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Brothers for Life
|Ben stayed in the hospital for one last night before the doctor allowed him to go home. During that one night, however, Johnny was busy trying to gather and hide all of the old stuff that might have hinted that he was really Johnny, such as older photos, several momentos and most importantly Ben's journal. He then sat down and formulated a plan with his parents in order to hide his identity from Ben. Since it was summer, Johnny could hide his real age easily, but he had no idea what he would do when school started again. He suggested that he attend high school in order to fool Ben, but his parents turned that idea down instantly. They struggled with that fact for hours before decidding to put it off for later. Hopefully, when September came around, they would have figured something out if Ben didn't remember anything yet.
When Ben came did come home, Johnny waited and served him hand and foot, following him like a puppy dog. Whenever Ben was thirsty, Johnny would run into the kitchen and brought several differnt beverages that Ben might've liked. When Ben's stomach growled, Johnny would fix a snack that would've feed three people. And whenever Ben started to climb the stairs, Johnny would lift him up into his arms and carry him all the way up.
Ben said it wasn't really neccesary for Johnny to be Ben's shadow....though, in truth, Ben was the one who was in Johnny's shadow, seeing how he towered over him. He explained that although he appreciated the thought, he was perfectly capable of doing things on his own.
At first, all Ben was allowed to do was rest and relaxed, but eventually he began to ask if he could start exercising again. Everyone, especially Johnny, protested to this, saying it was much too soon for Ben to be exercising. However, Ben eventually got under his parents skin and they eventually caved in to his request, despite Johnny's objections.
So Ben began to exercise to get back into shape again. First he tried jogging in order to rebuild his stamina, as well as burn off some of his excess fat. He would throw on some sweats and put on his running shoes early every morning, then go to the park to jog. The first few jogging sessions ended quickly, without covering much distance. Eventually, however, Ben began to pick up the pace, and soon he was running miles again. After his jogs, he would do sit ups, push ups and pull ups, then drink a protein shake.
Every morning when Ben went out jogging, Johnny would follow from a distance, making sure Ben wouldn't see him. This wasn't easy, however, since Johnny was too big to really hide behind anything, and eventually Ben found out.
"If you're that worried about me Jerry, then you should run with me." Ben said, crossing his arms and looking up.
"I don't know..." Johhny said, hunching down a bit and rubbing the back of his head in embaressment. "I just don't feel comfortable jogging around a lot of people."
"Are you kidding?" Ben gave a light punch to Johnny's arm. "With legs like those you could run an entire marathon! You should be proud of those muscles of yours, show them off a bit!"
Johnny wanted to tell Ben that he didn't want to show off because it might turn him back into a bullying jock again, but couldn't find the right words. So, Johnny gave up and started running with Ben. Every morning he would squeeze into a swet shirt and pants. This was somewhat difficult, since his chest stretched the top portion of the shirt so that you could actually see his pecs outlined through the fabric, yet it was super baggy around his thin waist. His sweats was also tight around his tree trunk quads, but the waist was huge, since it was originally made for a fat man.
Those jogs around the park made Johnny nervous. He used to love having people look at him. But now, with Ben by his side, his face felt so hot he thought it was going to burn off. Every step made his meaty pecs jiggle and bounce up and down through the fabric, his quads rub and roll against each other, his massive arms stretching the material taunt. The sight of him jogging was making girls dizzy and guys stunned by the display of masculine beauty in motion. He looked so much older and mature then he really was that several grown women actually asked him out on a date! He bashfully refused, however, saying he wasn't looking for anyone.
Ben laughed as the one particularly hot babe walked away, disappointed. "Dude Jerry, you're like a chick magnet!"
"But I don't want to have a girlfriend...." Johnny's face turned scarlet.
"Oh, I guess that means you're gay!" Ben joked.
"No!" Johnny said, horrified. "I'm just.....not old enough yet!"
"Oh come on!" Ben reached up and patted Johnny on the back. "You're almost 18 for christ's sake. It's about time that you get out there and experience the sex life.
I'm only 10. Johnny thought to himself. The only sex life I know is that it can make babies.
After Ben was fit enough, he decided to move onto weightlifting again. Of course, Ben tried to convince Johnny to be his trainer, which he flatly refused. He was still afraid to lift weights again, seeing how they had played an important part of turnig Johnny 'evil.'
So instead, Johnny just sat there, watching his brother lift weights. He would gaze dreamingly at his brother, watching those muscles bulge and pulse with every rep. He'd take notice of every sweat bead that formed and followed it as it dropped. He'd take notice of every little fiber of muscle, every definition. Even though Ben didn't compare to his own massive physique, Johnny couldn't help but feel amazed. All of Ben's muscles were earned through hard work and dedication, while Johnny had his handed to him on a silver platter.
"Hey Jerry, do you have to watch me like that?" Ben asked as he dropped the barbell he had been lifting.
Johnny snapped out of his trance and blinked. "Huh?"
"You've been watching me like some kid watching his favorite superhero on tv." Ben chuckled.
"I'm just admiring how hard working and dedicated you are." Johnny answered, feeling a little surprised by the comment sice it was half true. "I've never seen anyone work so hard."
"You mean besides yourself?" Ben laughed, poking Johnny's pec. His finger didn't even dent it. "You must've worked five times harder then I do in order to grow that big!"
"But I-" Johnny stopped himself before he blew his secret. "Nevermind." Ben shrugged and moved over to his next routine. Johnny just sighed and watched Ben worked out again.
And so weeks passed by like clockwork. Ben worked out, Johnny would admire, and they'd connect like brothers again. Yet it was all a lie. The brother Ben had known, and the brother he was getting to know was the same person. This one fact made Johnny restless at night, the weight of his lies heavier then anything he had ever lifted.
One night, Johnny felt particularly restless, so he decided to grab a midnight snack. When he exited his room, however, he heard what sounded like a small moan coming from Ben's room. Intending to find out what was wrong, Johnny opened the door slowly, peering in.
Inside, Ben was tossing and turning, emitting small moans and groans, sweat soaking his clothes as he moved around restlessly.. It took Johnny awhile to realize that Ben was having a nightmare. This took him back to when he had nightmares when he was a child. He remembered whenever he was having a nightmare, Ben would come into his room and crawl into bed with him, holding him tight, keeping him safe from harm. He'd stay there until Johnny fell asleep again, the nightmares disappearing. When he woke up, he'd find Ben still there, gazing into his eyes.
The memory gave Johnny an idea. Quietly, he crept over to the bed, then slowly got in. The bed creaked in protest of Johnny's bulk and weight, but he ignored it as he got into bed with Ben, wrapping his arms around the smaller guy, pressing him against his chest. Ben calmed down a little, feeling more comfortable being pressed against Johnny's big, warm pecs. Smiling, Johnny moved his head down and sniffed Ben's head. Ben's musky odor filled his nostrils, filling him with memories of their childhood together.
"Plea...se...don't...hur...t....me John...ny..." Ben said in his sleep, shaking. Johnny's head snapped back. Ben was having a nightmare of him! Johnny felt his heart turn ice cold. What was Johnny doing to Ben in his dreams? Did Ben regain his memory? Or was Ben just reliving a memory as a dream?
"Ben...." Johnny whispered, holding him closer. "Don't be scared....I'm here for you...."
"Jer...ry...." Ben whispered in return, relaxing in Johnny's arms, his nightmares disappering and turning into a dreamless sleep. Johnny's heart sank. He realized, at that moment, that Jerry was the brother of love, and Johnny was the brother of pain. It made him feel so conflicted inside. What should he do? Johnny held onto this thought as he continued to hold onto Ben.
And so Johnny held onto Ben until early in the morning. He quietly slipped out of bed and returned to his own room, ducking under his covers and burying his face into the pillow.
Hours later, at the breakfast table, Johnny decided to ask Ben directly.
"Ben, were you having a nightmare last night?" He asked.
Ben's fork full of egg stopped in midair as he looked up. "Yeah, I did. How did you know?"
"I was....going to the bathroom and heard noises coming from your room." Johnny lied. "What was it about?"
Ben frowned and scratched his head. "Honestly Jerry, I can't remember all that well. I felt like someone hurting me, but then you came along and the nightmare disappeared."
"Really?" Johnny felt a rush of relief. So Ben didn't remember him....yet. "Some weird dream." Mr. and Mrs. Kenning each gave Johnny a look, but said nothing.
"Yeah, it was." Ben shrugged, and continued eating. "Pass the salt please."
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