BHM Xander - by Undine (~BHM, Intrigue, ~~WG)

Discussion in 'Recent Additions' started by Undine, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Jul 25, 2014 #121

    agouderia

    agouderia

    agouderia

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    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???
     
  2. Jul 25, 2014 #122

    lurksville

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    I figured they were trying to lock the doors and keep out lurkers like me :p
     
  3. Jul 25, 2014 #123

    Tad

    Tad

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    The great white north, eh?
    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.
     
  4. Jul 26, 2014 #124

    bayone

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    I like that you did the text messages.
     
  5. Jul 26, 2014 #125

    bayone

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    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.
     
  6. Aug 1, 2014 #126

    lemonhead

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    All-time favorite story out there. Can't wait for another update! :smitten::smitten:
     
  7. Aug 2, 2014 #127

    SilkySunshine

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    So glad you're back Undine!
     
  8. Aug 5, 2014 #128

    Undine

    Undine

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    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 -

    "Xander!"

    "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?"
     
  9. Aug 5, 2014 #129

    lurksville

    lurksville

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    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
     
  10. Aug 5, 2014 #130

    loopytheone

    loopytheone

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    Yay! More story! =D Darshan is being a jerk, Cee should Falcon Punch him.
     
  11. Aug 5, 2014 #131

    Undine

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    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*
     
  12. Aug 5, 2014 #132

    Xyantha Reborn

    Xyantha Reborn

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    Ahhh!!! Hiding in the bathroom to read this at work is so worth it!!!!
     
  13. Aug 6, 2014 #133

    SilkySunshine

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    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!
     
  14. Aug 6, 2014 #134

    Xyantha Reborn

    Xyantha Reborn

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    [/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! :)
     
  15. Sep 4, 2014 #135

    Undine

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    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!
     
    Tad and bayone like this.
  16. Sep 4, 2014 #136

    loopytheone

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    I'm relieved to hear that you are okay and still planning on continuing this story! Hope things get less hectic for you soon!
     
  17. Sep 6, 2014 #137

    slapbassman33

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    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!
     
  18. Sep 7, 2014 #138

    Undine

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    "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...

    "Xander?"

    "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?

    No.

    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.
     
  19. Sep 7, 2014 #139

    bayone

    bayone

    bayone

    Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  20. Sep 7, 2014 #140

    SilkySunshine

    SilkySunshine

    SilkySunshine

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    Totally worth waiting for!!! :eek:
     

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