walking around in her body for the rest of her life, leaving her a prisoner inside it to witness every atrocity it committed in her skin?


Xander opened his eyes. The tingling came quickly and he felt the spheres of energy swirling into being in his palms, and a deep part of him pushed with everything he had. He smelled the sea as his hands burst into ultraviolet flame, illuminating the dark basement and Cee's wretched form in front of him with a blinding brightness. The demon ripped Cee's hands from around his neck and clapped them over her eyes, a horrifying scream issuing forth from her mouth. Xander grabbed her head and poured his energy into her, feeling it rush through her body like a tide, sweeping away the smoky darkness.

The screaming stopped.

Cee's body collapsed limply to the floor amidst a cloud of ash. Xander dropped down beside her and gathered her up in his arms. "Cee? Cee, can you hear me? Please, wake up... Please," he croaked desperately.

She took a shuddering breath and opened her eyes, tears immediately pouring out of them. "Pudge," she murmured, reaching up to touch the wetness on his own cheek. But her hand fell before her fingers could brush his skin, and her eyes closed again. Upstairs, the clock chimed midnight.

09-07-2014, 01:07 PM
Yay Xander! :smitten:

I've been hoping Ling only made him the appetite-suppressant tea because she knew he'd have to figure out on his own that it was a bad idea.

09-07-2014, 01:34 PM
Totally worth waiting for!!! :eek:

09-07-2014, 02:23 PM
Oh my gosh!!! Poor Cee! I knew something wasn't right but man... poor Xander and Cee, I am almost crying! Please let them be okay!

Xyantha Reborn
09-07-2014, 03:01 PM



I freakin love this story, and I am so in love with Cee and Xander!! I think pudge is my new favourite word!!

09-07-2014, 03:05 PM
Simply perfect! I just hope Cee will be ok 😱

09-07-2014, 08:07 PM
That was awesome. Omg the creepy rising anxiety as they go down to the basement together... so well done.

09-08-2014, 06:32 AM
oh, wow, this story has always been extremely good, but this chapter just pulled so many things together so nicely, so fluidly, so naturally. It was both a mini-climax and a really deft piece of writing.

Of course, now I'm just dying to see what comes next!

09-08-2014, 08:42 AM
Nicely said Tad. I agree. This is my favorite "FFAntasy" !

10-01-2014, 02:14 AM
im hanging out for more!! got this pinned in my web browser!! :D

10-09-2014, 08:30 AM
Hi, friends! Once again, I've come to you to apologize for taking so long between installments. I started a new job and am dealing with a completely new and strange schedule, and it's taken quite a bit of getting used to, what with adjusting my sleep schedule and trying to find a new routine to fall into. Also, it seems that whenever I come to you and apologize for my tortoise-like writing speed, it spurs me on to finish the next chapter. Here's hoping that continues to work!

10-09-2014, 01:49 PM
Also, it seems that whenever I come to you and apologize for my tortoise-like writing speed, it spurs me on to finish the next chapter. Here's hoping that continues to work!

Here's hoping our responses inspire you!:D

10-09-2014, 01:54 PM
I just re-read the ending of that last chapter, and got all the 'great story doing cool stuff can't wait to read what happens next' happy tingles down my spine again. I know I raved about this chapter before, but I figure it never hurts to do so again :)

Xyantha Reborn
10-09-2014, 03:33 PM
I have been holding my breath since the last installment! I was so excited to see the bolded text with your name beside it i almost dropped my phone scrolling to the bottom!

Sleep schedule stuff throws you totally out of wack. Hopefully your body is adjusting!

11-18-2014, 12:46 AM
Further proof for Goreki that I'm not dead... :p
You glorious ratbag! I didn't see this until I was copying the whole thing to put into my phone and read for the umpteenth time.
I hope you're well and that your creative juices are happily marinating :)

11-20-2014, 09:26 PM
Any updates?

03-26-2015, 07:47 PM
Maybe someday I will learn how to write without taking 6 month+ breaks...but today is not that day.

"Xander?" Ken called again, gently knocking on the door.

He hugged the pillow tighter to his chest and tried to sink deeper beneath the covers.

"Hey, they're here, man. Cee's parents are in her room, and everyone else is downstairs. They want to see you. Are you coming?"

Xander clenched his eyes shut, but managed to stop short of slapping his hands over his ears like a two year old. You can't let them see you, you disgusting tub of lard. You can't. They'll take one look at you and know that everything was your fault because you're too fat and stupid to have realized that a demon was possessing their daughter and you almost killed her. You almost killed her, you freaking piece of crap. The pain drove itself into his chest again and again as he saw her, grey-faced and still, laying in his arms on the basement floor. The looks on their faces as the hunters stopped dead at the bottom of the basement stairs and saw him clutching her, weeping helplessly. The distance even Ling had kept from him since then. The sharpness he could smell - and now see, and feel - in the air in the house. He had locked himself in the guest bedroom last night and had only snuck out a few times to use the bathroom when he was sure the hunters were nowhere close by. He had spent the rest of the day in bed, his stomach filled with nothing but the tea he drank lukewarm with water from the bathroom sink and shame and desperation trying to claw their way out. He couldn't even stand the sight of himself in a mirror, and they wanted him to meet Ling's and Cee's families?

Ken knocked again. "Seriously, Xander, are you okay? I know you're not asleep..."

The door creaked as it opened, and Xander shuddered involuntarily as he felt Ken approach the bed. He hastily wiped the tears from his cheeks with the comforter that was covering his head.

"Dude...what's wrong?"

He swallowed hard and replied, his voice raspy, "Just...just tired."

"You're a crummy liar." He felt Ken's hand rest upon his shoulder momentarily, then pull away. "Geez. What's wrong with you? It's not your fault. None of us even suspected anything was wrong. You're the reason she's alive."

He let out a short, involuntary bark of laughter at that. "I'm the one who almost killed her."

"Seriously, you're not that stupid. The demon almost killed her. You got the demon out. Cee's family is practically ready to kiss your feet."

Xander tried to swallow past the lump in his throat and tell him that he was wrong, he didn't understand...but he couldn't.

Ken breathed a few profanities. "Do you want me to go get Ling and Darshan? Or how about I just tell everyone to come in here to see you?"


"Then come on, get out of bed."

Xander let out a small noise that was a cross between a whimper and a groan, but he yanked his shirt back down over his belly and inched out of the cocoon.

"Come on. Go wash your face. Change your pants. Do you have another shirt?" Ken asked, eyeing Xander as he lurched to his feet.

He gaped at him, head swimming. "What?"

Ken spoke slowly. "Do you have a different shirt you can wear? That one's...a bit snug."

His breath hitched as he looked down at himself. The charcoal fabric was stretched taut across his soft paunch, barely containing the thick roll that gushed over the waistband of his sweatpants. But...but this is a new one, the thought raced wildly through his mind. It hasn't even been two weeks. He tugged at it frantically, but the fabric remained tight, and his insides clenched. "Crap."

"Hey, you'd better take some of that stuff Ling gave you...you don't look so great."

His shaking fingers scrabbled against the smooth wood of the nightstand as he grabbed for the tiny bottle. He considered upending the entire thing into his mouth, but the thought of Cee's family's first encounter with him being trying to heft his massive, unconscious body off the floor was nauseating enough to stop him. Gulping back a wheeze, he managed to drip three drops under his tongue before wearily plopping his ass back down on the bed as another wave of dizziness crashed over him.

He could feel Ken's eyes on him. "Are you going to be able to pull it together?"

A laugh turned to a cough as the air caught in his throat. "I don't know," he finally admitted. Tears pricked his eyes again, but he closed them until the burning stopped.

"Seriously, do you want me to go get Ling?"

Xander shook his head. "I'll be fine. Just...let me get changed."

"Alright. But I'm going to wait outside, and if you're not out in five minutes I'm going to assume you got back in bed and I'm going to tell Ling. Then she can deal with you."

"Fine." Xander sighed as Ken shut the door behind him, and, fighting a rush of nausea, rose from the bed to rummage around in his bag for some presentable clothing. He settled on the pair of cargo pants he remembered feeling the roomiest when he'd tried them on, a black t-shirt that felt smaller than it should have, and over it a grey button-down left open in hopes of camouflaging how tight the t-shirt was.

"There's a good man," Ken said as Xander opened the door and stepped into the hallway. "Now go wash your face, you'll feel better." He obediently entered the bathroom and, avoiding the mirrors, turned the cold handle on the sink. He leaned over as he let the water fill his cupped hands and, feeling a fresh wave of misery as his belly smushed into the cool porcelain, splashed the liquid onto his face. After a few repetitions his warm cheeks had cooled and his eyes felt less scratchy, so he reached for a towel and patted his skin dry.

"You good?"

Xander just stared at the faucet for a few moments. His face stared back at him from the shiny metal, pale and distorted by the curves of the fixture. "No," he muttered. He turned from the sink and walked towards Ken, who was waiting in the doorway.

"Alright, Cee's parents are in her room with her. Her mom's name is Aislin and her dad is Zarek," Ken rattled off quietly as he led Xander down the hall. "Her mom and dad are nothing like her, it's so weird. Her mom is like this fae-looking, soft-spoken Irish woman and her dad is this chill Greek dude. Her youngest brother, Kai, is in there with them - they're really close. Her other two brothers are downstairs. The oldest is Costas, the middle one is Talos. Good luck telling them apart: they look so much alike I was convinced they were twins. They're...a handful."

He swallowed a jolt of queasiness, wondering if he should administer more of Ling's tincture now or wait until he was completely freaking out. "Great..."

Ken was shaking his head. "Don't worry, it'll be fine. Now, Ling's parents are downstairs, too. Her dad is Thomas and her mom is Mei. They take some time to warm up to people, so don't be, like, offended if all they do is nod their heads at you. That's just how they are. It's really Cee's two oldest brothers that you need to worry about..."

Xander stopped, his head swimming. "Maybe I shouldn't..." He turned slightly to retreat to the guest room, but he immediately felt Ken's strong fingers sink into his thick upper arm. He choked back a gag at the sight of Ken's hand dwarfed by his flesh.

"Look, I get it. You don't like people. Understandable." He kept his grip on Xander's arm as he spoke. "I know what you're afraid of. That's why you should meet them now. With what you did last night, you've got a free pass, you get me? You could have a gigantic facial tattoo of a lewd sex act and they'd still want to kiss your feet." Ken released his hold and looked at Xander earnestly, his words slowing. "You saved her life last night. You saved all of us. In a big way. None of us can conjure that much energy, let alone know how to do what you did with it. If you hadn't flushed that demon out, it would have gotten each and every one of us alone and killed us. And with us dead, who knows when or even if anybody else would have figured out what we figured out about the demon attack. You get where I'm going with this?"

"But I don't even know how I -"

Ken rolled his eyes. "Dude, it doesn't matter. You'll figure it out. Point is, you're basically wearing a halo right now. They're not going to care that you're socially awkward. They're not going to care that you're fat. Yeah, Costas and Talos will probably be dicks to you, but they're dicks to everyone, and deep down, they're really grateful that you saved their baby sister's life. I know stuff sometimes, remember?"

Yeah, but they haven't seen me yet, Xander thought miserably. One look at this and they won't be able to contain their disgust. Or laughter. Probably both. But to Ken he just sighed, nodded, and followed him down the stairs, feeling his heart jump with every creak the old wood gave under his weight. He peered cautiously into the living room and, despite a strange, intermittent blurring that seemed to have begun in his vision, saw that it was empty save for two slender, dark-haired people, a man and a woman, sitting on the green couch and talking quietly. They turned their heads at Ken and Xander's approach.

"Mr. and Mrs. Kwan, this is Xander," Ken introduced him.

Mrs. Kwan, whose hair was dusted with silver strands despite her smooth, practically-glowing skin, stood immediately, her head tilting slightly in a manner so similar to her daughter's that Xander was almost comforted as she looked him up and down. But her heady floral scent momentarily darkened, and Xander gave silent thanks for his inability to read minds.

Her husband stood more slowly, his slim brows arching in obvious concern as he took in their supposed savior. "This?" he inquired.

"Yeah, this is him."

Thomas bowed his head slightly to Xander. "You have done us a great service, Xander. I thank you."

"Um..." he sputtered, "uh, thanks."

But Ling's parents were already lowering themselves to the couch, deep in conversation again in a language that Xander could not understand. Ken grabbed his arm again and led him towards the kitchen, where a sudden bang made Xander jump.

"That was pretty good," Ken murmured to him.


"Yeah. Now just...take a deep breath or something." He clapped him on the back as he swung the door open.

"Did you check the oven? Sometimes mom hides stuff in there." A tall man with sandy brown hair and tanned, freckled skin was rummaging around in a cabinet across the room. "Like the cookies. Maybe they do that, too."

"I told you, that was the first place I looked," came a voice immediately to their right from the open refrigerator. "I'll bet it's Darshan, with all that health food bullsh-" The fridge door closed and they were confronted with green eyes and a frown. "Oh. Figured out why there's no food here."

A near-identical gaze met Xander's eyes as the other man turned from the cabinet to face them. "Oh. Yeah, guess he ate it all."

Ken planted his palm in the center of Xander's back just as he tried to turn to leave. "Guys, this is Xander. Xander, Costas and Talos. No, I don't know which one's which."

"Obviously I'm Talos," the one by the cabinets said.

"And obviously I'm Costas. I'm a half-inch taller, and his IQ's forty points lower."

A box of wheat crackers flew at Costas's head from across the room. "Shut up, douche."

"Make me, dickwad." Costas chucked an apple at him. "What up, Ken? It's been a while." He held out his fist and Ken bumped it with his own.

Ken shrugged. "Ah, y'know, narrowly escaping death, prophecy bull, your sister being possessed by a Greater Demon. The usual. You guys?"

Xander started at Ken's response. By a what?

But Costas was already speaking. "Ha, of course it'd be our sister. It's like she can't help but get herself involved in ridiculous crap."

"Speaking of ridiculous crap," Talos said, "what's this?" He jutted his chin at Xander, his eyebrows raised.

Xander looked at the floor, his heart pounding with the effort of trying not to dry heave as Ken answered. "This is Xander," he said, patting him on his soft back. "The guy who saved your sister's life."

He could practically taste their disbelief, feel their eyes widen in the few seconds of silence that followed. His view of the floor tiles blurred and darkened.

"Seriously?" Costas murmured as Talos said, "What?"

"Yeah, he flushed the demon out all by himself."

Talos gaped at him. "This is the dude from the prophecy?"

Ken nodded firmly. "Yup. Among his other talents, he smells energy."

"What do we smell like?" Costas asked, a hint of suspicion coloring his voice.

Xander shifted uncomfortably, every movement making him hyper aware of the most minute jiggle. "You smell like stone...granite," he mumbled. "He smells like apple blossoms."

"Haha, you smell like pretty flowers," Costas taunted his brother.

"Shove it, buttwipe, at least I don't smell like a filthy rock."

Ken gave Xander a curious look. "What about me?"

At least they're distracted from how awkward and huge I am, Xander thought. Momentarily, anyway. "You smell like a field of grass when it's really hot out. Like summer."

"Huh. Cool. What about -"

Talos interrupted him. "So how'd you do it?"

"Yeah," Costas chimed in. "How did you manage to exorcise a Greater Demon? You only even found out about all this like a month ago, you have no training, and you're -"

"Ling's been training him," Ken cut in before Costas could say what they all knew he'd been thinking. "Your sister, too. He's caught on really fast."

"Yeah, but still... We can't even do that. I don't even think our mom can do that. Not by herself," Talos countered. "So how does an inexperienced fatty like you manage?"

Xander's muscles contracted as he tried not to stumble, another rush of dizziness blinding him. "I don't know," he replied quietly.

"You don't know?" Costas said, his incredulity stretching out his words like elastic.

"Hey," Ken interjected, "let's focus on the important stuff here, like the fact that because of Xander, we're not planning your sister's funeral right now, huh?"

Talos and Costas looked at each other, abashed. "Sorry," they muttered in unison. "And thanks," Costas added.

They stood there in awkward silence for a few moments, Ken glancing back and forth between them, until Xander suddenly felt the kitchen door swing open and bounce off of his protruding ass. His cheeks flushed as he jumped and immediately tried to move out of the way. A light, lilting voice exclaimed, "Ooh, goodness, I'm sorry! Let me swing it the other way." And then five more bodies were crowding the kitchen, making Xander feel that much larger, crammed into the space with eight other people who were each less than half his size. He tried to shove himself as far into the corner by the basement and back doors as he possibly could, observing the Argyris family as they congregated around the table with Ken, Ling, and Darshan. A tall, solidly built man with dark hair, olive skin, and rugged features draped his arm around the shoulders of a tiny, pale, freckled woman with a thick rope of flame colored hair pouring down her back. Cee's parents smiled at each other, and Xander felt the sweetness of their warm, earthy scents wash over him with a pang of jealousy. He averted his eyes, only to be confronted with a gaze that was a scant shade or two darker than the vibrant peridot of Cee's. Kai was staring at him, one eyebrow cocked curiously. Xander felt himself shiver violently as the man's clove-like scent seemed to brush his cheek, and he caught Kai's eyes narrow under his fine dark brows before he could look away. I hope Cee wasn't lying when she said she was the only one in her family who can read minds, he fretted.

Ling's voice rose above the din. "Aislin, Zarek, Kai - you should meet Xander." She nodded in his direction, and he saw their heads turn his way.

Before he knew what was happening, Aislin's arms were wrapping around him in a tight squeeze. "Oh, Xander," she sighed, her voice musical and full of unshed tears, "thank you. Thank you so much, dear. If you hadn't been there..." She pulled away to look up at his face, which he was certain was almost purple with embarrassment. "We owe her life to you. Thank you. Anything you need, anything we can ever do for you, just say the word." She reached up and touched the back of her fingers to his cheek, smiling softly.

She stepped aside to let Zarek get close to him. He was as tall as Xander, and looked him squarely in the eyes as he shook his hand in a firm grip. "My wife is right," he told him simply. "Thank you." Not knowing what else to do, Xander just nodded, absently hoping that they didn't notice the sweat that had begun to pour down his face.

Then Kai was before him, and Xander's stomach twisted painfully. This was Cee's favorite brother, more like her twin than a sibling, as she had explained it. What if she had told him how he felt about her? What if he shook his hand and he knew? What if he shook his hand and he knew everything -

And then he was shaking his hand, Kai's palm warm and dry in his clammy grip. "Thank you, Xander. I'm very glad you were there for Cee." A strange look crossed his face before he let go of Xander's hand, his freckled nose crinkling just slightly.

"Alright, everyone," Darshan called. "Are we going to discuss plans now, or later?"

"We should talk now," Aislin responded. "Thomas and Mei have a prior engagement that will take them away just after six, so let's figure out the best course of action."

As Aislin was speaking, Xander noticed Kai lean close to Ling and whisper in her ear. They both looked over at him, worried expressions on their faces. No, he thought miserably. His sight darkened again and he closed his eyes to try to still the spinning.

"...all go sit in the living room," Aislin finished.

Ling spoke up. "Aislin? I have something I need to take care of. Will it be alright if I borrow Kai for a bit?"

"Of course, dear, just check in with us periodically, alright?" The Argyrises drifted out of the kitchen, followed by Ken and Darshan. Xander began to cautiously exit the room, too, but before he could reach the door, Ling and Kai stopped him.


"If I'm not allowed in there, I can just -"

"When was the last time you had something to eat?"

03-27-2015, 12:15 AM
Ohhhhhh it's so good to read about Xander again! Thank you for an update and hopefully you won't make us wait another 6 months :p

03-27-2015, 03:00 AM
Very happy to have you and a new installment back Undine!

And ever since the first story with Garron Riese you have an incredible knack of hitting very close to my world with your name choices.

Argyris is the name of our famous local village roast chicken king!

03-27-2015, 04:29 AM
I love this update. Man, is he EVER reacting to that tea! You've managed to flesh out this world and cast of characters so well-- it's a rare treat for me to be able to sink so thoroughly into a story. Thanks! :bow:

03-27-2015, 05:11 AM
Happy dance!!!!!! Thank you :-)

03-27-2015, 06:53 AM
Yaaaayyy! So happy~! <3

03-27-2015, 01:31 PM
I haven't read it yet but YES! !!!! Thank you for the update!

03-27-2015, 04:12 PM
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

03-27-2015, 05:54 PM
Nice to have a continuation of this one!

Xyantha Reborn
03-27-2015, 08:44 PM

03-29-2015, 06:44 AM
Made my day! I absolutely can't wait for Cee to come to and for them to reunite :wubu:

03-30-2015, 05:54 PM
<3 oh thank you so much

04-02-2015, 12:35 AM
*screaming* YESSSS AN UPDATTTEEE~~ cant wait for the next one~!! :D

04-06-2015, 05:45 AM
In the past couple od days Ive re-read the whole story couple of times and I'm really really realllyyyyyy need more. Cee and Xander are so cute together and so innocent and so lovely and just so perfect I can't ....:doh: please don't let me (and everyone) suffer to long, please :3

04-07-2015, 11:49 AM
Ooooooh! :smitten::smitten: Sooooo happy to see Xander back!
Thank you Undine!

04-08-2015, 10:45 PM
Yaaaay!!! Just in time for my birthday and everything!!

04-10-2015, 02:06 PM
Just read the whole story again. It is so, so good. All the background detail about energy, the colors, smells of characters....
man, I'm sure it has to do with Xander's paranoia, but people are really mean!
And Xander must be broke as a joke from all the food purchases he makes!

There is so much stuff I can't wait to find out about in this story! And it would make a really cute graphic novel!

Love love!

04-10-2015, 02:41 PM
Oh, you are right about the graphic novel--it would work beautifully!

04-11-2015, 12:39 PM
I have become deeply smitten with this story. I even doodled some characters in my spare time. They are of Cee and Xander. One is Xander telling lies to his mom on the phone. Xander is grouchy that his shirt is too small.

04-11-2015, 02:27 PM
Oh wow Molly -apart from being super talented in the drawing department, your images of Xander are extremely close to those from my inner eye. Lovely work!

04-13-2015, 11:42 AM
Yay, I'm glad to see an update. I love this story.

09-04-2015, 05:01 PM
"I, um...b-breakfast...this morning, before...before everyone was up," he sputtered, again trying to not dry heave.

"Xander..." Ling sighed. "You know I can't let you have any more of that tea."

Tears welled up in his eyes, and he hated himself even more for the desperation he heard in his voice. "B-but it...I didn't...it was working." Kai stared at him curiously.

"Not the way it's supposed to," Ling told him gently. "I told you to let me know if you didn't feel right, remember? You are not doing well right now. And it's been far too long since you've eaten."

He bit his tongue to prevent the hideous flood of self-hate his mind immediately conjured from gushing forth aloud, but that didn't stop the tide from crashing around within him. Well, now you're screwed, you whale. Your one chance to do something without surgery and you blew it with your inability to hide how goddamn pathetic you are. Now they're all going to see what a garbage disposal you are and watch in horror as you blow up like a disgusting lard balloon. Because you know that's what's going to happen. Unless you just put a stop to it all -

"Stop!" Kai exclaimed, grabbing Xander's arm.

Xander flinched away from his warm touch, and Ling turned a questioning gaze from Kai to Xander and back.

So she lied, Xander thought bitterly, waiting for Cee's brother to tell Ling what he'd been thinking. But, to his surprise, he stayed silent and just stared at him.

"Alright, I'm going to have to give you something to counteract it, Xander. And you need to eat something, right now."

Eating is the last thing I need to do, he thought, but all he said aloud was, "I'm not hungry."

"I don't doubt that you're not, but it doesn't matter," she told him sternly. "As you reacted so strongly to the tea, I have no idea how your body will react when I give you this. It's very possible that you will rapidly regain every bit of hunger the herbs have been suppressing for the past few days. To be safe, you should eat."

"But I...I'm fine...really. You don't need to do this...I'll just...I'll stop drinking it."

She gave him a sympathetic look. "Xander, please. You're not fine. I know how much you wanted this to work, but you can't go on like this."

He felt his insides heave again, his humiliation bringing more tears to his eyes. He clenched his fists and said nothing.

"Alright. Kai, would you please make him something while I get this ready? A sandwich should be good for now, nothing too greasy or spicy. The bread is in the corner cabinet, everything else is in the refrigerator."

"Sure," Kai agreed. "What do you like, Xander?"

"Everything," he muttered. "Isn't that obvious?"

He hesitated before responding. "How's turkey and cheese with lettuce?"


"Have a seat. I can tell you're dizzy," Ling told him as she began pulling jars of herbs out of one of the cabinets.

He clenched his jaw. "I can't."

She just sighed, but Kai turned and gave him a curious look. "What do you mean?" he asked.

He refused to answer, and just leaned against the counter, trying to calm his breathing.

"Seriously, Xander, you look like you're going to fall over. Just sit."

"No." He closed his eyes against the sudden brightness in his vision and their concerned expressions.

"Hey, do you want mustard or mayo?" Kai asked, and suddenly he was wheezing, his empty stomach churning and forcing his eyes open as he doubled over, clutching his soft belly. Alternate waves of heat and cold overwhelmed his senses until all that existed was the ocean of his own self-loathing, and he was drowning, gratefully sucking oblivion into his lungs, welcoming the blackness with relief.

Too soon a hand grabbed his and began to pull him out, back up towards the blinding whiteness. "No..." he slurred as objects began to take shape around him again. Kai's angular face came into focus in front of him and he realized that he was on the floor and the young man was clutching his hand, channeling a steady stream of his mossy green energy up Xander's arm and into his brain.

"He definitely needs to eat," Kai stated, glancing at Ling meaningfully. She switched off the burner on the stove, where the kettle was beginning to whistle, and slapped together the rest of the sandwich Kai had been assembling. Xander felt his skin begin to crawl as she handed the plate to Kai, and he held it up to Xander.

"Please...I don't want to."

"I know," Kai said, "but you need to." His brows scrunched together, and Xander felt a surge of energy pulse through his body and relieve some of the tension locked in his muscles. A full breath filled his lungs for what felt like the first time in months, and his stomach growled. He grabbed the sandwich from the plate and took an eager bite, the flavors almost foreign on his tongue as he chewed and swallowed. Another bite, and another, until the sandwich was gone, and he sighed.

"Here," Ling said, handing him a large white mug, "drink this down all at once. Luckily there's enough ginger in it that it will taste good."

He did as she asked, and the hot liquid joined the sandwich in his belly with a pleasant slosh. Ling blew a strand of hair out of her face and took the mug back from him. "Alright. Kai, would you take him up to the guest room?"

"Of course," the young man responded, rising easily to his feet. "How long should we wait for the second dose?"

She rubbed her hands wearily down her cheeks. "I have no idea. I've never seen anyone react this way before. Have you?"

"I can honestly say I've never made an appetite suppressant for anyone before."

"I personally haven't, either, but I've seen my grandmother give it to several people. Most of them had completely normal reactions. A few odd ones complained that it didn't work well enough or that it gave them headaches and made them dizzy. My grandmother told me that was because they had a sensitivity to the coleus, so she made a new one up for them without it."

Can't she just...

"But I've never seen anyone else with his symptoms. Nothing in the blend I gave him should cause what he's experiencing. So what I mixed up for him now was a variation of my standard tri-level, mixed with something to stimulate his appetite and some additional calming agents."

Stimulate my appetite? he thought in dismay, his vision tilting to the side a bit.

Ling continued, "So I guess just watch him. I certainly imagine he'll need more than one dose, of course."

Kai nodded. "Alright, Xander, let's go chill in your room." He held out a hand, presumably to help Xander up from where he was still slumped against the bottom counters, as Ling exited the kitchen.

"She said we should go up to the guest room, not have me yank you down here on the floor with me," he muttered, ignoring the man's assistance and awkwardly heaving himself to his feet.

"Let's take the back stairs," Kai suggested. "Avoid unnecessary explanations, yeah?"

"There are back stairs?"

"Yeah, through the pantry. They come out in the linen closet in the bathroom." He led him into the cramped pantry and swung the back wall inward to reveal a narrow set of steps leading up into darkness. Kai flicked a switch, and an overhead light illuminated the passageway. He took a few steps up and looked back. "Coming?"

Xander grimaced. "I..."

Kai glanced around the stairwell and then back at Xander, appraising his large form for a few moments. "It'll be tight, but you'll make it. You might have some trouble in a few spots. Maybe try going up sideways."

His jaw clenched as he followed Kai up the stairs, quickly feeling the walls try to compress his softness. He tried lifting his arms to make the passage easier, but that didn't do much, as it seemed to get even narrower after a few steps and he could actually feel the flab on his hips being squeezed by the rough plaster. Blushing furiously, he turned to the side. His gut and ass still slid along the walls, but it was somewhat easier than trying to face forward. He attempted to blank his mind as he worked his way up, but the knowledge that he was having such a hard time fitting in a stairwell was too immediate for him to avoid, and he found himself wheezing when they finally reached the top.

Kai looked back at him in alarm.

"Just...asthma...apparently," he breathed, fumbling in his pocket for the tincture. Kai slid back the door in front of them and reached around the shelves of the linen closet to open the outer door as Xander dripped a bit of the liquid under his tongue and felt his breathing start to calm.

"Hmm, kava for asthma," Kai remarked as he rolled the shelves out into the bathroom. "Interesting. Never thought of that. Alright, here we go. So are they still using the room at the end of the hall for the guest room?"

Xander eagerly stumbled out of the constricting passageway and into the bathroom after him, breathing more easily how that he was in an open space. "Yeah, that's...where I've been staying." He glanced at Cee's door as they exited the bathroom, and he felt his stomach clench with a pang of hunger. He resolutely lowered his eyes and trailed into the guest room after Kai, who shut the door behind him.

"I heard there were some incidents in your dorm, right? Hey, you're hungry. That's good. I'll text Ling."

"Wait, what? How did you..."

But Kai was already settling himself in the chair beneath the window, his gingery hair glinting in the sunlight streaming in through the glass and his fingers tapping away at his phone screen. "She'll bring something up in a few minutes. I see auras, and I can see from yours that you're feeling hungry."

"You see what?"

Ken leaned back in the chair, stretching his long legs out in front of him and propping his feet up on the bed frame. "Auras. A person's personal energy field. It's part of how I heal. Whereas Ling works mostly with touch, I'm more attuned to color. And right now there's a blotch of a greenish-yellow right over your stomach that means you're hungry. That's a very good sign. There's still a nasty cloud around your head and your heart, though. Unfortunately I think it'll take a few more doses to alleviate those. Why don't you put some sweats on and get in bed? The stuff Ling gave you is probably going to make you pretty tired."

Xander just gaped at him for a moment before grabbing his sweatpants from where he'd draped them across the bed and trudging back to the bathroom. A few minutes later he stood next to the bed again, glancing between Kai, who appeared to be playing a game on his phone, and the mattress, whose springs screamed every time he settled himself on it.

"Why don't you get comfy? You should rest," Kai said without looking up from his screen.

"You're gonna pull an Edward Cullen and sit there and watch me sleep?" Xander scoffed, yanking alternately on the hem of his t-shirt and the waistband of his sweats to make sure they were still touching. They somehow felt even tighter than they had earlier that day.

Kai snorted. "I don't think I could achieve that level of creepy if I tried. But seriously, we have no idea what's going to happen. I just want to make sure you're okay and you don't start foaming at the mouth or anything. So just relax and I'll try not to be too stalkerish, okay?"

He grimaced, but inched his bulk towards the yielding surface of the bed, coaxing a series of loud protests from its innards as he attempted to shift into a comfortable sitting position.

Kai kept his eyes on his phone until Xander was reasonably settled and the bed had stopped creaking, and then, after stretching his muscled arms over his head with a satisfied sigh, looked at Xander. "So, how are you doing?"

"What?" He averted his gaze from the easy way Kai sprawled in the chair - a chair he knew he wouldn't even fit in - and stared down at the way the comforter bulged over his now-grumbling belly.

"How are you? How was your semester? What's going on in your life outside of here?"

"Um, my semester was...okay, I guess. And...nothing. I'm pretty boring."

Kai nodded. "College, right? If you want to get decent grades, you have no life. What's your major again?"

What is he doing? "English."

"Really? Why did I think it was psych or something like that?"

"I...I don't know. You're pre-med, right?"

Kai nodded again, sending glints of sunbeams reflecting off his hair dancing across the room. "Last year of undergrad. Finally. So what do you want to do with English?"

"I'd really like to -" He felt his cheeks warm and cut himself off. "I don't know."

"What?" He sat up straighter, giving Xander a curious look.


"No, really, what were you going to say?"

Feeling constricted, he tried to fluff the comforter out around him. "It's stupid."

"I highly doubt that."

Xander rolled his eyes.

"Seriously. You're not stupid, so I'm sure your dream job isn't stupid."

His face scrunched up as he retorted, "You've known me for all of an hour and I've done some pretty stupid things in that time. So upon what exactly are you basing this assumption?"

Kai started laughing. "My sister wouldn't be -" He stopped. "She would have told me if you were."

A delicate knock sounded from the door just as Xander's insides lurched. Ling stepped into the room with a steaming tray of edibles, and the lurch quickly turned to hunger. What have you done? part of him wailed. Why couldn't you have kept it together? Why did you let them make you stop the tea? Everything is over now, you're done, you're never going to be able to stop again. But the only thing most of his mind could focus on was the scent of the food as she set the tray on the nightstand next to him.

"How are you feeling?" Ling asked. "Kai said you were hungry?"

"Yeah," he replied, trying not to sigh.

"Good. How about the dizziness? The pain? Any improvement?"

He realized that physically, he felt almost back to normal. "I...I guess that does feel a lot better."

"Any other symptoms, coming or going?"

He shook his head, but Kai spoke up. "His thoughts and his feelings are still a disaster. He's going to need at least two, maybe three more doses."

"Let me feel," Ling said, holding out her palm to Xander's head.

He flinched back a bit. Why does everyone get to know every goddamn thing that's happening to me but I'm clueless all the time? Realizing the childishness of his statement, he leaned forward to allow Ling's cool fingers to brush his forehead. Her lily aroma was thin and edged with rain again, and he thought for the first time that maybe his strange "gift" was useful, after all. She was tired, run-down, and he could tell. He concentrated on her scent and followed it through his nose and up into his head, behind his right eye, where he saw a swirl of pale blue with tinges of pale rose. The energy was moving clockwise in a somewhat sluggish but still elegant dance, and he realized that he truly was seeing energy now, somehow.

"Well, you're certainly improving, and not too quickly that it would be jarring," she commented, pulling her hand away. "But Kai is right. Let's give it about two hours, and then I'll brew up another dose for you and we'll see where that leaves us." She turned to Kai and squinted as the late afternoon sunlight fell across her pale face. "Do you mind staying with him? He'll probably be alright for a little while if you want to come down to talk with everyone, but I don't want to leave him alone for too long."

Kai rolled his eyes. "Please. I relish the chance for any break from my brothers I can manage. Besides, I should get to know Xander, don't you think?"

Ling pursed her lips, and Xander got the impression she was trying to hide the facial expression she'd wanted to make. "Of course. Well, then, you two get to know each other, and I'll be back up later." She made her way towards the door to leave, but then stopped and turned back to face him. "Oh, Xander, I brought you a cheese and spinach omelet, toast with butter, some hash browns, and cranberry juice. Cee mentioned that you like cheese and breakfast foods, so I hope that's alright."

"I, uh...y-yeah, that's...that's great," he sputtered, feeling hot blood rush to his face. "Thank you, Ling. For everything. I'm...I'm sorry...for all this."

He saw some of the tension in her face ease as she gave him a gentle smile. "You have nothing to apologize for, Xander. You're welcome."

"Why did you apologize?" Kai asked him as Ling pulled the door shut behind her.

Xander held the backs of his cool fingers against his cheeks. "Why shouldn't I?"

"Because Ling was right. You don't have anything to apologize for."

He let out a short bark of a laugh. "Sure. Look, you haven't been here that long. It's pretty obvious to all of them that they'd be a million times better off if they'd never met me."

"Hey." Kai's long fingers suddenly dug into both of Xander's shoulders and roughly turned his upper body to face the man, who peered into his eyes with an intense green gaze, brows furrowed. "That is the worst lie I've heard in a long time. My sister would be dead if you hadn't been here. You did that. You saved her from that...that thing." He swallowed hard, not releasing his grip.

Xander tried to look away. "I don't even...I don't even know if that was me. I have no idea how it happened. It couldn't have been me. And it was my fault -"

"Your fault? What was your fault? The only thing that was 'your fault' was the oh-so-tragic death of a piece of crap demon."

He gave up and just closed his eyes.

"Why do you do that?"

"Do what?" He fiddled with the comforter around him, checking again to be sure that all his bulging fat was hidden from view.

Kai finally let go of his shoulders and sat back down. "Refuse to see anything good about yourself."

Xander rolled his eyes but said nothing.

"Geez. Cee was right. You are stubborn."

His breath caught in his throat at the sound of her name, and he stared down to find his fingers clenched in the white fabric of the blanket.

"You know she's going to be okay, right?" Kai's tone softened.

Xander glanced at him, not moving his head.

"Physically, she's fine, just tired. The demon's energy absorbed most of the beating you gave her, and Ling and I took care of the rest. Right now she's just shaken up. She doesn't remember much, though, thankfully."

Then why hasn't she asked to see me? He felt his jaw clench and almost squeezed his eyes shut with the force of his frustration. You know why, you obese idiot. He lifted the tray of food from the nightstand and settled it on his lap and, with a slight, resigned shrug of his shoulders, began to eat.

He was so involved in scarfing everything down that it took him a moment to respond when Kai said, "Ling's a great cook, isn't she?" Even so, his mouth was full, so all he could do was nod as he chewed. This feels so good, he thought, why did you want to stop this? and before he knew it, the plates were empty and he was taking the last gulp of juice. A sudden weariness overtook him as he returned the empty tray to the night stand, and he stifled a yawn.

"I was wondering how long that would take," Kai commented. "Everything's catching up with you now; you're gonna be pretty wiped out for a while. You should try to sleep."

"So you can pretend to be a vampire stalker?" Xander quipped, but he felt his eyelids begin to droop.

"Exactly my goal. Try to get some rest, okay?" But Xander was already leaning back into the pillows, turning away from Kai and curling into the smallest ball his gut would allow, sighing as the world and his thoughts dimmed around him.

09-04-2015, 05:23 PM
Yay! Xander's back!

Xyantha Reborn
09-04-2015, 06:33 PM
I love you Undine...you just made my weekend!! :wubu::wubu:

09-05-2015, 05:02 AM
Happy dance!

09-05-2015, 06:08 AM
All I can do is second the 3 Posters before me ..... thank you Undine!

09-05-2015, 10:58 AM
Yay! Woo! Kai is awesome but he isn't as awesome as Undine for writing this! =3

09-05-2015, 05:27 PM
Yes! Thank you, thank you! You brilliant writer you! Please don't leave us hanging though!

09-06-2015, 02:15 AM
Oh my gosh, yay!!!!!

09-07-2015, 09:01 AM
Xander yaaaaaay!

09-08-2015, 06:49 AM
Got a text from an FFA friend that said "XANDER UPDATE XANDER UPDATE!!!" 'Twas one of those 'sit back & realise that your life is actually kinda awesome' moments :p

Thaaaank you, Undine!

09-18-2015, 02:22 PM
"Oh, perfect timing," he heard Kai say. "He's just waking up."

Xander opened his eyes to the dim glow of twilight in the guest room. Kai's head and shoulders were silhouetted against the pale cornflower of the sky through the sheer curtains, and the yellow light from the hallway fixtures spilled in the open door as Ling entered the room. He instinctively checked the covers and, satisfied that he was completely covered, maneuvered himself into a seated position. "What time is it?"

"About 4:30," Ling answered. She sat down on the edge of the bed and placed the steaming mug she was holding onto the night stand beside him. "How are you feeling, Xander?"

"Umm, okay, I guess..." His voice trailed off as his stomach gurgled, but the usual flood of shame that would overwhelm him in situations like these was miraculously only a trickle.

"Hungry," Kai supplied.

"That's good!" Ling exclaimed. "We're ordering pizza for dinner since the Argyrises are still here. I know we just had it, but no one wants to cook. What do you like on your pizza?"

"Anything is fine. Whatever everyone else wants."

Ling smiled at him, giving her head a little shake. "Sure, anything might be fine, but what's your favorite? I was just going to get you your own pie."

That was too much. "No, you don't - I don't n-need -" he rushed the words out, as if their speed would somehow lessen his embarrassment.

She took his hand in both of her own. "Xander. Shush. We get free pies from Vito's: we cleared out a Trilk infestation they had last year. If a week goes by when we don't order, he calls and asks why and starts thanking us again. It's embarrassing. So what are your favorite pizza toppings?"

A quiet sigh left him before he answered. "Garlic, spinach, and extra cheese."

"Thank you." Ling patted his hand before she rose from the bed. "You're sharing the veggie pie with your mom and Cee?" she asked Kai.

"As usual," he replied. "Cee's up and around?"

"Yup," Ling said. "Almost back to normal." Her eyes flicked towards Xander, and he knew without knowing how that Cee hadn't asked about him.

Kai nodded, his shoulders relaxing just a bit. "Good."

"I'll go call the order in. Xander, wait about fifteen minutes for that to cool and then drink up, okay? I think I timed it pretty well: the pizza usually only takes about twenty minutes, so it should get here not long after you finish it, about when you'll probably start getting hungrier."

"How many more doses will I need?" Not that you should be drinking it anyway, you whale, if it's going to make you eat again, the nasty voice piped up.

Ling tapped her pursed lips with a delicate finger. "At least two more. Probably three, just to be safe. It's a multifaceted blend, so it's quite a bit more complex than what I made for you before."

"And there's a lot it has to work on, so try to be patient," Kai interjected.

"What do you mean?"

"I'll let you explain, Kai. I'm going to go order the pizza. Remember, Xander, fifteen minutes." She left the bedroom, closing the door softly and taking the golden light from the hallway with her.

Cee's brother leaned over and switched on the bedside lamp, and Xander caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the mirror above the dresser in the soft light. "Whoa," he murmured. His eyes stared mournfully back at him, framed by deep, bruise-like crescents, and his skin, normally pale, was tinged ashen and ghastly. "I look like moldy crap."

"You're actually starting to look a little better," Kai told him. "Some of the life is starting to come back to your eyes. Why did you do this in the first place?"

Xander pretended he hadn't asked that question. "So what's the deal with this stuff?" He tilted his head in the direction of the still-steaming mug beside him.

Kai propped his legs up on the mattress before answering. "There are some illnesses or afflictions that are strictly physical. Some are strictly emotional. Most are a combination of your physical being, your emotional being, and sometimes your spiritual self. What you've been going through started as emotional - the appetite suppressant tea messed with your feelings and thoughts - and was then exacerbated by spiritual issues, which have been bothering you for a while, I think, but were really blown up by the work demon kind has been doing on you, and...other things. Family stuff? Love troubles? I'm not exactly sure."

He felt the familiar reverberation in the empty place where his heart used to be, but remained silent.

"All that combined and escalated to the point where your symptoms became physical: the dizziness, the vision problems, aversion to food, etcetera. So," he continued, nodding at the mug, "the remedy has to work on all of that. It starts by helping the physical symptoms, because they're usually the most dangerous. I imagine you're feeling a whole lot better physically than you were, right?"


"Maybe a little bit better emotionally?"

Xander let out a quiet huff of laughter. "I'm not in imminent danger of leaping off a cliff, if that's what you mean."

Kai grinned. "I'll take it. It should continue to help with that, kind of get you back to a better place."

"What exactly do you mean by...spiritual stuff?"

"The longstanding beliefs you have about yourself and your place in everything. Whereas your emotions are the expression of those beliefs in your thoughts and feelings."

Xander became very still.

"The remedy unfortunately can't fix the spiritual - nothing we can make can do that - but it can usually quiet the emotional noise that shouts over them enough to help you deal with them on your own."

A few silent moments passed before Xander spoke. "Well that sounds like fun." He sighed, suddenly very aware of how heavy and soft his belly felt resting on his thighs.

"Talking about it sometimes helps."

He scoffed. "I'm not much of a fan of therapy."

Kai laughed. "I'm not a shrink yet."

"I don't really...know you."

"We should change that. I'd like to get to know you. My sister thinks you're worth knowing, and we're going to be spending a lot more time together."

Xander didn't respond.

"You should probably drink that now," Kai said, gesturing to the mug. Xander complied, gulping the hot, gingery liquid all down at once as he had before, but this time having to fight the urge to rub his belly contentedly as a delicious warmth spread out from his stomach to the tips of his toes. "So," Kai said, "what do you think of Darshan?"

09-18-2015, 02:57 PM
Very happy to see you're working so intensively on Xander again.

Give's me a little bit of a mental kick in the ass to take better care of my fictional friends too....

09-18-2015, 04:13 PM
I'm getting addicted to Xander

09-19-2015, 11:57 AM
Yay! Hooray for story!

Xyantha Reborn
09-19-2015, 03:33 PM
I was so desperate to read this when the email came in i started reading it in the email for half the chapter before having the self control to stop reading enough to link the link to read it here!

02-04-2016, 09:56 PM
My number one goal for 2016 is to finish this damned story. Sorry for the unforgivable length of time it's taking me, and thanks for sticking around, friends.

"Ling, please."

He almost expected her to cross her arms and start tapping her foot, with the look she was giving him. "Absolutely not. What did I tell you?" she scolded as she set a tray of sandwiches, salad, and chips on the bedside table and picked up the mug that he'd emptied twenty minutes ago.

"I know that you have more than enough money to survive. But I'm another mouth to feed, and I'm going to eat you out of house and home."

An unhappy noise, too elegant to be called a grunt, left her mouth. "You are one of us now. I'll simply adjust the grocery budget accordingly. And don't say such things."

Xander tried to expel an exasperated sigh, but it turned into a yawn. "I'm not being mean, just practical. I've been buying my own food for a few years now. I know how much I eat, and I know how much it costs. Please." He held out the check to her again.

"Where are you getting this money, anyway? You're not working, and I'll not have you spending your savings on food when we have a steady income that can easily take care of that for you."

He rolled his eyes. "Both sets of grandparents are loaded. And if I don't spend it by the time I'm thirty, it goes back to them or gets donated to some terrible political organization."

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Then buy yourself something fun. And rip up that check. Not one of us pays for our food here out of our own money. Now, I think one more dose after this should do the trick, though I'm going to have you take a less potent blend every night before you go to sleep from now on. This is kind of a long-term thing, I think. You promise the physical symptoms are gone?"

"Promise. You saw the breakfast I put away this morning, and I'm going to clean that tray as soon as you leave. I'm just tired now."

Ling sat down beside him, reaching for his hand. "That's to be expected. And everything else?" she asked gently.

"It's...getting better." He watched his reflection in the mirror as he spoke, noting the round cheeks and the double chin without fixating on them, instead focusing on the color that had returned to his skin and the now-faint smudges of darkness beneath his eyes. "Before it was like...like there was a voice in my head. I mean, it was me, but...the worst part of me. It's quieter now."

Slender arms surrounded his shoulders, and Ling whispered, "I'm so glad." She pulled away from him and quickly brushed a tear away from her eye. "I'm sorry." She laughed. "I'm just so relieved. We were really worried about you."

"Thank you, Ling," he said, "thank you so much for everything."

She smiled. "You're welcome. Remember, you're family. Actually...you even remind me so much of my brother."

"Really? I didn't know you had a brother."

She nodded, and Xander smelled a sudden rainstorm in her energy. "He died."

"I'm so sorry..."

She gave him a small smile. "Thank you. It was six years ago, when he was twenty three. His name was Jake. He was brilliant, so talented...quiet. Sweet. Very much like you." She patted his hand again before rising to her feet. "Okay, I've got to go give Aislin a call to see if she's heard back from anyone. Do you need anything else?"

He shook his head. "What are they planning?"

"We've put the word out to as many hunters as we could, and asked them to do the same. We're waiting to hear back from at least thirty before we begin to form a more concrete plan."

"Thirty? That seems like a lot."

Ling sighed. "It's actually the bare minimum. We're hoping to get several dozen. A hundred would be preferable. Three hundred and I'd be sleeping better. I don't mean to scare you, but this is big, Xander. If they succeed in opening a portal...the Fuom that first brought you to us will seem like a gnat."

Xander swallowed hard. "What about...what about the thing that...took...Cee?" He felt a small swell of pride that his voice barely cracked when he said her name.

Ling gave him a sharp look. "Do you know what that was?"

"Not...really. I mean, I heard one of her brothers...he called it..."

"There's no need to think on it now," she said, her tone reassuring despite the whiteness of her knuckles as she clenched the mug in her left hand. "Just focus on getting better. Eat. Rest. Remember that none of us would still be here if it weren't for you."

He felt an irrational surge of embarrassment at that, but he couldn't stop the next words from tumbling out. "How is she?"

He felt the shift in her energy before she opened her mouth. "She's...alright," she said cautiously. "She and Kai just left to get groceries."

"Oh." The nasty voice broke through - to feed your fat face you huge pig she's gonna know you're eating everything in sight again and getting even more massive - and he bit the inside of his lip to silence it with the pain.

"Xander -" Ling sighed again. "Get some rest, okay? I'll be back to check on you in a few hours."

Xyantha Reborn
02-05-2016, 05:17 AM
*inarticulate sound of joy and frustration* yay an update! Argh want more! :)

02-05-2016, 06:56 AM
It's ..... ALIVE!!!!!

(so glad to see you post an update -- and I hope things are going well in Undine-world)

02-05-2016, 08:36 AM
I can only third what my pre-posters said Undine!

And very selfishly wish you all the best for the success of your New Year's resolution.....

02-05-2016, 09:22 AM
Eeeeee~! Yay! More Xander! :wubu:

02-05-2016, 11:57 AM
*inarticulate sound of joy and frustration* yay an update! Argh want more! :)

Exactly this! The sweet torture you put us through :bow:

02-05-2016, 01:41 PM
Hooray! :D

02-07-2016, 06:07 PM
Oh yaaaay! This is still one of my favorite stories; I'm thrilled to see that you're working on it. Thank you so much! :bow:

02-13-2016, 10:06 AM
Thank you so much for your kind words, everyone. I'm so grateful you guys are still enjoying this after all these years. :bow:

He awoke in the dark hours of the morning to moonlight shining through his window, and gazed at the silvery smudge through the sheer curtains as his thoughts came into focus. He'd been dreaming, though he wasn't sure precisely about what, and a calm contentment enveloped him like a warm blanket. It didn't even budge when he realized his hands were softly kneading his belly, his shirt pulled up to his chest to grant access to his expansive torso. I can't do this anymore, the simple thought came. I can't let everyone else dictate how I feel and how I think. I can't let my fear control my happiness. He loved being fat. He loved the soft heaviness of his round body, jiggling in his hands. He loved the warm expanse of flesh that gushed out into his lap when he sat, loved feeling his belly bounce on the tops of his thighs when he walked. He loved his wideness, and the feeling of squeezing his ass into a space that was almost too small. And he loved to eat, loved to feel his stomach fill up and swell out in front of him. And he'd known it for a long time. But a lifetime of being told that he was wrong, disgusting, and shameful had built up a carapace of self-loathing so thick and black around his heart that he hadn't been able to see what lay at the center. He loved being fat.

The joyous wonder he felt at the simplicity of that acceptance gave way to sadness. He glanced at his phone, still dark and silent on the nightstand, knowing that dozens of messages from his parents awaited him when he decided to power it back on. Weak, echoes of the nasty voice replayed, pathetic, disgusting freak, eating yourself to death...we can't be seen with you like this...why can't you just be normal... Anger momentarily burned white-hot through the sadness, and he felt the full weight of every comment, every raised eyebrow, every scheduled doctor appointment, every withheld meal, every awful thing his parents had ever done to him in the name of his size, and he finally knew that the people who had brought him into this world were not capable of giving him the love and acceptance he'd so desperately craved from them.

And he mourned. He mourned the death of the hope he'd held fast to all these years, the hope that someday, somehow, his parents would be what he'd needed. He mourned the time he had lost hating the way he looked, hating himself for enjoying food, hating his supposed weakness for not being able to be "normal" like everyone else. He mourned the acceptance he'd wanted, the social ease he'd craved for so long. He mourned his hopes for love. He knew that accepting his desire to be fat effectively steamrolled the possibility of any of those things ever happening for him. But I can't go back, he thought. I can't go back to spending every waking second wishing I didn't exist because I can't be what everyone else wants me to be. I don't want to be what everyone else wants me to be. I just want to be what I am. And maybe...maybe more, too.

Not quite ready to confront the implications of that yet, he rose from the bed and stretched, relishing the feeling of the smooth, cool wood under his warm, bare feet. He flicked on the bedside lamp and fished a clean shirt, a pair of shorts, and a pair of boxers out of his bag and inched the bedroom door open. The hallway was dark and quiet as he padded softly down the hall to the bathroom. His last dose of Ling's full-strength medicine had been about ten hours ago, and he was finally feeling up to standing for a shower. While the tea had cleared his mind and calmed him immensely, it also knocked him out cold. Most of his last two days had been spent sleeping, and he was eager to feel clean again. So he retrieved a towel and turned the water to lukewarm - he hated hot showers - then peeled off his clothes and stepped into the tub.

He sighed happily, feeling the last traces of tension in his muscles dissipate as the temperate water rushed over his skin. He shampooed his hair and began soaping up his body, acutely aware of every jiggle. Grasping the gush of his belly to lift it up so he could wash underneath the thick roll, he felt that familiar warm tingle below it as he grew hard. So...this is more than just preferring being fat, he admitted silently. He squeezed his soft fat harder, then with two hands, and a small shudder shook his entire body as his fingers dug in. He let go with a small gasp, but the resulting bounce of his gut made him shudder again.

His parents had never had "the talk" with him, probably figuring that, as he was already close to 200 pounds at thirteen, he'd never need to know about sex. As a result, the process of taking care of his own needs had always been rushed, somewhat timid, and drenched in guilt. When he was younger his guilt was simple - "I don't know if this is an okay thing to be doing" - but as he grew older layers of complexity formed around his feelings. He started to realize that, no matter what he thought about when his hand was pumping away, the feeling of his belly jogging up and down, his love handles sliding from side to side, and his ass quivering all increased the intensity of the experience. Once he had experimentally grasped a roll of flab on his side during the act and exploded. His shame was so profound afterwards that he'd cried, and he'd made an unspoken pact with himself to never allow it to happen again.

He put all of it aside now and slid his right hand under the soft overhang of his belly again. Lifting slightly caused his blubber to ooze between his fingers, and his left hand automatically sought the epicenter of his arousal. Rhythmically kneading and jiggling the dough of his soft, slick belly brought him to the edge fast, and he bit his lip as he roughly grabbed the biggest handful of fat he could manage and orgasmed. Indigo waves crashed behind his eyelids as he gasped, the reverberations of energy so powerful he could barely remain upright. He forced his eyes open a few moments later after he started to sink down to sit but remembered there was no way his ass would fit in the tub, and pulled the shower curtain aside so he could plop on the edge to catch his breath. Well, he thought, that's...I guess that settles that.

His breathing soon returned to normal, though a pleasant tingling still coursed through his body, and he stood and finished his shower. Drying himself almost sent him over the edge again as his flesh shook beneath the towel, and he reasoned that he must now be so sensitive to these feelings because he'd been suppressing them for so long.

He managed to reign in his reactions enough that by the time he shaved and got dressed he was more focused on the empty feeling in his belly. The little silver clock over the door told him it was 3:32am, but hunger prevailed, so he deposited his dirty clothes back in the bedroom and snuck down the stairs as quietly as he could. A few minutes and some rummaging later, he found the stash of new groceries and a box of the chocolate peanut butter cakes he loved. After a moment's hesitation - surely they hadn't been purchased with the intent of allowing him to eat the entire box - he shrugged, telling himself he'd just go buy more to replace them, and grabbed the box. He carried it upstairs, crawled back into bed, settled the box on his belly, and proceeded to devour the delicious morsels one by one, sleep creeping closer with each bite.

A cool draft tickled his skin, and he felt the mattress sink down next to him. His eyes flew open and he looked around wildly, deep blue energy automatically pooling in his palms as he tried to place the scent in the air.

"Pudge! Pudge, it's only me!"

Fire, and rosemary.

His heart thudded in his throat as he reigned in his energy and his vision adjusted. A slight form was crawling into bed next to him.

02-14-2016, 02:08 AM
Omg! Omg! Omg! Omg! Omg! Omg! :D :D :D

02-14-2016, 09:23 AM
Yeah ... the age of enlightenment is finally coming to Xander....!

Xyantha Reborn
02-14-2016, 05:30 PM

02-18-2016, 03:16 PM

Yes, exactly! ^^^^^

02-19-2016, 06:46 AM
It was about time
More please

02-19-2016, 08:57 PM
Thanks for the Update!

You realize no matter how long between posts we will always love an Update from Undine!


02-26-2016, 07:57 AM
"Your color is beautiful, Pudge." Her warmth instantly awakened goose bumps on his skin, and he stared at her as she pulled the covers back up around them, his breath and about a thousand words caught in his throat. "I knew it wouldn't take you long to find it."

"Cee," he managed to choke out.

"Sorry for scaring you. You looked so adorable, zonked out with all these wrappers on your belly - I didn't want to wake you."

He just stared at her.

"But...since you are awake..."

His eyes involuntarily clenched shut.

"Thank you," she told him, her voice wavering. "Thank you so much, Pudge. I wouldn't be...you were amazing. You...you saved me."

"You're welcome," he managed.

"And I am...I'm so, so sorry. I'm so sorry for what I did to you."

He had to start over a few times before he could croak, "It's okay. I know it wasn't you."

"But I...I was there. I was there, and I couldn't stop it." Tears glimmered on her cheeks in the moonlight.

"I thought you didn't remember?"

Cee rolled her eyes. "That's what I told them so they wouldn't worry. But I remember. I remember all of the horrible things I said to you, everything I did, everything I-"

Xander couldn't stand it. He wrapped his arms around her, enfolding her in an embrace. "It's okay," he told her simply. Silent sobs wracked her body as she clutched him, and he stroked her hair.

Finally she pulled away and wiped her eyes with her fingertips. "There's more."

He swallowed hard and made the words come out clear. "You have nothing to apologize for. You were possessed. None of it was you. I'm just...I'm just glad you're okay."

She gave him a watery smile. "Not that. I'm sorry for everything. I'm so used to knowing what everyone else is thinking, sometimes I forget that people don't know what I'm thinking, too. It never occurred to me that you didn't know. So...I'm sorry for not explaining. I'm sorry for misleading you."

As surely as he'd been expecting this, the pain was still nigh unbearable. It took him a moment to regain his breath before he could respond. "You don't have to apologize. I mean, I appreciate your being honest, but...I know. I couldn't even...even with Ling's help...I couldn't do anything... I'm a mess, I know it. I never really expected you to..."

Confusion and pain were not emotions he'd expected to see on her face now. "What?"

"I know that you don't...have feelings for me. Like that," he muttered. "You didn't mislead me. It's okay."

"Oh, Pudge. I most definitely misled you." She kissed him then, gently, and he couldn't stop himself from twining his fingers through her hair and inhaling deeply as her scent warmed and deepened with their contact.

But then he pulled back. "What are you doing?" he asked, his voice breaking.

"Trying to correct a huge mistake," she told him. "I thought it was obvious, but I never just came out and told you, and I should have. I like you, Pudge. A lot. I'm so sorry I made you think otherwise."

"But-but...you...but I'm...I'm so fat," he sputtered helplessly.

Cee bit her lip and glanced down at his body, then back up at his face. "I know," she said simply. "I like that you are."

His voice failed him and he mouthed the word "what."

"I love that you're fat. You're so big, and soft..." She reached out a hand towards his belly, but let it drop back into her lap. "I think you're gorgeous."

Xander stared at her, and felt his chest begin to tighten and his breath begin to catch.

Her eyes filled with tears again. "I'm so sorry, Pudge. I should have told you sooner, then they wouldn't have been able to make you think that I - it's just - it knew everything when it was inside me and it made it seem like...no, it's not just that. I was afraid to tell you. I was afraid I'd upset you or that you'd think I was crazy or...I don't even know. But I should have told you, because then those demon bastards wouldn't have been able to use something I love about you to hurt you." She wiped at her eyes angrily before continuing. "I know what they did. I saw everything, everything here in the basement, and everything in then bathroom at your dorm. That wasn't me, but I saw it later. None of it would have happened if I -"

"Stop," he said. "You're telling me that...that the reason those demons tried to use my...size...to mess with me is because you secretly...like it?"

Cee nodded, her face shadowed in misery.

"It's not...it's not you, I mean...I...it's...it's more..." He clammed up, afraid to admit his earlier revelation aloud. But as her face lightened hopefully in front of him, he realized he didn't have to.

"I know," she began, her tone delicate, "that you've realized some stuff, and it's still pretty new for you. You don't need to say anything about it at all, if you don't want to. I am really glad, though...I hope this means you can start being nicer to yourself... Anyway, I just...I can't help feeling responsible."

After a moment, he replied, "It's not you. They used what I hoped for and...the impossibility of it...to hurt me. It's not your fault."

Cee's fingers brushed his cheek. "There are a lot of things to unpack in that statement."

A deep, shuddering breath left him then. "I know." He locked eyes with her, losing himself in the way the moonlight caused her irises to shimmer electric green.

"And I hope you realize now that it's not impossible."

Xander squeezed his eyes shut, some part of him still trying to protect himself from what he still believed would be an inevitable backlash over his deviant desires.

"Deviant?" She snorted.

He opened his eyes and looked at her guiltily.

Cee sighed with a smile. "Pudge, I know what I like, and I don't give a crap who thinks it's 'deviant' or anything else. And neither should you. Like I told you the last time I was actually myself, other people are usually too worried about themselves to care about what everyone else is doing, and the ones who do care what you're doing fall into one of two camps: those who actually care about and love you, and those who are just trying to deflect the attention from themselves and how genuinely awful they are. And screw them, seriously. What matters is what you think, and if it makes you happy and makes you feel good and brings you some peace, how can that be bad?"

A wry smile turned up the corners of his mouth. "I wish I could have known you when we were younger."

"So do I. But I think we can make up for lost time." She reached over to tuck his hair behind his ear. Her fingers trailed down over his soft jaw and double chin and kept drifting south, over his shoulder and down to his upper arm, where her hand stopped and lightly squeezed his flesh.

"I..." he began.

Cee looked at him questioningly.

Xander swallowed past the dryness in his throat. "I really like you, Cee."

Her nose crinkled adorably as a huge grin spread across her face. "I'm so happy to hear you say that. Like, stupidly happy." She wriggled herself closer to him, her hand still lightly grasping the softness of his arm. "Can...can we snuggle?"

Xander laughed. "I never thought I'd hear you sound so tentative."

She looked down, almost shyly, still smiling. "I've been told that I come on a little strong. Thought I'd try toning it down a bit. But really...I don't want to make you uncomfortable."

"I...appreciate that. Um, yeah, we can...we can snuggle."

Cee gently pushed his shoulder until he was laying on his back, looking up at her apprehensively. She scooted in close to him and laid her head on the space where his arm connected to his shoulder and fit her body into the round curves of his side. She started to lift her arm but stopped, and he felt her unspoken request for permission. Instead of verbalizing it, he took her hand in his own and placed it on the squishy mound of his belly, shuddering slightly as her slim fingers pressed into his yielding flesh.

"Are you sure this is okay?" she whispered.

It was more than okay. He could feel the steady pulse of her energy, see the brilliant emerald of her aura melding with the indigo of his own, smell the fire and the sea meeting in the most intoxicating brew of salt and skin and rightness as they lay there, the individual rhythms of their breath slowly syncing. The heat of her hand invoked a matching warmth deep in his belly, and he exhaled shakily.

Cee did the same, and clutched him tighter. "This," she whispered, "was more than worth waiting for."

02-26-2016, 08:10 AM
EEEEEEEEEE~!!! Oh my gosh!!! This was so so sweeeeet and so perfect! Yay for Xander and Cee! Yay for Undine! <3

02-26-2016, 12:58 PM
Perfect! :D

02-26-2016, 01:23 PM
It is Friday, and payday, but you still managed to make the day much better!

02-28-2016, 06:59 PM
This is great. I'm glad to see new chapters to the story. This has to be my favorite story in a long time.

03-02-2016, 01:05 AM
Yay! Finally!

03-13-2016, 11:25 PM
I've been looking forward to this update. Totally worth the wait. Thank you.

04-07-2016, 04:32 PM
"Xander, would you please answer your pho- ohhhh." Ken's words drew out in surprise as he took in the scene in the guest bedroom.

"His phone isn't ringing, Ken," Cee mumbled into Xander's soft chest, where she was tightly snuggled. Xander jumped guiltily and tried to sit up, but tanned, freckled arms resolutely held him down. He watched helplessly, blinking in the morning sun, as Ken's expression shifted from surprised to smug.

"Cee," he implored, nudging her.

"What? Too comfy to care. His phone is off, Ken, I don't know what you're talking about." She nuzzled his moobs with her face and lightly squeezed one of his love handles under the covers, making him jump again.

Ken, shaking slightly with suppressed laughter, replied, "I know it's off, but I also know that it's been ringing for the past forty-five minutes and it's driving me crazy. And before you ask, it's not your parents, so do you think you could answer it?"

"How do you-" Xander started to ask, but Ken interrupted him.

"I know things sometimes, remember? Especially with electronics. So please turn the damn thing on and answer so I can game in peace."

He turned and closed the door behind him, and Xander relaxed back into the pillows and Cee's embrace and, with his free hand, reached over to pick up his phone. He switched it on and looked down at the tousled mess of bright, coppery curls pressed beneath his chin and smiled. Gently stroking her hair with one hand, he scrolled through his missed call notifications with the other and saw seven recent calls from his sister. Crap, he thought, and, just as he was about to tap on her number to call her back, the phone started ringing - it was her again.

"Lexi? What's wrong?

"Xander!" his sister exclaimed, "Finally!"

"What?" He inched his arm out from beneath Cee's sleeping form and sat up. "What's wrong? What happened?"

"Everything's okay, brother, don't worry. We're just like only an hour away and I knew you said you weren't staying at your dorm but I didn't know where you were and you weren't answering your phone and I didn't know how we would find you..." she rambled.

His stomach clenched. "Who's we?"

"Chill out, just me and Jared. I told you I wanted to come see you, so we're coming to see you."

"Oh, okay. Where are you?"

He heard her ask Jared what exit they were at, then she said, "We just passed Newtown. Where are you?"

Xander looked down as he felt the covers shift and saw Cee drape herself across his lap, attempt to wrap her arms around his waist, and press her cheek into his belly, eyes closed and a contented smile curling up the corners of her lips. "I'm, uh...with friends." He gave his sister the address and directions to the hunters' house from his dorm.

"Okay, I'll put it in my phone and just call if we need help. We'll be there in about an hour, is that alright?"

He felt Cee nod into his abdomen, making his flesh quiver and warmth bloom throughout his torso, and he gave silent thanks that his gut was big enough to cover his crotch. "We have no plans for today," she told him, and gazed up at him with a smirk.

"Uh, y-yeah, that's...f-f-fine," he managed to stutter as Cee giggled. Way to forget she knows everything you're thinking, he scolded himself.

"Sounds good. See you soon!"

He dropped the phone into the fluff of the comforter at the foot of the bed and looked down at Cee, who was still smirking at him, and shook his head.


I thought I was dreaming. Is this even real? I didn't think you'd still be here. Nothing he could think of seemed capable of adequately expressing the level of awe and gratefulness and pure contentment he was feeling just then.

Her expression softened and she sat upright, throwing her arms around his neck and pulling his face close to hers. "Same," she whispered. A small, happy noise escaped her as he kissed her, and he felt a glowing sensation in his chest.

"Oh..." He pulled away. "Is it going to be okay that my sister and her boyfriend are coming here? I mean, will Darshan...and what should I tell her? I mean about all this demon stuff."

"Darshan can literally go out in the back yard and suck on rocks if he has a problem with it. It's technically my family's house, so it's my call. And as for what to tell her, you don't have to tell her anything. She may have some abilities - they tend to run in families - but she may not, in which case there's really no point in telling her just to freak her out. Like I said, we have no plans today. There are no hunters coming, my parents and Talos and Costas have gone back to the city to try to recruit other hunters, and Mei and Thomas have done the same, so it's just the six of us. And we'll all be super-safe: my and Ling's parents quadrupled the shields and trips, and I can even show you how to shield another person so you can put up some shields on your sister and her boyfriend."

Xander nodded with relief.

"I was hoping to have you all to myself today," she told him with a slight pout, "but I'm glad you'll get to see your sister. It sucks when you can't see your family for the holidays."

"Yeah..." Xander trailed off, frowning.

"But," Cee continued, "we're your family now, too. Your dysfunctional, demon-slaying family. Not that our holidays were exactly great this year... Anyway, I'm excited to meet her. Her boyfriend is with her?"

"Yeah, Jared. They've been together since middle school."

"Wow, and they're seniors now? That's impressive. What do you think of him?"


Her hands snuck under his arms to embrace him as she replied. "What do you think of him? You're a good judge of character; I want to know."

"Oh. Um..." He stroked her back for a moment before answering. "He's actually a great guy. Laid-back, funny, respectful. He's kind of a jock - he plays lacrosse and soccer - but he's cool. He's good to her. My parents can't even find a good reason to dislike him, other than the fact that he isn't an asshole to fat people."

"Ah. Your sister's chubby? I remember you saying that girl at the movies reminded you of her."

"I guess so. I mean, she's not scrawny...but she's nothing like me," he finished, a familiar twinge of doubt shaking his thoughts.

Cee disentangled herself from him and looked him in the face. "Well, if she looks anything like you," she told him, trailing the backs of her fingers down his cheek, "I'll bet she's gorgeous. Now, as much as I'd love to stay in bed with you all day, we should probably get dressed. I want to make you brunch before they get here."

04-08-2016, 01:31 AM
Any day that starts with a new 'Xander' chapter has to turn into a good day....:)

04-08-2016, 02:34 AM
I was just rereading this last night and apparently my Xander prays were answered! <3 This is so cute, I can't wait for Lexi to meet the demon-slayers!

04-08-2016, 04:46 AM
I love the line about him feeling her nodding into his pudge. As well as everything else :)

04-08-2016, 10:32 PM
I love this! Shame their bedroom time got interrupted but I'm looking forward to meeting his sister and bf in the flesh so to speak!

04-15-2016, 12:51 PM
So I went back and re-read this, and it's even better to me now... Xander and Cee's intimacy is so visceral now, yet there's this whole big story around them. So well-crafted while staying sexy.

Xyantha Reborn
08-16-2016, 08:00 AM
Re-read this again. Just as good (better) than the first time...i hope we can get another taste soon...

08-18-2016, 07:46 PM
Hi, friends. Thanks for sticking with me for this - if I could personally hug every one of you who still reads this and checks up on it, believe me, I would. <3 <3 <3

08-18-2016, 07:55 PM
"Xander!" Lexi shrieked, not even bothering to shut the door of Jared's tiny Honda before she rushed to the porch and attacked him with a bear hug, her light freesia scent filling his head.

"Hey, Lexi," he said, returning her embrace.

"I missed you so frakkin' much," she told him, her usage of a slang term from their favorite show muffled by his shirt. She finally pulled away and jumped up to ruffle his hair.

He grinned at her, shaking his head as he raked his fingers through his now-messy hair. "I missed you, too." His grin faded as he caught her eyes momentarily fix on his middle before rising to his face again, and he tugged the thin, stretched fabric of his t-shirt away from his belly in an automatic gesture.

"How are you, brother?" she asked, and he could see the sadness evident as a twisting grey smoke in the lavender sparkle of her energy.

His cheeks warmed, but he answered her with all the confidence he could muster. "Good. Really good. Having a pretty nice vacation from...everything....here. How are you?"

"Also having an awesome vacation from our asshole parents," she said, reaching for Jared's hand as he approached.

"Hey, Xander, nice digs," he said, nodding at the big old house. "How's it going?"

"Alright. How about you?"

"I'm awesome. I finally heard back from Cornell about my lacrosse scholarship: I got a full ride," Jared said, flipping his sandy hair off his face with a wide grin.

"Holy crap, man, that's amazing. Congratulations!"

"Thanks! I still half don't believe it, but I'll take it."

Lexi wrapped her arm around her boyfriend's slender waist and leaned into him, beaming. "So now I can finally officially accept my admission there, too. I'm so excited!"

His sister's promise ring glowed in the sunlight as she brought her hand up to Jared's chest, and Xander couldn't help but smile. "I'm really happy for you guys. I'm so glad you'll get to be at the same school."

"Us, too. Not that Jared's parents haven't been completely gracious and wonderful about letting me stay there, but having that to look forward to really helps."

Concern wrinkled Xander's brow as he answered. "You still haven't spoken to them?"

She shook her head, and the delicate freesia of her energy drooped even though she maintained her outward composure. "Haven't even seen them. I went over to get more of my stuff when they were out for New Year's Eve. You?"

A knife of guilt buried itself in his stomach. "Nothing. There must be twenty voicemails from them that I haven't listened to. I...I can't."

"Hey." He felt her hand slip into his. "You're doing the right thing. They're the ones who are being completely unreasonable and awful. You don't deserve that. There's nothing wrong with you."

He felt blood rush to his cheeks as he looked at the ground and remained silent, his resolve to be who and what he wanted to be wavering as he pictured his parents suddenly losing both their children.

Lexi sighed, but changed the subject. "So whose house is this? Or should I say mansion? This is kind of crazy."

"Um, it belongs to the family of my...my...friend..." His explanation stammered to a halt as he led them inside the dim foyer and hung their coats on the rack for them.

"Okay," his sister drawled, "does your friend have a name? It's not Rhys, is it? I thought he lived out of state."

"No..." They entered the big living room to see Ling and Kai moving furniture. "Oh. What are you guys doing?"

Ling blew a stray lock of hair out of her face and smiled. "Good morning. Cee told us that you were having visitors, so we decided to reconfigure things in here to make it a bit more comfortable." She and Kai gave a taupe sectional one more shove before approaching Xander, Lexi, and Jared. "You must be Xander's sister, and her boyfriend," she said warmly as she shook Lexi's hand and then Jared's. "I'm Ling. It's so nice to meet you both."

"Likewise," Jared said, and introduced himself and Lexi.

Kai introduced himself similarly, and Lexi spoke up. "So how do you all know each other?"

"My sister Cee goes to school with your brother," Kai explained, "so he's been spending a lot of time here. I'm just visiting for the holidays, but Cee, Ling, and two other guys - Ken and Darshan, who aren't here right now - all live here."

Xander felt his sister's curious glance when Kai said that he'd been spending a lot of time there, and, unsure of how to react, resolutely ignored it. "Where is Cee?" he asked.

"She's in the kitchen making brunch for everyone," Ling said. "She said she didn't get a chance to make something just for you, so she figured she'd make something for everyone. Go ahead out, we can finish up in here. I know Cee's excited to meet them."

"Brunch..." He gulped, eyes darting to Lexi and Jared before he motioned for them to follow him. He swung the kitchen door inwards and was immediately ensnared by the aroma of melted butter and cinnamon. Cee was at the stove, the flyaway coils of copper at her hairline curling wildly in the steam wafting up from the enormous frying pan full of scrambled eggs, griddle, and several towers of French toast spread out around her. She whirled around at the sound of their entrance and grinned.

"Good morning!" she exclaimed. She rested the spatulas she was holding on an empty plate and embraced both Lexi and Jared. "I'm Cee. It's so nice to meet you! I hope you guys are hungry."

Xander stared wide-eyed at Cee as the trio exchanged greetings.

"We totally are," Jared confessed, gazing longingly at the feast-in-progress. "We only had Pop-Tarts this morning before we left. That looks so great."

"Scrambled eggs and cinnamon raisin French toast. And there's fresh coffee, and I'll put some tea on as soon as I'm done here. Your brother said you guys had kind of a long drive?"

Lexi answered her but kept looking at Xander. "It's a little over four hours from Jared's house, but it's not a bad drive. It's nice scenery, and we listen to podcasts and play stupid games to pass the time. And that does look awesome, geez, thank you. It's so great to meet more of Xander's friends."

"Well I'm glad the drive went well - I'm glad you came! This will be ready in just a minute or so; you guys can have a seat. Puh-" Her teeth sunk into her lower lip, biting off the word before she finished, and she turned back to the stove. "Xander, could you get some glasses out of the cabinet next to the fridge, please?"

Cheeks burning, he silently opened the cabinet and set out six glasses as Lexi and Jared seated themselves at the kitchen table. "Um, do you guys want orange juice?" Both said yes, so he opened the refrigerator door to retrieve the carafe, hiding his face for a moment in the cool air blowing softly from inside and trying not to panic.

He shakily poured for them and was returning the carafe when he felt a soft tendril of Cee's energy reaching out to him. "Come here," it seemed to say. He looked at her, and she did speak aloud. "Hey, can you reach the big blue serving platter in the cabinet above the stove here for me?"

"Uh, sure." He moved over next to her, taking care not to get too close and to turn his body so that Lexi and Jared wouldn't see his left hand clutching the hem of his shirt in place beneath his belly as he stretched up to grab the cabinet knob with his right.

"Are you okay?" Cee murmured.

He didn't know if he could answer her, so he instead focused on maneuvering the large plate out of the cabinet one-handed.

"I know you're worried about the chairs. It's okay, I fixed one for you. The one to the left of where my mug is."

"You 'fixed' it? What does that mean?" he muttered, noticing the frantic edge to his own words.

"I'll show you later. But it'll be okay, I promise." Her fingers grazed his left forearm, and emerald- and coral-colored, rosemary-scented warmth flowed from her touch and into his pounding heart, and he relaxed fractionally. "Alright, eggs are done. Would you let Ling and Kai know the food is ready?"

He nodded, and ducked his head through the door to tell Ling and Kai to come in. With another gulp, he turned back to face Jared, who was rubbing his hands eagerly and complimenting the delicious smells as Cee placed the food-laden platters on the table, and Lexi, who was watching him, her head tilted and her eyes fixed on him in that way she had of making him feel completely transparent. But then she turned to Cee, smiling. "This looks so yummy, Cee. Is that homemade cinnamon raisin bread?"

The others entered the kitchen, and Kai poured coffee for Lexi, Jared, and himself while Ling prepared tea, Cee divvied up the plates and utensils, and Xander stood back, trying to stay out of everyone's way. But in a few moments everyone was settled at the table but him. "Come sit, Xander," she said, gesturing encouragingly to the chair at the head of the table.

At least she knew better than to try to put me between people, he thought ruefully. At least I won't hurt anyone when my hippo-ass destroys the chair and possibly puts a dent in the floor.

He felt Cee's stern frown before he saw it, and, resigned, reached out to pull the chair back from the table. A faint buzzing emanated from the wood, and he felt energy course beneath his hand. With a gulp and a wordless prayer, he lowered his bulk. He grimaced when he felt the way his ass and thighs eclipsed the entire surface area of the seat and hung over the sides, but - magically, extraordinarily, unbelievably - it held, without so much as a creak to protest the burden of his four hundred-plus pounds. He exhaled in shock, releasing a bit of the tension he'd been holding in his core, and glanced at Cee, who said nothing but smiled.

The congenial chatter of everyone getting to know each other floated around him as he focused on keeping his breath even and taking small, slow forkfuls of Cee's rich creations. He could tell she'd used heavy cream in both the French toast and the eggs, and he was having a difficult time controlling himself. Three of each, he told himself again and again, only three. Three is reasonable. That looks like three eggs, and three pieces of French toast. Three is reasonable. Only three. Ling and Jared seemed to be hitting it off, bonding over lacrosse, and Kai and Lexi were already deep in discussion over some recent archaeological dig in Turkey. Three is reasonable, then you stop.

Cee's hand grasped his thick thigh chub beneath the table, and he looked up from his plate to see her forehead scrunched with worry, and she tilted her head inquisitively. He shook his head and set his fork down, snatching up his glass and downing half of his water. He didn't pick his fork up again.

Soon everyone was groaning contentedly, claiming they couldn't eat another bite and thanking Cee for the meal. Cee hopped to her feet to clear the plates, her worried frown returning as she picked up Xander's, which was still-half-full, but saying nothing.

"Why don't you all go and chat? Kai and I can take care of the cleanup," Ling offered.

"No, come on...at least let us watch the dishes?" Lexi said.

Ling waved her hand dismissively. "Nope. You should go spend time together; I know Xander was disappointed he didn't get to see you for Christmas."

Lexi acquiesced, giving her brother a quick, sad glance, and Xander, conscious of the precise reason they hadn't been able to see each other for Christmas, looked away. You let yourself get so huge that you couldn't even go home, he reminded himself. You can't go home, probably not ever again, all because -

Cee's fingers pressed into the firm roll of love handle fat that swelled over his jeans waistband. "Would anyone like some more coffee, or maybe some tea? Jared? Lexi? Okay, you guys head in and have a seat, I'll bring some out. Xander, would you help me?" She pulled him around to face her as their guests exited the room. "You know that's not your fault," she whispered. "Please, don't start beating yourself up again...please." She smoothed her hands across his, their warmth heating his own cold, clammy grip.

"I know," he sighed.

"I know you know it's not your fault, but you need to believe it, too." Her grip tightened, then released. "Let's go enjoy our time with them, okay?"

Xander nodded, and helped Cee prepare a tray of coffee, tea, cream, sugar, honey, and lemon, and carried it into the living room, where Lexi and Jared were seated together on Xander's usual couch. He saw with relief that the largest piece of the taupe sectional, which had previously been languishing in the mostly-unused front corner of the room, had been situated adjacent to the green couch, and the wooden side chairs moved against the wall. He placed the tray on the enormous chest that served as a coffee table, and lowered himself onto the large sofa, thoughtlessly grabbing a throw pillow to shield his round torso as he settled.

"There we go, help yourselves," Cee told them. "Ling just made a fresh batch of her rose mint tea, it's incredible. There's lavender in it, too."

"Ooh, that sounds amazing," Lexi said, leaning away from Jared to take a mug. "She makes it herself?"

"Yeah, she's great with herbs and spices. She makes a homemade chai blend that is literally like drinking a mug full of autumn," Cee gushed as she plopped down next to Xander and scooted close. "Why do you have that? You're a better pillow than a pillow," she told him, as if he should have known better, and pulled the small cushion from his protective grasp. She settled into his soft side, and he was almost too preoccupied by the feeling of half the blood in his body rushing to his face to notice her curious glance at Jared before she finished getting comfortable.

Lexi opened her mouth and closed it, then opened it again. "So, how did you two meet?"

Cee sipped her tea before responding. "We had a class together last semester. British literature. It was ridiculously boring and I probably wouldn't have passed if it hadn't been for your brother helping me keep all those stuffy Englishmen straight."

"Oh, so you're in, like, a study group together?" She raised an eyebrow, and Xander felt her energy harden to a diamond-like cast.

"No, not really." Cee patted his thigh with her free hand, allowing her fingers to linger there, and a bit of her own power flowed into him as a warm, crackling swirl. His own force responded automatically to meet hers in sparks of emerald and indigo behind his closed eyes.

He heard Lexi make a small noise, and he opened his eyes to look at her. She sat back and snuggled into Jared, who wrapped his arm around her waist. "That's Xander, always keeping his poor little sister in the dark," she said lightly.

"I didn't..." he trailed off, not knowing how to explain when he wasn't even sure what the situation was.

Lexi laughed at his distress, twisting her long, dark braid between her fingers. "I'm just giving you shit, brother."

"It is her specialty," Jared added, grinning. Lexi dropped her braid and gave his head a gentle shove, and they both laughed, then kissed.

"So," Cee said, "Xander tells me there's a ring I should see?"

Lexi blushed prettily and held out her hand to show Cee and Xander the iridescent gem on her left ring finger, and Jared's smiled widened proudly. "It's exactly what I wanted."

"Oh, it's gorgeous! Is that scorolite? Did you pick it out, or did Jared?"

"Wow, you've got a good eye," Jared said. "Yup, it's scorolite, and we picked it out together a few weeks ago. There's a little artisan jeweler the next town over who does really unique stuff, that's where we found it."

"He told me we were going for ice cream. I still made him take me for ice cream afterwards, of course," Lexi explained, laughing.

"You know I would never deny you ice cream," he told her, and squeezed her in his arms again.

Xander felt Cee's energy flare up slightly as she wriggled closer to him, shifting so that the tops of her fingers were just touching the flab that gushed out onto his lap. Warmth clashed with the sickening thud of shame in his chest as he saw both Lexi's and Jared's eyes perceive the contact as they turned their heads back, and his mind blurted, Please no don't draw attention to how enormous I've gotten please don't I'm disgusting I already know you don't have to tell me please don't tell me please -

Cee twitched next to him and cleared her throat, keeping her hand where it was. "I'm really happy for you guys. So did you have anything planned for while you're here? I guess you've probably done most of the touristy things, right? The museum, the campus sculpture garden..."

"Yeah, I honestly just want to hang out," Lexi said.

Xander felt her gaze on him, but resolutely stared at the steam still rising from the spout of the teapot on the tray in front of him. You can't even lean forward to make yourself a cup of tea, the nasty voice jeered, because you'll have to struggle over your massive fucking gut and get out of breath and everyone will see and they'll be revolted by what a damn pig you are -

"It really sucked not getting to see you for Christmas..." she trailed off before continuing. "I feel like it's been forever since I've seen you. I mean, it kind of has. The last time we really got to spend time together was back at the beginning of August before I had to leave for camp."

"Oh, wow, I didn't realize you hadn't been back home at all this semester, Xander," Cee said.

"I...couldn't go." The voice's volume increased until it was a roar in his ears, so loud he barely heard what Lexi said next.

"I know you couldn't. It's okay. I just missed you, is all, so I want to spend time with you now. You know we wouldn't have had a good time at home, anyway. Mom doesn't even bake cookies anymore, not even snowflake sparkles."

"Your mom doesn't make Christmas cookies?" Cee asked incredulously. "We were up to our ears in de- um, our drama final and we still made Christmas cookies!" She gently rubbed his thigh, her fingers dipping farther beneath the roll of his belly for a moment before returning to the same spot. "Hey," she said, turning her face to his, "did you get to have your tea yet?"

Ling had determined that, to start, he should drink two mugs per day of a less potent version of the tea she'd been making for him, her "adjusted tri-level," she called it. He shook his head, embarrassment bubbling up inside him.

"Ooh, you get a special tea? Haha, special-ty," Jared cracked.

"Oh my gosh, you are the corniest," Lexi scolded him, giggling.

Cee patted his thigh and hopped to her feet. "Yeah, he was getting a cold, and Ling makes something that'll knock it right out of you before it gets bad," she lied easily. "I'll go grab it for you, and I'll bring out our Christmas cookies. I think we've digested enough for a few, right?" She gave him an encouraging smile before disappearing into the kitchen.

"I like her," Lexi stated, smiling softly and twisting her braid between her fingers as she tucked her legs beneath her. "You get the little sister seal of approval."

"Yeah, she seems great," Jared added. "I'm happy for you, man."

"We don't - I mean, I d-don't know..." he stuttered as his cheeks reddened further, "it's...there's n-nothing...official. Or whatever."

His sister scoffed. "Please. She's crazy about you. It's obvious. And Xander...please," she told him, "please stop blaming yourself. I don't blame you for staying here. You know it would have been completely miserable at home. It was miserable, that's why I left."

"Yeah, but if I hadn't -"

"Stop," she interrupted fiercely, leaning towards him. "No. Stop doing that. You deserve to be happy. I deserve to be happy. And our parents don't care. They want us to be what they want us to be because they're not happy. And making them happy is not our responsibility. But it is our responsibility to make ourselves happy, and I'm done feeling guilty for wanting that. You should be, too."

Xander stared past his sister and out the window at the perfect blue of the winter sky beyond the slightly rippled glass in the old panes as the truth of what she said found a crack in the wall of self-loathing that had automatically begun building itself up around his heart again after it had collapsed last night and resolutely started chipping away. He knew she was right. Of course she was. But he'd spent his whole life doing precisely what she'd called him out on, and he knew it would take another lifetime of constant vigilance and Herculean effort to stave off continued inner mutinies against himself.

But. Wasn't it worth it? He thought of waking up that morning, the scent of fire and rosemary filling his awareness and the warmth of Cee's hands gently vibrating into his skin even before the pale, golden light of the cold sun outside revealed her slight form wrapped around him. As if summoned, the kitchen door swung outward and she appeared, a steaming mug in one hand and a green ceramic plate piled high with cookies in the other, and smiled at him, and he thought, yes, I suppose it's worth it.

08-18-2016, 11:46 PM
So good! I can't wait for more I love it!

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

08-19-2016, 12:08 AM
Eeeee! Yay! <3

08-19-2016, 05:10 AM
It isn't just that I love the characters and the story -- your writing itself is such a pleasure to read :D Just such a lovely flow and cadence and umm, stuff that I can feel as a reader but am not educated enough in that sort of area to really describe. Anyway -- iz gud!

Xyantha Reborn
08-19-2016, 08:52 AM
*just clasps her hands together, closes her eyes and basks in rapture*

08-19-2016, 11:57 AM
Thank you so much! I love these Characters!

08-19-2016, 08:52 PM
Yaaaaaaayyyy! Thank you for feeding my rabid addiction to your stories! I'm not sure that I'll ever have enough Xander and Cee :bow:

08-23-2016, 12:48 PM
But he'd spent his whole life doing precisely what she'd called him out on, and he knew it would take another lifetime of constant vigilance and Herculean effort to stave off continued inner mutinies against himself.
Fantastic line! This whole story just keeps getting better and better, somehow. I'm in a pretty good mood now :wubu:

08-23-2016, 07:29 PM
BHM demon slayer story? I loved it and cant wait for more!!

08-24-2016, 02:21 PM
Yay, I was beyond thrilled to log on and find new posts on this thread and find out there was a new chapter. This story just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for the update.

01-04-2017, 10:50 PM
Hoping this story still has lots to go, we'd all love to learn more about these fantastic characters!!!