Side Effects (By WBHunk)

By WBHunk

This was to be the first of a series--but for some reason, I never got around to continuing. If anyone wants to pick it up, email me--I'll be glad to help. And yes, I did spend a few years as a horse researcher.

The soft chirp of the cordless phone was just barely audible over the click of the keyboard as I typed away. "At this time of night?" I thought to myself, swinging my chair away from the cold glow of the screen. Grudgingly I picked it up.

"Howdy. This is Jay."

"Jay? Oh good, I'm glad I caught you. The babysitter called--Bobby is sick and she took him to the clinic. I've still got one more assay to run and I was wondering...." Jeanne's voice trailed off.

"No problem," I responded, putting a smile in my voice. Poor Jeanne. One woman, four kids, and trying to make it on a dollar over minimum wage. "Go take care of it. I can finish up the lab work."

"Thanks. Bye," she said, the tone of relief obvious in her voice. I sighed. One more night of overtime ahead. I turned around to the computer. "Scott? I've got to run. Problem at the lab."

"You always say that ?". I grinned as the words flashed up in the chat window. Truth was, I had been pretty busy on this research project. Scott understood, but I felt bad about leaving him--even if it was just chat. A second later, the disconnect wording came up, just in time to watch me close Netscape and shut down.

Driving through the dark streets toward the research farm, I thought again about Scott. We'd known each other for three years ever since a chance meeting in another chatroom. We'd hit it off from the first communication and been kind of going together ever since. But the fact that he was HIV+ and I wasn't made things a whole lot harder. I wasn't willing to take the risk on intimacy and neither was he--plus, in the past year, his symptoms had started to crop up with more alarming frequency. I had taken this job in Metro City for the sole purpose of being close to him, even though I was too closeted to actually move in with him. The windshield wipers squeaked across the windshield, the rain outside an excellent reflection of my mood, mud splashing as I pulled in the driveway of the barn and into the carport. Dodging the falling water from the roof, I swept my ID card, cussing out the slow lock as the rainwater ran down my collar.

The lab door was open, the harsh fluorescents reflecting off the hall tile. "Damn!" I said, reading the labels on the analysis tubes. Of all the horses, it had to be Tinky-Winky. That critter had been nothing but bad news since we'd started the trial of this new vaccine. He was perpetually sick and always screwing up my data. I had named him as a lighthearted joke when Jerry Falwell had started all that crap about Teletubbies, but Scott had really identified with the horse. Tinky had no defenses left either. With a sigh, I loaded the analyzer and instructed it to scan for the presence of the reduced strain of virus that we were using to stimulate the horses' immune systems. With a whir, the printer spit out the result sheet.

"What the heck?" I said, quickly scanning it. No viral presence? The analyzer must be screwing up again. I slid the control tube back in and ran another scan. Normal. It wasn't the analyzer. I ran the backup sample we always took through. "This can't be right," I said in disbelief, looking at the new printout. It was impossible for a horse that wasn't even on the treatment vaccine to be able to eliminate the virus--or so we thought. But what if....I thought of Scott again.

Quickly grabbing a needle and tubes, I ran out to the barn. Tinky might feel like a pincushion, but I needed to figure out what was going on. Tinky was standing in his stall, emitting the rhythmic grunts of a cribbing horse, content oozing from every furry pore. God, I hated that habit--when he was stressed, he'd latch onto wherever he could get his teeth and suck air in and out. I'd tried to break him of it, but in the past week, I'd given up and he spent almost every waking moment at it. "Hold still," I warned him, slipping the needle into his vein and taking samples, carefully sealing them to avoid contamination.

Back in the lab, I reran the samples. Still negative. I quickly slipped some into the protein separator. My eyes opened wider the screen flashed up a result. Tinky did have a virus in his system--but it wasn't anything I'd ever seen before. "Compare to database," I typed.

"Closest protein analogues are digestive enzymes."

I sat back in my chair, mind moving at a mile per minute. Digestive enzymes? How could a virus have digestive potential? As far as we knew, they just lurked around and hijacked cells to produce more of them. Taking some of the blue solution that contained our viral strain, I slipped a drop of Tinky's sample into it. "God almighty!" I breathed as the solution almost instantly turned colorless. It didn't do that unless the virus was completely destroyed! I tried the same thing with several other viruses with the same results.

I sat up on the lab table, staring at the neutralized samples. This stuff killed everything viral it touched. Evidently it wasn't doing Tinky too much harm either. What triggered this? He'd been the same old sick Tinky last week. Last week....when I was still trying to keep him from cribbing! Cribbing released endorphins--the so-called "runner's high". Could that be it? Two chemical analyses and two hours later, I was sure that that was it. The higher endorphin levels must have triggered this new virus and neutralized everything else that was attacking his immune system. I was going to be very rich when I made this public, but the Nobel Prize could wait. I knew who had to be the first to know. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Are you crazy?" Scott yelled, staring at the clear vial of purified virus I had extracted and driven through six red lights to deliver. "You want me to take this stuff and you have no idea what it is?"

"Scott, listen to me," I pleaded, looking into his deep blue eyes. "I think it could help. At the very least, I don't think it'll hurt you." He looked back at me, his powerful shoulders slumping. "Do you think it'll actually work?" he said, the hope almost visible in his voice.

"I don't know," I said, trying to sound optimistic. God, he was so sexy when he looked at me that way--pecs rippling under his shirt, biceps peeking from behind his sleeves, his cabled quads poking out of his shorts. I pitied the guys who didn't date a bodybuilder, even though I had never really gotten to play with all that muscle. "Please let me try to help you." The same thing I'd been saying for three years.

"OK," Scott said, sitting down in his recliner, the vein at his elbow popping out as his forearm muscles roiled. "Do it." Instantaneous decision was his other quality that I loved.

Mouth dry, I took the syringe and loaded it full, mechanically attaching the needle. Scott grimaced and tightened as I walked over, his arm quivering as I felt for his pulse. His handsome jaw tightened reflexively as I poked the needle into his vein, his head quickly jerking to the side as I injected the viral solution. He slumped back in the chair as I stepped back. "What all was in there?" he said, his words starting to slur slightly.

"The virus and some endorphins," I answered. "Natural morphine. It seems to enhance the virus activity."

"Well, whatever it is, it feels goooood!" Scott giggled. He started to sing tunelessly. I grinned--at least the endorphins were good for something. I walked back to the kitchen to wash out the syringe--and jumped three feet when I heard the recliner slam to the floor. Instantly I spun around, the syringe dropping to the floor as I stared at what was going on.

Scott was on the carpet, limbs jerking convulsively, eyes rolled back in his head, a foam of drool covering his sweet lips. Oh God--a drug reaction! "Scott!" I screamed, running over to his side, watching in terror as he rolled around like a rag doll in a washer. I reached blindly for the phone, picking it up and turning it over, staring at the man I loved suffer because of my stupid, idiotic idea!

Suddenly, it all stopped. Scott lay there, eyes staring blankly up at the ceiling. I put my hand over his mouth. Good--he's still breathing. I picked up his wrist to get a pulse--and almost screamed as it flopped limply, feeling like there was no bone in there. I put my hand on his chest--and it caved in at my touch, just like Jello. Dumbfounded, I watched Scott's features meld and blend together, the carved parts of his body melting into each other and flowing together. In fifteen seconds, Scott--or what had been Scott-- was a blob of pinkish protoplasm on the floor.

My mind felt like it had exploded. What had happened? What had this done to him! "No!" I yelled at the top of my lungs, frantically pushing on the middle of the blob, trying CPR, rescue breathing, anything. I had killed my best friend and lover. I thought wildly--maybe I could reverse this, my scientist's body automatically reaching for my sample collection kit. Quickly I pulled out the biopsy needle and stuck it into the blob. As I pulled the needle out, the blob roiled--and my mouth dropped open.

Protoplasm suddenly reshaped itself, the contours of Scott's body slowly reforming. First feet, then legs, then chest, complete with resprouting hair, arms, ears, eyes--and ten seconds later, a groggy Scott propped himself up on his elbows. "Did I miss anything? You are white as a--"

"Stay right there," I said, pushing a pillow under his head and placing the phone in his hand. He winced as I abruptly jammed another needle into his vein and drew blood. "If you feel anything weird, push button 6 and page me!"

"Where the heck are you--" Scott yelled, his voice abruptly cut off by the door slamming behind me as I raced to my truck. I drove to the lab like a madman, my fingers clutching the samples I had taken. Quickly running in, I shoved a part of it into every analyzer we had, DNA, RNA, protein, whatever might be able to tell me what had happened. I read result sheets hot off the printer, the ink blotching on my hands. The sample was consistent with pureed meat--the stuff we used to culture bacteria. It was unmistakably human--but there was no chemical separation. It was like bone, muscle, and nerves had been mixed together. Had the virus actually digested his whole body? How had he reformed? And the HIV was gone-- there wasn't even a trace of it in his system! I ran back out, headed at top speed for Scott's house, heart in my throat.

My abrupt entrance into the house ended ungracefully as I tripped over something on the floor, barely catching myself against the wall. A Cheez Puffs container? Scott never ate those, I thought, heading into the kitchen. Which was then being reviewed for declaration as a disaster area. Crumbs littered the countertop, leftover bags and wrappers of everything from avocado dip to Zebra Cakes forming weird sculptured piles. Scott lay on the couch, his belly looking as if he was about to deliver a baby elephant. "What the heck happened?" I said, eyes taking in a the debris. It looked like an explosion in a grocery store.

"I don't know," Scott said. "Right after you left, I got really hungry--and once I started, I couldn't stop eating." He looked at the mess as if he were seeing it for the first time. "Did I....?"

"Relax," I said, coming over to the couch. I smiled at him, feeling the electric charge of love through my system. "It worked. I can't find any trace of HIV." I bent over and kissed him hard, three years of pent-up passion spending itself through my tongue, feeling the surprise in his lips, then the emphatic answer. I fell on top of him, the surprised whuff of his breath like music to my ears, his cock hardening underneath mine. His muscular arms reached around me and squeezed. "I've been waiting for this...for forever...." he whispered, hot tears running down his cheeks. Quickly I slid down his body, opening his sweatpants to reveal his hard cock. I placed my lips around it, tickling the head with my tongue, feeling his grunt of pleasure. "Oh jeeeeez....." he moaned, his hips moving as I sucked, harder and harder. I felt his cock spread, enjoying the pleasure as I moved up and down his shaft, the head moving farther back into my throat each time.....?????

I looked down and almost wet myself. Scott was still there, eyes shut, a big smile on his face, but his cock was GROWING--longer and longer, flaring out obscenely, past six inches, ten, fifteen..... I choked as it expanded, almost cutting off my air as I abruptly let go. Scott's eyes flicked open, then widened as he took in the view of his new improved man tool. "What the......"

"The virus, " I said wonderingly, what was happening instantly clear. "It dissolves the other viruses--that's how it works. But it must also digest other cells to their constituent components when it's stimulated. Once they're broken down, they can be reshaped in almost any form!"

"Which means?" Scott said, hugging me close to his chest.

"You can.........reshape your body at will," I answered, dumbfounded by the possibilities. Scott looked at me, a merry wicked light in his eyes. "I think I know where I'll start," he answered. He concentrated--and suddenly I felt his chest heave underneath me, the tiny bit of fat he had over his pecs evaporating away, muscle fibers pushing against my skin. I watched drooling as his shoulders broadened, delts popping up under his skin like rising bread, lats flaring out into huge muscular wings. I slid off him as his legs jerked, quads blasting outward, striations everywhere, muscle calves becoming muscle bulls before my eyes, his balls expanding to match his sixteen-inch cock. I kneeled in front of him as he swung over and stood up, a granite tower of man meat, six six, at least 350, muscle all over him like a suit of incredible armor. "Worship your muscle god," he rumbled, his voice immensely manly and sexy. I grabbed for his body, exploring it, probing every crack with my fingers, running my hands over his unstoppable legs, his washboard abs, feeling the muscles tense and contract underneath my questing arms, my cock pushing my jeans in an obscene bulge. He reached down and with one pull, yanked my pants completely off, fabric disintegrating at just his fingers' touch. With a smile, he place his hand on my cock. I moaned in pleasure as his hand melted into a cylinder around it, feeling my cock surrounded by his hard muscular flesh, quivering it, moving it, milking it until I spewed forth a jet of cum.

"Now for the fun part," he smiled. Laying me on the floor, he raised my legs. "Get ready"--and I felt his cock snake between my legs, flattening and working its way impossibly deep into my ass, like a river of warm flesh pouring inside of me. I reached for his nips, which suddenly stretched out, meeting my eager hands halfway. He began to thrust, his cock moving like a garden hose in my ass, fucking every single corner as I worked his rubbery nips, his breath coming in shorter and shorter gasps, and then the explosion of cum like a wave up the length of his cock, flooding into me and filling me with warmth. Even as he sank onto the rug beside me, his cock remained in my ass, still working even as we fell asleep against each others' warm bodies. •

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