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m/m TimeSplitters


Astromuscle

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Astromuscle

Astromuscle: So this story idea kept me up all last night... the only thing I want to preface is that while there will be muscle growth (later on hopefully ALOT of muscle growth) I decided i wanted to write this with like cool characters, and like an intriguing story... so I hope that's okay... and I hope you enjoy!

Also heavy time travel ideas inspired by Zero Escape (google it)

Chapter 1: The setup

"I love you"

"I love you too"

"Not in the way I do..."

...

Daniel woke up in a cold sweat. Standing at 6', he was taller than most people and lanky. As he put on his shirt he noticed his lean and small muscles, pecs barely stood out from his chest, abs only there from his lack of fat, and thin legs that barely bulged anywhere. Daniel was healthy, and normally wouldn't fixate on these details, however there was a reason he now was aware of how unimpressive he looked.

Daniel left his sterile room to enter the rest of the base where he resided; a government building which was created to help correct the words missteps. They say hindsight is 20:20, and that's what Daniel was here for, and the reason for the whole initiative he participated in. As he entered the kitchen/dining area he saw one of the other residents of the building, a shorter man who's best descriptor was pudgy. Another word that always came to mind when Daniel saw Zeke was melancholy as the middle aged man never seemed to be happy. Daniel understood why, of course, but Daniel had gone through the same experience and still found time to enjoy the little things. This world was not devoid of happiness, but from Zeke's perspective it seemed any joy that the world could offer was a betrayal to the massacre they had witnessed.

Daniel began to collect his breakfast from the kitchen (a banana, some toast with PB and J, and some orange juice) and sat down across from the middle aged man. Zeke had apparently made eggs and bacon, but now was only pushing the half of the food that was left around the plate. It caused pain to Daniel to see Zeke this way. He had not known Zeke much before "the massacre", but had heard he was an extraordinary teacher, with a lot of passion. In a way, Daniel was happy he hadn't known Zeke's brighter days, only to see him come down to this level.

"Are you okay Daniel?"

Daniel jumped a little at the question, unsure how long had he been caught up in his thoughts. "Sorry, I had nightmares again last night"

"I understand, I get them a lot too"

"Zeke, you should leave. You don't have to be here. This will only get harder for you."

Zeke adjusted, appraising Daniel as well as casting a glance to the door to the room. "And leave you 2 to deal with all this, I couldn't do that. I am fine. Do you not feel any different after you... you know?"

"No" Daniel was lying however. This government building held 3 Timesplitters, as they had come to be called. These people could travel back in time by teleporting their consciousnesses back in time. This could only be triggered by a specific boulder that was housed in the building, and was made further more difficult due to the fact that every jump changed you. After every time Zeke jumped, he seemed to become more morose.

"I don't believe him for a second, do you Zeke?!" A booming voice came from behind Daniel that made him spin around. Standing a staggering 8' a tower of muscle who went by Robert entered the room fully.

Daniel's jaw dropped, Robert hadn't been that tall yesterday! Robert had been just under 8', but now was clearly at that height, if not taller once he fully stood up from entering the room.

"Robert, did they run tests on you last night? You seem bigger," Zeke said with such nonchalance that Daniel was taken aback.

"Ha Ha. Yeah, they made me jump a couple of times, and you know what that does to me!" Robert quickly scooped up as much food as he could fit on a tray and brought it over to their table. After setting it down he seemed to contemplate the chair, then grabbed another one to put next to it and sat down. "But we aren't changing the subject, what does jumping do to you Daniel? I get buffer," I don't know if it was on purpose or accidental, but one of his pecs bounced at this, "and Zeke..." Rob petered off at this.

"I grow more detached to the world, it's fine to say so."

"Right. So what happens to you?"

Daniel looked to Zeke for some help, but Zeke, while still sullen faced, now had a glint of curiosity in his eyes. "Robert does he seem to get more nervous every time he jumps?"

"Maybe your right... Daniel?"

Daniel shook his head and made a dismissive motion with his hands. "Guys, seriously! Nothing happens when I jump. No side effects!" Daniel was not a good liar.

Robert leveled his eyes down to match Daniel's, "We will figure this out buddy, and when we do you are going to regret not telling us sooner."

After a couple seconds of silence, Robert began to eat his buffet. Not long after Zeke got up to go in for some experiments, and left the kitchen, leaving Daniel and Robert alone.

"So Robert, how big do you plan on growing."

"I don't think I have much of a choice in the matter?"

"What do you mean? You could just not jump and you would stop growing. Besides eventually if you got big enough you could probably do whatever you want."

Robert began to laugh with a guttural deep sound before he began to choke on the food he had been swallowing. I began to get up to help him but he held me back and swallowed hard to clear his throat. "You are probably right buddy, but I guess I don't know. I personally don't have a limit in mind. I just want to be stronger. I need to be stronger." The last sentence was said with a much more deadpan tone than the rest.

"Robert, do you still see the Reaper?" an icy chill seemed to have settled in the room, coming quickly to the talk of death.

"I don't know, sometimes out of the corner of my eye... You?"

"Same." Long moments stretched by as the clock seemed to tick at a slower and slower pace. Eventually Robert got back to eating, and the air seemed to return to normal, though Rob was notably eating with less enthusiasm.

Eventually, Daniel's cell phone also buzzed, summoning him to do some experiments too. As he began to get up though Robert stopped him by grabbing his hand. The warmth of his hand engulfed Daniel's whole arm in a comforting feeling of security.

"Daniel, buddy. In all seriousness, if there is a side-effect to your jumping I can help. I don't want to see you end up like Zeke, getting worse and worse each day. Please tell me."

"Robert, if I notice anything I will let you know"

Robert seemed to consider that statement for a minute, "Fine, whatever." He then proceeded to eat the food Zeke had left behind. Daniel made a quick exit of the room.

In one of the hallways to the stone room, Daniel stopped. Breathing some long deep sighs he seemed to calm down, before punching one of the walls several times.

"Can't the fucker just drop the subject."

With some aggression let out and a disturbingly little amount of damage to the wall (they were meant to be Rob proof), Daniel dragged his feet along to the stone room.

The stone room was a large, pristine clean room big enough to house something huge, but the only object in the room was a rock about the size of a pillow. Smooth on one side, extremely rough on the other it looked as though it had broken off of a cliff, with whitish grey colour. Quite a few scientists were in the room as well as Zeke who seemed rather distant.

"How is our wonder boy doing today?" One of the scientists approached him with a smile so big Daniel could only think of the Joker from Batman to compare to.

"What do you need? I am not feeling great today"

"We have one test for you, shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes. Ready?" Daniel nodded and the scientist continued, "there is a room down the hall with a red flower in a pot. the keypad to get in will only open to your fingerprint, and mine of course. There was a blue flower in the kitchen, I don't know if you noticed. Now naturally since you didn't know about the red flower you'd have no reason to switch the red for the blue until I asked you to now, meaning if the flowers switched early, then you must have time traveled!"

"I assume you wrote down the time you would tell me on a paper earlier. Only the jumper remembers the past world."

"Yes yes yes, we wouldn't make that mistake again."

"Let's get this over with then I guess." Daniel stepped up to the stone and laid his hand on it. As he concentrated on the jump, the stone began to glow green, until Daniel blinked and opened his eyes to the kitchen.

"I don't believe him for a second, do you Zeke?!" A familiar booming voice from behind Daniel made him turn around to see Robert halfway through the doorway of the dining area, clearly proud of his new height he thought the others hadn't seen yet.

"Unfortunately," Daniel interrupted before more of this scene could play out, "Duty calls". After a scan of the room Daniel found the blue flower and grabbed it from it's vase.

As Daniel was about to leave from the far side of the room from Rob, he shouted back "Rob you may want to ask the scientists for bigger shirts, yours don't leave anything to the imagination at this point." With that Daniel left a very proud looking Robert alone flexing with a very tired looking Zeke.

Daniel rushed to complete the task, finding the room with the fingerprint scanner, and getting in and switching the flowers. To accentuate the point, he then took the red flower to the scientists in the stone room and gave it to them.

"I'm still not feeling well, so I am going back to bed."

"Still?" the wide-grinning scientist said.

"Whatever, you know what I mean" With that Daniel left and proceeded to his bedroom. He laid down his head and fell asleep almost immediately, only to be plagued with more nightmares.

Edited by Astromuscle
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Astromuscle

Warning: This chapter is graphic. Zeke's story should be the only overtly graphic section so I will put a bolded tl;dr in case that's a problem for anyone.

Chapter 2 The massacre

Zeke: Zeke worked his fingers to the bone to prepare for his classes. As a science and math teacher, he was a little out of his element in his horticulture class. He could teach biology, but horticulture was a little out of his depth.

And he loved every minute of it!

At the beginning of the semester he plainly laid out for his students that he was not amazingly well versed on the subject. He promised them however that he came in each day having extensively researched the subject of the day, and that he would learn along side them. He warmed that the class would be very hands on, aided by the greenhouse the school had attached to the classroom. If he couldn't teach they could see for himself; free-form learning as he liked to call it. Zeke, or Mr. Thompson as his students called him, was excited for this class every day, because in a way he was part of the class, and the students and him worked together to do what they could for the plants in the greenhouse.

One student stood out among the crowd, Margaret. She had clearly grown up around plants. At the beginning of the semester she had been trying to undermine his teaching, but Zeke had gotten to her, showing her that by helping him in the classroom she could teach the other students about plant life and try to stir interest in them as well. Now Margaret was one of his best teacher's aid. He knew should he be less then confident in a bit of knowledge he could look to her and she would nod or raise her hand with a comment if needed.

Altogether it had been a happy arrangement, until March 3rd. On March 3rd, a chain reaction of explosions occurred. Zeke was knocked off his feet as one came from the greenhouse, and began to pass out as he faintly heard other explosions nearby.

Coming to, Zeke pupils became pins as his eyes tried to shut out the sight before him. Blood and gore littered the classroom, the red from the blood was only contrasted by the fire that parts of the room were stickered with. Zeke turned away from the scene to look over to the greenhouse. It was no more, the door seemed now to simply lead to the outdoors. Zeke remembered that one of his students had been going to the washroom at the time, but before he could start a search, he heard a whimpering from the now-outside door. Running out there, he saw Margaret crying over the plants she had spent so long caring for, some of which she had even donated.

"Mr. Thompson, is this what the world is like? Does the world just like to get your hopes up, only to dash them over and over again?"

"Margaret, please come over here. It's not safe over there."

Margaret whipped a pair of hedge clippers out from behind her back. As she lifted them to her neck Zeke began to sprint towards her. Before he could reach her, he saw her mouth something to him, before digging the clippers into her neck. Blood sprayed his face quickly mixing with tears as he knelt by his former students body. Thoughts of how he could have saved her, and what he should have said swirled in his mind until a thought unlike the others floated back to the top of the soup of thoughts his mind had become. 'What about the student who went to the washroom?'

Zeke slowly got up and trudged away from his classroom. The hallways were in just as much disarray as his classroom, though without as many corpses. Limping through the halls (he had incurred an injury he hadn't registered) he went through all the halls of the building, finding some students he had taught in past years now dead on the ground. Zeke found himself questioning the point of teaching these students when life had been robbed from them before they could use the knowledge he had worked so hard to instill in them. At some point he registered seeing a large man of a kid beating on a locker. As well he saw another kid outside allowing snow to pile onto his face as he pleaded with the sky, but he never found his student until the fire department came and took him out of the building.

tl;dr Zeke taught a class, explosions happened, his students died, including a girl student Margaret who killed herself over the dead students as well as the plants she had poured her life into. Zeke looked for a missing student from his class but couldn't find him before the fire department removed him from the building.

Robert: Nothing bored Rob more than math. He hated math class. His teacher had even had to wake him up once or twice during class. It wasn't his fault that he wasn't going to use math in his life. He wanted to be a professional bodybuilder when he left school, or a professional wrestler as a back up plan. That being said, he really was trying. His mother was not impressed with his career prospects and told him that one day he might need this stuff. Robert was actually not bad in English. Math was the only class he had such an issue with.

That being said, even math class was better than what happened next. Explosions from all over the building crumbled the floor of the second floor bringing the whole floor down a level. Robert watched in awe as suddenly the ground was gone and everyone and everything went into free-fall. The classroom, if it could be called that anymore went from order to chaos in the literal blink of an eye. Time seemed to slow enough that Robert oriented himself as best he could so that he landed standing. He dropped to one knee due to the treacherous terrain but stayed mostly upright. The same could not be said for the other students as he saw there was a mix of people who were alive but injured beyond saving, people who had mercifully died immediately, or people he couldn't tell if had survived the fall, but definitely had not survived the debris falling afterwards. Robert looked up just in time to see the ceiling above him begin to fall on him. Robert didn't know if he could jump out of the way in time, so he turned to his strengths, his strength! Robert had enough time to dig his feet onto better footing and brace his knees. Plaster and metal came down in a chunk and landed squarely on his shoulders. Robert allowed his knees to bend down to slow the force of the ceiling until the bottom of a squat. He held his position and between the hormones of the moment and his training, pushed the ceiling piece up and back off of him.

Robert took a moment in the fray to appreciate what he had just done. At 7 feet, he was a beast of muscle, but that had been extreme.

Looking around again, Robert saw further down in a still intact hall a black hooded figure carrying something walk down the hall. Robert felt like the man might be dangerous, but there was a chance that he could help the injured people here. Robert ran after him, only to hear a door close. Rob ran to the door that he had heard and opened it. He had never been in this room, but it was clearly a boiler room. Inside the room the hooded figure placed the object, maybe a weird rock or something, behind the boiler. The figure stood up tall, though clearly not as tall as Rob, and without turning addressed him.

"Long time no see."

"Who are you?"

"You may call me The Reaper" The raspy voice came out as he turned around. In the dark room, Robert could only see a large happy grin cross the man's face. The black hood came down to cover the top half off the man's face.

"Reaper... Did you cause this?" Robert blood started pumping. It may have been a mistake running in here.

"I have no idea"

"How can you not know!? Did you set off the bombs?! You either did or didn't"

The reaper gave a guttural laugh that didn't seem genuine. "Is the world that cut and dry?"

Robert had heard enough. This man was clearly involved in this situation and if he wouldn't say so under Robert's interrogation then Robert would force him to talk straight. Robert launched towards him, but the Reaper moved quickly to the side and round house kicked him in the face. Robert realized the explosions hadn't left him unscathed, one leg seemed to be hurting, and that same arm seemed to be a little weaker than normal. Robert tried to get a bear hug around the Reaper, cutting off his exits with his massive long and big arms, but the Reaper hit him in his nose, throat and diaphragm all in quick succession before Rob could even touch him, knocking him back.

The Reaper took a pose, raised his hands and swung his legs up around Rob's neck. He then uses his body's momentum, along with help from a pipe he grabbed to throw Robert on the floor. Robert flipped onto the floor and the Reaper quickly got up. "Oh come on, you can do better than that!" The same toothy grin filled Rob with so much rage, he went berserk. Rob flailed up and began to throw a large punch with all his might at the Reaper, but his arm got caught in a pipe. Rob threw a kick instead but the Reaper easily sidestepped the kick and stepped under the foot, suspending it in the air. Rob shot out an arm to support himself and tried to bring his leg down. Despite Rob's muscles, it was no match for the Reaper using his whole body.

"That was fun to watch. Are you cooling down yet?"

Rob breathed in and out deeply. "Yes, so please take me seriously when I tell you this. I will find you wherever you go, I will get stronger, and I will kill you for what you have done here!"

The Reaper raised Rob's leg further, knocking him off balance, allowing the Reaper to escape to the door. Before the Reaper left, he looked back (this was an assumption on Rob's part, still not seeing his face of course).

"No, you won't." With that he left with a laugh.

Rob went to go after him with renewed vigor, only to find his arm had been caught in the pipe the whole time and his arm had been twisted from his fall just then.

Rob eventually untangled himself from his prison and went out of the room. His frustration plain on his face. Using his one good hand, he beat up quite a few lockers before he was evacuated from the building.

Daniel: Daniel was playing cards with a girl on his spare. He had been talking to this girl for a little over a week and they had really hit it off, though he forgot her name a lot. She was giggling, shaking her chest up and down. Daniel was very much trying not to stare, but he was pretty sure she was doing it on purpose.

"Dan, it's your turn."

"Oh," Daniel snapped out of his stupor. Looking down at the deck of cards, he realized he couldn't play and took from the draw pile.

"Dan, you got to keep up with the game"

"I'm sorry, you are just amazingly distracting"

Laughing harder, the girl gave him a challenging look. "Oh ya, how distracting am I?"

Daniel thought for a minute. "You are so distracting, that if you were the subject of 'The Mona Lisa' the painting would have never been finished, and what a shame that would be because people should be admiring your looks in a museum"

She lost it. She almost fell out of her chair chuckling at the comment. "Oh my god I love it!"

Not one of his best lines, but Daniel was great at stringing metaphors like that together. He might actually be a certified lady killer if he could lie worth a damn.

"I will leave you on that note, I have to go to the washroom."

She composes herself for a minute. "You sure you don't want me to join you?"

We both laugh, but then I shake my head, "Normally i would push it and see how far you are willing to take that comment, but i do seriously have to go to the washroom, which is a bit of a mood killer." At that Daniel picked up the girls hand and kissed it. "Until later, when more gentlemanly I can be. Milady"

Daniel left her stifling her laughter. Sure, people may have thought it was cheesy, but hey it was cute... and it worked.

Daniel exited the cafeteria to go to the washroom. On his way he noticed his best friend Mark come out of the bathroom.

"Hey Mark." Mark gave a start and looked over at Daniel.

"Oh hey bro, what are you doing? Don't you have class?"

"No, I have a spare. You have a class though right?"

Mark looked around, "Ya I do. I actually thought you were my teacher for a sec, I have been out of class longer than I should be."

"Who's your ---" That was all Daniel could get out before an explosion happened, first in the distance, then too close for comfort. Mark was thrown by the force into Daniel and they took a tumble. Blown across the hall, Daniel ended up on top of Mark, as Mark began to cough up blood.

"AHHHHH, Mark are you ok?"

"I'm fine, *cough*, go check on your girlfriend."

"Fuck that, you are not okay we are taking you to see the nurse or paramedics or something."

Daniel tried to pick up his friend, but Mark was not the lightest of people, and Daniel's ankle probably sprained.

"Dude, it's fine but I have to tell you something. It's really important."

Daniel continued to heave Mark as he spoke, "Bro you aren't dying, you don't get to have final words. Stop this."

"Daniel... I love you."

Daniel's eyes welled up with tears. "I love you too"

Mark seemed to measure him, until another coughing fit took him over and broke his stare. He wiped his mouth clean and said, "Not in the way I do..."

Daniel only had a second to try to dissect what the statement meant before Mark's arms held him close and pulled him in for a kiss. It was soft and passionate, albeit the taste of blood ruined whatever moment there could be. Mark was trying but Daniel was stuck in place, stunned at his friends sudden exclamation. After 10 seconds, Mark stopped and let Daniel go.

"See, nothing on your end. It's fine, I have come to accept it, but I had to try one time at least."

Daniel's mind, normally a semi-witty machine, was stalled.

"I'm sorry, I'm not gay, but I do love you." Daniel hugged Mark close, squeezing him tighter than he should have to a dying man.

Mark hugged Daniel back for a minute, until eventually Mark's arms fell to the tile school floor. Daniel cried and squeezed until his arms grew tired. He then let his friend down and slowly rose. His hip felt sore, maybe dislocated and so he limped outside. It was snowing that day. The snow touched his face, cold yet wet as it melted and mixed with his tears. Relaxing yet stinging enough to help emphasize the emotional numbness seeping in. Daniel lost track of time, but eventually a fire brigade came and escorted him away.

--------

Daniel woke up with another start. His nap was over. Somehow, he didn't feel any more rested. He decided to take a walk outside the facility. The fresh air was good for him. Daniel didn't even see any shadowy figures out of the corners of his eyes.

Edited by Astromuscle
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Astromuscle

Chapter 3: Splitting

 

After returning from his walk, Daniel went to the recreational area of the research center. The room itself was more of a large court akin to those found in a high school, with many lines on the floor intended for different games, and basketball hoops at either end. There was also an offshoot door that led to a weight room, but only Rob ever used that. Daniel got one of the basketballs from the edge of the room and began practicing lay-ups. Constantly running up to the net and nudging the ball into the hoop. Eventually he began imagining another player there and he started doing tricks and quick turns to outmaneuver the airy opponent. Daniel had never really been sporty back in school but that's what he liked about the activity. The more separation he got from the past the better in his books.

Eventually Daniel heard the door open behind him. Daniel turned around and almost dropped the ball at the sight of the now clearly taller than 8' Rob come in. He had clearly grown even larger not only in height but in pure muscular mass as well. Pecs pressed out and overhung his abs by a good 1-2 inches at least. The reason that of course Daniel could take note of this was because Robert was currently shirtless.

After his brief stumble Daniel began to laugh, but composed himself quickly enough to answer Robert's yet unspoken question.

"Robert, you were supposed to get a bigger shirt, not go shirtless"

Robert took one look down and began to chuckle with Daniel.

"I am currently doing experiments and i guess I am going to be growing larger before the day is out. Wasn't worth me ripping through clothes... though that might be a nice sight eh?" Robert flexed at the thought trying to break through clothes about as real as Daniels basketball opponent.

"Hey now," Daniel said "Save it for the ladies man." Daniel threw the ball at Robert who managed to catch it in one hand. "Wanna play some ball?"

Robert mused and bounced the ball once or twice with his hand. "You know, some say the taller you are, the better you are supposed to be at basketball"

Daniel lowered himself in a staggered stance with knees bent. "Guess I have some people to prove wrong"

Robert lowered himself in a stance that tried to mimic Daniel'. He began to bounce the ball up and down and made his way picking up speed as he went. As he came straight towards Daniel, Dan held his ground. Daniel couldn't help feeling like a mini cooper stuck on train tracks facing a freight train bearing down at frightening speeds. In these situations the train would of course win.

Thank god the metaphor started and ended with the feeling. Daniel let Robert get close and focused on the bounce of the ball. It went up and down rhythmically from Robert's oversized right hand to the ground. As Rob closed in and the ball left his hand Dan began to step to Robs left, away from the ball. Rob's body immediately reacting as his mass was shifted to block him off from the ball. This had of course been Dan's plan as he quickly pivoted back and went the other way to Robs now open right side. Dan snagged the ball on the upswing and quickly moved away from Rob. They had played before and Daniel had learned Robs 2 strengths, size and reach. The problem with that being that mass didn't help in basketball, and it took time to slow 500+ lbs of muscle even if your legs put some tree trunks to shame. Dan now out of Robs grasp quickly bounded down the court as fast as his legs could propel him. Rob spun and tried to catch up. Given enough time he might even be able to, but it took time for Rob to get to speed, by which time Dan was already hanging from the hoop, the ball bouncing beneath the net seemingly cheering on Dan.

Dan let go and dropped to the ground as Rob hustled his way over to Dan. Rob seemed to be heaving a little as his pecs came up and down with his breath. That seemed mesmerizing to Dan as he tried to remember something, but eventually looked away before things got awkward. Dan collected the ball and crossed to Rob's other side. The heaving monster seemed to compose himself and stood up straight. It was an imposing sight to be sure, but Dan was preoccupied, which he thanked the Lord for. He checked the ball to Rob and tried to make himself look more tired than he felt.

"Your not done yet are you Rob, we've only had one round and you look out of breath."

Rob considered Dan for a second, then turned the ball in his massive palm considering it as well, then broke out in a huge grin. Dan braced himself, he knew something was about to happen. Rob dribbled the ball a couple times and began to come towards Dan again. As they came close Rob took the ball in both hands and chest passed to Dan. Daniel did react fast enough to catch it, but was stunned for a second between the pass and the force of it on him, stalling him long enough for Rob to essentially tackle Dan and carry him with his momentum. Rob quickly hustled them both over to Dan's net, but when he looked up Dan's hands were empty. In the silence in those moments only three sounds could be heard, the breathing of the two entwined men, the swoosh of the netting at the far side, and the characteristic bouncing sound of the ball cheering another point for Dan.

Dan laughed at the sillyness of the game at this point despite Robs slight pout. As Dan began to try to extract himself from Rob's arms he felt Rob's grip tighten as he shifted Dan to one side and held him up tightly with one arm. Rob slowly swaggered his way over to the ball and grabbed it in his free hand. He then swaggered back, clearly in no hurry as Dan shouted a couple of half hearted protests and squirmed to try and free himself from the iron grip of a behemoth. Halfway to his own net Dan gave up and simply tried not to think about the arm that was suspending him with ease or how the thickness of the arm rivaled his own torso. As Rob reached the net he placed his hand over the net (his arm surprisingly didn't have to reach very far up), gave me a wide grin, and dropped the ball through the net.

He began to laugh a lot, which jostled me with him. Once he stopped he looked at Dan who tried his best to look like he just wanted to be put down. Rob obliged and set him down gently how you might set down a toddler.

"I think you traveled, I didn't see one dribble."

"Well the referee didn't call me out on it so I think it counts."

We both began to laugh again, until Rob suddenly stopped. Dan watched as Rob seemed to stop all movement, then drop to his hands and knees and pant. His face scrunched up tight as his muscles flexed and convulsed.

"Rob, what's happening? Are you ok?" Dan rushed in to help him but Rob pushed him back with more force than intended, knocking Daniel onto his butt.

In strained words Rob mouthed "I'm Ok, just give it a minute"

At first Dan didn't know what he was talking about, but before long Dan noticed that the muscles that seemed to grow and shrink with each of Rob's breath didn't quite shrink enough. Muscles which had one been defined were now practically trying to escape Rob's skin. Rob had started out as if in pain, but now seemed to be enjoying the ride. Every heave brought his chest up and every breath out seemed to create little change, but as Rob said a minute later the attack seemed to stop and Rob, now drenched in sweat stood up to a full height that while I couldn't measure was clearly several inches taller than he had been even a minute before. His arms had migrated farther apart yet seemed thicker. The realization clicked with Dan that now those arms were probably bigger than his body, and given more time might get longer than it too. Robs legs had not only grown but were clearly more defined as Dan could see each part of Rob's quad. Dan stared with full intensity now, with no intention of hiding his amazement.

Rob didn't seem to mind his staring, but did eventually speak with a bit of worry. "You've never seen one of my growth spurts then?"

Dan quickly averted his gaze, taking what was possibly a hint he had been staring too long. "Are they always that violent?"

"They used to be worse, but they have been getting better, the scientists are testing me all day and they think that by the end of the day it might not even hurt anymore!" He then proceeded to flex all of his new muscles, enjoying the sight for himself.

"But you didn't leave for the room" Dan felt dumb immediately after saying it.

"I left right after I scored my basket. I returned to this time."

Dan nodded in comprehension. He had never been on the receiving end of the jumps. "And you are always hit that suddenly?"

"No, in fact the growth is expomental or something"

"You mean exponential" Dan corrected

"Ya, that's what I mean, I was probably growing all through our basketball match, just very slowly. Then the effect builds until it eventually just goes away. The scientists seem to think that it might even have far reaching effects through time. By becoming bigger now, I might become bigger back then." The Splitters never had to explain what event they referred to in these cases, it was always clear by how all joy seemed to suck out of a room.

"You never answered my question Rob, how big do you plan on becoming?"

"As big as I need to to change what happened..." he seemed lost in his own thoughts until something hit him. "Wait that's not fair you never answered my question!"

"What are you talking about?"

"Dan, what happens to you when you jump? I have talked with Zeke and he says his emotions are similar to my growth. He feels sad, then it builds into essentially a panic attack, and then it goes away, mostly."

"I would argue that your growth doesn't go away, but his emotions seem to calm down."

Rob doesn't appear entertained, "I would argue you're dodging the question. Why won't you tell us?"

Dan came right up to Rob, stared him in the eyes (which meant literally looking straight up) and said "Nothing happens, and after seeing you there, I am very happy for that."

Rob looked down at him. He stared at him with a look of disbelief and worry, until he finally just gave up and stalked off to the weight room. "I'll be in here working out, and probably having more growth spurts." Rob then went into the weight room and closed the door.

Dan stood alone in the basketball court again, but was in no mood to play anymore. He went up to one of the corners which had a punching bag and went crazy. He was not trained or anything, but punching things really did help, and at least this did have more give than the wall the day before. He was single mindedly punching away until he heard a gasp and moan from the weight room. He figured it must just be Rob jumping again, but thought it best to go see and help him. He grabbed his water bottle Dan had brought with him and entered the weight room. It was a surprisingly large room with a lot of equipment. Dan figured it must be to help measure Rob's strength so it was probably bought with grant money or something. On the ground beside the squat rack Rob was just getting up, even sweatier than before, which Dan had not thought possible. Dan tossed the water bottle at Rob, who caught it with ease.

"You are going to become dehydrated very fast if you keep that up." By the time Dan had finished the sentence Rob had already drank half of the water bottle and showed no signs of slowing down.

"Ya, it really takes it out of you, but then you just feel so energized, like I could move a mountain" he flexed and struck a pose as if he were going to push the squat rack around the room.

"Well you can't move a mountain if you die because you aren't getting enough water."

"You know, for someone who was angry with me not 2 minutes ago you sure seem concerned for me."

Dan seemed taken aback. "I don't want you to die, just want you off my back is all"

Rob walked over to him and put his hand on Dan's shoulder... and the majority of his arm. "I just want to know that you trust me enough to tell me."

A long silence stretched between them.

Dan was the first to break the silence "and Zeke of course."

"oh of course, Zeke too" Rob rushed in.

"But like I said, I have nothing to hide."

Rob kept his hand on Dan's shoulder "not to start another argument, but people do not guard themselves as much as you do when they have nothing to hide."

Dan moved off of Rob's hand and stared down Rob (by staring up, of course). "Have you tried having an incessant 9 foot tall muscle freak trying to intimidate you into answering a question you have already answered?"

They were intense for about 3 seconds before they both laughed and returned the atmosphere to what it had been during the basketball game. "I am not 9 feet tall. Give me til the end of the day though"

On that note Rob and Daniel both worked out in the weight room, Rob helping Dan with his moves and Dan waiting patiently and doing what he could for Rob through his jumps. By the end of the day Rob had reached 9 feet in height and was around the 600 pound mark.

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Ro20316

My friend. You as many writters here are a genoius.

I like the slow burn of teh story and how you keep us ob the loop wondering what's the event they are training for and why Dan doesnt want to talk about what he does. Rob is a beast and he love every bit of it

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Astromuscle

Chapter 4: Experimentation

Over the next week the scientists kept experimenting with Robert and Zeke. They told Daniel that they would come to him, but it required some planning ahead. Daniel got to watch as Robert grew to 9' 5" and watched Zeke as he seemingly remained unchanged, but he seemed more aloof as the week went by. It occurred to Daniel that Robert's tests were not to change the past, but to cause his growth, so then what was Zeke being tested for. He would have asked Zeke about it, if Zeke would even initiate a conversation, or let Daniel do so. Instead Zeke seemed to avoid any human interaction. Robert and Daniel spent time together but Daniel always felt awkward, though he couldn't quite explain why, or didn't want to admit it to himself. Then the next week came and with it came the release of Robert and Zeke from their trials, and the beginning of Daniel's.

On Monday morning the scientists called me into the stone room. The man with the wide grin stood in front of them rubbing his hands in anticipation. I entered the room, tired and placed my hand on the stone, the grin seemed to drain from the scientist and they all jumped forward. Daniel couldn't help but think they looked a little afraid.

"When do you want me to jump to?" Daniel asked, trying to calm them down.

The scientist in front of the group resumed grinning and approached Daniel with a more calm demeanor. "Eager aren't we, that's quite the change."

"I hate jumping and just want to get it over with. Now what do you have me doing this time."

"I am so glad you asked. All you have to do is travel back and put a tick on the wall here for every day you travel back"

Daniel seemed confused, "I don't see how this is different than any other test you have me doing, what will you learn that you don't already know?"

The toothy grin man smiled even wider, which Daniel had not thought possible. "You are going to do it in reverse order. Travel to Friday of last week and make the tick, then thursday, and so on. Come this monday again we will call you in and observe what happens."

Daniel was confused again "How many ticks are you expecting?"

The leader seemed to weigh the idea, "if you only make the ticks when you jump, then I expect either 1 or 5, but that's what we are here to find out"

Daniel didn't seem to understand, but the instructions seemed easy enough. "Anything else I need to do while I am doing this?"

The leader shook his head "you know most of the events of the past week, have fun. If you make any interesting discoveries be sure to let us know"

With that Daniel closed his eyes and focused on the past week. Nothing specific had happened so he picked at time when he was by himself to travel back to. When he got there his mind was racing with thoughts, but with no one there he quickly maintained his composure and placed his tick on the wall with a marker. Daniel then touched the stone again and repeated this for each day of the week, each time placing a mark on a blank wall, since he hadn't yet been there to place the rest. Daniel began to understand the test and was actually a little excited to see the results for himself.

Finally on Monday the week before he started jumping he placed his final, and yet oddly first mark on the wall. Now all Dan had to do for the experiment was to live this week again.

Monday was the day the other 2 were starting their tests too. Daniel watched as they both stalked off to the stone room for themselves. Daniel always loved having some extra know how on what was about to happen, but while he was waiting he decided to go to the gym again. The basketballs sat on the side of the room beckoning to him, but instead he decided to try his hand at the punching bag again. Despite not being good with it he had enjoyed his little bout with it the other day, and had decided he might try to learn some cool fighting moves with it. By cool fighting moves, Dan actually meant simply being able to throw good punches without becoming too winded, but he was hopeful that over time he might come up with something better.

After about 30 minutes with the punching bag, and another hour shooting baskets Dan decided it was time to go see the others. They were both eating in the kitchen. Robert filling a chair completely and then some above and around it, and Zeke who was quickly grabbing an apple and was going to leave. Daniel quickly called after him to stop him, but Zeke didn't stop and left the room. Daniel grabbed some food, nothing much just a sandwich and sat down across from the mountain that was Robert. Daniel had seen him bigger, he was probably still only around 9' now, but it was still a sight to behold.

"So Rob, how is your test going?" Dan asked in polite discussion.

Between mouthfuls Rob managed to get out "Good, but God I am hungry"

"Eat up, you are going to need it for this week" I looked up from my food at him and gave him a big smirk.

Rob studied my face for a second until he realized what I had been saying. "Wait, are you from the future? How far?!" He had stopped eating and was looking at me excitedly. One would think he was not a time traveller with how much he seemed to care.

"About a week, you get to be about 9' 5" according to you at least" Dan reported.

"So wait what are they making you do?" Rob inquired

"Well see they are making me..." Dan started, but then stopped, "You know what it's a little complicated to grasp I will tell you about it once we see the results."

Rob nodded his head and resumed eating. He eventually piped up with "I am going to the weight room after this I think, want to come?"

"No, I might take a walk outside. Try to curb my boredom."

Robert seemed to eat slower, though Daniel didn't notice the subtle cue. "You know, lifting weights curbs my boredom"

"Big guy, somehow lifting weights when there is a beast like you in the room seems a bit... futile"

Robert nodded in understanding, but still seemed unpleased "Ya but I do better when I have an audience"

"Big guy, I just really want to go to town today. You can join me if you want."

Robert seemed to consider it, but then shook his head "I really want to have a strength before and after on these bouts of experiments. Besides what if we went to town and people thought we were together?" He then proceeded to laugh, to which Daniel joined though he wasn't sure he found it funny.

"Well fine" Dan said, in fake outrage, "I am going on my own then, maybe I will go get addicted to heroine and sleep with the hottest prostitute I can afford for 20$, all because I wasn't supervised" We both laughed at that comment, and Daniel did find it funny. Dan left Rob then to finish his meal. Dan spent the rest of his day in town, visiting a bar, shopping a bit and the like. As Dan's trip was coming to a close however, he noticed a dark shape out of the corner of his eye slip between 2 buildings. Dan immediately sprung for the spot he had last seen the man. He didn't know what he would do if he found him, but if it truly was the reaper Dan new he needed to confront him for what he had caused.

As Dan came into the alley he could not see the man. He considered chasing the man further, for he had to be around somewhere, but that idea was dashed when he fell to his knees at the sight of what was written on the wall. The message written in black marker on the white siding of one of the building walls read "When 2 consciousnesses collide will you remain to be you or are you someone else, does the previous you die, or does the interfering you from the future die?" Below the message to the left was one small vertical line, while to the right of that was 4 similar lines, which were then crossed horizontally by a fifth line. To anyone else this message may have meant nothing, but he had told no one about his experiment, and the scientists always kept them hush hush lest someone interfere with the results. The other scary part was the implication, come tomorrow would he be attempting to jump into himself, and if so, who would win? Dan was shaken and sat there for minutes he almost got solace from the idea from the fact that he wouldn't jump back again to tuesday because going forward he had no reason to, like a time paradox, but he had seen that despite never leaving the room Robert had jumped into the gym again and again. Clearly time did not need to conform linearly, and was very much ok with him having this identity crisis.

Eventually Daniel did pull himself off the ground and get back to the base. He went straight to bed without supper, not wanting tomorrow to come but not ready to face more Monday either. Eventually however Tuesday came and Dan did wake up. He went to get breakfast, this time alone when he collapsed on the ground. His heart began to thump louder and harder as he heaved heavy breaths. Rob had thought the experience of jumping had been painful only for him because he had been growing, but it was painful for everyone. Dan sat there mind racing as his mind recalled the message he had seen. 1 or 5, 1 or 5, who would die, did it mean anyone would die. Would he stop existing? 1 or 5?

1. As the feelings subsided Dan took an inventory of himself. He was the same him that had seen the message and had eaten with Rob yesterday. He felt relieved though he very much wasn't sure of the implications of that. Notably though there hadn't actually been a jump, he did have the feelings he always did when he jumped. Daniel was worried that those might be building, as Rob's growth was, and as he assumed Zeke's melancholy did according to Zeke himself.

Dan collected his food off the ground and sat down to eat. Eventually Zeke came in but seeing Dan there turned and left without food. Rob eventually woke up too and created his own buffet of  meal again and sat down across from Dan.

"So how was your day in town?"

Dan was perturbed still by everything that had happened, but he couldn't resist his wit. "I went shopping, had a drink, saw the reaper, chatted with the old lady who-"

Robert went side eyed and banged the table for me to stop as he swallowed hard. "You saw the Reaper!"

Dan retold his tale in full, also admitting he had only peripherally seen him so he might have been wrong but Rob seemed to agree that it probably was the Reaper.

Rob seemed to scarf down his food and excused himself. Clearly the news of the Reaper had angered him, but Dan didn't want to get in the behemoths way.

Dan didn't see another living soul that day. The next day flowed similarly, another jump hit him, though he was still himself. He apparently missed Rob for breakfast and lunch but eventually did find him in the weights room. Dan was shocked to find that it was only Wednesday and yet Rob seemed to have reached 9' 5" and likely 720 lbs of what was solid muscle. While his height had always been a great general measure for Dan, it always took him back how muscle seemed to accumulate faster than height on Rob. Eventually he was going to run out of room for his muscles but for now he simply looked like a living, breathing, not green coloured hulk. Rob seemed dead set on his bench press and didn't see or here Dan come in until he finished his set and looked up.

"Robert, are you ok?" Dan asked hesitantly.

"No, you were in danger yesterday and I wasn't there to help you. I could have caught that son of a bitch and rung his neck for murdering our entire school in cold blood but instead you faced him alone."

"Robert! I didn't face him. He lured me and left. He clearly had no intention of doing me any physical harm, otherwise he would have. Besides, I can handle myself!"

"Listen Dan, it just would have been safer with me there..."

"Rob, I realize you are one and a half my height and more than 3 times my weight but listen. I AM A GROWN ADULT WHO CAN HANDLE THEMSELVES. I am not your child or wife for you to look after. Stop taking this out on yourself, he was gone as quickly as he was there anyways."

Robert looked Dan up and down and seemed to dismiss him. "I still would have liked to have been there." Rob grumbled as he put more weight on the bar and sat back down for his next set.

Dan and Rob spent most of the day in the weight room, Rob eventually forcing Dan to do some exercises. Dan wasn't sure if it was the interest from Monday or the protectiveness that made him insist, but Dan couldn't argue that it really couldn't hurt.

Thursday came and Rob and Dan met up to do some fun sports in the gym. They set everything up and decided to play tennis. Dan had suggested it saying it arguably put them on equal footing. A sport where strength meant little, and while Dan may have had speed, Rob's immense reach could help compensate. They played through most of the day, both forgetting their concerns until Dan felt his jump. Dan had forgotten that it would happen and cursed himself for letting Rob be around when it happened. As Dan fell in pain, Rob rushed over, only to be hit by his own jump. Both men convulsed on the ground, Dan coming out of it first looked up to see Rob on the ground, hands grasping at the flat surface of the ground as they inched forward in length. Rob' arms extended and thickened out as his bicep peaks grew out and pulsed in the rhythm of his breathing as the vascular veins running down his bicep and through his forearm seemed to dance in a faster rhythm, fueling his body with what it needed to support the growth. His traps, which were arguably the only part of the body Dan could see seemed to inflate and yet somehow shrink his neck. Striations were visible as each muscle strand stood out visibly from it's neighbors yet clearly came together to form one giant creation capable of moving whatever weight Rob decided to aim them at. Dan's gaze would have kept going except it was then drawn in to the now more pronounced bulge in Rob's pants, Dan had never noticed how it extended out from him suddenly and far. Recovered Dan quickly ripped his gaze away from Rob and ran to the weight room. By the time he was halfway there Rob was getting back up and trying to chase after him.

As Rob began to call after him Dan closed the doors between the two rooms and flicked a lock on the weight room side. By some miracle the lock was only on this side, and Dan put his back against the door and sank to the floor. Rob tried the door several times but realizing it was locked stopped. Rob seemed to debate for a sec whether he could force the door, thinking he probably could if he tried, but instead decided to sit himself on the opposite side of the door.

"Dan, can you hear me?" Rob called out, hoping Dan was still close by the door,

After a moment Dan responded "Yes"

"What's wrong. Did you just jump?"

"I tried to, but I have jumped since then I guess... I don't know."

"Dan, are you afraid of what your effect is when you jump?"

There was silence for a long while. Rob began to think he had overstepped again, until eventually through the door he heard "Yes"

"You want to tell me what it is?"

"No"

"ok" Rob really wanted to know, but this was clearly not the time. "Dan do you mind if I just wait for you here to calm down from whatever that was."

"I think I am better now." With that Dan unlocked the door and opened it, only for Rob's back to be blocking the whole doorway. Dan quickly turned away again and coughed. "Rob I can't leave the room with you blocking the whole way.

"Oh sorry" Rob got up and motioned for Dan to come out. That growth spurt had really seemed to hit him, as far as Dan could tell.

"Rob, I think I am going to lay down for a nap before supper. I will see you then." Dan left the room expediently leaving a saddened giant behind.

At supper Rob kept the conversation away from the incident just then and they both had a nice, if frivolous conversation. They went their separate ways and Dan read until he fell asleep again for the night.

(Astromuscle: Shit, I did not think this chapter would be this long! I am gonna cut it here and lump Friday with the next hopefully shorter chapter.)

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Ro20316

The scifi on this story si amazing.

They are time travelers and everyone has adiferent reaction and a different goal. I found that pretty inetresting and how you explain things gets everything easier to understand.

No Wonder Dan is worry about raveling, He travels to himself but is his mind that doing the traveling so that begs teh question he saw written. If one mind dies and travel, what would be left behind?

Also i do wionder if hat they call "The Reaper" it's their friend Zeke. They gotta make him talk because those are clearly bad signs on whatever the jumps are doing to him.

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