There’s a knock on Jonny’s Nashville hotel room door as he’s getting ready for bed and he knows immediately who it is. It’s been months since Patrick has shown up at Jonny’s door for any reason and Jonny can’t ignore the shiver of anticipation that goes through him regardless of the reason why Patrick is here now.
He opens the door and crosses his arms, waiting Patrick out. Patrick shifts his weight before sliding his eyes up to meet Jonny’s.
“Jonny.” He says. His voice cracks a bit and he licks his lips.
Jonny blinks, muscles tight.
“Jonny.” Patrick tries again. “We have to fix it.” His voice sounds so broken and the anger and frustration of the second loss bleeds out of Jonny so fast his body sags.
“I know.” Jonny says finally and then turns around and walks back to his bed.
He sits on the edge and rests his hands between his open knees and looks up at Patrick as he walks towards the bed. It’s been a while since he’s allowed himself to look his fill, a while since Jonny wasn’t averting his gaze every time Patrick turned to look back at him. It feels good.
Patrick stands in front of Jonny and fiddles with the ties on his athletic pants.
“How do we fix it?” Patrick asks, his voice sounding young and small to Jonny’s ears.
Jonny looks up at him. His first reaction is to stand up and shake Patrick. To scream that ‘he doesn’t KNOW.’ But that didn’t help them before. Before when it didn’t feel strange to have Patrick standing in his space looking soft and rumpled.
Instead Jonny tightens his jaw and glances away. He scrubs his face with his hands and sighs. “I don’t know Peeks.” He hears Patrick’s sharp intake of breath at the nickname, a nickname Jonny hasn’t used in months in a desperate attempt to keep distance between them.
With a sigh, Patrick sits next to him gingerly, no part of his body touching Jonny’s. Jonny suddenly misses Patrick in an acute way. Not the dull ache that’s been lodged inside of him since Patrick walked out of Jonny’s place, but in a sharp, jagged way that makes Jonny’s chest tight.
“Maybe….” Patrick trails off hesitantly and then takes a deep breath. “Maybe we should fix it. Us.” He swallows and stares straight ahead.
Jonny looks at his fingers and tries to ignore his awareness of Patrick.
“I thought you-“ Jonny starts.
“I don’t.” Patrick cuts in and turns to look at Jonny. “I don’t Jonny.”
Jonny turns and looks at him and meets Patrick’s gaze and his throat closes up. Patrick’s expression is open and guileless, his eyes wide and blue and pleading.
“I don’t.” Jonny says softly.
They stare at each other, Jonny studying the familiar plane of Patrick’s face, more familiar here, in the dim light of one of endless hotel room lamps, than in his Chicago condo.
“I don’t want to play alone anymore Jonny.” Patrick speaks finally.
Jonny frowns and is about to speak when Patrick rushes on, “I know what you think but Jonny, I don’t want to lift the cup without you. Without us.”
“Can’t win the cup without scoring.” Jonny points out wryly.
“We will Jonny.” Patrick promises, placing a hand on Jonny’s thigh. “Starting with tonight?” He questions hopefully but then leers and wiggles his eyebrows.
“Oh my god.” Jonny huffs a laugh and shoves Patrick’s face away with his palm.
His hand slides down Patrick’s face and turns to cup his jaw. Patrick’s smirk fades as he looks up at Jonny from under his lashes.
They stare at each other and Jonny’s hand slides to the back of Patrick’s head, fingers twining into the soft strands at the back of his neck. Jonny tugs him forward, pausing before their lips touch.
“There won’t be any scoring until we win this series.” He breathes.
Patrick pouts and Jonny kisses him. The first kiss soft and hesitant; Jonny unsure of how serious Patrick is about starting this up again.
Patrick makes an unhappy noise and suddenly Jonny’s lap is full of Patrick and Patrick is kissing Jonny intently, arms looped around Jonny’s neck. Something slides into place within Jonny and he breaks away from the kiss and buries his face into Patrick’s neck, inhaling deeply. God he missed this more than he wanted to admit.
Contact with Patrick had always felt as easy as breathing but for the first time since he had known him, Jonny had suddenly found himself working to never let his eyes meet Patrick’s, to avoid the casual affection that used to flow so freely between them. The calculated distance between them so obvious and heavy that Jonny was surprised no one else could see it. The sharp and weighty presence of all that he couldn’t have constantly threatening to suffocate Jonny.
Patrick turns and speaks into Jonny’s neck. “If you’re going to be such a fun-sucker, we should go to bed. We have a team to annihilate tomorrow. And a series to win.”
“I’ll consider blowing you if you get a hat trick tomorrow though.” Jonny promises seriously.
Patrick grins and climbs off Jonny’s lap, pulling his t-shirt over his head and sliding into bed like he hadn’t spent the last few months out of it.
“Consider it done.” Patrick smiles up at him brilliantly.
As Jonny settles in next to him, he is startled to realize that despite the back to back shutouts, the humiliating loss in front of their fans, the boos as they left the ice, things finally seem ok again.