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Roommate, The (by Xyggurat)
|"It can't happen again," I whispered, clutching my head. "I'm getting weaker, but it's not just physical. I want him so bad I can practically taste it, and�"
Liam cut me off with a shake of his head. He was showing his true form today, or at least the semblance of it his vanity allowed him to recollect. He ran a hand through his shaggy dark brown locks. I absently decided that I liked his dark curls better than the straight red-brown he had adopted for his facade as Professor McTague.
"You have to stay strong against Phil's influence, Dane. It's a vicious cycle, this. He's growing and you're shrinking, which is affecting your mind in ways that no sane psychologist would think to research. And who knows what else dosing you with his semen is doing�don't do that, Dane!"
I looked up, embarrassed. My hand had strayed down into my pants and was caught in the act of gripping my six inches. I could tell that I was diminished after my most recent encounter with Phil. The fact that I had shrunken to scale had not altered my perceptions of what an average guy looked like. And I was below average in height, though not yet considerably so. At 5'6, I was a couple of inches shorter than Liam. He looked big, but the difference was probably psychological. It did not stop me from looking up at him with baleful eyes at his use of command over me.
"Look, I'm sorry," he continued. "I'm sorry for having to use you like this, Dane. None of this is your fault, and no one should be expected to hold out indefinitely against the forces that have been changing your life."
I let my frown fade. "Liam. What's happening with Phil may not be my fault, but I have to take responsibility for my actions. I chose to go along with your plan. I'll stick to it."
He nodded, as if that settled it. It struck at my heart that, even after I had let him down and given in to Phil, he still had faith in me. A niggling thought at the edge of my mind asked how much of Liam's kindness was based upon his own guilt in this situation. I banished the concept.
Liam put his hands on my shoulders. He had big, strong hands for someone naturally of moderate stature. In this form his typical sweater and trousers were a bit too snug, so he wore a sleeveless T-shirt. He was not an extraordinary example of manhood, but I wondered why he would make such an obvious change to his body in his transformation into Professor McTague. I laughed, abruptly.
"What's so funny?" He grinned, displaying a nice grin that was not quite perfect. It made his smile into a rogue's smirk.
I shrugged. "You're taller than me. I realized it before, but it's very strange. And I think I'm going crazy." My laugh died.
"Oh," he responded. He looked abashed, and more than a little worried. "Well, once we've dealt with this problem..."
"No," I said. "Don't make any promises. There's a good chance I might have to stay like this for a long time. Maybe it's not even reversible. Just... you said that you had good news for me?" The subject change was hasty, and the look Liam gave me said that he understood. He did not want to remind me what I had lost any more than he had to.
Liam shrugged. "Only that I've exhausted all of the options the symbiote and I could come up with. There are a few viable solutions. We could kill Phil, but who knows if the symbiote would just reanimate him somehow? I know that Phil's symbiote is different than mine, but the extent of its mutation can't be so easily judged."
"Plus, I think there are enough zombie movies out there that the living dead thing would just be clich� ."
Liam laughed. "It's good that you're keeping your sense of humor." More soberly, he continued, "I didn't like the idea of hurting Phil, even after what he's done. The symbiote, however, is a completely different story. Maybe it's just my own symbiote's thoughts here, but Phil's is like a rabid beast. It has to be put down for good. Even if it costs Phil his life. I hope it won't."
"So, what's your plan?" I prompted.
"The symbiote is a complex network of cells that can somehow hold conscious thoughts. It can disintegrate and reintegrate at will. But it seems immune to the toxins and chemical changes it puts out. So what happens if we attack its resistances?"
"Uhm. It... ah... buh..."
Liam snorted, but the twinkle in his eyes set me at ease. "It's a good thing you're not in my class, Dane."
"Okay, okay. I guess it would start poisoning itself."
"Right, and it would lose control completely and hopefully kill itself. I'm not sure what would happen to Phil. It depends on how integrated the symbiote is into his�"
"Liam." I shut my eyes, rolling the words inside of my mouth before I said them. "I don't care what happens to Phil. You told me he wasn't under the control of the symbiote. He's the one who's been torturing me. It adapted to him, not him to it."
He nodded. "It's going to take the better part of a day before I can synthesize the chemicals I need. Will you be okay until then?"
"Sure," I said. I should have been overjoyed; instead, I felt numb.
"Anything I can do for you?"
"Sure, just make me 6'1 again."
At his hurt look, I waved the flippant suggestion away. "Just juice me up." I tried hard to sound enthusiastic.
"Juice�Oh. Uh, let's see." He stared into my eyes, vivid emerald meeting nut-brown. "You will resist Phil's influence. You will keep your mind focused on the goal, and retain control over yourself no matter how you are coerced. You will..."
I whistled a merry tune as I slid the key into our room's lock. As was common, I felt suffused with well-being after my session with Liam. Even before this incident, I probably would have thought that he was a hot guy. He didn't have my refined looks, or my former size, but I could have seen him making some girl very happy. Or guy.
"Wonder if he's gay," I muttered to myself. In the same mental breath, I wondered if I was, too. "When did that happen?"
I was interrupted by the door jerking open. My key was still in the lock, frozen there by my momentary soliloquy. The motion of the door pulled me forward, hard.
"Who were you talking to?"
It took me a moment to associate the voice with its owner because of several reasons. First, I was much closer to the owner's taut-muscled chest as it strained against his too-small grey wifebeater. It was a little lighter in shade than his boxer-briefs, and darkened with anticipatory sweat. My eyes were actually level with his nose. Second, he had lost weight since water polo season, and he wasn't quite so tan. The dusting of stubble and not-quite-trimmed goatee were also new. So was the crazed look in his eyes. I almost lost myself in my exploration of this newcomer.
"No one," I said, squaring my shoulders.
The crazed-looking youth looked down at me and laughed, yanking me into the room with strength that surprised me.
"Dane, I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes." He spoke in a cold, clinical way as he slammed the door. That tone was at odds with his fevered face, something I had seen from my teammates only in the heat of struggle against an opposing team. The invasive fingers of one hand tore at my shirt as the other fought off my struggles. "You're small. Oh, you're so damn small. So weak. And you're all mine, for the next... oh, hour or so."
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