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|�I�ll kill him.� It was very late outside when the three of them returned to that ill-lit room. Matthews face was twisted in extreme irritation as she stomped around the table while Hunter and Lucas sat in their chairs. Her clothes were dirty and there was a dark smear on her cheek, which didn�t improve her appearance the slightest. �I�ll kill him!�
�Calm down, Matthews.� Lucas said from his seat at the table. His wife beater was slightly torn up in several places, revealing quite a bit of skin. �Or at least stop moving around so much. You�re starting to make me dizzy.�
�We ditched school, snuck through bushes, climbed some stupid trees, crawled through a damn ventilation system and went all over that stinking hellhole to bust him out, and look at the thanks we got! I hate him!� Matthews screamed at the top of her lungs.
�At least he called us a little while back.� Hunter leaned back in his chair. Unlike the other two, he wasn�t even the slightest bit ruffled or dirty, and the fact that hunter managed to stay unscathed infuriated Matthews.
�And what did he say?� Lucas asked curiously.
�Better be �sorry for being an asshole.�� Matthews muttered under her breath.
�He and I came up with a plan to deal with Kou.� Hunter said, ignoring Matthews�s remark. �He suggested that we try to get him into our place so we won�t bring innocent bystanders into the fray. Once we�ve cornered him, you two will take up the front while I give support from the rear. Once we�ve weaken him enough, he�ll jump in and finish him off.�
�The problem is how we�re going to lure him into the trap.� Lucas said thoughtfully.
�Already got that covered.� Hunter answered. �Now we better get some rest. Tomorrow is going to be a little rough.�
�It�ll get rough alright.� Matthews muttered once again. �Once I get my hands on that slimy weasel, it�ll get rougher then a piece of sandpaper.�
�Kill him after we finish first, Paige.� Hunter sighed.
�We DO kinda need him y�know.� Lucas grinned.
* * *
At the same time that Hunter, Lucas and Matthews were having their meeting, Kou was lying casually on his bed. His bed-side table lamp was lit, illuminating the pages of his book. Carefully, he turned the page of the book with painstaking slowness. Since the day that he had consumed Chris�s blood and revert to demon form, Kou had found that his control had taken quite a drop. To his despair, he had ripped several books into shreds the previous night until he was finally able to turn a page without damaging it. Similarly, he had practiced with the door the previous night as well, since he had nearly ripped it out of the entire frame. For a normal door it was understandable, since he was unable to open one anyways. However, for a door in this house, which was specially made, it was quite a problem. His father, concerned in his son�s increased strength, buried himself deeper into his research in hopes of finding a solution.
Yet despite what had happened the previous night, the day had been one of the best days of Kou�s life. He had made a new friend! Kou suppressed the urge to jump up and cry with delight. He had friends! Sure, he already had Chris, but now he was starting to form a little group of them like a normal kid his age. To a normal teenager, having several friends was normal. This, however, was exactly what Kou wanted the most: normality. Slowly his image as �the school giant� was fading into the image of a perfectly normal student. Well, about as normal as an eight foot several ton pound teenager boy could be.
Kou�s happy thoughts were interrupted when his left shirt sleeve suddenly burst open, revealing his massive cannonball biceps. Kou looked at his arm sharply. He had been completely still and his arm had been in a completely relaxed position. It shouldn�t have ripped like that! Kou didn�t have time to think it over more thoroughly because his other sleeve tore open as well. With a cold pit in his stomach, Kou leapt up and ran to the full length mirror. He looked long and hard, trying to find some visible sign that he was growing, yet there were none whatsoever. To make sure, however, he leaned up against a wall and marked his height, just to be sure. He was a full three and a half inches taller then before he joined school.
Kou fretted about the problem all night. He measured himself over and over, yet there was no change. Yet on his fifth re-measure, his shirt finally gave away and ripped down the middle, exposing his massive chest and impossibly ripped ten-pack. Fearing that his jeans would follow the same fate, Kou stripped down completely, including his jockstrap. Fearing that his father would enter and find him nude, Kou quickly walked over to his walk-in closet and selected some clothes that were tailored to be bigger then the last pair.
The problem was that he wasn�t supposed to be wearing those clothes for at least another month and a half. Kou�s Dad had meticulously charted and accurately predicted Kou�s growth. The clothes he was wearing now was loose, but not as much as they should have been.
Kou looked at himself in the mirror once again, twisting and turning every now and again to see how his clothes fit on him. Everything seemed to be well, and now his clothes weren�t as tight as they had been when he had started going to school. This way he could probably attract fewer stares from everyone he passes by.
His worries about his growth dampened that thought though. His mind raced with possible explanations, but the only thing he could think of was Chris. Or to be more precise, his blood.
The thought of Chris�s blood sent Kou�s mouth watering as the faint taste of that unbelievably sweet substance stimulated his palate. Kou closed his eyes, his mind concentrating on remembering that divine taste. He envisioned Chris beneath him, with blood flowing freely from open wounds all over his tiny little body. Kou could see himself slowly get into reach of that wonder liquid, his tongue reaching out and the very tip touching the warm rich blood. His breathing began to become short and shallow as his loins suddenly came into life. Oh, how delicious it would be! Kou could easily tear Chris open like a rag doll and drink while the blood gushed all over him.
�OH GOD WHAT AM I THINKING?� Kou cried out as he started beating his head, trying to dislodge the image from his mind. Yet it stuck firm. The cravings were still there, and so was the thought.
Kou, distressed beyond belief, sank down onto the floor and buried his face in his hands, his body trembling.
* * *
Chris woke up, his heart racing. Another night, another nightmare. No matter what he did, it seemed he was doomed to have horrible dreams every night. Though, if you thought about it, his endless nightmares were justified. After all, not everyone had the delight of meeting a demon up close and personal, and that face wasn�t exactly the kind you could shrug off. However, this particular nightmare had been much more frightening, even though Chris couldn�t tell the difference.
After Chris had drunk a glass of water, he slowly let himself drift off into sleep again. Maybe it won�t look so bad in the morning Chris told himself just before he fell sound asleep.
* * *
�-ris.� Someone whispered into his ear. �Chris!�
Chris groaned. Here he was, trying to have a good night�s sleep and someone was talking into his ear. To make it worse, he felt as if his pillow had been replaced by something cold and hard.
�Mr. Stanton, wake up!� Someone roared, snapping Chris out of his nap. Chris shot up in his seat, now wide awake in his desk in the middle of class. Standing over him was Mr. Benson, looking like he was on the verge of a towering rage.
�Mr. Stanton, will you please not sleep in my class?� He said in a strained voice, obviously restraining himself from yelling Chris�s ear off. �Or at least try not to snore so loudly.� Everyone in the classroom laughed at that remark.
Chris sunk down, the blood flowing to his face. �S-sorry sir.� Chris muttered while doing his best to disappear. He was failing miserably.
Mr. Benson snorted, and then walked back to the front of the classroom. Kou leaned over and whispered low enough for only Chris to hear. �I tried to wake you up, but you just wouldn�t listen.�
�Thanks.� Chris grumbled.
* * *
�I heard you fell asleep in class today Chrissy.� Mark grinned broadly.
�Shut it.� Chris replied rudely as he concentrated his thoughts on his spoonful of what he hoped to be mashed potatoes. He couldn�t get the dream out of his head, and just being near Kou sent shivers down his spine.
Kou winced as another wave of fear from Chris hit him square in the face, nearly overwhelming his senses. Periodically throughout the day, Kou was able to smell the fear off of Chris every time he spoke or made sudden movements. Every time Kou smelled the fear, he would remember how he had grown bigger rapidly so soon after drinking blood. And every time Kou thought of blood, his mouth would water and he would have a sudden urge to forcibly take it from Chris, or anyone who happened to be nearby. Whenever he had the urge, though, Kou would quickly snap himself out of it and tried his best to push the craving far from his mind.
Mark, sitting just across from them, noticed both of the guys� perpetual dark cloud hanging over their heads. �My, aren�t we a happy bunch today?� Mark joked, trying to lighten the mood.
Both Kou and Chris looked up, then looked away in different directions, embarrassed.
�That�s more like it.� Mark laughed. "You two look a lot like bros when you do that!"
�B-brothers?� Kou echoed. It had a very nice ring to it, and it was more or less true. Chris was sort of a brother to him. The sudden realization of this had surprised him. Chris was having different thoughts, however. True, he felt closeness to Kou, despite the monster lurking inside. Yet for some reason �brothers� didn�t seem right. Chris cared a great deal about the big lug, and though he feared him, he couldn�t bear to stay away. Chris felt that it was deeper then being family. It could possibly be-
The bell rang, signaling the end of lunch and interrupted Chris�s thoughts. The cafeteria was suddenly full of movement as students headed reluctantly towards their next class.
�Well, off to another session of torture.� Mark chuckled as he stood up. Chris and Kou followed Mark�s example, and all three walked out of the cafeteria. Mark waved cheerfully as he separated from the little group and went off to his class while Chris and Kou walked towards the gym for PE class.
While walking, Chris tried to remember what exactly he was thinking about before the bell cut off his thoughts, but he couldn�t really remember exactly what it was. Whatever it was, it couldn�t have been important, so he shrugged it off and entered the locker room to change.
�Alright class, today we�re using the weight room.� Coach Lumens announced to the students after they had changed and all gathered in the room where all the exercise machines were located.. �You�re to follow safety procedures and work out with a partner, but you don�t have to exercise if you don�t want to. Talking is fine, as long as it doesn�t get too loud, so enjoy!�
Needless to say, Kou immediately sat himself in the corner of the room. The one thing he liked about Coach Lumens class was the fact that they always gave him a choice of participating or not. Naturally, Chris sat next to Kou to keep him company.
�Hey Chris,� Kou said as they watched various students exercised.
�Are you afraid it might happen again?�
An uneasy silence followed that question. �Yes,� Chris said finally, �I�m very afraid, Kou. I�m scared to the bone, and every night I have nightmares. But��
�I know that it won�t happen, because you wouldn�t do anything to hurt me, right?�
Chris�s question had been so direct that Kou couldn�t think of how to respond.
Chris smiled and patted Kou on the arm. �I believe in you, even if you don�t.�
�Th�thanks.� Kou said, still somewhat stunned.
�Well then,� Chris stood up, �If you�ll excuse me, nature calls.� And then he went off towards the bathroom.
Kou couldn�t help but give a small laugh. Sometimes it felt like that Chris was just too good for him.
�You�ve got yourself a good friend, son.�
Kou jerked his head up. Standing before him was Coach Lumens, a faint smile on his bearded face.
�Y-yes sir.� Kou said nervously.
Lumens laughed and patted Kou�s shoulder several times. �Lighten up son, no need to be nervous around me.�
Lumens chuckled. �You don�t need to be so formal either.�
Lumens laughed again and ruffled Kou�s hair a bit. �I guess there�s no hope for it. It�s how you were raised, so it�ll have to do.�
�Oh nothing, I was just admiring some fantastic upbringing.� Lumens commented. Then his face grew stern. He leaned in closer to Kou, making him very nervous. �Listen Kousuke. Let me give you a bit of advice.� Coach Lumens had never shown such a stern face before, so he had Kou�s undivided attention. �You�re special. You�re different then other people and that isn�t necessarily bad. However, people will misjudge you, and maybe even hate you, but you have to stand strong, alright?�
�Y-yes sir.� Kou said for the third time.
�Now that that�s settled,� Lumens stood up straight again, �Stop being so gloomy and have fun! Life�s just full of great things, so you should learn to enjoy them.�
�A-alright.� Kou agreed, but Lumens had turned and left. At the same time, Chris returned from the bathroom.
�What was that about?� Chris asked.
�I�m not really sure� Kou answered.
* * *
�Now that�s something to look at.� Mark remarked.
�What is?� Chris asked.
�How a guy as big as Kou could read a book that�s barely bigger then his palm.� Mark grinned wolfishly.
Kou ignored Mark�s comment and carefully turned the page of the book he was reading.
�Does he always read that much?� Mark asked, pointing at the large stack of books Kou had set aside on the library table to read later.
Chris nodded. �Sometimes he reads even more.�
�Can you two keep it down?� Kou said without looking up from his book. �It�s hard to read with you two are gossiping about me right in front of my face.�
�Think of it this way,� Mark smirked, �It�s better for us to say things in your face instead of behind ya back.�
�He�s got a point, you know.� Chris agreed.
Looked up and threw his hands into the air. �Why is everyone picking on me today?�
� �Cause you�re such an easy target, big guy.� Mark was completely enjoying himself.
�Don�t you two have something better to do then crack jokes at me?� Kou asked sourly.
�Not really.� Chris shrugged, and then looked at time on his watch. �Then again, I do have something. I gotta go to the market and buy food.� Chris pushed his seat back and stood up.
�You have to do the shopping?� Kou seemed surprised. �Why don�t your parents do it?�
�I don�t have parents.�
Chris had said it so bluntly that Kou instantly felt guilty for asking.
�Oh�s-sorry, I didn�t mean to-�
�It�s alright,� Chris assured his friend, �But anyways, I live with my uncle and he always forgets to do the shopping,� he lied. �So I usually have to do it or else we�d starve.� Chris gave a small laugh and swung his backpack over his shoulder. �Well, later then.�
Kou caught the whiff of a lie from Chris, but he shrugged it off. Chris could have been just exaggerating about starving, so that should have qualified as a lie.
�So how long have you known Chris?� Mark asked after Chris had left.
�Oh�about a month or so.� Kou replied.
�You two act like you�ve been together a lot longer then a month.� Mark observed.
Kou smiled a bit weakly. �Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky.�
�I think Chris is the lucky one.� Mark corrected.
For the next half hour, Kou resumed his reading while Mark lounged around. Finally, Mark spoke up.
�You care a lot about Chris, don�t you?�
�Of course.� Kou replied. �He�s my friend.�
�Protect him with everything you got.�
Kou snapped his head up and stared at Mark. For the first time, Mark�s face was dead serious. ��What?�
�Nah, it�s nothing!� Mark said, his normal cheery face returned. �Anyways, it�s getting late so I should get going. Later!�
�Ah, w-wait a minute-� But it was too late, Mark had already left the library. Kou frowned and scratched his head. Why was everyone saying such strange things today? Hopefully it wasn�t a bad omen of things to come�.
* * *
�This should do for awhile.� Chris said as he peeked down at the plastic bags in his hands. He had enough food to last him for two weeks, and he still had plenty of money leftover for personal use.
The street was completely deserted, and night was quickly approaching. Already the street lamps were lit, though there was one or two that were flickering on and off every now and again. The asphalt was badly cracked, and there were beaten up old cars lined up along the street. It was the kind of place that would make someone feel edgy, but Chris was used to it.
�That�s a lot of groceries you have there.� A pleasant voice said right behind him.
Chris gave a yelp of surprise and dropped all of his grocery bags. He whirled around, ready to fend off an attacker.
�My, aren�t you the nervous type?� The speaker had been a lush Hispanic girl his own age, with prominent breasts and a very alluring face. Her hair flowed in curls down her back, and her green turtleneck sweater did little to hide her feminine features.
�What do you want, Maria?� Chris instantly recognized the school prostitute.
�How mean.� Maria pouted. �Here I was thinking you might be fun, and you�re treating me like a pest.�
�Go away, Maria.� Chris said curtly. �I�m not interested in you.�
�I know that.� Maria gave him a dimpled smile. �But I�m interested in someone you know, though.�
�Kou, right?� Chris snorted.
�Exactly.� Maria said, her voice seemed to have changed. Without warning, Maria suddenly seized Chris�s head and pulled him into a deep, passionate kiss. Chris had been taken completely by surprise by the sudden action, so he didn�t even have time to fend her off. The moment her lips touched his, however, he felt his body stiffen up. He tried to shake her up, but he discovered something when he tried. He couldn�t move! Try as he might, he couldn�t twitch a single muscle. It was if his entire strength and will had been drained entirely out of his body.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Maria pulled out of the kiss. �Now�� She leaned in, whispering into Chris�s ear. �Sleep.�
And that was the last thing Chris remembered before his entire world was swallowed in darkness.
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