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by TeenWolf

Chapter 1

After the divorce Claire was quick to move to a different state. Visitation rights don't mean much when it's not physically possible to visit, so instead I had to watch from a distance how my son Jake grew up to be someone very different than what I had envisioned. I mean he's smart and doing well in school, and I wouldn't want anything but for him to be happy and have a good future, but at the same time I feel like he's been robbed of something. His options being limited by being around this Mark guy as father figure.

I was very surprised when Jake called and asked if he could spend the semester at my place. With remote learning being back again it didn't really matter where he was, he figured, and for some reason he had decided to get to know his dad properly. Better late than never I guess, but way too late to have any impact on him as a person. Of course I said yes. I hoped it wasn't trouble at home that made him decide to leave, but even more so a reason to house him. We'd have plenty of time to talk about that I figured.

I drove there to pick him up myself. Can't trust any mass transportation in times like these, and I reckoned my truck could fit everything he owned if he wanted to haul it to my place. Pretty light load though, a bunch of clothes, a bunch of books, and a bunch of computers. I tricked him with the "What happened since last time" trick to get him going and interrupted him with follow-ups on everyone and everything. Kept him talking all the way to the motel. We started early and I let him fall asleep again in the truck until close to lunch.

Now that we were far away enough that it felt like there was no going back on the decision for him, but still a bit left that it felt like we were negotiating I laid out my demands. As a welder, I told him, there is no working from home so I'd be away all day. I expected us to eat breakfast together in the morning. He would have to manage lunch on his own. Once I'm back home we would work out one hour every school day before dinner.

He was not thrilled about that last part. No surprise there, given his doughy body, so I launched into my prepared speech that PE was still part of a good education, and imagine his friends if he would come out of this spectacle looking better than going into it. I could see his gears turning when he responded "Well, I guess I don't have a choice."

I didn't take many days for us to find a good routine. I was up first cooking a hearty breakfast for us and I tried to keep it varied. Pancakes, hash browns, eggs 10 different ways. Lots of proteins to keep us both through the day. I always placed two vitamin bears on his plate. We both knew he was too old for them, but he always smiled when he saw them. The breakfast was really enough to take us through the day, but I left instructions for how he could make a light lunch if he wanted. I didn't want to push his cooking limits, but he managed it without problems.

He visibly wasn't very keen on stepping out into the garage with me once I got home, but he had put on workout clothes in advance and didn't protest with any words. My setup is pretty decent. I bought benches and weights and stuff from a gym that was going out of business as everyone stayed at home. We took turns doing the same exercise. I first showed how to do it and then I gave him a very light weight and checked his form while he tried it. Then we alternate a few sets before moving on to the next exercise. I could see already the next day that he was much more at ease with the whole arrangement, and by the end of the week he even appeared enthusiastic about working out.

After our PE we showered and I made dinner. We'd eat in front of the TV and took turns deciding what to see. I introduced him to wrestling, showed him classic football games, and explained the rules to any number of sports. He in turn showed me movies and shows that was important to him. He perhaps didn't enjoy everything I showed him, but he appreciated it. I must say I really enjoyed that whole Marvel Cinematic Galaxy thing we watched through.

I could tell by the end of our second week that he was getting self-conscious in a good way. He kept looking at his own muscles under tension as we worked out. He perhaps didn't look that different, but it was clear a lot of body fat had turned into muscle mass. It was by the fourth week most of the fat covering his new muscles began to melt away as well. His face had become much more defined and mature looking. I think it was the height that really gave away the plot. He had added about an inch just over his torso, and perhaps another inch and a half overall. The old T-shirts made it really obvious as the taller body combined with the wider shoulders made them barely cover his belly button. He stopped wearing them and only wore sweatshirts or hoodies, if anything at all.

It wasn't until the week after he asked me what was happening to him. I decided from the start I wouldn't bullshit him and told him straight up that he was turning into the jock boy I had always intended. He looked at me in both shock and confusion. I continued to tell him that the vitamin bears during the first week were made by me. Gelatin, sugar, berry essence, and custom-ordered gene therapy medication that would push him in the right direction. His expression turned into disgust and anger. He shouted that I had no right to do that to him. It was his body, his decision, his life. I told him half his body was my DNA, and I had been denied any part of his upbringing besides the occasional birthday and trips to Disneyland. I was still one of his custodians and could take medical decisions for him, and what he was getting was how things were supposed to be. Things were just made right.

I left the house for a walk after our bout to calm myself. I was sure I did the right thing. There were so many times I could have backed out and every time I landed on that this was what was best for Jake. By the time I came back he hadn't moved at all from the living room couch. I silently went to my bedroom. He should have some time to mourn his old self. He is never coming back. I'm not sure old Jake would even have the courage to fight like that. And with the fireworks of brain chemistry about to detonate in about ten days it doesn't really matter what he does.

But I think he'll come around before then, physical cravings notwithstanding. While he was feeling sorry for himself in front of the TV he was watching NBA.


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