The Bully and the Bullied

by Sean English

Part 5

The Tale In The Wind

As Jeremy was about to step off the bus that afternoon, he was surprised when an arm reached out to stop him. Turning, he saw Stan's intense gaze, before he smiled and held out a paper sack to the teen. "Merry Christmas, Mister Riddle!" he said pleasantly. Totally surprised, he stared back blankly, frozen momentarily in place. With those few kids that remained chatting in the background, Stan leaned forward and quietly added, "It's okay, son. I jest want you to know, not everyone thinks the same about you. You have a good holiday break now, you hear?"

Jeremy slowly nodded before accepting the offering. "Thanks," he replied. As he stepped from the bus, he recalled the man had been giving similar sacks to the other kids, but he had not had any expectation for himself. As he moved out of the way, the bus pulled out and continued along its usual trek, leaving the teen staring after it. Granted, the man had surprised him before, but there was a distinct difference between being friendly and being tolerant, and Jeremy felt this time it was the former, and not the latter.

To Jeremy, Stan was one of those funny people, living in a generation far in the past - or was he? What did he say? 'Not everyone thinks the same about you.' He wondered what that meant, but eventually began shaking his head. He didn't understand, and his head hurt from trying to work it out right then. He already carried a heavy weight on his shoulders, and he did not look forward to the short walk ahead of him and over the rise. It was bitterly cold outside, and the wind was chilling him quickly as he started wearily toward the house.

Nearing the hill, the teen's breath quickened as a tightness began to clench in his chest. His anxiety had nothing to do with the walk itself, though. Physically, he was in great shape, for his size and age. No short hike, weather changing to either extreme, could cause what he was feeling now. Instead, it began as he topped the hill, because it was a feeling born of fear at what he might find below. Glancing, he saw the yard much unchanged since summer, other than for one item, and that one item made him hesitate: in the driveway at the bottom was the old, beat up red Ford. Jeremy debated then what he wanted to do, now that he was faced with a certainty of what lie ahead. In the end, he decided there really wasn't any choice. Being 16 had no special privileges, especially concerning the powers of Mother Nature. It was freezing cold outside, and although he was wearing a heavy coat, he really wasn't dressed sufficiently to weather conditions like this for long.

As Jeremy slowly descended the hill, he never considered heading to the barn that was off to the side. The old building had many holes in its walls and roof, and it provided only a sparse shelter for the rusty tractor and few old tools that it housed. It also held memories too painful for him, things best forgotten in every way he could. He suddenly shivered, not from the cold, but of the sense of foreboding that wanted to creep up on him. He pushed it aside however, and instead made his way around the corner of the house. Arriving at a side door, he hesitated once more and steeled himself, not knowing what he would find once he entered. Memories returned just then, flooding his very soul.

There was a time Jeremy had been only six or seven years old, when things were very different. The place then had been well kept by both his parents, and the three of them had lived as a happy family. Most of the time anyway, except for the few drinking binges in which his old man would occasionally indulge. Although they lived mostly off the farm, the old man did participate in seasonal work, finding short term jobs at local warehouses and feed mills. That work brought in much needed cash, especially in the spring and summer months. In autumn and winter, his parents spent a lot of time working tobacco crops, or selling Christmas trees, the latter being in abundant supply on the farm. If there was any other work in the area, they generally sought it out, to help supplement what they could afford. It hadn't led them exactly through a poor life, but they were still forced to watch every cent spent. Jeremy's mother had always been a pleasant lady, brought up in the ways of rural farm life. Because of this, she knew how to stretch the almighty dollar, in ways that would make some families envious.

Jeremy's fondest memories of her were how kind and gentle she had been with him. She always had time to spare, listening to his adventures of the day, and laughing at new discoveries he encountered. In those days, even his father often smiled, and at least treated Jeremy in a pleasant manner. Rural life, though, was not easy. Some days the chores were hard, and Jeremy had his own to keep up with the rest of them. His mother was often always there to help him - at least until he gained the strength to finish them on his own. Those were the best days, Jeremey recalled, because they had had their best talks together. He learned all sorts of facts and secrets, listening to stories of faraway places and people. It had been a good life, without a doubt. But it was one he now sorely missed.

It was the summer Jeremy turned nine, when life as he knew it hit an unexpected bend in the road. His father came home one evening excited, holding extra cash he had earned for some reason or another. Even his mother was unusually happy, and Jeremy remembered looking at her as she sighed with relief. There were things they needed badly, things that had been long put off. After a quick shower and change of clothes, they both hopped into the truck to head to town. Jeremy was dropped off next door to stay with neighbors, who had a grandson his age. He could remember finding it odd, but he wasn't sure why. As they quickly headed on their way, his mother assured him they would return within a few hours. It was the last time Jeremy ever saw his mother alive, a memory he struggled dearly to at least hold onto. She had kissed him as he got out of the truck, and he remembered her smell, a fresh and clean scent with a hint of lavender. As they drove away, he watched them, and suddenly started to feel ill.

It was an omen, of sorts. What happened afterwards was a blur, taken from different accounts. Although he wasn't that young, his own memories were now hazy at best, and he relied much on what people told him. From what he gathered, the old man had dropped his wife off at the grocery, promising to return shortly. Several hours passed, however, before he did, and it caused an incident people had not seen for quite some time. Jeremy's mother, fuming and angry by then, had suspected what had happened. She had even tried to call a few of the bars nearby, but found it proved unsuccessful. When he drove up holding a mostly empty bottle of whiskey, she felt powerless. His father was deeply under the influence of alcohol, his bloodshot eyes and breath giving him away instantly when she stepped up to the cab of the truck. They had fought and argued hotly between them, their voices carrying far across the parking lot and street, making several people stop and take note. When he finally loaded her bags and they began driving away, he avoided the stares and looks of disgust from the crowd. He had already yelled for them to 'mind their own fucking business' several times, on each occasion to be admonished by his wife in another tirade.

As they moved down the road, they renewed their fight as he swerved and barely missed several oncoming vehicles. Jeremy's mother had to scream, and literally force the man to pull over to the side of the street and stop. The contest became ugly, and although no violence ensued, she raked him over the coals deeply. It seemed that in the details, he had visited another bar in the next town, and totally lost track of time - which was atypical behavior for him. Even worse, the man had spent nearly every dime of their 'extra' money he had just earned, leaving hardly anything for the groceries and supplies she had been waiting to check out. Evidently, some people told Jeremy it had been a considerable sum, and his mother began constantly berating her husband about his stupidity and lack of concern for her and his son. If the money had not been so badly needed, it might have been a different outcome in the end. His mother had returned most of her items by then, hanging onto only a few staples.

In his drunken state, he had been doing his best to hold his ground against her onslaught, but then failed miserably. It was only when the sheriff's deputy drove by and stopped, did they suddenly become more subdued. At the deputy's suggestion, they began moving again, heading toward home practically empty-handed.

The old truck didn't make it beyond the outskirts of town, however. On that fateful night, dusk was rapidly approaching given the lateness of the hour. Twilight reached the point where what light there was played tricks on an untrained eye, especially one whose eyes were blurred by drink. Some say the two started fighting again, and it was in that moment of confusion, the eldest Riddle turned the wrong way onto a divided highway. From the opposite direction, he instantly met head-on with an oncoming cement truck. Though he swerved to get out of the way, he could only partially manage the task in his sluggish state. The responding deputy, who had only moments before broken up the fight between them, was called to the scene. Upon arriving, he found one critically injured and the other, Jeremy's mother... dead.

Jeremy was numb, stunned to hear about the accident. Although only nine years old, he fully understood what had happened, and what had caused it. With his father laid up at the local hospital, the neighbors had been kind to keep him overnight and into the next few days while things were sorted out. They were elderly, however, and their health was far from pristine. He discovered early on that it would be impossible for them to keep him indefinitely. Ultimately, he attended his mothers' funeral, stunned at how his world had suddenly turned upside down. Though the man was absent, his father had lived. It would be many long weeks, however, before he would be released from care. Even then the man would require extensive rehabilitation and therapy, whatever that meant. Afterwards, jail time was not out of the question. Shaken and shattered, Jeremy was alone.

With nowhere else to go, social services stepped in and placed him in the care of a local foster family. It was here his true, living nightmare began. Neglected and ignored from the start, he was shoved around and stripped of any food or attention by the other boys already there. There were four of them, varying in age and size, who had already taken command of their environment, and the adults charged with their care had an attitude of indifference. To them, the less they had to deal with the kids, the better. They just collected the money, and went about their own merry business, leaving the boys to fend for themselves.

The other boys took pride, especially the older ones, in making life as meaningless as they could for their newcomer. Being summer, all five had to live outdoors for the most part, coming inside the walls only to use the bathroom or some other call of nature. Most of the time they even slept outside in old tents, which were deeply musty and mildewed from age and dampness. To make matters worse, the two adults kept little food in the kitchen, preferring to eat out most of the time - which would have been acceptable, if not for the fact they never took the kids along, nor brought food back for them.

Being the new kid, and unaccustomed to such 'roughing it' conditions, Jeremy had quickly grown weak after the first few days. The others continued to berate and abuse him, both verbally and physically, knocking him down and pushing him away from what little finds he was able to come up with. Finding little food or comfort, he attempted to run away and travel back to the farm. At least there, he knew he could do better and not starve. He made it to the edge of town and started down the highway even, before a deputy, having been alerted to his disappearance, found him. Jeremy knew the two adults could not have reported him, however; they rarely knew anything about what was going on as it was. Instead, he was sure one of the other older boys had discovered his absence, and all too quickly made a report. All of that was mute, however. In a weakened and confused state, he had no idea he was heading in the wrong direction when he was found. That made his situation even stranger than it was.

After being returned to social services, he found himself under constant scrutiny and questions. Why did he try to run away? At first, he said nothing, but eventually was cajoled into revealing what had happened to him. Instead of sympathy, however, his story was met with an expression of doubt and puzzlement. Soon after, the foster couple was called in, and once they arrived, a different set of stories were spun. They told the workers the kid wouldn't eat, but instead take food and threw it into the floor or yard! They were quite insistent, pouring one lie after another, all the while giving Jeremy the loathing eye. What sealed the deal, however, was when they brought in one of the older boys, who confirmed their lies outright, much to Jeremy's shock. He was immediately labeled a liar and a troublemaker - and now the label of rebel was added to his neglect and abuse.

The social workers accepted the fabrication, this being the first of its kind ever heard from a family that had served with them for years. Jeremy, after receiving a plain burger and soda from a local drive-in, was promptly handed back over. Jeremy grimaced, remembering what followed. As they forced him into the car between them, the yelling and slapping begun as soon as they were out of sight. He was told, in no uncertain terms, the price of what would happen then. He was going to have to pay for the outrage and embarrassment he had brought upon them. Sure enough, after arriving back at the house, the man took him to the cellar and beat him with his belt, leaving him below afterwards and locking the door behind him.

Jeremy's cries had gone unheard for the rest of that day and night. With only a single recessed window providing light, he watched the day lapse into a long, dark night, cold and damp even for summertime standards. The following day was no different, with nothing more than a repeat of the neglect and abandonment from the day before. He began to get scared as hunger gnawed at his sides. By the next morning, he began a series of hoarse yells and screaming, hoping someone from the outside world would at least hear him and come to see what was going on. The effort was in vain, however. After the first couple of hours, the door at the top of the steps flew open, and the man appeared yet again with his belt. Jeremy tried to avoid and plead with him, but the man would not hear it. It had taken all of only 2 minutes for him to catch Jeremy then, and then beat him into silent sobs again.

Jeremy shuddered as he thought back to those events. They had been far from pleasant, and their effects still lived inside him to the present. Shaking his head, he slowly opened the door and stepped inside. It was cold in the house, but his breath did not fill the air with the mist that followed. Finding the mud room empty, he closed the door behind him as quietly as he could and stepped into the kitchen. He noted the curtains were closed, subduing the outside light from entering. The table was still piled as high as it had been when he left that morning, with both dirty dishes and soiled paper plates and goods, most ready to be trashed. An abundance of beer cans was also scattered about, most of them empty. In fact, glancing to the floor he saw the cascade of cans lying there just as badly. Looking about, there was little space to be found anywhere, but surprisingly the room did not stink with the odor of rotting food. Jeremy was thankful for that, as he at least tried to keep some semblance of control. He did sniff the air, however, and detected a slight putrid fragrance drifting from the house itself. He knew all too well what that source was. He hesitated and listened, finding no sound reaching his ears, other than for music drifting from somewhere. He moved quietly around the table, carefully stepping as he walked so he could avoid making any more noise than he had to. Moving over to an opening that led into the living room, he stopped. Peering inside, his ears picked up the distinct sound of someone snoring, and turning, the sight that met his eyes did not surprise him.

There he was, the old, nameless excuse Jeremy had to identify as his flesh and blood. Jeremy had stopped calling him father after the accident, as well as ignoring the man's name entirely. It was a testament to the contempt he felt toward the man. After all, it was the drunken fool's fault what had happened to wreck their lives, and Jeremy had never found any forgiveness in his heart since. He looked about and almost had to catch himself. The man was surrounded by empty beer cans, some stacked in towers, all over the place. They were piled on the coffee table and on the floor, both nearby and afar. Here, there was a definite stench in the air, a putrid odor combined from the beer and the man's non-showered self, wearing clothes that had probably not been cleaned in a month. The old man was stretched out on an even older, worn out and filthy sofa that took up one whole wall of the room. His head was hanging haphazardly over a cushion, and it was obvious to Jeremy he was either passed out or deeply asleep. Although the man was snoring, he knew from times past that it did not necessarily mean he was asleep. Or perhaps he was asleep, but so far under the buzz he could not be awakened. An old radio by his side was blaring Country and Western tunes from a day long since forgotten, explaining the music that he heard earlier.

Jeremy sighed with relief rather than annoyance. In fact, he sank down to the floor between the frames of the opening, watching the elder idiot with contempt. The teen's mind began to drift in time again, back to that second beating he had endured. He could still smell the dark, musty floor he had been forced to lie on for hours, finding no cloth or solace to endure with. Although dank, the room had been dusty, mostly a dirty prison, one he had to saturate with his bodily functions. He had chosen one corner, but his excrements made a stench that floated over the rest of the room with no place to escape. He recalled how quiet it had grown upstairs after a time, and he wondered if the smell made its way up there.

From the darkness outside, he knew hours had passed, but then he heard the door open once again. Afraid of yet another beating or something worse, he quickly backed into another corner, already whimpering from fear, as a flashlight suddenly appeared in the darkness. He quieted, however, when he realized the one holding it was none other than the two older boys from above. Somehow, they must have been able to quietly slip into the hallway, and access the cellar without anyone's notice.

As the light moved closer, Jeremy's heart skipped a beat. He saw one of the boys was carrying something in his hand that turned out to be a half-eaten sandwich. When it was offered, Jeremy took it without a second's thought. Attacking it, he felt some of his strength return from the nourishment. Meanwhile, the boys sat on the bottom step of the stairwell, keeping the light focused toward the ceiling and away from their eyes. They sat in awkward silence until Jeremy finished, who then looked up into the eyes of his strangers. He had an uneasy feeling, as they both surveyed him in greater detail. He was soon to discover and understand why. It had been a feeling that something was about to transpire, and he was not disappointed. Unsure, however, he thought he should at least speak. "T-Thanks..."

One of the boys nodded. "Are you ready to listen to me, now?" The voice was soft, certainly above a whisper, but subdued in its own way, as if covert. Jeremy nodded and waited. "You are in deep kid. Nobody rats out these people and lives, no-bod-y. As far as they are concerned, your ass is as good as theirs now, you understand? They have the power, see, and ways of keeping you here forever if they want to. And right now, with you being the first that has ever ratted them out, believe me when I tell you they want you down here, because this is where they can make you suffer." He paused dramatically before continuing. "The only way you've got out of this is through me, kid. Even then, I'm not sure if I can get you out of here at all. Like I said, you're in some deep shit here."

Jeremy became scared as the words hit home, his eyes opening wide in alarm. Still, he sat silently and waited. Even though he was only nine years old, he wasn't dumb. He knew these guys were probably playing him for a purpose. Still, with the events of the last few days fresh on his mind, he also knew there had to be a reasonable element of truth to it, too. The teen sitting in front of him was big, probably 13 or 14. Maybe he did know something more about the situation, maybe he had - maybe - had his own first-hand experience in some way. It didn't matter to Jeremy though, he just knew he was scared, and so he waited to see what was going to happen next. For the first time, he noticed the boys were wearing no shirts that night, and though the light was hazy at best, it appeared they were wearing simple boxers. It had no real impact on him at that moment, but Jeremy remembered how later that would change, in more ways than one.

"Tomorrow I am going to try and get you out of here," the older boy interrupted his thoughts. "I think I can do it, but you'll have to do exactly as I say, when the time comes, and do it when I tell you to. You think you can do that?"

Jeremy hesitated only a second before nodding, which made both boys smile. "What's your name?" the other one asked, changing the tone to a lighter note.

"J-Jeremy..."

"Cool Jeremy, my name is Bobby, and this here is Jeff. Come here, I want to see you." The smile was inviting enough, the voice still pleasant as well. Jeremy slowly stood up and nervously closed the distance between them. Coming to within a foot, he stopped. Bobby's smile became wider, as he played the flashlight over Jeremy's body. "Turn around," he instructed, rotating the light, to which Jeremy complied.

As soon as his back was to them, he felt a hand stop him before raising his now grungy shirt from behind. He began to involuntarily shudder as they obviously examined the welts and bruises across his lower regions. He stood silently, however, as one of the boys pulled the back of his shorts out and down. His butt exposed, they were obviously searching how far those streaks and welts extended. Jeremy did not stop him, though the invasion of his modesty caused him to blush. He heard Bobby whistle behind him. "Man, he got you good, didn't he?"

It wasn't a question in the way he said it, but Jeremy whispered a faint reply. "Yeah."

What happened next however was not what he expected; thinking the older boy would let go of his clothes and leave him, instead he felt them both raise his arms and take the shirt off. Before he knew it, it was followed by one of them hooking their thumbs into his shorts and rapidly pulling them down to his ankles. He gasped and started to turn around, thrusting his hands over his groin, but instead felt Jeff pull him in closer to stand between his legs, trapping Jeremy on the inside. "You want out of this hell hole, right?" Bobby whispered into his ear.

Jeremy nodded, shaking and quivering. "You want food, to keep from starving, right?" Again, Jeremy nodded. Then they both started running their hands up and down his naked sides, while Bobby continued whispering. "Then all you have to do, is what I say, and when I tell you. We'll promise to look after you then, until your old man comes to get you. That's not so hard, is it?"

Jeremy thought about it for a moment. "W-what d-do I h-have to d-do?"

Bobby released him from between his legs and bade Jeremy to turn around. He began caressing the back of the boy in front of him, his fingers moving over the welts and bruises, before lowering them to his bum. When Jeff eased Jeremy's hands away from his groin, both boys seemed to take a direct interest in his softened member. Jeff looked up eventually and grinned. "Right now, we'll just have to see, won't we. But we can promise you, we'll be the best of mates."

Jeremy survived the coming weeks, leaving the cellar and becoming the charge of the older boys, as promised. His freedom, however, came at a price. As a 9-year-old, he was introduced first hand to the ways of teenage sex, and to more lust and hormones that he ever wanted to know about. It wasn't that he was ignorant outright, for there were plenty of things you learned in school, should you learn to listen close enough to the other kids. Many of the things he heard, however, were thrust upon him in a reality all too stark. Still, it was either be complacent and submissive, or face the beatings that would surely await him if he chose otherwise. He chose the former, as he submitted to the lust of the other boys and was repeatedly stripped naked each night.

It wasn't all bad, as both boys were quite kind to him, most of the time. They didn't outright just use him, instead taking the time to show and educate him with things, even let him take his turn at exploring them if he wanted. Eventually however, Bobby could not resist, and one night, Jeremy was subjected to much more rough treatment. Treatment that now, made him shudder.

Those thoughts suddenly brought Jeremy back to the present. He was alert as he watched the old man roll over on the couch, now facing away from him as he discharged a huge belch. The man never awoke, however, falling back into a deep snore yet again, making Jeremy sigh with relief as he slowly climbed to his feet.

He lived in that house, with those kids and neglect, for the rest of the summer and early autumn, before he finally got out. Instead of coming home to some level of normalcy, however, nothing was as it had been before. He remembered the first night he had stood inside this very hallway and watched as his father stare at him with a blank expression, before retiring to his own bedroom and slamming the door shut. Since that day, the man had not offered him even a simple hug, had not even taken an interest in his life. He looked down on his only son, as if he was something other than his own. Again, Jeremy shuddered, trying to block out what had followed, but not completely succeeding. Quietly the teen left and walked down the hallway to his bedroom, shutting his door.

If the old man was truly buzzed, especially at this time of day, Jeremy figured it would be hours before he came around. Comprehension then dawned on him that, if the man awoke with as huge of a hangover as was normal, Jeremy did NOT want to be there - for any price. Too many times, the teen had taken the brunt of the man's temper and foul moods, in more ways than one. Looking about, he quickly grabbed an old, worn out gym bag he kept stored under the bed, and then shoved a pillow and thin blanket inside. Checking various clothes scattered about, he also chose two sweatshirts that were mostly clean, and added them to the collection. Finding a warmer, thicker garment, he suddenly removed his coat and donned it over his head. Grabbing the coat again, he left the room quietly and headed back toward the kitchen.

As he looked about, he frowned at the fact there was so little to eat in the house. One look inside the refrigerator confirmed the dread he felt: the old man, apparently, had used the last of his warehouse pay for the year to stock up on nothing but beer. Jeremy scowled as he shut the door in disgust, which jolted with a clap. He paused, but the continued snoring from the other room told him that all was as before. He did locate a half-filled box of cereal on top of the refrigerator, and added it to his bag, along with a can of soda rolling on the floor. It was meager fare, certainly for one to pass the night on, but he had survived before on a lot less - and a lot worse.

With a grimace, Jeremy quietly left the house, shutting the door with care. As he started across the yard, his face was expressionless. He knew how to survive, and what the price would be for the moment. He also knew he had to find shelter. Not two miles from the place was an old abandoned farmhouse, one he had used before when trying to disappear. He figured it was the best place for him to sit out the night, so he started to trek across the field in the general direction.

- + - + - + - + -

Michael awoke, just as the dawn arrived outside. The light-gray overcast created a mysterious effect around the room. As he slowly got his bearings, he noted with a smile the figure lying next to him was still there. Although he had long ago let go of the hand that cupped his crotch, Thomas still had his arm draped across Michael's belly. They were still snuggled close to one another and sharing their warmth. The peaceful expression on his friend's face also gave Michael a feeling of happiness and content. As the events of the previous night slowly replayed in his mind, he smiled. He could feel this thing between them growing, and he was so happy for it.

Although Michael would have been happy to just stay and listen to the sounds of the morning, which included that of Thomas' regular, methodic breathing, his bladder was demanding attention. Reluctantly, he withdrew himself from the bed, using as much care as possible to not awaken the other boy, before quietly heading to the bathroom in search of relief. When he returned, he was startled to see the clock show that it was almost 9:30. Reaching for and donning his glasses, the teen peered out of the window. Low snow clouds hung overhead, casting an almost gloomy look over the yard and fields beyond. In their presence, however, Michael saw a light snow was falling. Although the ground was not yet covered, several patches and areas were beginning to turn white. The snow had been due to start earlier, but he was still pleased, thinking they would at least have more before the system passed by.

Slowly climbing back into the bed, using care once again, he tried to snuggle back as he was before. This time, however, Thomas stirred. Raising his head, he saw Michael sliding up close again. Reaching out, Thomas pulled his best friend in tightly, hugging before he, too, decided he needed relief. Grudgingly sitting up, he asked, "Are we alone? Or do I need to put my sweats back on?"

Michael giggled. "We're alone Thomas, unless you don't want me seeing your whitey tighties..."

Thomas grunted before taking up his pillow and dropping it on top of the other teen's head. "I couldn't care less about my undies man, you know that!" He then scurried out of the bed, wrinkling his nose as his feet touched the floor. "Sheesh! It's cold in here!" he exclaimed, before disappearing through the doorway.

Michael grinned, snuggling underneath the covers until Thomas returned. When he did, Thomas took his time climbing over and getting back into the bed. As he settled in however, Michael grabbed him from behind and pulled Thomas up close inside, spooning him from the rear. "MMMmmmm.... this IS pretty nice, you know?" he whispered, burying his face into Thomas's back. "Whoa! Did you go commando or something?" Michael felt lower and discovered that, sure enough, Thomas was bare except for the t-shirt.

Thomas melted into the arms surrounding him. "Yeah, I thought you might like it. And yeah, I know, it is really nice." He paused, looking out the window toward the sky. "Is it snowing?"

Michael nodded behind him. "Yep. There isn't a lot yet, but the ground is getting white." He pulled himself up harder, pushing his underwear down and off, before enjoying the feeling as he embraced his friend. Thomas pushed back giggling, causing Michael to look up and ask, "What's up?"

Thomas turned so he could see into the other teen's eyes. "I dunno, just thinking, wondering stuff..."

"Like...?" Michael asked.

"Well, like, whether this is what they call 'humping', you know?"

Michael laughed. "No doofus! I don't think this is that!" He smiled as the other grinned at him, then lowered his voice. "I don't know what it is, to be honest. I just like it. Can't you tell?"

Thomas nodded. "Yeah, I can. Your boner is starting to poke me. " Michael giggled as he adjusted himself, pushing his stiffened member so that it was sandwiched between Thomas butt cheeks, rather than trying to poke inward. As he drew himself as close as he could get, Thomas added, "I'm not complaining though." He could feel the throbbing cock within the folds of his bum, which caused him to wiggle playfully as his own cock hardened in the process.

Michael said nothing, as new sensations began filling him with feelings, his breathing gradually quickening. Almost unconsciously, he began moving up and down ever so slightly, effectively rubbing his shaft between them. Thomas began matching each thrust, applying pressure and finding his own pleasure in the process. At one point he leaned back whispering, "Umm... this might make it though, you think? Humping?"

"Oh yeah, I would say this is probably pretty close," Michael whispered. He paused before continuing, "Of course, if we did it like dogs do it, then THAT would be real humping, wouldn't it?"

Thomas grinned. "Yeah, but there isn't any way anyone can do that... is there? Or can they? Is that how, I don't know, is that how boys like, do it? You know... fuck?" The question in his voice was pure innocence and curiosity.

Michael just shrugged. "I have no idea, but it doesn't matter. I'm... getting... pretty worked up... just like... this, you know?" His attention was clearly in more than one place, but within seconds he quickly added, "Unless you want... me to stop..."

"NO!" Thomas cried out, abruptly. Adding sheepishly in a softer tone, "Umm, I mean... no...."

Michael giggled, then brought his hand back around and grasped hold of his friends' now raging 5-inch boner. He started massaging it, timing his actions with his own activity. It was hot to the touch, and hard, but yet the skin felt silky-like, almost soft. He could feel the skin slipping as he continued, and the fact that his friend was so different in that aspect fascinated him. Moreover, just the fact he was holding another cock besides his own seemed to add to the fervent wickedness of the moment. He gently squeezed as he continued moving up and down between them both. After a moment, he leaned in and whispered, "Do you think we're about the same size?"

Thomas grunted, having been brought out of his own reverie. Just then he rolled over to face the teen. Michael was disappointed, mostly at himself, because he had not intended for everything to stop right then. As he let go, Thomas pushed the covers back so they could have a clear view to each other. Without hesitating, he brought his cock forward side-by-side to Michael's. Slowly pushing them together, he held them in place until just his tip was touching into Michael's pubes. Although Michael's cock pushed back into Thomas's pubic bush, Thomas slowly moved in until one touched the underlying skin. Thomas won the contest, but Michael's lacked barely less than a half inch of closing the space on his own. Thomas grunted again. "Umm, I think we're about the same, but I might be a little longer."

Michael could not help but laugh. "You think?" he smirked, then quickly leaned in and kissed the teen on his lips. Thomas grinned before looking down at them both again. He let go of Michael to pull his own skin back, before taking hold of them both again and reapplying the test. The distance was basically the same as before. "Yeah, sorry Mike."

Michael grinned, then once again grasped his friend's skin, gently pulling it back and forth. "What does that feel like? I mean, having it hang over the end all the time"? he asked.

Thomas thought about it for a second. "Umm... I don't know. I can't really imagine it being any diff than yours would be, unless maybe I'm a little more sensitive than you are, or something like that."

Michael nodded. "Well, I think it's cool," he replied, trying to act nonchalant, but the expression on his face betrayed the fascination he had. Much to Thomas's amusement, an idea suddenly occurred. Although he loved the attention he was getting, he slowly pulled Michael's hand away. As Michael stopped, looking onward, Thomas brought their dicks together in full contact, as if kissing each other. Once done, Michael watched as his best friend pulled his skin back more, before letting it fall forward again, this time covering Michaels tip. He pulled up from the sides, and coaxed more of it to stretch forward, until he covered Michael's dick completely. The teen drew a sharp breath as he felt the warmth engulf him in a whole new way. Thomas looked up. "So, how does it feel?"

Michael slowly released his breath and started whispering again. "It's... It's warm, and... kind of slick feeling I guess. Oh mmmaaaaannnnn, it's awesome!" he breathed, thrusting them together even harder. Thomas grinned, and then began a slow, rhythmic massage for them both, wrapping his fingers and pumping away.

Michael slowly met each thrust, each stroke from the other's hand electrifying to him. "I'm gonna cum inside you if we keep this up," he warned.

"So?" Thomas replied, grinning still. "You think I'm not?" He giggled. "Besides, I already have you inside, in my belly. This is nothing compared to that!"

Michael grinned back, whispering "I know - me too!" He reached across and put his hand on his friends' hip, before he started rubbing up and down along the side. He was soon lost, however, at the sensation of feeling their ends meeting, kissing in unison, and the skin engulfing them both. His own skin was being pumped as well, and Thomas skillfully kept hold of them both, while gradually lengthening the strokes and speeding up.

Lost in his own experience, Thomas soon asked, "Are you close?" All Michael could do was grunt and nod. When Thomas paused, breathing heavily and squeezing the two of them, it became obvious his hand was getting tired. Michael gently pushed it away and took over, letting Thomas feel his hand instead yet again.

It seemed only seconds passed, before Thomas grunted, following through in the excitement. He thrust himself hard against the other, making Michael squeeze both of them tightly so as not to lose his grip. Thomas started spurting white, hot globs of liquid cum between then, and as soon as Michael felt it begin leaking into his hand, he too went over the top and cummed. Both boys found a sweet ecstasy in the moment, Thomas grabbing his friend's hip with his now free hand and forcing them close together. As they ground themselves against each other, more cum was released, their oozing cocks sandwiched between them.

"Man, this feels... s-so... fucking... good..." Michael gurgled, as Thomas moaned in agreement. It was intense, and as Michael's testicles rubbed back and forth with those of Thomas, he shifted, absorbing the impact as they touched. In response, Thomas grabbed Michael's butt and pulled, relishing similar feelings for himself.

When they stilled themselves, they eventually wrapped themselves up in each other's arms. Thomas opened his eyes to see the other staring back at him. It made him smile, happy as he was in the moment. Michael returned the smile, and they watched each other for several seconds, the feelings in their groins having finally reached a satisfaction they both enjoyed. Thomas leaned in to the other, slowly at first, unsure if his friend would even want to do it again, but he didn't need to fear. Michael saw the gesture and met the teen halfway, as their lips came together softly and kissed. Before long, it developed into something more passionate as they opened their mouths and explored each other again, just as they had the night before.

The kiss lasted several minutes before they both broke apart and gasped for air simultaneously. Each was still grinding into the other, their arms and legs interwoven tightly. It was Michael who relaxed into the arms of his friend before speaking. "Are you still afraid I won't want to do stuff?"

Thomas scoffed. "I didn't mean it like that last night..."

Michael giggled. "I know, I know... but heck, I don't know about you, but to me this is awesome. I could do stuff with you all day, if you wanted. Suck, jack off, anything really, you know?"

Thomas nodded. "More than I ever knew or dreamed."

"Just between us, though, right?" Michael asked. "I mean, I know you won't tell anyone at school, but..."

Thomas leaned in and surprised his friend by rubbing their noses together. "Yeah, this is between you and me. I'll do stuff - anything with you - anytime you want, as long as it's between just us." He smiled and added, "Because I trust you."

Michael whispered back, "And I trust you, too." They suddenly giggled at each other, but each had a respect that extended beyond just mere words, and they knew it. Michael leaned forward and whispered, "Merry Christmas, bro! You can be my brother anytime you want!"

Thomas turned his head slightly so that he could whisper back, "You, too. And Mike? Thanks for giving me the best Christmas ever!" They hugged briefly when Thomas noticed they were both beginning to sport semi-hard erections yet again. Drawing back, he raised his eyebrows. "Want to do more?"

The grin returned told him all he wanted to know. They spent the next hour goofing around, wrestling each other in the bed naked, tickling and playing, the foreplay eventually leading to a repeat much of the night before, sucking each other off. In many ways, they rediscovered each other again, except this time they had the full light of day to reveal the details that were hidden in shadows the night before.

Eventually they succeeded in satisfying each other again, before finally pulling on some clothes and heading downstairs. Michael tended to the wood stove, while Thomas stood at the front door, looking out. The front yard was now covered in a white blanket, as the snow continued to fall steadily. When they both moved to the kitchen, they found bacon and scrambled eggs waiting for them in the oven, as Michael's Mom had hinted the night before. After fixing toast and juice, they devoured the meal in mere moments.

The rest of the day was spent playing various board games and watching TV. Later that afternoon, Michael loaned his friend some additional clothes, and together they bundled up before heading outside. The snow was still falling, with no immediate sign of abating as they built their first snowman. Once completed, they continued to build more, resulting in a family of snow people. They had just completed trying to build a dog - funny looking by its own nature - when Carolyn topped the hill, followed by another vehicle. Thomas immediately recognized it as his mother's. Though saddened their time was coming to an end, Thomas collected his things inside and the two parted. Each, however, had a smile on their face, knowing the visit had been the best either had had ever. Giving each other a high-five, Thomas broke the silence as he walked out onto the porch. "Thanks for everything Mike, and Merry Christmas, too. You too!" he added, giving Michael's mother a quick half-hug.

"Why, you're very welcome young man!" Carolyn responded, giving Thomas's mother, who stood in the background, a knowing smile. At first, Carolyn was confused when she noticed the other woman did not respond, but rather stared blankly at her son. The move was subtle, but Carolyn noted a strangeness come across Ms. Wilsons's face she had not seen before. Before she could consider it any further however, Thomas had disengaged and was moving to get into the jeep. His mother simply nodded and smiled, offered her thanks again for putting up with her son, then climbed in and backed around, heading toward the road.

When the vehicle topped the hillside and moved out of sight, Carolyn turned with the intention of asking Michael about it. Instead, she was completely surprised when he encircled his arms around her and hugged fiercely. "Well, what do I owe this pleasure to?" she asked warmly, leading them both into the house out of the cold.

Michael shrugged. "I don't know, Mom. I'm just happy, I guess... maybe because it's Christmas."

Carolyn laughed. "Umm, so I guess that means I shouldn't get too used to this then, right?"

Michael laughed as he separated and started bounding up the stairs, leaving her shaking her head as she headed toward the kitchen. 'Boys....' she thought, smiling at herself.

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