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m/m To Protect and Serve - Chapter 7 Part 4 (Posted 11/30/2020)

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Trigger Warning: As should be obvious to anyone who has read this story's previous chapters, the main character in this story is a detective sergeant in law enforcement.  Anyone who may be triggered by reading such a story should move on.  No allegory or comment on current politics or political movements or any other real world happening in the United States in 2020 is meant or implied by anything expressed in this work.   It is no meant to inspire any discussion on any real world events.


Chapters 1-4 are posted in this thread. 



Chapters 5 and moving forward will be posted in this thread, since updates to the title can't be made in the old thread.  Any reference to anyone in this (or subsequent) chapter who is an actual living person in no way is an endorsement of this work by them.  


Chapter 5 - Predator and Prey

5.5 months after the Accident


“As best as we can determine at this point, this is the approximate flow of the drug pipeline. As you can see, there are three major trunks that parallel military posts and freeways coming out of Southern California, roughly north paralleling the coast, northeast, and east.   And, thanks in no small part to our Albuquerque and Los Angeles informants, I have been able to put together that these major lines run to at least San Antonio on the eastern branch, from San Diego to Seattle on the coastal branch, and at least as far as Omaha along the main northeast line.  


“Of course, those lines will branch further to individual bases such as Hill in Utah.  But, I am almost certain the main lines run until they come into contact with the East Coast flow coming up from Florida.  But this is what we have been able to establish for certain at this point.”  


Even in the darkened, secured briefing room at Peterson Air Force Base, it was plain to see that John towered over the assembled military officers and civilian officials.  Behind him as he slowly paced at the front of the room, was a presentation he and Colonel Daugherty had put together for the briefing.  Over the previous hour, John had walked the six law enforcement officials  - the 4 USNORCOM heads of military police of each of the service branches, the FBI Special Agent-In-Charge for California, and the DEA Special Agent-In-Charge for the El Paso DEA Intelligence Center - sitting around the conference table through the particulars of the evidence developed in his undercover investigation.


The lights came up in the room.  “Thank you gentlemen for your attention.  Colonel Dougherty and I are happy to answer any questions you have.”


Captain Richard Lehman, USN, was the first to speak up, “First, thank you Detective Declann.  This is no small amount of work. Warren, we all knew we had issues with this.  But to this extent.  The sheer scale of this.  It seems unlikely that this could be hidden from us for so long.  Are we sure about this?”


“John?” Dougherty said, fielding the question to Declann.


“It is as sure as we can make it at this point, Captain.  The flow direction and the volume is a certainty.  As for particular individuals and suspects, I have only listed those that I have direct, first hand knowledge of.  However, how it has been kept under the radar, is known.  I am sure you all noticed that those I have been able to identify are attached to law enforcement in some capacity.  Military or civilian police, JAG - the leaders of the drug ring selected these men very carefully.  While all are not consumers of the product, they all serve a function.  In one way or another, they are in positions to pay off or bury any evidence that surfaces.  That is exactly what we saw in Boulder that got my work on this started.”


“Rick, I can substantiate some of this too. Four of the individuals Detective Declann came into contact with have popped up on our radar in the last couple of years.”  DEA SAC Ron Michaelson interjected.  


“The infuriating thing has been that as soon as some sniff of evidence develops, it just disappears.  We could never trace it, but this makes all the pieces fit.  As Detective Declann said, the total volume coming in we know from street level investigations on our own.  That has never been in question.  Just how it was moving without being seen was what stumped us.  But, even I must admit this kind of operation and coordination surprises me too.  However … it just brings together a lot of pieces.  Of course, we will have to fill in the blanks.  But it makes sense.”


FBI SAC Jeff Wilson spoke up in an exaggerated “smitten like a teenage girl” tone, “First, I have to say, Detective -- where in the hell have you been hiding all my life?”  All the men around the room laughed, but then cracked up that much harder when John’s reflexive blushing made an appearance. The laughter calming, Wilson continued, “Seriously, I have about a hundred investigations I would love to let you loose on.  This is some of the best investigation and documentation on a case of this scope I have ever seen.  And for just one man to do it … when the time comes, I think we will get a shit ton of guilty pleas.  


“But, my biggest concern is why I gather it is only us here instead of a full task force.  Operational security.”


“Jeff is right,” Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jack Johnson replied.  “I have no idea how we are going to investigate this and keep it hidden.  If they are as connected into our ranks as it appears, I do not know who in my own office I can trust.  If only they looked like you Detective Declann - no offence intended - we could get everything coordinated and executed in a week.  But, these men and women are not exactly screaming ‘Please test me for steroids’ like the obvious inclination to test you would be.”


“No offense taken Colonel.” John replied as he took his seat at the table.  Even seated and in a suit, John looked like he was bigger than any two of the men in the room put together.  


“And that is the largest single issue that is in front of us.  The more I keep pressing, the more even I am going to give this away.  Too many questions from the same source.”  


Dougherty spoke up, “And that is what we need to determine now.  Because at best we have 2 months for planning, investigating, and execution of an operation.  We can hold up orders for transfers and such maybe that long without attracting attention.  And God help us, if any of the people involved get scattered around the planet.  We will not be able to touch them outside of US territory before they collapse this thing, and we will be left with nothing.  We can’t risk taking more than 60 days maximum.”


Nods and verbal affirmations sounded at once around the room.  “Well, let’s get to brass tacks.  With your OK Jeff, Ron, the easiest decision is to put John in charge of the civilian end of things in Colorado and Wyoming.”


Wilson chucked, “Wish every man we need to bring is as easy and obvious as you Detective.” 


“As long as I can hire you away later…” Michaelson assented.


“Trust me, it won’t work.  I’ve already tried.”  Dougherty quipped.


“Can’t blame a man …”  Michaelson said with a half smile.


“And Warren, I think I can speak for Bill,” said Johnson, “when I say we would both like to meet with you Detective and get our ducks in a row for Fort Carson and the marines we have stationed here who could be involved.”  


Colonel William James, USA, nodded his accent. 


John looked at both men.  “Of course, gentlemen, I am happy to help anyway I can, but how can I explain my involvement on posts that aren’t Air Force?”


James looked at Johnson and smiled as he half questioned, “The show?”


Johnson laughed, “Jesus Christ, is that not too fucking perfect?  Too bad for the others competing that the fix is in. ‘Cause I don’t see any way in hell Detective Declann isn’t going to win the whole thing.  Well, what about it John, fancy a trip to Norfolk later in the summer?”


Declann looked at Johnson confused, “Sir?”


Johnson just smiled more broadly, thinking of more than a few asses he would be happy to see John paste at this thing. “The Southern Colorado Bodybuilding Show.  It is in a month, and it is also the mountain states area qualifier for the Armed Forces Nationals later this year in Norfolk.  It is open to all active duty personnel and DOD civilian employees.  As long as Warren keeps you on the payroll, that means you.”


Dougherty laughed, “Well heaven help anyone else on that stage.  None of you have seen him in short sleeves even.”


Wilson said, “Don’t think there is much of a need.  He could be in that suit and still win.”


Declann spoke up, “But, Colonel, won’t me doing something like that compromise the investigation.  I would have to use my real name and all.”


Dougherty looked at his counterparts.  “JAG?”


The other five men nodded at once.  Dougherty continued, “John, we have a provision just for this.  If we are conducting an investigation that requires one of our men to act undercover but in a public capacity or performance of some kind, we have a JAG hearing officer sign off on allowing that agent, in this case you, to act in that public performance and everything associated with it under an assumed name.  Functions basically as a sting operation and will cover anything you may do or evidence you develop from an entrapment accusation.  I can have our JAG sign off as soon as the meeting is concluded.”


John smiled, “It will be my first bodybuilding show you know…”


“No way,”  Lehman replied in shock.  “You?  Your first?”


“Yes, Sir.  While I have worked out for most of my life, bodybuilding never really interested me until I came onto this investigation.”  John replied, telling the absolute truth no one could believe.


“Well then it will be nice to have a hand in discovering new talent.” Dougherty said.  “OK, let’s get on to the hard stuff.”




After another 2 hours of discussions, the preliminary plans had been made.  Each state along the pipeline would have one and only one military investigator and one civilian agency investigator.  John’s military pairing was one of Dougherty’s men at Peterson he had already met.  So, that was not a worry to John’s competing in the show to develop arrests for the rest of his assigned areas.


As the meeting broke up, John knew the questions would begin … and they did.  First was Lehman.  “Come on, son, fess up.  You really have never done any competition bodybuilding in your life.  Ever?  You look like the definition of the brick shithouse?”  


John couldn’t help but laugh.  “It’s the truth.  My interests are or were limited to martial arts until this.  But, I have to admit, the idea of doing more formal bodybuilding has been in my head since I started this investigation.  It was amazing just how many coaches, who I learned were of some repute in the sport, were tripping over themselves to get me to sign on with them.”


“Forgive me for speaking my mind, son, but they would have been fools not to.”  John laughed again.  “What did I say that has you so tickled?  Kind of odd to hear a man of your size giggle.”


“I’m sorry, Captain.  Just what you called me.  How old do you think I am?”  John asked, his confident smirk first starting to show itself for the first time now that the meeting was done.


“Late 20’s if I had to guess.”  Lehman said, to which John openly grinned. 


“OK.  How old?  30?”


“I’ll be 41 in the fall, Captain.”  John said.


“NOW, I am calling bullshit,” Lehman said to everyone in the room. “This man claims to be 40 years old.”  The entire room save John and Dougherty appeared to be in shocked disbelief.  “Warren, how old is Detective Declann?”


Dougherty, however,  never looked up from his briefcase.  “John, just show ‘um.  They’ll never believe it otherwise.”  John pulled out his wallet and took out the driver’s license he had just renewed when he had gotten home. He handed it to Lehman.


“Well, I’ll be fucked …” Lehman said now truly stunned.  “You really are 40?”


“Yes Sir.” John replied and both he and Dougherty laughed.  “Don’t feel bad, Captain.  It has been happening more and more lately. Including to a certain Air Force colonel, who shall remain anonymous.”


“I have no idea at all who that could be.” Dougherty said, feigning ignorance.


“Well, wherever you have stashed the fountain of youth, can you give me a bottle?” Johnson said.  “You and I are only 2 years apart, but you look more likely to be my son’s age than my brother’s.”


“Well, I will ask, but I have it on good authority, the proprietor closed up shop.”  John said jokingly.


“Well, if you see him again, send him my way, huh? You’re making me look like a slouch, and I got ribbed as a baby face even when I made captain.”  Johnson said.


“If I do, I’ll send him your way.”


“Don’t think I won’t hold you to that, kiddo.” Johnson laughed.


“My boss in Boulder is a Marine.  I know better than to doubt that you won’t.”


Everyone began to leave, and within a few minutes, Declann and Dougherty were alone.  “That went way better than I expected.” John said.


“You know your shit, and you are prepared.  Goes a long way with us.” Dougherty replied.  “I need to go to Washington and read in top brass and keep the lid on things there.  Be gone for a few days.  Should give you and the Army and Corps plenty of time to get things sorted on their ends.”


“Colonel, about the show.  Before I do it, I will need to speak to my better half to make sure it's OK.”


Dougherty looked at John’s ring finger, but he didn’t see anything.  “Didn’t realize you were married.  Lucky lady.”


John smiled thinking of his angel.  “I’m not … well yet.  But I am thinking about him a lot these days.”  Dougherty did look up at that remark but saw the expression on John’s face.


“Well … kiddo.” he laughed. “Any one at all who can make you look that smitten.  Life is too short not to be happy, John.”


“Will see.  That is a ways off either way.  Cops and doctors do not always mix.”


“You mean the British doctor I met … “  John didn’t say anything, but he didn’t have too.  Gabriel was the one subject where his ability to hide his feelings crumbled.  Dougherty reached up and patted John on the back.  “Like I said, life is too short.  And, before you even say it, I have been in combat. Before I joined the Force, I was Army special forces.  In my enlisted days. man on my team was gay.  Back during ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ but where we were and doing what we were doing ...  you get to know someone.  I never met a finer soldier in my life than him.  And now, never met a finer cop.  So, you two need something that I can help with, just ask.”


“Thank you, Colonel.  From both of us.”




Gabriel walked out of the kitchen with a medium-sized plate of grilled chicken salad.  He sat it down with his glass of wine, and in mock pouting, John quipped, “Hey? Where’s mine?  I can’t survive on that little plate.”


“What is it you love to say, ‘Hold your horses,’” Gabriel chided with a smile. As he turned back to the kitchen, he said loud enough for John to hear, “Never thought I would fall in love with a bottomless pit.”  John laughed deeply, marveling at just how lucky he was.  Whoever or whatever it was - God or fate or fairies - who had brought him Gabriel, he didn’t know how to repay if he ever could, but the brilliant little man was the answer to so many of his dreams.  John never imagined he could be this happy.  It was like he was picking the winning lotto numbers over and over.  If only what he had to bring up wasn’t even money to ruin the evening… 

John snapped himself out of that thought as Gabriel came out again, only this time with two large dinner plates filled to near overflowing with chicken, rice, and steamed veggies.  Gabriel struggled a moment with even getting them on the table, before John reached and took one of the plates from his hand.


Gabriel sat the other down and looked at the man who every moment took his breath away.  “You have abs you know.  It is scientifically impossible for you to eat all this for just one meal and do it over and over all day long and still have this.” Gabriel lifted the tank top John was wearing and lightly smacked his love’s deep 6 pack.  “I should know, I am a doctor.”


John cocked a smile. “Jealous?”


Gabriel laughed.  “Why should I be jealous?  I get ALL the benefits, and I do not have to eat like forty people.  But you know what?”  John cocked an eyebrow.  “I love you, bottomless pit and all.”  Gabriel kissed John on the cheek, which sent shivers down the great man.  Gabriel pulled back and smiled, “Now if I can do that, just think of what I could do with 20 inch arms.  You’re lucky I’m small.”  Both of them laughed like smitten teenagers, as Gabriel sat down to his salad.


They spent the first half of their meals going over their days, what they had done.  John talked a lot about a new max squat in the gym, but it wasn’t lost on Gabriel that he had skipped the meeting he was supposed to have had with Colonel Dougherty.  John tried to be normal, well as normal as circumstances permitted, but he sighed. He was unsure how to do this.  Ever since the night they had erased the computer files at the facility,  he and Gabriel and Jack had been talking about how to get more time, to extend how long John could run under the radar.  John knew this -- this request could ruin all of what they had thought of.  But it was his duty, and before anything except his love for Gabriel, John Declann was a creature of duty.    


John looked up and met Gabriel’s face with a look of apprehension.  “Angel.... I need to ask you something.  And with how things are, I don’t know what you are going to think.  But, it is a request from the Colonel and everyone else at the meeting today.”   


Gabriel inwardly prepared himself for something he knew he would not like.  He tried not to show it as he answered in the most cheerful voice he could muster, “What is it, handsome?”


John took a deep breath.  Better to just spit it out, he decided.  “Angel, they want me to go under cover again.”  Gabriel very nearly dropped his fork mid-bite, and a look of terror came over his face.  Setting aside everything else, all the changes and the fear of the people that John had never seen, there was something much more fundamental.  He didn’t think he could stand being away from John again.  


When John saw that look of agony, he realized how it sounded. “No, no Gabriel.  This isn’t travelling.  Not much.  This is in the Springs is all.  I’ll be home everyday.  


“Babe, they just want me to do a bodybuilding show down there next month. Can’t say everything about what they want me to do, but basically to make sure the op is ready to go after the show.  It lets me have a reason to be at the bases around here and down there, and it is an armed forces show....”


Gabriel’s face changed from a visage of panic to one not of anger, but of concern.  “John, how can we hide if you’re getting on a stage in front of the whole world in a few weeks? Jack is coming over tomorrow so we can try and start actually doing some of the things we have been talking about.  How do I tell him we have to deal with THIS of all things?  You mostly naked on a stage right in front of all of the local military.  A few low level brass is one thing.  But - a show?”


“Believe me, I asked the same thing without getting into what is really happening to me.  Warren said that they would have me working under an alias.  No one will know my name except for the six who already do and Sheriff Cooke.  You know how hard it is for people to even recognize me these days.  If Dougherty and I are careful, it should be safe…”  


John stood up and moved his chair to be next to his man.  He sat close and took Gabriel’s hand.  “I promise Angel, this is a one time thing.  It works for the investigation and, honestly, we can have a little bit of fun with this. With everything that happening, we need to have some small amount of fun with it, with me--”  


John raised a hand and pointed to his own mammoth muscles. “With this. I mean, they were busting a gut laughing thinking about ME with all of this against those cocky active duty kids.”  John lifted Gabriel’s hand to his chest, started to bounce his pecs quickly, and smiled his killer cocky smile.  Then, he became serious again resting Gabriel’s hand under his own against the plate of muscle covering his heart. “But, if you say no, then it is a no.  I won’t do this without your permission.  Anything that you think would put us in danger more than we have to be until we are ready, I will not do.  I told the Colonel not to do anything until I called him.  So, it is in your hands.”


Gabriel looked down and considered for a moment.  Then, he looked up, smiled, and said quietly, “It would be fun to see you on stage properly showing off all that stuff you have been learning about bodybuilding …”  John smiled and lifted Gabriel’s hand to his lips and kissed it. Gabriel let out a breath.  “OK.  Since it is for work, and you will be careful, go ahead, John. You can do it.”  


John reached across the table and returned Gabriel’s earlier kiss on the cheek.  Gabriel closed his eyes and sighed. He brought John’s incredibly strong, calloused hand to his other cheek, feeling so much pass between them in that simple touch.  


Gabriel opened his eyes.  “There is just one condition…” 


“What?” John asked.


Gabriel smiled mischievously.  “I think I want dessert now.”


John’s need had been amping up since he got home, and after that, he couldn’t resist anymore.  He stood up and almost ripped Gabriel up out of his chair and into his arms.  John dove into his lover, kissing him deeply.  John wrapped one arm around Gabriel’s back, while at the same time, Gabriel wrapped his legs around John’s ridiculously small waist.  Never letting up for a moment from the passion kiss, John started walking toward the bedroom, enjoying the feeling of Gabriel’s cock growing against his abs.  




Seven o’clock the next morning was greeted by John trotting up to his Jeep.  Like every morning since that first shirtless run in Phoenix, he was dressed only in a pair of running shorts and his new size 16 trainers.  He jogged in place for a moment as he felt his pulse - and was more than a little frustrated.  


Five miles just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  John had done a 30 minute early morning run for years, and it had always gotten his blood pumping and his heart rate up.  But now, he was consistently dropping under six minute miles without even trying.  And as he was again confirming from his pulse, the entire five miles had barely increased his heart rate over normal or made him break much of a sweat.  It felt like he had just finished a gentle jog rather than making a better pace than most marathon runners.  As he popped the top of the liter bottle of water he had left for himself in the passenger seat, he decided to find a secluded spot where no one would see, so that he could pick up his pace and add miles to at least challenge himself.  


John pulled on a stringer, jumped up into the Jeep, and cranked it.  Almost automatically, he reached down to slide the driver’s seat back for comfort …. And it would not move.  The seat was as far back as it would go.  John chuckled.  His growing was marching right on, no matter what the investigation or Gabriel or Jack or anyone else might want.  Strange thing was it was just a week ago that he had moved the seat out. He had never had to move it so fast before.  


Hell, he thought, at this rate, he would have to have the Jeep elongated to get some extra time in it before he outgrew it.  John smiled at the thought of needing a custom Jeep to carry his new body.  But, after their talk last night, he decided he would ask Gabriel about it later.  Sometimes, small thoughts swirled in his mind, worried about what it might be like to be so … different. Then, those thoughts were immediately squashed by some new feat of strength, some new angle he noticed at a new height, or the rush of conquest as he got a new PR in the gym.  He had never imagined this bodybuilding life could be so much fun.


John popped the stick into reverse and moved out of the parking lot.  He had two phone calls to make this morning.  The first one was easy.  Speed dial 2 and --


“Dougherty,” the clipped voice of his nominal boss sounded on the other end of the line. 


“Good morning Colonel.  Just wanted to tell you, the boss said yes to the show.”


“Excellent.  I’ll call with the presiding officer - they selected one this morning - and get all of the orders taken care of.  All we need is a name.”


John thought a minute and like a bolt from the blue inspiration struck.  He recited the name to Dougherty.  “That’s oddly specific.  Any play on words or connection to you that could unravel this?”


“None that I know of.  Just seems to fit the person I am going to be.”


“Fair enough then.  I would suggest you go to Boulder and get a set of identity documents made by your office.  I am sure the sheriff will be more than willing.   You can read him in as far as you feel necessary.  And once I have the order, I can do a verbal auth with him to keep the paper trail down. I can have the new Force credentials with my secretary by the time you get down to Colorado Springs today.”


“Will do.  After that I will head to Fort Carson.” John replied.


“I’m sure Bill James will be looking forward to being made to feel small again,” Dougherty said.  “When he was a lot younger, he competed in bodybuilding.  That’s how the idea came to him so fast.  He’s still a fan, so it would not surprise me at all if he is in the audience for your show.  Just make sure to rub it in a little bit, huh?  We have a bit of a game to “one up”  each other whenever we can since I left the army, and you’re one big ass “one up.””


Declann laughed.  “I’ll do my best to be as cocky as fuck.”


“I’ll get hell from him for this but it will be worth it.  I’ll give you a call when I am back in Colorado.”


“Yes Sir.  And I’ll let you know if there are any major changes on the investigation front.”  John and Dougherty hung up.  


Now, for the fun call.  John pulled off the road into a parking lot, dug through a few business cards he had collected from the undercover investigation, and found the number he was looking for in Los Angeles.


“Hello” the voice on the other end answered.


“Hey man.  It’s John Declann.  How’s it going?”


“Hey Big Guy.  Going well.  Is this anything to do with the weather out here?”  The person on the other end of the line, his LA informant, did exactly as he should have.  John had given him the prearranged code should he call back unexpectedly, and if the answer was yes, that meant trouble.  This wasn’t trouble though.  John was smiling broadly on his end, just waiting for the reaction he knew would come in response to this question.


“Nah.  We are all good.  Wanted to ask a favor on a whole other subject.  Remember that show you kept after me abou--”


The guy on the other end of the phone nearly shouted, “Holy FUCK, you can’t be serious.  You are every bodybuilding coach’s wet dream.  You would win this year’s Olympia if you wanted.”


John laughed, “Think smaller.  Been asked to do a local military show for work, and I know I need help with posing and prep diet.”


The voice scoffed, “Diet help my ass.  You could have done any show,  anywhere from your conditioning 4 weeks ago.  And, if anything I’m guessing you’re even better now with summer coming on.  


“Now.  That show rings a bell…” The guy trailed off in thought for a few seconds.  Then he said. “You mean the little one that Jeff Taylor puts on near Fort Carson?  Think I remember some guys from San Diego go up there every year.”


“That’s the one.”


The guy roared in laughter.  “Oh shit -- Can you say curb stomp?  To see that, not only will I be HAPPY to coach you, but I’ll do you one better.  I’ll rearrange with my other clients, and I’ll fly up to see you do it.  


“Then you can do the Colorado State and quality for USA’s, and then win the USA’s, and win the Tampa Pro, twist Jim Manion’s arm to give you a special invite, and still make that Olympia and win. Be a damned shame to get off the train before the final destination.”


John rolled laughing.  “Down, boy, down.  I know they call you Mountaindog, but damn.  Almost having to say heel.”


“That’s not a no.  Means I have a few weeks to convince you.” the man on the other end laughed. “At the very least you have to do something for me. You’re working out at Armbrust right?”


John started to let his gym jock out by telling a truth only three people on earth knew that sounded like a cocky boast. “Ya.  If it can handle Shaw, it can handle me… for a little while.”


Both men laughed. “Just tell me you’re going when Phil is there and making sure he sees you squat.  If he thinks you’re doing the Olympia, you’ll make the man swallow his teeth.  


“Listen, when you get done for the day, hit me up.  We will set up Skype and start working on things tomorrow.  I’ll make sure Dylan helps you with getting a good poser in time and using his posing room.  And - can I send you a text?”


John replied, “This number? Go for it.”


“Got another friend there.  Young guy in his 20’s. Got his open pro card a couple of years ago.  He still has some physical development to do, but he has an incredible eye for posing.  He can help you work on what I can’t see on video and be there when I’m working with my other guys for their shows.  But, you won’t need much. I can already tell you that. From just seeing you mess around at Venice learning, you’re born to posing the way a duck is born to water.  


“All he will want is to workout with you when he sees what you can do.  And that quiet rage you get when you’re working hard - I think that will drive him to push harder when he sees it.  He needs to develop that instinct too.  That OK?”


“Fine by me, but since this is work-related, whoever you tell, you just can’t use my name.”  


“What name?  The fucking Lone Ranger is gonna take bodybuilding by storm.”  John laughed, told the other man his alias for the show, and set up a time when he thought he would be back home. He thanked his friend and pulled back onto the road to the Sheriff’s office.




By the time John reached Cook’s office, the man already had new credentials made up and ready for him.  Damn, John thought, Cook was efficient, and sneaky as fuck when he needed to be.


Cook chided Declann a bit for coming into the administrative offices in tank top and shorts though.  Cook said that he was making too many of his staff stop and stare.  He was costing the taxpayers money.  Both of them laughed as Cook said it.  John said it happened so much now, he really didn’t notice.  But he promised he would be more careful in the future. John then took a few minutes to update Cook on what was happening on the local front of the investigation, his assignment to Colorado and Wyoming, the bodybuilding show cover, and the tentative timeline to execute arrests so that Cook could have the sting within BCSO ready.  


When Cook stood up to give John the new credential cards for his local ID, he had made a comment that John seemed bigger than last time he was here.  Declann kept it to himself, but Cook seemed shorter to him too.  Not a tremendous change, mind you, but still smaller than he remembered. Cook thought for a second, but just shrugged it off as getting stooped in his old age.  John laughed at that and said he wished he would be nearly as good at 55 years old, and the issue seemed forgotten. 


Finally, Cook asked John to head to the locker room before he left for Colorado Springs.  Cook had changed everything in the BCSO computer system to reflect his new “identity.”  Cook knew it had been months since John had been in the office to even open his locker.  So it was best to clean out anything that was connected with “John Declann'' since that spot belonged to “someone else” now.  John immediately accepted Cook’s advice, as it was something he had overlooked.  With that, John stood up, shook Cook’s hand, and walked out of the office - again bringing business in the administrative area to a near halt as people stared at him.


John took a moment and went out to his Jeep for his gym bag.  It would be plenty big enough to get the things he remembered being in his locker out and away with no one seeing inside.  Maybe it was just a faster pace or his longer legs, but it took Declann less time than usual to get to his vehicle and then back inside to the locker room doors. 


John had to stoop slightly as he pulled open the metal fire doors and entered the officer’s gym and locker room.  When the door closed behind him, he paused for a moment looking around and smiling.  It wasn’t even 6 months ago when he was petrified of this place and now it was all kind of small.  Looking from station to station around the workout area, he realized he would actually be hard pressed to get much of a workout in here now. Maybe some biceps or something high rep but that’s it. John then looked at the incline chest station and chuckled.  He decided to get in a few reps, if nothing else than for nostalgia.


John crossed the gym, turned left through an open archway, and walked into the men's locker room.  His locker was clearly visible from the gym, the seventh inside the arch.  He stopped in front of it and popped the key on his key chain into the small padlock hanging there.  Cracking the lock open and pulling open the metal door revealed … things that made Declann literally laugh out loud.  It seemed like such a lifetime ago he could wear what was in here.  Well, the duty belt would still fit - just.  But fuck … he pulled out the shirt and then BDU’s and held them up. He would break every stitch and then shred the clothes themselves like the Incredible Hulk if he tried to get into them now. Even the boots were 7 sizes too small.  He held the now tiny shoe against his foot and saw that his toes were over 3 inches past the ends of the boots. He truly wondered if he could split them open if he tried to pull them on.


John pulled out all his old clothes and uniform, and after each he had a moment of astonishment, wondering how he could have ever been so small.   Then, he folded and stacked everything neatly on the end of a small bench near the door, putting the boots on top.  He decided he would grab them all after he got in his chest reps.   With the gym empty and being the middle of the morning, he thought no one would come in to see it anyway.  


John went back into the gym area, ripped off his tank, and dropped it next to the incline bench.  After a moment of stretching, like the workout machine he was, John went straight through his normal warm up progression for chest.  135, 225, 315 pounds, each for 10 reps, back to back.  His only rest was the time it took to put on a new plate.  


The difference between now and when Gabriel last saw him benching flat at the facility, John had added 405 for 10 to his warm up progression.  As John stood up and added a fifth 45 to each side, he flashed back to 3 months previous. When Heath had pinned him under that light bar.  If that John Declann had seen anyone move what he just breezed through, it would have left him almost shaking with inadequacy.  And now, here it was -- doing it and it felt just slightly harder than carrying groceries into his house or picking up Gabriel.  He knew he could do these in his sleep.


John popped over to the water fountain before his first working set with 495, and pulled a deep draw of water.  As he was bent over, he was surprised to hear the door behind him open. A very familiar voice sounded, one that once caused him dread.  


“Damn it, Brenda,  Just get it fucking done….” which was followed by a short pause and then a cold tone, “Brenda, when I get home, you and I are gonna talk and I will straighten you out on where your priorities need to be.  And you damned well better be waiting on me.  Don’t make --” Heath broke off as he saw that the room was not empty like he first thought.  Someone was at the water fountain.  “We will finish this later.”  


John quickly swallowed the bile that had washed up into his mouth.  Brenda was Heath’s wife, and hearing that shit, especially from an asswipe like Heath always incensed him.  But now was not the time for confrontation.  John let go of the fountain trigger and raised up to his full height, allowing his back to spread out like a raised topographical map of the mountains that surrounded their city.  John heard a stifled “Fuck” from behind him.  John was now accustomed to quiet curses of amazement at seeing him.  But that tone, that was different.  That wasn’t upset about being overheard.  That was … what?  John could have sworn there was a hint of sexuality in that tone.  He put up his undercover cop shield before he turned around.  No one here but Cook was supposed to know who he was, but John was ALWAYS by the book.  


He turned around to reveal his immense chest and ripped abs and a face so hyper-masculine, so refined, yet perfectly chiseled that a model would lust after them.  And the man he saw - it took all of John’s well-honed discipline not to burst out laughing.  Heath had not changed one bit.  Still the well muscled guy he always was.  Still the strutting prick he always was.  Still the criminal he had always been.  He was the same; it was John who was not.  All John saw of the man who had once pinned him under a bar and threatened him was … small.  Just … small.  Tiny.  A frail thing.  Something that would break like a dropped glass if he were not careful.  The smallest flash of calculation passed though his mind, considering whether he could put Heath over his head into the ceiling tiles with one hand.  But, he didn’t finish the thought for what it might make him tempted to do.  And he could not afford those thoughts --- not yet. 


Instead, John channeled his new identity.  The intimidating, dominant jock Cop he now was.  Someone so practiced and perfected that he may as well have had a split personality.  


“Oh, Hello.  Just thought I’d take time for a quick lift while I was here, and they told me you guys are shirtless when chics aren’t in here.  Hope they told me right...” John said, not giving so much as a hint that he knew who was standing in front of him.  


John noticed Heath breathing quickly, just staring.  Eyes almost … dilating.  No way, went through John’s mind.  That’s crazy, but the signs were all there. 


John took a step forward as his resonant bass voice sounded again.  “You OK, dude?”  


“Oh … oh yeah,“ Heath replied, starting to regain his composure after his brain short-circuited when confronted by the titan in front of him.  “Just wasn’t expecting someone quite so … so tall in here.”


“Oh.  Well, I am taller than most that I have seen in the office.  Don’t think about it much to tell the truth.  Anyway, something I can help you with?”


Heath was walking around toward the locker room, but his eyes never left John, not for a second.  It was then, when he almost tripped over the bench John had left his clothes on, that Heath latched onto … “Oh, yeah.  You haven’t seen a small guy around here?  Kinda dark red hair like yours.  He is thin though.  Name is Declann.  This is his stuff here.”


John smiled inwardly, thanking fate that he had left those clothes there.  Heath had no idea who he was.  PERFECT, he thought.  Let’s run with this and see what he gives me.  John began to slowly walk toward the locker room bench and Heath.  To see John move, it felt a bit like seeing an apex predator stalking prey.  The guys at the gym called John “The Predator” when this side of him started to come out.  A small, cocky smirk began to form on his lips. 


“You know when I came in, there was a small guy here. Kind of like you describe.  Didn’t catch his name though.  Didn’t speak much, either. I think he’d been ordered to clean out his old locker cause they assigned this locker number to me. When I showed up, he just took off and left his stuff. Don’t know where he is now.”


By the time he had finished, John was within a couple of feet of Heath and right on top of his old things.  With his cocky smirk on full, John reached down and picked up his old boots. “Nice boots, good condition.  They are small though. Might fit my little brother,” John idly mused as he glanced down at Heath’s legs. “Or you.”


John put the boots back where he found them and the Predator stepped back for a moment.  “But, no I never caught his name.  And speaking of - didn’t catch your name, man. Haven’t been here long enough to meet many people.”  John said.


“Uh.  Sorry.  My name’s Jeff Heath.  I'm a senior deputy on the county SWAT team.” Heath’s voice wavered a bit, confronted by the shirtless muscle giant.


John came up just a little too close to Heath and extended his hand.  Heath was staring straight into John’s upper pecs and had to crane his neck up a bit to look John in the eyes.  John was smiling as he looked down.  His eyes bore into the smaller man.  


“I’m Brady.  Kyle Brady.  On loan from Air Force Civilian Police.  Good to meet you Jeff.”  Heath took John’s much bigger hand and tried to squeeze it in a proper firm handshake, but John squeezed back JUST hard enough to break Heath’s grip and press his knuckles together without really hurting him. And not for an instant did John’s eyes ever move from drilling a hole straight through Heath’s head.  Heath had this small feeling in his bladder, like he should wet himself.  The statement was made.  An alpha male was in the room, and Heath wasn’t it.  


John lingered for just a moment and then dropped Heath like he had not even been there.  John turned around and started walking back toward the bench.  And if he had calculated correctly … 


“I’ve sure as hell noticed you.”  Heath said, voice with just a slight tremor.  


Bingo, John thought.  


Heath continued, “You’re kind of hard to miss.  You must have been lifting since before high school.”


John never turned around as he replied. “Believe it or not, I ran track in high school.”


John heard Heath walking toward him but the voice was still shaky, unsure. “What the fuck? Track?  No offense, but I’ve never seen a track runner who wasn’t skinny as hell.”


John turned around.  “Yep,  Track.  But I was different back then for sure.  You might say I was a late bloomer.”


“Well damn, you’ve changed.”


“You would be surprised just how much.” 


Heath tried to maintain his composure and reassert himself after that weird feeling when this Kyle shook his hand.  “Yeah, I’ve seen that happen sometimes.  Guys keep just growing after high school.  Me - I got to 5’11” in tenth grade and only filled out after that.  Not taller at all.  But, maybe it was better that you did track in school.  Hitting gear too early can stunt your growth, they say.”


John’s eyes flashed cold for just an instant, locking onto and catching the little man again. “Seen that with kids sometimes.”  John’s deep voice dropped slightly lower, making Heath flinch in spite of himself.  “Fucking shame too…”


Heath backpedaled a bit, “Yeah, I used to look down on skinny runts, but some of them sprouted, and if they got into the weight room, they ended up fucking huge --- Like you.”


John pulled back slightly in response to Heath's compliment.  John decided it was time to play, and time to see if he really was right about what the signs in Heath’s responses to him showed.  The Predator started to come forward again.  


“Thanks man.  I certainly do try.  Can’t claim any credit for getting tall though.  Just kind of happened.  The muscle though --” John walked back to within a pace or two of Heath.  “That I had to earn.  Still came on pretty quick.  Guess you could say I have a talent for it.”


Smirking down, John bounced his mountainous pecs in Heath’s face.  His grin grew a little more as he saw a few beads of sweat break out on Heath, and his eyes definitely bugged out being so close to a man who literally dwarfed him.  


“But,“ John said as he stopped the display and took a step back, “was gonna say that you do not look like you’re a stranger to the gym.  Great build for sure”  He paused and then added, almost as an afterthought “…. for a little guy.”


“Thank you,” Health said, almost - flattered, John thought.  “But, you… you’re just damned impressive.  And I am not a man that is easily impressed.”  Heath tried to hide what happened then, but John caught it.  A quick glance at his cock and a breath.  Too quick of a breath.  It was then that all the pieces came together.  


John knew EXACTLY what was happening.  The scrawny little fuck is hot for me, John thought. He wants ... John almost lost it, but then something else came to mind. The Predator came on in full force.  He was going to either reel Heath in or put him in his place.  Either way, this was going to be fun…


John stepped back toward the water fountain.  With his back toward Heath, John held a barely contained laugh under his voice.  “Impressive, huh?  Well  I can appreciate that.  But, you know.  I always found what you can do with mass even more impressive.”  John got a quick sip of water before turning around and “mindlessly” rippling his pecs as his devastating sexy smile cracked on his lips.  He cocked his head in the direction of the incline he was on.  


“So, let me ask the gym noob question.  What’s your bench, man?”


Heath became almost sheepish under the mental onslaught of MAN John was dishing out on him. “Ahhh… 4 …. 425.”


John said in reply as he came back toward the bench, “425.  That’s respectable for just about anybody.  How about what’s on the bar now?”


Heath questioned. “10 plates….ah 495?”  


John cocked his head again, inviting Heath to come closer, as he sat down on the bench’s seat.  “Bet I know what you’re thinking when you look at this much weight.”  John’s voice lowered as the Predator came out even more.  


“You stand alone, ten plates in the hole. It’s you versus the weight.”  John popped his neck back and forth, loosening up.  His voice drops lower again, softer.  Bringing Heath in closer.  John locked eyes with Heath.  “You're thinking, ‘I'm going to get fucking crushed.’ You're thinking, ‘I am not gonna get up.’ 


“You'll puke. You will feel like your gonna die, and it will be hell getting off the shitter the next few days.’ 


“But, I’m here to tell you, it will all be worth it. ‘Cause when there’s chalk on your hands and sweat running down you, there's no better place in the world.” John leaned back as he grasped the bar. He looked up one last time at Heath with eyes that seemed to drill straight into Heath’s brain.  “Can you handle it?”


John lifted the bar off of the rack, and then, slowly, methodically, without so much as a groan or stress at all started, lowered the bar to his chest and then started pressing.




John seemingly effortlessly racked the bar and then stood up.  His pecs were already pumped, deep red with blood, fine veins starting to cross the muscles of his pecs and delts.


Heath was breathing like he was watching a porn.  “Oh my GOD.  You made that look easy…”


John looked at him, his voice switching subtly to the command tone he took in the gym.  He flexed his pecs a few times as he walked almost into Heath’s face he was so close.  But John never slowed, just walked to the weight rack and grabbed a pair of 25 pound plates in one hand.  


“Let’s see what I’ve got.  Here. Toss a quarter on there.”  John said, putting the weights he was carrying in into Heath’s hand.  


Heath’s grip broke immediately under the width of the plates. He was barely able to bring his other hand around to keep them from falling.  Heath almost ran to put on another 50 lbs on the bar as John sat down to a 545 lb press.  Heath stood back slightly, like he was going to spot the giant, but the question was humble, something akin to a little boy. “Do… do you need a liftoff?”


This time, John couldn’t hold it back anymore.  The chuckle that came from his mouth was nearly derisive.  The look he gave was as if he were looking at a specimen in a petri dish.  


“What do you think?” John replied.  He sat under the bar.  The bar flexed, warped under the strain, as John brought it to his chest again and pressed smoothly.  




John re-racked with a crash as the entire apparatus under him shook with the forceful impact of a quarter ton of steel.  


John sat up, veins popping over his forearms, chest and delts even thicker, bigger.  John lowered the pretense now and simply commanded Heath.  “Pull ‘um off.  Put on another 45.”  


Heath walked almost zombie-like, removing the 25 plates.  He walked to the squat rack to get more weights, the closest place with another pair of 45’s.  When he turned around, he saw John, eyes locked on him, the Predator was fully out now.  Heath didn’t even notice the small wet spot on his groin growing.


Heath finished preparing the bar, 585 lbs on it making the bar bend before John ever touched it.  Heath was nearly incredulous now, as he simply said, “But that’s …”


The Predator replied with contempt, “That’s what...?”  


John slid back down, set himself, and grasped the bar.  The bar distorted as it slowly rose again.  The Predator let out a low primal growl now as the bar moved 




The bar looked like it would almost snap as it racked, and John’s chest looked like it would burst through his skin it was so red and full.  Heath was nearly drooling, mind more than blown, overloaded by what he was seeing.


The Predator commanded, “Put the quarters back.  That will be...635.  That’s what --- 3 of you, little man?”  


Heath obeyed without thinking, and John’s cock began to fill slightly.  Dominance poured out of him, so strong it was as if he were born to control all human life.  When the collar locks were back in place, the Predator’s eyes gleamed into Heath.  “Hop up on the step.”


Heath moved to stand in place behind and above John where one would normally give a spot.  John leaned back onto the back pad.  Heath began to move his hands as if to help in a liftoff when the Predator stopped him with a word, a growl that made Heath’s balls feel like they should shrivel and pull back into his body.  “LOOK.  DON’T TOUCH.”  John commanded.


Heath’s hands backed away and dropped, and he turned his head down to watch the mountain below him.  Heath’s eyes consumed the vision, John’s semi-hard cock peeking out of the bottom of his shorts, contrasting with the living rock under his command.  The bar looked like it would snap as it bent …. And John lifted it off….






A roar erupted as the Predator forced the bar through the sticking point. 




Heath’s eyes were wide as plates, his mouth agape at the raw power he was seeing.  The bar slowly lowered again.  


John paused as it touched his chest.  The Predator’s eyes locked onto the crumbling once-a-man that was Jeff Heath.  John killed any momentum, any hint of mechanical advantage that might aid him in the lift.  1...2...3 seconds he waited.  Then the Predator let out a near primal scream as he poured power into the bar, and it moved slowly, but relentlessly up.  Quarter way, then to the sticking point, then to three-quarters, then his arms locked.  John moved the bar back and racked, making everything, Heath included, shake.


A light sheen of sweat covered John’s body now, just like what he told Heath when he started.  John stood towering over Heath.  Even with the smaller man elevated several inches on the spot platform, John was STILL more than a head taller.  He stepped forward grasping the bar. He pressed his arms into an insane triceps flex and leaned over it. The smell of musk and sweat pouring over Heath, his eyes only seeing someone, something beyond a man in front of him.  The Predator softly growled.  “Well…  Can.  You.  Handle.  It?”


Heath’s dick was clearly outlined in his BDU’s, the spot of pre so large it was starting to actually make a trail down his leg from his groin.  Heath’s face and eyes were no longer those of a cocky prick.  Instead what was looking back at John was shock, fear, submission, and pure lust.  Heath seemed to tremble as a leaf in a very mild wind.  


The Predator took in the entirety of the tiny man but not giving away even a hint that he was doing so.  He was right, and he knew it.  The Predator knew the shitstain had tasted the bait.  Now it was time to set the hook and reel him in.  


After what felt like hours, but was really perhaps three seconds, John stood, took a couple of steps back, and turned around.  As he bent to pick up his stringer from the floor, he said, as if nothing at all had happened, “I don’t know.”  


He raised back to standing with the tank dangling from his fist at his side, “I don’t think that bar can handle much more weight without flexing too much.  I don’t want to permanently warp it.   Not much use to you then.  But, you really need to get some stiffer power bars in here to handle proper weight.  Clear that off for me, will you?”  John’s tone sounded like he was asking a favor, but both men knew it was an order.


Heath instantly hopped down and began to take the plates off the bar, much to the bar’s relief as it raised back up into place.  Heath removed a plate on one side and then the other, replacing them on the plate tree.  Even through unloading the bar, Heath kept glancing up at John, his breath haggard as he watched the giant get a big gulp of water from the fountain, wipe his brow with his stringer, and walk into the locker room.  


Heath mumbled as he was finishing clearing plates, “You’re the only one who would need it…”


John replied again, as if nothing had happened, “What was that?”  John was now in front of the mirror at the sinks, flexing his pecs and pulling a side chest pose.


Heath, finishing his task, said, “Nothing.  Just that you’re the only one who would need it.”  Heath moved into the locker room but stopped dead as he saw John posing.  


“Oh really?  I supposed that’s true.  Sometimes I forget that most guys are weaker than me.  Gonna do the armed forces show in the Springs in a few weeks.  What do you think?”  John said as he pulled back and SLOWLY, flexed his titanic arms, bringing them forward and squeezing his pecs in an open hug, dropping into a most muscular.


Heath’s eyes nearly exploded out of his skull.  He briefly wondered what it would be like to be inside that crushing pinser, if he would even survive it.  “Ahhhhhh ……. Ahhhh….. I don’t think they stand a chance.”


John smiled, “Think so?  Kind of you.  And you haven’t even seen my best pose.  Been told my double bi’s my money shot.”  John set his feet, put his arms above his head, and then pulled them down into the biggest double biceps Heath thought had ever been seen on earth.  Heath’s eyes could not stop moving - first it was biceps the size of Heath’s head, then it was lats that looked like he could outspan a 747, to two veins that looked as thick as his index finger running across the peak with branches upon branches smaller and smaller veins crossing everywhere, to the reflection of absolutely perfect abs and obliques clearly visible in the mirror, to the delts staring him in the face from his rear vantage that seemed to have bowling balls stuffed inside.  


“Holy shit….” Heath let out, barely above a whisper.


John’s smile began to gain the faintest hint of the Predator’s gleam.  “Come on, take a closer look.  Really like your opinion.  And put yours up while you’re at it.  I’m showing mine….”  


Heath couldn’t refuse, but a knot formed in the pit of his stomach behind his abs.  He knew what was coming, but … he couldn’t or didn’t want to stop it.  He walked almost robotically toward John. When he was within a foot of the cop muscle god, Heath stopped.  John relaxed for just a moment and took a step back, putting Heath just in front of him.  John set again and pulled the pose even HARDER.  Heath didn’t think it could be any bigger, but everything about the Predator behind him was larger now.  Heath had no choice but adopt the same pose.


It was striking.  Heath’s own, large for most men, 19 inch biceps were totally dwarfed. John’s FOREARMS were larger than the fattest part of Heath’s peaks. In the mirror, the top of John’s split peak was perfectly visible, rising higher than the back of Heath’s head.  It looked like a pro bodybuilder in his prime posing with a noobie young teen looking for inspiration.  


John noticed and this time, he could not hold the laughter back.  John could see it in Heath’s eyes looking back in the mirror.  The little man was not only defeated, but totally crushed.  The tiniest sound of a whimper escaped Heath’s mouth.  It could not be clearer who was the MAN … and who was the boy.  


John had made the exact impression he had wanted, but the laugher sounded totally good natured … almost.  John dropped the pose, allowing his right arm to just brush down Heath’s back.  Heath gasped almost in fear.  “Oh Shit.  Sorry, man.  Like I said, sometimes I just forget how short people are.  So, what do you think?”


“I don’t think anyone has a prayer against you, Kyle.  I mean it.  Not a hope in hell.”  Heath said, still looking at the reflection of the arm that had sent shivers through him.  Heath didn’t even realize it when his thoughts accidentally poured out of his mouth.  “Kyle, you have to tell me.  What supps do you take to look like… like...like THIS?”


John looked at Heath via the mirror.  “Well you know, usual stuff.  What about you?”  


“Mostly natural stuff, but sometimes.  Sometimes I need a little help, you know?”


John took a step up to the counter in front of the mirror and picked up his tank.  “Yeah…. Happens to us all sometimes.  Needing that little extra kick.”


John started to pull the stringer over top of his head.  Heath took the moment to stare dead into the reflection of John’s bulge in the mirror. He thought he had been fast enough to avoid detection as that mass of XXXXL cloth that made up the tank obscured John’s view…. He hadn’t been.  John knew it almost the moment it happened.  


Gotcha, John thought. Hook set.  Reel him in.


Heath replied, finally turning around.  “Forgive me, but you sure don’t look like you need any help.”


“Well, some things you need help with.  Others … not so much.”  John smirked.  “Some things are just genetic gifts.  You know that.”


“I wish I had your gifts.”  Heath said, so close to total defeat that the last few inches wouldn’t have mattered.    


John turned around and walked to grab a folded towel from the rack near the lockers.  “Looks like you have some gifts yourself.  That little ass of yours looks like it has had a lot of heavy squats put into it.”


Heath blushed immediately.  The way Kyle said it, he couldn’t be sure if Kyle just hit on him, or if he were making an actual comment about his glutes. But he had to be sure.  He HAD to.  “Uh, so Kyle.  After you finish up and take a shower, you wanna grab some food? You’re new here, so it’s on me.”


John seems to totally ignore the man talking to him as he turned on the water inside a shower stall.  But after a pregnant moment, he replied, “Thanks for the offer man, but I have to go and talk to the boss.  But…. I'll tell you what.”  John tossed his towel down onto a bench closest to his shower and walked back to where his locker contents were folded on the edge of the bench closest to the gym door.  One of his own old notepads was just barely visible, poking out of his old uniform shirt.  He looked back at Heath, while cocking his head toward the small pile.  “Think he would mind?”


“He wouldn’t say fuck if you burned it all.”  Heath replied.  John cracked a half smile as he removed the pad and then pretended to rummage for a pen.  Pulling out the pen exactly where he knew it was, John wrote the number of his Air Force burner phone on a piece of paper.  He ripped it out, and then just dropped the pad and pen back onto the bench as if the man who owned them was beneath his contempt - exactly the way Heath would have dropped them before today.


John held the piece of paper JUST out of Heath’s reach, while still looking like he was offering it.  “If you’re willing, I might just take you up on that a little later.  Shoot me a text and when I find out what the boss wants and when, we can set up a time.”  Heath almost fell over himself to grab the paper out of John’s hand.  


“No problem, Kyle.  Looking forward to it.” Heath said.


“So am I.  Catch you later, Jeff,” John replied.  John turned around and started for the shower.  He lingered just long enough for Heath to leave - or at least appear to.  John slipped off his shoes and socks, his tank and shorts and walked with the confidence of any gym jock cop into the shower.  But John knew Heath was still there.  He hadn’t heard the metal fire door to the hallway outside open or close.  John cracked a smile and turned just enough to show what he wanted as he soaped himself.


Trying to stay hidden, Heath was able to catch John’s reflection in the mirror.  Heath nearly swallowed his tongue as he finally got to see the cock and balls John was packing … and they were every bit as enormous as Heath expected.  He stared entranced for a good thirty seconds before John turned to wash his face.  Heath wondered just how long he would need to wait to text so he didn’t look too desperate to feel that cock inside him, as he opened the door and went into the hall.


John heard the door close and snickered.  Snickered at how truly EASY that was.  The tiny man really was pathetic.  Finishing his shower just a bit sooner than he normally would have, John slipped his gym clothes back on and laced his shoes.  That little display was just an appetizer for what his real workout would be later.  But now, the wheels were turning.  He knew that Heath was hooking up with men on the side, probably using the steroids as some way to meet men.  Whether his wife knew or not had to be determined but … how he spoke to her on the phone.  That tone.  The tone of a coward.  The tone of an abuser.  IF that were true.  John unconsciously pumped his fist, making his forearm writhe.  IF that were true, he knew what he wanted to do.  He just … damn it.  Gabriel.  


No, John thought, before I cross that bridge I have to know first.  And, Gabriel also needed to know that everything looked a little smaller.  Jack was supposed to be at his place with Gabriel still.  He would call and have them both wait until he got home from the Springs.  They would both want to know.  After Jack had gone, he could talk to his angel about the scrawny prick and what he wanted to do.  Though he was sure Gabriel would not like it.




John burst through the door of his apartment.  “Angel, Jack?  Where are you two?”


Gabriel’s accented half shout came in reply.  “In the kitchen, John.”  John dropped his gym bag beside the door in its usual spot, made his way through the dining room, and around an L corner to the kitchen.  John couldn’t help but laugh at the sight -- Gabriel making tea.  “Do you EVER not drink tea, Gabriel?”


Gabriel looked up and scoffed.  “I’m English.  I can’t move without tea.  It's just not done, and it's too bad American’s have lost this little bit of civilization.”  John walked up, bent down and kissed Gabriel on the cheek.  John then turned around to see Jack, his back turned to John and Gabriel, rummaging the cabinets for a snack.


“John, do you have anything here that isn’t macro friendly?  I need something nasty and sweet and --”.  Jack turned around and then stopped in mid word.  “John, are you taller?  Already? And you’ve gotten more muscle mass too.”


John became less jovial for a moment as he touched Gabriel’s shoulder, a message to turn around.  “I was actually wanting to talk to you two, since you’re both here.  At work today, people, rooms, all felt a little smaller.  I mean smaller than when I was there a week ago.  And Jack… you look smaller too.”


Jack turned and had to take a couple of steps to actually see both men at once.  “Gabriel?”


Gabriel looked quizzical. “I hadn’t noticed.  But then again, I do see John everyday.  Daily changes are not going to register to either of us as much.”


“Grab your tape measure John.  We need to measure now.”  Jack said.  


John went to his gym bag and removed a 10-foot cloth tailor’s measuring tape.  “Gabriel, bring the step stool.  I think you both will need it.”  John said, both matter-of-factly, but also with a hint of gym jock pride.  After his run-in with Heath earlier, he had been rather cocky all day long, and it just happened to fit in with Warren wanting him to “one up” his colleague.


“Wipe that smirk off your face, you gorilla.”  Gabriel said, already bringing the small step that John had once used to change lightbulbs.  John hadn’t needed anything like that in a while now.  


John lightly tossed the measuring tape to Jack, who caught the lob easily.  Gabriel handed him the folding step, and John lined himself up on a flat, floor to ceiling wall.  “Slip those shoes off,” Jack reminded John, who complied.  Once set, Jack climbed to the top step, and found himself just barely at the top of John’s head.  He let the tape measure end go until it hit the ground and examined the measurement closely.


Jack took a deep breath and let out a low whistle.  He stepped down and looked at John.  “How long did it take you to grow your first two inches?”


“Assuming I began inside the facility, two months.” John said, “Why?”


“John, you are 202 centimeters tall.” 


Gabriel instantly said, almost incredulously, “WHAT!?!  Jack --”


“I can take a measurement Gabriel.” Jack snapped, showing his concern.  “John, you are now just shy of 6’8” tall. You’ve gained over 2 inches in 10 days.  Not 2 months, 10 days.”


“John, we need to do everything.  Where is your pad that you used to keep measurements in for me?” Gabriel asked.


“In the bedroom in my nightstand, “John replied.  Jack was already moving around, struggling to maneuver around John’s muscle mass to get accurate measurements.  Meanwhile, Gabriel brought in John’s bathroom scale.  The measurements were not as accurate as the lab body scanner, and John was dangerously close to maxing his bathroom scale.  But what was happening was obvious once they saw it all in black and white.


Height: 6’7.5”

Weight: 343.9 lbs 

Neck: 24.25 inches

Chest: 64.125 inches

Waist: 34.125 inches

Forearms: 21.75 inches

Upper Arms:  25.125 inches

Thighs: 35.5 inches

Calves: 24.75 inches 


Gabriel collapsed onto a soft oversized chair, and put his hand to his mouth. John knew this mannerism, Gabriel was afraid.  “Oh my God.  I am such a fucking idiot,” Gabriel mumbled.  “The more you challenge your body the more it grows.  I just didn’t think.  But it's obvious.  John, it’s not linear growth, it's exponential.’  Gabriel stopped, his lip almost trembling “We do not have a lot of time.  John…. John, its accelerating.”  


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Trigger Warning: As should be obvious to anyone who has read this story's previous chapters, the main character in this story is a detective sergeant in law enforcement.  Anyone who may be triggered b

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Wow, welcome back!  Your writing was sorely missed.  So happy to see more of your contributions.  You stories are so well written, vibrant and detailed.  

...and HOT, lol.  Grow John, grow!

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Thanks guys for the welcome and the praise for the story.  Intensity goes up from here.  So I hope you like what's coming.

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Chapter 6 - Cage the Beast


There is a devil in all of us.  Some can control him.  Some can summon him when the time is right.  Others don’t know how to make him submit.


6.25 months after the Accident

John was practically shoehorned into the tiny fart of a midsize SUV he had rented.  But he needed something nondescript, and this was it.  He pulled into the by now familiar spot he had scoped out on his first visit to this place.  It was perfect to capture all of Heath’s movements and get the evidence, but otherwise not be noticed.  This was John’s fifth trip here in the last 3 and a half weeks, and this would be his last.  After tonight, he would have all the evidence he needed to do what he had planned.


John cracked his window a bit, shut off the engine, and waited.  He had about half an hour to wait before dusk.  Creature of habit that he was, dusk was always when Heath arrived here.  Habit had been Heath’s Achilles heel, and John had been making extensive use of the flaw.  He took a deep breath and tried to center himself.  But here he was again, alone with his thoughts.  No distractions.


Where had it all gone so wrong? he wondered.  But, John knew the answer to that before the question even formed in his mind. The rift between him and Gabriel began the very same night they learned his growth was accelerating. It seemed like such a small thing that set it off now, but small things have a way of crushing a relationship if they are allowed to fester.  


Perhaps the small thing originated out of the panic Gabriel and Jack felt when they learned the time they had counted on to figure out what to do was much shorter than they thought.  Perhaps it was just the way scientists are when they are obsessing about their work -- the same way John could obsess over a case.  But however uncertain the origin was, the results were harsh and terrible.  


What made it worse was that it could have been avoided or at least stopped before it really took root. John had violated one of the only pieces of advice his grandfather had ever given to him.  “Never go to bed angry.”  But, it was too late to fix it now, and as the knot of darkness behind his abs twisted again. John remembered.  It was still so vivid.... 

25 days before the last stakeout --


The longer Gabriel and Jack kept talking, the more frustrated John felt.  He knew even as he sat there he shouldn’t have.  He knew the scientists were trying to come up with a way to help all three of them. What was eating away at John was something so simple.  Most of the time, the two doctors were in their own little world.  John tried to contribute, but they just ignored what he said and kept on going.  


The longer they kept talking, the more involved in themselves they became. And the more insular they became, the more John resented it.  John HATED to be reminded of the days when he was small and so easily ignored.  Now, because of panic or fear or … worse, he found himself reminded all too much of what he had once been.  And for the first time since he met them, John found himself emotionally pulling away from the now little men.  


A tangled knot of dark emotions began to slowly form behind his abs. “Maybe they think I can't keep up with them,” he thought.  “Maybe they think I am getting more and more stupid as I get taller and stronger.”   


It was in the middle of this simmering brew of isolation and resentment, John heard it.  The smallest of things that sent him over the edge. Gabriel was harping on and on about some ridiculously trivial bit concerning John’s DNA. Jack’s own body language gave away how inconsequential it all was.  So, John made a suggestion that it might be more useful to move to something else, but Gabriel replied, “If we do that, we will automatically let them see just how physically advanced the experiment is and he ---”  


John didn’t hear the rest of the sentence.  He recoiled as if he had been smacked in the face with a metal pole.  The experiment.  Gabriel had reduced him from a man to an experiment.  The person who held his heart, the man who not even a few hours ago John would have done anything for, didn’t even consider him a human.  John knew that it was in moments of real pressure that people’s mental filters fell away and what they revealed what they really thought. That’s why interrogations of suspects followed the methods they did. So, what was he to Gabriel really?  A freak.  All this time, all this talk - it was just to protect a lab rat.  


Finally, he couldn't stand it anymore.  John stood up and told them he was going for a run to clear his head.  And then the proverbial cherry on top came - Gabriel just nodded, waved somewhat in his direction, and said, “That’s a good idea, John.  Have fun.”  John felt as if he had been dismissed like a 6 year old.  He had just been told to go play with his toys while the adults talked.  Gabriel was so absorbed his eyes never even moved from Jack’s face in John’s direction.


Tears of hurt and anger welled in John’s eyes as he slipped on his trainers and walked out the door.  It was near midnight, and in his section of the city, that meant things were very quiet.  John took a deep breath of the relatively cool Colorado night air as he stretched.  He tried to calm the pain that was quickly transmuting into rage … but it wasn’t working.  


“FUCK IT, John thought.  Fuck it if anyone sees me.  Fuck it if some runt films me.  Fuck what the little people think.  JUST FUCK IT!!”  


John ripped off his tank, threw it on the ground,  and nearly shattered his phone screen as he got his GPS run tracker started.  He popped in his earbuds and let loose with the first song that came up randomly (Red - Losing Control).  And then, finally, for the first time in over six months, John and the Predator fully let loose.  


John allowed his legs to unleash, to properly pump and move through the run.  He had not moved even a few strides before his anger began to fuel him, pushing his legs harder,  his stride lengthening from a jog into a flat run, his cadence moving faster and faster.  His pulse at last began to rise, and his breathing became faster.  He dealt with so much every day they could never understand.  Always having to hold back, always being careful, dealing with the constant looks, the constant lies that went with the investigation … and as much as he loved Gabriel, always having to bite his tongue when the scientist in him made John feel exactly like what Gabriel’s lab computer knew him as -- “Subject 0001.” 


John charged through an intersection and pressed himself even harder, making his great body move even faster.  (Disturbed - The Animal) He let his mind wander to what had happened earlier that day.  How easy it had been to reduce Heath to a whimpering, broken, hollow little thing.  If he had wanted, John knew he could have gone on and totally crushed him.  It would have been so easy to break the fragile cunt that was Jeff Heath.  


John turned and crossed another intersection, and the dark knot within him grew.  It would be so easy to break anyone if he really wanted to.  Anyone at all.  All eight billion of the little humans around him.  Physically crushing them was no challenge, but neither was it a challenge to flatten them mentally.  Just like snapping an elbow in his martial arts training, all it would take was the right amount of pressure, in the right spot, at the right time, to snap a soul.  All of them, everyone he knew, everyone he saw, they were all the same.  All it took was what he was so fucking good at.  Observe the runts, see the point of weakness, press on it - 


Until it cracked

Until it broke

Until they broke

Until he broke.  




If it were just Heath in the equation, he would be beneath notice, beneath him like the rest of the dealing scum.  John took another intersection and turned right, powering through it. (Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare


He had many men - no, John thought, they were not men.  Whatever the stunted little bitches were, they were not men.  And he was going to take them all down and make sure ones like Heath had a dose of the bandits on the inside.  Ordinarily, he would just let Heath get swept up with the rest.  But, it wasn’t just him.  There was her too … So, no.  Heath was special, and he deserved special consideration.


John knew from what happened today exactly where to press.  And when he was done, there would be little left of the shit stain that was recognizable.  Before the waste of space was carried away in cuffs, there would be nothing but worthless little fragments of his manhood.  BUT - if what he guessed was correct about HER, and he laid 95% chance that he was, then John decided he would take a different course all together.  Then the asswipe would wish he had never been born.  They wouldn’t need cuffs for Jeff Heath.  They would need a straitjacket. 


As John ran, he laid out how to gather the evidence he would need to do it, what would be needed to convince her.  (Metallica - No Leaf Clover) How to document it.  How to approach her properly.  What to say, when to say it.  And then … John decided that when the runt texted, he would set up the lunch.  And he would make it weekly.  It was the perfect way to press his shatter point.  Too damned perfect.  It would take no more than a few weeks, he calculated.  Plenty of time before the close of the operation to lead Jeff Heath to his own emasculation.


John rounded one last corner and headed for home. (Godsmack - 1000hp)  When he caught sight of the lights of his parking lot, John opened up his legs even more, more power, more speed, an open sprint.  Blood poured into the tree trunk pistons, driving him forward.  Sweat flew backwards as the wind peeled it off his face and lats.  It felt SO GOOD to finally open up, to finally open up. By the time John had slowed himself down to a trot and then to a stop next to his untouched stringer, he was smiling broadly.  He KNEW what HE was going to do with the next few weeks, even if the fucking docs didn’t have a clue what they were going to do.  He would tell Gabriel what was going to happen, of course, and he knew how he would react.  But the knot within him didn’t care anymore.


John started walking around the lot, allowing his muscles to cool down.  He pulled out his cell phone and flipped the tracker app.  He had run just over 45 minutes … and had made just over 12 miles in that time.  His fastest speed was his sprint … at 23 miles per hour.  John smiled at the numbers he knew were good, but he had no real idea just how good until he googled it.  


It was a rush every bit as good as the ones he got when he made a new PR in the gym.  His normal running pace was now better than the fastest marathon time ever recorded, and his sprint was approaching Usain Bolt’s.  Except he was carrying at least 150 pounds more muscle mass.  


John looked down to see his legs in the light of the street lamps.  They were ENORMOUSLY pumped.  What’s more, his definition, even through the pump, was looking as good as any stage bodybuilder in immaculate condition.  As he slowed his walk to normal and slid on his tank, John laughed to himself.  He may never show his speed to the world like Bolt does.  John knew that very shortly though --- he would be faster.  He decided to sit on this little revelation as he walked to his door.


“John is that you?”  Gabriel yelled as he heard the door open.


“Ya.”  John replied. “Just gonna grab a shower.”


“OK. We should be done when you are.  I’m beat.”  Gabriel said.  Gabriel never turned around and John never slowed his pace as he closed the bathroom door.

John focused the camera into a tight zoom and started to snap some photos.  The car, Heath’s body and face.  The male companion. The room number.  The door.  It was an out of the way, roach motel of a place, but for what Heath was doing, John admitted it was perfect.  Deep in Weld County, on the way to Wyoming.  No one would especially know who Heath was here.  


Jeff had a habit of checking in on his own, without his companion for the evening present.  The clerk had been very friendly when John asked to see the check-in records.  Heath always paid for a single overnight stay in cash, though he never actually stayed that long.  No doubt, he was telling his wife he had to work some nighttime meth raid or something.  


This night, he had a very respectably built, younger man with him in his rental car.  Heath always came in a rental the same as John. Basic tactic both men knew and used.  That made tailing Heath hard sometimes, even for someone as extremely well practiced in tracking a vehicle as John was.  When the younger man got out of the car, John noted he was dressed in a well fitted short sleeve muscle shirt and shorts.  Costly looking fashion sneakers.  His size and structure had the promise of much more muscle ahead of him if he kept up with his training.  The swagger in the way he walked, the look of apex in his eyes, maybe a just graduated college jock or military.  Dominant personality -- a Dominant Top.  Exactly the type Heath ALWAYS brought to this place.  Both men entered, and the motel room door closed. 


Now John had to wait again. Wait with only his troubled thoughts for company.  John’s mind leaped to the last night he had a man with him in his own bed.  The same night as the run.  The night he told Gabriel what Jeff’s fate was going to be ...

24 days before the last stakeout --


John had already been in bed for hours by the time Gabriel came in.  Normally, John was so massive and Gabriel so light, that he could come and go without John ever knowing.  He had always been cursed as a light sleeper. So, he would tend to wake up and take an hour or two and work until sleep started to take him again.  Ever since he and John had been sleeping together - every day since John had gotten home - Gabriel always felt guilty about his sleeping habits.  He never felt safer or more loved than when he was next to John.  All his heart ever wanted to do was jump into John’s arms and never leave.  But Gabriel’s head had always ruled his heart,  especially on a night like tonight when so much was racing through the gears of his mind.  


But, now, standing here, Gabriel thought maybe he had made a mistake.  John was so damned devoted.  All that time with Jack, it didn’t even occur to him to include John.  It was his life after all, but hour after hour - Jack and he talked about John, and most of the time with John sitting there, and they ignored him.  A pang of guilt went through him - God, he loved this man.  But explaining things to John slowed them down.  It wasn’t that John wasn’t smart.  He was - brilliant in his own area.  But this wasn’t his specialty, and he wasn’t the subject of an experi -- 


OH SHIT ... 


Gabriel’s thought lurched as he realized what he had done. No wonder John had left.  Gabriel felt nearly distraught as, for the first time since they took measurements, he actually listened to himself.  “Oh I REALLY need to apologize. Now,” he thought.  “I hadn’t intended to -”


“So, are you coming to bed now?” icily erupted from John.  His resonant bass and the sheer cold of that voice made Gabriel jump.

“Oh my God.  John.  I thought you were … John … I ... Look the way I was talking earlier, I’m-” Gabriel stumbled.


“It’s alright.” John said, not exactly convincingly.  He tossed an arm that seemed as wide as Gabriel’s pillow under the sheets and flipped them open. “After all, it wasn’t the first time.”  That remark cut Gabriel to the core.  He felt so much smaller than he normally felt with John as he crawled into bed.  And for the first time in all the nights they had spent together, John didn’t immediately reach over to hold him.  Gabriel scooted a bit, but John didn’t offer at all.  Instead came the dreaded words, “Gabriel, we need to talk.”


“Oh God, John --”


“No, Gabriel really it isn’t that.  THAT we can talk about later.  But this is …”  


“About the case.  About Heath.  This is serious.  Gabriel I need to do something. I decided on the run.  And I know you are not going to like it.  But I owe it to you to tell you.  If for nothing else than for you to include it in your planning for me.”


John started to talk, explain, and as he did a knot started to form in the pit of Gabriel’s stomach.  NO, he didn’t like this at all.  Not one bit.  And the longer this went, the more Gabriel realized, John wasn’t asking for approval; he was dictating what WOULD happen, whether Gabriel objected or not.


But, in what felt like an afterthought when he was done, John asked, “How do you feel about it?”


Gabriel lay there, shaken to his foundations.  Of all the things he ever thought he would hear from the mouth of John Declann this …. this plan.  It is frightening.  Sickening.  And most of all - Gabriel for the first time was scared of the giant laying beside him.  Was Jack wrong about John’s morals?  Was John - 


“Well?”  John again interrupted Gabriel’s silence with something akin to aggravation in his voice.


Gabriel’s much smaller voice quivered as he responded. “John, I… I need to think.  I do not know.  I think you can accept that this is sort of … shocking.  I just… I don’t know.”


“Alright.  I can accept that.  But I would like an answer, sooner rather than later, especially if what I suspect pans out.  Can you agree to that?”  John was so cold.  Gabriel had never felt this, heard this.  He wondered who this even was next to him.  Had he pushed John into this?  What had he done to…


Gabriel heard a low rumbling sigh and groan almost shake the bed.  John was getting pissed and that scared Gabriel more than anything. “OK.  OK.  I can do that John.  Just can I have time to think?”


“Fine.” John replied.  “We should sleep.  Big day tomorrow I am betting.  I know for me at least.  Good night.”  And with that John stopped communicating, and it was like he had never been awake.  Gabriel felt ice next to him, a cold that sank into his soul despite the season, the covers, and the radiant warmth John’s muscles always seemed to put off.  Gabriel pulled as far away as he could, turned his back to John, and tried to sleep.

Three hours was the usual time John had found for the hook ups to last. And not much more than three hours later,  he was at the camera again, snapping photos showing the two men departing.  The young jock looked a little damp, wet hair, obviously showered.  But, he walked totally disinterested now.  Another notch on the belt, and looking like he was ready to call his girl to get on with some real fucking.  


Heath -- John snickered to himself to see Heath walking rather tenderly.  “Good man,” John thought about the top.  That was a good, solid fuck - for the shrimp at least.  John silently patted the jock on the back.  Yes, he was small, but he was kindred, and good work deserved the pat.


John kept snapping until the car pulled away.  Later, he would use the snaps of the car plate to get rental records to show Heath had rented this car during the time stamp on the photos.  This was the fourth set of these photos with four different men.  John wheeled through the pics, keeping the good ones, noting the ones he should delete.  As he did, John slowly fumed. He needed to wait to make sure Heath did not pick up on being trailed.  This felt so much like ---

24 Days Before the Final Stake Out --


While John and his workout partner were destroying delts at the gym the next morning, it happened.  Over the sound of a solid pump up song, (Song John is listening to - Godsmack- When Legends Rise ) a very specific chime sounded through John’s headphones, signaling the arrival of the expected text:


Jeff Heath: Hi Kyle.  It’s Jeff Heath.  Wondering if today might be a good day for that lunch.


Typically, John would never allow something like a non-emergency text to interrupt a workout.  He would usually turn on airplane mode so that he could listen to music but not be interrupted by anything else.  Everyone who knew him knew if it went straight to voicemail, he was in the gym.  But, just for today, he had decided to keep the burner on, for the text he KNEW would come.  


He had just re-racked his last warmup of overhead press - with 315 on the bar - when the bell sounded.  John went ahead and picked up a couple of 25’s to bump it up to 365.  With the bar set, he stepped away for a second and he decided to reply.


Kyle Brady: At the gym right now, little dude.  Prob another 2 hrs on my workout, but might be nice to collect on the offer.  As long as ur sure u can afford to feed the beast, meet u at 2. Where should I pick you up?


John had not even gotten the chance to enter into the first step of his pre-set pump up ritual, when the bell of the text sounded again.  He laughed.  Shit he is fucking desperate.  John picked up the phone and flipped it on.


Jeff Heath: That would be great.  Here is my address.  Just swing by.


John dropped the phone and let it go at that, still laughing at how this person who he used to think was intimidating and frightening was in reality a cock-hungry little bitch.  


That amusement changed instantly when John got close to Heath’s home after his workout.  In the text listing 2 PM, John had deliberately overestimated the time it would take him to finish his sets and cardio.  He took the chance to go early and to watch Heath’s place, to get a feel of the man at home.  It was in those few minutes of looking at the house and lawn that John got his answer to the question he had the day before, and it made his blood boil.  He got a look at Brenda Heath - the fresh bruising and swelling.  The way she pulled back in fear as he guessed she delivered some bad news of some kind.  The way that scum grabbed the petite woman by the arm and practically dragged her inside.  


John decided he would put a stop to whatever Heath was going to do, at least for the moment.


Kyle Brady: Got finished earlier than expected.  Be there in a couple of minutes.  Don’t make me wait.


John waited about thirty seconds, cranked the Jeep, and pulled toward the curb in front of the address Heath had given.  He hadn’t even put the transmission back into first and stopped when Heath popped out of his front door.  John smiled coldly as he saw … Heath must have changed clothes.  Gone was the usual tight shirts and in its place a loose polo and khakis.  Made quite the contrast to John’s sleeveless t, shorts, and trainers.  But, he guessed the runt had at least some modicum of pride left in not wanting to be compared to him again.  John decided right then to make sure that hope evaporated like a puddle in the summer sun as soon as Heath got in.


Heath opened the passenger door and needed to take the side step up to aid him in getting into the door.  “Jesus man, this is a tall Jeep.” Heath said as he pulled himself inside.


John laughed, “Well, for short people like you, probably so.  I’ve never had to use that step myself.  A little low to the ground for me.  So, how are you Jeff?”  John extended his hand, and Heath took it, but this time, he didn’t try and squeeze at all.  John smiled as he took a firm grip, just enough to plant the same superiority into Heath that was there when they had finished in the locker room yesterday.


“I’ll do.  Issues with the wife, you know.  Just don’t understand how a man needs things done sometimes. Nothing I can’t handle though.”


“Suppose it is hard for her to understand without the example of a real man being there.”  John gave a pregnant pause, before he added. “most the time.  So, how is Chipotle for you? Decent food for post workout, and the coach gave me the OK for a refeed, before finishing dialing in for the show.”


“That’s great, Kyle, great but … you aren’t dialed in yet?”


John smirked down at the man in the passenger seat.  “Not quite, little dude.  Maybe I should take you for my next workout.  It’s leg day and like I said, looks like you are no stranger to a squat.  I’ll take you through what I do, and we can hit the posing room and go through everything.  Together....”  


Heath swallowed deep, “Thanks but…” His voice descended into that tone he had the day before of submission and defeat. “I would just slow you down…”


John allowed his voice to strike just a hint of a prick “know it all” tone.  “Never gonna grow if you don’t push, and I enjoy helping out guys like you who seem stuck in a rut with some motivation to start growing again.  I mean, not to be cruel, but it's something I noticed yesterday.  Flex your biceps.”  Heath looked like he wanted to crawl under the seat, but he held up his arm and flexed.


John reached up and put his mammoth paw on top of the mound of muscle completely covering it, his fingers reaching three-quarters of way around Heath’s triceps too.  “Now, you have what looks like a solid arm at least on the surface. But --”  John then started to close his hand, harder and harder around Heath’s flexed arm, until John felt the muscle give way under his fingers.  He saw Heath start to wince. Now, with John having repaid Jeff for the way he gripped his wife, he relaxed his hand … a bit.  “But it's just a solid shape.  Pretty boy.  Nice enough to look at, but, honestly … you’re soft man.”  


“Dude, when was the last time you made any actual gains to your physique? I mean you were talking about high school kids yesterday.  I’m starting to think last time you added to what you have was in high school. We have a few 18 year olds your size at my gym, and they are busting their asses to grow.  Hell, even have a 16 year old phenom benching 405 plus.  Kid is gonna have an awesome body when he matures because he has the work ethic. All of them will. 


“And, my workout partner is a men’s open pro in IFBB.  Big man to any normal sized person like you.  I out lift and out size them all, but they feed off of it.  It makes them stronger.  Makes them men.  And seeing them feed off of it pushes me to be better.  If you don’t bump up your game, gonna be embarrassing as fuck to be beaten by a fucking 16 year old kid who is more of a man …”  John let go of Heath's arm, and Heath dropped his flex, trying to hide the rubbing he was doing to dull the pain.  


John pulled back and seemingly shrugged.  “But, it’s your call .. still the invite is open.  Let’s hit the food.  I’m starving.”


John shifted into gear and started the couple mile drive to the closest Chipotle.  He was driving in his habitual way, one arm on the gearshift and center console, while the other was partially propped on the open window with the hand on the steering wheel.  As they drove, Heath noticed everyone in the adjacent lanes seeming to slow, looking up at them as they breezed past.  “Does that always happen?” Heath asked.


“What?” John replied matter-of-factly.


“Everyone around is slowing down.  Looking up -- they’re looking at you.”


“You think they're looking at you?”  John quipped, and then heartily laughed.  Heath looked down sheepishly as John said through the end of his laugh, “Sorry little dude.  Just couldn’t resist you left yourself so open for that one.  Seriously, it happens so much I don’t notice like I used to.”  


John calculated in a fraction of a second and decided to use this question to his advantage.  He upped the pressure.  “I wonder though -- since you noticed, it must not happen to you that much.  You either don’t like to show off, or …”  They came to a stop at a red light, and John looked over, seeming to appraise Heath as he sat there.  “Or, you don’t have as much to show as you like people to think?  I mean, if you have it, might as well flaunt it. Not to hurt people or rub it in their face, Jeffy.  But to inspire them maybe.  Move them to be their best.  Just like I try to be in everything I do.


“But, hell, you think this is attention, just wait until we get into the restaurant.  I know.  Maybe we can call it, Professor Brady’s class teaching little Jeff why he should be hungry for more mass.  If you're afraid of being kicked in the ass in the gym, maybe being kicked in the ass from another angle might help.  Just watch.  Now, just to be clear.  You sure you can feed this beast driving ya?  I am betting I’ll eat a little more than you.”


“I said my treat and I meant it.” Jeff replied.  “I’ll stick to it.”


“Good for you.  Keeping your word.  Make a man out of you yet, Squirt.”  John said jokingly, but with just the smallest edge. 


John pulled into the restaurant and they both got out of the Jeep.  As they walked in the door, John reached forward with one arm and made Heath practically fall backwards as he pulled him close.  John whispered, “Now watch this.”


Heath went first and ordered a steak burrito.  As he was going down the line having his order made, he looked back to John.  John smiled his freaky gorgeous smile, looked down at the first staff person, and said, “I’d like a double chicken burrito bowl, brown rice, black beans, and everything on it.  FOUR of them.”  Heath’s jaw looked like it would fall on the floor, as the hot 20 something college student behind the line made 4 massively overstuffed, almost triple portion sized bowls.  Each of them was so full of food, the staff had to actually press a single lid down to compress the food mounds enough to allow a second lid to actually hold all of the food in.  When John got to the cashier, he cocked his head down to Heath and told the cashier, “Work lunch.  He’s buying.”  


The cashier rang up the cost, and while it was nearly 50 dollars for John’s food alone, something didn’t seem right to Heath as he paid the bill.  When they walked far enough away, Heath looked up at John and said, “First, how the fuck can you eat all this in one sitting.  And second, wasn’t that too cheap?”  They found a four top that was comfortably wide enough for John to sit on one side.  Heath sat on the other.


John smiled as he sat.  “First answer is simple.  Gotta eat big to be big, and it takes a lot of food to fuel me.  I did ask, remember?  Part of your problem is you eat like an overweight dork playing Fortnite in his parent’s basement when you should be eating like that jock you said you were.”  John then cracked a smirk, “As for number two, look at your receipt and you tell me.”


Heath looked down and his eyes grew wide, “She charged me normally, but you … shit she didn’t charge for the double meat on any of them.  You must have gotten triple everything for how much they gave you, but only charged like a single!?!”


John’s smile grew wide as he dug in, “Muscle has its privileges, Junior. Shit like that happens all the time.  Surprised it doesn’t happen to you more.  But, then again, maybe I shouldn't be getting to know you.”  


“Long time ago, I tried to get people to not do that, but they would get offended if I didn’t take it.  Jeff, when you are a strong, Alpha male, people naturally want to do what you say or do things for you.  It is WAY more powerful than what you can do with a badge.  They try to get close to you in any way they can.  Even when you’re not trying, they do it.  Sometimes they don’t even realize they’ve naturally taken on a beta role …” John’s voice took on an undertone of knowing, “or even a delta like....” John paused a moment to let the line sink in before taking several forks full of fuel.      


Heath seemed confused, “When people are around someone like you, I can see that.  But me, I mean I am OK, but --”


John immediately interrupted, instantly knowing how to mind fuck the little man.  “See, that’s your problem.  Look, man, I would do this for you or anyone else if you asked.  But now, you're my brother officer - at least for a while.  Helping you get out of this - this bitchy funk - is not just helping you, but the entire office.  Fuck, must be fate that made you walk though that little gym door and that I happened to be in there warming up.  It’s my fucking duty to this whole county to make you into who you were born to be, who you are supposed to be, instead of this … wannabe whatever-the-fuck is sitting at this table.”  


“Step one is owning up to who you are.  Whoever that is, whatever that is. Own it and be the best you can be at it.  That’s what gets you respect.  Shit, even the lowest fucking dork on earth gets some grudging respect from an Alpha like me, even if he is something to be stepped on. He may only be a cocksucker, but by God, he owns what he is and is gonna give the best blow jobs around.  That’s worth something.  I mean, I’ve asked around about you.  Do you REALLY think the men who are on your team respect you as a man?”


“Sure, they--”


JEFF,” John emphasized.  “Do they really?  Be honest.  You can’t be a man if you’re not honest with yourself, even if that means admitting you’re not the man you think you are if it comes down to it.  And you sure as fuck can’t lead other men and women if you’re not one yourself.”  


Heath dropped his gaze a bit. “Well -”


John’s tone became more serious and his volume lowered to a whisper that still shook Heath through his core. “Would you and your wife be having issues if there was respect?”


Heath seemed pained enough to want to shrink down and have John step on his shriveled up corpse rather than to admit it, but John’s gaze was relentless until he quietly said, “No.”


John was into his second plate, “And what does that tell you?  Your woman doesn’t respect you, your team doesn’t respect you, you bitch and moan about this and that, you won’t push yourself to improve at all.  You just … sit there.  Jeff, even a little boy at least tries to be a man.  You - don’t.  Your mind is just like your body, soft, weak.  Looks good on the surface, but what is inside you is just … well, that is what you need to find out.  And what that really means about who you are.  I can help ya, but in the end, you have to find it out for yourself.”


Heath looked up with a small amount of fire in his eyes, “I don’t know where you get off telling me I am not a man.”


John smiled.  “Truth hurts, doesn’t it?  But you want more proof how just - nothing you are?  Gonna make you a small bet right here and now.”  John held up an arm and waved toward one of the staff behind the counter.  The guy immediately ran over.  “Hey man, do you happen to have a quiet table somewhere?  Need to talk to this guy in private and then be right back here to finish up.  That cool?”


The employee said, “We do have the employee break room, but we are not supposed to allow customers back there.  I’d really like to help you but that’s the rules and my boss would eat my ass for lunch if I let you in there.”


John reached into his pocket and pulled out his Air Force badge.  “Does this help the issue with your boss ?  Just a couple of officers who need a quiet spot.  Not anything at all with anyone here or with the restaurant.  Nobody is in trouble or that kind of thing.  And, if there is any issue with your boss toward you, I’ll leave you my card and I’ll stop by and straighten out anything.”


The employee smiled, “That fixes everything.  Right this way.”


John looked at Heath, “Come on Jeff.  Doubt this will take more than a minute and no need to do it out here where everyone can see.  I’ll show you how I can get off saying it.”  John towered over the entire restaurant, keeping Heath in front of him as they followed the employee to the breakroom.


The young man punched the key code to open the locked door.  “I can’t give you the code itself officer, but here you go.  Hope this will work.”


John saw that inside was a wider version of the dining room tables with several chairs around it.  “This will work perfectly.”  John reached into his identification wallet and took out one of his Air Force business cards. As he handed the card to the employee he said, “That should take care of it.  Any problems just give them that.”


The employee smiled, “Thank you, Sir.  And hope you don’t take it the wrong way, but you’re about the most jacked dude I’ve ever seen.  Makes me want to go to the gym.  Don’t think I’ll ever reach your level, but fuck if I won’t try.  Thank you for showing me what’s possible.”


John reached out his hand and shook the employees, “Anything is possible man.  ANYTHING.  Trust me, I didn’t start out this way.   Now if I can have the room for a few minutes…”


“No problem … ” the employee looked at the card, ‘Detective Brady.  Anyway, you need help with something that we up front can do for you, just let me know.”


“Call me Kyle, and the best help I can get is not letting anyone clear our table.  I’m still eating.”  John laughed.  


“Sure, Kyle. No problem.  Be waiting for you when you come out just the way you left it.”  the employee said, as he left the room.


Once the door closed, John turned to Heath, “See, Jeff.  That’s respect.  Man to man, given and gotten.  Now you on the other hand …”  John cracked a knowing smile.  “Time for you to fess up Squirt.”  


John walked toward Heath, the Predator suddenly on full display.  Heath, now suddenly afraid of the changed being before him, backed himself into a corner.  But John followed until he literally surrounded the tiny man, overshadowing him.  “Remember what I said about how the first part of being a man is being honest.  I am six foot eight, and you said you are five foot eleven.  Bullshit, runt.  The only other man to use the passenger side door of my Jeep who had to use that step is five foot eight.  My doc has to use a step stool on me.  He is that tall too.  And looking at you now, you’re almost exactly like them.  No fucking way are you almost six foot.  So, tell the truth, Junior.”  John then put his arms on the walls on either side of the corner, flexing his tri’s at what seem like miles above Heath’s head, his fingers easily hitting the ceiling.  Heath was sealed in by a wall of man.  “How tall are you really, little man?”


Heath looked up scared, completely defeated, and totally turned on.  “Five….five foot…. seven and a half.”


John smiled wider, “So how do you pull off the lie on people that you're five - eleven?”


“I put height inserts in my boots for work. You know tac boots raise you up anyway and then the inserts.  No one ever bothered to look … until you.”


John smiled more and then dropped to one knee.  Finally for the first time in months, John and Heath saw eye to eye.  John held up his arm and massively flexed it.  Heath’s eyes bugged out to be so close.  “Felt your squishy ass biceps too, didn’t I?  19 inches?  I’m calling bullshit again.  Go on.  Feel mine.  Want you to see and feel the difference between me and you.”


Heath timidly reached out and put his hand onto the warm granite that was John’s arm. “That Squirt is 25 inches.  So, tell me the truth.  How big is your arm?”


“Sev…. seventeen and ….and a half.”


“You sure about that Junior?”


“Yes Sir.”


“Hold it up.  Take a look and let's compare again.”  Heath held up his arm and flexed.  It was still sore from John grasping it, but John smiled seeing the normally bigger than average male arm made to look microscopic against his 8 inch larger arm.  “Good.  I think you’re telling the truth now.”  John lowered his gun, while Heath’s shaking hand remained exactly in place as if the boulder was still there under his fingers.  “Was that so hard?  That dude who brought us back here.  Scrawny little shit.  But he was honest, lived by the rules to work here, got respect.  Lying to yourself and lying to your men and your wife and the entire office and to everyone.  Lying about something as stupid as your height and the size of your arms? Fuck boy, that’s why I say you’re not a man.  But I’ll show you even more. Come with me.”  


John stood back upright, spun around, and walked toward the table.  He sat down and motioned to a chair at the other side. “Remember I said I was going to make you a bet.  Here it is.  Very simple one.  Arm wrestling.  Man versus … well you.  Stakes are simple.  You win and I buy you lunches every week for the next month.  I win - the same exact thing.  I buy you lunch for the next month, but you also agree to let me help my brother officer find out who you are and own up to it.  Win-Win for you.  Deal?”


“There is no way I can beat you.  We both know you're stronger than me.”  Jeff said shakily as he robotically obeyed John’s unsaid command to sit.


John put his massive arm on the table.  “Uphill battle for you, that’s true.  But, I’ll let you use both hands if you want and your full bodyweight leaning into it.  Me playing by the rules and you can cheat.  I’ll let you.  You can prove me wrong about you … or not.  Choice is yours.”


John opened and splayed his fingers waiting.  Heath sighed a moment, and then put his arm up,  He tried to reach John’s hand with his elbow down on the table in a proper position.  But his hand came up inches short.  John laughed, “Looks like you have a problem there, Junior.  But it's OK.  I thought you would need to stand up to come close to making it.  Don’t feel too bad.  One of the reasons I said you could cheat.  You put yourself in any position you want.  I’ll stay sitting here and won’t move.  You say go when you’re ready.”


Knowing he really had the green light, Heath arranged himself so that he was able to put not only all his upper body muscle, but quite a bit of his body weight in a position ready to lean into John.  “Ok, Go.”  Heath pushed with all that he had … and nothing at all happened.  He leaned in more, put more of his body weight into trying to push John’s arm, but nothing.  Heath looked down at John’s arm.  -- The monstrous ball of muscle didn’t even look like it was flexing.  It looked perfectly relaxed.  Heath then looked into John’s smiling face.


“I thought you said go.  I’m waiting.  Don’t think it's fair for me to put anything into it before you even start.”  The smile of The Predator grew even wider as Heath looked like he was dumping all 220 lbs of his weight, trying to do something, but John didn’t so much as flinch.


John began to mock him.  “Oh… I get it now.  You are trying.  Damn,  And I thought I was exaggerating a little when I said you were soft.  Fuck.  You said you have a 425 incline?  Damn little man, you didn’t have to lie about that too.  It was damned well obvious I could outlift you before we ever started yesterday.  So why not tell the truth?  Wouldn’t have shamed you one fucking bit.  That just makes me even more right about you.  Shit…” John said incredulously.


“Well, I'll tell you what.  This might even be too much for me, but you can go on the other side and try and pull my arms down to win rather than push.  You can even let your bodyweight hang against me to try and pull me down”  John balled up his hand into a fist and looked over at Heath as he almost dejectedly did as he was told and went around to John’s right hand side,  John grinned at him as he took hold of his fist.  “Whenever you are ready Junior.”


Heath tentatively began to pull on John’s fist.  “Jesus, a two year old could beat that.  Either fucking try or not.”  Heath seemed to rage at that remark and pulled as hard as he could, even trying to put his legs into it and pull back.  And, to Heath’s credit at this point, John’s biceps did bulge and begin to expand and it seemed to creep back perhaps a few millimeters, before the arm again stopped moving.  “Hell, kiddo, you did move me a little.  Not bad.  But.  Just fair warning.  Hold on.”


John opened his hand the tiniest bit, splayed his fingers and closed them again, catching the ends of Heath’s fingers in between his own.  Satisfied that between his own slight grip and that if Heath didn’t let go he would actually be safe, John’s biceps fully inflated.  Heath’s eyes grew wide with shock as he felt the pressure on his fingers explode and then felt himself bodily moving across the table as John relentlessly rotated his arm at the shoulder and pulled down .. and down … and down.  Heath actually felt his feet leave the floor as John pulled him the last few inches until his fist rested on the table.  


“Looks like I win Shrimp, and your ass is mine.”  John laughed.  John rolled his arm back up slightly letting Heath have his balance before he let him go.  The look on Heath’s face was like he had seen an alien.  He looked up at John with near pleading his face. Pleading to stop.  


“And THAT.” John sent shockwaves through Heath as his voice raised, “THAT is why say you are not a man.  That look right there most of all.  You look like you’re about to fucking cry.   A man, like my workout partner, like those high school kids, would take it, congrat the winner, and use that to make them better and stronger.  That is what makes them men.  But, you … you look like you’re gonna melt into a puddle and cry like some fucking toddler who lost his favorite toy.”  


“You don’t have a fucking clue what you are do ya?  Not one clue.”  John stood up and loomed large over Heath, but instead of dominating him again, John pulled him up to standing tall by the shoulders. “Well, don’t worry Jeff.  As long as you are willing to stand behind your word, and honor the terms of our bet, if there is still a man in there somewhere, I’ll help you find him.  And if there isn’t, I’ll help you own what is in there now.  And then we will see what steps we will take.  Deal?”


Heath looked up at John, and a look of near hero worship slid across his face.  “You really would?  After I met you just yesterday?”


John became DEADLY serious, “Now are you questioning my word?”


“No, no.  Just ... surprised is all.”


John reached down and slapped Heath’s ass rather hard.  “Like I said, your ass is mine.  And I am a man of my word.  Told you I owe it to a brother officer.  And since you were too scared to just accept … I just made sure you had no choice.  And now you don’t have a choice, Junior. 


“Jeff, if I wanted to embarrass you or mock you, I could have done that without even thinking out in that restaurant.   But, I didn’t because I really want to help you.  I can show you what I needed to just now, and not ruin you.  What is gonna happen is gonna hurt you, is gonna make you feel tiny.  No doubt about that.  But, to fix this, you have to see what you are for yourself.  And I will be there all the way.  Trust me when I tell you, I have nothing in mind but making you into the person you deserve to be.  Now, are we good?”


Heath looked up and for the very first time, genuinely meant it when he said, “Ya, we’re good.”


John gave Heath a quick bro-pat on the back.  “Alright.  Then, Professor Brady here has his first homework assignment for you.  Easiest one you will get.  When I drop you off after lunch, you are gonna bring me every single one of those fake foot lifts of yours, and you’re gonna destroy them with me.  Time you were standing on your own two feet and them alone for the first time in a long time, BRO.


“You gotta learn that a man can be six foot eight or eight foot six or three foot six.  That doesn't matter.  25 inch cannons for arms or a respectable 17 or a fucking set of pipe cleaners. That doesn't matter either.  It’s being honest with what you are and embracing all you are, even the parts you don’t like, that’s the first step in owning up to who you are. And owning up to who you are, warts and all, is part of being a man.


“Like I said, it will make you feel small for a while.  You might get a little ribbing if someone at work notices. But at least it will be YOU and not some fake ass prop. Now, you gonna get an “A” on your first homework assignment, Jeff?”


Heath gave a quick laughing snort, looked down and shook his head.  “Never thought I would have to swallow my pride this much meeting you, but … ya.  OK.  I’ll do it.  Just what if it gets too…”


“Too much?  I might just think you are bitching and moaning already, but I’ll forgive it since this is new territory for ya.  Jeff, a man protects what is his.  

You’re my student in how to be who you are and own it class.  So, if it gets to feeling too much, you talk to me.  Right now, you don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks but you and me.  Take what they say and make that criticism part of you.  But, it goes too far, and their ass is mine too.  Got it?”


Heath smiled in relief and nodded yes.


John smiled, “Good, now let’s finish eating.  Gotta teach you about fucking bodybuilding too.  And lesson one in bodybuilding is FOOD.”    

The Morning after the  Last Stake Out --


John whipped around the rental and went the opposite way of Heath.  He would take the seldom used Denver toll road beltway to get back to DIA to return the rental.  He had the best part of an hour to think as he drove.


After that first lunch with Heath, things became a little crazy for him and Gabriel.  John was all over Colorado and Wyoming, getting his suspects narrowed down with some intel from DEA.  Now that they had a pipeline and contacts to trace from his investigation, the DEA intelligence men were FAST at providing potential suspects and contact lists.  It took John almost no time to sift through and narrow them all down to a list of 22 total key suspects with proper warrants applied for in his area of supervision.  


Along with the work on the case, John was getting his show prep done at whatever gym he could be at if he wasn’t able to be at Armbrust.  Justin, his new workout partner/posing coach, was floored every time they trained together at just how amazingly strong John was and how perfect his form was in every single rep.  How his body seemed to naturally want to come into contest condition with just a small amount of nudging here and there.  How his posing was fucking amazing when he brought in some of his martial arts flexibility and dexterity to the routine.  And it really did, as his LA informant suspected, fuel Justin in his own bodybuilding.  Everyone who knew him before John came into his life agreed, Justin had not looked this good coming into IFBB show season in his entire career. And after he dropped off the rental, John was headed to Armbrust to run through his final posing routine practice with Justin, Brett, and Dylan and for the first time, to do it in his poser.


And, at least once a week, but sometimes twice or three times a week, right on time, John had his lunch with Heath.  John had absolutely expertly moved the man’s psyche slowly, relentlessly, toward the end he had in mind.  Heath was almost ready now.  Heath hero worshipped John.  He didn’t just lust after him; this was so much more.  While at the same time, Heath happily accepted John showing him over and over how he just wasn’t a man at all.  That even boys were superior to him.  Big ways, small ways.  Telling him it was for his own good.  Stripping away every point of pride he had efficiently, and relentlessly.  The result was that his once nasty bravado in the office was gone. 


As John suspected, people noticed something different about Heath the very next day at work.  His team said something about him not quite seeing eye to eye with them anymore, and the double meaning was plain.  A whisper campaign started, people all over both genuinely concerned, but also those who were all too happy to see the cocky prick brought low.  Over those weeks, John took everything away from Heath that he could stand on mentally and replaced them with the assured knowledge that the 13 year olds in the juvenile facility next door were way harder, stronger, more resilient, and it was all his fault because he didn’t accept who he was.


Three weeks later and the transformation was even more shocking than the one John had been through.  Heath was now close to the mousiest cop to ever walk through the doors of any city precinct or sheriff’s office anywhere in the US.  John internally laughed when he got wind of rumors that the sheriff was even going to remove him from SWAT and make him a desk bound paper pusher - rumor said that Cook believed Heath just didn’t have the mentality to be out there anymore and not get himself, his team, a suspect, or god forbid, a bystander hurt.

Even as part of him smiled about his climaxing revenge, another part of John sighed.  For all the fun and his life exploding in the best ways imaginable, he felt hollow as he had made Heath.  He and Gabriel had not spent the night together for over three weeks.  They barely spoke.  Gabriel and Jack were apparently working feverishly long hours on a project designed to make the “engineered failure” when they erased the computers look like a real failure of the project.  Some sort of major setback.  Gabriel explained it in layman’s terms, and it made sense.  But, everything else… everything else was empty.  They had late dinners a couple of times a week when their schedules provided for it.  Their conversation was cordial and seemed warm.  But, John could tell from the looks he would occasionally catch, from the tone, from the way Gabriel pulled back - he was afraid.  He was afraid of John, and he thought he knew why.


John tossed it back and forth in his mind.  Was he going too far?  Was it the end game he was going to play with Heath?  It sure as fuck wasn’t something old John could have countenanced, but Heath was such a small, scum, waste of space that he deserved it.  They were all so fucking small and stunted, so easy to just play with, in some strange way like living toys and even Gabriel --


John took a deep breath and swallowed.  




John pushed himself back so hard in the drivers chair, he came close to breaking it right off the guide rails.  What had he done?  The one thing he swore he would not do with all the gifts that were growing inside him.  Thinking everyone was beneath him.  He had fallen into the trap, and it had been so fucking easy.  Is this how Gabriel felt that night when Jack was over?  Catching himself thinking like… like an arrogant ass?  Was this what Gabriel felt like when he saw people who were just not up to that incredible intellect he had?  Were he and Gabriel more kindred than he knew?  At that moment, all John wanted was to sweep Gabriel up and scream an apology.  Scream to make it right somehow.  Fix this before it was too late.  Even if it meant letting go of what he wanted to do to Heath, even if it meant quitting policing, at that moment, he didn’t care.  He just wanted his Angel back.  He wanted to be forgiven and not feared anymore.


“Hey Google. Send a text message to Gabriel York.”


“Gabriel.  Can I come by tonight? I … I need to tell you something and I can’t do it and not be there in person.  So much I need to say.  Angel, will you let me?”  John confirmed the message.  John hadn’t called Gabriel Angel since before the run.  He, he hoped he could fix this.


A couple of minutes later, there was a chime of a message.  Google assistant’s voice rang out.  “Message from Gabriel York: My place.  10 pm.  We need to fix this John.  I hope we can.”


John took in and blew out a long breath of air from his great lungs.  He had bet everything on one roll of the dice.  He hoped by the end of the night it was seven and not snake eyes.

“Come on.  I know you’re a pretty boy Kyle, but shit.  You’re taking longer than my girl.” Adam yelled out.  Inside the posing room at Armbrust Gym, the gym owner Dylan, John’s workout partner Justin, and another one of Justin’s IFBB Pro clients and partner in his coaching business Adam, sat in folding chairs in front of the mirrors surrounding the room, that allowed a competitor to see each pose from every angle possible.


In a small closet attached to the room, John yelled back loud enough to be heard all over the gym.  “Hold your fucking horses.  I’ve never put one of these things on before.”


“It ain’t like it is rocket science.” Justin retorted.  “I know it takes you a little bit longer, being the fucking Jolly Green Giant, but that’s a few seconds, not-”


The three men froze in silence, the words of the jock banter insult caught in Justin’s throat the moment John walked out.  Dylan reacted first after a few moments, but was only able to let out a low whistle.  Adam and Justin pretty much said at the same time in unison, “Holy Shit.”


John finished walking up and looked down from the slightly raised platform mimicking a stage he was on. “Well?”


“Well, first thing I’m glad it fits,” Dylan laughed, “It wasn’t exactly easy to find something big enough to fit you and to hide that damned thing between your legs.”  All four laughed at once.


John smirked.  “Ain’t my fault EVERY muscle on me is big.  Sounds like cock envy... “John became more serious then.  “Come on, really.  What’s your honest opinion?”


Adam piped up, “Honest.  I have never seen a more complete tall man in my life, dude.  Not even close.”


Dylan continued, “Kind of fun to see a new future Mr. Olympia walk out in a poser for the first time.”


“Shut up.” John snapped. “You sound like fucking him.”


“I sound like him because he is right.  Just adjust to it now, dude.  Swallow that big ass pride of yours and accept the inevitable Sandow’s you’re gonna get.”  Both Adam and Dylan looked at Justin who had been quiet.  “Justin???”


“I wanna see it first.” was all Justin said in reply.  “So, take me through the mandatory poses and then let’s see it.”  


John gave a slight nod and stepped back.  He took a moment to center his mind, draw a breath, and let the world fall away.  He crawled into “the zone” like it was an old, familiar huggy blanket.  He connected with his body and felt his way through mandatories in order, pose, after pose, after pose. Quarter Turns.  Right side chest, Right Side Tri.  Rear Double Bi.  Rear Lat Spread.  Left side chest and side tri.  Front Double Bi, Front Lat Spread, Abs and Thighs. John then threw in his favorite most muscular.   


When he finished, John went over and pressed play on his phone, and his posing music 

(Song for John’s Posing Routine -  Shinedown - DEVIL  ) 


began to erupt through the sound system.  He took his spot and began to work through what he, Justin, and the LA informant, who was also named John, had come up with for his evening routine.  Like something akin to a dance - sometimes hard and jarring, sometimes fluid and graceful - he went through each pose of the routine.  After less than 5 minutes it was all over.


John was slightly winded from the exertion of all of the continuous flexing as he looked down at his friends and his lifting partner.  Justin just gave the slightest hint of a smile, a slight nod in his head, and gave the slightest sound, “Huh…”  Then he stood up and walked to John. Justin had to crane his head up to look John in the eye. 


“Only one way to do this and I’ll look like a fucking dork, but…” Justin held his hand up and was met by John’s gigantic paw.  They clasped hands and Justin wrapped his huge 20 inch plus -- but tiny compared to John’s over 25 inches  -- around John as best as he could.  It was nearly a comical sight as the crown of the professional bodybuilder’s head barely made it to the downward pointing nips at the bottom of John’s pecs.  “Goddamn,” Justin said.  “I finally get to be proud of something I taught you. What they said big bro.  I will always be able to say I taught the soon to be best bodybuilder of all time his first posing routine.”


John put his arm around Justin’s shoulders and pulled him in, “Not before you get your own fucking Olympia medal you little shit.”  Both men laughed and let go of the congratulatory hug.


“Well, I think we can officially say Saturday night will be a fun trip for all of us, “ Dylan said.


John looked over to the older man, “You can’t be serious, dude.  You all?  Just how many is all?”  The three men gave looks of totally fake timid embarrassment and slowly raised their hands like school kids who had been caught.  “So, you three, and John is flying in tomorrow.  I know it isn;t just you either.  Who else?”


Justin reached over and up and gave John a light, playful shove, “Everyone who know what a fucking class act my star pupil and teacher are.  We promise we won’t make … too much of a scene.”  All of them laughed as John turned red.


“You little fucks better not, or I’ll find you and I’ll put you through the fucking door, not just throw you out of it.”  John said as he cocky-jock flexed his biceps over all their heads and then turned his hand into a C-shape like a pro wrestler.  “Just imagine the chokeslam I can put on your little asses.”


Adam laughed, “Quit with that shit, or I’ll choke slam your balls.  And I am the perfect height to make your giant ass squeal, “PLEASE LET ME GO SIR.’”  They all rolled laughing as John backed up in fake fear.


“Alright, I know who the real ALPHA is here.  Please…”


“Alright yourself, you fucking ox.  Go get yourself dressed.  Got another couple of guys who need the room for the State.  But remember, keep that thing on as much as you can before the show to get used to the feeling of it.”  Dylan said.


John got a HUGE smirk as he cracked, “Yes Daddy.”


Dylan got a big smile and stomped forward, “If you were not the size of Godzilla, I’d …”  They all laughed again.  Each man came up and clasped John’s hand and gave him a bro hug to whatever part of his back they could reach, and began to break up after that.  John went back to the small room to grab his tank and shorts.  After he had dressed, John grabbed his gym bag and started to stroll out, thinking the room was empty.  But instead he found Dylan waiting on him.


“Kyle - seriously.  I didn’t want to ask this in front of the kids, but are you OK?  Really? When you came in you looked a little - preoccupied.  And I think I know the look.  Seen it way too fucking many times on too many good men and women at this point in a prep.  And, honestly, I have felt it myself.  Something up at home?”


John blew out a deep breath.  “That easy to spot?”


“After seeing it a few thousand times yeah.  Anything I can do?”


“Nah.  Guess I have been avoiding it.  Not a conversation you ever want to have to admit you were wrong.  Especially for someone like me.  But … just can’t take anymore you know?  I don’t want to do this the first time alone.”


Dylan smiled a knowing smile.  “We all go through this shit on a prep, even though you were practically prepped from the start.  Say things we don’t mean, take things wrong.  Seen it torpedo so many relationships.  I don’t know who but I am guessing he doesn’t workout.  Well not like us anyway?”




“Ah.  Not understanding how you feel.  I guess all I can tell you is to fix it as soon as you can.  Get busy living or get busy dying.  And I think you want to get busy living.”


“Ya.  Going over right after I am done here and grab some food.  But, can I ask one favor, if you are going?”


“Name it.”


“I have never done this on stage before, but he … well this whole lifestyle may as well be Mars to him, especially a show.  You mind if?”


Dylan smiled at the big man.  “Dude, he will be one of us from the moment he comes in.  We take care of our own.  You care about him and that’s enough.  If he can handle us going on about it, he will be a fucking expert before the night is out.”


John reached out and took the smaller man’s hand.  “Thanks.”


“Pleasure is mine.  All of us.”

Gabriel sat on his couch trying and failing to distract himself.  He tried the television.  Tried reading an old book.  Tried making a snack.  Tried to work.  Gabriel tried everything he could think of not to do exactly what he was doing now - watching the seconds tick by on the clock so slowly that it was making him sick.  


One thing above all others about John Declann, one of those things that would never change no matter how much his physicality changed or his outlook on life transformed was his punctuality.  “Early is on time, on time is late.” John had told him once where he had picked up that saying, but Gabriel didn’t remember where just now.  He only knew that John would be a few minutes early.  Just not too early.  


Gabriel looked up at the clock again. 9:45 pm.  It would not be much longer.  He so wanted this to be over.  These bad feelings … this, this wall.  But most of all, he wanted this fear to be over.  He didn’t want to be afraid of John anymore.  He needed to purge the fear, no matter what happened, even … if … John… left… him …  Gabriel was almost in tears to even think those words, if John left, then at least they should be in a good place together.  Friends, brothers, soul mates.  If not lovers then some --


The bell signaling the entry of his gate code into the security system chimed.  Gabriel quickly looked at the camera feed and saw a truly giant man in a Jeep come into the parking lot.  Now that he knew what he was looking for, every time Gabriel saw him, he saw changes in John.  Taller, more muscle, yes, but even more refinement to it all in a way that was difficult to describe.  John’s structural changes were making him even more handsome, more hot, more whatever you wanted to call it.  Gabriel never said it, but more and more the appellation “Angel” seemed to belong to John rather than him.  Religious beliefs held that angels were indeed beautiful creatures, and John, despite the size and strength was in many ways just beautiful.


A knock came at the door.  John tended to not use doorbells, and Gabriel knew he had to be holding back severely. Even so, the knock was loud enough to make him jump in spite of knowing it was coming.  “Gabriel. It’s me.”  John’s resonant voice announced. 


Gabriel opened the door.  Unconsciously, he virtually hid behind it as he pulled it open.  John noticed.  Another sign of fear.  John couldn't stand that Gabriel was afraid of him. 


“Come in John.” Gabriel said.  The stiffness between the two, it felt so unnatural.  If someone else were there to feel it, it would have been as if gravity itself were out of true somehow.  Something fundamental to the nature of the universe was off and all you wanted was to fix what was messed up.  To make the universe work properly again.


John stepped in and Gabriel closed the door.  John started to walk toward the couch, but stopped short of sitting, waiting to be invited.  Gabriel felt just as awkward, “Would you like something to d---.” Gabriel shook his head.  “Fucking hell, we weren’t this bad that first day in the park.  How… how did this happen to us? We can barely talk.  Please John let’s fix this.”


John looked downcast, as he nearly crashed into Gabriel’s couch causing the furniture to groan in protest.  John’s dour look was briefly broken by a chuckle and embarrassment.  “I’m sorry.  Sometimes I forget…”


“I know.  I think we all forget.  Forget a lot of things…” Gabriel moved to sit on the far side of the couch.  A small gesture of trust, but they had never been so far apart, literally and figuratively.  They looked at each other for a long moment. Then, Gabriel decided to just jump.  “I guess I should start.  It is my fault after all --”

“No Gabriel, it’s not.” John interjected.


Gabriel held up his hand in a gesture to allow him to finish.  John gave a silent small nod that he would wait.  “Yes, John it is.  Or, maybe I started it.  Either way, I should start this too.


“God John, I am SO SORRY.  I’m sorry for everything.  I didn’t even realize how stupid I was.  I guess I could make up some excuse.  Shock or fear or just that it’s how I have talked for so long.  But none of that makes up for what I did.  Here you are … the,” Gabriel’s voice cracked and he swallowed hard.  He took a deep breath and tried to compose himself.  His voice quaked as he continued. “The man of my dreams, and what did I do in the heat of the moment.  I reduced you to a science experiment.  I couldn’t see past my own fear to even let it register that this is changing you most of all.  Or maybe I just didn’t want to face it.  It was just so much easier to try and detach than to let myself feel.  


“And then to feel you so cold.  So, pulled away.  I can’t blame you.  I hurt you.  It seems so impossible to look at you to think that I could ever do anything to hurt you, but… I did.  And I can never forgive myself for doing it.  But then when you told me about what you are doing, and … You don’t even know do you?”


“Know what?”  John said, his own voice cracking and on the verge of tears.


Gabriel stood up, shaking slightly as he did so.  “John stand up.”  John looked confused but he stood.  Gabriel took a couple of steps toward him and then stopped.  Instead of craning his head up as John looked down, Gabriel just looked straight ahead.  “John, do you know what this feels like to me?  To any of us?  I am looking straight ahead and you know what I see?  All I can see is muscle, no matter where I look.  I see the bottom of your pecs and the top of your abs.  You fill my entire field of view.”  Gabriel then looked up.  “John, you may not know it, but do you know how scary it can be just to be near you?”


John’s face began to fall as he took a noticeable swallow.  Gabriel went on. “Now, I just want to try and help you understand.  Pick me up.”  John began to reach down, and sweep Gabriel up in a hug or cradle carry him as he once did, but Gabriel stopped him.  “No, John.  Really pick me up.  Don’t hold back.  I trust you to do this.  Pick me up and mean it.”


It took a moment, but John thought he understood.  He shifted slightly so that he could place his hands on either side of Gabriel’s waist.  John easily lifted the 160 pound man well over a foot into the air until Gabriel was looking John dead in the eye.  But Gabriel went on, “Higher, John.”  John lifted Gabriel a few inches more.  “John, don’t hold back.  I know what you’re capable of and so do you. Now, do it.”  John sighed and lifted straight up until Gabriel’s head and neck rested against the ceiling.  “John, I am an average sized, average weight man and you are holding me against the ceiling and not so much as breathing hard.”  Gabriel shifted slightly so that his hand could touch John’s left wrist.  “Your pulse is dead normal. Your arms are not shaking.  It doesn’t look like they are even flexed under the strain very hard. How long could you hold me like this?”


John looked up, beginning to understand what Gabriel was REALLY meaning.  “A long, long time…” he said as his voice trailed off.  John lowered Gabriel gently to the ground.  Gabriel looked up again.  “Answer me one last question.”  Gabriel’s voice trailed off and that quake of fear returned as it became deadly serious.  “If you had wanted, if you didn’t stop.  Could you have put me right through the ceiling?”


John sighed and sank, defeated back on the couch.  “Probably … I … ” He paused a long moment. “Something that weighed the same as you, definitely.”  John’s voice was hollow, haunted.  The great man seemed to have the life slowly drained from him as he sank under the import of what Gabriel had made him realize.  


Gabriel, knelt down and took John’s massive hands into his tiny ones.  “John, do you know what you can do if you were really and truly angry at me?  How frightening you can be? And 3 weeks ago, you were smaller than you are now.  You’re a lot bigger, by the look of it.”


John’s voice was broken, quaking in tears.  “I would never hurt you.”


“I know.  I know you wouldn’t.  Not intentionally.  But John, you have to understand.  You could do something and not even mean to.  You could hurt me just by taking my hand too hard.”  John looked to say something, but stopped.  He knew … he probably could.  He thought back to Heath at the sheriff’s gym a few weeks ago.  When he wondered if he could put the man through the ceiling.  He probably could have then, but, now - the last three weeks of show prep and so little Gabriel, he had put everything into his gym time, more so than usual.  He had fed his body BIG time and it had responded just like Gabriel and Jack thought.  The more he challenged, the more he grew.  That 635 lb incline he had to stress to move up for four reps.  He was stronger now.  A lot stronger.  Could he put them through the ceiling? He knew the answer to that question without a shadow of a doubt now.


“Gabriel, I don’t know what to say.”  John said, feeling lower now than even when he lay in his hospital bed.  Here was the man he loved, one of the two men he had sworn to protect with his life, against all the frightening things the government could do.  And here he is terrified of John instead.


“You don’t have to say anything.  Because I brought this on.  Not you.  Me.”  John looked up from his slouch to see tears rolling down Gabriel’s cheeks.  “I made you this way John. Because I wasn’t thinking to include you in the decisions that impact you the most.  Because I was so arrogant to think you wouldn't understand, when you understand so much more than me.


“Gabriel don't -”   


“No, let me finish. And then I felt what it was like to be without you.  You pulled away.  Your voice was SO COLD. I didn’t know if I could come, how I could come back, how angry you were.  John when you told me what you were going to do with this Heath … John you scared me.  But I drove you to it … God, I drove you to it ....”


“Gabriel, please.  This isn’t … all your fault.”  John fought the urge from every cell in his augmented body to stop all this.  To sweep Gabriel away from this pain and protect him.  But he couldn’t.  Anymore than Gabriel could take away the awful realization of what John was doing to those around him.


“Gabriel please look at me.”  John reached down and guided Gabriel’s gaze up, and he gently guided him off the floor to sit on the coffee table before the couch, facing him on more equal terms.  “Gabriel you are right.”  John looked up gathering his thoughts before he began again.  “I don’t know how to deal with this.  You are the most precious thing in the world to me and I drove you away.  I look at … at everyone and you all feel… so small.  The whole world is small.  And it's so exhilarating and exciting.  But, at the same time… it’s so alone.  It seems like I have so many friends and I guess I do, but at the same time, it’s so alone.  And when you said what you said, the last person who didn’t make me feel alone, did make me feel alone.  And… I messed up.  


“It's so easy … God it is so easy now, to make most people do whatever I want.  It’s like looking at kids.  And fuck me, if I haven’t done just that.  To you.  And then there is Heath…”  John related what he had done to Heath, how his mind fucking was to the point that the man was close to losing his job.  What John had seen happen to Brenda Heath.  How he had everything to finish what he had planned to do.  Was he any better?  Abuse is abuse.  Physical or psychological.  It is the same.  John saw the look on Gabriel’s face.  “And then, I make that happen.  That look.  Gabriel I never want you to be afraid of me, and there you are… Afraid.  I...took my anger at feeling alone and let it twist me into something I said I would never let happen to me.


“I want to share all of this with you Angel.  We were both so alone when we met.  And I do not want to be alone anymore.  If you can forgive me and let me come back … I will stop all of that.  Let it all go.  I will not follow through with the rest of it.  I do not need to do what I was planning to see her free of that bastard.  And I do not want you to ever think of me as a monster.  Please.  I want my angel back.”


“I should be asking you that.  I miss you John.  All of you.”


John stood up, as did Gabriel.  He expected John to pick him up, but he didn’t.  Instead John was the one who dropped to his knees.  “This needs to be as equal as we can make it.  Because no matter what happens, you are always the best half of me.” John wrapped his giant arms around the small man, and Gabriel instantly did the same.  Neither moved to do anything more except to enjoy the warmth and the scent of the other.  To feel anger and pain and that wall that had been building slowly dissolve.  The magic that was between them flowed again, making time seem to stop.        


Finally Gabriel pulled away just a bit, but remained very close.  “Thank you.  John whatever this,“ Gabriel patted John’s huge pec, “becomes on the outside.  That feeling is the most powerful answer I can have that you are still you.”


Gabriel reached to hold John again, but John demurred as he said, “I hate to ask, but, if you are still willing, I would LOVE for you to come with me for the show.  I want you to be a part of everything.  If you are comfortable, even to introduce you to my friends from the gym who will be there.  I know we need to keep a lowish profile, but I do not want to hide you.  Besides, most of them know about you already.  I … can’t stop talking about you.”


Gabriel smiled his crooked little mischievous smile, a mannerism he had picked up from John.  “Look in the bedroom.”  John glanced over Gabriel’s shoulder to the bedroom door.  It was open and he could clearly see a rather large duffle beside the bed.  John looked back surprised but smiling broadly. 


“I took the liberty of packing for the weekend -- just in case you asked.”  Gabriel said.  He hugged the giant man once again, as he said in his ear, “This is part of you now handsome.  And anything that is part of you, that means this much to you … is a part of me.”  Gabriel pulled up slightly to look at John.   “If you will let me share it with you.”  


John latched onto Gabriel, hugging him tightly. “I’m yours again, Angel.  Always… always was.”


Gabriel half squeaked, “At least until you uncase my insides like a sausage…”  John turned red as he immediately loosened his grip.  Gabriel leaned forward to kiss John on the cheek.  “You are welcome to stay with me tonight if you would like.”


John stood finally and looked down. “No place I would rather be….”

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Awesome!  So glad to see the return of this story.  I'm really enjoying the inner beast that John is facing...being a cocky, arrogant, giant muscle man to a jerk who deserves that treatment, but also realizing he needs to be careful that he doesn't become what he hated.

And he's getting so HUGE.  So huge and powerful.  Can't wait for the next round of stats...and his experience at the bodybuilding show. 

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I gasped with shock and Delight when I saw another chapter has been posted!☺ well done, great chapter!

Boy, that was one long chapter. The amount of work you had to have put into it is mind-boggling. I have to tell you that the text seems to be very well polished. Kudos!👏

I really do appreciate the effort you have put into this, and look forward to reading the rest of the story. I've also read "saving me" that you just reposted and was surprised when I saw this edition of chapter 6 had been added and realized that you were the author about stories.👍

Read your preface in "Saving me" and wanted to say sorry about your difficulties of late. Yeah, us readers would like to read more of these stories, but take care of yourself first dude. Thanks again!

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  • GymPredator changed the title to To Protect and Serve - Chapter 7 Part 4 (Posted 11/30/2020)

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