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Going to the Chapel

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Sidney knows something is up but he can’t be sure what it was. The entire practice the team has been watching him, covertly, or what passes as covert with them. And to make matters worse Geno has disappeared, which is a red flag. Geno never leaves early.

He waits until everyone was in the process of stripping down before calling bullshit on them. “Okay, what the hell is going on?”

Flower glances at Staal and Jordan is the one to answer. “Well, we got you a birthday present.”

Stripping off his chest pads Sidney frowns, apprehension flaring. They’d all gotten him something already, little odd and ends. And now it was December and they’re saying there’s something else and using the royal We and he suddenly knows he’s in so much trouble.

“Which is?”

Jordan has the grace to look away. “Long story short, we think you’re too tense and well, we decided you need some kind of company at your place.”

Sidney groans. He’s never regretted telling the team he dates men and women, but now he has a feeling the decision is going to come back to bite him in the ass. “What exactly do you mean by company and where is Geno?”

Fleury taps at his thigh. “A Russian mail order bride and Geno went to the airport to get your bride. It’s a friend of his.”

Sidney has to remember that for the most part he loves his team because seriously, this is the type of things that would make most other people go postal and as tempting as it might be, he would like at least another chance at the Cup and he doesn’t want to have to break in another team.
“I hate you all.”

Staal has the nerve to smile and Fleury just grins.

Sidney takes a quick shower and ignoring the knowing looks of the rest of the team heads out because he has a terrible feeling his life is going to go belly up soon.

-----

Sure enough when he gets home Geno is already there, sitting on the stoop with his friend. Sidney can’t see the person with him, getting only a brief impression of dark hair and a leg held out stiffly. The moment he parks Geno is up and bounding towards him, looking just the slightest bit repentant.

Sidney slides out and leans back against his car. “Why do I have a feeling you were the mastermind behind this all?”

It takes Geno a moment to puzzle it out but he shrugs. “Yes, but only because worry about you. Need someone who understands.”

Canting his head towards the house Sidney shifts. “And you think she’s the answer?”

Geno smiles. “Not she. My friend Alexander Ovechkin. Was at World Juniors couple of years ago.” He frowns. “Didn’t end well for him. Would have made team here easy but hurt knee. Can’t play professionally.”

Sidney vaguely remembers hearing about the Russian, an amazing player who had blown his knee out in a spectacular pile up and while he can vaguely remember sparing a brief thought of sympathy because that was the nightmare of anyone who plays sports.

And the name seems familiar, one Geno has mentioned before but Sidney can’t really remember in what context.

“And again, you think he’s the answer?”

Geno shrugs and catches Sidney’s elbow, tugging once towards the house. “Need someone not in awe of Sidney Crosby. And Alex-” He glances towards the front door. “Is not happy in Russia. Hockey all he had and now nothing. Good for each other I think.”

Sidney can only stare at Geno because he can tell he seriously thought this all through, including all his possible reactions and he looks so sincere that Sidney already knows he’s going to agree, because he can’t even explain the soft spot he has for Geno.

And really, he’s willing to try for Geno but if this thing doesn’t work maybe they can talk to Mario and get Alex a place in the Penguins organization because Sid knows that if he couldn’t play anymore, it would kill him but he would still stay close to the one thing he’d known his whole life.

He rolls his shoulders. “Okay, I’ll give it a try.”

Geno’s smile is almost blinding and he turns back to the house, leaving Sidney to follow. Needing more time he gets his bag out of the back and slings it over his shoulder. With slow deliberation Sidney moves towards the house, hand tight around the strap of the bag.

Geno and Alex are talking, so rapidly it doesn’t even sound like a language, just a long string of sound and Sidney stops just short of the porch to get a good look at his new house guest. Alex is shorter than Geno, just barely, but bigger in every other way. His nose has been broken at least once, he’s missing a tooth and he’s grinning like an idiot at Geno and Sidney is even more convinced this is all a terrible idea.

Alex’s gaze slide to him and Sidney is frozen in place by their colour and intensity and he shivers, not entirely sure why.

Geno twists to look at him and beckons with a finger. “Stop being creep Sidney.”

“Creeper.” The correction is automatic and he steps up next to Geno because he’s never backed down from anything and he isn’t going to start now.

He can practically feel Alex’s eyes on him and he has to fight the urge to fidget. There’s no reason he should be nervous.

Alex glances at Geno. “Awful small to be as good as you say.”

Sidney just barely manages to avoid saying anything by biting the inside of his cheek because he promised Geno he’d try to make this work and he isn’t going to be the one to cause it to crash and burn.

Geno rolls his eyes and hits him in the shoulder hard enough to rock him back. “Not helping. Sid, ignore him. He very happy to be here, that you agree to do this.”

Glaring at Alex he moves past them both to open the door. They follow behind, dropping Alex’s bags just inside and Sidney heads to the kitchen, leaving Alex and Geno talking quietly in the foyer.

Sidney sets about making dinner and they’re going to have to deal with his cooking because they owe him for agreeing to do this. He gets the chicken in the oven just as they come in, Alex taking a seat at the table, Geno leaning against the counter as he usually does.

Taking a breath Sidney turns to face the two, who are both watching him closely enough that he can feel their gazes prickle along his skin. “So how does this whole thing work?”

Fingers flexing around his beer Geno shrugs. “Work by making each other happy. Give you somebody to come home to after game.”

Sidney slants a glare at Geno because the whole freaking team knows that he’s completely okay coming back to his house after games, win or lose. The silence is comforting, gives him a chance to wind down in peace and now it’s gone.

He looks to Alex who is leaning forward, elbows on the table, watching him with oddly intense eyes and Sidney doesn’t look away. They can make this work.

-----

Geno leaves after dinner, with a smile for Sidney and a hand on the shoulder for Alex with something in Russian before he’s out the door, leaving the two of them alone.

Not sure what to do without Geno’s buffer Sidney turns to the sink and the dishes, opting to do them by hand because there isn’t enough to worry about running the dishwasher for. He gets the sink filled with water and the moment he gets a plate in there’s the sound of a chair being pushed back and he’s being hip checked none too softly to the empty sink.

He glares at Alex who just grins at him before starting in on the dishes. Accepting the soapy dishes he rinses and dries them, stacking them all on the counter to be put away. He’s just drying the last fork when Alex speaks, the first time he’s directly addressed him all day.

“Shower?”

It takes him a minute to catch up and he jerks his head towards the hallway. “Down the hall on the left.”
Alex nods before disappearing and Sidney puts the dishes away, listening for the telltale sound of the shower running. The moment he hears it he heads for his computer and the wonders of the Internet because he feels like he’s at a disadvantage and he hates it. Geno has obviously told Alex a great deal about him and so far all he has is the inkling suspicion that Alex is probably going to end up driving him crazy before the week is out.

It takes some time but in the end Sidney manages to find what he’s looking for. There are tons of clips, some grainy and the others of better quality, almost all of them in Russian but once he figures out who he’s looking for it becomes obvious that Alex was amazing. His heart clenches at the fact that Alex was denied a chance to play in the NHL.

He continues to go through the clips, though he avoids the one from the Championship where Alex was injured. It’s not something he wants to see and even the thought of it is enough to turn his stomach. Sidney glances at the clock and is surprised to see how late it is. There’s no sound from the bathroom and he shuts his computer down not wanting to get caught.

Alex’s bags are gone from the hallway and Sidney locks the front door. He didn’t actually tell him where to sleep but he’s got two extra bedrooms so it doesn’t really matter where Alex crashes. Padding through the house he double checks to make sure everything is off before heading to his room.

Where he freezes in the doorway, because not only no, but hell no.

Alex is in his bed, tucked under the blankets with his phone in hand as he texts.

“Why are you in my bed?”

Alex grins at him and points to himself. “Bride. We have wedding night yes?”

Sidney is pretty sure his jaw is somewhere around his knees because this is not happening. He’s pretty sure Geno hadn’t meant sex when he said the whole point of this thing was to keep each other happy. Because if this is what Geno really meant, they’re going to have a serious conversation tomorrow.

“No. There’s no wedding night. Now out of my bed. There are two other that are just as good.” Sidney waits but Alex doesn’t move. “Seriously. The other beds are out the door and down the hall.”

Alex gives him this look, eyes sad and pouting, a look that on anyone else Sidney would call puppy dog eyes but on him they’re just ridiculous and he refuses to give in on general principle because they are both too old for this bullshit.

And as Sidney watches he sets his phone down and actually snuggles deeper under the blanket. “Already comfy and you would kick me out. Evgeni be mad.”

Sidney is pretty sure he just walked into a trap because he knows Geno would be. It’s like every Russian he knows has telepathy and the last thing he wants is to have to deal with Geno’s disapproving looks throughout practice and he is so screwed.

Turning out the light Sidney makes his way to the bathroom. “Fine, but only for tonight and tomorrow, you get one of the other two rooms. And you better have something on under those blankets.”

Alex’s laughter follows him and he barely manages to avoid slamming the door. He gets ready for the night and makes a list in his head of things he needs to talk to Geno about. Starting with exactly what Geno told Alex about this whole thing and what he’s expecting, and ending with a whole lot of variations of why me.

It’s not that he’s against sex, he doesn’t need it to be happy. Hockey is enough for him and he doesn’t want Alex to think he’s obligated to provide any kind of conjugal rights for getting to stay. He’s doing this for Geno.

By the time he gets to the bed Alex is already asleep, face buried in a pillow. Sidney slides under the covers, on the side of that’s his and he’s glad Alex at least managed to get the right side of the bed. If he hadn’t there would have been a fight and it doesn’t matter that he’s certain Alex could wipe the floor with him.

It takes him awhile to get comfortable, pummeling his pillow into submission more than once as he twists to figure out which way he really wants to sleep. He’s not used to having another person in bed with him and he can already feel Alex’s warmth seeping through the blankets.

Finally he settles facing Alex, tracing the slope of his shoulders in the faint light from outside until finally sleep overtakes him.

Chapter Text

Shutting off the alarm Sidney rubs at his face before getting out of bed. Alex sleeps through the buzz, snoring softly and curled on the far edge of the bed, left leg out stiff under the blankets. Sidney can’t really fault him for being out like a light. He hates flying long distances for games and he can only imagine how long of a flight it was for Alex, jammed in tiny seats with a bad leg.

It takes some work but he manages to gather up everything he needs in the dark before ducking out. His mother raised him right and he’s more than willing to let Alex sleep as long as he needs. Never mind that it gives him a chance to get his mind back on track about this whole thing.

He does end up leaving Alex a note on his way out the door. It’s not that he’s overly worried. Alex is an adult and can take care of himself, but he does it as a courtesy because the last thing he’d want if he was in Alex’s place was to wake up alone in an unfamiliar house and city. He dithers over the wording before keeping it simple and tossing forty dollars on the paper. There’s plenty to eat in the house but it doesn’t hurt to leave the option for ordering in.

-----

The gym is blissfully empty when Sidney gets there which suits him just fine. Dealing with the team right now is the last thing he wants because the locker room as they gear up for practice is going to be bad enough.

He doesn’t push hard, just enough to work out some of the knots that seem to have settled in his body. He’s not tired exactly, but out of sorts from having Alex in his bed and the quiet gives him time to clear his mind and refocus his energy.

Geno catches him right outside the gym and they make their way to the locker room together in silence. Sidney can tell Geno is curious about what happened after he left the night before, but he’s known him long enough to know Sid will share when he’s ready but not a moment before.

He and Geno are first to the locker room, but the others start filing in, singly and in groups, all of them looking at him and he knows it’s only going to be a matter of time before someone starts in on him.

And not surprisingly it’s Jordan who grins at him as he shrugs his shirt on. “Got the rings yet? Flower said he’d be honoured to be the flower girl and that he’s got his dress all picked out.”

A wad of rolled up socks hits Jordan in the face and he smirks at Flower. “Calm down Marc. We all know you have the legs to pull off a cute little lace dress.”

Sidney goes back to taping his socks as the rest of the team starts taking sides and he’s never been so glad for their short attention span off the ice.

Practice goes surprisingly smooth, everyone focused but easy and Sidney can feel everything settling in his mind and body. It doesn’t matter that he’s got a semi-permanent house guest who might drive him crazy, that Geno and his teammates had orchestrated it all.

Here, on the ice all that matters is the puck and the ebb and flow of bodies around him. It’s the only place he’s ever been completely comfortable in his own skin and he revels in it, unable to keep from grinning when he manages to score on Flower at the end of the scrimmage.

Sidney takes a couple laps around the ice as the others clear out, taking the time to just exist and breathe with no pressure and Geno joins him for the last one before they both step off the ice.

The locker room is overwhelmingly loud with the guys making plans and tossing them aside, keeping their suggestions low key since they have a game the next night and none of them are stupid enough to do anything that might jeopardize their chance to play.

Sidney is grateful they seem to have completely forgotten about Alex, not one of them making a single joke after they’d cleared the ice. He takes his time in the shower enjoying the hot water before getting back to the benches where Geno is already packed and waiting.

“Alex was in my bed last night.” Sidney jams his gear back into his bag, feeling better now that someone else knows he had a guest in his bed. Geno never judges him and will just smile and shrug and he looks up to find Geno is staring at him like he just admitted to kicking a puppy.

It’s not a look he sees often and realization hits Sidney like being checked into the boards by some of the monsters on the ice nowadays. The breakdowns in Geno’s English rarely happen now but it seems like this might be one of those unfortunate times when he gets things confused.

Sidney shakes his head. “No! Nothing like that happened. I got done making sure everything was off and when I got to my room he was in my bed.”

Geno relaxes, his little half grin blossoming across his face. “Alex try to get under skin. See how far he can push.”

Sidney nods but doesn’t admit that it worked. “He also mentioned a wed-” The locker room is deserted, the others having taken off like their pants were on fire, leaving just the two of them but it doesn’t make him any less reluctant to have this conversation when employees might be hanging out.

He stands and grabs his bag, jerking his head towards the door. Geno follows suit, casually bumping into him as they make their way outside. Sidney stops by Geno’s car and turns to look at him. “He made a comment about a wedding night. What exactly did you tell him I expected out of all of this?”

The scandalized look is back on Geno’s face as he drops his bag. “Not wedding night. I told him you like men and women, he like men and women, all good. Just keep each other happy and company and if something happen it happen, good for you."

Sidney nods as he pulls his keys out. It’s good to know he’s got Geno’s blessing if anything happens between him and Alex, not that he’s thinking that far ahead. They still have to see if he can get through the week without having to hide the body of one Alexander Ovechkin.

“Hey.”

Geno stops at his voice and Sidney leans against his car. “You wanna come over again tonight? I’m sure Alex wouldn’t mind.” He doesn’t say what he’s really thinking, that he’s still slightly uncomfortable with this situation, and has no idea what to even talk about with Alex. Hockey should be the easy answer but with the nature of Alex’s injury he can’t be sure what his reaction might be to such an overture so he’s got nothing.

Geno smiles and nods. “Be there at seven.”

-----

There’s the soft sound of the TV when Sidney gets home but beyond that there aren’t really any signs of life. Tucking his bag out of the way in the hallway he detours by the kitchen where his note and the money still sit on the counter, undisturbed.

He makes his way to the living room where the TV is on, images of a dozen games flashing across the screen. Alex is sprawled over the couch, hair mussed, clad in a disreputable black T-shirt and sweatpants that have seen better days, worn thin at the knees and crotch. He smiles at Sidney, eyes hooded. “Hi honey. Good day?”

Sidney has to remind himself what Geno said, that Alex is just trying to get under his skin. He’s not going to rise to the bait in his own house when he tries to avoid it on the ice. “What did you do all day?”

Alex stretches with a low groan Sidney can feel in his chest. “Sleep. You have good bed.”

Sidney rolls his eyes. “I’m glad you approve of it.” And that’s all he has so he’s relegated to staring at Alex and his gaze keeps dropping to the worn spots on the sweatpants, especially the one over the left knee. He can’t help but wonder, if there are any external signs of the ruined knee or if they are all internal, painful reminders of a freak accident that ruined a promising career before it even really got started.

Alex makes a rough sound and Sidney jerks his head up to find Alex staring at him, eyes bright under the mess of his hair. He can feel the blush spreading across his cheeks although he’s not sure why. It’s not like he’s being creepy he’s just curious. Knowing he’s caught he does the only thing he can think of.
“Geno’s coming over for dinner.”

Alex sits up and frowns. “You going to cook again?”

Sidney narrows his eyes. “Yes.”

Shaking his head in disgust Alex bounds to his feet and brushes by Sidney hard enough to rock him back half a step. “May be good at hockey but terrible cook. We order out.”

-----

Sidney stares at his plate and the odd mix of vegetables and chicken on his plate in some kind of sauce. He’s not entirely sure what it is because Alex was directly responsible for its ordering, with some input from Geno and somehow he ended up paying for it all.

Alex’s elbow digs into his side none to gently and he flinches away.

“Eat Sidney. Is not going to kill you.”

He glances at Geno who just looks amused as he eats and he can’t help but wonder how exactly his life came to be filled with Russians who seem to get some kind of twisted pleasure out of picking on him and generally making his life a living hell in one way or another.

Fed up with the way Alex is watching him Sidney picks up his fork and stabs a piece of chicken, with more force than is actually necessary and pops it in his mouth. Surprisingly it tastes better than it looks but he’s not going to give Alex that victory so he shrugs. “It’s not bad.”

Alex rolls his eyes and goes back to his own food and for a little while there is silence as they focus on their food.

Until Geno makes a comment about the Devils that has Alex setting down his fork and has the two of them going off on a loud and educated argument that slips into Russian more than once. And looking at Geno, who is studiously avoiding returning his gaze, Sidney is sure of one thing. That Geno came over just to show him that Alex is more than willing to talk hockey even if he can’t play.

Sidney can’t decide if he should be thanking Geno or glaring at him so he settles for jumping into the conversation because there is no way he’s going to let Ovechkin think the Capitals have a chance at the Cup, because there is no way in hell. The team is too much of a mess and all of their left wingers seem to suffer from perpetual confusion when they get the puck.

Alex leans towards him, eyes intent. “And who win in your mind. Penguins again led by Sidney Crosby?”

He has to remember murder isn’t the answer because he really doesn’t want to go to prison. He mirrors Alex and leans in, ignoring the heat coming off of him. “I think we can.”

Normally he wouldn’t make such a statement so early in the season but so far he has this feeling, even when the team isn’t on the ice, a deep seeded belief they can take the Cup again. It feels like they’re connecting on a deeper level, all of them and if they can keep their momentum going strong they stand a very good chance. Barring any serious injuries or other complications that is.

Alex stares at him for a moment longer before sitting back. “Penguins have chance, but only because of Zhenya.”

Geno laughs and Alex grins and Sidney really hates his life.

-----

They talk hockey a little longer after they finish eating, their plates pushed aside to be dealt with later. Stretching Sidney watches as Geno and Alex start arguing again. Geno is slumped in the chair and Alex is leaning on the table, vibrantly alive as he argues his point. Sid is sure it’s a good thing Alex has such a personality to go with his…distinctive features because he’s not sure Alex would work otherwise.

Geno leaves after Sidney waves off his offer to help with dishes, Alex following him out, their conversation still going until the moment the front door closes.

Turning off the water Sidney can feel Alex behind him and he ducks out of the way, and can’t help but laugh when Alex bumps into the sink. “You could try asking nicely instead of hip checking me again.”

Alex pulls a towel out of the drawer next to the sink and drapes it over his shoulder before turning to the sink. “Where fun in that? Only time I get to check Sidney Crosby.”

Sidney hands Alex the plate he just scrubbed, realization dawning. “You know who I am.”

Alex stares at him like he’s grown a second head and he sighs. “Yesterday you said to Geno that I was awful small to be as good as he said I was.”

A huge grin spreads across Alex’s face. “Of course. Everyone who watch hockey knows Sid the Kid.”

And Sidney really wishes he could hurt whoever game him that name because even now he hates it more than he can really say. He plunges his hand back into the dishwater. “And what brilliant name did they give you?”

He can feel Alex tense at his side before he relaxes though all the tension doesn’t leave his shoulders and he feels like a huge dick. Just his luck that they were kind of sort of getting along and he has to ruin it and he’s so glad no one else is around to witness his latest failure at acting like a real person.
Alex dries the plate with more force than is necessary but gently sets it down on the counter with a bare scrape of sound. “The Great Eight. Not so great anymore.”

The anguish in Alex’s voice is almost palpable and Sidney freezes, not sure what to expect. There’s a brief moment where everything seems to stop before Alex pulls the forks from his hand, dries and sets them with the plates before slanting a look at him.

Sidney finds another plate and scrubs it clean before handing it over, feeling like his skin is too tight. The easy silence is gone and the tension prickles over his skin, making him uncomfortable.

The moment the dishes are dried Alex drapes the towel over the handle on the oven before disappearing out of the kitchen and all Sidney can do is stare at the empty doorway, the image of the defeat in the broad shoulders etched in his mind.

-----

Despite the fact he slept alone the night before Sidney wakes up even more twisted in knots than the day before. It was nice to have his bed back as Alex had actually moved into the guestroom furthest from him but his scent had still been all over his pillows, something dark and heady that had kind of driven him crazy.

Stripping the sheets off his bed Sidney jams them in the hamper to get washed when he gets a chance to finally do laundry which is going to have to happen soon. He’s rapidly running out of socks, among other things.

The house is silent which is fine by him. He’s not entirely sure he’s ready to face Alex again after last night. Even now he can still almost feel the tension from the night before, heavy in the stillness and he hates it. So he makes breakfast and eats before getting together everything he needs because he doesn’t want to come back to the house between practice and the game. He’s not sure he can actually face Alex after last night.

He tosses some more cash on the counter for Alex but doesn’t leave a note.

-----

It’s almost like déjà vu when Sidney gets home after the game. The only sound in the house is the TV and he immediately goes to the living room where Alex is on the couch, watching recaps from their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Alex looks at him. “Last shot, should have been wider. Lane open and Dupuis would have gotten puck to you.”

Exhausted Sidney drops into the arm chair. He knows exactly which one Alex is talking about, the last minute or so where he and Dupuis had worked like hell to keep the puck in Tampa’s zone. Dupuis had been mobbed, everyone trying to keep them from scoring one last time.

“There’s no way he could have gotten the puck to me. They didn’t even clear it before the game ended.”

Alex makes a derisive sound. “Been wider Dupuis get it to you.”

Sidney shakes his head. “He could barely breathe. You’re obviously seeing things.” Getting up Sidney flips off the living room light. “I’m going to bed. Try not to be a nuisance.”

“Sidney.”

He turns back to look at Alex and can see his grin even in the darkness of the room. “Should have been wider.”

He’s going to be getting a wider driveway to hide bodies underneath if things keep going this way but that’s going to have to wait until he gets more sleep. “You’re wrong.”

Alex’s laughter echoes through the house and Sidney closes the door to his room, working on getting his shirt off. He pauses when he finally looks at his bed because his laundry is at the foot, haphazardly folded but clean and Sidney isn’t sure how to feel about it. He’s a little not okay about having someone he just met doing his laundry, which leads to a really disturbing image of Alex in a maid’s outfit and Sidney shakes his head because that is the last thing he needs in his head when all he really wants is to sleep.

Half-dressed Sidney refolds and puts everything away before digging out fresh sheets. Tugging the bottom sheet tight Sidney rolls his shoulders. He’s still a little uncomfortable about the fact Alex went through his laundry but at the same time the fact he doesn’t have to do laundry on his day off is great so he doesn’t think it’s something he’s going to get hung up on.

------

It turns out Alex was right about the game, which drives Sidney crazy. He’s watched the last two minutes of the game twenty times from just about as many angles and every one of them shows the same thing.

If he been even just a little wider Pascal would have been able to get the puck between the legs of one of the defense-men for him and it would have been another goal. Sighing Sidney flops back in his chair and watches the last minute of the game. Alex was right but he has no intention of giving him that victory because he isn’t going to spend the night being chirped in his own damn house.

“I know you’re good Crosby but not even you can change the game after it’s happened.”

Sidney twists to find Tanger standing in the doorway. “I was just checking on something.”

Kris enters the room and drops into the seat next to him. “Must be something important since you’ve been watching the same two minutes for almost half an hour now."

Reaching over Sidney shuts off the projector, plunging the room into darkness. “Not really. Just a missed scoring chance.” He can almost feel Tanger roll his eyes and it’s reassuringly normal after the last four days.

“We won Sid. Stop worrying about missing one chance. Are you heading out?”

Sidney stands. “No. I was going to run for a little while.”

Kris follows him out to the hallway where they both blink against the lights. A hand claps on his shoulder and then Kris steps back with a smile. “Don’t kill yourself Sid. Enjoy our days off, spend some time with your bride and prove you aren’t a total failure before one of us has to save her from you.”

Sidney laughs. “Somehow I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”

-----

His house is completely devoid of life when he gets home, which is unsettling even after only having Alex around for the last four days he’s already kind of used to having him there. Which doesn’t really say anything good about his mental health because he still kind of thinks this whole thing is going to end up with a missing Russian.

Not hungry but not ready to settle Sidney wanders through his house and ends up leaning in the door to Alex’s room. He has no intentions of entering, despite the fact the door is open. It might be his house but for now this room is Alex’s haven and he isn’t going to do anything to ruin the fragile trust between them.

The signs of how quickly Alex seems to have settled in are everywhere. One drawer on the dresser is partially open, a pair of socks sticking out over the top. Every flat surface seems to be littered with odds and ends, including a couple of small awards.

The doors on the closet are open; a pile of rumpled clothing on the floor underneath everything hanging up and the bed is a complete disaster, the comforter hanging off the bed with only one corner still tucked in.

Sidney shakes his head and heads to the kitchen. He needs food and looking at the disaster that has become his biggest guest room isn’t doing his sanity any favours.

It’s nice to be cooking for just one so he doesn’t have to worry about Alex’s critiquing of his food. There’s nothing wrong with the way he cooks, since it comes out edible and healthy which is really all that matters.

The front door opens just as he’s putting the last of the dishes away and Sidney frowns. He knows he locked the door when he got home and- he hasn’t had time to get one made for Alex, since he hasn’t been out of the house once in the last four days, that he knows of.

Alex appears in the doorway, with a single key dangling from a ring. “Zhenya give me extra key. Says I might need it with team leaving for long road trip tomorrow.”

Sidney leans back against the counter. Getting Alex a key really had been on his list of things to do but the list had died when faced with all the extra time he’s been putting in getting ready for the trip. “I was going to get you one.”

Grinning Alex drops into a chair at the table. “I think part of your plan to get rid of me. Leave town, me without key, end up outside and freeze to death before Penguins get back.”

Sidney’s not sure what to make of Alex’s words since there’s no way he has been around long enough to pick up on his occasional homicidal thoughts so he goes with the only other thing he can think of. “It isn’t that cold out yet and you’re from Russia.”

Alex stares at him like he’s an idiot, and in his defense, it really was a stupid, obvious thing to say but it’s all he has and it really is a valid point. “I’m even going to give you keys to my car.”

That one had taken some serious talking with Geno because he really hates letting anyone borrow his car unless it’s a life or death emergency but in the end Geno had won out with a simple bit of logic: He can’t keep Alex trapped in the house for the four days they’re going to be gone.

“Don’t worry Sid. I’m a good driver.”

Alex’s voice is sincere but it doesn’t reach his eyes and Sidney has the sudden, sinking feeling that maybe he should be making Geno supply his car for Alex while they’re gone or that he’s going to be going car shopping when they get back, with Geno’s wallet as his hostage. “Just promise me you won’t wreck my car.”

Alex nods with a grin and Sidney feels his stomach drop to his feet.

-----

Sidney doesn’t see Alex the day the team leaves. They have an early practice before their flight and Alex is still asleep when he gets ready to leave. Digging his keys out of his pocket Sidney pulls off the one that belongs to his car and sets it on the kitchen table along with an envelope of money, enough for Alex to survive the five days they’ll be gone as long as he doesn’t go on a crazy spending spree.

Grabbing his bag Sidney gets outside just as Geno is pulling up to pick him up. He tosses his bag back with Geno’s before sliding into the passenger seat. “I really hope you’re willing to help me hide a body because if anything happens to my car-”

Geno grins as he backs out of the driveway. “Car be fine Sid. Sanja good driver, he just go fast.”

Sidney slouches down in the seat. “That doesn’t make me feel any better about this whole situation.”

-----

The only contact he has with Alex the entire time they’re gone is a text each night before the game that says good luck. A look at Geno confirms his suspicions that he’s doing everything he can to make this thing between he and Alex work and Sidney is starting to think Geno was a meddling grandmother in a previous life.

Sidney has never put much stock in the whole good luck thing. It’s not good luck that’s gotten him this far, that got them the Cup. It was hard work, blood, practice and a lot of odd rituals for the entire team.

He keeps the texts though and they win every game. He checks his phone after they beat the Ducks and rolls his eyes when he sees the message from Alex. It isn’t much, just a huge smiley face and there’s little doubt in Sidney’s mind that Alex is going to take some kind of credit for their wins when they get home.

-----

Sidney is exhausted when the plane lands and as he grabs his bag he’s glad that Geno is the one who drove because he’s fairly certain he wouldn’t make it home. Hoisting his bag Sidney makes his way down the aisle and out into the cold Pittsburgh air, stopping to take a breath.

Flower bumps into him from behind. “Get moving Sid. Some of us would like to sleep in our own fucking beds tonight.”

He gets down the stairs and jostles Flower as he pushes by, only to have Jordan fall into step with him.

The entire team is wiped and Sidney can’t help but compare them all too doomed men walking to the gallows with the way everyone is plodding back to where they all parked.

Sidney stops at the lot where the team’s cars are parked. His own car is parked next to Flower’s and Alex is leaning against the back, legs crossed at the ankle, arms folded across his chest. Geno is briefly at his side before he joins Alex.

Some of Geno’s lethargy seems to melt away as he stands with Alex and they’re going on in loud Russian, both grinning and Sidney smiles. Even if Alex does drive him crazy he can admit he’s glad Alex is around since this is the happiest he’s seen Geno besides when they won the Cup.

Jordan stops next to him when he finally gets a good look at Alex who is still leaning against the car as he talks to Geno. “That is not a woman.”

Sidney glances at him. “No wonder you do so well in the bars.”

He stumbles when Jordan bumps him. “Are you saying Geno didn’t tell you his friend was a man?”

Tugging at his hat Jordan shakes his head. “All he said was tall, brown hair, blue eyes and that they used to play hockey.”

Sidney can’t help the laughter that bubbles up, because this is the best thing he’s heard in weeks that Geno, who spent so much time confused in the locker room after first joining the team has managed to blindside the entire team.

Everyone is staring at him like he’s gone crazy and he feels like he has. It’s two in the morning in December in Pittsburgh and he’s staring at his male, Russian, mail order bride talking to his best friend and really, it should be illegal for anyone’s life to be so weird.

Returning Jordan’s bump Sidney makes his way over to where Alex and Geno are chatting, setting his bag down. He’s tired enough that it feels like it weighs a ton despite the fact there really isn’t much in it. Jordan edges up next to him, like a curious puppy, staring at Alex.

Alex straightens up from his lean and grins. “Good games Sid. Still not as good as Zhenya but getting better.”

Jordan chokes on a laugh at his side and Sidney elbows him because really, his team should be on his side, not getting amusement out of the fact his mail order bride is kind of an ass and seems to take great pleasure in making his life hell. “Obviously you weren’t watching the same games.”

“I watch games, but only when Zhenya on ice.”

Geno looks torn between apologizing for Alex and clubbing him over the head and with a long-suffering sigh loops an arm around Alex’s neck, leaning in to talk to him, voice so low it’s barely audible in the stillness of the night.

Sidney watches as Alex’s hand comes up, spread wide across Geno’s side, pale against his coat and he can’t help but wonder if there was ever anything between them. Their affection for each other is obvious every time he sees them together and he shakes off the tightening in his stomach at that thought because he is not going to think about Alex and Geno in bed together.

Alex laughs at whatever Geno is saying, hand pressing against him but he’s staring at Sidney, eyes hooded.

Heat sweeps through his body and Sidney is grateful for the darkness hiding the blush he can feel staining his cheeks. Alex has been in his life for a little over a week and he’s already managed more than once to put him on edge, a feeling Sidney would be okay not worrying about. But he’s a professional athlete, not a teenage girl and he can deal with intense looks from another man.

Sidney tries to take the keys from Alex and glares when he jerks them away with a laugh. “Alex, give me the keys.”

Picking up Sidney’s bag Alex dumps it in the trunk. “Not driving Sidney. Look about ready to fall asleep and I have many things I still want to do with life.”

He wants to fight it but the entire team is watching with more interest than the situation really warrants and so he gives in with a nod and rounds the car to the passenger side door, waving to the others.

As the leave the airport Sidney is suddenly sure that Alex is driving much slower than he usually does and he’s so tired that he really doesn’t want to think about it too much because he’ll be a nervous wreck. Instead he rests his head against the window, the glass cool against his forehead and closes his eyes.

The smooth motion of the car is relaxing and he can feel the exhaustion creeping up on him and he curls more against the door and falls asleep.

-----

There’s a hand on his shoulder, gently shaking and Sidney shrugs to dislodge it. He’s warm and mostly comfortable and he wants to sleep for the next twelve hours or so. The hand falls from his shoulder and then there’s a rough thumb rubbing at the skin just below his ear, sending a frisson of feeling down his spine.

“Sidney.”

He mutters and presses his head against the glass, tilting his head further to the side to give the thumb on his neck more access. It slides lower, just under the collar of his shirt before trailing back up and he shivers. The touch is oddly comforting and getting up would mean stopping the soft touch and so it just makes sense to not move.

There’s a huff of laughter and warmth against his cheek before the thumb stops moving, to be replaced by a hand curled around the back of his neck, gently shaking. “Good bed inside Sid and too cold for even Penguins. Zhenya kill me if you get sick.”

It takes Sidney a minute to remember what’s going on and he stretches out with a low groan. He sits up and Alex’s hand drops from his neck, leaving a cool spot on the back. Bleary with sleep he fumbles the door open and almost falls out.

Alex laughs at him from where he’s digging in the trunk and Sidney ignores him in favour of the warm comfort of his house. If Alex is going to play chauffeur, he has no problem letting him deal with the bags too.

Sidney shivers at the temperature change as he unlocks the front door. He nudges it closed and sheds his coat, hanging it in the closet before heading for his room.

Eyes gritty Sidney strips down. He can just barely make out the sounds of Alex getting the house shut down for the night and he’ll never admit it to Alex but it’s nice to have someone else at home, to be responsible when he’s too wiped to manage anything more than locking the door and face planting in the bed.

Tossing everything in the hamper in the bathroom Sidney performs his nightly ablutions and crawls into bed, drawing the blanket up over his head.

Chapter Text

It’s a week before Christmas when Sidney realizes he has no idea what Alex’s plans are. He’s going home for the few days they have off and Alex could come. His mom would be thrilled to have someone else in the house but he’s not sure he can do that. He can imagine the conversation and he’d have to have it over the phone with her because there’s no way he can tell his mom face to face, that the team paid to bring one of Geno’s friends over from Russia because they think he doesn’t get laid enough.

Which is probably true, but his mom doesn’t need to know that.

He doesn’t get a chance to talk with Alex until later that night. The house smells surprisingly good when he gets home, with the undefinable quality that seems to accompany all homemade meals. Dumping his bag in the closet he heads to the kitchen and stops.

Alex is at the stove, stirring the contents of whatever is in the pots. It’s not a sight he ever thought he’d see and he kind of wonders if he might be dreaming. He makes his way to the fridge, getting out a bottle of water before taking a seat at the kitchen table. “You can cook.”

Lifting his shoulders in a half shrug Alex pokes at something in a frying pan. “Some stuff. Not great cook but can do better than you.”

Sidney doesn’t rise to the bait because he can hear the trace of teasing in Alex’s voice. And he’s not one to get bent out of shape about something that’s true. His cooking skills aren’t great but he hasn’t died or killed anyone yet, so he counts it as a win.

Silence descends and Sidney spins the top to his water bottle as he watches Alex cook. He’s glad Alex didn’t find the apron he keeps for when his mom comes to visit and feels the need to feed him real food. It’s pink and has some ruffles at the bottom and Sidney can’t help but laugh because the thought of Alex in the apron is one of the funniest things he’s been exposed to all week.

He waves off the look Alex is giving him. “Something from practice.” Which makes him look like a crazy person who laughs at stuff hours after it happens but it’s better than trying to explain that he’s a freak imaging him in a frilly apron that belongs to his mom.

Which leads him back to the issue at hand he’s been avoiding for no good reason beyond an odd case of nerves.

“I’m going home for Christmas. You can come, if you want.”

Alex must sense the hesitation behind his words. “You spend holiday with family. I stay here with Zhenya and we have good vodka and food. You come back and win more games."

“Oh, so now you admit I have something to do with us winning?”

Pausing in whatever final food preparation he is doing Alex turns to look at him, with a grin that’s halfway between endearing and obnoxious. “I never say you not help win. Just say Zhenya do most of work.”

And just like that the endearing fades away and Sidney is back to the familiar feeling of exasperation that seems to have become his default when dealing with Alex. He’ll let this insult slide, give it to Alex as a Christmas present.

Alex gives him a challenging look and Sidney returns it with the bland look he’s perfected dealing with the press. He mutters something, probably unflattering as he turns back to the stove, turning off the burners before he starts dishing up the food.

Sidney accepts the plate Alex hands him and he’s kind of curious what it is but he doesn’t ask and Alex doesn’t offer.

It’s surprisingly good and he nods at Alex’s inquisitive glance.

Maybe he won’t have to widen the driveway after all.

-----

Sidney loves his family, he really does but he’s glad to be home. His mom, who knows about his predilections, had picked him up at the airport and asked about the whole team before the inevitable question about his dating life had cropped up.

He’d managed to avoid blushing or having to explain to his mom why he has a man living with him, one his teammate brought over just for him, one the entire team is convinced he’s having wild, depraved sex with every night if the leers and jokes from Flower and Jordan are to be believed.

He hates to think of how they’d laugh themselves sick if they found out the only contact he and Alex have is when Alex decides to check him when they’re doing dishes at the end of the night. It’s not like he can’t imagine having sex with Alex, it’s more the whole sleeping with the close friend of his best friend is a little weird, even if Geno has given him his blessing. Which actually kind of makes it all the weirder.

His car is in the driveway and the front door is locked which doesn’t mean anything. Alex and Geno could have gone out in a cab so either of them had to worry about driving. Unlocking the door he slips inside and sets his bag down long enough to shed his jacket and hang it up.

He can hear the low hum of the TV and hefting his bag over his shoulder he wanders into the living room. Alex is asleep on the couch with an arm thrown across his face and there’s a bottle of vodka and two glasses on the table. It’s almost noon and he nudges Alex with his knee, stepping back when Alex groans and peers at him from under his arm. “Are you hung-over?”

Alex slowly sits up and scrubs at his face. “No.”

“Is Geno?”

Rolling his shoulders Alex leans back. “Unless he go somewhere after here, no.”

Sidney nods and heads up to his room since it doesn’t look like he’s going to get anything else out of Alex. Dropping his bag at the foot of the bed he heads back downstairs and gives some thought to calling Geno to see if he’s willing to go to the practice rink. After the time with his family he feels tight and some time on the ice will go a long way towards easing some of his tension.

Jerking the fridge door open he rolls his eyes and starts shoving things out of the way in search of the bottled water he knows is hiding. Normally there isn’t much in his fridge because of the travel, mostly just water, Gatorade and things that were shelf-stable and not prone to going bad in three days but like everything else since Alex moved in, things aren’t quite right in his fridge.

Sidney gets his hand around a water bottle and then Alex is against his back, one hand braced on the freezer door, as he reaches in, trapping him. “What are you doing?”

“Water.” The duh is heavily implied in his voice and Sidney focuses on that rather than the flicker in his stomach. “And that requires trapping me why?”

Alex shifts against him as he grabs a bottle of water. “Imagine you against boards. Is good image.”

Ducking Sidney twists from between Alex and the fridge because it suddenly really isn’t a good place to be. He leans back against the counter as he twists the lid off his bottle. “Did you have a good holiday?”

Alex takes the lid off his own bottle. “Zhenya and I have good time. Called and talk to parents and Mikhail.”

Sidney latches on to the last name. It’s odd living with someone he knows so little about but it’s not like they have a lot of time to sit around and make idle chit-chat. And to be fair, most of their conversations end up being about hockey anyway. “Brother?”

“Older brother.” Something in Alex seems to break when he says it, an ineffable sadness clinging to him and Sidney steps in, hand curling around his bicep, squeezing gently. He’s not as socially inept as his team likes to paint him and he doesn’t push, just keeps his grip on Alex’s arm light and comforting.

There is something he needs to know and he’ll ask Geno when the curiosity gets to be too much but he won’t ask Alex. He never wants to see Alex look that fucking broken again, hates that he’s been the cause both times, even if it wasn’t intentional.

Alex leans in, forehead against his temple and Sidney jumps at the warm wash of Alex’s breath across his cheek and ear. “Thanks Sidney.”

He isn’t sure what Alex is thanking him for but he lets him go when he steps back and as he watches Alex disappear from the kitchen Sidney digs his phone out of his pocket.

It’s twelve-thirty and Geno is going to practice with him whether he wants to or not.

-----

Loose and light from the earlier optional skate Sid stops in the doorway to the living room. Alex is on the couch watching TV again and Sidney can’t help but wonder how he isn’t going crazy. Even when he’s injured there’s nothing he wants more than to be on the ice and he isn’t sure how Alex does it, going from practically living on the ice to being stuck inside most days.

He appears to still be in fairly good shape and Sidney can’t believe can’t he hasn’t kept up with some kind of physical routine, even if it’s just skating laps because Alex doesn’t strike him even after a little over a month of knowing him, as the type of person who enjoys doing nothing but watching trashy daytime TV and playing video games.

The kernel of an idea formed in his head Sidney steps into the living room. He’s going to hate his life if this doesn’t pan out but if it does, he has a hunch Alex will be much happier. “Hey.”

Shutting off the TV Alex stands and rounds the couch to stand in front of him, a little closer than necessary, but it’s a trait Sidney is getting used to.

“Can you still skate?”

Alex frowns at him like he’s speaking something besides English and Sidney waves a hand in the direction of his knee. “With your knee screwed up. Or is it impossible?”

“Can still skate, just not strong enough to hold up to stress of season. Have skates and gloves in bag. Why?”

Sidney cants his head towards the front door. “I figured you’re probably bored out of your mind after doing nothing but haunting my house for the last month and I thought we might go to our practice rink for a while.”

Alex’s grin is blindingly bright and he disappears and reappears with his skates and gloves in hand and somehow Sidney isn’t surprised to see bright yellow laces instead of the normal white and he shakes his head as they head out to the car.

There are dozens of rinks in Pittsburgh he could take Alex but it’s easier to go to the practice rink. He knows no one else is going to be there, the others taking their day off seriously, and this way he doesn’t have to worry about being mobbed by rabid fans. Today is for Alex.

Alex is quiet for the drive, staring out the window, left leg twitching and the constant movement is driving him crazy but he doesn’t say anything.

The rink is empty and Sidney turns on the lights as they enter, relocking the door behind them. Alex goes for the nearest door in the boards and opens it before toeing off his shoes. Sidney watches as Alex drops to the floor and pulls his skates on, doing up the lacings with easy, practiced movements. Seconds later he’s up and on the ice, at the middle of the rink in several long strides and Sidney is content to watch as he rounds the far end.

He still can’t imagine being denied the one thing he’s known his whole life and Sidney can’t help but think about if he would have handled it with as much grace as Alex seems to be or if he’d run in the other direction, bitter and broken.

Tearing away from Alex’s mesmerizing movement Sidney turns back towards the locker room. He grabs a bag of pucks, his gloves and one of his sticks before grabbing one of Geno’s for Alex. When he gets back to the ice Alex has moved to footwork drills and if his knee is bothering him there are no signs of it.

Sidney drops the pucks on the ice before getting his own skates on. Grabbing the sticks he steps onto the ice and meets Alex at center ice and is blown away.

Alex’s grin is huge, his eyes bright, chest heaving, the hair along his temple dark and curling with sweat. It’s the happiest Sidney has seen him and it sends a warm shiver down his spine that he can make Alex happy by just giving him a chance to screw around on the ice.

He hands Geno’s stick to Alex, smiling when he inspects it. “I figure it’ll work for now and I can get you something that works for you better at a later date.”

Alex is suddenly in his space and he tilts his head back the little bit required so he isn’t staring at Alex’s nose. “What?”

“Spending money on bride. Finally you figure out how this work.” Alex smiles and skates past him to where the pucks litter the ice and sends one at Sidney with impressive speed and terrifying accuracy. They spend a little time just passing it back and forth and the sound of the puck on the ice is soothing and Sidney would be content to just spend the rest of the day like this.

But instead he lets Alex pull him into one on ones. Sidney doesn’t push as hard as he could, worrying about doing anything to Alex’s knee and he notices Alex holding back a little but doesn’t prod because Alex knows his body and is capable of calling it quits because his knee hurts.

Sidney finally puts a stop to it when his legs are burning and even breathing hurts a little. Alex doesn’t look like he’s doing much better, hands clasped over the top of his stick, but his grin is incandescent and Sidney can’t help but return it as he skates closer to Alex, even though he’s pretty sure he looks like a huge idiot.

He stops just short of him, close enough to feel the heat rolling off his body and the warm feeling is back and pooling in the pit of his stomach. Alex’s good mood is contagious, he can practically feel it tripping over his skin and Sidney moves a little bit closer, gaze dropping to his mouth and he’s hit with this insane urge to kiss Alex.

Shaking his head Sidney backs away because no. They’re still trying to settle into each other as friends and he isn’t going to risk that because he has an inane urge to kiss Alex, to taste his happiness and bask in it together.

He doesn’t notice it until they get outside but Alex is favoring his left leg, limping. It wouldn’t be noticeable if not for the fact Sidney spends more a fair amount of people suffering from various injuries. As captain he’s gotten good at noticing the slight signs of discomfort from overworked bodies but there’s nothing he can do here. Alex isn’t going to respond to the voice he uses on his teammates so Sidney doesn’t say anything, sparing himself the eye roll.

Alex is just as quiet in the car but instead of the single jiggling leg Sidney has to deal with a shifting body, radio stations being flipped through at an insane pace, and twitching fingers. His good mood seems amplified in the enclosed space, tingling over his skin and Sidney tightens his hands on the steering wheel.

It’s stupid how affected he is by this whole thing. He’s done the same thing for his teammates who are recovering from injuries or seeking to better some aspect of their game and there has always been high emotion when it works out. But this, this is electric and overwhelming and Sidney doesn’t know why.

He can’t help but wonder if part of it is Alex’s sheer, unfettered joy at something as simple as being on the ice. They all love it, wouldn’t make hockey their life if they didn’t and Sidney can’t help but wonder if that’s what makes this different, that Alex loves hockey but can’t play.

Switching lanes Sidney sneaks a look at Alex. He’s settled, leaning back in the seat with his arms across his chest, eyes closed, lips curled up in a small grin, poignant in its softness and he wants to touch but he can’t so he just grips the steering wheel until his hands ache and he can remember why getting involved with Alex right now is a bad idea.

Pulling into the driveway he eases the car into park and before he can say anything Alex is sliding out with a pained grimace, one hand tight on the edge of the door. He leaves his skates in the backseat and gets out, meeting Alex’s gaze over the top.

Alex grins at him before starting towards the house, skates draped over his shoulder. Sidney follows behind close enough he can feel Alex’s heat in the bare space between them and he’s trying to ignore why he feels the need to be so close. It isn’t like Alex’s knee is suddenly going to give out and Sidney is pretty sure if he tried to stop his descent it would end up with both of them in a heap on the stoop of his house.

Getting a hand up Sidney just barely manages to avoid walking into Alex’s back, more than a little caught up in his wandering thoughts. Alex twists to look at him and Sidney drops his hand because touching is not helping his resolve in the least bit. “Sorry.”

Alex gets the door open, stepping aside and Sidney edges past him, backing near the closet so he’s out of the way. Except Alex is suddenly in his space, pressing close as he reaches around him to drop his skates in the closet, before backing away with a grin that has Sidney thinking Alex might suspect what exactly he’s thinking.

He watches as Alex makes his way to the bedroom he’s taken over and the bathroom. The limp is more pronounced now and Sidney heads up to his own room to shower and find the bottle of extra strength aspirin he knows is in his medicine cabinet.

The house might have two other bathrooms but none of them are stocked with anything beyond the basic sundries. He doesn’t have people stay the night often enough to worry about having most of the other rooms ready for company so all the drugs are kept in his room.

Dressed in windpants and a T-Shirt Sidney grabs the bottle of aspirin off the bathroom counter as he makes his way downstairs. The TV is on in the living room and he detours by the kitchen to get one of the ever-present ice packs from the freezer.

Feeling oddly playful Sidney creeps up behind the couch. Alex is bent forward, rubbing at his knee and Sidney drops the ice pack on the back of his neck.

Alex jerks upright and lets loose with a string of Russian Sidney’s heard from Geno before, usually after something goes terribly wrong for the team. Groping for the icepack Alex turns to glare at him. “Lie to cameras Sidney. In front of them all nice and sweet. At home, evil.”

Sidney watches as Alex drapes the ice pack over his knee. Rounding the couch he drops down and hands Alex the bottle of aspirin. “Don’t think I didn’t see you limping.”

Alex rolls his eyes but takes the bottle, dry swallowing a couple pills before setting it aside. “Used to pain Sid. Been dealing with it for years now.”

Biting down on what he wants to say, remembering all too well the last time they’d talked about Alex’s past, in the kitchen, Sidney gets up and starts straightening out the various game systems tucked under the TV. He tosses a controller over his shoulder and there’s no yelp of pain or thump of it hitting the floor, so he figures Alex managed to catch it.

He’s lost track of how long they’ve been playing, and he’s died more times than he really cares to think about and it’s all Alex’s fault. When they started playing they’d been practically on opposite sides of the couch and now Alex is pressing against him, hot against his left side and it’s distracting as all get out.

Usually he’s better at compartmentalizing and focusing on the task at hand but not now. Now all he can think about is how much he still wants to kiss Alex. It would be easy, to set aside his remote and turn into Alex, to kiss him. So easy to press him back into the couch, tangle a hand in Alex’s hair, slot their hips together.

He wants to feel Alex against him, wants to get his hand around his cock, wants to feel him come, wants to swallow down the sounds he makes as he comes. He wants Alex in a way he hasn’t wanted anyone in a long time and even that thought does little to deter the warmth coursing through his body at the press of Alex against him.

Pausing the game Sidney drops his remote on the table next to the couch and gets up. If he stays next to Alex much longer something bad is going to happen and that’s not a problem he wants to deal with. “I’m going to make dinner.”

He escapes into the kitchen; painfully aware of the fact Alex watches his retreat.

-----

Feeling uneasy Sidney rolls over and presses his face into the pillow, not moving until his lungs burn with the need to breath. Settling on his side he stares at the far wall and the faint strip of light halfway up it. Every time he closes his eyes all he can see is Alex, bright and vibrantly alive and with a bitten off groan Sidney shoves his shorts down and gets a hand around his half hard dick.

It’s kind of embarrassing, how easy it is to get hard even just thinking about Alex’s good mood and he fists his cock, thumbing the head. It’s quick and dirty and if he has to fight not to say Alex’s name when he comes, that bit of information is staying between he and his hand.

-----

Jordan looks at him. “You know, you could invite your man to come with us after a game. It’s got to be better than sitting at your place playing Mrs. Crosby.”

Sidney can’t help but laugh at Jordan’s words, because there is no way Alex Ovechkin will ever belong to anybody. He is irrevocably his own man, with his strange eyes and missing tooth, bowing to no one’s rules and doing whatever he wants. Including rearranging his games and movies, from an organizational method that makes sense to something even a rocket scientist couldn’t figure out. His kitchen has gone through a similar movement that is driving him crazy and every time he mentions it Alex just shrugs and says it makes more sense.

“Alex isn’t my man.”

Geno smiles at that and the others stare at him. None of them have had any contact with Alex beside the night at the airport and they all seem to assume he’s got some control over Alex. Nothing could be further from the truth and Sidney is coming to realize, after having Alex with him for almost two months, it’s like living with a sentient tornado.

He’s never sure when or where Alex is going to strike but it’s inevitable, as is the mess left behind. Alex isn’t messy by any stretch of the imagination, but he leaves little odds and ends behind wherever he goes. Shoes in every room, keys on any available flat surface and oddly enough a bottle of his body wash in the master bedroom that Sidney isn’t sure what to think of.

As much as he hates to admit it, he’s gotten used to Alex’s presence in the house. The fact he hasn’t had to do laundry since the first time is a huge bonus.

Waving a hand Jordan leans forward and squints at him. “Minor detail. Invite him out next time.”

The others are staring at him and Sidney knows he’s trapped. “Fine, but don’t blame me when this all backfires in your faces.”

-----

Ruffling a hand through his still damp hair Sidney heads downstairs to find Alex. They won their Saturday afternoon game against the Flyers and they’re going out later, which means he has to invite Alex or Jordan will find some way to get to Alex and there’s little doubt in his mind it’ll involve embarrassing him.

“We’re going out tonight and Jordan wants-” And next time he’ll warn Alex because the sight before him is doing bad things to his blood pressure.

Alex is fresh from the shower, dressed in jeans and nothing else with his back to the door. Sidney finds his eyes drawn to the tattoos on his back, tracing the lines and then Alex is turning towards him, revealing another tattoo on his side and Sidney can’t draw his eyes from them.

“Sidney?”

Sidney shakes his head, watching as Alex pulls on the shirt he’s been holding and with the tattoos covered he finds that he can focus. He can feel heat creeping up his neck but he ignores it. Inviting his pseudo roommate out with his teammates who think they’re sleeping together is something he can do. “Jordan wants you to come with us to the bar tonight."

Alex’s grin is bright and oddly shy, and Sidney can’t help but wonder if he is as socially inept as his team seems to think he is, because the truth is suddenly painfully obvious. He’s willing to bet a non-essential body part Alex is used to being around people, thrives under the attention and Sidney kind of hates himself for not thinking of this sooner, that Jordy had to be the one to mention it.

Short of going out with Geno on a semi-regular basis he’s pretty sure Alex has been hanging around the house even when they’re out of town. The saved games on his various game systems that aren’t his attest to the number of hours Alex has logged on them.

Sidney’s not sure why Alex hasn’t been going out. He seems like the type of person who would have an easy time meeting people and Pittsburgh’s night life isn’t lacking. And if he were to go out and find someone, Sidney isn’t going to protest it, because there’s nothing between them, besides Geno’s blessing.

Geno’s blessing, which brings his thoughts to a screeching halt to the time they spent at the rink and that night. The mere thought of Alex with anyone else, man or woman sends a thread of jealousy through Sidney and he grabs the door frame, fingers biting into the wood. It’s stupid to be jealous, he wants Alex, but he isn’t going to do anything that might upset the delicate balance they have.

“Sidney?”

Alex’s voice snaps him out of his reverie and he can guess from the look Alex is giving him that he’s been starting at him like an idiot for the last couple of minutes.

Heart high in his chest Sidney backs away from the door. “I’m going to go order dinner.”

He turns and heads to the living room. He’s getting tired of running but it seems to be the only option he has.

-----

The bar is crowded and Sidney presses into the throng of people, Alex close behind. It takes a little judicious use of elbows, but they manage to get to where the team is seated. They get the same spot every time, a big circular table in the corner that affords them some measure of privacy being partially walled off from the rest of the bar.

Unsurprisingly there is already a round of shots on the table and Sidney glares at Flower and Jordan because they both know exactly how much he hates shots. Jordan shoves his towards him with a smirk and Sidney snatches it up and downs it, managing to avoid wincing at the burn. He’s not sure what it is but it’s worse than whatever they had last time.

He sets his glass down and turns just in time to watch Alex down his shot, eyes caught on the play of his throat as he swallows. Heat wells in the pit of Sidney’s stomach and he has to turn away before he does something dumb like drag his lips down the line of Alex’s throat, maybe lick at the dip at the base of his neck.

Tanger edges out of the booth. “Okay, first round is on me.” Everyone shouts their orders and he rolls his eyes and nudges Alex. “You’ve got drink duty with me.” He glances at Sidney. “Just remember, Sid wants nothing but beer though it isn’t tough to guilt him into something harder.”

Sidney slides in next to Geno as Tanger and Alex disappear back into the crowd. “If I didn’t know better I would say all of you are up to something again.”

Flower grins. “Why would you think that?”

Canting his head towards where he can see Tanger and Alex at the bar Sidney levels a look at him. “I can’t imagine why I might think that. Might be because last time you all started plotting I ended up with a Russian occupying my guest room.”

“Don’t use your captain voice on me Sid. I’m starting to think maybe we should send you and Alex home because you certainly aren’t acting like someone who is getting laid on a regular basis.”

Sidney’s glad for the darkness of the bar for hiding his blush. If Flower sees it he’ll know the truth and he really isn’t up for having to deal with that kind of chirping in public, or with Alex around.

Tanger and Alex return and Sidney frowns at the drink Alex sets in front of him. It’s not beer. The glass is tall and frosted and the liquid inside is something green and slightly opaque. “What is this?”

Alex grins as he passes out the rest of the drinks. “You like I promise.”

Those sound like dangerous words and Sid looks at Tanger who shrugs as he takes his seat. “He insisted on getting a drink for you and I’m not one to come between a happy couple.”

“Way to have my back.”

Kris leans back in his seat. “On the ice and when dealing with crazy fans, every time. When we’re out and your boyfriend wants to get you a drink, I’ll stand back.”

Pulling his glass close Sidney takes a drink. There’s a faint citrus tang to it and then it burns and Sidney coughs, glaring at Alex. “Are you trying to kill me?”

Alex nudges him and taps the back of his hand. “Is not that bad Sid. Need to live a little.”

Sidney is pretty sure playing professional hockey and having a Russian mail-order bride falls under the living a little category, but he doesn’t say anything because the others are watching with a little more attention than the situation requires, and he has no plans to be the team’s entertainment for the night.

The conversation rapidly devolves into several side conversations and Sidney doesn’t join in on any of them, more than content to simply listen. That and he’s a little distracted by the way Alex’s fingers are still resting on the back of his hand as Alex talks to Geno, Jordan and Tanger, hot against his skin even when compared to the almost stifling heat of the bar.

Neal gets up for the next round and Alex catches his sleeve. He leans down, and Sidney can’t hear the conversation but if the smile Neal is wearing when he stands up is any indication he’s pretty sure running might not be the worst thing he could do at the moment.

Irene, the waitress appears with a drink of trays, Neal close behind. She’s a little older than most of them and their regular server. She’s never been in awe of them and handles them with ease when the alcohol starts making them a little stupid. She hands out the drinks before setting a bottle and two glasses in front of Alex, smiling at him as she does. “Well, you’re a new face to this happy group.”

Hand tight around the cool glass of whatever Alex had Neal order for him Sidney watches Irene and Alex from the corner of his eye. He isn’t sure if she’s flirting or trying to be friendly but either way it sends a wash of jealousy through him that he quickly tamps down on as he reminds himself he has no right to care what Alex does.

Alex smiles at Irene as he breaks the seal on the bottle and fills the two glasses before loosely replacing the lid. “Am visiting Evgeni. He be bad at drinking vodka if leave him alone with Canadians.”

That gets a string of garbled English and Russian, from Geno, most of it insulting and everyone laughs.

Irene pats Alex on the shoulder and Sid has to bite down on an irrational flash of ire. “Well, I hope to see you in with them again.”

Sidney has never been so glad to see Irene leave in his life and he kind of hates himself for it. He’s never really considered himself to be possessive but again, the thought of Alex with anyone sends up a flare of jealousy and he needs to stop thinking about it because he’ll go crazy if he does.

Sidney watches as Alex pushes one of the glasses towards Jordan, explaining the rules of some kind of drinking game and he has the feeling it’s a good thing they don’t have anything going on tomorrow. He glances at Geno. “He’s going to regret this isn’t he?”

Geno nods and refills his glass from Alex’s bottle, ignoring the dirty look it gets him. “Drinking with Sanja bad idea. I did once, not again. Jordy going to be not good tomorrow.”

Jordan’s descent into drunkenness is amusing; with a lot of arm waving and stories they’ve all heard a thousand times about the Staal clan but are somehow even funnier when Jordan has been drinking.

It’s painfully obvious when the game catches up with them the way everyone starts sagging over their drinks and finally the decision is made to call it a night. Geno takes possession of Jordan, talking him into shrugging his coat on like a stubborn six-year-old before guiding him towards the front door, keeping his hands from wandering.

Sidney flags Irene down and gets Tanger and Neal to pay their tabs, much to their dismay and Alex’s amusement. It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve tried or managed to stick him with their tabs and it’ll be a cold day in hell when he lets them get away with it again.

Grabbing his coat Sidney heads towards the door where Neal and Tanger are just disappearing. Alex is practically glued to his back as they press through the throng of people, a hand riding low on his back and Sidney takes a deep breath as they get outside, moving away from Alex. He really doesn’t need to give the team any more ideas.

As far as bar nights go, it’s probably one of the most enjoyable Sidney has had in a long time and that no little part of it is because of Alex’s presence. The warmth of his arm across the back of his shoulders, the way no matter which way Sidney had shifted Alex was right there, a line of heat down his side, the rumble of his laugh.

They’re all clustered in front of the bar; waiting for the cabs Irene was kind enough to call for them. Jordan is alternately leaning against Geno and Flower, grinning like a loon and feeling no pain. They pour Jordan into the first cab that comes, everyone ready to get rid of Jordan’s giggling. Flower gives the man his address and pays him and Jordan waves wildly out the back window.

Turning towards them Flower grins. “Finally some quiet.”

Sidney can admit he never stops feeling responsible for his team, especially now when most of them are on the downhill side of sober. It doesn’t happen often but today was a hard game and they have a couple days off with an optional skate tomorrow afternoon and an actual practice in two days before their next game.

A bitter wind springs up and Sid moves closer to Alex, zoning out on the sound of his soft conversation with Geno as he watches the others climb into the slowly arriving cabs. Another breeze blasts down the street and hunching further into his coat Sid really wishes he’d thought to bring gloves or a warmer coat.

His movement catches Alex’s attention and a hand catches the sleeve of his coat, tugging and he moves under the gentle pressure until he’s practically plastered against Alex. He’s like a fucking furnace and all of a sudden, the wind isn’t quite as bad.

Geno catches the movement and there’s a speculative gleam in his eyes that Sidney doesn’t like. He shakes his head and he can tell Geno doesn’t believe him by the little half grin twisting his mouth.

He takes the next cab, leaving Sid and Alex alone on the sidewalk. Sid knows he should move back, even half a step, in case some intrepid photographer is out but it’s late Saturday night and Alex is warm and really, there’s nothing questionable about how they’re standing.

Another cab pulls up and Alex gets the door open, half turning to look at him.

Sidney lets Alex push him into the cab and then Alex is next to him, their thighs against each other, so close he can feel the slow rise and fall of Alex’s chest. He manages to get his address out and then he leans back into the seat, head against the rest. Normally he doesn’t drink as much as he had but Alex had kept buying him drinks, pushing each towards him with a challenging look and there was no way he was going to back down.

He’s not drunk by any stretch of the imagination but warm and loose. A hand rests on his thigh, thumb dragging along the outside seam of his pants and he can’t stop the shiver the gentle touch provokes. He steals a look at Alex expecting something, a shit eating grin, a challenging look. Instead he’s seemingly oblivious to the movement of his hand, staring out the window.

Sinking back in the seat Sidney closes his eyes. Even through his buzz the hand on his thigh is impossibly hot and suddenly all he can think about is how much he wanted to and still wants to kiss Alex. Ignoring the little voice telling him not to be stupid Sidney turns his head, nose skimming along Alex’s jaw. The hand on his thigh stops and for a minute he thinks everything is going to go belly up.

But then the thumb resumes movement, two fingers slipping down the inside of his thigh and Sidney shifts, legs falling open. The angle is awkward, but he turns his head further, lips resting against Alex’s pulse. He smells good, something heady and exotic and Sidney presses a kiss to the fluttering point, arousal pooling hot in his blood when Alex shudders against him.

Alex’s hand tightens on his thigh and Sidney drops his head, the wool of Alex’s coat warm against his cheek, taking the warning to heart.

It’s stupid to stay so close in a cab but the driver isn’t paying any attention, barely gave them a second look when they got in and Sidney can only hope they got one who doesn’t actually know who he is or the PR team might be out for his blood in the morning.

By the time they get back to his house Sidney is feeling a little less fuzzy and even that isn’t enough to make him want to move away from Alex. He pays the driver and doesn’t fight when Alex’s hand curls around his elbow, drawing him out.

Alex is tight against his back as he opens the door, fingers still curled around his elbow and Sidney isn’t sure what to expect when they get inside. The door yields and he steps in, Alex right behind him, hand sliding from his elbow to his hip, gently pushing.

He moves under the gentle pressure, turning to put his back to the wall. Alex crowds close, hand back around his hip. His other hand comes up, thumb dragging along his lower lip and jaw, fingers curling into the hair at the base of his neck.

The hallway is dim, the darkness easing the sharp lines of Alex’s face and Sidney is glad for it. He’s not completely inept when it comes to dating but there is something different with men, something deeper and raw that sends a shiver down his spine. He doesn’t often indulge in his desire for men, acutely aware of how precarious his position is in the League and in Pittsburgh. One wrong move at the wrong time and place and his career is over. But here, in the safety of his house, with Alex pressing close, it feels like the best idea in the world.

Alex’s fingers rub at his neck and he blindly reaches out, fingers catching at the lapel of his coat, tugging. Lips press against the corner of his mouth and he turns into the touch. They stay like that for an interminable amount of time, sharing breath, Alex’s hand flexing on his hip.

Finally Alex moves, kissing him and Sidney presses close, wanting more. Alex’s laugh echoes through his body, teeth catching his lower lip before licking into his mouth, stealing his breath. Alex kisses like he has nowhere else he would rather be but pinning Sid to the wall.

Sidney loses track of time, caught up in the intensity of Alex’s kiss, the glide of his tongue, the caress of fingers at the back of his neck. He can’t help but rock against Alex, moaning at the feeling and Alex swallows the sound, hips rolling against his.

Alex pulls back, thumb sliding across Sid’s lower lip before leaning in for a last quick kiss. “Good night Sid.”

Before he can manage to find his words, Alex is disappearing into the darkness of the house and it isn’t until he hears the bedroom door close that he realizes what happened. Or more what didn’t because he has no idea what caused Alex to pull away.

Suddenly cold Sidney slumps back against the wall, breathing hard. He was an idiot to think he could fight his want for Alex and now he has no idea how to get back to having Alex pressing him against the wall.

Chapter Text

Sidney is groggy the next morning and it takes him some time to actually get out of bed and make it to the kitchen which is empty to his great delight. In the stark light of morning the night before seems like a dream and Sid is glad Alex is still asleep. He’s not sure he could face him right now without combusting. Which is stupid because he’s an adult and capable of facing the surprise roommate/mail order bride that had him pinned against the wall.

After breakfast Sidney heads to the gym at the rink. There’s no one there which isn’t surprising, given last night. He stretches a little before getting on the treadmill. He really just wants to work out some of the tension that seems to have settled into his back and legs.

Geno wanders in twenty minutes later nodding to Sidney as he hops on a bike. He likes when Geno shows up because Geno understands when he just wants some peace, rather than a long rambling story, which is a problem he's been trying to solve with Jordan. Usually he doesn't mind when Geno shows up but today Geno seems more focused on him than the fact he's theoretically working out.

Finally, Sid gets tired of the not so subtle way Geno is staring at him. “What?”

Geno doesn’t stop pedaling, just slows a little. “You and Sanja.” He wiggles his fingers in what Sidney guesses is supposed to mean something but just looks dumb.

“Nothing happened last night. We got home and went to sleep.”

If the look Geno is giving him is any indication he doesn’t believe a word that just came out of his mouth which is possible. Geno has always been good at catching him in lies. “You and Sanja look…” he trails off for a moment trying to find the word. “Cozy. Good together.”

“Yeah well, don’t get used to it. It’s not something you’re going to see again.”

Geno’s skeptical look intensifies, and Sidney doesn’t blame him. He doesn’t believe what he’s saying either and he isn’t sure why he isn’t just owning up to it, admitting that he has absolutely no problems with a repeat of last night.

After another long moment Geno shakes his head in something akin to disappointment. He stays for another twenty minutes before hopping off the bike with a last, head shake and disappointed look that has Sid wanting to scream. He’s not sure how he became the bad person in this entire situation, but he doesn’t like it.

-----

Alex is gone by the time he gets back from the rink and it’s probably safe to assume he’s out with Geno since Geno left before he did. Sidney is equal parts glad and a little disappointed. He’s still not in any hurry to face Alex after last night but at the same time the house feels like a mausoleum, hollow and echoing, like it hasn’t since Alex first came over.

Out of things to occupy his time Sid naps for about an hour before getting up to check his e-mail. It’s a tough fight to stay focused on that, cleaning out the inevitable spam, filtering through things from teammates, reading a couple rambling e-mails from Taylor while the search bar in the corner mocks him.

There’s been more than once since he took Alex to the rink that he’s been tempted to go snooping around the Internet again. He hasn’t, since that first night Alex was in his home but it’s been close, because he really wants to see more of Alex before the accident, wants to see more of what he just got a glimpse of at the rink.

He probably spends a good ten minutes staring at Google before he shuts his computer down. Almost three months without being a creeper and he isn’t going to start now. He ends up watching most of a trashy movie before wandering into the kitchen to get dinner started.

Placing the lettuce on the cutting board Sid grabs the base and rips it off. The chicken is already in the oven, two breasts, a habit from having Alex in the house even though Alex and Geno probably went out to dinner like they usually do on their outings.

He doesn’t pay much attention when the front door opens. By now he’s gotten over the instinctive tightening of his body when someone enters his home. There is only one other person in Pittsburgh who has a key to his house and Sid isn’t worried about Alex using it to roll him for his wallet.

Getting a bowl from the cupboard Sid starts shredding the lettuce. There’s a scuff of a shoe on linoleum. “You and Geno have fun?”

“Zhenya and I always have fun.”

Sid nods and tosses the last of the lettuce into the bowl. He grabs a carrot and freezes because Alex is suddenly behind him, not quite touching but close enough to leave a line of warmth down his back. Taking a deep breath, he goes to work on the carrot, acutely aware of the mere breath of space between them.

He feels Alex shift and there’s a hand on the counter and one settling on his hip. Fingers slip under the hem of his shirt, rucking it up, sliding over skin and Sidney can’t help the shiver that ripples through his body at the soft touch.

There’s a huff of breath against the back of his neck, a ghostly touch of lips before Alex is pulling away, his fingers lingering under his shirt before he’s gone, vanishing from the kitchen.

Sidney doesn’t even try to keep from groaning because he’s seriously over being left behind, skin burning from the warmth of Alex’s touch.

-----

Body thrumming with adrenaline Sid bounds up the stairs to his house and unlocks the door. The game against the Rangers had been wild, and they’d managed to pull off a win in the last minute before it had gone into overtime.

Shoving his keys in the pocket Sid kicks his shoes off and heads to the living room. Sure enough, Alex is sprawled on the couch with the TV on. Alex climbs to his feet, grinning wildly as he does, like he had something to do with the fact they won.

“So?” Sidney stops near one of the chairs. He’s not sure why he’s asking, since he has a pretty good feeling he already knows what Alex is going to say.

Alex stops, leaving a gap between them. “Was good game.”

Not thinking because he always overthinks things like this, important things, Sidney steps in, leaving a bare strip of space between them. “Because of Geno?”

“Zhenya have okay night. You have great night.”

He doesn’t get a chance to reply before Alex grabs his upper arms, jerking him in for a kiss that’s little more than a press of lips before Alex is pushing him away. The chair catches his knees and he sits down hard. Shock renders him mute and he can’t think as Alex nudges his legs apart with a knee, before slowly kneeling, sides warm against the inside of his legs.

Alex’s hands cup his knees briefly before sliding upwards, thumbs dragging along the inside of his thighs and Sidney can’t tear his eyes away from the movement. This isn’t how he planned on having this night end but his ability to speak is still missing and he isn’t sure he really wants to stop this. Alex’s hands curve outward, pushing under the edge of his suit jacket.

A broad thumb rubs over the dark leather of his belt and he drags his gaze upwards. Alex is staring at him, eyes hooded and Sid can see the question there. He nods and Alex’s hands glide to the buckle of his belt, working the hasp out of the leather with startling ease before popping the button and easing down the zipper.

Breath caught in his throat Sidney can only watch as fingers skim over fabric before Alex pulls his cock free. He isn't sure what he's expecting as warm breath touches the head, sending a pulse of warmth through his body before Alex leans in, licking at the head, hand loosely curled around the base.

It’s enough to make his hips jump and he digs his fingers into the arms of the chair rather than giving into the urge to touch, as much as he wants to slide a hand into Alex's hair. This is Alex's show. There's another wet touch and Alex is looking up at him with a faint grin before taking him inside his mouth, heat and wet making it almost impossible to keep his eyes open.

He ends up tangling a hand in the hair at the base of Alex's head, the strands soft between his fingers as Alex works him, one hand strong against his hip, the thumb of his other hand rubbing at the base of his cock.

Pleasure curls tight in his body and Sidney would love to have this go on all night but the adrenaline from the game is staring to wane and Alex is taking him deeper, swallowing around his length. Alex hums and Sidney bites down on the inside of his cheek, hips jerking upwards, sensation crashing through his body.

When it becomes more than he can take he tugs at Alex’s hair. “Alex.”

Alex relents, pulling back just enough to lick the head of his cock before swallowing him again.

Sidney is barely aware of Alex pulling off of him or the hand leaving his hip. It takes another brush of Alex’s thumb across the head of his cock before he’s coming.

Trying to catch his breath Sidney watches as Alex sits back on his heels, one hand shoved under the front of his sweatpants, the movement of his arm unmistakable. He leans forward and rests a hand on Alex's shoulder, feeling muscle move and Alex is coming with a broken off moan, eyes closed.

Fingers skimming the edge of Alex's collarbone Sidney presses his head back with a thumb, leaning in to press his mouth against Alex's, kissing him. Alex presses up against him, nipping his lower lip before taking control of the kiss, tongue sliding into his mouth. Fingers whisper over his cock, and he appreciates the touch and would love to go again but he's exhausted.

The kiss trails off into Alex nipping at his jaw and Sid tucks his dick away and does his pants up even as Alex steals another kiss. Lassitude sliding through his body Sid is really okay with not moving but he really wants his bed and kind of wants Alex there with him.

Somehow it seems like the right thing to do, to pull Alex up with him. Alex shoves him to the wall again, pinning him, fingers pushing up under his shirt, spreading over his side like hot brands. He can't help but arch against the body keeping him in place. This is one of the things about Alex he'll never admit to, that he likes the fact Alex has inches and pounds on him

Tossing his suit in the corner to be taken to the cleaner Sid heads for the shower and just sluices off. He's just gotten pajama pants on when Alex slips into the room, damp haired, hanging by the door and Sid is a little surprised at the almost tentative nature to Alex's skulking, as if he isn't entirely sure about his welcome.

Rather than speaking Sidney tosses the blankets back and slides into the bed. There's a moment and then the bed shifts and he buries his face in the pillow as Alex gets in the bed.

------

Sidney can’t decide if he wants this morning to be awkward or not. It had been easy to slip out of bed without waking Alex and he's already been on his run. Now he's trying to figure out what he wants before practice and if things are going to be weird when he finally sees Alex.

Before he can come to a decision he hears Alex come into the kitchen and without thinking he turns. Alex scratches his stomach and grins at him before going to the fridge to get out a bottle of juice. He isn't sure what to say but Alex is suddenly in his space, a hand sliding over his side in a way that is beyond friendly as he reaches for a glass.

“Sleep alright?” Of all the things he could say it's probably the stupidest but Alex's grin gets wider.

“Say it once Sid, say it again. You have very nice bed.”

Sidney isn't sure what context Alex is using and he's more than a little surprised when Alex presses a kiss to the corner of his mouth before leaning back to get the lid off the bottle. “Okay. I have practice so you'll be stuck here.”

Alex shrugs as he downs half the glass. “Is okay. Have things I can do.”

Nodding Sidney slips past Alex to the fridge. Now that they’ve gotten the morning weirdness out of the way he’s suddenly hungry. Pulling out the carton of egg whites and turkey bacon he glances back to where Alex is still leaning against the counter, watching him with a faint grin and warmth curls in his stomach, backed by a sense of contentment.

And then Alex winks at him, innuendo heavy in the brief flicker and Sidney groans, his feeling of contentment melting into exasperation. Of course, Alex would have to make things weird.

------
Any other time Sid would have taken precautions about his personal life appearing in the locker room but it’s harder when the entire team knows and enjoys teasing him about Alex.

Flower looks up from his stretches as he comes into the locker room, staring at him for a brief moment before laughing. “About time you got laid Sid. I was starting to think all you had Alex doing around your house was playing maid.”

Sidney can’t help but blush as everyone starts making jokes and there are a couple of wolf-whistles that make the heat in his cheeks flare higher. Glaring at them all Sid drops to his bench. He’s going to have to find a new team because every occupant of the room is going to go missing. Except Geno who looks smug. Sid will leave him alone only because he owes it to him for lying about the whole Alex thing.

-----

Sidney doesn’t say anything as Geno pulls into his driveway. He just grabs his bag out of the back and slams the door closed with more force than necessary, but he doesn’t care and neither does Geno. It’s safer to take his aggression out on an inanimate object and Geno understands, the need to burn off the frustration, the anger because he hadn’t been good enough, the team hadn’t been good enough.

The game hadn’t started off badly, they’d gotten up two quick on Boston and managed to hold them off until the end of the first period. And not even a minute into the second things had gone downhill with two quick, stupid penalties, three goals, and then one more, and no matter how they’d tried, they hadn’t managed to make it up.

His house is completely dark and silent, like a tomb which suits him just fine. He doesn’t want to hear Alex’s platitudes about how it had been a good game, how the next would be better. Dumping his bag inside the door he kicks his shoes off and takes and a deep breath. He might be in a bad mood but he doesn’t want to wake Alex, isn’t going to take his anger out on him.

He makes his way upstairs, half expecting Alex to appear at his bedroom door, sleep tousled and frowning, ready to tell Sid what exactly went wrong. But there are no signs of life and Sidney climbs the stairs, loosening his tie as he goes.

Sidney opens the door to his room and just enough light comes in from the hall light that he can make out the irregular shape of the blankets on his bed, the faintest hint of movement and he rests a fist against the door frame.

Alex is in his bed and Sid tamps down his anger as he enters the bathroom. He takes his time getting ready for bed hoping some of his anger will bleed away if he takes long enough. Taking a deep breath Sidney jerks the bathroom door open.

Even with the light at his back Sid can tell Alex is awake and he tenses, waiting for whatever thinks he needs to say about the loss. Instead, Alex flicks the blankets back in silent invitation before settling into the bed with a soft sound.

Something eases in his chest at Alex’s silence and Sidney turns off the bathroom light before rounding the bed, sliding in. Fingers trail from his shoulder to the small of his back before disappearing and he takes a deep breath. Anyone else he’d been with would have started spouting platitudes, trying to tell him how the next game would be better, that it wasn’t their night.

This silence from Alex is surprising and he appreciates it, thinks Alex must understand, from when he could play. The stinging ache of failure, burning anger, the determination to do better, the hours of practice to reach the next level, the strain of a body pushed just that little bit too far.

Alex’s breathing is deep and even but Sidney still can’t relax, unable to shake the feeling that Alex is just waiting until he relaxes to say something. The minutes drag on and there’s nothing more than a long sigh from his bed partner and he loses track of how long he stares at the ceiling, just listening to Alex until he finally drifts off.

-----

Hands curled over the edge of the kitchen sink Sidney squeezes the stainless steel until his knuckles are white and his joints ache a little. After last night’s game he could have used more sleep but the moment he’d woken at a little after six his mind had been gone back to the game, everything they could have done better and hadn’t. Rather than staying in bed, risking waking Alex he’d gotten up and gone for a run, needing to burn off some energy before heading to Consol.

Blowing out a breath Sidney drops his head and stares at his hands. He feels a little better after his run, slightly less antsy but it hasn’t done anything to burn away the thoughts going through his head, about what the review of the game is going to show. Sidney relaxes his grip on the sink but doesn’t move, despite the fact he needs to eat something.

He’s vaguely aware of the sounds from upstairs, of Alex getting out of the bed and the slight unevenness as he comes downstairs, his knee stiff from the night. He doesn’t move as Alex come into the kitchen, half expecting an oral thesis from Alex about what went wrong the night before, wondering if he’d saved it all for the light of day.

A hand settles on his hip, a ghost of a touch as though Alex is worried about his reaction. He doesn’t move, fingers against the cool metal of the sink and for a brief moment it feels like everything is frozen and then Alex moves, stepping into him. Lips touch the back of his neck and Alex mutters something against his skin, a quiet benediction, the sentiment behind the words clear even with the language barrier.

Some of the tension bleeds out of his body and he relaxes a little, leaning back against Alex. He feels Alex shift, the hand on his hips becoming a real, steady pressure and Sidney closes his eyes and swallows hard, a knot in his chest. Like this, in his kitchen with Alex close, the morning light washing over them, Sidney can admit Geno was right, that having Alex here is a good thing.

-----

Exhausted Sidney locks the front door, glad when he smells whatever Alex is making. After the video review, which had been painful enough to be used as torture, he, Geno and a few others, including Jordan and Tanger had taken to the ice, running drills and working until they’d all been near the brink of breaking.

Food had been the furthest thought from his mind but now that he’s home, the tantalizing smells are reminding him that he needs to eat. Entering the kitchen Sidney isn’t surprised to find a bottle of water already out for him, condensation dewing the outside and he grabs it, removing the lid as he leans back against the counter, watching Alex as he cooks.

He’s gotten used to having Alex around, to having the house warm and lit when he gets home from games. And having Alex in his bed most nights anymore isn’t the irritation it was. Now he almost looks forward to having a warm body in his bed, the quiet rasp of Alex’s snoring and a thousand other things he can’t really put into words.

Stirring something on the back burner Alex glances at Sid and smiles, eyes bright beneath the fall of his bangs and warmth floods Sidney. Swallowing he sets the untouched bottle of water and lid on the counter, breaking away from Alex’s magnetic pull as he moves to get plates and silverware out, heartbeat loud in his ears.

-----

It’s later than Sidney had anticipated when he gets back from Buffalo. A little freak weather had delayed their flight home and he’d texted Alex when he’d first found out, telling him not to worry about picking him up. Now though, he regrets it, as he waits for Geno to clean the snow off his car.

Geno levels a look at him over the snowy roof. “Should have Sanja get you. I can tell you not want to be here.”

Sidney shifts. “It’s fine.”

Shaking his head Geno flicks some of the snow in Sid’s direction, smiling at the way Sid flinches. “Stop lying Sid. Not blame you for being sad, since you and Sanja so cuddly now.”

Sidney feels his cheeks heat and he’s glad Geno can’t tell he’s blushing, thanks to the fact his cheeks are already flushed from the cold air. It still doesn’t matter that Geno and the entire team know about them, he still feels awkward when the guys chirp him about his romantic life. It really isn’t that interesting; no matter what they seem to think.

Another wave of snow comes towards him and Sidney ducks away before opening the door. “Hurry up.” He could just barely make out the sound of Geno’s grumbling as he slides into the car, closing the door. Geno gets in with a look his way and Sidney smiles back.

The drive to his house is quiet save for the music and Sidney looks out the window, watching the lights flick past. He feels relaxed, the game having gone smoothly, Buffalo hardly standing a chance in front of their determined onslaught. Stretching his legs out Sidney can’t help but wonder what Alex will have to say about the game, heat sweeping through his body when he thinks about what happened after their game against the Rangers.

Granted, the game against Buffalo hadn’t been quite as dynamic as the one with the Rangers but he’d had a good night, with three points and he has a feeling Alex has got something to say about it.

By the time they get to his house some of his adrenaline has faded, leaving him feeling a little fuzzy and Sid isn’t sure if even Alex’s unending enthusiasm is going to be enough to keep him awake for anything beyond a greeting and maybe getting undressed.

The cold air that sweeps into the car when he opens the door works to wake him up and he manages to climb out without any serious bodily injury.

Sidney waves over his shoulder as he heads up to the front door, the sound of tires crunching over snow the only sound in the night as Geno pulls away from his house. The porch light is on, casting a circle of light on the stairs and Sidney gets his keys out, unlocking and slipping into the house. It’s quiet, not a single light to be seen and Sid tamps down on the disappointment he can feel welling up.

There is no reason for Alex to be up and waiting for him after every game. For all that Alex seems to enjoy sharing his own opinions on the game there’s no reason for him to stay up late waiting for him to get home. And Alex never texts, beyond good luck when they’re on a long road trips, waiting until he gets home before trapping him near the front door with a ready grin and an oral dissertation of what went wrong or right.

Kicking off his shoes Sid tucks his bag into the closet and sheds his jacket before heading up to his room. He eases the door open and there’s just enough light to see that there’s no familiar lump in his bed, no sleep thick voice inviting him into his bed and he takes a deep breath, mind made up.

His bed is empty, and Sidney turns and goes downstairs, trying not to think about the fact this is the first time he’s sought Alex out. The door to Alex’s room is half closed and he carefully eases it open, slipping through the crack before pushing it almost shut. There’s no movement from the bed and he strips and makes his way towards the bed in the dark. He catches the edge of the blankets with some blind groping and he’s half in the bed when an arm wraps around his waist, dragging him close.

Before he can say anything Alex is kissing him, fingers curling under the edge of his underwear. Alex licks into his mouth, hand sliding under fabric to drag along the outside of his thigh and Sid presses upwards, dragging a finger up the line of Alex’s spine to tangle in the hair curling at the nape of his neck.

Alex makes a sound as he tugs his hair and Sidney does it again, other hand resting in the dip of Alex’s lower back, pulling Alex against him. With a groan Alex nips at his chin before pulling back and Sid can imagine his grin even though he can’t see it. “You have very good night Sid.”

“I was feeling motivated.”

Alex’s laugh rumbles through his body and he kisses him again, before moving away, fingers trailing up his leg and Sidney can’t help the sound he makes. He wants this but the adrenaline from the game has worn off and the long flight has caught up with him, leaving him feeling tired, and it seems Alex can sense that

Rough fingers scrape along his chin and lips touch the corner of his mouth. “Reward you tomorrow Sid. No fun if you fall asleep on me.”

Before Sidney can formulate an answer, he yawns and hits Alex, who is laughing even as he pulls the blankets higher.

-----

It’s the end of the optional practice after the game with Buffalo and Sidney stretches his legs out. Between Alex’s sneak attack in bed this morning and the easy drills from earlier he’s feeling good. Geno is sitting next to him and he decides it’s the best time to bring up an idea he’s been mulling over for a couple of weeks.

“I have an idea but I need to know what you think.”

Geno looks around but everyone has cleared out for the day. “Okay.”

Sidney fidgets with his watch. “We have the next couple of days off and I was thinking we might get the team involved and play a game on Sunday with Alex.”

Geno stares at him, eyes narrowed and for a moment Sidney can’t help but wonder if he said something wrong and then Geno is grinning. “Is very good idea. Sanja miss playing. Play with kids at home but not the same.”

Sidney nods, apprehension falling away. “Great. I was thinking Sunday. We’ve only got a short practice and a couple days before another game. And I don’t want anyone to think they’re obligated to do this. It’s just for fun.”

Sighing Geno elbows him. “Sid, no one going to say no. Since they find out about Sanja, ask me how good he is. I say better than Sidney. They all want to see.”

Sidney elbows Geno in an attempt to wipe his shit eating grin away, laughing when he barely manages to avoid the return elbow. “Will you get everyone that wants to play onboard? I’d do it, but I want to make it a surprise and I can’t do that with Alex around.”

Geno stands and grabs his bag, nodding as he does so. “Sanja hard to keep secrets from. Always around like puppy.” Geno’s smile softens a little and he presses his fist against Sid’s shoulder. “See, this what I mean when I bring Sanja here. He much happier here and you not show it Sid, but whole team see it, know you are happier now.”

Sidney isn’t sure how to reply to that and just watches Geno leave.

Chapter Text

By Sunday Sid can tell Alex knows something is up. Since the night before Alex’s been watching his every movement like a cat watching a mouse and it’s a little disconcerting. It feels like he can’t go anywhere in his house without Alex being there, watching him with a thoughtful expression.

Sidney hands the last plate from breakfast to Alex and grabs the towel from the other man’s shoulder, ignoring the look it gets him. “You know you’ve been absolutely impossible the last couple of days.”

Alex’s smile is blinding as he puts the plate in the dish rack.

“You might as well get your stuff.”

Eyes lighting up Alex leans in for a quick, hard kiss before disappearing. Sidney pulls his phone from his pocket and texts Geno. The reply is almost instantaneous, a little smiley face and Sid grins. He still has no idea how many from the team are going to join in, since Geno has been careful to avoid sharing any details for fear that Alex find out.

Alex reappears at the door, laden down with his gear, his excitement palpable and Sidney tucks his phone away. Turning off the kitchen light he slips past Alex and grabs his own stuff from the closet before they head out.

If Alex’s excitement in the house was overpowering, in the confined space of his car it’s ten times worse and contagious, buzzing over his skin until Sidney is vibrating with it, unable to keep his fingers from tapping against the steering wheel.

The parking lot at the practice rink is half full and Sidney can’t help but smile because it looks like almost the entire team has shown up. Turning into a parking spot next to Geno’s car Sidney slides the car into park before looking at Alex.

Alex looks equal parts awed and shocked before he smiles. “Sid-”

Sidney shakes his head and undoes his seat belt, slipping out of the car. “Don’t thank me yet. This could end terribly.”

Laden down with his gear Alex rounds the car and backs Sidney up against the rear quarter panel. “Not be bad. Be great.”

Alex doesn’t back away and Sid has the feeling the other man wants to kiss him or do something else but for once he shows restraint. He finally backs away, after winking at Sid.

Sid follows Alex into the practice arena, sliding past him to take the lead to the locker room. Everyone greets them loudly, Geno yelling something at Alex that has him grinning like an idiot.

Sidney ignores them as he goes to an open spot next to Jordan and starts changing, barely paying attention to the jokes and conversations filling the room, Alex and Geno’s strident, good-natured bickering rising above the others.

Pulling on his undershirt Sidney glances to where Alex is gearing up. His large fingers are moving over the straps competently, tightening them before moving on, until everything is just right. He picks up the practice jersey someone gave him and shrugs it on, tugging at the hem to settle it before tucking it in.

Sidney pauses in pulling his chest pads on and has this odd vision of Alex dressed in Penguin black, laughing and joking with the team on game night and he gets a thrill at the thought of what they could do on the ice, the havoc they would wreak on the opposition and he knows he’s got a shit eating grin on his face, but he can’t help it.

Jordan elbows him, grinning. “Stop staring at your boyfriend.”

Adjusting his straps Sid jams his elbow into Jordan’s side, making sure to hit the sensitive spot just below his pads and he grins when Jordan yelps. “He’s not my boyfriend.”

Sid has always hated the word boyfriend used by people after a certain age. It sounds juvenile and grating and he refuses to sound like a teenage girl. Fuck buddy is too shallow and partner implies a lasting commitment he isn’t sure their relationship deserves so he just hasn’t labeled it, not really seeing the need.

He enjoys Alex’s company, most of the time, and Alex seems content to stay and it’s enough for Sidney. “It’s complicated.”

Jordan snorts and tugs his jersey on. “This is real life Sid, not Facebook.”

Sidney goes out of his way to bump Jordan harder than he usually would as he makes his way towards the ice. “Shove it Staal.”

He’s first on the ice and he takes a few leisurely laps to warm up as he waits for the others. They all pile on the ice near the benches waiting for him and he stops in front of them. He feels like he needs to make some kind of speech but all he manages is “Don’t do anything stupid.” It’s by far the least inspirational thing he’s ever said but right now it’s as relevant as anything else he could say.

Sidney makes Geno and Alex team captains and rather than assigning teams they all line up on the blue line. Alex has been paying enough attention to the team to have a good idea of everyone’s strengths so it seems like the best way to make sure the teams are slightly balanced.

He leans on his stick as Geno and Alex make their selections, smiling when they jostle and bicker when they steal players from each other. And then he’s left with the odd sensation of being the last man left on the line. The others are all laughing on the other side of the ice and he’s pretty sure he doesn’t want to know what Jordan said to Dupuis that has him laughing like that.

Alex grins at him. “No one want Sidney Crosby.”

Shrugging Sidney pushes off towards the benches. “Fine by me. I’ll just watch you trip all over yourselves like idiots.”

He barely gets two strides before a hand catches his elbow and Alex is spinning him around with a huge grin before crowding him back against the boards, closer than he really he needs to be. “No luck Sid. Stuck on my team.”

Sidney gets a hand between them, twisting his fingers in Alex’s practice jersey and shoves though Alex doesn’t move, which just makes Alex’s grin widen and the others laugh. He gives up trying to shove Alex away because it isn’t going to happen and he hardly needs to give his teammates more ammo with which to chirp him with.

Sid starts the game and it’s wrong to look up to his left and see Alex and it throws him off enough that Jordan is able to get the puck from him. He doesn’t have it long though before Alex manages to strip it away and is away like lightning towards the goal.

He doesn’t make it, ringing it off the near goalpost but it is a good try and everyone claps. From there the game settles into an easy game with a lazy current of competition. The puck changes hands frequently, usually punctuated by laughing and ribbing until the arena echoes with their good moods.

They aren’t taking line changes seriously and Dupuis skates over to him, leaning against the boards as they watch Alex toy with Jordan before slipping past him, taking off for the far goal like a bolt. “He’s good. Shame he never got the chance to play over here.”

Sidney nods, watching as Alex scores with terrifying accuracy before doing a dance that has most of the team laughing. Even with the distance between them Sidney can almost feel the excitement and happiness radiating off Alex and he isn’t sure why he ever thought this was a bad idea.

“How are you two doing?” Dupuis’ question is out of the blue and Sidney glances at the man.

There’s nothing but honest curiosity in the man’s face and nods. Dupuis has always been on his side and Sidney doesn’t mind telling him the truth. “We’re good.”

Tapping his stick on the ice Dupuis nods and looks to where Jordan and Alex are tussling in a friendly manner. “Good. When Geno told me about this whole thing I wasn’t sure but I can see I shouldn’t have worried.”

Sidney looks away from Dupuis, unable to meet his frank gaze because he’s never been good with talking about his relationships and this time isn’t any different. Alex and Jordan are trying to get each other on the ice and Sidney can only hope Jordan doesn’t get hurt because he doesn’t want to explain to Bylsma how it happened. “I’m going to go break those two up before something bad happens.”

Alex and Jordan separate with good-natured jabs at each other and from there everything devolves from there, into practice shots on goal and odd little skills and tips. As the day moves on people slowly move off, until it’s just him, Jordan, Geno and Alex. Geno and Alex have been playing at one on ones while he and Jordan have mostly just been screwing around.

“Looks like you might need to get involved Sid.”

Stopping the puck Sid glances to where Geno and Alex are, at the far end of the rink. Geno’s got Alex backed against the glass, their helmets on the ice by their feet. His hand is on the back of Alex’s neck and he looks intent as he speaks.

Alex nods and says something back and it seems to be what Geno wanted to hear as he gently shakes the other man before moving away, smiling.

Jordan leans on his stick. “I think that was Geno’s, if you break his heart, I break you speech.”

“I doubt it.”

The locker room is blessedly quiet and they shower and change in peace. Jordan leaves first, waving at them over his shoulder as he pads from the locker room with his bag over his shoulder.

Alex is taking his time and Sidney stretches his legs out as he waits for him to reappear. Geno sits next to him, nudging him with his shoulder. “What?”

Geno grins. “Was good idea. Should not worry like you did.”

“It was a valid concern. I didn’t want to make anything worse since he can’t play.”

Alex comes out of the shower flushed, his hair a disaster and Sidney can’t help the heat that spreads through his body. He looks like he’s had the time of his life and Sidney smiles because this is something he can give him.

He trails behind Geno and Alex as they make their way out, locking up behind them. He gets his stuff in the car, waiting for Alex who is again deep in conversation with Geno. He shivers as the wind comes up, regretting the fact he didn’t grab a hat on the way out this morning.

Finally, Geno and Alex wrap up and Sidney slides into the car, starting it as he waits for Alex to get his stuff put away.

Alex slides in and reaches over, fingers cool against Sidney’s neck. He grins when Sidney shivers and leans over to brush a fleeting kiss to the corner of his mouth. “See Sid, was great.”

“It wasn’t that bad.” He’s already trying to figure out when they might do this again but there’s only another two months before playoffs begin and they can’t risk any injuries to anyone else. “We’ll do it again.”

Sidney nearly jumps when Alex’s hand lands on his thigh, hot and huge through his jeans. It doesn’t move, just remains there as he makes the turn for home and he can’t help but wonder if it’s a promise of something more.

-----

Sidney is barely in the door before Alex is stripping his bag away, dropping it to the floor before crowding him back against the wall. Hands slide up under his shirt, pushing up his sides and then down, trailing fire before edging down to rest on his hips.

“Was great idea Sidney.” Alex's eyes are dark, his voice rough and Sidney presses up against him, desperate for more contact.

Alex seems content to indulge him, moving close as he shoves a leg between his, thigh pressed against his cock and he can't help but rock against the solid muscle, gasping when heat spreads through his body.

They stumble to Alex's room, not wanting to risk the stairs when they can't seem to separate, their shirts lost in the hall and Sid shivers when Alex's hands sweep over his stomach and higher, to hook over his shoulders. He lets Alex pull him in and teeth nip at his chin before Alex is kissing him, wet and open and he feels his cock twitch.

Hands slide under the waistband of his wind-pants and he takes the hint, shoving them down even as Alex works at his own. He's barely managed to step out of his pants before Alex is bearing him down to the bed, pressing a leg between his as he nuzzles at the underside of his jaw.

He jumps when teeth scrape at his neck and he palms at the nape of Alex's neck. “No marks.”

Alex's laugh rumbles through him where they're pressed together, and Alex looks up at him. “Why? Not like team doesn't already think this happening.”

It's enough to deflate his argument and he squirms when Alex licks and nips at his collarbone, leaving the skin warm and tight feeling and he's sure there will be a mark there in short order. Alex stretches up to kiss him, wet and open, one hand curling over his hip, fingers flexing to stroke his skin as they kiss.

Alex's hand eases between them, sliding in to tickle across his stomach before moving down to ghost a finger down the length of his cock and his hips jump and he hisses. Alex smiles against his mouth and then is reaching out at the small table, for the bottle of lube and condom there. It gets dropped next to his hip and Sidney nips at Alex's lower lip, tendrils of apprehension sliding through his body.

Alex moves above him, gentling the kiss, hand coming up to cup his cheek. Sidney clutches at Alex's shoulders, as Alex’s other hand slides down his stomach, bypassing his cock to slide lower. He spreads his legs as fingers trail lower, sliding over his entrance.

Alex’s hand disappears, and he kisses Sidney again, trailing his lips along his jaw. “Relax Sid. Just you and me.” He grabs the lube and squeezes some on his fingers, dropping his hand back between them, side of his hand brushing against the inside of Sidney’s leg.

Taking a deep breath Sidney forces his body to relax as Alex's slick fingers circles his entrance, rubbing and pressing, dipping in but never going any further. This is another thing he's rarely allowed himself, the chance to be intimate with another man, but Alex is safe, and he trusts him.

A finger slowly breaches him, and Sidney blows out a breath, looking at Alex who is watching him, eyes patient. He nods and Alex's finger slides into him all the way before stopping. It feels odd, but familiar and he spreads his legs a little further. Alex takes the hint, finger sliding in and out of him, twisting to brush against his prostate and his hips jerk.

Alex grins and withdraws his finger, adding a little more lube and then two press in, spreading and thrusting and Sid presses down against them, half remembered pleasure sparking the movement. It seems like forever and not quite long enough when Alex presses a third finger in, twisting and stretching, always brushing against his prostate, keeping his cock hard.

Withdrawing Alex sits back. Hand curling around his cock, Sidney drags his thumb over the head, teasing as he watches Alex roll the condom on before slicking his cock, eyes half shut as he works. He catches Sidney's hand up and licks his thumb clean before pressing him back into the bed, shoving his legs just that much further apart, one hand curling under his left knee.

Alex pauses with the head just barely brushing his entrance and Sid takes a deep breath before nodding. It's a little uncomfortable, and he shifts, rolling his hips a little and it helps, especially when a big hand curls around his cock, teasing the slit and it's enough to get his body to give up on the fight.

Breathing hard Sidney rests a hand on Alex's shoulder, fingers digging into his skin. It's exactly what he remembers, and he shimmies his hips, hoping to ease the last of the discomfort. It works a little but more interestingly it draws a sound from Alex, low and broken. He wiggles again, wanting to hear the sound for a second time and Alex's grip tightens on his knee in warning.

“Sidney.”

Alex pulls out and pushes back in and Sidney bites off a moan, fingers twisting in the sheets. It doesn't take long before Alex finds a rhythm, sliding across his prostate erratically, sending cascading waves of pleasure through his body. He gets a hand around his dick, stroking against Alex's thrust and pleasure curls hot and tight in his stomach.

A hand settles on his hip, pinning him and Alex's thrusts increase, dragging across his prostate every time and Sidney pants, hand twisting on every upstroke, thumbing the head as he does. Alex groans, pressing deep and grinding into him, body tensing. He knocks Sidney's hand away and strokes him, thumb sliding over the slit and he comes with a low moan, eyes squeezed tight.

Alex collapses on him and he scratches his fingers through the sweat dampened hair at the nape of his neck before shoving at his shoulder. “Get off.”

A tired laugh echoes through his body and then Alex is moving, but only far enough to remove and tie off the condom before he's wiggling close even as he drops the rubber over the side of the bed. Sidney let's Alex manhandle him until he's half sprawled over the big body and he presses his face into Alex's neck.

He knows he should get up and shower, wash the semen from his stomach and chest but his body is rebelling despite the fact it's only late afternoon. Instead he settles for relaxing and sleep drags him under.

-----

Alex is dead to the world when Sidney wakes, snoring. A glance at the clock reveals it to be almost six and he eases out of the bed, scratching his stomach and frowning in distaste at the dry semen flaking off. With a last look at the bed he snatches up his wind-pants and heads up to his room for a shower.

The hot water feels good and he takes him time, standing in the hot spray for longer than necessary. Grabbing a towel from the bar he wraps it around his waist and exits his bathroom, shaking his head. Alex has followed him upstairs and is sprawled across the bed, his hair damp from his own shower. “I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

Alex stretches and grins at him. “Needed shower. Then wanted to sleep with you some more.”

Sid smiles. “Well, I’m not going back to sleep. I’m going to go for a run, and then I have practice so you’re going to be on your own. I should be back around noon.”

With a disgusted sigh Alex pulls the top sheet up. “Fine. I stay in comfortable bed while you sweat.”

Quickly getting dressed Sid shakes his head. It sounds like Alex is already asleep and he’s kind of jealous. He wishes he could fall asleep like that. Grabbing a hoodie he heads out for his run.

-----

Toweling his hair Sid stops in the kitchen doorway and groans. Alex is at the stove in a Crosby T-shirt, shorts and sandals and has on his mother’s apron. The pink strings are bright against the black shirt and Sidney isn’t sure if he should laugh or seriously question Alex’s sanity. “Why are you wearing that thing?”

Alex turns and grins at him. “Didn’t want to ruin new shirt.”

By now he knows when Alex is trying to bait him, so he settles for leaning against the counter and watching as Alex cooks. Alex wasn’t lying when he said he could cook better than him. Nothing he cooks is too heavy and everything is well seasoned, and he can admit that he’s glad Alex is here. Cooking for one isn’t much fun and Alex eats most of the leftovers they have every night.

Sidney crosses to the fridge and gets two bottles of water out, setting one next to the stove before leaning back against the cabinets. “Where did you get that shirt?”

Alex flips whatever he has in the skillet. “I ask Zhenya to get it for me. Seem wrong to live with Sidney Crosby and not have a Crosby shirt.”

“It doesn’t hurt my feelings any.” Sid can only hope he sounds blasé about the shirt, but it gives him a little thrill to see his name across Alex’s back. Especially after last night. His body is still pleasantly sore and just being this close to the other man is send a tickle of pleasure down his spine. As if sensing his thoughts Alex turns off the heat under the skillet and moves to pin him against the cabinet, arms on the counter, bracketing him.

Alex smiles before leaning in, trailing kisses up Sid’s jawline to the lobe of his ear. “Thank you for yesterday. Was fun.”

Sidney turns his head, Alex’s hair soft against his cheek. He isn’t sure what exactly Alex is thanking him for and he huffs out a laugh. “You’re welcome. Breakfast is getting cold.”

Straightening up Alex glances at the clock on the stove. “Slept late. More like lunch.”

Sidney raises his hand, smoothing it over the penguin on the front. “That’s fine. We didn’t really have dinner last night.”

Alex grins as he moves to get plates out of cupboard. “Not eating last night worth it.” He removes the apron, tossing it on the counter.

Heat flushes his face and Sidney grabs the bottles of water, moving them to the table. He should have known Alex was going to try and make him think about last night.

Chapter Text

Sid is halfway through his shower when he hears the doorbell ring and he freezes before contemplating banging his head against the wall. He kind of forgot his mom and Taylor were coming to visit and now they’re probably in the house, where Alex is wandering around half dressed and he has no idea what he’s going to tell his mom.

Hopping out of the shower he dries off and dresses in record time and makes his ways downstairs. He can hear voices in the kitchen and he isn’t surprised to find that his mom is chatting with Alex as she starts pulling things out of the fridge.

At least Alex has sweatpants on.

She looks up and smiles. “Sidney! Why didn’t you tell me at Christmas you had such a charming young man living with you?”

Taylor is looking at him with her head cocked to the side, a thoughtful look on her face and Sidney wonders if she knows what exactly is going on.

Scrubbing a hand through his hair Sidney heads toward the fridge for two bottles of water, handing one to Alex as he joins him at the kitchen table. “It kind of slipped my mind.”

The look his mom gives him is heavy with parental skepticism he can’t seem to avoid even at twenty-four but it’s all he’s going to give her. He has no idea what Alex may have told her and he doesn’t want to screw it up.

“Oh well, it’s nice of you to let him stay here while Geno is getting things fixed at his house. How is the work coming along?”

Sidney glances at Alex who nudges him under the table. “Great. Which is good because Jordy is kind of going crazy having him there.”

His mom nods before going back to the fridge and Sidney sighs. He needs to get Alex alone as soon as possible and find out what exactly was said while he was in the shower. The last thing he wants to do is throw a wrench in whatever story Alex has spun.

Alex pushes back from the table, pausing when Trina turns to look at him. “Going to get dressed. Mother be mad if she know I not dressed for company.”

Trina smiles, turning on the stove as she does. “Go right ahead. It’ll be awhile before I’m done with lunch anyway.”

Sidney waits until Alex has disappeared before getting up. “I have to go get my phone.” His mom nods while Taylor just gives him a look and he heads for the stairs before detouring down the hall towards Alex.

With a glance over his shoulder Sid slips into Alex’s room and closes the door. Alex smiles at him, the expression briefly lost behind the dark shirt he’s pulling on. “What did you say to my mom?”

Alex’s grin widens. “I open door and say “hello Mrs. Crosby. Your son has good bed but is terrible at snuggling which makes me sad.”

Sidney can’t tell if Alex is being serious. “Please tell me you didn’t.”

Grin falling away Alex steps into him, hands coming up to cup his face as he leans in to kiss him. “I didn’t. I not know what your mom knows so I just say I friend. Not want to make things bad for you at home."

Sidney kisses Alex. “My mom knows that I like men too, but if you didn’t notice, I kind of forgot to mention you and she gets a little put out when I don’t tell her I’m dating someone. “

“Going to tell mom and sister?”

Stepping back from Alex Sidney shrugs. “I don’t know. Mom won’t care but Taylor doesn’t know and I don’t think right now is a good time to tell her.”

Alex nods. “Okay. I not say anything that might get you in trouble. I be perfect guest.”

Sidney doesn’t think he believes that, but all they need to do is get through the few days his mom and Taylor will be here without any mishaps. Once they’re gone, he’ll find some way to tell them the truth about his relationship with Alex. He scrubs a hand through his hair. “Come on. Mom is making lunch and she’ll be mad if we aren’t there to eat it.”

Alex smiles. “I hope she cooks better than you do.”

“Oh, she does.” Sidney leads the way from Alex’s room, aware of Alex behind him. He isn’t sure how he’s going to survive the next few days without getting in trouble. Since he first got here, Alex has been casually touching him, a brush of fingers or a lingering hand. It’s gotten worse since their relationship became sexual, Alex trying to steal a kiss whenever he thinks Sid will let him.

This is going to be a rough few days.

“Sid, honey, have you seen my apron?”

Sidney stops in the kitchen door and Alex slams into his back, arm sliding around his waist to catch his balance.

He knows exactly where the apron is, sitting in the laundry room on the shelf above the washing machine, clean, where it’s been ever since the meeting between he and Alex in the kitchen that one day. After washing it he can’t even look at it without blushing and there is no way he can let his mom wear it. “I have no idea. I rearranged in here and it disappeared.”

He can feel Alex shaking with badly muffled laughter behind him and he elbows Alex as he steps away. “I can go look for it.”

His mom shakes her head and goes about gathering ingredients. “No, it isn’t important.”

“Okay.” He’s glad she’s dropped the apron thing, because he really doesn’t want to see it. If he does, he’s going to be reminded of what happened that night, and that’s not something he can risk while his family is here.

Trina points at the table. “Sid, go ahead and set the table and get everyone something to drink. Lunch is going to be done shortly.” She smiles when Alex moves to help, before shooing him back towards the table. “Go ahead and sit down. Guests don’t help in the Crosby household."

Sidney ducks his head at the look his mom gives him as he gets out plates. He never asked Alex to start cooking, but he appreciates it. Having someone else doing the cooking has been nice. Moving to the table he sets a plate down in front of Alex and then leans down. “Don’t get used to being waited on like this.”

Alex turns to look at Sidney and grins. “But Sid, you excellent waiter.”

Straightening up before he can do anything stupid, like kiss Alex, or brain him with the plates, Sid moves on. He sets a plate next to Alex and then two on the other side of the table, glad he doesn’t have a monstrous table.

Taylor comes out of the kitchen with silverware and glares at Sidney. “I’m not sure how I got dragged into helping. After all, I’m a guest here too.”

Alex laughs and pushes the chair across from him out. “Sit. Sid need practice.”

She gleefully drops the silverware on the table and sits across from Alex before smiling at Sidney. “I like the way he thinks.”

Rolling his eyes Sid sets the last plate down before picking up the silverware and glaring at Alex, who is of course, grinning. “Would you not turn my sister against me?”

“Am youngest Sid. Know what it like.” Alex leans back in his seat, eyes bright.

Anything Sid might say is stopped by his mom who comes in, carrying two plates. Without saying anything he sets the silverware out and ducks into the kitchen to grab water. He brings glasses and the pitcher out, not surprised to find his mom and Taylor enraptured by Alex.

Not that he’ll say it out loud, but he’s deeper under Alex’s spell than either of them. There is something magnetic and wild about Alex that pulls people in, makes them want to spend time with him and listen. Shaking his head to dispel the thought Sidney fills his plate, watching as the others eat.

He’s missed his mother’s cooking and she does a much better job of it than he or Alex can manage. It reminds him of home and he’s glad Alex has gotten a little bit of that.

Sidney finishes his food, setting his fork and knife across the plate. “I’m going to meet up with Geno before our practice this evening. Will you be okay?”

Trina nods as she stands and starts gathering the plates. “Taylor and I are more than capable of keeping ourselves occupied.” She smiles at Alex. “And I’m sure Alex is used to you being out of the house.”

Alex shoves back from the table and takes Sid’s plate as well as his own. He raises his hand when Trina shakes her head. “You cook excellent lunch. Least I can do is help with dishes.”

“Thank you, Alex.” Trina gathers the rest of the dishes and Alex gives Sidney a look and smile as he follows her into the kitchen.

Taylor smirks and looks at Sidney. “If you aren’t careful, mom might replace you with him.”

Sidney stands. “No. He’ll drive her crazy first.” Which is a lie, because Alex hasn’t driven him crazy yet, at least not in the way Taylor is talking about.

-----

With a frustrated groan Sidney tosses the sheet and comforter back and stares at the ceiling for a moment. It shouldn’t be this hard to sleep without Alex. He has the entire bed to himself and can sprawl all he wants and doesn’t have to fight for the blankets. But he’s become used to Alex’s heat in the bed, the sound of his breathing and the way he holds his leg when his knee is bothering him.

“Fuck.” He swings his legs over the bed and stands. For a moment he doesn’t move, trying to decide what he wants to do. Finally, he shakes his head and makes his way out of his room and down the stairs. He lingers at the bottom, looking at Alex’s room, the door closed.

With a shake of his head he goes into the living room and sits down. He tips his head against the back of the couch. He wasn’t sure what he was thinking, coming down here. The temptation to seek Alex out is greater now, and as much as he wants to, he knows he can’t. Taking a deep breath, he closes his eyes. He’ll go back upstairs in a few minutes.

“Sidney, is something wrong?”

Sidney just barely manages to avoid jerking at the sound of his mother’s voice. She’s standing in the doorway to the living room and it’s obvious she just got out of bed. “No.” He stands and stretches, tension pulling his body tight.

Smiling she comes into the room. “How long have you and Alex been together?”

He doesn’t even try to deny it, knowing they’ve been found out, even if he has no idea how she did it. “A couple of months.”

Trina smiles and moves to stand next to him, reaching up to pat his cheek. “I like him.” Her eyes narrow. “Is that why you’re up? I know you and Alex didn’t go to bed together. Can’t sleep without him?”

Sidney nods but doesn’t say anything. He and Alex don’t share a bed that often, between Alex knowing when to give him space and how often he’s away for games but despite that he’s come to miss the warmth of another body close, the sound of someone he cares for breathing in the still night.

“There’s no reason for you two to not share a bed while we’re here Sidney. Taylor and I are hardly going to be offended.”

Leaning down Sidney kisses his mother’s cheek. “It’s not Taylor being offended that I’m worried about.”

With a laugh Trina pushes him back. “She’ll get a few jabs in but she loves you and she’s going to be happy that you have someone who understands. Now get.”

He doesn’t bother with the hall light as he makes his way to Alex’s bedroom, his mother’s words echoing in his head, an eerie match to Geno’s from the first time he’d seen Alex on his doorstep. The door to Alex’s room is closed and he doesn’t even think as he opens it and slips in, shutting it with a soft click.

It’s easy to find the bed in the dark and Sidney finds the edge of the blanket and slips in. He hesitates for a moment, before pressing forward, his hand finding Alex’s back, sliding over his side as he settles tight against Alex’s back, pressing a kiss to his shoulder.

A hand curls around his wrist and Sidney rests his forehead shifts to rest his forehead on Alex’s shoulder. “My mom knows.”

A sleepy ‘is good’ is the only response and he smiles against warm skin before falling asleep.

-----

Sidney would love to spend more time in the bed, half draped over Alex, but he has a game today and needs to get a move on. There’s also the added need to get out of Alex’s room before Taylor makes an appearance because he’s not ready to deal with that.

Alex doesn’t move as he slips from the bed and Sidney can’t help but press his fingers against his wrist, feeling his pulse before turning from the bed.

Scrubbing at his face as he leaves Alex’s room Sidney freezes at a familiar snort of laughter. Taylor is staring at him with the same, irritating all-knowing look from yesterday and he knows he’s busted.

“You had to have Geno find a boyfriend for you? That’s pathetic Sid.”

Sidney glances back at the closed door, glad Alex isn’t witnessing this embarrassing verbal assault. “Geno didn’t get me a boyfriend.”

The look Taylor gives him is enough to freeze water. “So you went out and a found an injured Russian hockey star and just happened to start sleeping with him?” She grins. “Just admit that Geno got you a boyfriend and I won’t call you a loser for the rest of the day.”

It’s hardly a fair exchange because he knows Taylor will ‘forget’ before the day is out but it’s worth it for the few hours of peace he’ll get. “Fine. Geno got me a boyfriend.”

“Good. Mom’s making breakfast.” With a last sly look Taylor heads back to the kitchen and Sidney shakes his head.

Instead of heading for his room he turns around and slips back into Alex’s room. He pads to the bed and is surprised to find Alex looking at him, eyes hooded. “I thought you were still asleep.”

Alex rolls onto his back, arms flung across the bed. “Was, until I heard breakfast.”

Sidney laughs and kneels on the bed, leaning down just enough to kiss the corner of Alex’s mouth before sliding away from his seeking hands. “I think I saw things for pancakes. I’m going to go shower and head to the arena. Taylor and my mom are coming to the game. Do you want to?”

Shaking his head Alex yawns and stretches before settling back into the bed. “No. Watching here more comfortable. Throw popcorn and no one care.”

“My mom will care if she comes home to find popcorn on the floor.” He wants another kiss before he leaves for the arena, but he doesn’t get any closer. Alex has a look in his eye like he’s channeling a clingy octopus and he doesn’t want to risk it. “I’ll see you tonight. Don’t forget breakfast.”

Alex nods and closes his eyes. “Never say no to mama’s cooking.”

Sidney leaves the room, heading for his own. He needs to get to the arena before any of the others, so he doesn’t have to hear any jokes about Alex making him late. They’ve eased up a little on the chirping since Alex has been here, but if he’s even slightly late for anything, it turns into a free for all of innuendo and ridiculous faces.

-----

The only light on the house is the porch light, which isn’t surprising. The game had gone into overtime and had ended nearly two hours ago. He knows his mom and Taylor took off as soon as the game was over and had taken a taxi home. He had wanted nothing more than to join them, but between interviews and all the post-game obligations he didn’t get to leave.

Getting out of the car Sidney groans. It had been a nasty, ugly game and he’s more than a little sore. The Flyers had it out for him the entire time and his right wrist still aches from where someone slashed him. He unlocks the front door and toes his shoes off, setting them aside before locking the door. From the living room there’s a spill of light and the low sound from the TV.

As Sid makes his way down the hallway he shrugs his suit jacket off. Sure enough Alex is sprawled on the couch, watching highlights from the games. “I would have thought you would have been in bed already.”

Alex turns to look at Sid, smiling brightly. “Not when you have such a good game.” He sits up, patting the spot he just vacated. “Taylor and mom say to tell you good game and good night.”

Sid drops onto the couch next to Alex, head falling back against the couch. “I’m just glad we won.” He startles when Alex picks up his right hand and rubs gentle thumbs over the back of his wrist. The slow movement eases some of the ache in his wrist and warmth spreads through his body. He will never admit it, but he loves when Alex is loud and brash, larger than life and loving it all. But he also like this, the quiet intensity, being the sole recipient of such focus.

He swallows as he watches Alex frowns as his wrist, thumbs warm against his skin. “They took x-rays. It isn’t broken. At most there might be some bruising and a little stiffness.”

Alex gives a sharp nod and tugs gently. Sid takes the hint and moves to straddle Alex, knees digging into the couch. Big hands settle on his hips, squeezing. Alex looks up at him from under his lashes and Sidney can’t resist, leans down to kiss him. He curls his hands over Alex’s shoulders, fingers pressing into the heavy muscle.

Alex responds, biting at his lower lip before deepening the kiss, hands clenching on his hips. Sidney can feel Alex getting hard under him and his own cock is filling, pleasure curling tight in the pit of his stomach. Making out with Alex on the couch until they’re both hard and wanting has become a guilty pleasure and right now, that’s all he really wants, with the way Alex is kissing him, but he can’t.

His mom and Taylor are in the house and he would die of embarrassment if they walked in on him like this. He pulls back, feeling like he’s going to burst apart. “Not here. I don’t want anyone to walk in.”

Alex looks dazed but nods slowly, hands clenching on Sid’s hips before relaxing. “Bed?”

Having sex with his mom and sister in the house still seems like a bad idea but Sid nods. His room is far enough away from where they’re staying hopefully there won’t be any problems. “Okay.”

Alex’s hand slides from his hip and over his back, coming around to cup his chin. He kisses Sid again, pressing his hips up.

Sidney groans and slides out of Alex’s lap, wobbling a little as stands. He grabs the remote from the table and turns off the TV, plunging the room into darkness just as Alex’s hand slides across his thigh. Stepping back, he waits for Alex to gain his feet before catching his hand.

The moment they enter his room Alex kisses him again, backing him toward the bed and Sidney sits, hands immediately going to the buttons on his shirt as he watches Alex pull his T-shirt off.

-----

Sidney yawns and glances at the clock before burrowing back against Alex. Normally he would be up already, but he’s exhausted after the game last night and he really doesn’t have anything to do today. They don’t have a practice today, just game review and that isn’t until much later today, to give them all a chance to recover from the game.

He dozes off again, waking later to Alex’s elbow digging into his shoulder. Shaking his head, he shoves at Alex before opening his eyes. “How the hell did you manage to contort yourself like that?”

Alex yawns and grins at Sidney. “Am talented.”

“Sure, we’ll go with that.” Sidney closes his eyes and settles closer, on his stomach, arms under the pillow. He feels Alex shift next to him and then a hand is sliding up and down his back, lingering at the small to rub before sliding back up. It feels good and he hums in pleasure.

Alex laughs, before leaning in to press as kiss to Sid’s shoulder. “So easy Sid. Little petting and all happy.”

Sidney cracks an eye open to glare at Alex. “I am not easy.”

Alex smiles and his hand slips a little lower. His voice drops as he leans in. “Just for me.”

There is a knock on the door and Sid startles, relaxing when he remembers his secret isn’t much of a secret anymore. He pushes up on his elbows, glad when Alex’s hand remains on his back. “What?”

Taylor’s voice is heavy with sibling scorn. “Mom wanted me to tell you and your boyfriend breakfast is almost ready.”

“Thanks.” Sidney groans and drops his head to the pillow, wondering if he can smother himself before Alex notices.

Alex’s hand trails up his back, fingers stroking the hairs at the base of his neck. “Boyfriend?”

Sid feels his stomach drop, though he isn’t sure if that’s good or bad. He cants his head to look at Alex. “Taylor said it was pathetic Geno had to get me a boyfriend.”

Laughing Alex tugs gently at his hair. “Not pathetic. I glad to be Sidney Crosby’s boyfriend.”

“Oh okay.” He knows his response is stupid, but this is the first time they’ve put a serious name to their relationship and hearing Alex say that has warmth spreading through his body. Sidney rolls onto his back before sitting up. “I’m going to go shower. Do you want to use my shower after?” He still aches from the game as well as what they got up to last night and the water will feel great.

Alex shakes his head as he slips out of the bed. Retrieving his sweatpants, he pulls them on and grabs his shirt. “No. I use own shower.”

Sidney doesn’t slide out of the bed until Alex is out of the room.

-----

Breakfast is a lavish spread and Sid sits down next to Alex, shoving back when Alex elbows him. “You know mom, you didn’t have to cook while you were here. We could have worked something else out.”

Trina smiles as she sets a bowl of fruit on the table before sitting next to Taylor. “Don’t worry about it Sid. I enjoy cooking for you.” She smiles at Alex. “And for you.”

She turns her gaze back to Sid. “Well, the season’s almost over. What do you think your chances are of making the playoffs?”

Sidney makes a face as he takes some turkey bacon before handing the plate to Alex. “We have 20 games left and we stand a good chance of making a wildcard spot if we manage to win most of the games.” It certainly isn’t where he would have wanted to be at this point in the season, but at least they aren’t at the bottom of the standings like Philadelphia.

Alex hands the plate to Taylor before slanting a look at Sid. “You and Zhenya have good team. Be good in playoffs.”

Sidney can only hope Alex’s words are prophetic, because he doesn’t like this position, being just outside the playoffs, having to rely on the misfortune of other teams to get in. “Hopefully we will. We’ve been working hard to get to this point.”

-----

Sidney collapses back on the couch. He has no idea why but taking his mom and sister to the airport always makes him tired. With a yawn he glances at Alex. “Do you want to go to the rink? We can mess around a little. Nothing too serious because I have practice and a game tomorrow, but we can get out of the house.”

Alex bounces to his feet, turns and grabs Sidney’s hands, pulling him to his feet. “Excellent idea. I get things.”

With a groan Sidney follows Alex and peels off to go upstairs and change. By the time he gets back downstairs Alex has all his gear and is almost vibrating with energy. Sidney gets his own gear out of the hall closet and snatches his keys off the table.

They spend nearly three hours at the rink, passing and doing drills, shooting and doing one on ones. By the time they finish up Sidney feels like he could sleep for hours and Alex is limping but smiling.

Once they get home they deposit their gear in the closet and Sidney heads for his bathroom, not surprised when Alex follows. In the bathroom he turns the water on hot and strips, Alex following suit. Alex’s hand glides down his side and Sidney lets Alex crowd him back against the wall, water falling on them.

Alex kisses him, hand coming down to curl around his cock and Sidney gasps, hands curling over Alex’s shoulders. He’s still running high from their game and it doesn’t take long until he’s coming, choking on Alex’s name. As soon as he feels steady he gets his hand around Alex’s half hard cock and it isn't long before Alex is over the edge.

They kiss for long minutes as the water sluices over them, until they’re both steady. Sidney grabs the body wash and they quickly clean up.

Stepping out of the shower Sidney grabs a towel and tosses it at Alex before grabbing another one. He perfunctorily dries his hair and body before going to collapse in his bed. It’s really too early to go to bed but he’s exhausted, and a little nap can’t hurt anything.

The bed dips and Alex stretches out next to him, hand resting on Sidney’s back. He kisses Sid’s shoulder before settling into the bed. “Was good.”

Sidney smiles as he closes his eyes. It was good, and fun but there’s no way it can happen again until after the playoffs. He needs to focus.

Chapter Text

Entering the house Sidney drops his bag and locks the door before kicking his shoes off. Light is spilling out of the kitchen and he heads in that direction, as much as he would rather be alone. The game had been rough, and they had lost. It puts them even further away from their wild card spot and he can’t stand it. Alex is at the sink, washing the dishes and he turns, understanding written across his face and Sidney raises a hand, forestalling anything he might say. “Don’t.”

Alex looks at him, gaze sharp until he nods, a mask sliding across his face. “Dinner in fridge.”

He goes back to the sink without saying anything else and Sidney stares at his back for a moment before crossing to the fridge. There’s a plate with grilled chicken and vegetables, wrapped in plastic. He takes it out and puts it in the microwave. Once it’s hot he gets a fork from the drawer and sits to eat, replaying the game in his mind as he eats, trying to figure out where it went wrong.

“Night Sidney.”

Alex’s voice jerks him from his thoughts and Sid looks up from his plate. Alex hangs the towel he was using to dry the dishes up before turning to look at Sid. Sidney sets his fork down. “Night.”

Shaking his head Alex makes his way out of the kitchen, turning off all the lights except the one above where Sid is sitting.

With a sigh Sid finishes his dinner and gets up, washing his plate and fork, setting it in the rack to dry. Turning off the light he heads for the living room. He’s still running high on adrenaline and disappointment and despite the fact he’s tired, sleep is going to be a long time in coming.

By the time he finally goes to bed the adrenaline is gone, but the disappointment is deeper, pulling at him. Sid makes his way upstairs and opens his bedroom door, not surprised to find Alex is asleep in his bed. Since his mom and Taylor came to visit they’ve been sharing a bed almost every night. A petty part of him wants to wake Alex up and make him go back to his room but he doesn’t.

Instead he strips down and crawls into his side of the bed, drawing the blanket up.

-----

The next morning Sidney gets up early, leaving Alex asleep and heads to the gym. Geno is already there, quiet and withdrawn, drowning in the same frustration he is. Slowly the team trickles in, though there isn’t much talking, everyone withdrawn.

The game review is painful, and Sidney can see every fuck up, every time he didn’t make the play and it makes him angry. He’s better than this, they all are, and if they don’t step it up, they aren’t going to make the playoffs.

By the time he gets home Alex is gone and he spares a passing thought. Alex is an adult and doesn’t need to tell him where he’s going.

-----

The house is quiet, and Sid dumps his stuff in the closet, wondering where Alex is. It’s late, since they had to come home from Boston, but not so late that Alex should be asleep. He makes his way to the back of the house, frowning when he sees the door to Alex’s room is closed. With a yawn he takes the stairs two at a time and heads for his room. His bed is empty, the sheets and comforter pulled tight and Sidney frowns. He knows he’s been difficult lately, withdrawn and moody with losses. They won tonight, and he wants to share that with Alex.

For a fleeting moment he thinks about going down to wake Alex, but he decides against it. Alex likely has his own reasons for sleeping in his own bed and Sid isn’t going to intrude on that. He’s allowed his own space.

-----

“Fuck.” Sidney throws his stuff in the closet, anger roiling over his skin. They have five games left, not that it matters. They dropped too many and even if they were to win all five, they still wouldn’t make the playoffs. The rest of their division and conference have been on fire and they haven’t.

He moves further into the house, not sure what he wants. Part of him wants to be alone, to wallow in his disappointment but another part, wants Alex, the closeness, the understanding. Alex might not have had to deal with such loss on a professional level, he grew up with hockey. Growing up the way they did, every loss was a blow, and not making it to the championship was world ending.

The door to Alex’s room is open and Sidney thinks about going upstairs to see if Alex is in his room. It’s earlier than when he knows Alex normally goes to bed, but lately Alex has been disappearing into his room early and sleeping there.

Instead he goes to the kitchen where there’s a note. He picks it up. There isn’t much substance to it. It just says “With Zhenya, dinner in fridge.”

He sets the note back down and shakes his head. He can only hope Geno is better company than he is, but at the same time he’s a little bitter. He wants Alex, but he isn’t going to do that, because he doesn’t deserve it. Forgoing dinner he goes upstairs and takes a shower before falling into bed.

-----

Sidney isn’t sure what time it is, but he doesn’t roll over to look at the clock. There’s the sound of a car door slamming, and he listens to the sound of the front door opening. He doesn’t move, blanket drawn around his shoulders, waiting. It isn’t hard to trace Alex as he makes his way through the house and Sidney waits, tense.

There’s a sound of a door closing, and Sidney closes his eyes. He isn’t surprised.

-----

His house is starting to feel like it’s haunted and Sidney doesn’t like the feeling. When he’s home he barely sees Alex, and that includes any of belongings. All the cleaning around the house is kept up, and there’s always food in the fridge but other than that, it’s like living with a ghost. He knows he could see Alex, out to put everything he’s feeling into words, but he doesn’t. They still have games left in the season, and they aren’t going to make the playoffs but they’re going to make a good showing for the last five games.

-----

Frowning Sid wanders around his house, trying to figure out what’s going on. He hasn’t been home much, with the end of the season. Between cleaning out lockers and interviews, meeting with the staff and all the other end of season details he’s barely seen Alex. Not that it’s unusual lately.

Everything has been neatly put away, something that hasn’t really happened since Alex got here. And he can’t find a single thing belonging to Alex, save the old, worn pair of sweatpants tossed over the foot of his bed and the stick he bought Alex, tucked away in the front closet. Sitting on the edge of his bed, one hand on the sweats he gets his phone out and dials Geno.

The phone rings twice before Geno picks it up and Sid sighs. He has to ask the question, even though he’s sure he already knows the answer. “Is Alex there?”

Geno’s disappointment is almost palpable over the phone, and it gets worse when he speaks. “No. Sanja went home.”

Sidney feels his throat close and he swallows hard. He knew that was what Geno was going to say, but hearing it makes it worse. Swallowing again he sighs. “Okay. Thanks Geno.” He ends the call and drops his phone to the bed, not wanting to hear whatever his friend might have to say. Guilt is already pulling at him and he doesn’t need Geno to make it worse.

Flopping back on his bed he stares at the ceiling. “Fuck.” He would have to be a moron not to realize what had happened, that it’s his fault Alex is gone.

Sidney isn’t sure when things started going sideways. He vaguely remembers the end of the season, when they had started ramping up for the final push to make the playoffs. As they had gotten closer to the end of the season he had started withdrawing more from Alex, choosing to focus his energy on the games. Alex had respected his wishes, quietly pulling back, leaving him alone at night, keeping a careful distance between them.

It had been wrong, after months of having Alex constantly in his pocket and bed, stealing more than his fair share of the bed. There had been nights, after games good and bad, he had wanted Alex to push him against the wall and take charge. It had never happened, Alex respecting the unspoken boundaries he had set up and Sid hadn’t been able to find the words, to verbalize what he wanted and now here he is.

The house is unbearably quiet, and Sid closes his eyes. Even before, when he had pushed Alex away, there had been an undercurrent of energy running through the house and he misses it. Flexing his fingers, he makes a decision. He’s going to find a way to make this right, because he owes Alex that much.

-----

Sidney glances at his phone before setting it back down. This isn’t the first time he’s thought about texting Alex, to let him know he’s sorry. He hasn’t though, because doing it over a text message isn’t right, even if it is convenient. It has to be face to face, so Alex can tell he’s sincere. There are too many things that can go wrong over text and he doesn’t want to deal with that.

With a sigh he flops back on the couch, throwing an arm across his face. He could send a letter, Geno would get him an address, but that’s just as bad as a text. However, he apologizes to Alex, it needs to be verbal, and preferably face to face. Which leaves him with one option. He knows he needs to go to Russia, to talk to Alex.

Chapter Text

Geno is staring at him like he’s gone crazy and Sid smiles. Maybe he has, but he knows this is the right thing to do. “I promise I’m not crazy. I want to go to Russia, so I can talk to Alex. I owe it to him.” His smile fades. “I should have done better.”

Eyes narrowed Geno stares at him for a long moment before giving him a sharp nod. “Should have. When we leave?”

“Tomorrow.” It’s a little short notice, but Sid can’t take it anymore. He’s been thinking about what he would say to Alex since he first realized what happened and it’s been eating at him. He isn’t delusional enough to think things will go back to being the same, but he needs to get this off his chest. “I already got our tickets.”

Geno relaxes a little. “Good. You pick me up.”

Sidney knows that was coming and he nods. “That’s fair, since I’m relying on you entirely once we get to Russia.”

Geno grins and Sidney has seen that look before and it doesn’t bode well for him. It isn’t hard to imagine, Geno stranding him in Moscow for a few hours, as revenge for what happened with Alex. “We leave early.”

Flapping a hand Geno shrugs. “Used to early. Long flight though.”

Sidney makes a face. “Yeah, I’m not so thrilled about that, but I’ll live. I guess I’m going to go home and try to get some sleep before we have to be up.”

-----

Adjusting his bag Sidney follows Geno through the airport. He had slept a little on the flight to Moscow, but it’s still kicking his ass. The thought of falling into a bed is amazing, but he needs to talk to Alex first. Geno has assured him it’s late enough to find Alex. He looks at Geno. “Do you know where we’re going?”

Geno nods as he sidesteps a knot of people. “Know where Sanja’s parents live. Talk to mama and see if she know where he is.”

“Oh.” The idea of having to face Alex’s parents, whether or not they know about their relationship, is not a good one. On the other hand, he didn’t expect this trip to be easy, and it only seems fair he has to face Alex’s parents, as well as Alex, to try and make this right.

“Don’t worry Sid. Tatyana is nice.”

Sidney resists the urge to roll his eyes as they continue to trudge through the airport. He’s sure Geno’s experience with Alex’s mom are going to differ from his, but he doesn’t say anything. Geno gets them a car and they toss their bags in the back and Geno gets in the driver’s side and they pull out of the parking lot.

Sidney watches as Moscow passes and it seems like no time at all before Geno is pulling the car over, near an apartment building. He stretches after he gets out of the car before following Geno into the building and up a few flights of stairs. Geno knocks on the door at the end of the hallway and they wait.

The moment the door opens Sidney can tell Tatyana has a pretty good idea of what happened between he and Alex. She glares at him, her gaze flicking to Geno and settling on him. With a reluctant sigh that transcends languages she steps back, gesturing for them to come in. They step in and Sidney tucks his hands in the pocket of his hoodie.

Sid looks between Geno and Alex’s mother, fighting the urge to fidget. Tatyana is not his biggest fan, if he’s interpreting the pained look on Geno’s face as she lays into Geno. He can’t really say he blames her. He’d never meant to drive Alex away, for it to get to this point. Now though, he knows that he’s fucked up and he just wants Alex back. Being at home isn’t the same anymore.

Finally, Tatyana turns from Geno to look at him. She steps in, finger jabbing into this shoulder and Sidney doesn’t move.

Sid glances at Geno and the other man nods. He turns his attention back to Tatyana and takes a deep breath. “I wanted to apologize. I know what I did wasn’t right.”

He waits for Geno to translate before continuing. “I should have realized sooner what I was feeling for Alex and I didn’t. I’m just here to let him know I’m sorry and that I was an ass.”

He falls silent as Geno finishes and he fights the urge to fidget. He’s starting to feel like a kid who got busted with his hand in the cookie jar and he doesn’t like the feeling.

Tatyana stares at him for a long moment before giving a sharp nod. She looks back at Geno and rattles something off before disappearing.

Before Sid can say anything, Geno catches his elbow and turns him, pushing him toward the door. They let themselves out and Geno raises his hand, keeping him silent. Anxiety prickles under his skin but he follows Geno out of the building and back to the car and slips into the passenger seat. A million questions want answers, but he settles for the most important. “Did she say where Alex is?”

Geno nods and slants a look at Sid. “He is near. Short drive.”

Sidney smiles, though he’s feeling nervous. He’s been thinking about what to say, but nothing beyond I’m sorry is coming to him. As much as he doesn’t like it and would much rather have a plan, he’s starting to think he’s going to have to wing it and hope it’s enough for Alex.

Geno pulls into a parking lot and Sidney recognizes the curve of the roof, like the roof of every small hockey rink around the world. He gets out of the car and rests his hands on the roof. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.”

“Come, Sanja inside.”

Sidney follows his friend, heart beating loud in his ears. He’s been thinking about what he was going to say to Alex since he got on the plane back home, but now nothing seems right. There’s nothing he can do that will make the way he shunted Alex aside right, and he honestly wouldn’t blame the other man if Alex decided to remain here.

The inside of the building is cool and Sidney follows Geno, through the lobby and to the rink. Through the glass he can see Alex, and nearly a dozen boys, who look to be between 10 and 13 years old.

Geno raises his hand, shouting something in Russian and Alex looks towards them, smiling, before he sees Sidney. His smile fades away and Sidney feels the knot in his stomach twisting tighter. He never should have come, but now that he’s here he needs to talk to Alex, like he should have months ago.

The boys are talking excitedly as they nudge each other and Sidney is sure they’ve been recognized, though the boys are probably more interested in Geno. He tucks his hands in the pockets of his coat as Geno opens the door in the boards, trying not to stare as Alex skates toward them, stick in hand.

Alex stops at the edge of the ice, eyes flicking between Geno and Sidney. “Zhenya, Sidney. Good to see you.”

Sidney swallows hard, edging forward. “Can I talk to you, alone?”

For a moment Alex looks like he wants to say no but he gives a nod. “Okay.”

Geno steps aside. “I take boys. You have good talk.”

Alex steps off the ice and motions for Sidney to follow him. Sidney does so, keeping his distance as Alex leads him down a short hallway and into a small room that seems to double as extra storage, if the sticks leaning in the corner are any indication. He closes the door and turns to find Alex watching him, blue eyes steady, face emotionless.

Sidney fights the urge to fidget. It seems impossible he could forget the quiet of intensity of Alex’s gaze when he’s like this and it certainly doesn’t help how much taller Alex is when he’s in skates. He takes a deep breath, needing a chance to try and gather his scattered thought. “I need to say I’m sorry. I didn’t handle the pressure at the end of the season well.”

Alex continues to watch him, like he’s prey but he doesn’t let it dissuade him. “I was afraid being close to you was going to ruin our chance of making the playoffs and I pushed you away.” He laughs harshly. “And we still didn’t make the playoffs and worse, I made you think I didn’t care.”

Rolling his shoulders, he looks at the other man. “I came here to apologize. I don’t blame you if you never want to see me again, because what I did wasn’t the right thing.” He sighs. “I really just wanted to say I was sorry.”

Alex doesn’t respond, and Sidney smiles wanly. He can’t really blame Alex for not accepting his apology. He isn’t sure he could do it, if their roles were reversed. He sighs. “I’m sorry.”

Shaking his head Alex sets his stick aside and removes his gloves, letting them drop to the floor. He steps forward, hands coming up to frame Sidney’s face. “Sidney Crosby, you are fool.”

Sidney can only nod, heart in his throat. He has no idea what Alex is thinking, but he can’t help but agree. “I am.”

Alex smiles and leans down, kissing him briefly before pulling back, thumb sweeping over his cheek. “No need to come to Russia to say sorry. Could have called.”

Feeling suddenly weak kneed with relief Sidney leans into Alex, smiling when Alex’s arms come around his shoulders, holding him close. “Yeah I did. Doing it over the phone wouldn’t have been right.” He swallows hard. “Are you coming back?”

He feels Alex nod.

“Yes. Have to finish here and tell mama. Two weeks.”

Sidney turns his head. “I don’t think your mom likes me much.”

Alex laughs and raises one hand to comb through the hair on the back of Sidney’s head. “She understand.”

Sidney doesn’t think that’s true, with the way Tatyana was glaring at him, but he’ll trust Alex’s judgement. He reluctantly pulls back. “I’m only here for two days.”

Smiling Alex kisses him again before pulling back. “I finish here and take you and Zhenya for food.”

“Okay.” Sidney can’t help the warmth pooling in the pit of his stomach and he’s sure he’s grinning like an idiot, but he doesn’t really care. No one but Alex is here to see it and this is better than he could have imagined.

Alex grabs his stick and gloves before gesturing to the door. They make their way back to the ice, where Geno is standing in the middle with the boys running drills around him. When he sees them coming he smiles and slowly makes his way across the ice, leaving the boys to keep drilling.

Stepping off the ice he looks between them, a slow smile spreading across his face. “Good.” He looks at Alex. “Boys are good.”

Alex smiles brightly. “Maybe one be better than you.” He glances at Sid. “I take you and Sid to dinner later. Now, have to practice.”

Sidney watches as Alex steps back on the ice, pulling his gloves in as he yells at the boys.
Geno nudges Sidney as they walk back towards the car. “Everything better?”

Sidney nods. “It will take some time, but it will be.”

-----

Yawning Sidney scrubs a hand across his face and draws his hat a little lower. It’s almost three in the morning and normally he wouldn’t be up this early, but Alex’s flight is due in some time soon. When Alex had mentioned his flight was coming in so late, Sidney was sure it was because Alex was trying to punish him, and he still thinks that.

He glances up at the board, glad to see Alex’s flight has arrived, and nearly half an hour ago. Hopefully it won’t take too long for him to clear customs and get his bags, because Sid really wants to go home and sleep, even though he knows he’s going to have to sacrifice half his bed. It feels like he’s been here for hours.

“Sidney!”

He looks up to find Alex coming towards him, the other man laden down with looks like two sets of luggage. Smiling he moves to meet Alex, gaze sliding over the other man. Even though it was only two weeks ago that he saw Alex, he’s missed him with an intensity he can’t believe and he’s so glad he’s here. “Hey.”

What he really wants is to lean into him, but that isn’t an option. This part of the airport isn’t as busy as it could be, given the time of day but he doesn’t want to risk anyone seeing something they shouldn’t. Luckily Alex seems to understand, because he simply gives him a huge, gap toothed smile and holds out a few bags.

Shaking his head Sidney accepts the bags, eyeing Alex as he settles the weight from the bags. “Is this everything you own, because these all weigh a ton.”

Alex laughs. “No. Just important stuff.”

Sidney recognizes the bag Alex is still carrying, with all his gear in it and he smiles. Important things indeed. He jerks his head down the concourse. “Come on. I’m parked in the short-term parking and I would really like to get some sleep tonight.”

“Only sleep?”

Alex wiggles his eyebrows in a ridiculous way and Sid shakes his head but smiles. “You’ve been on a plane for over twenty-four hours and you think you have the energy for that?”

He nearly falls over when Alex bumps into him, burdened as he is by all of Alex’s bags

Alex grins, leaning into Sidney as they walk. “Haven’t shared bed for months. I have energy for lots of things.”

They step outside and Sidney looks at Alex. “Why don’t we go home, nap and see what happens?”

“No fun Sidney Crosby.”

Leading the way across the parking lot Sidney rolls his eyes. “I’m plenty of fun when I’ve had enough sleep.”

He opens the back of his car and they load everything inside, which is a miracle with the amount of stuff Alex brought. Once everything is inside, Sid closes the back and turns toward Alex. The parking lot around them is dark, save the lamp post a few feet away, their car just outside the pool of light.

Alex smiles and catches Sidney’s wrist, pressing him back against the car. He leans down to press a kiss to the corner of Sidney’s mouth. “Glad I’m back.”

Sidney presses against Alex, catching his mouth in a kiss. He pulls back, taking Alex in, finally realizing what he was reluctant to give a name to. “I’m glad you came back.” He sighs but doesn’t look away. “I can’t promise this won’t happen again, but-“

Alex gently squeezes his wrist, still smiling. “But I tell you being stupid. Not leaving again.”

Before Sidney can say anything about the stupid comment Alex is leaning in to kiss him again and he lets the thought slip away. Alex pressing him against the car is far more important and he twists his hands into the sweatshirt Alex is wearing. Like this, he thinks everything is going to be good.