The four jocks: Adversaries

by BRK

 The Game takes a darker turn when two pairs of antagonistic athletes challenge each other in a deserted room on Halloween night.

Added: Oct 2022 8,546 words 3,253 views 4.4 stars (5 votes) This story was commissioned via Patreon Story Commission.

Contents (2 parts, 2 new)
G

Greg slammed his textbook shut in disgust, glaring at the door to their dorm room. The aural pandemonium seeping through it only seemed to escalate with attention, as though the various demons, vampires, and assorted party-monsters who’d taken over the eighth floor of McWarrenson Hall were actively trying to destroy them by saturating their room with toxic quantities of sound.

Greg gritted his teeth. He thought he’d lucked out when his much-coveted berth on the swim team had gotten him reassigned to the athletes’ dorm, despite his freshman status. He should have known better. He was already learning that nothing mattered on this campus but football, and the attention-craving, beer-swilling, party-obsessed gridiron lunkheads ruling the roost here simply didn’t, in his view, rise up to the ancient and exalted moniker of “athlete.” These buffoons were jocks in the worst sense of the word, and everything they did—including subsuming whole floors of the jock dorm into the most raucous Halloween party ever, and on a weeknight to boot—seemed like deliberate exhibition of their collective, unmitigated assholery.

He glanced over at his roommate, a sophomore fellow swimmer named Harry Cline. He was sitting on cross-legged on his bed, likewise staring at the door with a look of intense, paint-melting distaste, his copy of Silas Marner already abandoned and set aside on the bed next to him with his highlighter capped and lying against it. Theoretically the extra year Harry had on him might have allowed him to get used to the foibles of the pigskin jockeys and their routine obnoxiousness, but in reality it seemed only to have solidified his contempt. The funny thing was, in all other things Harry was the most even-tempered and easygoing guy Greg knew, ready with a gentle smile and a hand on the shoulder just when you needed it—which made his festering umbrage toward the footballers all the more jarring.

He was arresting to look at, blond hair kept short (like most of the team except for Greg, who liked his shoulder-length chestnut hair too much to cut it, despite the swim cap he was forced to wear because of it), but with black eyebrows over dark blue eyes. His slightly taller body was pleasantly loose-limbed and solid, developed over years of training into an almost textbook example of a swimmer’s physique—one that seemed visible no matter what he was wearing. He tended to wear loose outfits (unlike Greg who always went tight and sleeveless), but even the extra-loose white tee and baggy jeans Harry had on at the moment somehow still managed to show off the curves of his delts and the subtle planes of his chest, while also allowing his tanned, gently rounded traps to half-escape the extra-wide v-neck. Greg took a moment to surreptitiously drink in his teammate.

“You want to get out of here?” he suggested abruptly, falling back dejectedly in his wooden desk chair. “We’re not going to get anything done with this racket going on.”

Harry kept his eyes unwaveringly on the door, as though burning through it and melting the miscreants beyond had become his one goal in life, but he jerked his thumb toward the wide window behind him. Though the outside world beyond was hidden from view thanks to the surprisingly high-quality Venetian blinds the dorm had provided, they both knew from the noise of constant battering and the occasional roils of thunder that a powerful storm that had parked itself over the campus all day as if to drown them all was still raging. “I’m not going out in that,” Harry said calmly.

Greg sighed. “We can at least try to find someplace quieter in the building,” he persisted.

Harry finally looked at him, amused by Greg’s desperate, and entirely groundless, optimism. “I know,” Greg agreed. “But honestly, I can’t spend another second trapped in here.”

“Good point.”

Energized by the chance to do something, anything, to end their current torture, Greg jumped up and grabbed his bookbag from his own bed, stuffing his physics text and Harry’s book inside—just in case they found someplace they might be able to read unmolested. Zipping his bag up and tossing it over his swim-honed shoulder he grinned at Harry, who was giving him a humoring look from under those dark eyebrows of his. Greg found this oddly endearing. It was little moments like this that gave him hope there might be something between them someday soon. “C’mon,” he said merrily. They snatched up their wallets, keys, and phones and, bracing themselves against the coming onslaught of noise and stench, opened the door onto the Halloween hellscape that was, currently, their dorm room floor.

Weird orange strobe lights escaped from one of the open doorways, strafing a darkened hallway presently full of shouting, half-dressed brutes and overly made-up hunk-chasers, their bosoms generally wrapped in tight tops and the occasional set of groping hands. Everyone was sloshed and seemed to be having as much trouble with gravity as they were with decorum. A burst of obscenely loud music made Greg stumble momentarily. The sooner they escaped, the better.

Greg and Harry shut their door and quickly turned and made for the stairs. These were close to their room—but not close enough.

“Well, if it isn’t the butt-buddies!” said a figure looming suddenly in front of them, booming voice carrying easily over the throbbing music and noise. “Off to find your swim team lovers for another night of fudge packing?”

Greg glared up at Tom Bentley, dressed appropriately as a silent-movie villain complete with a black cape, a top hat, and a Sharpied-on twirling moustache. He groaned inwardly. Of course, they had to run into the worst of the worst. Tom was the second-string quarterback and never shut up about how he was better and he should have been the starter, and damned if he wouldn’t prove it the moment he had the chance. Most of the time, however, what he seemed bent on proving was how wasted he could get, how many girls he could get to worship his junior body-builder carcass and famously prodigious meat, and how competitive he could get about the most pointless things. Oh, and abusing lesser types to the amusement of his hangers-on. These were all clustered around him as usual, as toasted as he was and chuckling appreciatively at his witty jape. Will Hobbs, who at 6-foot-8 and 300 pounds of solid, tight-waisted muscle was even bigger than Tom and curled his lip in scorn at anyone of inferior size compared to their mountain-sized prodigiousness, stood to the fore at Tom’s side, ready to reinforce Tom’s contempt for lesser athletes and non-football types in general. For the party he’d leveraged his WWE monster-heel size and painted himself green with ragged, purple-dyed pants. Greg reluctantly gave him props for committing to the bit—that was a lot of green body-paint.

He wasn’t sure which of these geniuses had come up with their favorite running joke, that the swim team all fucked each other all the time, but, as the saying went, the jocks and their hangers-on had taken that ball and run with it. The worst part was, Greg kind of wished it was true. There were a lot of really fine asses on the team, and more than a few well-packed Speedo pouches up front as well. His roommate, in particular, scored pretty high on both lists. He’d developed a wistful “if only” response to this particular line of ridicule, not that he’d ever say so out loud. There weren’t any openly gay guys on the swim team, and he wasn’t about to be the first. He’d already made that mistake once back in high school, and he wasn’t in a hurry to repeat the feelings of isolation and silent exclusion that had resulted from his coming out to the wrong people and the wrong team.

Tom was looking them over, taking in their obviously uncostumed appearance. “Who are you two supposed to be, anyway, the brothers from 7th Heaven or something?” He nudged Will, while aiming a sneer at their prey. “That’s sick, fucking your TV brother, right?” Will huffed in agreement, his dark eyes blazing with his usual contempt for the un-hulks in front of him.

Greg knew Harry was deeply peeved at still being compared to blond/dark-eyebrowed pretty boy Simon Camden after all these years, but he let it slide. “Let us through, Tom,” he said instead. At his side, Harry was bristling, but he kept his peace. He always let Greg handle these things.

Tom bent toward him, his heavy pecs squeezing together under the tight, black XL dress shirt currently strangling his XXL upper torso. Beer breath gusted over Greg and Harry, making them wince. “Not until you drink your share like real men,” Tom insisted. He grinned, as if suddenly struck with the awesomeness of forcing the two of them to guzzle their brew, and called around to the crowd, “Hey, somebody beer these drips!”

In seconds multiple brown and green bottles were being passed through the crowd by gleeful lackeys, and Tom took great pleasure in shoving them against Greg’s chest, until he had an armful. “Drink, fucker,” Tom demanded.

Greg bared his teeth at Tom, trying to figure out how to extricate himself from this situation while secretly wishing he could shove all the beers, bottles and all, right down his throat. “How about… I drink one of them, and save the rest for later?” he suggested, forcing down his anger. He glanced at Harry, who took the hint and unzipped Greg’s backpack, slipping the bottles out of Greg’s arms and into the bag one by one.

Tom scoffed. “Down it all in one and you can go.” His eyes flicked to Harry, who froze in mid-transfer. “Both of you.” Harry narrowed his eyes, but they were down to two beers anyway, one brown, one green. He and Greg exchanged a look, then, as one, they twisted off the caps, upended the bottles, and downed the contents. Greg almost lost it at the last minute—his swallows weren’t quite keeping up and a bit of the bitter liquid escaped the side of his mouth—but he was able to get it all down in the end. He grinned and burped spectacularly as he shoved the bottle back at Tom, earning a few unexpected cheers from the back of the crowd. Greg was tempted to milk the moment and tell the crowd how much this had reminded him about a certain other occasion on which he hadn’t been able to swallow an onslaught of bitter liquid fast enough, but he wisely decided to refrain.

Tom had taken the empty from him automatically, his handsome, fake-mustachioed face registering genuine surprise—he clearly hadn’t expected the two “jocklets” to rise to the challenge. Taking advantage of Tom’s momentary stupefaction, Greg leapt forward and pushed bodily past him for the stairs, pulling Harry with him, the rest of the beer in his bag clinking at his back as they ran.


The common room on the ground floor was comparatively peaceful, in that the music and lighting were more sedate and the couples occupying it more interested in each other than in being rowdy, abrasive jerkwads. They pulled up short at the entranceway, Harry grunting in annoyance.

“C’mon, let’s hit the tunnels,” Greg suggested. “They can’t have infiltrated everywhere.”

“The tunnels always give me the heebie-jeebies,” Harry muttered, but when Greg shrugged headed toward the door to the basement stairs, Harry followed.

A dimly-lit, narrow flight of steep metal steps deposited them into the chilly labyrinth that underlay the dorm tower, the wide, three-abreast tunnels connecting McWarrenson Hall to the other units in the residential quad as well as providing service access to utilities and other support. In some previous era, they’d been told, a lot of dorm socializing had taken place down here, but these days nobody came down here and the dust and bare-bulb lighting gave an impression of eerie dereliction.

Greg was already feeling the effects of that beer he’d downed—all at once, too, and on a mostly empty stomach. He was feeling oddly reckless. He looked one way, then the other, before randomly deciding to go right. He kind of liked the vibe. “It’s like, the instant we came down here, the apocalypse happened and we’re the only four people on Earth,” he said, peeking in open doorways into empty, cinder-block rooms as they passed. “Still better than drunk jocks, though, right?” he added with a wink at Harry.

The hallway made a sudden sharp right, the way ahead looking unsettlingly gloomy thanks to a broken light fixture. “This way to the man-eating minotaur,” Harry snarked. With nowhere better to be, and everything upstairs being actively worse than a network of spooky, long-forsaken underground passages, it was easy enough to keep going.

The further they went, the more unsettling the cement tunnels became. Lights buzzed and flickered. Strange noises seemed to follow them—a slow hiss here, a sharp, distant clank there. Greg told himself it was just the random sounds of any large building, but his twisting stomach didn’t quite believe him.

After a hundred feet or so with only closed and locked steel doors on either side they suddenly met up with a small side-corridor that led directly to a single, wider-than-usual fire door. Unlike the others this one was painted a solid matte maroon, the hue faded but unscarred after so many decades. Stenciled in small white letters at eye level was the word “PLAYROOM”—quote marks and all.

They clustered at the head of the side hall, staring tensely at the door. “Playroom,” Harry said dryly. “In quotes.”

“The quotes are a little weird,” Greg agreed. “Maybe we’ve walked into the first thirty minutes of what’s likely to turn out to be a very gory movie,” he added with a grin. He moved nearer to the door, completely overcome with curiosity. Harry followed close behind, bemused but wary.

Exchanging a look with Harry, Greg grabbed the knob, giving it a firm twist. It didn’t turn. “Oh well,” Harry said drily. “Adventure denied.” But Greg had felt a hint of give in that turn. He wrenched harder, and there was a snap as something gave way and the knob turned with a squeal. He pushed open the heavy door, triggering the flickering of lights coming on inside. Together, they stared into the room he had revealed.

“No poltergeists rushing at us to tear us to shreds,” Greg observed cheerily. “That’s a good sign.”

“Hmmph,” Harry grunted. “If it’s been abandoned this long where’s the dust and cobwebs?”

“And the skeletons,” Greg laughed. “It’s just a room, though.”

“Right,” Harry agreed. “Just your normal, clandestine, deep-underground, weirdly deserted rumpus room.”

Greg looked around them. It did seem like a normal room, what with the thick, spongey blue carpeting, a couch against one wall, a couple of armchairs, a set of sturdy walnut bookcases filled with vintage-looking literary hardcovers, and a small, sturdy, oaken table with a squat, squarish wooden box sitting on top and two semicircular benches arrayed closely around it. Instead of the fluorescent tubes that had illuminated the tunnel corridors, the room was lit from a single, very bright floor lamp positioned near the couch, its simple off-white lampshade diffusing the light with surprising effectiveness. The walls were cinder-block but were white-washed and clean. The worst you could call it was “utilitarian.”

Still, there was still an… unnerving eeriness investing the underground room, Greg thought. Its presence somehow twined through his guts, sending an ice-cold chill up his core. The visual signal was entirely mundane, and yet he felt something in the chilly subterranean air, despite there being no explanation for it. No red-eyed rats skittered in the corners, no blood seeped from hairline cracks in the cinder-block seams, nothing to trigger his unease. Though it had to be said the large painting on the wall opposite the couch, the one depicting a goat getting its throat ripped out by a sheep, was damn disturbing all on its own.

“I bet that this room is haunted by the ghost of every freshman who ever choked on a toothpick,” Harry said, eyeing the painting with concern.

“Or a dick,” Greg said with a grin. He’d gone over to the little table and was examining the box. There top of the box was inscribed, THE GAME. “Awesome!” he said, lifting the cover off the box and seeing the inside contained only a stack of game cards held by a band of blood-red ribbon, and a half-sheet of paper with instructions. These were typed on an old-fashioned typewriter, he noticed, not laser-printed or offset, and the typewriter in question had to have been a good fifty or more years old easy, judging by the look of the text. “We gotta play this!” he said without looking up, pulling off his backpack (bottles clinking within) and sitting down on the further of the two curved benches, the wall directly behind him. He started reading avidly through the instructions.

Harry had moved closer to the table, but not too close. He seemed reluctant to commit. “Oh, yes, we should definitely play THE GAME now that we’re in ‘THE PLAYROOM’,” Harry snarked, reading the lettering on the lid of the box. “What could go wrong?”

Greg wasn’t sure whether it was the beer he’d downed so rapidly, or being stirred up by his encounter with Tom and Will, or something about the atmosphere of the room, but he felt compelled to make this happen. “C’mon,” he urged, jerking his thumb behind him to the knapsack full of beer he’d set down. “Sit, drink, play the game! It’ll be fun!”

Harry seemed to be wavering—he was loyal enough he’d do anything for a friend. Just then, the moment was interrupted by a booming voice at the doorway sneering, “You jocklets don’t know what fun is.”

Greg stood up, his expressing hardening into an icy smile. In the doorway stood the bulking presence of Tom Bentley, his Snidely Whiplash costume straining against his oversized muscles. Behind him, glowering at them over Tom’s shoulder, was his even more massive sidekick, Will. Harry moved to Greg’s side, watching the newcomers protectively. “What do you want, Tom?” Greg demanded.

Tom and Will stepped into the cool subterranean room, making it seem slightly smaller. “You and I have unfinished business,” Tom said. “I don’t like it when faggot swim twinks—”

“Let’s take care of this once and for all,” Greg said, boldly talking over him. Adrenaline was coursing through him, the way it always did right before a meet, and he was suddenly supremely motivated to have this out and be done with it. “You like a challenge, right, Tommy?” He gestured toward the box. “One game. Either of you win, I’ll be your slave for one week.”

Greg watched as Tom’s bright hazel eyes lit up at that, and for a brief second his gaze flicked down Greg’s swim-carved body, his physique obvious in his snug, sleeveless red muscle tee and thigh-hugging sweatpants. As suspected, Greg thought, suppressing a shiver.

“Greg—” Harry warned, but Greg ignored him.

“Either of us wins, you leave us and our friends alone.” No time limits on that one. He wanted to say “forever,” but pulled back—no need to call Tom’s attention to it.

Tom narrowed his eyes. “Just you,” he countered. “And—two weeks.”

Will turned toward his friend with a frown. “Dude, this is stupid,” the behemoth objected, voice low and growly. He gave Greg and his much-smaller-than-Will friends a malevolent look. “These pipsqueaks just need a thrashing.”

“I accept the terms,” Greg said, looking only at Tom. He felt Harry’s concern, but his friend wasn’t going to undermine him by speaking out again. Tom held his gaze for a long, chilly moment, then, tossing his cape and top hat onto the couch, he stepped decisively over the nearer bench opposite Greg and dropped onto it, his sneer perfectly complemented by his curly bad-guy moustache and the muscles vying desperately to rip open the too-tight sable dress shirt of his costume. Greg sat as well. The table was small enough their two faces were inches away, eyes locked on each other’s in mutual contempt.

Tom glanced up at Will, who with ill grace took the open space on the bench to Tom’s left. Harry in turn seized the spot next to Greg, opposite the green-skinned, fury-eyed beast. The two men watched each other coldly, united in loyalty despite the misgivings they had in common.

“How do we play?” Harry said to Greg, scratching his chest through his baggy tee, his expression flat. He looked determined to see this through, spooky basement and obnoxious bullies or no, and Greg knew he usually had a way of making any experience spin in unexpected directions. Harry was often the team’s secret weapon at their meets—maybe he would be here, too.

Greg looked down that the paper he was holding. He’d explain the gameplay in a minute, but he wanted to silently reread through the typed directions one more time, just to be sure he had a good handle on what was going on. Once he’d done so, and with a sense of total commitment, he lifted his gaze to meet Tom’s and, following the last instruction, spoke a single word aloud.

“Aware,” he said.

No one said anything, so Greg looked down again and proceeded to read from the typed instructions. “In each round, the player whose turn it is, or host, reads a card and each of the other players answers in clockwise order. The host then determines which answer is most desirable and kisses the person who gave that answer, after which it will become official.” He glanced up at Tom, but his nemesis was too busy staring holes into Greg to react—or maybe he’d heard and didn’t object to an aggressive liplock with an inferior being like himself. Greg had long suspected Tom was a latent queer, and the quick leer he’d just gotten when he’d set the stakes hadn’t done anything to dissuade him. Will’s green-painted face, on the other hand, had developed a sharp groove between the exaggerated brows.

Greg returned to the sheet. “No round can be undone,” he read slowly, an ominous tone creeping into his voice unasked-for. He felt that chill up his spine again. Already this was feeling like more than a game. He exchanged a look with Harry, his dark blue eyes set with determination to see this through.

Greg went back to finishing the instructions. “The host rotates with each turn to the right,” he read. “For best results, play while lightly intoxicated.” He omitted the very last instruction, the trigger for whether the players would be aware of the effects of the game. Some gut instinct had told him he wanted the bastards opposite him to know exactly what was happening to them, and he was already certain he had made the right choice.

“Good thing I forced those beers on you two then,” Tom jeered. He swayed very slightly, betraying perhaps his own state of brewification, but his compelling green-and-brown eyes remained riveted on Greg.

“Last chance to back out,” Harry said calmly.

Tom’s response was predictably alpha. “Let’s do this,” he barked, snatching up the stack of cards. Greg nodded silently. Placing the instruction sheet in the box he set the whole thing aside, leaving nothing but a few inches of chilly basement air between him and Tom. Yanking the ribbon off the cards and casting it aside, Tom expertly shuffled them a few times before squaring the deck and reading aloud from the first card.

“What attribute is the person opposite you too proud of and should be taken away?” He looked up at Greg with an evil grin that made Greg’s stomach flutter in alarm. I’m opposite you, dickhead, but you don’t get a play while you’re the host, Greg thought. No way to get me on this one. Right? Then he remembered Will was sitting opposite Harry—which meant they could do something to him. He reminded himself sternly this was just a game, though it sure as fuck felt real, and as though everything was on the line. He rested his left hand on Harry’s thigh in reassurance, and felt it flex in response.

They all looked at Will, who was glowering across the table at Harry. He seemed reluctant to speak, as though actually giving an answer would mean he approved of something he obviously thought was a waste of time. Greg was agonizing—what would he pick? If he said something awful… no, it’s just a game!

Finally, Will curled his lip and spat, “He thinks he’s so fucking cute.”

Greg frowned. Was that his answer? But Tom had already turned his intimidating gaze on him, waiting for Greg to give an answer. He realized belatedly he was unprepared—not that it mattered, because Tom wasn’t going to choose him anyway, not on this round. “His ability to fuck like a god,” he said, just to say something provocative. Tom smirked.

They turned to Harry, who was eyeing Will thoughtfully. His eyes settled on the green-daubed orbs on full display thanks to his costume, not that they were often out of sight—Will loved showing off and was often shirtless even outside the dorm. “His pecs,” Harry said, with finality. Will nodded with a sneer, as if to say, Damn right, fucker!

“And now I pick, right?” Tom said. Without waiting for an answer he turned toward his hulking buddy and, grabbing him by the back of the neck, slid in for a full-on snog lasting close to a minute. Greg watched in astonishment, half turned on despite himself. When they broke the kiss, Tom tossed a shit-eating grin at Greg and Harry, leaving Will to wipe his mouth angrily and glare at his friend.

Then Tom’s gaze caught on Harry and seemed to do a double-take. “What the fuck?” he growled. Will followed his gaze and stared at what he saw in what could only be called utter dismay.

With great trepidation, Greg turned to see what has happened to his friend—only to gasp in surprise. Sure enough, Harry’s pinup-boy looks had been swept away. Instead, the lines of his face had been reshaped, firming his jaw, shifting his cheekbones, sprinkling faint dark stubble over slightly darker, more rugged skin, and thickening and softening the blondness of his hair… all of which resulted in a Harry who, while not at all “cute,” was now devastatingly handsome. Those dark blue eyes turned to meet Greg’s, and felt a swell of attraction as he took in this ultramanly version of his friend. It was like he was the result of some visual artist’s attempt to deliberately evoke the most attractive qualities of all men and distill them into a single individual, with results that were nothing short of captivating. I’m going get to kiss him at some point, he thought, and the idea made his dick swell and jump in anticipation. His hand was still on Harry’s thigh, and the feel of his skin and muscle through the thin fabric of Harry’s loose jeans felt like warmth stealing into him.

He realized there was a bit of concern in those mesmerizing eyes, though it seemed partly allayed already by Greg’s reaction. “You look amazing,” Greg said truthfully. Harry grinned, and his smile was so breathtaking Greg’s heart sizzled. I should just kiss him now and be done with it, he thought, slightly dazed.

Interesting,” Tom said. They turned to look at their opponents. Will looked nauseated, obviously feeling betrayed that his answer had been twisted in such a perverse fashion, but Tom was eyeing Harry shrewdly and nodding to himself. Fuck, Greg thought. He’s definitely going to find a way to use this game to his advantage. Well, he and Harry would just have to do the same.

Then Harry nudged him and nodded his chin silently toward Will. Greg looked again and saw what he hadn’t before: Will’s viridescent pecs, already impressive nearly to the point of disproportionate thanks to years of beyond-obsessive weight training, were very obviously a size or two larger than before, hanging heavily over his green-smeared abs and casting a pair of dark shadows over the ridges and cuts. So far Will himself was too busy scowling at Harry to have noticed, but Greg figured it was only a matter of time. He would definitely pick up on his increased size the next time he tried to put on a shirt, if he ever did such a thing. That might be fun to watch, Greg mused to himself.

How had that happened, though? If Will’s pecs had gotten bigger, that meant… what? Will’s answer had been the one that was picked, and the result indicated on the card had been implemented—Harry’s pretty-boy cuteness had been “taken away.” Did that mean… did that mean that in every round, the opposite of what the card said happened for the unpicked answers? That had to be it—instead of Will’s pecs being “taken away,” Harry’s answer had been reversed and Will’s pecs had been enhanced! That was a wrinkle he sure hadn’t expected—one that might have a lot of unexpected and possibly unwanted consequences.

As if in response to that thought, with a jolt he remembered his own answer. He exchanged a quick look with Harry, then they both turned to take in the good-looking, aesthetically built football bully opposite them. Fortunately, Greg was pretty sure the smugness Tom was currently exhibiting had only to do with him pondering the possibilities of how he might change reality now that the game had been proven capable of doing so. Well, if he hasn’t figured out I just made him even more of a sex god, I’m sure as fuck not going to tell him, Greg thought.

Tom handed the cards to Harry, since he was the player to his left. He’s actually paying attention, Greg thought uneasily. “Here you go, hot stuff,” Tom said, offering the reimagined swimmer a cocky grin.

Harry took the cards silently, swapping the current card to the back and reading the next one aloud. When he spoke, his voice was a tone or two lower than Greg expected and a shade more resonant. Even his voice was less “cute” and more handsome! Greg wanted to listen to him speak all day.

“What attribute does the person on your right have,” Harry read, “that the person on your left should have instead?” He looked up and met Greg’s gaze at that last word. Yeah, that “instead”… that was a weapon.

Sure enough, Tom’s smile was malicious as he looked at Harry. “The ability to swim,” he said immediately.

Will huffed in appreciation. “Yeah, wouldn’t mind taking that,” he said, eyeing Harry darkly. Greg shook his head. Did they think there was any chance Harry would choose Tim’s answer? Even if the other responses were all stupid, that still wouldn’t happen.

Will realized it was his turn and took a quick perusal of Tom. Then he turned to Greg and Harry with a slow grin. “Lactose intolerance.”

Tom snorted a laugh. “Oh yeah, it’s bad,” he told Greg. “You’ll enjoy it a lot, jocklet.”

“As if,” Greg said defiantly. Assuming Harry chose him, he was trying to keep up with the potential reversals for the answers that weren’t chosen. So… Tom’s lactose intolerance would get worse, and Will wouldn’t be able to swim. At all? He wondered. Maybe it depended on whether Will could swim now, or some other factor they hadn’t figured out yet. Neither reversal was of imminent use to them, unless an aquifer burst and this place started flooding. He looked around, thinking the underground space was eerie enough that it was disturbingly easy to picture such a thing happening.

Belatedly he remembered it was now his turn. He considered Will, the player to his right, a moment, weighing his options. Finally he said, “Height.” The single terse word felt good to say—but then he realized that that might not be specific enough and quickly added, “Being ten inches taller than me.”

Will narrowed his eyes and bared his teeth at Greg, then at Harry, as if to defy him to choose that answer. Greg cockily turned to Harry for the kiss, positive he’d spun the turn in his favor—but even as he did so he caught a flash of movement as Tom jumped up suddenly, lunging for Harry to take the kiss for himself!

Fortunately, Harry’s reflexes were good enough for him to throw up his free hand just in time, his palm landing on Tom’s cheek as he blocked the larger man and turned him aside. Then, even as he thrust Tom back toward the bench, forcing Tom and Will both to grab the sturdy table to steady themselves, Harry turned to Greg, leaned in, and solemnly kissed him. It was hard and deep, in a way that seemed crafted to stiffen Greg’s cock beyond the ability to ever soften again. Throughout the kiss he was sure he could feel Harry’s thigh shifting under his hand.

Greg broke free from the brief but intense make-out sooner than he wanted, eager to see the results of the turn. He was not disappointed. Crazy-handsome Harry was now crazy-handsome, extra-tall Harry. It was a good thing he always dressed in loose clothes, Greg thought, panting lightly as he looked his roommate over, as these seemed not to have changed with the body underneath. The white shirt, still baggy, now failed to completely cover his longer torso, leaving an inch of flat belly on display, and a quick glance under the table told him the ankles were similarly exposed. Nice.

Pleased with his work, Greg squeezed Harry’s thigh and turned to look at their antagonists, thrilled he could sense Harry’s larger form next to him even when as he checked out the remaining consequences of his answer.

Will was still ridiculously muscular (especially when it came to his now-massive pecs), still shirtless, and still green. What he wasn’t anymore was loomingly, ludicrously tall, which he had been up to this moment even sitting down. Now he was Greg’s height at best, maybe a little less, and even though he seemed to have kept all his muscle mass, giving him a denser, more compressed look, the loss of height still cut his usual intimidation factor in half—even without the additional knowledge that this version of Will would flail helplessly in any body of water he couldn’t stand up in.

He checked for Tom’s reaction. The entitled asshole quarterback was taking his buddy’s transformation in thoughtfully, seemingly more impressed by what the game could do than he was devastated on his friend’s behalf. Will himself was livid. “That’s not fair!” he screamed, pointing at Harry. “He shouldn’t be able to—he can’t pick an answer that benefits him!”

“Like you wouldn’t do the same thing,” Harry said calmly, handing Greg the cards. Greg took them with a shiver of anticipation. So many ways for all this go off the rails, he thought. His heart pounding, he slipped Harry’s card to the back of the deck and, ignoring the still-fuming Will, spoke the text on the new top card, fighting to keep his voice steady as he did so.

“Who should the person to your left urgently lust for on sight?” he read. He stared at the small black letters for a long moment, trying to psych this one out and all it might entail. So many ways to go off the rails…

Harry, however, seemed untroubled. He was giving Tom a crooked smile. “Himself,” he said.

“Ooh, nice one,” Greg said. “The ultimate unrequited love.”

“I can requite myself just fine,” Tom chuckled. Greg wasn’t sure that was how it worked, and he was kind of looking forward to seeing Tom staring helplessly into a mirror, all horned up and desperate to ravish the man he saw there. He decided not to say anything.

Tom was already considering Will. “You think I should say ‘me’?” he asked himself aloud. “I’ll say ‘me’.”

Fireplug Will finally broke off from trying to incinerate Harry with his eyes and looked over at Tom in dismay. “What? I’m not a fag, asshole!” he objected.

“You will be if Greg picks my answer,” Tom said calmly.

“It’s tempting,” Greg admitted. Harry snickered.

“Assholes!” Will raved, throwing up his hands.

“Your turn, Will,” Greg said.

“I know! Fuck!” He glared at Greg, crossing his arms over his expanded pecs—clearly he hadn’t noticed their boost in size from Tom’s turn. “I can’t say ‘Harry’ ‘cause he’d want that, and they’re probably already fucking anyway.” Greg bit his lip and tried not to look at his always hot and now extra-hotified roommate. “And I sure as fuck don’t want him boning for us.”

“Say something,” Greg prompted.

“I dunno. Kenny Chesney!”

“What?!” Tom exclaimed, while Harry and Greg burst out laughing. “Kenny Chesney? What the hell?”

“It was the first name I thought of!”

“Kenny Chesney was the first name you thought of?” Tom repeated in disbelief. “Seriously? Greg’s gay already! Why didn’t you pick a girl celebrity, like, I dunno, Britney Spears?”

“I dunno, I bet a lot of gay guys bone for Britney,” Greg said dryly, still chuckling. Impulsively he stood, reached across the table and pulled a surprised Tom into, as it turned out, a very nice kiss. Tom quickly forgot his pique and got into the swing of things, offering Greg his tongue and showing him he knew exactly what to do with it. He tasted like beer, but then so had Harry, and his smell was mainly the good kind of sweat—the kind that made you think about licking salty skin in sensitive places.

After a few moments of this he broke the kiss and dropped back onto his bench, grinning at how pleased with himself Tom looked and at the expression of incredulity on Harry’s face. “He is a sex god,” he muttered, and was intrigued by the considering look Harry gave to Tom at that.

Greg squared the deck and plopped it in the table in front of Will, who suddenly seemed to be very concerned with not looking at Tom. Greg grinned—he wondered if Will’s cheeks were pinking from the huge, unquenchable lust he now had for his friend. He had to be majorly boned right now. When Tom glanced at Will’s lap and bugged his eyes in surprise, Greg couldn’t help barking a laugh. “Your go, shortcakes,” he said to Will.

“Don’t call me that!” Will shouted, half-rising out of his chair in rage. He seemed to realize showing everyone his crotch just then was probably not a good idea and dropped back down, grabbing the cards and staring at them in a furious sulk. Tom, probably as much to egg him on as anything, put a hand on his massive shoulder, but Will shook it off with what sounded like a whimper.

While Will was stewing over the cards, Harry slipped his phone out of his pocket and pulled up a picture to show Greg. When he saw it was Kenny Chesney he snorted and feigned a full-body shiver of repulsion, which made Harry grin. The truth was more like he had zero attraction for the guy—like, absolute zero. So the reversal of “urgent lust” in this case seemed to be not so much hate or revulsion as disinterest, which kind of made sense to him.

He glanced at Tom. He’d kind of figured the guy was kind of into himself before, so what effect would not being into himself have on his personality? Would he be calmer and not so cocky—or would be that much quicker to lust for others and act on it?

Will had finally calmed enough to announce his question, though his enunciation still bristled with anger, like he was listing all the people he hated in the world and exactly what they had done to him. “What attribute,” he snapped out, “should the person opposite you have three times as much of?” He slammed the deck on the table. “This is so stupid.” He glared at Greg. “Answer! Now!”

Greg blinked and looked at Tom. “Um, love and compassion,” he blurted. Shit, that was lame, he thought.

Tom raised a saucy eyebrow. “Oh, I have plenty of that,” he purred.

“I’ll bet,” Greg scoffed.

Will ignored them and fixed his flinty gaze on Tall ‘n’ Hot Harry, his jaw set as though preparing to bite into concrete. “Answer! Now!”

“Whoa,” Harry said, leaning back from Will’s pulsing fury. “I’m going to go with anger management.” Greg huffed in amusement, though his stomach tightened a second later when the reversal if and when Harry didn’t get picked occurred to him—Will three times as angry was a genuinely frightening prospect.

Will pursed his lips and turned to Tom, but didn’t say anything. Tom didn’t look at him, which the lust-furious Will probably hated and was grateful for all at once. Instead, Tom was watching Greg with an expression Greg didn’t like at all. He drew out the suspense a beat, too, before giving his answer. “Big… constantly boned… cock,” he said at last, smug victory dripping from every word.

Greg stared blankly at him for a second, then all at once he got it. He couldn’t swim like that, not with… His jaw dropped slightly, and Tom’s grin got even wider as he saw the understanding dawn. Yeah, you’re fucked, buddy.

“You dick,” Greg said, with feeling. Tom just beamed at him.

What happened next took them all by surprise. With the speed of a raptor Will jumped up, grabbed Greg by the chest of his tight red muscle shirt, and pulled him in for a searing kiss. A few seconds in, however, Greg realized it wasn’t just him and Will mashing mouths—Tom had jumped up and inserted himself into the kiss as well, turning it into a hot and salacious three-way. Will tried to turn away from Tom’s questing mouth, but the cocky quarterback was persistent and Will, in the throes of unslakable lust for his friend, succumbed and let him all the way in.

Greg was just about to pull back and let them make out on their own for a while when he abruptly remembered about the live grenade that was Harry’s potentially unchosen answer. Hurriedly he reached back blindly and, grabbing his hunky roommate by the shoulder, all but bodily hauled him into the increasingly messy smooch. Harry seemed to get Greg’s intent and threw his own mouth into the fray, and for several seconds all four of them were kissing, the basement room spinning slowly around them like a drunken carousel ride, until the megasnog inevitably split apart into Will and Tom making out on one side of the table, hands frantically groping each other as they did so, and Greg and Harry eagerly doing the same on the other.

This went on for quite a while, until Greg and Harry were distracted by loud grunting coming from the other couple. They looked over in surprise, lips and tongues still buzzing with pleasure, to see the two football jocks holding each other tight and kissing with real passion, until the compact, green-tinted muscle-man stiffened and broke the kiss with a roar. His purple pants abruptly bloomed with a huge spread of dark wetness near the left hip, the sudden flood of cum only serving to making the thick, heroic rod underneath that much more obvious. Tom, meanwhile, was smiling at the man he’d just made cream spectacularly in his pants with what looked like genuine fondness and affection, holding Will close and tenderly kissing his sweaty, Hulk-hued neck and cheekbones. Three times the love and compassion might just make for a very different Tom, Greg thought, watching the scene in amazement. Hopefully his shitty friends would either accept him or make room for a nicer, less douchey crowd.

Greg was thinking of losing himself in Harry’s embrace again as the taller man leaned down and whispered in Greg’s ear, sending tingles down Greg’s spine. “Am I feeling down there what I think I’m feeling down there?”

Greg sighed in resignation. “I’m afraid so,” he said. His Speedo days were definitely over, though the steady zing he was feeling from being so turned on all the time that he was constantly (and hugely) boned made him feel like it was almost a fair trade. Maybe his hubris had been as great as Tom’s, and they’d both gotten their just desserts. He’d have to think about that, the next time he could distract himself from how horny he was.

“I see,” Harry whispered, and Greg could hear the smirk in his voice. “So does that mean you’re about to emulate Will and make three giant wet spots in your pants?”

In my shirt, more like, he thought—he really was very hugely boned. The “big” part of Tom’s answer had been very generously interpreted, not to mention everything else that had changed down there in his suddenly crowded pants. He craned his head back to look up at his friend. “I think I can wait till we get to the room, handsome,” he said, and when Harry grinned in response, Greg had to hold himself back lest he make those premature messes now after all.

Will, meanwhile, was still recovering from what had clearly been an earth-shattering orgasm. At the moment he was leaning forward onto the table, catching his breath while Tom stroked his back. He looked over at Tom and smiled, his dark eyes full of simple adoration. “That was amazing,” he said. “Thank you.”

Tom smiled softly at him. “Anytime.”

“Yeah?” Will asked in a small voice. Tom just smiled at him.

“Aw, look at you guys,” Greg couldn’t help saying.

Will seemed to remember he wasn’t alone with his dream guy and turned to face them with a wide smile. To Greg’s surprise he reached across the little table and offered Harry his hand. “Thank you,” he said, with what sounded like complete sincerity.

Harry and Greg were still holding each other, like that was a thing they did now, and Greg was thinking not a lot of guys as tall as he was got to rest their heads against their guy’s chest when they hugged. Harry turned them enough to reach his hand out and take Will’s. “For what?” he asked as they shook.

Will released his grip and stepped back, letting out a long breath. “I hated being so angry, man,” he admitted. “Some of it’s still there, I can feel it, but now I can handle it. So, thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Harry said, slightly chagrined his joke answer was getting all this attention. “Uh, sorry about taking your height,” he added.

“No worries there,” Will said, unconsciously stroking his augmented pecs. Hadn’t he noticed yet? Greg wondered. “It’s your turn to smack your head on door jambs and light fixtures, dude. Good luck! I am so done with that.” Harry laughed good-naturedly.

Harry and Greg had already come out from around the table, eager to get upstairs. Greg felt a need to finalize the confrontation with Tom that had started all this, an hour and several transformations ago. He shifted to stand next to his much taller roomie instead of holding him like he wanted to, though with his arm still around Harry’s waist, and faced the quarterback, inches apart. Tom, still cocky, took a moment to peruse the three very obvious throbbing rods pushing up out of Greg’s tight pants and under his snug muscle shirt before offering Greg a very satisfied smirk. “So, what do you think? Did I win? I think I won.”

“You’re not getting two weeks of sex-slavery out of me,” Greg said, and Tom fake-pouted. “I’d… call it a draw.”

“Fair enough,” Tom said. “Harry and Will were the ones that lucked out the most, anyway.” They looked at each other curiously for a moment, then moved in as one for a brief, if very French, kiss. He heard Harry laugh and pulled back reluctantly, feeling slightly embarrassed. Okay, being horny all the time made him want to kiss hot guys, and with his looks he could get away with it. Duly noted.

Will had found the red ribbon the cards had been secured with and slid it back on, then started boxing the deck up with the instructions. He paused as he was sliding the lid on. “I assume we’re not playing another round tonight?” he said, glancing around at the others.

“Let’s… see if it’s still here the next time the mood strikes us,” Greg said.

“Sounds like a plan,” Will said. He finished closing the box and left it as it had been on the table. “Hey, did you guys ever hear about the cannibal student back in 1978 who dragged his RA into the tunnels and ate him?”

The others reacted with laughter and friendly derision, obviously inviting Will to go on with the ridiculous urban legend. They all headed for the exit and way out together as Will told his creepy story, none of them noticing as the floor lamp snicked off and the heavy steel door to the secret room quietly closed itself behind them.

 

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