By Corwin

Tim walked into the club. Immediately, all eyes turned to him. He expected that. After all, he was 7 foot 3. He wore a blue spandex shirt that showed every inch of his hyper-muscular body. No one was bigger. His jeans were custom made to fit over his massive calves and quads. Ever ripple of his quads and hams shown through the fabric. His dick made a nice bulge too. Tim oozed sex. That's why the stares didn't surprise him.

He also wasn't surprised to hear whispers of 'steroids' and 'freakish'. That made him laugh. The guys that said it were the ones staring the most. Denial. They wanted him and they knew they could never have him. Besides, Tim didn't want them. He had only one target.

He scanned the room. 'Not here yet,' he thought. Tim walked up to the bar and ordered a red wine -- Francis Coppola Pinot Noir. He sipped the wine and waited. Annie Lennox's 'Pavement Cracks' came on the juke box. He laughed. Hadn't this all started with an Annie song?

Tim watched the door, seeing the men come and go. He finished his wine and ordered a second. Then he saw him. Tim recognized him immediately. His blonde hair was a bit longer, but other than that, he hadn't changed. Tim unconsciously smiled. Seeing Derek put butterflies in his stomach.

Derek took a seat at the end of the bar, then scanned the room. His eyes were drawn to the big man. Recognition took longer. Tim had changed. Derek looked confused as the goliath moved toward him. Maybe if Derek were looking at Tim's face rather than his pecs, he would have known it was Tim from the start. Instead, it wasn't until Tim sat down beside him that recognition took place.

"I'm sorry," said Tim as the Derek finally realized who the man was. "I... well, you see.... You were treated badly. It's a long story. I hope you can forgive me."

"Tim! My god, they told me you were dead!"

"Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated," Tim laughed.

"That note? And the phone calls! And, wow, look at you. You're magnificent!" Derek was smiling.

"It's a long story," said Tim apologetically. "I just wanted to see you to, well, to see if you could forgive me and maybe, well, maybe start over."

Derek smiled like the Mona Lisa. His eyes were soft. He looked down and touched Tim's forearm, running a finger along the distended vein. Peeking up, he said, "So, tell me this story."

That was a month ago. That first night, and every night after that (and some days, too), they made love. They became inseparable. Tim did have to remind himself that this Derek wasn't only there to please him. He wasn't the android built only for Tim's happiness. That was an added bonus. Tim found that the real Derek's idosyncratic nature made the relationship tangible. Learning all about a real person made Tim feel alive.

Tim visited the post office box, and found the information about the Swiss bank account Hal had set up. There were also three boxes of serum and a note: "For your real Derek, if he wants it. Hal"

Derek did want it. Tim was his trainer. Like Hal, Tim was merciless. Tim programmed the robot drone to administer the formula, and he found the stash of nutrient Derek needed to quench his hunger. Derek compared the serum to the feeling of jumping from an airplane, a free-fall that ended in a jerk and a thump. Derek grew, becoming more handsome as he became more muscular. His masculine good looks became more powerful, more confident. "I don't want to be as big as you," he'd tell Tim. "Just big enough so that you don't totally dominate me."

'As if,' thought Tim. Tim was still getting stronger. The serum in his system never seemed to be totally maxed out. When he needed more strength or size, he produced it. On one weekend hike, to impress Derek, Tim began to toss around a multi-ton boulder. As he did, he felt the warmth, power and euphoria of the serum kicking in. His body pumped, ripping the tight shirt. Derek laughed at him, telling him he if his skin turned green, they were through.

Tim knew that eventually, the powers-that-be would come looking for him. He secretly bought property in Canada, England, France and Sweden. He sold his house in San Francisco, and Derek quit his job. After all, they were set for life.

Tim recalled the last month as he stood line to board the plane to Montreal. Derek waited with the bags. The airline clerk was friendly enough, apologizing for the new security rules imposed by the TSA. When she stepped away for a second, Tim noticed the old video display terminal. The cursor's blink seemed to be winking at him. He looked around, rached over and typed, "hal?"

The screen went blank. "Sssshhhhhh...." flashed for a second, then vanished.

The end •

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