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Whatever Sedsy had planned to do to break the curse, either he hadn't been able to track down the ingredients yet or it just hadn't worked, Ryan thinks, trying not to look too obviously frustrated in the pressbox as he watches another powerplay that seems to suck the life out of the building, the fans and team alike deflating as the seconds tick down.

It’s almost enough to make him reconsider that whole 'sex magic' thing that the guys had been half-joking, half-seriously suggesting. And, like, it probably doesn't need witnesses to work, right? Maybe he should just ask Fliggy what the plan had been.

It also turns out he isn't the only one thinking along those lines.

Ryan waits for the media to clear out before heading down to the locker room, slipping in quietly behind a few of the other scratches and coaching staff, just quietly making his way to his own stall.

The room’s a little more subdued than it might've been otherwise.

Than it would be normally, he corrects himself. They'd scraped a win in the end, almost despite themselves, but it’s clear the powerplay is still weighing on all of their minds, the unspoken elephant in the room.

"Hey," Boone says, looking up to catch Ryan's gaze at last, a genuine and unrestrained smile breaking across his features, lightening up his expression and making butterflies jump in Ryan's stomach. It was kind of great that they had this still; that they didn't take each other's company for granted, that they could still surprise each other sometimes.

Half undressed, Boone comes over to Ryan and gives him a mostly platonic hug, just sneaking in a little grab-ass at the last second, not that Ryan expected anything different. "Wait here for me later?" Boone asks, his mouth right by Ryan's ear, and Ryan isn't in the habit of turning him down so he just nods and says, "Sure."

The room clears out pretty fast; everyone happier to get home to family or to go out and do whatever, a couple days break ahead of them before their next game, and all of that at home, no travel required. It’s one of the nicer breaks in the schedule, comfortable and easy, a breather in the midst of all the chaos.

Ryan is just idly scrolling through some group chats on his phone when he hears the door swing open and closed again and looks up to see the room completely cleared out, other than Boone who has just come back in.

"What's up?" Ryan asks, getting to his feet and shoving his phone back into his suit pocket.

Boone has a look on his face that Ryan recognizes; determination, a little bullish, a little uncertain. The way he always looks when he’s about to charge head-first into something that’s maybe not the smartest idea but is what he thinks he needs to do.

"We're gonna fix this," Boone says, reaching out to curl his fingers into Ryan's belt loops, tugging him closer till they’re side by side, his body bleeding warmth where he’s pressed up against Ryan.

"Fix what?" Ryan asks, and then his eyes land back on the whiteboard, where the powerplay groups are still drawn up, an exercise in what feels like utter futility, and he knows what Boone is suggesting.

"Fuck, it's worth trying, right?" Boone says.

"Well, yeah," Ryan replies automatically, and then, "Wait, you mean the—"

"Sex magic," Boone finishes, and Ryan says, "I was gonna say powerplay," but he grins when Boone looks momentarily abashed and adds, "Nah, I figured that was what you meant."

He's—less opposed to this idea than he might have expected himself to be, actually. Ryan thinks it over, looks at Boone again and thinks—

He likes having sex with Boone; it's always good and they're good together, that's one thing. And he's maybe not quite so opposed to the idea of doing it here, of getting to add this kind of memory to everything else they've shared together at Nationwide. And while he’s not really into the idea of doing it in front of God and everybody, or worse, the coaching staff… just imagining it on a purely theoretical level is kind of hot.

And a few traitorous braincells from the back of his mind pipe up the suggestion that if a certain someone happens to accidentally walk in—

Well, okay, that wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing in the world either. But totally depending on who it was, of course. Not that he’s had a couple of thoughts along those lines in the last year or so, or anything.

Ryan’s such an incredibly bad liar. He can’t even lie to himself.

But when it comes down to it, he's reserved, but he's not completely shy, and he has to admit to himself if nothing else that the idea of someone watching him with Boone kind of gets him going a little more than he might want to admit. In some very, very specific circumstances. It’s a fun fantasy, if nothing else.

Although that thought does remind him of a practical concern, if they’re really going to do this. He's pretty sure they have cameras on the ice even when no one's meant to be out there—that's probably half the point of having security, right?—but, well. He knows the people in the office where the cameras are, and he can probably get those tapes if they decide they want them. They'd let him and Boone in to practice a few times when they probably weren't supposed to over the years, and back in that year that Ryan didn't even like to think about too much any more, where everything had gone so horribly wrong. In comparison, this was nothing. Small potatoes.

And regardless, if he asks—

They can probably get the ice to themselves.

"Thinking hard there, Murrs?" Boone says, and it's only a little bit a question.

"I'm just gonna go… see if the guys in security want to go grab dinner," Ryan says, raising an eyebrow for emphasis.

Boone blinks at him for a second and then catches up in a hurry, his expression clearing as he works out what Ryan's implying. "Oh, yeah, good call. You want my card?"

"Hey, I get paid enough to cover steak for two," Ryan says with a shrug. "You can buy me dinner after, though."

Boone gives him a grin that's all teeth, hungry enough to make Ryan shiver and almost be glad that he didn't skate tonight, that he hasn't worked off all his dinner and then some with a tough game. "I'll make you earn it," he promises, and Ryan shudders hard enough that Boone has to be able to see it, feels that arrow down his spine and set butterflies going in his belly, hot and electric.

"Meet you down there," Ryan says, and spins on his heel before heading out the door, back down the hall to the office, where they keep the lost property and all the keys and half an eye on the cameras dotted all around the arena.

This place feels like home in so many ways now too, so that it feels safe and familiar enough that he doesn't mind, really, trying this.

Can't hurt to try, can it?

He's not sure what the guys in the office think; well, they probably figure he wants to sneak out there for some extra practice, although why he'd be doing that in a suit is anyone's guess.

But they nod and smile and agree to 'accidentally' leave the cameras off for an hour—Ryan can't imagine it'd take any longer than that, not really, and honestly even as much as the building stays pretty warm his dick wants to crawl back inside at the idea of being that close to the ice for too long—and they cheerfully tuck the bills he slides across the security desk into their pockets.

It's not technically bribery, Ryan thinks, although he's not sure what exactly might separate it from that category. Motive, maybe. He's not actually going to be doing anything illegal or wrong.

…well, he's not all that sure about public indecency laws in Ohio, but the doors are locked and the general public can't get inside, so surely that doesn't count?

He makes his way down to the ice after that, cutting through corridors he knows as well as his own apartment by now, as familiar as the house he grew up in, as his billet, an extension of himself and his history and his hockey, all tangled up together, and he feels again that this is the right thing to do.

It's not their fault that whatever happened has gone wrong, and it's not entirely his responsibility, but maybe they can fix it, and if they can, well. They should.

And if Ryan's sort of fantasized on and off over the years about having sex on ice—or near enough to it—well, that's just a bonus. A bonus that he doesn't think Boone is unaware of, either. Boone's very sharp with things like this, when it comes to what Ryan likes and wants.

Unsurprisingly, Boone's waiting for him down there.

Ryan had detoured, sure, but Boone seems to have already unpacked a bunch of stuff that Ryan needs to get closer to identify. He's got little containers that Ryan suspects are herbs—and not even the fun ones—scattered around him at the end of the tunnel right beside the bench, and a few other bigger things in a box that he'd set down out of the way. Ryan pauses at the other end of the corridor for a moment, thinking.

Out of the way is definitely good, but that implies there's going to be an—in the way, and Ryan's suddenly not sure where they're even going to do this. At center ice seems kind of appropriate—and ballsy, pun not entirely intended—but Ryan doesn't see a blanket or anything and while he likes Boone a whole lot, he definitely does not want to become a cautionary tale about delicate parts of your anatomy getting stuck to ice like the whole licking a metal pole thing. Didn't one of the old timey Leafs do something like that? Ryan doesn't totally remember the story, just remembers laughing over it with his buddies in junior. It seems a little less funny now.

"Hey," Boone says warmly, looking up as he hears Ryan's footsteps approaching. He didn't bother getting back into his game day suit; is just wearing sweats and a long-sleeved shirt, the zip at the neck tugged low enough that Ryan can see a hint of chest hair, the definition of his pecs.

Ryan's definitely starting to get hard just imagining this.

"Hi," he says back, and then because Boone's sort of taking the lead on this, "Where do you want me?"

Boone flashes him a grin which says he hadn't missed the opportunity for innuendo there, but instead he just says, "Hadn't decided yet."

"What do we even need to do, exactly?" Ryan asks. He's up for pretty much, well, anything, but making a game plan seems like a good idea.

"Fliggy was a little vague on the details," Boone says, and Ryan thinks maybe he should worry about that, and not just about freezing his literal balls off, because what do they know about magic and curses, really? "But apparently we just have to, like. Sprinkle this stuff around and then get off while focusing on what we want to do. Or change. Or—you know, whatever."

"Be the change you wanna see in the world," Ryan muses, nodding slowly. "I guess that makes sense."

"I didn't wanna ask Bob where half this stuff came from," Boone admits. "But I figure if the coast is clear we can just, you know. Do it."

"Wow, romantic," Ryan jokes, and then focuses again. "Okay, but seriously, where are we gonna—?"

Boone looks out over the ice, down the bench—and that's gonna be a no, Ryan is kind of getting off on the forbidden aspect of this whole thing but the bench is just—absolutely not, no, he can't sit there for forty some games a year and remember fucking Boone in there, that's just asking for trouble. Boone seems to feel the same way, luckily, because he doesn't even suggest it.

He does look across the ice though and his expression lights up, the idea clear and obvious in his expression as Ryan gets level with him at last, wraps his arm around Boone's waist and pats his ass encouragingly.

"Oh no," Ryan says immediately, and Boone's head whips around to stare at him, a little sulky, a little confused.

"Why not?" Boone asks. "It's dry, there's enough space, it'd be kinda hot—"

"We're not fucking in the penalty box," Ryan says firmly. "You spent enough time in there last game as it is."

"Harsh, Murrs," Boone says, but he gives up easily enough on that.

That doesn’t leave a whole lot of options, but Ryan’s pretty sure they need to be at least close to the ice for this to work.

“I guess there’s the timekeeper’s box?” he suggests after a moment.

That still feels kind of dirty, and maybe a little wrong, but it’s also not exactly somewhere either of them is gonna have to be any time soon. And there’s a desk to provide a little cover for them, not that it’s not going to be completely obvious what they’re doing anyway. Ryan’ll take a little cover where it’s available, though.

“Fuck it, let’s do it,” Boone agrees, and sneaks a hand into the back of Ryan’s waistband, reassuring and kind of hot all at the same time. “C’mon, Ryan,” he says, somewhat unnecessarily, and they cut across the ice to the box, careful not to drop any of the things Boone has bundled in his arms or the bag he’d handed Ryan.

It proves to actually have a blanket in there, which Ryan is more than a little thankful for. The floor in there has to be pretty gross, even if at least the officials aren’t gonna be, like, spitting or spilling gatorade or whatever. But the blanket is soft and a neutral blue, and there’s probably just enough space for them to lie down if they shove the chairs as far under the desk as they can and pretend like Boone’s not in danger of banging his head on the wall if he tries to stretch out. Ryan just fits, but if he points that out Boone’s just gonna call him short again, and as much fun as it is to squabble with him over meaningless arguments, they are working on a bit of a time constraint.

And Ryan really doesn’t want to still be in the middle of… things, so to speak, by the time the security guys get back from giving them their hour or so of privacy.

Boone short-circuits Ryan’s whole train of thought by stripping off in about three easy motions, dumping his clothes in the corner and just outside the vague circle—okay, really more like a trapezoid, but Ryan’s not going to be enough of a nerd to point that out and also he’s got more important things to focus on right then, ie, an extremely naked Boone.

Hopefully whatever magic stuff is involved is going to be forgiving of them making some practical adjustments to the whole ritual bit.

Stark naked Boone is a lot, and Ryan definitely enjoys the view for a moment before following suit.

It’s a little cold right on the ice at the best of times if you’re not moving around; it’s decidedly chilly when you’re taking clothes off instead of putting them on. Boone’s broken out in goosebumps, and Ryan feels all the hairs on his arms stand on end just as a reaction to seeing that, let alone the fact that he’s busy unbuckling his belt and stepping out of his pants. His shirt and tie are quick enough to get off, and it’s only a minute or so later that he’s standing there just as naked as Boone is.

Ryan really hopes they don’t have to explain this to anyone any time soon.

He opens his mouth to ask Boone what they do next—the answer is probably self explanatory, but if Boone has a plan then Ryan’s on board for that, but instead of getting Ryan to spread out on the rug, Boone drops gracefully to his knees and then reaches out for Ryan, getting his hands on his hips and tugging him closer.

The invitation is obvious, and Ryan feels another shiver work its way down his spine as Boone gets him lined up, as Boone’s hot mouth wraps around his rapidly hardening dick.

Maybe it should feel weirder than it does, but part of that, Ryan thinks, is because he’s really not looking anywhere but at Boone. And it’s so fucking intoxicating to do that; the lights are low now that everyone’s out of the building, but there’s enough light to see the way Boone’s eyelashes fall against his cheeks when he closes his eyes, enough to see the line of his cheekbones, the way his mouth moves, jaw shifting as he slides closer, takes more of Ryan in.

Ryan shivers, feeling exposed, and okay, sure, the heat of Boone’s mouth is amazing, and he looks so fucking good too, practically deepthroating him, thumbs rubbing over his hips, but the contrast with the chill coming off the ice is definitely more noticeable by the second. He’s never really had sex anywhere he’s had to worry about his ass getting too cold before, that’s for sure.

Boone pulls off all too soon, breathing hard, and Ryan tries to unstick his tongue from the roof of his mouth to say something, anything, even though mostly all he wants to do is to demand more, harder, now.

“C’mon,” Boone says, “My knees are gonna kill me, I got a better idea,” and he lies down, shuffling around enough to work around Ryan, his knees up to fit, head resting on the edge of the blanket.

His eyes are very dark, and his mouth is redder than usual and a little swollen, and Ryan can’t look away.

“Come on,” he says, impatiently, and crooks a finger at Ryan, tilting his chin up, and it feels like the temperature in the timekeeper’s booth has just shot up thirty degrees.

Boone wants him to fuck his face.

Ryan practically falls over himself getting into position, no grace and nothing pretty about it, just heat and need and desperation.

“Remember we’re supposed to be, like, thinking about the powerplay,” Ryan says a little dumbly, a last gasp dive after a sensible thought even though he’s not sure he could spell his own name correctly at that moment.

By all rights, the powerplay’s been bad enough that it should practically kill his boner all by itself, but, well. See previous, re Boone and his mouth and the frankly sinful way that he’s licking his lips, swallowing hard.

Ryan hopes for the best—for himself and his team—and dives right back in.

He manages to put some of his focus on the team and not just on how good Boone’s mouth feels on him, and for a half a second he gets an incredibly clear visual of the whiteboard in the dressing room, like it’s hovering just behind his eyelids. It’s almost too vivid, too clear, the threes and twos and sevens standing out like they’ve been outlined, circling under the 38 and then back up to the blue line, ready to bomb it in from the point. Ryan gasps and his eyes fly open, blinking away the image, replacing it with Boone looking up at him, curious, mouth half open with Ryan’s dick resting against his lower lip.

“Sorry,” Ryan says quickly, “that was—you’re great, I just had a weird moment.”

“Yeah, I think I felt something too,” Boone says, and that’s almost more unsettling than it had felt when Ryan had the vision himself.

It seems somehow both too real and entirely unreal and not just, he’s realizing belatedly, because in the glimpse he’d seen, his number was back in the lineup again. God, he can’t wait to get back out on the ice.

It seems a little awkward to try and have a conversation—even if it’s just a check in, a pause point in the middle of getting off—with his knees practically boxing Boone in, so Ryan shuffles back and then stretches out on top of him. He shifts carefully to align them both better, and enjoys the feeling of getting to blanket Boone like that, grounding them both.

It’s nice, even with the whole weird atmosphere and chill in the air and general batshittery.

“Do you think that means it worked?” Boone asks, and on the one hand he’s trying to sound very scientific about it, but on the other Ryan’s dying to get off, he can feel that Boone’s rock hard against his thigh as well, and it seems like they should probably go all the way to seal the deal regardless, so probably they’re still going to get there.

“Maybe?” Ryan says, compelled to be honest even though he knows that it’s the most unhelpful thing possible that he could say.

Boone jabs him in the stomach and rolls his eyes, so Ryan’s pretty sure that means he agrees with that part of it all, too.

“Well, we’re doing the best we can,” Ryan says practically, although he has to quell a shiver at that point.

It really is cold this close to the ice, and he can feel goosebumps breaking out all down his arms at the chill that’s pushing against his skin, his back feeling colder by the moment. It really would be much nicer if he could be sandwiched between two people, he thinks, and has to suppress a shudder for an entirely different reason.

And there he is getting all distracted again; Ryan bites his own lip hard and tells himself not to get behind the play.

“You back yet?” Boone asks, eyebrow raised, and Ryan looks away for a second, feeling a little guilty.

“Yeah, sorry,” Ryan says. “I keep getting distracted tonight, I don’t know. This is a little weird, though, right?”

“Yeah,” Boone says after a moment, and honestly he looks less bothered by Ryan’s flightiness than Ryan would’ve expected, so that’s something. “Not gonna lie, I miss beds.”

Ryan can’t help but snort with laughter at that.

“And pillows,” he says.

“Not starting out in the wet spot,” Boone puts in, and squirms pointedly under Ryan, and yeah, they might be on a blanket at least, but the whole situation is definitely kind of… damp.

“We’re too old for this shit,” Ryan says, without a trace of irony or anything other than the bone-deep certainty that no matter what his teen self might’ve thought about what making it in the NHL was going to be like and what percentage of his time as an adult he’d be spending getting his dick wet, he was going to be firmly on the side of sex in bedrooms, or at the very least inside a house. Or apartment, whatever.

“Okay grandpa,” Boone says, because he never met an opportunity for a chirp that he wasn’t going to take, and Ryan punches him in the upper arm this time.

Boone starts just a little at that—Ryan really doesn’t rough-house with him a whole lot, or at least not so much when it’s just the two of them, and no one needs to hide affectionate touches under the cover of just bros being bros. That makes Boone move under Ryan again in a way that sends awareness rolling through him again in a rush, Boone’s dick hard against his ass, and all of a sudden, Ryan’s done with being uncertain and with fooling around, with foreplay. Ryan wants to get off already.

Ryan lets himself sit more heavily over Boone, settles his weight over his hips and rocks back just enough to give Boone some friction, getting a sweet gasp out of him. He gets his own hand around his dick at last then, too, strokes himself slow and easy, pricklingly aware that Boone’s eyes are glued to him, following the motion of his hand hungrily.

“Let’s do this already,” Ryan says, licking his lips and watching the way Boone’s eyes get even darker as he sees that.

It’s not much of a surprise that Boone’s response to that isn’t to lie there and let Ryan take it, or even to do anything obvious like grabbing for Ryan’s dick himself. Instead, he grabs at Ryan’s hips and holds him in place so he doesn’t lose his balance while Boone sits up, fast, completely unfairly showing off his abs to do so. Ryan just tries not to swallow his own tongue at the amount of muscle flexing and straining, and then Boone just leans in and kisses him again anyway, too urgent and heated to take the time for anything more than rapid gulps, the hard press of flesh against flesh, demanding and welcome.

Ryan kisses him back for a while before remembering their whole time constraint issue, and he starts to nuzzle at Boone’s jaw line, working his way down with a vague idea of giving him a hickey or maybe trying to contort enough to suck Boone off instead, but the way Boone’s moving under him makes it hard to focus, giving Ryan too many competing ideas of what exactly he wants to do.

Boone makes good noises as Ryan kisses down the side of his neck, getting lower and more guttural as Ryan works his way over his chest, lips dragging wet over his skin, knowing he's leaving marks with the roughness of his stubble, a good day past when he really should have shaved. Boone likes him scruffy, and he can get away with it when he's stuck in the press box at least. It's the tiniest silver lining in the world, really; Ryan would ten times rather he had to scrub up well enough to look tidy and be able to play than all of this, but… well, there are benefits.

He catches himself again then, realizes that he's thinking too much about getting to play again, and that might fuck up whatever they're trying to do with the ritual, it's not meant to be about him, it's for the team, he and Boone are doing this for all of them, trying to get them back on track.

Boone trails a finger along Ryan's spine and he shivers, arching under the touch, gasping involuntarily when Boone's thumb rubs dryly over his hole, rough against the delicate skin, but still somehow enticing.

Okay, it's for the team, but it's not like they're not both getting a lot out of this too.

"You got lube, right?" Ryan asks, pushing back against Boone's fingers, appreciating the pressure, the broadness of his body, the big, confident, competent hands that know exactly where to touch and stroke and push. He hadn't looked all that closely into Boone's basket of whatever it was, but it seems likely.

"Yeah," Boone says quickly, and pulls a jar out of the bag he'd stuffed under the desk. Ryan idly hopes nothing rolls out of there to be found and cause questions to be asked later, it's not like there’s enough light to really see what's in the footwell back there. "Uh, this might smell a little strong?"

Ryan tenses up, doesn't mean to but can't quite fight it. "What do you mean?"

He's adventurous in bed, sure, but he's not letting Boone use some weird whatever that a hedge witch Ryan doesn't even know has recommended. He might have allergies, or Boone might, and also as much as they've been safe together so far, are mostly exclusive these days too, well. He's not taking any crazy risks.

…that might also be part of the problem with the powerplay, he thinks, and swallows a slightly overwrought laugh.

"No, it's not," Boone starts to say, and then he sighs. "It's actual lube, it's just—uh, they said we should use peppermint flavor, instead of, like. The traditional stuff."

"Oh," Ryan says cautiously. "So it's just—wait, it's not that tingly stuff, is it?"

Boone squints at him. "It might be?"

Ryan sits up, and then squirms back a little more, climbing out of Boone’s lap and giving him room to sit up properly as well. "Okay," he says. "You stick it on your dick first and see how we go, and then we can think about how to do this."

Boone gives him a suspicious look. "I guess?" he says, and he flips the lid off, scoops a little on his fingers—he wasn't wrong, it does smell strong; anyone who comes in here any time soon isn't going to be able to smell anything but peppermint, which is—probably a good cover for them, actually.

Boone curls his fingers around his own dick and strokes up, nice and tight the way he likes it if Ryan's any judge of the way his forearm tenses. It's slick and smooth and Ryan just wants to touch him all over, wants to sink down and get his mouth on Boone and then maybe ride him, fuck himself the whole way there, but first he just wants to check—

Boone makes a considering noise, and then inhales sharply. Ryan tenses.

"Are you okay?" He's not sure exactly what he can do about it if Boone's in pain or if they've fucked this up, probably getting him to the showers as quick as possible is about all, it's not like either of them want to talk to a team doc about this if they don't have to.

Boone breaks into a wicked grin and relaxes again all at once, yielding and open against Ryan.

"I'm just fucking with you," he says, "It's not, like, warming or whatever, it just smells like toothpaste. Feels good though," and then he reaches out, slow enough that Ryan can see it coming and would be able to protest if he wanted to, which he decides he doesn't—and Boone curls his hand around Ryan's dick in turn, drags his fist all the way up, almost too tight at the head, his fingers moving slickly with the lube, something that feels smooth and maybe a little oily, but good at the same time, making Ryan just want so much already. God, he wants to get his mouth on Boone, wants to get fucked, wants to sink his dick into someone warm and easy. This would go so good with three of them, he thinks. Everyone getting some all at once.

He yanks his thoughts back on track again; the powerplay, they’re meant to also be thinking about the powerplay, fuck, and tries to act like he never got distracted in the first place. And that means chirping Boone right back.

"You're a dick," Ryan says accusingly, and he jabs Boone hard in the stomach—not that it does much, he really is just all muscle and god, Ryan's way too into that.

"You love me," Boone says confidently.

"Love your dick," Ryan mutters, but he can't even keep that level of assholery up for long, caves almost immediately and adds, "and the rest of you that's attached to it, I guess."

"Wow," Boone says, still stroking his own dick, and man, Ryan is never gonna be sick of watching that. "Way to really sell that one, Murr."

"You know what I mean," Ryan says.

"I do," Boone agrees, "I just like fucking with you."

"I know," Ryan says, and then they just sort of pull faces at each other for a couple of seconds, before remembering they do in fact actually have a goal there and also the longer they spend down there the better the chances of getting caught become and, like. Ryan really doesn't want to get that kind of a dressing down from anyone in the front office. And no matter how anyone was sworn to secrecy or even just discretion, well. It'd get out. And neither of them would ever live it down.

"We should get on with this, huh?" Ryan says.

"Way to make it sound like a chore," Boone points out, but he gets his hand off his own dick and back onto Ryan's ass, cupping his hands just above Ryan's thighs to hold him in place and cop a feel all at the same time.

"Can you fuck me some time this week?" Ryan asks, leaning back into Boone's hands for a second before sitting up straight again, scooting forward till he's kneeling right over Boone's lap, Boone's dick nudging hotly behind his balls, rubbing up against his hole while Ryan tries to line himself up.

"Hey," Boone says, "give me a minute to just—" and his hand shifts inward from where he was bracing Ryan's hips, his intent obvious.

And as much as Ryan likes Boone fingering him—either as its own reward or as a stop on the way to getting fucked, well. They're doing this now and he's impatient, wants Boone now, not in a couple of minutes. And it's not like he can't take a little pain if he has to. It kind of adds something, even.

Ryan reaches over to steal the lube right away from Boone's hand, dumps what's frankly a ludicrous amount into his hand and then arches his back, twists around a little and gets two fingers inside himself, easy as anything.

"I think I'm good," he says, and Boone frankly looks more than a little stunned, an expression of surprise all mixed up with lust in a way that makes Ryan feel seven different kinds of smug and even more turned on that he already had been.

"No kidding," Boone says, and shakes his head a little. "Jesus, Ry, that was hot."

Ryan gives him a quick smile, feeling a little shyer than he should considering this isn't even close to the first time they've done this, that they've been naked together and getting off for years now. It's nice to see he can still surprise Boone sometimes, nice to see that he still gets him this hot.

Boone lines himself up with his now-free hand and then gives Ryan a quick nod, enough to tell him he can start trying to move now, and Ryan sinks down, lets himself adjust—it doesn't take long, at least they've been doing this a lot more recently too—and starts to ride Boone, hands drifting down to land at his waist, steadying himself as he moves.

It feels good, even in the weirder than usual surroundings, even with the floor hard and kind of gritty underneath them even through the blanket, cool with the proximity to the ice. But Boone knows exactly how to move under Ryan to make him feel good, knows how to push up into him, letting Ryan grind down against him, nerves sparking along his spine, twisting his stomach into knots of heat and pure arousal.

"Fuck," Ryan breathes, hips moving almost unconsciously now, his hand drifting into his lap to press against his own dick.

"Yeah," Boone says, his breath coming harder now, panting harshly. "God, Ryan, you're so—fuck."

Ryan can feel the orgasm crowding up against his nerves, like pressure behind his skull, against his teeth, ready to grip and tear at him, shaking him to his core. It's going to be good, inevitable, and he wants it now, doesn't want to wait any longer. They need to get moving, they need to be done with this as fast as possible, they need to start putting the puck in the net and making better choices on the man advantage, they need—Ryan needs to get off, now.

"Do we, uh," he manages to say, hand tight around the crown of his dick, fingers slipping in the precome leaking from the head. "Need to do anything else? For the, um. Thing."

Boone blinks at him, and a little of the lust-crazed expression clears out of his eyes for a second, and Ryan realizes—and god, he's going to give Boone shit for this later, so much shit—that Boone had totally forgotten what they were supposed to be doing, Boone was just living in the fucking moment and not thinking about anything much more than, well. Fucking.

"Oh," Boone says, and he stops moving to try and think, and god, that was the last thing Ryan wanted him to do. "No, there's nothing else, uh, we just—focus on that, I guess."

"Right," Ryan says. He digs his heels into the outside of Boone's thighs, moves with him, reaching out for the final step, the last push he needs. "Uh, think about it now, then, cos I'm gonna, oh shit, Boone, please."

"You got it," Boone says, pushing up against Ryan, making an impatient noise and then sitting up as much as he can, in a way that has to be murder on his abs even with as built as he is, and he grabs at Ryan's face, pulls him closer so that Boone can kiss him.

It's hot and desperate, and really Boone's more breathing into Ryan's mouth and occasionally licking over his lip and teeth, too disconnected and arrhythmic to do more than that, but it's doing it for Ryan too.

It helps, too, that it’s Boone's hand dropping hot and heavy into his lap, displacing Ryan's own hand as he strokes his dick, his fingers tight on Ryan like Ryan's tight on him, and Ryan lets his eyes close and his breath sob out as light explodes behind his eyelids and he comes.

It feels like it takes forever, like he's momentarily and eternally hanging suspended in a brightly lit room, nowhere to hide and no one around, silence roaring in his ears and the pressure of eyes he can't see roaming hotly over his skin. He shakes his head and shakes it off and then he's back there again, on the floor of the official's booth at Nationwide, Boone naked and hard under him, shaking with the effort of not coming right then and there, covered in Ryan's come with his eyes wide.

"That was, uh," Boone says, floundering for words.

Ryan's feeling much the same, bordering on oversensitive and spilling over with emotion about the intimacy of doing this, about how much he loves Boone and how good he feels. Ryan wants him to feel that good too, he deserves it, he's worked so hard, and so it's with that clear in his mind that he arches back again and tightens around Boone's dick, trying to find a rhythm even though his thighs feel like jelly and he's shaking all over.

Boone's mumbling by then, his words all tumbling over themselves, messy and half-formed, and Ryan can make out his own name and 'fuck' and that's about it. It maybe only takes a minute more before Boone freezes, shudders hard and comes in a long, rolling wave, going soft inside him.

They lie there for a few moments, catching their breath, trying to calm back down again, and then carefully disentangle, making sure there's no mess left behind to give them away.

Boone ties off the condom and tosses it into a bag that Ryan hadn't seen in the jumble of supplies he'd spread out around them, and Ryan figures, well, of course he'd thought ahead to bring that too. Boone's more considerate than he gets credit for, and more thoughtful than a lot of people realize.

Getting dressed afterward feels odd in a way that it doesn't usually, an extra hum in the air, a feeling lingering that Ryan isn't entirely sure he's comfortable with.

He's not sure if that's just the aftereffects of having just done—that—and where they've done it, and it could well be that, or maybe there's something to the ritual after all.

Ryan's not entirely sure he wants to believe that either, but he was willing to do it, so… part of him maybe does think there's more things on heaven and earth, and all that jazz. God knows he doesn't disbelieve in curses. Like most hockey players, Ryan's approach to superstition has pretty much always been that it’s better to be safe than sorry; it's the only place he can't quite believe in Torts' 'safe is death' philosophy.

He helps Boone pick up all the bits and pieces strewn around, hopes they got all of it—some of the leaves were sort of crumbly—because he sure doesn't want to leave anything for the cleaners to find or have to pick up.

"You think we're gonna know if it worked?" Boone asks, eventually, not quite looking at Ryan.

Ryan snorts. "I guess if it did the pucks'll just start going in?"

Boone pauses, before straightening up and gives him a rueful grin. "Okay, good point."

"It feels better, though," Ryan says, considering it carefully. He's not sure if he means that he feels better—he does, although that might just be the endorphins talking—or if the arena itself does, but he's pretty sure something feels different.

And that's when they both hear the sound of a door closing, the muffled creak of insulation as one of the heavy doors leading into the locker room settles back into its frame.

Ryan holds his breath for a second.

It doesn't have to mean anything; it doesn't at all mean that anyone necessarily saw them. It could've been one of the trainers coming back to grab a clipboard or something, or one of the guys left something in their stall, ran back in for it. There's no reason anyone would've come out towards the ice.

And even if there was, Ryan thinks he should be panicking more about this. He knows he would normally be. He doesn't like the idea at all, in theory, of someone seeing him so vulnerable, of anyone but the people he trusts most to see him with Boone.

But that panic is curiously absent, and all there is now is a sense that whatever's going on in the locker room, he and Boone should be there. They're done by the ice, nothing else to accomplish or to clean up, so they're going to have to go back to the locker room to grab the rest of their gear regardless.

And somehow after all that, it's not really a surprise when they walk into the locker room to find Seth, sitting at his own stall, like he's been waiting for them.

That's when Ryan blushes, can tell that his cheeks are pink, his ears hot, but he lifts his chin to bull his way through it.

It's just Seth; Seth knows them, Seth's a good guy, Seth doesn't have to know anything about the way Ryan thinks about him sometimes, the way he kept finding himself thinking about him just minutes ago.

Seth just raises an eyebrow at them both, and when Ryan glances over it's to see that Boone's just smirking in response, like he knows something Ryan doesn't. Or like he’s doing a much better job of faking acting normal than Ryan can seem to.

"Hey," Ryan says cautiously, pleased that at least he doesn't sound obviously like he was just coming his brains out five minutes ago.

Seth grins back at him, but there's something more guarded about it than usual. Ryan spends half his life on ice, but it's right now that the ground seems slippery under his feet.

"Hey," Seth says back, voice soft as ever. "Anything you wanna tell me here, Murr?"

Ryan blinks, swallows hard. Boone leans into him and Ryan lets his weight shift, resting against him, and he reaches out to take his hand again without even stopping to think about it.

Seth doesn't seem surprised, but then this isn't the most intimate Seth's seen them be. Seth knows they're together, Seth's had dinner with them and just laughed off some of their dumb couple fights over laundry and never even blinked the time that Ryan forgot he was coming over and had bent over automatically to slip Boone some tongue right there on the couch. He'd wolf-whistled, but that was pretty much a standard response to anything like that from the guys Ryan's known all his life.

Ryan shrugs, makes the joke even though he can tell that's not quite what Seth's asking. "Well, we gave Fliggy's idea a shot? I guess we'll see if it helps."

"Yeah, I kinda figured," Seth says. "I, uh."

Ryan swallows hard, squeezes Boone's hand but manages to stop himself from blurting out any more nervous comments or questions until Seth's had a chance to say what he seems to want to.

Seth quirks a grin at him, just the corner of his mouth tilting up, and he meets Ryan's eyes for just long enough for Ryan to feel his heart start racing again, the beat of it echoing in his ears, as he waits for—he's not sure what.

It feels like something big.

"I saw," Seth says eventually.

Ryan should maybe be freaking out a little more here, but he's not. It's exactly what he thought Seth was going to say, the words settling into the base of his skull, curling through him, inevitable and irrevocable.

Ryan licks his lips, and still can't find a word to say.

He's not sure what Seth wants him to say; if Seth saw, then why is he still here? Why did he hang around long enough for Ryan and Boone to be done?

"We kinda thought everyone had left," Boone says, his own grip tight on Ryan's hand. Ryan feels a faint wash of shame at that. He's been so busy thinking about himself he hadn't even thought about how Boone must feel about this.

Boone's the one wearing a letter on the ice, the one with all the responsibility, the one who's most likely going to take the brunt of it if anything bad comes out of this. Ryan might have been a higher draft pick, but he knows which one of the two of them most of the people in Columbus would recognize. Would want to keep.

"I had," Seth admits, his gaze cutting over to Boone now. There's a little concern in the crease of his brow, and a little sheepishness—and something else—in his face. "I, uh. Had the weirdest feeling that I'd forgotten something."

They all exchange looks then, and Ryan can feel the moment stretching out, can feel the possibility of just what Seth means by that inching closer and closer, and he lets himself dare to hope.

"Had you?" he asks, and when he licks his lips—trying to play it cool, but he's still nervous as hell about this—Seth watches, helplessly transfixed, and that has to be good, right? It has to mean what he wants it to.

Seth stands a little straighter, as if Ryan wasn't already well aware of how broad his shoulders are, how tall he is, and it's not like Ryan is short except, apparently, by hockey standards.

Ryan just got off, like, five minutes ago, and it doesn't make him want Seth any less.

Seth takes a step closer to the two of them, and Boone's fingers are probably leaving livid marks on Ryan's wrist now, and Ryan is holding his breath, everything humming around him.

"Yeah," he says at last. "I thought I was over you guys, but I guess it turns out not so much."

"Wait, what?" Boone says, which is good, because Ryan is definitely too flustered to say anything sensible.

Since when has Seth been into them? And thank god it's them, too, because that just might work. Ryan wants Seth, badly, but he loves Boone and he's not giving him up unless Boone wants to be given up. Which doesn't seem likely. Thank god.

Seth shrugs with one shoulder, but doesn't look away, like he's done with trying to avoid the consequences and just wants to face it all now himself. Ryan has to admire his guts, frankly; he's not sure he could do it. Not with the amount of calm that Seth's displaying over the nerves, anyway.

"Kinda thought you knew," Seth says. "That's why I stopped visiting so much, it was—well, Zach said I was an idiot, but whatever—it was getting too hard. To watch you guys."

"Um," Ryan says frantically. "Did not know that. At all. Did not. Jonesy—are you fucking serious?"

"I, uh. Watched you guys get off in the fucking officials box and instead of thinking about how gross that was—and how much I hope you put a towel down or something, ugh—all I could think about was how I wanted to be part of that."

Ryan's ears are ringing. "You could." He leans over, bumps his shoulder against Boone's. "Right?"

"Fuck yeah," Boone says, a little hoarsely.

Seth looks at them with raw hope in his eyes, like he’s worried it’s a little too good to be true, even with the way Ryan’s offering this, the way it has to be clear that he and Boone are doing the very opposite of flipping out about this.

“Fuck,” Seth says. “Really?”

“Really really,” Ryan says. “Um, I mean, not down there, I think once was enough for that, but if you wanna come home with us then fuck, yes. Right, Boone?”

Boone nods, and his fingers aren’t quite branding Ryan’s wrist anymore, so he’s going to take that as a good sign, too. “Thought you’d never ask,” he says. “I wasn’t sure if you were just into Murrs, or what the deal was.”

Ryan jabs Boone in the ribs. “Excuse me?”

Boone rolls his eyes, which is refreshingly normal in the middle of this otherwise entirely insane conversation, Ryan thinks, and says, “I thought you knew!”

Ryan had wondered, occasionally, but he’d also just assumed it was wishful thinking. Maybe he should’ve said something to Boone earlier, but he hadn’t known how to bring it up without thinking it was going to sound like a rejection, like Boone wasn’t enough for him or something.

“Yeah, no,” Ryan says, and then because it seems even stupider that they’ve had this much of a conversation and they’re still just standing around looking at each other. “Fuck, Jonesy, come here,” and he reaches out to tug him closer.

Seth doesn’t resist at all, lets Ryan pull him in so they’re standing in a tight huddle, about as close as they would be in a goal hug, if the three of them were ever all out there at the same time. Not that Ryan begrudges Zach getting most of his minutes with Seth, truly.

“Hi,” Ryan says, grinning at them both. “Wanna come home with us, Jonesy?”

“Yeah,” Seth says, “I think that sounds good.”

“About fucking time,” Boone says, and Ryan and Seth both elbow him—at the same time, if the indignant oof is any indication.

“You did not see this coming,” Ryan says, accusingly. Boone would have said if he knew that Seth was looking, if he’d known Ryan was thinking about it. Boone would have said something.

“I kinda did,” Boone says. “I mean, I didn’t expect this to happen right now but I was gonna talk to you about it once things got a little less crazy.”

Once things got a little easier, Ryan had no trouble translating that as. Once they got their shit together on the ice, once Ryan was healed up and playing again, once there was maybe even one less thing making life complicated for them.

Not that he minds in the slightest. Seth’s worth the complications.

“You could’ve read me in on that,” Seth says, eyes narrowed. “I thought I was being, uh, subtle. About it all.”

“I really wasn’t sure,” Boone admits, and oh, so that would also explain a lot, Ryan thinks. “But I was kinda hoping.”

“Me too,” Ryan says, and he stands up a little straighter, tells himself to be braver, and slings an arm around Seth’s waist, thumb hooking into the waistband of his pants. Seth leans into him, warm and solid and interested, and Ryan can feel his heart rate kicking up again. This feels really good.

“I’m sorry for, uh, watching,” Seth says after a moment. “I mean, I shouldn’t have, you were just—it was fucking hot, okay.”

“I was thinking about you,” Ryan confesses, and it’s worth it for the way Seth’s face lights up, the grin that’s been hinting around the corners of his mouth springing into full life, his expression open and joyous. “I sort of wished you were there with us too, so I guess that worked out, huh?”

“Uh,” Boone said, kind of strangled, and his hand was on Seth’s ass, Ryan noted approvingly, and couldn’t really blame him. “Ry, how distracted were you?”

“I did think about the powerplay!” Ryan says, because as much as this was fun and it’s apparently working out for them even better than he’d expected, he’s not exactly in any hurry to do it again. “Just, uh. Not the whole time.”

“I guess we’ll see if it works,” Boone says, shrugging, and Ryan looks between him and Seth and thinks that probably they’ll figure out whatever’s going on with the powerplay eventually regardless.

He’s a little more immediately invested in hoping this works out, for all three of them.

“C’mon, let’s go home and make sure Seth’s real sure about this,” Boone says, and Ryan and Seth are definitely both on board with that.

Figuring out whose car they’re taking is at least something they’re practiced enough at that it’s dealt with quickly, and it’s normal enough that it doesn’t feel like anything huge is about to happen except when Ryan catches Seth’s eye in the mirror and remembers that he’s probably going to get to kiss him soon, and that sets his stomach butterflies all the way back to cyclone status.

* * *

"So, this is awkward," Boone says, after they're back at their apartment, coats tossed into a corner of the couch while they all just stand around looking at each other.

It's not that Ryan's scared to make the first move, or anything. He's just—everything hangs in the balance now; they're not going to be able to take back anything, unsay it or undo it.

It's probably typical enough that Seth's the one who moves first, in the end.

He's always been one to jump into the play, to read the moment and know when he should move, and almost more importantly, where to move to.

And Ryan doesn't read it as any kind of preference, nothing more than the direction that makes the most sense to start with, but Seth goes to Boone, gets his hands on him and leans in for a kiss, short and almost sweet, if it wasn't for the way that Ryan can also see Boone's hands on Seth's ass, and they're nothing like shy.

It's hot, anyway, and Ryan's relieved to find that, actually, seeing Boone kiss someone else these days turns him on a helluva lot more than it makes him jealous.

He's still staring, breathing a little too fast when Seth turns away from Boone, makes a frustrated grimace and hisses, "Come here," to Ryan.

He doesn't need a second invitation.

Ryan's not at the stage yet where he wants to get off again, isn't quite there, although it's not gonna take much more than this, but when Seth reaches out to haul him closer, Ryan can feel that Seth, at least, is more than ready to get things moving further than they have been.

That's pretty fucking hot, too.
And the idea of getting naked with him, getting to touch him somewhere warm and well lit, where he can enjoy every moment of it—that’s pretty fucking great, too.

"We're definitely taking this to the bedroom," Boone says, echoing Ryan's thought, and Ryan snickers, which doesn't help Seth line them up well enough to kiss, and Ryan stops laughing almost immediately to add, "Sorry, just—well, you saw what it was like before."

"It looked hot," Seth says, a little grouchily, getting his own hand on Ryan's ass—sliding under his waistband and under the back of his suit pants, which is more escalation and fuck, Ryan's into it.

"Sort of the opposite," Boone says, and Ryan and Seth both groan at that.

He's been hanging out with the other guys with letters too much if that's the caliber of dad joke he's busting out in the middle of hooking up, jeez.

"Our bed is much comfier," Ryan corrects, and he ducks in to kiss Seth properly, enjoying the taste of him, learning the shape of his mouth and the way he likes to kiss, smiling against his lips. "Wanna come find out?"

"Fuck yeah," Seth says, and okay, it's not exactly what Ryan thought was going to happen today, but if this is the way that their shitty on-ice luck is going to balance out right now, then he's going to take the win.

* * *

[The End]