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The Child with Crimson Eyes
|Oni: Japanese Ogre. Generally, they have wild hair, fangs, claws and two horns. Usually dressed in tiger skin and wielding a club, they are used as an example as being �strong beyond strong.�
Red Ogre, Blue Ogre: Based on the story Red Ogre�s Tears by Hirosuke Hamada. It�s about two ogres who are friends. The Red Ogre wished to be friends with the human villagers. However, the humans did not wish to become friends with the Red Ogre. In the end, Red Ogre�s friend Blue Ogre sacrificed himself so that Red Ogre could win the villager�s friendship.
|Although Kou acted the same, the fact that he was now over twelve feet tall and two or three tons of rippling muscle made Chris very nervous. At Lou�s instructions, Kou sat down with his back towards them, showing them the long cascade of silvery white hair that flowed down his broad back.
�The first thing we need to do is get Kou into a smaller shape.� Lou explained as he set down an ornate box made out of dark wood onto the portable table he had brought in, since the table that had laid in Kou�s room was now missing three legs and had a . They were still in Kou�s room, and it was still in a wreck, though they had cleared a small area of debris so the table and two chairs they brought in could be set out. When Chris asked Lou why he shouldn�t bring in another chair for Kou, Lou merely laughed. �I doubt that there�s a chair around that can really handle Kou�s weight right now,� He chuckled; �Or at least doesn�t become bent out of shape.�
Needless to say, Kou�s face was slightly red from embarrassment.
�So how are you going to make him small?� Chris asked, eyeing the wooden box curiously. �Then again, Kou was never really �small� now, was he?�
Kou blushed even deeper.
�It has to do with the number of seals I put on him.� Lou opened the lid of the wooden box, revealing several strange looking instruments and vials full of an eerie dark liquid that resembled black ink, yet at the same time did not. �I�m going to tattoo them onto Kou�s back, and the combined number and layers will compress his body and mass as well as put strict limits on his strength,� Lou explained while removing several vials and objects from the box. �Luckily for us, the hardest part, the master seal, is still intact, though barely.� He tapped the faded markings on Kou�s back. �If this had worn off, I doubt that any of the precautions I�ve put into making this house would�ve held Kou in when he wasn�t�himself, so to say.�
�You mean Kou didn�t turn back into a full demon yet?� Chris� eyes grew wide as he looked at Kou, paying attention to every inch of the hulking figure. He could only resist shuddering at the thought of an even bigger, more frightening monster then the one he saw now.
Lou frowned. �As a matter of fact, Kou shouldn�t have even gotten this big, even without all the seals on him.� He looked at Kou with a puzzled expression on his face. �Though, I haven�t seen his real size in years, so he may have grown quite a bit since the last time I saw it. And he�s never had blood before, so maybe that�s a key factor.�
�I�m right here you know.� Kou said nervously, though his deep voice still sent chills up Chris� spine. Even while sitting down, he was still about two heads higher then either of them. �Can we just get this done already?� He said anxiously. �I really don�t want to be like this any longer.�
Lou chuckled. �Alright, if you�re that eager we�ll start.� He began to pour several dark liquids from the vials into the small dishes he had set out, being very careful not to spill anything.
Kou gave a sigh of relief as he reached back, his arm bulging and flexing as he grabbed hold of his hair. Slowly, he pulled it to his front, revealing his full broad backside to them. It was very pronounced and defined, with a multitude of good sized muscles pushing and pulsing against each other to form Kou�s back. In a way, it was remarkably similar to an anatomy chart, only far bigger then the ones you would find in a science classroom.
Without warning, Lou�s face grew grim and serious as he picked up a pen-like instrument from the table and dipped its tip into one of the pools of dark liquid. Then, with a swift hand, the pen shot up and began re-outlining the tattoos already on Kou�s back. Kou let out a startled cry of pain, his body jolted sharply for a brief moment before he settled down, yet the look of deep concentration of suffering on Kou�s face clearly stated that Kou was still in deep pain. It was probably sheer willpower that made Kou sit still while Lou skillfully retraced the faded tattoos as well as drawing new ones, constantly dipping his pen�s tip into the various dishes of dark liquid. For some obscure and unexplainable reason, the dark liquid seemed to move with a mind of its own, spreading and flowing outwards, yet at the same time they did not cross the lines that Lou had drawn. Lou was quickly drawing what appeared to be a grand and highly complex tattoo that seemed to meld and become one with Kou�s back, using the various hills and valleys that were composed by the defined backside to create a kind of harmony. The tattooing was not just limited to Kou�s back, however, as Lou began to move between both Kou�s back and front side, his pen-like instrument flashing in the air in wide strokes, drawing tattoos on Kou�s chest as well. All the while during the process, Kou was doing his best the resist the urge to scream out in pain. His hands were gripping his kneecaps so tightly that his knuckles were bone white.
As long as Chris had known Kou, he had never seen the giant teenager experience any real physical pain. Sure, there were numerous times where Kou had broken down and cried like a giant baby, but those were more of an emotional pain. That pain, however was nothing remotely close to the pain that was mirrored on Kou�s face. Chris can only cringe as he watched Kou�s face twisted and wrecked in indescribable agony and unbearable suffering. Sweat practically flowed from Kou�s body, gathering in a small pool on the floor. Despite the pain that burned through his body, he kept completely and utterly still and silent. As Chris watched, Kou seemed to be less bulky and intimidating. In fact, after a few moments have gone by, it was obvious that the large man slowly but definitely shrinking. The dark skin paled and faded until they became a familiar gold color. The fangs, claws and two great black horns receded and shrank until they were normal and non-existent. Before his eyes, the monster�s oversized muscles relaxed and shrank down. From a towering twelve feet of pure power, he watched in silent awe as Kou shrank down to a more manageable yet still impressive eight feet height, his muscles following en suit by becoming less massive and dense looking, though still pretty large for a normal person. Lastly, the huge bulge underneath the makeshift bed sheet loincloth deflated like a water balloon with a hole in it, reverting to a more humble size, even though it still rivaled a full grown stallion�s.
Finally, Lou set down his pen. Before him, the monster had completely disappeared, leaving behind a very oversized teenager soaked in his own sweat and looking a trifle bit embarrassed wearing only a loose bed sheet to cover up his private parts. After seeing the end result, Lou let out an explosive breath and began making an inspection of the tattoos he drew to make sure he didn�t leave anything out or made any mistakes in the pattern. �Are you alright Kou?� Lou asked, fingering the black marks with a gentle touch.
�Y-yeah Dad,� Kou responded a bit weakly, �I�m f-fine now.� His breathing was slightly stressed, but the color was returning to his face quickly and it appeared that he was recovering his strength very quickly. �That hurt a lot more then it usually does.�
�I had to remake some of the more difficult ones.� Lou said as he moved around to Kou�s front and pressed his hands against Kou�s mighty chest, barely covering a fourth of its surface. �I also added a few new ones that I found in my research. It�ll put a stricter limit on your strength, though not enough to make that much of a difference anyways.�
Kou gave a deep sigh of regret.
�Um�� Chris bit his lip nervously. �Can someone explain some things to me? I still feel like I�m sitting in the dark here.�
Lou and Kou exchanged a glance, both of them obviously uncomfortable. �Are you sure you really want to know?� Lou asked finally. �What I mean is that our problems are, well, very personal and it just doesn�t seem right to burden you with them.�
Chris straightened in his seat. �Yes I want to know.� He said firmly. �Like it or not, I�m already in deep, even if I have almost no clue about what�s going on. And besides,� Chris gave a sidelong glance towards Kou, eyeing his friend�s handsome features subconsciously while stifling a potential erection. �I won�t abandon a friend in need, so you might as well get used to having me around.�
Lou and Kou exchanged another glance. Then Lou began to clean up his tools and instruments. All three men kept quiet until Lou finished putting everything away and sat back down onto his chair.
�Alright, let me start at the beginning��
*12 years ago*
�Will it ever let up?� Lou scowled out into the garden. The garden, usually serene and quite nice, was being pelted by a steady downpour of rain. Lou sat rather precariously on a pillow on the patio with his legs sprawled out since sitting on them properly tended to make his feet go numb. He was wearing a rather plain looking Japanese kimono which hung off of him like a bed sheet. �Dammit, why does it have to rain now, of all times?� Under normal circumstances, a little rain was bearable, even relaxing, but the sudden shift in the weather had lasted for two days already, causing the soft grounds around the dig site to be highly unstable and susceptible to mudslides. It would take several days for the ground to become dry enough to be safe, and with their limited time in Japan, each second that ticked by during the rainstorm was an hour�s worth of lost time.
�Calm down, Lou-san� A middle aged man spoke with an accent. He was dressed in a casual kimono similar to Lou�s, though he was able to wear it without looking like a slob. �We find lots of stuff before rain come. You come, we find many many things. Is okay if we no dig today.�
�The problem is we could find even more stuff, Kimihiro-san.� Lou said irritably. �Just thinking about all the wonderful artifacts still waiting to be unearthed-�
�They wait hundred years before, they can wait little longer.� Kimihiro reassured Lou. �Now, want sake?� He raised a small earthenware bottle towards Lou.
�No thank you.� Lou declined politely. �If I start drinking now, I�ll probably punch you in the mouth after a few bottles.� Lou sighed and looked around. �Where�s Lily?�
�She said she be back later.� Kimihiro said somewhat evasively. Since his English wasn�t very good, Lou was able to read him like an open book.�
�Where did she go?� Lou said with a deep frown.
�Ah, well, she, she, she went on walk.� Kimihiro said nervously.
�A walk? Where, around the buildings?�
�Through where?� Lou exclaimed, jumping to his feet. �In this weather? What is she thinking? What were you thinking when you let her go?� Lou stepped towards Kimihiro with a very intimidating look on his face.
�W-well, she very smooth talker.� Kimihiro stuttered as he cringed back. �She-�
Both men turned their heads towards the voice. The speaker was a young woman of her early twenties. Her pretty face had soft and kind features, and her soft brown hair was tied in a loose braid and pulled out to the front of her dress, just over the right shoulder. Her dress was a plain one piece sleeveless gown, despite the rain. In one hand she held an umbrella to keep the rain off of her.
�Lily!� Lou cried out, his irritation instantly vanished. For some reason, he could never really be angry around her.
�Hello Lou.� She smiled. �Sorry for not telling you about my walk, but today it is just too nice to stay indoors.�
As usual, Lou ignore his wife�s strange views of what she considered �cute� �nice� and �fun�. Whenever she was around, she could say that jumping into a mud hole was exhilarating and he would believe her with a goofy expression on his face. �If you really wanted to go on a walk, I would have gone with you.�
�Oh that�s alright.� Lily waved her hand negligently. �He would have been too afraid to come out if you were around anyways.�
�He?� Lou asked blankly.
�Come out dear.� Lily said gently, her free hand reached back. Slowly, a small boy stepped out from behind her dress, his hand reaching up to hold Lily�s hand. The boy was very young, about three or four years old. Despite being a child, however, he had white hair that grew wildly from his head down to his waist and covered most of his face, though it was so dirty it could almost be passed for grey. His clothes, like his hair, was extremely dirty and worn out with several holes in it.
�A kid?� Lou blinked. �What is a child doing out in the woods during this time of day?�
�You can say same thing for wife.� Kimihiro added slyly.
�He was sitting in some bushes, crying his eyes out, the poor thing.� Lilly said, looking down at the boy. The boy shied back a bit nervously, but he didn�t let go of her hand. �When I got closer, he was so scared, but after awhile he got used to me. As far as I can tell, he doesn�t have any parents or a place to live.�
�So you brought him back with you?� Lou took a step towards the boy, but the boy instantly hid behind Lily once more.
�I wasn�t about to just leave him there.� Lily explained. �The least we can do is to give him something to eat some nice clean clothes and then find somewhere he could live, or maybe a nice couple who are willing to adopt him.�
�That�s the least?� Lou laughed. �Well, let�s get you both out of the rain and get the boy cleaned up.�
They moved from the patio into the house. It was a fairly large building, built with ancient tradition in mind so it was designed something from the age of the samurai. However, that idea was only restricted to the outside. Inside, there were modern equipment and furniture. Since the boy only allowed Lily to come anywhere near him, the two of them went into the bathroom while Lou and Kimihiro adjourned to the living room.
�Poor kid.� Lou said as he sat down onto the couch.
�His parents might have thrown him out since he has white hair.� Kimihiro guessed. He was sitting in a very comfortable-looking lounge chair, lighting up a cigarette. �There some people very superstitious like that. Not happen lot, but does happen.�
�But don�t you think it�s a little extreme, just because he�s an albino?� Lou frowned. �I mean, there have been many cases where albinos are born, and this isn�t the medieval times you know.�
�Yes, is strange.� Kimihiro agreed. �Perhaps-�
�We�re done.� Lily said as she walked into the living room. Hiding behind her was the boy, wearing a new shirt and some pants that were a bit big for him.
�At least he�s wearing clean clothes.� Lou observed.
�He was such a good boy.� Lily praised him. �And he had a surprise for us too.�
�Gently, Lily brought the boy forward. They boy, still a little shy, had his head hung down and moved very slowly. His skin was pale but fair, and his white hair had been washed and brushed so they gleamed in the light. And poking out of it were two small, stubby horns.
�Lily, what�?� Lou gasped, staring at the horns.
The boy jerked his head up and stepped back quickly. For a brief moment, the hair that was covering his face moved out of the way, revealing eyes that glowed an eerie red color.
� Oni�� Kimihiro said in a stunned whisper.
* * *
�But Lily, what if he�s dangerous?� Lou asked worriedly. Lou, Lily and the boy were in the room that had been set aside for their use during their stay in Japan. The two futons that they slept in were pushed aside to make room for a third one, which was to be used by their new guest. After Lily showed them the boy�s little �surprise� there had been much discussion what to do. Kimihiro had first panicked slightly, but after some time he managed to calm down. Although Lou didn�t go into the same state of panic, he was still very nervous around the boy, especially since he spent all his time with Lily.
Lily covered the boy and tucked him in. �Now, would you like me to read you a story?� Silently, the boy nodded. �Alright then, I have the perfect book for you right here.�
�Lily, you haven�t answered my question.� Lou said impatiently.
�Of course he isn�t dangerous Lou.� Lily said calmly, walking over to the bookshelf and pulling out a thin book. �He is just a child.�
�Lily, he�s an Oni, a demon. Being a child could just be subterfuge.� Lou�s eyes drifted over to the child lying in the futon. The child gasped and pulled the cover over his face, his little body shaking underneath the cover.
�Don�t say things like that.� Lily said gently. �You�ll hurt his feelings.� Softly, she sat down and pulled back the covers, revealing the child�s face. �Now dear, there�s no need to be afraid of Lou. He won�t hurt you.�
The child�s red eyes shifted towards Lou, and although he appeared to be a little calmer, he still appeared to be slightly nervous around other people.
�That�s right, he�s a good man.� Lily assured him. �Now, the story I�m about to read to you is a very old Japanese tale, so maybe you�ve heard of it. It�s called �Red Ogre, Blue Ogre.�� Then she began reading the story to the little boy. The more she read to him, the more interested the boy became. Lou could see the wonder in the boy�s face as his wife read each page of the enchanting, yet tragic tale. After the last page was turned, the boy gave a sigh on content and drowsily went to sleep. Smiling, Lily stroked the boy�s white locks and quietly tucked him in for the night.
�Just look at him, Lou.� Lily said in a low voice. �How can anything so precious be dangerous?� She looked at the boy with a quiet longing that made Lou�s heart ache.
Lou�s thoughts were being torn between two feelings. Frustrated, he ran his hand through his hair fiercely. �Fine. But I�m keeping my eye on him. If he does just one thing dangerous, he�s out and we�re going straight home.�
�I knew you�d see things my way.� Lily said in a broad grin.
* * *
He knew it was wrong. He knew he shouldn�t. He knew that he mustn�t. However, no matter how hard he tried, Lou couldn�t not like the boy.
Over the week, the boy had grown more and more accustomed to everyone�s presence. Soon, he was doing the actions of a normal curious child. He watched birds, explored the house and garden, observed several objects and played on the furniture. He enjoyed playing peek-a-boo from behind someone, playing obscure little games or laying on his back to watch the clouds in the sky float through the clear blue sky. There were two things that were common in everything he did however. One was the fact that he always held on to the storybook that Lily had read to him the first night. The second was the fact that he never left Lily�s sight.
�I hate to admit it, but I�m growing fond of him.� Lou said finally one hot afternoon. The rain had long since gone and the summer heat once again bore down on them. Lou, Lily, Kimihiro and the boy sat down on the porch to enjoy the summer breeze. The adults were quietly sipping tea and eating sweets while the boy sat on the edge of the porch, watching the wind chimes as they rang.
�Hai.� Kimihiro agreed. �Despite old tales, oni is very good, like obedient son.�
Lily raised her head. �You shouldn�t call him that,� She said sternly.
Kimihiro looked startled. �But he is oni. What else call him?�
�I don�t even think of him as a monster.� She said flatly. �I think of him as a little boy.�
�Speaking of which,� Lou cut in quickly. He knew that whenever his wife took that tone of voice, things would start to get serious. �How about we give him a name? I doubt we can just keep on calling him �you� or �boy� all the time, right?�
�That�s an excellent idea!� Lily clapped her hands together.
Kimihiro rubbed his chin. �Alright. You good idea of name?�
All three of them fell silent. Neither one had even thought of a name to call the boy before, so the sudden decision to name him caught them unprepared.
As if called by the discussion about him, the boy sat up and walked over to Lily. He held out his book to her with both hands with a serious look in his face. Lily accepted the book and looked at the cover. Suddenly she smiled.
�Is this name here the one you want?� She asked, looking up at the boy and tapping the author�s name.
The boy nodded earnestly.
�Okay then.� She touched the boys chin and smiled. �From now on, your name will be Kousuke.�
* * *
�Mommy, what�s a-dop-shun mean?�
�It means you�ll be our son.� Lily explained without looking up from her dinner plate.
Kou frowned. �But Mommy, I thought I was your son already.�
�Yes, but now other people will know that you�re our son.�
Lou suppressed the urge to chuckle. The image of all three of them sitting around their dinner table in their little house seemed to have completed all of their lives. When the time to leave Japan had arrived, they had decided to take little Kou back with them. He had become a large part of their lives, filling a hole they hadn�t known about before. Of course, they did their best to hide Kou�s secret from the public. By wearing a hat and contact lens, they were able to hide his most demonic features. Their attempt to color Kou�s white hair turned out to be a failure, however. No matter what kind of dye they used, the color just wouldn�t stick. Other then that, Kou was as normal as a normal boy could get.
That is, if normal boys could lift the entire couch with one hand�with Lou sleeping on it. After that startling demonstration, Lou had his son lift several objects and guessed his son�s strength to be about the same or even more then an average adult man. Now that Lou thought about it, Kou seemed to be noticeably taller then he had been when they first found him. Not only that, but he was very lean and slightly muscular for his age. Kou�s abdominals were visible, though not very defined, and there were definitely little bumps where muscles are supposed to be.
Yet despite all of that, they both loved Kou like a son, which was why they went to the adoption agency and made it official..
�Mommy, what�s school?�
* * *
The car screeched to the stop into the parking lot. Lou jumped out, slammed the door shut, and ran towards the school without locking his car. Behind him, Lily followed with the same worried expression on his face.
�What happened?� Lou said as he burst into the office. Before he could observe his surroundings, a familiar blur rushed towards him.
Lou was suddenly knocked off his feet as Kou crashed into him, sobbing. Lou looked at his son in surprise as Kou clung to his shirt and buried his face into it. Reaching down Lou embraced his son close, doing his best to comfort Kou.
�What happened?� Lily asked as she entered the office. �The details were a little vague over the phone.�
�The kids started to make fun of your son.� The principal, a middle aged woman wearing a teal suit, started to explain. �From what I gathered it was about his�unique hair color. Several of the more rowdier children started to pick on him and push him around. We told the children to stop it, but you know how children are�� She left it hanging.
Lily sighed. �Yes, I more or less expected that, but I had hoped that it wouldn�t be the case.�
The principal nodded in agreement. �That�s true, but normal name calling and teasing can be dealt with. What concerns me the most is what happened during lunch recess.�
Kou gave a sob and griped Lou�s shirt tighter. Automatically Lou�s hand went up and rubbed Kou�s head to try to calm him down.
�Several of the children started to tease him about his hat and hair, then one boy reached out to take Kou�s hat off.�
Lou felt his heart virtually stop.
�From what I can tell, Kou suddenly lashed out at the boy with his arm, and according to the children he knocked back quite a bit. None of the teachers were looking at the time, so the children may have exaggerated, but we do know that the boy broke an arm.�
Lou almost breathed a sigh of relief. Kou�s secret was still safe. However, the situation was still very serious.
�I d-didn�t mean to h-hurt him, Daddy.� Kou sobbed. �I didn�t wa-want him to t-take my h-hat. You told me t-to never t-take my hat off, and I tried t-to t-tell them, but�but�� Kou lifted his face from his Dad�s chest and looked up in desperation. All of his crying had made one of his contacts to become askew, revealing some of the red pupil. Lou reached down, seeming to brush the tears out of his son�s eyes, but in reality he just fixed the contact so the principal wouldn�t notice.
�Luckily, the boy�s parents are not pressing charges.� The principal continued to tell them. �They know how much of a bully their son is, so they�ve seeing this accident as a way of teaching him a test.�
�I see.� Lily said. �That�s good, I suppose. And about Kou-�
�We won�t expel him.� The principal smiled. �Accidents happen, and he really is a nice boy.�
�Thank you for your kindness,� Lily smiled softly, �But I�m afraid that we�ll have to withdraw Kousuke from school.�
Everyone except Kou stared at her.
�But Lily, how will he learn?� Lou finally said.
�We�ll teach him.� Lily said simply.
* * *
�-Merci vraiment monsieur.�
�Nicely done.� Lou said, closing the Advance French textbook. Once again, Kou�s ability to learn virtually anything in a short amount of time amazed Lou. Within the span of three days, his son had become a fluent French speaker. Already his son had mastered German, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish. His learning didn�t limit to just languages though. At the age of five, little Kou was already getting the hang of Calculus, an expert in both US and World History, a natural at Biology, Chemistry and adequate at Physiology.
�Well, I think that�s enough of French.� Lou said, pushing the textbook away. �You�re already speaking at a native level, so there�s no more room for improvement.�
�Thanks Dad.� Kou said, running his hand through his hair. As he did, the sleeve of his t-shirt suddenly ripped at the seams, revealing a fist sized bicep from under the newly torn fabric. Quickly Kou�s hand shot down and his face turned red as he gave a small groan.
�Again?� Lou asked in surprise. �But we just got you that shirt about three weeks ago, and back then it fitted you perfectly.�
�I�m sorry Dad.� Kou said softly, his face eyes staring hard at the floor.
Lou patted Kou on the back. �Don�t be son, no one can really control how they grow or develop. It�s best to just let nature take its course.�
�I wonder if that applies to me too.� Kou muttered under his breath.
Lou sighed. Kou�s mental development wasn�t the only thing that was growing rapidly. As if to keep up with his mind, Kou�s body grew just as fast. Already the boy was 4�9� and weighed approximately 125 lbs. However, those pounds weren�t of useless fat. They were all pure ripped muscle. At the age of 6, Kou had the body that put Richard Sandrak�s to shame. His arms stretched the sleeves of all of his shirts and his chest pulled the fabric tightly as well. His abs was deep and cut, his legs well built and his neck was thick and powerful. If there were any trace of fat at all on this body, it might as well be hiding under the boy�s fingernails. If it weren�t for the two horns and the red eyes, Kou could have easily been mistaken for a professional bodybuilder.
�Maybe if we buy some adult sizes, you won�t rip out of them as quickly.� Lou said to mostly to himself.
Kou blushed even deeper.
* * *
�Kou, I think that�s enough salt.� Lily suggested as she watched Kou shake salt onto his eggs.
�But it gives it flavor.� Kou explained as he continued to pour salt onto his eggs.
�I think you have enough salt on that egg for an entire ocean.� Lou chuckled.
Kou ignored him as he set down the salt shaker. He took a bite of his egg and chewed thoughtfully, then reached for the salt shaker again.
�I think that�s enough of that.� Lily said as she grabbed the salt shaker and pulled it out of Kou�s reach. �Too much salt in your diet is bad for you.�
�Kou, just what�s going on with your taste buds?� Lou frowned.
Kou shrugged. �Lately Mom�s cooking seems a bit bland, so I try to spice it up a bit.�
�Is that so��
* * *
�Bon Appetite!� Lily smiled as she set down a pan of casserole.
�Looks good Mom.� Kou said as he spooned some of the casserole onto his plate.
�It sure does.� Lou agreed as he also took some casserole for himself.
Kou�s hand went for the salt shaker, but Lily stopped him. �Try it first.� She suggested.
Kou opened his mouth to protest, but then decided that it would be pointless. He grabbed his fork and took a bite out of the casserole. �Mmm�it�s good.� He said, taking another bite.
�Really�� Lou, not wanting his food to become cold, took a bite of the casserole himself. �HOLY-� His hand shot for his glass of water and began gulping it down in one go. As soon as he hit the bottom, he slammed the glass down and grabbed Lily�s glass and proceeded to drink it at the same frenzied rate.
�What�s wrong with Dad?� Kou asked curiously while still eating the casserole. Lily just sat there however.
�God Lily, what did you PUT in there?� Lou said as he set the glass down. His face was red and his eyes were watering as they looked at his wife for answers.
�Let�see�� Lily said thoughtfully, placing her finger on her chin as she tried to remember. �Black pepper, jalape�o peppers, mustard, curry, Cheyenne, wasabi, red and green peppers and, um��
�Lily, why did you stuff all those spices in there?� Lou waved wildly at the casserole.
�Kou said my cooking was starting to become bland.� She said simply, giving her son a cool eye. �So I thought I should kick it up a notch.�
Lou turned to his son. �And you�re okay with this?�
Kou nodded and took another bite. �It tastes just fine for me.�
* * *
Lou yawned as he made his way to the bathroom. Due to the amount of water he drank from that night�s fiery dish, he suddenly woke up at 1:35 in the morning by the un-ignorable call of nature. As he shuffled down the hall, he noticed light coming from under Kou�s door. Curious, he walked over and quietly opened it enough for him to peek in. Inside, Kou sat on his bed with his lamp on. In his hand was a rather thick book, and he was reading it with an appetite that was plainly visible on his face.
�Kou?� Lou called out.
Kou dropped his book, startled. �Dad!� He said. �What are you doing up this late?�
�I could ask you the very same question son.� Lou crossed his arms. �How long have you been staying up?�
�S-since eleven o� clock.� Kou said, looking away from his father. �I wanted to make sure you and mom were asleep before-�
�That�s not what I meant.� Lou sighed. �I meant how long ago have you started making the habit of reading up late?�
�S-since I was five.� Kou admitted rather reluctantly.
�And how long do you usually stay up to?�
�Until Mom wakes up in the morning.�
Lou blinked. �And have you been doing this every night since you were five?�
�Y-yes.� Kou said a bit evasively.
�Kou, don�t you feel tired?� Lou examined his son. �I mean, geez son, when do you sleep?�
�That�s the thing Dad,� Kou said lowly. �I haven�t slept at all since I was five.�
* * *
It didn�t fit anymore. Kou reached down with one hand and grabbed his 7 inch member and frowned at it worriedly. His gaze then shifted over to his other hand, which held a pair of some rather small underwear. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn�t fit his privates in them anymore. Slowly, Kou felt the blood rush to his face as he suddenly let go of both the jockstrap and his penis. Despite his isolation, he knew everything about the sexual organs and was slightly embarrassed with himself. He also knew that he was bigger then most adults and the fact that he was only six made him feel awkward. He had been trying to restrict some of the growth by wearing underwear that was as tight as possible, but now he was simply too big for these childish sizes. He had already ripped through two of them before he finally gave up and decided to approach his mother.
Sighing deeply, Kou pulled up his shorts and exited the bathroom. It didn�t take him too long to find his Mom sitting in her usual chair reading another one of her trashy romance novels. �Mom, I need some new clothes.� Kou said softly, his head hung down in embarrassment as he approached his mother.
Lily looked up from her book. �What�s wrong with the ones I just got you?� She asked, observing the clothes Kou was wearing. Currently, her 5�8� and 153 lbs. five year old son was wearing an adult size large white shirt that was still hung slightly off of her son�s broad shoulders. Likewise, her son�s shorts also fit just fine around those growing tree trunks called his thighs. �Unless you were planning to grow out of them soon, that is.�
�They fit fine. It�s just that, I, uh,� Kou said quickly, his face growing redder by the minute. �Well, you see I need a bigger ah-un-un-un-�
�Un-un-un?� Lily tilted her head to one side with one eyebrow raised.
Kou�s mouth clamped tight. His face was now a cherry red as his hands waved a bit vaguely to try to explain what he needed. With a final effort, he looked down and waved his hand in front of his crotch.
�Oh!� Lily clapped her hands together. �Underwear! Well why didn�t you just say so?�
Kou decided not to answer that question.
* * *
�I�m home.� Lou said wearily as he walked through the door. Sitting in front of the living room coffee table was Kou, who was busy leaning his head into the bouquet of lilies that were sitting in a vase on the center of the table. �Kou, what are you doing?� Lou asked, curious at his son�s behavior.
�Can you smell these?� Kou asked, turning his head towards his father.
Leaning down, Lou inhaled the lilies soft fragrance. �They smell nice.� Lou commented.
A worried expression flashed across Kou�s face.
�Kou, what�s wrong?� Lou said immediately. He knelt down on one knee and grabbed his son�s shoulders in order to look him straight in the eye.
�Nothing Dad.� Kou muttered curtly as he easily broke away from his Dad�s grip and marched into his room.
* * *
Kou rubbed his palm, staring intently at the creases. They were large, bigger then his Dad�s own hands. Whenever he held his Mom�s or Dad�s hands, his great paw completely envelops theirs. If he tried, he could probably crush rocks into powder if he wanted to.
Momentarily, his eyes flickered to an object lying on the floor before he jerked his gave back away from it. Lying on the ground besides his foot was a doorknob, and not just the handle. Its metal was slightly bent and there was even some wood still attached to it.
�It�s getting harder to control.� Kou said to himself as he flexed his hand. After some time had passed, he raised his hand to his bicep and squeezed slightly. His fingers couldn�t even dent the muscle. Slowly, he applied more strength, squeezing harder and harder until he finally let go. �It�s getting fainter every day.�
He turned his head and looked into the full length mirror on the wall. At the age of seven, he had broken the six foot mark and was now six foot nine, more then an entire foot from last year�s height. To accommodate his height his body grew outwards as well. His weight had increased to over 220 pounds. His broad shoulders were comprised of lumps of muscles as big as cannon balls. His arms were laden with softball sized biceps and his forearms were impossibly thick. His chest jutted outwards like two skin colored melons over his deep cut eight pack. His legs, clad in a pair of boxers that were tight around his bulge, were just the right size to support the massive torso: huge. His white hair streamed down his back and his red eyes were as bright as ever. His horns, which were once small stubs, were now plainly visible, arching backwards. Slowly, his teeth had been sharpening over the years until they started to resemble fangs. Even his nails were growing pointed, and try as he could, he couldn�t cut them.
The sight of himself usually filled him with both embarrassment and even disgust. Yet, as he gazed at himself in the mirror, he suddenly felt powerful and strong. If he wanted to, he could quite easily kill a person. He could crush them in his death like grip and slowly tear off they�re limbs, one by one-
�NO!� Kou shouted, tearing his eyes from the mirror. �That�s not me�� He said, frustrated. �That�s not who I am. I�m�I�m not a monster��
�Of course you aren�t dear.�
Kou fell off his bed. Without even a sound, his mother had opened his bedroom door and stood there, calmly watching him.
�M-mom!� Kou grabbed his blanket and quickly covered his waist. �H-how long have you been there?�
�Long enough.� Lily answered coolly. �And you�re right. You�re no monster.�
�When I look like this?� Kou stood up at full height. The top of his horns nearly touched the ceiling, and he by far dwarfed his mother. �Can you honestly say I�m no monster when I look like this?�
�But you look so cute!� Lily smiled, reaching up and touched Kou on the cheek.
Kou gawked at her.
�Does it really matter what we look like, Kou?� Lily asked, looking into those deep red eyes. �Mankind has spent thousands of years oppressing those who are different then they are, including other human beings just because of skin color or race. In the end, it�s what�s inside that matters, not what you look like on the outside. The things you do determine who you are, and not your looks. And besides,� She smiled, �All mothers wishes for their children to grow up strong and healthy. I know I haven�t said this very often, but you make me very proud.�
Kou held himself for three whole seconds before he broke down, collapsing into his mother�s waiting arms. He hugged her close to his body, being gently not to harm her, yet at the same time savoring her touch against his skin and enchanting perfume.
�Oh, I almost forgot.� Lily touched her chin, which she did whenever she was thinking about something. �Our old friend in Japan, Kimihiro, sent your father some textbooks about magic about two years ago, and that your father has just found something that might possibly make you look like a normal person.�
Kou jerked away and stared at her. �Mom! How come you didn�t tell me!�
�Because I just did. Now, go wash up and help me set up dinner. Tonight we have your favorite dish, �Extreme Spicy Casserole.��
* * *
�Just a little longer Kou!�
Kou screamed out in pain. Never before had he felt such pain in his life. As the pen brushed against his skin, it felt as if fire seared his flesh. Every fiber of his body cried out in pain as the spell took its course in affecting his entire body.
�Done!� Lou shouted, and then withdrew his pen.
Abruptly the pain stopped. Kou collapsed onto the ground and passed out. His body had shrunken down to about the size of a very muscular ten year old, but it was still a huge difference from what he had been before. Kou was now around five feet tall, and appeared to weigh only about 120 lbs. His hair had turned jet black save for a s single streak of white, and his horns fangs and claws had disappeared back into his body.
�It�s not enough.� Lou observed. �Kou�s just too big and strong to contain completely. For now this is the best it can do, but even this body will get bigger when Kou hits puberty.�
�Did you know about this?� Lily said coldly as she stepped up behind Lou. Her eyes darted towards Kou, lying in a pool of his own sweat. �Did you know about the pain involved?� Somehow, she had become dreadfully terrifying as she stood behind Lou.
�Well, ah�� He answered nervously, �I knew there would be some pain, but I didn�t think it would be this much, so-�
Lily struck the top of Lou�s head. �Don�t you ever do that again! You almost scared me to death, Lou!. And I seriously thought you were killing him!�
Lou looked up into his wife�s face and was surprised to see tears in her eyes. �Lily, I-�
Without warning Lily threw herself into Lou�s arms, weeping uncontrollably. �Why must this be so hard on Kousuke?� She sobbed. �He�s done nothing to the world, yet why must he suffer like this? I just wish I could do something to relieve his pain.�
�But you are, dear.� Lou said gently as he rubbed Lily�s back. �You�re being the mother he needs, and we all know that you�re the thing that keeps us going.�
�But I won�t be here forever, Lou.� Lily clutched her husband tightly. �What if something were to happen to me? What would you do then?�
�Nothing will happen to you.� Lou said, lifting her face. �I promise.�
* * *
�RWAAA!� Kou howled as pummeled the wall with all his might. Even in his sealed state, he easily made large holes in the plaster and broke the wood frame inside of it. His fists were in pain, yet he ignored it. No amount of physical pain could match what he felt right now.
Because, on that day, they had buried Lily Sterling, age 32, into her final resting place.
Kou�s mom had been driving on her way to the market when a truck suddenly swerved and crashed into another car at the intersection, causing a huge accident. According to eye witnesses, Lily stopped her car and ran to one of the cars in the pileup. She quickly opened the back door and dragged out a child from the back seat. As she was walking away, carrying the child, the car suddenly exploded, catching Lily in the back. Because she was carrying the child against her chest, the young boy was safe. However, she had paid her own life to save another.
Just thinking about what had happened sent Kou into a new level of rage.
�Kou, stop that!� Lou barged in. He was wearing a black suit, and his eyes had a tired, haunted look to them.
�HRAAAH!� Kou cried as he ignored his father and continued his attack on the innocent wall.
�Kou, stop!� Lou grabbed his son�s arm just as it arched back for another strike. In an instant, Kou turned around and grabbed Lou by the front of his suit and raised him up face to face. Lou felt a cold pit in his stomach to see his son�s eyes were no longer black but a bright, red full of rage. �Kou, put me down.� He said in a low, quiet voice.
Kou snarled, the red eyes revealing blood thirst. Slowly, Kou�s grip on Lou tightened.
�Kou, put me down please.� Lou said gently. His left hand drifted down to his pocket.
Kou�s breathing grew faster and faster, each breath accompanied with a low growl. Kou�s arms began to shake as he glared at Lou with growing anger until finally he threw back his head and howled an animal-like cry.
Lou�s hand shot into his pocket and grabbed a round metal object he always carried around. As he withdrew it, he slammed the disk into Kou�s chest. Kou flew backwards as if he had been struck by a tow truck and slammed into the far wall, while Lou dropped down relatively unharmed onto the floor. Cautiously, Lou stood up and walked over to Kou, the metal disk held ready in his hand.
Kou looked up, confusion and pain in his black eyes. �D-day�what�did I?�
Lou relaxed. It appeared that whatever had happened to his son, it was now over. �It�s okay Kou. I know you�re angry, but we�ve got to stay calm.�
�Calm? Calm?� Kou sobbed. �Mom just died, Dad! She�s gone! And just a moment ago I was about to rip you apart! How can you be calm at a time like this?� Kou slammed his fist into the floor, causing the ground to tremble slightly.
�Because if you punch the ground any harder, you�d probably create a new fault line.� Lou crossed his arms. �You mother never would have wanted you to act like this, so cheer up and start packing.�
�P-packing?� Kou looked up in surprise.
�Your mother and I�we had a house built for you.�
�We knew you would eventually outgrow this house, so we�ve commissioned for a specialized home that can handle everything you can throw at it, including...� Lou let it drift, then shook his head. �Anyways, we were planning to wait until you were older, but I think now is as good as a time as any. This house�it holds too many painful memories, y�know?�
Kou looked away and closed his eyes. Even in her grave, his mom still looked after him. He realized that his mother would have disapproved of him if she saw him, so he wiped his tears and stood up. However, something still bothered him greatly.
�Dad,� Kou started.
�Yes son?� Lou asked.
�If�if I ever turn�into a full demon,� Kou clenched his fists, �If I turn into a full demon, and I�m no longer myself, will you promise me that you�ll kill me?�
A long silence followed Kou�s question. Lou breathed in deeply. �I promise you Kou, and this time I�ll keep my promises no matter what.�
* * *
�You know you lied to me Dad.� Kou pointed out. While Lou had been telling his story, he had salvaged one of his shirts and pulled it on over his taunt torso. Even then it did little to disguise Kou�s massive physique. The same thing went for the pair of jeans Kou had donned on, though it was the sizable bulge that was more noticeable this time.
�But you weren�t a full demon Kou.� Lou pointed out smoothly.
�I was almost Dad.� Kou said ruefully. �A second later and who knows what would have happened.
Chris shuddered to think what would have happened if Lou hadn�t come in time. Just being near Kou right then and there still frightened him, though he still wanted to be there for him anyways. Sometimes friendship takes strange routes.
�Anyways,� Lou continued, �After a few years in this house, Kou practically begged me to go to high school. After awhile, I realized that was probably what my wife would have wanted, seeing how Kou never had any friends his own age. It was important to keep the secret, yes, but we were not about to raise a complete social outcast.�
�You came pretty close though.� Chris remarked.
�And what�s that suppose to mean, Chris?� Kou pouted, but Chris just laughed.
�Well, it�s getting late boys.� Lou said, getting up from his seat. Chris had been listening so intently to Lou�s tale that he had been oblivious to the hours that had passed by. It was now very late into the night, around eleven o� clock, and Chris realized he was really hungry. �I suggest you go along home Chris.� Lou chuckled, checking his watch. �It�s a school night, and I wouldn�t want you failing your classes from lack of sleep hanging over my head.�
�Sure thing sir.� Chris said and began making his way towards the door. As he neared it, something on the floor caught his eye. Pausing, he bent down and pulled out a thin, worn out book from under the debris. It was about the size of a folder and not very thick. On the front of the book there was a cartoon of two men, one of them red, the other blue, and both of them had horns and wore tiger skins. The title was written in Japanese, but there were English subtitles under it. At the bottom, Chris could easily read the author�s name, Kousuke Yamagachi.
�Kou, is this�?� Chris raised the thin book for his friend to see.
Kou�s eyes went wide. �My book! It�s alright!�
Chris took another look at the book. It was very old and worn out, but it seemed okay. Chris opened the book and leafed through the pages. Like the cover, they were worn out, with small tears and dog ears, but still intact. �Kou, do you mind if I borrow this?� Chris asked without looking up from the book.
Kou thought hard, trying to decide what to do. Finally, he smiled. �Go right ahead Chris. Just remember to bring it back to me in one piece, alright?�
�It�s a promise.� Chris smiled back, and then he left the room carrying �Red Ogre, Blue Ogre� safely in his hands.
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