Jared felt his eyes fighting to close. He looked blearily up at the clock in his laptop’s menubar. After 3 in the morning. When he turned his eyes back to the term paper he could barely even make sense of his own words. The other window he had open, full of code for a software app he was playing with writing to procrastinate on the paper, had long blurred into complete gibberish.
The all-night study room was deadly silent for a moment, then a random gust of wind outside rattled a loose window-pane. Jared rubbed his eyes, feeling like his brain was swathed in wool. Maybe he needed some air. Not that he had time—the paper was due in four hours, and Professor Jacqitch was not known for his easygoing nature. But he was getting nowhere.
Just as he was starting to stand up, though, a video chat window leapt to life on his laptop screen.
Jared dropped his boxer-clad butt back down and stared at the chat window. There was no one in it—just a dark, hazy image of a far wall, several feet away.
Jared frowned. An auto-open window had to be from someone on his Friends list, but there was no one there. The window title fell in and out of focus but gradually resolved into BoiNextdoor89. Jared forced his brain the connect the name to a person. Lee—that was his best friend’s roommate Lee, over at State U.
Suddenly Jared’s mind started to focus. He felt his heart start to pump a bit faster. His dick even jumped a little in his boxers, just as it always sprang into complete erection whenever he was actually in the same room with the man. Jared wasn’t even sure why Lee caused such a reaction in him—tons of people he knew were taller, more beautiful, more muscular (including Jared’s best friend Will—including himself, for that matter). But there was something about Lee that reeled him in like a fish. More than once his 100-watt smile alone, matched with a sweet look from his blazing blue eyes, had nearly made Jared explode in his jeans.
Will apparently felt pretty much the same way about Lee. Jared had spent the last few weeks trying to figure out, without actually asking, if Will was trying to land his own roommate, in which case Jared had to stay on the sidelines. But if not –
Maybe Lee was calling to ask him out. Jared smiled at himself, suddenly glad he was shirtless—his shoulders were looking nice and bulgy lately. He turned on his laptop’s built-in speakers and the cam/microphone. “Lee?”
“Jared!” came a faint voice over the speakers. He pumped up his volume as high as it would go, earning him a background of loud white noise. “Thank god, I need your help. Can you hear me?”
He needs me, Jared thought, half laughing at himself. “Just barely, dude. What’s up?” Other than me, Jared thought, feeling his dick slowly hardening as he heard Lee’s voice, finding its way out of the fly of his boxers as it did so (as it always did when it got the change). But that only made him wonder again why Lee was calling him from off-screen. Maybe he was embarrassed about a zit or something.
“I got hit with a—a thing. A whammy.”
Jared frowned. Surely he didn’t mean—“A what?”
“A whammy, dude. Like you told me about. A booby-trap spell.”
Jared shook his head. “That’s impossible. Whammies only work on wizards, I told you that.”
“Yeah, well, it worked on me. C’mon, Jay, you’re the only wiz I know.” Absurdly, Jared felt his dick surge at Lee’s use of this pet name for him. In fact Lee was the only person who called him Jay, and Lee himself never could explain why. “You gotta help me. I’m panicking here. You gotta –”
“Okay, relax, I’ll do what I can, but you gotta remember I’m only a sophomore and there’s a lot I don’t know. It’d be like having a premed operate on you.” He wished he could see him on screen. It was so weird carrying on this conversation with an empty video chat window.
“Jay, you –”
“I really should hand this off to one of my profs. I’ve never even heard of a whammy working on a non—”
“Jay! You have to help me. No one can know. It, uh, happened because of something I wasn’t supposed to have.”
Jared waited, then prompted, “Which was?”
There was another long pause before he heard Lee say something, but it was so faint he couldn’t understand it through the ambient static. He told Lee to speak up.
After another moment Lee repeated more loudly, “It was a spellbook. One—one of your dad’s.”
“What?!” Jared fell back in his chair, stunned.
“When the three of us went up to the mansion for New Year’s last month. I, uh, nicked it during the tour. It was lying about in the study, there was a big stack of them, and I—”
“How? Only a wizard can even touch them.”
“Maybe I have some wizard blood. Who knows, dude. The important thing—”
“The important thing is that you betrayed my father’s trust. My trust. You guys were the first mortals I was ever allowed to bring home.”
“I know.” He sounded miserable.
Something clicked in Jared’s head. His father’s booby traps often had a certain themes in common. And the empty chat window—“Lee,” he said, leaning forward toward his screen, “how tall are you right now?”
A pause, then Lee’s voice, even more miserable, nearly lost in the static. “I dunno. About ten inches, looks like, judging from this soda can.”
Jared nodded and sighed. His father tended to use protection spells on all his stuff that would transform a rival wizard in an embarrassing way. His favorite method was to use a shrinking spell. His dad’s sense of humor came into play in most of his whammies: the shrinking spell he usually used made the victim, if male, shrink to the size of his own erect cock. The wizarding world, Jared thought to himself, does tend to be pretty bawdy, especially when playing tricks on each other.
Meanwhile Jared’s boner, which had softened at the revelation of Lee’s betrayal, roared back to life at the news that Lee had shrunk to ten whole inches. Jared realized he was totally boned over Lee’s predicament and blushed violently, even as said boner pushed the rest of the way out of Jared’s loose boxers and stood, tall and implacable, straight up out of his lap, a massive stone monument to Jared’s bottomless lust for Lee.
“Jay, can you help me?” Lee’s voice said urgently. “Please?”
Jared shook his head, trying to focus n the situation. He sighed as he worked through the ramifications of what had happened in his mind. This was going to be a nightmare. “We’ll have to go to my father. Only he can –”
“No! Jay, you have to do it.”
“I can’t! I mean, I don’t want to face my father with this any more than you do.” That was certainly true. His father would blow a gasket and probably shrink Jared instead of regrowing Lee. “But I can’t undo something he did, and I haven’t done counterspells like this yet, it’s really advanced.”
“Jay, please. Please. There has to be something you can do.”
Jared struggled with himself. He looked around himself in frustration, as if a sultion might just be lying about at hand in his dorm room. Maybe there was some way—His eyes randomly fell on the paper he was writing. Maybe—yes! Of course!
“Incremental curse,” he said. “Only way.”
There was a slight pause before Lee’s voice responded. “Curse? I dunno, Jay.”
“Curses can be good, bad or neutral. It just means the target doesn’t have control.” He already had another window open and was typing frantically.
“You’re not trying to get back at me because of your dad, are you?”
“Just shut up a sec. I’m hacking into the incremental curse database.” Jared, in the course of researching magical software protocols, had discovered a backdoor to this program months ago and had even used it, once, using the login of a senior he knew. That unsuspecting senior, he’d heard through the grapevine, had gotten quite a talking to when someone noticed the school’s soccer team had all grown a third leg. Jared had laughed his ass off for days while the team’s doctor tried (unsuccessfully) to remove the curse, because Jared’s actual curse had been that each player grows a third leg without noticing upon kissing another member of the team. Apparently, unknown to everyone, they had a secret pre-game make-out ritual. So every time the effects were undone, the legs just popped back again before every game! So far no one had made the connection, and Jared had wiped the details of the transformation and the criteria from the database and the backups.
Here it was, the ICDb. A blank blood-red screen, very atmospheric. He was in. “Okay, hang loose a second, man. I’m setting it up.”
“What are you –”
“Just chill.” Create new curse? Yes. Step one—identify target. He concentrated on the mental connection he had formed with Lee, which was part of his training, and slowly an image of Lee coalesced on screen. Jared gasped. It was Lee the way he looked at that moment. He was naked, perfectly proportioned, standing next to a keyboard. Jared’s cock pumped a little precum into his shorts. Lee was hard! He had a huge thick erection standing straight up against his abs, curving just slightly to the left.
“Duuuude, you have a boner…” he heard himself blurt out.
He could see the distress increase on Lee’s handsome face. “How do you—?”
“Um. The software is modeling you so you can be transformed back.”
“Oh.” Jared heard a pause. “Well, the truth is, your voice always gets me hard. I—look, I dunno why. Sorry.”
“Don’t be.” He was taken aback that Lee felt this way. And had admitted it. Might as well come clean himself. “Yours, uh, does too. For me. ”
Jared reluctantly moved to the next screen, where he set a trigger. This one required typing in a carefully-phrased scenario. Jared smiled despite himself. After a moment he finished typing, read it through carefully, and validated its workability with the software.
The next screen required him to visualize the result on screen. Jared concentrated again, envisioning Lee as he should be. Satisfied, Jared clicked to the final screen, which specified the rate of change. Damn! They changed the protocols! The smallest number he could specify now, with the user level he’d hacked in as, was 50 increments.
“Dude, I’m pretty much set up, but the transformation is going to take a couple days.”
There was a pause, then Lee said, “Better that, than having your dad turn me into a slug. Are you sure this will work?”
“Positive. Shall I press OK?”
“Do it,” said Lee firmly.
Jared, his heart pounding, clicked OK. The screen told him the curse was activated. “All set.”
“I don’t feel anything.”
“You won’t until you hit a trigger. Speaking of which, I need to bring you here. That way I can monitor the transformation.”
“Fuck—you can do that?” Lee asked, amazed.
“Sure, that’s basic stuff. I can transport anyone I’ve, you know, connected to mentally. Hang on.”
Jared closed his eyes and concentrated, touching the corner of his mind that had been carefully trained to accomplish this task. Through it he sought Lee’s physical body and, with a twist of his thoughts, remade its location so that it was here in this room, right before him.
He opened his eyes and a 10-inch Lee was staring up at him, his blazing blue eyes filled with awe. And, suddenly, with lust.
“I have to kiss you, Jay.” Lee whispered. “Please let me kiss you.” His huge, thick boner quivered on his boner-sized body.
Without a word Jared leant down and gently kissed his friend, feeling Lee’s little tongue between his lips while his cupped Lee’s warm, naked body with his right hand. He stroked Lee’s back with his index finger. Lee moaned.
Jared couldn’t believe how amazing it felt to hold Lee in his hand. Lee was heavy and warm, the size and heft of a really big cock, but as Jared moved down from Lee’s mouth and started kissing Lee’s tight chest Lee’s body was slowly writhing with pleasure, the heels of his proportionately large feet rubbing against Jared’s wrist.
“Oh god, Jay—oh, god—” Lee murmured. “Please—lick me—I want to feel your hot tongue—”
Jared flushed, amazed and deeply aroused that Lee wanted him to do what Jared so desperately needed to do. His left hand wrapped itself firmly around his own iron-hard pole as he parted his lips and let a bit of his tongue emerge, moving it gently along one side of Lee’s torso. “Ohhh!!” moaned Lee, clearly transported with pleasure. “Dude, you’ve got me so close already.”
Jared pulled back a little to look at Lee. God, he looked so amazing sprawled along his hand, naked and beautiful, his head and shoulders just overhanging his fingertips, heels rubbing rhythmically against his wrist. And sure enough, Lee’s tight abs were slick with precum drooling from Lee’s thick, gorgeous cock. Jared’s own cock was achingly hard and likewise slicking up his other hand.
Jared bend down just enough to kiss Lee’s cock. His mind flooded with the sensation not of how small the cock was, but of how big and beautiful it was on Lee.
“Oh god!!” Lee shouted. “Oh god Jay—!!”
Knowing that Lee was one stimulation from an explosive orgasm, knowing that it was in his power to make Lee detonate with ecstasy in his hand, Jared felt a huge rush of passion of a kind he’d never felt before. It was exquisite and mind-warping. He suddenly wanted to tell Lee he loved him. But there was no time. Lee was desperate to cum, and Jared was even more desperate to make him cum.
He darted out his tongue and ran it firmly along Lee’s hot cock—a cock that was hard for him. Lee shuddered violently and looked up, his shining blue eyes meeting Jared’s and piercing his soul. “Kiss me,” Lee said urgently—“I’m going to cum.”
Jared complied, and as their lips met Lee started to cum hard, his body bucking in Jared’s right hand so hard that Jared was suddenly afraid Lee would fall out of it. Even as Lee went on orgasming seismically Jared pulled his left hand off his eager, protesting cock and held a few fingers lightly against Lee’s chest, delighting in the sensation of feeling a volley or two of hot cum paint the sides of his fingertips.
Jared finished the kiss and pulled back, looking down over his unexpectedly sex-hungry lover. Lee was staring back up at him, sweaty and flushed and gorgeous, his expression one of amazement.
Jared grinned. “That’s one,” he said cheekily. “Forty-nine to go.”
Lee gasped. “That was the trigger?!” he said.
Lee stared at him for just a heartbeat, and then said, “Nope.” And smiled so brilliantly that the iron hard-on in Jared’s lap, the towering monument to his passion for Lee, without any more of an climactic stimulation than Lee’s powerful smile suddenly erupted magnificently, rocking Jared’s body. He wanted to wrap his hand around it, but instinctively he kept his left hand protectively against Lee. Jared shot three times in rapid succession, and when he subsided he realized he was looking at Lee, who was looking down with rapt attention over the edge of Jared’s hand at the eruption below. Jared’s cock, to the amazement of both of them, stubbornly refused to soften in the slightest, and stood, towering and cum-covered, over Jared’s cum-soaked boxers.
“Fuck,” Lee said, laying back against Jared’s hand and looking contentedly up at Jared’s flushed and grinning face, “I think I have a few ideas for the next trigger.”
And they kissed again, each enjoying more than he’d ever have expected the unique sensation of an 11-inch man making out with his six-foot-tall lover.
A few hours later, Jared was laying in bed, naked, gazing fondly down at the hot, now 12-inch-tall boy dozing comfortably on his side along Jared’s torso, legs splayed across Jared’s tight six-pack abs, left shoulder in the cleavage between Jared’s decent-size chest muscles, head comfortably resting on the pillow that was the top slope of his left pec. Lee’s big feet were just underneath Jared’s indomitably hard cock, which was jutting up thickly from his groin at a 30-degree angle or so, and Lee’s feet were slick from the steady drip of warm precum from above.
I should have set it for a hundred increments, Jared thought happily, reaching up to run his right index finger softly against the sleeping cutie’s back. This will be over too soon—though, he thought suddenly with a wry smile, there will be compensations. He gazed happily at Lee, thinking ahead to the transformations still in store for his soon-to-be-not-so-shrunken friend.
His phone started vibrating on the night table. He snatched it up quickly with his left hand even as he carried on caressing Lee’s back with his right.
“Hello?” he said quietly.
“Hey, Jared? It’s Will. Have you seen Lee?”
A brief qualm coursed through Jared’s stomach. “Nope, sorry. Why, what’s up?”
“Nothing,” came Will’s voice. “It’s just—we were supposed to have a date tonight.”
Will said something else, but Jared didn’t really hear it. He was gazing down at the sleeping Lee now with—feelings he didn’t know how to describe.
“Shit,” he said.
Jared woke up a little while later from a very sated doze to the sensation of a slight jiggling motion on his stomach. He cracked his eyes to see Lee sitting crossways on Jared’s lower abdomen, splay-legged, with his back leaning right up against Jared’s rigid cock. His head was turned toward him, drinking in the tanned, muscular landscape of what was, to him, Jared’s giant-sized body. Jared could tell he liked what he saw, based on how the little man was frantically jacking off his very substantial dick with his left hand while he felt himself up with his right.
“Growing yourself without me, huh, babe?” Jared said, though he smiled as he said it. “That’s cheating.” It was a good thing his warning wasn’t serious, because it had the opposite effect from inhibiting Lee’s current project. On hearing Jared speak Lee gasped audibly, red flushing through his handsome face and defined chest as he started cumming impressively hard. Lee had already confided that just Jared’s voice alone was a turn-on for him—something about the timber, Jared guessed—and Jared loved seeing the proof as Lee’s spurting release started covering his pecs and shoulders, some of his spend even landing on his face and in his longish, messy black hair.
Lee was grinning up at him unrepentantly as he slouched back against the base of Jared’s aching cock, panting, flushed, and naked. He looked amazing to Jared, practically radiating some kind of raw, carnal sexuality that Lee seemed to have in endless abundance. And in that moment there was something more about him, something happening to the shrunken hunk sprawled across Jared’s lower abs. The skin of his ass and legs against his torso felt suddenly cool, as did the place where Lee’s back pressed against Jared’s quivering, iron-hard erection. And just as Jared worked out what that strange coolness had to mean, the change started to happen.
Jared’s eyes widened as he watched Lee slowly start to grow, his whole body expanding. It didn’t happen all at once, but in a rippling wave spreading steadily out from his center. First his torso expanded, then the effect expanded gradually outward, down his extremities until it finally hit his feet and hands, several heart-pounding moments after the transformation started.
Then, the growth stopped, and Lee’s body seemed warm and vibrant against his skin. That was it—just a little growth. One more increment of Jared’s stopgap band-aid of an incremental curse. But watching it happen was pretty fucking awesome. Even if the overall growth had only been about an inch overall, Jared thought, that was still like watching a hot, naked six-foot-tall dude spend a good thirty seconds slowly growing to six-foot-six, as he sat there grinning right there the fuck in front of you.
Their eyes met. “Whoooa,” they both said together, and laughed.
“What a rush,” Lee said happily, leaning back and basking in the moment. His dick was hard again, looking already set for another round. It was as if one of them had pressed “New Game” and restarted Lee’s raging boner, like he hadn’t just geysered a ton of semen all over himself. It was definitely not going to take long at all to grow Lee up to his original 5’10” at this rate, Jared mused to himself. The guy was already up to 13 or 14 inches from his original ten, he reckoned. He was beautiful as fuck like that, his chest and shoulders slick with sweat and his own cum.
“Feels good?” Jared asked. Before Lee could answer he flexed his own erection against Lee’s naked back, jostling him playfully.
“Hey!” Lee laughed, climbing to his feet. He seemed to find it a little difficult to find his balance on the bumpy terrain of Jared’s chiseled lower abs, especially as it was slippery with cum and precum. He grabbed Jared’s dick for balance, and Jared flexed it again, almost toppling him over. “Hey!” he said again, chuckling. “Cut it out!” He tried gripping Jared’s cock more firmly, wrapping his arm around its girth, but the slick, rigid organ seemed difficult to hold onto.
“It looks like you’re not going to be this size for long,” Jared said, trying to sound reasonable. “I have to have my fun with Li’l Lee while I still can.”
He waited for Lee’s return gibe, but Lee was just staring up at him, as if something had caught the other man’s attention. “What?” Jared asked, brows drawing slightly together.
Instead of answering, Lee let go of Jared’s dick and walked slowly and deliberately up Jared’s buff, sun-tinted torso, his big, erect cock jutting up and to the side before him, red and proud. His weight didn’t feel like much—he seemed like he weighed less than a cat right now—but Jared’s dick twitched as he thought of Lee’s mass and size slowly increasing over the coming hours. He watched in fascination as Lee climbed up onto Jared’s chest and knelt on the upper surface of Jared’s hairless, amber pecs, straddling his cleavage. From this vantage Jared could see Lee’s bright, blazing blue eyes under his sloppy bangs—had Lee’s hair grown too, more than its proportional length?—and as he stared into them he was captivated, just as Lee was as he gazed as Jared’s looming face. Now Jared could see his pupils were wide and his cheeks red with arousal.
“Kiss me,” Lee begged. He took in a deep breath, and Jared, orgasm suddenly rising irresistibly within him, watched his chest rise and fall in fascination. “Lick me,” Lee insisted, sounding urgent. “Jared, I need you to lick me. Touch me. Hold me—”
“Fuuuuck,” Jared shouted. Just Lee’s imperative pleas alone had hurled him over the edge without him even touching himself, and he was shooting his release all over his abs and across Lee’s back and ass. Lee grunted in pleasure and want as the warm spunk spattered across his heated skin, and then Jared had him in his hand, licking him, kissing him, caressing him with his fingers as he continued to cum, over and over again, until he felt like he had spent all the gism in the world and pleasure was swelling through him exponentially, reproducing like a clone spell gone wild. As the towering orgasm finally ebbed he was still kissing Lee, tonguing and mouthing the little man’s indefatigable two-and-a-half-inch cock. He idly smeared his cum around his own torso with the fingertips of his other hand as he lost himself in ministering to Lee’s body and cock, Lee’s hums and grumbles of pleasure riffling giddily through him, seeping deep under his skin and seeming to collect somewhere profound inside him. He wasn’t sure how much time passed like this, but Jared became aware that Lee’s moans were getting louder and that his other hand was now wrapped around his own prick, jacking eagerly like either his hand or his dick had a mind of its own.
“Jay!” Lee gasped. “Fuck, what are you doing to—fuck, Jay, I’m gonna—!” Suddenly Lee was releasing again, his big little prick shooting gouts of cum across Jared’s tongue as his whole body jerked and spasmed in Jared’s close but gentle grip. And then Jared was shooting too, spraying yet more spunk all over his already sticky chest and abs. He felt exhausted and sated, his nuts were aching, and yet his dick seemed to rally, stiffening again almost to full mast as he remembered what came next.
Abruptly Lee felt cool in Jared’s hand, causing thrills of anticipation to race through him. Jared sucked in a breath and quickly held his buddy up where he could see him, observing him avidly for signs of change. Lee looked down too, and they both watched as over the course of several heartbeats Lee grew, like a half-hard cock slowly swelling before their eyes to a huge and mighty erection. The new inch or so that Lee gradually gained in height in that long moment once more spread all over him in proportion, expanding outward again from the center like a growth-producing seismic wave. Jared released a low, rough groan as the process ebbed and Lee reached his new, slightly larger size, warm again and strong and crazy beautiful in his hand.
He set Lee down on his abs in a standing position, hoping to give him a little freedom to move around and enjoy his new, slightly incremented size, but as soon as Jared set him down Lee dropped straight to his knees with a barely audible thump. Alarmed, Jared leaned his head forward to look more closely at him, though he was careful not to shift his shoulders or torso or do anything to topple his friend over. “You okay?” he asked worriedly. It suddenly occurred to Jared that there might be side-effects to his father’s curse, or to his own, that Jared, as a novice wizard, might not know about, and his mind started racing as he tried to figure out what he could do if that were the case. He frowned at Lee in concern.
But Lee beamed up at him, brushing aside his bangs so he could see, still flushed but looking okay. “I’m fine, Jay,” he said smugly. “Just—all fucked out.”
Jared felt his lips curl in relief as he appraised him. He drew his pillow up behind his head more so he could keep looking at Lee. He was totally defined all over, from shoulders to calves, like the obsessive swimmer he was. Pale and rosy pink like he was carved from Georgia marble. And hung, with a hefty dick that was beautiful even now that it was finally soft. But it was his sweet face and dazzling smile that did it for him, every time. “You are so hot as fuck right now,” he told him. “I … kind of almost want to keep you like this.” Jared told himself he was joking, but the truth was he knew better.
Lee bit his lip, blue eyes glinting. He looked down at himself, and then up across Jared’s thick pecs to his face. He saw something that made him smile softly and admitted, “I kind of almost want to stay like this.” He brushed his dark hair away from his forehead again. “Except I need a haircut,” he groused, aiming a puff of hair up at his bangs.
“I dunno,” Jared said, eyeing him thoughtfully. “It kind of suits you. There’s a guy in my class with long—”
Suddenly Jared felt as if he’d been struck by lightning. “Holy fuck!!” he cursed and sat up fast—dislodging Lee, who fell into Jared’s lap with a squawk. “Hey!” Lee complained.
“Sorry,” Jared said guiltily. He took Lee in his hands and gently set him on the bed, then burst up and practically ran to his computer. He checked then time and shouted “Fuck!” again. He glanced at the window for unnecessary verification. Despite the heavy curtains being closed he could see a sliver of the already lightening sky. “Fuck fuck fuck!” he said, dropping into his desk chair and scrolling frantically through his spell theory essay, trying to sort out just how screwed he was.
“What’s wrong?” Lee called from the bed, struggling to make his smaller voice carry across the distance.
Jared grunted at the screen, totally frustrated. He’d royally fucked himself. Well, maybe not royally. It was mostly done. It needed another section with counterexamples, but the basics were there and he’d explained and supported his argument about the limitations of long-distance charms, which he thought was pretty clever, all things considered. It would have to do, but it was missing—what was it missing? He had to at least tack on a conclusion.
He remembered Lee behind him. “I have class in twenty minutes,” he explained in a rush, typing frantically, “and I haven’t finished my essay!” If he were less self-aware he might have blamed Lee, but the truth was that he should have wrapped this paper up a week ago instead of leaving it to the night before like he always did.
Lee, however, seemed to have no qualms about blaming himself for intruding on Jared’s morning, because all he got in response to that was a doleful “Sorry, Jay.”
“Not your fault,” Jared said quickly as he typed the last sentence. He frowned critically at what he’d written, corrected a typo, changed “stupid” to “ill-advised”, and then saved his file and closed it with a long exhale. Hurriedly, he opened his browser and loaded the MagicalBlackBoard page for the spell theory course, found the link for the written assignments, and started his paper uploading. He jumped up from the desk before it was finished and, deciding there was no time for a shower, grabbed a discarded tee shirt and vigorously scrubbed his sticky chest and abs as best he could before tossing the dirty tee aside and pulling on random underwear, socks, and jeans from disorganized piles on top of his dresser.
“So,” Lee said as he worked, “you’re heading to class now, I guess.”
Jared was checking that the upload had completed correctly and was moving back to his dresser to grab a fresh tee shirt when he registered the forlorn tone in Lee’s voice. He stopped and looked at Lee, who was standing on the rumpled bed, watching him. “Yeah, Lee, sorry.” A thought occurred to him. “You want to come with?” he offered hopefully, and Lee grinned.
Lee brightened. “You sure?” he asked. “I just—” He paused, then explained, “I’m supposed to be in class now, too, and my own ingrained Puritanical Work Ethic will kick my ass if I just sit here lolling in your bed. At least if I go to class with you…” he tailed off, apparently guessing from Jared’s expression that he wasn’t being wholly convincing.
Jared pulled a bright yellow-orange shirt off the un-put-away-clean-clothes pile on the dresser. It was one of his favorites, the one with the logo for the alt-rock musical Astairetown, the one where they adapted Thirties-style ballroom dance moves to metal and glam rock classics performed as lush swing or big band numbers. He’d loved the show, especially their rendition of “Livin’ on a Prayer”, and he also liked how the soft, clingy shirt looked on him. He shot Lee a look. “You just want to see wizard classes,” he scoffed, before pulling on the shirt.
“Well, yeah,” Lee said. Jared was hunting down his favorite low-rise leather lace-up boots, which were under some discarded sweatshirts. He dropped into the desk chair to pull then on. “But I can come, right?” Lee asked.
“Of course,” Jared said negligently as he worked on tying his laces. “I’ve got back to back classes this morning anyway. Spell theory and then Mundane Trig.” All the non-magic courses were offered by the Mundane Division, and though the courses were just named like ordinary college courses Jared had quickly picked up on the universal tendency among both students and faculty to tack “Mundane” ahead of any course than that didn’t involve any wizardry. “You’ll be stuck here otherwise, bored as hell. Assuming Billy’s cat familiar from next door doesn’t sneak in and eat you,” he added wickedly, casting Lee a wink. Lee responded by giving him the finger.
Jared slapped his thighs, trying to cool his brain and think ahead. “Okay,” he said. Boots on, he jumped up and folded up his laptop, stuffing it into his open knapsack by the side of the desk. He picked up the bag and turned to Lee, but faltered. “I can’t put you in here,” he said. “You’ll get banged up.”
Lee looked down at himself, then grinned up at Jared. “You got a baby bjorn around here anywhere?” he asked.
Jared cocked an eyebrow at him. “I think you’re still too small for that,” he said. The idea led his brain in another direction, though. “I could just carry you, though, in the crook of my arm,” he said. “Like a baby,” he added, taunting his friend, lips quirking uncontrollably.
Lee pretended to pout. “You’d better say ‘like a football’,” he advised. His brow wrinkled. “They, uh, won’t think it’s weird you’ve got a little man with you?”
Jared rolled his eyes. “It’s wizard school,” he sighed, zipping the bag up and hefting it to slip one strap over his left shoulder, leaving the other one off. “You won’t even be the weirdest thing there.” Not exactly true, though he had seen some weird things in his classes.
He made to reach for Lee, but froze when Lee went on, “And it won’t matter that I’m completely naked?”
They frowned at each other unhappily.
“We don’t have time for this,” Jared ground out.
He was sitting back at the desk, glaring at the still stubbornly naked man standing on the surface of the desk in front of him. He was about 15 inches now, tall enough to be looking Jared right in the eye. His expression was just as harried as Jared felt. “It’s not my fault,” Lee protested, sounding like he was trying to stay calm.
Jared had tried three spells to conjure clothes for Lee. The first one had done nothing, as far as they could tell. The second had, weirdly, resulted in nothing more than a large smudge of dark blue body paint, which they’d hurriedly rubbed off with a wet-nap from a packet left over from some previous take-out order. The third had produced a big frilly blue polka-dot dress complete with a bustle and a matching bonnet, all of which Lee had almost immediately almost literally ripped off and thrown aside while Jared hissed with impatience at his own lack of ability.
Lee took a deep breath and tried to steady them both. “Just … focus,” he coached, slowly bleeding the edge out of his voice. “Imagine me the way you want to see me dressed.”
“You already are,” Jared huffed.
Lee’s lips curled to one side, but he soldiered on. “Okay, then, let’s stay with sexy and positive,” Lee said. “Concentrate on how you’d like me to look if we were going out on a date.” Jared was abruptly uncomfortable. He’d been able to let himself not think about the date Will had planned with Lee the night before, the date Lee had missed because he’d sprung Jared’s dad’s booby-trap and got himself shrunk to the size of his own dick. Jared had a morbid curiosity about it, but it had been too sore a point to ask about. If there had been a real date then Will had gotten there first, and Jared knew he couldn’t live with poaching Lee from Will like that Even if there were, well, extenuating circumstances, and a mutual attraction that seemed to be off the charts.
This wasn’t helping. He pushed all that aside again. “Me, in date clothes,” Lee was repeating calmly, almost as if it were a mantra. “Zero in on that. Me, in date clothes.”
Jared took a deep breath and focused, and finally found the stillness within him that served as his fulcrum—the means by which he used his magic as a lever to, in theory, shift the universe. A shift wafted through reality, this time radiating from Jared’s center, and in a single breath Lee was dressed in a perfectly fitted charcoal V-neck lightweight sweater from an upscale men’s casual place Jared and Lee both liked, equally well fitted slacks in a deep chocolate, and leather boots not unlike his own. Even Lee’s newly longer dark hair looked conditioned and styled.
Jared blinked at him. He looked really, really handsome like this. He stood back, worried for the first time about how much he was feeling for Lee. Lee, meanwhile, was checking himself over as best he could without a mirror, smoothing down the sweater and then twisting around to see what he could of his backside, which, Jared knew, accentuated Lee’s very fine ass as well as any pants could. Lee lifted up the back of one boot to see the low heels, then turned back to smirk up at Jared. “Heels? Really?” he asked. He put his fists on his hips. “Are you trying to say I’m short?”
Jared snorted. “Come on,” he said, picking up Lee and positioning him in the crook of his arm. He cinched the strap on his backpack. They were going to be late. “Hold tight,” he said, “I’m going to have to make a run for it.”
“Can’t you teleport?” Lee objected.
“No,” Jared said, stopping short. “Well…” He started to revise himself, then repeated, “No.”
“You teleported me here,” Lee said reasonably. “Will you get in trouble?”
“Some,” Jared said. They really weren’t supposed to teleport themselves until they’d taken the tier 3 class on autoteleportation. But Jared, unlike his fellow students, had been living with a Level Ten Master Wizard all his life, and while his own ability had been rated as average it had manifested unusually early, resulting in a recognition of a need for a certain level of advanced instruction. Not to mention a lot of covert experimentation, out of sight of his father and tutors, with a lot of trial-and-error dabbling in both traditional and techno-augmented processes. Jared might never be a Level Ten Master, but he had a knack for devising his own spells and an insatiable curiosity when it came to bending magic toward his own ends.
“And will you get in trouble if you come to class late?” Lee persisted.
“A lot,” Jared admitted. He was already on thin ice with Professor Jacqitch.
Lee clicked his tongue and said nothing. Jared sighed. “Fine,” he said. “Hold on.” He closed his eyes, found his still point, and a second later they were no longer in the dorm room.
They got to class without further adventure. Jared had the presence of mind to materialize in the back corner of the lecture hall, well away from any doors or desks, and had simply strolled down the steps from the back and taken up a seat in one of the middle rows. He perched Lee on his broad shoulder, much to the amusement of a set of giggling girls across the aisle. One of them, Jared noticed, had a beard—a smartly trimmed blonde van dyke—and Jared thought it looked kind of cute on her, though he wasn’t sure the fad would last. There were already some very passionate articles on the subject in the online school paper, The Palimpsest, throwing around phrases like “masculinization” and “gender agency”. Jared was just glad the wizard community didn’t generally care about sexual orientation, so he didn’t have to worry about fooling his family with a metaphorical beard.
Lee, meanwhile, swiftly overcoming his shyness at being a mascot-sized visitor in a someone strange venue, smiled bashfully but gamely at the girls’ attention and waved back at them, provoking another round of giggles. The row filled in shortly thereafter, and Jared found himself sitting next to one of the three-legged soccer forwards, a cute Hispanic guy named Diego that he had a nodding acquaintance with from drama club, which he’d decided to join this year. They tipped their chins toward each other in greeting, and Diego tossed Lee a welcoming smile. Then the Latino hunk started digging his notebook out of his bag, his muscular left leg pressing pleasantly against Jared’s own.
Jared tried to keep from grinning. He wondered what the deal was with the soccer dudes at this point. Either there had just been a game, causing the team’s three-leggedness to spring back into being after that special locker room ritual, or the faculty trouble-shooters had finally just given up on resolving and eradicating the curse. That was a win either way, as Jared figured it.
He noticed Lee was gaping at Diego’s unusual configuration. He turned back toward Jared and asked in an undertone, “Is he—?”
“I’ll tell you later,” Jared cut in, but he couldn’t stop his grin from spreading, knowing he looked downright mischievous. Lee was eyeing him suspiciously and seemed about to quiz him further, but the Professor strode in at that moment and the whole class settled in for the lecture.
After class was over Jared tried to flee with the rest of the students, Lee cradled in the crook of his arm again, but of course the professor called out his name. Much too loudly for him to pretend he hadn’t heard, too. He turned on his heel, nearly smashing into Diego, but the soccer player was able to deftly side-step him with a grin and passed around him out the door.
Jared made his way back to the lectern where Professor Jacqitch was standing. He was considering Jared darkly with arms folded, as if he had become convinced that something needed to be done about this one. Jacqitch was not an especially severe looking man; in fact, he looked like a veteran stockbroker, and he dressed like a typical university professor in plain shirts and slacks and a dark houndstooth blazer. All his severity was in his demeanor. “Professor?” Jared asked cautiously.
“Mister Zabik,” the professor said, sounding neutral. His eyes bored into Jared’s. Jared felt his heart like it was hoping to find a way to escape even if the rest of him was done for. “I was pleased to see your paper uploaded before I came in,” Jacqitch went on. Then he added pointedly, “Even if it was the minimum length and at the very last minute.”
Jared nodded guiltily. His previous two papers had been late and too short, respectively. They had both understood that this third paper was something like a probation, and his squeaking by on the mechanical requirements had not gone unnoticed, obviously.
The professor’s gaze flicked unexpectedly to Lee, and Jared saw his brows knit together so fiercely it looked like his forehead had buckled. “Who’s this?” he asked.
Jared looked down at the handsome man he was cradling, embarrassed that he’d almost forgotten him. “Um,” he said, then started over. “Professor, this is Lee Sheffield,” he said, looking back up at Jacqitch. He wondered what more to say, and left it at, “He’s a friend of the family.” Lee, for his part, seemed uncertain of protocols in such a situation. He offered the professor a short, wordless wave from what he had to be thinking was, at the moment, a somewhat undignified position, crooked in the arm of a relative giant like a newborn in high-end casualwear.
The professor hadn’t taken his eyes off Lee. “I see,” he said. “And why is Mr. Sheffield, at present, the size of a teddy bear?”
Jared took a second to get over the shock the question having been asked so bluntly, not to mention that it had been asked at all. “It’s … a private family matter, sir,” he said, striving to keep his tone respectful. Fortunately, what he said was true, as far as it went. It didn’t explain why Jared was parading him around like this, or why the explanations for a person having been shrunk should need to be kept a secret, but Jared was hoping it would be enough.
Jacqitch, however, seemed not to be paying attention. He seemed to look closer, still frowning, as if shifting his vision. “I can detect two strains of magic, in opposition to each other,” he muttered, half to himself, an element of deep curiosity creeping into his tone. He lifted his penetrating gaze suddenly to meet Jared’s, almost making him jump. “Did you bring him to me for resolution of one or both of the curses?” he asked.
“No, sir,” Jared said curtly, struggling to keep himself from saying something much more emphatically negative, not to mention inappropriately profane. Gods, the last thing he needed was for word to get around the Witenagemot about Jared Zabik needing help uncursing a shrunken friend. As soon as his father heard, he’d know exactly what happened—it was, after all, his favorite trick. He’d be mad it happened, and mad Jared would have required any assistance in resolving it. Jared fervently hoped that impressing the professor with a need for discretion would at least prevent the man from gossiping with his cronies about Jared’s handsome arm-passenger. “As I said, sir,” he said firmly, meeting the professor’s eyes in what he hoped was a meaningful way, “It’s a private family matter.”
Jacquitch, amazingly, seemed to accept this, and at his minute nod Jared allowed himself to surreptitiously release a long breath in relief, though he still didn’t know what this little tête-à-tête was really about. He had wondered at first if the professor had brought him over to ask about Lee, but that wasn’t it: he’d been surprised to notice Lee, and that had happened after he’d called Jared over.
Jared decided to redirect. “Was there something else you wanted to ask me about, sir?”
The professor blinked at him. He seemed to be re-orienting his brain. Then his gaze seemed to harden. After the man’s curious musing over Lee, his next words sounded stark and, to Jared, rather terrifying.
“Yes, Mister Zabik, I do,” he responded, his expression grim. “I need to speak to you,” he said sternly, “about an illegal curse.”