Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Here is a story I posted on the old forum.  I'm re posting it here in preparation for posting a multi-part continuation I started called "Containment", which I don't think I ever got around to posting on the old forum.  I'm having issues with formatting (took forever to whip this post into shape) so when I finish fixing the continuation, I'll post it too.

 

 

Part 1

 

Bruce Banner watched cautiously from concealment.  He was just inside a thickly wooded, dark forest that appeared to border a public park.

 

Minutes earlier, he had awakened nearby on the forest floor.  Now, he was trying to figure out where the Hulk's latest rampage had landed him, once the beast's rage had spent itself enough to allow the unstoppable green powerhouse to transform back into the trim, sensitive physicist.

 

The park was nearly deserted.  Still, the half-naked man was reluctant to show himself.  The army's Hulk-Buster unit was probably combing the country-side in search of his alter ego and drawing attention to himself before he was able to find some suitable clothing was not a good idea.

 

He hunkered down lower into the undergrowth as someone came running toward him.  At first he was afraid he'd been spotted, but the young man approaching at a run, veered slightly and entered the tree-line along a trail that led deeper into the woods.

 

The kid appeared to Banner to be twenty-years old at the oldest.  He had close-cropped coppery, red hair and a light dusting of freckles on his arms.  He was even skinnier than Banner, but appeared to be close to the same height.  Which made the fact that he was clutching a duffel-bag of the type one might use to carry a change of clothing very interesting to Banner.

 

Bruce decided to trail the kid and see if he might leave that duffel unattended at some point, long enough for the desperate scientist to make off with it.

 

The kid slowed once he was well into the woods.  He was wearing baggy, athletic shorts and a tank-top that had "Middleton Maulers" printed across the chest in red letters.  Banner refined his estimate or the young man's age to somewhere in the range of a high-school upperclassman.  

 

The totally lost physicist tried to mentally place a city or town called Middleton in order to glean some insight into his whereabouts.  Unfortunately, he wasn't familiar with any such locality. The kid came to a stop in a small clearing.  He stood for a moment, breathing heavily, then moved to take a seat on a large rock, tossing his duffel to the ground beside him.

 

*****

 

Christopher Sean O'Malley took a seat in the small clearing in the woods by Greendale park.  It was a place he often came to when he needed a little solitude.  A senior this year at Middleton High School, he had just washed out at the tryouts for the school's football team for the fourth and final time.

 

Even though Chris had always been the oldest kid in his class (he'd be nineteen in three months), he had always been a late bloomer.  Kids two years his junior often out-performed him in sports and all his pubescent growth, which had FINALLY begun to manifest itself, was coming in the form of added height.  Not that his current five foot, ten inches was really all that tall, but at least he was no longer so noticeably shorter than his classmates.  Still, this was small consolation for having just been so totally humiliated by no less than three sophomores and even one freshman in the football tryouts.

 

The other boys seemed to progress effortlessly in their physical training endeavors.  Ironically, Chris had become infatuated with the sport of bodybuilding at a very young age, and decided, in the way the young kids do, that he was going to be one when he grew up.  For years, Chris exhausting himself regularly with a pretty intense weight-training program, yet no amount of lifting seemed to have the slightest impact on his stick-like limbs.  Frustratingly, it seemed that all around him, kids years younger were proudly tearing the sleeves from their old team workout shirts to showcase growing muscles to both approving coaches and admiring girls.

 

Being denied the latter never really seemed to bother Chris, a fact that he subconsciously avoided considering, but the fact that none of the school's coaches ever had any reason to notice him was a constant source of frustration.

 

On top of all this, Chris's comparative frailty made him a natural target for every belligerent miscreant in three grade-levels.  As a result, he kept mostly to himself and had come to grudgingly accept a  position as something of an outcast.

 

Sometimes Chris wanted nothing more than to be able to overpower those bullies and maybe, just once,  humiliate his other classmates who were, to the last guy, so physically superior to him.  Realizing that he would never have what it took to succeed in bodybuilding, he dreamed of excelling at some manner of sport.  Unfortunately, the only thing he came close to lacking more than physical prowess was any kind of athletic coordination.

 

Chris contented himself with reading for amusement and studying.  He wasn't a stellar student, but he did okay.  He loved the sciences, but tried to keep that passion under wraps.  There was no bigger tell that screamed "total geek" than being a science nerd, and he had enough working against him in that department.

 

As if the odds weren't stacked against him enough to keep him from blending in with his classmates as an equal.  He had recently discovered himself to be a mutant.  Something that, if it became known to anyone else, was sure to make him even more of a pariah.  Being a ‘mutie', as people like him were disparagingly referred to, was not only isolating, but dangerous.  Especially since the mutant ability he manifested seemed about the most useless ‘power' imaginable.

 

Chris stood and picked up a fragment of a decaying tree-limb from the ground. He thought he heard movement in the undergrowth nearby and stood motionless, listening until he was

convinced no one was around.  Holding up the limb, he concentrated and an aura of ghostly-white light formed around the limb.  The aura quickly spread up his arm and soon engulfed his entire body as well as the tree-limb.

 

Rearing back his arm, Chris hurled the limb away into the woods.  But the white-aura remained around the limb, it stretched into a kind of tether that connected him to the branch.  The tether stretched thinner until it slowed, then stopped the limb in mid-flight.  Then with a strange elasticity, the ethereal tether snapped the limb back toward Chris, who deftly caught it in the same hand he'd used to hurl it away.

 

Chris examined the limb then smirked.  "Couldn't have been the ability to fly or shoot lasers from my eyes."  He said, derisively.  "No, I get the ability to turn anything I want into some kind of weird yo-yo."  Chris shook his head.  "Just my luck. For this, I get to be an even bigger freak than I was before."

 

"Us freaks need to stick together."  A voice said from behind Chris, causing him to jump and turn around.

 

Banner had decided that this discouraged youth might be as much in need of a friend as he himself currently was, and that direct engagement was probably the way to go.  He emerged from his hiding place and approached.

 

"You...you were spying on me?"  Chris asked disbelievingly.  Then, more angrily.  "You know? You know about me!"

 

Banner held up his hands, trying to calm the boy.  "It's okay, I wouldn't tell anyone, I promise."

 

The thought of being exposed as a mutant by this interloper, as well as the lingering humiliation of being beaten yet again by younger guys in the football tryouts combined to fan the anger Chris felt at being spied on into a fiery rage.

 

When he charged Banner, throwing a punch at the older man's exposed midsection it took Banner completely by surprise.  Bruce felt the boy's punch land home, but instead of the wrenching pain he expected to accompany the gut-punch, he barely felt the hit at all.

 

Banner was so used to being thoroughly trounced in any sort of physical confrontation that it took him a moment to realize that this kid was far weaker than even the slender scientist.

 

Years of pent up rage boiled to the surface inside Chris and he hurled himself at Banner, his arms a flurry of ineffectual punches.

 

"Look, kid..."  Bruce began, but trailed off, momentarily amazed at how easily he was withstanding the young man's continued pummeling of his abdomen.  "...I know what it's like to be different."

 

Bruce abandoned his attempt to communicate and fell silent.  The kid was so lost in channeling his anguish into his assault that Banner didn't think a rational discussion was possible.  He decided to just let the young man vent.

 

Also, it felt odd to be so much more powerful than someone else.  It was strangely gratifying to shrug off such an intense assault with such ease.  He felt his brutish other half stir somewhere in a dark corner of his mind.  The feeling of relative strength Banner was experiencing must have resonated strongly with his powerful alternate persona.

 

Chris's punches slowed.  He stared in frustration at the strange man's lean and surprisingly strong abs, then to the look of concern on the man's face.  There was no sign of discomfort at all.  The younger man gulped as he gave up on his attack.  He wondered with dread if their was going to be a counter attack from the slight, but obviously more powerful man.

 

"Feel better?"  Banner asked.  He smiled, concentrating on not letting that smile slip into a smirk of superiority.

 

Chris was suddenly very glad that he'd never taken his father's advice to punch out the next bully that picked on him.  His father was constantly giving him pointers on how to throw a punch effectively and urging him to take the fight to aggressive bullies.

 

But If this guy could withstand such an all out effort on his part, then his only hope for surviving an attack on some of the powerfully built jocks that tormented him in school would have been for them to collapse from laughter before they broke him in half.

 

Chris stumbled back from the other man.  He looked like he was about to flee the raggedly dressed stranger.

 

Again Banner held up his hands and tried to calm Chris.  "It's alright.  I'm not angry and I'm not going to tell anyone your secret.  But I would like to ask you if you have some clothes that I might....borrow."  Bruce gestured toward the duffel nearby on the ground.

 

"It's not like I could stop you from taking them."  Chris managed with resignation.

 

Banner's smile widened.  "Don't feel too bad."  He said rubbing his abs, casually.  One of the benefits of being fairly scrawny was that it could really make a guy's abs stand out.   "There are times when guys a hundred times as strong as you couldn't do any better."

 

Chris just stared at Bruce with confusion.

 

"Uhm...that power you were using earlier..."  Bruce said, trying to distract the boy from his last comment, as well as gain the boy's confidence.  "...might be that there's more to it.   Sometimes mutant abilities can take a while to develop fully.  My name's Bruce, by the way."

 

Chris was slowly starting to accept the man's claim that he meant the boy no harm.  If the guy had wanted to, the boy reasoned, he could have clocked him and then took what he wanted by now.

 

As Chris's mind calmed, questions about the older man began to form in his head.  "What happened to your clothes?"

 

The man wore only the tattered remains of a reserved pair of khaki pants.  Incongruously, Chris could see what appeared to be a racy, bright purple pair of underwear through the shredded material of the pants.

 

"It's a long story."  Bruce said then pointed at Chris's duffel.  "May I?"

 

Chris shrugged.  "Sure."

 

"Thanks."  Bruce said, sounding relieved.  He scooped up Chris's duffel and started pulling out the clothing inside.  After briefly survey the removed contents of the bag, he stripped away the remainder of his khakis, revealing the completely undamaged purple underwear beneath.

 

Chris watched the man pull on the pair of jeans and the t-shirt he found inside.  The clothes fit the wiry stranger snugly, Chris noticed grudgingly.  The same clothes hung loosely on him even though the two men were close to the same height.

 

For Banner's part, he wasn't used to this sort of trendy clothing.  The low-riding jeans and the vintage t-shirt fit him perfectly.  It was a revelation to him that he might actually be able wear something like this well.  He was approaching his mid-thirties, which wasn't that old, he reasoned.  But it would have never occurred to him under normal circumstances to try on such clothing and he was surprised at how well it suited him.  He was by no means a muscle-head, but the fitted nature of the outfit seemed to enhance his lean body to maximal effect.

 

"What did you mean earlier?  When you said us freaks have to stick together?"  Chris asked, taking a seat once again on the large rock.

 

Banner took a moment to consider his response.  He had what he needed from the boy, so he didn't see any reason to involve him further in his plight.  "Well, it's hardly normal to be lost and barely dressed in the middle of the woods now is it?"

 

Chris looked disappointed.  "So you're not a...a..."

 

"Mutant?"  Banner offered.  "No, not exactly."

 

"What?  Were you kidnapped or something?"  Chris asked.

 

Banner grinned, ruefully.  "Something like that, yeah."  Banner changed the subject.  "What's your name?"

 

"Chris."  The young man replied, reluctant to divulge his full name to this odd stranger.

 

"Chris."  Banner said with a nod.  "Can you tell me where the nearest city is?"

 

"Chicago is about 75 miles north of here."  Chris offered.

 

"Great."  Banner sighed.  He was several states from his base of operations in New Mexico.

 

Clothed, but still barefoot, Banner started to head out of the woods then remembered how Chris had helped him out.  He stopped and turned back to the kid.

 

"Umm, Chris.  Thanks a lot for the clothes."  Banner patted the pockets of the jeans he now wore.  "Do you have anything to write with?"

 

Chris pulled a scrap of paper and a pencil from a side pocket on his duffel-bag and handed them to Banner, who proceeded to scribble down some information.  "Contact this address and I'll see to it that you are reimbursed for your clothes."  Banner handed the paper and pencil back to the boy.  "If you're interested, I can put you in contact with some people who'd be able to help you to deal with your mutant ability."  Banner offered cautiously, wondering if his passing acquaintance with Professor Charles Xavier might be enough to justify steering the boy in the educator's direction.

 

Chris's eyes widened with fear.  "NO!  You said you wouldn't tell anyone."

 

Banner put a calming hand on the boy's narrow shoulder.  "And I won't."  He assured him.  "It's totally your call."

 

Banner wasn't sure what else he could do for the boy, particularly if he wasn't ready to accept help.  "I've got to go, but remember that if you ever change your mind...."

 

Chris shook his head emphatically to indicate that he wouldn't.

 

"...alright then."  Bruce relented.  One more bit of guidance occurred to him that he might offer the boy.  "If you're determined to go it alone, you need to work to make sure you understand the scope and nature of you mutant ability."

 

Chris looked confused.

 

Banner tried to explain what he had in mind.  "There are some pretty useful meditative techniques that I've used in the past to...umm, to manage anger."

 

Chris couldn't imagine that this gentle-seeming man would have much of a problem with his temper

 

Bruce continued.  "They basically just involved learning to clear your mind and focus on the nature of whatever it is that troubles you.  The technique is also helpful in allowing you to control and explore certain things - like your mutant ability."

 

"I don't think I understand."  Chris replied, looking lost.

 

"Maybe a demonstration would be better, here."  Banner motioned for Chris to follow him to a nearby grassy area.  "Just lay here and relax."

 

After Chris hesitantly did so, Banner knelt by the boy and continued.  "Clear everything from your mind, don't try and force this to happen, just imagine your thoughts all falling away. Concentrate on one thing - like the sound of your breathing - until it's all there is."

 

Chris lay still and silent.  He seemed to become more relaxed by the second.  After several minutes Banner broke the silence.  "Looks like you're a natural at this."  Banner said softly. Chris opened his eyes and blinked.  He almost seemed surprised that Banner was there at all.

 

Banner continued his coaching.  "Now try the technique again, but this time, instead of concentrating on your breathing, concentrate on your mutant ability.  When you're totally focused on it, use it...explore it."

 

Again, Chris closed his eyes.  The random thoughts in the back of his mind all dropped away.  For a moment, Chris wondered how to concentrate on something as abstract as his mutant ability.  He decided to imagine his power as a perfects sphere.  He visualized that sphere, then concentrated on it.  He willed his power to activate and in his imagination the sphere began to glow.

 

Banner watched as the glimmering glow he'd observed Chris generate earlier returned to Chris's hands, then spread to the rest of his body.  Bruce smiled slightly and softly whispered "Thaaaat's right.  Good man."

 

Chris scrutinized the sphere in his mind's eye.  At first it was perfectly round and continued to glow with luminescence like a soap-bubble.  Subtle, swirling detail in the sphere's surface showed that it was spinning slowly.

 

Then it began to wobble slightly.  Chris noticed a second, much smaller sphere had appeared out of nowhere.  It was adhered to the larger one.  Unlike the larger sphere which had begun to glow when the boy had switched his mutant ability on, this new sphere remained dim.  Chris focused his attention more onto the smaller orb and it began to grow.  The non-glowing sphere was soon nearly equal in size to the other and it was growing faster and faster. The analogy of soap bubbles again seemed the best way to describe how the two spheres stuck to each other.

 

The growing sphere quickly dwarfed the first one and swelled larger and larger.  Soon the rapidly expanding dark orb seemed to blot out the horizons of Chris's imaginary space.  It loomed over him like a great alien moon.  Chris's heart-rate quickened as he tried to understand what was happening.  He reached out with his mind to try to will the massive and expanding sphere to stop.

 

Instead the sphere lit up like the first one had, only the light from the growing sphere was blindingly bright - to the point of being painful.

 

Banner watched with growing alarm as Chris's tranquil expression became more and more troubled-looking.  He had just decided to rouse the boy when the eerie glow surrounding him vanished and Chris sat bolt upright with a loud gasp.

 

"Chris?  What's wrong?"  Bruce asked, wondering how the relaxation technique could have ended up distressing the kid instead.

 

Chris clambered to his feet, breathing heavily.  "I - I don't know."  The boy looked very upset.  "I think you'd better leave."  There was something almost threatening in the boys tone.

 

"I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what's wrong."  Banner demanded firmly.

 

Chris tried to push past Banner and leave himself, But Banner grabbed the boy by the shoulders.  "Oh no you don't" Banner admonished as he held the struggling boy in place.  He was concerned for the kid, but he also had to admit that his ego welcomed the opportunity to further test his strength against the young man.  He found that he was easily able to overpower him.

 

Chris struggled, but Banner held him easily.  "Look, you wanted me to explore my mutant abilities and I did."  Chris replied angrily.  "I didn't want the first power and now, thanks to you I find out that I have another one!"  Chris struggled more frantically.

 

Banner shook him slightly to better get his attention.  "What do you mean?  What kind of other

ability do you think you have?"

 

"I don't KNOW!"  Chris shouted.  "Knowing my luck I can probably smell like a skunk cabbage on demand...just...let me GO!"  With a surge of effort Chris slipped free of Banner's grip and stomped off.

 

Bruce didn't want to leave Chris alone in such a state...and he found himself oddly miffed that the kid had broken free from his grip.  Bruce sprinted after Chris and caught him by one arm.  Spinning the thinner man around he bear-hugged him, pinning his arms, then lifted him bodily into the air and carried him back to the clearing.  "You need to talk about this!"  Bruce urged the boy firmly.

 

"Let...ufff...let me go!"  Chris squirmed futilely as he protested.

 

"Struggling is going to get you nowhere."  Bruce explained confidently.  He squeezed until Chris let out a groan that trailed off into a whimper.  "Awright...awright."  He pleaded in surrender.  "I give."

 

Bruce was getting so caught up in the heady feeling of power he was getting from humbling the younger man that he was almost sorry Chris had given up.  "Promise?"  Bruce asked, prolonging the demonstration of his superior strength a bit longer.

 

Chris's face went red as he ran out of breath.  But Bruce could feel him nodding his head vigorously.  That's when Banner felt something odd.  Chris's soft, almost spongy feeling arms

and torso went rigid inside his bear-hug.  It was as though the boy transformed from helpless foam-rubber dummy into a writhing bundle of coiling sinew.

 

Bruce released the boy even as he felt him seem to find this strange, inner reserve of energy.  He reluctantly let him drop to the ground.  Banner found himself relishing the idea that the boy might be able to offer more of a challenge to him.

 

Bruce was surprised to see Chris almost immediately double over in pain.  "Sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you there, Chris."  Bruce said, a hint of haughtiness creeping into the his concerned tone.

 

Chris clutched at his stomach as he felt waves of strange and intense pressure course through his body.  Even as his hands pressed into his middle in an instinctive attempt to somehow alleviate the unpleasant sensations, he felt his soft gut tighten and grow firm.  He could feel ridges of muscle coalesce beneath his hands as if by magic.

 

As he grew accustomed to the strange sensations running rampant throughout his body,  he ran a hand along his upper arm.  He stared at his arm in shock.  It didn't look much different, but it definitely felt different

 

The boy smirked.  "I think I know what my other mutant power is."  He straightened up and stared challengingly at Banner.

 

"Well, good" Banner said as Chris approached closer to him.  "You know what they say; Knowledge is power."  Bruce slapped Chris on the back in an outwardly friendly manner, but put a lot more force behind it than was strictly necessary, as a way to remind the boy who was physically in control of this encounter.  The scientist didn't like the defiant look the kid was suddenly sporting since picking himself up off the ground.

 

Seemingly unaffected, Chris spread his arms and faced Banner directly.  Those arms didn't seem quite as thin as before.

 

Chris felt his anger return at Bruce's not so subtle attempts at physically cowing him.  "Thanks for everything Bruce."  Before Banner could react, Chris had enfolded the other man in an apparent embrace of gratitude.  "Maybe I can give you some insight into what power is in return."  With a small grunt, Chris actually lifted Banner off the ground.

 

Again Banner decided to put the kid in his place and returned the embrace.  Again he squeezed Chris hard in order to take the wind out of his sails.  But this time, it felt like trying to squeeze a fence post.

 

The boy laughed and inhaled deeply.  His torso expanded to what felt like an impossible degree, forcing Banner’s arms open wider and then Chris gave Banner a squeeze of his own.

 

"Arrrgh, Chris..."  Banner grunted.  He tried to free himself but it was no use.  "Chris that hurts!"

 

Chris continued laughing as he released Bruce, shoving him backward slightly.  "And how about this?  Does this hurt now?"  Chris fired off a surprise punch into Banner's abs, but unlike the dozens of punches Bruce had easily absorbed from the boy earlier, this one slammed into Bruce's stomach with authority and knocked the wind out of him.

 

"Unnnnfffff!   H-how did you..."  Bruce stammered as he struggled to remain upright against the pain in his abdomen.

 

Bruce felt himself become angry at what he considered to be such an unfair surprise attack.  He threw a reprisal punch of his own at Chris's stomach.  His fist was stopped dead as though it had encountered the side of a house.

 

Banner drew back his hand and rubbed his fist, which felt a little numb.

 

Still smiling, Chris hoisted his shirt at the hem, revealing actual visible abdominal muscle where before he had only ever had a flat, but featureless stomach.  "Looks like I'm finally going to be able to keep up with my classmates."  Chris raised one arm right in front of Banner's face.  "I wonder how many of them will be able to keep up with me now."  Chris flexed his biceps and his formerly stick-like arm jumped into muscular relief.  He looked like a well-trained member of a high-school swim team now.

 

Moving swiftly, Chris placed the stunned Banner into a headlock and squeezed.

 

Banner gripped Chris's forearms with one hand, his the boy's lead-pipe biceps with the other and strained in futility to free himself.  Banner felt his face turn red from the pressure...and from his alarmingly increasing anger levels.  "Chris....Chris.  You have to stop."  Banner gasped for the breath to continue.  "...you're putting yourself...in danger."  Banner tried to explain.

 

Chris just laughed at Banner's perceived threat.  He released the older man and shoved him once again, sending him stumbling.  The boy was even more intoxicated with his newfound relative strength than Bruce had been.  He advanced on Banner again and, slapping a hand on the other man's chest, he clutched a handful of the borrowed t-shirt.

 

"I'm not sure why you think I'm the one in danger."  With that and a growl of effort, Chris hoisted Banner off his feet with one arm.  Bruce wriggled helplessly, suspended in mid air.  He flailed for something to grab onto, finding only Chris's suddenly very sinewy arm.  That arm trembled only slightly with the effort of holding Banner aloft.  Otherwise, it was as though Bruce had grabbed onto an oak yardarm.

 

"Now THIS is what I call a mutant ability."  Chris chuckled with approval as he shook Banner slightly to reinforce his obvious, newfound physical superiority.  "And I think I'm still getting stronger."  Chris performed a biceps pose with his free arm.  Instead of a champion swimmer, that arm now looked like it might belong to a fairly powerful quarterback.

 

Just then, Banner began to scream as if in excruciating pain.  This shocked Chris enough that he dropped the man back to his feet, whereupon Banner immediately crumpled to the ground.  He curled into a virtual fetal position and began to make strange gurgling and growling noises.

 

Chris recovered a little from his shock.  "C'mon, you're not that fragile."  Chris advanced and hauled Banner to his feet.  He was further surprised to find that Banner was now a good foot taller than he was.  The older man's face had taken on a more chiseled, primitive aspect and he was ever so slightly beginning to turn...greenish.

 

"What!"  Chris gaped.  "What the hell are you?"  Chris released the ever more hulking man and sprang back from him as Banner reared taller and became more intensely green in color.

 

Chris watched as the cuffs of the jeans he had loaned Banner earlier rode up on the man's lengthening legs, then split open against calves that were the size of bowling balls and still getting bigger.  The t-shirt was splitting along dozens of different tears and in moments it shredded to ragged strips against Banner's rippling, swelling torso.

 

In a matter of seconds, the slim, lost man Chris had just met had transformed into a seven-foot tall mass of bulging green muscle.  As the beast leaned back in a ground trembling roar of fury at the sky, Chris realized who...or what, he was now confronted with.

 

"You...You're the Hulk?!"  Chris exclaimed hoarsely, his throat constricting with fear.  The boy finally overcame his shock and turned and fled at top speed.

 

Part 2

 

The Hulk's post-transformational bellowing wound down and the brute stood looking around his new environment.  The form of a fleeing human caught his eye as it disappeared into the thick woods that surrounded him.

 

The Hulk absently swiped away a small shred of the t-shirt Banner had been wearing where it had managed to remain draped across one of his trapezius muscles, which was roughly the size and hue of a ripe watermelon.

 

The Hulk vaguely recognized the retreating human by the shock of red hair on his head.  Banner's desire to help the youth was all that had survived of the man's consciousness inside the Hulk's brutish mind.

 

"Hulk help Chris."  The Hulk muttered and then leapt into the sky above the trees, headed in the direction of the fleeing boy.

 

Chris ran headlong through the woods.  He nearly careened into several trees in his fright.  It was hard to judge distance as he seemed able to run far more swiftly than he had ever been able to before.

 

Up ahead, through the trees, he noticed one of the trails that criss-crossed the woods.  He quickly tried to alter course so that he would intersect the path and follow it out of the forest.  Then he did clip a sapling of about the thickness of a street lamp with his shoulder.  He spun out of control and sprawled on the ground.

 

He sat up blinking and looked around.  He was near one of the many sculptures the city had contracted local artists to create and place throughout the park.  A few of the sculptures had been placed along the wooded trails. This one looked like a set of free-floating, shipless sails.

 

For having endured such a violent impact, he felt almost nothing.  His gaze fell on the small tree he had collided with.  Or rather, its remaining stump. It had splintered near the ground and been hurled several meters away by the impact of his body.

 

Chris absently rubbed the shoulder that had felled the small tree.  There was no pain at all.  It didn't feel like his shoulder.  It felt more like that of one of those tank-like kids he'd been utterly unable to  compete with in one of his typically unsuccessful tryouts for the wrestling team.

 

Remembering that the Hulk was nearby, Chris slowed his breathing to near silence and listened intently for any sign of the monstrous being.

 

Chris's heart nearly stopped when the silence was suddenly shattered by the Hulk as he came crashing down from the sky, shearing off tree branches several times the size of the tree Chris had brought down.  

 

The beast landed effortlessly, batting away falling, telephone-pole thick branches.  He strode toward Chris through a small blizzard of falling leaves and other arboreal debris.

 

Chris felt adrenaline flood his body.  He scramble to recover his footing and was about to sprint away as fast as he could when a hand, larger and thicker than a catcher's mitt, closed on his shoulder.

 

"Why does muscle-boy run away?"  The Hulk asked in a slightly annoyed voice that was like rolling thunder.

 

It seemed an odd question from such an intimidating pursuer.  Chris wondered if it was supposed to be a taunt of some kind.  Then it dawned on him that the Incredible Hulk had just referred to him as "muscle-boy".

 

He reflexively grabbed the Hulk's hand and tried to free himself, but it was like trying to pry open a vise.

 

The Hulk scooped Chris up in one motion and attempted to tuck the boy under one arm.  Chris managed to plant one hand against the Hulk's side, with the other he continued to pry at the Hulk's grip on him.  For a moment he managed to frustrate the Hulk's effort at securing him, but the Hulk exerted more strength and easily overcame Chris's resistance.

 

"Muscle-boy is stronger than other puny humans."  The Hulk noted absently as he stomped off with Chris trapped and held immobile under one ridiculously muscular green arm.

 

As Chris was carried along, his torso wedged between the insanely large biceps and triceps of the Hulk's upper arm and the brute's rippling mosaic of cobble-like obliques, he had quickly realized the futility of struggling.  He relaxed and tried to calm himself in order to take advantage of any opportunity for escape that might present itself.  Chris could feel the pressure of the Hulk's hold steadily increase.  There was, so far, no accompanying pain or discomfort, but he wondered why the Hulk kept squeezing him harder when it was clear that he was already well and truly trapped.

 

The Hulk grunted with irritation and readjusted his hold on Chris.  "Muscle-boy can't get away.  Stop fighting Hulk."  The brute admonished.

 

That's when Chris realized that the Hulk's grip wasn't tightening because the beast was squeezing harder, it was tightening because Chris was still getting bigger.

 

He craned his neck to examine his right arm where it wrapped around the Hulk's own much larger right forearm as Chris held on.  The boy's eyes widened with surprise.  The Hulk's arm might be much, much larger than his, but he could definitely see why the Hulk was calling him ‘muscle-boy'.

 

The biggest, toughest linebacker on his high school's football team would have killed to have an arm like that.

 

Chris knew he wasn't in the Hulk's league, but he was beginning to wonder if he might be able to free himself with a surprise, strategically timed, all-out burst of effort

 

He slowly began to exhale.  He tried to precisely counter the effect of his growing musculature so that the Hulk would think that he had totally given up and was resigned to being held captive.

 

Soon he thought he could detect a small relaxation of the Hulk's grip.  He continued this for as long as he could and right before he was completely out of air - his lungs screaming at him to take a breath - he twisted as hard as he could in the Hulk's grip and shoved away with both arms with all the strength he could muster.

 

To his surprise he felt himself slip the Hulk's hold.  He landed on his feet just behind the Hulk and was able to quickly steady himself.

 

"Huh!?"  Then Hulk grunted with surprise.  He stopped and whirled around, glaring at Chris in irritation.  He couldn't understand why the boy was resisting his efforts to protect him from...what ever it was he needed protection from.  The Hulk's simple mind was being driven only by the dimly remembered concern Banner had regarding Chris's well-being.

 

Chris stood trying to catch his breath from the long period in which he had interrupted his normal breathing.  He found himself momentarily distracted by unusual movement in his field of vision.  He glanced down, realizing that the heaving motion of his breathing was causing his pecs to rise higher into view than they used to.  Heck, he'd never even really HAD discernable pecs before.  He ran a hand across his chest and was amazed at how the much thicker muscles there felt.  His breathing under his rippling pecs felt like the slow revving of some immensely powerful engine.

 

Chris was stirred from his infatuation with his burgeoning muscles by the sound of the low growl emanating from the Hulk as he moved in on him once more.  The Hulk's child-like mental focus was beginning to drift from protecting Chris to being annoyed at being defied by this less-puny-than-usual, but still puny human.

 

Chris's eyes widened and he froze in place, not sure which way to run.

 

The Hulk stooped and arms more powerful than the mightiest earth moving machinery encircled Chris, who felt himself pulled against massive, slab-like, green pectoral muscles that seemed to stretch away on either side of his head for miles.

 

"Muscle-boy will stop trying to fight Hulk."  The Hulk demanded and then squeezed Chris to demonstrate his displeasure with the boy.  Chris went white with fear.  The Hulk's biceps seemed to advance like opposing bulldozers on either side of him, while the Hulks pecs bulged like a swelling liquid steel tide.

 

Chris closed his eyes tight and tensed up, expecting to hear the sickening crack of his  ribs giving out just before the Hulk crushed him.

 

Instead, that earlier feeling of power he'd experience when concentrating on his own pecs returned, only it felt even stronger now.  Wondering how much time he had before the Hulk overwhelmed him, Chris struggled to free his arms, but the Hulk had them pinned too solidly.  

 

The Hulk felt Chris's effort to move his limbs.

 

"Muscle-boy will make Hulk hurt him."  The Hulk warned with anger this time instead of mere irritation.  The Hulk increased the power of his squeeze by what felt like a factor of ten.

 

Not seeing how he could free himself from the now even more solid hold the Hulk had him in and fearing the Hulk might totally squeeze the breath out of him, Chris inhaled as deeply as he could.  His chest expanded hugely, even against the Hulks ever  thickening pecs.  Chris flexed down hard with his own pecs to try and resist the Hulk's onslaught for as long as he could.

 

Grimacing with effort, his eyes squeezed shut, Chris waited for the inevitable.  He was suddenly aware of the irony of his situation.  Just as he'd finally been miraculously granted the ability to avenge himself on all those guys who'd kicked him around all through school, fate had sent the strongest creature ever to take over the job of bullying him.

 

The Hulk growled with increasing anger as he felt Chris flex against him.  "Muscle-boy is strong."  The Hulk grunted.  Chris's eyes flew open.  Was that a grunt of effort?!  "But Hulk is

STRONGER!"  The Hulk bellowed.

 

Chris's head whipped back and forth as he examined what was happening.  Veins as thick as garden hoses surged in each of the Hulk's straining biceps and waves of undulating striations rolled along the surface of the Hulk's expansive chest as the brute brought more power to bear on the boy.

 

The pressure on Chris's torso must have been beyond belief.  But the boy's powerfully flexing pecs did not yield.  "Uh...Am I actually standing up to the Hulk?"  Chris wondered to himself in disbelief.  He looked up, curious to see the Hulk's face so that he might gauge the amount of effort the best was putting forth, but the great green arc of the brutes massive pecs obscured the view.

 

The Hulk roared and ramped up the power of his bear-hug.  Chris felt himself fairly disappear, he was almost completely engulfed in the bulging green muscles surrounding him as the Hulk’s arms and chest swelled with the increased power being channeled into them.

 

Chris exerted himself more, in an attempt to counter...and found the strength to keep up with the Hulk's surge was there, on-tap, within his own bulging muscles.

 

"Does Muscle-boy give up?"  The Hulk growled smug confidence.

 

Chris wondered how much of the Hulk's strength he was capable of coping with, but his curiosity was eclipsed by his desire to escape.  The Hulk's question seemed like the opportunity he needed to free himself.

 

"Umm - sure, Hulk."  Chris answered from where he was pinned between the Hulk's massive, straining muscles.  "You're uh...You're just too much for me."  Chris added, then rolled his eyes at how unconvincing he sounded.  He held his breath, hoping the Hulk would buy it.

 

The Hulk's oak-tree arms swung open like the gates of a mighty fortress.  Chris felt himself fall away from the twin armored hemispheres of the Hulk's bulging chest, his feet hit the ground and the boy stood on his own once more.

 

Even though the Hulk still loomed menacingly over Chris, he found himself more concerned with checking out the state of his own body.  His fear of the Hulk was momentarily displaced by what he saw when he held out his arms and looked down over his now even more powerful looking frame.

 

Chris's previously skinny arms had filled in even more with hanging slabs of triceps that underlay powerful-looking biceps, both of which peaked slightly even with his arms outstretched.  His pectoral muscles protruded outward like the stout prow of a tug-boat, obscuring his view of anything below them behind the expanse of lightly freckled skin that was stretched tight over those broad, incredibly thick, rippling muscles and the line where it bordered with the tightly stretched material of his shirt..

 

Chris swung his arms behind him, causing those pecs to flatten against his ribs as much as was possible.  Tilting his head forward, he was now able to see his stomach, where a rippling mass of riotous muscularity ran rampant across his abdomen.  His previously featureless middle now looked like something that should have a couple of rock-climbers scaling it.

 

It was then that he felt the first leg-band of his briefs give way, followed quickly by the tearing sound of the other leg-band slowly succumbing to the swelling muscles of his leg.  The overly baggy shorts he'd been wearing were still intact, but they were less and less baggy all the time.

 

The over-sized arm-holes of his Middleton Maulers tank-tee were beginning to snug up around the boys lats, trapezius muscles and the sides of his chest.  The collar stretched tight as well, around those same traps as well as along a tight circle that skimmed his upper pecs.

 

Chris crooked his right arm, grabbed the biceps with his left hand and gave the muscle a probing squeeze as he flexed it.  His jaw nearly hit the leaf-littered ground.  It felt like an iron cannonball.

 

"Hulk must go back home."  The gravely voice of the Hulk drew Chris's attention from checking out his bod.  The Green behemoth was looking up, scanning the sky through the trees.  After seeming to fix his position somehow, the Hulk turned his attention back to Chris.

 

"Muscle-boy will come with Hulk."  The Hulk declared in a manner that proclaimed that Chris simply had no other option.

 

"W-where's home?"  Chris asked, stalling for time as his mind raced.

 

"In big desert."  The Hulk answered as he took a step closer to Chris.

 

Chris pack-peddled keeping his distance from the advancing brute.

 

"Hulk not leave muscle-boy alone here."  The Hulk said, his voice rising with annoyance once more as Chris tried to avoid him.

 

"Umm, c-can I go get by gym-bag first"  Chris requested.  He pointed back toward the clearing.

 

The Hulk eyed him suspiciously.  "Hulk will take you to bag.  Then Hulk will take muscle-boy back to big desert."

 

The Hulk effortlessly swept Chris off the forest floor and held him with one big arm behind the boys knees while the other arm cradled Chris's torso.  In a rush of acceleration that took Chris's breath away with the power and unexpectedness of it, the Hulk launched them both into the sky with a single leap.

 

Chris felt himself go quickly from the initial heavy sensation brought on by the Hulk's mighty leap to an exact opposite feeling of weightlessness as they came to the peak of the jump's trajectory and began falling back to earth.

 

They landed with a jarring thud as the Hulk's legs - larger, more thickly muscled and more powerful than those of a bull elephant - absorbed most of the energy of the impact.

 

For a moment the Hulk stood, holding Chris as he surveyed the clearing for signs of anyone else.

 

Chris found himself comparing the Hulk's deeply muscled chest to the brawn of his own newly acquired muscles as he waited for the brute so set him down.  The boy's chest was side by side with the Hulk's and though the Hulk was clearly bigger, Chris couldn't help but noticed that his pecs were now spanning a width that was almost in the same league.

 

The Hulk released Chris's legs, letting them swing to the ground then set the boy on his feet.

 

"Now muscle-boy can get bag and come with Hulk."  The Hulk said, sounding impatient.

 

Chris moved to retrieve his duffel-bag as slowly as he thought he could get away with.  His mind raced as he tried to think of a way to escape.

 

The Hulk didn't seem like the brightest guy around.  Chris supposed that when you were built like the Hulk you didn't have to be.  But he wondered if he might be able to convince the Hulk to give up on the idea of taking him along.

 

Chris turned away from the where the duffel lay on the ground to face the waiting Hulk.  "Uh, look, Hulk.  I really don't think I want to go with you."

 

The Hulk's brutish brow furrowed.  "But Hulk has to protect muscle-boy."

 

Chris wondered where the Hulk got the idea that he needed protection and from whom, but the line of reasoning gave him an idea.

 

"Yeah, well um - thanks for the offer, Hulk.  But you said it yourself," Chris straightened to his full height and squared his new, better-than-Olympia-class shoulders.  "Muscle-boy is strong, right?  I can protect myself."

 

Chris squeezed his right hand into a fist with nervous anxiety as he waited for the Hulk's reply. The movement peripherally caused the boy's right pec to bunch up in a sympathetic reflex.  His Maulers tank top could no longer accommodate such a size increase.  The collar seam popped and the shirt tore down the middle revealing the young man's broad and deeply muscled torso.

 

The already confused expression on the Hulk's face intensified and he cocked his massive head to one side and stared at the bulging muscles of Chris's now almost fully exposed body.

 

Chris grinned and tore away the remnants of his shirt.  "See what I mean."

 

Chris felt so incredibly powerful now.  "Heck, I feel like I could take on every one of those guys at the football tryouts at once now, or take out an entire army or...or..."  ‘Take on the Hulk?'

 

Chris choked off that last example before saying it aloud.  He trailed off, intrigued by the irony of how that example had just randomly come to him.  Chris sized up the green behemoth before him.  The legendarily powerful brute was still a good two feet taller than Chris, as the boy didn't seem to be growing in height at all.

 

It was true that Chris felt and looked superhumanly powerful now, but what he was contemplating seemed insane - that he might actually pose a challenge to the Hulk!?  Apart from massive muscles, the Hulk looked to have a skeleton that was just as inhumanly thick and dense. One of the Hulk's wrists alone was almost half as thick as Chris's waist, which was the only other thing besides the boys height that had remained nearly unchanged.

 

The Hulk was simply massive - The living equivalent of an Abrams tank.  But then, of course,the Hulk could crush such a tank like a tin can.  Chris quickly put any thought of tackling the Hulk out of his mind.

 

"I-I guess what I mean is..."  Chris continued and begin to slowly, cautiously back away from the Hulk along the trail that ran through the clearing.  "...I'll be fine on my own...really."

 

The Hulk began to growl again as Chris backed away more quickly.  When the giant started to stride after him, the boy turned and ran.

 

Chris's arms and legs pumped powerfully, accelerating him to an exhilarating speed.  He was near the opposite side of the wooded area in no time and beginning to think he'd finally shaken the Hulk.

 

But he wasn't so lucky.

 

Again, the Hulk crashed to the ground from another of his spectacular leaps, this time, directly in Chris's path.

 

Having almost no time to react, the boy collided with the Hulk full tilt.  Chris felt himself slam into the Hulk.  It brought him to an instant, teeth-rattling halt.  He saw stars and the breath was knocked out of him.  Chris took a couple of staggering steps backward and then simply sat down hard on his backside in an attempt to keep from actually falling down from the dizziness imposed by the collision.

 

He shook his head then looked around, waiting for his vision to refocus.  After a few moments, he could see more or less clearly again.

 

There was no sign of the Hulk.

 

Chris clambered to his feet looking all around for his huge green pursuer.  Had the Hulk decided he wasn't worth it after all or had he maybe finally taken Chris at his word and decided that the boy didn't need the Hulk's protection?

 

Then Chris noticed a large mature oak tree further along the path in front of him.  On one side of the trees ancient, enormous trunk, a huge chunk the size of a Volkswagen had been blasted out of the living wood.  The tree was groaning slightly as if its weight was still in the process of being redistributed along its compromised trunk.

 

Looking beyond the massive oak, Chris noticed several other trees were missing branches or were otherwise damaged.  The trail of destruction led deeper into the woods off a curve in the trail.

 

Chris advanced a few meters into the trees and stopped dead, his mouth gaped open in awe.

 

The Incredible Hulk lay flat on his back at the end of a shallow gouge in the soft earth of the forest floor.  His head was propped against the base of a steep cliff, which apparently had finally halted the huge creatures motion.  An expression that was a mixture of pain and disorientation was frozen on the coarse, chiseled features of his face.  His thick chin rested on his slowly heaving pecs.

 

The Hulk was out cold.

 

Chris lurched backward in amazement, he stumbled a bit then turned around and moved unsteadily back to the trail.  His mind reeled as he struggled to process what had just happened.

 

Chris halted in his tracks as a strange sensation surged through him.  It was hard to describe the feeling.  It was as though a huge freight train had reached its destination and coasted to a stop.  Instinctively, the boy knew the mutation that was imbuing his body with exceptional size and strength had fully manifested itself and he had just stopped growing.

 

A few meters away on the path, another of those sculptures loomed to one side.  This one was an obvious homage to the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  However, instead of being uniformly black, this great metallic rectangle was finished in highly polished chrome.  It had a near-perfectly reflective surface.

 

Chris moved slowly to stand before it.  What it showed him boggled his already overwhelmed brain.

 

He was monstrous.  He was beautiful.  His image was at once terrifyingly powerful and mesmerizingly attractive.  Even the muscles in his youthful face were powerfully developed, rendering him brutally, masculinely handsome.  He struggled to imagine how someone else might perceive him now.  He turned his head slightly from side to side as he examined the strong features of his face.  He stood tall and scowled experimentally and was sure that anyone who was the subject of such a look from him would have fled at the sight.  He smiled broadly and was equally sure that the sight of it would have set hearts fluttering and knees wobbling.

 

He stepped back a couple of paces to more fully take in his body's reflection.

 

His mind struggled to make sense of what he saw.  If he considered just his biceps or say, one of his bulging calves that jutted out on either side of his shin like halves of a great lopsided pumpkin, his mind balked; too big.  Too big to be human.  But when he considered those individual muscles in relation to his new body as a whole, the thought that came to mind was; perfect...just right.

 

Unlike the Hulk, whose thick, squat overall physique conveyed one thing: unstoppable, brute strength.  Chris's massively muscled frame had a symmetry and a flow that manifested a perfection of form...as well as projecting matchless power.  Chris moved a hand to explore the undulating ridges along his stomach.  As he did so he noticed that his chest responded to the motion by bunching up thicker and higher on his torso.  The motion was intriguing to him.  He relaxed his arms and concentrated.  With some trial and error, he was soon able to cause his thick, heavy pecs to move independently.  Soon he'd figured out how to tighten and bounce his powerful chest just like those bodybuilders he'd used to idolize.  It was strange and so different from the bony collection of visible ribs that used to comprise his torso.  It was almost like having a whole other set of appendages to learn how to control.

 

Chris stuck one of his legs out before him so that he could both check out his reflection and look down and observe it directly.  His thigh had the girth of an oak barrel and massive quadriceps and hamstrings simultaneously interlocked in tight, powerful cooperation and separated sharply as though they didn't want to touch each other or even share the same leg.

 

His calves were round and full as large caliber cannon shot or tightly angular and diamond shaped, depending on how much he flexed his foot at the ankle.

 

His phenomenally massive muscles displayed surprisingly little vascularity.  Everything; his pecs, his biceps, delts, quads, lats - were full, round, huge and smooth.  His skin glowed as it tightly covered his muscular body, The overall effect invited comparisons to unyielding metals like polished steel or unblemished forged iron.  Even his gleaming hair had the look of burnished copper.

 

Chris tore his attention from his reflection and glanced in the direction of the Hulk.  Could it be true?  In the space of half an hour, could he have gone from being helplessly manhandled by what he thought was a scrawny, homeless guy to having the muscle to not only survive an impact with the Incredible Hulk, but to leave the Hulk sprawled insensate on the ground afterward.

 

It didn't seem possible to Chris.  Until he returned his attention to his reflection once more.  He tentatively raised his right arm, he swallowed nervously, then flexed his biceps.  His arm instantly expanded in a way that was reminiscent of the kind of flaring mushroom-cloud that followed a nuclear detonation, and seemed to pulse with as much power.

 

"Yeah!"  The boy whooped, nodding with approval.  "Seems possible now!" The Hulk had nothing on Chris.  Even though he was two feet shorter than the emerald giant, his muscles were easily as impressive.

 

Chris smiled.  "I look like nothing in the world could stop me."  Once again he turned back toward the direction of the fallen Hulk.  "Well, there's one way to find out."  He said, still a little nervous about the course of action taking shape in his mind.

 

Part 3

 

Chris took a step in the unconscious Hulk's direction then stopped.  An adventurous smile settled on his face and he scanned the sky overhead.  "If it's good enough for the Hulk..."  He said.

 

Keeping his eyes on the sky and swinging his arms forward, Chris squatted and with one leap, his massive legs propelled him through the air.  He landed next to the Hulk, the immense weight of his powerfully muscled body shaking the ground when he landed.

 

Chris stood up straight from his landing like an Olympic gymnast who had just nailed a dismount.  A cocky grin briefly graced his face as he noted the precision with which he had hit his desired landing point.  He moved to stand over the Hulk and he could hear the beast groaning as his eyelids began to flutter.  He seemed to have been jarred awake by the force of Chris's landing.

 

Again, a pang of doubt welled up momentarily beneath Chris's powerful chest.  He wondered if he might be wasting his one opportunity to get away from the Hulk.  What if he wasn't even close to being as strong as the Hulk.  If he ticked the brute off, the Hulk might well injure him badly...or worse.  Then again, the Hulk was the one that had his clock cleaned the most by their collision.

 

"I've gotta know."  Chris said to himself, steadying his resolve.

 

Chris was gawking at the Hulk's huge torso when the brute's emerald abs flexed powerfully into action, effortlessly powering the Hulks massive torso into a sitting position.  The Hulk looked around rapidly as he struggled to his feet.  He didn't seem to pay any particular attention to Chris.

 

Once upright, the giant swayed unsteadily for a moment and Chris resisted the impulse to reach out and steady him.

 

The Hulk rubbed the back of his head, wincing slightly.  "What...What happen to Hulk?"  The Hulk managed with confusion.

 

Chris breathed a sigh of relief.  The Hulk literally didn't seem to know what had hit him.  Which was fine by Chris.

 

"Umm, a-are you okay, Hulk?"  Chris asked.

 

"Yes!"  The Hulk answered instantly as though the question was an insult.  "Hulk not hurt!"  He

added a little too insistently as he focused on Chris.

 

The Hulk looked down from his seven foot height at this shorter, but tank-like boy,  his head

just below the Hulk's chin.

 

The Hulk clamped a big green hand on the boy's powerful looking shoulder.  "Chris ... must come with Hulk."  The Hulk asserted.  He grabbed Chris by the upper arm with his other meat-hook of a hand.  Only that hand didn't look quite so thick or quite so powerful as it failed to fully close around Chris's phenomenally large biceps.

 

"No!" Chris answered assertively.  ‘Talk about a one track mind' he thought to himself.  The Hulk was like a dog with a bone.  Shrugging the Hulk's hand away with enough force to stagger the giant, Chris worked up the courage to challenge the Hulk.  "Listen Hulk, I'm not going with you, so deal with it."

 

The Hulk was surprised by Chris's strength, he hadn't expected the boy to be able to resist.  The Hulk reached down and grabbed one of Chris's wrists, this time, avoiding the boy's massive biceps, which made for a more unwieldy handle.

 

The Hulk tried to drag Chris into him, reaching to secure a grip with his other massive hand.  

 

The boy didn't budge.  "Muscle-boy is stupid to fight Hulk."  The Hulk closed in on Chris and grabbed his other arm.

 

The two juggernauts struggled against each other.  The Hulk's brutish brain struggled as much with the concept that Chris was able to resist him as Chris's mind wrestled with how effectively he was holding his own against the Incredible Hulk...and he wasn't even really trying that hard.

 

Chris looked directly ahead, seeing the Hulk's massive round pecs, rippling and surging as they jousted.  The Hulk's strained face looked down on him from nearly two feet above.  He saw the Hulk's flexed and struggling arms.  He felt supremely powerful holding this beast at bay.

 

A surge of cocky confidence welled up inside Chris as he easily compensated for the Hulk's escalating efforts at overpowering him.  When the boy demanded more strength from his unstoppable new body, it responded instantly.  His strength seemed to just keep surging as he exerted himself.  The Hulk roared and with a tremendous burst of effort, he forced their arms down.  The Hulk closed in on Chris and flexed his powerful emerald chest in front of his face, as if to drive home this perceived victory to his opponent as he half growled - half roared in the boy's face.

 

The beast was almost always able to instinctively gain a psychological advantage over his opponents just by displaying his intimidating muscles.

 

Chris smiled.  He wasn't feeling at all intimidated.  In fact, he was feeling ready to try a  little intimidation of his own as that new feeling of strange supreme confidence flooded over him.  He stepped in even closer to the Hulk.

 

"You sure do like to flex, huh, Hulk."  Chris observed.

 

Suddenly, as though the most powerful being on the planet wasn’t struggling to hold his arms in place, Chris powered his hands to a position behind his back.  The Hulk's eyes widened.  He thought he had finally overpowered the boy and was holding his arms immobile. But the motion of Chris's arms dragged the Hulk's hands along until the brute's own rippling green arms were encircling the shorter kid.

 

The Hulk growled with confusion as maintaining his grip on Chris's wrists forced the taller brute to stoop down until he was face to face with the young man.  The Hulk's lower jaw thumped to rest against the top of Chris's protruding pecs.  Still, the Hulk stubbornly refused to let go, just as Chris had hoped.  Chris wanted to force the Hulk to release him, but in a way that would demonstrate his power to the utmost.

 

"Maybe I should try it - flexing, I mean - just to see what the big deal is."  Chris said.  As he spoke, he ever so slightly bounced his massive pecs a couple of times, buffeting the Hulks head and causing it to snap backward with each bounce. Smiling at the way he was rapidly getting the hang of controlling his massive new muscles, the boy then began slowly tensing his mighty chest in earnest.  It expanded so much that the Hulk's upper torso was soon pressed  tight against a vast expanse of bulging pec-muscle.

 

Chris leveled off his exertion and looked the Hulk right in the eyes, their faces inches apart.  "Feels a little different than last time huh, Hulk."  Chris taunted, referring to the earlier episode in which the two had been physically pitted against one another chest to chest - when the Hulk had trapped the boy in a bear-hug as a means of subduing him.  Even then, Chris now suspected that his chest had been at least equal to the Hulk's in power, if not size.  But now!  Chris grinned.  "Ask me again if I give up."

 

The Hulk snarled and released Chris's wrists and clamped his hands together behind the young man’s back, fully securing his second bear-hug around that deeply muscled torso.

 

"Puny muscle-boy thinks he is stronger than Hulk, but Hulk will show him. Muscle-boy will give up."  The Hulk pulled upward and inward with his incomprehensibly powerful arms, pressing Chris against the thick muscular plates of his over-muscled green pecs, which the brute simultaneously flexed into even thicker granite-like slabs.  Their powerful chests bulldozed into each other - emerald green struggling against lightly freckled alabaster.

 

In response to having his wrists released, Chris started to wrap his now unencumbered arms around the Hulk in a retaliatory bearhug of his own, but then he just smirked and casually clasped his hands behind his head, instead.  He glanced proudly from one massive lulling biceps to the other where, even totally relaxed, they bulged like oversized cannonballs at each side of his head.  "Don't think I'll be needing you guys for this."  He said, playfully addressing his mighty arms.

 

He turned his attention back to the Hulk.  "Is that it Hulk?  I mean, is that all ya got or are ya just getting started or...?"  Chris was asking with polite curiosity when he suddenly began to breath in deeply and opened his mouth in an exaggerated fashion.  "Whew...Sorry Hulk...please excuse me." Chris apologized through a pretty convincing yawn as he moved one hand to cover his mouth.  "You know how it is when you're feeling bored."

 

The Hulk roared at being mocked and squeezed down on Chris's stubbornly expanding pecs even harder.  But it was no use.  Continuing his faux yawn, Chris, with only the flexing of those unrelenting pecs of his, forced the Hulks straining pectorals to flatten and yield against the boy’s more powerful muscles - even though the Hulk's arms were working in concert with his overmatched chest.  The Hulk's straining frighteningly muscled arms trembled and then they too lost ground against the power exerted by the expansion of the boy's all-powerful pecs.  

 

Then with a casual, lightening quick increase of his flex, Chris almost effortlessly broke the Hulk's grip.

                  

The Hulk stumbled backward a few steps, and gaped at Chris with stunned confusion as he rubbed his sore, over-strained, and thoroughly out-muscled pecs.

 

Chris laughed.  "What's wrong Hulk?  Why'd you let go?"  He asked stepping right back up to the Hulk, making sure the taller muscle-beast had a close-up view of the burgeoning muscular chest that had just staggered the giant.  "I wasn't ready to give up yet."  Chris said with totally insincere confusion.

 

The boy then dropped his massive arms and laughed as he reached up to place one of them on the Hulk's shoulder in a false show of camaraderie.  He chuckled haughtily.  "It's Ok, big guy.  Couldn't quite hang on, huh?  That's too bad."  Chris said with mocking sympathy.

 

The young man then disengaged and turned to stand directly in front of the utterly dazed Hulk.

 

Chris clapped his hands a couple of times and cheered, "Good effort though Hulk."  He then squatted slightly and, performing a congratulatory ritual he'd observed jock's use after successfully completing some athletic feat or another, Chris threw his arms back and jumped a couple of feet straight up into the air, angling slightly toward the Hulk.  In the split second that he bumped the befuddled Hulk - chest to chest -  he gave those massive pecs of his another quick, pulse of a flex.  The boy's insanely broad, thick chest bulged explosively into granite mountains of rippling, striated power.  Their expansion slammed into the Hulk, blitzing the overmatched brute's already pummeled pecs as Chris chest-bumped the taller muscle-beast flat on his back again, this time by the power of the mere flexing of the boy's dominating muscles.

 

Chris thumped back down to the ground, shaking the woods around them again.  "Oopsie.  Sorry Hulkster."  Chris said as he brushed imaginary dust from his pecs.  "Guess these guys don't know their own strength, huh?"  

 

The Hulk lifted his head and stared uncomprehendingly at Chris, who chuckled.  "Looks like you don't like flexing so much when somebody else does it."  Chris laughed.  "Somebody with some real muscle."  Chris kept the taunts coming.  "Somebody stronger than you."

 

The Hulk scramble to his feet, enraged.  "Hulk is STRONGEST one there is!"  The Hulk proclaimed savagely.  He lifted his massive green arms into a crude and inhumanly awesome double-biceps pose.  "Hulk will show muscle-boy who is stronger!"

 

Again Chris moved in on the Hulk, totally unimpressed.  "Well, it's usually the guy with the biggest muscles."  He pointed out, and casually matched the Hulk's pose; Matched it, and exceeded it.  "And it looks like ‘muscle-boy'  has got ya beat in that department, Hulkie."  Chris announced as the Hulk's freakishly huge biceps were eclipsed in size by the arms of the much shorter young man.

 

"Bah!"  The Hulk spat and squeezed his huge green muscles harder, causing them to swell even larger.  The Hulk's white teeth stood out against his green gums as his lips pulled back in a grimace of effort.  He was actually able to pump his biceps several inches and match Chris's size.

 

"Wow!"  Chris said.  "We've got some pretty huge guns, don't we Hulk."  Chris chuckled, "Let's really pump 'em up."  Chris grinned, and straightened his arms out.  Then he slowly resumed his flex.  As the boy's arms bent back into a double biceps pose, his biceps heaved and pulsated with power. A barely visible vein appeared along the tight curving surfaces of both of Chris's previously completely smooth arm muscles.

 

Chris's biceps were now easily twice as big as the Hulk's.

 

The Hulk dropped his own arms to his side where they hung limply.  The brutes eyes bulged and his jaw dropped open.

 

"Something wrong, Hulk?"  Chris asked, pretending to be concerned when he saw the Hulk give up trying to match him.  The young man once again straightened those Hulk-humbling arms.  He flexed again, with the same casual ease and his biceps towered even higher into the air.  Multiple, branching veins like lightening bolts now crisscrossed his arms and his bi's bulged up into twin volcanic peaks that erupted with impossible size and power.

 

Now Chris's biceps were easily three times the size of the Hulk's comparatively puny lookingarms.  "What's a matter, Hulk?  Can't keep up with muscle-boy?"  Chris finished with a smirk as he stepped even closer to the Hulk, trying to intimidate the beast even more.

 

Sneering, Chris dropped his arms. "You look like you've had enough Hulk  But you know what?"  The kid gave one of his now relaxed biceps an affectionate, meaty slap.  "These babies were just getting started."

 

The Hulk snarled and tried to push Chris back.  Chris was so strong that he didn't even have to try to resist the Hulk, the brute couldn't even budge him.  Chris looked down at where the Hulk had planted a big green hand in the middle of the boys chest and was shoving ineffectively against the powerful high school student.

 

Chris was a little miffed that the Hulk would actually dare to touch the muscles he'd been using to humble the beast with such ease.  A wicked grin settled on Chris's face as he thought of something new to try.  Obviously the Hulk was a slow learner.  He'd have to reinforce the lesson.

 

Chris glanced down at the Hulk's hand and clucked his tongue.  "Ya gotta learn to respect the pecs, Hulkster."  He looked back into the Hulk's eyes and added, resignedly.  "It's for your own good."

 

Chris struck a quick most-muscular pose, again calling on the overwhelming size and power of his over-muscled chest.  The Hulks massive hand looked momentarily child-like where it splayed against Chris's growing granite muscle and then, with the merest forward shrug of Chris's shoulders, that thick hand was swallowed up, disappearing from view in the deep crevice between the boys rapidly thickening pecs.

 

Now instead of pushing on the boy, the Hulk was tugging, trying to free himself from the vise of solid muscle; But the Incredible Hulk wasn't strong enough to free his hand.

 

"This pose is called a crab, or a most-muscular."  Chris narrated.  "In my case I think ‘most-muscular' might be literally true."  The boy beamed proudly.

 

"Let Hulk go or Hulk will SMASH!"  Warned the Hulk as he continued to struggle to free himself.

 

Chris merely gave a short derisive laugh.  He cupped a hand to one ear  making his biceps swell bigger than ever.  "Did you say 'smash'?"  He asked mockingly.  With that, Chris sneered and flexed his chest hard and huge.

 

The Hulk's eyes flew open wide and the brute opened his mouth in a silent scream.  The bones of his massive, green mitt felt like they were being ground to powder between Chris's rippling pecs.

 

The boy’s muscles seemed to just thicken and thicken and thicken.  Soon the Hulk felt his wrist and forearm start to deform as they too were being engulfed by the steadily expanding mountains of striated hyper-muscular power.

 

"gnnhh...no..."  The Hulk managed to protest weakly.

 

"Oh, but YES!"  Chris growled back smugly and kept flexing his chest harder and more huge with each passing second..

 

For several panicky moments the Hulk roared and growled in frantic desperation, his arm racked with intense pain.  Then the brute seemed to become exhausted.

 

"M-muscle-boy....too....s- strong."  The Hulk whimpered.  His massive body went limp as he surrendered and stopped struggling.  It was just no use.  The boy's strength was totally overwhelming.  "Muscle- boy...hurts Hulk's hand..."

 

Chris sighed, as though once again bored with his opponent.  "Yep, pretty much."  He taunted mercilessly as he continued flexing his chest even more.

 

Making a show of ignoring the Hulk, Chris struck another double biceps pose, muscle flexing on top of muscle.  His powerful heart pumped blood with the force of a raging river through the throbbing veins covering those arms, each beat momentarily compressing the Hulk's trapped hand with that much more pain.  

 

Chris's biceps were bigger than ever, he seemed to be slowly exploring the limits of their size as they peaked above his head with what seemed like very little effort on his part.  Chris scrutinized his biceps, turning his head from one to the other.  "Whadday think Hulkie? Four?  Maybe five times the size of yours?  Wonder how they'd look if I got a decent pump and really put some effort into it."

 

The Hulk covered his eyes with his free hand and threw his head back.  "ARRrrrgggh...l-let Hulk go."  The Hulk pleaded as he dropped to his knees.

 

Chris stared at the Hulk, kneeling before him.

 

"Oooh!"  Chris said with mock sympathy and disappointment, as though the Hulk had given the wrong answer on a game-show quiz.  "You didn't use the magic word."

 

The Hulk heard nothing Chris said, His world consisted only of pain.  By some lucky cosmic coincidence, the next words out of the brutalized behemoth's mouth rescued him.  "Please...muscle-boy...s-stop."  The Hulk pleaded in a barely audible whimper.

 

Chris dropped his arms and focused on the Hulk again.  "Manners, Hulk."  He sighed.  "My mom always says people respond to manners."

 

Chris put his hands on his hips and made a show of considering the Hulk's request.  He smiled and relented.  He relaxed his pecs, not enough to allow the Hulk to free his hand, but enough to ease the pain.  The Hulk moaned with relief as he emerged from his world of agony.

 

The Hulk tugged tentatively so see if he could completely extract his had.  He still couldn't.  The brute didn't know what to do, he wanted to free himself, but he didn't want to do anything that might provoke the terrifying power in the mutant muscles that held him trapped and send them crushing in on his hand once more.

 

"What...what does muscle boy want?"  They Hulk asked with grudging submissiveness.

 

The question brought the cocky teen-ager up short.

 

"Hmm."  Chris replied.  He clasped his hands behind his back and rose up on the balls of his feet a couple of times as he thought about it.  The Hulk was bounced up and down with humiliating ease by the motion.

 

"That's a very good question, Hulk."  Chris added as he continued to considered the Hulk's beleaguered query.

   

He'd tested himself against the Hulk and found the brute to be not much of a challenge.  No challenge at all, really.  Now instead of testing his own strength he found that he was more interested in demonstrating that strength. He'd beaten the Hulk with his pecs, he'd humbled the beast with his biceps...how else might he reveal the extent of his power using this being, whom the rest of the world regarded as the most powerful creature on the planet.  An idea began to form in Chris's mind.

 

"Hey Hulk, is it true that the madder you get, the stronger you get?"  Chris asked, as much to himself as to the Hulk.

 

The Hulk just stared at Chris blankly, but the boy was nodding to himself. He rubbed his chin as if dredging up a vaguely remembered lesson from school.  "Yeah, I think I remember reading that  somewhere."

 

Relieved of most of the pain in his hand, the Hulk was starting to get restless with being held immobile.

 

"Get up Hulk."  Chris ordered rubbing his hands together gingerly in anticipation of what was coming.

 

The Hulk's glare intensified as his dim mind wrestled with the impulse to once again attack the muscular boy who was humiliating him.

 

"Awww, what's wrong?"  Chris teased. "Don't tell me the Strongest One There Is is afraid of puny muscle-boy?"

 

A low growl began to emanate from the Hulk's throat. At having his words mockingly hurled back at him.

 

"I said get up."  Chris warned casually and tensed his pecs just enough to remind the Hulk of the pain he was capable of causing the beast.

 

The Hulk growled louder and struggled to his feet.

 

"I'm going to give you a chance to fight back here Hulk."   Chris explained, charitably.

 

The boy clasped his hands behind his back again.  His repeated use of this posture seemed to be the equivalent of boasting: "Look ma, no hands." as he manhandled the Hulk.  Chris smiled a bit when he saw the Hulk's free right hand clench into a fist.

 

"I'm gonna let you hit me as hard as you can, as many times as you want."  Chris explained with condescending benevolence.  He slid his hand down to his muscular abdomen and gave it a couple firm slaps.

 

"The Incredible Hulk should be strong enough to take on the tummy of a pasty little high-school football reject, right?"  Chris laughed at the Hulk's uncertainty.  "C'mon big guy, don't be a wimp.  Take your best shot."

 

The Hulk's growl was rising in volume and he was beginning to show his teeth in an angry sneer.  In a flash the Hulk launched a thundering punch to Chris's abs.

 

Chris's only reaction was to look frustrated.  "Aw now, don't hold back Hulk."  Chris pressed his mouth into a tight line of consternation and huffed an impatient breath out his nose.  Then he explained slowly to the Hulk: "If you don't start hitting me hard enough to make me feel it, I'm gonna hafta turn this loose on ya again."  Demonstrating what he meant, Chris briefly tensed the muscles of his chest around the Hulk's trapped left hand again.

 

The angry look on the Hulks face diluted briefly with panic and he started hammering away at Chris's abs with his free hand.

 

Chris watched, unimpressed and considered ways to humiliate and anger the Hulk, hoping that his anger would make him more of a challenge.

 

"I could take punches like this all day Hulk."  The boy mocked.  "C'mon.  Hit me harder!"

 

The Hulk raged at Chris's goading and struggled to hit Chris harder.  The boys steely abdominals rose and fell slightly as he breathed casually amid the Hulk's onslaught.  So far, Chris's plan wasn't working.

 

Chris closed his eyes and smirked.  "Hmm, let's see...is that the Hulk hitting my belly or a five year old girl?"  He said, ridiculing the Hulk's effort.

 

The Hulk roared and started pulling himself bodily toward Chris with each hit, using his trapped hand for leverage to add to the power of his punches.  Despite the powerful tugging and pounding, Chris didn't budge, but the ground began to shake around them.

 

"Shut up! Muscle-boy had better shut-up!"  The Hulk bellowed as he pounded harder and harder on Chris's unyielding body.

 

"Why?"  Chris laughed derisively.  "It's not like the Hulk can shut me up.  You'd have to do way better than this.  You may as well face it big guy, "  Chris's eyes twinkled with glee as he finished the taunt.  "compared to me, The big bad Hulk is as weaker than a puny human."

 

The Hulk bellowed with inarticulate rage, but he couldn't even affect Chris's voice as the boy taunted the taller muscle beast.

 

"Yeah, keep ‘em comin', that's it."  Chris chuckled at the Hulk's frantic efforts.  "C'mon, harder big guy!"

 

After letting the Hulk pound away a while longer, getting more and more frustrated and angry all the while.  Chris sensed that the Hulk had reached the height of his strength.  Still, the boy easily withstood the Hulk's power.

 

Eventually, despite his anger, the Hulk began to tire.  "Muscle-boy’s muscles...too hard."  The Hulk bleated with pure frustration between desperate gasps.  "...too strong....for Hulk to smash".

 

Chris, though disappointed with the Hulk's increased but still inadequate strength, smirked with satisfaction at the admission, which did seem to enrage the Hulk a bit more at having made it.

 

The burst of anger helped the Hulk continue his assault a while longer.

 

"This is going nowhere". Chris said with a disappointed sigh.  "Time to end it."

 

"NO!  Hulk will find a way to BEAT you!"  The Hulk cried out desperately as he began to catch a second wind.

 

Chris rolled his eyes and sighed  "I guess I did say you could punch me for as long as you wanted, didn't I."  The boy said, as though now regretting that promise.  Then he grinned wickedly.  "Guess I'll just have to make you want to stop."

 

The Hulk was savagely pounding away as Chris spoke.  The boy's patronizing tone was causing the beast's anger to spike once more.  "Hulk will SMASH."  The Hulk roared with desperate rage as he hammered completely unaffected abs that looked like something off the cover of ‘Mutant Muscle and Fitness."

 

"Yeah, right."  Chris laughed.  "Smash this."  The boy mocked and for the first time crunched down, actually flexing his abs.

 

Every bone in the Hulks right hand shattered on impact with Chris's abs, which became impossibly even more ripped and defined as he flexed them.  The Hulk wailed in pain and once again dropped to his knees, Where he stared with fear and disbelief at the wall of chiseled stomach muscle in front of his face.  There wasn't even any skeletal support directly behind those abs and still the muscles were so powerful and hard that the Hulk had shattered his hand against them like a bundle of dry twigs.

 

The Hulk just stared, unsure what to do.  He couldn't run, the muscle-boy still held his hand trapped in yet another set of overwhelmingly powerful muscles.

 

Chris examined his impervious rippling belly approvingly.  "Sweet!"  He said with a laugh.  Then he noticed a small red smear just above his navel.  The Hulk noticed it too and held up his ham-sized fist to display a trickle of blood oozing from around a couple of his knuckles.  The Hulk grimaced and shook out his meaty paw a moment, then pressed the bleeding knuckles to his mouth.

 

"Look's like you've made a little mess Hulkster."  An idea occurred to Chris as he watched the Hulk tend to his wound.  He grinned with delight.

 

He stepped closer to the Hulk, bringing his rippling stomach almost in contact with the Hulk's face.  "Lick it off." the boy commanded, pointing to a couple more smudges of the Hulk's blood that marred the pale skin of his matchless, muscular mid-section.

 

The Hulk refused.

 

"That wasn't a request."  Chris pointed out and with the merest twitching of one pectoral muscle, the boy snapped two of the fingers of the Hulk's hand where he held it imbedded within the muscular vise of his chest.

 

Chris felt the bones in the Hulk's hand give way.  He loved this feeling of power.

 

With a cry of pain, the Hulk complied - he began licking the boys abs, he reluctantly lapped away the traces of his blood from the very muscles that had just bloodied his poor hand with

their unyielding muscle-tone.

 

"Awright, Awright."  Chris squirmed a bit and pulled away, causing the Hulk to pitch forward painfully onto his not yet healed hand..  "That tickles."  The peerless mutant powerhouse said through an incongruous giggle.  He rubbed his tummy absently and pulled his hand away, inspecting the slight moisture there.  "And it's kind of gross", he said and wiped his hand on the straining material of his shorts where they stretched tight across his round, powerfully muscled backside.  Those extra-baggy shorts had shredded and ridden up his barrel sized thighs so that they now fit him like a pair of very brief, square-cut swimming trunks.

 

His hand still held fast, the Hulk slowly climbed to a standing position, struggling to minimize physical contact with Chris's intimidating body as he did so.

 

In the meantime, Chris was rather comically exploring his butt after feeling how different it felt when he'd wiped his hand on his shorts.  He had both hands planted on his behind and was

exploring his steely-hard, rounded glutes - testing their resilience and shape.  He noticed the Hulk glaring at him and grinned.  "Hey, this is all new to me, okay?"

 

He removed his hands and planted them on his hips and let out a little satisfied breath as if to say: "Ok, what next."

 

He noticed that the Hulk was shuffling his feet like a restless child and making little frustrated grunting noises as he looked around anxiously, everywhere but directly at Chris.

 

"What's up with you?"  Chris asked, amused.

 

The Hulk scowled and seemed reluctant to respond but finally blurted out.  "Hulk's hand."  The brute grumbled and gestured sheepishly toward his trapped hand with his nearly healed one.

 

Chris peeked over the top of his Hulk-conquering pecs and noted the brutes fist was still trapped past the wrist.

 

"Oh, yeah."  Chris snickered.  "Um...I stopped flexing ages ago."

 

The Hulk gave his hand a solid tug.  It didn't budge.  His brow furrowed and he looked from the boy's unyielding chest muscles back up at Chris's face.

 

Chris grinned proudly.  "Yeah, my muscle tone's a bitch huh, Hulk."

 

The Hulk grabbed his stuck fist with his still-sore right hand, planted his feet and heaved.  He strained for several seconds to no avail.

 

"Well, huh," Chris said looking slightly puzzled.  He rapped his knuckles probingly against one

meaty pec.  It made a deep bass "thump-thump" that the Hulk could feel in his hand.  "Guess I might have a bit of a pump going.  Maybe kicking your butt was more of a workout than it felt

like."

 

The boy then laughed dismissing the idea with a wave.  "Nah, It's gotta be just good old fashioned muscle tone.  Put some muscle into it Hulk."

 

The Hulk continued straining to free his hand for another few seconds before Chris finally rolled his eyes at the Hulk's pathetic effort and pulled his elbows around behind his rib-cage, which cause his deep pecs to press together somewhat less firmly.

 

The Hulk broke free and stumbled backward, nearly losing his balance.  By this time, all their jostling about had brought them near to the cliff face that had earlier halted the Hulk's motion when he'd ricocheted off Chris's more powerful body.  That had been the first incident in which the Hulk had been so totally overpowered by someone since Emil Blonsky had initially been transformed into the creature known as the Abomination.  But even the ease with which Blonsky had swatted the Hulk in that encounter paled in comparison to the degree to which Chris surpassed the Hulk in raw muscle.

 

Now free, the Hulk steadied himself as unfamiliar impulses warred in his dim mind.  The deepest most primitive part of his brain raged and demanded an immediate and unceasing attack on the opponent before him.  But his higher cognitive mind, atrophied as it was, had done the math: The Hulk was seriously out-muscled here

 

After having helped the Hulk free himself, Chris brought his shoulders forward once more, squaring them with a proud little bounce.  He couldn't get over his new self.  He bent at the waist to once again examine himself.  It was still hard for him to accept that the Hulk's onslaughts had left him completely unmarred.

 

Chris then noticed something for the first time.  His brow knitted with curiosity.  "Wait a minute."  The boy said aloud to himself.  "I didn't know that was muscle."  He said as he hooked a thumb inside the front of the waistband of his shorts and pulled the tightly stretched material away from the mosaic of muscle at his waist and peered down inside.

 

His eyes widened, he was obviously impressed with what he saw there.  "Or those either for that matter."  He added.  Letting the waistband snap he grinned at the Hulk.  "This day just gets better and better."

 

"Now," Chris began more seriously.  "What to do with you."  The young man crossed his massive arms across an equally huge chest and considered the Hulk for a moment.  "I'm not real keen on anyone finding out I'm a mutant."  Chris said, apparently thinking aloud and not really attempting to dialog with the Hulk.  "Right now, Bruce Banner is the only person who knows about me."

 

Chris focused intently on the Hulk.  The beast became uneasy under that glare and began to inch backward, away from the boy.

 

"I could make my debut as the most powerful hero on this planet now - claim I'm a space-alien or maybe some kind of super-soldier here to defend the world against powerful and dangerous threats."  The boy took a step toward the Hulk.  "Threats like you Hulkie."

 

Chris nodded.  He was really starting to like this idea.  "And I could do it all without anyone ever having to find out that I'm really a mutant.  All I'd have to do is make sure Banner never squeals."

 

Chris began to crack his knuckles the sound was like rifle-shots.  The motion caused his biceps and triceps to work against each other like surging ocean swells.  "I'll bet I could make sure of that right now."  He added, staring the Hulk down coldly.

 

Chris moved in on the Hulk, who bumped into the cliff that was now at his back.  The Hulk saw the boy coming and felt something that this young man was causing him to become more and more familiar with:  Fear.

 

The Hulk moved a few steps laterally to clear the cliff then squatted low to the ground, his great green leg muscles coiled, ready to launch the massive beast far away in an escape leap.  The Hulk shot upward explosively, desperately trying to get away from Chris.  But a fraction of an instant after he left the ground, he felt tremendous pressure clamp down around one of his ankles and he was brought to a complete, jarring halt.

 

Chris had grabbed the Hulk by his right ankle, cancelling the force of his leap with one mighty arm.  As the Hulk was violently jerked back to the ground, Chris caught the beast in a bear-hug, their two thick torso's thumping into each other.  The Hulk placed both meaty palms against Chris's chin and pushed.  He may as well been a toddler trying to push over a fire-hydrant.  "Don't try that again Hulk."  Chris warned.  "Remember what I did to your hand?"  The boy caused a thick wave of striated sinew to roll up his pecs.  The Hulk felt his own broad chest compress painfully under the movement.  "I'm pretty sure I could do that to your whole body...If I wanted to."

 

The Hulk struggled to reclaim the breath that had just been knocked out of him by the impact with the far more densely muscled boy.  "No.  No. Let...Hulk...go."  The Hulk protested in a near total panic.

 

"Don't get yer purple panties in a wad Hulkster".  Chris smirked.   "I'm through with you for now.  I need to talk to Banner."

 

At the mention of that name, the Hulk's face contorted with rage and hatred.  "Puny Banner..."  The Hulk began, but Chris merely glared at the Hulk and shook his head as though admonishing an unruly child.  The boy gave the Hulk a little squeeze.

 

The Hulk's defiant look vanished instantly to be replace by the fearful look of a trapped animal.

 

"That's better."  Chris smiled.  "Now, I'm betting that you and Banner have at least a subconscious awareness of each other."  Chris explained as he tightened his hold further.  The Hulk struggled but couldn't even begin to free himself.  The green brute tightened every gargantuan muscle in his torso in attempt to counter Chris's bear-hug.  "At least...for your sake I hope so."  Chris finished.

 

"Banner!"  Chris called aloud.  "In about thirty seconds, there's going to be exactly enough space between my forearms and my big bad bod for one scrawny little physicist."  Chris explained.  "If your big green buddy is still here, well..."  Chris grinned confidently up into the Hulk's face.  "He'll be so much guacamole."  Chris continued more softly, addressing the Hulk.  "If you can, I'd cooperate with puny Banner if I were you."  The boy advised.

 

The Hulk screamed in rage, then agony.  His arms alternately flailed helplessly then pounded on Chris's mountain-range of a back.  His mighty gamma-spawned muscles trembled as Chris's rock-solid arms and chest began to mash them flat.

 

Then the Hulk went limp in utter surrender.  His arms draped down the conquering boy's back where they hung limply.  "Banner..." the Hulk croaked in a hoarse whisper.  "Banner...come back.  Hulk not like...muscle-boy."

 

Retreating against such unquestionably superior power, the Hulk's immense green musculature seemed to melt away more and more with each passing second.

 

Soon Chris stood victorious.  He'd humbled and vanquished the Hulk in a way that was unprecedented.  Banner stared at the boy from his prison of teen sinew, the physicist had never retained so much detailed memory from one of his transformation's into the Hulk.  He guessed that this was because his Hulk persona had never willing relinquished control over their shared physiology.

 

For the first time in memory since the day he was caught in the New Mexico desert gamma- bomb blast that had unleashed the Hulk on the world, Bruce could not sense his other personality lurking in that dark corner of his mind, so thorough was the Hulk's cowing at Chris's hands.

 

"How much do you remember, Doc?"  Chris asked.

 

"Enough to know that you are probably about to kill me."  Banner replied."  He didn't sound at all frightened, in fact if this phenomenal boy intended to kill him, part of Banner welcomed the idea of peaceful oblivion.

 

Chris looked momentarily confused.  "Kill you?"  Then the boy grinned.  "Not unless I have to.  Besides, you think I couldn't have offed you just as easily while you were tall, green and

stupid?"

 

Banner gulped.  "Then, uh..."  He tried squirming a bit, but he couldn't move in Chris's grip.  "What are you going to do with me?"

 

"Make a deal, of course."  Chris replied.  "He loosened his grip enough so that Banner slid to the ground.

 

Banner stumbled back grateful for some distance between himself and that much raw, Hulk-pounding power.  "A deal?"

 

"You've got a secret I want kept."  Chris explained.  "And I've got the means to keep your little alter-ego in check if he ever gets out of hand, again."  Chris demonstrated those "means" by sending the two most powerful biceps in existence towering above Banner in a double biceps pose.

 

Chris beamed with pride.  "I think it's more than a fair agreement."  The boy's features darkened ominously.  "The alternative..."  He said trailing off and stepping into Banner, bumping the much, much smaller man back several steps.  "Is far less pleasant."

 

Banner, thought it over for a moment.  He didn't know if finally having the means to keep the Hulk in check was a balanced trade-off for having helped unleash Chris on the world, but he also didn't see that he had much of a choice.

 

With a reluctant nod, he accepted Chris's terms.

 

Again, Chris beamed.  "Oh, and one more thing."  Chris added.  "I want to make a big entrance on the hero scene."

 

Banner didn't see where he had any say in this matter one way or the other.  "Um, Ok, but..."

 

"We'll have to work on your ability to change into the Hulk, wouldn't want to have to smack you around every time I want him to come out and play.  Then  I'm thinking maybe I'll round up the Abomination and maybe Juggernaut and unleash you all on...I don't know, maybe the next Super-bowl crowd - No, wait...the World Cup...then, in front of the whole world I'll save the day by pounding on all three of ya.  Whaddya think?  No, wait.  I gotta better idea..."

 

Chris placed an irresistible hand on Bruce's shoulder and shoved him along as he continued to chatter on excitedly.  Banner could only sigh and struggle to come to terms with his new world order as he was ushered along.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of my favorites. I look forward to reading a complete sequel. I only have parts of it for some reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably my all time favorite musclegrowth story. The initial sense of awe over the Hulk's strength is then masterfully dwarfed. Chris' progression is done just about perfectly. Of course, I've always wanted a sequel, to see what Chris might do with such planet crushing power, but I think the point is to see a totally dominant creature be completely dominated himself. The descriptions are beautiful s well.

Thanks so much for reposting this!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines, Terms of Use, & Privacy Policy.
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..