A/N: This story is directly inspired by the one written by Anifan/Animorphgirl about a Yeerk experiencing firsthand a girl's "coming of age". This story explores the arrival of puberty from the male side, but also with an unfortunate Yeerk along for the ride. But this also serves as an introductory story for the characters inside, whom I plan to write more about, but in a different context. As always, feel free to leave a review or a comment with your thoughts about my story. You know I love to hear them.

My name is Alyosha Damiric.

I am the son of Dragomir Damiric and Salima Hadzimusajeva. I am pretty sure that by now you have realized that I am not your ordinary American. Indeed, I was not born an American; my family and I are migrants from the Balkans. We left the old country for America when I was only four years old, meaning all that I have ever been used to are McDonald's and MTV. And it appeared as if we had left the old country just in time, as three years after our emigration our country tore itself apart along ethnic and religious lines. Our family would have been at very great risk; my father was Orthodox and my mother was Muslim. The possibility of either Father or Mother being forced to make an unthinkable choice was not something that we ever entertained for long, if at all.

But there was also one other thing that I was introduced to in America that I was reasonably sure I would never have known if I had stayed in the old country: Yeerks. Yes, those small alien slugs that crawl into your head through your ear and wrap around your brain before taking control of every single thing in your body. As far as I am aware, the Yeerks have never been anywhere on this planet except America. I do remember an anecdote about a Yeerk crew encountering both Iraqi and American troops during Desert Storm but I've always thought of it as some sort of urban legend that got spread around simply because it's both fantastic and realistic enough. How in God's name would we even know about this story in the first place?

To make a long story short, I was introduced to Yeerks by way of the Sharing. On the surface, the Sharing is this group that goes around doing all sorts of social work, "making the world a better place," so to speak. But behind the façade is an outright alien invasion whose sole objective was to place as many Yeerks as possible into people's heads in order to build an army capable of going up against their enemies the Andalites. Imagine an army of six billion (the human population at the time of the Yeerk invasion) squaring off against however many forced the Andalites had amassed. That was, for lack of a better word, the Yeerks' wet dream.

I was personally introduced to the Yeerks by way of my school. It was a requirement in my school to be a member of the club during the school year in order to have a complete grade. I chose to join the Sharing, not because I was actually interested in doing community work, but because all the slots in my other preferred clubs (like the sports club, the computer club, and even the glee club) had all been filled. Apparently, the Sharing was not that popular in my school. In order to make membership worthwhile, the Sharing promised that everyone who stuck it out to the end of the school year would be given "full" membership.

The Sharing members among my batch—all four of us—wondered just what exactly "full" membership in the Sharing entailed. We discussed it between ourselves, and when we had the chance, badgered real "full members" about it. These full members never really opened up about their status; all they ever told us what that getting it would be life-changing. And boy were they right. Just not in the way we had imagined. And in hindsight, it certainly made sense why they wouldn't say anything about the Yeerks behind their organization. Certainly all of us would have gone running the other way if we had even an inkling of what was to come.

Just before the end of the school year, the Sharing made good on their promise to give full membership to those of us who stuck with them to the end. And of course we all freaked out when we found out the truth, that there were aliens on our world who wanted, needed our bodies in order to function better as an interstellar empire. We all freaked out. But only three of us ran away. And we all know what happens to those who run away from full memberships. The only one who didn't run away… was me. I don't know why my legs failed me at that moment. Maybe it was the realization that, one way or another, I was going to walk away from that meeting with an alien in my head; my only choice was whether I let it get in there of my own volition or if it had to be shoved inside. It may very well have been the same instinct that told my father to get out of the old country with Mama and me while he still could.

And thus I was introduced to Yassin Six-Eight-Nine of the Sulp Niar Pool. As far as Yeerks went, at least from what I've heard from everyone else who had been in the same boat as me, Yassin was decent. He was firm; that was for sure. He made it plain to see that I had chosen the right path in terms of cooperating with the Sharing and the Yeerk Empire, and that an ugly fate was in store not only for me but also my family should I ever stop cooperating.

Aside from that though, nothing much else changed for me after the arrival of Yassin into my life. In fact, I could even say that his presence helped me out a little bit. With Yassin in control of me for the last few days of the school year, he took charge of doing everything I was supposed to do then, namely studying for all of the final exams. While Yassin studied (or put up the pretense of studying), I sat back and relaxed in my little corner of my own mind. I chuckled when he said that our science and mathematics were below the intellect of even a Gedd. I had a feeling that it was supposed to be an insult, and yet I still found it funny.

But nothing could have prepared him, or me, for what was about to happen on one hot summer night.

Since I can remember, I had always been a difficult sleeper, meaning it wasn't easy for me to fall asleep. I would be in bed by nine or ten but I would still be moving about for minutes and even whole hours after that. Yassin's arrival helped me with that issue somewhat; he had this technique of making me fall asleep on command. His command, anyway. He would make me sleep, and when I woke up I would always feel right as rain. No feelings or sensations of exhaustion at all. And I also had dreamless sleeps (or more accurately I would not remember any dreams I may have had), so I had that going for me at least.

Not this night though. This night was hot, probably one of the hottest in the summer that time. The heat had always made me more fidgety in terms of trying to sleep, but once again Yassin made the offer to help me deal with it. ((It's obvious that you won't be able to do this by yourself, Alyosha,)) Yassin said. ((And I can't sleep because of it. We both know I am much better at this than you are. So let me do it already.))

((All right, fine,)) I replied grudgingly. I settled myself into a comfortable position before closing my eyes, because once Yassin did his thing, I would be too deep in sleep to adjust. After this point, the next thing I expected to see was the risen sun shining through the windows of my room. But that wasn't exactly what happened.

I don't know why I remembered this particular dream. Maybe something had gone wrong with Yassin's process of making me fall asleep. Maybe because the dream had an effect in the real world that was very much hard to ignore. Most probably it was the latter, but I can never be too sure with the Yeerks.

In my dream I was at the public swimming pool, sitting on the edge with my feet in the water to cool off from the summer heat. There were other people in the pool with me, but I was sitting alone in my own little corner. Had this been real, I probably would have moved closer to the crowd, but in my dream I kept to my little corner.

A girl walked to the opposite edge of the pool from me. I recognized her as… let's just call her "Kristy" for the sake of her privacy. I recognized her as the girl who babysat one of my friends a few years before. We had gone to his house to play video games and were surprised to see her there because my friend had told us that his parents were away, the exact reason why we had gone to his house to play games. She was eighteen years old at the time, if I recall correctly. She looked like someone you might see on Baywatch. Her black one-piece swimsuit really flattered her body. And she also had that Alicia Silverstone thing going for her as well, so that was good for her. You could never go wrong with Alicia Silverstone. Is this a good time to mention that I had a massive crush on her?

Anyway, had this been happening in the real world, Kristy probably wouldn't have even given me a second glance as she walked up to the pool. But as this was in my dreamland, not only did Kristy acknowledge my presence, but she also waved hello at me and knew my name. And not just the "Alex" nickname I had taken from my full name (Aleksandar) to make it easier for other people to call me, but my original nickname. "Hi, Alyosha," Kristy called out.

"Hi, Kristy," I said in reply. Yet another proof that this was dreamland. In real life, I would have absolutely frozen solid and only been able to blurt out unintelligible gibberish had Kristy even acknowledged my presence on this world in such a way. Not even Yassin could have probably helped me out in that situation. "It's a hot day, isn't it?" I asked her.

"Yup," Kristy nodded. "Thank goodness for the public pool, you know? I can just go and cool down whenever I want." She then sat down on the edge of the pool right across from me and leaned back on her elbows, giving me a great view of her body. My heart began to beat faster and my palms began to sweat. This… this didn't feel right. I felt like a peeping Tom looking at Kristy like that, but at the same time I just couldn't stop staring even if my life depended on it.

My eyes then went down to the space right between Kristy's legs, and that was the moment that I felt something completely different, something that I had never felt until now. It's kind of hard to describe the feeling though, actually. I definitely felt a strange pressure and heat in my gut. Except it's not really my gut. This felt nothing like stomach trouble or the dreaded D, diarrhea. This pressure and heat was more below my waist than in my abdomen, and the longer I stared at Kristy the harder it became to ignore this feeling.

And, it seems, I wasn't the only one who noticed my struggles. "Like what you see, Alyosha?" Kristy asked me while looking at me through her sunglasses.

This time my tongue absolutely failed me. ((Yassin, help!)) I called out in my mind, but strangely enough, I couldn't feel my Yeerk's presence anywhere. But I finally managed to splutter out one coherent word. "What?" I asked back.

"You look like you're really enjoying the view, Alyosha," Kristy replied, and her eyes moved down to my shorts. I followed her gaze and suddenly noticed a bump sticking out from all the other folds and creases I would expect to see there. I made to flatten out the creases, but the strange bump remained. I tried to flatten the bump with my hand—

—and felt an almost electric jolt travel from my groin down my spine and up to my head. I almost literally jumped in surprise. Where in the world did that come from? I touched the bump again, and again there was that jolt. Across the pool from me, Kristy sniggered. "You boys really do like to play with your toys, don't you?" she said with a laugh.

At this point I was absolutely petrified. This was most definitely not the way I had wanted this meeting with Kristy to play out. My face was burning from embarrassment, even as I didn't know what reason I had to be embarrassed like this. I suddenly wished that I could just melt into the ground. But as that wasn't possible, I did the next best thing: I jumped into the pool. I was at the shallow end so the water only went up as far as my chest, and I hoped that the water would hide whatever it was that was happening inside my shorts.

Except by standing up inside the pool, I immediately became even more acutely aware of what was happening underwater. The little bump had become an outright mound, stiff as a rod. I was frozen stiff as well. I had no idea what was going on, and there was nobody around which I could ask help from.

And, it seemed, Kristy was absolutely enjoying my misery. She laughed when she saw me jump into the water, and then she dropped down into the pool as well. She swam towards me, her hair and legs billowing out from behind her. Kristy then resurfaced just a few feet away from me, and I suddenly became acutely aware of the individual drops of water falling from her neck down to her breasts. Kristy noticed where my eyes were looking, and once again she laughed, and then she began to walk towards me.

I tried to back away from Kristy, but since I was already at the edge of the pool there was little if any room for me to back into. I felt the tiles on my back after just a half a step on my part. And then Kristy was right in front of me. She was quite a bit taller than me which meant that my eyes were just on the same level as her chest. I forced myself to look up at her face, but every so often they would drift back down, and I would remind myself to look back up.

And then there was the matter of Kristy's body right against mine. I flattened myself against the pool wall to avoid contact, but she touched her midsection to me. It was perhaps the worst thing to happen to me. My mind went absolutely haywire as the electricity from below my waist traveled up my spine into my brain; I couldn't have maintained a single line of thought at that state, let alone have a conversation with anyone at all. I did however manage to let out a strained "Hi" at Kristy.

"You really are very happy to see me, Alyosha," Kristy laughed. She seemed to be really enjoying putting me through all of this, whatever "this" was. Whatever was happening was definitely uncomfortable. And yet, some primal part of my mind actually liked it. I could have told Kristy to move away, back off a little. Yet I also wanted her to stay right where she was, see and feel what I really thought of her. Her belly rubbed against mine, sending more of those jolts through my body.

Kristy chuckled even as I tried to put on a brave face. "You're cute," she told me. "You're a cute boy." She pinched my cheek, affectionately or patronizingly I never really could tell, and then she leaned back and backstroked her way back to her side of the pool. Kristy then grabbed hold of those metal things you usually see on the side of pools and climbed out. I held my breath as I watched the water flow down her swimsuit and her bottom, and the pressure below my waist reached a peak I never before thought possible to reach. I was pretty sure I groaned at that particular moment.

And then Kristy turned around and looked at me like she knew exactly what she was doing, and at that point something exploded inside of me. The pressure in my groin was finally released, but even that gave me an unbelievable rush that left me gasping for air. Finally, my suffering was over. I could finally get some real sleep after this.

When I woke up, I didn't feel as rested as I usually would. ((Now this is new,)) Yassin observed from his perch within my mind as he took control. ((How is this possible?))

((I don't know, man,)) I replied. ((Must be something you did!))

((That is simply impossible. I know what I'm doing,)) Yassin retorted. ((If something went wrong, it's because of you, not me!)) Yassin then delved into my recent memories, landing upon my dream with Kristy in the pool. I could hear him laughing softly as he replayed the dream, or rather my memory of the dream, and by the end all he could do was shake his head, metaphorically speaking. ((Oh, you humans never fail to amuse me,)) he muttered.

((Whatever, man,)) I grunted. ((Let's just go and get breakfast, okay?))

((Sure, Alyosha, whatever you say,)) Yassin agreed. He rolled me out of my bed and walked me towards the bathroom so I could relieve myself. Our apartment wasn't big enough to put a bathroom in every single bedroom so I had to walk down this little hallway and through the combined kitchen and dining room to get to the bathroom. Normally this was a routine thing: walk in, do your business, wash your hands, get out, eat if you're hungry. But this was not going to be a normal day.

"Aleksandar Dragomirovich Damiric!" my mother shouted. "What is the meaning of this!?"

"What?" Yassin-as-me asked. "What is the meaning of what?"

"Your shorts, Alyosha!" my mother said. "Have you wet your bed again? I thought you had grown out of that long ago!"

"What? I didn't wet my shorts, Mama!" Yassin replied.

"Really? Then how do you explain those stains on your shorts?"

"Stains? What stains?" And then Yassin looked down, and we saw exactly what my mother was talking about. "What the heck is that!?" I shouted. There were indeed stains on my shorts. But they didn't look like the stains you would expect from wetting the bed. These stains weren't all over the front and back of my shorts. They were like splotches all on the front, and they were dry and crusty, not wet and moist if they had actually been caused by urine.

"Watch your mouth, Alyosha," Mama cautioned me. "You might be able to talk like that with your friends but not right now. You're at home! Remember that."

"What's happening here?" Papa asked as he entered the kitchen.

"Dragomir, your son has wet his bed again," Mama told my father, pointing an accusing finger at me.

"I didn't wet the bed, Papa, I promise!" Yassin pressed. "This is… this is… I can explain this!"

"Oh, you can, can you?" Mama challenged. "Explain it then."

"Well, I, uh…" At this Yassin turned to me and asked me, ((Now what am I supposed to say?))

((I don't know!)) I replied. ((I thought you had become the expert in playing me!))

((Do you want me to tell your parents about your dream? It doesn't sound like the dream you would want to be sharing with your parents. Or to anyone else, for that matter.))

((Does that include you?))

((Yes, of course it does! My life will have been much better not knowing about it!))

But neither Yassin nor I were able to speak before Papa spoke up. "Look, Alyosha, why don't you take a bath, get cleaned up?" he said. "And when you're done, bring your basketball with you. Let's play some basketball in the park."

"Um, okay," Yassin said. Before I turned around to get back to my room, I saw my mother looking at my father with this weird look, like she was questioning what he had just said. Papa shook his head at Mama, and apparently that was enough for her to drop the matter.

So I took a bath (or, more accurately, Yassin made me take a bath) and changed into some fresh clothes. When I went back out with my basketball, Papa was waiting for me. I could see some concern in his face but also some dread. I have never ever seen dread on my father's face before then. And Mama appeared to be on the verge of tears, although then I couldn't be sure if they were tears of sadness or tears of joy. "Come on, Alyosha," Papa told me. "Let's take a walk."

We went out of our apartment and on to the streets. "What's going on, Papa?" I asked. "What's happening?" But Papa didn't reply; instead he just shook his head and told me to keep walking. Then, just before we got to the public basketball court, he steered me to bench and said, "Sit down, Alyosha."

"Why, Papa? What is it?" Yassin asked for me.

"So what happened, Alyosha? What were you doing in your room last night? And where did you learn to do it?"

"What? I wasn't doing anything in my room, Papa! I was sleeping!" Yassin insisted. "I was sleeping."

"Sleeping? Really?" Papa said in a clearly doubting tone. "Did you have a dream? What happened in the dream?"

((I think he knows,)) Yassin told me. ((I think your father knows about your dream.))

((Dude, that's impossible. How would he know about my dream? Papa can't read minds, unlike you.))

((Is that supposed to be a joke, Alyosha?)) Yassin asked in a tone which said that he was clearly amused by my attempt at humor but was doing his best to keep it on the down low.

"Come on, Alyosha, you know you can tell me anything," my father said.

((Alyosha, I think we should tell him,)) Yassin told me.

((I think you're right, Yassin,)) I agreed. ((But don't tell everything to him just yet. Break it gently. I think that's how you say it.))

((I hear you, Alyosha.)) And then, using my mouth, Yassin asked my father, "How did you know that it was a dream, Papa?"

Papa looked at me with the eyes of a man who was watching his son, his own flesh and blood, changing before him. Papa laid a hand on my shoulder and squeezed it gently, and then he patted it before letting go.

Papa then stared straight ahead, and by looking at him I could imagine the gears turning in his mind. He looked like he was considering the next words that he was about to say. And then, finally, he spoke.

"Vlazne snove," he said. "That's what we called it back in the old country. It's what happens when you have a very… exciting dream, and your body responds to the excitement."

"Papa, there was nothing exciting about my dream at all," Yassin replied. "I didn't enjoy it at all. It was very uncomfortable."

"But how did the dream end? What did you feel when your dream was over?"

"It was… strange," Yassin admitted. "I felt… relieved. It was relief when it finally ended."

Papa leaned back on the bench, trying to absorb what I (well, Yassin) had told him. "Ah, Alyosha," my father finally said. "I never thought I would have to talk to you about this this early."

"What? What do you mean, Papa?" Yassin asked. I was genuinely curious about this as well.

"There's no easy way to tell you this, Alyosha," Papa said. "But I simply did not expect to be having this conversation with you so early."

"Why? What are you talking about?"

"Alyosha… the same thing happened to me when I was thirteen," my father told me in a whisper. "You, you're just eleven. I wouldn't say that you're too young for this, but you're too young for this. And yet here we are. Your mother has been trying to hold off on this ever since you turned ten, but now it's clear that it's time for you to know."

"Know what?" Yassin asked.

"About your manhood, what makes you and me a man and your mother and your sister women," Papa explained. "In the old country, when I was your age we had an entire class dedicated to this topic. But it appears that the Americans trust their parents to explain these matters to their children. Either that or I have just beaten them to the punch. Who knows with these Americans anymore?"

And that was how I had The Talk between me and my father. Well, me, my father, and my Yeerk. Yassin definitely wished that he could have been back in the Yeerk Pool before he learned of all this. Yeerk reproduction suddenly became a much more palatable thing for Yassin (and also for me) after the end of The Talk, especially when you compare it to human reproduction. In Yeerk reproduction three Yeerks come together to form a big ball of… something, which eventually breaks apart into hundreds or thousands of grubs, killing the parents in the process. Human reproduction is… less deadly, but also more complicated. Let's leave it at that.

Still, it could have been worse. I can only imagine what goes on in a Yeerk's head when their girl host gets her period. It can't be a very nice experience, for the girl and for the Yeerk.