They’re so good together. So fucking good.
Everyone is saying it, everyone can see it, no matter if they’re on the ice with them or watching on tv.
Everyone but Ryan, that is.
(Not that he doesn’t see it, he just—doesn’t acknowledge it.)
Sure, he gives Connor the biggest smiles and most excited shouts when they share a goal, but that doesn’t mean anything, no matter what Leon says with a wiggle of his eyebrows.
Off the rink, Ryan treats him just like any other teammate. He’s not overly friendly with his words, isn’t very touchy-feely (although he never really is), and doesn’t make exceptions to see Connor more than anyone else. They’re just friends.
Not unless Ryan and a shit ton of alcohol are in the same room, that is. Everyone becomes his best friend, and everyone gets dorky smiles, smiles that set Connor’s cheeks aflame when he’s the recipient. Leon will nudge him, Connor will flip him off, and Ryan will wander rather unsteadily away to find another person to lean on.
Connor just wishes he was special.
* * *
"You’re stupid," Leon says bluntly. It’s one of those nights when pretty much everyone got on the board and is in a celebratory kind of mood.
"Your face is stupid," Connor shoots back. He squints at Leon and frowns. "Actually, no. Your mom is stupid."
"Are you acting your shoe size again?" Leon chuckles, and Connor whacks him in the arm. He downs a shot, carefully ignoring Ryan making his way over.
Leon rolls his eyes and turns to face Patty on his other side. Connor reaches for the second shot just as a pointy object jabs him in the curve of his shoulder.
"Hi." It’s Ryan’s chin, and he reaches around Connor to take the shot glass, swallowing it like it’s water.
"'Sup?" Connor asks, smiling giddily at his temporary Drunk Nuge Time.
Ryan just smiles back and shrugs, moving himself to sit on the edge of the barstool next to Connor. Connor can feel hot breath over his already-warm cheeks, smelling sweet berries and vodka.
"Wanted to see you," Ryan says loudly, patting Connor’s knee. "Missed you." Connor glances away for a moment to swallow hard, and Leon elbows him in the back.
"Fuck you," Connor mutters, glaring at Leon out of the corner of his eye before fully turning away from him.
"Something wrong?" Ryan asks, looking wide-eyed and innocent. Connor shakes his head, but Ryan sets his hand on Connor again; this time, higher up on his thigh. "I can help."
Connor looks up at the ceiling and silently prays to whatever deity that may be watching over him that he doesn’t get hard in a bar packed to the brim with strangers and swarming with their teammates. It...mostly works.
"No, uh, no, I’m fine," Connor coughs. "Thank you." Ryan squeezes his thigh while flashing him a different sort of smile, the kind Connor would see in an old movie when a young lady is trying to be seductive. He gulps, glancing at the counter, where a pair of bourbon shots sits waiting for them.
"Can I...talk to you for a minute?" Ryan asks finally, when Connor’s face is hotter than the fucking sun and he feels about to explode from the intensity of the thoughtful gaze Ryan’s used upon him. His stare breaks for a moment, and he tilts his head down and away, looking up through his dark lashes at a suddenly dry-mouthed Connor.
"Yeah, of course," Connor says, needing to clear his throat more than once to get out his words as Ryan’s hand slides even further up and squeezes hard before letting go. Ryan slides off the chair, tugging up on his jacket as he walks away. Connor doesn’t think he imagines the way Ryan sways his hips just a bit, as if he knew exactly where Connor’s eyes would be.
So much for being strictly teammates.
Outside, Connor finds Ryan leaning against the brick wall of the building next to the bar, arms crossed and smile no less than sleazy.
"What did—" Ryan swipes his tongue across his lips as he listens, and Connor chokes and has to start over. "What did you wanna talk about?"
He stands awkwardly in the alleyway, remembering he’s left his jacket inside as he shivers slightly. The chill seems to zip right through him as Ryan studies him, seeming more sober than before.
"Do you like secrets?" Ryan finally questions, tugging his lower lip between his teeth and letting it go just as quick. Connor thinks absently that he’d look good with lipstick.
"If I know them," Connor allows, shoving his hands in his pockets. Not for the first time tonight, he doesn’t know what to do.
"Well, you’re in luck." Ryan pushes off the wall and steps in close, nose an inch from Connor’s. Connor holds his breath and bites down hard on his lip, Ryan’s eyes darting to the movement.
Everything seems blurred and moving too slow, Connor’s mind traveling a mile a minute at what Ryan could possibly be thinking about. What kind of secret does Ryan have? Is it really that bad that he has to stare like that to make sure Connor’s trustworthy? Does he think—
Connor makes a small noise as Ryan plants a wet kiss on the corner of his lips, drawing away slowly. His hands flutter helplessly at his sides as he tries to convince himself he wouldn’t have kissed Ryan back if he’d had the chance.
"I can trust you with a secret, no?" Ryan asks, breath puffing out in the chilly air. Connor nods rapidly, incapable of speech or gross motor skills. Ryan flashes a knowing smile and pats Connor’s ass on his way back inside, and Connor jumps. He can hear Ryan’s laugh until the closing door cuts it off.
Connor backs up until his back is to the wall, palms flat against it, staring blankly at the one opposite him. "Shit," he exhales, brushing his thumb over where Ryan had kissed him and sucking it into his mouth.
He doesn’t know how long he stands there in awe; maybe it’s two minutes, maybe it’s two hours.
"Davo, buddy, anyone in there?" He feels a smack on his shoulder, blinking away the haze and looking over to see Patty watching him, half concerned and half amused.
"'M good," he mumbles, running his tongue over the top of his teeth. "Just zoned out."
"The Nuge that scary, eh?"
Connor just shakes his head and accepts Patty’s arm around his shoulders that guides him back inside. Leon is still talking, but this time to Jesse, the innocent young rookie with the biggest fucking smile on the planet.
"Pool Party wants to know if you just got laid," Leon says casually when Connor takes his former spot, smirk blatant on his face.
"I—what?" Connor stammers, eyes wide. "No, that was like, five minutes, not even."
"You sure?" Jesse asks himself, leaning over from Leon’s other side.
"Yeah." Connor diverts his gaze to the counter, bouncing his leg nervously at the image. He reflects back to his passing thought of Ryan in lipstick, hearing his teammates’ laughs in the background at his mental distance. A significantly more dirty image pops into Connor’s head, seeing Ryan on his knees, dark smears across his mouth, soft lips wrapped around Connor’s cock.
"I gotta go," Connor mutters, offering to buy drinks their next night out as he shoulders on his jacket and nearly stumbles out in his eagerness to get home.
From the time his Uber drops him off to the time he’s stripped naked in his steaming shower is under three minutes, tops. He doesn’t stop once to consider the fact that before tonight, he’s blocked such thoughts from his mind altogether. Now, however, he’s too drunk and too horny to give a shit.
Connor allows himself the vision once more, letting a moan echo off the tiles as he strokes himself desperately, head thunking back on the wall. The room fades into a haze as the steam builds, his pants getting more and more whiny and needy.
Ryan, on his knees, eyes wet and longing, cheeks flushed, lips red and bruised under the lipstick, begging to suck Connor off, finish him off. It would be a fucking dream come true.
He reaches up with his free hand to lace his fingers into his damp hair, tugging and groaning out Ryan’s name as he comes all over his fist.
Connor slowly learns forward and rests his forehead against the cold glass wall, breathing hard as his ears eventually lose their buzz. He can’t even find it in him to be guilty.
* * *
It’s almost as if Ryan has completely forgotten about everything he said. Connor eyes him warily their next practice, but Ryan is his usual calm self, rarely smiley, always focused.
"Nuge got a disease or something?" Leon asks after Connor bumps into him while staring at Ryan across the rink. "Or he got something you want?"
"Fuck off," Connor says automatically, keeping his eyes on Ryan’s lithe form.
"You like him?" Leon presses, and Connor turns and shoves him. Leon is serious though, no trace of a smile on his ruggedly attractive face.
"Well yeah, he’s my friend." Leon’s raised eyebrows do nothing to quell the butterflies in Connor's stomach.
"You know what I mean." Connor purses his lips and attempts to act nonchalant as his brain silently screams at him. "If you do, just say something." Leon skates away as Connor stands in a confused state near the boards. He can’t just say something.
* * *
Ryan continues to do nothing out of the ordinary, and Connor does nothing to help himself, earning him frustrated looks from Leon when he stares at Ryan’s bare back in the locker room. Connor can’t talk to Ryan, he knows that. There’s just—gotta be a better way.
The night the Oilers smash the Red Wings at their own arena, Connor makes his move—if you can call watching a movie with Ryan in their shared hotel room "making a move". They’re on separate beds, rewatching Bourne Ultimatum just because it’s on.
Connor can’t help but glance over at Ryan every few minutes, seeing his chest rise and fall gently with each breath. His shoulders fill out his t-shirt, jaw tense and arms folded.
"You okay?" Connor ventures, when Ryan lets out a long, random sigh.
"As fine as I’ll ever be," Ryan says, squirming uncomfrotably. Fine, my ass, Connor thinks. "We should be getting to bed soon."
Connor frowns, knowing how much Ryan enjoys these movies, and how much he doesn’t believe Ryan’s answer one bit.
"C'mere." Connor pats the space beside him on the bed, giving Ryan a tentative smile. Ryan looks over and scrunches his eyebrows together.
"So you’re not being a giant Grumpy Cat over there by yourself," Connor teases, and Ryan snorts, rolling on his side to face Connor.
"I’m just—I’m tired and frustrated. I’ll be fine." Connor tries not to feel a little hurt by the easy dismissal.
"Frustrated with what?" Ryan levels him with a dead stare, but Connor feigns innocence as he continues, "What? I don’t know what you’re—"
"Connor," he interrupts, looking mildly annoyed. "It doesn’t matter. It’s okay, I swear."
"But if you’re not doing okay, I wanted to—"
"I haven’t—" Ryan looks pained, face twisted with frustration. "I haven’t gotten fucked in almost a year, okay?" He says, more sharply than he ever is. "Now just—forget about it and go to sleep. I’m fine." He flips onto his other side, facing the big window with the blinds they forgot to close.
Connor stares at the ceiling for so long it feels like time has stopped. Gotten fucked, he said. Not just fucked. As in Ryan is the one on the bottom, the one being pressed facedown into his mattress, being made to rub off on the sheets—or maybe on his back, thighs spread wide around a thick body, letting a cock split him open. Or maybe he’d be on top, slowly grinding down, head tilted back and red mouth dropped open.
Connor’s teeth dig into his lip to hold back any noise, and all of a sudden, he can picture Ryan being kissed tenderly through gentle thrusts, drawing all the beauty hidden inside him into the open air. It’s sweet and gentle, and Connor huffs a frustrated breath out through his nose as he thinks about how he can’t have that.
Like hell, Connor’s gonna be able to talk to him.
* * *
Connor sucks at emotions—as if that wasn’t blatantly obvious—but he’s never really thought so much about a teammate, or how a teammate will think of him, more specifically. He and Dylan were connected at the hip, but there was only one time Connor can ever remember thinking about Dylan as more than his best friend.
They were sitting on a couch in the basement of Connor’s billet house, watching a movie—or maybe playing a video game—with some teammates, considerably drunk. Dylan had looked over at him with the happiest smile, and Connor wanted to kiss him.
Dylan had proceeded to accidentally elbow Connor in the sice of the face as he tackled Brinksy, and through the sudden sharp pain, Connor laughed so hard he cries. In that moment, as Dylan shrieked with laughter and rolled off the couch, he realized that there’s nothing that can replace their near-brotherly friendship. He loves Dylan as the best friend he’s ever had—
And he loves Ryan as even more than that.
* * *
i have movies n snax
r they on the diet plan???
b there in 10
Connor decided that offering food would be less concerning than "we need to talk". Nothing good comes from that phrase.
Ryan shows up in exactly 9 minutes, and Connor flicks on the tv to HGTV before he answers the door, not feeling like picking out a movie. Judging houses and renovations seems easier, anyway. Makes for easy conversation.
Ryan smiles and follows him into the living room, observing the four bowls Connor’s set out. "You’re all prepared, aren’t you?" He says, happily digging into the pretzel bowl and scooting a few inches closer to Connor.
Connor tries not to make a noise, reaching for the M&M’s and shoving a too-big handful in his mouth. Ryan reaches for the remote in Connor’s lap and turns up the volume, Connor’s heart rate jumping at the accidental brush of fingers over the top of his sweatpants-clad thigh.
The next two hours are full of crumbs and beer bottles and comments on annoying customers that want special wood flooring and a specific kind of navy blue, which—there’s only one shade, thank you very much.
"Disgusting shade of green," Ryan observes, gesturing at the walls of a living room with a chip.
"You don’t like forest green?" Connor asks.
"C’mon, that’s not forest green, that’s like—'Shit, I ate too much broccoli and kale and now it’s all over the floor' green, like, really?" Ryan picks up his third beer bottle and downs the dregs, smacking his lips when he sets it back on the glass table.
Connor just wrinkles his nose, then shrugs. He takes a few more pretzels and crunches on them, only noticing he’s being watched after he swallows. "What?"
"Nothing, sorry." Ryan brushes the dust and crumbs off his lap before he stands. "I just need to...I’ll be right back."
Connor just raises his eyebrows and watches Ryan head towards the deck, phone in hand.
He stomachs about five minutes of being alone, then, on the next commercial break, pauses the show and pads across the carpet to his deck. He moves aside the curtain to look through the glass doors. Ryan is indeed standing on the small deck, leaning on a railing and staring into the distance, where city buildings stand tall and bright against the night sky.
Connor hesitates, then opens the door as quietly as he can, sliding it closed as Ryan visibly draws into himself. He doesn’t speak as Connor mirrors his position mere inches from him, seeming intensely focused on a building not too far in the distance.
Connor bites his lip, unsure of how to break the silence. Ryan huffs out a chilly breath and does it for him.
"I wanted to see if you were doing alright," Connor admits, and—well, it’s not a lie, exactly.
"Fine," he says, but it sounds stiff. "Thank you." Connor hums a response, turning his head to watch Ryan. "I’m okay."
"How do you—"
"If you’re gonna use different words to ask the same question, I will throw you out of your own house," Ryan sighs, looking down at the street below.
"You wouldn’t," Connor fake gasps, and Ryan cracks a smile. "A betrayal worse than Caesar—et tu, Nuge?" He clasps a dramatic hand to his heart, and Ryan laughs out loud at that.
"What did you actually come out here for, though?" He asks, still grinning a bit.
"Just to chill," he lies, gesturing absently. "Wanted some air."
Ryan doesn’t bite. "Did you want something?"
Connor licks his lips and avoids Ryan’s curious gaze, searching and searching for the words to explain himself, explain that he’s kind of—no, very seriously, really in love with Ryan.
The fact that he was even able to think it is a miracle.
Connor takes in a shaky breath, and as his heart beats a thousand times a minute, leans in and kisses Ryan, in front of the entire sparkling city. It’s easy; soft and sweet, something that wouldn’t take any convincing at all for him to do again. Ryan opens up eagerly under his control, hands reaching out to grip Connor’s shoulders, so Connor just goes for it.
Ryan presses his back to the metal railing, hands now caressing his neck and shoulders, sliding everywhere they can reach as he licks into Connor’s mouth with precision ease. Connor fists his hands in the back of Ryan’s shirt and groans, muffled and soft, trying his hardest to hold his ground.
Ryan’s slick lips part from his, and Connor barely has a chance to breathe before they’re back, this time to his neck, brushing wet kisses all over the exposed skin. Connor pushes one thigh forward, and he feels Ryan’s groan more than hears it as he begins to grind down.
"Fuck, Connor," he pants, dropping his head to Connor’s shoulder. He holds Connor tight and still as he moves his hips, essentially riding his thigh into the railing in front of the entire city.
"Maybe—" Connor tries, choking at the small nip Ryan gives him through his shirt. "Maybe we should go inside?"
"Yeah," Ryan agrees, seemingly dragging himself away and into the apartment, slamming shut the glass doors and pressing Connor against them. He pulls his shirt over his head and tosses it, getting down to his knees. He noses at the line of Connor’s hip, and Connor can swear he feels hot breath on his stomach. But he just—
Connor can’t breathe, he can’t he can’t he can’t. This is real, it’s happening, they’re actually, literally going to do this.
"Oh my god," he almost whimpers, palms flat against the glass as Ryan works on Connor’s zipper.
"Wanna give your city a show?" Ryan asks, voice already breathy and eyes dark. There’s not a person in the world that could just say no to that, dark hair curling at the ends and lips puffy from kissing.
"Fuck," Connor replies earnestly, biting his lip. It’s all the confirmation Ryan needs to rock his world, pressed against the big glass door in front of the Edmonton skyline.
The city looks beautiful at night, but no twinkling lights, no decorations, no fantasy could compare to the beauty of Ryan on his knees, working his magic and loving every minute of it.
Connor, if he jumped off the deck, could probably fly to the Moon with joy.