Blackberry Winter
Chapter 3
By John Yager
Copyright 2004

Usual stipulations apply. All my stories can be found in the NIFTY Prolific Net Authors section.  I also maintain a notification list.  If you'd like to be on it let me know at the e-mail address below.

As always, many thanks to Andrew for proofing.

They ate a light lunch. Neither of them were really hungry. They'd not done much and, confined as they were in the small cabin, hadn't gotten any exercise.

The afternoon dragged on. They'd each brought a book, ones assigned for school, and they read awhile, but without much interest. The sun slowly slipped lower and the snow began to melt. A few patches of green spring grass began to appear in the valley where most of the snow had already melted, going, it seemed, as quickly as it had come.

Around the cabin, though, and on the hills behind it, the snow persisted. They heard occasional low rumbles as the pine trees rid themselves of the snow which had weighed down their branches.

They sat, Steve on a little sofa, Dan across from him in a big rocking chair. They considered getting bundled up and going for a walk but the snow was a little too deep. The hike back down the next day would be hard enough without wet boots.

They talked about school and what they might want to do with their lives.

Dan wanted to be a doctor, like his father and grandfather.

Steve wasn't sure, maybe engineering, but he knew he didn't want to sell building supplies like his dad.

"Your brother's probably going to do a business degree, right?" Dan asked.

"Yeah, Todd wants to be the head of some big corporation and live in New York. He'll probably end up working for some company like dad.

They talked about the swimming team and who'd be the stars next year.

"I don't think Stevens has much chance," Steve said, speaking of a sophomore with a mixed record and a big mouth.

"He sure thinks he does," Dan laughed. "I figure we just need to keep training and not worry about it. Us freshmen aren't going to make a big splash this year."

"Bad pun, Bro," Steve said, but he did laugh.

The afternoon passed slowly. The cabin was so cozy and warm that they both dozed a little, sitting across from each other.

"I'm bored," Steve eventually said.

"I was just thinking," Dan said, "we could fold that rug over and make a workout mat."

"No weights."

"We could do pushups and crunches, stuff like that."

"Sure, I guess it beats just sitting around."

They moved the furniture, clearing a space in the middle of the cabin, and folded the old rug.

"Okay," Dan said, "pushups first. How many are you good for?"


"Not good enough, mister. Fifty at least."

"Okay, but you first."

Dan dropped down, positioned himself and began. His form was fine, his back straight and his rump and legs in alignment, but after twenty-five he stopped and jumped up.

"I thought you said fifty," Steve chided.

"I did, but I've got to get out of these stiff jeans," he said as he went over to his backpack by the bed. He pulled off his rather tight fitting jeans and replaced them with a pair of loose fitting shorts, then, almost as an afterthought, removed his T-shirt as well. Dressed only in the shorts and his white socks, he returned to the improvised exercise mat and dropped down to continue doing pushups.

Steve's eyes wandered over Dan's developing body as he continued the routine, calling out the number of each repetition. The muscles of Dan's back and shoulders bulged and a thin film of sweat glistened on his glowing skin. Steve could see Dan's white jockeys as the loose legs of his shorts worked up.

When Dan reached fifty he kept going, doing an extra ten.


"Yeah, but I took a break to get out of my jeans. You do fifty straight and we'll call it even."

"Okay, but I think I'd better get into shorts, too."

"Yeah, the jeans don't help."

Steve went to his own backpack and, following Dan's example, pulled off his jeans and shirt. As he stood there in only his white jockeys and socks, Dan couldn't help admiring his friend's broad back and the high, round bulges of his rump. At fourteen, Steve was a very good looking guy; part boy, part man, but with the budding promise of even greater beauty as he matured.

Steve bent over as he pulled on the shorts, stretching the fabric of his underwear, making the mounds of his ass all the more attractive.

Watch yourself, it wouldn't take much to spook him, Dan thought.

Steve turned and came over to the mat as Dan sprawled on the sofa to watch.

The kid's form was great and fifty pushups seemed to be no effort at all. He paused after the fiftieth and then, looking over at Dan, grinned, and did eleven more.

"Got ya," he laughed, as he stood up.

Dan noticed that Steve's arms were trembling a little from the exertion as he collapsed in the rocker where Dan had sat earlier.

"Are you rested enough to do some crunches?" Steve asked.

"Yeah, what about you?"

"I'll be ready by the time you finish," Steve said. He was breathing hard but Dan knew it wouldn't take him long to regain his strength.

"I think you should go first this time."

"So you can do me one better?"

"Yeah," Dan grinned. "But maybe ten better, mister."

"Okay," Steve grinned, "but you'll have to give me a few minutes to rest."

"Deal," Dan said, looking over at Steve as he slouched in the rocker, his chest rising and falling slowly as he breathing returned to normal.

Several more minutes went by, during which the two boys continued to look openly at each other. Dan's eyes roamed over Steve's smooth, developing swimmer's body, marveling at the improvements in his physique.

Steve, for his part, let his eyes wander with new openness, feeling free to admire his friend for the first time. "You know, Dan," he finally said, "if we keep working out over the summer, we'll be a couple of teen hunks by the time school starts again in the fall."

"Yeah," Dan grinned, "a couple of teen sex gods, you mean."

"Think so?"

"Know so," Dan laughed, wanting more than anything to move across the space between them and run his hands over Steve's firm chest, maybe even kiss him. Instead, however, he just said. "Okay, mister, time. Show me your stuff."

"Okay, here goes," Steve said, getting up from the rocker and moving into position on the folded rug.

He brought his knees up, almost to his chest, into the crunch position their swimming coach had taught them. He locked his hands behind his head and began to do a series of fast crunches. His body glowed and from where Dan was sitting, he could see the nice curve of Steve's rump and the developing ridges of his abdominal muscles. To Dan's amazement, his friend didn't stop until he reached one hundred and twenty-five demanding crunches.

When Steve collapsed on the mat, breathing hard, he spread his legs and stretched out his arms. His eyes were closed and his mouth was wide open as he sucked in air.

"Shit, Steveo," Dan gasped. "That'll be hard to beat."

"I know," Steve gasped, giving Dan a quick grin.

Steve stayed on the mat for several more minutes while his breathing slowly returned to normal.

Dan couldn't help noticing the rosy blush which had spread over his friend's stomach and chest and the way the fabric of his shorts mounded over his crotch.

Is he hard? Dan wondered.

"So, your turn," Steve said as he got up.

Dan took his place and assumed the position.

He matched Steve's one-twenty-five and quit.

"Tie," he gasped as he finished.

"Do one more," Steve said, watching from the sofa.


"Yes, you can. One more."

Dan pulled his legs up again and did one more slow, visibly painful crunch.

"There," Steve laughed, "you win."

"You beat me on pushups."

"Okay, we're even then."

Dan rolled off the mat and got up, flopping down on the sofa by Steve.

They sat in silence for a moment or two before Steve said, "you know, you stink."

"Yeah, I guess so."

"I guess I do, too, but there's not much we can do about it, no way to shower here."

Dan looked over at him and winked. "Maybe." He went to his backpack and pulled his jeans back on over his shorts. "Come on, get some clothes on."

"What's up."

"Just get dressed."

The boys both pulled on jeans and their boots, then donned their jackets over their bare chests. Then, with Dan in front and Steve following, they went out the door and along the narrow path to the shed against which the firewood was stacked.

Dan unhooked the shed door and pulled it open. They stared into the dark interior.

"What's going on?" Steve finally asked.

"I think it's a sauna."

"No kidding? How did you figure that?"

"The smoke stack," Dan said.

"Good guess, Mr. Holmes," Steve laughed. "So do you want to fire it up?"

"Yeah, I'll get some wood and you go back in for a lamp and matches. We can take a sauna and bath at the same time."

In only a few minutes they had a fire lit and the interior of the little shed began to warm up.

"How long do you think it will take to get really hot?" Steve asked when they went back to the cabin.

"Couple of hours, at least," Dan said. "We'll just have to smell like a couple of goats 'till then."

"So do you want to go ahead and eat?"

"I guess we may just as well."

They sat about preparing and eating their dinner. "Hershey Bars later for dessert," Dan said as he washed up.

"Yeah," Steve agreed, "after the sauna."

The sunlight faded and evening came on. They waited in the cabin for another hour, going out twice to check the fire. Finally, about seven o'clock, they decided it was time.

"I'm going to leave my clothes in the cabin," Dan said as they got up.

"You're going out in the cold, through that snow, naked?" Steve almost gasped.

"Sure, isn't that the tradition?"

"You'll freeze your balls!"

"No I won't. We can wrap towels around the critical parts."

"A lot of good that will do," Steve continued to object, then realizing Dan had said we, not I, he looked at his buddy wide eyed and added, "no way!"

"Come on, Oliver," Dan chided. "You can do it, and you sure don't have to worry about anyone seeing your skinny body."

"Parsons, you are nuts."

"Maybe," Dan grinned. "But I'm doing it and if you don't you're just plain chicken."

"Oh, shit," Steve whined, giving in.

The sauna was hot and they sat on the wooden bench which ran along one side, feeling their bodies respond, feeling the heat penetrate their muscles and bones.

The glow of the oil lamp cast flickering light over their naked bodies.

One bucket of water heated on the cast iron stove and another rested by the door. They'd put a bar of soap in a little wire basked hanging in the corner where there were also hooks for their towels and the washcloths they'd brought along. It was clear others had used the sauna for bathing, not only for its comforting warmth.

They had undressed in the cabin, over Steve's objections, and run out naked, wrapped only in their towels. Their feet were numb and their bodies rosy by the time they'd covered the thirty feet between the cabin and the little shed.

Steve let his head go back, resting it against the wooden wall of the shed, enjoying the warmth and the sweet, rich fragrance of the pine fire.

"This is great," Dan said.

"Yeah," Steve agreed. "Do people really go out and scrub with snow after sitting in a sauna for a while?"

"I guess so," Dan said, turning to look at Steve's profile. His eyes were closed and he looked even younger than his years in the soft light. "Do you want to try it."

"I'll risk it if you will."

They bolted out the door, agreeing without saying anything that they'd better do it fast before they lost their nerve.

Steve scooped up a handful of snow and rubbed it over Dan's shoulders and chest.

Dan let out a whoop, but returned the favor. Their bodies were so hot, they realized, the cold of the snow was actually not all that startling.

"Turn around," Steve said and when Dan complied, he repeated the process, rubbing snow over his buddy's back and buttocks and legs.

"Now you," Dan said, and Steve turned.

With their bodies wet and dripping from the melted snow, they darted back into the sauna. Steam rose from their shoulders and chests in the hot air and they settled down again on the wooden bench, feeling themselves go limp.

It wasn't long, however, before the heat became too much for them and Dan got up and began splashing water over himself and then following with soap.

Steve watched the process in the dim light, again letting his eyes run freely over Dan's lithe body. "Let me do your back," he said when he too got up.

They ended up washing each other's backs, soaping shoulders and backs, letting their hands run attentively over buttocks and then down over legs.

They finished themselves, too shy to touch more sensitive parts, and rinsed with the water they'd heated.

To be continued.