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To Happily Ever After (and a Cup or two)

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Sid has never been type to participate in typical locker room talk. Oh, he's fine with the relevant parts of it, the hockey talk, but once the talk turns to conquests or weird sex stories, he either politely excuses himself, or, if that's not an option, tries to tune it out. He's just not that interested in other people's sex lives. If he's completely honest with himself, he's not even that interested in his own.

Right now leaving isn't an option because they're on a plane, and tuning it out isn't an option because a, Tanger is really loud and b, Sid's book is really boring. He valiantly tries. He tries so hard he's giving himself a tension headache, staring blindly at his book while Tanger recounts some outrageous outdoors adventure that seems both pointless and unsanitary.

"Relax," Geno says suddenly, bumping his arm against Sid's on the armrest. "Is funny story, yes? Everyone happy and they married now."

Sid startles because he'd almost forgotten Geno slid into the seat next to him earlier, claiming Flower's usual spot since Flower isn't with them on this trip.

"I am relaxed," Sid mutters.

"Yes, very," Geno says solemnly, thumping his fist against Sid's shoulder. "Shoulder always at ear."

"I just don't get it," Sid admits, forcing his shoulders down. "Why would you have sex outdoors? What if someone sees? What if someone has a camera?"

Geno shrugs. "Is nice. Choose private spot, no one bothers."

Sid doesn't know why he's surprised. Of course Geno has had sex outdoors. He's probably had sex upside down.

"But why would you risk it?"

"Heat of moment, not think much. Just want."

Sid wonders what it's like to want that much; it's certainly never happened to him. "Okay," he says, still unconvinced. "I'll take your word for it."

"My word always good," Geno agrees, patting Sid's thigh just above the knee. Sid looks at Geno's big hand on his leg and wants just a little bit, which is still too much want for the circumstances. He sighs and thumps his head back against the headrest. Somewhere further back Horny has joined in the storytelling with something about a pair of twins and a public park.

It's going to be a very long flight.

--

Sometimes Sid has to endure sex talk because he can't avoid it and sometimes he just walks right into it.

"Best sex you ever had? You got five seconds to answer."

Sid is not prepared for the question or for the finger trust at his face and he flinches back, nearly braining himself on the door he just came in through.

"Leave Sid alone," Geno growls, showing up from somewhere, the showers maybe, and forcibly lifting Sunshine out of Sid's path.

"Yes," Sid says weakly, trying to not look at the long bare line of Geno's back or the way his muscles flex. "Leave Sid alone."

"Have you ever even had sex?" Tanger asks, because he's an asshole and also testy because he's on IR and he hates being benched.

"He gets more than you," Kuni responds before Sid can say anything and then they're off, chirping at each other and forgetting all about Sid which is how he prefers it.

"I have had sex," Sid says to Geno later because he feels it's important Geno knows that. "Many times."

"Yes," Geno agrees. "Tanger tell us. Feel bad about chirping captain. Say you secret beast."

"Errr," Sid says because he wouldn't go that far.

"Is okay, I'm know he lying." Geno pats Sid's back consolingly.

Sid sighs. He just can't win.

--

"Have you ever had sex outdoors?"

There's a long pause while Jacob turns the tap off and then turns around to stare at Sidney with one hip cocked against the sink. He's still naked and unselfconscious about it. Sid likes that sort of easy confidence. Geno has that same air about him but Sid doesn't think about Geno when he's with Jacob. It's a rule.

"You want to have sex outdoors?" Jacob sounds incredulous.

"NO. No." Sid fidgets a bit. "I was just wondering if you've ever done it."

"Sure," Jacob says, shrugging. "A few times."
Sid considers this. "Why?"

Jacob laughs. "It can be really hot." He shrugs. "There's the risk of exposure, of course, some people like that but sometimes it's just being with someone and not wanting to wait, not even five minutes."

Sid nods like he understands but he doesn't really.

"If it's something you want to try you should go for it," Jacob says, brushing past Sid and walking back into the bedroom. "But you might want to work up to it."

"Work up to it how?" Sid asks, watching Jacob pull his clothes back on. He doesn't want to try it. If he did it would probably be on Deadspin within fifteen minutes.

"I don't know." Jacob shrugs. "Maybe try the couch? You're great, Sid, but you're not exactly adventurous."

Sid crinkles his nose, thinking about the possibility of stains, and Jacob laughs at him, shaking his head.

"See? Maybe start smaller. Try doing it with the windows open." He comes up to Sid and presses a kiss to his cheek. "Don't be a stranger, okay? I have to run or I'll be late for work."

"Okay," Sid promises. "Thanks."

"Canadians." Jacob grins. "Always so polite."

Sid follows him to the door because it's the polite thing to do and then he watches him pull out of the driveway through the kitchen window. Jacob’s a fireman with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, Sid met him at a gym a few years back and they've been hooking up irregularly ever since. He usually calls Jacob whenever he needs a reminder he can act like a real boy and Jacob calls him whenever he feels like it. It's not a grand love affair and it's never going to be one, but it works.

--

After a decisive win against the Rangers in NYC the entire team goes out to celebrate and Sid finds himself sandwiched between Geno and Flower at a bar not far from the hotel. Sardine is not exactly Sid's favorite feeling, but Geno is long and warm and laughing on his left and Flower is solid and dependable on his right, and Sid's had a few so it's okay.

The conversation turned to sex about two drinks in, but Sid doesn't mind because it isn't Weird Sex Story Hour, but rather Give The Rookies Unsolicited Advice Hour. Sid likes ragging on the kids as much as the next guy. Not that he participates, of course, but he nearly laughs himself sick over Kuni describing childbirth in depth to a pale-faced Sunshine.

They're a few drinks deeper when Olli pipes up, squaring his shoulders as if he's facing a firing squad.
"Okay, guys, serious question," he says. "Has anyone ever had like a fuck buddy situation work out for them? Because I'm seeing this chick and I don't know."

No one, it seems, has had a fuck-buddy situation work out for them, and Olli's face keeps falling until Sid's worried they'll have to wipe it off the floor at the end of the night.

"I have," he says, offering Olli an encouraging smile.

The sudden silence is deafening.

"What?" He asks. "I have."

"You have a fuck buddy?" Kuni looks as if Sid just confessed to keeping geese in his downstairs bathroom.

"No way." Sunshine shakes his head. "Absolutely not."

"I do too," Sid says hotly. He looks around for support and finds Geno staring at him. Geno looks as disbelieving as everyone else but if there's one thing Sid knows it's that Geno always has his back. "Geno, tell them."

"Is true," Geno says immediately because he's the best one.

There is another lengthy silence before Sunshine hesitantly asks: "Is it you?"

Sid squawks, but Geno just laughs and wraps an arm around Sid's shoulders, pulling him in.

"If me, you know." He smacks a kiss onto Sid's temple before letting him go. "I put ring on it."

Sid laughs along with the others but he sort of feels as if Geno just socked him in the head.

--

"Tell truth last night?" Geno asks in a murmur on the bus to the airport the next morning. "Have fuck buddy?"

It's a good thing they're sitting near the front with unoccupied seats around them because whispering isn't Geno's strongest suit.

"Of course it's true," Sid hisses, trying to will his cheeks to not start something. He was hoping against hope that the subject would just never come up again. "Wouldn't make you lie for me."

"Would," Geno says decisively, which is – not that surprising. Geno is fiercely loyal.

"I'll remember that if I ever need an alibi."

Sid sort of hopes Geno will pick up on that thread but he just gives Sid a considering look. "What's his name?"

Sid figures he won't get away with feigning ignorance no matter how much he wants to. He really didn't think this through. "Jacob."

"Known long?"

"Ah, yes." Sid swallows. "A few years."

"Oh." Geno sounds almost hurt and when Sid chances a glance he looks like a kicked puppy. "I can meet?"

"NO. I mean, it's not like that. It's just -- we just hook up sometimes."

"For years," Geno points out and Sid can tell he's about to get stubborn about it.

"Yeah, but it's not-- we're not friends." He winces, realizing that probably sounds terrible to Geno. "I mean, he's great but we don't really hang out. What are you going to do, come around and watch us have sex?"

"Oookay, I heard nothing." Sid looks up to find Kuni backing away slowly, hands held up in front of him, and blushes what he's sure is a particularly unappealing shade of crimson. "Sid, Coach wants a word."

"Great," he mutters, thumping his head back against the headrest. Hard.

"Sorry, Sid," Geno mumbles and when Sid steels himself to glance at him Geno looks even more miserable than Sid feels, mouth downturned and head hanging forward.

"Not your fault," Sid sighs, taking a fortifying breath. "I guess I better go talk to Coach."

Geno nods and quietly slips over the aisle to the empty seats on the other side. He curls in on himself in a way that makes Sid's chest hurt and he has to fight an impulse to slide in next to Geno and ignore the summons to the back of the bus. He's not sure how but he's pretty sure he managed to hurt Geno's feelings and that's the last thing he ever wants to do.

--

"I'm sorry," Sid says a few days later, cornering Geno in the locker room because that and the ice are the only two places Geno isn't actively avoiding him. Sid hadn't even realized how often Geno slid into his space until he stopped and it's intolerable.

Geno pauses with one arm in his shirt and one arm out and gives Sid a look. "For what?"

"I don't know," Sid says helplessly because he doesn't. He doesn't know what he did, only that it was clearly something. "Whatever I did."

"Didn't do anything," Geno says, threading his other arm into the shirt and flattening it down over his chest. "Not have to be sorry." He gives Sid a small smile that doesn't come anywhere near his eyes. "I'm not mad."

Sid opens his mouth to protest because he's clearly done something, but then Coach shouts his name and Geno uses Sid's momentary distraction to grab his hoodie and shoulder his bag. He brushes past Sid with a murmured goodbye and Sid is left standing dumbly in front of Geno's empty stall with a sinking feeling of dread at the pit of his stomach.

--

They go to Washington for a game, lose spectacularly, and fly home straight after. Almost everyone falls asleep right away. Flower's seat is leaned all the way back and he's snoring lightly with his mouth open and the silly pink eye-mask Vero got him pulled down over his eyes. Sid should be sleeping too, but he's been staring at the light glowing over Geno's seat and the glimpse he gets of Geno's elbow whenever he turns the page in his book for the last thirty minutes. He doesn't think fixing things with Geno will magically fix all their issues on the ice but it's certainly a start.

"He's a fireman."

Geno startles when Sid drops down into the seat next to him and Sid belatedly realizes Geno's wearing headphones so he has to wait for him to remove them before he awkwardly repeats himself.

"He's a fireman." Sid swallows. "I met him at a gym when I was out with the concussion. I couldn't drive anywhere but I was cleared for light exercise and I felt better getting out of the house, so I started going to this local gym a few times a week and he was a regular there." Sid is aware he's babbling but Geno seems to be listening, eyes dark and intent. "We started talking one day and when I mentioned I wasn't cleared to drive he offered me a ride home and then it just became a thing that if we were there at the same time he drove me home until I asked him inside one day and we had sex. It wasn't great but it also wasn't bad and I know I'm sort of terrible at it so it was such a relief when he wanted to do it again, no strings attached, and--hmphhh."

Geno drops his hand from Sid's mouth and smiles, the first real smile Sid's seen from him in days, and says: "Breathe, Sid."

Sid does, suddenly acutely embarrassed that he just said all that. He didn't exactly have a plan when he slipped out of his seat and if he'd had one it wouldn't have been this. He just told Geno he's terrible at sex which is awfully self-pitying and the opposite of smooth. Not that he should be trying to be smooth with Geno.

"Thank you for telling," Geno says very seriously.

"You're welcome," Sid manages even though his cheeks are so hot it feels as if the words should vaporize on the way out of his mouth. It should not be this hard to talk about things; Geno tells Sid things all the time. He even cried a bit on Sid's shoulder when he told Sid about breaking up with Oksana for good and he didn't seem embarrassed after.

"Talk is good for you," Geno adds after a moment, giving Sid an encouraging smile. "Not keep inside."

Sid hesitantly smiles back. He feels flushed and sweaty but Geno looks so heartfelt. "I guess."

"Is true. Can talk to me. I always listen."

"Thanks, G," Sid mutters, scrubbing a hand over his still flaming face. "And, uh, same."

Geno's answering grin split his face in a way that makes Sid's chest feel warm too. He might just spontaneously combust and have it over with.

--

Sometimes Sid really regrets coming out to the team. It seemed important at the time--better for them to know than to find out from an eventual scandal--but once the team knew it started spreading around the NHL and, well, it's awkward sometimes.

"So you're gay, right?"

Sid blinks and doesn't confirm or deny anything. He doesn't even know the name of the very young, very drunk man who just dropped into Geno's empty seat but he vaguely recognizes him as one of Ottawa's rookies, Pete maybe, or Paul.

"So, uh, have you ever taken it up the ass? Because my girlfriend wants to try pegging but I don't know, man. Does it hurt?"

"Not if you do it right," Sid answers automatically and then he flushes miserably because seriously.

Young and drunk perks up. "So how do you do it right?"

"Go slow, lots of lube, talk to each other and leave Sid alone," Geno growls, seemingly materializing out of thin air.

Sid is shamefully into Geno forcibly lifting people out of his space. If it wasn't so embarrassing he'd snap a picture and send it to Taylor captioned "my aesthetic" because that's a thing she's been doing lately and this seems like a perfect moment.

"Stupid rookies," Geno says grouchily, sliding back into his seat. "No manners."

"It's okay," Sid mumbles. "Thanks for the save."

"Anytime," Geno says, putting his hand on Sid's knee and squeezing it gently.

Sid looks at Geno's hand on leg and tries to not think about Geno giving anal sex advice because he has rules against that sort of thing. He doesn't fully succeed – Geno's fingers are so long— but he also doesn't embarrass himself by saying anything, so he considers it a win.

--

Sid knows Geno hooks up sometimes--he shows up to practice with hickeys and scratches after a night out and he partakes in the locker room chat a lot more often than Sid does--but lately when they go out he's been sticking close to Sid's side, as if he thinks Sid might need protection. It's sweet but Sid's virtue is perfectly safe being guarded by just one person. He can handle awkward questions from drunk rookies. He's not completely inept.

"You can go have fun if you want," Sid shouts, gesturing at the rest of the bar and the packed dance floor. "You don't have to keep me company." He wants to say something about hooking up but he can't really bring himself to do it.

"Have fun with you," Geno says, bumping his shoulder. It must be a lie; the music is so loud they can't really talk, so they're just sitting in a booth, nursing beers, and watching half the team make fools out of themselves on the dance floor. Sid would rather be back at the hotel watching some silly home renovation show, but everyone wanted to go out for dinner and drinks and Sid let himself be talked into it, mostly by the power of Geno's lethal puppy-eyes.

Sid finishes his beer and puts the bottle down on the table. He doesn't really want another one but when Geno gets up and says something about refills, he nods and smiles in agreement. It's early still; he can stay for one more drink.

Geno takes forever at the bar though, long enough that Sid eventually gets up to look for him, half worried he's gotten into some kind of trouble. Going out after winning an away game can be risky sometimes.

It turns out Geno isn't in trouble, unless trouble is 5'6 in heels with long dark hair and a generous smile. He's just preoccupied, half-sitting half-leaning against a bar stool with his attention on the woman standing next to him. He's so tall that his awkward half-reclining position has her more or less bracketed by his legs but she really doesn't seem to mind, smiling up at him with one hand curled around his forearm.

Sid's stomach clenches uneasily but when Geno looks up as if he can feels Sid's eyes on him he manages a smile and gives Geno a surreptitious thumbs up. Geno grins back and then turns his attention back to the lady, laughing at something she says, and Sid carefully averts his eyes, turning away slowly.

Sometimes getting what you want really fucking sucks.

--

They fly home in the morning and after lunch they have practice. Sid keeps sneaking glances at Geno in the locker room, trying to gauge what he got up to last night. His skin is blemish free as far as Sid can tell, but not all people are scratchers.

He knows Geno would absolutely tell him if he asked, but it feels like he had missed his chance when Geno sank down next to him on the bus to the airport and he hadn’t said anything. He’s not sure he even wants to know.

"Sid." Geno curls his hand around Sid's shoulder and shakes lightly. "Wake up."

"I'm awake," Sid says irritably.

"Yes, but staring into distance like tragic heroine."

"Heroine." Sid's eyebrows shoot for his hairline. "Have you been talking to Ovi again?"

It's a badly kept secret that Bäckström tricked Ovi into learning English from romance novels. Ovi got the whole team into it too, which Sid is sure only he could manage. If Sid tried to get his team into reading, well, anything, in a more organized fashion, they'd laugh in his face.

"Know big words without Sasha," Geno boasts. "Flower taught."

Sid rolls his eyes. "Of course he did."

When Geno first joined the team they all made an effort to teach him a good vocabulary word a day. Sid went for sensible things, like sports terms and household items. Flower, decidedly, did not, which is how Geno knows about eighteen words for dick but calls nearly everything that floats “boat.”

Geno smiles at Sid as if he's precious somehow and bumps their hips together. "Come on, Sid. Practice." He sounds excited about it, which is the sort of thing Sid likes in a man.

"Okay, okay," Sid says, grabbing his helmet from its shelf. "Let's go."

--

The next day is an off day, and Sid finds himself at the grocery store with Geno, sullenly pushing a cart while Geno picks things at random and puts them in.

"Why am I here?" Sid asks for the fourth time in ten minutes. He hates shopping, even grocery shopping. He orders his groceries online like a rational adult and Geno's approach to shopping is an affront to his delicate sensibilities.

"Because I ask," Geno answers, adding a third box of cereal to the rapidly filling cart. Well, he’s got Sid there.

"Do you know how much sugar there is in those?" Sid asks, alarmed and also a bit jealous. Geno generally pays very little attention to his carefully put together meal plan and doesn't seem to be suffering for it.

"Yes. Perfect amount." Geno grins, completely unrepentant, and disappears down a side-aisle.

Sid looks after him but decides to keep going straight down in the forlorn hope that continuous movement towards the exit will speed things up. Hope springs eternal and all that.

He has some regrets when he nearly bumps into a man with his cart and stops dead in his tracks because—

"Jacob. Hi."

"Sid." Jacob looks as startled as Sid feels but he smiles warmly nonetheless. "It's good to see you."

"I, uh, same," Sid says even though his heart is beating a mile a minute and his palms are turning clammy around the cart's handle.

Jacob looks down into the cart and arches an eyebrow inquisitively. He's been at Sid's enough times to know that Sid follows his meal plan with near religious zeal and what's in Sid's cart now is—not that.

"I'm here with a teammate," Sid explains. "It's his stuff."

Sid knows Geno is coming up behind him even before he can feel Geno's body heat against his back because Jacob looks up over Sid's shoulder with a hard-to-read expression. He probably recognizes Geno. Jacob doesn't really watch hockey but Sid and Geno are the faces of the Penguins franchise and it's sort of hard to avoid seeing them around the Pittsburgh area.

"Found stupid tea you like," Geno says, dropping two boxes into the cart with one hand, the other curls over the back of Sid's neck. "Who your friend?"

Sid swallows, even though Geno absolutely definitely already guessed. "Geno this is Jacob. Jacob this is Geno."

Geno drops his hand from Sid's neck to introduce himself properly in his most incomprehensible Russian. Jacob shakes his hand solemnly, introducing himself as well, but Sid can tell he's fighting a smile.

Geno's hand finds its way back to Sid's neck and he steps close enough for Sid to feel the curve of his hip against his back, towering over Sid in a way that Jacob finds terribly amusing, if his carefully neutral face is anything to judge from.

"Want steak for dinner?" Geno asks, squeezing Sid's neck lightly.

Sid looks up at him, bewildered, because they haven't even had lunch yet.

"Yes," Geno decides, rubbing his thumb just below Sid's ear in a way that makes him shiver all the way down his spine. "Want steak for dinner." He leans down and presses a kiss to Sid's temple. "I get."

He straightens up and gives Jacob his blandest press smile. "Pleased to meet," he says, not sounding as if he remotely means it, and with one last squeeze to Sid's neck, he's gone.

Jacob bursts out laughing and Sid's not sure if it's at Geno's posturing or his own gobsmacked expression.

"Sorry about that," he says, scrubbing at the back of his neck as if it would wipe away the memory of Geno's touch.

"Oh god, don't be," Jacob wheezes wiping at his eyes. "That was great."

Sid flushes and scrubs at his neck some more. It doesn't help; he can still feel the phantom imprint of Geno's fingers against his skin.

"Hey." Jacob rustles the cart Sid's still clinging to with one hand. "I'm happy for you."

"It's not like that," Sid mutters, looking around surreptitiously. "We're just friends."

Jacob rolls his eyes.

"We are," Sid protests hotly. "Geno's Russian, they kiss people all the time."

Sid knows this from experience; Ovi has smacked more than one kiss onto his cheeks. Granted, he does it mostly to get a rise out of Geno.

"Sid, there's a clear difference between giving a friend an affectionate kiss and staking a claim in front of a rival and this was clearly the latter." Jacob looks fondly exasperated in a way that Sid is intimately familiar with. Everyone he knows has looked at him like that at one point or another.

"It's not that simple." Sid looks down into the cart, staring at the boxes of tea bags Geno found for him. It is stupid tea, strawberry cheesecake-flavored and sweet without containing an ounce of sugar, which is a little bit like magic and a welcome indulgence after a gruelling game or a long workout.

"I know," Jacob admits, finally moving around the cart. "The good things never are." He reaches out to give Sid's arm a squeeze. "Don't be a stranger, okay? Let me know how it goes."

"I will," Sid promises, giving Jacob a genuine smile. The thing is, Sid likes Jacob, and despite what he told Geno, he thinks he and Jacob are friends before they're anything else. They might not talk a lot in between meetings, but Jacob probably knows Sid better than most people.

Once Jacob is gone, Geno appears as if summoned by magic, dumping steaks, potatoes and the makings of a salad into the cart.

"Dinner," he says firmly, ushering Sid forward with a hand at the small of his back.

"Okay," Sid says meekly, happy that no one is around to see the smile he can't quite contain. "Looks good."

--

Sid has had dinner at Geno's house hundreds of times and more often than not his house is full of Russians and laughter in way that Sid has always struggled to not get addicted to. He doesn't even care that ninety percent of the conversation on those nights goes right over his head, because Geno, and his parents when they're around, always do their best to make sure Sid feels included.

There are no Russians around tonight, and Geno's driveway is empty. Geno opens the door dressed in nice slacks and a button down with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows. Sid's mouth goes dry and he looks down on his own jeans and t-shirt.

"I didn't know I was supposed to dress up," he says weakly.

"Look fine," Geno says, taking Sid's jacket and hanging it on a hook by the door while Sid kicks off his shoes. "Dinner almost ready. Come." Geno guides Sid into the kitchen with a hand at the small of his back and hands him a glass of wine. "Sit," he says, steering Sid to the kitchen island. "Relax."

Sid sips at his wine without tasting anything and feels the very opposite of relaxed. Geno's kitchen is familiar, the divine smell of Geno's roasted root vegetables is familiar, even the long line of Geno's back in a nice shirt is familiar, but all three combined and just for Sid is not and he feels like he's about to twitch out of his skin.

I think this is a date, he texts Jacob in desperation while Geno is distracted by something on the stove.

Jacob replies immediately with three rows of laughing emojis, an eggplant, and I bet his dick huge, which is the very opposite of helpful because yes, yes it is.

He texts Taylor a picture of Geno cooking next captioned with: One of us is getting Geno's roasted veggies tonight and it's not you because Taylor loves Geno's cooking as much as Sid does and teasing is what brothers do best.

Wow, bro, bet that's not the only thing you're getting, she texts back followed by laughing emojis and another damn eggplant. Everyone Sid knows is absolutely terrible.

He considers texting Flower because he suddenly desperately wants someone's approval. He doesn't want the full weight of this thing to rest on his own shoulders because he's in too deep to tell if he's making a mistake.

"Sid," Geno says reproachfully and Sid looks up guiltily, pocketing his phone.

"Sorry," he mumbles, grabbing for his wine just to have something to do with his hands.

"Wine nice? I ask Mario for help."

"Oh, uh, yes. It's great."

Geno's mouth tilts up as if he knows Sid could as well be drinking dishwater right now.

"Mario says it go nice with steak." He shrugs, turning back to the stove.

Sid wants to ask if Geno told Mario who he was having over for wine and steaks but at the same time he doesn't want to know the answer.

"Okay. Ready for steak now. Sid grill?" Geno nods at a plate with two beautifully seasoned steaks left out on the counter.

"Yes," Sid agrees quickly, happy to have something to do. "Is the grill ready?"

"Should be," Geno says.

Geno has an indoors grill but Sid vastly prefers the one out on his deck. He's of the firm opinion that food tastes better if it's been cooked outdoors, and considering that he keeps his grill in tip top shape even though Sid seems to be the only one to ever use it, Geno secretly agrees.

Or maybe, Sid muses as he takes the steaks and his glass outside, he just likes indulging Sid's idiosyncrasies. A few weeks ago he would have pushed that thought away as quickly as it appeared, but now he lets it settle below his ribs, spreading warmth through his stomach, because, well, Geno does indulge Sid an awful lot, so why not about this?

It's cold outside and even though it gets better once he's got the grill fired up, he wraps his arms around himself while he waits for the grill to be ready. January in Pittsburgh isn't exactly t-shirt weather even to Sid's Canadian genes.

"Sid," Geno chides, coming out on the deck behind him. "Silly."

Geno drapes something over his shoulders that Sid quickly realizes is one of Geno's gigantic cardigans. This one is blue with some kind of cable knit running down the front and when Sid sticks his arms into the sleeves they trail almost an inch below the tips of his fingers.

"Cute," Geno says, turning Sid around and pulling the cardigan together in the front. "Look good on you."

Sid frees his hands from the excess of sleeve and half-smiles. "A near perfect fit."

It's an old cardigan and it’s shaped itself to Geno's long lean body over the years, which makes it strain over the bulk of Sid's wider shoulders and hefty biceps but trail halfway down his thigh because of his shorter frame.

"Yes," Geno agrees, fastening the topmost button. "Perfect."

Their eyes catch, and for a moment Sid thinks that Geno is going to kiss him, but then he takes a step back and lets his hands drop from Sid's throat.

"I go inside," he says. "Cold."

"Yeah, of course," Sid says awkwardly, looking away.

Geno does kiss him then, cupping his chin and pressing his lips briefly to Sid's forehead.

"Hurry," he says and then he disappears inside, leaving Sid to stare dumbly after him.

--

Dinner is nice, really nice. Geno doesn't let Sid lapse in to the awkward silence that always seem to be hovering over his shoulder because he's perfectly fine with keeping the conversation going when Sid falters. Before Sid knows it, it's three hours later and they've just finished dessert.

"I should probably go home," Sid says, trailing after Geno when he brings their plates back to the kitchen from the den.

"Yes," Geno agrees. "Early skate tomorrow."

"Right." Sid hesitates, watching Geno load the dishwasher. "This was really nice. I mean, I had a good time tonight."

"Yes," Geno says again, straightening up, and then he's close, really close. Close enough that Sid has to tilt his head back to look up at him and Sid wishes he's gotten a copy of the game plan because he really doesn't know what's going on here. "Had very good time with you." Geno couples the sentiment with cupping one of Sid's cheeks into the palm of his hand, sweeping his thumb along the ridge of Sid's cheekbone. "Was fun."

Sid's breath sticks in his throat and he's almost dizzy with anticipation when Geno leans down, but Geno just kisses his forehead again before stepping back.

"Uhm, night, I guess," Sid says, shoving his hands as deep into his pockets as they'll go to stop himself from reaching out and pulling Geno back in.

"Night, Sid." Geno sounds soft and fond and he follows Sid to the door, watching him put on his shoes and actually helping him into his jacket in a strange repeat of the cardigan incident earlier.

"Drive safe," he says when Sid fumbles the door open.

"I will," Sid promises, offering a last awkward wave over his shoulder.

--

Forehead kisses becomes a thing after that, to the point where Sid starts offering his forehead up for a kiss whenever he thinks he's done something that might merit one, which is basically all the time.

"Jesus, you guys are so weird," Tanger says after witnessing Geno skate buy to drop a kiss onto Sid's forehead during practice. "Why does he do that? Hey, G, why do you do that?"

The second part is shouted across the ice while Sid adjusts his helmet straps.

"Need to pay proper respect to captain," Geno shouts back. "You should try it."

Tanger gives Sid a look.

"No," Sid says, stealing the puck resting against Tanger's stick and sending it flying in Geno's general direction. Geno picks it up and puts it neatly in the five-hole, earning himself some choice French expletives from Fleury.

"Freaks," Tanger says, but he's smiling.

--

They go to Florida and Sid scores the game winning goal from a near to impossible angle with ten seconds to spare. Afterwards he can't even say how he did it, except that he saw the puck, saw a glimpse of net, and gave it his all.

Everyone is buzzing when they get off the ice and Tanger grabs the batting helmet off its hook and weighs it in his hand.

"I think we all know who this goes to tonight," he says, grinning as he crosses the floor and comes to a stop before Sid.

Their eyes catch and then Tanger, very seriously, presses a kiss to Sid's forehead before placing the helmet on top of his curls. Sid laughs, feeling ridiculous and light as feather at the same time, and then everyone is lining up to pay their proper respects, showering Sid's forehead with smacking kisses.

Geno makes up the rear of the line as he's wont to do and Sid grins up at him, reaching out to steady himself against Geno's hip. They stare at each other for a moment and Sid's pretty sure his face is doing ridiculous things, hoping against hope he's shielded from the cameras by the bulk of Geno's body.

"Best," Geno says with emphasis and then he bends down pressing a kiss, not to Sid's forehead but to the very corner of his mouth. "Get mumps from forehead," he says as he straightens up and places the helmet back onto Sid's head. "Too many dirty mouths."

The room explodes in laughter, shouts and catcalls and Sid has to resist the urge to hide his grin and blush both into Geno's shoulder because there are cameras around and they're already threading a fine line.

"Rude," he says instead but he doesn't think he's fooling anyone with the way his grin stretches from ear to ear.

--

When they're not playing or practicing or completely beat, Sid and Geno do things together, a lot of things. Enough things that Taylor sends Sid a Tumblr compilation of fan pics taken in the last few weeks captioned: Anything you want to tell me?

Sid scrolls through the pictures and there's nothing incriminating about them really except for how there are a lot of them. They've clearly been doing more things than Sid even realized.

I think we're dating, he sends back because that's what he thinks is going on here but he can't really bring himself to ask.

You think????????? is Taylor's reply.

Sid stares at it for a few seconds before he hits call.

"How do you not know if you're dating someone?" Taylor answers instead of something normal, like hello.

"We haven't talked about it." Sid knows that's lame but, well, he doesn't want to know if he's wrong.

"So what? You just happened to show up at the same place at the same time like seven times a week?"

"We don't go out seven times a week."

"Four then or five. Sid, you hang out all the time. Every time I've asked what you're up to in the last month you've been with Geno and like ninety percent of the pics you send are of Geno doing things. Even Dad noticed."

Sid's heart sinks. "He did?"

"Get this, he asked if I thought he had to ask Geno about his intentions the next time he's down in Pittsburgh. Can you imagine?"

Something warm flutters through Sid's stomach. "He wasn't mad?"

"It's Geno. I think he's just about the only boy dad thinks is good enough for you." She pauses. "As long as it doesn't affect your hockey."

Sid laughs. "Well, if he brings it up again you can remind him we're both professionals. We know to keep our personal shit off the ice."

"If he brings it up again I'm going to tell him he definitely should ask Geno about his intentions. Someone needs to figure out what going on here."

"Taylor," Sid whines because his dad trying to have a heart-to-heart with Geno is just about the worst thing he can imagine.

"Maybe I should ask him. I bet Flower would give me his number."

"Flower would do no such thing," Sid says even though Flower absolutely would. "And I'll ask Geno myself." Eventually.

"Sure, you will," Taylor says drily. "But I would like to know before your wedding day."

"I'm not that bad," Sid says, even though he absolutely is. "I would definitely notice if he proposed." He's pretty sure he would anyway, especially if there was a ring involved. It's hard to miss a ring.

"You just keep telling yourself that," Taylor says. She makes it sound like a threat.

--

The next day Geno picks Sid up for breakfast before the optional skate they're apparently going to because Geno want to break in a new pair of skates.

"You could drop me off at home on the way to the rink," Sid suggests. He doesn't really mind going to optional skate but he was looking forward to a day of leisure for once.

"Could," Geno agrees. Then he cuts a sly look at Sid and adds, "Won't."

"Bully," Sid huffs.

Geno shrugs, completely unrepentant. "You like."

Sid probably shouldn't, since Geno has a terrible tendency of managing him as if Sid would fail at life if left to his own devices, but there's something unbearably tender and compassionate about the way he does it that Sid can't resist. No one treats Sid with half the care Geno does and it was addictive long before Sid stopped pretending he wasn't in love.

"I didn't think you were coming," Flower says when Sid trails after Geno into the locker room an hour later.

Sid shrugs, trying to make it sound casual when he says, "Geno wanted to go."

"Oh, did he now," Flower says with the kind unholy glee Sid knows will mean weeks of sly chirping in French, which will be no different, of course, to the weeks of sly chirping in French he's already been subjected to. Flower is a terrible friend.

"I'm kidnap him," Geno says seriously. Somehow he's already half out of his clothes and Sid looks away because it's either that or staring.

"Stockholm syndrome. That explains a lot," Horny says, showing up out of nowhere to thump Sid's shoulder before getting involved in some kind of half-dressed slap and tickle fight with Geno.

Flower laughs and Sid's honestly not sure if it's at the comment or his own expression when Horny grabs Geno around the waist and tries to topple him over, but he suspects it's the latter.

"Get changed," Flower says, not unkindly. "You can get him back on the ice."

"I'll get you back on the ice," Sid mutters, heat rising in his cheeks.

Flower just laughs again.

--

Nearly everyone who showed up for optional skate go out for lunch after and Sid ends up crammed into the corner of a booth with Geno on his right and Flower across from him. He finds he doesn't mind the cramped space as much as he used to, settling into the crook of Geno's arm easily when Geno stretches it out behind him.

Flower looks amused and Sid kicks him under the table.

"You're the least subtle," Flower says in French. "Take out an ad in the paper while you're at it."

Sid flushes and squirms enough that Geno lets his arm drop fully onto Sid's shoulders, steadying him.

"Not be mean to Sid," he says, glaring at Flower.

"I'm just teasing him," Flower says not looking cowed in the slightest. "He makes it so easy."

"I'm right here," Sid points out.

"Snugly so," Flower agrees looking entirely too pleased with himself.

Sid kicks him under the table again, but Flower just laughs.

Flower stops him later when they're on the way out, his fingers curling around Sid's elbow to hold him back.

"I'm happy for you," he says quick and rough in French. "You're good together."

Sid opens his mouth to, he doesn't know, protest? But after a moment he clicks his mouth shut and offers Flower a shy smile. Flower is a good friend and an honest guy. If he thought they were making a mistake he would have said so.

"I don't know what we're doing," he offers in English, watching Geno argue theatrically with Kuni in the parking lot. "But I like it."

Flower laughs and swats at his ass to get him moving. "Only you, Sid," he says but his tone is fond.

All in all, it's a great day.

--

They go back on the road two days later and lose three in a row. The third one is a nasty, gritty drag of a game that goes to a shootout before it's finally over. Sid blocks a shot in the last few minutes of overtime that leaves him with a dully throbbing bruise on his thigh and he's been checked into the boards so many times he feels tender everywhere else by the time they get back to hotel. It's nothing serious, nothing that will keep him from playing, but it's been a while since he so keenly felt the wear and tear of being a professional hockey player.

He should go to bed, really, and pull the covers up over his head and give in to his exhaustion; it's what he's done many times before. Some of the guys like to hang out after games like this, play cards or just shoot the shit, and at one point in his career Sid felt like it was his duty as captain to join them, to be there for however might need him, but he doesn't feel like that anymore. He's always weathered a tough loss best on his own, but looking around his empty hotel room now he suddenly doesn't want to.

Geno's room is just down the hall and Sid pads down the carpeted corridor in his trusty crocs and raps his knuckles against the door. Geno opens within seconds, mouth stretching into a smile when he spots Sid.

"Sid," he says happily, stepping aside to let him in.

"I thought maybe we could watch some TV," Sid says hopefully. If he's honest with himself, he doesn't care if they watch the wall; he just wants to be near Geno for a while, until he doesn't feel quite as raw.

"Of course." Geno walks around the bed and settles down against the headboard, leaving plenty of room for Sid on the other. "How is leg?"

"Sore, but okay." Sid shrugs because that's just how it is. All of him is sore, but okay, and he's grateful for it.

He cautiously settles at the far edge of the bed. They sort of cuddle sometimes on Geno's couch but that's more due to Geno being a serial arm-stretcher than any real intent. The bed seems a whole lot more intimate.

"Come here," Geno says, patting the mattress next to his hip. It isn't exactly an order, but it's not not an order either and Sid gracelessly shimmies further onto the bed, settling close enough that he can feel Geno's warmth all along his side. It's much better.

"What you want to watch?" Geno asks, grabbing the remote off the nightstand.

"Doesn't matter."

Geno flicks through the channels until he finds one of Sid's favourite home renovation shows. It's an episode Sid's already seen—they're going to paint the kitchen ceiling yellow and it'll look terrible—but that's okay, he didn't really come for the entertainment.

"Okay?" Geno asks, shifting to wrap an arm around Sid's shoulders.

"Yeah." Sid sinks down a little, letting his head rest against Geno's shoulder. "This is good."

Geno puts the remote down and shifts a little as well, cradling Sid more fully into the crook of his arm. He turns his head, pressing a kiss to Sid's forehead, and it's different for his lips to linger against Sid's skin when they're close like this, almost unbearably intimate.

Sid has to bite down on his lower lip to not blurt out something ridiculous like "I love you," but he can't stop himself from feeling it, warmth spreading through his chest and stomach until he feels like he's glowing with it.

He turns his head, pressing his lips to the soft cotton of Geno's shirt and the firm muscle beneath. He wants to say a lot of things, ridiculous things, heartfelt thing, but mostly he wants to beg for them to stay like this because he can't imagine letting it go.

Geno's hand finds its way into Sid's hair and all of Sid's carefully gathered thoughts scatter under the delicate press of Geno's fingertips against his scalp.

"That's cheating," he mumbles nonsensically, instantly sleepy.

Geno chuckles, a low rumble through his chest. "Shhhh, Sid. Watch your show."

To his credit, Sid tries, but he's fast asleep within minutes.

--

Sid wakes up to the very unfamiliar feeling of limbs tangled up with his limbs and it takes him a moment to remember where he is and with whom. It takes him even longer to figure out whose limbs are whose, mostly because he's entirely unwilling to open his eyes and face the reality of the situation. In his sleep he's basically wrapped himself around Geno like an octopus with separation anxiety and it's not exactly the most dignified position he's ever found himself in.

He's so focused on keeping his own breathing level while he tries to formulate a game plan that he doesn't even realize Geno is awake until he brings a hand up to toy with Sid's hair.

"Know you awake, Sid," Geno says, sounding sleep-rough and amused.

"Don't want to be," Sid mumbles, keeping his eyes stubbornly closed.

There's a wet spot under his cheek where he's drooled all over Geno's shoulder and he's wrapped his left leg around Geno's in a way that must have his knee inches from Geno's dick. Opening his eyes now would mean getting an eyeful of that, and what if Geno's hard? Sid would simultaneously die of mortification and spontaneously combust.

"It's morning." Geno tangles his fingers into Sid's hair, tugging lightly. "Have to get up."

Sid doesn't whimper, but it's a near fucking thing. He's suddenly very glad his hips isn't fully pressed up against Geno's side, because Geno would definitely have felt his dick twitch at that, going from lazy morning half-chub to fully hard in practically no time at all.

"Don't do that," Sid says hoarsely.

Geno's hand stills. "Touch hair?"

"Tug."

"Don't like?"

Sid's cheeks are burning but they're literally in bed together, they've been on dates. He can do this.

"No, it's--" He finally opens his eyes and twists around so he can look Geno in the face. "I like it too much."

Geno blinks, fingers tightening in Sid's hair in a way that is probably unintentional but still sends a shiver down his spine.

"What did I just say?" Sid asks roughly, pushing forward at the same time as Geno pulls up and they meet in the middle for a teeth clacking, nose bumping, incredibly sloppy kiss.

As far as kisses go, it's a mess, but Sid's breathing hard when they pull apart, holding himself awkwardly over Geno.

"Sid," Geno whispers, wide-eyed, and his hand finally slips out of Sid's hair, curling briefly over the back of his neck before it comes to a rest on his cheek. Geno's cheeks are pink and his lips look almost bruised, and there's the slightest tremor to his fingers against Sid's skin.

Sid turns his face into the caress, he doesn't exactly feel steady himself.

"Your timing worst," Geno says roughly, thumbing at the corner of Sid's mouth.

"My timing?" Sid asks because he's not the only one who broke here.

"I wait." Geno pecks at Sid's mouth, just a brush of lips. "Weeks." Another kiss. "Months." Kiss. "Years."

"You've not been waiting years," Sid says, breathless and shaking a bit.

"Years," Geno says solemnly and then he kisses Sid again. It's slower this time, more careful, the slide of their tongues almost too gentle. At least until Geno pulls back with one last nip to Sid's lower lip that sends sparks dancing along his nerve endings.

Geno's phone starts vibrating against the nightstand and they both jump, shifting apart as if they've been caught out. Geno grabs for the phone and starts swearing heartily; Sid isn't sure if it's at the caller or the time.

"We coming," Geno answers not bothering with hello and then moments later, "yes, he with me."

Ten minutes later after a mad scramble they stumble red cheeked and sheepish onto the bus to a chorus of shouts and catcalls they probably deserve.

"Later," Geno says lowly, gripping Sid's wrist for a moment before he heads for the back of the bus.
Sid dazedly sinks down next to Flower while he tries to decide if he’s more embarrassed or turned on.

"That was some entrance," Flower says gleefully.

Embarrassed. Definitely embarrassed.

--

They keep apart for the journey home, but the moment they get off the plane in Pittsburgh, Geno is at Sid's back, hand curling warm and sure around Sid's hip.

"Yours or mine?" he murmurs, breath fanning across Sid's ear.

"Mine is closer," Sid manages.

"See you there." Geno gives Sid's hip a squeeze and then he's gone, longer legs seemingly eating up the tarmac.

"Can't stop this thing we started," Tanger croons, showing up from nowhere and wrapping an arm around Sid's shoulders.

"You gotta knoooow it's riiiiight," Flower fills in, coming up on Sid's other side.

"Oh my god," Sid groans, trying to shrug out from under Tanger's arm.

"I can't believe you were late for the bus because you were getting laid," Tanger says, ignoring Sid completely. "I've never been this proud of you."

"We won the cup together," Sid says dumbly.

"Never been this proud of you," Tanger repeats because he's probably twelve and far too invested in Sid's sex life.

"We weren't—" Sid starts but then he cuts himself off. Who cares what they were doing, it's true in spirit. He tries a new course of action even though it has him blushing before he's even opened his mouth. "If you're so proud of me, then why are you trying to keep me from getting laid right now?"

Tanger looks like he's won the lottery and Flower actually keens with joy. They're both sort of vibrating with happiness and god, Sid's team is so weird. Very supportive but so weird.

"Go," Tanger says, slapping Sid's back hard enough to make him stumble.

"Run like the wind," Flower fills in.

"But obey the traffic laws."

"And use protection."

Flower and Tanger are officially the worst tag team ever. When Sid actually does run, it's mostly to get away from them.

--

Geno beats Sid to the house and he's waiting on the front porch when Sid gets there.

"You have a key," Sid points out, getting out of his car.

"Not bring on road," Geno says.

"Oh, of course not."

Sid is slow up the stairs, nearly dragging his feet. For all of his eagerness to get here he's nervous too. What if he doesn't measure up to whatever picture Geno has of him in his head? Geno doesn't seem to have the same problem. From the moment Sid steps onto the porch he's in Geno's arms.

"We're outside," Sid protests but he tilts his head back for a kiss and his hands are already fisted into Geno's open jacket. Then Geno's mouth is on his and Sid couldn't care less where they are because it's everything he could have possibly dreamed of and then some. There are no bumped noses this time, no clacked teeth, just warm-soft pressure and tongues tangling sweetly, as if they've done this a hundred times before.

They stumble backwards into the wall next to the front door, still kissing, and the porch light comes on. They break apart to blink at it owlishly just in time for the front door to open and Sid's mum to look outside.

"Sid," she says happily. "Hi."

"Mum," Sid says dumbly at the same time as Trina says, "Oh, hi Geno, it's so nice to see you."

Sid self-consciously releases his hold on Geno's jacket.

"Mama Crosby," Geno says, moving forward to embrace her as if this is nothing out of the ordinary. "Sid not tell me you visit."

"Oh, it's a surprise," she says, reaching for Sid when he just stands there. "We're just staying over the weekend."

Sid obediently bends down to hug her, feeling a bit as if the world just tilted on its axis.

"Come on in," she says, smiling warmly. "You boys hungry? I made pasta."

Sid turns the porch light off on his way in and wonders if Trina turned it on in the first place to give them a warning. The thought make his cheeks heat up and he's very grateful for Geno's solid presence at his back. Without it he might have bolted despite this being his house.

Troy is in the kitchen and there's another round of greetings. He also doesn't seem fazed by Geno's inclusion and he looks pleasantly surprised when Geno shakes his hand and calls him Papa Crosby. Sid, on the other hand, wants to die. He wants to tell Geno he can't under any circumstances be caught alone in a room with Troy, but he doesn't exactly get an opportunity before they’re ushered straight to the table, suspiciously already set for four.

Lunch is nice. For once Sid and Troy doesn't get stuck butting heads over hockey, despite the recent losing streak, and there's so much more laughter at the table than Sid is used to. They talk a little about Taylor and a little about Cole Harbour, but mostly Sid and Geno catch up Sid's parents up on the latest and Sid is actually surprised he has so many tales.

"We went on one of those tourist buses in Washington. It was ridiculous."

"Was great," Geno protests.

"Ridiculous and you only spoke Russian for like two hours after because you listened to the Russian audio track."

"Did not."

"Did too."

They sort of glare grin at each other for a moment. Then Geno mutters something in Russian that doesn't sound very flattering and Sid lets out one of his giggle-honks even though he tries not to.

"See." Geno points at Sid's face. "Make that noise whole time. Was great date."

"I did not laugh the entire time," Sid protests.

"Like big Canadian goose," Geno says solemnly and Trina loses it, which Sid think is a terrible way for a mother to behave. Except when he looks up, Troy is smiling too and they both just looks so pleased for him, so happy, that it's kind of a lot to take in. Geno squeezes his leg under the table, as if he knows, and Sid leans into his side a little, letting himself have this.

After lunch they retreat to the living room and no one, except Geno maybe, bats an eye when Sid slips in under Geno's arm, settling against his side on the couch. Sid sort of expects his dad at least to look uncomfortable, but Troy just smiles when he catches Sid looking. It's freaking him out.

No one makes noise about Geno going home so he stays for dinner and then tea after, curling up on the couch with Sid again as if they do it every day. Well, they sort of do, but never so blatantly and never in front of other people. Especially never in front of Sid's parents, who really seem to be taking the whole thing in stride. Sid wonders what Taylor told them, but when he texts her to find out she just laughs at him.

After they've finished their tea Geno helps Sid carry the cups back to the kitchen and they find themselves alone for the first time all evening. Sid feels nervous all of a sudden, cutting glances at Geno as he loads the dishwasher.

"Want me to leave?" Geno asks. He's leaning back against the kitchen island with his legs crossed at the ankle and just looking at him makes Sid feel breathless.

"No," Sid answers, probably too quick. He flushes, he's been doing far too much of that lately. "Unless you want to," he adds lamely because he really has no clue how Geno feels about all of this.

"Don't want," Geno says immediately. "Want to stay."

Sid really really wants to kiss him. He's happy his parents wanted to surprise him and he's even happier they've had such a good day, but now that he's had a taste of Geno's lips he wants to spend the next forever exploring them.

He's not going to do it, though. He really just means to brush past Geno and take him back to the living room, but the moment he's within range Geno reaches for him and that's it. Sid can't not slide into his arms and offer his mouth up for a kiss, not when he wants it so bad his stomach feels molten with it.

Sid's not really sure how much time they lose trading kisses up against the kitchen island, but his mouth feels swollen when he finally manages pull back and Geno is more than half hard against his stomach, which Sid thinks is really not fair. No one person should have to deal with that when they can't do anything about it. Even half-hard the heft of Geno's dick is enough to make Sid's mouth water and he's seconds away from saying fuck it and dropping to his knees.

Naturally that's when Troy walks in. He makes enough noise in the hallway for them to put a respectable foot of distance between them before the door swings open, but Sid doesn't kid himself that it's not painfully obvious what they've been up to.

"Ah, there you are," he says as if there was any confusion. "Geno, could I have a word with you in private?"

Sid gapes. "No," he says at the same time as Geno says: "Yes."

"Geno, no," he protests, because this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

"Is okay," Geno says, reaching out to squeeze his shoulder. "Want to."

Geno is either made of sturdier stuff than Sid is, or he's just plain stupid. Sid is leaning towards the latter.

"I can't believe you," he says to his dad on his way out of the kitchen.

Troy just smiles serenely. "Goodnight, Sid."

Sid resists the urge to lurk at the kitchen door and goes to find his mom and say goodnight to her instead.

"If Dad's mean to Geno I'm never going to forgive him," he says, tucking his face into Trina's neck because sometimes he really wants to be five years old again.

"He's not going to be mean," she says consolingly, patting Sid's back. "He just wants to talk to him man-to-man."

"I don't think he ever talked to me man-to-man," Sid complains, straightening up. "Or is he going to quiz Geno on battle drills too?"

He might actually; maybe Geno will come back properly chastised about their poor power play for the last few games.

"He's really trying, Sid. After that blowout you had last year he's been doing a lot of reading and I think he's really different for it. You should give him a chance."

"I have been," Sid says dully, and he has. They've made amends and can recognize things have been different lately, but he grew out of the habit of trying to have personal conversations with his dad years ago. He's learned to settle for just being happy when any given conversation doesn't turn into an argument about hockey; for a while they couldn't even talk about the weather.

"We're really proud of you, you know," Trina murmurs, reaching out to ruffle his hair. "You're a good kid, Sid."

Sid chews at his lower lips and ducks his chin. "I love you, Mom," he mutters.

"Love you too."

--

Geno doesn't look traumatized when he makes it upstairs just a few minutes after Sid, if anything he looks happy.

"Good talk?" Sid asks. He's already brushed his teeth and changed, crawling in between the covers because he didn't know what else to do with himself. Geno is staying over and his parents are just down the hall. Nothing about it this is normal.

"I tell you," Geno says. "Brush teeth first."

"I put a spare out for you," Sid says.

"Thank you."

Geno takes his time in the bathroom and Sid can't help but to wonder if he's nervous too. They slept together last night but it had been mostly an accident. This is deliberate, this is Geno getting ready for the night in Sid's bathroom, this is a sleepover sanctioned by Sid's parents. Sid wonders if he's too old to run away from home.

Geno comes out from the bathroom stripped down to his t-shirt and boxer briefs. He's holding his carefully folded jeans and balled up socks and Sid's mouth twitches as he watches him put them down on a chair. Sid's been over at Geno's enough times to know he tends to step out of his clothes wherever and it's sort of touching that he's taking care to pick up after himself at Sid's house.

"Shower really big," Geno says when he crawls onto the bed and Sid realizes he's never been in the ensuite bathroom before. He's barely been in Sid's bedroom. "Look complicated."

"I'll show you tomorrow," Sid says and then he flushes a bit even though it could be innocent. He absolutely could show Geno how to work the shower while they're both fully dressed and normal morning dirty, not morning after dirty.

Sid's never actually been morning after dirty, he realizes. He's never had an actual morning after with anyone. He's had plenty of afters, especially with Jacob, but he's never actually slept with anyone before last night.

"Your face do so many things," Geno says, amused and fond and eyes so, so warm. "Why blush?"

Sid blushes a little harder, especially when Geno reaches up to cup his face. He's so woefully unprepared for this.

"I'm terrible at this," he says with rush of breath.

"Yes," Geno says solemnly. "You say before."

Sid has to think for a moment before he flushes even brighter. "I didn't mean that," he protests. "I, uh, I think I'm a bit better at that now."

Geno's expression doesn't change and after a moment he leans forward, pressing his ear to Sid's forehead.

"What are you doing, you weirdo?" Sid asks, shoving at him.

"Think so loud," Geno says. "Maybe I can hear."

His tongue pokes out and Sid wants to suck on it, but he also wants to know what his dad said and if he starts sucking on Geno's tongue they're never going to get there.

"Asshole." Sid shoves at him again, just a little bit. Well, okay, mostly he just puts his hands on Geno's chest, feeling him. "Tell me what Dad said?" He lets it lilt into a question.

"He ask about my..." Geno trails off, frowning. "Insensions?"

"Intentions."

"Yes. What I want with you and also bit about hockey. Not happy with power play."

Sid laughs. "Yeah, I didn't think he'd be."

"I tell him we fight hard. He say we not fight hard enough. Go for assist, not goal."

He's right about that, Sid has to admit, but it's something they'll address on the ice, not in bed.

"Ask about Russia too," Geno says quieter. "I say family know. Friends know. If Russia have problem, is their problem." Geno strokes his thumb across Sid's cheekbone. "Won't lose good thing, best thing, for country."

Sid swallows, heart tapping a staccato against his ribcage. Geno's eyes are so soft, so kind, and suddenly Sid understands why people say so many dumb things about eyes because he does feel as if he's drowning in Geno's. It's not an entirely pleasant sensation.

"You make me feel too much," he says, reaching up to touch Geno's mouth because he has to do something.

Geno blinks, looking uncertain. "Bad?"

His lips drag over Sid's fingertips, warm and moist. Sid shakes his head. It's not bad, exactly, just terrifying. "Scary," he says when Geno seems to be waiting for an answer. "I'm not used to feeling a lot." He thinks about it. "About things that aren't hockey at least. I'm not like you."

"Like me?"

"You make it look so easy." Sid's hand finds Geno's cheek and he doesn't think he's ever touched anyone with this much care. "Meeting people." He hesitates, chest tightening. "Falling in love." It's barely a whisper, but he can tell Geno heard from the softness on his face.

"Is scary," Geno says lowly. "Worth it too." He bends down, brushing his lips across Sid's in a barely there kiss. "So worth it Sid."

Sid believes him because he wants, so much, for it to be true. Geno presses another gentle kiss to Sid's lips and then one to his cheek before he settles down next to Sid, half curled up on his side. Sid rolls over too, so he can keep looking at him, and their knees knock together almost painfully under the covers.

"Should sleep," Geno says, finding Sid's hands in the space between their chests. "Game tomorrow."

Sid bites down on his lower lip. "You don't want..." he trails off, flushing a little.

"Want most," Geno assures him, lifting Sid's hand to his face and kissing his knuckles. "But family just down hall."

"We could be quiet." Sid is kind of disturbingly quiet during sex actually, Jacob has told him more than once.

"Want to do proper first time. Make you loud."

Sid is surprised he can still blush with the way all his blood rushes south.

"Be time for quiet later. On road." He looks thoughtful. "Maybe on plane."

"We're not having sex on the plane," Sid hisses.

"Always wanted," Geno says, ignoring him completely. "Do myself before. Want to do you. Secret. Under blanket."

"You jerked off on the plane?" Sid is scandalized and also incredibly turned on. "Jesus, G."

"Everyone asleep. Could stand in aisle, no one know." He shrugs. "Best wear condom though. Less mess." He traces Sid's knuckles with a fingertip. "I find out what make you hot. Be quick. Think about it lots."

"Privacy gets me hot," Sid manages, cheeks aflame.

"We'll see." Geno kisses Sid's knuckles again. "Maybe you want someday."

It's like the outdoors sex thing all over again, except this time Sid kind of gets it. "Maybe," he allows when he's been quiet for far too long. Geno beams at him.

--

They win at home and they win big. It's a four point night for Sid, two of them power play goals off of feeds from Geno, and he feels as if he's floating afterwards.

"Power play not so bad now," Geno says over late post-game dinner with Sid's parents. He's grinning with whole face in a way that Sid finds utterly irresistible.

"Well, you still went for the assist," Troy says but he's smiling nearly as bright and Sid doesn't remember ever being so happy. Not even winning the Cup felt quite like this.

They retreat to the living room for a while after dinner, but pretty soon Sid's parents make noise about going to bed and Sid is fading fast so he agrees.

"I go home tonight," Geno says, trailing Sid to the kitchen after they've said goodnight to Trina and Troy.

"Oh." Sid fumbles with a cup, nearly dropping it. "Why?"

"Want you too much," Geno murmurs, crowding up to Sid's back and pulling him back into his chest. He bends down to set his teeth lightly against Sid's neck. "Can't keep hands to myself."

"I'm okay with that," Sid breathes, tilting his head to give Geno better access. "You can put your hands anywhere you want."

Geno groans, kissing his way up Sid's neck until he finds a spot just below Sid's ear that makes him shudder all the way down to his toes.

"Need patience, Sid," he says, breath fanning across Sid's ear. "Soon."

Soon can't come soon enough as far as Sid is concerned. He feels as if he's burning up from the inside, dick straining against his jeans from nothing but a few neck kisses and Geno's arms locked around his chest. He didn't even know he could feel like this.

Geno kisses his cheek and the corner of his mouth. Then Sid's lips when he turns his head into it, chasing Geno's mouth.

"I come over tomorrow," Geno promises. "Make nice with parents." He nuzzles Sid's cheek before kissing him again. "Make nice with you."

Sid thinks it would be nice if Geno stuck his hand down the front of Sid's pants right now, but he doesn't say that. He turns his face into another kiss instead and lifts his hands to hold onto Geno's forearms where they cross over his chest. If he can't have more, he's at least keeping this for a little while longer.

--

Sid takes his parents to the airport alone on Sunday afternoon. Sid is pretty sure Geno lied about having errands to run to give Sid a chance to say goodbye properly, which is pretty much the opposite of what Sid wanted. Historically Sid's dad has used the last car ride as an opportunity to bring up all the notes on Sid's play he didn't get around to addressing during the rest of the stay and the last thing he wants after such a great visit is to get into an argument with his dad.

Troy doesn't say anything about hockey, though, not one word. They talk a lot about Taylor, who's been at a hockey camp over the weekend, and a little about their next visit scheduled for a couple of months from now.

"I think Geno's parents will be here too then," Trina says. "That will be nice."

"I... yeah," Sid says, cheeks heating. He doesn't even know if Geno's parents know about them. He thinks so—he thinks maybe they knew before he did, but Geno hasn't said anything and he hasn't asked.

"And Taylor's coming. She's dying to meet Geno, you know."

"She's met Geno before," Sid says, frowning.

"It's different now," Trina says, leaning forward to pat his shoulder.

Sid's stomach does a weird sort of swoop somersault thing. She's talking about hanging out with the in-laws, about Sid's sister properly meeting his boyfriend, and Sid's mouth dries up.

"I don't know--" Sid swallows thickly. "We haven't really had that talk yet."

"Really?" Troy cuts Sid a sly look. "He told me he'd ask you to marry him if he didn't think it'd make you run for the hills."

"I can't believe you asked him that," Sid says and then Troy's actual words settle somewhere below his sternum and he flushes to the very tips of his ears. "He actually said that?"

"Yup." Troy beams, as if it's somehow his accomplishment when really it's all Geno. It's all Geno and Sid is sort of terrifyingly in love with him.

"I, uh, I don't think I'd run," Sid admits, acutely embarrassed but also fiercely determined.

Troy smiles even wider and in the backseat Trina wipes at her eyes and Sid doesn't really know what to do with himself. He sort of wants to hide in a bathroom and call Geno but he's in a car with his parents and there's nowhere to hide so he clutches at the wheel and keeps his eyes firmly on the road, but in his head he's already miles away.

--

Geno is on the porch with a bag, a box, and two suits in laundry bags when Sid comes back. He's sitting back against the front door with his long legs spread and a beanie tipped down over his eyes.

"Forgot key inside," he says with a charmingly rueful smile as he clambers to his feet. "Grab suits. Open door." He loops an arm through the handle of the bag and hoists the box into his arms, looking at Sid expectantly.

Sid drapes the suits over his arm and fumbles with the keys. Geno brought stuff, a lot of stuff, enough stuff, Sid thinks, to stay for a while. He really wants Geno to stay for a while. He wants Geno to stay forever.

Geno dumps the bag and the box on the hallway floor and takes the suits out of Sid's hands, dropping them on top of the bag.

"You should hang those," Sid says.

Geno cups Sid's cheeks between his hands and kisses him, soft but thorough.

"Or you could do that," Sid mumbles, flushed and a bit dazed when Geno pulls back. He glances at the suits, unable to help himself. "You should still hang those though."

Geno laughs. "So fuzzy," he says, leaning in to rub their noses together. "I like."

Sid wants to protest because he's not being fuzzy, those suits are expensive, but the way Geno looks at him is breathtaking and devastating all at once and the words get stuck in his throat. Geno kisses him again, soft and lingering, before stepping back.

"Now we unpack," he says, pulling his beanie off and raking a hand through his hair.

"Okay," says Sid.

--

Geno takes the box into the kitchen and Sid is shooed off upstairs with the suits and the bag. Sid carefully drapes the suits over the back of a chair and puts the bag down on the floor. Geno said to unpack, but making room in the closet suddenly seems presumptuous. Also he doesn't want to know how many clothes Geno brought; he'll end up in some kind of tailspin counting Geno's underwear to figure out how long he's planning on staying.

"You terrible at unpacking," Geno says, coming into the room behind him. "Box empty long time now." He wraps his arms around Sid's waist from behind and kisses his cheek.

Sid flushes. "Oh, I, uh, I can make room in the closet."

He wants to, that's the thing. He wants to make room for Geno in his life.

"Is okay." Geno pulls Sid more firmly into him and rests his chin against the crown of Sid's head. He shouldn't be able to do that--he's not that much taller-- but somehow he manages. It's kind of nice. "I know I'm lot."

Sid frowns. "What do you mean?"

"Move too fast. Want this long time. Now I can have, want everything."

Sid's heart pounds against his breastbone and more than anything he wants it to be this easy. "Me too," he manages. "I want everything too."

Geno tightens his arms and presses a kiss into Sid's hair. "Good. Have great date for marry, 8/7."

Sid lets out a startled honk of laughter. "You already set a date?"

"Obvious date. Maybe 2017? 8/7/17 good date. Not waiting for 2071."

"You're ridiculous," Sid says.

"Not a no," Geno points out smugly.

Sid just has to kiss him then, twisting around in Geno's arms to get to his mouth. He knows it won't be easy. They are who they are and they do what they do and there will be a lot of obstacles along the way. But they're nothing if not resilient, and he believes them in a way he doesn't believe in a lot of things. They're Sid and Geno, the two headed monster, and they can do anything, haters be damned.

--

They end up in bed, of course, and it's a fucking revelation to finally have Geno naked and hard spread out across Sidney's sheets. It's like a guilt-free cheesecake buffet and Sidney doesn't know where to start. He wants everything.

"Face off look," Geno remarks, watching Sid from under lowered lashes, one hand wrapped loosely around his cock. "Very intense."

Sidney licks his lips, pleased by the way Geno reflexively does the same, wetting lips already plump and red from kissing. Mouth would be a good place to start, maybe, or the shadowed space below Geno's jaw that Sid has thought about setting his teeth into before.

"I'm deciding," he says, when Geno raises his eyebrows slightly.

"Deciding?" Geno looks puzzled.

"Where to start," he clarifies.

Geno smiles, eyes glittering with amusement. "Make game plan. Very important. Should have board maybe, write it down."

"There's just so much of you," Sid says a little dreamily. He puts his hands on Geno's bony knees, spread to make room for Sid's bulk and slides them up to touch the silky insides of Geno's milky white thighs.

Objectively Jacob has a better body than Geno -- objectively Jacob has a better body than Sid -- but there's nothing objective about the way Sid feels about Geno. He wants to put his mouth on every inch of Geno's skin until he knows every dip and swell as well as the back of his own hand.

He wants to touch his lips to the patch of hair between Geno's pecs, the jut of his ribs, and the planes of his stomach. He wants to follow the thin line of hair starting below Geno's navel to it's obvious conclusion and slide his mouth down Geno's giant dick as far as it'll go and then some. He wants everything.

"Plan taking too long," Geno admonishes, nudging Sid with his knees. "I help. Start here." He taps his lips with one long finger, puckering cheekily.

"Okay, yeah." Sid licks his lips. "That's good."

It still takes Geno reaching out to pull him in for Sid's to finally move, stretching out over Geno until they're touching from knee to mouth.

"Not only time, Sid," Geno says lowly when Sid pulls back to breathe shakily against his mouth. "Get to do this many times. Don't have to do everything now."

Sid dips in for another kiss and then another one, licking deep into Geno's mouth. He thinks he could be happy doing this forever, despite the insistent throb of his dick and the allure of Geno's, hot and hard against his hip, but eventually he just has to have more.

He kisses his way down Geno's neck, nipping at the tendon and setting his teeth against Geno's shoulder. He wants to leave a mark, wants to make sure everyone knows he's been here, but they should talk about that first and talking is the last thing on his mind, so he moves downwards, nosing at Geno's sparse chest hair before shifting to find one of his nipples.

He rubs his nose over it, glancing up. "Okay?" he asks.

Geno nods, eyes so dark they make Sid shiver. "Like lot," he says roughly.

"Good."

Sid takes his time, teasing the small dark bud into a tight peak with lips and tongue and feather light nips, until Geno is making nearly continuous noises above him, his hands just the right kind of tight in Sid's hair. Only then does Sid move on, kissing his way down Geno's stomach until Geno's dick bumps up against the underside of his chin, scorching hot and slick at the tip.

He glances up. "Yes," Geno says reverently, fingers twitching against Sid's scalp. "Yes please."

Sid wants to make it good, be the best Geno's ever had, but from the moment he goes down far enough for his mouth to bump his fist and Geno's fingers tightens in his hair he's fucking gone. It's embarrassing, probably, to be this into sucking cock, but Geno's fingers are tugging his hair just right and Geno doesn't seem to mind Sid being a complete mess, moaning loudly and leaking precome across Sid's greedy tongue.

Sid wants to look up, wants to confirm Geno is as into it as he seems to be, but he's almost certain that if he locks eyes with Geno now he's going to come instantly, just the thought has his hips writhing against the sheets.

"Sid," Geno groans. "Sid. I'm…"

Sid doesn't even get that it's a warning, not when Geno's fingers tightening in his hair makes him shudder all the way down to his toes, hips pushing into the mattress. He doesn't get it until the first burst of come smears across his tongue and then he has to pull off to pant through his own toe curling orgasm, catching the rest of Geno's come against his mouth and chin and cheek.

He doesn't even get a chance to catch his breath before Geno is tugging him up and claiming his mouth in an incredibly messy kiss, one hand going for where Sid is already spent and sticky. Geno makes a surprised noise at the back of his throat and looks down, Sid bites down hard on his lower lip cheeks flooding with heat.

"I'll do better next time," he croaks, voice shot to all hell with how very much not careful he was gorging on Geno's dick.

Geno looks vaguely alarmed, gaze snapping up. "Want to kill? Already best." He gives Sid a kiss. "Perfect." Another kiss. "Hottest." Kiss. "I can't believe…" He trails off into Russian and it flows so smoothly across his tongue it makes Sid's stomach tighten with helpless want.

Geno rolls them over so that Sid is the one sprawled on his back. "I clean you," he says, kissing the corner of Sid's mouth. "Wait here."

He gets up and disappears into the bathroom, Sid rolls his head against the pillows to watch him go. He's seen Geno naked probably thousands of times, but it's different now that he's allowed to look. He licks his lips a bit when Geno comes out of the bathroom with a washcloth because from this angle Geno is about a mile tall and his dick is really impressive, even fully soft, and Sid still wants nothing more than to put his mouth all over him.

"You like," Geno says smugly and Sid doesn't bother protesting because he really does. "Is good." Geno crawls onto the bed and drops a kiss onto Sid's lips. "I like too. We best."

Sid doesn't have a lot to compare with but he thinks that Geno is probably right--they're best, best at hockey and best at life.

"I love you," he says because what's the point of waiting when it was true long before they started dating.

Geno freezes, just staring, and Sid has just enough time to start feel self-conscious before Geno's face transforms into the brightest smile. He says something in Russian and then, Sid thinks, repeats it in English. "I love you too. Love you best."

"Yeah," Sid murmurs, pulling him down for a kiss. "Yeah, you do." He doesn't point out that when it comes to romantic love Geno doesn't have any competition because he thinks it would be true even if Sid had enough former boyfriends to start an exes league. Geno is best for him, that's just how it is.

The washcloth Geno brought back from the bathroom ends up forgotten on the floor. Sid can't say he minds.

--

Sid takes Jacob out to dinner to sort of formally end their longstanding arrangement. It's not as weird as he thought it would be.

"I'm happy for you," Jacob says, clinking their glasses together. "Here's to happily ever after."

"Happily ever after," Sid repeats dutifully. "And a Cup or two," he adds because he always drinks to that.

Jacob laughs. "And a Cup or two."

"And to friendship," Sid says, holding Jacob's gaze meaningfully.

Jacob's smile turns soft and fond. "To friendship," he says, and it sounds like a promise.

--

They get to the playoffs on a wild card and lose to the Rangers in the first round. Everyone is subdued on the plane home. Sid sits with Flower because he always does and he goes home with his family after because Geno has a house full of Russians to entertain.

He goes to bed early feeling awkward and stiff and sad. It's been a tough, injury-riddled season but he still, somehow, thought they could do better. He thought he could do better. He falls asleep with a lump in his throat and an ache in heart.

He wakes up in the morning with Geno curled up around him, one arm tucked around Sid's waist and the other stretched out under the pillows. It's probably ridiculous how much better it makes him feel.

"You awake?" he asks lowly, tracing his fingers down Geno's forearm to where his fingers are tucked in under Sid's waist and back up again.

"Am now," Geno grumbles, flexing his arm as if to shrug off Sid's touch. "Tickles."

"Sorry." Sid flattens his hand into a proper caress, letting it come to rest over Geno's. He wants to say a lot of things, most of them useless captain things, and he promised himself he would never go there in bed.

"Is okay." Geno presses a kiss to the back of Sid's neck. "Should head back, make sure friends are not driving Mama crazy."

"Back," Sid says, rolling over onto his back to look up at Geno.

"What?" Geno frowns.

"You said back. Should head back."

"Yes?" Geno looks puzzled and a little bit like he worries that Sid has finally lost it. "It wrong?"

"No, uh…" Sid trails off, feeling a bit silly. "It's just—you could have said home."

Geno looks even more puzzled. "Home here," he says. "House just house. Have nothing there. Only need so loud Russians don't make you crazy."

Sid's heart jumps and his stomachs floods with warmth. "Oh," he says.

"You not know? I'm always here, Sid." Geno sounds fondly exasperated.

"I know that, I just didn't know what that—" Sid trails off because Geno is looking far too amused. "Oh, fuck you."

Geno laughs and then kisses him. "I bring boxes every day first week and you only figure out now. Precious."

Sid pulls him down for another kiss and then relaxes back into the pillows, content to trace Geno's beloved face with his fingertips. He can still feel the crushing weight of the loss across his shoulders but it doesn't hurt as sharply with Geno smiling down at him, sleep-rumpled and fond.

"Next year," Geno says, as if he can read Sid's mind. "Next year we win."

"Okay." Sid pushes up to kiss him. "Next year for sure."

Geno, despite his talk of leaving, settles down with his head on Sid's chest and Sid runs his fingers into Geno's unruly hair and lets himself believe; in Geno, in himself, in his team, in them. Next year they'll win, and if they don't they'll leave it all on the ice, and that's all that matters in the end.

"We got this," Geno mumbles, patting Sid's side.

"Yeah," Sid agrees, letting his hand come to rest curled over Geno's head. "We got this."

He's not sure what Geno means with "this" but it doesn't much matter. Together they can do anything.

- The End -