series: Metaboi

Secret Santa

By BRK  Patreon Contact Page Twitter
3 parts
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• Latest update: 5 October. Next update: 26 October. (Submissions welcome.)

• Latest post: Saturday Flashback: October 2016.

• Latest from BRK: “Tell me about my boner”, Parts 1‑2.

Part 1

Some strange shit sure started happening in the first couple months after I was assigned to my first firehouse. Not bad shit, it was actually mostly pretty cool, but when I sat back and thought about it I was all, “What the hell?” By the time the Secret Santa came around, three months in, things were totally out of control. But by then, I wasn’t sure I should give a fuck.

When I first showed up at my new house, I was ready for all the “haze the probie” stuff that isn’t supposed to happen, but of course it happens. And there was some good-natured playing around—sending me to wash the rig after they’d hidden all the soap and buckets, that kind of thing. It was all pretty chill. I’d expected them to give me hell, too, for looking like I was all fresh-faced and innocent, which usually bugged the fuck out of me. Getting all hard and cut at the gym in high school only made it worse, ‘cause even after years at the weights everyone still thought I looked like this innocent fuckin’ kid, only now it was all this kind of farm-boy, “aw-shucks, can I lift this tractor out of your way ma’am” kind of deal.

I’d even crashed and burned in my only real relationship, junior year in high school, because Marty had all these ideas about me and fell for me for all the wrong reasons, and didn’t even try to get to know who I actually was. And then he broke up with me because he thought I hadn’t been straight with him. Christ.

I broke down right before senior year and buzzed off all my sweet, golden-blond hair, which I loved, just buzzed it the fuck off with the damn clipper on #1, and I started going around scowling and trying to come off all tough. I was even going to get inked (though I chickened out at the last minute). Still didn’t do shit. Everyone in school and the neighborhood and the family just laughed and grinned at me and slapped my back. No matter how much I growled at the customers at my uncle’s auto parts store, where I worked until I was done training for the firefighting gig, they’d just smile whenever they saw me and call me “the sweetest boy.” Fuck, what does a guy have to do to get some cred around here?

So I was totally expecting the guys to ride me for all that, especially since I’d given up and grown my hair out again (I’d actually let it get pretty long, enough so it was tickling my traps as I moved around, but it was okay because, shit, I loved having my hair back again). And yeah, they did ride me, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. Sure, they called me Sunshine instead of Joe, which is my actual name, and I’d say something appropriate like “I’ll show you ‘sunshine’!”, and there was a lot of shit like that. But it was like between brothers. No, more than that, because my own brothers were more than capable of making my life hell without batting a fucking eye. It was a small house, one engine and one ladder company, and they were all tight with each other. Most of my shifts there were five of us on the ladder crew I was working, plus the lieutenant in charge, and he was more one of the guys than I expected. The crew was all bound up close together, and when they smiled at me and called me Sunshine, even when they put me through my paces as a probie, I felt like they were welcoming me.

Heck, if there was a problem, it was me. It was embarrassing as fuck, but I was hornier then I’d ever been as a teenager, and I’d been the kind of kid who was ready to be boned up all the time, anytime. Now, though, it was getting stupid. I couldn’t help but notice that the guys on my crew were pretty fucking hot, but it started even before I was assigned, while I was still in training. One of the regular customers back when I was at my uncle’s shop—this really amazing, almost impossibly hot guy, all lean and perfect in a loose white tee and these jeans that hugged his ass so well my mouth was fucking watering, I was practically drooling whenever he turned around—anyway, this guy was impressed by the work I did on his bike’s exhaust system, even though we weren’t supposed to actually do repairs and shit because we weren’t licensed for that, but I felt like helping him out, you know? And it got me more chances to stare at his ass—anyway, he liked my work and said I was a “good man”, which was a nice change from “kid”—who else is 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds and still gets called “kid”, I ask you?—so, yeah, dreamy bike dude gave me what I thought was a business card, but it turned out to be a discount code for this menswear site with a lot of swank shit.

I kind of stuffed it in my wallet and forgot about it, because who needs nice clothes off a website when you’re working the kinds of jobs I am? But while I was in training my kid brother’s high school graduation came up, and I thought I’d get him a nice shirt or something, and I remembered the card and dug it out. I ended up getting him a pair of great leather cowboy boots, simple and durable, just cause he actually likes cowboy shit like that and it was already on sale and next to nothing after my discount code. And they were doing this promo where first-time customers got a free bottle of their new Ambience cologne, and I was like, fuck, it’s free, so I had the boots set up for giftwrapping and sent that to my bro, and had them send me the cologne. It came in a blood-red flat bottle, and the first time I used it I knew it was going to be my thing.

It took me a while to realize, but I think the cologne was part of what had me all hot and bothered lately. It didn’t actually smell like much: a hint of musk, but mostly something more subtle and masculine, like a nice, worn leather jacket.But I think getting a whiff of my own scent or something started getting my blood pumping, like I was riding my own pheromones or something. The guys I was training with seemed to like it, and I was liking it too, but I wasn’t sure how it would play in the house. My first shift was long and crazy, lots of paperwork and site-specific training and a lot of beer and pizza after we clocked out, but when I came back the second day for my first proper tour I pulled aside the lieutenant and asked him about it.

He just looked at me—we were standing really close for some reason, so he could probably smell the cologne right there, but he bent a little closer, like he was checking the smell to make sure, and he was looking right in my eyes the whole time, and then he drew his head back and smiled up at me and said, “You’d better keep wearing it.” And inside I was all like, “The fuck?” But then we both kind of drew in a breath and I was like, “Whatever”, so I smiled at him and said, “Sure thing!” And he clapped me on the upper arm and he kind of left his hand there, and we just sort of looked at each other for a minute, and I had the weirdest thought that maybe I should kiss him? I hadn’t really noticed when we’d first met but he was pretty handsome in a Tom Brady, cocky jock kind of way, and my hormones had been on overdrive lately anyway … fuck, though, I still was kind of shocked that the idea had even occurred to me. And that it seemed to have occurred to him, judging from the way he was staring hard into my eyes while letting his thumb minutely caress my iron-hard triceps through the thin sleeve of my uniform. My arms were a particular point of pride with me, long and hard and built up nice without being bulkily enormous, and I kind of liked attention being paid to them. Usually it was people checking them out with their eyes instead of their hands, sometimes without really realizing they were doing it, noticing consciously or unconsciously how hot it was the way they filled up my shirt sleeves or how my biceps bunched up as I moved shirt around. But the lieutenant fondling my tris like that felt kind of awesome, somehow, like I was extra-sensitive to touch all over, and there was no way in hell I was going to ask him to stop. Fuck, maybe he could grab the other side too, and—

Then someone called his name, and we both snapped out of it. We smiled at each other, the lieutenant patted my arm once more and walked off, and the day proceeded from there. But I felt like there was a lingering arousal that I couldn’t quite shake off.

Stuff like that started happening a lot. Like, all the fucking time. And it was boning me the fuck up.

As the weeks went by after I joined up and we started working closely together, I swear the other four guys on the crew started looking like they were good enough to eat. Sometimes I’d catch them looking at me like that, too, though I was pretty sure that was all in my head. I mean, I don’t know, maybe I needed to get laid so bad that I couldn’t even see straight (so to speak), but it honest to god seemed like the guys were all actually getting hotter as my first weeks went by. It was like my own hormonal overproduction was somehow boiling over onto the guys around me, infecting them with tiny, recurring doses of total fuckability. And they banked that shit, and started getting more and more irresistibly good looking, or at least, that was what my balls were telling me.

Like Annis, for example. Konstantinos and his brother Ioannis were both on my crew, and they both had the smoldering eyes, lush, turbulent hair, and chiseled features I associated with sexy Greek guys, though some fluke of genetics had made Stani more fair-haired and lighter-skinned than his brother Annis, who had the dark hair and olive-skinned complexion of an iconic son of the Aegean. Stani was looking more and more like a bright-eyed, perfectly formed Greek god, an Adonis in turnout gear, and it was all the more obvious when we were all hanging around the station since he’d started choosing to forego shirts when we weren’t actually out on a call. I could barely take my eyes off him, or stop imagining what my dick would do if it got near him. But about four weeks after I showed up Stani managed to convince Annis to do the same, and when the older brother started lounging around the station house shirtless, a little self-consciously at first but more and more acting like he was not giving a fuck, my dick, my balls, my ass, my hands—every part of my body that thought about sex became infatuated with that man. He was actually better built than his younger bro, with thicker, more deliciously developed muscles from bulging shoulders all the way down to diamond calves that shifted against the surprisingly flattering slacks, though he carried himself like a regular Joe and not the fucking magazine-cover model he could have been. Unlike his hairless brother he had a dark smudge of hair between his thick, dusky pecs that trailed downward between eminently lickable, brick-like abs down into his slacks, where there was a bulge so promising I dreamt about it—when I wasn’t dreaming about his backside, which tended to attract a fair amount of my attention thanks to an ass more enticing, more bonerific even than the motorcycle god I’d spent so much time staring at, back in my other life, before I was a part of this circle of increasingly hot men. Most mesmerizing of all were Annis’s long, sculpted legs, which his ass seemed to introduce, like the major domo to a godly king. With Stani I itched to touch his firm, muscled torso, especially his hard, carved abs and luscious chest; but with Annis I thought about touching his ass, if only because I couldn’t just drop to my knees and fondle his legs whenever he was around. Of course, I couldn’t grope his ass, either, but I could imagine groping his ass in lieu of his uncanny legs.

The Stephanidis brothers were only half my problem. My eyes and my body were becoming just as hungry from my other two crew-mates, Harry Glaser and Marvin Cleveland. Marv, tall and limber, was breath-catchingly pretty thanks in part to his bi-racial heritage and in part to his bookish shyness, which was iconified as if it were some kind of mandatory thing by rimless glasses that you just wanted to pull off him so you could kiss him properly. For some reason his beauty and reticence got me thinking almost perversely about sex, and especially cock, as if his suppressed emotions were bound to hide the fiercest, sweetest kind of raw, naked arousal, more pure and primeval than more life-battered folk like me. He wasn’t all quiet and withdrawn, though. Weird for a bookworm, though, at least as far as I knew from school and movies, Marv tended to be messy, unpacking his rucksack immediately whenever he came in onto the first available surfaces and leaving the whole house littered with books and notebooks and loose sheets of legal paper covered with scrawled notes—even his handwriting was a mess. Annis told me once that it was a way of sharing himself even when he was feeling shy, a way of mixing our space and his, and I thought that sounded reasonable—and very intriguing. I looked forward to getting to know him, and then as that though turned altogether raunchy I blushed, making Annis grin and ask what I was thinking about.

Harry was black-haired, easy-going, and extroverted, the happy facilitator of the bunch, and he managed to keep things neat, even Marv’s random piles and scatterings, without ever making any kind of fuss. He was a little shorter than the others and quite a bit shorter than I was at 6-foot-4 (gran had insisted on measuring me the last time I’d gone home and had, to my amazement, confirmed her belief, previously much scoffed at by me, that I’d inexplicably grown an inch since high school); but he wasn’t self-conscious about that, or anything else. In fact he was the first outside of the Greek brothers to embrace the no-shirts policy and show off a startlingly well-defined and lightly tanned torso with, for someone who wasn’t actively pumping iron, a hell of a V from his broad shoulders and naturally pronounced lats to a trim, tight waist, complete with a well-demarcated six-pack that seemed to murmur to anyone at hand that this boy hadn’t had an ounce of fat on him since his balls dropped and never would, either. He was probably the best looking out of all of us, his face and body both being works of art that were made even sweeter to look at by his easy, crooked grin and open heart, and when we joked that we needed more of him around, and kept joking about it so it became a running gag, he shook his head and said we just wanted him for the way he made sure everything was clean and in its place. But he smiled as he said it, knowing we liked having him around because he was beautiful, sweet Harry.

The burgeoning, obsessive attraction I was feeling for these guys and the uncontrollable hard-ons I was getting at the worst times … the sudden acceleration of my pulse whenever I was around any of them … the way my crewmates all seemed to my addled senses to be getting incrementally hotter, week after week, as if testing how far my balls could be provoked … the shirtless thing (which Marv and I were getting a lot of gentle pressure to join in on) … all that was fucking crazy enough. But what was really starting to do me in, as the weeks counted down to the end of the year, was the increasingly casual contact among the five of us, or the six of us if you counted Lt. Knox, who hovered on our periphery and sometimes dove in amongst us, good-naturedly doffing his own uniform shirt for the duration of a shared meal cooked by Harry (whose specialty was a delicious, meaty chili that somehow satisfied everyone) or me (I was becoming an ace with pasta, especially lasagna)—and yeah, he looked like a peak-condition Tom Brady from the neck down, too, though if anything he was better-defined than Gisele’s husband ever was. Knox also had a Celtic knot tattoo around his left bicep that fascinated me, and made me think again about getting inked myself.

It seemed like it had been jump-started that day I’d asked the lieutenant about my cologne, right at the start of my first tour. From then on, the six of us seemed to be finding places to put our hands that involved one or more of the other guys. It became normal, even subliminal, and increasingly frequent. My arms got a lot of attention, and Annis, Stani, Harry, and Knox—even Marv, as he loosened himself significantly, though not all the way, in the months after I joined, despite having served with the others for a year beforehand—they all tended to talk to me with one or both arms firmly in their grasp, or with an arm flung around my shoulder so that the opposite delt and upper arm could be lightly caressed. I fucking loved this. I had nice pecs and a goddamn eight-pack after years of hard work, but my long, beautiful arms practically got their own hard on just from the love they were getting from the guys.

Stani and Annis tended to get the touching mostly on their torsos, since their origination of the shirtlessness phenomenon had acted almost as a flag announcing full crew access to everything that, outside in the cold, wintry real world, was hidden under shirts, coats, and other gear. With them, every encounter in the halls, every conversation, even time on the couch watching TV and not bothering to talk, involved hands on pecs, hands on shoulders, hands on abs. I seemed to be the one that had a thing for Annis’s amazing ass, though, and when we were talking I noticed that my hands tended to wander town Annis’s sides and onto his round, hard glutes. Annis seemed to appreciate this even as it amused him, and it felt like our secret connection. As for Stani and Annis themselves, they were more and more to be found holding hands, so much so that by the time Christmas came into view they seemed almost literally inseparable.

Marv was a little different. We touched him just as much, but for some reason, maybe a joking attempt to break him further out of his shell, we always seemed to go right for his crotch. He played this off as if no one was touching him at all, which only increased the impetus to get him to react. My conversations with him, whether they were about what he was reading lately or the weather or gossip about the engine company (which was also looking mighty fine lately, but never mind), always involved him staring deep into my eyes, stroking my right upper arm (which I flexed for him sometimes, making him catch his breath as we spoke), while I cupped the massive, unmistakable hard-on in his uniform slacks. This wasn’t exclusive to Marv, of course—playful groping, especially during our occasional outbreaks of entirely recreational wrestling, naturally included appreciation of the boners we were all carrying around whenever any of us were in the same room and got a whiff of our heady mutual attraction. And Knox was great to feel up anywhere, shirtless or not. There was just something about Marv, and Marv’s dick, that drew your hand there. It was the same with Harry’s face: when I was talking with him I tended to find myself cupping his jaw and drawing a thumb across his full, sweet lips, or carding his jet-black hair, or wrapping my hand around the back of his neck as if in prelude to something more than touching. Knox tended to be in the middle when he was with us, pulling us all toward him while he told us our duty schedules or pretended to warn us about believing the latest whispers about Zach the earnest EMT making a pass at Captain Chun, our wry, ruggedly handsome stationhouse boss, all without taking any notice of our joint endeavors with respect to his hard, muscular body.

If it was all about the nads, I could’ve handled it easy. If it was all just us being a bunch of horny guys looking for raw, masculine stimulation, I could have kept myself reassured that there was nothing big or weird happening. Just guys being dogs, you know. Except it wasn’t. I knew it. We knew it. There was something happening between us, something we all could see. It was plain as fucking day when I stared into Stani and Annis’s burning, coal-dark eyes, or the fierce deep brown of Marv’s or Harry’s shining cornflower blue, or Knox’s cool, considering hazel. I felt these guys at a level that had nothing to do with touch. When I was home in my apartment, off my shift and with maybe days to go before I was back in the stationhouse again, I ached for them. When I walked up the wide, ramped sidewalk toward the bay, past the gleaming rig, and looked for my guys, my heart started pounding in my chest not because our bodies would be connecting, but because I’d finally be fucking seeing Annis and Stani and Marv and Harry and Knox again, feeling them around me. The touching thing, the caressing thing—that came out of the emotional connection, the way we were feeling. Not the other way around.

I was the one who started the thing where we held each other. At first it was just when we saw each other for the first time on a new tour and pulled our shirts off (yeah, they’d roped me into that shit), and we’d hug each other, one at a time then all together, only those one-at-a-time hugs went on longer than your normal hugs are really supposed to. Yeah, I ramped that shit up. It was just when we got together again on shift, at first. Then it started happening other times. When we went off shift. When we met up for pizza and beer between shifts. When we came back from a fire and no one had got hurt. When Annis brought out the cake at Stani’s birthday party. When Marv was all angry and freaked out because his kid sister was being bullied at school. When Harry made a really good pot of chili. When—shit, you get the idea.

It was around when that holding each other at the start of shift thing first started happening, back in mid-December, when I got the idea for the Secret Santa. I was getting a little agitated about how, if we kept heading the way it felt like we were, that I was really fucking close to falling in love with five fucking guys. I didn’t even want to look close enough to ask whether it might even have already happened. My brain went into revolt. We’re co-workers, my brain told my balls and my fucking heart. Co-workers. We’re like an office. We should do co-worker things, office things. I was coming out of the shower tying myself in knots over this when I spotted Harry standing at the sink I’d been using to shave, spritzing himself once on each side from a suspiciously familiar blood-red cologne bottle.

“What the fuck?” I asked him, half playing, half serious, as I approached him from behind. I didn’t have a towel around my waist. Neither did he. You know how guys in movies always have a huge white towel around their waists? Yeah, who the fuck actually does that? None of us did, that’s for sure. We dried off, we tossed the towels in the big laundry bin, end of story.

I stood behind him, pretending like I was glowering at him in the mirror. Harry was 5-foot-9 tops and I kinda towered over him, though the most important fact about that these days was the way he could put his head on my chest when we’d hugged at the start of the tour.

His adorably cute reflection grinned at me, totally unrepentant, the fucker. “What?” he asked, all breezy. “Smells good on you, Sun. Why not on me?”

I dropped by hands heavily onto his naturally broad shoulders, though I still managed to keep several inches between us, because we were both way too naked to do otherwise. “Because it’s mine, you dickhead,” I said, though in my own ears I sounded like an indulgent boyfriend and not a guy whose crewmate had pilfered his stuff. I tried to roughen my voice, but when I tried saying “Get your own!” I sounded more husky than anything else.

Harry seemed not to notice this, but I knew better. Harry noticed everything about us. And because he was the outgoing, fix-everything kind of guy, he not only noticed things about us, he did things about it. But for now he was acting dumb about my inner turmoil and shit. “Gotta try it out first,” Harry replied, like he was all sensible. “C’mon, what do you think?”

I bent down, making a show of taking a big whiff. The subtle musk and leather scent filtered through me like a drug. My dick, which was already half-chubbed from the good look I’d had at Harry’s V-shaped back, tight waist, and perfect bare ass, stiffened bolt upright so fast I felt a breeze on my abs and a rush of blood to my most sensitive extremity. I felt the wet tip brush momentarily against Harry’s back as it did so, which it shouldn’t have, since my dick, while plenty big enough and then some, wasn’t that big; but Harry felt it too, and I heard him suck in a quick breath in reaction.

I didn’t look for his dick in the mirror. Instead I used the hands I still had on his shoulders to start him turning around. As he shifted around toward me my arms dropped around him into an embrace. His arms snuck naturally around my waist was well, enfolding me in an embrace of my own.

“Need to get closer,” I mumbled lamely. I lowered my head as if to follow through on my stupid excuse, but instead … instead I kissed the side of his jaw where it met his neck below the ear.

Harry made a tiny, involuntary sound in the back of his throat.

I could feel his raging hard-on against my hip. He could feel mine, too, stabbing hard against his abdomen. I held him tighter, and he tightened his grip, too. My heart was jackhammering in my chest, hard enough he could probably feel that pounding against him, too.

I kissed further along his jaw, one inch closer to his lips. I’d shaved, but he hadn’t, and his jawline was sandpaper-stubbly in a way that send a shivering thrill through me. My lips inched forward still further and I laid down another tiny, gentle kiss.

Harry made another small whimpering noise. Then, suddenly, he lost patience with me, and as I was moving for another kiss along that rough, precious jaw of his he twisted his face around and pushed his own lips hard against mine, giving me the hungriest, neediest kiss I’d ever experienced in my life. All reticence gone, all pretense out the fucking window, I returned that mauling kiss in spades. We went at each other, holding each other hard, rutting our cocks between our hard, sculpted bodies, and kissed fervently, bruisingly, with bottomless passion. This was not the kiss of two horny guys looking to get off. This was the aching, need-soaked kiss of lovers long denied.

We broke to a raucous sound. I’d thought it was my blood rushing in my ears, but it was the automated call-out over the loudspeakers, forcibly recalling Harry and me to the cold, cruel world. My heart was still thundering in my chest. Our torsos were messy with sweat and jizz—we’d both orgasmed, cumming copiously over each other’s abs and chests, though we’d hardly even noticed in our desperate fervor. We were panting at each other, wild-eyed, not smiling, both of us overcome with too much feeling and emotion. Then Harry’s eyes sharpened. He kissed me, short but sweet, and, turning away from our embrace, hurried to the bin of fresh towels, tossing me one as he took another for himself as he hurried into the locker room. There were marks on his ass, I saw as he rounded the corner, from where I’d gripped him hard during our frantic lovemaking. By the time I’d caught the towel and started briskly cleaning up my messy chest and abs, he was gone.

I was pulling on my turnout gear with the other guys before my brain, which had been racing this whole time, really connected back up with the rest of me. And my brain was telling me alarming things. I was pretty sure that it wasn’t about Harry and me, because (my brain had realized) at this point in our mutual relationship that scene outside the showers would have played out exactly the same way if it had been Annis standing there bare-assed, or Knox, or any of them. It was about me and all of them, all of them and me. Something in me quailed as we clambered into the rig, taking up our assigned positions.

I didn’t know how to love anyone. How could I love five guys at once?

Part 2

When our three-day tour was done and we’d all hugged goodbye, all the embraces feeling weird and extra charged, like somehow I’d had this fierce, steamy make-out with all of them and jizzed all over everyone’s chests or some shit, I headed home feeling both emotionally bruised and yet, at the same time, totally liberated. Everything in the world had changed now that there had been a kiss among us. Okay, a kiss, and a shared orgasm. Fuck, that had been hot. Two days later and I was still turned on as a guy could be. My cheeks were hot just thinking about it. I could still feel that kiss on my lips, and his fat dick against my hip.

I wanted to taste it.

I stumped up the stairs to my apartment distractedly and unlocked the door without remembering having taken my keys out. As I hung up my heavy winter coat on the pegs by the door I saw that Tim Donnelly, my longtime best friend and my roommate since I’d moved out after high school graduation, was home. This distracted me a little, since I hadn’t really been expecting to see him—he hadn’t been around much lately. He was streaming something on his laptop in the otherwise darkened living room, but he set the laptop aside and rose to his feet as I came in. He looked different, somehow. It wasn’t anything obvious, but he registered as being not quite the same, though his anxious demeanor was very true to form. Maybe he’d cut his hair or something? It looked good on him, anyway. Damn good.

“Hey,” I said, dropping the gym bag I used to ferry clothes and shit between home and the firehouse so I could go through the stack of mail on the kitchen table. I hauled my long-sleeved jersey off over my head one-handed without even giving it much conscious thought, even as I reached for the mail with the other.

“Hey, Joey,” I heard him say from behind me. He’d used the diminutive nickname for so long it didn’t bother me anymore. It was just a part of our history—but he was the only person who got away with it.

There was something tentative in his voice, and I looked up to meet his gaze, tossing the bills and junk mail back on the table to deal with later. He’d moved toward me while I was sorting through the mail, and was standing only a foot or so away, blinking at me uncertainly in the harsh glow of the low-hanging light fixture over the table. He ran a hand through his loose, sandy hair. “What’s up?” I asked. My curiosity was gaining an edge of concern.

He bit his lip. “Do you—do you notice anything different about me?” he asked.

This sounded like a trick question, but I wasn’t sure what game we were playing, and my mind was totally on other things. I narrowed my eyes a little. “No,” I said. “Not really.”

He took another half-step forward. He was looking me right in the eye. He looked like he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to shake some sense into me, or kiss me silly. I’d been getting hints lately that Tim was starting to realize he was into me, which was a little out of the blue after all these years but kind of sweet. “Are you sure?” Tim persisted.

I frowned. “What’s going on, man?” I asked.

He bit his lip again. “It’s just—” He stopped, then started explaining quickly. “There was a package for you, only I was expecting a package and didn’t realize you were, and I opened it without looking. And then there was a shirt in it marked ‘free sample’—” Here he tugged at the chocolate ring color of the solid cocoa-butter-colored tee he was wearing. “—and it was in my size not yours, and I was like, ‘Huh, okay’, and so I put it on, and—Are you sure you don’t notice anything different about me?”

I sighed, exasperated. “Look, Tim, I didn’t order anything, so that probably was for you. So, no harm no foul, right?”

He reached around wordlessly to pick up something from the kitchen counter behind him, and showed me a large, thick mailer that had been carelessly ripped open. The address label was made out in my name, sure enough. Tim’s long index finger was tapping the preprinted return address, which included the logo for Metaboi.com. I recognized the name immediately—it was the same website I’d gotten my brother’s boots and the cologne off of a few months before. Under the logo and address was another logo in the kind of letters you’d see on a Roman statue or something. It said “PERMACHANGE”, and under it in smaller type, “FOR SELECT CUSTOMERS”. This didn’t mean anything to me, but I guessed it was a new clothing line they were trying out. So it looked like they’d sent me a sample (because for some reason I was on their list of “select customers”?) and Tim had unwittingly intercepted it. Well, that was fine. It looked good on him, really good to be honest, and I had plenty of fucking tee shirts.

It seemed like a weird coincidence, the website turning up again, right after the weird thing with the cologne and Harry back at the station, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Something about all of this was tapping at the back of my head, like a useful idea was forming but wasn’t quite there yet.

Tim set the mailer down on the table and looked at me squarely. “It’s just—” he said again, sounding frustrated. “Joey,” he began again, “do you honestly actually remember me as being as tall as you are?”

I shook my head, grinning in confusion. “But you’re not as tall as me, dickhead,” I laughed. “I’m a full inch taller than you. No—wait! Two inches!” I amended gleefully, suddenly remembering the extra inch that gran had marked off, standing on an ottoman at Thanksgiving, which now put me even further ahead of poor 6-foot-2 Tim. I rocked up on the balls of me feet, which fortunately my beloved combat boots were flexible enough to allow. “Ha! In your face!” I mocked, pointing down at his inferior height.

Tim gaped at me and turned away, muttering something I couldn’t entirely make out. It sounded like he said something about “can’t just go from a foot shorter to two inches shorter”, and there was other stuff like “not possible” and “insanely attractive”, but I was done with this ridiculous conversation. My brain had already raced ahead. “Hey, I gotta check something online,” I said, grabbing my bag off the floor and moving past him out of the kitchen. “I think you gave me an idea.” I headed straight into my room, and when turned to I close the door behind me I saw Tim staring incredulously after me. Whatever.

I pulled my own laptop out of my back and opened it up, heading straight for the Metaboi website. Sure enough, there was a link to a company-sponsored “Secret Santa” program, where you signed up your office for a gift exchange, each co-worker randomly drawing another member of the team to anonymously give an inexpensive gift to. I’d seen an email from them about it a couple weeks ago, but the utility of it hadn’t clicked until now,

Office things. Co-worker things. My crew and I desperately needed to re-establish where we’d been at before, and that meant we all had to act like we each had five crewmates and not five fucking love-of-your-life husbands, for fuck’s sake, which was where it felt like all this shit was going. It was the second half of December, just a little over a week before the Baby Jesus and a chortling, eternally fat Saint Nicholas spread peace and goodwill among men. There was one three-day tour left before then, ending on Christmas Eve, followed by another between the holidays. If I got my shit together now we could all do the whole thing online, have it all shipped to the firehouse, and we could do the Secret Santa thing together before we went off to spend Christmas with family and stuff.

I was almost manically sure this would fix things and put everything back on track. My heart was trying frantically to warn me that it was already way too late, but fuck that noise. I was pretty sure that my heart wasn’t much smarter than my balls. And my balls didn’t know shit. (My tongue was still thinking about Harry’s dick, but my tongue didn’t know shit either.)

I went to the Secret Santa page and started entering my crew’s names and email addresses, which I had already from our various meet-ups off-shift. (We texted, too, but Marv preferred email, and I kind of did too.) The next screen had account and payment information. I remembered something from before about still being able to use my discount code the next time I ordered, so I dug the card out and entered my code and hit enter. The site threw up a huge box with lights and streamers and a huge mess of wrapped and stacked presents along the bottom. “Congratulations!” it said. “Thanks to your platinum status, you’re eligible to have your program fulfilled entirely within the PermaChange line, with all costs waived during this trial period. Would you like to proceed?”

Free sounded good. There wasn’t a button that said “Fuck, yeah”, so I just clicked on “OK”.

A new window came up. “Reminder,” it said at the top, followed by some bullet points. “As you know, the effects of the PermaChange line persist until death, if any, even after the item is taken off. The effects are applied only once, so if anyone else wears the item afterward, it will be just a normal article of clothing.” I frowned hard at these “reminders”. As I know? Was it trying to tell me that if I bought a shirt, it would only look good on me and no one else? The first part was weird, too, but it must mean that … people would remember how good I’d looked even if I was wearing something else? This sure was some fucked-up ad copy. Cocky bastards.

There was one more. “And don’t forget—only the person who experiences the effect will be aware of it! The results will just seem perfectly normal for everyone else.” The hell? So … I’d know I looked good, but no one else would? What the fuck were they talking about? There was no such thing as a fucking subliminal shirt, for shit’s sake.

I shook my head, dismissing the weird warnings in my head and clicking on the “OK” button to proceed. The website now informed me that I’d be notified when everyone had opted in, and I could log back in and choose the gift for my Secret Santa recipient. I closed the laptop and, shucking the rest of my clothes, dropped naked onto my bed to send a group text, mostly to alert those members of the group who didn’t check their emails often. Stani was especially terrible about email.

“Guys,” I texted, “Check ur email for a note about Secret Santa. I think this would be”—I paused, considering what to say, then resumed: “a healthy thing for us to do.” I’d almost typed “appropriate” or even “co-workerly”, but I wasn’t ready to try to win the guys over to his sudden cold feet about their emotional trajectory.

“Healthy, huh, Sun?” Annis responded back. “Does that mean ‘sexy’?” This was followed by a wink—not an emoji, but an actual selfie of the handsome, olive-skinned godling winking. I smiled at the picture even as my restless dick twitched. His head was lying on a pillow with a rusty and peacock houndstooth pattern that somehow seemed perfect for his coloring. His bulging shoulders were obviously bare.

“I dunno about this,” Harry chipped in. “I’m looking at the options and they’re really nice and sexy as fuck. But—shirts?? I thought we were past that?!!” This was followed by a selfie of Harry, also winking. Fuck, Annis had started a fucking meme.

“Shirts can be good things,” I texted the group sternly. “Don’t hate on the shirts. Other Harry agrees with me,” I added, since we had kept up that joked-about extra Harry until it became second nature. After hitting send I decided to follow up with a selfie of my own, looking stern and shaking my finger. Once it was posted I noticed as if for the first time that I was shirtless too, and also that I was looking startlingly fine. Fuck, the cameras on phones were like magic these days. Wait—when had I even taken my shirt off? I was so used to pulling any shirt I had to wear off my body the moment it wasn’t needed anymore that I didn’t even remember. Shit, I must have done it in front of Tim, and him with his budding crush on me and all. Fuck.

“Other me doesn’t even own any shirts,” Harry shot back. Stani’s response was to post quick video of him laughing merrily. It was an old video he’d used a lot before instead of a laughing emoji, and though I knew it could be taken at face value or ironically according to one’s own tastes, in this case I guessed he was genuinely amused, especially as he followed it up with a new selfie of himself grinning. His pale, well-muscled shoulders were bare, too. There was just the round edge of something darker on the side of the picture, which at first I thought was Stani’s shirt, but then I realized it must be Annis’s thick shoulder.

“I’m in,” Marv texted. “I’m already on the site. Do I say who I got?”

I immediately responded “NO!” But the others did as well, so that a succession of “NO” bubbles all sprouted up at the same time, with the “bloop” sound effects tripping over each other as the responses all piled onto the screen. Stani posted himself laughing again. I smiled at my screen.

Annis posted a video, too, but his beautiful face was more serious. His “I miss you guys” fell out of my phone’s speakers and seemed to fill the small, cozy but empty room. Stani, Harry, and Marv followed suit with their own quick videos saying the same thing, and a second later came Knox, who so far had stayed out of it, with one of his own. I shook my head, shocked that there was actually a pricking in my eyes. I hit record. “I don’t miss any of you dickheads even one little bit,” I said, and posted it. Some of the others posted smiling emojis, mocking my transparently false sentiment. Then Marv, making fun of his own occasional head-in-the-clouds cluelessness, posted a selfie of himself with a ridiculous pouty face.

I texted, “Okay, I give, I miss you guys too.” After all, it was true.

We all said good night to each other, like we did most nights we were off shift and in our own beds, separated from each other by the lives we lived outside the firehouse. I was thinking about all my guys and how they were in different rooms scattered around the city, lying there thinking about each other. I was about to set my phone aside to charge when a private text came in from Knox. “Thank you for this,” it said.

Surprised, I texted back, “No problem.”

After a moment, Knox sent back, “I’m not sure you realize how much things have changed since you got here. Our team wasn’t meshing. We were fighting, grinding gears. You changed that.”

I stared at the screen. Those guys not getting along, not working together as smoothly as a well-oiled machine, was pretty much unimaginable to me. Inconceivable.

Before I could even begin to think of how to reply to that, Knox texted, “We were missing something. It turned out to be yogurt.”

I burst out laughing. “Yogurt??” I texted back.

“*you,” Knox replied. “Fucking autocorrect.”

I was still giggling. “I’m glad I could be your yogurt,” I replied. I wanted very much to hug Knox in that moment, and it wasn’t even because of what we’d been talking about. I wanted to hug him just because.

“Good night, Sun,” Knox texted back. “See you in three days.”

I texted back a “good night” and then plugged in my phone and switched off the light. I was still turned on. Fuck, it felt like everything in me was shivering with arousal. My head swam as I thought about the guys, naked in their beds, all riled up and shit just like I was. My dick was stiff as fuck and aching like I had never known before. It tapped against my belly, leaving little momentary trails of precum between my abs and the tip. I sighed and curled my left hand around my meat, feeling it surge as my mind drifted back to the kiss with Harry outside the showers, this time, for spice, imagining that joked-about second Harry pressing against around me from behind, stroking my long muscley arms and mouthing my shoulders and neck while proper Harry and I kissed like fucking demons in heat.

It occurred to me for the first time as I stroked that our sudden, spontaneous eruption of physical and emotional intensity might not have been the only one to have taken place in our group. This thought turned me on even more, and I started imagining secret encounters between the others, each thinking they were the first ones kissing out of all of us. I pictured Knox and Annis first. Knox in his uniform, meeting a sleepy Annis in the hall in his snug boxers outside the bunks after Annis had gotten a few hours’ rack time, being surprised by a sudden embrace and Annis’s impulsive, dream-fed sloppy kiss, before Annis, grinning widely, let him go and wandered off in search of coffee, both of them ignoring Annis’s fat hardon pointing the way, exposed to the cool air of the hallway through the gaping fly of Annis’s shorts. The scene shifted in my imagination and I saw Marv and Stani in a quiet corner, holding an entire hour-long conversation while unself-consciously holding each other, their arms wrapped around each other’s strong, naked torsos, their groins pressed firmly together, talking animatedly about Star Wars or how Marv’s parents met, not really noticing that their faces are getting closer together as they talk, and then they’re just kissing, as if the liplock were a natural evolution of their conversation. They break the kiss and Marv drops his head shyly, but Stani kisses his cheek and smiles at him, and Marv smiles back and kisses him again on Stani’s very kissable lips, and then they start talking quietly again, this time barely able to suppress their grins, holding each other tighter than ever …

Imagining that kind of stuff got me close to the edge before I’d even gotten into a rhythm, and when I came back to the scene outside the showers, only we were all there, all naked and hard and beautiful, and they were all kissing me, Harry shifting into Annis into Stani into Marv into Knox, all of them making love to my fucking mouth while we held desperately onto each other, that was when I shot what felt like a hundred loads all over myself, cumming so hard and so much cum was spattering my mouth, my cheeks, my hair, cumming until I was fucking spent. I had been worried it would be tough to get to sleep with all my anxieties, but after that torrential orgasm I drifted off into a ragged sleep without even cleaning up, I was so fucking sated. Waking up with dried cum clinging to my skin all over, and having to get it out of the soft blond fuzz of my happy trail in the shower the next morning was worth it.

My Secret Santa gift recipient was Harry. I found this out when I sat down naked at my laptop, still damp and flushed from the shower and the quick jerk-off I’d had in there. My seemingly inexhaustible dick was already hard as a rock again and slapping against my abs as sat down in the warm, still half-dark room, thinking about my men. I checked my email, ignoring everything else in favor of the notification, posted the night before, that my crew was successfully registered and I could proceed with my own adventure in being a Secret Santa. I logged in, and the site told me my randomly chosen crewmate was the very guy I’d introduced kisses to us with—assuming other secret encounters like the ones I’d imagined hadn’t actually happened. My tall, rigid dick twitched at the memory of those scenarios. Ignoring it was a bitch, but I wanted to do right by my Harry.

There were a lot of clothes in this PermaChange line that would certainly look good on Harry, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on anything. My first thought was to get him a shirt, just to underline our group talk the night before—and I was half convinced that we needed to go back to shirts in order to cool things down and avoid the impossibility of where we all seemed to be headed. Ignoring the descriptions, since all that talk was always lies and shit, I tried to imagine Harry in the nice, silky dark blue dress shirt, or this tee or that hoodie. None of it quite clicked, though I knew any of them would make Harry look like a million bucks. None of them were shown being worn by models, though I eventually noticed there was a button at the bottom you could click to “show the effect”. I didn’t click it yet—I liked imagining how they looked on Harry for myself. I grunted, not having noticed I was stroking myself with my free hand. “Go on, do your thing,” I told it, and returned my attention to the site.

Giving up on the shirts for the moment I was going to check out the jeans, but I saw a link for a jewelry section and clicked into out of curiosity. There were rings, bracelets, and a lot of other stuff. My eye caught on a small stylized silver pendant of two male bodies intertwined, on a thick silver chain. Clicking on it, I was surprised to feel an instant reaction in my pounding heart and my impatient dick, and my balls gave a churn too. I realized I was imagining the two figures both as Harry and me, Harry and any one of us, and also our running gag of two Harrys. I activated the control at the bottom that allowed the depiction of the items with a model and gasped. The big image taking up two thirds of the page shifted from a static image of the pendant and chain lying on a white background, to it being worn by a model, shown from the chest up, with tanned skin and big, perfect muscles. And thick, jet-black hair. And an easy, crooked grin. Somehow, some way, this fucked-up site had made its virtual model look exactly like the guy the gift was for. And then I realized that there were strong hands resting on those muscle-thick, sculpted shoulders. I shifted my glance to the man standing behind Harry, half-expecting to see me, like the site knew about our encounter outside the showers or some shit. But the guy behind Harry in the picture … was also Harry, also naked and beautiful and wearing the pendant and chain. He kissed the first Harry’s neck, then looked up and met my gaze. And winked.

Fuck. I came, hard, once again orgasming so violently that I shot my first load all over my face. More shot onto my thick chest as I pumped by rigid dick with both hands and tried to jack all my cum out of me, and yet there seemed to be no end to it. I came again, onto my chin and neck, while I licked my lips, lapping up what I could reach from around my mouth, and again onto my thick chest. I spared my right hand from my dick, still cumming, and pressed the button that told the fucking site that this was what I wanted for Harry.

Everyone took care of their Secret Santa gifts in record time. In fact, the others had done theirs the night before, and I was actually the last to do it. As a result, the site was able to have the gifts all delivered to the station overnight, and one of the guys working the alternate shift from us let me know, since my name was on the boxes as facilitator, that the stuff had arrived. I group texted my suggestion that we meet up the night before our tour started, so there was no risk that we’d be called out in the middle, and they all agreed. Knox volunteered his place, since it was the obvious choice—he had a small old row-house near the station he’d bought cheap and fixed up in his spare time, until it was now practically in showroom condition (if you ignored the missing fixtures in the downstairs bath, which the distributor had lost, mis-shipped, or otherwise fucked up three times already over the last six months). Annis and Stani volunteered to take care of booze, and Harry texted that he’d cook. I promised to bring snacks and desserts, which, after I’d sent the text, got me thinking about us all covering a naked Marv with whipped cream, and him carrying on reading some book, pretending not to notice even as we concentrated our cream-spreading attentions on his unavoidable erection. I grabbed my junk through my jeans, wondering if I could jerk off a fifth time that day. Unfortunately, it had momentarily slipped my mind that I was in the living room watching TV with Tim. I knew I was already teasing him with my now-constant shirtlessness, and when I heard him suck in a breath and mutter a drawn out “fuuuck” I glanced over sheepishly to where he sat, only a foot away from me, on the couch. He was shirtless too, as if to get back at me, and his long pale torso was, to my surprise, sporting very well-defined swimmer’s pecs and shoulders, and nicely sculpted abs that, in the dim light of the TV, looked almost like a ten-pack.

He met my eyes almost pleadingly. His hand was in his lap, too, and although it was dark in the room and he was wearing navy sweats over his long, nicely shaped legs it was pretty clear he was grabbing his own boner, hard, as if to stop it from running amuck and causing trouble.

“Sorry,” I said. I took my hand away from my own crotch—which, since it fully exposed the state of my rampant erection in my snug jeans, probably didn’t help.

“Please let me blow you,” he burst out, all of a sudden. He looked like he was going to say more, maybe try to convince me, but he shut his mouth and just let the entreaty hang there.

My heart went out to my tall, sexy old friend, and my balls even considered it for a moment. I was horny as fuck now, pretty much all day every day, with our little Christmas party looming only one night away. But I shook my head. “Sorry, man,” I said, and I truly was sorry. I tried to figure out how to explain, but all I came up with was, “I’m kinda seeing someone.” Five someones, actually, but that would be harder to explain. My thick boner shifted and flexed in my jeans as I thought about them.

Tim seemed to accept this, though it must have been a little painful. Then he said, “Can I watch you jack off? Please?”

I gaped at him. The way he said it, more playful than begging, like it would totally be just for getting rocks off and wasn’t at all about him crushing on me bad, got in under my defenses somehow. I knew it was probably not a good idea, but I decided to throw him a bone, as it were.

“Fine,” I said, rolling my eyes. “But just this once, okay? This is a one time only thing. And you’re doing all the laundry for two weeks.”

“Done,” Tim said eagerly. He muted the wall-mounted flat-screen and climbed down off the couch onto the cheap rug we had put down in here. He turned on his knees to face me, watching expectantly. His eyes were wide and his hands were already reaching for the waistband of his sweats.

I sighed and went for the fly of my jeans, letting thoughts of my men drive up my arousal. I’d decided to give him a show. My nips were as hard as my dick as I pulled it out, with some difficulty, through my fly, and I kind of wanted to tweak them just to add to the production; but both hands were already on my cock, like they tended to be when I was jerking myself off lately, and they weren’t going anywhere until I’d blown another huge, messy load all over my face, pecs, and abs. As I started stroking, thinking about my crew naked and hard and all making out with each other like it was what we were put on this fucking earth for, something in the back of my head told me this would not be the only time I let Tim see what he wanted to see.

Part 3

The next night was frigid cold. I arrived at Knox’s bewreathed door with butterflies in my stomach, bearing bags of party good that were mostly store-bought apart from the Toll House cookies I’d made. (I’d also gotten half a case of premium yogurt, just to tease Knox.) But Knox met me at the door with a huge smile and bare shoulders dusted festively with a hint of red and green glitter, and after I’d hung up my coat and dropped off the stuff in the kitchen he pulled my Henley off right over my head, and pulled me into a warm embrace while the others who’d already arrived watched grinning, arms around each other’s bare shoulders, waiting their turn. It was heaven holding him in my arms—wrapping myself around Knox’s warm, hard body was the best thing in the world. He surprised me by ending the embrace with a long, sensuous kiss before handing me off, a little dazed, to Stani. Wrapping my arms around Stani’s tight torso was just as heavenly, and he, too, finished it off with a tender, loving kiss before passing me to his brother. By this time I was expecting it, and, after letting my hands drop to Annis’s amazing ass as we embraced, I kept them there as we kissed, opening my mouth a little for him and letting our tongues tentatively touch for the first time. Stani came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me, running his hands along Annis’s and my abs between us as we went on kissing, and I had to hold back from the ramp-up to a serious fucking orgasm from all the amazing stimulation.

Marv and Harry arrived together while Annis and I were making out, and so we shifted into the process of greeting them as well. Everyone who wasn’t greeting Marv and Harry paired off, holding each other in a tight hug as we watched the new arrivals, cheeks resting against cheeks so we could feel the other’s smiles. This felt like a new normal, always holding each other, and in the thick, raw emotional pleasure of being with them all again I forgot my misgivings and decided that that was pretty amazing.

We decided to do the gifts first, and then do dinner and hang out. The end of the evening was kind of unspecified, and I realized that I was hoping that there would be more than kissing later. I was spinning this around in my head, considering the prospect to be all at once exciting, alarming, and, more than anything, absolutely necessary, so I was distracted as we moved to sit down in the comfortably small living room, made quietly festive by a tree in one corner decorated with dark red and pure white ornaments of various sizes, and small twinkling lights that were, unusually, a warm amber instead of white or multicolored. There were even Christmas stockings hanging from pegs mounted in the mantelpiece over the fireplace, bedecked with each of our names and obviously filled to their fuzzy brims, though with what I had no idea. I was staring at them, immersed in my own confusions, so I missed the first part of Harry’s suggestion as we gathered together on couches and love seats around a low, sturdy coffee table.

“—should get completely naked,” Harry was saying.

I glanced up at him, surprised. The others were smiling or nodding. “What?” I said.

Harry looked at me, grinning. “It’s all clothes and stuff, right? I feel like we should celebrate our little moment together by showing off just the gift we got.”

“What if someone got you something crappy?” Stani asked laughing.

“Then you take it off,” Harry said reasonably. “We’ll probably take them off afterwards anyway. … Just to keep them safe, you know. These are special gifts,” he added, winking.

“Fuck, it’s just Secret Santa,” I said, standing to shuck my jeans. The others followed suit, shucking jeans and chinos and whatever, and then sat back down, our eyes roving all over each other’s bodies—dark or light, big or defined, hairy or smooth, grinning wide and eager or smiling small and hopeful. We were all totally boned, of course, but that was pretty normal these days, for us. I wondered about our dripping cocks leaking on Knox’s inexpensive but very nice furniture, but he was already ahead of me and was handing around towels to put between us and his upholstery.

“I did wash my ass before coming here, you know,” I joked, realizing too late that the way I’d said it made it sound a little like I’d been prepping myself to be the group’s butt boy. Sure enough, a few snickers went around the group.

“I’m not worried about your dirty ass,” Knox said, handing the last towel to Marv, who seemed both intrigued and embarrassed by the topic of conversation. “I’m thinking about that leaky pipe of yours.”

“Yeah, Sun, call a fucking plumber!” Harry put in. Then we all looked at Annis, who’d worked as a plumber before joining up with the fire department. The normally imperturbable Annis actually blushed, his olive skin taking on a ruddy hue over his cheeks. He looked at me, making his eyes go wide, and the others all burst out laughing at us.

I grinned at them. “I think we’re all going to be laying down pipe before too long,” I said, and they laughed a little more—some, like Knox, smiling knowingly, others—notably Harry—with greedy grins, and the rest, like Marv and, surprisingly, Stani, with cautious smiles. It occurred to me that maybe were weren’t even close to all being at the same level of experience. But I dismissed the thought. It was us, and we took care of each other.

Still, despite our level of mutual comfort and the emotional connections between us that had mounted to a stage beyond anything I could have imagined, it was still kind of strange to be sitting there, all of us buck naked, hard, and flushed with arousal. Stani spoke up unexpectedly. “I think we should also all not say who we got even after the gifts are handed out,” he said.

“Why not?” I asked, perplexed, but almost immediately the answer came to me, before Stani even said, “Because that way it’s like every gift is from all of us.” I nodded enthusiastically, and the motion seemed to carry unanimously.

Knox “played Santa”, handing out the presents from under the tree. They were all professionally wrapped in charcoal paper decked with thin, dark silver ribbon. He handed the first one to Marv, maybe because he was at the end of the long sofa and closest to the tree—I expected the orderly and methodical Knox to go clockwise around the room. That meant that, since I was sitting by the fireplace on the other side of the tree, on the other couch with Harry, I’d be last, and whatever I got would be the final note of the proceedings. I pushed down another flicker of nerves as Marv took the box eagerly, and I couldn’t help thinking his warm, caramel skin looked delicious in the shifting light, his darker, red-tinged, torpedo-shaped uncut tool twitching feverishly against the hair-dusted skin above his crotch, leaving a curved smear of pre across his long lower abdominals just below his navel.

Marv tore the wrapping open a little more ferociously than I expected, and reached in to lift up, holding it from both corners … a single pair of raspberry-red boxer briefs. We all laughed. Now that was a Secret Santa gift—simple, not to grand, but totally apt.

Marv was grinning at us as he held up the briefs. “You guys just can’t get your mind off my junk, can you?” Quickly, to various replies of “Nope” and “Fuck no” (that was me), he jumped up and hauled the raspberry briefs on, making me think, mm, raspberry and caramel as I joined the others in enthusiastic applause. Shit, I was hungry. I wondered if I could sneak away to pilfer some of the cookies I’d made. Meanwhile Marv was standing there, frozen and gaping down at himself, as we all applauded his beauty and the role his mighty tool played in enhancing it.

“Nice,” Harry said, clapping, and the rest of us murmured agreement. Sure, the shorts were kind of ridiculous, since they had no hope of containing the towering erection that was still jumping excitedly against his torso, painting swaths of precum in a sticky arc just under his nicely developed pecs. Hesitantly he reached for it, moving first one curled hand, then the other, obviously intending to grasp his mighty tool right there in front of us; but Knox, still standing by the tree, grabbed both of Marv’s wrists before he could.

“Save it for later, sequoia-dick,” Knox chided him with a smile. “You can put on a show if you like, but let’s get through the presents first!” Marv, staring dazedly at him, just nodded mutely. Knox let his wrists go, and Marv sank back down onto the couch, staring at his huge pole as it rode up a few inches onto his chest now that he was sitting, leaving more of a leaky trail. He was staring at it as if he’d never seen it before, which was pretty funny—it must have been right there in his field of vision since puberty.

Knox was shaking his head. “That was the dumbest gift ever,” he mock scolded us. “Who got Marv underwear? That’s like buying snowshoes for your trip to Fiji. Or shirts for Sunshine here,” he added, winking at me.

“Fuck off,” I said amiably. “The shorts look great, Marv.” Marv nodded dumbly, not looking up from his oversized equipment. I had to admit, I had trouble looking away from it myself; but then, that was normal for us. Perfectly normal.

Something niggled in the back of my head, but it slipped away as Knox handed Stani his gift, and I started thinking about cream to top the raspberries and caramel. Then I grinned at myself as I imaged my creamy, gymnast-physiqued Stani, well, topping the nicely buff, caramel-skinned Marv. I shook my head even as my rigid, leaking dick jumped eagerly at the image. Well, the reverse would be … a challenge. Though my anus twitched at that—that crazy fucker seemed willing to give it a try. I was still shaking my head at my careening, sex-mad thoughts as Stani pulled on his gift, a long-sleeved, cobalt-blue stretchy compression top. As he yanked it the rest of the way down to his waist it was obvious how perfectly it set off his massive, bodybuilder-huge pecs, shoulders, and upper arms, and we all broke into spontaneous applause, howls, and wolf-whistles. Knox pulled him to his feet, and Stani, the fair, wild-haired Greek, stood staring back at us as we cheered his rock-carved, hugely built upper body. After a beat or two of staring down at his jutting pecs while being buffeted by our applause and cheers, Stani broke into a huge, incandescent grin and raised his mighty arms for a world-beating, mountainous double-bi, his long, thick cock twitching animatedly against the fabric covering his long, ten-pack abs. I clapped hard and whistled, aware I was a little jealous of the double-bi—though I knew my arms were just as well appreciated by the guys.

“All right, that’s enough adulation, Hercules,” Knox said, waving Stani back down into his seat.

Herakles,” Annis corrected him.

“I swear I heard the seams screaming when he flexed like that,” Harry joked to me from the other end of our couch.

“I know, right?” I said.

Annis was next, and his gift was heavier—which turned out to be because it was a nice paid of black denim jeans. He started pulling them on, but stopped as soon as all three of his big, hair-dusted feet had popped out of the cuffs. “Go on,” Knox encouraged him. “Pull up the rest of the way on so you can model for us like everyone else.”

I was staring at Annis’s sexy feet, and not for the first time, but as Knox spoke I looked up in time to catch Annis’s startled stare. He looked almost alarmed, and I wondered what was wrong. Instinctively his eyes met his brother’s. Stani smiled and gave him an encouraging nod, but then he stilled, as if something unexpected had occurred to him. He nodded to Annis again, this time more seriously. Somehow, this made Annis make a connection of his own. Annis’s eyes dropped briefly to Stani’s massive, perfectly carved chest with the dark blue compression shirt hugging every plane and curve, then he met Stani’s eyes again. His brother nodded again, this time in affirmation rather than encouragement, and his lips curved as he said quietly, “Go on. Pull ‘em up.”

“Pull – them – up!” Harry started cheering, and we all picked up the chant. “Pull – them – up! Pull – them – up!” Even Stani joined in. Annis, giving his brother a smile that carried a heartbreaking amount of love and gratitude, turned his smile on us, and this time it was a showman’s smile. He climbed to his feet, pulling up the black jeans as he did so, and we all clasped and whooped ridiculously. He fastened the jeans around his narrow waist and spread his arms to let us appreciate how great the jeans looked—not least because of the way his cocks looked as they thrust irrepressibly past the waistband on either side of his navel.

“Turn around!” I called over the shouts and applause, and Annis, looking proud and abashed at the same time, turned to let us admire his amazing, god-muscled triple glutes, which the pants seemed made to flatter in the most shameless, flesh-gripping fashion possible. I rose to my feet, proud to proclaim my long-held belief that if any ass deserved as standing ovation, it was Ioannis Stephanidis. Annis turned back around. He was grinning broadly, and favored us all with an appreciative bow.

“All right, all right,” Knox said. “Enough showing off.” Annis sat down and shared a long look with Stani, but Knox was already moving on to the next target, which shortly realized, after a glance at the empty spot where he’d been sitting on the other side of Harry from me, was himself. Still standing by the tree Knox opened his own box, and then his brows drew together.

“What is it?” Stani asked.

Knox set the box down and held up a sheaf of thin, translucent papers, each with a design on it. “Tattoos,” he said, clearly uncertain how to proceed.

“Looks like there are six of them,” I mused aloud. After a second Knox nodded in agreement and lowered the fan of papers to me, like he was a magician asking me to pick a card. I saw they were all the same—a six-pointed star maybe four inches across, each with a solid circle replacing one of the points. They were all slightly different colors and all of them had the stars with a thick outline and empty on the inside, except one, which was a solid star in hunter green, though it still had a circle on only one of its points. I knew instinctively that this was Knox’s star and picked the outlined star that was a kind of golden brown, matching my hair and, I admitted with a certain resignation, my attitude, however tough I tried to act.

Knox was smiling at me, but he paused before moving on to Harry. “You know this is all down to you,” he said quietly to me. “Maybe you should take the solid one.”

I smiled up at him. “It’s your gift, boss,” I said. “And anyway, we all know you’re the center.” I had no doubt that the solid star represented, as Knox must also have intuited, the one that held us together. That could only be wise, organized, endlessly compassionate Knox.

“And you’re also one of us,” Harry agreed, tapping the small circle on the point of the solid star, which was just like the other circles that adorned one point of each of the other stars. One of six, one of us, yet the center connecting us, too.

Knox shrugged, conceding the point. He shifted to his left slightly and offered the array of tattoos to Harry, who picked the blue-outlined star, and then around the circle. Knox, left with the solid star, read the small-print instructions at the bottom of the sheet. The rest of us just watched him ready to do as he did. Knox then pressed the sheet firmly to the middle of his chest with his whole hand, counted one, two, three under his breath, then pulled the sheet away. It was now completely blank, and there was a solid, dark green six-pointed star right in the center of his chest, diving down into his shallow cleavage. It looked exactly like a professionally inked tattoo. New, but after the swelling had subsided.

“Nice,” I said. I immediately took up my own sheet, and it didn’t take me long to figure out the Joey Sunshine-appropriate place to put it. I slapped the sheet against the side of my right upper arm and held it there, pressed hard and held it for three heartbeats. I took away the sheet, checking that it was blank. Sure enough, it was, and there was a golden brown six-pointed star tattoo on the lightly tanned skin of my highly appreciated, exceptionally well sculpted, muscle-thick upper arms. I was kind of hoping my gift would show off my favorite assets at least as well as Annis’s did his amazing legs and ass, or Stani his Herculean muscles (Heraklean muscles?), or Marv his uncanny monster cock; but just having this tattoo here would be enough, I realized. It looked awesome there, and I watched it bunch and stretch as I moved and straightened my arm.

As soon as it took hold, I felt something totally unexpected, though—a surge of emotion that connected me almost physically to Knox. I could feel what Knox was feeling, and he could share my feelings, too. I looked up at Knox in surprise, because what I was feeling from him was potent, unadulterated love. Erotic love, sure, and there was a current underneath it of a towering carnal need; but romantic love, true love, lifelong love. It was the tidal wave of emotion that came with feeling that separation was pain to be endured and to be severed from the object of your love was death. He felt it for me because he felt it for all of us, because all of us felt that exact thing for every single member of this group, and I knew, heart pounding, that I could no longer hide from myself that I was just as madly, helplessly in love in Knox, and Marv and Stani and Annis and Harry, as they were with me and with every other man among us. I gazed into Knox’s eyes, amazed, feeling tears stinging, ready to fall, while at the same time our dicks throbbed together, not far from tipping over the edge themselves. Knox smiled unsteadily at me, and I knew that he loved us all, but his affection for me included the way my simple presence had somehow brought them together, leading to this moment.

“Fuck,” I breathed. Knox’s smile widened knowingly, and we both knew that fucking would, indeed, happen. I bit my lip and winked at him, dislodging one of those tears, and I felt Knox’s amusement and his attraction for me. I wanted to stand up and hold him, to kiss him, to start our collective lovemaking now, this minute. But … it was not yet the moment.

Suddenly there was a new connection—a new link to Knox and, through him, back to me. I turned to see Harry pulling an empty sheet away from his shoulder. Interestingly he’d chosen to apply the tattoo at the crevice where his nice, round delts met the significant but not massive bulge of his traps. I wondered at this, but then I felt from him the warm, strong pressure of my own hands on his shoulders, remembering that encounter by the sinks, when I’d caught him using my cologne and had towered over him, acceding to his demand that I take a whiff and tell him what I thought. He grinned broadly at me, eyes wide in wonder as our emotions flooded through him and his were shared with us, and I grinned back. I put my hand on his shoulder, over the very spot, and felt his impatience too. We turned expectantly toward the others, my hand not moving from its place on Harry’s shoulder.

While Harry and I had been interacting, the others had stood and started shucking their gifted garments. At first I was unclear why, but all was revealed as each of them placed their star tattoos in significant placed that just happened to have been covered by their only articles of apparel. Arris applied his olive-green tattoo directly to his left ass-cheek, earning a hoot and a wolf-whistle from me. Stani installed his reddish-purple star right in the middle of his massive right pec, and then spent a few seconds popping his pecs just to watch them dance. Marv held his russet-red tattoo indecisively over the surface of his monster erection.

“Hey! Cocky!” I called to him. He looked up, frowning at the transparently ironic nickname. I shook my head somberly. “Don’t tattoo your dick, man,” I admonished. Marv nodded fervently in agreement, and ended up applying his tattoo behind his massive tool, on the smooth surface of his lower abdomen. As each of the others connected with Knox and through him with the rest of us, I felt an almost overwhelming flood of love and need. All of them loved me, endlessly, totally. More than that, we all shared the same love, the same need for each other—shockingly emotional, fiercely protective, and ferociously carnal. I shivered with the earth-shaking passion of our shared connection. More than that, this gift meant we were all linked, and we would all know where we all were, even if we weren’t together. It meant—and this really did make me choke up a little—it meant that we would all never, ever be apart from each other again.

“Fuck, you guys,” I said, brushing away another tear.

Knox leaned toward me from where he stood by the tree and, cupping his hand by his mouth, loudly stage-whispered, “Later!” We all laughed.

Knox handed Harry’s gift to him next. This time I knew it was from me, and I felt a quiver of unease flutter through my stomach. But Harry looked up and grinned at me. “I’m sure I’ll love it.”

“Shit,” I pretend-groused. “I guess we won’t have many secrets from each other now.” For an answer Harry leaned in for a quick kiss before turning his attention back to his box. He opened it up and admired the pendant for a second, before looking expectantly at me. “Stand up,” I said, figuring it would be easier to do the clasp if I was directly behind him. We stood and he turned his back to me, holding the ends of the chain up on either side of his neck, but I took a moment to admire his nicely defined bod and his kick-ass ass.

“Come on,” Stani said. “We want to see Sun’s gift!”

“And that’s not all we want to see,” Annis added. I stuck my tongue out at both of them and attached the clasp.

I felt Harry’s heart-rate start to spike as he and his other body stared at each other. I frowned down at them, unable to get a grip on the emotions flooding out of Harry. It was like he had never even seen his other body before. What the fuck—?

And then certain things started to click in my head. Marv’s amazement at his cock, which, I could sense from through our weird new linked-up feelings, was still roiling through him. Stani’s shock over his muscles, even though they were perfectly normal. And then Annis had had the same reaction to his legs and ass… even though there was nothing about his legs and ass that weren’t …

And don’t forget, the chirpy warning on the website had gone, only the person who experiences the effect will be aware of it! The results will just seem perfectly normal for everyone else.

“The effect.” I’d wondered what that had meant. Obviously it was about more than how awesome it looked once you had it on. And now that we were all connected, our boundaries were blurred, and we could sense collectively things that otherwise had been only meant for one of us to be aware of. The effect

My brain was buzzing, but I realized I was looking down at Harry moving to embrace himself, moving his two bodies together, wanting to feel that touch. “Oh, no you don’t,” I said, moving between them. “You don’t get to hug until we all get to hug.”

So they hugged me instead, the Harry-body in front of me grinning up at me shamelessly as they held me tight before resting his head snugly against my pecs. I sighed, looking up to see that Knox was suppressing laughter, one last box in his hand. “Give me that,” I said.

I opened the box as well as I could, feeling excitement ripple through the group, but especially from Stani—I guessed he was my Secret Santa, thought it was hard to be sure just from emotional reactions. Maybe he just guessed what “the effect” would be. I was almost giddy with anticipation myself. Tossing the box aside, I held up—a sleeveless muscle tee. It was brick red, great for my golden-sunshine coloring, and it looked comfortable as fuck.

“What did I say,” Knox play-scolded the others. “Shirts for Sun? Really?”

“But they show off his arms!” Stani shot back.

I grinned around at all of them. My dick was shaking with imminent need. “Back off, Gemini Boy,” I told Harry. “I gotta try this on.”

Harry dutifully moved both his bodies a step back, and I pulled the muscle tee over my head. By the time I was pulling it down the rest of the way to my waist, I was doing so with four strong hands instead of two.

I wasn’t even surprised. What I did feel was a tsunami of arousal and need for physical contact that could not be held at bay a second more.

I turned to the others, the two Harry-bodies on either side, grinning at me. I spread my four awesome arms wide in unapologetic exhibition. “These are for you guys,” I said. “Always for you.” I swallowed, looking them each in their sex-dark eyes.

“Come and get ‘em,” I said.

And sure as fuck, they did.

And, dear reader, what shall I tell you of all that followed, of heart-wrenching kisses and earth-shifting fucks and all the rest of the unbearably sweet lovemaking that seemed to last for days, all of us feeling the incredible stimulations were sharing with each other six times over, cumming all together in a single, world-exploding orgasm, before we began again, subsiding only after hours of long-awaited lovemaking into sleepy, sweet kisses and embraces of two or three or four, holding each other, loving each other, until rosy dawn finally stole into the sky, starting our new day, our new connected life? What shall I say about how we came together as one, and moved into Knox’s house, and started a shared life together, or of how we discovered we were not the only men in our little fire station to find love and connection unlooked-for, inexplicable, and wholly unstoppable? There’s much I could tell you, but that, I’m afraid, is all a story for another holiday eve.


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