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she exhales vanilla lace (of sugar and ice i am made)

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The beginning is rooted in the ice because there aren’t many other places for beginnings to come from in Geno’s life. There’s ice, and maybe some concrete - locker room floors, sidewalks, airport tarmac - and the flash of steel. Skating blades.

It comes from the skates too.

Sid’s tapping his way across the room, light and graceless and sure on the wobbling stilts of his skates, the sharp click of each footfall making it through locker room chatter with a crispness Geno doesn’t really understand.

He’s tired, a little hungry. He had skipped half of dinner last night, stupidly. He knows better. He stares anyway, watches Sid’s feet as he edges around people, claps a hand on a shoulder here, balances on one skate to stretch his hamstrings there. There isn’t grace in his movements but there’s something about the economy of it. Something mesmerizing. Sid’s legs look longer.

“Geno?” Sid calls and he’s laughing. “What’s up?”

Geno thinks about groping for the vocabulary and grammar to capture what he’s feeling. It seems pointless and also frustrating, and anyway he doesn’t understand it so much himself.

He shrugs and points at the door vaguely.

“Waiting for you,” he retorts, mild so Sid knows it’s a joke. “Slow.”

Sid huffs and turns away, continues around the room in his graceless, methodical way and Geno keeps watching. He knows Sid doesn’t mind. He doesn’t really know how to articulate how he knows that, except that Sid has a lot of exceptions when it comes to Geno.

--

The strangeness is gone when the ice is singing under his blades, when his muscles are sore and screaming at him and he can feel the edge of his endurance galloping for him. It’s a hard practice, a hard day even thought it shouldn’t be.

There’s no room to think about Sid and the way he balances on the knives of his skates. Not even when he’s carving cruel circles into the ice on them, not even when he’s skating for Geno with the intent to kill written on his face.

Geno is lying a little to himself. He hits the ice on his back and stares up into the lights and is vaguely annoyed.

--

Sid’s watching him when they troop off the ice, slapping each other on the back and hooting with exhausted pride. A hard practice, but they pull through together. A team.

Geno avoids his gaze. Showers with his eyes closed and hangs his towel over his face instead of risking meeting Sid’s eyes. He makes his way back to his locker by touch, elbowing past teammates with great cheer. Kessel twitches the towel aside just before Geno reaches his goal. He looks equal parts amused and put-upon.

“You’re a weird one,” he says and pulls the towel the rest of the way from Geno’s head. “Cover your fucking junk.”

Sid’s nowhere to be seen when Geno glances around, pulling his underwear on at last. He’s a little relieved.

--

Sid’s waiting in the hallway from the locker room.

Geno falls into step with him and it’s with a certain amused resignation. Sid likes to get his way, Geno knows this. It’s foolish to oppose him.

“So,” Sid begins conversationally. His knuckles brush the back of Geno’s hand, wrapped around his gym bag. It’s the most they do in public. “What’s up today.”

I don’t know, Geno nearly says and then decides that inviting Sid to speculate is perhaps not the wisest course of action. He’s appreciative of the space to understand himself before Sid begins to poke around in it.

“Not eat enough,” he says instead, because it’s not exactly untrue. “Hungry. Sid should buy dinner.”

Sid’s watching him with narrowed eyes when Geno glances over, but the squint is of a more concerned than suspicious bent.

“Yeah, buddy,” he says and shrugs. “Alright, I’ll buy us dinner.”

Geno smiles happily and watches Sid walk away from him across the parking lot cement. It isn’t quite the same, he realizes. The thing, whatever it had been, is gone.

He still wants Sid, of course he does. It’s just… different.

--

He watches Sid wander around the bedroom later that night and he still can’t push it from his mind. The way he’d balanced on the skates, the way he’d walked in them. Something ungainly and inelegant but somehow a functional whole.

His legs had been amazing as well. Genos does appreciate Sid’s legs.

Sid finally settles into bed, the last of his esoteric bedtime rituals complete. They’re both tired, exhausted by a big dinner and a hard practice. He tucks himself under Geno’s arm with the simple lack of pretense that Geno loves so much from him.

“You walk nice in skates,” Geno says and then shut his mouth with the click of teeth.

Sid is quiet for long enough that worry begins to creep in, cold and a little miserable in Geno’s chest. He hadn’t said anything overtly strange, not really, not for him. It only feels like he has. Like he’s shown his hand too early and now a secret is out in the open, though not even Geno fully understands what the secret is yet.

“You like me in skates?” Sid asks at last. His voice is hoarse with tiredness but he sounds lucid enough, unfortunately.

“I like Sid,” Geno says confidently and grinds up against Sid’s ass. He’s absolutely soft, way too tired to even consider trying to get it up, but it’s the spirit of the thing. Side laughs anyway, bats clumsily at Geno’s hip and squirms in a joking tease.

“But really,” he says after a moment. “In skates?”

Geno considers.

“Look nice. Move nice,” he settles on. “Legs look nice. Love Sid’s legs.”

He grinds up again and he’d promised himself he wouldn’t get hard but his dick hasn’t really gotten the memo apparently, fattening against Sid’s ass. It’s tempting.

Sid laughs but it’s a distracted noise. Geno can almost hear the gears in his head turning.

“Is it the skates?” he asks after a pause. Geno pulls his thoughts from whether he can convince Sid to let him get off rubbing against his ass tonight to think about it.

“Move nice,” he repeats at last and shrugs with one shoulder. “Is… different. From normal walking.”

“Okay,” Sid says and then a minute late he’s snoring and Geno is looking mournfully down at where his half-boner is nestled against Sid’s ass.

--

He’s honestly expecting chirping, some veiled allusion making it into Sid’s strange attempts at the activity. That, or nothing at all. Perhaps some self-conscious glances when Sid’s pulling his skates on. Awkward awareness, nothing more.

There’s nothing. Not for a week, a week of practices where Sid keeps his head down when he pulls on his skates and doesn’t look at Geno any more than normal for them. Geno continues to watch him move in his skates and it’s becoming more and more real to him, what it means. What it is he likes about it. What it does for Sid’s legs and ass, what it looks like when he moves clumsy and delicate on the cement in his skates.

He jerks off thinking about it and it’s nice, if incomplete. He thinks about asking Sid to wear the skates to bed somehow and then reconsiders when the list of ways that could end in embarrassing injury reaches the thirtieth item. Sid isn’t chirping him but everyone else on the team won’t be so kind, if they found out.

He keeps it to himself.

It’s driving him a little crazy, that Sid hasn’t mentioned it again. He’s starting to feel like Sid must, all the time.

--

He isn’t expecting a Saturday to be the day where his life is changed forever and yet here is Sid, standing in the doorway and staring at Geno like Geno’s seen him stare down an opposing captain. Sure and strong and stoic, and underneath that nervous in a way Geno thinks sometimes only he can see.

Sid’s always been easy for him to read. They fit like that.

“You have to promise not to laugh,” Sid says tersely and Geno nods obediently.

“Promise not to laugh,” he parrots and grins when Sid barks out a sharp, annoyed exhale.

“I mean it, Malkin,” he snaps and Geno takes pity on him. He just looks so unsure under his veneer of confidence, his captain’s persona pulled over himself like a veil. He shouldn’t look like that when it’s only them.

“Sid,” he says patiently and waits for Sid to meet his eyes instead of staring aggressively at the air an inch from Geno’s left ear. “Don’t be stupid. Won’t laugh.”

Sid snorts reluctantly. The corners of his mouth are twitching though, and his shoulders coming down from his ears. Geno will take it.

“Okay,” he huffs. “Wait here.”

Geno sits on the bed obediently and watches Sid leave, shutting the door behind him.

Abruptly the nerves are crawling up his own spine, as if in shaking them off Sid’s passed them to him. He frowns and stretches, paces his breathing and feels it fade back again. It’s only Sid. Sid and Geno, they fit together. And anyway, nothing in Sid’s manner had suggested anything bad.

There’s a knock at the door and Geno rearranges himself, sitting on the edge of the bed and puts his chin in his hands, trying to look casual.

Sid peeks around the door before he enters and so Geno has his mouth open to greet him when he sees the heels.

Sid’s flushed, cheeks and throat all the way down to his chest. Geno can see that because he’s shirtless. All he’s wearing is a pair of boxers, in fact. Loose, dark cotton, nothing special. Geno barely notices them because he’s staring at the heels.

They’re bright red and shiny, a stiletto heel that looks too skinny to take Sid’s weight.

He walks in them nothing like he does in the skates and somehow it’s perfect. It’s everything he’d been wanting without knowing it’s what he’d been wanting. Sid’s legs are miles long, thick and perfect, muscles straining with the strange shape of the shoes. There’s no click of the stiletto heel against the floor, not in the carpet, but Geno can imagine how it would sound and he chokes on his next inhale.

Sid’s flush darkens as Geno stares, spreading down his chest. He’s hard in his boxers and still Geno can barely pay them any attention. He’s watching Sid’s legs instead, the heels against the dark carpet. He walks like he’s practiced. He must have practiced, because that’s the way Sidney is.

He’d walked around their bedroom in these heels. Practiced the walking, practiced the way he stops at Geno’s knees and cocks a hip. It’s awkward, because it’s Sidney. Geno loves him so much he can’t breathe.

“You,” he says softly and Sid grins. It’s almost shy.

“Me,” he parrots back and Geno reaches for him.