Editor's Note: The events in this story run parallel with the events of Animorphs #50-54.

The boy looked amazing. Beautiful, smooth, milky-white skin. Dirty blonde hair and deep, adorable sea blue eyes. Dressed only in his underwear in the boys' locker room, I could make out the smoothness of his back, arms, legs. Two slightly oversized thumbs hooked around the band of his Fruit of the Looms - he was going to pull them down! I wanted to lick my lips in anticipation of the sight...

But then the Yeerk in my head moved my eyes back to the left.

«Damn you!» I cursed out, screaming in my own mind. «Must you consistently torture me like this?»

«Of course,» the Yeerk taunted. «How else am I supposed to have fun?» My hands went about the task of undressing my own body, and although it had been this way for months now, I felt the shame of the Yeerk gaping at my grossly undeveloped genitals, glancing back towards the blonde boy, Eric Campbell. He enjoyed taking the extra moment to make sure the Eric was actually looking in my direction before pulling my jock up over it. Part of me was embarassed beyond all comprehension. Part of me felt the fluttering of butterflies to think that Eric was checking me out, that maybe he wanted me as badly as I wanted him. None of me was able to express this.

Worse, the Yeerk knew everything I was thinking as soon as I thought it, and came to the same conclusions I did. «Yes... I think he /does/ like you. Perhaps I should encourage such a relationship, don't you think?»

«You lay a /hand/ on him, Yeerk,» I yelled, «and I'll...»

«You'll what?» the Yeerk sneered, laughing. «You'll do nothing, human. You'll do nothing but sit there and watch as one of my brothers slithers into his ear. And his last thought before he's infested will be that 'you' led him into it.»

I wanted, as I usually did, to cry with despair. But the tears wouldn't come, because my tear ducts were no longer mine. My body was no longer mine.

It was the Yeerk's.

My name is Christopher Windward. I am a human-Controller. What that means is that, living inside my head, wrapped around the neurons in my brain, is a small grey-green slug, barely six inches long. Could squash it in a second if given the opportunity. I want to, too. Desperately. But I can't. I try to blink, the Yeerk blocks the signal between my brain and my eyes. I try to pee, but it's the Yeerk who decides when my bladder is released. The Yeerk even chooses whether or not I get to stare at a beautiful boy like Eric Campbell.

«Sad human,» the Yeerk had told me once, «don't you see? You were always a slave. You allowed your mind to be locked down by him /long/ before I came along. Feel free to keep obsessing while I put the body to good work.»

The thing that stung so much about it was that the Yeerk was right. I was so desperate for Eric that I joined the baseball team just to be near him. But I wasn't ready to burst into glorious song over him and be the only openly gay twelve year old in Parker Middle School. So I suffered silently, until an older friend took an interest and got me to confess my secret. He said he knew an organization that wouldn't care if I was gay, that would welcome me with open arms. A place where I could truly know my place.

He led me to the Sharing.

A goody-two-shoes organization on the surface, the Sharing is just a front for the Yeerks to get new host bodies, like me. Now, a member of the Sharing, the Yeerk spent all my time talking my classmates and friends into joining. I had already betrayed two of my closest friends to the Yeerks, an unwitting slave in my own head. And now I was faced with the prospect that, if by some miracle of fate Eric really did like me, it would be his undoing. I was dangerous to him.

Almost fortunately, it was a moot point. The Yeerks were not planning on using me and my fellow slaves for coersion much longer. They'd grown tired of slowly, calmly taking over the planet. They were getting ready to start unleashing open war the likes of which Earth had never seen.

My Yeerk was pretty high up in the heirarchy - I got to hear things I didn't want to know. The most recent of which was that a few months ago the "Andalite Bandits" that Visser One, the leader of the Yeerk invasion of Earth, had been trying to catch for longer than I'd known the Yeerks existed, had finally been identified as human children. Classmates of mine. Friends.

Finding out about Jake particularly bugged me because he was someone I knew. Not like we were the closest buds in the world, but we both had an interest in sports and video games. I had told him about me, about how I felt for Eric. He genuinely seemed to care about how it was affecting me. He was constantly warning me to be careful who I trusted - at the time I thought he was just being concerned about some idiot beating the crap out of me for it. When I became a Controller he started making up excuses about why he couldn't hang out anymore. Now, of course, I understand why.

Thank God Tom's Yeerk is practically the Visser's best friend - anyone else would have been killed on the spot for literally living with an "Andalite Bandit" for over a year and not having noticed anything sooner. He was still kept on those chains for so long that I really thought the Visser was going to starve his Yeerk to death.

Jake disappeared less than a month before what would have been his middle school graduation ceremony. His parents told everyone that he'd killed himself along with almost a dozen other people over some stupid argument they'd had. Chapman held a silent eulogy for them at the commencement ceremony, his Yeerk barely able to hide the contempt he felt for them, knowing that they were still out there. I envied his other classmates - they were going on to High School, a less Yeerk-controlled one at that.

For me, eighth grade was starting no differently than seventh had ended. I still had a Yeerk in my head, and that was a big deal, of course. I didn't need the other kids picking on me, I had my own personal live-in tormentor. On the outside, the teasing I'd gotten from other kids stopped as soon as I joined the Sharing. Now "I" was teasing the new school losers, trying to pressure them into joining the Sharing as well. Being a member of the baseball team was still a small source of joy for me, but any time I got too happy about it the Yeerk was sure to remind me that I was only in it to recruit more of the team for the Sharing.

So far, the Yeerk hadn't tried to recruit Eric. But he enjoyed making me miserable so much that I knew it wouldn't be long. Seemed I wasn't the only one who noticed.

"So," my 'friend' Jason nudged me as we headed out onto the baseball field, "Got your eye on Eric, ey?"

My shoulders shrugged. "My host body finds him attractive," my mouth said, casually spitting my greatest secret out as if he were discussing my taste in iced cream. Not that it mattered - Jason was in no position to tell the world about it.

"Hmph," his mouth murmured, his eyes trailing from me to Eric in front of us and back again. "My host body has an old acquaintanceship with him. They did what the humans referred to as 'fooling around' a couple of years ago."

I'm ashamed to admit that my first reaction was not one of remorse for poor Jason, having his sex life strewn about by his Yeerk. No, my first reaction was much more base - Eric had had sex with a boy! That meant that he might be interested in boys in general, me in particular. At the very least he couldn't totally hate the concept of it all, not when he'd tried it.

Not that it's all about sex, mind you - actually, my fantasies about Eric rarely come to that. Usually I imagine us sitting on the couch in my living room, watching a movie after we'd just done our homework together. We're laughing and smiling as we find ourselves closer and closer together on the couch, and suddenly he puts his arm around me. "You're all right," he says sincerely, and those blue eyes of his just peer into mine as if we're seeing each other's souls. Oh, the delight of being so close to him, how -

My mouth laughed. "And my host starts ranting like a Gedd stuck in a power converter, Cylus! How sickeningly in love."

Jason smirked. "I know what you mean. Humans can be rather obsessive when it comes to matters of coupling. My host can sometimes become quite complacent when I allow him to view pictures of human females on their computer communications network. At those times he is almost voluntary."

My face twisted into a look of concern. "What about your host's parent?" he asked.

"She gave me a lecture once about it, but in the end she said it was better that I see it at home as opposed to 'out there'. Very interesting morality these humans have." Jason (well, his Yeerk, but I imagine that's clear at this point) gestured in Eric's direction. "I imagine he'd make a fine host for Timminn Six-Two-Four."

My Yeerk nodded. "I suppose." He smirked. "Are you suggesting I attempt to court him?"

Jason again nodded. "Minimal security risk, my host believes that he would not 'out' you, as he calls it, should he be uninterested. If he is interested you could easily talk him into coming to a Sharing meeting."

My Yeerk bit my lip in consideration. "Well.. I /would/ like to try this whole coupling thing the adult hosts talk about, but you know Visser One would be seriously crazed if he heard about me procreating, especially at my host's age. Humans frown upon that, it would blow my cover."

Jason rolled his eyes. "You don't study anything, do you? Two male humans can't procreate."

Several smart remarks ran through my head - my Yeerk was about to pick one and respond with it when we spotted Chapman coming towards us from the field.

"Despat," my Yeerk groaned, "So much for baseball practice." Chapman looked like he'd been given a three week pass to Disney world.

Jason shrugged. "Never much cared for hitting a ball with a metal stick anyway. Why, you actually /like/ it?"

"Uh, no," my Yeerk said quickly. "Just playing my host's part." It was convincing, I think the Yeerk even believed it himself, but I knew better. I could feel what my Yeerk was feeling, most of the time, and I knew the joy he'd felt the first time he hit the ball in my body.

«Perhaps you're right,» the Yeerk admitted, hearing my thoughts. «But Cylus wouldn't understand.» The Yeerk chose not to comment on the surprise and shock I was feeling at hearing him tell me I was actually right about something.

"Jason, Chris, come here, please," he called out, dragging us away from the non-Controller members of our team, my heart fluttered and frightened as I noticed that Eric was looking on as we walked, his eyes focused on me in perhaps more than mere curiousity at what the Vice-Principal wanted. Well, not literally my heart, my heart was controlled by the Yeerk, but still, the feelings were there.

"Come on," Chapman said, motioning us back towards the lockers, "The Visser wants to see both of you."

We involuntarily looked at each other, our faces emanating our Yeerks' fear, but before we could voice their concerns, so to speak, Chapman cut them off. "Don't worry, Kandrona starvation is not right around the corner," he assured us. "You're being honored, rewarded as two of the Visser's most trusted lieutenants."

"What do you mean?" my voice asked in awe.

"There's been a battle," Chapman explained. "The human rebels were trying to recruit more of their own. Exas One-Oh-Six saw them on the monitor cams and led a battalion of Hork-Bajir against them."

"So the rebellion is toast?" Jason asked hopefully.

"No," Chapman said, some of his enthusiasm vanished - but only some. "They got away. But not before granting us a little something for our troubles." By this point we were back in the boys' locker room. Chapman easily pulled back the urinal on the far right, opening one of the Yeerk Pool entrances. It was a surprisingly quick trip into the corridors.

"Where's the Gleet BioFilter?" I asked curiously, looking back over my shoulder.

"Unncessary now; in fact it would be a hindrance." He turned back to face us, smirking. "Wouldn't want to be zapped by it after you started coming to the pool as dogs and birds, right?"

For once, our Yeerks didn't need to put up even the slightest struggle to control us. Four minds gazed out through two sets of eyes and, across even the division of species, had the precise same thought at the precise same time. "After /what/?"

Chapman smirked. "You heard me. We have the Escafil device. The Visser recognizes how loyal the two of you have been, how much you've advanced our cause here. He has chosen to reward you by making you among the first Yeerks to have the power to morph."

Well, my first story ever here - whadayya think?