“Get back in bed, Josten. It’s too damn cold to go jogging.”
It was too early to be woken by rustling sheets and the minute creaking of their mattress. Andrew let the thick duvet swallow him, surrendering to the cloud pillows. Sir had curled up near Andrew’s calf last night, but King mewled and shuffled over after losing Neil’s heat. It was the only thing they were useful for: keeping him warm.
Neil froze, peering over his shoulder. “I’m not.”
He was answered by a soft growl. Neil pushed off of the bed, his shirt rucking up his abdomen as he got to his feet. He yawned, stretching out. “I’m not. Dan and Matt are forcing me to host the Foxes’ Christmas party this year. They said that we’re not ‘festive’ enough, so I guess I’m going Christmas shopping.”
He ambled over to the bathroom, leaving the door cracked. Andrew watched him getting ready before burrowing back into the covers and feigning sleep. He ignored the content purring against his leg and side, courtesy of their two motors. Feet padded back into the room, drawers opening and shutting.
After a minute of Neil dressing, Andrew sighed heavily and sat up. Neil paused, watching him blink groggily and shove away the covers. His lips curled upwards, ducking his head so Andrew wouldn’t catch his smile.
“Shut up.” Andrew stood sluggishly in his briefs, rubbing his eye. He had planned to sleep in and slowly merge with his bed, but Neil threw a wrench into his plans like always. His perfect recollection recalled him telling the striker to stop making his life difficult... Neil went to make coffee while he waited for him to get ready.
Andrew emerged from the bedroom with the cats weaving between his legs, adorned in his sleepwear with a jacket thrown over. He didn’t care enough about Christmas shopping to put forth the effort. Neil himself was in his wrinkly PSU hoodie, with sweatpants and a knit cap drawn over his auburn hair.
“Ready?” Neil smiled, handing Andrew his coffee. Andrew took his drink, heading for the door. The forecast called for light snow later that week, but the current weather didn’t warrant too many layers yet. Back in South Carolina, snow was rare and generally melted overnight.
They stopped for breakfast on the way to the store, eating in the parking lot. They partook in one of their favorite hobbies, people-watching as they ate. Customers flitted in and out of the store with purchases of varying sizes. Periodically, someone would emerge with a Christmas tree in their shopping cart.
Neil sat up straighter in his seat, his food wrapper crinkling between his fingers.
“.. Should we—”
“You don’t even know what I was going to say,” Neil protested, though he knew Andrew knew him like the back of his own hand. He reached over to wipe a stray crumb from the side of Andrew’s mouth, licking it off his finger. He stuffed his wrapper into the paper bag by his feet.
“You were going to say we should get a Christmas tree and absolutely not. Your cats are just going to destroy it,” Andrew said after a second of silence, digging his thumb into the corner of his mouth.
“Our cats. And I’ve never had one, Andrew. We can decorate it together.” Neil smiled at the scoff he received, but the blond protested no further. Instead, he jammed his wrapper into the brown bag and unlocked the car. They got out, Neil grabbing the same bag and walking to the nearest trash can to discard it. He circled back to Andrew’s side, walking into the store with him.
Christmas music was playing over the speakers. Typical.
“What should we get?” Neil hummed, looking at aisles upon aisles of Holiday decor while Andrew grabbed a shopping cart. He touched the fake snowflakes and pressed a button on a tiny Santa. He watched it jiggle and chortle jovially, nearly toppling off the shelf. They moved on.
He looked up as bright colors caught his eye, perking up. He walked over to a display of Christmas lights, watching the assortment of bulbs flicker in a pattern. He picked up two boxes, twirling around to show Andrew. “Normal or colored?”
“When you get tangled up in those, I’m not helping you.”
“So both?” Neil grinned, shaking the box gently. “We can put some over the fireplace. I think it’d look pretty.”
He placed them in the cart, wrapping his fingers around it so he could guide it from the front. Andrew steered from the back, leaning his elbows on the handle. Let It Snow faded out and Feliz Navidad began to float through the speakers. Neil paused for a moment before humming along quietly.
They entered an aisle filled with Christmas treats. Neil stopped the cart, sweeping his gaze over the variety of candies and sweets. He didn’t like sweets, personally, but he was sure the Foxes would expect proper party treats. He was saved from his dilemma as Andrew set a few boxes of Christmas cookies and candies in the cart. Sugar cookies, candy canes, chocolate, etc. His lips curled up again, just at the way they were always in sync.
He lugged the cart behind him again, softly singing along to the song. Neil didn’t speak Spanish often unless the situation called for it. Andrew couldn’t find himself minding, listening to his quiet voice as he sang the words with ease.
“Oh.” Neil stopped, picking up two small stockings to be hung on their chimney with minimal care. His eyes twinkled mischievously. “For Sir and King?”
“Pray tell, what do two cats need stockings for?” Andrew questioned, arching an eyebrow. They couldn’t exactly eat candy. Neil tilted his head, tapping his chin in thought.
“I can fill them with treats and new toys...”
“I’m going to take away a treat for every time they trip me up then.”
“You wouldn’t,” Neil laughed. He set them in the cart, adding golden glitter glue to write their names with later. After a second of pondering, he added two normal sized ones for him and Andrew. Andrew sighed.
Neil counted the number of items they had in their cart before slipping his phone out of his pocket and updating the Foxes of their progress in the group chat. He pointed at a Grinch plush and grinned at Andrew.
“Look, it’s you. Though, I have to disagree with some parts. You’re actually more cuddly than a cactus.”
“I should have pushed you off of that roof when I had the chance.”
“Yeah,” Neil agreed, shrugging. “But I would have dragged you down with me.”
He stopped by a row of Santa hats, elf hats and reindeer headbands. He picked up a Santa hat and showed Andrew a pair of antlers.
“No.” Neil smiled, setting them in the buggy anyways. Andrew stared at him for a full minute, but was easily ignored. Neil was grazing a section of gift wrapping paper, picking up different rolls and inspecting them. He lit up as he found wrapping paper with a fox pattern on them.
He grabbed two and Andrew almost groaned, wondering why he decided to come along. “Fucking junkie.”
“Your junkie,” Neil teased. He placed them carefully in the cart, coming to stand in front of Andrew. This time, he earned an eyeroll, but the blond knew what he wanted. He tugged Neil down by his hoodie, giving him a kiss. Neil kissed back eagerly, cupping his cheek in his hand.
He whined lowly in his throat as they broke apart, but Andrew gestured to the busybodies around them. All Neil could do was hope for more kisses later. He cleared his throat. “Can we go to the mall next? I still have to find gifts for the Foxes. I already have yours.”
Andrew narrowed his eyes at him. “You better not fucking have.”
Every year, Andrew instated a nonnegotiable ‘no presents’ rule between them. Every year, Neil broke it (but that was okay, because Andrew did too). He avoided Andrew’s gaze, spinning around and not-so-slyly changing the subject. “So about the tree.”
“Neil.” He guided the buggy to the Christmas tree display, looking up at the different sizes and colors. Did people actually buy blue Christmas trees? He tapped his foot before looking at Andrew over his shoulder, trying to make his expression innocent.
“How tall is our living room ceiling? Nine feet?” Andrew ignored him, beginning to steer the buggy away but Neil grabbed his end tightly, not letting go. “Andrew.”
“Eight feet,” Andrew correct flatly. “Don’t get anything too big.”
Neil’s beam was blinding before he set off to find the ideal tree. He went with the traditional green, medium but perfect for their living room.
“I'm not helping you carry that,” Andrew announced while checking out. Neil rolled his eyes.
“I'll help you with that, sir,” an employee volunteered, smiling warmly at Neil. His nametag read ‘Miles’. Neil left the job to Andrew to stash their items and new ornaments in the trunk. The tree just barely fit in the Maserati after lots of maneuvering.
Miles chatted the entire time while Neil nodded along with that look that meant he wasn't really listening. Andrew was sure normal employees didn't show this much enthusiasm.
“Can I ask you something?” Miles rubbed the back of his head, his cheeks tinted pink. Neil blinked, seeming to rejoin reality.
“Are you single?” Ah, there it was. Andrew slammed the trunk closed. The employee looked startled but glanced back at Neil, who pursed his lips.
“I’m not single.” He circled around him to open the passenger's side, sliding in without further explanation. Andrew summoned his keys, starting the car and tearing out of the parking lot.
Neil reached out to interlace their fingers on the gearshift, rubbing his thumb over Andrew’s knuckles. He would buy the Foxes’ gifts tomorrow; people stealing things left in cars wasn’t unheard of, even eight-foot Christmas trees. America was a lovely place, truly.
Contrary to his words in the store, Andrew helped him carry the Christmas tree inside. Neil infinitely preferred his muscular arms to whoever that guy was.
Once they carried all their bags in, Andrew shed his jacket. Ditching his shoes by the door, he went to feed the cats, who were meowing loudly and weaving between his legs again. Andrew cursed as he tripped over King, stumbling and catching himself on the kitchen counter. He pointedly glared at Neil, who snorted. “Definitely emptying your stocking.”
“Don’t be mean to him.”
“I meant yours.” Neil gasped in mock offense, holding his hand over his heart. Smirking, he went to unbox the tree, sitting on the floor cross-legged. Andrew soon joined him after stealing a candy cane from their bags, sucking on it.
While putting it together, King and Sir decided they were done with their food, messing with the boxes of ornaments and chewing on the fake pine needles. More than once, Andrew or Neil had to grab them and set them aside. After the eighth time, Andrew stared at Neil, which was Minyard-speak for ‘do something or I will’.
Neil frowned, not wanting to put them in a separate room. He looked around before getting an idea. He emptied out the rest of the tree box, opening the flaps on both sides and setting it a few feet away.
The experiment was a success, the cats migrated to the new box and played in it.
He grinned before moving on to the Christmas lights. They plugged in the colorful ones, winding them around the tree. For some unknown reason, the lights refused to turn on. Neil circled the tree, trying to spot the problem. Andrew stole another candy cane, biting down on it with a crunch. He shook the box of ornaments, signaling for them to just start hanging them up.
Neil nodded, sitting back on his knees as they started from the bottom and progressed upwards. They had to stand on the tips of their toes to decorate the top, but no one had to know.
“Wait,” Neil murmured. He crawled around the tree, sitting back on his haunches and tapping his finger against his knee. He found something, reaching forward. There was a click and then the tree was flicking in an array of colors. His grin broadened as he stood, taking a few steps back to admire their work. “Andrew.”
He sounded so enamored, but Andrew could only stare at the striker. He was as giddy as a child about this. Andrew couldn’t relate, but seeing the way the twinkling lights reflected in his blue eyes left him breathless and pretty gay. He exhaled, reaching up to feel his pulse and the rapid drumming of his heart.
“It’s just a Christmas tree,” he grumbled.
“Yeah, but it’s our Christmas tree,” Neil replied with that stupidly sweet smile. Andrew hated it, dragging his gaze back to the tree, though it wasn’t as vibrant as him. They twined Christmas lights over the fireplace and over the windows. They decided to forgo decorating the outside of the apartment because it was cold as balls.
Neil and Andrew rewarded themselves with hot chocolate and oven-warmed cinnamon rolls, settling on the couch. The latter barely waited for his to cool before biting into one of the sweet buns. Neil watched him with that annoying look of doting fondness, like Andrew was his entire world.
“Staring.” Neil’s smile became impossibly softer before ducking his head, reaching for his mug. He took a sip of his chocolate, wincing as it singed his tongue. He sat it down on the coffee table, feeling his eyes water while Andrew studied him, unimpressed.
“Moron. Did you never learn to blow your drinks to cool them off first?”
“Oh, you mean that thing you never do?” Neil shot back, his eyes narrowing in challenge. He stole one of Andrew’s cinnamon rolls out of spite, who pinched his arm and stole it back. That smart mouth.
“Don’t be a baby. I’m not going to kiss it better,” Andrew remarked, stirring his hot chocolate with his candy cane and taking a sip.
“... Why not?” The blond cocked his head in his direction, prompting Neil to elaborate. “Why not kiss it better?”
Andrew slanted a look at him. Neil just shrugged. He saw no signs of a ‘no’, so he took the mug from his hands and set the cinnamon rolls aside. Andrew’s eyes lingered on them on the coffee table before drifting back to him.
“Yes or no?” Neil asked. After years spent together, they had both learned to trust that it would (almost) always be a yes, but it didn’t hurt to check in at times. Andrew hummed, tilting his head for a moment.
“Yes.” Taking Neil’s chin between his fingers, he made good on his offer to kiss it better. Andrew tasted like the whipped cream that he had added to his hot chocolate, his tongue slipping into his mouth. Their kisses grew heated very quickly. Neil’s sweats were already tenting as he panted into his mouth.
“Bedroom,” Andrew growled into his ear before nudging his hip. Neil shuddered in excitement before climbing out of his lap. He watched Andrew disappear down the hall before darting to switch off the TV and checking the front door. Making sure the cats wouldn’t get into any trouble, he rushed to the bedroom.
Neil closed the door behind himself, already discarding his hoodie. He dived on to the bed, his lips seeking out Andrew’s. He found them, releasing a pleased moan into his mouth. He was shoved onto his back, all too willing to submit as his fingers curled into Andrew’s hair. Andrew’s hands explored his bare skin, tracing his scars and rubbing circles into his hip.
“W.. Where can I touch?” Neil breathed against his lips. Andrew kissed him a few more times before answering gruffly.
“Anywhere. Everywhere is a yes until it's a no. You?”
“Everywhere.” Always, always. He leaned up to catch his lips again. Andrew’s hand disappeared inside his sweats, wrapping around his stiff cock. Neil’s breath hitched, squirming under his touch as he stroked him. “A-Andrew...”
Andrew held down his bucking hips with one hand, peppering kisses down his torso and biting at exposed skin. The pacing of his hand was quick and rough. He licked a long stripe up Neil’s belly. Neil’s toes curled as a desperate whine tore out of his throat. Andrew inched back up to kiss him deeply.
Neil groaned as his tongue curled into his mouth, his cock leaking. Andrew broke their kiss, cupping his hand behind Neil’s neck and mumbling against his lips, “I want you to fuck me, yes or no?”
He heard and felt Neil’s breath leave his lungs before he nodded eagerly. It took a few years, but they became comfortable with sex both ways. “Yes. Yes, always.”
Andrew nodded shortly, pushing off of him and allowing Neil to sit up. He was still panting, flushed all the way down to his shoulders as he scrambled off the bed. While he was in search of lube and condoms, Andrew stripped down to his briefs. He snagged a pillow to place under his backside, lying down.
Neil returned, climbing onto the bed and setting down the items. His sweats were thrown to the floor. He scooted closer to Andrew, his bright eyes trailing up and down his body. He tore his gaze away to meet Andrew’s eyes, grinning and hovering a hand near one of his thick thighs.
Andrew grunted his affirmation, giving a nod.
Neil brushed his fingers over Andrew’s pale skin with feather-like touches, admiring his muscle and the way he shivered. He curved his hand around the area where Andrew’s thigh met his hip and tugged him closer. He pressed a tender kiss on the inside of his thigh, smiling at the way Andrew’s leg twitched in response. Neil hooked his fingers under the waistband of his briefs, tugging them down his legs.
He lay flat on his stomach, pressing a light kiss to Andrew’s cock and wrapping his fingers around his length. He heard Andrew’s quiet hiss as he swiped his tongue from the base to tip. He lapped at the head before uncapping the lube. Coating his fingers, he carefully pressed one finger into him and began working him open. As Neil fingered him, he sank his mouth fully down around his cock.
Andrew’s thighs tensed as he exhaled through his nose. Neil bobbed his head, curling his finger inside of him. Andrew tried not to be vocal in bed, but the breathy huffs and his fingers clenching the sheets were a small tell of his enjoyment. Neil added another finger, pumping them into him.
“You’re taking my fingers so well, Andrew,” Neil whispered, kissing the side of his cock and looking up at him. Andrew shuddered.
“Sh-Shut the fuck up,” he muttered, his eyes fluttering closed. Neil occupied his mouth again, curling his fingers again. Andrew jumped, a sharp exhale leaving him. “Fuck.”
Neil grinned around his cock, continuing to massage that spot with his fingers. Andrew’s head tipped back, his cheeks tinted with arousal. He looked so good. Neil worked in a third finger, watching his face. Andrew hissed.
“Neil.” It was a warning that he was close, so he withdrew his fingers and let his dick fall out of his mouth.
Neil slotted himself between Andrew’s parted legs, kissing his jaw and then his lips. Andrew hummed at the taste of himself on his tongue but returned his kisses with vigor. Neil rubbed his thigh soothingly until Andrew bit his lip, signaling for him to get a move on.
He rolled the condom on and lined the head of his cock up with his entrance, pushing slowly into him. He saw Andrew’s fingers grip the sheets underneath him once he was a few inches deep, stopping. He placed his hands by his hips, studying his face. Andrew’s grip relaxed on the sheets and he met Neil’s gaze blankly.
Neil leaned down, trailing kisses across his neck. Andrew’s thighs jerked around Neil in surprise, a shiver racking his frame. Neil smiled, continuing to plant kisses against his skin and sucking bruises. Andrew tipped his head to grant him more access. His hands ghosted down Neil’s back, resting on his waist.
Neil pulled out before thrusting back in. A soft gasp came from Andrew. He repeated the motion, rocking into him. His fingers gripped Neil’s hips tightly. Neil cursed quietly, moaning into the crook of his neck as he set a pace.
It wasn’t often he got to experience Andrew’s tight heat, but it was overwhelming when he did. He picked up speed, fucking harder into Andrew just to hear the soft grunts he released. He was sure he could get off just to the sounds of Andrew’s pleasure. He faintly registered the bed shifting and rocking under the weight of his thrusts. It was a good thing they had a pillow cushioned behind the headboard for these exact activities.
“Fuck!” He heard Andrew groan lowly during one particular stroke. “Do that again.”
Neil focused on hitting that same spot, resulting in Andrew gasping and arching his back. He detached his lips from his neck, taking in Andrew’s appearance.
He was breathing hard, his entire face flushed and his hair matted to his forehead with sweat. Neil used one hand to sweep it out of his eyes before reaching to take one of his hands from his waist. Hazel eyes flickered open as Neil laced their fingers together.
“Shit. You look so good, Andrew...”
“N-No one asked you.” Andrew arched his back again, his eyes fluttering rapidly as his toes curled. His thighs tensed around him again, beginning to shake. “N-Neil—”
“I’ve got you,” Neil whispered, squeezing his hand. His spare hand traveled down Andrew’s stomach, grasping his cock and stroking him fast. Andrew cupped his hand behind Neil’s neck, a loud groan erupting from him. Neil fucked him through his orgasm, his cum streaking both of their stomachs and dribbling over his hand.
He stopped, peppering kisses all over his face while he shivered in the aftershocks, recovering his breath. Neil waited patiently, kissing his temple and whispering. “Good?”
Andrew shuddered but cracked open his eyes. “Good…”
Neil began to pull out to get himself off when Andrew locked his legs around him, trapping him in place. Neil brushed his own sweat-soaked hair from his forehead, panting as he looked down at him. “Are you sure?”
Andrew just glared at him, but it had zero effect with his flushed, post-orgasmic state. Neil slowly resumed his thrusts. He ducked his head into Andrew’s neck again, swearing under his breath when he returned the favor of kissing his neck. His hips stilled as he spilled hotly inside of Andrew, ragged breaths escaping his lungs.
Fuck, indeed. He quietly withdrew from Andrew, falling onto his back. His chest was heaving, his eyes shut as he reveled in the cool December air. He threw away the condom, brushing his hair out of his face again. When he turned to face Andrew, the blond was already looking at him. His gaze neutrally flickered over his features.
Neil grinned, nodding. “Very good.”
“I’m impressed, Neil. Your apartment actually looks like normal people live here,” Allison commented, patting his shoulder. Neil gave a half-smile, glancing around the apartment. Most of his former teammates were dancing, prancing around drunk, or both. He had missed them a lot and it was a breath of fresh air to see them again.
“Andrew helped.” He shrugged, watching Matt and Nicky take photos of the cats under the Christmas tree.
Hopefully, Andrew didn’t notice the extra toys they slipped into the cats’ stockings.
“No way. The monster?” Allison sent a doubtful look across the room. Andrew stood by the wall with a blank face, wearing the antlers that Neil had bought and sipping from his glass. Kevin was waving a cookie at him while he rambled drunkenly, angry about something.
Dan grinned, tugging Neil’s Santa hat further down so it wouldn’t slip off his head. “Next, you’re going to say he helped make the gingerbread cookies.”
He snorted. “It was his idea.”
They decided to make a batch of gingerbread men together. Somehow, that led to a flour-covered make out session and then the bright idea to use the frosting to make the cookies look like the Foxes.
“Is this really what you think I look like?” Kevin was ranting. Andrew didn’t reply, not even to tell him that Neil was the one to design his.
At least the others appreciated theirs. Andrew looked away from Kevin, catching his eyes from across the room.
Neil smiled, taking a secretive sip from his hot chocolate.