Anniversary Accident

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It was an accident.

Really, it had been.

Kai and Lyre were meant to be throwing themselves a nice, calm anniversary celebration. They were going to invite a few friends over, have a few drinks, maybe watch a dumb movie, and they thought they may as well blow up some balloons for the occasion. Kai had been a bit tipsy when he had ordered the helium tanks, and gotten the wrong size and quantity. Instead of a 25 cubic feet canister, he had ordered 250 cubic feet. By the time he realized the mistake he had made (once he noticed the amount of money missing from his bank account), it was too late to order a smaller canister to be delivered in time for the party. So, they had decided to just cut their losses and try to resell the leftover helium after the celebrations were finished.

The party came and went, oddly enough. They had blown up an odd one hundred balloons and filled their living room with ones shaped like orbs, hearts, and stars, mingled in with some streamers and fairy lights. It was their 25th anniversary after all. They wanted to go a bit over the top. 

It was a few nights after the grand event that everything went awry. Kai and Lyre had nursed their hangovers and finally taken a day of rest and were tidying up the house before they both had to return to work the following Monday. 



"Someone left a drink open on the floor and I've stepped on it!" 


"Ugh, right by the couch."

Kai peeked his head into the living room to see Lyre pulling their damp sock off their foot. 

"Could you get me a paper towel from the closet? I've used up the last of that roll," Lyre asked. 

"Yeah." Kai hurried down the hall and slid open the door to the closet, finding the giant helium canister taking up most of the small space. He huffed and climbed around it, trying to reach the bag of paper towels on the top shelf behind it.

"Hurry, it's gonna stain!" 

"Hold on!" Kai said as he strained. 

"What is it?"

"That dumb helium tank is still in here, I -" he grunted as he felt his waist getting stuck between the tank and the wall. Instead of continuing to struggle past the tank, he decided to just hoist his foot up and climb on top. He slipped a bit as he steadied his balance and heard some gas start to leak out of the canister. "Damn," he whispered to himself, mentally taking note to turn it back off once he was down. "What are we gonna do with this thing again?"

"I don't know, Morris's daughter's 16th is coming up. Maybe we should just give it to him." 

"Oh right." Finally, he was able to grab a roll of towels. "I got it! I just- oop!" 

Lyre heard a distant crash along with a surprised yelp. "You alright?" 

Kai groaned. The shelf had detached from the wall from him leaning on it too hard and he had landed right on top of the hard helium tank. "Yeah I just fell. Hold on." He went to stand up but felt himself held in place about the hips. "Wha- I . . . ?" He turned around and suddenly remembered that the valve was open and realized that it had hooked under his shorts as he fell. In a panic to turn it off, he grabbed the knob and shoved it towards the closed position.

Or rather, what he thought was the closed position.

Instead of closing the valve in a hurry, Kai made sure that helium rushed into his body, the tank being set to as high a pressure as possible in his rashness. He yelped and fell forward, letting go of the knob to grab at his stomach. The pressure was like nothing be had ever felt before and it made him feel nauseous as he watched his shirt rise above his belly button. 


Kai was in such shock that he couldn't find the words to call out. Instead he just let out a short shout and tried not to wince too badly as he felt his thighs thicken with air. 

"You alright?" 

"Help!" he finally screamed, turning to try and turn the canister off, only to find that his sides were now lightly touching the walls of the closet. His stomach was rounding out now, properly protruding from his torso like a filled balloon. 

Lyre ran around the corner and stopped in their tracks, eyes going wide as they saw Kai taking up the doorway. "What the hell?" 

"I fell on the helium tank!" 

"Well turn it off!" Lyre said in disbelief. 

"I can't reach it!"

Kai's thighs were pressing against each other, making his legs spread apart over the sides of the tank. They were also pushing him upward slightly as they created a rounded shape with his bottom. 

Lyre ran the length of the hall and climbed up Kai's from to reach over him for the nozzle. They stood on top of his bloated lap and attempted to grab the controls but couldn't quite reach. 

"Hurry!" Kai cried in a panic as his chest began to grow as well. 

"I can't!" Lyre groaned as they was smushed against the wall by their husband's growing form. "You're blocking the way." They pulled themself away and fell back into the hallway.


"It's okay. We just have to pull you off instead, I think." 

"Okay." Kai was holding his arms out against the walls around him. It felt like the world was closing in as his head rose towards the ceiling and his biceps began to thicken as well. 

"I'm gonna get under you and hoist you up by the legs like a piggy back ride, alright?" 

Kai nodded. "Alright."

Lyre held each of Kai's thighs as best as they could and thanked god that it was helium he was being filled with as they lifted him up off the tank. Kai tucked his arms in as best as he could as Lyre forced him through the doorframe and into the hall. 

Lyre crawled out from under him and sighed in relief. They had heard a pop of some kind and so took a moment to just lay on the ground knowing that their husband was no longer growing. 

Except Kai wasn't celebrating. He was cursing under his breath as his breathing got quicker. 

Lyre looked up at him. "What?"

"It's still going, there's a hose." 

Lyre's eyes went wide and they shot back up onto their feet. But whilst they had rested Kai had continued to grow. His thighs were pressed together and his shoulders were nearly touching either side of the hallway. 

"You need to come out of the hallway. There's no way I can get to it with you in the way." 

"I can't-"

"Doesn't matter, come on." Lyre grabbed one of Kai's arms and tugged. Luckily, the pressure wasn't too great just yet so Kai was able to walk a good ways on his own before his middle was too wide.

"I'm stuck."

"No, you're not," Lyre said, not knowing if it was a lie or not, but continuing to pull on Kai's limbs. 

It was beginning to be difficult to tell exactly how big Kai actually was. He has outgrown the hallway so much that he practically took the shape of it. His stomach and chest were still sticking out in a smooth, round shape, but Lyre couldn't see his feel from this angle, and his arms were still somewhat in tact despite being smushed up against the wall. His head was only about a foot away from the ceiling and Lyre could have sworn his cheeks looked fluffier than usual. 

"Ow, huh, the pressure, Lyre, I'm-"

"Nope!" Lyre shouted over him, not having even thought of that possibility. "No, just keep moving." 


Finally there was a loud FWOMP and Kai burst out of the hallway and into the livingroom. Without restrictions, Kai's body bellowed outwards, sending Lyre backwards against the coffee table where they hit their head. 

"No, no, no!" Kai cried, as he watched Lyre slump across the room. He went to move towards him but found that his legs were nothing but awkward lumps at the bottom of his body, his feet sticking pudgely out at odd angles and unable to touch the floor. "Shit." As he was wiping his tears from his face, Kai's arms began to stiffen and drift away, off to his sides. 

He could do nothing but sit there, growing wider and wider. He tried to remember how much of the canister they had used. Had he checked the percentage at any point? He looked around at all the balloons that were left over from the party and hiccupped with sobs. He doubted they had used even half the tank. And he was already so big. 

Lyre stirred and began to grumble as they woke up. Kai wanted to shout for them to help but felt so helpless that all he could do was continue to cry. What use was it now? Besides, his face was rounding out and neck was sinking into his giant balloon of a body. 

Still, when Lyre came to, they immediately staggered over to the closet and finally closed the nossle. They half expected there to be a rush of air and to turn and see Kai crumple to the ground in an exhausted heap, but no. He was still there, big and round and shaking with fear. 

But for now, it was over. 


The next few weeks were a bit of a blur. The paramedics couldn't get Kai through the door without risking his safety, so a specialized team simply operated on him right there in the house. Other than the obvious changes to his body, they determined that Kai was stable but that his future was uncertain. They had never seen this happen to a man before and weren't sure if he could ever be returned to normal.

First, they were going to let Kai deflate on his own and see what happened. He would have a lot of excess skin and some residual issues, but they had high hopes of him just slowly losing air. 

And he did.

But he couldn't stay that way. 

Anytime he got below a certain air pressure, he would begin to have trouble breathing. His heart would race and he would start gaping like a fish. Even with assisted breathing, they couldn't get him to stabilize without being a big, round ball. 

So they would reinflate him. 

Kai was huffing and puffing into a ventilator when they first did it. He had control of his arms again, though only barely, but they were shaking so badly that it hardly mattered. The team of physicians that were working on him were highly skilled.

But they weren't exactly from the circus. 

So they didn't know how much or how little air to use to return Kai to his rounded state. Regardless, they hooked him up, and began to replenish the helium. 

Only, now that he had been stretched out and deflated once, in order to be stabilized again, it turned out that he would need to be even bigger than before. He was like a well worn balloon. When it's already been blown up once, it becomes weak and wrinkled if it isn't filled all the way. And so when they finally reached his new equilibrium, he had begun to float. 

"Woah, woah!" Lyre shouted as they watched Kai leave the ground. 

The scientists scrambled and started shouting numbers and commands at each other to keep Kai within their reach. 

Kai was too busy breathing steadily to process what had happened. He just stared at the ceiling, relishing in the fact that his lungs were not trying to collapse in on themselves anymore.


By the end of it, only one solution seemed plausible. 

Kai would remain inflated. 

He could do nothing as Lyre informed his job that he would have to resign, began to take more shifts at their own work and rearrange their house to accommodate him. He just sat there, drifting in and out of his thoughts as his new life settled over him like a thick fog. 


On their 26th anniversary, Lyre woke sleepily from their bed and trudged into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.

And a cup of tea. 

They shuffled into the livingroom, and there he was, like he always would be: Kai, asleep under his tarp, bobbing ever so slightly in the draft of the house as helium tank whirred in the background like white noise. 

Lyre set the cup of tea down by the table beside him, that tap of the ceramic hitting wood, stirring Kai awake. 

He blinked groggily at them and smiled. 

"Here," Lyre said, setting down their own cup and bringing the tea to Kai's lips, a straw stuck out the top. 

Kai sipped from it and closed his eyes against the warm feeling.

"Guests will be arriving around 4:00," Lyre said. 


"Yeah, they're excited to see you in person. New Year's at Jessie's just wasn't the same with you on video call."

Kai laughed. "Yeah." 

Lyre leaned in and kissed Kai on the corner of his mouth. "You okay?" 

Kai frowned. "Yeah, I'm okay." 

Lyre smiled sadly back at him. "Alright. I'll go get the decorations ready." 

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