Deck the Halls...


Murphy was relaxing on the sofa in front of the goggle box when the doorbell rang. He got up to answer it, rather annoyed that whoever it was was interrupting the football game. When he opened the door, however, his annoyance turned to pleasure.

"What are you two doing here?" he asked in surprise. "Thought you were up in Liverpool for the duration." He stepped back to let in his two laden lovers.

"So did we," Bodie said, putting down a double arm- load of parcels and carry bags.

"Yeah," Doyle agreed wearily, unloading his parcels in turn. "Everything came to a head all at once, though, and there we were. Terrorists tucked away in Her Majesty's prison, bombs defused, gun and ammo caches found and confiscated quick as Bob's-your-uncle."

"And two days off for hard-working agents. So here we are." Bodie had been at Murphy's drinks cabinet while Doyle was talking. He'd poured out two drinks and now he handed one to his partner and sank down in a chair with the other, taking a long swallow. "Aaaah, I needed that. What's to eat?" he asked.

"Beans on toast," replied Murphy. "And you still haven't answered me. Not that I'm not glad to see you, but what are you doing here? I'd've thought you would have headed straight for your own flat."

"C'mon, Murph, use your loaf." Ray was sorting through carry bags as he talked. "Everything's been turned off in our flat for over a month, right? And it's Christmas Eve, right? Well, then, when will things get turned back on?" He headed towards the kitchen with several of the carry bags.

"Oh, yeah, didn't think of that. Day after Boxing Day, huh? Well, make yourselves at home, then."

"We have," said Bodie lazily. "Wake me up when supper's ready, Ray," he called.

Sticking his head around the kitchen door, Doyle said, "Shift yourself and bring the rest of the things out of the car. You can eat when everything's in."

Setting his glass down, Bodie pushed himself up from the chair. and headed for the door.

Murphy looked bewildered at the parcels littering his lounge floor and went out to the kitchen where Ray had spread more parcels along the countertop. "What's all this, then?" he asked.

"Christmas," Doyle replied, succinctly. He was rummaging through Murphy's fridge pulling out veggies and left-over this and that, chopping them all up and tossing them into a casserole. "Knew you wouldn't have done anything, so we brought along every thing we'll need. Stopped at Luton on the way down and bought out the stores. Good thing I paid off my Access card before we left. Dunno what we'd do without plastic."

"I take it I don't have anything to say about this," Murphy complained. "After all, it is my flat."

"Nope," Doyle agreed. "You're gonna celebrate Christmas this year whether you want to or not." He put the casserole in the oven and walked over to Murphy, reaching his arms around his neck and pulling his head down so he could reach. "Now, let's have a proper greeting."

When Bodie returned with the last of the parcels and a small tree, he found the two of them intertwined. Ray had his shirt and trousers open with Murphy's hands on his arse pulling their groins tightly together. He had his hands up under Murphy's poloneck, and their mouths seemed to be hermetically sealed. Bodie felt a little left out. "Hey, don't I get some of this?" he asked plaintively.

Murphy pulled back. from Ray, who let go reluctantly, and turned toward his other lover. "C'mere then," he growled and took Bodie into his arms for a bruisingly hard kiss that was returned in kind.

When several minutes had passed and there was no sign of their stopping, Ray decided to join back in. Though at a slight disadvantage, as they were taller, he didn't let that stop him. He slid his hands up under their polonecks and fondled their nipples, then unzipped their trousers and fondled their arses, running a finger down each of their cracks and teasing at the entrances to their bodies.

Almost as one, they turned on him and in moments had him stripped and pushed back against the sink. Bodie nibbled at his nipples, while Murphy laved his cock and balls with his tongue, at the same time running his hands lightly over Ray's inner thighs.

Ray was weak with desire. "Take me," he begged. "Please." The other two were perfectly capable of dragging out this pleasant torture indefinitely, taking one another to the brink then forcing them to relax time and again until they were practically screaming with the need to come. Ray had learned that way, also, first with Murphy and then with Bodie, but he didn't think he could take it tonight. It'd been too long since they'd been with Murphy.

Bodie and Murphy looked at one another. Murphy glanced towards the kitchen table, but Bodie shook his head. "Bed," he said. "I prefer comfort when I can get it." They released Doyle and held him up until he was steady on his feet, then headed for the bedroom.

Ray had Just barely enough presence of mind to turn the oven down as he passed it. Not a good idea to burn down Murph's flat on Christmas Eve. When he got to the bedroom, the other two were undressed and lying on the bed, waiting for him. His blood caught fire again, and he clambered up between them, then lay still waiting to see what they'd do to him.

"Hold on to the headboard," Bodie said to him. "And spread your legs--wide."

So, it was to be imitation bondage. He grabbed two of the spindles of the headboard, spreading his legs as he'd been told. The game, of course. was not to change position until he was ordered to, or they'd desert him and carry on by themselves. It took much more self- control than actual bondage where he was free to struggle as much as he wanted against the silk scarves they always used.

At once, Bodie and Murphy started in on him, mirroring each other's actions. They nibbled at his ears and sucked his ear-lobes while fondling his nipples, then lick-kissed their way down his neck, stopping to nuzzle in his armpits before sucking at his nipples, all the time moving their hands further down, stroking his flanks, running their fingers over his inner thighs. They kissed their way down his stomach following the route their hands had taken. Then, carefully avoiding his cock and balls, they worked their way back up.

Ray was quivering all over by this time, taut as a violin string. His leg muscles were so rigidly tense they almost hurt as he tried to keep himself from moving. After a while, the others took pity on him to the extent that each of them trapped one of his legs under one of theirs, thus allowing him to relax somewhat.

They continued to make love to him for a while longer, stopping occasionally to let him catch his breath as they kissed and caressed each other. Finally, when he was moaning almost continually, they released his legs and, reaching up, removed his hands from the spindles of the headboard. His fingers were almost bloodless, he'd been gripping so hard.

Murphy rolled over on his back and lay with his cock arching over his abdomen. He stroked cream onto himself then said, "Sit on me, Ray."

Doyle hurried to obey. He started to kneel over Murphy, facing him, only to find himself stopped.

"No," Murphy said. "Turn around. Face the other way."

Puzzled, but not really caring as long as he was allowed relief, Ray turned around, knelt over Murphy, and positioned Murphy's cock at the entrance to his body. He then slowly lowered himself until he had taken the entire shaft within him. He sat still for a moment to absorb the feeling of fullness.

Murphy's hands stroked down his back, then held him when he tried to move. "No. Lay back, on top of me."

Puzzled. Doyle did as he was told. He was still filled with Murphy's cock but he could not, now, move on him. Nor could Murphy move within him. Murphy started fondling his nipples again, and Doyle squirmed in place.

Immediately, Bodie moved over Doyle in the sixty-nine position. He took Doyle's cock in his mouth and started sucking on it. Doyle tried to thrust up into his mouth but couldn't. He could, however, reach Bodie's cock, so he took it into his mouth and mirrored Bodie's movements on him, as much as he could. Bodie then let go of Doyle's cock and sucked his balls, instead. In the position Doyle was in, he couldn't do that, so he contented himself with reaching up to fondle Bodie's while he continued to suck him.

By this time, Murphy was getting frustrated by his inability to move. "Bodie, I need to turn over," he called. Bodie moved away from Doyle and helped to lift him up and off Murphy.

"No!" Ray cried out in protest.

Swiftly, Murphy turned on his side, pulled Doyle up against him, back to front, and entered him again, beginning a gentle thrusting motion. Bodie moved back into the sixty-nine position, only on his side now, and took Doyle into his mouth again, matching Murphy's rhythm. Doyle reciprocated, then reached around to stroke Bodie's arse. He ran a finger down the crack to his anus and found it slick with cream Bodie had applied earlier, so he slid his finger inside, sucking and finger-fucking him in the already established rhythm. Bodie now completed the circle by reaching over to insert a finger into Murphy's also cream- filled anus.

Murphy set the pace and the others followed suit. He started slowly and let it build. Ray came first. He was so strung out it didn't take much to set him off. He stiffened, spurting into Bodie's mouth. Bodie continued sucking, draining him of every last drop. He had a great feeling of lassitude then, but managed to continue to suck and use his hand on Bodie. The feel- ing of Murphy still moving inside him added to the contentment he felt in the afterglow of his climax.

Murphy and Bodie came almost together. Their attentions to Ray had excited them almost as much as they had him, and it took very little more to bring them off.

When they had finished, the three men lay entangled for a long moment. After a while, Bodie moved around so he and Murphy could embrace Ray between them. They lay, kissing and cuddling, for a while until their hunger got the better of them.

Suddenly, a loud gurgle came from Bodie's stomach. After a moment of silence, Ray broke into giggles. He prodded Bodie in the side with a finger. "Shouldn't make personal remarks, mate. 'S not polite."

"Sorry, love. 'S no comment on you. Guess he's just got a mind of his own." He levered himself up off the bed, deliberately placing one hand on Doyle's middle to do so.

"Ooof. Watch it, you." Doyle was still feeling too lethargic to want to make a fuss of any kind, but he had to make at least a token protest.

"Sorry," Bodie apologized, smiling down at him. He hadn't done it with any malicious intent, just to get a rise out of Doyle. He reached down a hand to each of them. "C'mon, then."

They pulled themselves up with Bodie's help.

"Shower first," Ray said. "Supper next, decorating last." He headed towards the bathroom, followed by the other two.

Murphy had a hand-held shower in a bathtub. This often led to lots of interesting games, but it was all business, now.

Washed, dried and dressed, Doyle headed for the kitchen to see how his casserole was doing. It was not quite done, so he turned up the heat and by the time he'd put together a salad and buttered some bread, it was ready. Bodie, in the meantime, had cleared and set the table, and Murph had dug out a bottle of wine and opened it. With no further delay, they sat down and tucked into the meal. There was very little talk, as they devoted their attention to the food. By the time they'd polished everything off, they felt much more like themselves.

Pushing himself back from the table, Bodie commented, "Up to your usual high standards, love."

"Yeah," Murphy agreed. "Should do this more often."

Though pleased by the compliments, Doyle brushed them aside. "All I've got to do is read the recipe."

"I dunno about that," Murphy objected. "I've got an aunt who reads every recipe book ever written and when she makes mash it's like grey library paste with lumps in it."

Doyle laughed. "Well, maybe there is a bit of skill involved also." He started collecting the dishes. "All right, you two, I cook, you wash up. Let's go. There's a whole lot more to be done."

The other two grumbled and groaned but got up and set to work while Doyle sorted through carry bags. He had put the turkey in the fridge as soon as they arrived as they had bought a fresh one and he didn't want it to go off. Now he put homemade pud and Christmas cake on the counter.

"When did you have time to do those?" Murphy asked in astonishment.

"I didn't. We stopped by my mum's to drop off her presents and she gave them to us." He slapped Bodie's hand as he tried to break a piece of icing off the cake. "Stop that. Tomorrow you can have as much as you like, but you've got to wait 'til then."

"Okay, okay," Bodie replied with resignation. "By the way," he said to Murphy, just having realized he hadn't seen a sign of his flat-mate. "Where's the beastie? Not at the vet's again."

"Nah," he replied. "Just hiding. You know she's always shy when you've not been around for a while."

"Still got all her fur?" Ray asked from the other side of the kitchen where he was stirring up the stuffing for the turkey.

"Yeah. Hasn't put on any weight, though. Still right at five pounds." Murphy shook his head. "She eats enough. Polishes off all her cat food and begs for scraps. I even cook liver for her special and that's something I never thought I'd ever do, but she never gains an ounce."

"I thought sure she'd put on weight when she was spayed," said Doyle. "Most cats do."

"Guess she's different from most cats," Murphy replied. "Because it sure didn't work with her."

"Call Guinness," said Bodie. "Maybe you've got the world's smallest cat."

"Sure," Murphy laughed. "The Cow'd love me getting my name in there, wouldn't he?"

"There is that," Bodie agreed.

Doyle finished the stuffing and bunged it into the fridge, dropping his implements into the washing-up water. "Come on, you two. Can't stand around rabbitin' on about a bleedin' moggie all night. There's work to do."

Bodie snapped at him with the dish towel as he ducked through the door.

In the lounge, Doyle looked around for the Christmas tree and found it leaning in a corner. He dug out the tree stand and set it up, then tried to balance the tree in it. "Hey, out there," he shouted. "One of you come in and give me a hand."

Bodie came in and stood in front of him, hands behind his back. "Which hand do you want?" he asked.

"Twit," said Doyle. "Here, hold this tree."

Bodie did as he was asked and Ray fastened the tree in tightly then found the lights and they put them on the tree. Murphy had come in by that time and cleared off a small table near the window. Ray set the tree on it and plugged in the lights. They shone brightly and reflected in the window. While Ray adjusted some of the lights, Bodie got the ornaments and hangers and brought them over. He and Ray started hanging them on the tree, smiling at each other whenever their hands inadvertently touched. Murphy stood back and watched them for a while before finally adding an ornament or two himself. They emptied all the boxes then draped the tree with tinsel garland. Bodie put the fairy on the tree top and handed the boxes of icicles to Ray.

He turned to Murphy. "We can forget him for a while. He insists on hanging each one on individually and making sure they all hang straight. C'mon, let's put up the rest of the decorations. Go bring in the kitchen steps." He got the paper garland out while Murphy fetched the steps and they worked together hanging the garland from the ceiling.

"Let's see. What else? Oh, yes. The holly." He took it out of the carry-bag and put it on the mantelpiece, handing Murphy the things that had been there for him to put somewhere else. "And candles. Where're your candle holders, Murph?" he asked as he unwrapped the red tapers.

Murphy got the candle holders from the cupboard where he kept them, handing them to Bodie. He set one on each end of the mantelpiece and put a candle in each.

"Think that's about it," Bodie said, picking up the carry-bags and straightening them. "Oh, no," he laughed. "How could I forget the best thing of all? Drawing pin, Murph," he said, pulling out a sprig of mistletoe. He took the pin from Murphy and reached up to fasten it in the doorway of the lounge, then looked around. "Well, looks very nice if I do say so myself, as shouldn't."

He took the carry bags and headed for the kitchen. "Now we come to my part of the cooking." He opened the fridge and took out the eggs and single cream Ray had put there earlier. He whipped them up in a pitcher with sugar and vanilla and added a large dollop of brandy. "Got to leave enough for the pud tomorrow," he told Murphy. He stirred the brandy in and took a sip from the spoon. "Just right," he decided. "Here. What do you think?" he asked, giving Murphy a taste.

Murphy swallowed and nodded his agreement. Bodie got out three glasses, filled them to the brim with eggnog and sprinkled nutmeg on top, He put the rest in the fridge, then handed one glass to Murphy and carried the other two back into the lounge.

"You done yet?" he said to Doyle.

"Just finishing," Ray replied. He hung the last piece of tinsel on the tree, stood up and moved back so he could get a good look at it.

Bodie came over to him and handed him a glass of eggnog then slipped his free hand around his waist. "Beautiful," he said. "A real work of art."

"Work of Ray, you mean," Doyle retorted. "And Bodie," he added fairly. "It's the nicest tree we've ever had." He rested his head on Bodie's shoulder while he admired it.

"You say that every year," said Bodie, rubbing his cheek against Ray's curls.

"Well, every year it's true. Maybe we just get better every year."

"Could be," Bodie agreed, willing to grant his lover anything at this point.

They stood there quietly for a few minutes gazing at the tree, then Ray realized that Murphy wasn't with them. He looked around and saw him sitting on the sofa staring off into space. Doyle caught Bodie's eye and nodded at Murphy. Bodie shrugged his shoulders in answer.

Ray went over to the last of the carry-bags and emptied it. He put their presents under the tree. After that, he got some drawing pins and hung three socks from the mantle shelf. They'd been filled for some time. He and Bodie had done each other's and they'd both worked on Murphy's. They bulged interestingly with candy canes sticking out of the tops. The last thing he did was to put the tape of Christmas carols on the stereo, turning the volume down so they played very softly. Then he went over and sat down on the sofa. Bodie was already there.

They sat quietly for a few minutes listening to the carols, glancing at Murphy from time to time, but he didn't seem to notice they were there. Finally, Bodie put his hand on Murphy's arm. Murphy started and turned to look at him. "Wha...?"

"Murphy," Bodie said quietly, "what's wrong? Would you rather we hadn't come here? I know you never do anything for Christmas and we did rather take the place over, I guess. Taking you for granted were we?"

"Nah, 's not that." He hesitated. "It's just...well...when I was small, Christmas was my mum's holiday. Starting on December 1, it was like she had a magic wand. She decorated the house from top to bottom, baked every day. Father Christmas must have appointed her second in command." His eyes looked back across the years.

"Our tree looked like something out of fairyland. She had these delicate ornaments that her parents had bought when they got married. And on Christmas Day, well, we children didn't get everything we'd asked for, of course, but there was something very special under the tree for each of us. Christmas was the most wonderful time of the year." He stopped and cleared his throat.

"M'father went along with her, let her do whatever she wanted, but he didn't really care much about Christmas. Thought Lt was a lot of fuss and nonsense. He never said too much about it, but we could tell." He cleared his throat again.

"Then, when I was eight, she died just before Christmas. She just got sick and died. The doctors weren't too sure what it was, exactly, and Dad wouldn't let them do an autopsy to find out. The next day, Dad took all the decorations down and set them out for the dustman. He tossed out the tree, ornaments and all. Even the Christmas cake. Everything. Presents, too, I guess. I know we didn't get any that year. We never celebrated Christmas again. Oh, we got new clothes on Christmas Day, just in the carry-bags they came from the store in, not wrapped or anything." His lashes were bright with unshed tears and he swal- lowed hard.

Bodie pulled his lover close and hugged him tightly. "What about your other relatives?" he asked softly.

"My mum's folks were dead and she was an only child, 'n' my dad's family felt the same way he did." He tried to clear his throat again, but only partially succeeded. His voice was husky as he continued. "Somehow, even after I'd left home, I couldn't seem to change. Christmas was Mummy's. And Mummy was dead, so Christmas was dead, too." A single tear overflowed and trickled down his cheek.

"Oh, love, I'm sorry," Ray whispered. He'd moved over to sit on the arm of the sofa so he could hold Murphy, too. "I never meant to hurt you."

"No," Murphy said, smiling as he blinked back more tears, voice thick with them. "I'm glad you did. It's almost as beautiful as I remember. I feel like I've come home again after a long time away."

Ray hugged him again. "Don't you have anything of your mother's, then?" he asked.

Murphy nodded. "Actually, I do. I snuck out at night and put some things into a box and took it over to my pal to keep for me. Dad caught me coming back in but I wouldn't tell him where I'd been or what I'd done. Got the worst thrashing of my entire life, that night."

"Where are they now?" asked Bodie.

"I'll get them." He went out to the kitchen and got the steps, then took them into the hallway and climbed up 'til he could reach to the very back of the top shelf of the storage cabinet. He handed the box to Ray, who had followed him, and took the steps back. Ray gave him the box and he took it over to the tree and sat down by it. The others followed him and sat beside him.

He untied the knot in the string around the box and carefully took off the lid. The box was full of cotton wool. He lifted off the top layer and ran his finger lightly over the two glass ornaments laying there--a Father Christmas and a bell. He lifted the bell and swung it gently. It had a glass clapper inside and tinkled softly. He reached up and hung it at the top of the tree, then picked up the Father Christmas, which had lost a lot of its paint, and hung it near- by. He smiled at the others. "There was a violin and a pickle at one time, but they got broken somewhere along the way."

He lifted up the next layer of cotton wool and there was a Nativity scene and village. He spread the cotton under the tree and set the houses and stable on it. There was a tiny china Father Christmas with his sack of toys. The holy family was there and the manger, the shepherd with his sheep and a dog. The dog had two legs broken, but Murph leaned it against the stable. There were the three kings, but only two camels and one camel?boy looking for the star. The ox and ass were there and two angels, one standing. the other kneeling to the babe. He lifted out a drunk, staggering along with his beer belly and his wine jug, then a blind man begging for alms. One by one, Murphy put them all under the tree.

When he was finished. Doyle leaned over and hugged him, then kissed his cheek. "It's beautiful, Murph. Just what we needed. The finishing touch."

"It's perfect," Bodie agreed.

Murphy reached out blindly for his lovers and pulled them to him. "Thank you," he said softly. "Thank you for giving Christmas back to me. I love you both."

"Love you, too," they replied.

They went back over to the sofa and cuddled while the music finished playing. "Bed time, I think," Ray said, when the tape was done.

Bodie took the glasses out to the kitchen then went over to unplug the tree. Just before it went dark he saw a small black paw come out and bat at the tinsel. "Good?night, Baby," he said, carefully leaving the door open so the kitten could join them in bed, as she usually did.

When he got to the bedroom, the others were already in bed. He quickly joined them and turned cut the bedside light. Murphy pulled him close and held him tightly.

"Happy Christmas, love," Bodie murmured.

"Happy Christmas, love," Ray echoed.

"It is," said Murphy. "The happiest Christmas ever."

-- THE END --

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