A Healthy Test Subject

Originally posted Sep 25, 2017.
Contains: long-term weight gain.

I’ve had my two-year anniversary request raffle planned for months now, but the anniversary itself snuck up on me, landing right in the middle of when I was working on a fairly lengthy story. As such, I wanted to write something quick in the time before the winner was chosen and I could start on their request, so I could give you folks something in what would otherwise be a very quiet time for me in terms of output. This is that story.

Like ”Something Old, Something New”, this story is based on an idea from ZBot316. Many thanks to him for being willing to tailor an idea to my circumstances.

Synopsis: Doctor Andre Ronbinson has developed a promising medication for treating malnutrition, but his committee wants him to test it on a healthy patient before they’ll allow him to test it on malnourished ones. Problem is, the medication will cause a healthy patient to gain a lot of weight if they don’t starve themselves while taking it. After no one volunteers to test it out, Andre decides to test the medication himself. As the pounds pile on over the next month, he finds his confidence growing along with the rest of him.

Doctor Andre Robinson was working on a medication for treating malnutrition by increasing the body’s innate ability to absorb nutrients. In animal trials, the medication had caused a remarkable increase in the subjects’ speed in attaining a healthy weight, thus improving their overall health. After promising tests on rats, Andre felt ready to take the drug to human trials, to show off its effectiveness.

His committee, unfortunately, did not feel the same way quite yet. Before they could approve the drug for testing on malnourished patients, they wanted some results demonstrating the drug’s effect on a healthy person. Malnourished patients, after all, were more vulnerable to the effects of anything they ingested. Proving that the drug was safe for a healthy person would give them at least a baseline of confidence in Andre’s research.

Unfortunately, Andre had trouble finding healthy volunteers to be a part of his study. With how the drug worked, Andre knew that any healthy patients who took it would need to either starve themselves, or accept that they would likely put on a noticeable amount of weight. Among the networks Andre’s team usually used to recruit volunteers, no one came forward for either option. And Andre certainly wasn’t unscrupulous enough to advertise the study without being honest about what it would entail.

But Andre knew he was onto something. He believed in his work so fervently that he was willing to do what no one else was: try the drug himself.

It was a Friday night, and Andre was still at the lab at 7:30 PM, when most of the techs and other researchers had gone home. In the privacy of an examination room, he disrobed to take his weight: 186.4 pounds. As tall as he was, it wasn’t much. After he stepped off the scale, he looked down at his slender frame, kept skinny by plenty of late nights of staying in the office and forgetting to eat. He wasn’t entirely happy with his frame, and felt like his colleagues would take him more seriously if he were built more substantially. If the trial added some meat to his bones, he thought to himself, wouldn’t consider that a bad thing.

Once Andre put his clothes back on, he walked back to his research station with a paper cup of water from the bubbler. In an orange plastic prescription bottle on his desk lay a single dark-blue gel capsule. Deciding on the dosage he’d take had been the hardest part, as scaling up from mice to humans was a tricky task. As he looked in the bottle, he worried he hadn’t put enough of the drug in the pill. But knowing that the effect would last just under a month, with no way to undo the medication’s effect, he didn’t want to risk overdoing it.

Andre opened the bottle and dropped the single pill into his hand. He held it between his fingers and looked it over, the first result of all his hard work, made tangible. With a confident smile, he popped the pill in his mouth and swallowed it down with a drink of water. He stood at his station for a moment, waiting as it traveled down his esophagus to hit his stomach. He wasn’t sure what kind of feeling he expected, but he sure didn’t get it. With a short sigh and a quiet chuckle, he capped the prescription bottle and tossed his cup in the garbage bin, before heading home for the day.

Once Andre had taken the pill, he kept up his usual routine in terms of eating and exercise, knowing it was the only way to get results that meant anything. He did his best to avoid the temptation to weigh himself every day he went into work. He knew that natural day-to-day fluctuations in weight would account for more of the changes he saw than the pill would, and he didn’t want to give himself false hope. When he was so invested in the medication’s success, he couldn’t handle a disappointment like that.

But as Andre got dressed on Wednesday morning, he found his work clothes fitting a bit more snugly than usual. He knew they couldn’t have shrunk in the laundry, as the other clothes he’d washed that weekend had fit him fine earlier that week. They weren’t especially small, still buttoning up without much issue, but Andre could feel them fitting a bit more tightly around his midsection and thighs. Normally he wouldn’t have given it much thought, but the supplement made it noteworthy.

In spite of his clothes fitting more snugly, Andre managed to wait to weigh himself until that Friday, a week after he’d taken the pill. To keep his measurements consistent, he waited until 7:30 PM to step on the scale. By the time he got into the examination room, his clothes were fitting tightly enough to have become a problem. He’d kept his loose-fitting lab coat buttoned all day to hide the billowing openings of his dress shirt, straining as the stomach beneath them pushed out. Once he had the benefit of privacy, he stripped down, relieved that he could finally undo his buttons. In just his underwear, he stepped on the scale once again.

208.7 pounds. Over 20 pounds added in just seven days.

Andre stared blankly at the scale when he saw the number. Thinking it had to be a mistake, he reset the machine and tried again, only to get the same reading. With his mouth hanging agape, he stepped off the scale, barely mindful enough to maintain protocol and write his weight down in his notes. By the time he’d found his place in his notebook, he had to step onto the scale again to remind himself what the number was. Still 208.7.

After writing the number down, Andre stood in place with his mouth half open and his eyes pensively half-shut. He’d only ever seen reports of someone gaining weight that quickly when they were incredibly sick or had some serious endocrine disorder. That he had gained that much weight in a week without feeling dreadfully ill or seriously off-kilter didn’t make any sense. Soon he started pacing the room, sans clothing, as his thoughts raced trying to make sense of his measurement.

It was as Andre paced that he passed by the room’s full-length mirror, and got a good look at himself with those extra twenty-plus pounds. On his tall frame, they probably wouldn’t have been all that noticeable if he already had some flab on him. But to see his once-flat stomach jiggling as he strode to and fro gave him plenty of cause to pause and take a closer look.

Standing diagonally from the mirror, Andre looked at himself with a flat mouth and carefully observant eyes, his face stoic as he looked his body up and down. His stomach puffed out modestly beneath his chest before curling back toward him, marking the bottom of a genuine belly. His chest itself now perked out enough to distinguish the two lobes from one another. His arms and legs had undergone a similar transformation, with the top and bottom halves now distinguished by not only the knees and elbows, but also the sleeves of fat that tapered off at the joint before expanding yet again. His once gaunt face had rounded out enough to hide the definition once provided by his bones, making for a much healthier-looking definition derived from his newly added adipose tissue.

It was all so much for Andre to take in. Everywhere where he’d once been little more than skin and bones had now been provided definition by the weight he’d put on. He had pudge, squishy bits, all those things he’d never personally known before. It wasn’t much–yet–but in comparison to what little he had before, it was a noticeable addition, and an exciting one. Without changing how much he’d eaten, he was already on his way to the substantial frame he’d dreamed of a week prior.

Andre poked at his stomach and felt his finger sink into the once-unyield flesh, now allowing his pointer finger to be submerged up to the top knuckle. As he looked from his reflection to his own softened body, his flat mouth spread into an excited smile. He poked his finger in deeper a few more times, watching the shock waves spread out in a way they couldn’t on his flat stomach before. If this was how much he’d grown after just one week, he looked forward to finding out what the next three had in store for him.

Now that Andre knew his weight gain wasn’t all in his head, he went out clothes shopping that weekend to buy clothes that fit his newly fleshed out frame, including XL shirts. He also bought shirts one size up and pants both two and four inches bigger in the waistband. With how much he’d grown in the first week, he knew that the clothes that fit him that weekend wouldn’t fit him for long. After all, the medication had just barely enough time to fully absorb into his system. Those next two weeks, he knew, would be when the most weight gain would happen.

Not that Andre’s gains in the first week had been insignificant. But they’d managed to fly under the radar of his coworkers and friends. If anyone had noticed it, they’d kept their observations to themselves, smiling and nodding politely as Andre passed them in the hallway. Aside from Andre catching a few of his coworkers and friends staring at him a bit longer than they necessarily needed to, the reactions from his coworkers had been minimal to nonexistent. But that silence wouldn’t last for much longer.

The comments from Andre’s coworkers started out subtle, seemingly polite. If Andre had put on the weight unintentionally, he probably wouldn’t have known what his coworkers were talking about. They asked him questions like, “How are things outside of work?” and, “You feeling alright?” Though Andre didn’t feel ashamed at all about the changes to his body, he did find it more fun to play dumb, as long as his coworkers were too polite to ask about it outright. “Things are good, more of the same, really.” “Feeling fine! How about yourself?”

Those answers kept his coworkers at bay for the duration of the second week, ending with his next weigh-in that Friday night after everyone had gone home. Andre knew he’d put on a significant amount of weight that week, with even his new clothes starting to approach a snug fit. How much weight, though, he wasn’t sure. It seemed to him like he’d put on less weight than he had in the first week, but he supposed the contrast between no fat and some fat might have made that change seem greater than it was. Either way, he stripped out of his clothes in the examination room and stepped onto the scale.

237.6 pounds. Nearly a 30 pound difference from the previous weigh in.

Andre had expected a big number, even looked forward to it. But he hadn’t expected a change that drastic, or one so much greater than the previous week. Still wearing only his underwear, he strided to the table to write his weight down, before he rushed over to the full-length mirror.

In comparison to his transformation the previous week, Andre’s body didn’t look all the different from the week prior. Simply adding more flab onto his frame had made for a more subtle change than going from no fat to some fat. Where the change was most noticeable was his chest and stomach, where it seemed most of the flab had accumulated. His belly, once no more plush than a small decorative pillow, now looked like a pillow he could rest his head on at night. It didn’t just round out at the bottom, but hung too, creating a crevice between his gut as his pelvis that he could stick his curious fingers into. His chest had taken on a bit more sag too, becoming more bottom heavy than the quaint, perky lobes he’d sported a week prior. Their rounded bottoms resembled the curved underside his belly had a week before.

Though the overall change might not have been very dramatic, Andre’s visual self-examination left him with a smile on his face. His soft fingers rode over his flabby abdomen, sinking easily into the warm, supple heft. After traversing his hanging belly, he curled his fingers around his mound of fat and lifted it up with his right hand, feeling all the weight his stomach alone had put on his body. It was a thrilling feeling, to know he now took up more space than he had previously. And with two weeks to go, he knew he was going to be taking up even more.

Those next two weeks passed by faster for Andre than the previous two. Once Andre knew he was gaining weight at a rate beyond his wildest imaginings, he felt less antsy as he waited for his weekly weigh in. Regardless of how much more weight he put on, it would be good news. He had the results that his committee wanted, and more than enough proof that the medication was effective. Of course, he knew there was plenty of room to grow, as a week three weigh in of 267.0 pounds proved. But at that point, the weight gain seemed like such a given that he didn’t bother stopping to examine himself in the mirror. Knowing that he’d grown even bigger was all the satisfaction he needed.

Unfortunately, his coworkers didn’t seem to see it the same way. In those third and fourth weeks, their superficially polite comments were stripped of all pretense as they became increasingly nosey about Andre’s weight gain. “Seems you’re putting on a lot of weight there, bud,” an older colleague had commented. “You doing something about that?”

“Oh yes: measuring it, and recording the results,” Andre replied, opting to stick to brief replies that bordered on snark whenever possible. The way he saw it, it was what his coworkers deserved for asking questions about something that was none of their business.

Another coworker had taken a more hospitable approach to confronting Andre, saying, “Say Andre, you look like you could stand to hit the gym. I’ve been looking for a gym buddy, if you’re interested.”

“Ooh, I’m afraid I can’t. That’ll interfere with my experiments.”

“Well you can’t stay in the lab all night. You need some kind of work-life balance.”

“Oh, of course. That’s why I’m usually out of here before 6:00.”

“Wha–So what kind of experiments are you running then, that you can leave the lab at 6:00 but still don’t have enough time to work out?”

“You’ll know soon enough,” Andre assured her. “I have to keep a lid on it for now.”

Andre dealt with comments like those until the end of his fourth week, when his coworkers seemed to get the hint that if he didn’t think his weight gain was a big deal, neither should they. Of course, it helped that his weight gain seemed to be slowing down. Three shirt sizes in, he expected that he’d grow into his 3XL button-downs by the time the medication’s effect wore off.

But in the meantime, Andre still had a final measurement to take. When the end of the fourth week came, he retreated to the privacy of the examination room. Once he was down to his underwear, he took one last reading:

290.6. Over 100 pounds heavier than he was when he’d started.

Putting on a few pounds each day often made Andre feel like he wasn’t gaining very much. Especially as big as he was at the start of the fourth week, a few pounds just wasn’t as noticeable as it used to be. But those weigh-ins helped Andre put into perspective just how heavy he’d gotten. He wrote down the number, 290.6, not too far away from the 186.4 that marked the beginning of the study. It was a transformation that would have been noteworthy even if it had happened over the course of a year. And thanks to his medication, it only took a month.

Andre knew his visual self-examinations in the mirror weren’t of any scientific value. All he needed to make the committee happy was his weight and his vitals before and after the trial period, to prove the weight gain was healthy. He had his weight, and if his vitals the previous weeks were any indication, his most recent gains wouldn’t cause any adverse health effects either.

Of course, that wasn’t going to stop Andre from looking himself over anyway. With a smile on his face, he moseyed on over to the full-length mirror to get a better look at his newly transformed body.

Looking Andre back was a man who looked like he could have eaten the man who’d stared him back a month prior. His pillow-sized belly had grown to resemble a small bean bag chair, both in its size and in how it hung from his body. His stomach flab hung low enough to cover most of his briefs, with his love handles spilling out just as copiously. All of his flab hung down loosely enough to be jostled side to side as he turned his torso in place, before jiggling to a standstill. It was like his flab was no longer in his control.

Of course, Andre’s belly wasn’t the only part of him that had grown. Above his flabby belly, the two lobes of his chest had drooped down to match, having enough heft that they curved over the rounded top of his belly as they rested upon it. His arms and legs had both swollen out like all the extra flab that couldn’t be stored in his stomach had spilled out into them. Once he’d finished his self-examination, he looked up and saw that his cheeks had taken on extra pudge near his eyes, like pillows for his peepers. It was a face that was approachable, yet authoritative. It was exactly what he was hoping for.

“Excellent,” Andre whispered in his smooth baritone as his hand ran over the massive expanse of his stomach. It was soft underneath his touch, smooth and supple, yielding easily as he pushed his fingers in deeper. As plush and cushiony as it was, he was surprised to find just how heavy it was when he tried to lift it up. With both hands underneath his ample flab, he pulled up and felt his belly bunch up in his fingers. It took the strength of both of his arms to lift all the weight he’d put on in his stomach. When he let go, it bounced with enough force to make Andre grunt as it sprung back up again.

Andre could have stood there all night admiring his recent growth. But he knew he had some results to submit to his committee so they could approve the drug for testing on actual patients. In his notes, he wrote down a reminder to include a footnote in his report that the malnourished patients would receive a much smaller dosage than he’d taken. He supposed the extent of his growth proved the committee’s point about testing on a healthy test subject first.

Once Andre got his approval to start trials on malnourished patients, it was hard for him to keep a lid on exactly how he’d done it. Reactions from his coworkers were as shocked and appalled as he expected, forcing him to defend his decision on a regular basis. But his new size had lent him a newfound confidence, and he always found a way to politely but firmly shut them down.

“What are you going to do about all this… weight?”
“Buy bigger clothes, of course.”

“Why didn’t you tell someone you were doing this?”
“Because you would have tried to stop me.”

“You shouldn’t have put yourself at such a risk!”
“If that’s true, then I shouldn’t have put any potential volunteers at such a risk either.”

After enough snarky replies, his coworkers stopped prying and accepted the new, bigger Andre as their head researcher. After all, he seemed quite self-assured every time he walked into the building now. With his signature purple ties curling over the curvature of a pastel button-down lending his new heft a certain rotundity, he strode in with his back arched to carry his newly front-heavy self around. His rounded face bore a confident smile that no one wanted to say no to without good cause. And when his medication yielded impressive results in patient trials, his colleagues had a lot less reason to doubt him again.

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