Monday. Nobody likes them...least of all students. After a weekend that just seems to soar by, alarm clocks pull them from their six or so hour sleep (if they're lucky) and into the real world of classes once again. With a groan, they get up and go about their morning duties before rushing off to avoid being tardy.
One high school sophomore was no different. After waking up one Monday morning from a strange, but nice, dream, he used the bathroom for both its purposes, got dressed, ate a swift breakfast, and raced out the door with his stuff. (He never had time to brush his teeth, sadly.) He stopped by the bus stop, panting a bit, breath visible in the wintery air, thankful that he got out of the house on time as he saw other kids standing around.
As well as unhappy at seeing other kids standing around.
Most of them left him alone as he stood, huddled up in his jacket, by the sign, watching the direction the bus came from. All was quiet for a few minutes. 'Maybe they'll be lateish, so there won't be much time before the bus comes,' he thought.
'Orrrrrr not.' The boy ignored the jeer coming from behind him. A couple other boys stopped nearby, and one of them snickered and waved at him after getting into his line of sight. He continued to ignore them. "Whazzup?" the waving boy asked. "You're lookin' a little pale, there!"
The boy grit his teeth, but said nothing.
"I thought winter was yo' favorite season, Bulkhog," the other of the two new arrivals snickered. "'Cuz then, all y'gotta do is go outside, flop onna ground facefirst, and bam!, yo' the colah y'always wannidda be!"
The boy fumed, finding it harder to ignore them. 'I wish my headphones weren't broken....'
"Besides, why ya shiverin'? I thoughtchu'd be nice an' toast wittall 'at insulation, Bulkog," the waving boy pointed.
"Would you guys knock it off?" a girl asked, annoyed. "An' quit callin' folks what they ain't. He's Burkhart." (She pronounced this BOORK-hahrt, using the long sounds for the vowels.)
The two boys laughed. "We know, we jus' screwin' wittim, ain'at right, Boorky?" the second arrival asked, playfully swatting Burkhart's shoulder. "Really, sorry, man. We jus' playin'."
Burkhart sighed. "Yeah, whatever," he replied. His eyes caught on something in the distance. 'Thank God.' "Bus," he warned loudly.
A few of the other kids hobbled over, shoes and boots crunching in the snow, but some stood back and chatted a little, coming over later when the city bus approached nearer. Everyone got on, popped a token into the slot, and found a seat. Burkhart found his customary spot at the back taken, so he took the farthest, emptiest window seat on the bus and looked out, watching the city go by as the bus vroomed off.
Soon, more and more kids got on the bus. Half of them had put in some headphones or earbuds ('Ick!') with rap and hip-hop creating a tinny underscore for the trip, a quarter watched out the window or snoozed or otherwise remained quiet, and the rest gabbed away. A couple more times, the boys from before tried to get a rise out of Burkhart, but to no avail. As the bus went on, Burkhart got a little warm, so he unzipped his jacket. He was wearing a Pokémon shirt; this one was of the popular first-generation Fire-type, Arcanine.
Then the bus went half quiet as it made its third-to-last stop on the way to school. Only one student came on the bus. He was big, in height, width, and breadth, though he wasn't exactly fat; like Burkhart, he was merely chubby. His shoulders made most of his width. He wore his pants low, despite the cold weather, his boxers showing a fair bit as he moseyed over to the back. He sat in a seat nearby Burkhart, as usual. Burkhart steeled himself and continued watching out the window.
He heard the big kid's voice. "Yo. Bulkhog."
Burkhart ignored him.
"Bulkhog. Look at me, Pokéqueer."
Burkhart kept watching the window.
The big kid thumped his own seat. "You turn aroun' an' listen to me, or you gon' be sorry," he said, calling him a certain name. Nobody on the bus batted an eye, yet everybody could hear him.
Burkhart clenched the fist hidden by his body. The N word. That word so notorious for its context-sensitive status: Okay when used by people of a certain skin color, damnable when by anyone else. He did nothing else, though.
He grunted when he got punched hard in the shoulder. "I *told*ju, Nazi," the big kid growled. "When I say look at me, you betta look at me."
Burkhart couldn't take it anymore after that comment. He glared at him. "Shut your mouth, scumbucket," he snarled as best as he could. "Don't you dare associate me with those monsters."
The bully, turned around in his seat, leaned in closer. "An' what if I do, Nazi?" he threatened. "Whatchu gonna do? Punch me?"
"I'll report to the principal what you've been calling me, and I've got witnesses," Burkhart countered.
The bully laughed. "Da hell you think that gonna do?" he asked. "Besides, who the hell gonna help your sorry ass?"
Burkhart glanced around the bus. Everyone was trying not to look; those who saw him looking around quickly looked away. He sighed and looked out the window again. "Just leave me alone, Reggie," he grumbled.
"The hell I will," Reggie snapped, grabbing Burkhart's shoulder and whipping him to face his snarling face.
"OI!" called the voice of the bus driver, an ornery aging woman. Reggie looked behind him at the front. The bus driver's glare fixed on him. "Any more-a that and I'm throwin' you both off the bus, y'hear?" she threatened.
Reggie squeezed Burkhart's shoulder tightly, but let go and sat around front, crossing his arms and falling silent. Burkhart began to feel a sense of dread swell up in his stomach. 'He's gonna remember this,' he knew.
The rest of the day wasn't exactly kind, either. Thankfully, Burkhart wasn't the only one who suffered; being the first day of classes after Winter Break, everyone he met was out of it to some degree. Nobody wanted to be back at school, each for this or that reason. For some it was P.E., for others it was Math; for some it was the food at the cafeteria, for others it was the crowded hallways; for some it was the teachers, for others it was the students. Burkhart didn't mind P.E., since he knew it was good for him and required, anyway; he actually loved Math; the food in the cafeteria never bothered him; while the hallways being crowded was a nuisance, he could deal; and most of the teachers liked him.
But Burkhart was not looking forward to his peers.
In every class he had, at least one bully was in it with him, and he always sat nearby him (or even her). He couldn't escape being tortured every hour of every day. If it wasn't his nerdiness, it was his way of talking; if it wasn't that, it was his name; if it wasn't that, it was his skin; and if it wasn't that, it was his weight. He tried to sit alone at lunch; he just couldn't seem to make any friends. Every attempt had failed miserably, every other attempt earning nothing more than another bully, it appeared. Despite this, he always had to avoid Reggie, who would come by and try to swat something off his tray. Today, he succeeded in taking out his entrée. Burkhart stifled a small whimper; there was not nearly enough time to go through the line again just to get a new one. So he had to go without half his meal.
The worst part was after school let out, though. Burkhart got ready to go after Math club let out and went to leave out the front door. However, he spotted Reggie and a few other kids disappearing around a building by the bus stop. 'I keep wondering if they actually wait for an hour just to kick my ass,' he mused. So, he decided to take his escape route whenever this happened. He walked through the school and exited out the back after checking to make sure the coast was clear. Then, he walked quickly down the road, taking a few turns at random.
After ten minutes, he made a turn and stopped when he saw Reggie's unmistakable figure coming towards him, halfway down that block with his cohorts. Burkhart swore and turned, running back the way he came. He heard Reggie yell and knew they were following him. Burkhart hated running. He was never good at it, especially not with a heavy backpack.
The only thing that could save him was the fact he was in the busier part of town. The street was bustling with activity, be it from the people outside, traveling along or beside the road, or inside, buying and selling various things. After rounding the corner, panting, Burkhart looked around wildly. Store after store was closed for the day. They were getting closer--he could hear their footsteps crescendo behind him slowly. People stepped aside and watched in mild surprise as the chase went by.
Finally, Burkhart found one store that still had an "OPEN" sign in the window. He raced over and threw the door wide, making a bell inside dingle loudly. Instead of shooting forth into the store, however, he went shooting backwards, backpack straps yanking his shoulders. "GET OVER HERE!" roared Reggie.
Burkhart tried to hold onto the door handle, but one of the other kids smacked his hand away, and he was pulled onto the sidewalk, crashing down as his world stood sideways. "HELP!" he screamed. "HE--" A cry of pain escaped his body as his stomach was kicked.
"Whatchu gonna do now, Nazi? Huh!?" demanded Reggie, face screwed up in rage. He knelt over Burkhart and began waling his fist into his face. As he spoke, he taunted him, emphasizing with each slam. "Nobody gon' help a queer-ass Nazi like you, you loser!"
Burkhart tried his best to defend himself, holding his hands up, but the other kids grabbed these and held him down. All he could do was twist his head away to try and avoid getting hit, but he could only dodge two of them, getting nailed or badly clipped the other times. He and Reggie were so preoccupied with their emotions, fear and fury respectively, neither heard the jingling of a bell.
Reggie grabbed Burkhart's head. "Hold still!" he shouted. Burkhart squeezed his eyes shut. Then, he had just registered the fact he wasn't being held down by the other two anymore, when Reggie's raised arm was grabbed.
"You keep this up, boy, I'm gon' call the cops on yo' ass!" bellowed the middle-aged shopkeep, struggling against Reggie's strength, though slowly winning. He glared harshly at the high schooler.
Reggie looked back with a snarl before humphing and getting up, still held. He grabbed his arm and ripped it out of the man's hand. "I gotta get goin', anyway," he growled. "Gotta go to work." He shot one last glare at Burkhart before tromping off. The other boys went the other way. Both parties disappeared around the corners.
"Hey, kid, y'kin open yer eyes, they's gone," the shopkeep said softly. Burkhart opened them to see him leaning down with a hand outstretched. He took it and gladly pulled himself up. "You aight? I think I see some bruises on ya." The man frowned. "Want I should call ya folks to come pick you up or sum'n? C'min, c'min." He ushered the boy inside the shop.
"No, I...." Burkhart sniffed, wiping his eyes. His face felt like a mask of dull acid had been put onto it, and his stomach was still sore from earlier. "I'll be fine....I just need to know how to get to Gordon Ave from here."
The shopkeep frowned more. "Boy, you ain't fine, I can see that without glasses," he admonished.
Burkhart shook his head. "No, really, I don't want any more trouble," he insisted. "Mom and Dad are going to be pissed if I don't get home soon. Please just tell me how to get to Gordon."
The shopkeep pursed his lips, but nodded and pointed. "Jus' go down the street thataways 'til ya hit the end, then turn left an' go the next right."
Burkhart frowned. "Why not go down this left?" he asked.
"'Cuz there's some road reconstructin' goin' on that road an' they ain' gon' like no one tryin' to get by," the shopkeep answered, rolling his eyes.
"Mmm." Burkhart nodded and sat down on a chair, saying he'd just rest there for a while. After sitting in the warm building for a good fifteen minutes, he finally stood up again and went to the door. "Thank you very much, sir," he said over his shoulder.
"Jus' be careful, aight? Lotsa ice on the ground and in folks' hearts, y'know!" the shopkeep called back. Another jangle, and Burkhart was outside again.
As he crossed the street, he saw no sign of any one of his attackers.
Burkhart went down the street a few blocks until it stopped, as instructed, and turned left again. He turned right on the next street, finding that, indeed, there was some construction going on that street that he'd bypassed. He sighed and kept going down...Coriander, the signs said. Snow began to fall, and he shivered a little. His stomach growled; it was getting on towards suppertime, what with club and the misadventure he'd had, and his half of a lunch had pretty much run out by then, especially after using so much energy.
Burkhart looked at the stores on the way down Coriander. Auto parts store, art shop...sushi bar? He had no idea there was sushi in this town at all, let alone one this relatively close to his neighborhood. He stopped, blinking as he looked up at a sign with "Fat Monster Sushi" on it in that leaf-like lettering people associate with Japan and China. A cartoon monster of some sort, a sumo wrestler, it appeared, stood by the title with a welcoming smile. Underneath the title was a slogan, "Nobelly leaves empty and sad!" in regular sans-serif.
The smell coming from the restaurant was intoxicating. He bit his lip, hearing his stomach growl louder, yearning to be filled with whatever was making that wonderful aroma. He shook his head. "I shouldn't," he told himself. "Hell, I can't, I don't have any money." He paused, then smirked. "Then it wouldn't hurt to just look around," he reasoned. He walked in, hearing a softer, more delicate chiming as he opened the door, this time.
He stood before an unoccupied podium decorated with Japanese-style carvings. The rest of the joint was empty; it was only just starting to be rush hour, after all. He saw a couple Japanese people in chef's outfits standing behind a counter farther back in the restaurant. A couple women, also Japanese and dressed in kimonos, were standing and chatting in their native language, long, beautiful black hair tied into elaborate buns and held with chopsticks. One noticed him and smiled. She seemed to float as she went to the podium and bowed to him. "Irasshaimase!" she greeted brightly. "Party of one?" She appeared to have absolutely no accent, but her Japanese earlier had sounded as if she spoke it all her life.
Burkhart smiled and shook his head. "Sorry, I-I'm just looking," he apologized. "I never knew there was a sushi place around here."
The waitress giggled and nodded. "That's alright, sir. We get more people like that than you think!" she said. "I can show you around if you'd like."
Burkhart blushed and shook his head. "N-No, that's alright, I should really get going," he insisted.
His stomach downright roared in protest.
The waitress raised her eyebrows as Burkhart blushed deeper. She giggled again. "Oh, but you must stay now," she said. "You're starving!"
Burkhart laughed and shook his head. "I don't have any money," he excused. "Couldn't even if I wanted to."
The waitress smiled wide. "Don't worry! It's on the house!" she promised. "You won't regret it."
"But..." Burkhart began as the waitress moved from behind the podium and gently placed her hand on his backpack, walking him into the restaurant. He looked over his shoulder at the door. 'I wanted in, now I want out!' "I really have to go, my parents don't know where I am, they'll be mad," he tried to protest.
"Don't you worry, sir," the waitress chuckled. "We'll give them a call if you give us their number. If they get mad at you even so, we will come over and apologize formally."
Burkhart couldn't help but scoff. "Yeah, right, nobody does that much for a customer who isn't paying a cent," he argued. Nonetheless, he let himself be seated at a booth and given a menu.
The waitress giggled once more. "I assure you, we are quite serious about our slogan," she said.
"Uh...'Nobelly leaves empty or sad!', right?" Burkhart checked.
The waitress nodded. "Correct! You have our word or your money back...or, in your case, your dignity," she chuckled. "Now, if you need anything, simply call for a waitress." She bowed and went back to talk with her coworker in Japanese again.
Burkhart smiled wryly. 'Didn't think they seriously meant it, not for freeloaders like me,' he mused as he sighed and looked at the menu. If he had a cell phone, he would have called home, but he didn't--never had, never would. So, he was screwed. Might as well enjoy it while he can. But still, the Admiral Ackbar in his mind was spouting his famous one-liner over and over. 'If only there was a way I could eat and get away without being scammed,' he groaned. He flipped the page in the menu.
One item caught his attention. It was a contest, featuring a picture of a bowl of meat-covered rice, a few small sushi rolls in front filled with sliced avocado and some blue, vegetable-looking things in the middle. "Eat the whole katsudon with our signature Daikaiju Roll in one sitting and your entire party eats for free!" it challenged. "But if you don't, your meal charge is doubled! Have you got the gut?"
Burkhart raised an eyebrow. He looked hard, all over, but no fine print that concerned the contest could be found. He thought for a moment. 'I do have a hell of a stomach....' After a moment, he called a waitress over. The same from before greeted him; the other was manning the podium as a couple entered. "How can I help you?" the waitress asked sweetly.
Burkhart pointed to the contest advertisement. "Is there any catch other than the cost of losing?" he asked.
The waitress shook her head, smiling. "None at all! Just that you might get sick," she answered. "We've had that happen because people force themselves to eat more than they could handle."
"Ew....If I take and lose this challenge, what will happen?" he asked slowly.
"Then you'd have to pay double what that all would cost, which would come out to about fourty-nine dollars and twenty-one cents," she nodded calmly.
"But you said it's on the house," he pointed out, smirking.
The waitress furrowed her brow. "I thought I said it was just for one entrée," she said.
He shook his head. "Nope! I heard you loud and clear, you didn't mention anything about a limit," he recounted.
The waitress couldn't help but chuckle at this. "Hold on a moment, please," she bowed briefly before gliding over to the other waitress, who was now free. They talked for a few seconds before the first waitress gave an exaggerated groan, the second laughing. The first returned, chuckling. "Well, her story matches yours," she said. "I'd say you got me. In that case, you could take the challenge risk-free, getting your fill no matter what."
"Really?" Burkhart asked, grinning. She nodded, and his eyebrows narrowed as he put on a competitive visage. "Then bring it on!" he beckoned. His stomach growled for emphasis.
The waitress nodded, chuckling. "Of course," she said. "Come with me, please; we have a special room for the challenge."
Burkhart tilted his head, but stood and followed as she led him to the counter in back. "What for?" he wondered.
"To help you feel less pressured, since you won't have everyone in the restaurant looking at you," she explained. She stopped by the counter. "Could you tell us your name and phone number, sir?" she asked. He gave them, and she called out something in Japanese, Burkhart hearing his name in there (albeit with his last name going first). After someone shouted something back, she turned and smiled at him. "Alright, now your parents will know what's going on and why you're late," she informed.
"Great!" Burkhart said. 'I hope it works....' He followed her into another room, this one at the back of the building. It was empty save for a table and chair, both fairly large and sturdy. The table looked to be bolted down. The only other things notable in the room were a cut on the floor separating the half of the room with the table and door and an empty half, and a couple wall hangings, each beautiful though depicting fierce monsters. "Interesting," he commented.
"Please sit here, and we'll be with you shortly," the waitress instructed. So he put his bag and coat in a corner, sat down, and waited. Soon, the door opened once more, and two people walked in--the waitress and a chef with short hair and a small moustache. The waitress carried the platter with the small pieces of sushi while the chef had the bowl of meat and rice. "Now then," the waitress said, placing the sushi down in front of him, the chef putting the bowl behind him, "I warn you, this is not an easy task. The sushi itself is quite unique, containing a secret ingredient like no other." She pointed to the blue.
"What is it?" chuckled Burkhart, picking up the pair of real, not pull-apart, chopsticks and assuming the position. (Wanna know how nerdy he is? He practices with chopsticks on a regular basis despite almost never getting the chance to use them.)
To his surprise, he got a straight answer. "We call it blue monster fruit," the chef replied, crossing his arms proudly. He, too, spoke perfect English. "It was created by the founder of the restaurant two generations ago, made through careful genetic engineering. It's truly unique--delicious with a texture all its own. It goes excellently with avocado, hence the roll. It's a favorite of our regular patrons."
"But quite expensive," added the waitress. "Now, eat these all first, and please, take your time. Just don't take too long, or we'll decide that you're too full to continue!" Burkhart nodded. "Alright, ready?" Another nod.
The chef held his hand up and counted down. "San...ni...ichi...sure!" CHOP!
Burkhart knew that he shouldn't take his time; he needed to eat as quickly as possible before his stomach felt too full. With skill and speed, he snatched up the first roll with his chopsticks and bravely popped it into his mouth. The blue monster fruit was noticed almost instantly. It was sweet and sour and filled his tongue, cheeks...his entire mouth, actually, with a strange tingling sensation. It was quite unique, indeed. The flavor was new, too, but whatever it was, it combined with the avocado in a way that made his eyes bug out and a moan escape his throat. After it was fully chewed, he swallowed and grinned at the chef. "Holy cow, that was awesome!" he enthused.
The chef laughed, arms crossed as he watched. "Thank you! We take great pride in our signature dish!" he replied. "Now, go on!"
Burkhart nodded and got back to work. By the third of the four rolls, his mind was focused on only one command: EAT. The only senses he paid attention to were taste and smell and touch, this last being only in his tingling mouth; the only thing he saw was the vague shape of his hand and chopsticks and the definite, full, live, Technicolor forms of the food.
After he had finished the sushi, he pushed the platter away and pulled the bowl of katsudon towards him. He grabbed each hunk of beef and jammed it into his mouth, then chewed, savoring the flavor and texture. His focus grew and grew as he went, eventually hearing nothing but the sounds of his eating--not even the hum of the lights above, feeling nothing but the food in his mouth--not even his teeth, seeing nothing but the bowl--not even the nose in front of him. Everything else was as good as nothing.
So he didn't notice when the tingling spread to his entire body.
He just ate, breathed, and blinked.
He noticed nothing but.
The waitress and chef widened their eyes as the hair on his bared forearms began to thicken. He continued to eat, oblivious to everything. Slowly, the hair grew taller, lightening in some places. The hairs on his face began to thicken while he began to grow a full beard...and then some. His shaved-short head sprouted more hair, starting curly, then straightening.
The waitress and chef looked at each other while this continued. "Should we?" whispered the waitress in Japanese. The chef nodded, and the waitress went to Burkhart. "Excuse me, Burkhart?" she asked in a medium tone. Burkhart paid no heed and continued to eat. She patted his shoulder. Absolutely zero response. She bit her lip and stood, facing the chef. "Yep, trance," she reported in Japanese.
The chef frowned, closing his eyes in thought for a moment. "We have no choice," he said in Japanese after a sigh. He locked the door and leaned against the wall.
The waitress nodded and went to stand on the other side of Burkhart, watching as his ears slowly began to migrate up his head and his face pushed out. After a moment, she crouched under the table and quickly untied his shoes, removing them and setting them aside. She also removed the belt he had on, placing it with the shoes.
Burkhart's change progressed with each bite. His arms and legs began to thicken, and his socks stretched, feet growing larger, too. His middle, however, was changing the fastest, swelling from the little paunch he came in with to become bigger and bigger. His shoulders began to broaden bit by bit, as did his hips. His rump was the second-fastest to change, filling the remainder of space in his jeans within a minute before the pants began to creak quietly.
Five pieces of meat! He was doing good. In fact, he felt no fuller than before. 'I'm doing better than I thought!' he noted in his head. 'Gotta keep it up!!' His stomach gurgled in agreement as it swelled bigger. Inside, a new organ was taking shape, right in front of his lungs, under the ribcage that was thickening and filling out. His other bones were growing, thicker and longer. His body began to feel warmer, though he could not detect it.
The hair on his body began to soften as more hair grew, slowly beginning to change from black. His skin, still visible on his palms and, oddly, nose, began to change color from its light chocolate brown. His elbows began growing hair a little quicker, too. His belly began to poke out from his shirt, full of hair as it spilled into his lap. It seemed darker than the rest of him, the hair enveloping it not changing at all. His pants were creaking louder, filling tightly and being stretched by his shifting anatomy, and his tailbone began to grow longer, poking a lump in his skin under the clothing.
He was getting taller, inch by inch, shirt lifting higher from his waist. His socks were straining to contain his feet, which were becoming oddly-shaped underneath the fabric as hairs began to stick through the holes. His face was jutting out by a good amount now, but still fairly human, while his ears began to enlarge and shift shape.
"He's advancing nicely," commented the chef, again in his native tongue. "The belly's already in his lap."
"He's also eating like a horse," the waitress giggled. "That might be why. He's already on his sixth piece of meat!"
"And he's going to get faster as he eats easier," the chef chuckled, noticing how Burkhart's teeth were growing and sharpening, particularly his canines.
By the time he was on eight pieces, Burkhart was definitely not human anymore. He had grown five inches taller and two wider. As he took the first bite of the eighth piece of meat, his jeans finally couldn't take it anymore as the button tore the buttonhole, the zipper unzipping as the belly behind it pushed down and the waist inside the pants pulled it apart. His belly began to press against the table while his shirt rode up, filling with his moobs, which had been growing rapidly, as well. As his pants began to rip, his socks did, as well, big tufts of fur coming out of his ankles, legs outgrowing the pants. The growth of his legs was not as great as that of his torso, oddly enough.
His arms were thickening further; they were getting fatter and buffer, muscle appearing underneath the flab. His shoulders were rather broad, head growing a little, as well. By now, his hair reached his shoulders, and the only skin that remained was on his palms and nose. The palms were slowly turning lighter and more colorful, as his nose, growing and shifting, flattening some parts, darkened. His ears were pointed and quite large. The hair on his body was definitely fur, now, as a fluffy tail was growing out of his pants and a faint brown color grew on his arms and face, with some places getting lighter, like his hair, and some getting darker, like parts on his arms. His stomach was blacker than ever, however. The fur on his elbows grew longer, taking on that lighter shade.
Burkhart gorged ravenously, fingernails starting to sharpen as he held the bowl to him and his chopsticks at the ready for plucking another piece of meat. He had cleared the first layer of meat--now for the next! He slurped his lips and dove right back in, gobbling another piece of fried beef, then another. He was quickening his pace, finding it easier to eat than before. Now he could stick a whole piece in his mouth. 'They must be getting smaller,' he thought simply.
His shirt was starting to tear, and the chair was scooting back as his big black belly flowed down and out, covering his lap and knees. Below him, loud rips were heard as his jeans at last gave out, boxers ripping at the same time. His legs and rump burst out, filling the surrounding two inches of space with fur and fat, four inches at his seat. Muscle secretly rippled beneath the sea of lard above. His socks gave way soon after, and thick, three-big-toed paws were revealed, each with a claw. His feet had become digitigrade; he now had to walk on the balls of his feet. Well, footpaws, now. This meant his fingers were attached to paws, now, not hands. And these paws were a bit large, too, making the chopsticks control more differently by the moment.
His ears were now somewhat teardrop shaped, stopping their transformation as they continued to grow, thick tufts forming from the base. His hair seemed to crawl down into his shirt, where it fwoofed out more and more. His ankles--no, entire lower legs and elbows had thick tufts, as well. The brown was continuing to lighten, becoming oranger, the light parts going grey now. The dark parts were revealing themselves to be stripes in almost haphazard directions, going at sharp angles.
The chef looked at him up and down, hand to chin. He was now a full foot taller than when he entered. "He's growing quite well," he murmured. "He's adapting to it very well."
The waitress looked at the shirt Burkhart wore, the fabric stretching badly as his moobs grew so much, it looked like he was trying to use his shirt as a bra of sorts. She giggled. "Actually, I don't think you should be surprised," she said, pointing at the pokémon on the front.
The chef widened his eyes before laughing. "Of all the things to wear...!"
A low growl was starting from within Burkhart's chest as he nommed away. He was purring. He was halfway through the second layer of meat, white rice nearly blinding him from the golden-brown of the prepared beef. He kept at it, and his growth seemed to accelerate with his eating. He grew taller and taller, wider and wider, stronger and stronger, fatter and fatter. His belly crept down his knees, pushing him farther and farther away, making him pull the bowl closer. It was almost on his own belly at this point. His taste buds were dancing in joy at the flavor he washed them with, and his mind was full of pleasure while he gorged, wanting only more, never full, ever!
His fur was now definitely orange and black, just looking very unsaturated. The lighter patches were still whitening. More light patch grew down his front from under his shirt, which was creaking as it filled with moobs. Finally, after chomping down the first piece of meat on the last half of the layer, the shirt ripped apart, the seams tearing asunder. His chest flowed out, flinging the front of the shirt to his belly, where it slowly slid to the floor, while his back and sleeves simply fell off and apart. His chest was huge, but not from his moobs alone--the fur there was thicker than anywhere else aside from his head, soft and fluffy even though it still had more to grow.
Now completely naked, the tiger-like beast, skin parts almost totally devoid of any brown now, sat and swished his tail, which was growing quickly, going through the hole in the bottom of the chair's back, competing with his chest and hair for fluffiest part. In fact, anywhere the light fur was, it was fluffy and long. His belly was entirely black, though.
Finally, the last piece of meat disappeared down his gullet. Burkhart's growling purr grew louder as he paused to breathe, panting as he gazed at the white rice and his chopsticks. 'How the hell do you eat rice with chopsticks?' he wondered. Meanwhile, his belly was at the ankles of his footpaws, which were each over two feet long by now. His height had grown considerably; he was almost twice the height he came in at. His paws were almost big enough to hold the bowl entirely. The chopsticks seemed tiny to him. Noticing this, he just chucked them away, useless now. His rump filled the whole seat, now four feet wide and gaining. The chair creaked very quietly.
His ears were one and a half times as long as his middle finger, given how his paws had grown larger all around. Heck, his arms had, too; he simply was unaware of this, so he kept pulling the bowl closer. By now, it had come onto his belly partly. He didn't even notice it past the thick black fur, the rest of his fur more vivid. His light parts were almost white, as well as huge, his hair a neck in length past the actual part. He had been getting a rather large double-chin, by now, too, neck itself slowly vanishing among his muscle- and fat-logged shoulders. An incomplete ring of flab had formed around his waist from his hanging stomach.
The chef and waitress were hanging their mouths open in awe. "He's getting huge," the chef wheezed. "I...I don't know what to say!"
"This is so...!" was all the waitress could utter.
After a few more seconds, Burkhart grinned before grabbing the bowl, leaning back, and starting to pour it into his mouth, shaking the bowl when he found it sticker than expected. He growled genuinely before using his tongue to help bring some inside. His tongue went in far, wider and longer than ever before, and the journey back to his mouth was faster since his mouth was now much farther than before. He gobbled down the rice quickly, purring louder at how easy it was, unsure how he was eating so much but not thinking about it.
As he swallowed more and more rice, barely chewing, his body swelled like a balloon. His belly grew and grew, soon pouring onto the floor and pushing his chair to the wall three feet from where the back of the chair began as it billowed. His arms thickened more and more, stronger and, mostly, fatter, wrists starting to become slightly overtaken by the mass. His lower legs were covered in the fluffy fur, legs themselves two tree trunks of fuzz, waist growing wider still to accommodate the massive blob of black between his legs. His footpaws grew ever bigger and wider, able to support him. He began to rise up not from getting taller, but from his butt fattening so much that it pushed him from below. His tail got as long as his back was and grew still, now the winner of the fluffiest body part contest. His chin grew huger, making him start to resemble a fuzzy, canine-like frog. The ring of fat behind him was completing.
At last, after a full twenty minutes of feasting, Burkhart slammed the bowl down to his belly, sending a ripple across it. It was licked clean. He swallowed, sat for a moment, then held his chest as he gave a humongous, room-rattling, deep, bassy belch. As he did, it was as if that was the key that completed his transformation. His colors rushed in the rest of the way, painting him a vibrant flame orange, charcoal black, and smokey cream. His canines from the top row grew out, visible even when his mouth was shut. His chin was swallowed by his basketball-sized double chin, another ring around his head being what his neck had become--a cuddly collar. His shoulders were a head and a half wide, and between their blades, all the way down to the small of his back, which was twice as long as a normal person's back for someone with dimensions matching the rest of him, ran his massive mane. His face was totally cream except for a mask-like portion around his eyes and ears, though fluffy cream fur came from the latter.
His moobs were so huge, they had escaped his collar of cream, which now consisted solely of the front of his collar on up. It was still fluffy as heck. His arms were like tree trunks with thick, fluffy tufts at the elbows that went all the way up the edge of his forearms. The rest of him was hard to gauge, as he still sat, part of his belly flowing onto the table. The seat beneath him finally gave a creak that sounded like an admission of things getting a bit much for it.
After the explosive burp, Burkhart rested his head against the wall, looking up with closed eyes, paws on belly, while he panted. The adrenaline was leaving him, and he finally felt full. Relatively. Slowly, his other senses were coming back online. He felt warmer and warmer, and he heard a strange sound, like a tiger purring, while feeling a vibration in his chest he was unfamiliar with. He felt like his head was higher than it should be, like he was sitting very straight despite resting like he was. His shirt felt funny to him--very fluffy. He smelled far better than before, detecting a bit of sweat, the remnants of his meal, and even the perfume of the waitress, who stood at the other end of the room. He felt the chair sticking into his butt on all sides...wait. 'That was a big chair....'
When he opened his eyes, he saw a big, cream-and-black blob in front of him, a few strands of cream hair blocking his vision. He widened his eyes, gasping, as he whipped his head down to look at himself, purring stopping. As he took in what he had become, his mouth lost the ability to stay shut, and his throat lost its voice. After a few moments, though, one of those returned. He took in a deep breath--
--and yipped as his mouth was clamped shut by the chef, who had leapt onto him partly in order to reach. "Please, we have other guests here, we don't need them to be alarmed!" he begged in English. "Just please, please stay calm." He looked hard at the blue eyes, the only thing on his body that had simply become larger with him. "Are you going to be quiet?" the chef asked.
"Mm-hmm," Burkhart grunted.
"Promise?" the waitress asked from below. He glanced down, heart gaining another burst of speed as it registered that he was both sitting and taller than her. After a moment of breathing quickly, he repeated the grunt.
The chef took his hands off carefully, pausing while watching him. Burkhart simply swallowed, throat dry, and whispered, "What the hell did you do to me?!"
The waitress sighed as the chef dismounted. She turned and gripped under the cut in the floor before grunting and lifting. It was an enormous trap door. She walked forwards on a platform below to push it up against the wall. "Sorry, Burkhart, but you'll have to come down with us to see," she said over her shoulder, grinning sheepishly. "And, ah, don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it." She went down some wide stairs found there.
Burkhart nodded, then looked down. He was tall, indeed; after bending over, though, it appeared his vertebrae had thickened along his back instead of his spine growing new ones. He was about as flexible as anyone with as proportionately big a belly would. He grunted and carefully stood up, a shiver traveling up him as he felt how his feet hit the floor now. He stopped when he was at full height and he still felt the pressure against his rump. "Oh, you're kidding me," he groaned. He grunted and pulled at the chair. Surprisingly, not only could he reach it, but it came off with relative ease, making a small pop! as it did. His butt instantly filled out, going at least half a foot wider than the chair was on both sides. He sighed and shook his head before setting it down. "How are you gonna explain this to my parents?" he asked the chef dryly. The chef just gave a nervous chuckle.
Below the restaurant, following down the stairs (the chef closed the trap door behind them), Burkhart found there was a deep, deep basement. The stairs just went on and on, lit by more than one lightbulb on the way down. "Where are we going?" he asked, calling as he was used to. His voice was deeper and a bit growly, as well as louder. He hissed as it echoed in the enclosed space.
"Not so loud!" the waitress chided. "And we're going to the second reason we serve that challenge."
Burkhart tilted his head, the action far more fitting now that he was a canine of sorts. "Uh...what was the first?" he wondered.
"Fun!" the waitress snickered.
After a few minutes, they reached the bottom. The door at the right of the landing seemed to be large enough for someone even bigger than Burkhart. However, he stopped when he saw what was directly in front on the wall. The waitress stepped aside. "This is what you look like for now," she said quietly.
Burkhart could not believe his eyes.
He was a mammoth, anthropomorphic arcanine.
He was about a dozen feet tall. His footpaws were three and a half feet long, helping give two feet of his height the way he stood; he was glad for how huge they were, considering how big he was and how much support he needed to avoid being knocked over by a stiff breeze. His belly reached half down his knees, which were slightly bent for his new posture. His tail was glorious, as long as he was tall, curled at the end and almost as wide as he was, fur soft as a cloud. His hips had widened considerably, as well as his shoulders, though he still looked like a Halloween-colored pear. He wrinkled his nose at his moobs, which looked like flatter versions of boobs, they were so big. His arms reached down to where his pockets would be if he wore pants that fit, and when hanging at his sides, the wrists were overtaken slightly by collars of lard. The tufts of fur on his arms and legs were huge, too, legs moreso, blowing behind him like they should. His pelt was shining and bright, very pretty, tummy the fluffiest of the normal fur. The spare tire his belly formed around him was thick and soft despite holding the huge amount of fat to him.
That was another thing he noticed...despite all this extra weight, his treetrunk legs, thunderthighs forcing him to waddle, his belly so big you could sleep on him, all of it--he had no trouble. It felt heavy, yes, but...it was like he was used to it. He could still move about as quickly as before, and he was not nearly as out of breath as he had expected. His legs didn't hurt from supporting himself at all. His heart was beating quick, but he suspected it was due to his emotions at the moment.
He stood and looked at himself from the side, finding his breadth to be a good five feet, bum to bellybutton (which had grown so huge you could lose your fist and part of your upper arm in it). The shape he now had wasn't as horrible as he thought at first. The curves were actually fairly pleasing to the eye, and getting more the longer he looked. He looked at his belly. "When I left home," he said quietly, "this wasn't much more than an inch and a half of chub. Now, though...." He squished himself. He was soft, but dense. He recalled how it sounded like the whole building shook when he walked before, and he suspected this was why--his fat had compressed itself, making himself heavier. The fat squished through his fingers, feeling the black fur on his pink pawpadded palms. "Now, I'm the fattest thing on two legs," he said, laughing mid-sentence.
The chef batted his hand. "Ppppssshhhh, yeah, right," he replied. "Trust me, there are bigger guys than you. Way bigger."
Burkhart looked at him like he was crazy. "You mean I'm not the first...?" he asked.
"Why do you think we're handling this so well?" the waitress asked back, smirking. "Now, then, if you'll open that door...."
Burkhart furrowed his brow. 'I'm getting a bad feeling about this,' he thought as he twisted the knob and pulled--then pushed as he saw it was that sort of door. He walked in...and found a colossal amount of space.
He was inside a subterranean gymnasium.
Workout equipment sat about here and there at the far end, and he saw, to his surprise, another morbidly obese creature doing bench presses alone. A track ran around the majority of the room. In the center was a large ring, though; he had no memory of a ring of that size sitting in the middle of his school gym or any basketball court he had seen. Of course, there were a couple hoops and a few bleachers. Double doors were in the walls every so often.
"Burkhart?" He turned and gasped. He had heard the waitress' voice. But when he turned, he saw that she was no longer human. She was a tall, thin, elegant gardevoir, still wearing her kimono. She had fingers, however; she was anthropomorphic, as well, it appeared. Her eyes were still brown, though. "Forgive us. I'm Yui, by the way." She bowed briefly. "My chef friend is Souta." The chef, who was, of all things, a male kangaskhan, nodded and waved, smiling. He was a bit chubby, but nowhere near as huge as Burkhart.
"What...What's going on, Yui...?" Burkhart asked, backing up a bit from them. "Am I dreaming? I have to be. You drugged the food. That's what that blue stuff was."
"Hey!" Souta the chef barked, scowling. "Don't you dare accuse me of poisoning my guests!"
Yui the waitress giggled. "It's not a dream, sir," she assured. "But...well...." She looked down, blushing brightly with such white skin.
"Burkhart--aw, heck," Souta frowned, thumping his kangaskhan tail to the ground. "That name's kinda hard to say right. Can we call you 'Bukatu'?" He made the final "u" silent.
Burkhart smiled wryly. "Better than 'Bulkhog,'" he replied.
"Right. Bukatu, we have to lay it to you straight," Souta said. He held his paw out. "See, as you can tell, we're not human--we're pokémon. But don't think that means the place this came from isn't real." He dug into his pouch (despite being male) and tossed a scrap of fabric up at Burkhart.
Burkhart caught it and looked at it. It was the front of his shirt, showing an arcanine standing proud. 'I can't believe it,' he thought, a small smile coming to his face. 'I'm my favorite pokémon...!' He shook his head. 'No, business first, fangasm later, if you can hack it,' he told himself. "Go on. And thanks." He wondered where he would put the shirt scrap.
"Well, we don't know how or why," Yui continued, "but we were changed into pokémon one day after eating the fruit that Fat Monster Sushi's founder had perfected along with some sushi. Most people don't change, though, and never do if we add cucumber, for some reason, so we can serve it. We serve it the way we do with the challenge because that makes them...." She gestured up and down Burkhart.
"But why?" Burkhart asked, crossing his arms. He raised his eyebrows as he felt rock-hard muscle under the near-foot of flab. "(Oh, wow. Ain't sayin' no to these guns....)"
"(Good, you'll need 'em.) Well," Souta sighed, holding a finger up, "seems we're not the only ones who've found about this weird stuff. There are actually a ton of groups worldwide who have access to stuff that makes you into a pokémon. Most of them are Japanese in origin, but all of them are associated with Japanese culture in some way, be they manga shops, traditional music groups, game stores, or sushi joints like us."
"So it's got to do with Japan," Burkhart noted, nodding as he listened. He shifted his weight, slouching a bit. Not a single iota of fatigue greater than when he was thin(ner) yet.
Yui shrugged. "Best guess," she half-agreed. "Important thing is that these groups have tried to get together to talk, and in doing so have formed a sort of 'League'."
"That makes sense," chuckled Burkhart. 'Of course they'd call it that.'
Yui nodded, frowning a little. "But the thing is, we want to go try and find out what's happening and why," she continued. "Nobody can agree on who's best to go represent us. The Japanese natives agreed, thankfully, that it's unfair to exclude it to themselves--not only is the issue worldwide, but so is the franchise. Besides, another link to Japan is the fact that we all have a fluent understanding of Japanese after we're changed."
Burkhart blinked. "Say what?" He laughed after a second. "Ah, I see, 'cuz you guys are Japanese, so...."
"Well, for us, it was English," Souta shrugged. He grinned. "And if this isn't proof, I don't know what is," he added in Japanese.
Burkhart was stunned. "I...I understood every word of that," he said slowly. He paused, then, after another short moment, tried to say, "Am I speaking it right now?" in Japanese.
"Hai!" cheered Yui, clapping. Burkhart's heart swelled with excitement. She continued in English. "But let's go on in your language, less distractions."
"Not only do we have to decide who represents us when we go talk to Nintendo eventually," Souta went on, "but this has been going on for years without any progress and made things sort of more and more problematic. At first, we thought that we'd settle this the only way we could, battling."
Burkhart grinned, eyes going wide and ears perking up, tail wagging. "We can actually use moves?" he asked.
Yui responded by holding her hand out. A purple aura surrounded Burkhart as he was lifted a foot from the ground and put back down. She smirked and nodded. Burkhart covered his mouth to muffle his squeal as he did a little jig on the floor, hopping and stomping around quickly. Yui giggled more than usual at this.
"But that wasn't a really good idea," continued Souta, gesticulating. "People ended up destroying property and almost getting caught by normal people. Not only that, but it really freaking hurts to get the shit kicked out of you like that. If we weren't what we are, there's no way we could all survive that amount of abuse so much."
Burkhart bit his lip, knitting his brow. "Hadn't thought of that," he muttered.
"And to make things worse," Yui continued, "the Japanese groups, which consist of the majority of the 'Hybrid League,' as it's called, recently agreed that only Japanese groups should be allowed to go to Nintendo."
"What?!" Burkhart shouted, taking a step forwards. He yipped and held his ears, looking around as his voice echoed around the gym. The pokémon doing bench presses paused and looked over briefly. "That's so racist!" he exclaimed softly when the echo had died down. He carefully sat down, tired of standing and uncomfortable with looking down at two adults. His belly swallowed his legs, yum yum, and he blushed, surprisingly visible beneath his fur, at the sensation.
"I know (damn, you're big)," grumbled Yui, narrowing her eyes.
"Makes me sick of my own people and glad I moved here," added Souta. "But to top it all off, you know what they decided to do to decide how we do things?"
Burkhart raised an eyebrow. "How?"
Souta bobbed his head left and right. "Well, they discovered the whole pokéstuff-katsudon combo, and...." He looked at Burkhart, waiting.
Burkhart furrowed his brow. "And...?" he asked. After a moment, it dawned on him. He looked down at himself, the field of black giving another small shock to his system at the unreality of it, and looked behind him at the one working out. He looked back, wide-eyed. "You're kidding," he said again.
The other two were starting to smile, chuckling, as they shook their heads. "Nope," Yui replied.
Burkhart gave a disbelieving laugh. "Pokémon sumo."
"Yep," nodded Souta, grinning.
"To decide who goes to Japan and sees Nintendo about this whole mess."
"Yep," nodded Yui, beaming.
Burkhart blinked, then snorted, holding his muzzle, before giving in and erupting in hearty laughter. His whole body wobbled and shook with each utterance of mirth. Yui and Souta joined in the laughter soon after he began. "That's so freaking silly," Burkhart gasped after he regained some control. "Only Japan, I swear...er, no offense."
The Japanese shook their heads, smiling and waving hand and paw. "None taken," Yui said. "It's pretty normal for Japanese to be weird."
Burkhart looked at his belly again, poking it. "So, uh, since you guys are Japanese, that means you count, right?" he checked. They nodded. "So why make me fat?"
"No, you're jumping ahead," chuckled Souta, smiling. "See...we're not here to force you to do anything, honest."
"You can change back to human form at any time," Yui informed brightly. "We'll teach you a bit later."
Souta crossed his arms. "Just we're kinda in a bind," he said. "Yes, we can organize a legal team for this. We kinda have to if we want to go, since nobody in this area is big enough to do any real damage and can come regularly."
"Why do you guys want to go?" wondered Burkhart.
Yui grinned. "Are you kidding?!" she asked back, pulling her fists close to her chest. "We'd get to talk to the people behind our fav--uh--one of the biggest cultural influences in the world!"
"And because America deserves just as much a chance as anyone," added Souta, nodding curtly.
"Thing is, we're not gonna force anyone to do anything, like Souta said," Yui went on, calmer. She rubbed her arm. "It is a big thing we'd be asking of folks, and it's so weird and sudden....That's why whenever we encounter someone who reacts that way to the challenge, we give them the choice."
"Learn how to switch back and go on with your lives, or join us and work as a rikishi to represent Team Fat Monster Sushi and in turn America for the Hybrid League Informal Sumo Competition," gave Souta.
The Japanese word translated to Burkhart as "sumo wrestler". "I thought they were called sumos," he muttered. He shook his head and looked at the two of them, crossing his arms. "What would I have to do if I joined you guys?" he asked.
Yui held a hand up. "Well, usually, you'd have to devote your whole life to the pursuit, as is traditional for the sport, but because nobody eligible for the thing really has the time for formal, professional training, it's okay to train regularly for a bit at a time," she explained. "It's called 'Informal' for a reason. We won't be housing you or anything like a real wrestler; you'd be coming as a worker for us."
"Worker?" Burkhart raised an eyebrow. "Like, we're getting paid?"
Yui and Souta scoffed. "Of course you are!" Souta nodded. "This is way too much to ask for anyone to do for free."
"That leads us to another problem, though," Yui continued. "See, we're given a prize funded mostly by the Red Gates, the team in Japan with the highest amount of money and the most influential. We use this money to pay our wrestlers their wages and anytime we need equipment or whatever. However, we don't have that much right now...." She looked out over to the weights, the pokémon over there panting as it sat on the end of the bench. "We've only got two people right now, and we can't really afford many more. We lost a lot of money from before after losing a lot....A lot of our group have abandoned us, especially after the Japan-only announcement incensing them." She sighed.
"If you join us," Souta said, "we'd be grateful, but you have to give it your all. We can't lose again, or our hopes are sunk. We're using some of our normal job's income to support this, as it is."
Burkhart frowned, looking down at his belly again, thinking. "So you'd be paying minimum wage, at least?" he checked.
"No more than that, I'm afraid," answered Yui, smiling sheepishly.
Burkhart nodded. "How many hours would I have to work?" he asked.
Yui crossed her arms. "While the times are going to be flexible, we ask that you spend at least fifteen hours a week with us."
Burkhart held his chin...well, where he thought it would be amidst his blob of double chin, and thought again. Finally, he looked up and grinned. "I get paid $7 an hour for fifteen hours, that's $105 a week. Not a bad chunk of change for a high schooler," he stated. "And I get to be doing something nobody else could even dream of doing. Yui-san? Souta-san?" He did his best seated bow, paws on hips as he leaned forwards, burying his face in his girth. Muffledly, he asked, "Would you please hire me to join your sumo team?"
Yui and Souta grinned at each other before nodding. "Only if you promise you'll work your best," Souta conceded. "Agreed?"
"Agreed!" Burkhart whipped his head up, grinning. "So, anything I gotta sign?"
"We'll do that later!" Yui squealed, jumping a little. "C'mon, we need to get you started! Get up, we're giving you your mawashi for training so you're not naked!" She beckoned as she ran to another door.
Burkhart nodded before looking down, blushing again. 'This is going to be an adventure,' he mused.
"...And this is where you'll be working out," Yui finished, stopping at the end of the gym where they had the exercise equipment. "You're strong already, but you need to keep that strength up, or it'll go away."
Burkhart waddled a bit as he walked, still feeling awkward in his dark green mawashi belt/loincloth/diaper/thing. It supported his belly and hid his privates, and was stiffer than he thought it would be. He would have to practice tying it a lot, since it would be all he was allowed to wear when working--"Think of it as your uniform," Souta had said. He stopped by Yui and nodded, looking around. "I'm not a fan of it, but if I have to, I'll do it," he said.
Yui had gone around and shown him the gymnasium on a small tour while Souta went back upstairs to resume working in the kitchen before the head chef got angry with him. He had seen the practice ring (or dohyo-o), the basketball hoops used in, of all things, resistance exercises, and the track used to maintain and improve agility and speed. She had explained that moves are forbidden, even Fighting-type moves, but that they should try and practice their own moves on their own just in case something bad happens. She had taught him how to return to human form...though he found out that it would not bring his clothing back, to his embarrassment.
"I saw someone else here," Burkhart said, looking around. "Who was that?"
"Oh. Reminds me, we only call you guys by your wrestling name, so pick one," Yui pointed out, climbing up onto a bench for reps and lazily hanging on the bar while it was set to 400 pounds.
"Uh...." Burkhart thought a moment. 'Something I can remember....' He snapped his fingers and grinned, pointing at her. "Call me Bulkhead!"
Yui grinned. "Excellent!" she praised, dropping from the equipment. "Okay, Bulkhead, to answer, you saw one of the other two. Call him Black Ice, or Blice for short."
"What pokémon is he?" Bulkhead asked.
"He's a piloswine, as far as we can tell," Yui replied, shrugging. She sniggered. "You might give him a run for his money in the hair department." She looked around. "He's probably in the bathroom. We recommend you shift for that, since it's a lot easier to do it without worrying you're going to sit around the toilet," she pointed out, giggling by the end.
Bulkhead laughed, nodding, when a door opened. He looked and saw a massive creature that reminded him of Cousin It with arms, legs, and belly. He had long, wild hair that went down all around his head, the only reasonably short portions being his bangs. There were even long locks that framed his face. His floppy ears stuck out the sides behind the locks. He walked flat-footed, from the looks of things, and his gut hung down to his knees, his own spine doubled in size ("It looks like it's to let you hold more fat in your gut while still being mobile," Yui had replied when Bulkhead asked her earlier about it). He was a little shorter than Bulkhead, but it appeared he was just as strong; the fat on his arms was far thinner in comparison, showing the huge muscles beneath. In fact, he lacked moobs, belly instead coming out from under a pair of softish-looking, but broad, pectorals.
Blice looked over at Bulkhead, shooting somewhat small, brown eyes at him. He walked over and crossed his arms. "So, you the new guy?" he asked.
Bulkhead smiled, nodding. "Call me Bulkhead," he introduced.
"Blice," the Ice-/Ground-type nodded. He raised a fist, and Bulkhead promptly pounded it. Blice smirked. "Where you from?"
"Around," Bulkhead shrugged. He recognized Blice as being black from the accent. (Well, at least he acted it.) He suddenly paused, realizing that he could act any way he wanted without anyone judging him based on his skin...since he wasn't human anymore. He grinned at the thought. "So, uh, how long you been here?"
Blice shrugged. "'Bout a month," he answered. He went to a thick, strong bench and sat down. He smiled and beckoned. "C'mere, let's shoot the shit, get to know each other," he invited.
Bulkhead smiled and nodded, coming over. He sat down carefully. He looked up when Yui came over. "I've put some clothes in the locker room for you when you're ready to go, and your belt and shoes are in the room upstairs," she told him. "I'll call and tell your parents you'll be a bit late, since we talked and hired you and all. That oughtta make 'em happy!" She turned and waved. "Nice meeting you, Bulkhead! Play nice! See ya!" she called before trotting out.
"Bye, Yui!!" Bulkhead called back. He sighed and leaned back, the bleachers behind him. "Tell me, how long does it take before you stop thinking, 'Oh my freaking God, I'm over ten feet tall and God knows how heavy and I'm a freaking pokémon!'?" he asked wryly.
Blice laughed. "Dog, it ain't gon' fade fo' a while, so get used to it, aight?" he replied. He thumped his arm, bringing the arcanine's gaze to the piloswine. "So, how ol' you?"
"16," shrugged Bulkhead. "You?"
"Same!" Blice grinned. He didn't have the same kind of monstrous teeth that Bulkhead had, though he owned a decent pair of tusks. "You go to Smeltson High, too?"
Bulkhead nodded. "What's your real name, then? Maybe we can meet up at lunch or something," he suggested.
Blice shook his head, ears and hair flopping about. "Nah, we ain't allowed to," he said. "An' I ain' riskin' gettin' thrown outta anotha job, are you?"
Bulkhead chuckled. "Guess not." He looked around. "She said there's a third person here," he said. "Where is he?"
At this, Blice looked away. "He ain' comin' tonight," he replied.
"Who and what is he?" Bulkhead wondered.
"Papa Frog, politoed." Blice ran a paw through his hair. "This stuff's a bitch t' brush, and so will yours, y'know that?" he commented randomly.
Bulkhead finally realized that Blice didn't want to talk about Papa Frog. He chuckled, then frowned. "...Say, did you like Pokémon before this?" he asked.
Blice looked around, then sideways at the arcanine. "Promise no snitchin'?" he asked.
"Cross my heart," Bulkhead chuckled.
"...Fuck to the yeah, dawg," Blice smiled. "You?"
"I love it," Bulkhead grinned. "I got all the main games so far."
"You, too?" Blice turned to look at him more. "Damn! Bring yo' shit next time, we gon' battle!"
Bulkhead turned, too, snickering. "You're gonna getcher fat butt kicked," he warned.
"Hell I ain'!"
"Black 2, av'rage a 70, 90 av in 1!"
"Gah, shoot, I'm only 65ish in White 2, 80ish in 1...."
"Who you pick?"
"Snivy, both games. I'm sorry, but he's too awesome."
"Damn straight!" Blice laughed and held his fist up, and they pounded it again. "Y'know, you alright, Bulky," he said, giving a playful punch to his arm. "But let's see if y'know how to do dis shiz, eh?" He got up and walked to the ring.
Bulkhead grinned. He knew the basics of sumo. "Ceremonial crud first?" he asked when he got to his spot, marked by a line in the floor.
"Hell no, le's jus' go on three, aight?" Blice crouched down at his spot. Bulkhead copied him. "Arright, 1...2...3!"
They charged at each other, slamming with great force, rippling both bodies. Bulkhead grunted and grabbed at Blice's belt while Blice did the same to Bulkhead's. Bulkhead found it quite different from what he was expecting--he wasn't used to all this mass in the way, where his center of gravity was now with the anatomy changes, how strong he was, or how nice it felt when his belly smooshed against Blice's. He thus lost focus and ended up being tossed to the floor on his side. He grunted and got up with some difficulty, huge belly spilling all over the place despite the mawashi helping keep some back.
Blice laughed. "Daium, boy, you need practice!" he snorted, pointing down at him. "But that was better'n it coulda been, kay? So don' sweat nuttin'." He reached down and helped Bulkhead up with ease.
Bulkhead laughed, too. "Thanks. Man...that was something else," he commented. He paused, then smirked at Blice. "Wanna go another round?"
"Getcher ass in the ring an' you'll find out!" Blice grinned.
Burkhart made it home in one piece an hour later. His parents immediately asked him what had happened. He told them, omitting certain things for obvious reasons (such as the episode with Reggie; the bruises had miraculously healed with the transformation), and was simultaneously scolded and praised. Since he ate, he just went right upstairs and did the homework he'd been handed out, brushed his teeth, and went to bed, exhausted.
He looked in his bag as he lay under his covers. The bag containing the remnant of his shirt and his mawashi all folded up. "If I wake up and they're gone," he murmured, "I'm gonna be ticked."
The next day, they were still there. He went to school in a much better mood than yesterday. He even ignored the bullies at the bus stop. However, the moment Reggie came on, his mood sank into the pits of dread.
Reggie sat in a seat nearby him again, but was surprisingly silent. The only words he spoke to him were when everyone was getting off, where he turned and warned, "You ain' gettin' away nex' time."
After that, though, Burkhart's mood picked up again. His mind was half gone the whole day. After school let out, he took the bus home, did his homework, then called Fat Monster Sushi. He asked for Yui or Souta.
"...Moshi-moshi," came a feminine voice from the other end after a moment.
"Hey, Yui, it's me, Burkhart," he said. "Er, I mean--"
"It's alright, you can say that when it's on the phone like this," she replied, chuckling. "Besides, I bet your parents would think you're weird if you said you're 'Bulkhead'."
"Trust me," sniggered Burkhart, "they've had me pegged as weird for years." He paused when she laughed. "Anyway, never did figure out schedules. If I could, I'd like to schedule days where Blice is working...."
A few minutes later, Burkhart had a piece of paper in his hand with four times: After club on Monday and after school on Wednesday and Friday, ending with another "shift" on Saturday afternoon. He found out that all three of them worked on Wednesday and Saturday (the third worker being Papa Frog). 'I can't wait for tomorrow,' Burkhart grinned, trotting upstairs to do his homework.
Of course, like the good gamer he was, he spent all his free time that day grinding his team on White 2. Much audino blood was spilled that day.
Wednesday afternoon, he took the bus home. He rode with, sadly, Reggie, but he noticed him get off at a different stop than he gets on at. He realized that Reggie had been getting off at that spot every other day--the bus always stopped there on the way home MWF. He shrugged and filed it away as him going to a part-time job or something. At home, he simply dropped most of his stuff off before packing his mawashi and games into his backpack and leaving again. He only had a half hour's walk to do, and he had timed his shift well.
"I'm here," he greeted the waitress up front when he came in. (It wasn't Yui.)
"Then go on in," she said. "Yui said to go to her or Souta so you can get into the back room." (The waitresses knew the secret and kept it well.)
So he found Souta and had him unlock the door. He went to the locker room from there, the door being a hidden panel in the wall of the room. 'Damn, these guys must have spent tons to put this stuff in,' he mused. The locker room was small and was more of a room with a few lockers and a private changing area. He changed, transformed, and waddled his way out again.
He opened the trapdoor and went down. As he descended the stairs, he wondered if anyone had ended up rolling down them, or if they would someday. He found Blice there already, trotting around the track. "Yo, Blice!" he called happily, waving.
"Yo!" Blice waved back. "Getcher ass over here and do ten laps joggin' fo' a warmup!"
Bulkhead groaned, but jogged over regardless. He was glad the floor was simply wood panels on top of concrete; he was certain he would break through the floor of his school gym if he tried jogging there as an arcanine. "We already did this in P.E., though!" he complained.
"Yeah, but das dat body," pointed out Blice, ahead of him. "Dis is dis body!" He focused back on jogging.
In a few moments, an overweight anthropomorphic politoed walked in. He was taller than even Bulkhead, almost as fat, and had the same musclebound arms and chest as Blice. He didn't say anything as he pushed past Bulkhead to catch up to Blice, who kept looking forwards, not looking at Papa Frog. Bulkhead saw Papa Frog mutter something into Blice's ear, but he couldn't hear it over the thudding of everyone's running.
After doing ten laps, everyone went to the benches to rest, panting hard due to a lack of sweat glands. Bulkhead joined Blice, but Blice shifted to the end of the bench. Bulkhead frowned, giving genuine puppy dog eyes. "Sorry, dawg, butchu hotta than the Sahara," Blice apologized. "I'm an Ice-type, rememba?"
Bulkhead chuckled. "Makes sense," he admitted. He watched Papa Frog run around the track, flesh bouncing with each step. "This is sooooooo weird," he commented.
"Yo' tellin' me?" scoffed Blice. He smiled and shook his head. "Aight, first things first, we gotta do some sparrin', then rest a bit, then we work out, rest a bit, play defense, rest a bit again, an' loop 'til we punch out. Got it?" Bulkhead nodded. "Good, 'cuz now he ain't gotta explain nuttin'."
A couple minutes later, Papa Frog came over. He stopped in front of Bulkhead and scowled. "Git outta here, bitch," he ordered. "I sit next to Blice."
Bulkhead frowned. "For one, I'm a guy, and for two, I'm not moving until you ask nicely," he replied sternly. Suddenly, he felt an impact at his side, and he was off of the bench and on the floor.
"Sorry, Papa, he don' know," Blice said quickly. Bulkhead grunted and looked over. All he saw was Papa Frog sitting down and scowling at him. Bulkhead scooted away and got up, brushing himself off. Blice looked up at him sheepishly for a moment before he looked away, Papa Frog looking back at him.
Bulkhead frowned and crossed his arms. 'That was awfully rude,' he grumbled in his head. He went and sat at the other bench and watched. They didn't even talk. He considered going up and filing a complaint, but he thought that would be a bad thing to do on his first day. 'Maybe he's just in a bad mood?' he thought.
Sparring came around. Papa Frog got there first, and Blice quickly raced over to oppose him. When they tussled, Papa Frog grunted and fought hard as Blice pushed against him with all his strength. Bulkhead pumped his arm in victory when Blice succeeded in staying on his feet and in the ring, pushing Papa Frog out. Papa Frog grit his teeth, snarling, but stepped back.
"Hey, how're we gonna do this?" Bulkhead asked. "Y'know, winner out, loser out, what?"
Blice opened his mouth, but Papa Frog shouted back, "We gon' do this by you sittin' an' watchin' how it's s'posed t'be done an' we spar." He turned back. "Blice, gerready."
Blice frowned, but nodded and got back into position. Bulkhead noticed the glare that Papa gave to Blice seconds before they began. He was still surprised when he nailed Blice with a palm heel in the face before grabbing him and slamming him down without mercy. "STAY down!" the politoed yelled.
Bulkhead dropped his jaw at the display before snarling and standing up. "Hey! That was bull!" he accused, pointing. "You don't just--"
"Boy, do you know the rules a sumo?" Papa Frog cut him off. He tromped over. "Only rules a sumo is don't go out the ring, yo' hands gotta be open, and only feet on the flo'!" He stopped in front of Bulkhead, who had backed up a pace in surprise, ears down as he withstood Papa Frog's powerful gaze. "Anythin' else goes, y'hear? Jus' that the grabbin' stuff folks do is mo' effective."
"Then why did you--" began Bulkhead.
"Don' mean it ain' gon' happen, I'm trainin' 'im fo' that," Papa Frog replied. "Now, you quit stickin' 'at slimy-ass nose a yours inna shittat ain' yo's, or else."
Bulkhead felt a familiar feeling inside of him as Papa Frog stood over him and said this. When Papa Frog turned to return to the ring, telling Blice to get up again, he breathed a sigh of relief that he was away from him. He sat down on the bench and scowled at the ensuing sparring. He noticed that, whenever Blice managed to win a round, Papa Frog beat him the next, being more ruthless than normal. By the time they called it quits, Blice did not look very good. Bulkhead wanted to go comfort him, but Papa Frog, seeing him move over, stepped in front of him suddenly, making the arcanine bump off his rump.
"Hey, guys!" The fatsos turned to look at the entrance, seeing Souta walk in waving. He remained human. "Just coming down to check. How're things coming along?"
Bulkhead immediately took the chance. He pointed at Papa Frog. "Sir, Papa Frog has been extremely rude to me, and I don't think he's been very fair in the sparring," he reported vehemently. "Not only that, but he threatened me, and prevented me from doing any sparring."
At this, Souta frowned and crossed his arms. "That's some pretty bold stuff coming from a newbie," he commented. "Frog?"
Papa Frog stood up and smiled brightly, chuckling. "He's tellin' it tall, sir," he said. He sounded far different from before. "Sure, I said I don' wannim sparrin', but das 'cuz he's so green."
Souta looked at Blice, who simply nodded, and Bulkhead bit his lip. "He did say that," the arcanine admitted. "But the other stuff is tr--"
"Exaggeratin'," Papa Frog interrupted. "He's jus' jealous he can't talk to his new friend. I been fair as I always have, which is perfectly."
Souta frowned and looked at the other two. Blice, to Bulkhead's shock, nodded. Bulkhead, however, shook his. "This is my first day on what's actually my very first job," Bulkhead thumbed his chest. "I'm not stupid enough to try and get someone else in trouble for no good reason."
Souta hummed in thought, then sighed. "Well, I'm sorry, but I've known those two longer than you. I'll take the majority vote this time, Bulkhead," he declared. "But I want there to be some proper rotation next sparring session, alright?" He pointed at Papa Frog as he said this. "If I hear he wasn't allowed to spar again, you'll be getting docked some pay. He's gotta learn through action, not just by watching. He gets enough of that in school. Do loser out rotation." With that, he turned on his heel and left.
Soon after he was gone, Papa Frog grumbled that he was hitting the can. As soon as he was gone, Bulkhead went to Blice. "What the right royal f*** is wrong with you!?" he asked in a low voice. "The hell you doing!?"
Blice snarled and shoved Bulkhead. "Shut up! You don' understand!" he defended. "He's jus' rough, aight?"
"I'll say," Bulkhead muttered, crossing his arms. 'I know one when I see one, and Papa Frog's more a bullyfrog.'
Workout went alright, since everyone did their own thing. Basketball was more intense, and this time, Papa Frog agreed off the bat to let Bulkhead join. Bulkhead found that the point was to simulate charging and practice getting a good grip when your enemy tried to squirm his way out.
When sparring came around again, he ended up first going up against Papa Frog. The Water-type glared at him menacingly while Blice counted down. (They had also agreed that the one sitting out should do the countdown.) The charge was huge, Bulkhead finding that the amphibian was far heavier than he looked, perhaps from the muscle mass. However, after watching so much, he had an idea of what to do.
Planting his footpaw back and dodging aside just a bit, he grabbed at Papa Frog and started to let himself spin on the braced footpaw, using the other's momentum to help. He turned and shoved Papa Frog out of the ring, winning in less than two seconds. Papa Frog was fuming when he turned to face Bulkhead, who gave him a small bow. Papa Frog snarled and bowed back.
However, when Bulkhead went against Blice, he found himself on the floor in less than a second and a half.
In fact, he only managed to defeat Blice once whenever he sparred.
'So why is he failing so much against Papa Frog?' he wondered as he watched another round. 'Is he that afraid of him?' He shuddered. 'If Papa Frog has been here even half as long as Blice...that must be some torture.'
They cycled through their activites four times before the clock on the wall said it was time for Bulkhead to go. Throughout the day, though, Yui and Souta came down to check on them periodically. It was nightfall by the time they left. Bulkhead left first, Blice saying he'll stay a bit longer.
At home, eating a reheated supper, Burkhart couldn't stop thinking about Blice. 'I need to talk to him on Friday,' he asserted.
The next day, Burkhart walked out of school to get on the bus. However, Reggie and his cronies were waiting there, to his surprise. Usually Reggie came late, waiting in the warm building during winter.
Burkhart ended up getting beaten up before the bus came, the group dragging him behind the building to do so. Burkhart barely caught the bus, having to run after it frantically before it stopped. When he got home, he hid his face as best he could until he reached his room. There, after making sure he had the space, he stripped and briefly transformed. As he had hoped, the bruises had vanished, the pain stopped. 'If that ain't useful, I dunno what is,' he mused.
However, when Friday came around, Blice was just as willing to talk about Papa Frog as before. So they ignored it and trained together. Bulkhead noticed that Blice's spirits were much higher while they trained alone without Papa Frog there.
When they were resting, they decided to go ahead and battle. Bulkhead had trained his team up to match Blice in White, so they went Black vs. White. It was quite the battle, both saving the replays to review some other time. As they battled Blice began muttering something. "Monster misbehavin'/Planet's needin' savin'/Situation's grave and/I'll form the head...."
Bulkhead raised his eyebrows as he heard this. "What're you saying?" he asked with a chuckle.
Blice looked up and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, jus' this rap song I like," he answered. "Called 'I'll Form the Head' by MC Frontalot."
Bulkhead tutted him, shaking his finger. "No, no--you mean nerdcore in that case," he corrected. "One of the few forms of rap I can take."
Blice arched his brow. "You hearda him?"
Bulkhead grinned mischievously. "The enemy is clever/We're smaller, but whatever/When we put it together/I'll form the head!" he recited in perfect rhythm.
Blice mirrored the expression. "Y'all can do the treading"
"Swing energy machete"
"If combination's ready"
"I'll form the head"
They bobbed their heads as they repeated the last line four more times in unison, as in the song. After they finished, they sat back and laughed. "Dude, we oughtta get together and karaoke that or something," Bulkhead suggested. "Like at the end-of-the-year Talent Show."
"Yeah," Blice nodded. "Dibs on Turquoise!" He laughed with Bulkhead. "That'd be a great excuse to try an' meet outside a here, too. Just...." He chuckled nervously. "I'm...not the best-lookin' guy, kinda scary, so when it happens, jus' warnin' ya."
Bulkhead chuckled, nodding. "I ain't the most visually-appealing guy, myself," he comforted. "Anyway, move."
"Right." Blice selected his attack.
In the end, it turned out to be a draw; while Blice's in-the-red last pokémon got the last KO, Bulkhead's pokémon took it down with its Aftermath Ability causing a considerable amount of damage at the end. They laughed, shaking paws for a good game. "We'll see how you fare wit' the sequels, though," Blice grinned. "I been trainin' ma team up fer ya."
"Then I'd better gorge 'em at the cafés," Bulkhead grinned.
"Then they'll be like us!" Blice joked, slapping his gut. Bulkhead joined in his laughter.
As they got back to working out, Bulkhead, who spotted for Blice (which the latter appreciated a lot), thought for a bit, looking down. His gut was partially covering Blice's head. "...Say, Blice?" he asked after the latter put the bar up to rest and switch.
Blice panted as he rolled off the bench, half-literally. "Yeah?"
Bulkhead settled into place and grabbed the bar; the weight was a little much for him, but he could handle it. 'Besides, it's only 400 pounds,' he mused sarcastically. "...Do you...like being like this...?" he asked quietly. He grunted and began pumping.
Blice chuckled. He was quiet for a few reps. At 7, he licked his lips and replied, "I gotta admit, it's a lot nicer'n you'd think bein' a lardass would be. Bein' a freakin' 'mon is pretty awesome, too. So yeah, I like this." He shrugged. "Not sayin' I'd wanna be this fo' the rest of my life, but 'ey."
"Ah." Bulkhead struggled and got the tenth rep up before he placed the bar back in place, arms burning. "Well...." He rolled off and panted a moment. "...I think I really like it, myself," he admitted. He felt a blush in his face. "I mean, I'm...I'm really soft, warm, big, strong....It's really nice."
Blice laughed. "Dude, you a furry or sum'n?" he asked facetiously, raising one of the world's bushiest eyebrows.
Bulkhead shook his head quickly. "Heck, no!" He laughed. "At least, I'm pretty sure I'm not. It's just...." He grabbed and shook his belly, watching and feeling it jiggle, over five hundred pounds of arcanine in that black-fuzzed blob. It felt incredible--the sense of size combined with the strangely pleasant feeling he got. "Like I said, this is so nice." He snickered. "Being my favorite pokémon ever doesn't hurt, either," he added. He looked up with a smile before blowing a small plume of fire. He had been practicing during rests sometimes, and he was still amazed by it. (He was further amazed when he realized his fur, thank goodness, was fireproof.)
Blice sniggered back, slapping and rubbing Bulkhead's shoulder. "It's aight, man," he said. "Le's jus' have fun while we can, eh?"
"Yeah." Bulkhead smiled warmly, giant cream cloud of a tail wagging behind him. "Alright, your turn...."
Another week went by of this. Burkhart would be bullied at school daily, and he would watch Blice be bullied semiweekly. On the next Saturday, Bulkhead found himself alone when he went to train. "Where's Blice?" he asked when Yui came down a bit later to greet him (she had been in the bathroom when he got there, so she missed him).
Yui, changing into her gardevoir form as she walked, features melting into those of the pokémon, shook her head sadly. "He called in sick," she answered. "He sounded pretty bad. Papa Frog is coming, though."
"Oh...." Bulkhead looked down, disappointed. "Well, that's alright. I hope he gets better."
Yui giggled and poked Bulkhead's belly, watching it jiggle. "You know, at first, I was kinda grossed out by the whole thing, but now it's just so fun!" she described. She took a pen and tossed it at Bulkhead's stomach, watching it bounce back. "You guys' fat is actually bouncy, like a cartoon!"
"Hey," Bulkhead blushed as Yui proceeded to play with his belly. After a few moments, though, he smiled and sat down, letting her do what she wished. "You're right, this is fun," he chuckled. "It's hilarious to see myself this huge, my body doing this."
Yui kneaded at his stomach like dough. Bulkhead suddenly felt waves of pleasure spread from the spot, blushing. He began to growl-purr without realizing it. Yui giggled as she did this. "This is actually kinda relaxing," she commented. "And I bet you're not the least bit cold in this weather, especially down here where the heating isn't that great." She paused, then grinned before hopping and turning, landing butt-first on his gut.
Bulkhead gasped a little at the feeling this made--both from his body and from his mind. A girl was sitting on him in a friendly way. He blushed more, cream fur again showing the red for whatever reason. "Uh....Y-Y-You should...ask first," he stammered.
Yui turned and regarded him with an interested look. "Oh? You okay?" she asked. She grinned mischievously, snickering. "You're blushing~!"
Bulkhead rubbed the back of his neck-collar. "W-Well, i-it's just...never been so close to a girl...without them wanting to yell at me or beat me up..." he explained quietly.
Yui giggled. "That's alright," she said. She paused. "Do you have any friends other than Blice?" she wondered, tilting her head.
Bulkhead paused his purring before looking away. "Yeah, online," he lied.
Yui frowned, covering her mouth as she knit her brow. "Oh...shoot, sorry," she apologized quietly. She smiled and patted his shoulder. "You know, I think of you as a friend."
Bulkhead looked back, raising his eyebrows. "Really?" he asked. "But...you don't know me that well...."
"So?" Yui giggled again and poked his double chin. "You're a co-worker and a nice guy, so I don't see why we can't be friends," she reasoned. "Maybe I'll come down during breaks and talk with you a bit, get to know each other."
Bulkhead blushed more, smiling. He began purring again. "Thanks, Yui," he said softly.
Yui smiled sweetly. Before she could do anything else, the door opened, and both pokémon looked to see Papa Frog, ornery as always, walk in. "Oh, afternoon, Papa Frog!" Yui greeted brightly. "Sorry, but Black Ice is--"
"I know," Papa Frog interrupted. "I'd like to get trainin' now, so could I have my partner, please?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. He smirked. "Though I wouldn' mind you bein' my partner," he added smoothly.
Yui blushed and dismounted Bulkhead, smiling a little less. She bowed briefly to both of them. "I have to get back to work," she said quickly. "I'll be back to check on you two later. Good luck!" She turned and shuffled off, shifting back to human form as she did so.
Papa Frog snickered. "She wants me," he shrugged. He turned to Bulkhead and kicked him, doing little else than ripple the black sea. "Well, gittup, you dog," he ordered. "We gon' spar o' wha'?"
Bulkhead stopped purring and grumbled, standing up again. "Yeah, let's go."
Papa Frog pulled every trick in the book against Bulkhead, laughing each time he won and complaining each time he lost. After a while, Bulkhead noticed it was time to take a break. "Hey, Papa Frog," he said, wiping his mouth; he had ended up getting a split lip by a hard slap. "It's break time."
Papa Frog guffawed. "What, the puppy gettin' scared?" he asked.
Bulkhead frowned. "No, we've been at this for twenty minutes, that's what," he replied.
"Oh," Papa Frog snickered, "you jus' can' 'andle it. You a weak-ass nerd like Blice, no surprise."
Bulkhead crossed his arms, fighting a growl. "Quit acting like a kid and take a break, alright?" he asked. He shook his head and turned to walk to a bench.
"Whatchu call me?" demanded Papa Frog. Bulkhead just ignored him. "Look at me, queer!"
Bulkhead blinked, slowing a step briefly. 'That sounds familiar,' he thought. He shook his head and continued. He heard Papa Frog following him.
"Boy, yo' betta look at me righ' now, o' you gon' be so sorry," he threatened.
Bulkhead gripped his bicep tighter, but he kept walking. 'Just ignore him, he'll go away,' he told himself.
Incredible pain erupted from his back as he was flung forward, slamming to the ground, his face smacking against the bench, a howl escaping his throat. He lay there in shock, panting, heart pounding. His back felt wet under the pain, and he felt something warm coming from his nostrils.
"I *told*ju, bitch," Papa Frog said, grabbing Bulkhead's arm and rolling him over to his back. He set a foot on his belly, leaning on it, resting his gut on the body part to press more weight down on where he knew Bulkhead's stomach was. Bulkhead tensed his abs as best he could, but it was still uncomfortable. "When I say look at me, you betta look at me."
Bulkhead's eyes went wide as it hit him. 'Reggie!?' He growled and, with all his strength, struck the gut in front of him to the side. Papa Frog grunted and hobbled, getting off. Bulkhead quickly got up and stepped back. "You do that again, and I'm going to report you," he warned. "I'm not going to take bullying at work."
"Bullyin'?" Papa Frog scoffed. "This ain' bullyin', this is upholdin' the order." He thumbed his chest. "Firs' rule, bitch--I'm Alpha, you're Omega. Got that?"
Bulkhead snarled, but sighed. 'He's not worth it,' he told himself. "Whatever," he growled. "C'mon, let's just rest." He walked to the other side of the gym and sat on a bench there. Thankfully, Papa Frog just gave him a glare, choosing to sit down at the other bench.
Later on, they had just finished their workout when Yui came back down. "Hey, Bulkhead!" she chirped, waving as she approached.
Bulkhead, sitting at a bench near the entrance while he rested, smiled and waved. "Hey," he greeted. "How's it going?"
"Busy, being the weekend," she shrugged. She stopped and widened her eyes when she saw Bulkhead's face. "Wh...Bulkhead, what happened?" she asked.
Bulkhead opened his mouth to speak, but Papa Frog slapped a hand hard on his shoulder and chuckled. "Th'idiot wasn' lettin' me spot 'im an' the bar hit 'im pretty hard," he answered. He frowned at Bulkhead. "Toldja to listen to me, idjit."
Bulkhead snarled back at him. Papa Frog gave him a look that said, "You follow, or you're not going to be here next week." The arcanine sighed. "Yeah. I was being stupid," he lied. "Don't worry."
Yui smiled, eyes still unsure, and she patted Bulkhead. "Just be careful next time, alright?" she asked. Bulkhead nodded. She looked at Papa Frog and rubbed her neck. "Uh, Papa Frog? I'd like to speak with Bulkhead, so, um...?" she asked sheepishly.
"What, yo' lovebirds or somethin'?" Papa Frog asked, raising an eyebrow. The other two squeaked and shook their heads, blushing and denying it, and he laughed. "Then why be so private, eh?"
Yui bit her lip, blushing as she looked between Bulkhead and Papa Frog. "Uh...."
Papa Frog chuckled and stepped around Bulkhead, leaning down and grinning at Yui. "'Course, wouldn' 'ave anythin' against you talkin' private t'me," he added, wiggling his eyebrows.
Yui blushed harder and stepped back again. She bowed briefly. "I need to get back to work, sorry," she apologized quickly before trotting back upstairs.
Bulkhead scowled at Papa Frog's back as she left. He looked at Papa Frog, at her leaving, and at Papa Frog, who had turned to him, again. 'Screw this noise.' Before the politoed could say anything, Bulkhead stood up. "I'm going home early," he announced. "I've got homework."
He began to leave when Papa Frog grabbed him by the squishy scruff. "Da hell you doin'?" he asked. "You don' jus' leave work 'cuz you wanna. Jus' do yo' homework tomorrow o' tonight." He yanked him back, turning him to look eye to eye. "I can't do nothin' alone, either, 'cept work out and run. Annat's retarded."
Bulkhead swatted his arm away, saying, "You can't keep m--" before he got decked. He yipped, stumbling back. "The--" he tried, but he got slammed again, yipping again. He raised his arms and blocked off another punch. "The hell you doin'?!" he demanded, scared, backing up towards the door.
"Teachin' you a lesson, boy!" growled Papa Frog, sending a kick to Bulkhead's mawashi. Thankfully, Bulkhead's belly covered himself enough that he was protected, but it still hurt. "You don' leave 'til I'm done!"
Bulkhead looked and saw him opening his mouth wide, water pooling inside. He did the only thing he could think of: He roared and charged forwards, slamming his immense weight right into Papa Frog. He knocked him back a bit, managing to remain in place relatively, but more importantly, he interrupted the attack. Then, taking a breath while backtracking, he blew a Flamethrower at him.
Papa Frog laughed. "Da hell you think that gon' do? I'm a Water-type!" he taunted. Regardless, he was slowed, trying to see through the heat. He opened his mouth and began charging again.
Bulkhead took the chance to grab the door and race in. He couldn't see what he was doing, but he could predict. He had barely slammed it shut when he felt the slam of a powerful Water attack against the side. He turned and, lifting his belly like the apron it was, raced up the stairs. He charged open the trapdoor and jumped out, throwing it back down quickly. He dashed into the locker room and changed as fast as he could, heart pounding the whole time.
Burkhart had just started lacing on his shoes, the final step, when he heard the door slam open. He whipped his head as he heard Papa Frog holler, "GETCHER ASS OVER HERE, BITCH! I AIN'T DONE WITCHU!"
Burkhart looked around the room. He got out of his shoes and grabbed them in one hand while he ran around the room quickly and softly. 'Good thing I haven't put my shoes on, after all,' he mused. He looked at the lockers. None of them were more than foot lockers, nowhere near big enough to hide in. There was no sort of middle wall to hide behind. All he had was the changing room, and that was too obvious.
He noticed, though, that the lockers were not built into the wall, and that there was a corner where there was space on the walls where the lockers did not cover. He darted over and ducked just as Papa Frog came into the locker room, gazing about. "Where are you!?" he demanded. "Come out!!"
Burkhart looked around his spot as he pressed against the wall. He saw a dusty, rusty bolt laying forgotten in the corner. Praying that the oldest trick in the book would work, he grabbed it, aimed, and threw it underhand, making sure his arm didn't peek from behind the lockers. Thankfully, it didn't hit the ground early.
Clinkclangle! The bolt landed in the changing room. Papa Frog raced over. As soon as he reached the changing room, Burkhart grabbed his bag and hustled out of the room. Hearing the noise of rustling clothes, Papa Frog spun around and shouted. He began chasing, charging another water blast.
Burkhart burst out the door and scrambled to the other door, the one back into the restaurant. Water slammed into the wall, aligned with where he had been half a second before. He grabbed the handle and thrust it open.
"GET BACK HERE!" screamed the furious amphibian, in the room now. He started charging, surprisingly quick.
Burkhart dashed through the door and slammed it shut, backpack strap inches away from a grasping hand. He went on down the hall and into the main restaurant, darting under an unoccupied table. He sat there, wheezing, holding a stitch in his chest as his heart pounded a lightyear a minute.
Other guests turned to see what the ruckus was, barely seeing the stocking feet of Burkhart enter under the table. They blinked in confusion before turning back to their meal.
Burkhart remained under there for a solid minute, lungs burning. Finally, he risked peeking out, wondering if he had changed back to--someone was coming down the hall! He scooted back quickly, going against the far wall under the table in the booth. He watched as two legs in baggy pants walked past.
"Oh! Leaving early?" asked a different waitress than Yui. A grunt, and the person kept going on. "Uh...okay, have a nice day!" A moment later, the door to the restaurant slammed shut.
Burkhart remained under the table a little longer, getting his shoes on at last. Then, after he was sure he was gone, he crawled out.
"What the heck are you doing?"
Burkhart yelped and looked up quickly, bumping his head on the bottom of the table. He heard a familiar giggle and opened his wincing eyes to a sight for sore eyes.
"I'm sorry, Bulkhead," Yui apologized, reaching down a hand to help him up. "What on Earth were you doing down there?"
Burkhart gulped, throat dry as a bone, a few tears coming down his cheeks as he took her hand, standing. "Yui?" he croaked.
Yui dropped her jaw a little as she looked at his face. She set the menus she had been holding down onto the table. "Oh, God, you okay?" she asked quietly, holding his shoulders. "What happened?"
Burkhart took a deep breath. "Papa Frog attacked me," he replied softly. "And what he said before...he lied...he was being unfair in our sparring and he ended up blasting me with, like, Water Gun or something...."
Yui scowled. "Normally I'd be a little suspicious, but you look like you've seen a ghost," she said.
"Check in the challenge room, you'll see evidence," he added, thumbing over his shoulder. "I'm going to go home now. Sorry."
Yui stopped his heart when she gave him a tight hug. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I'll talk to Souta about this right away. I never liked Papa Frog anyway, but we need him. The match is next Saturday." She paused, then looked at Burkhart. "Hello?"
Burkhart, face flushed entirely red, snapped out of it and shook his head, nodding afterwards. "I-I'm alright, thank you," he said quickly. "Um...I'm going to go now....Bye!" He escaped her grip and walked quickly out the door.
Thankfully, nobody attacked him on the way home.
Monday began and ended again. Burkhart noticed that Reggie appeared a bit out of it, staring off into space more than normal in class. He found him waiting outside for him again. Strangely, he was alone. Sighing, Burkhart went and tried to wait for the bus without making any motion that he noticed.
A moment passed. Then another. And another. Burkhart was confused. Was it working for once? He chanced a glance over at Reggie. Reggie was looking at him. 'Crud.'
He ignored him again.
"Hey." He came over. "Look at me, queer."
Burkhart sighed, then looked at him. "What?" he asked.
"Don' you 'what' me," Reggie snapped.
Burkhart snarled. "What, come here to try and finish what you started on Saturday?" he sneered.
Reggie blinked, giving a strange look at him. "...The hell?" he asked. "I din' do nuttin' on Saturday to you!"
"Liar!" Burkhart pointed at Reggie. "You almost freaking killed me!" he accused.
Reggie snarled and shoved Burkhart, who stumbled back but didn't fall. "The freakin' 'ell you talkin' 'bout, n***a!?" he shouted. "I was sick on Saturday!"
Burkhart scoffed. "Nice try--that's why the other one of us was gone!" he pointed again. "Don't steal other people's alibis!"
Reggie widened his eyes, eyebrows narrowed a bit. "What the fuck are you sayin'!?" he asked.
Burkhart marched up and got in Reggie's face. "I'm saying that I'm sick of you pushing me around," he seethed. "It's enough I have to deal with you here. Now I have to deal with you when I'm doing something that by all means ought to be fun! And in a professional environment!"
Reggie grabbed Burkhart by the lapels and lifted him to eye level, pressing noses together, baring his teeth. "You betta start makin' sense or Imma make you unable t'even fap!" he threatened.
Burkhart scowled. "Leave me alone," he ordered, "Papa Frog."
Reggie's eyes practically leaped from their sockets. Dropping Burkhart, he stumbled back. "W-W-What did you just call me...?!" he wheezed.
Burkhart nodded. "The name you take at work," he answered, crossing his arms.
Reggie gaped for a good half minute before pointing. "B...Bulk...." he stuttered.
"Burkhart, dammit, get it right," Burkhart corrected.
Reggie shook his head and swallowed. "No...not Bulkhog," he said. He looked with confusion and wonder in his eyes and mouth. "Are...Are you...Bulkhead?"
Burkhart nodded. "Took you long enough," he spat. "Should I just call you Reggie or Papa Frog, now?"
Reggie narrowed his eyes and looked down. "Try Black Ice," he mumbled.
Burkhart blinked. "...What?" he asked.
Reggie looked up slowly. "...Dibs on Turquoise," he said slowly.
Burkhart froze. He and Reggie stood there, staring at each other, even as the bus stopped by them.
Burkhart is a high schooler who's picked on (and beaten up) by the insufferable Reggie. One day, he discovers a sushi joint on the way home. Its slogan? "Nobelly leaves empty and sad!"
The establishment takes this slogan very seriously.
Light-the-Lucario on FA commissioned me to write a story involving someone transforming into a sumo arcanine...last December. ^^; This is the first part to it, since I ended up deciding to do something different...and it escalated...and it's currently at over 19k words. I will post the second half when it's done.
Because no matter what, a finished ending deserves to be seen.